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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.
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
Have spurr'd thee on to set my soul on fire,
Fior. Or what? you will be mad? be rather wise;
Duke. Shrewdly urged,—'t is piercing.
Fior. For looking on a sight shall split your soul. You shall not care; I'll undertake myself To do't some two days hence; for need, to-nightBut that you are in court.
D’Av. Right. Would you desire, my lord, to see them exchange kisses? Give but a little way by a feigned absence, and you shall find 'em at it.
Duke. D’ye play upon me? as I am your prince, There's some shall roar for this! Why, what was I Both to be thought or made so vile a thing ? Stay-madam marquess:-ho, Roderico, you, sir, Bear witness, that if ever I neglect One day, one hour, one minute, to wear out With toil of plot, or practice of conceit, My busy scull, till I have found a death More horrid than the bull of Phalaris, Or all the fabling poets' dreaming whips; If ever I take rest, or force a smile Which is not borrowed from a royal vengeance,
Before I know which way to satisfy
let me die
all 's agreed: If the moon serve, some that are safe shall bleed.
[Exeunt DUKE and D'Avolos.
Fior. Do you note
Fern. Not I, in troth.
Fern. What, madam ! jealous ?
Fior. Yes; for but observe;
1. If the moon serve, some that are safe shall bleed.] In Ford's time, and indeed long before and after it, the days of the moon held to be pro pitious to bleeding were distinguished by particular marks; and such was the absurd reliance on this ignorant medley of quackery and superstition, that few families would have ventured on the operation on one of the dies nefasti.-GIFFORD.
Fern. Cause, madam! by this light,
Fior. I never thought her less; yet trust me, sir,
Fern. Madam, 't is true ;
Fior. You are too wise, Fernando. To be plain,
Fern. My aim ?
Fior. Yes, yours; I hope I talk no news. Fernando, know Thou runn'st to thy confusion, if, in time, Thou dost not wisely shun that Circe's charm. Unkindest man! I have too long conceald My hidden flames, when still in silent signs I courted thee for love, without respect. To youth or state ; and yet thou art unkind; Fernando, leave that sorceress, if not For love of me, for pity of thyself. Fern. (Walks aside.] Injurious woman, I defy thy
lust. "T is not your subtle sisting that shall creep Into the secrets of a heart unsoil'd.You are my prince's sister, else your malice Had rail'd itself to death ; but as for me, Be record, all my fate! I do detest Your fury or affection-judge the rest. [Exit.
Fior. What, gone! well, go thy ways; I see the more I humble my firm love, the more he shuns Both it and me. So plain! then 't is too late To hope; change, peevish passion, to contempt: Whatever rages in my blood I feel, Fool, he shall know I was not born to kneel. [Exit.