Page images
PDF
EPUB

Dia. She then was honeft.
Ber. So should you be.

Dia. No:
My mother did but duty; fuch, my lord,
As you owe to your wife.

Ber. No more of that!
I pr’ythee, do not strive against my vows:
I was compellid to her ; but I love thee
By love's own sweet constraint, and will for ever
Do thee all rights of service.

Dia. Ay, so you serve us,
'Till we serve you : but when you have our roses,
You barely leave our thorns to prick ourselves,
And mock us with our bareness.

Ber. How have I sworn ?

Dia. 'Tis not the many oaths, that make the truth;
But the plain single vow, that is vow'd true.

Ber. 'What is not holy, that we swear not by,
But take the Highest to witness.

Dia. Then, pray you, tell me,
If I should swear by Love's great attributes,
I lov'd you dearly, would you believe my oaths,
When I did love you s ill? “this has no holding,
To swear to him whom I protest to love,
That I will work against him: Therefore, your oaths
Are words, and poor conditions ; but unseald;
At least, in my opinion.

Ber. Change it, change it ;

[ocr errors]

e strive against my vows :]-plead against the vow I have made never to cohabit with Helena.

f What is not holy, ]—I will not bind myself to thee by the flight and ordinary protestations of lovers.

8 ill?)-in an unlawful way.

h this has no bolding, to swear to bim, &c. ]—there is no consistency in swearing to a person that I love him, when I mean only to injure himby him.

Be

Be not so holy-cruel : love is holy; ,
And my integrity ne'er knew the crafts,
That you do charge men with : Stand no more off,
But give thyself unto my fick desire,
Who then recovers : say, thou art mine, and ever
My love, as it begins, fhall so persever.

Dia. I fee, that men i make hopes in such affairs,
That we'll forsake ourselves. Give me that ring.

Ber. I'll lend it thee, my dear, but have no power To give it from me.

Dia. Will you not, my lord ?

Ber. It is an honour 'longing to our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors ;
Which were the greatest obloquy i' the world
In me to lose.

Dia. Mine honour's such a ring :
My chastity's the jewel of our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors ;
Which were the greatest obloquy i' the world
In me to lose: Thus your own proper wisdom
Brings in the champion honour on my part,
Against your vain assault.

Ber. Here, take my ring :
My house, mine honour, yea, my life be thine,
And I'll k be bid by thee.
Dia. When midnight comes, knock at my chamber

window;
I'll order take, my mother shall not hear.
Now will I charge you in the band of truth,
When you have conquer'd my yet maiden bed,
Remain there but an hour, nor speak to me:

i make hopes in such affairs, ]-conceive hopes of success in such a frene-when once we admit them to make their amorous protestations. Ko be bid by shee, ]-be at thy disposal.

My reasons are most strong; and you shall know them,
When back again this ring shall be deliver'd :
And on your finger, in the night, I'll put
Another ring; that, what in time proceeds
May token to the future our past deeds.
Adieu, 'till then ; then, fail not: You have won
A wife of me, though there my hope be done.
Ber. A heaven on earth I have won, by wooing thee.

[Exit.
Dia. For which live long to thank both heaven and me!
You may so in the end.
My mother told me just how he would woo,
As if she sat in his heart; she says, all men
Have the like oaths : he had sworn to marry me,
When his wife's dead; therefore I'll lie with him,
When I am bury'd. Since Frenchmen are so 'braid,
Marry that will, m I'll live and die a maid :
Only, in this disguise, I think’t no sin
To cozen hin, that would unjustly win. [Exit.

S CE N E III.

The Florentine Camp.

Enter the two French Lords, and two or three Soldiers.

i Lord. You have not given him his mother's letter?

2 Lord. I have deliver'd it an hour since: there is something in't that stings his nature; for, on the reading it, he chang'd almost into another man.

i Lord. He has much worthy blame laid upon him, for shaking off so good a wife, and so sweet a lady.

2 Lord. Especially he hath incurred the everlasting dis

i braid, ]-deceitful.

m I live.

pleasure

[ocr errors]

we are o

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

pleasure of the king, who had even tun'd his bounty to sing happiness to him. I will tell you a thing, but you shall let it dwell darkly with you.

i Lord. When you have spoken it, 'tis dead, and I am the grave of it.

2 Lord. He hath perverted a young gentlewoman here in Florence, of a most chaste renown; and this night he fleshes his will in the spoil of her honour; he hath given her his monumental ring, and thinks himself made in the unchaste composition.

i Lord. Now God " delay our rebellion ; as we are ourselves, what things are we !

2 Lord. Merely our own traitors. And as in the common course of all treasons, we still see them reveal themselves, o ere they attain to their abhorr'd ends ; fo he, that in this action contrives against his own nobility, Pin his proper stream o'erflows himself.

i Lord. Is it not 'most damnable in us, to be trumpeters of our unlawful intents? We shall not then have his company to-night?

2 Lord. Not 'till after midnight ; for he is dieted to his hour.

1 Lord. That approaches apace; I would gladly have him see his 'companion anatomized ; that he might take a measure of his own judgment, wherein so curiously he had set this counterfeit.

2 Lord. We will not meddle with him till he come ; for his presence must be the whip of the other.

i Lord. In the mean time, what hear you of these wars? 2 Lord. I hear, there is an overture of peace. i Lord. Nay, I assure you, a peace concluded.

delay)—avert, prevent.

o'till. p in his proper stream o'erflowus himself.]-betrays his secrets by his own talk.

I meant ; meantime; mean and, i company,

2 Lord.

[ocr errors]

2 Lord. What will count Rousillon do then? will he travel higher, or return again into France ?

i Lord. I perceive by this demand, you are not altogether of his counsel.

2 Lord. Let it be forbid, fir! so should I be a great deal of his act. • 1 Lord. Sir, his wife, some two months since, fled from his house ; her prerence, a pilgrimage to Saint Jaques le grand; which holy undertaking, with most auftere sanctimony, she accomplish'd : and, there residing, 'through the tenderness of her nature, became as a prey to her grief; in fine, made a groan of her last breath, and now she sings in heaven.

2 Lord. How is this justified ? :

i Lord. The stronger part of it by her own letters; which makes her story true, even to the point of her death : her death itself, which could not be her office to say, is come, was faithfully confirm'd by the rector of the place.

2 Lord. Hath the count all this intelligence ?

i Lord. Ay, and the particular confirmations, "point from point, to the full arming of the verity.

2 Lord. I am heartily sorry, that he'll be glad of this.

i Lord. How mightily, sometimes, we make us comforts of our loffes !

2 Lord. And how mightily, some other times, we drown our gain in tears! the great dignity, that his valour hath here acquired for him, shall at home be encounter'd with a shame as ample. '

i Lord. The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together : our virtues would be proud, if our faults whip’d them not; and our crimes would despair, if they were not cherish'd by our virtues.

s the tenderness.

* juftified?]-made out, evinced. from point to point,-point for point.

Enter

« PreviousContinue »