Enter Ithocles and Armostes.
Ithocles. Forbear your inquisition: curiosity
Is of too subtle and too searching nature,
In fears of love too quick, too slow of credit. —
I am not what you doubt me.
Armostes. Nephew, be, then,
As I would wish; — all is not right. — Good heaven
Confirm your resolutions for dependence
On worthy ends, which may advance your quiet!
Ithocles. I did the noble Orgilus much injury,
But griev’d Penthea more: I now repent it, —
Now, uncle, now; this “now” is now too late.
So provident is folly in sad issue,
That after-wit, like bankrupts’ debts, stands tallied,
Without all possibilities of payment.
Sure, he’s an honest, very honest gentleman;
A man of single 2 meaning.
Armostes. I believe it:
Yet, nephew, ’t is the tongue informs our ears;
Our eyes can never pierce into the thoughts,
For they are lodg’d too inward:— but I question
No truth in Orgilus, — The princess, sir.
Ithocles. The princess! ha!
Armostes. With her the Prince of Argos.
Enter Nearchus, leading Calantha; Amelus, Christalla, Philema.
Nearchus. Great fair one, grace my hopes with any instance
Of livery,1 from the allowance of your favour;
This little spark — [Attempts to take a ring from her finger.]
Calantha. A toy!
Nearchus. Love feasts on toys,
For Cupid is a child; — vouchsafe this bounty:
It cannot be deni’d.
Calantha. You shall not value,
Sweet cousin, at a price, what I count cheap;
So cheap, that let him take it who dares stoop for ’t,
And give it at next meeting to a mistress:
She ’ll thank him for ’t, perhaps.
[Casts the ring to Ithocles.]
Amelus. The ring, sir, is
The princess’s; I could have took it up.
Ithocles. Learn manners, prithee. — To the blessed owner,
Upon my knees —
Kneels and offers it to Calantha.
Nearchus. Y’ are saucy.
Calantha. This is pretty!
I am, belike, “a mistress” — wondrous pretty!
Let the man keep his fortune, since he found it;
He’s worthy on ’t. — On, cousin!
Ithocles. [to Amelus.] Follow, spaniel;
I ’ll force ye to a fawning else.
Amelus. You dare not.
Exeunt. Manent ITH. and ARM.
Armostes. My lord, you were too forward.
Ithocles. Look ye, uncle,
Some such there are whose liberal contents
Swarm without care in every sort of plenty;
Who after full repasts can lay them down
To sleep; and they sleep, uncle: in which silence
Their very dreams present ’em choice of pleasures,
Pleasures — observe me, uncle — of rare object;
Here heaps of gold, there increments of honours,
Now change of garments, then the votes of people;
Anon varieties of beauties, courting,
In flatteries of the night, exchange of dalliance:
Yet these are still but dreams. Give me felicity
Of which my senses waking are partakers,
A real, visible, material happiness;
And then, too, when I stagger in expectance
Of the least comfort that can cherish life. —
I saw it, sir, I saw it; for it came
From her own hand.
Armostes. The princess threw it t’ ye.
Ithocles. True; and she said — well I remember what —
Her cousin prince would beg it.
Armostes. Yes, and parted
In anger at your taking on ’t.
O, thou hast pleaded with a powerful language!
I want a fee to gratify thy merit;
But I will do —
Armostes. What is ’t you say?
Ithocles. In anger!
In anger let him part; for could his breath,
Like whirlwinds, toss such servile slaves as lick
The dust his footsteps print into a vapour,
It durst not stir a hair of mine, it should not;
I’d rend it up by th’ roots first. To be anything
Calantha smiles on, is to be a blessing
More sacred than a petty prince of Argos
Can wish to equal, or in worth or title.
Armostes. Contain yourself, my lord: Ixion, aiming
To embrace Juno, bosom’d but a cloud,
And begat Centaurs; ’t is an useful moral.
Ambition hatch’d in clouds of mere opinion
Proves but in birth a prodigy.
Ithocles. I thank ye;
Yet, with your licence, I should seem uncharitable
To gentler fate, if, relishing the dainties
Of a soul’s settled peace, I were so feeble
Not to digest it.
Armostes. He deserves small trust
Who is not privy-counsellor to himself.
Re-enter Nearchus and Amelus, with Orgilus.
Nearchus. Brave me!
Orgilus. Your excellence mistakes his temper;
For Ithocles in fashion of his mind
Is beautiful, soft, gentle, the clear mirror
Of absolute perfection.
Amelus. Was ’t your modesty
Term’d any of the prince’s servants “spaniel”?
Your nurse, sure, taught you other language.
Nearchus. A gallant man-at-arms is here, a doctor
In feats of chivalry, blunt and rough-spoken,
Vouchsafing not the fustian of civility,
Which [less] 2 rash spirits style good manners!
Orgilus. No more, illustrious sir; ’t is matchless Ithocles.
Nearchus. You might have understood who I am.
I did; else — but the presence calm’d th’ affront —
Y’ are cousin to the princess.
Nearchus. To the king, too;
A certain instrument that lent supportance
To you colossic greatness — to that king too,
You might have added.
Ithocles. There is more divinity
In beauty than in majesty.
Armostes. O fie, fie!
Nearchus. This odd youth’s pride turns heretic in loyalty.
Sirrah! low mushrooms never rival cedars.
Exeunt Nearchus and Amelus.
Ithocles. Come back! — What pitiful dull thing am I
So to be tamely scolded at! come back! —
Let him come back, and echo once again
That scornful sound of mushroom! painted colts —
Like heralds’ coats gilt o’er with, crowns and
May bait a muzzled lion.
Armostes. Cousin, cousin,
Thy tongue is not thy friend.
Orgilus. In point of honour
Discretion knows no bounds. Amelus told me
’T was all about a little ring.
Ithocles. A ring
The princess threw away, and I took up.
Admit she threw ’t to me, what arm of brass
Can snatch it hence? No; could he grind the hoop
To powder, ’a might sooner reach my heart
Than steal and wear one dust on ’t. — Orgilus,
I am extremely wrong’d.
Orgilus. A lady’s favour
Is not to be so slighted.
These vain unruly passions, which will render
Into a madness.
Orgilus. Griefs will have their vent.
Enter Tecnicus [with a scroll].
Armostes. Welcome; thou com’st in season, reverend man,
To pour the balsam of a suppling 1 patience
Into the festering wound of ill-spent fury.
Orgilus. [Aside.] What makes he here?
Tecnicus. The hurts are yet but 2
Which shortly will prove deadly. To the king,
Armostes, see in safety then deliver
This seal’d-up counsel; bid him with a constancy
Peruse the secrets of the gods. — O Sparta,
O Lacedaemon! double-nam’d, but one
In fate: when kingdoms reel, — mark well my saw, —
Their heads must needs be giddy. Tell the king
That henceforth he no more mast inquire after
My aged head; Apollo wills it so:
I am for Delphos.
Armostes. Not without some conference
With our great master?
Tecnicus. Never more to see him:
A greater prince commands me. — Ithocles,
When youth is ripe, and age from time doth part,
The lifeless trunk shall wed the broken heart.
Ithocles. What’s this, if understood?
Tecnicus. List, Orgilus;
Remember what I told thee long before,
These tears shall be my witness.
Armostes. ’Las, good man!
Tecnicus. Let craft with courtesy a while confer,
Revenge proves its own executioner.
Orgilus. Dark sentences are for Apollo’s priests;
I am not Oedipus.
Tecnicus. My hour is come;
Cheer up the king; farewell to all. — O Sparta,
O Lacedaemon! [Exit.]
Armostes. If prophetic fire
Have warm’d this old man’s bosom, we might
His words to fatal sense.
Ithocles. Leave to the powers
Above us the effects of their decrees;
My burthen lies within me: servile fears
Prevent no great effects. — Divine Calantha!
Armostes. The gods be still propitious!
Exeunt Ithocles and Armostes.
Orgilus. Something oddly
The book-man prated, yet ’a talk’d it weeping;
Let craft with courtesy a while confer,
Revenge proves its own executioner.
Con it again; — for what? It shall not puzzle me;
’T is dotage of a withered brain. — Penthea
Forbade me not her presence; I may see her,
And gaze my fill. Why see her, then, I may,
When, if I faint to speak — I must be silent. [Exit.]
Enter Bassanes, Grausis, and Phulas.
Bassanes. Pray, use your recreations, all the service
I will expect is quietness amongst ye;
Take liberty at home, abroad, at all times,
And in your charities appease the gods,
Whom I, with my distractions, have offended.
Grausis. Fair blessings on thy heart!
Phulas. [Aside.] Here ’s a rare change!
My lord, to cure the itch, is surely gelded;
The cuckold in conceit hath cast his horns.
Bassanes. Betake ye to your several occasions;
And wherein I have heretofore been faulty,
Let your constructions mildly pass it over.
Henceforth I’ll study reformation, — more
I have not for employment.
Grausis. O, sweet man!
Thou art the very “Honeycomb of Honesty.” 4
Phulas. The “Garland of Good-will.” — Old lady, hold up
Thy reverend snout, and trot behind me softly,
As it becomes a moil 5 of ancient carriage.
Exeunt Grausis and Phulas.
Bassanes. Beasts, only capable of sense, enjoy
The benefit of food and ease with thankfulness;
Such silly creatures, with a grudging, kick not
Against the portion nature hath bestow’d:
But men, endow’d with reason and the use
Of reason, to distinguish from the chaff
Of abject scarcity the quintessence,
Soul, and elixir of the earth’s abundance,
The treasures of the sea, the air, nay, heaven,
Repining at these glories of creation
Are verier beasts than beasts; and of those beasts
The worst am I : I, who was made a monarch
Of what a heart could wish for, — a chaste wife, —
Endeavour’d what in me lay to pull down
That temple built for adoration only,
And level ’t in the dust of causeless scandal.
But, to redeem a sacrilege so impious,
Humility shall pour, before the deities
I have incenst, a largess of more patience
Than their displeased altars can require:
No tempests of commotion shall disquiet
The calms of my composure.
Orgilus. I have found thee,
Thou patron of more horrors than the bulk
Of manhood, hoop’d about with ribs of iron,
Can cram within thy breast: Penthea, Bassanes
Curst by thy jealousies, — more, by thy dotage, —
Is left a prey to words.
Your trials for addition to my penánce;
I am resolv’d.
Orgilus. Play not with misery
Past cure: some angry minister of fate hath
Depos’d the empress of her soul, her reason,
From its most proper throne; but, what’s the miracle
More new, I, I have seen it, and yet live!
Bassanes. You may delude my senses, not my judgment;
’T is anchor’d into a firm resolution;
Dalliance of mirth or wit can ne’er unfix it:
Practise 1 yet further.
Orgilus. May thy death of love to her
Damn all thy comforts to a lasting fast
From every joy of life! Thou barren rock,
By thee we have been split in ken 2 of harbour.
Enter Ithocles, Penthea her hair about her ears, [Armostes,] Philema, and Christalla.
Ithocles. Sister, look up; your Ithocles, your brother,
Speaks t’ ye; why do you weep? Dear, turn not from me. —
Here is a killing sight; lo, Bassanes,
A lamentable object!
Orgilus. Man, dost see’t?
Sports are more gamesome; am I yet in merriment?
Why dost not laugh?
Bassanes. Divine and best of ladies,
Please to forget my outrage; mercy ever
Cannot but lodge under a roof so excellent.
I have cast off that cruelty of frenzy
Which once appear’d imposture, 3 and then juggled
To cheat my sleeps of rest.
Orgilus. Was I in earnest?
Penthea. Sure, if we were all Sirens, we should sing pitifully.
And’t were a comely music, when in parts
One sung another’s knell. The turtle sighs
When he hath lost his mate; and yet some say
He must be dead first. ’T is a fine deceit
To pass away in a dream; indeed, I ’ve slept
With mine eyes open a great while. No falsehood
Equals a broken faith; there’s not a hair
Sticks on my head but, like a leaden plummet,
It sinks me to the grave. I must creep thither;
The journey is not long.
Ithocles.  : But, thou, Penthea,
Hast many years, I hope, to number yet,
Ere thou canst travel that way.
Bassanes. Let the sun first
Be wrapp’d up in an everlasting darkness,
Before the light of nature, chiefly form’d
For the whole world’s delight, feel an eclipse
Orgilus. Wisdom, look ye, begins
To rave! — Art thou mad too, antiquity?
Penthea. Since I was first a wife, I might have been
Mother to many pretty prattling babes;
They would have smil’d when I smil’d, and for certain
I should have cri’d when they cri’d:— truly, brother,
My father would have pick’d me out a husband,
And then my little ones had been no bastards;
But ’t is too late for me to marry now,
I am past child-bearing; ’t is not my fault.
Bassanes. Fall on me, if there be a burning
And bury me in flames! Sweats hot as sulphur
Boil through my pores! Affliction hath in store
No torture like to this.
Orgilus. Behold a patience!
Lay by thy whining gray dissimulation,
Do something worth a chronicle; show justice
Upon the author of this mischief; dig out
The jealousies that hatch’d this thraldom first
With thine own poniard. Every antic rapture
Can roar as thine does.
Ithocles. Orgilus, forbear.
Penthea. I lov’d you once. [To Orgilus.]
Orgilus. Thou didst, wrong’d creature: in despite of malice,
For it I love thee ever.
Penthea. Spare your hand;
Believe me, I’ll not hurt it.
Orgilus. My 6 heart too.
Penthea. Complain not though I wring it hard. I ’ll kiss it;
O, ’t is a fine soft palm! — hark, in thine ear;
Like whom do I look, prithee? — Nay, no whispering.
Goodness! we had been happy; too much happiness
Will make folk proud, they say — but that is
he — [Points at Ithocles.]
And yet he paid for ’t home; alas, his heart
Is crept into the cabinet of the princess;
We shall have points 1 and bride-laces. Remember,
When we last gather’d roses in the garden,
I found my wits; but truly you lost yours.
That ’s he, and still ’t is he.
[Again pointing at Ithocles.]
Ithocles. Poor soul, how idly
Her fancies guide her tongue!
Bassanes. [Aside.] Keep in, vexation,
And break not into clamour.
Orgilus. [Aside.] She has tutor’d me:
Some powerful inspiration checks my laziness. —
Now let me kiss your hand, griev’d beauty.
Penthea. Kiss it. —
Alack, alack, his lips be wondrous cold.
Dear soul, h’as lost his colour: have ye seen
A straying heart? All crannies! every drop
Of blood is turned to an amethyst,
Which married bachelors hang in their ears.
Orgilus. Peace usher her into Elysium! —
If this be madness, madness is an oracle. [Exit.]
Ithocles. Christalla, Philema, when slept my sister,
Her ravings are so wild?
Christalla. Sir, not these ten days.
Philema. We watch by her continually; besides,
We can not any way pray her to eat.
Bassanes. O, misery of miseries!
Penthea. Take comfort;
You may live well, and die a good old man.
By yea and nay, an oath not to be broken,
If you had join’d our hands once in the temple, —
’T was since my father died, for had he liv’d
He would have done ’t, — I must have call’d you father. —
O, my wrack’d honour! ruin’d by those tyrants,
A cruel brother and a desperate dotage!
There is no peace left for a ravish’d wife
Widow’d by lawless marriage; to all memory
Penthea’s, poor Penthea’s name is strumpeted:
But since her blood was season’d by the forfeit
Of noble shame with mixtures of pollution,
Her blood — ’t is just — be henceforth never height’ned
With taste of sustenance! Starve; let that fulness
Whose plurisy 2 hath fever’d faith and modesty —
Forgive me; O, I faint!
[Falls into the arms of her Attendants.]
Armostes. Be not so wilful,
Sweet niece, to work thine own destruction.
Will call her daughter monster! — What! not eat?
Refuse the only ordinary means
Which are ordain’d for life? Be not, my sister,
A murderess to thyself. — Hear’st thou this,
Bassanes. Foh! I am busy; for I have not thoughts
Enow to think: all shall be well anon.
’T is tumbling in my head; there is a mastery
In art to fatten and keep smooth the outside;
Yes, and to comfort up the vital spirits
Without the help of food, fumes or perfumes,
Perfumes or fumes. Let her alone; I ’ll search out
The trick on ’t.
Penthea. Lead me gently; heavens reward ye.
Griefs are sure friends; they leave without control
Nor cure nor comforts for a leprous soul.
Exeunt the maids supporting Penthea.
Bassanes. I grant ye; and will put in practice instantly
What you shall still admire: ’t is wonderful,
’T is super-singular, not to be match’d;
Yet, when, I ’ve done ’t, I ’ve done ’t:— ye shall
all thank me. [Exit.]
Armostes. The sight is full of terror.
Ithocles. On my soul
Lies such an infinite clog of massy dulness,
As that I have not sense enough to feel it. —
See, uncle, th’ angry 3 thing returns again;
Shall ’s welcome him with thunder? We are haunted,
And must use exorcism to conjure down
This spirit of malevolence.
Armostes. Mildly, nephew.
Enter Nearchus and Amelus.
Nearchus. I come not, sir, to chide your late disorder,
Admitting that th’ inurement to a roughness
In soldiers of your years and fortunes, chiefly,
So lately prosperous, hath not yet shook off
The custom of the war in hours of leisure;
Nor shall you need excuse, since y’ are to render
Account to that fair excellence, the princess,
Who in her private gallery expects it
From your own mouth alone: I am a messenger
But to her pleasure.
Ithocles. Excellent Nearchus,
Be prince still of my services, and conquer
Without the combat of dispute; I honour ye.
Nearchus. The king is on a sudden indispos’d,
Physicians are call’d for; ’t were fit, Armostes,
You should be near him.
Armostes. Sir, I kiss your hands.
Exeunt Ithocles and Armostes.
Nearchus. Amelus, I perceive Calantha’s bosom
Is warm’d with other fires than such as can
Take strength from any fuel of the love
I might address to her. Young Ithocles,
Or ever I mistake, is lord ascendant
Of her devotions; one, to speak him truly,
In every disposition nobly fashioned.
Amelus. But can your highness brook to be so rivall’d,
Considering the inequality of the persons?
Nearchus. I can, Amelus; for affections injur’d
By tyranny or rigour of compulsion,
Like tempest-threat’ned trees unfirmly rooted,
Ne’er spring to timely growth: observe, for instance,
Life-spent Penthea and unhappy Orgilus.
Amelus. How does your grace determine?
Nearchus. To be jealous
In public of what privately I’ll further;
And though they shall not know, yet they shall find it.
4 The Honeycomb of Honesty, like the Garland of Goodwill, was probably one of the popular miscellanies of the day. ( Gifford.) See Additional Notes.
1 Test me.
3 Q. appear’d, Impostors.
5 Q. baudy.
6 Q. Paine my, and omits [Pen.] in next line.
1 Tagged laces.
3 Q. augury.
Enter Hemophil and Groneas leading Amyclas, and placing him in a chair; followed by Armostes [with a box], Crotolon, and Prophilus.
Amyclas. Our daughter is not near?
Armostes. She is retir’d, sir.
Into her gallery.
Amyclas. Where’s the prince our cousin?
Prophilus. New walk’d into the grove, my lord.
Amyclas. All leave us
Except Armostes, and you, Crotolon;
We would be private.
Prophilus. Health unto your majesty!
Exeunt Prophilus, Hemophil, and Groneas.
Amyclas. What! Tecnicus is gone?
Armostes. He is to Delphos;
And to your royal hands presents this box.
Amyclas. Unseal it, good Armostes; therein lie
The secrets of the oracle; out with it:
[Armostes takes out the scroll.]
Apollo live our patron! Read, Armostes.
Armostes. [reads.] The plot in which the vine
Begins to dry from head to foot;
The stock soon withering, want of sap
Doth cause to quail the budding grape;
But from the neighbouring elm a dew
Shall drop, and feed the plot anew.
Amyclas. That is the oracle: what exposition
Makes the philosopher?
Armostes. This brief one only.
[Reads.] The plot is Sparta, the dri’d vine the king;
The quailing grape his daughter; but the thing
Of most importance, not to be reveal’d
Is a near prince, the elm: the rest conceal’d.
Amyclas. Enough; although the opening of this riddle
Be but itself a riddle, yet we construe
How near our labouring age draws to a rest.
But must Calantha quail too? that young grape
Untimely budded! I could mourn for her;
Her tenderness hath yet deserve’d no rigour
So to be crost by fate.
Armostes. You misapply, sir, —
With favour let me speak it, — what Apollo
Hath clouded in hid sense. I here conjecture
Her marriage with some neighb’ring prince, the dew
Of which befriending elm shall ever strengthen
Your subjects with a sovereignty of power.
Crotolon. Besides, most gracious lord, the pith of oracles
Is to be then digested when th’ events
Expound their truth, not brought as soon to light
As utter’d. Truth is child of Time; and herein
I find no scruple, rather cause of comfort,
With unity of kingdoms.
Amyclas. May it prove so,
For weal of this dear nation! — Where is Ithocles? —
Armostes, Crotolon, when this wither’d vine
Of my frail carcass, on the funeral pile
Is fir’d into its ashes, let that young man
Be hedg’d about still with your cares and loves.
Much owe I to his worth, much to his service. —
Let such as wait come in now.
Armostes. All attend here!
Enter Calantha, Ithocles, Prophilus,
Orgilus, Euphranea, Hemophil, and
Calantha. Dear sir! king! father!
Ithocles. O my royal master!
Amyclas. Cleave not my heart, sweet twins of my life’s solace,
With your forejudging fears; there is no physic
So cunningly restorative to cherish
The fall of age, or call back youth and vigour,
As your consents in duty. I will shake off
This languishing disease of time, to quicken
Fresh pleasures in these drooping hours of sadness.
Is fair Euphranea married yet to Prophilus?
Crotolon. This morning, gracious lord.
Orgilus. This very morning;
Which, with your highness’ leave, you may observe too.
Our sister looks, methinks, mirthful and sprightly,
As if her chaster fancy could already
Expound the riddle of her gain in losing
A trifle maids know only that they know not.
Pish! prithee, blush not; ’tis but honest change
Of fashion in the garment, loose for strait,
And so the modest maid is made a wife.
Shrewd business — is ’t not, sister?
Euphranea. You are pleasant.
Amyclas. We thank thee, Orgilus; this mirth becomes thee.
But wherefore sits the court in such a silence?
A wedding without revels is not seemly.
Calantha. Your late indisposition, Sir, forbade it.
Amyclas. Be it thy charge, Calantha, to set forward
The bridal sports, to which I will be present;
If not, at least consenting. — Mine own Ithocles,
I have done little for thee yet.
Ithocles. Y’ have built me
To the full height I stand in.
Calantha. [Aside.] Now or never! —
May I propose a suit?
Amyclas. Demand, and have it.
Calantha. Pray, sir, give me this young man, and no further
Account him yours than he deserves in all things
To be thought worth mine: I will esteem him
According to his merit.
Amyclas. Still thou ’rt my daughter,
Still grow’st upon my heart. — [To Ithocles.]
Give me thine hand; —
Calantha, take thine own: in noble actions
Thou ’lt find him firm and absolute. — I would not
Have parted with thee, Ithocles, to any
But to a mistress who is all what I am.
Ithocles. A change, great king, most wisht for, ’cause the same.
Calantha. [Aside to Ithocles.] Th’ art mine.
I now kept my word?
Ithocles. [Aside to Calantha.] Divinely.
Orgilus. Rich fortunes guard, [the] 1 favour of a princess
Rock thee, brave man, in ever-crowned plenty!
Y’ are minion of the time; be thankful for it. —
[Aside.] Ho! here ’s a swing in destiny — apparent!
The youth is up on tiptoe, yet may stumble.
Amyclas. On to your recreations. — Now convey me
Unto my bed-chamber: none on his forehead
Wear a distempered look.
All. The gods preserve ye!
Calantha. [Aside to Ithocles.] Sweet, be not from my sight.
Ithocles. [Aside to Calantha.] My whole felicity!
Exeunt carrying out the king. Orgilus stays Ithocles.
Orgilus. Shall I be bold, my lord?
Ithocles. Thou canst not, Orgilus.
Call me thine own; for Prophilus must henceforth
Be all thy sister’s: friendship, though it cease not
In marriage, yet is oft at less command
Than when a single freedom can dispose it.
Orgilus. Most right, my most good lord, my most great lord,
My gracious princely lord, I might add, royal.
Ithocles. Royal! A subject royal?
Orgilus. Why not, pray, sir?
The sovereignty of kingdoms in their nonage
Stoop’d to desert, not birth; there ’s as much merit
In clearness of affection as in puddle
Of generation: you have conquer’d love
Even in the loveliest; if I greatly err not,
The son of Venus hath bequeath’d his quiver
To Ithocles his manage,2 by whose arrows
Calantha’s breast is open’d.
Ithocles. Can’t be possible?
Orgilus. I was myself a piece of suitor once
And forward in preferment too; so forward
That, speaking truth, I may without offence, sir,
Presume to whisper that my hopes, and — hark ye —
My certainty of marriage stood assured
With as firm footing — by your leave — as any’s
Now at this very instant — but —
Ithocles. ’T is granted:
And for a league of privacy between us,
Read o’er my bosom and partake a secret;
The princess is contracted mine.
Orgilus. Still, why not?
I now applaud her wisdom: when your kingdom
Stands seated in your will, secure and settled,
I dare pronounce you will be a just monarch;
Greece must admire and tremble.
Ithocles. Then the sweetness
Of so imparadis’d a comfort, Orgilus!
It is to banquet with the gods.
Orgilus. The glory
Of numerous children, potency of nobles,
Bent knees, hearts pav’d to tread on!
Ithocles. With a friendship
So dear, so fast as thine.
Orgilus. I am unfitting
For office; but for service —
Ithocles. We ’ll distinguish
Our fortunes merely in the title; partners
In all respects else but the bed.
Orgilus. The bed!
Forfend it Jove’s own jealousy! — till lastly
We slip down in the common earth together,
And there our beds are equal; save some monument
To show this was the king, and this the subject. — Soft sad music.
List, what sad sounds are these, — extremely sad ones?
Ithocles. Sure, from Penthea’s lodgings.
Orgilus. Hark! a voice too.
O, no more, no more, too late
Sighs are spent; the burning tapers
Of a life as chaste as fate,
Pure as are unwritten papers,
Are burnt out: no heat, no light
Now remains; ’t is ever night.
Love is dead; let lovers’ eyes,
Lock’d in endless dreams,
Th’ extremes of all extremes,
Ope no more, for now Love dies,
Now Love dies, — implying
Love’s martyrs must be ever, ever dying.
Ithocles. O, my misgiving heart!
Orgilus. A horrid stillness
Succeeds this deathful air; let ’s know tho reason:
Tread softly; there is mystery in mourning.
Enter Christalla and Philema, bringing in Penthea in a chair, veiled: two other Servants placing two chairs, one on the one side, and the other, with an engine 2 on the other. The Maids sit down at her feet, mourning. The Servants go out: meet them Ithocles and Orgilus.
1st Servant. [Aside to Orgilus.] ’T is done; that on her right hand.
Orgilus. Good: begone. [Exeunt Servants.]
Ithocles. Soft peace enrich this room!
Orgilus. How fares the lady?
Ithocles. Me miserable!
Orgilus. Tell us
How parted she from life.
Philema. She call’d for music,
And begg’d some gentle voice to tune a farewell
To life and griefs: Christalla touch’d the lute;
I wept the funeral song.
Christalla. Which scarce was ended
But her last breath seal’d up these hollow sounds
“O, cruel Ithocles and injur’d Orgilus!”
So down she drew her veil, so died.
Ithocles. So died!
Orgilus. Up! you are messengers of death; go from us;
Here ’s woe enough to court without a prompter:
Away: and — hark ye — till you see us next,
No syllable that she is dead. — Away,
Keep a smooth brow. [Exeunt Christalla and Philema.]
My lord, —
Ithocles. Mine only sister!
Another is not left me.
Orgilus. Take that chair;
I ’ll seat me here in this: between us sits
The object of our sorrows; some few tears
We ’ll part among us: I perhaps can mix
One lamentable story to prepare ’em. —
There, there; sit there, my lord.
Ithocles. Yes, as you please.
[Ithocles sits down, and is catcht in the engine.]
What means this treachery?
Orgilus. Caught! you are caught,
Young master; ’t is thy throne of coronation,
Thou fool of greatness! See, I take this veil off;
Survey a beauty wither’d by the flames
Of an insulting Phaëton, her brother.
Ithocles. Thou mean’st to kill me basely?
Orgilus. I foreknew
The last act of her life, and train’d thee hither
To sacrifice a tyrant to a turtle.
You dreamt of kingdoms, did ye? How to bosom
The delicacies of a youngling princess;
How with this nod to grace that subtle courtier,
How with that frown to make this noble tremble,
And so forth; whiles Penthea’s groans and tortures,
Her agonies, her miseries, afflictions,
Ne’er toucht upon your thought: as for my injuries,
Alas, they were beneath your royal pity;
But yet they liv’d, thou proud man, to confound thee.
Behold thy fate; this steel! [Draws a dagger.]
Ithocles. Strike home! A courage
As keen as thy revenge shall give it welcome:
But prithee faint not; if the wound close up,
Tent 3 it with double force, and search it deeply.
Thou look’st that I should whine and beg compassion,
As loth to leave the vainness of my glories.
A statelier resolution arms my confidence,
To cozen thee of honour; neither could I
With equal trial of unequal fortune
By hazard of a duel; ’t were a bravery
Too mighty for a slave intending murder.
On to the execution, and inherit
A conflict with thy horrors.
Orgilus. By Apollo,
Thou talk’st a goodly language! for requital
I will report thee to thy mistress richly.
And take this peace along: some few short minutes
Determin’d, my resolves shall quickly follow
Thy wrathful ghost; then, if we tug for mastery,
Penthea’s sacred eyes shall lend new courage.
Give me thy hand: be healthful in thy parting
From lost mortality! thus, thus I free it. [Kills him.]
Ithocles. Yet, yet, I scorn to shrink.
Orgilus. Keep up thy spirit:
I will be gentle even in blood; to linger
Pain, which I strive to cure, were to be cruel. [Stabs him again.]
Ithocles. Nimble in vengeance, I forgive thee. Follow
Safety, with best success: O, may it prosper! —
Penthea, by thy side thy brother bleeds;
The earnest of his wrongs to thy forc’d faith.
Thoughts of ambition, or delicious banquet
With beauty, youth, and love, together perish
In my last breath, which on the sacred altar
Of a long-look’d-for peace — now — moves — to heaven. Dies.
Orgilus. Farewell, fair spring of manhood! Henceforth welcome
Best expectation of a noble suff’rance.
I ’ll lock the bodies safe, till what must follow
Shall be approv’d. — Sweet twins, shine stars for ever! —
In vain they build their hopes whose life is shame:
No monument lasts but a happy name. [Exit.]
Last updated Thursday, December 25, 2014 at 10:38