Page images
PDF
EPUB

Cal.

Such delay is easy.-
The joys of marriage make thee, Prophilus,
A proud deserver of Euphranea's love,
And her of thy desert !
Pro.

Most sweetly gracious !
Bass. The joys of marriage are the heaven on earth,
Life's paradise, great princess, the soul's quiet,
Sinews of concord, earthly immortality,
Eternity of pleasures ;---no restoratives
Like to a constant woman !--[Aside] But where is she?
'Twould puzzle all the gods but to create
Such a new monster.—I can speak by proof,
For I rest in Elysium ; 'tis my happiness.

Crot. Euphranea, how are you resolved, speak freely, In your affections to this gentleman ?

Euph. Nor more nor less than as his love assures me ; Which—if your liking with my brother's warrantsI cannot but approve in all points worthy.

Crot. So, so !-[To PROPHILUS] I know your answer. Ith.

'T had been pity To sunder hearts so equally consented.

Enter HEMOPHIL. Hem. The king, Lord Ithocles, commands your pre

sence ; And, fairest princess, yours. Cal.

We will attend him.

MOPHIL.

Enter GRONEAS.
Gro. Where are the lords ? all must unto the king
Without delay : the Prince of Argos-
Cal.

Well, sir ?
Gro. Is coming to the court, sweet lady.
Cal.

How
The Prince of Argos ?
Gro.

'Twas my fortune, madam, T' enjoy the honour of these happy tidings.

Ith. Penthea !-
Pen.

Brother?
Ith.

Let me an hour hence
Meet you alone within the palace-grove;
I have some secret with you.—Prithee, friend,
Conduct her thither, and have special care
The walks be cleared of any to disturb us.

Pro. I shall.
Bass. [Aside] How's that ?
Ith.

Alone, pray be alone.-I am your creature, princess.--On, my lords !

[Exeunt all but BASSANES. Bass. Alone ! alone ! what means that word “ alone"? Why might not I be there ?—hum !-he's her brother. Brothers and sisters are but flesh and blood, And this same whoreson court-ease is temptation To a rebellion in the veins ;--besides, His fine friend Prophilus must be her guardian : Why may not he dispatch a business nimbly Before the other come ?-or-pandering, pandering For one another,-be't to sister, mother, Wife, cousin, anything,—'mongst youths of mettle Is in request; it is so---stubborn fate ! But if I be a cuckold, and can know it, I will be fell, and fell.

Re-enter GRONEAS.
Gro.

My lord, you're called for.
Bass. Most heartily I thank ye. Where's my wife,

pray ?
Gro. Retired amongst the ladies.
Bass.

Still I thank ye. There's an old waiter with her ; saw you her too ? Gro. She sits i’ the presence-lobby fast asleep, sir. Bass. Asleep! asleep, sir !

Is your lordship troubled ? You will not to the king ?

Gro.

Bass.

Your humblest vassal.
Gro. Your servant, my good lord.
Bass.

I wait your footsteps.

[Exeunt.

SCENE III.- The Gardens of the Palace. A Grove.

Enter Prophilus and PENTHEA.
Pro. In this walk, lady, will your brother find you :
And, with your favour, give me leave a little
To work a preparation. In his fashion
I have observed of late some kind of slackness
To such alacrity as nature once
And custom took delight in; sadness grows
Upon his recreations, which he hoards
In such a willing silence, that to question
The grounds will argue little skill in friendship,
And less good manners.
Pen.

Sir, I'm not inquisitive
Of secrecies without an invitation.

Pro. With pardon, lady, not a syllable Of mine implies so rude a sense; the drift

Enter ORGILUS, disguised as before. [To Org.] Do thy best To make this lady merry for an hour.

Org. Your will shall be a law, sir. [Exit PROPHILUS. Pen.

Prithee, leave me ; I have some private thoughts I would account with ; Use thou thine own. Org.

Speak on, fair nymph ; our souls
Can dance as well to music of the spheres
As any's who have feasted with the gods.

Pen. Your school-terms are too troublesome.
Org.

What Heaven Refines mortality from dross of earth

But such as uncompounded beauty hallows
With glorified perfection ?
Pen.

Set thy wits
In a less wild proportion.
Org.

Time can never
On the white table of unguilty faith
Write counterfeit dishonour; turn those eyes,
The arrows of pure love, upon that fire,
Which once rose to a flame, perfumed with vows
As sweetly scented as the incense smoking
On Vesta's altars, . . . . . . . .
.. . the holiest odours, virgin's tears,
.... sprinkled, like dews, to feed them
And to increase their fervour.
Pen.

Be not frantic,
Org. All pleasures are but mere imagination,
Feeding the hungry appetite with steam
And sight of banquet, whilst the body pines,
Not relishing the real taste of food :
Such is the leanness of a heart divided
From intercourse of troth-contracted loves ;
No horror should deface that precious figure
Sealed with the lively stamp of equal souls.

Pen. Away! some Fury hath bewitched thy tongue :
The breath of ignorance, that flies from thence,
Ripens a knowledge in me of afflictions
Above all sufferance.—Thing of talk, begone !
Begone, without reply!
Org.

Be just, Penthea,
In thy commands; when thou send'st forth a doon
Of banishment, know first on whom it lights.
Thus I take off the shroud, in which my cares

1 This passage is corrupt; it was amended by Gifford; the old copy reads,

“as the incense smoking
The holiest artars, virgin tears (like
On Vesta's odours) sprinkled dews to feed 'em,
And to increase," &c.

Are folded up from view of common eyes.

[Throws off his Scholar's dress. What is thy sentence next? Pen.

Rash man! thou lay'st
A blemish on mine honour, with the hazard
Of thy too-desperate life : yet I profess,
By all the laws of ceremonious wedlock,
I have not given admittance to one thought
Of female change since cruelty enforced
Divorce betwixt my body and my heart.
Why would you fall from goodness thus ?
Org.

O, rather
Examine me, how I could live to say
I have been much, much wronged. 'Tis for thy sake
I put on this imposture : dear Penthea,
If thy soft bosom be not turned to marble,
Thou'lt pity our calamities; my interest
Confirms me thou art mine still.
Pen.

Lend your hand;
With both of mine I clasp it thus, thus kiss it,
Thus kneel before ye.

[PENTHEA kneels. Org.

You instruct my duty. [ORGILUS kneels. Pen. We may stand up. [They rise.] Have you aught

else to urge
Of new demand ? as for the old, forget it;
'Tis buried in an everlasting silence,
And shall be, shall be ever : what more would ye ?

Org. I would possess my wife; the equity
Of very reason bids me.
Pen.

Is that all ?
Org. Why, 'tis the all of me, myself.

Remove
Your steps some distance from me :-at this space
A few words I dare change ; but first put on
Your borrowed shape.

You are obeyed ; 'tis done.

[He resumes his disguise.

Pen.

Org.

« PreviousContinue »