Act 5, Scene 3

Charges and shouts. They fight at barriers; first single pairs, then three to three

Enter Brachiano and Flamineo, with others

Brach. An armourer! ud's death, an armourer!

Flam. Armourer! where 's the armourer?

Brach. Tear off my beaver.

Flam. Are you hurt, my lord?

Brach. Oh, my brain 's on fire! [Enter Armourer.
  The helmet is poison'd.

Armourer. My lord, upon my soul——

Brach. Away with him to torture.
  There are some great ones that have hand in this,
  And near about me.

Enter Vittoria Corombona

Vit. Oh, my lov'd lord! poison'd!

Flam. Remove the bar. Here 's unfortunate revels!
  Call the physicians. [Enter two Physicians.
  A plague upon you!
  We have too much of your cunning here already:
  I fear the ambassadors are likewise poison'd.

Brach. Oh, I am gone already! the infection
  Flies to the brain and heart. O thou strong heart!
  There 's such a covenant 'tween the world and it,
  They 're loath to break.

Giov. Oh, my most loved father!

Brach. Remove the boy away.
  Where 's this good woman? Had I infinite worlds,
  They were too little for thee: must I leave thee?
  What say you, screech-owls, is the venom mortal?

Physicians. Most deadly.

Brach. Most corrupted politic hangman,
  You kill without book; but your art to save
  Fails you as oft as great men's needy friends.
  I that have given life to offending slaves,
  And wretched murderers, have I not power
  To lengthen mine own a twelvemonth?
  [To Vittoria.] Do not kiss me, for I shall poison thee.
  This unctions 's sent from the great Duke of Florence.

Fran. Sir, be of comfort.

Brach. O thou soft natural death, that art joint-twin
  To sweetest slumber! no rough-bearded comet
  Stares on thy mild departure; the dull owl
  Bears not against thy casement; the hoarse wolf
  Scents not thy carrion: pity winds thy corse,
  Whilst horror waits on princes'.

Vit. I am lost for ever.

Brach. How miserable a thing it is to die
  'Mongst women howling! [Enter Lodovico and Gasparo, as Capuchins.
  What are those?

Flam. Franciscans:
  They have brought the extreme unction.

Brach. On pain of death, let no man name death to me:
  It is a word infinitely terrible.
  Withdraw into our cabinet.
                                  [Exeunt all but Francisco and Flamineo.

Flam. To see what solitariness is about dying princes! as heretofore they have unpeopled towns, divorced friends, and made great houses unhospitable, so now, O justice! where are their flatterers now? flatterers are but the shadows of princes' bodies; the least thick cloud makes them invisible.

Fran. There 's great moan made for him.

Flam. 'Faith, for some few hours salt-water will run most plentifully in every office o' th' court; but, believe it, most of them do weep over their stepmothers' graves.

Fran. How mean you?

Flam. Why, they dissemble; as some men do that live without compass o' th' verge.

Fran. Come, you have thrived well under him.

Flam. 'Faith, like a wolf in a woman's breast; I have been fed with poultry: but for money, understand me, I had as good a will to cozen him as e'er an officer of them all; but I had not cunning enough to do it.

Fran. What didst thou think of him? 'faith, speak freely.

Flam. He was a kind of statesman, that would sooner have reckoned how many cannon-bullets he had discharged against a town, to count his expense that way, than think how many of his valiant and deserving subjects he lost before it.

Fran. Oh, speak well of the duke!

Flam. I have done. [Enter Lodovico. Wilt hear some of my court-wisdom? To reprehend princes is dangerous; and to over-commend some of them is palpable lying.

Fran. How is it with the duke?

Lodo. Most deadly ill.
  He 's fallen into a strange distraction:
  He talks of battles and monopolies,
  Levying of taxes; and from that descends
  To the most brain-sick language. His mind fastens
  On twenty several objects, which confound
  Deep sense with folly. Such a fearful end
  May teach some men that bear too lofty crest,
  Though they live happiest yet they die not best.
  He hath conferr'd the whole state of the dukedom
  Upon your sister, till the prince arrive
  At mature age.

Flam. There 's some good luck in that yet.

Fran. See, here he comes.
               [Enter Brachiano, presented in a bed, Vittoria and others.
  There 's death in 's face already.

Vit. Oh, my good lord!

Brach. Away, you have abus'd me:
     [These speeches are several kinds of distractions, and in the action
       should appear so.
  You have convey'd coin forth our territories,
  Bought and sold offices, oppress'd the poor,
  And I ne'er dreamt on 't. Make up your accounts,
  I 'll now be mine own steward.

Flam. Sir, have patience.

Brach. Indeed, I am to blame:
  For did you ever hear the dusky raven
  Chide blackness? or was 't ever known the devil
  Rail'd against cloven creatures?

Vit. Oh, my lord!

Brach. Let me have some quails to supper.

Flam. Sir, you shall.

Brach. No, some fried dog-fish; your quails feed on poison.
  That old dog-fox, that politician, Florence!
  I 'll forswear hunting, and turn dog-killer.
  Rare! I 'll be friends with him; for, mark you, sir, one dog
  Still sets another a-barking. Peace, peace!
  Yonder 's a fine slave come in now.

Flam. Where?

Brach. Why, there,
  In a blue bonnet, and a pair of breeches
  With a great cod-piece: ha, ha, ha!
  Look you, his cod-piece is stuck full of pins,
  With pearls o' th' head of them. Do you not know him?

Flam. No, my lord.

Brach. Why, 'tis the devil.
  I know him by a great rose he wears on 's shoe,
  To hide his cloven foot. I 'll dispute with him;
  He 's a rare linguist.

Vit. My lord, here 's nothing.

Brach. Nothing! rare! nothing! when I want money,
  Our treasury is empty, there is nothing:
  I 'll not be use'd thus.

Vit. Oh, lie still, my lord!

Brach. See, see Flamineo, that kill'd his brother,
  Is dancing on the ropes there, and he carries
  A money-bag in each hand, to keep him even,
  For fear of breaking 's neck: and there 's a lawyer,
  In a gown whipped with velvet, stares and gapes
  When the money will fall. How the rogue cuts capers!
  It should have been in a halter. 'Tis there; what 's she?

Flam. Vittoria, my lord.

Brach. Ha, ha, ha! her hair is sprinkl'd with orris powder,
  That makes her look as if she had sinn'd in the pastry.
  What 's he?

Flam. A divine, my lord.
  [Brachiano seems here near his end; Lodovico and Gasparo, in the habit
    of Capuchins, present him in his bed with a crucifix and hallowed

Brach. He will be drunk; avoid him: th' argument
  Is fearful, when churchmen stagger in 't.
  Look you, six grey rats that have lost their tails
  Crawl upon the pillow; send for a rat-catcher:
  I 'll do a miracle, I 'll free the court
  From all foul vermin. Where 's Flamineo?

Flam. I do not like that he names me so often,
  Especially on 's death-bed; 'tis a sign
  I shall not live long. See, he 's near his end.

Lodo. Pray, give us leave. Attende, domine Brachiane.

Flam. See how firmly he doth fix his eye
  Upon the crucifix.

Vit. Oh, hold it constant!
  It settles his wild spirits; and so his eyes
  Melt into tears.

Lodo. Domine Brachiane, solebas in bello tutus esse tuo clypeo; nunc
  hunc clypeum hosti tuo opponas infernali. [By the crucifix.

Gas. Olim hastâ valuisti in bello; nunc hanc sacram hastam vibrabis
  contra hostem animarum. [By the hallowed taper.

Lodo. Attende, Domine Brachiane, si nunc quoque probes ea, quæ acta
  sunt inter nos, flecte caput in dextrum.

Gas. Esto securus, Domine Brachiane; cogita, quantum habeas meritorum;
  denique memineris mean animam pro tuâ oppignoratum si quid esset

Lodo. Si nunc quoque probas ea, quæ acta sunt inter nos, flecte caput
  in lvum.
  He is departing: pray stand all apart,
  And let us only whisper in his ears
  Some private meditations, which our order
  Permits you not to hear.
[Here, the rest being departed, Lodovico and Gasparo discover themselves.

Gas. Brachiano.

Lodo. Devil Brachiano, thou art damn'd.

Gas. Perpetually.

Lodo. A slave condemn'd and given up to the gallows,
  Is thy great lord and master.

Gas. True; for thou
  Art given up to the devil.

Lodo. Oh, you slave!
  You that were held the famous politician,
  Whose art was poison.

Gas. And whose conscience, murder.

Lodo. That would have broke your wife's neck down the stairs,
  Ere she was poison'd.

Gas. That had your villainous sallets.

Lodo. And fine embroider'd bottles, and perfumes,
  Equally mortal with a winter plague.

Gas. Now there 's mercury——

Lodo. And copperas——

Gas. And quicksilver——

Lodo. With other devilish 'pothecary stuff,
  A-melting in your politic brains: dost hear?

Gas. This is Count Lodovico.

Lodo. This, Gasparo:
  And thou shalt die like a poor rogue.

Gas. And stink
  Like a dead fly-blown dog.

Lodo. And be forgotten
  Before the funeral sermon.

Brach. Vittoria! Vittoria!

Lodo. Oh, the cursed devil
  Comes to himself a gain! we are undone.

Gas. Strangle him in private. [Enter Vittoria and the Attendants.
  What? Will you call him again to live in treble torments?
  For charity, for christian charity, avoid the chamber.

Lodo. You would prate, sir? This is a true-love knot
  Sent from the Duke of Florence. [Brachiano is strangled.

Gas. What, is it done?

Lodo. The snuff is out. No woman-keeper i' th' world,
  Though she had practis'd seven year at the pest-house,
  Could have done 't quaintlier. My lords, he 's dead.

Vittoria and the others come forward

Omnes. Rest to his soul!

Vit. Oh me! this place is hell.

Fran. How heavily she takes it!

Flam. Oh, yes, yes;
  Had women navigable rivers in their eyes,
  They would dispend them all. Surely, I wonder
  Why we should wish more rivers to the city,
  When they sell water so good cheap. I 'll tell thee
  These are but Moorish shades of griefs or fears;
  There 's nothing sooner dry than women's tears.
  Why, here 's an end of all my harvest; he has given me nothing.
  Court promises! let wise men count them curs'd;
  For while you live, he that scores best, pays worst.

Fran. Sure this was Florence' doing.

Flam. Very likely:
  Those are found weighty strokes which come from th' hand,
  But those are killing strokes which come from th' head.
  Oh, the rare tricks of a Machiavellian!
  He doth not come, like a gross plodding slave,
  And buffet you to death; no, my quaint knave,
  He tickles you to death, makes you die laughing,
  As if you had swallow'd down a pound of saffron.
  You see the feat, 'tis practis'd in a trice;
  To teach court honesty, it jumps on ice.

Fran. Now have the people liberty to talk,
  And descant on his vices.

Flam. Misery of princes,
  That must of force be censur'd by their slaves!
  Not only blam'd for doing things are ill,
  But for not doing all that all men will:
  One were better be a thresher.
  Ud's death! I would fain speak with this duke yet.

Fran. Now he 's dead?

Flam. I cannot conjure; but if prayers or oaths
  Will get to th' speech of him, though forty devils
  Wait on him in his livery of flames,
  I 'll speak to him, and shake him by the hand,
  Though I be blasted. [Exit.

Fran. Excellent Lodovico!
  What! did you terrify him at the last gasp?

Lodo. Yes, and so idly, that the duke had like
  T' have terrified us.

Fran. How?

Enter the Moor

Lodo. You shall hear that hereafter.
  See, yon 's the infernal, that would make up sport.
  Now to the revelation of that secret
  She promis'd when she fell in love with you.

Fran. You 're passionately met in this sad world.

Zan. I would have you look up, sir; these court tears
  Claim not your tribute to them: let those weep,
  That guiltily partake in the sad cause.
  I knew last night, by a sad dream I had,
  Some mischief would ensue: yet, to say truth,
  My dream most concern'd you.

Lodo. Shall 's fall a-dreaming?

Fran. Yes, and for fashion sake I 'll dream with her.

Zan. Methought, sir, you came stealing to my bed.

Fran. Wilt thou believe me, sweeting? by this light
  I was a-dreamt on thee too; for methought
  I saw thee naked.

Zan. Fie, sir! as I told you,
  Methought you lay down by me.

Fran. So dreamt I;
  And lest thou shouldst take cold, I cover'd thee
  With this Irish mantle.

Zan. Verily I did dream
  You were somewhat bold with me: but to come to 't——

Lodo. How! how! I hope you will not got to 't here.

Fran. Nay, you must hear my dream out.

Zan. Well, sir, forth.

Fran. When I threw the mantle o'er thee, thou didst laugh
  Exceedingly, methought.

Zan. Laugh!

Fran. And criedst out, the hair did tickle thee.

Zan. There was a dream indeed!

Lodo. Mark her, I pray thee, she simpers like the suds
  A collier hath been wash'd in.

Zan. Come, sir; good fortune tends you. I did tell you
  I would reveal a secret: Isabella,
  The Duke of Florence' sister, was empoisone'd
  By a fum'd picture; and Camillo's neck
  Was broke by damn'd Flamineo, the mischance
  Laid on a vaulting-horse.

Fran. Most strange!

Zan. Most true.

Lodo. The bed of snakes is broke.

Zan. I sadly do confess, I had a hand
  In the black deed.

Fran. Thou kept'st their counsel.

Zan. Right;
  For which, urg'd with contrition, I intend
  This night to rob Vittoria.

Lodo. Excellent penitence!
  Usurers dream on 't while they sleep out sermons.

Zan. To further our escape, I have entreated
  Leave to retire me, till the funeral,
  Unto a friend i' th' country: that excuse
  Will further our escape. In coin and jewels
  I shall at least make good unto your use
  An hundred thousand crowns.

Fran. Oh, noble wench!

Lodo. Those crowns we 'll share.

Zan. It is a dowry,
  Methinks, should make that sun-burnt proverb false,
  And wash the Æthiop white.

Fran. It shall; away.

Zan. Be ready for our flight.

Fran. An hour 'fore day. [Exit Zanche.
  Oh, strange discovery! why, till now we knew not
  The circumstances of either of their deaths.

Re-enter Zanche

Zan. You 'll wait about midnight in the chapel?

Fran. There. [Exit Zanche.

Lodo. Why, now our action 's justified.

Fran. Tush for justice!
  What harms it justice? we now, like the partridge,
  Purge the disease with laurel; for the fame
  Shall crown the enterprise, and quit the shame. [Exeunt.

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