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And were my love ten thousand times more to thee,
Which is as much now as ere mother's was,
So thou shouldst feel my anger. Dost thou call
That quarrel doubtful ? where are all my merits ? [Strikes
Not one stand up to tell this man his error?
Thou might'st as well call the Sun's truth in question,
As thy birth or my honor.
Cap. Now blessings crown you for 't;
It is the joyfull’st blow that ere flesh felt.
La. Nay, stay, stay, Sir; thou art not left so soon :
This is no question to be slighted off,
And at your pleasure closed up fair again,
As though you'd never touch'd it, no; honor doubted,
Is honor deeply wounded; and it rages
More than a common smart, being of thy making.
For thee to fear my truth it kills my comfort.
Where should fame seek for her reward, when he
That is her own by the great tye of blood
Is farthest off in bounty: O poor Goodness,
That only payst thyself with thy own works :
For nothing else looks toward thee. Tell me, pray,
Which of my loving cares dost thou requite
With this vile thought ? which of my prayers or wishes ?
Many thou ow’st me for. This seven year hast thou
A widow, only married to my vow;
That's no small witness of my faith and love
To him that in life was thy honour'd father:
And live I now to know that good mistrusted ?
Cap. No, it shall appear that my belief is chearful; '
For never was a mother's reputation
Noblier defended ; 'tis my joy and pride
I have a firmness to bestow upon it.
La. What's that you said, Sir ?
Cap. 'Twere too bold and soon yet
To crave forgiveness of you. I will earn it first.
Dead or alive I know I shall enjoy it.
La. What's all this, Sir?
Cap. My joy's beyond expression :
I do but think how wretched I had been,
Were this another's quarrel and not mine.
La. Why, is it your's ?
Cap. Mine? think me not so miserable,
Not to be mine : then were I worse than abject,
More to be loath'd than vileness, or sin's dunghill:
Nor did I fear your goodness, faithful Madam,
But came with greedy joy to be confirm'd in 't,
To give the nobler onset : then shines valour,
And admiration from her fix'd sphere draws,
When it comes burnish'd with a righteous cause;
Without which I'm ten fathoms under coward,
That now am ten degrees above a man,
Which is but one of virtue's easiest wonders.
La. But pray stay; all this while I understood you
The Colonel was the man,
Cap. Yes, he's the man,
The man of injury, reproach, and slander,
Which I must turn into his soul again.
La. The Colonel do 't! that's strange.
Cap. The villain did it:
That's not so strange. Your blessing, and your leave —-
La. Come, come, you shall not go.
Cap. Not go? were death
Sent now to summon me to my eternity,
I'd put him off an hour : why, the whole world
Has not chains strong enough to bind me from it:
The strongest is my Reverence for you,
Which if you force upon me in this case,
I must be forc'd to break it.
La. Stay, I say.
Cap. In any thing command me but in this, Madam. · La. 'Las, I shall lose him. You will hear me first?
Cap. At my return I will...
Lä. You'll never hear me more then.
La. Come back, I say!
You may well think there's cause, I call so often.
Cap. Ha ? cause? what cause ?
Lu. So much, you must not go.
Cap. Must not? why?
La. I know a reason for't;
Which I could wish you'd yield to, and not know :
If not, it must come forth. Faith, do not know;
And yet obey my will.
Cap. Why, I desire
To know no other than the cause I have,
Nor should you wish it, if you take your injury;
For one more great I know the world includes not.
La. Yes; one that makes this nothing:--yet be ruled, And if you understand not, seek no farther.
Cap. I must, for this is nothing.
La. Then take all;
And if amongst it you receive that secret
That will offend you, though you condemn me,
Yet blame yourself a little, for perhaps
I would have made my reputation sound
Upon another's hazard with less pity;
But upon your's I dare not.
La. I dare not:
'Twas your own seeking, this.
Cap. If you mean evilly,
I cannot understand you, nor for all the riches
This life has, would I.
La. Would you never might!
Cap. Why, your goodness, that I joy to fight for.
La. In that you neither right your joy nor me.
Cap. What an ill orator has virtue got here!
Why, shall I dare to think it a thing possible,
That you were ever false ?
La. Oh, fearfully;
As much as you come to.
Cap. Oh silence cover me;
I've felt a deadlier wound than man can give me.
La. I was betray'd to a most sinful hour
By a corrupted soul I put in trust once,
Cap. Where is she? let me pay her.
Lä. Oh dead long since.
Cap. Nay then, she has all her wages.
False? do not say't ; for honor's goodness do not ;
You never could be so : he I call'd father
Deserv'd you at your best; when youth and merit
Could boast at highest in you, you'd no grace
Or virtue that he match'd not ; no delight
That you invented, but he sent it crown'd
To your full wishing soul.
La. That heaps my guiltiness.
Cap. O were you so unhappy to be false Both to yourself and me, but to me chiefly? What a day's hope is here lost,' and with it The joys of a just cause! Had you but thought On such a noble quarrel, you'd ha' died Ere you'd ha' yielded, for the sin's hate first, Next for the late of this hour's cowardice. Curst be the heat that lost me such a cause, A work that I was made for. Quench, my spirit, And out with honor's flaming lights within thee : Be dark and dead to all respects of manhood; I never shall have use of valour more. Put off your vow for shame: why should you hoard up Such justice for a barren widowhood, That was so injurious to the faith of wedlock? I should be dead: for all my life's work's ended. I dare not fight a stroke now, nor engage (Exit lady. The noble resolution of my friends;
Enter two Friends of Captain Ager's. That were more vile. They're here. Kill me, my shame. I am not for the fellowship of honor.
1. Friend. Captain, fie, come, Sir: we've been seeking .
for you Very late to-day; this was not wont to be, Your enemy's in the field.
Cap. Truth enters chearfully. 2. Friend. Good faith, Sir, you've a royal quarrel (n't.
Cap. Yes, in some other country, Spain or Italy, It would be held so.
1. Friend. How! and is't not here so ?
Cup. 'Tis not so contumeliously receiv'd In these parts, and you mark it.
1. Friend. Not in these ?
Why prithee what is more, or can be ?
Cap. Yes :
That ordinary Commotioner the lye
Is father of most quarrels in this climate,
And held here capital, and you go to that.
2. Friend. But, Sir, I hope you will not go to that,
Or change your own for it; son of a whore !
Why there's the lye down to posterity;
The lye to birth, the lye to honesty.
Why would you cozen yourself so and beguilo
So brave a cause, Manhood's best master piece?
Do you ever hope for one so brave again?
Cap. Consider then the man, the Colonel,
Exactly worthy, absolutely noble,
However spleen and rage abuses him :
And 'tis not well nor manly to pursue •
A man's infirmity.
1. Friend. O miracle !
So hopeful valiant and complete a Captain
Possest with a tame devil: come out, thou spoilest
The most improv'd young soldier of seven kingdoms,
Made Captain at nineteen; which was deserv'd
The year before, but honor comes behind still :
Come out, I say : this was not wont to be,
That spirit ne'er stood in need of provocation,
Nor shall it now. Away, Sir.
Cap. Urge me not.
1. Friend. By Manhood's reverend honor but we must.
Cap. I will not fight a stroke.
1. Friend. O blasphemy To sacred valour.