The Broken Heart, by John Ford



A room in Crotolon’s house.

Enter Crotolon and Orgilus.

Crotolon.  Dally not further; I will know the reason
That speeds thee to this journey.

Orgilus.  Reason! good sir,
I can yield many.

Crotolon.  Give me one, a good one;
Such I expect, and ere we part must have.
Athens! Pray, why to Athens? You intend not
To kick against the world, turn cynic, stoic,
Or read the logic lecture, or become
An Areopagite, 4 and judge in cases
Touching the commonwealth; for, as I take it,
The budding of your chin cannot prognosticate
So grave an honour.

Orgilus.  All this I acknowledge.

Crotolon.  You do! Then, son, if books and love of knowledge
Inflame you to this travel, here in Sparta
You may as freely study.

Orgilus.  ’T is not that, sir.

Crotolon.  Not that, sir! As a father, I command thee
To acquaint me with the truth.

Orgilus.  Thus I obey ye.
After so many quarrels as dissension,
Fury, and rage had broacht in blood, and sometimes
With death to such confederates as sided
With now-dead Thrasus and yourself, my lord;
Our present king, Amyclas, reconcil’d
Your eager swords and seal’d a gentle peace:
Friends you profest yourselves; which to confirm,
A resolution for a lasting league
Betwixt your families was entertain’d,
By joining in a Hymenean bond
Me and the fair Penthea, only daughter
To Thrasus.

Crotolon.  What of this?

Orgilus.  Much, much, dear sir.
A freedom of converse, an interchange
Of holy and chaste love, so fixt our souls
In a firm growth of union, that no time
Can eat into the pledge: we had enjoy’d
The sweets our vows expected, had not cruelty
Prevented all those triumphs we prepar’d for,
By Thrasus his untimely death.

Crotolon.  Most certain.

Orgilus.  From this time sprouted up that poisonous stalk
Of aconite, whose ripened fruit hath ravisht
All health, all comfort of a happy life;
For Ithocles, her brother, proud of youth,
And prouder in his power, nourisht closely
The memory of former discontents,
To glory in revenge. By cunning partly,
Partly by threats, ’a woos at once and forces
His virtuous sister to admit a marriage
With Bassanes, a nobleman, in honour
And riches, I confess, beyond my fortunes.

Crotolon.  All this is no sound reason to importune
My leave for thy departure.

Orgilus.  Now it follows.
Beauteous Penthea, wedded to this torture
By an insulting brother, being secretly
Compell’d to yield her virgin freedom up
To him who never can usurp her heart,
Before contracted mine, is now so yok’d
To a most barbarous thraldrom, misery,
Affliction, that he savours not humanity,
Whose sorrow melts not into more than pity
In hearing but her name.

Crotolon.  As how, pray?

Orgilus.  Bassanes,
The man that calls her wife, considers truly
What heaven of perfections he is lord of
By thinking fair Penthea his: this thought
Begets a kind of monster-love, which love
Is nurse unto a fear so strong and servile
As brands all dotage with a jealousy:
All eyes who gaze upon that shrine of beauty
He doth resolve 1 do homage to the miracle;
Some one, he is assur’d, may now or then,
If opportunity but sort, 2 prevail.
So much, out of a self-unworthiness,
His fears transport him; not that he finds cause
In her obedience, but his own distrust.

Crotolon.  You spin out your discourse.

Orgilus.  My griefs are violent:
For knowing how the maid was heretofore
Courted by me, his jealousies grow wild
That I should steal again into her favours,
And undermine her virtues; which the gods
Know I nor dare nor dream of. Hence, from hence
I undertake a voluntary exile;
First, by my absence to take off the cares
Of jealous Bassanes; but chiefly, sir,
To free Penthea from a hell on earth;
Lastly, to lose the memory of something
Her presence makes to live in me afresh.

Crotolon.  Enough, my Orgilus, enough. To Athens,
I give a full consent. — Alas, good lady! —
We shall hear from thee often?

Orgilus.  Often.

Crotolon.  See,
Thy sister comes to give a farewell.

Enter Euphranea.

Euphranea.  Brother!

Orgilus.  Euphranea, thus upon thy cheeks I print
A brother’s kiss; more careful of thine honour,
Thy health, and thy well-doing, than my life.
Before we part, in presence of our father,
I must prefer a suit t’ ye.

Euphranea.  You may style it,
My brother, a command.

Orgilus.  That you will promise
To pass never to any man, however
Worthy, your faith, till, with our father’s leave,
I give a free consent.

Crotolon.  An easy motion!
I’ll promise for her, Orgilus.

Orgilus.  Your pardon;
Euphranea’s oath must yield me satisfaction.

Euphranea.  By Vesta’s sacred fires I swear.

Crotolon.  And I,
By Great Apollo’s beams, join in the vow,
Not without thy allowance to bestow her
On any living.

Orgilus.  Dear Euphranea,
Mistake me not: far, far ’t is from my thought,
As far from any wish of mine, to hinder
Preferment to an honourable bed
Or fitting fortune; thou art young and handsome;
And ’t were injustice, — more, a tyranny, —
Not to advance thy merit. Trust me, sister,
It shall be my first care to see thee match’d
As may become thy choice and our contents.
I have your oath.

Euphranea.  You have. But mean you, brother,
To leave us, as you say?

Crotolon.  Ay, ay, Euphranea; He has just grounds direct him. I will prove
A father and a brother to thee.

Euphranea.  Heaven
Does look into the secrets of all hearts:
Gods, you have mercy with ye, else —

Crotolon.  Doubt nothing;
Thy brother will return in safety to us.

Orgilus.  Souls sunk in sorrows never are without ’em.
They change fresh airs, but bear their griefs about ’em.

Exeunt omnes.

4 A member of the Areopagus, the highest judicial court in Athens.

1 Decide

2 Agree.


A room in the palace.

Flourish. Enter Amyclas the King, Armostes, Prophilus, [Courtiers,] and Attendants.

Amyclas.  The Spartan gods are gracious; our humility
Shall bend before their altars, and perfume
Their temples with abundant sacrifice.
See, lords, Amyclas, your old king, is ent’ring
Into his youth again! I shall shake off
This silver badge of age, and change this snow
For hairs as gay as are Apollo’s locks;
Our heart leaps in new vigour.

Armostes.  May old time
Run back to double your long life, great sir!

Amyclas.  It will, it must, Armostes: thy bold nephew,
Death-braving Ithocles, brings to our gates
Triumphs and peace upon his conquering sword.
Laconia is a monarchy at length;
Hath in this latter war trod under foot
Messene’s pride; Messene bows her neck
To Lacedaemon’s royalty. O, ’t was
A glorious victory, and doth deserve
More than a chronicle — a temple, lords,
A temple to the name of Ithocles. —
Where didst thou leave him, Prophilus?

Prophilus.  At Pephon,
Most gracious sovereign; twenty of the noblest
Of the Messenians there attend your pleasure,
For such conditions as you shall propose
In settling peace, and liberty of life.

Amyclas.  When comes your friend, the general?

Prophilus.  He promis’d
To follow with all speed convenient.

Enter Calantha, Euphranea; Christalla and Philema [with a garland]; and Crotolon.

Amyclas.  Our daughter! — Dear Calantha, the happy news,
The conquest of Messene, hath already
Enrich’d thy knowledge.

Calantha.  With the circumstance
And manner of the fight, related faithfully
By Prophilus himself:— But, pray, sir, tell me
How doth the youthful general demean
His actions in these fortunes?

Prophilus.  Excellent princess,
Your own fair eyes may soon report a truth
Unto your judgment, with what moderation,
Calmness of nature, measure, bounds, and limits
Of thankfulness and joy, ’a doth digest
Such amplitude of his success as would
In others, moulded of a spirit less clear,
Advance ’em to comparison with heaven:
But Ithocles —

Calantha.  Your friend —

Prophilus.  He is so, madam,
In which the period of my fate consists:
He, in this firmament of honour, stands
Like a star fixt, not mov’d with any thunder
Of popular applause or sudden lightning
Of self-opinion; he hath serv’d his country,
And thinks ’t was but his duty.

Crotolon.  You describe
A miracle of man.

Amyclas.  Such, Crotolon,
On forfeit of a king’s word, thou wilt find him. — [Flourish.]
Hark, warning of his coming! All attend him.

Enter Ithocles, Hemophil, and Groneas; the rest of the Lords ushering him in.

Return into these arms, thy home, thy sanctuary,
Delight of Sparta, treasure of my bosom,
Mine own, own Ithocles!

Ithocles.  Your humblest subject.

Armostes.  Proud of the blood I claim an interest in.
As brother to thy mother, I embrace thee,
Right noble nephew.

Ithocles.  Sir, your love’s too partial.

Crotolon.  Our country speaks by me, who by thy valour,
Wisdom, and service, shares in this great action;
Returning thee, in part of thy due merits,
A general welcome.

Ithocles.  You exceed in bounty.

Calantha.  Christalla, Philema, the chaplet. [Takes the chaplet from them.] — Ithocles,
Upon the wings of Fame the singular
And chosen fortune of an high attempt
Is borne so past the view of common sight,
That I myself with mine own hands have wrought,
To crown thy temples, this provincial garland: 2
Accept, wear, and enjoy it as our gift
Deserv’d, not purchas’d.

Ithocles.  Y’ are a royal maid.

Amyclas.  She is in all our daughter.

Ithocles.  Let me blush,
Acknowledging how poorly I have serv’d,
What nothings I have done, compar’d with th’ honours
Heap’d on the issue of a willing mind;
In that lay mine ability, that only:
For who is he so sluggish from his birth,
So little worthy of a name or country,
That owes not out of gratitude for life
A debt of service, in what kind soever
Safety or counsel of the commonwealth
Requires, for payment?

Calantha.  ’A speaks truth.

Ithocles.  Whom heaven
Is pleas’d to style victorious, there to such
Applause runs madding, like the drunken priests
In Bacchus’ sacrifices, without reason,
Voicing the leader-on a demi-god;
Whenas, indeed, each common soldier’s blood
Drops down as current coin in that hard purchase
As his whose much more delicate condition
Hath suckt the milk of ease: judgment; commands,
But resolution executes. I use not,
Before this royal presence, these fit slights 1
As in contempt of such as can direct;
My speech hath other end; not to attribute
All praise to one man’s fortune, which is strengthen’d
By many hands. For instance, here is Prophilus,
A gentleman — I cannot flatter truth —
Of much desert; and, though in other rank,
Both Hemophil and Groneas were not missing
To wish their country’s peace; for, in a word,
All there did strive their best, and ’t was our duty.

Amyclas.  Courtiers turn soldiers! — We vouchsafe our hand.
[Hemophil and Groneas kiss his hand.] Observe your great example.

Hemophil.  With all diligence.

Groneas.  Obsequiously and hourly.

Amyclas.  Some repose
After these toils is 2 needful. We must think on
Conditions for the conquered; they expect 3 ’em.
On! — Come, my Ithocles.

Euphranea.  Sir, with your favour,
I need not a supporter.

Prophilus.  Fate instructs me.

Exeunt. Hemophil stays Christalla; Groneas, Philema.

Christalla.  With me?

Philema.  Indeed, I dare not stay.

Hemophil.  Sweet lady.
Soldiers are blunt, — your lip.

Christalla.  Fie, this is rudeness:
You went not hence such creatures.

Groneas.  Spirit of valour
Is of a mounting nature.

Philema.  It appears so. —
Pray, in earnest, how many men apiece
Have you two been the death of?

Groneas.  ’Faith, not many;
We were compos’d of mercy.

Hemophil.  For our daring,
You heard the general’s approbation
Before the king.

Christalla.  You “wish’d your country’s peace;”
That show’d your charity: where are your spoils,
Such as the soldier fights for?

Philema.  They are coming.

Christalla.  By the next carrier, are they not?

Groneas.  Sweet Philema,
When I was in the thickest of mine enemies,
Slashing off one man’s head, another’s nose,
Another’s arms and legs, —

Philema.  And all together.

Groneas.  Then would I with a sigh remember thee,
And cry “Dear Philema, ’t is for thy sake
I do these deeds of wonder!” — Dost not love me
With all thy heart now?

Philema.  Now as heretofore.

I have not put my love to use; the principal
Will hardly yield an interest.

Groneas.  By Mars,
I’ll marry thee!

Philema.  By Vulcan, you ’re forsworn,
Except my mind do alter strangely.

Groneas.  One word.

Christalla.  You lie beyond all modesty:— forbear me.

Hemophil.  I’ll make thee mistress of a city; ’t is
Mine own by conquest.

Christalla.  By petition; sue for ’t
In forma pauperis. — City! kennel. — Gallants,
Off with your feathers, put on aprons, gallants;
Learn to reel, thrum, 4 or trim a lady’s dog,
And be good quiet souls of peace, hobgoblins!

Hemophil.  Christalla!

Christalla.  Practise to drill hogs, in hope
To share in the acorns. — Soldiers! corncutters,
But not so valiant; they ofttimes draw blood,
Which you durst never do. When you have practis’d

More wit or more civility, we’ll rank ye
I’ th’ list of men: till then, brave things-at-arms,
Dare not to speak to us, — most potent Groneas! —

Philema.  And Hemophil the hardy! — at your services.

Exeunt Christalla and Philema.

Groneas.  They scorn us as they did before we went.

Hemophil.  Hang ’em! let us scorn them, and be reveng’d.

Groneas.  Shall we?

Hemophil.  We will: and when we slight them thus,
Instead of following them, they’ll follow us;
It is a woman’s nature,

Groneas.  ’T is a scurvy one.


2 The laurel wreath . . . conferred on those who added a province to the empire. (Gifford.)

1 Appropriately belittling terms.

2 Q. are.

3 Await.

4 Weave.


The gardens of the palace. A grove.

Enter Tecnicus, a philosopher, and Orgilus
disguised like a Scholar of his.

Tecnicus.  Tempt not the stars; young man, thou canst not play
With the severity of fate: this change
Of habit and disguise in outward view
Hides not the secrets of thy soul within thee
From their quick-piercing eyes, which dive at all times
Down to thy thoughts: in thy aspect I note
A consequence of danger.

Orgilus.  Give me leave,
Grave Tecnicus, without foredooming destiny,
Under thy roof to ease my silent griefs,
By applying to my hidden wounds the balm
Of thy oraculous lectures. If my fortune
Run such a crooked by-way as to wrest
My steps to ruin, yet thy learned precepts
Shall call me back and set my footings straight.
I will not court the world.

Tecnicus.  Ah, Orgilus,
Neglects in young men of delights and life
Run often to extremities; they care not
For harms to others who contemn their own.

Orgilus.  But I, most learned artist, am not so much
At odds with nature that I grudge the thrift
Of any true deserver; nor doth malice
Of present hopes so check them with despair
As that I yield to thought of more affliction
Than what is incident to frailty: wherefore
Impute not this retired course of living
Some little time to any other cause
Than what I justly render, — the information
Of an unsettled mind; as the effect
Must clearly witness.

Tecnicus.  Spirit of truth inspire thee!
On these conditions I conceal thy change,
And willingly admit thee for an auditor. —
I’ll to my study.

Orgilus.  I to contemplations
In these delightful walks. [Exit Tecnicus.]
Thus metamorphos’d
I may without suspicion hearken after
Penthea’s usage and Euphranea’s faith.
Love, thou art full of mystery! The deities
Themselves are not secure 1 in searching out
The secrets of those flames, which, hidden, waste
A breast made tributary to the laws
Of beauty: physic yet hath never found
A remedy to cure a lover’s wound. —
Ha! who are those that cross yon private walk
Into the shadowing grove in amorous foldings?

Prophilus passeth over, supporting 2 Euphranea, and whispering.

My sister! O, my sister! ’t is Euphranea
With Prophilus: supported too! I Would
It were an apparition! Prophilus
Is Ithocles his friend: it strangely puzzles me.
Again! help me, my book; this scholar’s habit
Must stand my privilege: my mind is busy,
Mine eyes and ears are open.

Walks by, reading.

Re-enter Prophilus and Euphranea.

Prophilus.  Do not waste
The span of this stol’n time, lent by the gods
For precious use, in niceness. 3 Bright Euphranea,
Should I repeat old vows, or study new,
For purchase of belief to my desires, —

Orgilus.  [Aside.] Desires!

Prophilus.  My service, my integrity, —

Orgilus.  [Aside.] That’s better.

Prophilus.  I should but repeat a lesson
Oft conn’d without a prompter but thine eyes.
My love is honourable.

Orgilus.  [Aside] So was mine
To my Penthea, chastely honourable.

Prophilus.  Nor wants there more addition to my wish
Of happiness than having thee a wife;
Already sure of Ithocles, a friend
Firm and unalterable.

Orgilus.  [Aside.] But a brother
More cruel than the grave.

Euphranea.  What Can you look for,
In answer to your noble protestations,
From an unskilful maid, but language suited
To a divided mind?

Orgilus.  [Aside.] Hold out, Euphranea!

Euphranea.  Know, Prophilus, I never undervalu’d,
From the first time you mentioned worthy love,
Your merit, means, or person: it had been
A fault of judgment in me, and a dulness
In my affections, not to weigh and thank
My better stars that offered me the grace
Of so much blissfulness. For, to speak truth,
The law of my desires kept equal pace
With yours; nor have I left that resolution:
But only, in a word, whatever choice
Lives nearest in my heart must first procure
Consent both from my father and my brother,
Ere he can own me his.

Orgilus.  [Aside.] She is forsworn else.

Prophilus.  Leave me that task.

Euphranea.  My brother, ere he parted
To Athens, had my oath.

Orgilus.  [Aside.] Yes, yes, ’a had, sure.

Prophilus.  I doubt not, with the means the court supplies,
But to prevail at pleasure.

Orgilus.  [Aside.] Very likely!

Prophilus.  Meantime, best, dearest, I may build my hopes
On the foundation of thy constant suff’rance
In any opposition.

Euphranea.  Death shall sooner
Divorce life and the joys I have in living
Than my chaste vows from truth.

Prophilus.  On thy fair hand
I seal the like.

Orgilus.  [Aside.] There is no faith in woman.
Passion, O, be contain’d! My very heart-strings
Are on the tenters.4

Euphranea.  Sir, we are overheard.
Cupid protect us! ’T was a stirring, sir,
Of some one near.

Prophilus.  Your fears are needless, lady;
None have access into these private pleasures
Except some near in court, or bosom-student
From Tecnicus his oratory, granted
By special favour lately from the king
Unto the grave philosopher.

Euphranea.  Methinks
I hear one talking to himself, — I see him.

Prophilus.  ’T is a poor scholar, as I told you, lady.

Orgilus.  [Aside.] I am discovered. — [Half aloud to himself, as if studying.] Say it; is it possible,
With a smooth tongue, a leering countenance,
Flattery, or force of reason — I come t’ ye, sir —
To turn or to appease the raging sea?
Answer to that. — Your art! what art to catch
And hold fast in a net the sun’s small atoms?
No, no; they’ll out, they’ll out: ye may as easily
Outrun a cloud driven by a northern blast
As fiddle-faddle so! Peace, or speak sense,

Euphranea.  Call you this thing a scholar? ’Las, he’s lunatic.

Prophilus.  Observe him, sweet; ’t is but his recreation.

Orgilus.  But will you hear a little? You’re so tetchy,
You keep no rule in argument. Philosophy
Works not upon impossibilities,
But natural conclusions. — Mew! — absurd!
The metaphysics are but speculations
Of the celestial bodies, or such accidents
As not mixt perfectly, in the air engend’red
Appear to us unnatural; that’s all.
Prove it; yet, with a reverence to your gravity,
I’ll balk illiterate sauciness, submitting
My sole opinion to the touch of writers.

Prophilus.  Now let us fall in with him.

[They come forward.]

Orgilus.  Ha, ha, ha!
These apish boys, when they but taste the grammates 1
And principles of theory, imagine
They can oppose their teachers. Confidence
Leads many into errors.

Prophilus.  By your leave, sir.

Euphranea.  Are you a scholar, friend?

Orgilus.  I am, gay creature,
With pardon of your deities, a mushroom
On whom the dew of heaven drops now and then;
The sun shines on me too, I thank his beams!
Sometime I feel their warmth; and eat and sleep.

Prophilus.  Does Tecnicus read to thee?

Orgilus.  Yes, forsooth.
He is my master surely; yonder door
Opens upon his study.

Prophilus.  Happy creatures!
Such people toil not, sweet, in heats of state,
Nor sink in thaws of greatness; their affections
Keep order with the limits of their modesty;
Their love is love of virtue. — What’s thy name?

Orgilus.  Aplotes, sumptuous master, a poor wretch.

Euphranea.  Dost thou want anything?

Orgilus.  Books, Venus, books.

Prophilus.  Lady, a new conceit; comes in my thought,
And most available for both our comforts.

Euphranea.  My lord, —

Prophilus.  Whiles I endeavour to deserve
Your father’s blessing to our loves, this scholar
May daily at some certain hours attend 2
What notice I can write of my success,
Here in this grove, and give it to your hands
The like from you to me: so can we never
Barr’d of our mutual speech, want sure intelligence,
And thus our hearts may talk when our tongues cannot.

Euphranea.  Occasion is most favourable; use it.

Prophilus.  Aplotes, wilt thou wait us twice a day,
At nine i’ the morning and at four at night,
Here in this bower, to convey such letters
As each shall send to other? Do it willingly,
Safely, and secretly, and I will furnish
Thy study, or what else thou canst desire.

Orgilus.  Jove, make me thankful, thankful, I beseech thee
Propitious Jove! I will prove sure and trusty.
You will not fail me books?

Prophilus.  Nor aught besides
Thy heart can wish. This lady’s name’s Euphranea,
Mine Prophilus.

Orgilus.  I have a pretty memory;
It must prove my best friend. I will not miss
One minute of the hours appointed.

Prophilus.  Write
The books thou wouldst have bought thee in a note,
Or take thyself some money.

Orgilus.  No, no money;
Money to scholars is a spirit invisible,
We dare not finger it: or books, or nothing.

Prophilus.  Books of what sort thou wilt: do not forget
Our names.

Orgilus.  I warrant ye, I warrant ye.

Prophilus.  Smile, Hymen, on the growth of our desires;
We’ll feed thy torches with eternal fires!

Exeunt Prophilus and Euphranea.

Orgilus.  Put out thy torches, Hymen, or their light
Shall meet a darkness of eternal night!
Inspire me, Mercury, with swift deceits.
Ingenious Fate has leapt into mine arms,
Beyond the compass of my brain. 3 Mortality
Creeps on the dung of earth, and cannot reach
The riddles which are purpos’d by the gods.
Great arts best write themselves in their own stories;
They die too basely who outlive their glories.

1 Certain.

2 With his arm round her waist. (Dyce.)

3 Coyness; over-particular scruples.

4 Hooks for stretching cloth; on the rack.

1 Rudiments.

2 Wait for.

3 Beyond what I could have planned.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:54