SCENE II. [ The bed-chamber of the Duchess in the same. ]_ACT III_THE DUCHESS OF MALFI_ELIZABETHAN DRAMA

SCENE II. [ The bed-chamber of the Duchess in the same. ]


Duch. Bring me the casket hither, and the glass.—

You get no lodging here to-night, my lord.

Ant. Indeed, I must persuade one.

Duch. Very good:

I hope in time 'twill grow into a custom,

That noblemen shall come with cap and knee

To purchase a night's lodging of their wives.

Ant. I must lie here.

Duch. Must! You are a lord of mis-rule.

Ant. Indeed, my rule is only in the night.

Duch. To what use will you put me?

Ant. We'll sleep together.

Duch. Alas, what pleasure can two lovers find in sleep?

Cari. My lord, I lie with her often, and I know

She'll much disquiet you.

Ant. See, you are complain'd of.

Cari. For she 's the sprawling'st bedfellow.

Ant. I shall like her the better for that.

Cari. Sir, shall I ask you a question?

Ant. I pray thee, Cariola.

Cari. Wherefore still when you lie with my lady

Do you rise so early?

Ant. Labouring men

Count the clock oft'nest, Cariola,

Are glad when their task 's ended.

Duch. I'll stop your mouth. [Kisses him.]

Ant. Nay, that 's but one; Venus had two soft doves

To draw her chariot; I must have another.—

[She kisses him again.]

When wilt thou marry, Cariola?

Cari. Never, my lord.

Ant. O, fie upon this single life! forgo it.

We read how Daphne, for her peevish [flight,]〖Quartos. read slight.〗

Became a fruitless bay-tree; Syrinx turn'd

To the pale empty reed; Anaxarete

Was frozen into marble: whereas those

Which married, or prov'd kind unto their friends,

Were by a gracious influence transhap'd

Into the olive, pomegranate, mulberry,

Became flowers, precious stones, or eminent stars.

Cari. This is a vain poetry: but I pray you, tell me,

If there were propos'd me, wisdom, riches, and beauty,

In three several young men, which should I choose?

Ant. 'Tis a hard question. This was Paris' case,

And he was blind in't, and there was a great cause;

For how was't possible he could judge right,

Having three amorous goddesses in view,

And they stark naked? 'Twas a motion

Were able to benight the apprehension

Of the severest counsellor of Europe.

Now I look on both your faces so well form'd,

It puts me in mind of a question I would ask.

Cari. What is't?

Ant. I do wonder why hard-favour'd ladies,

For the most part, keep worse-favour'd waiting-women

To attend them, and cannot endure fair ones.

Duch. O, that's soon answer'd.

Did you ever in your life know an ill painter

Desire to have his dwelling next door to the shop

Of an excellent picture-maker? 'Twould disgrace

His face-making, and undo him. I prithee,

When were we so merry?—My hair tangles.

Ant. Pray thee, Cariola, let 's steal forth the room,

And let her talk to herself: I have divers times

Serv'd her the like, when she hath chaf'd extremely.

I love to see her angry. Softly, Cariola.


Duch. Doth not the colour of my hair 'gin to change?

When I wax gray, I shall have all the court

Powder their hair with arras,〖Powder of orris-root.〗 to be like me.

You have cause to love me; I ent'red you into my heart

Enter FERDINAND unseen]

Before you would vouchsafe to call for the keys.

We shall one day have my brothers take you napping.

Methinks his presence, being now in court,

Should make you keep your own bed; but you'll say

Love mix'd with fear is sweetest. I'll assure you,

You shall get no more children till my brothers

Consent to be your gossips. Have you lost your tongue?

'Tis welcome:

For know, whether I am doom'd to live or die,

I can do both like a prince.

Ferd. Die, then, quickly! Giving her a poniard.

Virtue, where art thou hid? What hideous thing

Is it that doth eclipse thee?

Duch. Pray, sir, hear me.

Ferd. Or is it true thou art but a bare name,

And no essential thing?

Duch. Sir——

Ferd. Do not speak.

Duch. No, sir:

I will plant my soul in mine ears, to hear you.

Ferd. O most imperfect light of human reason,

That mak'st [us] so unhappy to foresee

What we can least prevent! Pursue thy wishes,

And glory in them: there 's in shame no comfort

But to be past all bounds and sense of shame.

Duch. I pray, sir, hear me: I am married.

Ferd. So!

Duch. Happily, not to your liking: but for that,

Alas, your shears do come untimely now

To clip the bird's wings that 's already flown!

Will you see my husband?

Ferd. Yes, if I could change

Eyes with a basilisk.

Duch. Sure, you came hither

By his confederacy.

Ferd. The howling of a wolf

Is music to thee, screech-owl: prithee, peace.—

Whate'er thou art that hast enjoy'd my sister,

For I am sure thou hear'st me, for thine own sake

Let me not know thee. I came hither prepar'd

To work thy discovery; yet am now persuaded

It would beget such violent effects

As would damn us both. I would not for ten millions

I had beheld thee: therefore use all mean

I never may have knowledge of thy name;

Enjoy thy lust still, and a wretched life,

On that condition.—And for thee, vile woman,

If thou do wish thy lecher may grow old

In thy embracements, I would have thee build

Such a room for him as our anchorites

To holier use inhabit. Let not the sun

Shine on him till he 's dead; let dogs and monkeys

Only converse with him, and such dumb things

To whom nature denies use to sound his name;

Do not keep a paraquito, lest she learn it;

If thou do love him, cut out thine own tongue,

Lest it bewray him.

Duch. Why might not I marry?

I have not gone about in this to create

Any new world or custom.

Ferd. Thou art undone;

And thou hast ta'en that massy sheet of lead

That hid thy husband's bones, and folded it

About my heart.

Duch. Mine bleeds for't.

Ferd. Thine! thy heart!

What should I name 't unless a hollow bullet

Fill'd with unquenchable wild-fire?

Duch. You are in this

Too strict; and were you not my princely brother,

I would say, too wilful: my reputation

Is safe.

Ferd. Dost thou know what reputation is?

I'll tell thee,—to small purpose, since the instruction

Comes now too late.

Upon a time Reputation, Love, and Death,

Would travel o'er the world; and it was concluded

That they should part, and take three several ways.

Death told them, they should find him in great battles,

Or cities plagu'd with plagues: Love gives them counsel

To inquire for him 'mongst unambitious shepherds,

Where dowries were not talk'd of, and sometimes

'Mongst quiet kindred that had nothing left

By their dead parents: “Stay,” quoth Reputation,

“Do not forsake me; for it is my nature,

If once I part from any man I meet,

I am never found again.” And so for you:

You have shook hands with Reputation,

And made him invisible. So, fare you well:

I will never see you more.

Duch. Why should only I,

Of all the other princes of the world,

Be cas'd up, like a holy relic? I have youth

And a little beauty.

Ferd. So you have some virgins

That are witches. I will never see thee more. Exit.

Re-enter ANTONIO with a pistol, [and CARIOLA]

Duch. You saw this apparition?

Ant. Yes: we are

Betray'd. How came he hither? I should turn

This to thee, for that.

Cari. Pray, sir, do; and when

That you have cleft my heart, you shall read there

Mine innocence.

Duch. That gallery gave him entrance.

Ant. I would this terrible thing would come again,

That, standing on my guard, I might relate

My warrantable love.— She shows the poniard.

Ha! what means this?

Duch. He left this with me.

Ant. And it seems did wish

You would use it on yourself.

Duch. His action seem'd

To intend so much.

Ant. This hath a handle to 't,

As well as a point: turn it towards him, and

So fasten the keen edge in his rank gall. [Knocking within.]

How now! who knocks? More earthquakes?

Duch. I stand

As if a mine beneath my feet were ready

To be blown up.

Cari. 'Tis Bosola.

Duch. Away!

O misery! methinks unjust actions

Should wear these masks and curtains, and not we.

You must instantly part hence: I have fashion'd it already.



Bos. The duke your brother is ta'en up in a whirlwind;

Hath took horse, and 's rid post to Rome. Duch. So late?

Bos. He told me, as he mounted into the saddle,

You were undone.

Duch. Indeed, I am very near it.

Bos. What 's the matter?

Duch. Antonio, the master of our household,

Hath dealt so falsely with me in 's accounts.

My brother stood engag'd with me for money

Ta'en up of certain Neapolitan Jews,

And Antonio lets the bonds be forfeit.

Bos. Strange!—[Aside.] This is cunning.

Duch. And hereupon

My brother's bills at Naples are protested

Against.—Call up our officers.

Bos. I shall. Exit.

[Re-enter ANTONIO]

Duch. The place that you must fly to is Ancona:

Hire a house there; I'll send after you

My treasure and my jewels. Our weak safety

Runs upon enginous wheels:〖Wheels of craft.〗 short syllables

Must stand for periods. I must now accuse you

Of such a feigned crime as Tasso calls

Magnanima menzogna, a noble lie,

'Cause it must shield our honours.—Hark! they are coming.

[Re-enter BOSOLA and Officers]

Ant. Will your grace hear me?

Duch. I have got well by you; you have yielded me

A million of loss: I am like to inherit

The people's curses for your stewardship.

You had the trick in audit-time to be sick,

Till I had sign'd your quietus;〖Certificate that the books were found correct.〗 and that cur'd you

Without help of a doctor.—Gentlemen,

I would have this man be an example to you all;

So shall you hold my favour; I pray, let him;

For h'as done that, alas, you would not think of,

And, because I intend to be rid of him,

I mean not to publish.—Use your fortune elsewhere.

Ant. I am strongly arm'd to brook my overthrow,

As commonly men bear with a hard year.

I will not blame the cause on 't; but do think

The necessity of my malevolent star

Procures this, not her humour. O, the inconstant

And rotten ground of service! You may see,

'Tis even like him, that in a winter night,

Takes a long slumber o'er a dying fire,

A-loth to part from 't; yet parts thence as cold

As when he first sat down.

Duch. We do confiscate,

Towards the satisfying of your accounts,

All that you have.

Ant. I am all yours; and 'tis very fit

All mine should be so.

Duch. So, sir, you have your pass.

Ant. You may see, gentlemen, what 'tis to serve

A prince with body and soul. Exit.

Bos. Here 's an example for extortion: what moisture is drawn out of the sea, when foul weather comes, pours down, and runs into the sea again.

Duch. I would know what are your opinions

Of this Antonio.

Sec. Off. He could not abide to see a pig's head gaping:

I thought your grace would find him a Jew.

Third Off. I would you had been his officer, for your own sake.

Fourth Off. You would have had more money.

First Off. He stopped his ears with black wool, and to those cameto him for money said he was thick of hearing.

Sec. Off. Some said he was an hermaphrodite, for he could not abide a woman.

Fourth Off. How scurvy proud he would look when the treasury was full! Well, let him go.

First Off. Yes, and the chippings of the buttery fly after him, to scour his gold chain.〖The badge of a steward.〗

Duch. Leave us. Exeunt [Officers.]

What do you think of these?

Bos. That these are rogues that in 's prosperity,

But to have waited on his fortune, could have wish'd

His dirty stirrup riveted through their noses,

And follow'd after 's mule, like a bear in a ring;

Would have prostituted their daughters to his lust;

Made their first-born intelligencers;〖Spies.〗 thought none happy

But such as were born under his blest planet,

And wore his livery: and do these lice drop off now?

Well, never look to have the like again:

He hath left a sort〖Lot.〗 of flattering rogues behind him;

Their doom must follow. Princes pay flatterers

In their own money: flatterers dissemble their vices,

And they dissemble their lies; that 's justice.

Alas, poor gentleman!

Duch. Poor! he hath amply fill'd his coffers.

Bos. Sure, he was too honest. Pluto,〖For Plutus.〗 the god of riches,

When he 's sent by Jupiter to any man,

He goes limping, to signify that wealth

That comes on God's name comes slowly; but when he 's sent

On the devil's errand, he rides post and comes in by scuttles.〖Quick steps.〗

Let me show you what a most unvalu'd jewel

You have in a wanton humour thrown away,

To bless the man shall find him. He was an excellent

Courtier and most faithful; a soldier that thought it

As beastly to know his own value too little

As devilish to acknowledge it too much.

Both his virtue and form deserv'd a far better fortune:

His discourse rather delighted to judge itself than show itself:

His breast was fill'd with all perfection,

And yet it seemed a private whisp'ring-room,

It made so little noise of 't.

Duch. But he was basely descended.

Bos. Will you make yourself a mercenary herald,

Rather to examine men's pedigrees than virtues?

You shall want〖Miss.〗 him:

For know an honest statesman to a prince

Is like a cedar planted by a spring;

The spring bathes the tree's root, the grateful tree

Rewards it with his shadow: you have not done so.

I would sooner swim to the Bermoothes on

Two politicians' rotten bladders, tied

Together with an intelligencer's heart-string,

Than depend on so changeable a prince's favour.

Fare thee well, Antonio! Since the malice of the world

Would needs down with thee, it cannot be said yet

That any ill happen'd unto thee, considering thy fall

Was accompanied with virtue.

Duch. O, you render me excellent music!

Bos. Say you?

Duch. This good one that you speak of is my husband.

Bos. Do I not dream? Can this ambitious age

Have so much goodness in 't as to prefer

A man merely for worth, without these shadows

Of wealth and painted honours? Possible?

Duch. I have had three children by him.

Bos. Fortunate lady!

For you have made your private nuptial bed

The humble and fair seminary of peace,

No question but: many an unbenefic'd scholar

Shall pray for you for this deed, and rejoice

That some preferment in the world can yet

Arise from merit. The virgins of your land

That have no dowries shall hope your example

Will raise them to rich husbands. Should you want

Soldiers, 'twould make the very Turks and Moors

Turn Christians, and serve you for this act.

Last, the neglected poets of your time,

In honour of this trophy of a man,

Rais'd by that curious engine, your white hand,

Shall thank you, in your grave, for 't; and make that

More reverend than all the cabinets

Of living princes. For Antonio,

His fame shall likewise flow from many a pen,

When heralds shall want coats to sell to men.

Duch. As I taste comfort in this friendly speech,

So would I find concealment.

Bos. O, the secret of my prince,

Which I will wear on th' inside of my heart!

Duch. You shall take charge of all my coin and jewels,

And follow him; for he retires himself

To Ancona.

Bos. So.

Duch. Whither, within few days,

I mean to follow thee.

Bos. Let me think:

I would wish your grace to feign a pilgrimage

To our Lady of Loretto, scarce seven leagues

From fair Ancona; so may you depart

Your country with more honour, and your flight

Will seem a princely progress, retaining

Your usual train about you.

Duch. Sir, your direction

Shall lead me by the hand.

Cari. In my opinion,

She were better progress to the baths at Lucca,

Or go visit the Spa

In Germany; for, if you will believe me,

I do not like this jesting with religion,

This feigned pilgrimage.

Duch. Thou art a superstitious fool:

Prepare us instantly for our departure.

Past sorrows, let us moderately lament them,

For those to come, seek wisely to prevent them.


Bos. A politician is the devil's quilted anvil;

He fashions all sins on him, and the blows

Are never heard: he may work in a lady's chamber,

As here for proof. What rests〖Remains.〗 but I reveal

All to my lord? O, this base quality〖Profession.〗

Of intelligencer! Why, every quality i' the world

Prefers but gain or commendation:

Now, for this act I am certain to be rais'd,

And men that paint weeds to the life are prais'd. [Exit.

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