The Duchess of Malfi, by John Webster

Act V

Scene I. Milan. A public place.

[Enter Antonio and Delio]

Antonio. What think you of my hope of reconcilement
To the Arragonian brethren?

Delio. I misdoubt it;
For though they have sent their letters of safe-conduct
For your repair to Milan, they appear
But nets to entrap you. The Marquis of Pescara,
Under whom you hold certain land in cheat,106
Much ‘gainst his noble nature hath been mov’d
To seize those lands; and some of his dependants
Are at this instant making it their suit
To be invested in your revenues.
I cannot think they mean well to your life
That do deprive you of your means of life,
Your living.

Antonio. You are still an heretic107
To any safety I can shape myself.

Delio. Here comes the marquis: I will make myself
Petitioner for some part of your land,
To know whither it is flying.

Antonio. I pray, do.
[Withdraws.]

[Enter Pescara]
Delio. Sir, I have a suit to you.

Pescara. To me?

Delio. An easy one:
There is the Citadel of Saint Bennet,
With some demesnes, of late in the possession
Of Antonio Bologna — please you bestow them on me.

Pescara. You are my friend; but this is such a suit,
Nor fit for me to give, nor you to take.

Delio. No, sir?

Pescara. I will give you ample reason for ‘t
Soon in private:— here ‘s the cardinal’s mistress.

[Enter Julia]

Julia. My lord, I am grown your poor petitioner,
And should be an ill beggar, had I not
A great man’s letter here, the cardinal’s,
To court you in my favour.
[Gives a letter.]

Pescara. He entreats for you
The Citadel of Saint Bennet, that belong’d
To the banish’d Bologna.

Julia. Yes.

Pescara. I could not have thought of a friend I could rather
Pleasure with it: ’tis yours.

Julia. Sir, I thank you;
And he shall know how doubly I am engag’d
Both in your gift, and speediness of giving
Which makes your grant the greater.
Exit.

Antonio. How they fortify
Themselves with my ruin!

Delio. Sir, I am
Little bound to you.

Pescara. Why?

Delio. Because you deni’d this suit to me, and gave ‘t
To such a creature.

Pescara. Do you know what it was?
It was Antonio’s land; not forfeited
By course of law, but ravish’d from his throat
By the cardinal’s entreaty. It were not fit
I should bestow so main a piece of wrong
Upon my friend; ’tis a gratification
Only due to a strumpet, for it is injustice.
Shall I sprinkle the pure blood of innocents
To make those followers I call my friends
Look ruddier upon me? I am glad
This land, ta’en from the owner by such wrong,
Returns again unto so foul an use
As salary for his lust. Learn, good Delio,
To ask noble things of me, and you shall find
I ‘ll be a noble giver.

Delio. You instruct me well.

Antonio. Why, here ‘s a man now would fright impudence
From sauciest beggars.

Pescara. Prince Ferdinand ‘s come to Milan,
Sick, as they give out, of an apoplexy;
But some say ’tis a frenzy: I am going
To visit him.
Exit.

Antonio. ’Tis a noble old fellow.

Delio. What course do you mean to take, Antonio?

Antonio. This night I mean to venture all my fortune,
Which is no more than a poor ling’ring life,
To the cardinal’s worst of malice. I have got
Private access to his chamber; and intend
To visit him about the mid of night,
As once his brother did our noble duchess.
It may be that the sudden apprehension
Of danger — for I ‘ll go in mine own shape —
When he shall see it fraight108 with love and duty,
May draw the poison out of him, and work
A friendly reconcilement. If it fail,
Yet it shall rid me of this infamous calling;
For better fall once than be ever falling.

Delio. I ‘ll second you in all danger; and howe’er,
My life keeps rank with yours.

Antonio. You are still my lov’d and best friend.
Exeunt.

Scene II. A gallery in the residence of the Cardinal and Ferdinand.

[Enter Pescara and Doctor]

Pescara. Now, doctor, may I visit your patient?

Doctor. If ‘t please your lordship; but he ‘s instantly
To take the air here in the gallery
By my direction.

Pescara. Pray thee, what ‘s his disease?

Doctor. A very pestilent disease, my lord,
They call lycanthropia.

Pescara. What ‘s that?
I need a dictionary to ‘t.

Doctor. I ‘ll tell you.
In those that are possess’d with ‘t there o’erflows
Such melancholy humour they imagine
Themselves to be transformed into wolves;
Steal forth to church-yards in the dead of night,
And dig dead bodies up: as two nights since
One met the duke ‘bout midnight in a lane
Behind Saint Mark’s church, with the leg of a man
Upon his shoulder; and he howl’d fearfully;
Said he was a wolf, only the difference
Was, a wolf’s skin was hairy on the outside,
His on the inside; bade them take their swords,
Rip up his flesh, and try. Straight I was sent for,
And, having minister’d to him, found his grace
Very well recover’d.

Pescara. I am glad on ‘t.

Doctor. Yet not without some fear
Of a relapse. If he grow to his fit again,
I ‘ll go a nearer way to work with him
Than ever Paracelsus dream’d of; if
They ‘ll give me leave, I ‘ll buffet his madness out of him.
Stand aside; he comes.

[Enter Ferdinand, Cardinal, Malatesti, and Bosola]

Ferdinand. Leave me.

Malatesti. Why doth your lordship love this solitariness?

Ferdinand. Eagles commonly fly alone: they are crows, daws, and starlings that flock together. Look, what ‘s that follows me?

Malatesti. Nothing, my lord.

Ferdinand. Yes.

Malatesti. ’Tis your shadow.

Ferdinand. Stay it; let it not haunt me.

Malatesti. Impossible, if you move, and the sun shine.

Ferdinand. I will throttle it.
[Throws himself down on his shadow.]

Malatesti. O, my lord, you are angry with nothing.

Ferdinand. You are a fool: how is ‘t possible I should catch my shadow, unless I fall upon ‘t? When I go to hell, I mean to carry a bribe; for, look you, good gifts evermore make way for the worst persons.

Pescara. Rise, good my lord.

Ferdinand. I am studying the art of patience.

Pescara. ’Tis a noble virtue.

Ferdinand. To drive six snails before me from this town to Moscow; neither use goad nor whip to them, but let them take their own time; — the patient’st man i’ th’ world match me for an experiment:— an I ‘ll crawl after like a sheep-biter.109

Cardinal. Force him up. [They raise him.]

Ferdinand. Use me well, you were best. What I have done, I have done: I ‘ll confess nothing.

Doctor. Now let me come to him. — Are you mad, my lord? are you out of your princely wits?

Ferdinand. What ‘s he?

Pescara. Your doctor.

Ferdinand. Let me have his beard saw’d off, and his eye-brows fil’d more civil.

Doctor. I must do mad tricks with him, for that ‘s the only way on ‘t. — I have brought your grace a salamander’s skin to keep you from sun-burning.

Ferdinand. I have cruel sore eyes.

Doctor. The white of a cockatrix’s110 egg is present remedy.

Ferdinand. Let it be a new-laid one, you were best.
Hide me from him: physicians are like kings —
They brook no contradiction.

Doctor. Now he begins to fear me: now let me alone with him.

Cardinal. How now! put off your gown!

Doctor. Let me have some forty urinals filled with rosewater: he and I ‘ll go pelt one another with them. — Now he begins to fear me. — Can you fetch a frisk,111 sir? — Let him go, let him go, upon my peril: I find by his eye he stands in awe of me; I ‘ll make him as tame as a dormouse.

Ferdinand. Can you fetch your frisks, sir! — I will stamp him into a cullis,112 flay off his skin to cover one of the anatomies113 this rogue hath set i’ th’ cold yonder in Barber–Chirurgeon’s-hall. — Hence, hence! you are all of you like beasts for sacrifice. [Throws the Doctor down and beats him.] There ‘s nothing left of you but tongue and belly, flattery and lechery.
[Exit.]

Pescara. Doctor, he did not fear you thoroughly.

Doctor. True; I was somewhat too forward.

Bosola. Mercy upon me, what a fatal judgment
Hath fall’n upon this Ferdinand!

Pescara. Knows your grace
What accident hath brought unto the prince
This strange distraction?

Cardinal. [Aside.] I must feign somewhat. — Thus they say it grew.
You have heard it rumour’d, for these many years
None of our family dies but there is seen
The shape of an old woman, which is given
By tradition to us to have been murder’d
By her nephews for her riches. Such a figure
One night, as the prince sat up late at ‘s book,
Appear’d to him; when crying out for help,
The gentleman of ‘s chamber found his grace
All on a cold sweat, alter’d much in face
And language: since which apparition,
He hath grown worse and worse, and I much fear
He cannot live.

Bosola. Sir, I would speak with you.

Pescara. We ‘ll leave your grace,
Wishing to the sick prince, our noble lord,
All health of mind and body.

Cardinal. You are most welcome.
[Exeunt Pescara, Malatesti, and Doctor.]
Are you come? so. — [Aside.] This fellow must not know
By any means I had intelligence
In our duchess’ death; for, though I counsell’d it,
The full of all th’ engagement seem’d to grow
From Ferdinand. — Now, sir, how fares our sister?
I do not think but sorrow makes her look
Like to an oft-dy’d garment: she shall now
Take comfort from me. Why do you look so wildly?
O, the fortune of your master here the prince
Dejects you; but be you of happy comfort:
If you ‘ll do one thing for me I ‘ll entreat,
Though he had a cold tomb-stone o’er his bones,
I ‘d make you what you would be.

Bosola. Any thing;
Give it me in a breath, and let me fly to ‘t.
They that think long small expedition win,
For musing much o’ th’ end cannot begin.

[Enter Julia]

Julia. Sir, will you come into supper?

Cardinal. I am busy; leave me.

Julia.[Aside.] What an excellent shape hath that fellow!
Exit.

Cardinal. ’Tis thus. Antonio lurks here in Milan:
Inquire him out, and kill him. While he lives,
Our sister cannot marry; and I have thought
Of an excellent match for her. Do this, and style me
Thy advancement.

Bosola. But by what means shall I find him out?

Cardinal. There is a gentleman call’d Delio
Here in the camp, that hath been long approv’d
His loyal friend. Set eye upon that fellow;
Follow him to mass; may be Antonio,
Although he do account religion
But a school-name, for fashion of the world
May accompany him; or else go inquire out
Delio’s confessor, and see if you can bribe
Him to reveal it. There are a thousand ways
A man might find to trace him; as to know
What fellows haunt the Jews for taking up
Great sums of money, for sure he ‘s in want;
Or else to go to the picture-makers, and learn
Who bought114 her picture lately: some of these
Happily may take.

Bosola. Well, I ‘ll not freeze i’ th’ business:
I would see that wretched thing, Antonio,
Above all sights i’ th’ world.

Cardinal. Do, and be happy.
Exit.

Bosola. This fellow doth breed basilisks in ‘s eyes,
He ‘s nothing else but murder; yet he seems
Not to have notice of the duchess’ death.
’Tis his cunning: I must follow his example;
There cannot be a surer way to trace
Than that of an old fox.

[Re-enter Julia, with a pistol]

Julia. So, sir, you are well met.

Bosola. How Now!

Julia. Nay, the doors are fast enough:
Now, sir, I will make you confess your treachery.

Bosola. Treachery!

Julia. Yes, confess to me
Which of my women ’twas you hir’d to put
Love-powder into my drink?

Bosola. Love-powder!

Julia. Yes, when I was at Malfi.
Why should I fall in love with such a face else?
I have already suffer’d for thee so much pain,
The only remedy to do me good
Is to kill my longing.

Bosola. Sure, your pistol holds
Nothing but perfumes or kissing-comfits.115
Excellent lady!
You have a pretty way on ‘t to discover
Your longing. Come, come, I ‘ll disarm you,
And arm you thus: yet this is wondrous strange.

Julia. Compare thy form and my eyes together,
You ‘ll find my love no such great miracle.
Now you ‘ll say
I am wanton: this nice modesty in ladies
Is but a troublesome familiar
That haunts them.

Bosola. Know you me, I am a blunt soldier.

Julia. The better:
Sure, there wants fire where there are no lively sparks
Of roughness.

Bosola. And I want compliment.

Julia. Why, ignorance
In courtship cannot make you do amiss,
If you have a heart to do well.

Bosola. You are very fair.

Julia. Nay, if you lay beauty to my charge,
I must plead unguilty.

Bosola. Your bright eyes
Carry a quiver of darts in them sharper
Than sun-beams.

Julia. You will mar me with commendation,
Put yourself to the charge of courting me,
Whereas now I woo you.

Bosola. [Aside.] I have it, I will work upon this creature. —
Let us grow most amorously familiar:
If the great cardinal now should see me thus,
Would he not count me a villain?

Julia. No; he might count me a wanton,
Not lay a scruple of offence on you;
For if I see and steal a diamond,
The fault is not i’ th’ stone, but in me the thief
That purloins it. I am sudden with you.
We that are great women of pleasure use to cut off
These uncertain wishes and unquiet longings,
And in an instant join the sweet delight
And the pretty excuse together. Had you been i’ th’ street,
Under my chamber-window, even there
I should have courted you.

Bosola. O, you are an excellent lady!

Julia. Bid me do somewhat for you presently
To express I love you.

Bosola. I will; and if you love me,
Fail not to effect it.
The cardinal is grown wondrous melancholy;
Demand the cause, let him not put you off
With feign’d excuse; discover the main ground on ‘t.

Julia. Why would you know this?

Bosola. I have depended on him,
And I hear that he is fall’n in some disgrace
With the emperor: if he be, like the mice
That forsake falling houses, I would shift
To other dependance.

Julia. You shall not need
Follow the wars: I ‘ll be your maintenance.

Bosola. And I your loyal servant: but I cannot
Leave my calling.

Julia. Not leave an ungrateful
General for the love of a sweet lady!
You are like some cannot sleep in feather-beds,
But must have blocks for their pillows.

Bosola. Will you do this?

Julia. Cunningly.

Bosola. To-morrow I ‘ll expect th’ intelligence.

Julia. To-morrow! get you into my cabinet;
You shall have it with you. Do not delay me,
No more than I do you: I am like one
That is condemn’d; I have my pardon promis’d,
But I would see it seal’d. Go, get you in:
You shall see my wind my tongue about his heart
Like a skein of silk.
[Exit Bosola.]

[Re-enter Cardinal]

Cardinal. Where are you?

[Enter Servants.]

Servant.. Here.

Cardinal. Let none, upon your lives, have conference
With the Prince Ferdinand, unless I know it. —
[Aside] In this distraction he may reveal
The murder.
[Exeunt Servants.]
Yond ‘s my lingering consumption:
I am weary of her, and by any means
Would be quit of.

Julia. How now, my lord! what ails you?

Cardinal. Nothing.

Julia. O, you are much alter’d:
Come, I must be your secretary, and remove
This lead from off your bosom: what ‘s the matter?

Cardinal. I may not tell you.

Julia. Are you so far in love with sorrow
You cannot part with part of it? Or think you
I cannot love your grace when you are sad
As well as merry? Or do you suspect
I, that have been a secret to your heart
These many winters, cannot be the same
Unto your tongue?

Cardinal. Satisfy thy longing —
The only way to make thee keep my counsel
Is, not to tell thee.

Julia. Tell your echo this,
Or flatterers, that like echoes still report
What they hear though most imperfect, and not me;
For if that you be true unto yourself,
I ‘ll know.

Cardinal. Will you rack me?

Julia. No, judgment shall
Draw it from you: it is an equal fault,
To tell one’s secrets unto all or none.

Cardinal. The first argues folly.

Julia. But the last tyranny.

Cardinal. Very well: why, imagine I have committed
Some secret deed which I desire the world
May never hear of.

Julia. Therefore may not I know it?
You have conceal’d for me as great a sin
As adultery. Sir, never was occasion
For perfect trial of my constancy
Till now: sir, I beseech you ——

Cardinal. You ‘ll repent it.

Julia. Never.

Cardinal. It hurries thee to ruin: I ‘ll not tell thee.
Be well advis’d, and think what danger ’tis
To receive a prince’s secrets. They that do,
Had need have their breasts hoop’d with adamant
To contain them. I pray thee, yet be satisfi’d;
Examine thine own frailty; ’tis more easy
To tie knots than unloose them. ’Tis a secret
That, like a ling’ring poison, may chance lie
Spread in thy veins, and kill thee seven year hence.

Julia. Now you dally with me.

Cardinal. No more; thou shalt know it.
By my appointment the great Duchess of Malfi
And two of her young children, four nights since,
Were strangl’d.

Julia. O heaven! sir, what have you done!

Cardinal. How now? How settles this? Think you your bosom
Will be a grave dark and obscure enough
For such a secret?

Julia. You have undone yourself, sir.

Cardinal. Why?

Julia. It lies not in me to conceal it.

Cardinal. No?
Come, I will swear you to ‘t upon this book.

Julia. Most religiously.

Cardinal. Kiss it.
[She kisses the book.]
Now you shall never utter it; thy curiosity
Hath undone thee; thou ‘rt poison’d with that book.
Because I knew thou couldst not keep my counsel,
I have bound thee to ‘t by death.

[Re-enter Bosola]

Bosola. For pity-sake, hold!

Cardinal. Ha, Bosola!

Julia. I forgive you
This equal piece of justice you have done;
For I betray’d your counsel to that fellow.
He over-heard it; that was the cause I said
It lay not in me to conceal it.

Bosola. O foolish woman,
Couldst not thou have poison’d him?

Julia. ’Tis weakness,
Too much to think what should have been done. I go,
I know not whither.
[Dies.]

Cardinal. Wherefore com’st thou hither?

Bosola. That I might find a great man like yourself,
Not out of his wits, as the Lord Ferdinand,
To remember my service.

Cardinal. I ‘ll have thee hew’d in pieces.

Bosola. Make not yourself such a promise of that life
Which is not yours to dispose of.

Cardinal. Who plac’d thee here?

Bosola. Her lust, as she intended.

Cardinal. Very well:
Now you know me for your fellow-murderer.

Bosola. And wherefore should you lay fair marble colours
Upon your rotten purposes to me?
Unless you imitate some that do plot great treasons,
And when they have done, go hide themselves i’ th’ grave
Of those were actors in ‘t?

Cardinal. No more; there is
A fortune attends thee.

Bosola. Shall I go sue to Fortune any longer?
’Tis the fool’s pilgrimage.

Cardinal. I have honours in store for thee.

Bosola. There are a many ways that conduct to seeming
Honour, and some of them very dirty ones.

Cardinal. Throw to the devil
Thy melancholy. The fire burns well;
What need we keep a stirring of ‘t, and make
A greater smother?116 Thou wilt kill Antonio?

Bosola. Yes.

Cardinal. Take up that body.

Bosola. I think I shall
Shortly grow the common bier for church-yards.

Cardinal. I will allow thee some dozen of attendants
To aid thee in the murder.

Bosola. O, by no means. Physicians that apply horse-leeches to any rank swelling use to cut off their tails, that the blood may run through them the faster: let me have no train when I go to shed blood, less it make me have a greater when I ride to the gallows.

Cardinal. Come to me after midnight, to help to remove
That body to her own lodging. I ‘ll give out
She died o’ th’ plague; ’twill breed the less inquiry
After her death.

Bosola. Where ‘s Castruccio her husband?

Cardinal. He ‘s rode to Naples, to take possession
Of Antonio’s citadel.

Bosola. Believe me, you have done a very happy turn.

Cardinal. Fail not to come. There is the master-key
Of our lodgings; and by that you may conceive
What trust I plant in you.

Bosola. You shall find me ready.
Exit Cardinal.
O poor Antonio, though nothing be so needful
To thy estate as pity, yet I find
Nothing so dangerous! I must look to my footing:
In such slippery ice-pavements men had need
To be frost-nail’d well, they may break their necks else;
The precedent ‘s here afore me. How this man
Bears up in blood! seems fearless! Why, ’tis well;
Security some men call the suburbs of hell,
Only a dead wall between. Well, good Antonio,
I ‘ll seek thee out; and all my care shall be
To put thee into safety from the reach
Of these most cruel biters that have got
Some of thy blood already. It may be,
I ‘ll join with thee in a most just revenge.
The weakest arm is strong enough that strikes
With the sword of justice. Still methinks the duchess
Haunts me: there, there! —’Tis nothing but my melancholy.
O Penitence, let me truly taste thy cup,
That throws men down only to raise them up!
Exit.

Scene III. A fortification.

[Enter Antonio and Delio. Echo (from the Duchess’S Grave)]

Delio. Yond ‘s the cardinal’s window. This fortification
Grew from the ruins of an ancient abbey;
And to yond side o’ th’ river lies a wall,
Piece of a cloister, which in my opinion
Gives the best echo that you ever heard,
So hollow and so dismal, and withal
So plain in the distinction of our words,
That many have suppos’d it is a spirit
That answers.

Antonio. I do love these ancient ruins.
We never tread upon them but we set
Our foot upon some reverend history;
And, questionless, here in this open court,
Which now lies naked to the injuries
Of stormy weather, some men lie interr’d
Lov’d the church so well, and gave so largely to ‘t,
They thought it should have canopied their bones
Till dooms-day. But all things have their end;
Churches and cities, which have diseases like to men,
Must have like death that we have.

Echo. Like death that we have.

Delio. Now the echo hath caught you.

Antonio. It groan’d methought, and gave
A very deadly accent.

Echo. Deadly accent.

Delio. I told you ’twas a pretty one. You may make it
A huntsman, or a falconer, a musician,
Or a thing of sorrow.

Echo. A thing of sorrow.

Antonio. Ay, sure, that suits it best.

Echo. That suits it best.

Antonio. ’Tis very like my wife’s voice.

Echo. Ay, wife’s voice.

Delio. Come, let us walk further from t.
I would not have you go to the cardinal’s to-night:
Do not.

Echo. Do not.

Delio. Wisdom doth not more moderate wasting sorrow
Than time. Take time for ‘t; be mindful of thy safety.

Echo. Be mindful of thy safety.

Antonio. Necessity compels me.
Make scrutiny through the passages
Of your own life, you ‘ll find it impossible
To fly your fate.

Echo. O, fly your fate!

Delio. Hark! the dead stones seem to have pity on you,
And give you good counsel.

Antonio. Echo, I will not talk with thee,
For thou art a dead thing.

Echo. Thou art a dead thing.

Antonio. My duchess is asleep now,
And her little ones, I hope sweetly. O heaven,
Shall I never see her more?

Echo. Never see her more.

Antonio. I mark’d not one repetition of the echo
But that; and on the sudden a clear light
Presented me a face folded in sorrow.

Delio. Your fancy merely.

Antonio. Come, I ‘ll be out of this ague,
For to live thus is not indeed to live;
It is a mockery and abuse of life.
I will not henceforth save myself by halves;
Lose all, or nothing.

Delio. Your own virtue save you!
I ‘ll fetch your eldest son, and second you.
It may be that the sight of his own blood
Spread in so sweet a figure may beget
The more compassion. However, fare you well.
Though in our miseries Fortune have a part,
Yet in our noble sufferings she hath none.
Contempt of pain, that we may call our own.
Exeunt.

Scene IV. Milan. An apartment in the residence of the Cardinal and Ferdinand.

[Enter Cardinal, Pescara, Malatesti, Roderigo, and Grisolan]

Cardinal. You shall not watch to-night by the sick prince;
His grace is very well recover’d.

Malatesti. Good my lord, suffer us.

Cardinal. O, by no means;
The noise, and change of object in his eye,
Doth more distract him. I pray, all to bed;
And though you hear him in his violent fit,
Do not rise, I entreat you.

Pescara. So, sir; we shall not.

Cardinal. Nay, I must have you promise
Upon your honours, for I was enjoin’d to ‘t
By himself; and he seem’d to urge it sensibly.

Pescara. Let our honours bind this trifle.

Cardinal. Nor any of your followers.

Malatesti. Neither.

Cardinal. It may be, to make trial of your promise,
When he ‘s asleep, myself will rise and feign
Some of his mad tricks, and cry out for help,
And feign myself in danger.

Malatesti. If your throat were cutting,
I ‘d not come at you, now I have protested against it.

Cardinal. Why, I thank you.

Grisolan. ’Twas a foul storm to-night.

Roderigo. The Lord Ferdinand’s chamber shook like an osier.

Malatesti. ’Twas nothing put pure kindness in the devil
To rock his own child.

[Exeunt all except the Cardinal].

Cardinal. The reason why I would not suffer these
About my brother, is, because at midnight
I may with better privacy convey
Julia’s body to her own lodging. O, my conscience!
I would pray now; but the devil takes away my heart
For having any confidence in prayer.
About this hour I appointed Bosola
To fetch the body. When he hath serv’d my turn,
He dies.

[Exit.]

[Enter Bosola]

Bosola. Ha! ’twas the cardinal’s voice; I heard him name
Bosola and my death. Listen; I hear one’s footing.

[Enter Ferdinand]

Ferdinand. Strangling is a very quiet death.

Bosola. [Aside.] Nay, then, I see I must stand upon my guard.

Ferdinand. What say to that? Whisper softly: do you agree to ‘t?
So; it must be done i’ th’ dark; the cardinal would not for a thousand pounds the doctor should see it.
Exit.

Bosola. My death is plotted; here ‘s the consequence of murder.
We value not desert nor Christian breath,
When we know black deeds must be cur’d with death.

[Enter Antonio and Servant]

Servant. Here stay, sir, and be confident, I pray;
I ‘ll fetch you a dark lantern.
Exit.

Antonio. Could I take him at his prayers,
There were hope of pardon.

Bosola. Fall right, my sword! —
[Stabs him.]
I ‘ll not give thee so much leisure as to pray.

Antonio. O, I am gone! Thou hast ended a long suit
In a minute.

Bosola. What art thou?

Antonio. A most wretched thing,
That only have thy benefit in death,
To appear myself.

[Re-enter Servant with a lantern]

Servant. Where are you, sir?

Antonio. Very near my home. — Bosola!

Servant. O, misfortune!

Bosola. Smother thy pity, thou art dead else. — Antonio!
The man I would have sav’d ‘bove mine own life!
We are merely the stars’ tennis-balls, struck and banded
Which way please them. — O good Antonio,
I ‘ll whisper one thing in thy dying ear
Shall make thy heart break quickly! Thy fair duchess
And two sweet children ——

Antonio. Their very names
Kindle a little life in me.

Bosola. Are murder’d.

Antonio. Some men have wish’d to die
At the hearing of sad tidings; I am glad
That I shall do ‘t in sadness.117 I would not now
Wish my wounds balm’d nor heal’d, for I have no use
To put my life to. In all our quest of greatness,
Like wanton boys whose pastime is their care,
We follow after bubbles blown in th’ air.
Pleasure of life, what is ‘t? Only the good hours
Of an ague; merely a preparative to rest,
To endure vexation. I do not ask
The process of my death; only commend me
To Delio.

Bosola. Break, heart!

Antonio. And let my son fly the courts to princes.
[Dies.]

Bosola. Thou seem’st to have lov’d Antonio.

Servant. I brought him hither,
To have reconcil’d him to the cardinal.

Bosola. I do not ask thee that.
Take him up, if thou tender thine own life,
And bear him where the lady Julia
Was wont to lodge. — O, my fate moves swift!
I have this cardinal in the forge already;
Now I ‘ll bring him to th’ hammer. O direful misprision!118
I will not imitate things glorious.
No more than base; I ‘ll be mine own example. —
On, on, and look thou represent, for silence,
The thing thou bear’st.119
Exeunt.

Scene V. Another apartment in the same.

[Enter Cardinal, with a book]

Cardinal. I am puzzl’d in a question about hell;
He says, in hell there ‘s one material fire,
And yet it shall not burn all men alike.
Lay him by. How tedious is a guilty conscience!
When I look into the fish-ponds in my garden,
Methinks I see a thing arm’d with a rake,
That seems to strike at me.
[Enter Bosola, and Servant bearing Antonio’S body]
Now, art thou come?
Thou look’st ghastly;
There sits in thy face some great determination
Mix’d with some fear.

Bosola. Thus it lightens into action:
I am come to kill thee.

Cardinal. Ha! — Help! our guard!

Bosola. Thou art deceiv’d; they are out of thy howling.

Cardinal. Hold; and I will faithfully divide
Revenues with thee.

Bosola. Thy prayers and proffers
Are both unseasonable.

Cardinal. Raise the watch!
We are betray’d!

Bosola. I have confin’d your flight:
I ‘ll suffer your retreat to Julia’s chamber,
But no further.

Cardinal. Help! we are betray’d!

[Enter, above, Pescara, Malatesti, Roderigo, and Grisolan]

Malatesti. Listen.

Cardinal. My dukedom for rescue!

Roderigo. Fie upon his counterfeiting!

Malatesti. Why, ’tis not the cardinal.

Roderigo. Yes, yes, ’tis he:
But, I ‘ll see him hang’d ere I ‘ll go down to him.

Cardinal. Here ‘s a plot upon me; I am assaulted! I am lost,
Unless some rescue!

Grisolan. He doth this pretty well;
But it will not serve to laugh me out of mine honour.

Cardinal. The sword’s at my throat!

Roderigo. You would not bawl so loud then.

Malatesti.
Come, come, let ‘s go to bed: he told us this much aforehand.

Pescara. He wish’d you should not come at him; but, believe ‘t,
The accent of the voice sounds not in jest:
I ‘ll down to him, howsoever, and with engines
Force ope the doors.
[Exit above.]

Roderigo. Let ‘s follow him aloof,
And note how the cardinal will laugh at him.
[Exeunt, above, Malatesti, Roderigo, and Grisolan.]

Bosola. There ‘s for you first,
‘Cause you shall not unbarricade the door
To let in rescue.
Kills the Servant.

Cardinal. What cause hast thou to pursue my life?

Bosola. Look there.

Cardinal. Antonio!

Bosola. Slain by my hand unwittingly.
Pray, and be sudden. When thou kill’d’st thy sister,
Thou took’st from Justice her most equal balance,
And left her naught but her sword.

Cardinal. O, mercy!

Bosola. Now it seems thy greatness was only outward;
For thou fall’st faster of thyself than calamity
Can drive thee. I ‘ll not waste longer time; there!
[Stabs him.]

Cardinal. Thou hast hurt me.

Bosola. Again!

Cardinal. Shall I die like a leveret,
Without any resistance? — Help, help, help!
I am slain!

[Enter Ferdinand]

Ferdinand. Th’ alarum! Give me a fresh horse;
Rally the vaunt-guard, or the day is lost,
Yield, yield! I give you the honour of arms
Shake my sword over you; will you yield?

Cardinal. Help me; I am your brother!

Ferdinand. The devil!
My brother fight upon the adverse party!
He wounds the Cardinal, and, in the scuffle, gives Bosola his death-wound.
There flies your ransom.

Cardinal. O justice!
I suffer now for what hath former bin:
Sorrow is held the eldest child of sin.

Ferdinand. Now you ‘re brave fellows. Caesar’s fortune was harder than Pompey’s; Caesar died in the arms of prosperity, Pompey at the feet of disgrace. You both died in the field. The pain ‘s nothing; pain many times is taken away with the apprehension of greater, as the tooth-ache with the sight of a barber that comes to pull it out. There ‘s philosophy for you.

Bosola. Now my revenge is perfect. — Sink, thou main cause
Kills Ferdinand.
Of my undoing! — The last part of my life
Hath done me best service.

Ferdinand. Give me some wet hay; I am broken-winded.
I do account this world but a dog-kennel:
I will vault credit and affect high pleasures
Beyond death.

Bosola. He seems to come to himself,
Now he ‘s so near the bottom.

Ferdinand. My sister, O my sister! there ‘s the cause on ‘t.
Whether we fall by ambition, blood, or lust,
Like diamonds, we are cut with our own dust.
[Dies.]

Cardinal. Thou hast thy payment too.

Bosola. Yes, I hold my weary soul in my teeth;
’Tis ready to part from me. I do glory
That thou, which stood’st like a huge pyramid
Begun upon a large and ample base,
Shalt end in a little point, a kind of nothing.

[Enter, below, Pescara, Malatesti, Roderigo, and Grisolan]

Pescara. How now, my lord!

Malatesti. O sad disaster!

Roderigo. How comes this?

Bosola. Revenge for the Duchess of Malfi murdered
By the Arragonian brethren; for Antonio
Slain by this hand; for lustful Julia
Poison’d by this man; and lastly for myself,
That was an actor in the main of all
Much ‘gainst mine own good nature, yet i’ the end
Neglected.

Pescara. How now, my lord!

Cardinal. Look to my brother:
He gave us these large wounds, as we were struggling
Here i’ th’ rushes. And now, I pray, let me
Be laid by and never thought of.
[Dies.]

Pescara. How fatally, it seems, he did withstand
His own rescue!

Malatesti. Thou wretched thing of blood,
How came Antonio by his death?

Bosola. In a mist; I know not how:
Such a mistake as I have often seen
In a play. O, I am gone!
We are only like dead walls or vaulted graves,
That, ruin’d, yield no echo. Fare you well.
It may be pain, but no harm, to me to die
In so good a quarrel. O, this gloomy world!
In what a shadow, or deep pit of darkness,
Doth womanish and fearful mankind live!
Let worthy minds ne’er stagger in distrust
To suffer death or shame for what is just:
Mine is another voyage.
[Dies.]

Pescara. The noble Delio, as I came to th’ palace,
Told me of Antonio’s being here, and show’d me
A pretty gentleman, his son and heir.

[Enter Delio, and Antonio’S Son]

Malatesti. O sir, you come too late!

Delio. I heard so, and
Was arm’d for ‘t, ere I came. Let us make noble use
Of this great ruin; and join all our force
To establish this young hopeful gentleman
In ‘s mother’s right. These wretched eminent things
Leave no more fame behind ’em, than should one
Fall in a frost, and leave his print in snow;
As soon as the sun shines, it ever melts,
Both form and matter. I have ever thought
Nature doth nothing so great for great men
As when she ‘s pleas’d to make them lords of truth:
Integrity of life is fame’s best friend,
Which nobly, beyond death, shall crown the end.
Exeunt.

106 In escheat; here, in fee.

107 Disbeliever.

108 Fraught.

109 A dog which worries sheep.

110 A fabulous serpent that killed by its glance.

111 Cut a caper.

112 Broth.

113 Skeletons.

114 So Dyce. Qq. BROUGHT.

115 Perfumed sweetmeats for the breath.

116 Smoke.

117 Reality.

118 Mistake.

119 i.e., the dead body.

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