Page images
PDF
EPUB

"TIS PITY SHE'S A WHORE.

ACT I.

SCENE I.-Friar BONAVENTURA's cell.

Enter FRIAR and GIOVANNI.

Friar, Dispute no more in this, for know, young

man, These are no school points ; nice philosophy May tolerate unlikely arguments, But Heaven admits no jest ; wits that presum'd On wit too much, by striving how to prove There was no God, with foolish grounds of art, Discover'd first the nearest way to hell, And filled the world with dev’lish atheism. Such questions, youth, are fond': for a better 'tis

3

Fond,] i. e. foolish. So in Churchyard's Challenge, 1593, p. 74.

“ O countrey sweete, perswade obedience heere,

Reforme the fond, and still preserve the wise.” Ben Johnson's Devil is an Ass, A. 1. s. 6.

in me makes that proffer, Which never fair-one was so fond to lose." The word, in the same sense,, is still in use in the northern parts of this kingdom.-Reed.

* For.] The second edition of Dodsley's old plays reads,

To bless the sun, than reason why it shines ;
Yet he thou talk'st of is above the sun.
No more! I may not hear it.
Gio.

Gentle father,
To

you I have unclasp'd my burden'd soul, Emptied the storehouse of my thoughts and heart, Made myself poor of secrets; have not left Another word untold, which hath not spoke All what I ever durst, or think, or know ; And

yet is here the comfort I shall have ? Must I not do what all men else may,love?

Friar. Yes you may love, fair son.
Gio.

Must I not praise
That beauty, which, if fram'd anew, the gods
Would make a god of, if they had it there ;
And kneel to it, as I do kneel to them?

Friar. Why, foolish madman !
Gio.

Shall a peevish' sound,
A customary form, from man to man,
Of brother and of sister, be a bar
'Twixt my perpetual happiness and me?
Say that we had one father, say one womb,
(Curse to my joys !) gave both us life and birth ;
Are we not, therefore, each to other bound.
So much the more by nature ; by the links
Of blood, of reason ; nay, if you will hav't,
Even of religion, to be ever one,
One soul, one flesh, one love, one heart, one all ?
Friar. Have done, unhappy youth, for thou art

lost! Gio. Shall, then, for that I am her brother born, My joys be ever banish'd from her bed ? No, father! in your eyes I see the change

Far better 'tis, &c. an alteration neither warranted by the old quarto, nor pecessary to the sense.

Peevish,] foolish. So explained in Minsheu's Dict. 1607.

1

Of pity and compassion ; from your age,
As from a sacred oracle, distills
The life of counsel. Tell me, holy man,
What cure shall give me ease in these extremes ?

Friar. Repentance, son, and sorrow for this sin :
For thou hast mov'd a majesty above
With thy unranged, almost, blasphemy.

Gio. O do not speak of that, dear confessor. Friar. Art thou, my son, that miracle of wit, Who once, within these three months, wert esteem'd A wonder of thine age, throughout Bononia ? How did the university applaud Thy government', behaviour, learning, speech, Sweetness, and all that could make up a man! I was proud of my tutelage, and chose Rather to leave my books than part with thee. I did so ; but the fruits of all my hopes Are lost in thee, as thou art in thyself. O Giovanni ! hast thou left the schools Of knowledge, to converse with lust and death? For death waits on thy lust. Look through the

world, And thou shalt see a thousand faces shine More glorious than this idol thou ador'st : Leave her, and take thy choice, 'tis much less sin; Tho' in such games as those, they lose that win.

Gio. It were more ease to stop the ocean From flows and ebbs, than to dissuade my vows.

Friar. Then I have done, and in thy wilful flames Already see thy ruin ; Heaven is just. Yet hear my counsel !

Government.] This word, besides its more usual signification, was used for decency of manners and evenness of temper. So in Henry IV. P. I. “ Let men say, we be men of good government."

* Flows.] The quarto reads,-floats.

Gio.

As a voice of life. Friar. Hje to thy father's house ; there lock thee

fast Alone within thy chamber; then fall down On both thy knees, and grovel on the ground; Cry to thy heart ; wash every word thou utter'st In tears (and if't be possible) of blood : Beg Heaven to cleanse the leprosy of lust That rots thy soul ; acknowledge what thou art,A wretch, a worm, a nothing: weep, sigh, pray Three times a-day, and three times every night: For seven days space do this ; then, if thou find'st No change in thy desires, return to ine; I'll think on remedy. Pray for thyself At home, whilst I pray for thee here. Away ! My blessing with thee!

We have need to pray. Gio. All this I'll do, to free me from the rod Of vengeance ; else I'll swear my fate's my god.

[Exeunt'.

? There is scarcely a play in the language which can boast a more beautiful introductory scene, and we must only regret that the plot, which the author chose to clothe in the most glowing diction, and the most perfect harmony of versification, is such as makes us shudder; and it is to be feared many will recoil from perusing the subsequent parts of it. It is justly observed by Langbaine, that the loves of Giovanni and Annabella are painted in too beautiful colours. The dreadful vice which this tragedy holds up to detestation, was, however, a frequent subject of the ancient Greek drama.

SCENE II.-The Street, before the house of Flo

RIO, which has a Balcony.

Enter GRIMALDI and VASQUES, ready to fight.

Vas. Come, Sir, stand to your tackling; if you prove craven', l'll make you run quickly.

Grim. Thou art no equal match for me.

* Craven.] This word frequently occurs in our ancient writ. ers. The meaning of it here, and in all other places, in which it is to be found, is sufficiently obvious ; it may, however, not be improper briefly to explain the custom upon which it is found. ed, as it hath long since become obsolete. Formerly there ex. isted in this kingdom a mode of deciding controversies, called an appeal of battle. It was allowed in three cases: one military, in the court-martial, or court of chivalry ; one civil, upon issue joined in a writ of right; and one criminal, in an appeal of fe. lony. In the last instance, the event of the engagement was al. ways attended with the death or disgrace of one of the partics. The form of conducting the trial was in this manner : -The

per son appealed of felony pleaded not guilty, and threw down his glove, declaring, that he would defend his innocence by his body; the appellant then took up the glove, replying he was ready to make good the appeal, body for body. Oaths were then admi. nistered with great solemnity to each party, and the combatants were armed with batons, with which the battle immediately began. If the appellee was so far vanquished that he could not, or would not fight any longer, he was adjudged to be hanged imme. diately ; and then, as if he had been killed in battle, Providence was deemed to have determined in favour of the truth, and his blood was attainted; but if he killed the appellant, or could maintain the fight from sun-rising till the stars appeared in the evening, he was to be acquitted. So if the appellant became recreant, and pronounced, as the excellent Commentator on the laws of England observes, the horrible word of CRAVEN, he was doomed to lose his liberam legem, and become infamous; and from thenceforth the appellee was discharged, not only of the appeal, but of all indictments for the same offencc.-(Sec Black. stone's Commentaries, Vol. III. p. 337. Vol. IV. p. 340.) One consequence of the infamy which the appellant subjected himself

« PreviousContinue »