SCENE IV. [ Rome. An apartment in the palace of the Cardinal. ]_ACT II_THE DUCHESS OF MALFI_ELIZABETHAN DRAMA

SCENE IV. [ Rome. An apartment in the palace of the Cardinal. ]


Card. Sit: thou art my best of wishes. Prithee, tell me

What trick didst thou invent to come to Rome

Without thy husband?

Julia. Why, my lord, I told him

I came to visit an old anchorite〖Religious recluse.〗

Here for devotion.

Card. Thou art a witty false one,—

I mean, to him.

Julia. You have prevail'd with me

Beyond my strongest thoughts; I would not now

Find you inconstant.

Card. Do not put thyself

To such a voluntary torture, which proceeds

Out of your own guilt.

Julia. How, my lord!

Card. You fear

My constancy, because you have approv'd〖Experienced.〗

Those giddy and wild turnings in yourself.

Julia. Did you e'er find them?

Card. Sooth, generally for women,

A man might strive to make glass malleable,

Ere he should make them fixed.

Julia. So, my lord.

Card. We had need go borrow that fantastic glass

Invented by Galileo the Florentine

To view another spacious world i' th' moon,

And look to find a constant woman there.

Julia. This is very well, my lord.

Card. Why do you weep?

Are tears your justification? The self-same tears

Will fall into your husband's bosom, lady,

With a loud protestation that you love him

Above the world. Come, I'll love you wisely,

That 's jealously; since I am very certain

You cannot make me cuckold.

Julia. I'll go home

To my husband.

Card. You may thank me, lady,

I have taken you off your melancholy perch,

Bore you upon my fist, and show'd you game,

And let you fly at it.—I pray thee, kiss me.—

When thou wast with thy husband, thou wast watch'd

Like a tame elephant:—still you are to thank me:—

Thou hadst only kisses from him and high feeding;

But what delight was that? 'Twas just like one

That hath a little fing'ring on the lute,

Yet cannot tune it:—still you are to thank me.

Julia. You told me of a piteous wound i' th' heart,

And a sick liver, when you woo'd me first,

And spake like one in physic.〖Sick.〗

Card. Who's that?——

[Enter Servant]

Rest firm, for my affection to thee,

Lightning moves slow to 't.

Serv. Madam, a gentleman,

That 's come post from Malfi, desires to see you.

Card. Let him enter: I'll withdraw. Exit.

Serv. He says

Your husband, old Castruccio, is come to Rome,

Most pitifully tir'd with riding post. [Exit.]

[Enter DELIO]

Julia. [aside.] Signior Delio! 'tis one of my old suitors.

Delio. I was bold to come and see you.

Julia. Sir, you are welcome.

Delio. Do you lie here?

Julia. Sure, your own experience

Will satisfy you no: our Roman prelates

Do not keep lodging for ladies.

Delio. Very well:

I have brought you no commendations from your husband,

For I know none by him.

Julia. I hear he 's come to Rome.

Delio. I never knew man and beast, of a horse and a knight,

So weary of each other. If he had a good back,

He would have undertook to have borne his horse,

His breech was so pitifully sore.

Julia. Your laughter

Is my pity.

Delio. Lady, I know not whether

You want money, but I have brought you some.

Julia. From my husband?

Delio. No, from mine own allowance.

Julia. I must hear the condition, ere I be bound to take it.

Delio. Look on 't, 'tis gold; hath it not a fine colour?

Julia. I have a bird more beautiful.

Delio. Try the sound on 't.

Julia. A lute-string far exceeds it.

It hath no smell, like cassia or civet;

Nor is it physical,〖Medicinal.〗 though some fond doctors

Persuade us seethe 't in cullises.〖Strong broth.〗 I'll tell you,

This is a creature bred by——

[Re-enter Servant]

Serv. Your husband 's come,

Hath deliver'd a letter to the Duke of Calabria

That, to my thinking, hath put him out of his wits. [Exit.]

Julia. Sir, you hear:

Pray, let me know your business and your suit

As briefly as can be.

Delio. With good speed: I would wish you,

At such time as you are non-resident

With your husband, my mistress.

Julia. Sir, I'll go ask my husband if I shall,

And straight return your answer. Exit.

Delio. Very fine!

Is this her wit, or honesty, that speaks thus?

I heard one say the duke was highly mov'd

With a letter sent from Malfi. I do fear

Antonio is betray'd. How fearfully

Shows his ambition now! Unfortunate fortune!

They pass through whirl-pools, and deep woes do shun,

Who the event weigh ere the action 's done. Exit.

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