« PreviousContinue »
Fernando, in short words, howe'er my tongue
Fern. Oh, madam!
Bian. Now hear me out.
Fern. Beyond imagination.
Bian. True, I do,
Fern. What do you mean?
Bian. If thou dost spoil me of this robe of shame,
Fern. Come, come; how many women, pray,
Think me a common and most cunning harlot,
Fern. I must believe you,-yet I hope, anon,
Bian. No, by the faith I owe my bridal vows !
[Kisses him. Fern. You have prevail'd; and Heaven forbid
Bian. Nay, be thine:
Fern. Enough ; I'll master passion, and triumph
Bian. The latter I new-vow-but day comes on! What now we leave unfinish'd of content, Each hour shall perfect up: sweet, let us part.
Fern. This kiss,—best life, good rest! [Kisses her.
Bian. All mine to thee! Remember this, and think I speak thy words: “When I am dead, rip up my heart, and read With constant eyes, what now my tongue defines, Fernando's name carv'd out in bloody lines.” Once more good rest, sweet! Fern. Your most faithful servant.
[The scene closes.
ACT III. SCENE I..
A Room in the Palace.
Enter Duke and D'AVOLOS. Duke. Thou art a traitor: do not think the gloss Of smooth evasion, by your cunning jests, And coinage of your politician's brain, Shall jig me off; I 'll know 't, I vow I will. Did not I note your dark abrupted ends Of words half-spoke ? your wells, if all were
known ?" Your short, “ I like not that ?" your girds and" buts ?" Yes, sir, I did ; such broken language argues More matter than your subtlety shall hide! Tell me, what is 't ? by honour's self, I 'll know.
D’Av. What would you know, my lord ? I confess I owe my life and service to you, as to my prince; the one you have, the other you may take from me at your pleasure. Should I devise matter to feed your distrust, or suggest likelihoods without appearance ? what would you have me say? I know nothing.
Duke. Thou liest, dissembler; on thy brow I read Distracted horrors figured in thy looks. On thy allegiance, D'Avolos, as e'er Thou hop'st to live in grace with us, unfold What by the party-halting of thy speech Thy knowledge can discover. By the faith We bear to sacred justice, we protest, Be it or good or evil, thy reward Shall be our special thanks, and love unterm'd:11 Speak, on thy duty; we, thy prince, command.
D’Ad. Oh my disaster! my lord, I am so charmed by those powerful repetitions of love and duty, that I cannot conceal what I know of your dishonour. 1 And love unterm’d,) i. e. inexpressible; or rather, perhaps, intermi
Duke. “Dishonour !" then my soul is cleft with
fear: I half-presage my misery ; say on, Speak it at once, for I am great with grief.
D’Av. I trust your highness will pardon me; yet I will not deliver a syllable which shall be less innocent than truth itself.
Duke. By all our wish of joys, we pardon thee.
D’Av. Get from me, cowardly servility! my service is noble, and my loyalty an armour of brass : in short, my lord, and plain discovery,
Duke. Out with the word !
D'Av. Fernando is your rival, has stolen your dutchess's heart, murther'd friendship.
Duke. My heart is split.
D'Av. Take courage, be a prince in resolution: I knew it would nettle you in the fire of your composition, and was loath to have given the first report of this more than ridiculous blemish to all patience or moderation ; but oh, my lord, what would not a subject do to approve his loyalty to his sovereign ?
Duke. The icy current of my frozen blood Is kindled up in agonies as hot As flames of burning sulphur. Oh my fate! Dishonour'd! had my dukedom's whole inheritance Been rent, mine honours levell’d in the dust, So she, that wicked woman, might have slept Chaste in my bosom, 't had been all a sport.And he, that villain, viper to my heart, That he should be the man! death above utter
ance! Take heed you prove this true.
D'Av. My lord.
Duke. If not,
ACT IV. SCENE I.
An Apartment in the Palace.
the region of thy state,
Duke. Forbear; the ashy paleness of my cheek
Fior. Why, now I hear you speak in majesty.
Duke. Does it ? come hither, sister; thou art near