SCENE II. [Arethusa's apartment in the palace. ]_ACT THE FIRST_PHILASTER_ELIZABETHAN DRAMA

SCENE II. [Arethusa's apartment in the palace. ]

Enter ARETHUSA and a Lady

Are. Comes he not?

Lady. Madam?

Are. Will Philaster come?

Lady. Dear madam, you were wont to credit me

At first.

Are. But didst thou tell me so?

I am forgetful, and my woman's strength

Is so o'ercharg'd with dangers like to grow

About my marriage, that these under-things

Dare not abide in such a troubled sea.

How look'd he when he told thee he would come?

Lady. Why, well.

Are. And not a little fearful?

Lady. Fear, madam! Sure, he knows not what it is.

Are. You all are of his faction; the whole court

Is bold in praise of him; whilst I

May live neglected, and do noble things,

As fools in strife throw gold into the sea,

Drown'd in the doing. But, I know he fears.

Lady. Fear, madam! Methought, his looks hid more

Of love than fear.

Are. Of love! To whom? To you?

Did you deliver those plain words I sent,

With such a winning gesture and quick look

That you have caught him?

Lady. Madam, I mean to you.

Are. Of love to me! alas, thy ignorance

Lets thee not see the crosses of our births!

Nature, that loves not to be questioned

Why she did this or that, but has her ends,

And knows she does well, never gave the world

Two things so opposite, so contrary,

As he and I am: if a bowl of blood

Drawn from this arm of mine would poison thee,

A draught of his would cure thee. Of love to me!

Lady. Madam, I think I hear him.

Are. Bring him, in. [Exit Lady.]

You gods, that would not have your dooms withstood,

Whose holy wisdoms at this time it is

To make the passion of a feeble maid

The way unto your justice, I obey.

[Re]-enter [Lady with] PHILASTER

Lady. Here is my Lord Philaster.

Are. Oh, 'tis well.

Withdraw yourself. [Exit Lady.]

Phi. Madam, your messenger

Made me believe you wish'd to speak with me.

Are. 'Tis true, Philaster; but the words are such

I have to say, and do so ill beseem

The mouth of woman, that I wish them said,

And yet am loath to speak them. Have you known

That I have aught detracted from your worth?

Have I in person wrong'd you, or have set

My baser instruments to throw disgrace

Upon your virtues?

Phi. Never, madam, you.

Are. Why, then, should you, in such a public place,

Injure a princess, and a scandal lay

Upon my fortunes, fam'd to be so great,

Calling a great part of my dowry in question?

Phi. Madam, this truth which I shall speak will be

Foolish: but, for your fair and virtuous self,

I could afford myself to have no right

To any thing you wish'd.

Are. Philaster, know,

I must enjoy these kingdoms.

Phi. Madam, both?

Are. Both, or I die: by heaven, I die, Philaster,

If I not calmly may enjoy them both.

Phi. I would do much to save that noble life;

Yet would be loath to have posterity

Find in our stories, that Philaster gave

His right unto a sceptre and a crown

To save a lady's longing.

Are. Nay, then, hear:

I must and will have them, and more——

Phi. What more?

Are. Or lose that little life the gods prepared

To trouble this poor piece of earth withal.

Phi. Madam, what more?

Are. Turn, then, away thy face.

Phi. No.

Are. Do.

Phi. I can endure it. Turn away my face!

I never yet saw enemy that look'd

So dreadfully, but that I thought myself

As great a basilisk〖A fabulous serpent that killed with a glance.〗 as he; or spake

So horrible, but that I though my tongue

Bore thunder underneath, as much as his;

Nor beast that I could turn from. Shall I then

Begin to fear sweet sounds? A lady's voice,

Whom I do love? Say you would have my life;

Why, I will give it you; for 'tis of me

A thing so loath'd, and unto you that ask

Of so poor use, that I shall make no price:

If you entreat, I will unmov'dly hear.

Are. Yet, for my sake, a little bend thy looks.

Phi. I do.

Are. Then know, I must have them and thee.

Phi. And me?

Are. Thy love; without which, all the land

Discovered yet will serve me for no use

But to be buried in.

Phi. Is't possible?

Are. With it, it were too little to bestow

On thee. Now, though thy breath do strike me dead,

(Which, know, it may,) I have unript my breast.

Phi. Madam, you are too full of noble thoughts,

To lay a train for this contemned life,

Which you may have for asking. To suspect

Were base, where I deserve no ill. Love you!

By all my hopes, I do, above my life!

But how this passion should proceed from you

So violently, would amaze a man

That would be jealous.〖Suspicious.〗

Are. Another soul into my body shot

Could not have fill'd me with more strength and spirit

Than this thy breath. But spend not hasty time

In seeking how I came thus: 'tis the gods,

The gods, that make me so; and, sure, our love

Will be the nobler and the better blest,

In that the secret justice of the gods

Is mingled with it. Let us leave, and kiss;

Lest some unwelcome guest should fall betwixt us,

And we should part without it.

Phi. 'Twill be ill

I should abide here long.

Are. 'Tis true; and worse

You should come often. How shall we devise

To hold intelligence, that our true loves,

On any new occasion, may agree

What path is best to tread?

Phi. I have a boy,

Sent by the gods, I hope, to this intent,

Not yet seen in the court. Hunting the buck,

I found him sitting by a fountain's side,

Of which he borrow'd some to quench his thirst,

And paid the nymph against as much in tears.

A garland lay him by, made by himself,

Of many several flowers bred in the vale,

Stuck in that mystic order that the rareness

Delighted me: but ever when he turn'd

His tender eyes upon 'em, he would weep,

As if he meant to make 'em grow again.

Seeing such pretty helpless innocence

Dwell in his face, I ask'd him all his story.

He told me that his parents gentle died,

Leaving him to the mercy of the fields,

Which gave him roots; and of the crystal springs,

Which did not stop their courses; and the sun,

Which still, he thank'd him, yielded him his light.

Then took he up his garland, and did show

What every flower, as country-people hold,

Did signify, and how all, ordered thus,

Express'd his grief; and, to my thoughts, did read

The prettiest lecture of his country-art

That could be wish'd: so that methought I could

Have studied it. I gladly entertain'd

Him, who was glad to follow; and have got

The trustiest, loving'st, and the gentlest boy

That ever master kept. Him will I send

To wait on you, and bear our hidden love.

Are. 'Tis well; no more.

Re-enter Lady

Lady. Madam, the prince is come to do his service.

Are. What will you do, Philaster, with yourself?

Phi. Why, that which all the gods have pointed out for me.

Are. Dear, hide thyself.—

Bring in the prince. [Exit Lady.]

Phi. Hide me from Pharamond!

When thunder speaks, which is the voice of God,

Though I do reverence, yet I hide me not;

And shall a stranger-prince have leave to brag

Unto a foreign nation, that he made

Philaster hide himself?

Are. He cannot know it.

Phi. Though it should sleep for ever to the world,

It is a simple sin to hide myself,

Which will for ever on my conscience lie.

Are. Then, good Philaster, give him scope and way

In what he says; for he is apt to speak

What you are loath to hear. For my sake, do.

Phi. I will.

[Re]-enter [Lady with] PHARAMOND

Pha. My princely mistress, as true lovers ought,

I come to kiss these fair hands, and to show, [Exit Lady.]

In outward ceremonies, the dear love

Writ in my heart.

Phi. If I shall have an answer no directlier,

I am gone.

Pha. To what would he have answer?

Are. To his claim unto the kingdom.

Pha. Sirrah, I forbare you before the King—

Phi. Good sir, do so still; I would not talk with you.

Pha. But now the time is fitter. Do but offer

To make mention of right to any kingdom,

Though it be scarce habitable——

Phi. Good sir, let me ho.

Pha. And by the gods—

Phi. Peace, Pharamond! if thou——

Are. Leave us, Philaster.

Phi. I have done. [Going.]

Pha. You are gone! by Heaven I'll fetch you back.

Phi. You shall not need. [Returning.]

Phi. What now?

Phi. Know, Pharamond,

I loathe to brawl with such a blast as thou,

Who art nought but a valiant voice; but if

Thou shalt provoke me further, men shall say,

“Thou wert,” and not lament it.

Pha. Do you slight

My greatness so, and in the chamber of The princess?

Phi. It is a place to which I must confess

I owe a reverence; but were't the church,

Ay, at the altar, there's no place so safe,

Where thou dar'st injure me, but I dare kill thee.

And for your greatness, know, sir, I can grasp

You and your greatness thus, thus into nothing.

Give not a word, not a word back! Farewell. Exit.

Pha. 'Tis an odd fellow, madam; we must stop

His mouth with some office when we are married.

Are. You were best make him your controller.

Pha. I think he would discharge it well. But, madam,

I hope our hearts are knit; but yet so slow

The ceremonies of state are, that 'twill be long

Before our hands be so. If then you please,

Being agreed in heart, let us not wait

For dreaming form, but take a little stolen

Delights, and so prevent〖Anticipate.〗 our joys to come.

Are. If you dare speak such thoughts,

I must withdraw in honour. Exit.

Pha. The constitution of my body will never hold out till the

wedding; I must seek elsewhere. Exit.

All Directories