SCENE II. [A gallery in the residence of the Cardinal and Ferdinand. ]_ACT V_THE DUCHESS OF MALFI_ELIZABETHAN DRAMA

SCENE II. [A gallery in the residence of the Cardinal and Ferdinand. ]


Pes. Now, doctor, may I visit your patient?

Doc. If 't please your lordship; but he 's instantly

To take the air here in the gallery

By my direction.

Pes. Pray thee, what 's his disease?

Doc. A very pestilent disease, my lord,

They call lycanthropia.

Pes. What's that?

I need a dictionary to't.

Doc. I'll tell you.

In those that are possess'd with 't there o'erflows

Such melancholy humour they imagine

Themselves to be transformed into wolves;

Steal forth to church-yards in the dead of night,

And dig dead bodies up: as two nights since

One met the duke 'bout midnight in a lane

Behind Saint Mark's church, with the leg of a man

Upon his shoulder; and he howl'd fearfully;

Said he was a wolf, only the difference

Was, a wolf's skin was hairy on the outside,

His on the inside; bade them take their swords,

Rip up his flesh, and try. Straight I was sent for,

And, having minister'd to him, found his grace

Very well recover'd.

Pes. I am glad on't.

Doc. Yet not without some fear

Of a relapse. If he grow to his fit again,

I'll go a nearer way to work with him

Than ever Paracelsus dream'd of; if

They'll give me leave, I'll buffet his madness out of him.

Stand aside; he comes.


Ferd. Leave me.

Mal. Why doth your lordship love this solitariness?

Ferd. Eagles commonly fly alone: they are crows, daws, and starlings that flock together. Look, what 's that follows me?

Mal. Nothing, my lord.

Ferd. Yes.

Mal. 'Tis your shadow.

Ferd. Stay it; let it not haunt me.

Mal. Impossible, if you move, and the sun shine.

Ferd. I will throttle it. [Throws himself down on his shadow.]

Mal. O, my lord, you are angry with nothing.

Ferd. You are a fool: how is 't possible I should catch my shadow, unless I fall upon 't? When I go to hell, I mean to carry a bribe; for, look you, good gifts evermore make way for the worst persons.

Pes. Rise, good my lord.

Ferd. I am studying the art of patience.

Pes. 'Tis a noble virtue.

Ferd. To drive six snails before me from this town to Moscow; neither use goad nor whip to them, but let them take their own time;—the patient'st man i' th' world match me for an experiment:—an I'll crawl after like a sheep-biter.〖A dog which worries sheep.〗

Card. Force him up. [They raise him.]

Ferd. Use me well, you were best. What I have done, I have done: I'll confess nothing.

Doc. Now let me come to him.—Are you mad, my lord? are you out of your princely wits?

Ferd. What's he?

Pes. Your doctor.

Ferd. Let me have his beard saw'd off, and his eye-brows fil'd more civil.

Doc. I must do mad tricks with him, for that 's the only way on 't.—I have brought your grace a salamander's skin to keep you from sun-burning.

Ferd. I have cruel sore eyes.

Doc. The white of a cockatrix's〖A fabulous serpent that killed by its glance.〗 egg is present remedy.

Ferd. Let it be a new-laid one, you were best.

Hide me from him: physicians are like kings,—

They brook no contradiction.

Doc. Now he begins to fear me: now let me alone with him.

Card. How now! put off your gown!

Doc. Let me have some forty urinals filled with rosewater: he andI'll go pelt one another with them.—Now he begins to fear me.—Can you fetch a frisk,〖Cut a caper.〗 sir?—Let him go, let him go, upon my peril: I find by his eye he stands in awe of me; I'll make him as tame as a dormouse.

Ferd. Can you fetch your frisks, sir!—I will stamp him into a cullis,〖Broth.〗 flay off his skin to cover one of the anatomies 〖Skeletons.〗 this rogue hath set i' th' cold yonder in Barber-Chirurgeon's-hall.—Hence, hence! you are all of you like beasts for sacrifice. [Throws the DOCTOR down and beats him.] There 's nothing left of you but tongue and belly, flattery and lechery. [Exit.]

Pes. Doctor, he did not fear you thoroughly.

Doc. True; I was somewhat too forward.

Bos. Mercy upon me, what a fatal judgment

Hath fall'n upon this Ferdinand!

Pes. Knows your grace

What accident hath brought unto the prince

This strange distraction?

Card. [aside.] I must feign somewhat.—Thus they say it grew.

You have heard it rumour'd, for these many years

None of our family dies but there is seen

The shape of an old woman, which is given

By tradition to us to have been murder'd

By her nephews for her riches. Such a figure

One night, as the prince sat up late at 's book,

Appear'd to him; when crying out for help,

The gentleman of 's chamber found his grace

All on a cold sweat, alter'd much in face

And language: since which apparition,

He hath grown worse and worse, and I much fear

He cannot live.

Bos. Sir, I would speak with you.

Pes. We'll leave your grace,

Wishing to the sick prince, our noble lord,

All health of mind and body.

Card. You are most welcome.


Are you come? so.—[Aside.] This fellow must not know

By any means I had intelligence

In our duchess' death; for, though I counsell'd it,

The full of all th' engagement seem'd to grow

From Ferdinand.—Now, sir, how fares our sister?

I do not think but sorrow makes her look

Like to an oft-dy'd garment: she shall now

Take comfort from me. Why do you look so wildly?

O, the fortune of your master here the prince

Dejects you; but be you of happy comfort:

If you'll do one thing for me I'll entreat,

Though he had a cold tomb-stone o'er his bones,

I'd make you what you would be.

Bos. Any thing;

Give it me in a breath, and let me fly to 't.

They that think long small expedition win,

For musing much o' th' end cannot begin.

[Enter JULIA]

Julia. Sir, will you come into supper?

Card. I am busy; leave me.

Julia [aside.] What an excellent shape hath that fellow! Exit.

Card. “Tis thus. Antonio lurks here in Milan:

Inquire him out, and kill him. While he lives,

Our sister cannot marry; and I have thought

Of an excellent match for her. Do this, and style me

Thy advancement.

Bos. But by what means shall I find him out?

Card. There is a gentleman call'd Delio

Here in the camp, that hath been long approv'd

His loyal friend. Set eye upon that fellow;

Follow him to mass; may be Antonio,

Although he do account religion

But a school-name, for fashion of the world

May accompany him; or else go inquire out

Delio's confessor, and see if you can bribe

Him to reveal it. There are a thousand ways

A man might find to trace him; as to known

What fellows haunt the Jews for taking up

Great sums of money, for sure he 's in want;

Or else to go to the picture-makers, and learn

Who bought〖So Dyce. Quartos. brought.〗 her picture lately: some of these

Happily may take.

Bos. Well, I'll not freeze i' th' business:

I would see that wretched thing, Antonio,

Above all sights i' th' world.

Card. Do, and be happy. Exit.

Bos. This fellow doth breed basilisks in 's eyes,

He 's nothing else but murder; yet he seems

Not to have notice of the duchess' death.

'Tis his cunning: I must follow his example;

There cannot be a surer way to trace

Than that of an old fox.

[Re-enter JULIA, with a pistol]

Julia. So, sir, you are well met.

Bos. How Now!

Julia. Nay, the doors are fast enough:

Now, sir, I will make you confess your treachery.

Bos. Treachery!

Julia. Yes, confess to me

Which of my women 'twas you hir'd to put

Love-powder into my drink?

Bos. Love-powder!

Julia. Yes, when I was at Malfi.

Why should I fall in love with such a face else?

I have already suffer'd for thee so much pain,

The only remedy to do me good

Is to kill my longing.

Bos. Sure, your pistol holds

Nothing but perfumes or kissing-comfits.〖Perfumed sweetmeats for the breath.〗

Excellent lady!

You have a pretty way on't to discover

Your longing. Come, come, I'll disarm you,

And arm you thus: yet this is wondrous strange.

Julia. Compare thy form and my eyes together,

You'll find my love no such great miracle.

Now you'll say

I am wanton: this nice modesty in ladies

Is but a troublesome familiar

That haunts them.

Bos. Know you me, I am a blunt soldier.

Julia. The better:

Sure, there wants fire where there are no lively sparks

Of roughness.

Bos. And I want compliment.

Julia. Why, ignorance

In courtship cannot make you do amiss,

If you have a heart to do well.

Bos. You are very fair.

Julia. Nay, if you lay beauty to my charge,

I must plead unguilty.

Bos. Your bright eyes

Carry a quiver of darts in them sharper

Than sun-beams.

Julia. You will mar me with commendation,

Put yourself to the charge of courting me,

Whereas now I woo you.

Bos. [Aside.] I have it, I will work upon this creature.—

Let us grow most amorously familiar:

If the great cardinal now should see me thus,

Would he not count me a villain?

Julia. No; he might count me a wanton,

Not lay a scruple of offence on you;

For if I see and steal a diamond,

The fault is not i' th' stone, but in me the thief

That purloins it. I am sudden with you.

We that are great women of pleasure use to cut off

These uncertain wishes and unquiet longings,

And in an instant join the sweet delight

And the pretty excuse together. Had you been i' th' street,

Under my chamber-window, even there

I should have courted you.

Bos. O, you are an excellent lady!

Julia. Bid me do somewhat for you presently

To express I love you.

Bos. I will; and if you love me,

Fail not to effect it.

The cardinal is grown wondrous melancholy;

Demand the cause, let him not put you off

With feign'd excuse; discover the main ground on 't.

Julia. Why would you know this?

Bos. I have depended on him,

And I hear that he is fall'n in some disgrace

With the emperor: if he be, like the mice

That forsake falling houses, I would shift

To other dependance.

Julia. You shall not need

Follow the wars: I'll be your maintenance.

Bos. And I your loyal servant: but I cannot

Leave my calling.

Julia. Not leave an ungrateful

General for the love of a sweet lady!

You are like some cannot sleep in feather-beds,

But must have blocks for their pillows.

Bos. Will you do this?

Julia. Cunningly.

Bos. To-morrow I'll expect th' intelligence.

Julia. To-morrow! get you into my cabinet;

You shall have it with you. Do not delay me,

No more than I do you: I am like one

That is condemn'd; I have my pardon promis'd,

But I would see it seal'd. Go, get you in:

You shall see my wind my tongue about his heart

Like a skein of silk. [Exit BOSOLA.]

[Re-enter CARDINAL]

Card. Where are you?

[Enter Servants]

Servants. Here.

Card. Let none, upon your lives, have conference

With the Prince Ferdinand, unless I know it.—

[Aside] In this distraction he may reveal

The murder. [Exeunt Servants.]

Yond 's my lingering consumption:

I am weary of her, and by any means

Would be quit of.

Julia. How now, my lord! what ails you?

Card. Nothing,

Julia. O, you are much alter'd:

Come, I must be your secretary, and remove

This lead from off your bosom: what 's the matter?

Card. I may not tell you.

Julia. Are you so far in love with sorrow

You cannot part with part of it? Or think you

I cannot love your grace when you are sad

As well as merry? Or do you suspect

I, that have been a secret to your heart

These many winters, cannot be the same

Unto your tongue?

Card. Satisfy thy longing,—

The only way to make thee keep my counsel

Is, not to tell thee.

Julia. Tell your echo this,

Or flatterers, that like echoes still report

What they hear though most imperfect, and not me;

For it that you be true unto yourself,

I'll know.

Card. Will you rack me?

Julia. No, judgment shall

Draw it from you: it is an equal fault,

To tell one's secrets unto all or none.

Card. The first argues folly.

Julia. But the last tyranny.

Card. Very well: why, imagine I have committed

Some secret deed which I desire the world

May never hear of.

Julia. Therefore may not I know it?

You have conceal'd for me as great a sin

As adultery. Sir, never was occasion

For perfect trial of my constancy

Till now: sir, I beseech you——

Card. You'll repent it.

Julia. Never.

Card. It hurries thee to ruin: I'll not tell thee.

Be well advis'd, and think what danger 'tis

To receive a prince's secrets. They that do,

Had need have their breasts hoop'd with adamant

To contain them. I pray thee, yet be satisfi'd;

Examine thine own frailty; 'tis more easy

To tie knots than unloose them. 'Tis a secret

That, like a ling'ring poison, may chance lie

Spread in thy veins, and kill thee seven year hence.

Julia. Now you dally with me.

Card. No more; thou shalt know it.

By my appointment the great Duchess of Malfi

And two of her young children, four nights since,

Were strangl'd.

Julia. O heaven! sir, what have you done!

Card. How now? How settles this? Think you your bosom

Will be a grave dark and obscure enough

For such a secret?

Julia. You have undone yourself, sir.

Card. Why?

Julia. It lies not in me to conceal it.

Card. No?

Come, I will swear you to 't upon this book.

Julia. Most religiously.

Card. Kiss it. [She kisses the book.]

Now you shall never utter it; thy curiosity

Hath undone thee; thou'rt poison'd with that book.

Because I knew thou couldst not keep my counsel,

I have bound thee to 't by death.

[Re-enter BOSOLA]

Bos. For pity-sake, hold!

Card. Ha, Bosola!

Julia. I forgive you

This equal piece of justice you have done;

For I betray'd your counsel to that fellow.

He over-heard it; that was the cause I said

It lay not in me to conceal it.

Bos. O foolish woman,

Couldst not thou have poison'd him?

Julia. 'Tis weakness,

Too much to think what should have been done. I go,

I know not whither. [Dies.]

Card. Wherefore com'st thou hither?

Bos. That I might find a great man like yourself,

Not out of his wits, as the Lord Ferdinand,

To remember my service.

Card. I'll have thee hew'd in pieces.

Bos. Make not yourself such a promise of that life

Which is not yours to dispose of.

Card. Who plac'd thee here?

Bos. Her lust, as she intended.

Card. Very well:

Now you know me for your fellow-murderer,

Bos. And wherefore should you lay fair marble colours

Upon your rotten purposes to me?

Unless you imitate some that do plot great treasons,

And when they have done, go hide themselves i' th' grave

Of those were actors in 't?

Card. No more; there is

A fortune attends thee.

Bos. Shall I go sue to Fortune any longer?

'Tis the fool's pilgrimage.

Card. I have honours in store for thee.

Bos. There are a many ways that conduct to seeming

Honour, and some of them very dirty ones.

Card. Throw to the devil

Thy melancholy. The fire burns well;

What need we keep a stirring of 't, and make

A greater smother?〖Smoke.〗 Thou wilt kill Antonio?

Bos. Yes.

Card. Take up that body.

Bos. I think I shall

Shortly grow the common bier for church-yards.

Card. I will allow thee some dozen of attendants

To aid thee in the murder.

Bos. O, by no means. Physicians that apply horse-leeches to any rank swelling use to cut off their tails, that the blood may run through them the faster: let me have no train when I go to shed blood, less it make me have a greater when I ride to the gallows.

Card. Come to me after midnight, to help to remove

That body to her own lodging. I'll give out

She died o' th' plague; 'twill breed the less inquiry

After her death.

Bos. Where 's Castruccio her husband?

Card. He 's rode to Naples, to take possession

Of Antonio's citadel.

Bos. Believe me, you have done a very happy turn.

Card. Fail not to come. There is the master-key

Of our lodgings; and by that you may conceive

What trust I plant in you.

Bos. You shall find me ready. Exit CARDINAL.

O poor Antonio, though nothing be so needful

To thy estate as pity, yet I find

Nothing so dangerous! I must look to my footing:

In such slippery ice-pavements men had need

To be frost-nail'd well, they may break their necks else;

The precedent's here afore me. How this man

Bears up in blood! seems fearless! Why, 'tis well;

Security some men call the suburbs of hell,

Only a dead wall between. Well, good Antonio,

I'll seek thee out; and all my care shall be

To put thee into safety from the reach

Of these most cruel biters that have got

Some of thy blood already. It may be,

I'll join with thee in a most just revenge.

The weakest arm is strong enough that strikes

With the sword of justice. Still methinks the duchess

Haunts me: there, there!—'Tis nothing but my melancholy.

O Penitence, let me truly taste thy cup,

That throws men down only to raise them up! Exit.

All Directories