Act 5, Scene 4

Enter Flamineo and Gasparo, at one door; another way, Giovanni, attended

Gas. The young duke: did you e'er see a sweeter prince?

Flam. I have known a poor woman's bastard better favoured—this is behind him. Now, to his face—all comparisons were hateful. Wise was the courtly peacock, that, being a great minion, and being compared for beauty by some dottrels that stood by to the kingly eagle, said the eagle was a far fairer bird than herself, not in respect of her feathers, but in respect of her long talons: his will grow out in time. —My gracious lord.

Giov. I pray leave me, sir.

Flam. Your grace must be merry; 'tis I have cause to mourn; for wot you, what said the little boy that rode behind his father on horseback?

Giov. Why, what said he?

Flam. When you are dead, father, said he, I hope that I shall ride in the saddle. Oh, 'tis a brave thing for a man to sit by himself! he may stretch himself in the stirrups, look about, and see the whole compass of the hemisphere. You 're now, my lord, i' th' saddle.

Giov. Study your prayers, sir, and be penitent:
  'Twere fit you 'd think on what hath former been;
  I have heard grief nam'd the eldest child of sin. [Exit.

Flam. Study my prayers! he threatens me divinely! I am falling to
  pieces already. I care not, though, like Anacharsis, I were pounded to
  death in a mortar: and yet that death were fitter for usurers, gold and
  themselves to be beaten together, to make a most cordial cullis for the
  He hath his uncle's villainous look already,
  In decimo-sexto. [Enter Courtier.] Now, sir, what are you?

Court. It is the pleasure, sir, of the young duke,
  That you forbear the presence, and all rooms
  That owe him reverence.

Flam. So the wolf and the raven are very pretty fools when they are
  young. It is your office, sir, to keep me out?

Court. So the duke wills.

Flam. Verily, Master Courtier, extremity is not to be used in all offices: say, that a gentlewoman were taken out of her bed about midnight, and committed to Castle Angelo, to the tower yonder, with nothing about her but her smock, would it not show a cruel part in the gentleman-porter to lay claim to her upper garment, pull it o'er her head and ears, and put her in naked?

Court. Very good: you are merry. [Exit.

Flam. Doth he make a court-ejectment of me? a flaming fire-brand casts
  more smoke without a chimney than within 't.
  I 'll smoor some of them. [Enter Francisco de Medicis.
  How now? thou art sad.

Fran. I met even now with the most piteous sight.

Flam. Thou meet'st another here, a pitiful
  Degraded courtier.

Fran. Your reverend mother
  Is grown a very old woman in two hours.
  I found them winding of Marcello's corse;
  And there is such a solemn melody,
  'Tween doleful songs, tears, and sad elegies;
  Such as old granddames, watching by the dead,
  Were wont t' outwear the nights with that, believe me,
  I had no eyes to guide me forth the room,
  They were so o'ercharg'd with water.

Flam. I will see them.

Fran. 'Twere much uncharity in you; for your sight
  Will add unto their tears.

Flam. I will see them:
  They are behind the traverse; I 'll discover
  Their superstitions howling.
      [He draws the traverse. Cornelia, the Moor, and three other
         Ladies discovered winding Marcello's corse. A song.

Corn. This rosemary is wither'd; pray, get fresh.
  I would have these herbs grow upon his grave,
  When I am dead and rotten. Reach the bays,
  I 'll tie a garland here about his head;
  I have kept this twenty year, and every day
  Hallow'd it with my prayers; I did not think
  He should have wore it.

Zan. Look you, who are yonder?

Corn. Oh, reach me the flowers!

Zan. Her ladyship 's foolish.

Woman. Alas, her grief
  Hath turn'd her child again!

Corn. You 're very welcome: [To Flamineo.
  There 's rosemary for you, and rue for you,
  Heart's-ease for you; I pray make much of it,
  I have left more for myself.

Fran. Lady, who 's this?

Corn. You are, I take it, the grave-maker.

Flam. So.

Zan. 'Tis Flamineo.

Corn. Will you make me such a fool? here 's a white hand:
  Can blood so soon be washed out? let me see;
  When screech-owls croak upon the chimney-tops,
  And the strange cricket i' th' oven sings and hops,
  When yellow spots do on your hands appear,
  Be certain then you of a corse shall hear.
  Out upon 't, how 'tis speckled! h' 'as handled a toad sure.
  Cowslip water is good for the memory:
  Pray, buy me three ounces of 't.

Flam. I would I were from hence.

Corn. Do you hear, sir?
  I 'll give you a saying which my grandmother
  Was wont, when she heard the bell toll, to sing o'er
  Unto her lute.

Flam. Do, an you will, do.

Corn. Call for the robin redbreast, and the wren,
                     [Cornelia doth this in several forms of distraction.
  Since o'er shady groves they hover,
  And with leaves and flowers do cover
  The friendless bodies of unburied men.
  Call unto his funeral dole
  The ant, the fieldmouse, and the mole,
  To rear him hillocks that shall keep him warm,
  And (when gay tombs are robb'd) sustain no harm;
  But keep the wolf far thence, that 's foe to men,
  For with his nails he 'll dig them up again.
  They would not bury him 'cause he died in a quarrel;
  But I have an answer for them:
  Let holy Church receive him duly,
  Since he paid the church-tithes truly.
  His wealth is summ'd, and this is all his store,
  This poor men get, and great men get no more.
  Now the wares are gone, we may shut up shop.
  Bless you all, good people. [Exeunt Cornelia and Ladies.

Flam. I have a strange thing in me, to th' which
  I cannot give a name, without it be
  Compassion. I pray leave me. [Exit Francisco.
  This night I 'll know the utmost of my fate;
  I 'll be resolv'd what my rich sister means
  T' assign me for my service. I have liv'd
  Riotously ill, like some that live in court,
  And sometimes when my face was full of smiles,
  Have felt the maze of conscience in my breast.
  Oft gay and honour'd robes those tortures try:
  We think cag'd birds sing, when indeed they cry.

Enter Brachiano's Ghost, in his leather cassock and breeches, boots, a
  cowl, a pot of lily flowers, with a skull in 't

  Ha! I can stand thee: nearer, nearer yet.
  What a mockery hath death made thee! thou look'st sad.
  In what place art thou? in yon starry gallery?
  Or in the cursed dungeon? No? not speak?
  Pray, sir, resolve me, what religion 's best
  For a man to die in? or is it in your knowledge
  To answer me how long I have to live?
  That 's the most necessary question.
  Not answer? are you still, like some great men
  That only walk like shadows up and down,
  And to no purpose; say——
               [The Ghost throws earth upon him, and shows him the skull.
  What 's that? O fatal! he throws earth upon me.
  A dead man's skull beneath the roots of flowers!
  I pray speak, sir: our Italian churchmen
  Make us believe dead men hold conference
  With their familiars, and many times
  Will come to bed with them, and eat with them. [Exit Ghost.
  He 's gone; and see, the skull and earth are vanish'd.
  This is beyond melancholy. I do dare my fate
  To do its worst. Now to my sister's lodging,
  And sum up all those horrors: the disgrace
  The prince threw on me; next the piteous sight
  Of my dead brother; and my mother's dotage;
  And last this terrible vision: all these
  Shall with Vittoria's bounty turn to good,
  Or I will drown this weapon in her blood. [Exit.

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