SCENE I. [The court of the palace. ]


Cle. Nay, doubtless, 'tis true.

Dion. Ay; and 'tis the gods

That rais'd this punishment, to scourge the King

With his own issue. Is it not a shame

For us that should write noble in the land,

For us that should be freemen, to behold

A man that is the bravery of his age,

Philaster, press'd down from his royal right

By this regardless King? and only look

And see the sceptre ready to be cast

Into the hands of that lascivious lady

That lives in lust with a smooth boy, now to be married

To yon strange prince, who, but that people please

To let him be a prince, is born a slave

In that which should be his most noble part,

His mind?

Thra. That man that would not stir with you

To aid Philaster, let the gods forget

That such a creature walks upon the earth!

Cle. Philaster is too backward in 't himself.

The gentry do await it, and the people,

Against their nature, are all bent for him,

And like a field of standing corn, that's moved

With a stiff gale, their heads bow all one way.

Dion. The only cause that draws Philaster back

From this attempt is the fair princess' love,

Which he admires, and we can now confute.

Thra. Perhaps he'll not believe it.

Dion. Why, gentlemen, 'tis without question so.

Cle. Ay, 'tis past speech, she lives dishonestly.

But how shall we, if he be curious,〖Scrupulous.〗 work

Upon his faith?

Thra. We all are satisfied within ourselves.

Dion. Since it is true, and tends to his own good,

I'll make this new report to be my knowledge;

I'll say I know it; nay, I'll swear I saw it.

Cle. It will be best.

Thra. 'Twill move him.


Dion. Here he comes.

Good morrow to your honour: we have spent

Some time in seeking you.

Phi. My worthy friends,

You that can keep your memories to know

Your friend in miseries, and cannot frown

On men disgrac'd for virtue, a good day

Attend you all! What service may

Worthy your acceptation?

Dion. My good lord,

We come to urge that virtue, which we know

Lives in your breast, forth. Rise, and make a head:〖Raise an armed force.〗

The nobles and the people are all dulled

With this usurping king; and not a man,

That ever heard the word, or knew such a thing

As virtue, but will second your attempts.

Phi. How honourable is this love in you

To me that have deserv'd none! Know, my friends,

(You, that were born to shame your poor Philaster

With too much courtesy,) I could afford

To melt myself in thanks: but my designs

Are not yet ripe. Suffice it, that ere long

I shall employ your loves; but yet the time

Is short of what I would.

Dion. The time is fuller, sir, than you expect;

That which hereafter will not, perhaps, be reach'd

By violence, may now be caught. As for the King,

You know the people have long hated him;

But now the princess, whom they lov'd——

Phi. Why, what of her?

Dion. Is loathed as much as he.

Phi. By what strange means?

Dion. She's known a whore.

Phi. Thou liest.

Dion. My lord——

Phi. Thou liest, Offers to draw and is held.

And thou shalt feel it! I had thought thy mind

Had been of honour. Thus to rob a lady

Of her good name, is an infectious sin

Not to be pardon'd. Be it false as hell,

'Twill never be redeem'd, if it be sown

Amongst the people, fruitful to increase

All evil they shall hear. Let me alone

That I may cut off falsehood whilst it springs!

Set hills on hills betwixt me and the man

That utters this, and I will scale them all,

And from the utmost top fall on his neck,

Like thunder from a cloud.

Dion. This is most strange:

Sure, he does love her.

Phi. I do love fair truth.

She is my mistress, and who injures her

Draws vengeance from me. Sirs, let go my arms.

Thra. Nay, good my lord, be patient.

Cle. Sir, remember this is your honour'd friend,

That comes to do his service, and will show you

Why he utter'd this.

Phi. I ask you pardon, sir;

My zeal to truth made me unmannerly:

Should I have heard dishonour spoke of you,

Behind your back, untruly, I had been

As much distemper'd and enrag'd as now.

Dion. But this, my lord, is truth.

Phi. Oh, say not so!

Good sir, forbear to say so; 'tis then truth,

That womankind is false: urge it no more;

It is impossible. Why should you think

The princess light?

Dion. Why, she was taken at it.

Phi. 'Tis false! by Heaven, 'tis false! It cannot be! Can it? Speak, gentlemen; for God's love, speak! Is't possible? Can women all be damn'd?

Dion. Why, no, my lord.

Phi. Why, then, it cannot be.

Dion. And she was taken with her boy.

Phi. What boy?

Dion. A page, a boy that serves her.

Phi. Oh, good gods!

A little boy?

Dion. Ay; know you him, my lord?

Phi. [Aside.] Hell and sin know him!—Sir, you are deceiv'd;

I'll reason it a little coldly with you.

If she were lustful, would she take a boy,

That knows not yet desire? She would have one

Should meet her thoughts and know the sin he acts,

Which is the great delight of wickedness.

You are abus'd,〖Deceived.〗 and so is she, and I.

Dion. How you, my lord?

Phi. Why, all the world's abused

In an unjust report.

Dion. Oh, noble sir, your virtues

Cannot look into the subtle thoughts of woman!

In short, my lord, I took them; I myself.

Phi. Now, all the devils, thou didst! Fly from my rage!

Would thou hadst ta'en devils engend'ring plagues,

When thou didst take them! Hide thee from mine eyes!

Would thou hadst taken thunder on thy breast,

When thou didst take them; or been strucken dumb

For ever; that this foul deed might have slept

In silence!

Thra. Have you known him so ill-tempered?

Cle. Never before.

Phi. The winds, that are let loose

From the four several corners of the earth,

And spread themselves all over sea and land,

Kiss not a chaste one. What friend bears a sword

To run me thorough?

Dion. Why, my lord, are you

So moved at this?

Phi. When any fall from virtue,

I am distract; I have an interest in 't.

Dion. But, good my lord, recall yourself, and think

What's best to be done.

Phi. I thank you; I will do it.

Please you to leave me; I'll consider of it.

To-morrow I will find your lodging forth,

And give you answer.

Dion. All the gods direct you

The readiest way!

Thra. He was extreme impatient.

Cle. It was his virtue and his noble mind.


Phi. I had forgot to ask him where he took them;

I'll follow him, Oh, that I had a sea

Within my breast, to quench the fire I feel!

More circumstances will but fan this fire:

It more afflicts me now, to know by whom

This deed is done, than simply that 'tis done;

And he that tells me this is honourable,

As far from lies as she is far from truth.

Oh, that, like beasts, we could not grieve ourselves

With that we see not! Bulls and rams will fight

To keep their females, standing in their sight;

But take 'em from them, and you take at once

Their spleens away; and they will fall again

Unto their pastures, growing fresh and fat;

And taste the waters of the springs as sweet

As 'twas before, finding no start in sleep;

But miserable man——


See, see, you gods,

He walks still; and the face you let him wear

When he was innocent is still the same,

Not blasted! Is this justice? Do you mean

To intrap mortality, that you allow

Treason so smooth a brow? I cannot now

Think he is guilty.

Bel. Health to you, my lord!

The princess doth commend her love, her life,

And this, unto you. Gives a letter.

Phi. Oh, Bellario,

Now I perceive she loves me; she does show it

In loving thee, my boy; she has made thee brave.

Bel. My lord, she has attir'd me past my wish,

Past my desert' more fit for her attendant,

Though far unfit for me who do attend.

Phi. Thou art grown courtly, boy.—Oh, let all women,

That love black deeds, learn to dissemble here,

Here, by this paper! She does write to me

As if her heart were mines of adamant

To all the world besides; but, unto me,

A maiden-snow that melted with my looks.—

Tell me, my boy, how doth the princess use thee?

For I shall guess her love to me by that.

Bel. Scarce like her servant, but as if I were

Something allied to her, or had preserv'd

Her life three times by my fidelity;

As mothers fond do use their only sons,

As I'd use one that's left unto my trust,

For whom my life should pay if he met harm,

So she does use me.

Phi. Why, this is wondrous well:

But what kind language does she feed thee with?

Bel. Why, she does tell me she will trust my youth

With all her loving secrets, and does call me

Her pretty servant; bids me weep no more

For leaving you; she'll see my services

Regarded: and such words of that soft strain,

That I am nearer weeping when she ends

Than ere she spake.

Phi. This is much better still.

Bel. Are you not ill, my lord?

Phi. Ill? No, Bellario.

Bel. Methinks your words

Fall not from off your tongue so evenly,

Nor is there in your looks that quietness

That I was wont to see.

Phi. Thou art deceiv'd, boy:

And she strokes thy head?

Bel. Yes.

Phi. And she does clap thy cheeks?

Bel. She does, my lord.

Phi. And she does kiss thee, boy? ha!

Bel. How, my lord?

Phi. She kisses thee?

Bel. Never, my lord, by heaven.

Phi. That's strange; I know she does.

Bel. No, by my life.

Phi. Why then she does not love me. Come, she does.

I bade her do it; I charg'd her, by all charms

Of love between us, by the hope of peace

We should enjoy, to yield thee all delights

Naked as to her bed; I took her oath

Thou should'st enjoy her. Tell me, gentle boy,

Is she not parallelless? Is not her breath

Sweet as Arabian winds when fruits are ripe?

Are not her breasts two liquid ivory balls?

Is she not all a lasting mine of joy?

Bel. Ay, now I see why my disturbed thoughts

Were so perplex'd. When first I went to her,

My heart held augury. You are abus'd;

Some villain has abus'd you; I do see

Whereto you tend. Fall rocks upon his head

That put this to you! 'Tis some subtle train

To bring that noble frame of yours to nought.

Phi. Thou think'st I will be angry with thee. Come,

Thou shalt know all my drift. I hate her more

Than I love happiness, and placed thee there

To pry with narrow eyes into her deeds.

Hast thou discovered? Is she fallen to lust,

As I would wish her? Speak some comfort to me.

Bel. My lord, you did mistake the boy you sent.

Had she the lust of sparrows or of goats,

Had she a sin that way, hid from the world,

Beyond the name of lust, I would not aid

Her base desires; but what I came to know

As servant to her, I would not reveal,

To make my life last ages.

Phi. Oh, my heart!

This is a salve worse than the main disease.—

Tell me thy thoughts; for I will know the least

That dwells within thee, or will rip thy heart

To know it. I will see thy thoughts as plain

As I do now thy face.

Bel. Why, so you do.

She is (for aught I know) by all the gods,

As chaste as ice! But were she foul as hell,

And I did know it thus, the breath of kings,

The points of swords, tortures, nor bulls of brass,

Should draw it from me.

Phi. Then it is no time

To dally with thee; I will take thy life,

For I do hate thee. I could curse thee now.

Bel. If you do hate, you could not curse me worse;

The gods have not a punishment in store

Greater for me than is your hate.

Phi. Fie, fie,

So young and so dissembling! Tell me when

And where thou didst enjoy her, or let plagues

Fall on me, if I destroy thee not! He draws his sword.

Bel. By heaven, I never did; and when I lie

To save my life, may I live long and loath'd!

Hew me asunder, and, whilst I can think,

I'll love those pieces you have cut away

Better than those that grow, and kiss those limbs

Because you made 'em so.

Phi. Fear'st thou not death?

Can boys contemn that?

Bel. Oh, what boy is he

Can be content to live to be a man,

That sees the best of men thus passionate,

Thus without reason?

Phi. Oh, but thou dost no know

What 'tis to die.

Bel. Yes, I do know, my lord:

'Tis less than to be born; a lasting sleep;

A quiet resting from all jealousy,

A thing we all pursue. I know, besides,

It is but giving over of a game

That must be lost.

Phi. But there are pains, false boy,

For perjur'd souls. Think but on those, and then

Thy heart will melt, and thou wilt utter all.

Bel. May they fall upon me whilst I live,

If I be perjur'd, or have ever thought

Of that you charge we with! If I be false,

Send me to suffer in those punishments

You speak of; kill me!

Phi. Oh, what should I do?

Why, who can but believe him? He does swear

So earnestly, that if it were not true,

The gods would not endure him. Rise, Bellario:

Thy protestations are so deep, and thou

Dost look so truly when thou utter'st them,

That, though I know 'em false as were my hopes,

I cannot urge thee further. But thou wert

To blame to injure me, for I must love

Thy honest looks, and take no revenge upon

Thy tender youth. A love from me to thee

Is firm, whate'er thou dost; it troubles me

That I have call'd the blood out of thy cheeks,

That did so well become thee. But, good boy,

Let me not see thee more: something is done

That will distract me, that will make me mad,

If I behold thee. If thou tender'st me,

Let me not see thee.

Bel. I will fly as far

As there is morning, ere I give distaste

To that most honour'd mind. But through these tears,

Shed at my hopeless parting, I can see

A world of treason practis'd upon you,

And her, and me. Farewell for evermore!

If you shall hear that sorrow struck me dead,

And after find me loyal, let there be

A tear shed from you in my memory,

And I shall rest at peace. Exit.

Phi. Blessing be with thee,

Whatever thou deserv'st! Oh, where shall I

Go bathe this body? Nature too unkind;

That made no medicine for a troubled mind! Exit.

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