Act 2, Scene 1

Enter Francisco de Medicis, Cardinal Monticelso, Marcello, Isabella, young Giovanni, with little Jacques the Moor

Fran. Have you not seen your husband since you arrived?

Isab. Not yet, sir.

Fran. Surely he is wondrous kind;
  If I had such a dove-house as Camillo's,
  I would set fire on 't were 't but to destroy
  The polecats that haunt to it—My sweet cousin!

Giov. Lord uncle, you did promise me a horse,
  And armour.

Fran. That I did, my pretty cousin.
  Marcello, see it fitted.

Marc. My lord, the duke is here.

Fran. Sister, away; you must not yet be seen.

Isab. I do beseech you,
  Entreat him mildly, let not your rough tongue
  Set us at louder variance; all my wrongs
  Are freely pardon'd; and I do not doubt,
  As men to try the precious unicorn's horn
  Make of the powder a preservative circle,
  And in it put a spider, so these arms
  Shall charm his poison, force it to obeying,
  And keep him chaste from an infected straying.

Fran. I wish it may. Begone. [Exit Isabella as Brachiano and Flamineo
  enter.] Void the chamber.
  You are welcome; will you sit?—I pray, my lord,
  Be you my orator, my heart 's too full;
  I 'll second you anon.

Mont. Ere I begin,
  Let me entreat your grace forgo all passion,
  Which may be raised by my free discourse.

Brach. As silent as i' th' church: you may proceed.

Mont. It is a wonder to your noble friends,
  That you, having as 'twere enter'd the world
  With a free scepter in your able hand,
  And having to th' use of nature well applied
  High gifts of learning, should in your prime age
  Neglect your awful throne for the soft down
  Of an insatiate bed. O my lord,
  The drunkard after all his lavish cups
  Is dry, and then is sober; so at length,
  When you awake from this lascivious dream,
  Repentance then will follow, like the sting
  Plac'd in the adder's tail. Wretched are princes
  When fortune blasteth but a petty flower
  Of their unwieldy crowns, or ravisheth
  But one pearl from their scepter; but alas!
  When they to wilful shipwreck lose good fame,
  All princely titles perish with their name.

Brach. You have said, my lord——

Mont. Enough to give you taste
  How far I am from flattering your greatness.

Brach. Now you that are his second, what say you?
  Do not like young hawks fetch a course about;
  Your game flies fair, and for you.

Fran. Do not fear it:
  I 'll answer you in your own hawking phrase.
  Some eagles that should gaze upon the sun
  Seldom soar high, but take their lustful ease,
  Since they from dunghill birds their prey can seize.
  You know Vittoria?

Brach. Yes.

Fran. You shift your shirt there,
  When you retire from tennis?

Brach. Happily.

Fran. Her husband is lord of a poor fortune,
  Yet she wears cloth of tissue.

Brach. What of this?
  Will you urge that, my good lord cardinal,
  As part of her confession at next shrift,
  And know from whence it sails?

Fran. She is your strumpet——

Brach. Uncivil sir, there 's hemlock in thy breath,
  And that black slander. Were she a whore of mine,
  All thy loud cannons, and thy borrow'd Switzers,
  Thy galleys, nor thy sworn confederates,
  Durst not supplant her.

Fran. Let 's not talk on thunder.
  Thou hast a wife, our sister; would I had given
  Both her white hands to death, bound and lock'd fast
  In her last winding sheet, when I gave thee
  But one.

Brach. Thou hadst given a soul to God then.

Fran. True:
  Thy ghostly father, with all his absolution,
  Shall ne'er do so by thee.

Brach. Spit thy poison.

Fran. I shall not need; lust carries her sharp whip
  At her own girdle. Look to 't, for our anger
  Is making thunderbolts.

Brach. Thunder! in faith,
  They are but crackers.

Fran. We 'll end this with the cannon.

Brach. Thou 'lt get naught by it, but iron in thy wounds,
  And gunpowder in thy nostrils.

Fran. Better that,
  Than change perfumes for plasters.

Brach. Pity on thee!
  'Twere good you 'd show your slaves or men condemn'd,
  Your new-plough'd forehead. Defiance! and I 'll meet thee,
  Even in a thicket of thy ablest men.

Mont. My lords, you shall not word it any further
  Without a milder limit.

Fran. Willingly.

Brach. Have you proclaim'd a triumph, that you bait
  A lion thus?

Mont. My lord!

Brach. I am tame, I am tame, sir.

Fran. We send unto the duke for conference
  'Bout levies 'gainst the pirates; my lord duke
  Is not at home: we come ourself in person;
  Still my lord duke is busied. But we fear
  When Tiber to each prowling passenger
  Discovers flocks of wild ducks, then, my lord—
  'Bout moulting time I mean—we shall be certain
  To find you sure enough, and speak with you.

Brach. Ha!

Fran. A mere tale of a tub: my words are idle.
  But to express the sonnet by natural reason,
                                                         [Enter Giovanni.
  When stags grow melancholic you 'll find the season.

Mont. No more, my lord; here comes a champion
  Shall end the difference between you both;
  Your son, the Prince Giovanni. See, my lords,
  What hopes you store in him; this is a casket
  For both your crowns, and should be held like dear.
  Now is he apt for knowledge; therefore know
  It is a more direct and even way,
  To train to virtue those of princely blood,
  By examples than by precepts: if by examples,
  Whom should he rather strive to imitate
  Than his own father? be his pattern then,
  Leave him a stock of virtue that may last,
  Should fortune rend his sails, and split his mast.

Brach. Your hand, boy: growing to a soldier?

Giov. Give me a pike.

Fran. What, practising your pike so young, fair cousin?

Giov. Suppose me one of Homer's frogs, my lord,
  Tossing my bulrush thus. Pray, sir, tell me,
  Might not a child of good discretion
  Be leader to an army?

Fran. Yes, cousin, a young prince
  Of good discretion might.

Giov. Say you so?
  Indeed I have heard, 'tis fit a general
  Should not endanger his own person oft;
  So that he make a noise when he 's a-horseback,
  Like a Danske drummer,—Oh, 'tis excellent!—
  He need not fight! methinks his horse as well
  Might lead an army for him. If I live,
  I 'll charge the French foe in the very front
  Of all my troops, the foremost man.

Fran. What! what!

Giov. And will not bid my soldiers up, and follow,
  But bid them follow me.

Brach. Forward lapwing!
  He flies with the shell on 's head.

Fran. Pretty cousin!

Giov. The first year, uncle, that I go to war,
  All prisoners that I take, I will set free,
  Without their ransom.

Fran. Ha! without their ransom!
  How then will you reward your soldiers,
  That took those prisoners for you?

Giov. Thus, my lord:
  I 'll marry them to all the wealthy widows
  That falls that year.

Fran. Why then, the next year following,
  You 'll have no men to go with you to war.

Giov. Why then I 'll press the women to the war,
  And then the men will follow.

Mont. Witty prince!

Fran. See, a good habit makes a child a man,
  Whereas a bad one makes a man a beast.
  Come, you and I are friends.

Brach. Most wishedly:
  Like bones which, broke in sunder, and well set,
  Knit the more strongly.

Fran. Call Camillo hither.—
  You have receiv'd the rumour, how Count Lodowick
  Is turn'd a pirate?

Brach. Yes.

Fran. We are now preparing to fetch him in. Behold your duchess.
  We now will leave you, and expect from you
  Nothing but kind entreaty.

Brach. You have charm'd me.
                             [Exeunt Francisco, Monticelso, and Giovanni.
                                     Enter Isabella
  You are in health, we see.

Isab. And above health,
  To see my lord well.

Brach. So: I wonder much
  What amorous whirlwind hurried you to Rome.

Isab. Devotion, my lord.

Brach. Devotion!
  Is your soul charg'd with any grievous sin?

Isab. 'Tis burden'd with too many; and I think
  The oftener that we cast our reckonings up,
  Our sleep will be the sounder.

Brach. Take your chamber.

Isab. Nay, my dear lord, I will not have you angry!
  Doth not my absence from you, now two months,
  Merit one kiss?

Brach. I do not use to kiss:
  If that will dispossess your jealousy,
  I 'll swear it to you.

Isab. O, my loved lord,
  I do not come to chide: my jealousy!
  I am to learn what that Italian means.
  You are as welcome to these longing arms,
  As I to you a virgin.

Brach. Oh, your breath!
  Out upon sweetmeats and continued physic,
  The plague is in them!

Isab. You have oft, for these two lips,
  Neglected cassia, or the natural sweets
  Of the spring-violet: they are not yet much wither'd.
  My lord, I should be merry: these your frowns
  Show in a helmet lovely; but on me,
  In such a peaceful interview, methinks
  They are too roughly knit.

Brach. O dissemblance!
  Do you bandy factions 'gainst me? have you learnt
  The trick of impudent baseness to complain
  Unto your kindred?

Isab. Never, my dear lord.

Brach. Must I be hunted out? or was 't your trick
  To meet some amorous gallant here in Rome,
  That must supply our discontinuance?

Isab. Pray, sir, burst my heart; and in my death
  Turn to your ancient pity, though not love.

Brach. Because your brother is the corpulent duke,
  That is, the great duke, 'sdeath, I shall not shortly
  Racket away five hundred crowns at tennis,
  But it shall rest 'pon record! I scorn him
  Like a shav'd Polack: all his reverend wit
  Lies in his wardrobe; he 's a discreet fellow,
  When he 's made up in his robes of state.
  Your brother, the great duke, because h' 'as galleys,
  And now and then ransacks a Turkish fly-boat,
  (Now all the hellish furies take his soul!)
  First made this match: accursed be the priest
  That sang the wedding-mass, and even my issue!

Isab. Oh, too, too far you have curs'd!

Brach. Your hand I 'll kiss;
  This is the latest ceremony of my love.
  Henceforth I 'll never lie with thee; by this,
  This wedding-ring, I 'll ne'er more lie with thee!
  And this divorce shall be as truly kept,
  As if the judge had doomed it. Fare you well:
  Our sleeps are sever'd.

Isab. Forbid it the sweet union
  Of all things blessed! why, the saints in heaven
  Will knit their brows at that.

Brach. Let not thy love
  Make thee an unbeliever; this my vow
  Shall never, on my soul, be satisfied
  With my repentance: let thy brother rage
  Beyond a horrid tempest, or sea-fight,
  My vow is fixed.

Isab. O, my winding-sheet!
  Now shall I need thee shortly. Dear my lord,
  Let me hear once more, what I would not hear:

Brach. Never.

Isab. Oh, my unkind lord! may your sins find mercy,
  As I upon a woeful widow'd bed
  Shall pray for you, if not to turn your eyes
  Upon your wretched wife and hopeful son,
  Yet that in time you 'll fix them upon heaven!

Brach. No more; go, go, complain to the great duke.

Isab. No, my dear lord; you shall have present witness
  How I 'll work peace between you. I will make
  Myself the author of your cursed vow;
  I have some cause to do it, you have none.
  Conceal it, I beseech you, for the weal
  Of both your dukedoms, that you wrought the means
  Of such a separation: let the fault
  Remain with my supposed jealousy,
  And think with what a piteous and rent heart
  I shall perform this sad ensuing part.

Enter Francisco, Flamineo, Monticelso, and Camillo

Brach. Well, take your course.—My honourable brother!

Fran. Sister!—This is not well, my lord.—Why, sister!—She merits not
  this welcome.

Brach. Welcome, say!
  She hath given a sharp welcome.

Fran. Are you foolish?
  Come, dry your tears: is this a modest course
  To better what is naught, to rail and weep?
  Grow to a reconcilement, or, by heaven,
  I 'll ne'er more deal between you.

Isab. Sir, you shall not;
  No, though Vittoria, upon that condition,
  Would become honest.

Fran. Was your husband loud
  Since we departed?

Isab. By my life, sir, no,
  I swear by that I do not care to lose.
  Are all these ruins of my former beauty
  Laid out for a whore's triumph?

Fran. Do you hear?
  Look upon other women, with what patience
  They suffer these slight wrongs, and with what justice
  They study to requite them: take that course.

Isab. O that I were a man, or that I had power
  To execute my apprehended wishes!
  I would whip some with scorpions.

Fran. What! turn'd fury!

Isab. To dig that strumpet's eyes out; let her lie
  Some twenty months a-dying; to cut off
  Her nose and lips, pull out her rotten teeth;
  Preserve her flesh like mummia, for trophies
  Of my just anger! Hell, to my affliction,
  Is mere snow-water. By your favour, sir;—
  Brother, draw near, and my lord cardinal;—
  Sir, let me borrow of you but one kiss;
  Henceforth I 'll never lie with you, by this,
  This wedding-ring.

Fran. How, ne'er more lie with him!

Isab. And this divorce shall be as truly kept
  As if in thronged court a thousand ears
  Had heard it, and a thousand lawyers' hands
  Sealed to the separation.

Brach. Ne'er lie with me!

Isab. Let not my former dotage
  Make thee an unbeliever; this my vow
  Shall never on my soul be satisfied
  With my repentance: manet alta mente repostum.

Fran. Now, by my birth, you are a foolish, mad,
  And jealous woman.

Brach. You see 'tis not my seeking.

Fran. Was this your circle of pure unicorn's horn,
  You said should charm your lord! now horns upon thee,
  For jealousy deserves them! Keep your vow
  And take your chamber.

Isab. No, sir, I 'll presently to Padua;
  I will not stay a minute.

Mont. Oh, good madam!

Brach. 'Twere best to let her have her humour;
  Some half-day's journey will bring down her stomach,
  And then she 'll turn in post.

Fran. To see her come
  To my lord for a dispensation
  Of her rash vow, will beget excellent laughter.

Isab. 'Unkindness, do thy office; poor heart, break:
  Those are the killing griefs, which dare not speak.' [Exit.

Marc. Camillo's come, my lord.

Enter Camillo

Fran. Where 's the commission?

Marc. 'Tis here.

Fran. Give me the signet.

Flam. [Leading Brachiano aside.] My lord, do you mark their whispering? I will compound a medicine, out of their two heads, stronger than garlic, deadlier than stibium: the cantharides, which are scarce seen to stick upon the flesh, when they work to the heart, shall not do it with more silence or invisible cunning.

Enter Doctor

Brach. About the murder?

Flam. They are sending him to Naples, but I 'll send him to Candy.
  Here 's another property too.

Brach. Oh, the doctor!

Flam. A poor quack-salving knave, my lord; one that should have been lashed for 's lechery, but that he confessed a judgment, had an execution laid upon him, and so put the whip to a non plus.

Doctor. And was cozened, my lord, by an arranter knave than myself, and made pay all the colorable execution.

Flam. He will shoot pills into a man's guts shall make them have more ventages than a cornet or a lamprey; he will poison a kiss; and was once minded for his masterpiece, because Ireland breeds no poison, to have prepared a deadly vapour in a Spaniard's fart, that should have poisoned all Dublin.

Brach. Oh, Saint Anthony's fire!

Doctor. Your secretary is merry, my lord.

Flam. O thou cursed antipathy to nature! Look, his eye 's bloodshot, like a needle a surgeon stitcheth a wound with. Let me embrace thee, toad, and love thee, O thou abominable, loathsome gargarism, that will fetch up lungs, lights, heart, and liver, by scruples!

Brach. No more.—I must employ thee, honest doctor:
  You must to Padua, and by the way,
  Use some of your skill for us.

Doctor. Sir, I shall.

Brach. But for Camillo?

Flam. He dies this night, by such a politic strain,
  Men shall suppose him by 's own engine slain.
  But for your duchess' death——

Doctor. I 'll make her sure.

Brach. Small mischiefs are by greater made secure.

Flam. Remember this, you slave; when knaves come to preferment, they
  rise as gallows in the Low Countries, one upon another's shoulders.
               [Exeunt. Monticelso, Camillo, and Francisco come forward.

Mont. Here is an emblem, nephew, pray peruse it:
  'Twas thrown in at your window.

Cam. At my window!
  Here is a stag, my lord, hath shed his horns,
  And, for the loss of them, the poor beast weeps:
  The word, Inopem me copia fecit.

Mont. That is,
  Plenty of horns hath made him poor of horns.

Cam. What should this mean?

Mont. I 'll tell you; 'tis given out
  You are a cuckold.

Cam. Is it given out so?
  I had rather such reports as that, my lord,
  Should keep within doors.

Fran. Have you any children?

Cam. None, my lord.

Fran. You are the happier:
  I 'll tell you a tale.

Cam. Pray, my lord.

Fran. An old tale.
  Upon a time Phbus, the god of light,
  Or him we call the sun, would need to be married:
  The gods gave their consent, and Mercury
  Was sent to voice it to the general world.
  But what a piteous cry there straight arose
  Amongst smiths and felt-makers, brewers and cooks,
  Reapers and butter-women, amongst fishmongers,
  And thousand other trades, which are annoyed
  By his excessive heat! 'twas lamentable.
  They came to Jupiter all in a sweat,
  And do forbid the banns. A great fat cook
  Was made their speaker, who entreats of Jove
  That Phbus might be gelded; for if now,
  When there was but one sun, so many men
  Were like to perish by his violent heat,
  What should they do if he were married,
  And should beget more, and those children
  Make fireworks like their father? So say I;
  Only I apply it to your wife;
  Her issue, should not providence prevent it,
  Would make both nature, time, and man repent it.

Mont. Look you, cousin,
  Go, change the air for shame; see if your absence
  Will blast your cornucopia. Marcello
  Is chosen with you joint commissioner,
  For the relieving our Italian coast
  From pirates.

Marc. I am much honour'd in 't.

Cam. But, sir,
  Ere I return, the stag's horns may be sprouted
  Greater than those are shed.

Mont. Do not fear it;
  I 'll be your ranger.

Cam. You must watch i' th' nights;
  Then 's the most danger.

Fran. Farewell, good Marcello:
  All the best fortunes of a soldier's wish
  Bring you a-shipboard.

Cam. Were I not best, now I am turn'd soldier,
  Ere that I leave my wife, sell all she hath,
  And then take leave of her?

Mont. I expect good from you,
  Your parting is so merry.

Cam. Merry, my lord! a' th' captain's humour right,
  I am resolved to be drunk this night. [Exeunt.

Fran. So, 'twas well fitted; now shall we discern
  How his wish'd absence will give violent way
  To Duke Brachiano's lust.

Mont. Why, that was it;
  To what scorn'd purpose else should we make choice
  Of him for a sea-captain? and, besides,
  Count Lodowick, which was rumour'd for a pirate,
  Is now in Padua.

Fran. Is 't true?

Mont. Most certain.
  I have letters from him, which are suppliant
  To work his quick repeal from banishment:
  He means to address himself for pension
  Unto our sister duchess.

Fran. Oh, 'twas well!
  We shall not want his absence past six days:
  I fain would have the Duke Brachiano run
  Into notorious scandal; for there 's naught
  In such cursed dotage, to repair his name,
  Only the deep sense of some deathless shame.

Mont. It may be objected, I am dishonourable
  To play thus with my kinsman; but I answer,
  For my revenge I 'd stake a brother's life,
  That being wrong'd, durst not avenge himself.

Fran. Come, to observe this strumpet.

Mont. Curse of greatness!
  Sure he 'll not leave her?

Fran. There 's small pity in 't:
  Like mistletoe on sere elms spent by weather,
  Let him cleave to her, and both rot together. [Exeunt.

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