The White Devil, by John Webster

ACT V

SCENE I

A passage over the stage of Brachiano, Flamineo, Marcello, Hortensio, Corombona, Cornelia, Zanche, and others: Flamineo and Hortensio remain.

Flamineo. In all the weary minutes of my life,
Day ne’er broke up till now. This marriage
Confirms me happy.

Hortensio. ’Tis a good assurance.
Saw you not yet the Moor that ’s come to court?

Flamineo. Yes, and conferr’d with him i’ th’ duke’s closet.
I have not seen a goodlier personage,
Nor ever talk’d with man better experience’d
In State affairs, or rudiments of war.
He hath, by report, serv’d the Venetian
In Candy these twice seven years, and been chief
In many a bold design.

Hortensio. What are those two
That bear him company?

Flamineo. Two noblemen of Hungary, that, living in the emperor’s service as commanders, eight years since, contrary to the expectation of the court entered into religion, in the strict Order of Capuchins; but, being not well settled in their undertaking, they left their Order, and returned to court; for which, being after troubled in conscience, they vowed their service against the enemies of Christ, went to Malta, were there knighted, and in their return back, at this great solemnity, they are resolved for ever to forsake the world, and settle themselves here in a house of Capuchins in Padua.

Hortensio. ’Tis strange.

Flamineo. One thing makes it so: they have vowed for ever to wear, next their bare bodies, those coats of mail they served in.

Hortensio. Hard penance!
Is the Moor a Christian?

Flamineo. He is.

Hortensio. Why proffers he his service to our duke?

Flamineo. Because he understands there ’s like to grow
Some wars between us and the Duke of Florence,
In which he hopes employment.
I never saw one in a stern bold look
Wear more command, nor in a lofty phrase
Express more knowing, or more deep contempt
Of our slight airy courtiers
As if he travell’d all the princes’ courts
Of Christendom: in all things strives t’ express,
That all, that should dispute with him, may know,
Glories, like glow-worms, afar off shine bright,
But look’d to near, have neither heat nor light.
The duke.

Enter Brachiano, Francisco disguised like Mulinassar, Lodovico and Gasparo, bearing their swords, their helmets down, Antonelli, Farnese.

Brachiano. You are nobly welcome. We have heard at full
Your honourable service ’gainst the Turk.
To you, brave Mulinassar, we assign
A competent pension: and are inly sorry,
The vows of those two worthy gentlemen
Make them incapable of our proffer’d bounty.
Your wish is, you may leave your warlike swords
For monuments in our chapel: I accept it,
As a great honour done me, and must crave
Your leave to furnish out our duchess’ revels.
Only one thing, as the last vanity
You e’er shall view, deny me not to stay
To see a barriers prepar’d to-night:
You shall have private standings. It hath pleas’d
The great ambassadors of several princes,
In their return from Rome to their own countries,
To grace our marriage, and to honour me
With such a kind of sport.

Francisco. I shall persuade them to stay, my lord.

Brachiano. Set on there to the presence.

[Exeunt Brachiano, Flamineo, and Hortensio.

Lodovico. Noble my lord, most fortunately welcome;
[The conspirators here embrace.
You have our vows, seal’d with the sacrament,
To second your attempts.

Gasparo. And all things ready;
He could not have invented his own ruin
(Had he despair’d) with more propriety.

Lodovico. You would not take my way.

Francisco. ’Tis better order’d.

Lodovico. T’ have poison’d his prayer-book, or a pair of beads,
The pummel of his saddle, his looking-glass,
Or th’ handle of his racket — O, that, that!
That while he had been bandying at tennis,
He might have sworn himself to hell, and strook
His soul into the hazard! Oh, my lord,
I would have our plot be ingenious,
And have it hereafter recorded for example,
Rather than borrow example.

Francisco. There ’s no way
More speeding that this thought on.

Lodovico. On, then.

Francisco. And yet methinks that this revenge is poor,
Because it steals upon him like a thief:
To have ta’en him by the casque in a pitch’d field,
Led him to Florence ——

Lodovico. It had been rare: and there
Have crown’d him with a wreath of stinking garlic,
T’ have shown the sharpness of his government,
And rankness of his lust. Flamineo comes.

[Exeunt Lodovico, Antonelli, and Gasparo.

Enter Flamineo, Marcello, and Zanche

Marcello. Why doth this devil haunt you, say?

Flamineo. I know not:
For by this light, I do not conjure for her.
’Tis not so great a cunning as men think,
To raise the devil; for here ’s one up already;
The greatest cunning were to lay him down.

Marcello. She is your shame.

Flamineo. I pray thee pardon her.
In faith, you see, women are like to burs,
Where their affection throws them, there they ’ll stick.

Zanche. That is my countryman, a goodly person;
When he ’s at leisure, I ’ll discourse with him
In our own language.

Flamineo. I beseech you do. [Exit Zanche.
How is ’t, brave soldier? Oh, that I had seen
Some of your iron days! I pray relate
Some of your service to us.

Francisco. ’Tis a ridiculous thing for a man to be his own chronicle: I did never wash my mouth with mine own praise, for fear of getting a stinking breath.

Marcello. You ’re too stoical. The duke will expect other discourse from you.

Francisco. I shall never flatter him: I have studied man too much to do that. What difference is between the duke and I? no more than between two bricks, all made of one clay: only ’t may be one is placed in top of a turret, the other in the bottom of a well, by mere chance. If I were placed as high as the duke, I should stick as fast, make as fair a show, and bear out weather equally.

Flamineo. If this soldier had a patent to beg in churches, then he would tell them stories.

Marcello. I have been a soldier too.

Francisco. How have you thrived?

Marcello. Faith, poorly.

Francisco. That ’s the misery of peace: only outsides are then respected. As ships seem very great upon the river, which show very little upon the seas, so some men i’ th’ court seem Colossuses in a chamber, who, if they came into the field, would appear pitiful pigmies.

Flamineo. Give me a fair room yet hung with arras, and some great cardinal to lug me by th’ ears, as his endeared minion.

Francisco. And thou mayest do the devil knows what villainy.

Flamineo. And safely.

Francisco. Right: you shall see in the country, in harvest-time, pigeons, though they destroy never so much corn, the farmer dare not present the fowling-piece to them: why? because they belong to the lord of the manor; whilst your poor sparrows, that belong to the Lord of Heaven, they go to the pot for ’t.

Flamineo. I will now give you some politic instruction. The duke says he will give you pension; that ’s but bare promise; get it under his hand. For I have known men that have come from serving against the Turk, for three or four months they have had pension to buy them new wooden legs, and fresh plasters; but after, ’twas not to be had. And this miserable courtesy shows as if a tormentor should give hot cordial drinks to one three-quarters dead o’ th’ rack, only to fetch the miserable soul again to endure more dog-days. [Exit Francisco. Enter Hortensio, a young Lord, Zanche, and two more.
How now, gallants? what, are they ready for the barriers?

Young Lord. Yes: the lords are putting on their armour.

Hortensio. What ’s he?

Flamineo. A new upstart; one that swears like a falconer, and will lie in the duke’s ear day by day, like a maker of almanacs: and yet I knew him, since he came to th’ court, smell worse of sweat than an under tennis-court keeper.

Hortensio. Look you, yonder ’s your sweet mistress.

Flamineo. Thou art my sworn brother: I ’ll tell thee, I do love that Moor, that witch, very constrainedly. She knows some of my villainy. I do love her just as a man holds a wolf by the ears; but for fear of her turning upon me, and pulling out my throat, I would let her go to the devil.

Hortensio. I hear she claims marriage of thee.

Flamineo. ’Faith, I made to her some such dark promise; and, in seeking to fly from ’t, I run on, like a frighted dog with a bottle at ’s tail, that fain would bite it off, and yet dares not look behind him. Now, my precious gipsy.

Zanche. Ay, your love to me rather cools than heats.

Flamineo. Marry, I am the sounder lover; we have many wenches about the town heat too fast.

Hortensio. What do you think of these perfumed gallants, then?

Flamineo. Their satin cannot save them: I am confident
They have a certain spice of the disease;
For they that sleep with dogs shall rise with fleas.

Zanche. Believe it, a little painting and gay clothes make you loathe me.

Flamineo. How, love a lady for painting or gay apparel? I ’ll unkennel one example more for thee. Æsop had a foolish dog that let go the flesh to catch the shadow; I would have courtiers be better diners.

Zanche. You remember your oaths?

Flamineo. Lovers’ oaths are like mariners’ prayers, uttered in extremity; but when the tempest is o’er, and that the vessel leaves tumbling, they fall from protesting to drinking. And yet, amongst gentlemen, protesting and drinking go together, and agree as well as shoemakers and Westphalia bacon: they are both drawers on; for drink draws on protestation, and protestation draws on more drink. Is not this discourse better now than the morality of your sunburnt gentleman?

Enter Cornelia

Cornelia. Is this your perch, you haggard? fly to th’ stews.
[Strikes Zanche.

Flamineo. You should be clapped by th’ heels now: strike i’ th’ court!

[Exit Cornelia.

Zanche. She ’s good for nothing, but to make her maids
Catch cold a-nights: they dare not use a bedstaff,
For fear of her light fingers.

Marcello. You ’re a strumpet,
An impudent one. [Kicks Zanche.

Flamineo. Why do you kick her, say?
Do you think that she ’s like a walnut tree?
Must she be cudgell’d ere she bear good fruit?

Marcello. She brags that you shall marry her.

Flamineo. What then?

Marcello. I had rather she were pitch’d upon a stake,
In some new-seeded garden, to affright
Her fellow crows thence.

Flamineo. You ’re a boy, a fool,
Be guardian to your hound; I am of age.

Marcello. If I take her near you, I ’ll cut her throat.

Flamineo. With a fan of feather?

Marcello. And, for you, I ’ll whip
This folly from you.

Flamineo. Are you choleric?
I ’ll purge it with rhubarb.

Hortensio. Oh, your brother!

Flamineo. Hang him,
He wrongs me most, that ought t’ offend me least:
I do suspect my mother play’d foul play,
When she conceiv’d thee.

Marcello. Now, by all my hopes,
Like the two slaughter’d sons of Œdipus,
The very flames of our affection
Shall turn two ways. Those words I ’ll make thee answer
With thy heart-blood.

Flamineo. Do, like the geese in the progress;
You know where you shall find me.

Marcello. Very good. [Exit Flamineo.
And thou be’st a noble friend, bear him my sword,
And bid him fit the length on ’t.

Young Lord. Sir, I shall. [Exeunt all but Zanche.

Zanche. He comes. Hence petty thought of my disgrace!
[Enter Francisco.
I ne’er lov’d my complexion till now,
’Cause I may boldly say, without a blush,
I love you.

Francisco. Your love is untimely sown; there ’s a spring at Michaelmas, but ’tis but a faint one: I am sunk in years, and I have vowed never to marry.

Zanche. Alas! poor maids get more lovers than husbands: yet you may mistake my wealth. For, as when ambassadors are sent to congratulate princes, there ’s commonly sent along with them a rich present, so that, though the prince like not the ambassador’s person, nor words, yet he likes well of the presentment; so I may come to you in the same manner, and be better loved for my dowry than my virtue.

Francisco. I ’ll think on the motion.

Zanche. Do; I ’ll now detain you no longer. At your better leisure, I ’ll tell you things shall startle your blood: Nor blame me that this passion I reveal;
Lovers die inward that their flames conceal.

Francisco. Of all intelligence this may prove the best:
Sure I shall draw strange fowl from this foul nest. [Exeunt.

SCENE II

Enter Marcello and Cornelia

Cornelia. I hear a whispering all about the court,
You are to fight: who is your opposite?
What is the quarrel?

Marcello. ’Tis an idle rumour.

Cornelia. Will you dissemble? sure you do not well
To fright me thus: you never look thus pale,
But when you are most angry. I do charge you,
Upon my blessing — nay, I ’ll call the duke,
And he shall school you.

Marcello. Publish not a fear,
Which would convert to laughter: ’tis not so.
Was not this crucifix my father’s?

Cornelia. Yes.

Marcello. I have heard you say, giving my brother suck
He took the crucifix between his hands, [Enter Flamineo.
And broke a limb off.

Cornelia. Yes, but ’tis mended.

Flamineo. I have brought your weapon back.

[Flamineo runs Marcello through.

Cornelia. Ha! Oh, my horror!

Marcello. You have brought it home, indeed.

Cornelia. Help! Oh, he ’s murder’d!

Flamineo. Do you turn your gall up? I ’ll to sanctuary,
And send a surgeon to you. [Exit.

Enter Lodovico, Hortensio, and Gasparo

Hortensio. How! o’ th’ ground!

Marcello. Oh, mother, now remember what I told
Of breaking of the crucifix! Farewell.
There are some sins, which heaven doth duly punish
In a whole family. This it is to rise
By all dishonest means! Let all men know,
That tree shall long time keep a steady foot,
Whose branches spread no wider than the root. [Dies.

Cornelia. Oh, my perpetual sorrow!

Hortensio. Virtuous Marcello!
He ’s dead. Pray leave him, lady: come, you shall.

Cornelia. Alas! he is not dead; he ’s in a trance. Why, here ’s nobody shall get anything by his death. Let me call him again, for God’s sake!

Lodovico. I would you were deceived.

Cornelia. Oh, you abuse me, you abuse me, you abuse me! how many have gone away thus, for lack of ’tendance! rear up ’s head, rear up ’s head! his bleeding inward will kill him.

Hortensio. You see he is departed.

Cornelia. Let me come to him; give me him as he is, if he be turn’d to earth; let me but give him one hearty kiss, and you shall put us both in one coffin. Fetch a looking-glass: see if his breath will not stain it; or pull out some feathers from my pillow, and lay them to his lips. Will you lose him for a little painstaking?

Hortensio. Your kindest office is to pray for him.

Cornelia. Alas! I would not pray for him yet. He may live to lay me i’ th’ ground, and pray for me, if you ’ll let me come to him.

Enter Brachiano, all armed, save the beaver, with Flamineo and others

Brachiano. Was this your handiwork?

Flamineo. It was my misfortune.

Cornelia. He lies, he lies! he did not kill him: these have killed him, that would not let him be better looked to.

Brachiano. Have comfort, my griev’d mother.

Cornelia. Oh, you screech-owl!

Hortensio. Forbear, good madam.

Cornelia. Let me go, let me go.

[She runs to Flamineo with her knife drawn, and coming to him lets it fall.

The God of heaven forgive thee! Dost not wonder
I pray for thee? I ’ll tell thee what ’s the reason,
I have scarce breath to number twenty minutes;
I ’d not spend that in cursing. Fare thee well:
Half of thyself lies there; and mayst thou live
To fill an hour-glass with his moulder’d ashes,
To tell how thou shouldst spend the time to come
In blessed repentance!

Brachiano. Mother, pray tell me
How came he by his death? what was the quarrel?

Cornelia. Indeed, my younger boy presum’d too much
Upon his manhood, gave him bitter words,
Drew his sword first; and so, I know not how,
For I was out of my wits, he fell with ’s head
Just in my bosom.

Page. That is not true, madam.

Cornelia. I pray thee, peace.
One arrow ’s graze’d already; it were vain
T’ lose this, for that will ne’er be found again.

Brachiano. Go, bear the body to Cornelia’s lodging:
And we command that none acquaint our duchess
With this sad accident. For you, Flamineo,
Hark you, I will not grant your pardon.

Flamineo. No?

Brachiano. Only a lease of your life; and that shall last
But for one day: thou shalt be forc’d each evening
To renew it, or be hang’d.

Flamineo. At your pleasure.
[Lodovico sprinkles Brachiano’s beaver with a poison.
Enter Francisco

Your will is law now, I ’ll not meddle with it.

Brachiano. You once did brave me in your sister’s lodging:
I ’ll now keep you in awe for ’t. Where ’s our beaver?

Francisco. [Aside.] He calls for his destruction. Noble youth,
I pity thy sad fate! Now to the barriers.
This shall his passage to the black lake further;
The last good deed he did, he pardon’d murder. [Exeunt.

SCENE III

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

Enter Brachiano and Flamineo, with others

Brachiano. An armourer! ud’s death, an armourer!

Flamineo. Armourer! where ’s the armourer?

Brachiano. Tear off my beaver.

Flamineo. Are you hurt, my lord?

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

Armourer. My lord, upon my soul ——

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

Enter Vittoria Corombona

Vittoria. Oh, my lov’d lord! poison’d!

Flamineo. 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.

Brachiano. 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.

Giovanni. Oh, my most loved father!

Brachiano. 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.

Brachiano. 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.

Francisco. Sir, be of comfort.

Brachiano. 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’.

Vittoria. I am lost for ever.

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

Flamineo. Franciscans:
They have brought the extreme unction.

Brachiano. 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.

Flamineo. 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.

Francisco. There ’s great moan made for him.

Flamineo. ’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.

Francisco. How mean you?

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

Francisco. Come, you have thrived well under him.

Flamineo. ’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.

Francisco. What didst thou think of him? ’faith, speak freely.

Flamineo. 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.

Francisco. Oh, speak well of the duke!

Flamineo. 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.

Francisco. How is it with the duke?

Lodovico. 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.

Flamineo. There ’s some good luck in that yet.

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

Vittoria. Oh, my good lord!

Brachiano. 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.

Flamineo. Sir, have patience.

Brachiano. 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?

Vittoria. Oh, my lord!

Brachiano. Let me have some quails to supper.

Flamineo. Sir, you shall.

Brachiano. 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.

Flamineo. Where?

Brachiano. 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?

Flamineo. No, my lord.

Brachiano. 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.

Vittoria. My lord, here ’s nothing.

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

Vittoria. Oh, lie still, my lord!

Brachiano. 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?

Flamineo. Vittoria, my lord.

Brachiano. 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?

Flamineo. 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 candle.

Brachiano. 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?

Flamineo. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lodovico. Si nunc quoque probas ea, quæ acta sunt inter nos, flecte caput in lœvum.
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.

Gasparo. Brachiano.

Lodovico. Devil Brachiano, thou art damn’d.

Gasparo. Perpetually.

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

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

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

Gasparo. And whose conscience, murder.

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

Gasparo. That had your villainous sallets.

Lodovico. And fine embroider’d bottles, and perfumes,
Equally mortal with a winter plague.

Gasparo. Now there ’s mercury ——

Lodovico. And copperas ——

Gasparo. And quicksilver ——

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

Gasparo. This is Count Lodovico.

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

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

Lodovico. And be forgotten
Before the funeral sermon.

Brachiano. Vittoria! Vittoria!

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

Gasparo. 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.

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

Gasparo. What, is it done?

Lodovico. 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.oria and the others come forward

Omnes. Rest to his soul!

Vittoria. Oh me! this place is hell.

Francisco. How heavily she takes it!

Flamineo. 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.

Francisco. Sure this was Florence’ doing.

Flamineo. 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.

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

Flamineo. 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.

Francisco. Now he ’s dead?

Flamineo. 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.

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

Lodovico. Yes, and so idly, that the duke had like
T’ have terrified us.

Francisco. How?

Enter the Moor

Lodovico. 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.

Francisco. You ’re passionately met in this sad world.

Zanche. 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.

Lodovico. Shall ’s fall a-dreaming?

Francisco. Yes, and for fashion sake I ’ll dream with her.

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

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

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

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

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

Lodovico. How! how! I hope you will not got to ’t here.

Francisco. Nay, you must hear my dream out.

Zanche. Well, sir, forth.

Francisco. When I threw the mantle o’er thee, thou didst laugh
Exceedingly, methought.

Zanche. Laugh!

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

Zanche. There was a dream indeed!

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

Zanche. 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.

Francisco. Most strange!

Zanche. Most true.

Lodovico. The bed of snakes is broke.

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

Francisco. Thou kept’st their counsel.

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

Lodovico. Excellent penitence!
Usurers dream on ’t while they sleep out sermons.

Zanche. 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.

Francisco. Oh, noble wench!

Lodovico. Those crowns we ’ll share.

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

Francisco. It shall; away.

Zanche. Be ready for our flight.

Francisco. 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

Zanche. You ’ll wait about midnight in the chapel?

Francisco. There. [Exit Zanche.

Lodovico. Why, now our action ’s justified.

Francisco. 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.

SCENE IV

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

Gasparo. The young duke: did you e’er see a sweeter prince?

Flamineo. 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.

Giovanni. I pray leave me, sir.

Flamineo. 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?

Giovanni. Why, what said he?

Flamineo. 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.

Giovanni. 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.

Flamineo. 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 devil.
He hath his uncle’s villainous look already,
In decimo-sexto. [Enter Courtier.] Now, sir, what are you?

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

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

Courtier. So the duke wills.

Flamineo. 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?

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

Flamineo. 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.

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

Flamineo. Thou meet’st another here, a pitiful
Degraded courtier.

Francisco. 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.

Flamineo. I will see them.

Francisco. ’Twere much uncharity in you; for your sight
Will add unto their tears.

Flamineo. 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.

Cornelia. 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.

Zanche. Look you, who are yonder?

Cornelia. Oh, reach me the flowers!

Zanche. Her ladyship ’s foolish.

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

Cornelia. 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.

Francisco. Lady, who ’s this?

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

Flamineo. So.

Zanche. ’Tis Flamineo.

Cornelia. 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.

Flamineo. I would I were from hence.

Cornelia. 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.

Flamineo. Do, an you will, do.

Cornelia. 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.

Flamineo. 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.

SCENE V

Enter Francisco, Lodovico, and Hortensio

Lodovico. My lord, upon my soul you shall no further;
You have most ridiculously engag’d yourself
To far already. For my part, I have paid
All my debts: so, if I should chance to fall,
My creditors fall not with me; and I vow,
To quit all in this bold assembly,
To the meanest follower. My lord, leave the city,
Or I ’ll forswear the murder. [Exit.

Francisco. Farewell, Lodovico:
If thou dost perish in this glorious act,
I ’ll rear unto thy memory that fame,
Shall in the ashes keep alive thy name. [Exit.

Hortensio. There ’s some black deed on foot. I ’ll presently
Down to the citadel, and raise some force.
These strong court-factions, that do brook no checks,
In the career oft break the riders’ necks. [Exit.

SCENE VI

Enter Vittoria with a book in her hand, Zanche; Flamineo following them

Flamineo. What, are you at your prayers? Give o’er.

Vittoria. How, ruffian?

Flamineo. I come to you ’bout worldly business.
Sit down, sit down. Nay, stay, blowze, you may hear it:
The doors are fast enough.

Vittoria. Ha! are you drunk?

Flamineo. Yes, yes, with wormwood water; you shall taste
Some of it presently.

Vittoria. What intends the fury?

Flamineo. You are my lord’s executrix; and I claim
Reward for my long service.

Vittoria. For your service!

Flamineo. Come, therefore, here is pen and ink, set down
What you will give me.

Vittoria. There. [She writes.

Flamineo. Ha! have you done already?
’Tis a most short conveyance.

Vittoria. I will read it:
I give that portion to thee, and no other,
Which Cain groan’d under, having slain his brother.

Flamineo. A most courtly patent to beg by.

Vittoria. You are a villain!

Flamineo. Is ’t come to this? they say affrights cure agues:
Thou hast a devil in thee; I will try
If I can scare him from thee. Nay, sit still:
My lord hath left me yet two cases of jewels,
Shall make me scorn your bounty; you shall see them. [Exit.

Vittoria. Sure he ’s distracted.

Zanche. Oh, he ’s desperate!
For your own safety give him gentle language.
[He enters with two cases of pistols.

Flamineo. Look, these are better far at a dead lift,
Than all your jewel house.

Vittoria. And yet, methinks,
These stones have no fair lustre, they are ill set.

Flamineo. I ’ll turn the right side towards you: you shall see
How they will sparkle.

Vittoria. Turn this horror from me!
What do you want? what would you have me do?
Is not all mine yours? have I any children?

Flamineo. Pray thee, good woman, do not trouble me
With this vain worldly business; say your prayers:
Neither yourself nor I should outlive him
The numbering of four hours.

Vittoria. Did he enjoin it?

Flamineo. He did, and ’twas a deadly jealousy,
Lest any should enjoy thee after him,
That urged him vow me to it. For my death,
I did propound it voluntarily, knowing,
If he could not be safe in his own court,
Being a great duke, what hope then for us?

Vittoria. This is your melancholy, and despair.

Flamineo. Away:
Fool thou art, to think that politicians
DO use to kill the effects or injuries
And let the cause live. Shall we groan in irons,
Or be a shameful and a weighty burthen
To a public scaffold? This is my resolve:
I would not live at any man’s entreaty,
Nor die at any’s bidding.

Vittoria. Will you hear me?

Flamineo. My life hath done service to other men,
My death shall serve mine own turn: make you ready.

Vittoria. Do you mean to die indeed?

Flamineo. With as much pleasure,
As e’er my father gat me.

Vittoria. Are the doors lock’d?

Zanche. Yes, madam.

Vittoria. Are you grown an atheist? will you turn your body,
Which is the goodly palace of the soul,
To the soul’s slaughter-house? Oh, the cursed devil,
Which doth present us with all other sins
Thrice candied o’er, despair with gall and stibium;
Yet we carouse it off. [Aside to Zanche.] Cry out for help!
Makes us forsake that which was made for man,
The world, to sink to that was made for devils,
Eternal darkness!

Zanche. Help, help!

Flamineo. I ’ll stop your throat
With winter plums.

Vittoria. I pray thee yet remember,
Millions are now in graves, which at last day
Like mandrakes shall rise shrieking.

Flamineo. Leave your prating,
For these are but grammatical laments,
Feminine arguments: and they move me,
As some in pulpits move their auditory,
More with their exclamation than sense
Of reason, or sound doctrine.

Zanche. [Aside.] Gentle madam,
Seem to consent, only persuade him to teach
The way to death; let him die first.

Vittoria. ’Tis good, I apprehend it. —
To kill one’s self is meat that we must take
Like pills, not chew’d, but quickly swallow it;
The smart o’ th’ wound, or weakness of the hand,
May else bring treble torments.

Flamineo. I have held it
A wretched and most miserable life,
Which is not able to die.

Vittoria. Oh, but frailty!
Yet I am now resolv’d; farewell, affliction!
Behold, Brachiano, I that while you liv’d
Did make a flaming altar of my heart
To sacrifice unto you, now am ready
To sacrifice heart and all. Farewell, Zanche!

Zanche. How, madam! do you think that I ’ll outlive you;
Especially when my best self, Flamineo,
Goes the same voyage?

Flamineo. O most loved Moor!

Zanche. Only, by all my love, let me entreat you,
Since it is most necessary one of us
Do violence on ourselves, let you or I
Be her sad taster, teach her how to die.

Flamineo. Thou dost instruct me nobly; take these pistols,
Because my hand is stain’d with blood already:
Two of these you shall level at my breast,
The other ’gainst your own, and so we ’ll die
Most equally contented: but first swear
Not to outlive me.

Vittoria. and Zan. Most religiously.

Flamineo. Then here ’s an end of me; farewell, daylight.
And, O contemptible physic! that dost take
So long a study, only to preserve
So short a life, I take my leave of thee. [Showing the pistols.
These are two cupping-glasses, that shall draw
All my infected blood out. Are you ready?

Both. Ready.

Flamineo. Whither shall I go now? O Lucian, thy ridiculous purgatory! to find Alexander the Great cobbling shoes, Pompey tagging points, and Julius Cæsar making hair-buttons, Hannibal selling blacking, and Augustus crying garlic, Charlemagne selling lists by the dozen, and King Pepin crying apples in a cart drawn with one horse!
Whether I resolve to fire, earth, water, air,
Or all the elements by scruples, I know not,
Nor greatly care. — Shoot! shoot!
Of all deaths, the violent death is best;
For from ourselves it steals ourselves so fast,
The pain, once apprehended, is quite past.
[They shoot, and run to him, and tread upon him.

Vittoria. What, are you dropped?

Flamineo. I am mix’d with earth already: as you are noble,
Perform your vows, and bravely follow me.

Vittoria. Whither? to hell?

Zanche. To most assur’d damnation?

Vittoria. Oh, thou most cursed devil!

Zanche. Thou art caught ——

Vittoria. In thine own engine. I tread the fire out
That would have been my ruin.

Flamineo. Will you be perjured? what a religious oath was Styx, that the gods never durst swear by, and violate! Oh, that we had such an oath to minister, and to be so well kept in our courts of justice!

Vittoria. Think whither thou art going.

Zanche. And remember
What villainies thou hast acted.

Vittoria. This thy death
Shall make me, like a blazing ominous star,
Look up and tremble.

Flamineo. Oh, I am caught with a spring!

Vittoria. You see the fox comes many times short home;
’Tis here prov’d true.

Flamineo. Kill’d with a couple of braches!

Vittoria. No fitter offing for the infernal furies,
Than one in whom they reign’d while he was living.

Flamineo. Oh, the way ’s dark and horrid! I cannot see:
Shall I have no company?

Vittoria. Oh, yes, thy sins
Do run before thee to fetch fire from hell,
To light thee thither.

Flamineo. Oh, I smell soot,
Most stinking soot! the chimney ’s afire:
My liver ’s parboil’d, like Scotch holly-bread;
There ’s a plumber laying pipes in my guts, it scalds.
Wilt thou outlive me?

Zanche. Yes, and drive a stake
Through thy body; for we ’ll give it out,
Thou didst this violence upon thyself.

Flamineo. Oh, cunning devils! now I have tried your love,
And doubled all your reaches: I am not wounded.
[Flamineo riseth.
The pistols held no bullets; ’twas a plot
To prove your kindness to me; and I live
To punish your ingratitude. I knew,
One time or other, you would find a way
To give me a strong potion. O men,
That lie upon your death-beds, and are haunted
With howling wives! ne’er trust them; they ’ll re-marry
Ere the worm pierce your winding-sheet, ere the spider
Make a thin curtain for your epitaphs.
How cunning you were to discharge! do you practise at the Artillery yard? Trust a woman? never, never; Brachiano be my precedent. We lay our souls to pawn to the devil for a little pleasure, and a woman makes the bill of sale. That ever man should marry! For one Hypermnestra that saved her lord and husband, forty-nine of her sisters cut their husbands’ throats all in one night. There was a shoal of virtuous horse leeches! Here are two other instruments.

Enter Lodovico, Gasparo, still disguised as Capuchins

Vittoria. Help, help!

Flamineo. What noise is that? ha! false keys i’ th ’court!

Lodovico. We have brought you a mask.

Flamineo. A matachin it seems by your drawn swords.
Churchmen turned revelers!

Gasparo. Isabella! Isabella!

Lodovico. Do you know us now?

Flamineo. Lodovico! and Gasparo!

Lodovico. Yes; and that Moor the duke gave pension to
Was the great Duke of Florence.

Vittoria. Oh, we are lost!

Flamineo. You shall not take justice forth from my hands,
Oh, let me kill her! — I ’ll cut my safety
Through your coats of steel. Fate ’s a spaniel,
We cannot beat it from us. What remains now?
Let all that do ill, take this precedent:
Man may his fate foresee, but not prevent;
And of all axioms this shall win the prize:
’Tis better to be fortunate than wise.

Gasparo. Bind him to the pillar.

Vittoria. Oh, your gentle pity!
I have seen a blackbird that would sooner fly
To a man’s bosom, than to stay the gripe
Of the fierce sparrow-hawk.

Gasparo. Your hope deceives you.

Vittoria. If Florence be i’ th’ court, would he would kill me!

Gasparo. Fool! Princes give rewards with their own hands,
But death or punishment by the hands of other.

Lodovico. Sirrah, you once did strike me; I ’ll strike you
Unto the centre.

Flamineo. Thou ’lt do it like a hangman, a base hangman,
Not like a noble fellow, for thou see’st
I cannot strike again.

Lodovico. Dost laugh?

Flamineo. Wouldst have me die, as I was born, in whining?

Gasparo. Recommend yourself to heaven.

Flamineo. No, I will carry mine own commendations thither.

Lodovico. Oh, I could kill you forty times a day,
And use ’t four years together, ’twere too little!
Naught grieves but that you are too few to feed
The famine of our vengeance. What dost think on?

Flamineo. Nothing; of nothing: leave thy idle questions.
I am i’ th’ way to study a long silence:
To prate were idle. I remember nothing.
There ’s nothing of so infinite vexation
As man’s own thoughts.

Lodovico. O thou glorious strumpet!
Could I divide thy breath from this pure air
When ’t leaves thy body, I would suck it up,
And breathe ’t upon some dunghill.

Vittoria. You, my death’s-man!
Methinks thou dost not look horrid enough,
Thou hast too good a face to be a hangman:
If thou be, do thy office in right form;
Fall down upon thy knees, and ask forgiveness.

Lodovico. Oh, thou hast been a most prodigious comet!
But I ’ll cut off your train. Kill the Moor first.

Vittoria. You shall not kill her first; behold my breast:
I will be waited on in death; my servant
Shall never go before me.

Gasparo. Are you so brave?

Vittoria. Yes, I shall welcome death,
As princes do some great ambassadors;
I ’ll meet thy weapon half-way.

Lodovico. Thou dost tremble:
Methinks, fear should dissolve thee into air.

Vittoria. Oh, thou art deceiv’d, I am too true a woman!
Conceit can never kill me. I ’ll tell thee what,
I will not in my death shed one base tear;
Or if look pale, for want of blood, not fear.

Gasparo. Thou art my task, black fury.

Zanche. I have blood
As red as either of theirs: wilt drink some?
’Tis good for the falling-sickness. I am proud:
Death cannot alter my complexion,
For I shall ne’er look pale.

Lodovico. Strike, strike,
With a joint motion. [They strike.

Vittoria. ’Twas a manly blow;
The next thou giv’st, murder some sucking infant;
And then thou wilt be famous.

Flamineo. Oh, what blade is ’t?
A Toledo, or an English fox?
I ever thought a culter should distinguish
The cause of my death, rather than a doctor.
Search my wound deeper; tent it with the steel
That made it.

Vittoria. Oh, my greatest sin lay in my blood!
Now my blood pays for ’t.

Flamineo. Th’ art a noble sister!
I love thee now; if woman do breed man,
She ought to teach him manhood. Fare thee well.
Know, many glorious women that are fam’d
For masculine virtue, have been vicious,
Only a happier silence did betide them:
She hath no faults, who hath the art to hide them.

Vittoria. My soul, like to a ship in a black storm,
Is driven, I know not whither.

Flamineo. Then cast anchor.
Prosperity doth bewitch men, seeming clear;
But seas do laugh, show white, when rocks are near.
We cease to grieve, cease to be fortune’s slaves,
Nay, cease to die by dying. Art thou gone?
And thou so near the bottom? false report,
Which says that women vie with the nine Muses,
For nine tough durable lives! I do not look
Who went before, nor who shall follow me;
No, at my self I will begin the end.
While we look up to heaven, we confound
Knowledge with knowledge. Oh, I am in a mist!

Vittoria. Oh, happy they that never saw the court,
Nor ever knew great men but by report! [Vittoria dies.

Flamineo. I recover like a spent taper, for a flash,
And instantly go out.
Let all that belong to great men remember th’ old wives’ tradition, to be like the lions i’ th’ Tower on Candlemas-day; to mourn if the sun shine, for fear of the pitiful remainder of winter to come.
’Tis well yet there ’s some goodness in my death;
My life was a black charnel. I have caught
An everlasting cold; I have lost my voice
Most irrecoverably. Farewell, glorious villains.
This busy trade of life appears most vain,
Since rest breeds rest, where all seek pain by pain.
Let no harsh flattering bells resound my knell;
Strike, thunder, and strike loud, to my farewell! [Dies.

Enter Ambassadors and Giovanni

English Ambassador. This way, this way! break open the doors! this way!

Lodovico. Ha! are we betray’d?
Why then let ’s constantly all die together;
And having finish’d this most noble deed,
Defy the worst of fate, nor fear to bleed.

English Ambassador. Keep back the prince: shoot! shoot!

Lodovico. Oh, I am wounded!
I fear I shall be ta’en.

Giovanni. You bloody villains,
By what authority have you committed
This massacre?

Lodovico. By thine.

Giovanni. Mine!

Lodovico. Yes; thy uncle, which is a part of thee, enjoined us to ’t:
Thou know’st me, I am sure; I am Count Lodowick;
And thy most noble uncle in disguise
Was last night in thy court.

Giovanni. Ha!

Lodovico. Yes, that Moor thy father chose his pensioner.

Giovanni. He turn’d murderer!
Away with them to prison, and to torture:
All that have hands in this shall taste our justice,
As I hope heaven.

Lodovico. I do glory yet,
That I can call this act mine own. For my part,
The rack, the gallows, and the torturing wheel,
Shall be but sound sleeps to me: here ’s my rest;
I limn’d this night-piece, and it was my best.

Giovanni. Remove these bodies. See, my honour’d lord,
What use you ought make of their punishment.
Let guilty men remember, their black deeds
Do lean on crutches made of slender reeds.

Instead of an epilogue, only this of Martial supplies me:

Hæc fuerint nobis præmia, si placui.

For the action of the play, ’twas generally well, and I dare affirm, with the joint testimony of some of their own quality (for the true imitation of life, without striving to make nature a monster,) the best that ever became them: whereof as I make a general acknowledgment, so in particular I must remember the well-approved industry of my friend Master Perkins, and confess the worth of his action did crown both the beginning and end.

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South Australia 5005

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/webster/john/devil/act5.html

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