The White Devil, by John Webster

ACT IV

SCENE I

Enter Francisco and Monticelso

Monticelso. Come, come, my lord, untie your folded thoughts,
And let them dangle loose, as a bride’s hair.
Your sister’s poisoned.

Francisco. Far be it from my thoughts
To seek revenge.

Monticelso. What, are you turn’d all marble?

Francisco. Shall I defy him, and impose a war,
Most burthensome on my poor subjects’ necks,
Which at my will I have not power to end?
You know, for all the murders, rapes, and thefts,
Committed in the horrid lust of war,
He that unjustly caus’d it first proceed,
Shall find it in his grave, and in his seed.

Monticelso. That ’s not the course I ’d wish you; pray observe me.
We see that undermining more prevails
Than doth the cannon. Bear your wrongs conceal’d,
And, patient as the tortoise, let this camel
Stalk o’er your back unbruis’d: sleep with the lion,
And let this brood of secure foolish mice
Play with your nostrils, till the time be ripe
For th’ bloody audit, and the fatal gripe:
Aim like a cunning fowler, close one eye,
That you the better may your game espy.

Francisco. Free me, my innocence, from treacherous acts!
I know there ’s thunder yonder; and I ’ll stand,
Like a safe valley, which low bends the knee
To some aspiring mountain: since I know
Treason, like spiders weaving nets for flies,
By her foul work is found, and in it dies.
To pass away these thoughts, my honour’d lord,
It is reported you possess a book,
Wherein you have quoted, by intelligence,
The names of all notorious offenders
Lurking about the city.

Monticelso. Sir, I do;
And some there are which call it my black-book.
Well may the title hold; for though it teach not
The art of conjuring, yet in it lurk
The names of many devils.

Francisco. Pray let ’s see it.

Monticelso. I ’ll fetch it to your lordship. [Exit.

Francisco. Monticelso,
I will not trust thee, but in all my plots
I ’ll rest as jealous as a town besieg’d.
Thou canst not reach what I intend to act:
Your flax soon kindles, soon is out again,
But gold slow heats, and long will hot remain.

Enter Monticelso, with the book

Monticelso. ’Tis here, my lord.

Francisco. First, your intelligencers, pray let ’s see.

Monticelso. Their number rises strangely;
And some of them
You ’d take for honest men.
Next are panders.
These are your pirates; and these following leaves
For base rogues, that undo young gentlemen,
By taking up commodities; for politic bankrupts;
For fellows that are bawds to their own wives,
Only to put off horses, and slight jewels,
Clocks, defac’d plate, and such commodities,
At birth of their first children.

Francisco. Are there such?

Monticelso. These are for impudent bawds,
That go in men’s apparel; for usurers
That share with scriveners for their good reportage:
For lawyers that will antedate their writs:
And some divines you might find folded there,
But that I slip them o’er for conscience’ sake.
Here is a general catalogue of knaves:
A man might study all the prisons o’er,
Yet never attain this knowledge.

Francisco. Murderers?
Fold down the leaf, I pray;
Good my lord, let me borrow this strange doctrine.

Monticelso. Pray, use ’t, my lord.

Francisco. I do assure your lordship,
You are a worthy member of the State,
And have done infinite good in your discovery
Of these offenders.

Monticelso. Somewhat, sir.

Francisco. O God!
Better than tribute of wolves paid in England;
’Twill hang their skins o’ th’ hedge.

Monticelso. I must make bold
To leave your lordship.

Francisco. Dearly, sir, I thank you:
If any ask for me at court, report
You have left me in the company of knaves.
[Exit Monticelso.
I gather now by this, some cunning fellow
That ’s my lord’s officer, and that lately skipp’d
From a clerk’s desk up to a justice’ chair,
Hath made this knavish summons, and intends,
As th’ Irish rebels wont were to sell heads,
So to make prize of these. And thus it happens:
Your poor rogues pay for ’t, which have not the means
To present bribe in fist; the rest o’ th’ band
Are razed out of the knaves’ record; or else
My lord he winks at them with easy will;
His man grows rich, the knaves are the knaves still.
But to the use I ’ll make of it; it shall serve
To point me out a list of murderers,
Agents for my villany. Did I want
Ten leash of courtesans, it would furnish me;
Nay, laundress three armies. That in so little paper
Should lie th’ undoing of so many men!
’Tis not so big as twenty declarations.
See the corrupted use some make of books:
Divinity, wrested by some factious blood,
Draws swords, swells battles, and o’erthrows all good.
To fashion my revenge more seriously,
Let me remember my dear sister’s face:
Call for her picture? no, I ’ll close mine eyes,
And in a melancholic thought I ’ll frame
[Enter Isabella’s Ghost.
Her figure ’fore me. Now I ha’ ’t — how strong
Imagination works! how she can frame
Things which are not! methinks she stands afore me,
And by the quick idea of my mind,
Were my skill pregnant, I could draw her picture.
Thought, as a subtle juggler, makes us deem
Things supernatural, which have cause
Common as sickness. ’Tis my melancholy.
How cam’st thou by thy death? — how idle am I
To question mine own idleness! — did ever
Man dream awake till now? — remove this object;
Out of my brain with ’t: what have I to do
With tombs, or death-beds, funerals, or tears,
That have to meditate upon revenge? [Exit Ghost.
So, now ’tis ended, like an old wife’s story.
Statesmen think often they see stranger sights
Than madmen. Come, to this weighty business.
My tragedy must have some idle mirth in ’t,
Else it will never pass. I am in love,
In love with Corombona; and my suit
Thus halts to her in verse. — [He writes.
I have done it rarely: Oh, the fate of princes!
I am so us’d to frequent flattery,
That, being alone, I now flatter myself:
But it will serve; ’tis seal’d. [Enter servant.] Bear this
To the House of Convertites, and watch your leisure
To give it to the hands of Corombona,
Or to the Matron, when some followers
Of Brachiano may be by. Away! [Exit Servant.
He that deals all by strength, his wit is shallow;
When a man’s head goes through, each limb will follow.
The engine for my business, bold Count Lodowick;
’Tis gold must such an instrument procure,
With empty fist no man doth falcons lure.
Brachiano, I am now fit for thy encounter:
Like the wild Irish, I ’ll ne’er think thee dead
Till I can play at football with thy head,
Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo. [Exit.

SCENE II

Enter the Matron, and Flamineo

Matron. Should it be known the duke hath such recourse
To your imprison’d sister, I were like
T’ incur much damage by it.

Flamineo. Not a scruple.
The Pope lies on his death-bed, and their heads
Are troubled now with other business
Than guarding of a lady.

Enter Servant

Servant. Yonder ’s Flamineo in conference
With the Matrona. — Let me speak with you:
I would entreat you to deliver for me
This letter to the fair Vittoria.

Matron. I shall, sir.

Enter Brachiano

Servant. With all care and secrecy;
Hereafter you shall know me, and receive
Thanks for this courtesy. [Exit.

Flamineo. How now? what ’s that?

Matron. A letter.

Flamineo. To my sister? I ’ll see ’t deliver’d.

Brachiano. What ’s that you read, Flamineo?

Flamineo. Look.

Brachiano. Ha! ’To the most unfortunate, his best respected Vittoria’.
Who was the messenger?

Flamineo. I know not.

Brachiano. No! who sent it?

Flamineo. Ud’s foot! you speak as if a man
Should know what fowl is coffin’d in a bak’d meat
Afore you cut it up.

Brachiano. I ’ll open ’t, were ’t her heart. What ’s here subscrib’d!
Florence! this juggling is gross and palpable.
I have found out the conveyance. Read it, read it.

Flamineo. [Reads the letter.] “Your tears I ’ll turn to triumphs, be but mine;
Your prop is fallen: I pity, that a vine
Which princes heretofore have long’d to gather,
Wanting supporters, now should fade and wither.”
Wine, i’ faith, my lord, with lees would serve his turn.
“Your sad imprisonment I ’ll soon uncharm,
And with a princely uncontrolled arm
Lead you to Florence, where my love and care
Shall hang your wishes in my silver hair.”
A halter on his strange equivocation!
“Nor for my years return me the sad willow;
Who prefer blossoms before fruit that ’s mellow?”
Rotten, on my knowledge, with lying too long i’ th’ bedstraw.
“And all the lines of age this line convinces;
The gods never wax old, no more do princes.”
A pox on ’t, tear it; let ’s have no more atheists, for God’s sake.

Brachiano. Ud’s death! I ’ll cut her into atomies,
And let th’ irregular north wind sweep her up,
And blow her int’ his nostrils: where ’s this whore?

Flamineo. What? what do you call her?

Brachiano. Oh, I could be mad!
Prevent the curs’d disease she ’ll bring me to,
And tear my hair off. Where ’s this changeable stuff?

Flamineo. O’er head and ears in water, I assure you;
She is not for your wearing.

Brachiano. In, you pander!

Flamineo. What, me, my lord? am I your dog?

Brachiano. A bloodhound: do you brave, do you stand me?

Flamineo. Stand you! let those that have diseases run;
I need no plasters.

Brachiano. Would you be kick’d?

Flamineo. Would you have your neck broke?
I tell you, duke, I am not in Russia;
My shins must be kept whole.

Brachiano. Do you know me?

Flamineo. Oh, my lord, methodically!
As in this world there are degrees of evils,
So in this world there are degrees of devils.
You ’re a great duke, I your poor secretary.
I do look now for a Spanish fig, or an Italian sallet, daily.

Brachiano. Pander, ply your convoy, and leave your prating.

Flamineo. All your kindness to me, is like that miserable courtesy of Polyphemus to Ulysses; you reserve me to be devoured last: you would dig turfs out of my grave to feed your larks; that would be music to you. Come, I ’ll lead you to her.

Brachiano. Do you face me?

Flamineo. Oh, sir, I would not go before a politic enemy with my back towards him, though there were behind me a whirlpool.

Enter Vittoria to Brachiano and Flamineo

Brachiano. Can you read, mistress? look upon that letter:
There are no characters, nor hieroglyphics.
You need no comment; I am grown your receiver.
God’s precious! you shall be a brave great lady,
A stately and advanced whore.

Vittoria. Say, sir?

Brachiano. Come, come, let ’s see your cabinet, discover
Your treasury of love-letters. Death and furies!
I ’ll see them all.

Vittoria. Sir, upon my soul,
I have not any. Whence was this directed?

Brachiano. Confusion on your politic ignorance!
You are reclaim’d, are you? I ’ll give you the bells,
And let you fly to the devil.

Flamineo. Ware hawk, my lord.

Vittoria. Florence! this is some treacherous plot, my lord;
To me he ne’er was lovely, I protest,
So much as in my sleep.

Brachiano. Right! there are plots.
Your beauty! Oh, ten thousand curses on ’t!
How long have I beheld the devil in crystal!
Thou hast led me, like an heathen sacrifice,
With music, and with fatal yokes of flowers,
To my eternal ruin. Woman to man
Is either a god, or a wolf.

Vittoria. My lord ——

Brachiano. Away!
We ’ll be as differing as two adamants,
The one shall shun the other. What! dost weep?
Procure but ten of thy dissembling trade,
Ye ’d furnish all the Irish funerals
With howling past wild Irish.

Flamineo. Fie, my lord!

Brachiano. That hand, that cursed hand, which I have wearied
With doting kisses! — Oh, my sweetest duchess,
How lovely art thou now! — My loose thoughts
Scatter like quicksilver: I was bewitch’d;
For all the world speaks ill of thee.

Vittoria. No matter;
I ’ll live so now, I ’ll make that world recant,
And change her speeches. You did name your duchess.

Brachiano. Whose death God pardon!

Vittoria. Whose death God revenge
On thee, most godless duke!

Flamineo. Now for two whirlwinds.

Vittoria. What have I gain’d by thee, but infamy?
Thou hast stain’d the spotless honour of my house,
And frighted thence noble society:
Like those, which sick o’ th’ palsy, and retain
Ill-scenting foxes ’bout them, are still shunn’d
By those of choicer nostrils. What do you call this house?
Is this your palace? did not the judge style it
A house of penitent whores? who sent me to it?
To this incontinent college? is ’t not you?
Is ’t not your high preferment? go, go, brag
How many ladies you have undone, like me.
Fare you well, sir; let me hear no more of you!
I had a limb corrupted to an ulcer,
But I have cut it off; and now I ’ll go
Weeping to heaven on crutches. For your gifts,
I will return them all, and I do wish
That I could make you full executor
To all my sins. O that I could toss myself
Into a grave as quickly! for all thou art worth
I ’ll not shed one tear more — I ’ll burst first.

[She throws herself upon a bed.

Brachiano. I have drunk Lethe: Vittoria!
My dearest happiness! Vittoria!
What do you ail, my love? why do you weep?

Vittoria. Yes, I now weep poniards, do you see?

Brachiano. Are not those matchless eyes mine?

Vittoria. I had rather
They were not matches.

Brachiano. Is not this lip mine?

Vittoria. Yes; thus to bite it off, rather than give it thee.

Flamineo. Turn to my lord, good sister.

Vittoria. Hence, you pander!

Flamineo. Pander! am I the author of your sin?

Vittoria. Yes; he ’s a base thief that a thief lets in.

Flamineo. We ’re blown up, my lord ——

Brachiano. Wilt thou hear me?
Once to be jealous of thee, is t’ express
That I will love thee everlastingly,
And never more be jealous.

Vittoria. O thou fool,
Whose greatness hath by much o’ergrown thy wit!
What dar’st thou do, that I not dare to suffer,
Excepting to be still thy whore? for that,
In the sea’s bottom sooner thou shalt make
A bonfire.

Flamineo. Oh, no oaths, for God’s sake!

Brachiano. Will you hear me?

Vittoria. Never.

Flamineo. What a damn’d imposthume is a woman’s will!
Can nothing break it? [Aside.] Fie, fie, my lord,
Women are caught as you take tortoises,
She must be turn’d on her back. Sister, by this hand
I am on your side. — Come, come, you have wrong’d her;
What a strange credulous man were you, my lord,
To think the Duke of Florenc would love her!
Will any mercer take another’s ware
When once ’tis tows’d and sullied? And yet, sister,
How scurvily this forwardness becomes you!
Young leverets stand not long, and women’s anger
Should, like their flight, procure a little sport;
A full cry for a quarter of an hour,
And then be put to th’ dead quat.

Brachiano. Shall these eyes,
Which have so long time dwelt upon your face,
Be now put out?

Flamineo. No cruel landlady i’ th’ world,
Which lends forth groats to broom-men, and takes use
For them, would do ’t.
Hand her, my lord, and kiss her: be not like
A ferret, to let go your hold with blowing.

Brachiano. Let us renew right hands.

Vittoria. Hence!

Brachiano. Never shall rage, or the forgetful wine,
Make me commit like fault.

Flamineo. Now you are i’ th’ way on ’t, follow ’t hard.

Brachiano. Be thou at peace with me, let all the world
Threaten the cannon.

Flamineo. Mark his penitence;
Best natures do commit the grossest faults,
When they ’re given o’er to jealousy, as best wine,
Dying, makes strongest vinegar. I ’ll tell you:
The sea ’s more rough and raging than calm rivers,
But not so sweet, nor wholesome. A quiet woman
Is a still water under a great bridge;
A man may shoot her safely.

Vittoria. O ye dissembling men!

Flamineo. We suck’d that, sister,
From women’s breasts, in our first infancy.

Vittoria. To add misery to misery!

Brachiano. Sweetest!

Vittoria. Am I not low enough?
Ay, ay, your good heart gathers like a snowball,
Now your affection ’s cold.

Flamineo. Ud’s foot, it shall melt
To a heart again, or all the wine in Rome
Shall run o’ th’ lees for ’t.

Vittoria. Your dog or hawk should be rewarded better
Than I have been. I ’ll speak not one word more.

Flamineo. Stop her mouth
With a sweet kiss, my lord. So,
Now the tide ’s turn’d, the vessel ’s come about.
He ’s a sweet armful. Oh, we curl-hair’d men
Are still most kind to women! This is well.

Brachiano. That you should chide thus!

Flamineo. Oh, sir, your little chimneys
Do ever cast most smoke! I sweat for you.
Couple together with as deep a silence,
As did the Grecians in their wooden horse.
My lord, supply your promises with deeds;
You know that painted meat no hunger feeds.

Brachiano. Stay, ungrateful Rome ——

Flamineo. Rome! it deserve to be call’d Barbary,
For our villainous usage.

Brachiano. Soft; the same project which the Duke of Florence,
(Whether in love or gallery I know not)
Laid down for her escape, will I pursue.

Flamineo. And no time fitter than this night, my lord.
The Pope being dead, and all the cardinals enter’d
The conclave, for th’ electing a new Pope;
The city in a great confusion;
We may attire her in a page’s suit,
Lay her post-horse, take shipping, and amain
For Padua.

Brachiano. I ’ll instantly steal forth the Prince Giovanni,
And make for Padua. You two with your old mother,
And young Marcello that attends on Florence,
If you can work him to it, follow me:
I will advance you all; for you, Vittoria,
Think of a duchess’ title.

Flamineo. Lo you, sister!
Stay, my lord; I ’ll tell you a tale. The crocodile, which lives in the River Nilus, hath a worm breeds i’ th’ teeth of ’t, which puts it to extreme anguish: a little bird, no bigger than a wren, is barber-surgeon to this crocodile; flies into the jaws of ’t, picks out the worm, and brings present remedy. The fish, glad of ease, but ungrateful to her that did it, that the bird may not talk largely of her abroad for non-payment, closeth her chaps, intending to swallow her, and so put her to perpetual silence. But nature, loathing such ingratitude, hath armed this bird with a quill or prick on the head, top o’ th’ which wounds the crocodile i’ th’ mouth, forceth her open her bloody prison, and away flies the pretty tooth-picker from her cruel patient.

Brachiano. Your application is, I have not rewarded
The service you have done me.

Flamineo. No, my lord.
You, sister, are the crocodile: you are blemish’d in your fame, my lord cures it; and though the comparison hold not in every particle, yet observe, remember, what good the bird with the prick i’ th’ head hath done you, and scorn ingratitude.
It may appear to some ridiculous
Thus to talk knave and madman, and sometimes
Come in with a dried sentence, stuffed with sage:
But this allows my varying of shapes;
Knaves do grow great by being great men’s apes.

SCENE III

Enter Francisco, Lodovico, Gasparo, and six Ambassadors

Francisco. So, my lord, I commend your diligence.
Guard well the conclave; and, as the order is,
Let none have conference with the cardinals.

Lodovico. I shall, my lord. Room for the ambassadors.

Gasparo. They ’re wondrous brave today: why do they wear
These several habits?

Lodovico. Oh, sir, they ’re knights
Of several orders:
That lord i’ th’ black cloak, with the silver cross,
Is Knight of Rhodes; the next, Knight of St. Michael;
That, of the Golden Fleece; the Frenchman, there,
Knight of the Holy Ghost; my Lord of Savoy,
Knight of th’ Annunciation; the Englishman
Is Knight of th’ honour’d Garter, dedicated
Unto their saint, St. George. I could describe to you
Their several institutions, with the laws
Annexed to their orders; but that time
Permits not such discovery.

Francisco. Where ’s Count Lodowick?

Lodovico. Here, my lord.

Francisco. ’Tis o’ th’ point of dinner time;
Marshal the cardinals’ service.

Lodovico. Sir, I shall. [Enter Servants, with several dishes covered.
Stand, let me search your dish. Who ’s this for?

Servant. For my Lord Cardinal Monticelso.

Lodovico. Whose this?

Servant. For my Lord Cardinal of Bourbon.

French Ambassador. Why doth he search the dishes? to observe
What meat is dressed?

English Ambassador. No, sir, but to prevent
Lest any letters should be convey’d in,
To bribe or to solicit the advancement
Of any cardinal. When first they enter,
’Tis lawful for the ambassadors of princes
To enter with them, and to make their suit
For any man their prince affecteth best;
But after, till a general election,
No man may speak with them.

Lodovico. You that attend on the lord cardinals,
Open the window, and receive their viands.

Cardinal. [Within.] You must return the service: the lord cardinals
Are busied ’bout electing of the Pope;
They have given o’er scrutiny, and are fallen
To admiration.

Lodovico. Away, away.

Francisco. I ’ll lay a thousand ducats you hear news
Of a Pope presently. Hark; sure he ’s elected:
Behold, my Lord of Arragon appears
On the church battlements. [A Cardinal on the terrace.

Arragon. Denuntio vobis gaudium magnum: Reverendissimus Cardinalis Lorenzo de Monticelso electus est in sedem apostolicam, et elegit sibi nomen Paulum Quartum.

Omnes. Vivat Sanctus Pater Paulus Quartus!

Servant. Vittoria, my lord ——

Francisco. Well, what of her?

Servant. Is fled the city ——

Francisco. Ha!

Servant. With Duke Brachiano.

Francisco. Fled! where ’s the Prince Giovanni?

Servant. Gone with his father.

Francisco. Let the Matrona of the Convertites
Be apprehended. Fled? O damnable!
How fortunate are my wishes! why, ’twas this
I only labour’d: I did send the letter
T’ instruct him what to do. Thy fame, fond duke,
I first have poison’d; directed thee the way
To marry a whore; what can be worse? This follows:
The hand must act to drown the passionate tongue,
I scorn to wear a sword and prate of wrong.

Enter Monticelso in State

Monticelso. Concedimus vobis Apostolicam benedictionem, et remissionem peccatorum.
My lord reports Vittoria Corombona
Is stol’n from forth the House of Convertites
By Brachiano, and they ’re fled the city.
Now, though this be the first day of our seat,
We cannot better please the Divine Power,
Than to sequester from the Holy Church
These cursed persons. Make it therefore known,
We do denounce excommunication
Against them both: all that are theirs in Rome
We likewise banish. Set on.

[Exeunt all but Francisco and Lodovico.

Francisco. Come, dear Lodovico;
You have ta’en the sacrament to prosecute
Th’ intended murder?

Lodovico. With all constancy.
But, sir, I wonder you ’ll engage yourself
In person, being a great prince.

Francisco. Divert me not.
Most of his court are of my faction,
And some are of my council. Noble friend,
Our danger shall be like in this design:
Give leave part of the glory may be mine. [Exit Francisco.

Enter Monticelso

Monticelso. Why did the Duke of Florence with such care
Labour your pardon? say.

Lodovico. Italian beggars will resolve you that,
Who, begging of alms, bid those they beg of,
Do good for their own sakes; or ’t may be,
He spreads his bounty with a sowing hand,
Like kings, who many times give out of measure,
Not for desert so much, as for their pleasure.

Monticelso. I know you ’re cunning. Come, what devil was that
That you were raising?

Lodovico. Devil, my lord?

Monticelso. I ask you,
How doth the duke employ you, that his bonnet
Fell with such compliment unto his knee,
When he departed from you?

Lodovico. Why, my lord,
He told me of a resty Barbary horse
Which he would fain have brought to the career,
The sault, and the ring galliard: now, my lord,
I have a rare French rider.

Monticelso. Take your heed,
Lest the jade break your neck. Do you put me off
With your wild horse-tricks? Sirrah, you do lie.
Oh, thou ’rt a foul black cloud, and thou dost threat
A violent storm!

Lodovico. Storms are i’ th’ air, my lord;
I am too low to storm.

Monticelso. Wretched creature!
I know that thou art fashion’d for all ill,
Like dogs, that once get blood, they ’ll ever kill.
About some murder, was ’t not?

Lodovico. I ’ll not tell you:
And yet I care not greatly if I do;
Marry, with this preparation. Holy father,
I come not to you as an intelligencer,
But as a penitent sinner: what I utter
Is in confession merely; which, you know,
Must never be reveal’d.

Monticelso. You have o’erta’en me.

Lodovico. Sir, I did love Brachiano’s duchess dearly,
Or rather I pursued her with hot lust,
Though she ne’er knew on ’t. She was poison’d;
Upon my soul she was: for which I have sworn
T’ avenge her murder.

Monticelso. To the Duke of Florence?

Lodovico. To him I have.

Monticelso. Miserable creature!
If thou persist in this, ’tis damnable.
Dost thou imagine, thou canst slide on blood,
And not be tainted with a shameful fall?
Or, like the black and melancholic yew-tree,
Dost think to root thyself in dead men’s graves,
And yet to prosper? Instruction to thee
Comes like sweet showers to o’er-harden’d ground;
They wet, but pierce not deep. And so I leave thee,
With all the furies hanging ’bout thy neck,
Till by thy penitence thou remove this evil,
In conjuring from thy breast that cruel devil. [Exit.

Lodovico. I ’ll give it o’er; he says ’tis damnable:
Besides I did expect his suffrage,
By reason of Camillo’s death.

Enter Servant and Francisco

Francisco. Do you know that count?

Servant. Yes, my lord.

Francisco. Bear him these thousand ducats to his lodging.
Tell him the Pope hath sent them. Happily
That will confirm more than all the rest. [Exit.

Servant. Sir.

Lodovico. To me, sir?

Servant. His Holiness hath sent you a thousand crowns,
And wills you, if you travel, to make him
Your patron for intelligence.

Lodovico. His creature ever to be commanded. —
Why now ’tis come about. He rail’d upon me;
And yet these crowns were told out, and laid ready,
Before he knew my voyage. Oh, the art,
The modest form of greatness! that do sit,
Like brides at wedding-dinners, with their looks turn’d
From the least wanton jests, their puling stomach
Sick from the modesty, when their thoughts are loose,
Even acting of those hot and lustful sports
Are to ensue about midnight: such his cunning!
He sounds my depth thus with a golden plummet.
I am doubly arm’d now. Now to th’ act of blood,
There ’s but three furies found in spacious hell,
But in a great man’s breast three thousand dwell. [Exit.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/webster/john/devil/act4.html

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