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If some few days have tempted your free heart
To cast away affection on a stranger;
If that affection have so overswayed
Your judgment, that it, in a manner, hath
Declined your sovereignty of birth and spirit;
How can ye turn your eyes off from that glass
Wherein you may new-trim and settle right
A memorable name?
Tha.

The youth is idle.1
Par. Days, months, and years are passed since Men-

aphon
Hath loved and served you truly; Menaphon,
A man of no large distance in his blood
From yours; in qualities desertful, graced
With youth, experience, every happy gift
That can by nature or by education
Improve a gentleman: for him, great lady,
Let me prevail, that you will yet at last
Unlock the bounty which your love and care
Have wisely treasured up, t'enrich his life.

Tha. Thou hast a moving eloquence, Parthenophil!-
Parthenophil, in vain we strive to cross
The destiny that guides us. My great heart
Is stooped so much beneath that wonted pride
That first disguised it, that I now prefer
A miserable life with thee before
All other earthly comforts.
Par.

Menaphon,
By me, repeats the self-same words to you:
You are too cruel, if you can distrust
His truth or my report.
Tha. .

Go where thou wilt,
I'll be an exile with thee; I will learn
To bear all change of fortunes.
Par.

For my friend
I plead with grounds of reason.

1 i.e. Talks idly.

Tha.

Tha.

For thy love,
Hard-hearted youth, I here renounce all thoughts
Of other hopes, of other entertainments,-
Par. Stay, as you honour virtue.

When the proffers
Of other greatness-
Par.

Lady!
Tha.

When entreats
Of friends,

Par. I'll ease your grief.
Tha.

Respect of kindred,-
Par. Pray, give me hearing.
Tha.

Loss of fame,
Par.

I crave
But some few minutes.
Tha.

Shall infringe my vows,
Let heaven,

Par. My love speaks t'ye: hear, then go on.

Tha. Thy love! why, 'tis a charm to stop a vow
In its most violent course.
Par.

Cupid has broke
His arrows here ; and, like a child unarmed,
Comes to make sport between us with no weapon
But feathers stolen from his mother's doves.

Tha. This is mere trifling.
Par.

: Lady, take a secret.
I am as you are—in a lower rank,
Else of the self-same sex-a maid, a virgin.
And now, to use your own words, “ if your thoughts
Censure me not with mercy, you may soon
Conceive I have laid by that modesty
Which should preserve a virtuous name unstained."

Tha. Are you not mankind, then ?
Par.

When you shall read ·
The story of my sorrows, with the change
Of my misfortunes, in a letter printed 1

1 “Printed ” was used in the sense merely of “recorded.”

Tha.

From my unforged relation, I believe
You will not think the shedding of one tear
A prodigality that misbecomes
Your pity and my fortune.
Tha.

Pray, conceal
The errors of my passion.
Par.

Would I had
Much more of honour-as for life, I value't not-
To venture on your secrecy!

It will be
A hard task for my reason to relinquish
The affection which was once devoted thine
I shall awhile repute thee still the youth
I loved so dearly.
Par.

You shall find me ever
Your ready faithful servant.
Tha.

O, the powers
Who do direct our hearts laugh at our follies !
We must not part yet.
Par.

Let not my unworthiness
Alter your good opinion.
Tha.

I shall henceforth
Be jealous of thy company with any:
My fears are strong and many.

Re-enter KALA.
Kal.

Did your ladyship
Call me?

Tha. For what?
Kal.

Your servant Menaphon
Desires admittance.

Enter MENAPHON.

With your leave, great mistress, I come, -So private ! is this well, Parthenophil ?

Par. Sir, noble sir,Men.

You are unkind and treacherous; This 'tis to trust a straggler!

Men.

Tha.

Prithee, servant,-
Men. I dare not question you; you are my mistress,
My prince's nearest kinswoman: but he-

Tha. Come, you are angry.
Men.

Henceforth I will bury
Unmanly passion in perpetual silence :
I'll court mine own distraction, dote on folly,
Creep to the mirth and madness of the age,
Rather than be so slaved again to woman,
Which in her best of constancy is steadiest
In change and scorn.
Tha.

How dare ye talk to me thus ?.
Men. Dare! Were you not own sister to my friend,
Sister to my Amethus, I would hurl ye
As far off from mine eyes as from my heart;
For I would never more look on ye. Take
Your jewel t’ye !-And, youth, keep under wing,
Or-boy !-boy !-

If commands be of no force,
Let me entreat thee, Menaphon.
Men.

'Tis naught.
Fie, fie, Parthenophil! have I deserved
To be thus used ?
Par.

I do protest-
Men.

You shall not : Henceforth I will be free, and hate my bondage.

Tha.

Enter AMETHUS.
Amet. Away, away to court! The prince is pleased
To see a masque to-night; we must attend him :
'Tis near upon the time.—How thrives your suit?

Men. The judge, your sister, will decide it shortly.
Tha. Parthenophil, I will not trust you from me.

{Exeunt.

SCENE III.-A Room in the Palace. Enter PALADOR, SOPHRONOS, ARETUS, and Corax;

Servants with torches.
Cor. Lights and attendance !—I will show your high-

... ness
A trifle of mine own brain. If you can,
Imagine you were now in the university,
You'll take it well enough ; a scholar's fancy,
A quab—'tis nothing else—a very quab.1

Pal. We will observe it.
Soph.

Yes, and grace it too, sir, For Corax else is humorous and testy.

Are. By any means; men singular in art
Have always some odd whimsey more than usual.

Pal. The name of this conceit?
Cor.

Sir, it is called
The Masque of Melancholy.2
Are.

We must look for
Nothing but sadness here, then.
Cor.

Madness rather
In several changes. Melancholy is .
The root as well of every apish frenzy,
Laughter, and mirth, as dulness. Pray, my lord,
Hold, and observe the plot [Gives PALADOR a paper] :

'tis there expressed In kind, what shall be now expressed in action.

1 An unfledged bird, a nestling: metaphorically, anything in an imperfect, unfinished state. In the first sense the word is still used in that part of Devonshire where Ford was born, and perhaps in many other places. It is undoubtedly (among other things) a small fish of some kind; but I have given it a meaning more familiar to me, as I am persuaded it was to Ford.—Gifford.

2 Ford has here introduced one of those interludes in which the old stage so much delighted. The various characters of these “ apish frenzies," as he calls them, he has taken from Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, the book to which he refers in a former scene. He cannot be said to have improved what he has borrowed, which, on the contrary, reads better in Burton's pages than his own. -Gifford.

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