Page images





A Room in the Palace.

[ocr errors]

Ros. You are, my lord Fernando, late return'd
From travels; pray instruct me:-since the voice
Of most supreme authority commands
My absence, I determine to bestow
Some time in learning languages abroad;
Perhaps the change of air may change in me
Remembrance of my wrongs at home: good sir,
Inform me; say I meant to live in Spain,
What benefit of knowledge might I treasure ?

Fern. 'Troth, sir, I'll freely speak as I have found.
In Spain you lose experience; 't is a climate
Too hot to nourish arts ;' the nation proud,
And in their pride unsociable; the court
More pliable to glorify itself

1 Fernando's character of the Spanish nation is somewhat tinctured with severity; yet not unjust in the main. James had, with much political foresight, and some success, strove to cultivate the friendship of Spain; but the culpable capriciousness of Charles, aggravated by the ruffian insolence of Buckingham, abruptly checked his endeavours, and by rendering the Spanish party unpopular, as well as unfashionable at court, occasioned a fatal reaction in politics, which in no long process of time threw that country and its resources into the arms of France, to be constantly directed against us. Ford seems to be indebted to Howell for a part of his description.-GIFFORD.

Than do a stranger grace: if you intend
To traffic like a merchant, 't were a place
Might better much your trade; but as for me,
I soon took surfeit on it.

Ros. What for France ?
Fern. France I more praise and love. You are,

my lord,


Yourself for horsemanship much famed; and there,
You shall have many proofs to show your skill.
The French are passing courtly, ripe of wit,
Kind, but extreme dissemblers; you shall have
A Frenchman ducking lower than your knee,
At th’ instant mocking even your very shoe-ties.
To give the country due, it is on earth
A paradise; and if you can neglect
Your own appropriaments, but praising that
In others, wherein you excel yourself,
You shall be much beloved there.

Ros. Yet, methought,
I heard you and the dutchess, two nights since,
Discoursing of an island thereabouts,
Call'd-let me think-'t-was-

Fern. England ?

Ros. That: pray, sir
You have been there, methought I heard you praise it.

Fern. I'll tell you what I found there; men as neat,
As courtly as the French, but in condition?
Quite opposite. Put case that you, my lord,
Could be more rare on horseback than you are,
If there (as there are many) one exceli'd
You in your art as much as you do others,

1 France I more praise and love, &c.] The excellence of the French in horsemanship is noticed by most of our old writers. It seems, indeed, that about this period the English were surpassed by most nations in this noble art; nor was it till James I. wisely encouraged horse-races, that we thought of improving the old heavy, short-winded breed of horses, by the introduction of Barbary and other stallions, and that the consequent improvement in managing them took place which long since rendered us the most skilful and daring riders of Europe.-GIFFORD.

2 i e. in disposition.-GIFFORD.

Yet will the English think their own is nothing
Compared with you a stranger; in their habits
They are not more fantastic than uncertain;
In short, their fair abundance, manhood, beauty,
No nation can disparage but itself.

Ros. My lord, you have much eased me; I resolve.
Fern. And whither are you bent ?

Ros. My lord, for travel; To speed for England.




Duke. Come, my Bianca, revel in mine arms;
While I, wrapt in my admiration, view
Lilies and roses growing in thy cheeks.
Fernando! oh, thou half myself! no joy
Could make my pleasures full without thy presence :
I am a monarch of felicity,
Proud in a pair of jewels, rich and beautiful ;
A perfect friend, a wife above compare.

Fern. Sir, if a man so low in rank may hope,
By loyal duty and devoted zeal,
To hold a correspondency in friendship
With one so mighty as the Duke of Pavy,
My uttermost ambition is to climb
To those deserts may give the style of servant.

Duke. Of partner in my dukedom, in my heart,
As freely as the privilege of blood
Hath made them mine ;-Philippo and Fernando
Shall be without distinction. Look, Bianca,
On this good man; in all respects to him
Be as to me; only the name of husband,
And reverent observance of our bed,
Shall differ us in persons, else in soul
We are all one.

1 i. e. I command happiness.


Bian. I shall, in best of love,
Regard the bosom-partner of my lord.

Duke. Sister!
Fior. My lord and brother.

Duke. You are too silent,
Quicken your sad remembrance: though the loss
Of your dead husband be of more account
Than slight neglect, yet 't is a sin against
The state of princes, to exceed
In mourning for the dead.

Fior. Should form, my lord, Prevail above affection ? no, it cannot. You have yourself here a right noble dutchess, Virtuous at least; and should your grace now pay, Which Heaven forbid! the debt you owe to nature, I dare presume she'd not so soon forget A prince that thus advanced her.-Madam, could.

you? D'Av. Bitter and shrewd.

Aside. Bian. Sister, I should too much bewray my

weakness, To give a resolution on a passion I never felt nor fear'd.

Fern. If credit may be given to a face, My lord, I'll undertake on her behalf; Her words are trusty heralds to her mind. Fior. (Aside to D'Av.] Exceeding goud; the man

will “ undertake !" Observe it, D'Avolos.

D'Av. Lady, I do; 'Tis a smooth praise.

Duke. Friend, in thy judgment I approve thy love, And love thee.better for thy judging mine. Though my gray-headed senate, in the laws

1 Quicken your sad remembrance,] i. e. enliven your melancholy recollections by the admission of pleasanter thoughts. --GIFFORD. 2 i. e. to speak decisively on a passion

never felt nor feard, ) i. e. ingratitude. It is well answered:but she'll keep her word!"GIFFORD.

Of strict opinion and severe dispute,
Would tie the limits of our free affects!
(Like superstitious Jews, to match with none
But in a tribe of princes like ourselves),
Gross nurtur'd slaves, who force their wretched

To crouch to profit ; 'nay, for trash and wealth,
Dote on some crooked or misshapen form ;
Hugging wise nature's lame deformity,
Begetting creatures ugly as themselves :-
But why should princes do so, that command
The storehouse of the earth's hid minerals?
No, my Bianca, thou art to me as dear
As if thy portion had been Europe's riches;
Since in thine eyes lies more than these are worth.
Set on: they shall be strangers to my heart,
That envy thee thy fortunes.-Come, Fernando,
My but divided self; what we have done
We are only debtor to Heaven for.--On! [Exeunt.


FERNANDO alone and musing ; to him FIORMONDA.

Fior. My lord Fernando, what, so hard at study!
You are a kind companion to yourself,
That love to be alone so.

Fern. Madam, no;
I rather chose this leisure to admire
The glories of this little world, the court,
Where, like so many stars, on several thrones,
Beauty and greatness shine in proper orbs;
Sweet matter for my meditation.

Fior. So, so, sir! your own proof,
By travel and prompt observation,
Instructs you how to place the use of speech.
But since you are at leisure, pray let's sit:

1 i. e. affections.

« PreviousContinue »