« PreviousContinue »
Thus I obey ye.
After so many quarrels as dissension,
Fury, and rage had broached in blood, and sometimes
With death to such confederates as sided
With now-dead Thrasus and yourself, my lord;
Our present king, Amyclas, reconciled
Your eager swords and sealed a gentle peace:
Friends you professed yourselves; which to confirm,
A resolution for a lasting league
Betwixt your families was entertained,
By joining in a Hymenean bond
Me and the fair Penthea, only daughter
What of this ?
Much, much, dear sir.
A freedom of convérse, an interchange
Of holy and chaste love, so fixed our souls
In a firm growth of union, that no time
Can eat into the pledge: we had enjoyed
The sweets our vows expected, had not cruelty
Prevented all those triumphs we prepared for,
By Thrasus his untimely death.
Org. From this time sprouted-up that poisonous stalk
Of aconite, whose ripened fruit hath ravished
All health, all comfort of a happy life;
For Ithocles, her brother, proud of youth,
And prouder in his power, nourished closely
The memory of former discontents,
To glory in revenge. By cunning partly,
Partly by threats, he woos at once, and forces
His virtuous sister to admit a marriage
With Bassanes, a nobleman, in honour
And riches, I confess, beyond my fortunes.
Crot. All this is no sound reason to importune
My leave for thy departure.
Now it follows.
Beauteous Penthea, wedded to this torture
By an insulting brother, being secretly
Compelled to yield her virgin freedom up
To him, who never can usurp her heart,
Before contracted mine, is now so yoked
To a most barbarous thraldrom, misery,
Affliction, that he savours not humanity,
Whose sorrow melts not into more than pity
In hearing but her name.
As how, pray?
The man that calls her wife, considers truly
What heaven of perfections he is lord of
By thinking fair Penthea his: this thought
Begets a kind of monster-love, which love
Is nurse unto a fear so strong and servile
As brands all dotage with a jealousy:
All eyes who gaze upon that shrine of beauty
He doth resolve? do homage to the miracle ;
Some one, he is assured, may now or then,
If opportunity but sort, prevail :
So much, out of a self-unworthiness,
His fears transport him ; not that he finds cause
In her obedience, but his own distrust.
Crot. You spin-out your discourse.
My griefs are violent:
For, knowing how the maid was heretofore
Courted by me, his jealousies grow wild
That I should steal again into her favours,
And undermine her virtues; which the gods
Know I nor dare nor dream of. Hence, from hence,
I undertake a voluntary exile;
First, by my absence to take off the cares
Of jealous Bassanes; but chiefly, sir,
To free Penthea from a hell on earth;
Lastly, to lose the memory of something
1 i.e. Convince himself.
Her presence makes to live in me afresh.
Crot. Enough, my Orgilus, enough. To Athens,
I give a full consent.-Alas, good lady !-
We shall hear from thee often ?
Thy sister comes to give a farewell.
Org. Euphranea, thus upon thy cheeks I print
A brother's kiss; more careful of thine honour,
Thy health, and thy well-doing, than my life.
Before we part, in presence of our father,
I must prefer a suit t' ye.
You may style it,
My brother, a command.
That you will promise
Never to pass to any man, however
Worthy, your faith, till, with our father's leave,
I give a free consent.
An easy motion !
I'll promise for her, Orgilus.
Your pardon ;
Euphranea's oath must yield me satisfaction.
Euph. By Vesta's sacred fires I swear.
By great Apollo's beams, join in the vow,
Not without thy allowance to bestow her
On any living.
Org. Dear Euphranea,
Mistake me not : far, far 'tis from my thought,
As far from any wish of mine, to hinder
Preferment to an honourable bed
Or fitting fortune; thou art young and handsome;
And 'twere injustice,-more, a tyranny,-
Not to advance thy merit: trust me, sister,
It shall be my first care to see thee matched
As may become thy choice and our contents.
I have your oath.
You have. But mean you, brother,
To leave us, as you say ?
Ay, ay, Euphranea :
He has just grounds direct him. I will prove
A father and a brother to thee.
Does look into the secrets of all hearts :
Gods, you have mercy with ye, else-
Doubt nothing ; Thy brother will return in safety to us.
Org. Souls sunk in sorrows never are without 'em ; They change fresh airs, but bear their griefs about 'em.
SCENE II.-A Room in the Palace. Flourish. Enter AMYCLAS, ARMOSTES, PROPHILUS,
Courtiers, and Attendants. Amy. The Spartan gods are gracious; our humility Shall bend before their altars, and perfume Their temples with abundant sacrifice. See, lords, Amyclas, your old king, is entering Into his youth again ! I shall shake off This silver badge of age, and change this snow For hairs as gay as are Apollo's locks; Our heart leaps in new vigour. Arm.
May old time Run back to double your long life, great sir !
Amy. It will, it must, Armostes: thy bold nephew, Death-braving Ithocles, brings to our gates Triumphs and peace upon his conquering sword. Laconia is a monarchy at length;
Hath in this latter war trod under foot
Messene's pride; Messene bows her neck
To Lacedæmon's royalty. O, 'twas
A glorious victory, and doth deserve
More than a chronicle--a temple, lords,
A temple to the name of Ithocles.-
Where didst thou leave him, Prophilus?
Most gracious sovereign ; twenty of the noblest
Of the Messenians there attend your pleasure,
For such conditions as you shall propose
In settling peace, and liberty of life.
Amy. When comes your friend the general ?
He promised To follow with all speed convenient.
Enter CALANTHA, EUPHRANEA; CHRISTALLA and
PHILEMA with a garland; and CROTOLON.
Amy. Our daughter !-- Dear Calantha, the happy news,
The conquest of Messene, hath already
Enriched thy knowledge.
With the circumstance
And manner of the fight, related faithfully
By Prophilus himself.—But, pray, sir, tell me
How doth the youthful general demean
His actions in these fortunes ?
Your own fair eyes may soon report a truth
Unto your judgment, with what moderation,
Calmness of nature, measure, bounds, and limits
Of thankfulness and joy, he doth digest
Such amplitude of his success as would
In others, moulded of a spirit less clear,
Advance 'em to comparison with heaven :
He is so, madam,