The White Devil Contents
Act 4, Scene 1
Enter Francisco and Monticelso
Mont. Come, come, my lord, untie your folded thoughts,
And let them dangle loose, as a bride's hair.
Your sister's poisoned.
Fran. Far be it from my thoughts
To seek revenge.
Mont. What, are you turn'd all marble?
Fran. Shall I defy him, and impose a war,
Most burthensome on my poor subjects' necks,
Which at my will I have not power to end?
You know, for all the murders, rapes, and thefts,
Committed in the horrid lust of war,
He that unjustly caus'd it first proceed,
Shall find it in his grave, and in his seed.
Mont. That 's not the course I 'd wish you; pray observe me.
We see that undermining more prevails
Than doth the cannon. Bear your wrongs conceal'd,
And, patient as the tortoise, let this camel
Stalk o'er your back unbruis'd: sleep with the lion,
And let this brood of secure foolish mice
Play with your nostrils, till the time be ripe
For th' bloody audit, and the fatal gripe:
Aim like a cunning fowler, close one eye,
That you the better may your game espy.
Fran. Free me, my innocence, from treacherous acts!
I know there 's thunder yonder; and I 'll stand,
Like a safe valley, which low bends the knee
To some aspiring mountain: since I know
Treason, like spiders weaving nets for flies,
By her foul work is found, and in it dies.
To pass away these thoughts, my honour'd lord,
It is reported you possess a book,
Wherein you have quoted, by intelligence,
The names of all notorious offenders
Lurking about the city.
Mont. Sir, I do;
And some there are which call it my black-book.
Well may the title hold; for though it teach not
The art of conjuring, yet in it lurk
The names of many devils.
Fran. Pray let 's see it.
Mont. I 'll fetch it to your lordship. [Exit.
I will not trust thee, but in all my plots
I 'll rest as jealous as a town besieg'd.
Thou canst not reach what I intend to act:
Your flax soon kindles, soon is out again,
But gold slow heats, and long will hot remain.
Enter Monticelso, with the book
Mont. 'Tis here, my lord.
Fran. First, your intelligencers, pray let 's see.
Mont. Their number rises strangely;
And some of them
You 'd take for honest men.
Next are panders.
These are your pirates; and these following leaves
For base rogues, that undo young gentlemen,
By taking up commodities; for politic bankrupts;
For fellows that are bawds to their own wives,
Only to put off horses, and slight jewels,
Clocks, defac'd plate, and such commodities,
At birth of their first children.
Fran. Are there such?
Mont. These are for impudent bawds,
That go in men's apparel; for usurers
That share with scriveners for their good reportage:
For lawyers that will antedate their writs:
And some divines you might find folded there,
But that I slip them o'er for conscience' sake.
Here is a general catalogue of knaves:
A man might study all the prisons o'er,
Yet never attain this knowledge.
Fold down the leaf, I pray;
Good my lord, let me borrow this strange doctrine.
Mont. Pray, use 't, my lord.
Fran. I do assure your lordship,
You are a worthy member of the State,
And have done infinite good in your discovery
Of these offenders.
Mont. Somewhat, sir.
Fran. O God!
Better than tribute of wolves paid in England;
'Twill hang their skins o' th' hedge.
Mont. I must make bold
To leave your lordship.
Fran. Dearly, sir, I thank you:
If any ask for me at court, report
You have left me in the company of knaves.
I gather now by this, some cunning fellow
That 's my lord's officer, and that lately skipp'd
From a clerk's desk up to a justice' chair,
Hath made this knavish summons, and intends,
As th' Irish rebels wont were to sell heads,
So to make prize of these. And thus it happens:
Your poor rogues pay for 't, which have not the means
To present bribe in fist; the rest o' th' band
Are razed out of the knaves' record; or else
My lord he winks at them with easy will;
His man grows rich, the knaves are the knaves still.
But to the use I 'll make of it; it shall serve
To point me out a list of murderers,
Agents for my villany. Did I want
Ten leash of courtesans, it would furnish me;
Nay, laundress three armies. That in so little paper
Should lie th' undoing of so many men!
'Tis not so big as twenty declarations.
See the corrupted use some make of books:
Divinity, wrested by some factious blood,
Draws swords, swells battles, and o'erthrows all good.
To fashion my revenge more seriously,
Let me remember my dear sister's face:
Call for her picture? no, I 'll close mine eyes,
And in a melancholic thought I 'll frame
[Enter Isabella's Ghost.
Her figure 'fore me. Now I ha' 't—how strong
Imagination works! how she can frame
Things which are not! methinks she stands afore me,
And by the quick idea of my mind,
Were my skill pregnant, I could draw her picture.
Thought, as a subtle juggler, makes us deem
Things supernatural, which have cause
Common as sickness. 'Tis my melancholy.
How cam'st thou by thy death?—how idle am I
To question mine own idleness!—did ever
Man dream awake till now?—remove this object;
Out of my brain with 't: what have I to do
With tombs, or death-beds, funerals, or tears,
That have to meditate upon revenge? [Exit Ghost.
So, now 'tis ended, like an old wife's story.
Statesmen think often they see stranger sights
Than madmen. Come, to this weighty business.
My tragedy must have some idle mirth in 't,
Else it will never pass. I am in love,
In love with Corombona; and my suit
Thus halts to her in verse.— [He writes.
I have done it rarely: Oh, the fate of princes!
I am so us'd to frequent flattery,
That, being alone, I now flatter myself:
But it will serve; 'tis seal'd. [Enter servant.] Bear this
To the House of Convertites, and watch your leisure
To give it to the hands of Corombona,
Or to the Matron, when some followers
Of Brachiano may be by. Away! [Exit Servant.
He that deals all by strength, his wit is shallow;
When a man's head goes through, each limb will follow.
The engine for my business, bold Count Lodowick;
'Tis gold must such an instrument procure,
With empty fist no man doth falcons lure.
Brachiano, I am now fit for thy encounter:
Like the wild Irish, I 'll ne'er think thee dead
Till I can play at football with thy head,
Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo. [Exit.
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