Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]

To my Truest Friend, my Worthiest Kinsman,

JOHN FORD, OF GRAY'S INN, Esq.
Maval HE title of this little work, my good cousin,

is in sense but the argument of a dedica-
tion; which being in most writers a
custom, in many a compliment, I question
not but your clear knowledge of my intents
will, in me, read as the earnest of affec-
tion. My ambition herein aims at a fair
flight, borne up on the double wings of

gratitude for a received, and acknowledg. ment for a continued love. It is not so frequent to number many kinsmen, and amongst them some friends, as to presume on some friends, and amongst them little friendship. But in every fulness of these particulars I do not more partake through you, my cousin, the delight than enjoy the benefit of them. This inscription to your name is only a faithful deliverance to memory of the truth of my respects to virtue, and to the equal in honour with virtue, desert. The contempt thrown on studies of this kind by such as dote on their own singularity' hath almost so outfaced invention and proscribed judgment, that it is more safe, more wise, to be suspectedly silent than modestly confident of opinion herein. Let me be bold to tell the severity of censurers how willingly I neglect their practice, so long as I digress from no becoming thankfulness. Accept, then, my cousin, this witness to posterity of my constancy to your merits; for no ties of blood, no engagements of friendship, shall more justly live a precedent than the sincerity of both in the heart of

JOHN FORD.

[graphic]

1 Here is an allusion to Prynne, also reserred to by Shirley in the verses prefixed to this play. Piynne had just produced his Histrio. mastix, or Actor's Tragedy, and was at this time before the StarChamber for a supposed insult to the Queen by his reflection on women-players. A few days before Histriomastix appeared the Queen and her ladies had acted in a pastoral at Whitehall.

[ocr errors][merged small]

PHILIPPO CARAFFA, Duke of Pavia.
PAULO BAGLIONE, Uncle of the Duchess.
FERNANDO, Favourite of the Duke.
FERENTES, a wanton Courtier.
ROSEILLI, a young Nobleman.
PETRUCHIO,

two Counsellors of State.
NIBRASSA, I
RODERICO D'AVOLOS, Secretary to the Duke.
MAURUCCIO, an old Buffoon.
GIACOPO, Servant to Mauruccio.
Abbot of Monaco.
Courtiers, Officers, Friars, Attendants, &c.

BIANCA, the Duchess.
FIORMONDA, the Duke's Sister.
COLONA, Daughter of Petruchio.
JULIA, Daughter of Nibrassa.
MORONA, a Widow.

SCENE-PAVIA.

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

SCENE 1.- A Room in the Palace.
Enter ROSEILLI and RODERICO D'Avolos.
TT OS. Depart the court ?

D'Av. Such was the duke's com

mand. Ros. You’re secretary to the state and him,

[honest.
Great in his counsels, wise, and, I think,
Have you, in turning over old records,
Read but one name descended of the house
Of Lesui in his loyalty remiss ?

D'Av. Never, my lord.
Ros. Why, then, should I now, now when glorious

peace
Triumphs in change of pleasures, be wiped off,
Like to a useless moth, from courtly ease ?
And whither must I go?

D'Av. You have the open world before you.
Ros. Why, then ’tis like I'm banished ?

D'Av. Not so: my warrant is only to command you from the court; within five hours to depart after notice taken, and not to live within thirty miles of it, until it be thought meet by his excellence to call you back. Now

[graphic]

Ros.

I have warned you, my lord, at your peril be it, if you disobey. I shall inform the duke of your discontent.

[Exit. Ros. Do, politician, do! I scent the plot Of this disgrace; 'tis Fiormonda, she, That glorious widow, whose commanding check Ruins my love: like foolish beasts, thus they Find danger that prey too near the lions' den.

Enter FERNANDO and PETRUCHIO.
Fern. My noble lord, Roseilli !

Sir, the joy
I should have welcomed you with is wrapt up
In clouds of my disgrace; yet, honoured sir,
Howsoe'er frowns of great ones cast me down,
My service shall pay tribute in my lowness
To your uprising virtues.
Fern.

Sir, I know
You are so well acquainted with your own,
You need not flatter mine: trust me, my lord,
I'll be a suitor for you.
Pet.

And I'll second
My nephew's suit with importunity.

Ros. You are, my Lord Fernando, late returned
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; 'tis a climate
Too hot to nourish arts ;' the nation proud,

1 It was the age of Velasquez and Calderon, but Spain was not popular in England at this period. Ford was probably indebted in part to Howell for this description.

And in their pride unsociable; the court
More pliable to glorify itself
Than do a stranger grace: if you intend
To traffic like a merchant, 'twere 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.1
The French are passing courtly, ripe of wit,
Kind, but extreme dissemblers ; you shall have
A Frenchman ducking lower than your knee,
At the 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 duchess, two night since,
Discoursing of an island thereabouts,
Called-let me think-'twas
Fern.

England ?
Ros.

That : pray, sirYou have been there, methought I heard you praise

it.

Fern. I'll tell you what I found there ; nien 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,

1 It seems that about this period the English were surpassed by most nations in this noble art: nor was it till James I. wisely en. couraged horse-races, that we thought of improving the old, heavy, short-winded breed of horses, by the introduction of Barbary and other stallions.-Gifford. 2 Disposition. Ford.

« PreviousContinue »