The White Devil Contents
Act 5, Scene 1
A passage over the stage of Brachiano, Flamineo, Marcello, Hortensio,
Corombona, Cornelia, Zanche, and others: Flamineo and Hortensio remain.
Flam. In all the weary minutes of my life,
Day ne'er broke up till now. This marriage
Confirms me happy.
Hort. 'Tis a good assurance.
Saw you not yet the Moor that 's come to court?
Flam. Yes, and conferr'd with him i' th' duke's closet.
I have not seen a goodlier personage,
Nor ever talk'd with man better experience'd
In State affairs, or rudiments of war.
He hath, by report, serv'd the Venetian
In Candy these twice seven years, and been chief
In many a bold design.
Hort. What are those two
That bear him company?
Flam. Two noblemen of Hungary, that, living in the emperor's service as commanders, eight years since, contrary to the expectation of the court entered into religion, in the strict Order of Capuchins; but, being not well settled in their undertaking, they left their Order, and returned to court; for which, being after troubled in conscience, they vowed their service against the enemies of Christ, went to Malta, were there knighted, and in their return back, at this great solemnity, they are resolved for ever to forsake the world, and settle themselves here in a house of Capuchins in Padua.
Hort. 'Tis strange.
Flam. One thing makes it so: they have vowed for ever to wear, next
their bare bodies, those coats of mail they served in.
Hort. Hard penance!
Is the Moor a Christian?
Flam. He is.
Hort. Why proffers he his service to our duke?
Flam. Because he understands there 's like to grow
Some wars between us and the Duke of Florence,
In which he hopes employment.
I never saw one in a stern bold look
Wear more command, nor in a lofty phrase
Express more knowing, or more deep contempt
Of our slight airy courtiers
As if he travell'd all the princes' courts
Of Christendom: in all things strives t' express,
That all, that should dispute with him, may know,
Glories, like glow-worms, afar off shine bright,
But look'd to near, have neither heat nor light.
Enter Brachiano, Francisco disguised like Mulinassar, Lodovico
and Gasparo, bearing their swords, their helmets down, Antonelli,
Brach. You are nobly welcome. We have heard at full
Your honourable service 'gainst the Turk.
To you, brave Mulinassar, we assign
A competent pension: and are inly sorry,
The vows of those two worthy gentlemen
Make them incapable of our proffer'd bounty.
Your wish is, you may leave your warlike swords
For monuments in our chapel: I accept it,
As a great honour done me, and must crave
Your leave to furnish out our duchess' revels.
Only one thing, as the last vanity
You e'er shall view, deny me not to stay
To see a barriers prepar'd to-night:
You shall have private standings. It hath pleas'd
The great ambassadors of several princes,
In their return from Rome to their own countries,
To grace our marriage, and to honour me
With such a kind of sport.
Fran. I shall persuade them to stay, my lord.
Brach. Set on there to the presence.
[Exeunt Brachiano, Flamineo, and Hortensio.
Lodo. Noble my lord, most fortunately welcome;
[The conspirators here embrace.
You have our vows, seal'd with the sacrament,
To second your attempts.
Gas. And all things ready;
He could not have invented his own ruin
(Had he despair'd) with more propriety.
Lodo. You would not take my way.
Fran. 'Tis better order'd.
Lodo. T' have poison'd his prayer-book, or a pair of beads,
The pummel of his saddle, his looking-glass,
Or th' handle of his racket,—O, that, that!
That while he had been bandying at tennis,
He might have sworn himself to hell, and strook
His soul into the hazard! Oh, my lord,
I would have our plot be ingenious,
And have it hereafter recorded for example,
Rather than borrow example.
Fran. There 's no way
More speeding that this thought on.
Lodo. On, then.
Fran. And yet methinks that this revenge is poor,
Because it steals upon him like a thief:
To have ta'en him by the casque in a pitch'd field,
Led him to Florence——
Lodo. It had been rare: and there
Have crown'd him with a wreath of stinking garlic,
T' have shown the sharpness of his government,
And rankness of his lust. Flamineo comes.
[Exeunt Lodovico, Antonelli, and Gasparo.
Enter Flamineo, Marcello, and Zanche
Marc. Why doth this devil haunt you, say?
Flam. I know not:
For by this light, I do not conjure for her.
'Tis not so great a cunning as men think,
To raise the devil; for here 's one up already;
The greatest cunning were to lay him down.
Marc. She is your shame.
Flam. I pray thee pardon her.
In faith, you see, women are like to burs,
Where their affection throws them, there they 'll stick.
Zan. That is my countryman, a goodly person;
When he 's at leisure, I 'll discourse with him
In our own language.
Flam. I beseech you do. [Exit Zanche.
How is 't, brave soldier? Oh, that I had seen
Some of your iron days! I pray relate
Some of your service to us.
Fran. 'Tis a ridiculous thing for a man to be his own chronicle: I did never wash my mouth with mine own praise, for fear of getting a stinking breath.
Marc. You 're too stoical. The duke will expect other discourse from you.
Fran. I shall never flatter him: I have studied man too much to do that. What difference is between the duke and I? no more than between two bricks, all made of one clay: only 't may be one is placed in top of a turret, the other in the bottom of a well, by mere chance. If I were placed as high as the duke, I should stick as fast, make as fair a show, and bear out weather equally.
Flam. If this soldier had a patent to beg in churches, then he would tell them stories.
Marc. I have been a soldier too.
Fran. How have you thrived?
Marc. Faith, poorly.
Fran. That 's the misery of peace: only outsides are then respected. As ships seem very great upon the river, which show very little upon the seas, so some men i' th' court seem Colossuses in a chamber, who, if they came into the field, would appear pitiful pigmies.
Flam. Give me a fair room yet hung with arras, and some great cardinal to lug me by th' ears, as his endeared minion.
Fran. And thou mayest do the devil knows what villainy.
Flam. And safely.
Fran. Right: you shall see in the country, in harvest-time, pigeons, though they destroy never so much corn, the farmer dare not present the fowling-piece to them: why? because they belong to the lord of the manor; whilst your poor sparrows, that belong to the Lord of Heaven, they go to the pot for 't.
Flam. I will now give you some politic instruction. The duke says he
will give you pension; that 's but bare promise; get it under his hand.
For I have known men that have come from serving against the Turk, for
three or four months they have had pension to buy them new wooden legs,
and fresh plasters; but after, 'twas not to be had. And this miserable
courtesy shows as if a tormentor should give hot cordial drinks to one
three-quarters dead o' th' rack, only to fetch the miserable soul again
to endure more dog-days.
[Exit Francisco. Enter Hortensio, a young Lord, Zanche, and two more.
How now, gallants? what, are they ready for the barriers?
Young Lord. Yes: the lords are putting on their armour.
Hort. What 's he?
Flam. A new upstart; one that swears like a falconer, and will lie in the duke's ear day by day, like a maker of almanacs: and yet I knew him, since he came to th' court, smell worse of sweat than an under tennis-court keeper.
Hort. Look you, yonder 's your sweet mistress.
Flam. Thou art my sworn brother: I 'll tell thee, I do love that Moor, that witch, very constrainedly. She knows some of my villainy. I do love her just as a man holds a wolf by the ears; but for fear of her turning upon me, and pulling out my throat, I would let her go to the devil.
Hort. I hear she claims marriage of thee.
Flam. 'Faith, I made to her some such dark promise; and, in seeking to fly from 't, I run on, like a frighted dog with a bottle at 's tail, that fain would bite it off, and yet dares not look behind him. Now, my precious gipsy.
Zan. Ay, your love to me rather cools than heats.
Flam. Marry, I am the sounder lover; we have many wenches about the town heat too fast.
Hort. What do you think of these perfumed gallants, then?
Flam. Their satin cannot save them: I am confident
They have a certain spice of the disease;
For they that sleep with dogs shall rise with fleas.
Zan. Believe it, a little painting and gay clothes make you loathe me.
Flam. How, love a lady for painting or gay apparel? I 'll unkennel one example more for thee. Æsop had a foolish dog that let go the flesh to catch the shadow; I would have courtiers be better diners.
Zan. You remember your oaths?
Flam. Lovers' oaths are like mariners' prayers, uttered in extremity; but when the tempest is o'er, and that the vessel leaves tumbling, they fall from protesting to drinking. And yet, amongst gentlemen, protesting and drinking go together, and agree as well as shoemakers and Westphalia bacon: they are both drawers on; for drink draws on protestation, and protestation draws on more drink. Is not this discourse better now than the morality of your sunburnt gentleman?
Corn. Is this your perch, you haggard? fly to th' stews.
Flam. You should be clapped by th' heels now: strike i' th' court!
Zan. She 's good for nothing, but to make her maids
Catch cold a-nights: they dare not use a bedstaff,
For fear of her light fingers.
Marc. You 're a strumpet,
An impudent one. [Kicks Zanche.
Flam. Why do you kick her, say?
Do you think that she 's like a walnut tree?
Must she be cudgell'd ere she bear good fruit?
Marc. She brags that you shall marry her.
Flam. What then?
Marc. I had rather she were pitch'd upon a stake,
In some new-seeded garden, to affright
Her fellow crows thence.
Flam. You 're a boy, a fool,
Be guardian to your hound; I am of age.
Marc. If I take her near you, I 'll cut her throat.
Flam. With a fan of feather?
Marc. And, for you, I 'll whip
This folly from you.
Flam. Are you choleric?
I 'll purge it with rhubarb.
Hort. Oh, your brother!
Flam. Hang him,
He wrongs me most, that ought t' offend me least:
I do suspect my mother play'd foul play,
When she conceiv'd thee.
Marc. Now, by all my hopes,
Like the two slaughter'd sons of dipus,
The very flames of our affection
Shall turn two ways. Those words I 'll make thee answer
With thy heart-blood.
Flam. Do, like the geese in the progress;
You know where you shall find me.
Marc. Very good. [Exit Flamineo.
And thou be'st a noble friend, bear him my sword,
And bid him fit the length on 't.
Young Lord. Sir, I shall. [Exeunt all but Zanche.
Zan. He comes. Hence petty thought of my disgrace!
I ne'er lov'd my complexion till now,
'Cause I may boldly say, without a blush,
I love you.
Fran. Your love is untimely sown; there 's a spring at Michaelmas, but 'tis but a faint one: I am sunk in years, and I have vowed never to marry.
Zan. Alas! poor maids get more lovers than husbands: yet you may mistake my wealth. For, as when ambassadors are sent to congratulate princes, there 's commonly sent along with them a rich present, so that, though the prince like not the ambassador's person, nor words, yet he likes well of the presentment; so I may come to you in the same manner, and be better loved for my dowry than my virtue.
Fran. I 'll think on the motion.
Zan. Do; I 'll now detain you no longer. At your better leisure, I 'll
tell you things shall startle your blood:
Nor blame me that this passion I reveal;
Lovers die inward that their flames conceal.
Fran. Of all intelligence this may prove the best:
Sure I shall draw strange fowl from this foul nest. [Exeunt.
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