The White Devil, by John Webster

ACT III

SCENE I

Enter Francisco de Medicis, and Monticelso, their Chancellor and Register

Francisco. You have dealt discreetly, to obtain the presence
Of all the great lieger ambassadors
To hear Vittoria’s trial.

Monticelso. ’Twas not ill;
For, sir, you know we have naught but circumstances
To charge her with, about her husband’s death:
Their approbation, therefore, to the proofs
Of her black lust shall make her infamous
To all our neighbouring kingdoms. I wonder
If Brachiano will be here?

Francisco. Oh, fie! ’Twere impudence too palpable. [Exeunt.

Enter Flamineo and Marcello guarded, and a Lawyer

Lawyer. What, are you in by the week? So — I will try now whether they wit be close prisoner — methinks none should sit upon thy sister, but old whore-masters ——

Flamineo. Or cuckolds; for your cuckold is your most terrible tickler of lechery. Whore-masters would serve; for none are judges at tilting, but those that have been old tilters.

Lawyer. My lord duke and she have been very private.

Flamineo. You are a dull ass; ’tis threatened they have been very public.

Lawyer. If it can be proved they have but kissed one another ——

Flamineo. What then?

Lawyer. My lord cardinal will ferret them.

Flamineo. A cardinal, I hope, will not catch conies.

Lawyer. For to sow kisses (mark what I say), to sow kisses is to reap lechery; and, I am sure, a woman that will endure kissing is half won.

Flamineo. True, her upper part, by that rule; if you will win her neither part too, you know what follows.

Lawyer. Hark! the ambassadors are ’lighted ——

Flamineo. I do put on this feigned garb of mirth,
To gull suspicion.

Marcello. Oh, my unfortunate sister!
I would my dagger-point had cleft her heart
When she first saw Brachiano: you, ’tis said,
Were made his engine, and his stalking horse,
To undo my sister.

Flamineo. I am a kind of path
To her and mine own preferment.

Marcello. Your ruin.

Flamineo. Hum! thou art a soldier,
Followest the great duke, feed’st his victories,
As witches do their serviceable spirits,
Even with thy prodigal blood: what hast got?
But, like the wealth of captains, a poor handful,
Which in thy palm thou bear’st, as men hold water;
Seeking to grip it fast, the frail reward
Steals through thy fingers.

Marcello. Sir!

Flamineo. Thou hast scarce maintenance
To keep thee in fresh chamois.

Marcello. Brother!

Flamineo. Hear me:
And thus, when we have even pour’d ourselves
Into great fights, for their ambition,
Or idle spleen, how shall we find reward?
But as we seldom find the mistletoe,
Sacred to physic, on the builder oak,
Without a mandrake by it; so in our quest of gain,
Alas, the poorest of their forc’d dislikes
At a limb proffers, but at heart it strikes!
This is lamented doctrine.

Marcello. Come, come.

Flamineo. When age shall turn thee
White as a blooming hawthorn ——

Marcello. I ’ll interrupt you:
For love of virtue bear an honest heart,
And stride o’er every politic respect,
Which, where they most advance, they most infect.
Were I your father, as I am your brother,
I should not be ambitious to leave you
A better patrimony.

Flamineo. I ’ll think on ’t. [Enter Savoy Ambassador.
The lord ambassadors.

[Here there is a passage of the Lieger Ambassadors over the stage severally.

Enter French Ambassador

Lawyer. Oh, my sprightly Frenchman! Do you know him? he ’s an admirable tilter.

Flamineo. I saw him at last tilting: he showed like a pewter candlestick fashioned like a man in armour, holding a tilting staff in his hand, little bigger than a candle of twelve i’ th’ pound.

Lawyer. Oh, but he’s an excellent horseman!

Flamineo. A lame one in his lofty tricks; he sleeps a-horseback, like a poulterer.

Enter English and Spanish

Lawyer. Lo you, my Spaniard!

Flamineo. He carried his face in ’s ruff, as I have seen a serving-man carry glasses in a cypress hatband, monstrous steady, for fear of breaking; he looks like the claw of a blackbird, first salted, and then broiled in a candle. [Exeunt.

SCENE II

The Arraignment of Vittoria

Enter Francisco, Monticelso, the six Lieger Ambassadors, Brachiano, Vittoria, Zanche, Flamineo, Marcello, Lawyer, and a Guard.

Monticelso. Forbear, my lord, here is no place assign’d you.
This business, by his Holiness, is left
To our examination.

Brachiano. May it thrive with you. [Lays a rich gown under him.

Francisco. A chair there for his Lordship.

Brachiano. Forbear your kindness: an unbidden guest
Should travel as Dutch women go to church,
Bear their stools with them.

Monticelso. At your pleasure, sir.
Stand to the table, gentlewoman. Now, signior,
Fall to your plea.

Lawyer. Domine judex, converte oculos in hanc pestem, mulierum corruptissiman.

Vittoria. What ’s he?

Francisco. A lawyer that pleads against you.

Vittoria. Pray, my lord, let him speak his usual tongue,
I ’ll make no answer else.

Francisco. Why, you understand Latin.

Vittoria. I do, sir, but amongst this auditory
Which come to hear my cause, the half or more
May be ignorant in ’t.

Monticelso. Go on, sir.

Vittoria. By your favour,
I will not have my accusation clouded
In a strange tongue: all this assembly
Shall hear what you can charge me with.

Francisco. Signior,
You need not stand on ’t much; pray, change your language.

Monticelso. Oh, for God’s sake — Gentlewoman, your credit
Shall be more famous by it.

Lawyer. Well then, have at you.

Vittoria. I am at the mark, sir; I ’ll give aim to you,
And tell you how near you shoot.

Lawyer. Most literated judges, please your lordships
So to connive your judgments to the view
Of this debauch’d and diversivolent woman;
Who such a black concatenation
Of mischief hath effected, that to extirp
The memory of ’t, must be the consummation
Of her, and her projections ——

Vittoria. What ’s all this?

Lawyer. Hold your peace!
Exorbitant sins must have exulceration.

Vittoria. Surely, my lords, this lawyer here hath swallow’d
Some ’pothecaries’ bills, or proclamations;
And now the hard and undigestible words
Come up, like stones we use give hawks for physic.
Why, this is Welsh to Latin.

Lawyer. My lords, the woman
Knows not her tropes, nor figures, nor is perfect
In the academic derivation
Of grammatical elocution.

Francisco. Sir, your pains
Shall be well spar’d, and your deep eloquence
Be worthily applauded amongst thouse
Which understand you.

Lawyer. My good lord.

Francisco. Sir,
Put up your papers in your fustian bag —
[Francisco speaks this as in scorn.
Cry mercy, sir, ’tis buckram and accept
My notion of your learn’d verbosity.

Lawyer. I most graduatically thank your lordship:
I shall have use for them elsewhere.

Monticelso. I shall be plainer with you, and paint out
Your follies in more natural red and white
Than that upon your cheek.

Vittoria. Oh, you mistake!
You raise a blood as noble in this cheek
As ever was your mother’s.

Monticelso. I must spare you, till proof cry whore to that.
Observe this creature here, my honour’d lords,
A woman of most prodigious spirit,
In her effected.

Vittoria. My honourable lord,
It doth not suit a reverend cardinal
To play the lawyer thus.

Monticelso. Oh, your trade instructs your language!
You see, my lords, what goodly fruit she seems;
Yet like those apples travellers report
To grow where Sodom and Gomorrah stood,
I will but touch her, and you straight shall see
She ’ll fall to soot and ashes.

Vittoria. Your envenom’d ’pothecary should do ’t.

Monticelso. I am resolv’d,
Were there a second paradise to lose,
This devil would betray it.

Vittoria. O poor Charity!
Thou art seldom found in scarlet.

Monticelso. Who knows not how, when several night by night
Her gates were chok’d with coaches, and her rooms
Outbrav’d the stars with several kind of lights;
When she did counterfeit a prince’s court
In music, banquets, and most riotous surfeits;
This whore forsooth was holy.

Vittoria. Ha! whore! what ’s that?

Monticelso. Shall I expound whore to you? sure I shall;
I ’ll give their perfect character. They are first,
Sweetmeats which rot the eater; in man’s nostrils
Poison’d perfumes. They are cozening alchemy;
Shipwrecks in calmest weather. What are whores!
Cold Russian winters, that appear so barren,
As if that nature had forgot the spring.
They are the true material fire of hell:
Worse than those tributes i’ th’ Low Countries paid,
Exactions upon meat, drink, garments, sleep,
Ay, even on man’s perdition, his sin.
They are those brittle evidences of law,
Which forfeit all a wretched man’s estate
For leaving out one syllable. What are whores!
They are those flattering bells have all one tune,
At weddings, and at funerals. Your rich whores
Are only treasuries by extortion fill’d,
And emptied by curs’d riot. They are worse,
Worse than dead bodies which are begg’d at gallows,
And wrought upon by surgeons, to teach man
Wherein he is imperfect. What’s a whore!
She ’s like the guilty counterfeited coin,
Which, whosoe’er first stamps it, brings in trouble
All that receive it.

Vittoria. This character ’scapes me.

Monticelso. You, gentlewoman!
Take from all beasts and from all minerals
Their deadly poison ——

Vittoria. Well, what then?

Monticelso. I ’ll tell thee;
I ’ll find in thee a ’pothecary’s shop,
To sample them all.

French Ambassador. She hath liv’d ill.

English Ambassador. True, but the cardinal ’s too bitter.

Monticelso. You know what whore is. Next the devil adultery,
Enters the devil murder.

Francisco. Your unhappy husband
Is dead.

Vittoria. Oh, he ’s a happy husband!
Now he owes nature nothing.

Francisco. And by a vaulting engine.

Monticelso. An active plot; he jump’d into his grave.

Francisco. What a prodigy was ’t,
That from some two yards’ height, a slender man
Should break his neck!

Monticelso. I’ th’ rushes!

Francisco. And what’s more,
Upon the instant lose all use of speech,
All vital motion, like a man had lain
Wound up three days. Now mark each circumstance.

Monticelso. And look upon this creature was his wife!
She comes not like a widow; she comes arm’d
With scorn and impudence: is this a mourning-habit?

Vittoria. Had I foreknown his death, as you suggest,
I would have bespoke my mourning.

Monticelso. Oh, you are cunning!

Vittoria. You shame your wit and judgment,
To call it so. What! is my just defence
By him that is my judge call’d impudence?
Let me appeal then from this Christian court,
To the uncivil Tartar.

Monticelso. See, my lords,
She scandals our proceedings.

Vittoria. Humbly thus,
Thus low to the most worthy and respected
Lieger ambassadors, my modesty
And womanhood I tender; but withal,
So entangled in a curs’d accusation,
That my defence, of force, like Perseus,
Must personate masculine virtue. To the point.
Find me but guilty, sever head from body,
We ’ll part good friends: I scorn to hold my life
At yours, or any man’s entreaty, sir.

English Ambassador. She hath a brave spirit.

Monticelso. Well, well, such counterfeit jewels
Make true ones oft suspected.

Vittoria. You are deceiv’d:
For know, that all your strict-combined heads,
Which strike against this mine of diamonds,
Shall prove but glassen hammers: they shall break.
These are but feigned shadows of my evils.
Terrify babes, my lord, with painted devils,
I am past such needless palsy. For your names
Of ’whore’ and ’murderess’, they proceed from you,
As if a man should spit against the wind,
The filth returns in ’s face.

Monticelso. Pray you, mistress, satisfy me one question:
Who lodg’d beneath your roof that fatal night
Your husband broke his neck?

Brachiano. That question
Enforceth me break silence: I was there.

Monticelso. Your business?

Brachiano. Why, I came to comfort her,
And take some course for settling her estate,
Because I heard her husband was in debt
To you, my lord.

Monticelso. He was.

Brachiano. And ’twas strangely fear’d,
That you would cozen her.

Monticelso. Who made you overseer?

Brachiano. Why, my charity, my charity, which should flow
From every generous and noble spirit,
To orphans and to widows.

Monticelso. Your lust!

Brachiano. Cowardly dogs bark loudest: sirrah priest,
I ’ll talk with you hereafter. Do you hear?
The sword you frame of such an excellent temper,
I ’ll sheath in your own bowels.
There are a number of thy coat resemble
Your common post-boys.

Monticelso. Ha!

Brachiano. Your mercenary post-boys;
Your letters carry truth, but ’tis your guise
To fill your mouths with gross and impudent lies.

Servant. My lord, your gown.

Brachiano. Thou liest, ’twas my stool:
Bestow ’t upon thy master, that will challenge
The rest o’ th’ household-stuff; for Brachiano
Was ne’er so beggarly to take a stool
Out of another’s lodging: let him make
Vallance for his bed on ’t, or a demy foot-cloth
For his most reverend moil. Monticelso,
Nemo me impune lacessit. [Exit.

Monticelso. Your champion’s gone.

Vittoria. The wolf may prey the better.

Francisco. My lord, there ’s great suspicion of the murder,
But no sound proof who did it. For my part,
I do not think she hath a soul so black
To act a deed so bloody; if she have,
As in cold countries husbandmen plant vines,
And with warm blood manure them; even so
One summer she will bear unsavoury fruit,
And ere next spring wither both branch and root.
The act of blood let pass; only descend
To matters of incontinence.

Vittoria. I discern poison
Under your gilded pills.

Monticelso. Now the duke’s gone, I will produce a letter
Wherein ’twas plotted, he and you should meet
At an apothecary’s summer-house,
Down by the River Tiber — view ’t, my lords,
Where after wanton bathing and the heat
Of a lascivious banquet — I pray read it,
I shame to speak the rest.

Vittoria. Grant I was tempted;
Temptation to lust proves not the act:
Casta est quam nemo rogavit.
You read his hot love to me, but you want
My frosty answer.

Monticelso. Frost i’ th’ dog-days! strange!

Vittoria. Condemn you me for that the duke did love me?
So may you blame some fair and crystal river,
For that some melancholic distracted man
Hath drown’d himself in ’t.

Monticelso. Truly drown’d, indeed.

Vittoria. Sum up my faults, I pray, and you shall find,
That beauty and gay clothes, a merry heart,
And a good stomach to feast, are all,
All the poor crimes that you can charge me with.
In faith, my lord, you might go pistol flies,
The sport would be more noble.

Monticelso. Very good.

Vittoria. But take your course: it seems you ’ve beggar’d me first,
And now would fain undo me. I have houses,
Jewels, and a poor remnant of crusadoes;
Would those would make you charitable!

Monticelso. If the devil
Did ever take good shape, behold his picture.

Vittoria. You have one virtue left,
You will not flatter me.

Francisco. Who brought this letter?

Vittoria. I am not compell’d to tell you.

Monticelso. My lord duke sent to you a thousand ducats
The twelfth of August.

Vittoria. ’Twas to keep your cousin
From prison; I paid use for ’t.

Monticelso. I rather think,
’Twas interest for his lust.

Vittoria. Who says so but yourself?
If you be my accuser,
Pray cease to be my judge: come from the bench;
Give in your evidence ’gainst me, and let these
Be moderators. My lord cardinal,
Were your intelligencing ears as loving
As to my thoughts, had you an honest tongue,
I would not care though you proclaim’d them all.

Monticelso. Go to, go to.
After your goodly and vainglorious banquet,
I ’ll give you a choke-pear.

Vittoria. O’ your own grafting?

Monticelso. You were born in Venice, honourably descended
From the Vittelli: ’twas my cousin’s fate,
Ill may I name the hour, to marry you;
He bought you of your father.

Vittoria. Ha!

Monticelso. He spent there in six months
Twelve thousand ducats, and (to my acquaintance)
Receiv’d in dowry with you not one Julio:
’Twas a hard pennyworth, the ware being so light.
I yet but draw the curtain; now to your picture:
You came from thence a most notorious strumpet,
And so you have continued.

Vittoria. My lord!

Monticelso. Nay, hear me,
You shall have time to prate. My Lord Brachiano —
Alas! I make but repetition
Of what is ordinary and Rialto talk,
And ballated, and would be play’d a’ th’ stage,
But that vice many times finds such loud friends,
That preachers are charm’d silent.
You, gentlemen, Flamineo and Marcello,
The Court hath nothing now to charge you with,
Only you must remain upon your sureties
For your appearance.

Francisco. I stand for Marcello.

Flamineo. And my lord duke for me.

Monticelso. For you, Vittoria, your public fault,
Join’d to th’ condition of the present time,
Takes from you all the fruits of noble pity,
Such a corrupted trial have you made
Both of your life and beauty, and been styl’d
No less an ominous fate than blazing stars
To princes. Hear your sentence: you are confin’d
Unto a house of convertites, and your bawd ——

Flamineo. [Aside.] Who, I?

Monticelso. The Moor.

Flamineo. [Aside.] Oh, I am a sound man again.

Vittoria. A house of convertites! what ’s that?

Monticelso. A house of penitent whores.

Vittoria. Do the noblemen in Rome
Erect it for their wives, that I am sent
To lodge there?

Francisco. You must have patience.

Vittoria. I must first have vengeance!
I fain would know if you have your salvation
By patent, that you proceed thus.

Monticelso. Away with her,
Take her hence.

Vittoria. A rape! a rape!

Monticelso. How?

Vittoria. Yes, you have ravish’d justice;
Forc’d her to do your pleasure.

Monticelso. Fie, she ’s mad ——

Vittoria. Die with those pills in your most cursed maw,
Should bring you health! or while you sit o’ th’ bench,
Let your own spittle choke you!

Monticelso. She ’s turned fury.

Vittoria. That the last day of judgment may so find you,
And leave you the same devil you were before!
Instruct me, some good horse-leech, to speak treason;
For since you cannot take my life for deeds,
Take it for words. O woman’s poor revenge,
Which dwells but in the tongue! I will not weep;
No, I do scorn to call up one poor tear
To fawn on your injustice: bear me hence
Unto this house of — what’s your mitigating title?

Monticelso. Of convertites.

Vittoria. It shall not be a house of convertites;
My mind shall make it honester to me
Than the Pope’s palace, and more peaceable
Than thy soul, though thou art a cardinal.
Know this, and let it somewhat raise your spite,
Through darkness diamonds spread their richest light. [Exit.

Enter Brachiano

Brachiano. Now you and I are friends, sir, we’ll shake hands
In a friend’s grave together; a fit place,
Being th’ emblem of soft peace, t’ atone our hatred.

Francisco. Sir, what ’s the matter?

Brachiano. I will not chase more blood from that lov’d cheek;
You have lost too much already; fare you well. [Exit.

Francisco. How strange these words sound! what ’s the interpretation?

Flamineo. [Aside.] Good; this is a preface to the discovery of the duchess’ death: he carries it well. Because now I cannot counterfeit a whining passion for the death of my lady, I will feign a mad humour for the disgrace of my sister; and that will keep off idle questions. Treason’s tongue hath a villainous palsy in ’t; I will talk to any man, hear no man, and for a time appear a politic madman.

Enter Giovanni, and Count Lodovico

Francisco. How now, my noble cousin? what, in black!

Giovanni. Yes, uncle, I was taught to imitate you
In virtue, and you must imitate me
In colours of your garments. My sweet mother
Is ——

Francisco. How? where?

Giovanni. Is there; no, yonder: indeed, sir, I ’ll not tell you,
For I shall make you weep.

Francisco. Is dead?

Giovanni. Do not blame me now,
I did not tell you so.

Lodovico. She ’s dead, my lord.

Francisco. Dead!

Monticelso. Bless’d lady, thou art now above thy woes!
Will ’t please your lordships to withdraw a little?

Giovanni. What do the dead do, uncle? do they eat,
Hear music, go a-hunting, and be merry,
As we that live?

Francisco. No, coz; they sleep.

Giovanni. Lord, Lord, that I were dead!
I have not slept these six nights. When do they wake?

Francisco. When God shall please.

Giovanni. Good God, let her sleep ever!
For I have known her wake an hundred nights,
When all the pillow where she laid her head
Was brine-wet with her tears. I am to complain to you, sir;
I ’ll tell you how they have us’d her now she ’s dead:
They wrapp’d her in a cruel fold of lead,
And would not let me kiss her.

Francisco. Thou didst love her?

Giovanni. I have often heard her say she gave me suck,
And it should seem by that she dearly lov’d me,
Since princes seldom do it.

Francisco. Oh, all of my poor sister that remains!
Take him away for God’s sake! [Exit Giovanni.

Monticelso. How now, my lord?

Francisco. Believe me, I am nothing but her grave;
And I shall keep her blessed memory
Longer than thousand epitaphs.

SCENE III

Enter Flamineo as distracted, Marcello, and Lodovico

Flamineo. We endure the strokes like anvils or hard steel,
Till pain itself make us no pain to feel.
Who shall do me right now? is this the end of service? I’d rather go weed garlic; travail through France, and be mine own ostler; wear sheep-skin linings, or shoes that stink of blacking; be entered into the list of the forty thousand pedlars in Poland. [Enter Savoy Ambassador.] Would I had rotted in some surgeon’s house at Venice, built upon the pox as well as on piles, ere I had served Brachiano!

Savoy Ambassador. You must have comfort.

Flamineo. Your comfortable words are like honey: they relish well in your mouth that ’s whole, but in mine that ’s wounded, they go down as if the sting of the bee were in them. Oh, they have wrought their purpose cunningly, as if they would not seem to do it of malice! In this a politician imitates the devil, as the devil imitates a canon; wheresoever he comes to do mischief, he comes with his backside towards you.

Enter French Ambassador

French Ambassador. The proofs are evident.

Flamineo. Proof! ’twas corruption. O gold, what a god art thou! and O man, what a devil art thou to be tempted by that cursed mineral! Your diversivolent lawyer, mark him! knaves turn informers, as maggots turn to flies, you may catch gudgeons with either. A cardinal! I would he would hear me: there ’s nothing so holy but money will corrupt and putrify it, like victual under the line. [Enter English Ambassador.] You are happy in England, my lord; here they sell justice with those weights they press men to death with. O horrible salary!

English Ambassador. Fie, fie, Flamineo.

Flamineo. Bells ne’er ring well, till they are at their full pitch; and I hope yon cardinal shall never have the grace to pray well, till he come to the scaffold. If they were racked now to know the confederacy: but your noblemen are privileged from the rack; and well may, for a little thing would pull some of them a-pieces afore they came to their arraignment. Religion, oh, how it is commeddled with policy! The first blood shed in the world happened about religion. Would I were a Jew!

Marcello. Oh, there are too many!

Flamineo. You are deceived; there are not Jews enough, priests enough, nor gentlemen enough.

Marcello. How?

Flamineo. I ’ll prove it; for if there were Jews enough, so many Christians would not turn usurers; if priests enough, one should not have six benefices; and if gentlemen enough, so many early mushrooms, whose best growth sprang from a live by begging: be thou one of them practise the art of Wolner in England, to swallow all ’s given thee: and yet let one purgation make thee as hungry again as fellows that work in a saw-pit. I ’ll go hear the screech-owl. [Exit.

Lodovico. This was Brachiano’s pander; and ’tis strange
That in such open, and apparent guilt
Of his adulterous sister, he dare utter
So scandalous a passion. I must wind him.

Re-enter Flamineo.

Flamineo. How dares this banish’d count return to Rome,
His pardon not yet purchas’d! I have heard
The deceased duchess gave him pension,
And that he came along from Padua
I’ th’ train of the young prince. There ’s somewhat in ’t:
Physicians, that cure poisons, still do work
With counter-poisons.

Marcello. Mark this strange encounter.

Flamineo. The god of melancholy turn thy gall to poison,
And let the stigmatic wrinkles in thy face,
Like to the boisterous waves in a rough tide,
One still overtake another.

Lodovico. I do thank thee,
And I do wish ingeniously for thy sake,
The dog-days all year long.

Flamineo. How croaks the raven?
Is our good duchess dead?

Lodovico. Dead.

Flamineo. O fate!
Misfortune comes like the coroner’s business
Huddle upon huddle.

Lodovico. Shalt thou and I join housekeeping?

Flamineo. Yes, content:
Let ’s be unsociably sociable.

Lodovico. Sit some three days together, and discourse?

Flamineo. Only with making faces;
Lie in our clothes.

Lodovico. With faggots for our pillows.

Flamineo. And be lousy.

Lodovico. In taffeta linings, that ’s genteel melancholy;
Sleep all day.

Flamineo. Yes; and, like your melancholic hare,
Feed after midnight. [Enter Antonelli and Gasparo.
We are observed: see how yon couple grieve.

Lodovico. What a strange creature is a laughing fool!
As if man were created to no use
But only to show his teeth.

Flamineo. I ’ll tell thee what,
It would do well instead of looking-glasses,
To set one’s face each morning by a saucer
Of a witch’s congeal’d blood.

Lodovico. Precious rogue!
We’ll never part.

Flamineo. Never, till the beggary of courtiers,
The discontent of churchmen, want of soldiers,
And all the creatures that hang manacled,
Worse than strappadoed, on the lowest felly
Of fortune’s wheel, be taught, in our two lives,
To scorn that world which life of means deprives.

Antonelli. My lord, I bring good news. The Pope, on ’s death bed,
At th’ earnest suit of the great Duke of Florence,
Hath sign’d your pardon, and restor’d unto you ——

Lodovico. I thank you for your news. Look up again,
Flamineo, see my pardon.

Flamineo. Why do you laugh?
There was no such condition in our covenant.

Lodovico. Why?

Flamineo. You shall not seem a happier man than I:
You know our vow, sir; if you will be merry,
Do it i’ th’ like posture, as if some great man
Sat while his enemy were executed:
Though it be very lechery unto thee,
Do ’t with a crabbed politician’s face.

Lodovico. Your sister is a damnable whore.

Flamineo. Ha!

Lodovico. Look you, I spake that laughing.

Flamineo. Dost ever think to speak again?

Lodovico. Do you hear?
Wilt sell me forty ounces of her blood
To water a mandrake?

Flamineo. Poor lord, you did vow
To live a lousy creature.

Lodovico. Yes.

Flamineo. Like one
That had for ever forfeited the daylight,
By being in debt.

Lodovico. Ha, ha!

Flamineo. I do not greatly wonder you do break,
Your lordship learn’d ’t long since. But I ’ll tell you.

Lodovico. What?

Flamineo. And ’t shall stick by you.

Lodovico. I long for it.

Flamineo. This laughter scurvily becomes your face:
If you will not be melancholy, be angry. [Strikes him.
See, now I laugh too.

Marcello. You are to blame: I ’ll force you hence.

Lodovico. Unhand me. [Exeunt Marcello and Flamineo.
That e’er I should be forc’d to right myself,
Upon a pander!

Antonelli. My lord.

Lodovico. H’ had been as good met with his fist a thunderbolt.

Gasparo. How this shows!

Lodovico. Ud’s death! how did my sword miss him?
These rogues that are most weary of their lives
Still ’scape the greatest dangers.
A pox upon him; all his reputation,
Nay, all the goodness of his family,
Is not worth half this earthquake:
I learn’d it of no fencer to shake thus:
Come, I ’ll forget him, and go drink some wine.

[Exeunt.

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 12:30