The Duchess of Malfi
John Webster

Part 2 out of 3

And no essential thing?

DUCHESS. Sir----

FERDINAND. Do not speak.

DUCHESS. No, sir:
I will plant my soul in mine ears, to hear you.

FERDINAND. O most imperfect light of human reason,
That mak'st [us] so unhappy to foresee
What we can least prevent! Pursue thy wishes,
And glory in them: there 's in shame no comfort
But to be past all bounds and sense of shame.

DUCHESS. I pray, sir, hear me: I am married.


DUCHESS. Happily, not to your liking: but for that,
Alas, your shears do come untimely now
To clip the bird's wings that 's already flown!
Will you see my husband?

FERDINAND. Yes, if I could change
Eyes with a basilisk.

DUCHESS. Sure, you came hither
By his confederacy.

FERDINAND. The howling of a wolf
Is music to thee, screech-owl: prithee, peace.--
Whate'er thou art that hast enjoy'd my sister,
For I am sure thou hear'st me, for thine own sake
Let me not know thee. I came hither prepar'd
To work thy discovery; yet am now persuaded
It would beget such violent effects
As would damn us both. I would not for ten millions
I had beheld thee: therefore use all means
I never may have knowledge of thy name;
Enjoy thy lust still, and a wretched life,
On that condition.--And for thee, vile woman,
If thou do wish thy lecher may grow old
In thy embracements, I would have thee build
Such a room for him as our anchorites
To holier use inhabit. Let not the sun
Shine on him till he 's dead; let dogs and monkeys
Only converse with him, and such dumb things
To whom nature denies use to sound his name;
Do not keep a paraquito, lest she learn it;
If thou do love him, cut out thine own tongue,
Lest it bewray him.

DUCHESS. Why might not I marry?
I have not gone about in this to create
Any new world or custom.

FERDINAND. Thou art undone;
And thou hast ta'en that massy sheet of lead
That hid thy husband's bones, and folded it
About my heart.

DUCHESS. Mine bleeds for 't.

FERDINAND. Thine! thy heart!
What should I name 't unless a hollow bullet
Fill'd with unquenchable wild-fire?

DUCHESS. You are in this
Too strict; and were you not my princely brother,
I would say, too wilful: my reputation
Is safe.

FERDINAND. Dost thou know what reputation is?
I 'll tell thee,--to small purpose, since the instruction
Comes now too late.
Upon a time Reputation, Love, and Death,
Would travel o'er the world; and it was concluded
That they should part, and take three several ways.
Death told them, they should find him in great battles,
Or cities plagu'd with plagues: Love gives them counsel
To inquire for him 'mongst unambitious shepherds,
Where dowries were not talk'd of, and sometimes
'Mongst quiet kindred that had nothing left
By their dead parents: 'Stay,' quoth Reputation,
'Do not forsake me; for it is my nature,
If once I part from any man I meet,
I am never found again.' And so for you:
You have shook hands with Reputation,
And made him invisible. So, fare you well:
I will never see you more.

DUCHESS. Why should only I,
Of all the other princes of the world,
Be cas'd up, like a holy relic? I have youth
And a little beauty.

FERDINAND. So you have some virgins
That are witches. I will never see thee more.

Re-enter ANTONIO with a pistol, [and CARIOLA]

DUCHESS. You saw this apparition?

ANTONIO. Yes: we are
Betray'd. How came he hither? I should turn
This to thee, for that.

CARIOLA. Pray, sir, do; and when
That you have cleft my heart, you shall read there
Mine innocence.

DUCHESS. That gallery gave him entrance.

ANTONIO. I would this terrible thing would come again,
That, standing on my guard, I might relate
My warrantable love.--
(She shows the poniard.)
Ha! what means this?

DUCHESS. He left this with me.

ANTONIO. And it seems did wish
You would use it on yourself.

DUCHESS. His action seem'd
To intend so much.

ANTONIO. This hath a handle to 't,
As well as a point: turn it towards him, and
So fasten the keen edge in his rank gall.
[Knocking within.]
How now! who knocks? More earthquakes?

DUCHESS. I stand
As if a mine beneath my feet were ready
To be blown up.

CARIOLA. 'Tis Bosola.

O misery! methinks unjust actions
Should wear these masks and curtains, and not we.
You must instantly part hence: I have fashion'd it already.


BOSOLA. The duke your brother is ta'en up in a whirlwind;
Hath took horse, and 's rid post to Rome.

DUCHESS. So late?

BOSOLA. He told me, as he mounted into the saddle,
You were undone.

DUCHESS. Indeed, I am very near it.

BOSOLA. What 's the matter?

DUCHESS. Antonio, the master of our household,
Hath dealt so falsely with me in 's accounts.
My brother stood engag'd with me for money
Ta'en up of certain Neapolitan Jews,
And Antonio lets the bonds be forfeit.

BOSOLA. Strange!--[Aside.] This is cunning.

DUCHESS. And hereupon
My brother's bills at Naples are protested
Against.--Call up our officers.

BOSOLA. I shall.

[Re-enter ANTONIO]

DUCHESS. The place that you must fly to is Ancona:
Hire a house there; I 'll send after you
My treasure and my jewels. Our weak safety
Runs upon enginous wheels:<82> short syllables
Must stand for periods. I must now accuse you
Of such a feigned crime as Tasso calls
Magnanima menzogna, a noble lie,
'Cause it must shield our honours.--Hark! they are coming.

[Re-enter BOSOLA and Officers]

ANTONIO. Will your grace hear me?

DUCHESS. I have got well by you; you have yielded me
A million of loss: I am like to inherit
The people's curses for your stewardship.
You had the trick in audit-time to be sick,
Till I had sign'd your quietus;<83> and that cur'd you
Without help of a doctor.--Gentlemen,
I would have this man be an example to you all;
So shall you hold my favour; I pray, let him;
For h'as done that, alas, you would not think of,
And, because I intend to be rid of him,
I mean not to publish.--Use your fortune elsewhere.

ANTONIO. I am strongly arm'd to brook my overthrow,
As commonly men bear with a hard year.
I will not blame the cause on 't; but do think
The necessity of my malevolent star
Procures this, not her humour. O, the inconstant
And rotten ground of service! You may see,
'Tis even like him, that in a winter night,
Takes a long slumber o'er a dying fire,
A-loth to part from 't; yet parts thence as cold
As when he first sat down.

DUCHESS. We do confiscate,
Towards the satisfying of your accounts,
All that you have.

ANTONIO. I am all yours; and 'tis very fit
All mine should be so.

DUCHESS. So, sir, you have your pass.

ANTONIO. You may see, gentlemen, what 'tis to serve
A prince with body and soul.

BOSOLA. Here 's an example for extortion: what moisture is drawn
out of the sea, when foul weather comes, pours down, and runs into
the sea again.

DUCHESS. I would know what are your opinions
Of this Antonio.

SECOND OFFICER. He could not abide to see a pig's head gaping:
I thought your grace would find him a Jew.

THIRD OFFICER. I would you had been his officer, for your own sake.

FOURTH OFFICER. You would have had more money.

FIRST OFFICER. He stopped his ears with black wool, and to those came
to him for money said he was thick of hearing.

SECOND OFFICER. Some said he was an hermaphrodite, for he could not
abide a woman.

FOURTH OFFICER. How scurvy proud he would look when the treasury
was full! Well, let him go.

FIRST OFFICER. Yes, and the chippings of the buttery fly after him,
to scour his gold chain.<84>

DUCHESS. Leave us.
Exeunt [Officers.]
What do you think of these?

BOSOLA. That these are rogues that in 's prosperity,
But to have waited on his fortune, could have wish'd
His dirty stirrup riveted through their noses,
And follow'd after 's mule, like a bear in a ring;
Would have prostituted their daughters to his lust;
Made their first-born intelligencers;<85> thought none happy
But such as were born under his blest planet,
And wore his livery: and do these lice drop off now?
Well, never look to have the like again:
He hath left a sort<86> of flattering rogues behind him;
Their doom must follow. Princes pay flatterers
In their own money: flatterers dissemble their vices,
And they dissemble their lies; that 's justice.
Alas, poor gentleman!

DUCHESS. Poor! he hath amply fill'd his coffers.

BOSOLA. Sure, he was too honest. Pluto,<87> the god of riches,
When he 's sent by Jupiter to any man,
He goes limping, to signify that wealth
That comes on God's name comes slowly; but when he's sent
On the devil's errand, he rides post and comes in by scuttles.<88>
Let me show you what a most unvalu'd jewel
You have in a wanton humour thrown away,
To bless the man shall find him. He was an excellent
Courtier and most faithful; a soldier that thought it
As beastly to know his own value too little
As devilish to acknowledge it too much.
Both his virtue and form deserv'd a far better fortune:
His discourse rather delighted to judge itself than show itself:
His breast was fill'd with all perfection,
And yet it seemed a private whisp'ring-room,
It made so little noise of 't.

DUCHESS. But he was basely descended.

BOSOLA. Will you make yourself a mercenary herald,
Rather to examine men's pedigrees than virtues?
You shall want<89> him:
For know an honest statesman to a prince
Is like a cedar planted by a spring;
The spring bathes the tree's root, the grateful tree
Rewards it with his shadow: you have not done so.
I would sooner swim to the Bermoothes on
Two politicians' rotten bladders, tied
Together with an intelligencer's heart-string,
Than depend on so changeable a prince's favour.
Fare thee well, Antonio! Since the malice of the world
Would needs down with thee, it cannot be said yet
That any ill happen'd unto thee, considering thy fall
Was accompanied with virtue.

DUCHESS. O, you render me excellent music!

BOSOLA. Say you?

DUCHESS. This good one that you speak of is my husband.

BOSOLA. Do I not dream? Can this ambitious age
Have so much goodness in 't as to prefer
A man merely for worth, without these shadows
Of wealth and painted honours? Possible?

DUCHESS. I have had three children by him.

BOSOLA. Fortunate lady!
For you have made your private nuptial bed
The humble and fair seminary of peace,
No question but: many an unbenefic'd scholar
Shall pray for you for this deed, and rejoice
That some preferment in the world can yet
Arise from merit. The virgins of your land
That have no dowries shall hope your example
Will raise them to rich husbands. Should you want
Soldiers, 'twould make the very Turks and Moors
Turn Christians, and serve you for this act.
Last, the neglected poets of your time,
In honour of this trophy of a man,
Rais'd by that curious engine, your white hand,
Shall thank you, in your grave, for 't; and make that
More reverend than all the cabinets
Of living princes. For Antonio,
His fame shall likewise flow from many a pen,
When heralds shall want coats to sell to men.

DUCHESS. As I taste comfort in this friendly speech,
So would I find concealment.

BOSOLA. O, the secret of my prince,
Which I will wear on th' inside of my heart!

DUCHESS. You shall take charge of all my coin and jewels,
And follow him; for he retires himself
To Ancona.


DUCHESS. Whither, within few days,
I mean to follow thee.

BOSOLA. Let me think:
I would wish your grace to feign a pilgrimage
To our Lady of Loretto, scarce seven leagues
>From fair Ancona; so may you depart
Your country with more honour, and your flight
Will seem a princely progress, retaining
Your usual train about you.

DUCHESS. Sir, your direction
Shall lead me by the hand.

CARIOLA. In my opinion,
She were better progress to the baths at Lucca,
Or go visit the Spa
In Germany; for, if you will believe me,
I do not like this jesting with religion,
This feigned pilgrimage.

DUCHESS. Thou art a superstitious fool:
Prepare us instantly for our departure.
Past sorrows, let us moderately lament them,
For those to come, seek wisely to prevent them.

BOSOLA. A politician is the devil's quilted anvil;
He fashions all sins on him, and the blows
Are never heard: he may work in a lady's chamber,
As here for proof. What rests<90> but I reveal
All to my lord? O, this base quality<91>
Of intelligencer! Why, every quality i' the world
Prefers but gain or commendation:
Now, for this act I am certain to be rais'd,
And men that paint weeds to the life are prais'd.

Scene III<92>


CARDINAL. Must we turn soldier, then?

MALATESTI. The emperor,
Hearing your worth that way, ere you attain'd
This reverend garment, joins you in commission
With the right fortunate soldier the Marquis of Pescara,
And the famous Lannoy.

CARDINAL. He that had the honour
Of taking the French king prisoner?

MALATESTI. The same.
Here 's a plot drawn for a new fortification
At Naples.

FERDINAND. This great Count Malatesti, I perceive,
Hath got employment?

DELIO. No employment, my lord;
A marginal note in the muster-book, that he is
A voluntary lord.

FERDINAND. He 's no soldier.

DELIO. He has worn gun-powder in 's hollow tooth for the tooth-ache.

SILVIO. He comes to the leaguer with a full intent
To eat fresh beef and garlic, means to stay
Till the scent be gone, and straight return to court.

DELIO. He hath read all the late service
As the City-Chronicle relates it;
And keeps two pewterers going, only to express
Battles in model.

SILVIO. Then he 'll fight by the book.

DELIO. By the almanac, I think,
To choose good days and shun the critical;
That 's his mistress' scarf.

SILVIO. Yes, he protests
He would do much for that taffeta.

DELIO. I think he would run away from a battle,
To save it from taking prisoner.

SILVIO. He is horribly afraid
Gun-powder will spoil the perfume on 't.

DELIO. I saw a Dutchman break his pate once
For calling him pot-gun; he made his head
Have a bore in 't like a musket.

SILVIO. I would he had made a touch-hole to 't.
He is indeed a guarded sumpter-cloth,<93>
Only for the remove of the court.

[Enter BOSOLA]

PESCARA. Bosola arriv'd! What should be the business?
Some falling-out amongst the cardinals.
These factions amongst great men, they are like
Foxes, when their heads are divided,
They carry fire in their tails, and all the country
About them goes to wrack for 't.

SILVIO. What 's that Bosola?

DELIO. I knew him in Padua,--a fantastical scholar, like such who
study to know how many knots was in Hercules' club, of what colour
Achilles' beard was, or whether Hector were not troubled with the
tooth-ache. He hath studied himself half blear-eyed to know the true
symmetry of Caesar's nose by a shoeing-horn; and this he did to gain
the name of a speculative man.

PESCARA. Mark Prince Ferdinand:
A very salamander lives in 's eye,
To mock the eager violence of fire.

SILVIO. That cardinal hath made more bad faces with his oppression
than ever Michael Angelo made good ones. He lifts up 's nose, like
a foul porpoise before a storm.

PESCARA. The Lord Ferdinand laughs.

DELIO. Like a deadly cannon
That lightens ere it smokes.

PESCARA. These are your true pangs of death,
The pangs of life, that struggle with great statesmen.

DELIO. In such a deformed silence witches whisper their charms.

CARDINAL. Doth she make religion her riding-hood
To keep her from the sun and tempest?

FERDINAND. That, that damns her. Methinks her fault and beauty,
Blended together, show like leprosy,
The whiter, the fouler. I make it a question
Whether her beggarly brats were ever christ'ned.

CARDINAL. I will instantly solicit the state of Ancona
To have them banish'd.

FERDINAND. You are for Loretto:
I shall not be at your ceremony; fare you well.--
Write to the Duke of Malfi, my young nephew
She had by her first husband, and acquaint him
With 's mother's honesty.

BOSOLA. I will.

A slave that only smell'd of ink and counters,
And never in 's life look'd like a gentleman,
But in the audit-time.--Go, go presently,
Draw me out an hundred and fifty of our horse,
And meet me at the foot-bridge.

Scene IV

[Enter] Two Pilgrims to the Shrine of our Lady of Loretto

FIRST PILGRIM. I have not seen a goodlier shrine than this;
Yet I have visited many.

SECOND PILGRIM. The Cardinal of Arragon
Is this day to resign his cardinal's hat:
His sister duchess likewise is arriv'd
To pay her vow of pilgrimage. I expect
A noble ceremony.

FIRST PILGRIM. No question.--They come.

[Here the ceremony of the Cardinal's instalment, in the habit
of a soldier, perform'd in delivering up his cross, hat, robes,
and ring, at the shrine, and investing him with sword, helmet,
shield, and spurs; then ANTONIO, the DUCHESS and their children,
having presented themselves at the shrine, are, by a form
of banishment in dumb-show expressed towards them by the
CARDINAL and the state of Ancona, banished: during all which
ceremony, this ditty is sung, to very solemn music, by divers
churchmen: and then exeunt [all except the] Two Pilgrims.

Arms and honours deck thy story,
To thy fame's eternal glory!
Adverse fortune ever fly thee;
No disastrous fate come nigh thee!

I alone will sing thy praises,
Whom to honour virtue raises,
And thy study, that divine is,
Bent to martial discipline is,
Lay aside all those robes lie by thee;
Crown thy arts with arms, they 'll beautify thee.

O worthy of worthiest name, adorn'd in this manner,
Lead bravely thy forces on under war's warlike banner!
O, mayst thou prove fortunate in all martial courses!
Guide thou still by skill in arts and forces!
Victory attend thee nigh, whilst fame sings loud thy powers;
Triumphant conquest crown thy head, and blessings pour down

Here 's a strange turn of state! who would have thought
So great a lady would have match'd herself
Unto so mean a person? Yet the cardinal
Bears himself much too cruel.

SECOND PILGRIM. They are banish'd.

FIRST PILGRIM. But I would ask what power hath this state
Of Ancona to determine of a free prince?

SECOND PILGRIM. They are a free state, sir, and her brother show'd
How that the Pope, fore-hearing of her looseness,
Hath seiz'd into th' protection of the church
The dukedom which she held as dowager.

FIRST PILGRIM. But by what justice?

SECOND PILGRIM. Sure, I think by none,
Only her brother's instigation.

FIRST PILGRIM. What was it with such violence he took
Off from her finger?

SECOND PILGRIM. 'Twas her wedding-ring;
Which he vow'd shortly he would sacrifice
To his revenge.

FIRST PILGRIM. Alas, Antonio!
If that a man be thrust into a well,
No matter who sets hand to 't, his own weight
Will bring him sooner to th' bottom. Come, let 's hence.
Fortune makes this conclusion general,
All things do help th' unhappy man to fall.

Scene V<95>

[Enter] DUCHESS, ANTONIO, Children, CARIOLA, and Servants

DUCHESS. Banish'd Ancona!

ANTONIO. Yes, you see what power
Lightens in great men's breath.

DUCHESS. Is all our train
Shrunk to this poor remainder?

ANTONIO. These poor men
Which have got little in your service, vow
To take your fortune: but your wiser buntings,<96>
Now they are fledg'd, are gone.

DUCHESS. They have done wisely.
This puts me in mind of death: physicians thus,
With their hands full of money, use to give o'er
Their patients.

ANTONIO. Right the fashion of the world:
>From decay'd fortunes every flatterer shrinks;
Men cease to build where the foundation sinks.

DUCHESS. I had a very strange dream to-night.

ANTONIO. What was 't?

DUCHESS. Methought I wore my coronet of state,
And on a sudden all the diamonds
Were chang'd to pearls.

ANTONIO. My interpretation
Is, you 'll weep shortly; for to me the pearls
Do signify your tears.

DUCHESS. The birds that live i' th' field
On the wild benefit of nature live
Happier than we; for they may choose their mates,
And carol their sweet pleasures to the spring.

[Enter BOSOLA with a letter]

BOSOLA. You are happily o'erta'en.

DUCHESS. From my brother?

BOSOLA. Yes, from the Lord Ferdinand your brother
All love and safety.

DUCHESS. Thou dost blanch mischief,
Would'st make it white. See, see, like to calm weather
At sea before a tempest, false hearts speak fair
To those they intend most mischief.
[Reads.] 'Send Antonio to me; I want his head in a business.'
A politic equivocation!
He doth not want your counsel, but your head;
That is, he cannot sleep till you be dead.
And here 's another pitfall that 's strew'd o'er
With roses; mark it, 'tis a cunning one:
'I stand engaged for your husband for several debts at Naples:
let not that trouble him; I had rather have his heart than his
And I believe so too.

BOSOLA. What do you believe?

DUCHESS. That he so much distrusts my husband's love,
He will by no means believe his heart is with him
Until he see it: the devil is not cunning enough
To circumvent us In riddles.

BOSOLA. Will you reject that noble and free league
Of amity and love which I present you?

DUCHESS. Their league is like that of some politic kings,
Only to make themselves of strength and power
To be our after-ruin; tell them so.

BOSOLA. And what from you?

ANTONIO. Thus tell him; I will not come.

BOSOLA. And what of this?

ANTONIO. My brothers have dispers'd
Bloodhounds abroad; which till I hear are muzzl'd,
No truce, though hatch'd with ne'er such politic skill,
Is safe, that hangs upon our enemies' will.
I 'll not come at them.

BOSOLA. This proclaims your breeding.
Every small thing draws a base mind to fear,
As the adamant draws iron. Fare you well, sir;
You shall shortly hear from 's.

DUCHESS. I suspect some ambush;
Therefore by all my love I do conjure you
To take your eldest son, and fly towards Milan.
Let us not venture all this poor remainder
In one unlucky bottom.

ANTONIO. You counsel safely.
Best of my life, farewell. Since we must part,
Heaven hath a hand in 't; but no otherwise
Than as some curious artist takes in sunder
A clock or watch, when it is out of frame,
To bring 't in better order.

DUCHESS. I know not which is best,
To see you dead, or part with you.--Farewell, boy:
Thou art happy that thou hast not understanding
To know thy misery; for all our wit
And reading brings us to a truer sense
Of sorrow.--In the eternal church, sir,
I do hope we shall not part thus.

ANTONIO. O, be of comfort!
Make patience a noble fortitude,
And think not how unkindly we are us'd:
Man, like to cassia, is prov'd best, being bruis'd.

DUCHESS. Must I, like to slave-born Russian,
Account it praise to suffer tyranny?
And yet, O heaven, thy heavy hand is in 't!
I have seen my little boy oft scourge his top,
And compar'd myself to 't: naught made me e'er
Go right but heaven's scourge-stick.

ANTONIO. Do not weep:
Heaven fashion'd us of nothing; and we strive
To bring ourselves to nothing.--Farewell, Cariola,
And thy sweet armful.--If I do never see thee more,
Be a good mother to your little ones,
And save them from the tiger: fare you well.

DUCHESS. Let me look upon you once more, for that speech
Came from a dying father. Your kiss is colder
Than that I have seen an holy anchorite
Give to a dead man's skull.

ANTONIO. My heart is turn'd to a heavy lump of lead,
With which I sound my danger: fare you well.
Exeunt [ANTONIO and his son.]

DUCHESS. My laurel is all withered.

CARIOLA. Look, madam, what a troop of armed men
Make toward us!

Re-enter BOSOLA [visarded,] with a Guard

DUCHESS. O, they are very welcome:
When Fortune's wheel is over-charg'd with princes,
The weight makes it move swift: I would have my ruin
Be sudden.--I am your adventure, am I not?

BOSOLA. You are: you must see your husband no more.

DUCHESS. What devil art thou that counterfeit'st heaven's thunder?

BOSOLA. Is that terrible? I would have you tell me whether
Is that note worse that frights the silly birds
Out of the corn, or that which doth allure them
To the nets? You have heark'ned to the last too much.

DUCHESS. O misery! like to a rusty o'ercharg'd cannon,
Shall I never fly in pieces?--Come, to what prison?

BOSOLA. To none.

DUCHESS. Whither, then?

BOSOLA. To your palace.

DUCHESS. I have heard
That Charon's boat serves to convey all o'er
The dismal lake, but brings none back again.

BOSOLA. Your brothers mean you safety and pity.

With such a pity men preserve alive
Pheasants and quails, when they are not fat enough
To be eaten.

BOSOLA. These are your children?


BOSOLA. Can they prattle?

But I intend, since they were born accurs'd,
Curses shall be their first language.

BOSOLA. Fie, madam!
Forget this base, low fellow----

DUCHESS. Were I a man,
I 'd beat that counterfeit face<97> into thy other.

BOSOLA. One of no birth.

DUCHESS. Say that he was born mean,
Man is most happy when 's own actions
Be arguments and examples of his virtue.

BOSOLA. A barren, beggarly virtue.

DUCHESS. I prithee, who is greatest? Can you tell?
Sad tales befit my woe: I 'll tell you one.
A salmon, as she swam unto the sea.
Met with a dog-fish, who encounters her
With this rough language; 'Why art thou so bold
To mix thyself with our high state of floods,
Being no eminent courtier, but one
That for the calmest and fresh time o' th' year
Dost live in shallow rivers, rank'st thyself
With silly smelts and shrimps? And darest thou
Pass by our dog-ship without reverence?'
'O,' quoth the salmon, 'sister, be at peace:
Thank Jupiter we both have pass'd the net!
Our value never can be truly known,
Till in the fisher's basket we be shown:
I' th' market then my price may be the higher,
Even when I am nearest to the cook and fire.'
So to great men the moral may be stretched;
Men oft are valu'd high, when they're most wretched.--
But come, whither you please. I am arm'd 'gainst misery;
Bent to all sways of the oppressor's will:
There 's no deep valley but near some great hill.

Act IV

Scene I<98>


FERDINAND. How doth our sister duchess bear herself
In her imprisonment?

BOSOLA. Nobly: I 'll describe her.
She 's sad as one long us'd to 't, and she seems
Rather to welcome the end of misery
Than shun it; a behaviour so noble
As gives a majesty to adversity:
You may discern the shape of loveliness
More perfect in her tears than in her smiles:
She will muse for hours together; and her silence,
Methinks, expresseth more than if she spake.

FERDINAND. Her melancholy seems to be fortified
With a strange disdain.

BOSOLA. 'Tis so; and this restraint,
Like English mastives that grow fierce with tying,
Makes her too passionately apprehend
Those pleasures she is kept from.

FERDINAND. Curse upon her!
I will no longer study in the book
Of another's heart. Inform her what I told you.

[Enter DUCHESS and Attendants]

BOSOLA. All comfort to your grace!

DUCHESS. I will have none.
Pray thee, why dost thou wrap thy poison'd pills
In gold and sugar?

BOSOLA. Your elder brother, the Lord Ferdinand,
Is come to visit you, and sends you word,
'Cause once he rashly made a solemn vow
Never to see you more, he comes i' th' night;
And prays you gently neither torch nor taper
Shine in your chamber. He will kiss your hand,
And reconcile himself; but for his vow
He dares not see you.

DUCHESS. At his pleasure.--
Take hence the lights.--He 's come.
[Exeunt Attendants with lights.]


FERDINAND. Where are you?

DUCHESS. Here, sir.

FERDINAND. This darkness suits you well.

DUCHESS. I would ask you pardon.

FERDINAND. You have it;
For I account it the honorabl'st revenge,
Where I may kill, to pardon.--Where are your cubs?


FERDINAND. Call them your children;
For though our national law distinguish bastards
>From true legitimate issue, compassionate nature
Makes them all equal.

DUCHESS. Do you visit me for this?
You violate a sacrament o' th' church
Shall make you howl in hell for 't.

FERDINAND. It had been well,
Could you have liv'd thus always; for, indeed,
You were too much i' th' light:--but no more;
I come to seal my peace with you. Here 's a hand
Gives her a dead man's hand.
To which you have vow'd much love; the ring upon 't
You gave.

DUCHESS. I affectionately kiss it.

FERDINAND. Pray, do, and bury the print of it in your heart.
I will leave this ring with you for a love-token;
And the hand as sure as the ring; and do not doubt
But you shall have the heart too. When you need a friend,
Send it to him that ow'd it; you shall see
Whether he can aid you.

DUCHESS. You are very cold:
I fear you are not well after your travel.--
Ha! lights!----O, horrible!

FERDINAND. Let her have lights enough.

DUCHESS. What witchcraft doth he practise, that he hath left
A dead man's hand here?
[Here is discovered, behind a traverse,<99> the artificial
figures of ANTONIO and his children, appearing as if
they were dead.

BOSOLA. Look you, here 's the piece from which 'twas ta'en.
He doth present you this sad spectacle,
That, now you know directly they are dead,
Hereafter you may wisely cease to grieve
For that which cannot be recovered.

DUCHESS. There is not between heaven and earth one wish
I stay for after this. It wastes me more
Than were 't my picture, fashion'd out of wax,
Stuck with a magical needle, and then buried
In some foul dunghill; and yon 's an excellent property
For a tyrant, which I would account mercy.

BOSOLA. What 's that?

DUCHESS. If they would bind me to that lifeless trunk,
And let me freeze to death.

BOSOLA. Come, you must live.

DUCHESS. That 's the greatest torture souls feel in hell,
In hell, that they must live, and cannot die.
Portia,<100> I 'll new kindle thy coals again,
And revive the rare and almost dead example
Of a loving wife.

BOSOLA. O, fie! despair? Remember
You are a Christian.

DUCHESS. The church enjoins fasting:
I 'll starve myself to death.

BOSOLA. Leave this vain sorrow.
Things being at the worst begin to mend: the bee
When he hath shot his sting into your hand,
May then play with your eye-lid.

DUCHESS. Good comfortable fellow,
Persuade a wretch that 's broke upon the wheel
To have all his bones new set; entreat him live
To be executed again. Who must despatch me?
I account this world a tedious theatre,
For I do play a part in 't 'gainst my will.

BOSOLA. Come, be of comfort; I will save your life.

DUCHESS. Indeed, I have not leisure to tend so small a business.

BOSOLA. Now, by my life, I pity you.

DUCHESS. Thou art a fool, then,
To waste thy pity on a thing so wretched
As cannot pity itself. I am full of daggers.
Puff, let me blow these vipers from me.
[Enter Servant]
What are you?

SERVANT. One that wishes you long life.

DUCHESS. I would thou wert hang'd for the horrible curse
Thou hast given me: I shall shortly grow one
Of the miracles of pity. I 'll go pray;--
[Exit Servant.]
No, I 'll go curse.

BOSOLA. O, fie!

DUCHESS. I could curse the stars.

BOSOLA. O, fearful!

DUCHESS. And those three smiling seasons of the year
Into a Russian winter; nay, the world
To its first chaos.

BOSOLA. Look you, the stars shine still<.>

DUCHESS. O, but you must
Remember, my curse hath a great way to go.--
Plagues, that make lanes through largest families,
Consume them!--

BOSOLA. Fie, lady!

DUCHESS. Let them, like tyrants,
Never be remembered but for the ill they have done;
Let all the zealous prayers of mortified
Churchmen forget them!--

BOSOLA. O, uncharitable!

DUCHESS. Let heaven a little while cease crowning martyrs,
To punish them!--
Go, howl them this, and say, I long to bleed:
It is some mercy when men kill with speed.

[Re-enter FERDINAND]

FERDINAND. Excellent, as I would wish; she 's plagu'd in art.<101>
These presentations are but fram'd in wax
By the curious master in that quality,<102>
Vincentio Lauriola, and she takes them
For true substantial bodies.

BOSOLA. Why do you do this?

FERDINAND. To bring her to despair.

BOSOLA. Faith, end here,
And go no farther in your cruelty:
Send her a penitential garment to put on
Next to her delicate skin, and furnish her
With beads and prayer-books.

FERDINAND. Damn her! that body of hers.
While that my blood run pure in 't, was more worth
Than that which thou wouldst comfort, call'd a soul.
I will send her masques of common courtezans,
Have her meat serv'd up by bawds and ruffians,
And, 'cause she 'll needs be mad, I am resolv'd
To move forth the common hospital
All the mad-folk, and place them near her lodging;
There let them practise together, sing and dance,
And act their gambols to the full o' th' moon:
If she can sleep the better for it, let her.
Your work is almost ended.

BOSOLA. Must I see her again?


BOSOLA. Never.

FERDINAND. You must.

BOSOLA. Never in mine own shape;
That 's forfeited by my intelligence<103>
And this last cruel lie: when you send me next,
The business shall be comfort.

FERDINAND. Very likely;
Thy pity is nothing of kin to thee, Antonio
Lurks about Milan: thou shalt shortly thither,
To feed a fire as great as my revenge,
Which nev'r will slack till it hath spent his fuel:
Intemperate agues make physicians cruel.

Scene II<104>


DUCHESS. What hideous noise was that?

CARIOLA. 'Tis the wild consort<105>
Of madmen, lady, which your tyrant brother
Hath plac'd about your lodging. This tyranny,
I think, was never practis'd till this hour.

DUCHESS. Indeed, I thank him. Nothing but noise and folly
Can keep me in my right wits; whereas reason
And silence make me stark mad. Sit down;
Discourse to me some dismal tragedy.

CARIOLA. O, 'twill increase your melancholy!

DUCHESS. Thou art deceiv'd:
To hear of greater grief would lessen mine.
This is a prison?

CARIOLA. Yes, but you shall live
To shake this durance off.

DUCHESS. Thou art a fool:
The robin-red-breast and the nightingale
Never live long in cages.

CARIOLA. Pray, dry your eyes.
What think you of, madam?

DUCHESS. Of nothing;
When I muse thus, I sleep.

CARIOLA. Like a madman, with your eyes open?

DUCHESS. Dost thou think we shall know one another
In th' other world?

CARIOLA. Yes, out of question.

DUCHESS. O, that it were possible we might
But hold some two days' conference with the dead!
>From them I should learn somewhat, I am sure,
I never shall know here. I 'll tell thee a miracle:
I am not mad yet, to my cause of sorrow:
Th' heaven o'er my head seems made of molten brass,
The earth of flaming sulphur, yet I am not mad.
I am acquainted with sad misery
As the tann'd galley-slave is with his oar;
Necessity makes me suffer constantly,
And custom makes it easy. Who do I look like now?

CARIOLA. Like to your picture in the gallery,
A deal of life in show, but none in practice;
Or rather like some reverend monument
Whose ruins are even pitied.

DUCHESS. Very proper;
And Fortune seems only to have her eye-sight
To behold my tragedy.--How now!
What noise is that?

[Enter Servant]

SERVANT. I am come to tell you
Your brother hath intended you some sport.
A great physician, when the Pope was sick
Of a deep melancholy, presented him
With several sorts<106> of madmen, which wild object
Being full of change and sport, forc'd him to laugh,
And so the imposthume<107> broke: the self-same cure
The duke intends on you.

DUCHESS. Let them come in.

SERVANT. There 's a mad lawyer; and a secular priest;
A doctor that hath forfeited his wits
By jealousy; an astrologian
That in his works said such a day o' the month
Should be the day of doom, and, failing of 't,
Ran mad; an English tailor craz'd i' the brain
With the study of new fashions; a gentleman-usher
Quite beside himself with care to keep in mind
The number of his lady's salutations
Or 'How do you,' she employ'd him in each morning;
A farmer, too, an excellent knave in grain,<108>
Mad 'cause he was hind'red transportation:<109>
And let one broker that 's mad loose to these,
You'd think the devil were among them.

DUCHESS. Sit, Cariola.--Let them loose when you please,
For I am chain'd to endure all your tyranny.

[Enter Madman]

Here by a Madman this song is sung to a dismal kind of music

O, let us howl some heavy note,
Some deadly dogged howl,
Sounding as from the threatening throat
Of beasts and fatal fowl!
As ravens, screech-owls, bulls, and bears,
We 'll bell, and bawl our parts,
Till irksome noise have cloy'd your ears
And corrosiv'd your hearts.
At last, whenas our choir wants breath,
Our bodies being blest,
We 'll sing, like swans, to welcome death,
And die in love and rest.

FIRST MADMAN. Doom's-day not come yet! I 'll draw it nearer by
a perspective,<110> or make a glass that shall set all the world
on fire upon an instant. I cannot sleep; my pillow is stuffed
with a litter of porcupines.

SECOND MADMAN. Hell is a mere glass-house, where the devils
are continually blowing up women's souls on hollow irons,
and the fire never goes out.

FIRST MADMAN. I have skill in heraldry.


FIRST MADMAN. You do give for your crest a woodcock's head
with the brains picked out on 't; you are a very ancient gentleman.

THIRD MADMAN. Greek is turned Turk: we are only to be saved by
the Helvetian translation.<111>

FIRST MADMAN. Come on, sir, I will lay the law to you.

SECOND MADMAN. O, rather lay a corrosive: the law will eat
to the bone.

THIRD MADMAN. He that drinks but to satisfy nature is damn'd.

FOURTH MADMAN. If I had my glass here, I would show a sight should
make all the women here call me mad doctor.

FIRST MADMAN. What 's he? a rope-maker?

SECOND MADMAN. No, no, no, a snuffling knave that, while he shows
the tombs, will have his hand in a wench's placket.<112>

THIRD MADMAN. Woe to the caroche<113> that brought home my wife
from the masque at three o'clock in the morning! It had a large
feather-bed in it.

FOURTH MADMAN. I have pared the devil's nails forty times, roasted
them in raven's eggs, and cured agues with them.

THIRD MADMAN. Get me three hundred milch-bats, to make possets<114>
to procure sleep.

FOURTH MADMAN. All the college may throw their caps at me:
I have made a soap-boiler costive; it was my masterpiece.

Here the dance, consisting of Eight Madmen, with music
answerable thereunto; after which, BOSOLA, like an old man,

DUCHESS. Is he mad too?

SERVANT. Pray, question him. I 'll leave you.
[Exeunt Servant and Madmen.]

BOSOLA. I am come to make thy tomb.

DUCHESS. Ha! my tomb!
Thou speak'st as if I lay upon my death-bed,
Gasping for breath. Dost thou perceive me sick?

Yes, and the more dangerously, since thy sickness is insensible.

DUCHESS. Thou art not mad, sure: dost know me?


DUCHESS. Who am I?

BOSOLA. Thou art a box of worm-seed, at best but a salvatory<115>
of green mummy.<116> What 's this flesh? a little crudded<117> milk,
fantastical puff-paste. Our bodies are weaker than those paper-
prisons boys use to keep flies in; more contemptible, since ours
is to preserve earth-worms. Didst thou ever see a lark in a cage?
Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf
of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads like her looking-glass, only
gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison.

DUCHESS. Am not I thy duchess?

BOSOLA. Thou art some great woman, sure, for riot begins to sit
on thy forehead (clad in gray hairs) twenty years sooner than on
a merry milk-maid's. Thou sleepest worse than if a mouse should be
forced to take up her lodging in a cat's ear: a little infant that
breeds its teeth, should it lie with thee, would cry out, as if thou
wert the more unquiet bedfellow.

DUCHESS. I am Duchess of Malfi still.

BOSOLA. That makes thy sleep so broken:
Glories, like glow-worms, afar off shine bright,
But, look'd to near, have neither heat nor light.

DUCHESS. Thou art very plain.

BOSOLA. My trade is to flatter the dead, not the living;
I am a tomb-maker.

DUCHESS. And thou comest to make my tomb?


DUCHESS. Let me be a little merry:--of what stuff wilt thou make it?

BOSOLA. Nay, resolve me first, of what fashion?

DUCHESS. Why, do we grow fantastical on our deathbed?
Do we affect fashion in the grave?

BOSOLA. Most ambitiously. Princes' images on their tombs do not
lie, as they were wont, seeming to pray up to heaven; but with their
hands under their cheeks, as if they died of the tooth-ache. They
are not carved with their eyes fix'd upon the stars, but as their
minds were wholly bent upon the world, the selfsame way they seem
to turn their faces.

DUCHESS. Let me know fully therefore the effect
Of this thy dismal preparation,
This talk fit for a charnel.

BOSOLA. Now I shall:--
[Enter Executioners, with] a coffin, cords, and a bell
Here is a present from your princely brothers;
And may it arrive welcome, for it brings
Last benefit, last sorrow.

DUCHESS. Let me see it:
I have so much obedience in my blood,
I wish it in their veins to do them good.

BOSOLA. This is your last presence-chamber.

CARIOLA. O my sweet lady!

DUCHESS. Peace; it affrights not me.

BOSOLA. I am the common bellman
That usually is sent to condemn'd persons
The night before they suffer.

DUCHESS. Even now thou said'st
Thou wast a tomb-maker.

BOSOLA. 'Twas to bring you
By degrees to mortification. Listen.

Hark, now everything is still,
The screech-owl and the whistler shrill
Call upon our dame aloud,
And bid her quickly don her shroud!
Much you had of land and rent;
Your length in clay 's now competent:
A long war disturb'd your mind;
Here your perfect peace is sign'd.
Of what is 't fools make such vain keeping?
Sin their conception, their birth weeping,
Their life a general mist of error,
Their death a hideous storm of terror.
Strew your hair with powders sweet,
Don clean linen, bathe your feet,
And (the foul fiend more to check)
A crucifix let bless your neck.
'Tis now full tide 'tween night and day;
End your groan, and come away.

CARIOLA. Hence, villains, tyrants, murderers! Alas!
What will you do with my lady?--Call for help!

DUCHESS. To whom? To our next neighbours? They are mad-folks.

BOSOLA. Remove that noise.

DUCHESS. Farewell, Cariola.
In my last will I have not much to give:
A many hungry guests have fed upon me;
Thine will be a poor reversion.

CARIOLA. I will die with her.

DUCHESS. I pray thee, look thou giv'st my little boy
Some syrup for his cold, and let the girl
Say her prayers ere she sleep.
[Cariola is forced out by the Executioners.]
Now what you please:
What death?

BOSOLA. Strangling; here are your executioners.

DUCHESS. I forgive them:
The apoplexy, catarrh, or cough o' th' lungs,
Would do as much as they do.

BOSOLA. Doth not death fright you?

DUCHESS. Who would be afraid on 't,
Knowing to meet such excellent company
In th' other world?

BOSOLA. Yet, methinks,
The manner of your death should much afflict you:
This cord should terrify you.

DUCHESS. Not a whit:
What would it pleasure me to have my throat cut
With diamonds? or to be smothered
With cassia? or to be shot to death with pearls?
I know death hath ten thousand several doors
For men to take their exits; and 'tis found
They go on such strange geometrical hinges,
You may open them both ways: any way, for heaven-sake,
So I were out of your whispering. Tell my brothers
That I perceive death, now I am well awake,
Best gift is they can give or I can take.
I would fain put off my last woman's-fault,
I 'd not be tedious to you.


DUCHESS. Dispose my breath how please you; but my body
Bestow upon my women, will you?


DUCHESS. Pull, and pull strongly, for your able strength
Must pull down heaven upon me:--
Yet stay; heaven-gates are not so highly arch'd
As princes' palaces; they that enter there
Must go upon their knees [Kneels].--Come, violent death,
Serve for mandragora to make me sleep!--
Go tell my brothers, when I am laid out,
They then may feed in quiet.
They strangle her.

BOSOLA. Where 's the waiting-woman??
Fetch her: some other strangle the children.
Look you, there sleeps your mistress.

CARIOLA. O, you are damn'd
Perpetually for this! My turn is next;
Is 't not so ordered?

BOSOLA. Yes, and I am glad
You are so well prepar'd for 't.

CARIOLA. You are deceiv'd, sir,
I am not prepar'd for 't, I will not die;
I will first come to my answer,<118> and know
How I have offended.

BOSOLA. Come, despatch her.--
You kept her counsel; now you shall keep ours.

CARIOLA. I will not die, I must not; I am contracted
To a young gentleman.

FIRST EXECUTIONER. Here 's your wedding-ring.

CARIOLA. Let me but speak with the duke. I 'll discover
Treason to his person.

BOSOLA. Delays:--throttle her.

FIRST EXECUTIONER. She bites and scratches.

CARIOLA. If you kill me now,
I am damn'd; I have not been at confession
This two years.

BOSOLA. [To Executioners.] When?<119>

CARIOLA. I am quick with child.

BOSOLA. Why, then,
Your credit 's saved.
[Executioners strangle Cariola.]
Bear her into the next room;
Let these lie still.
[Exeunt the Executioners with the body of CARIOLA.]


FERDINAND. Is she dead?

BOSOLA. She is what
You 'd have her. But here begin your pity:
Shows the Children strangled.
Alas, how have these offended?

FERDINAND. The death
Of young wolves is never to be pitied.

BOSOLA. Fix your eye here.

FERDINAND. Constantly.

BOSOLA. Do you not weep?
Other sins only speak; murder shrieks out.
The element of water moistens the earth,
But blood flies upwards and bedews the heavens.

FERDINAND. Cover her face; mine eyes dazzle: she died young.

BOSOLA. I think not so; her infelicity
Seem'd to have years too many.

FERDINAND. She and I were twins;
And should I die this instant, I had liv'd
Her time to a minute.

BOSOLA. It seems she was born first:
You have bloodily approv'd the ancient truth,
That kindred commonly do worse agree
Than remote strangers.

FERDINAND. Let me see her face
Again. Why didst thou not pity her? What
An excellent honest man mightst thou have been,
If thou hadst borne her to some sanctuary!
Or, bold in a good cause, oppos'd thyself,
With thy advanced sword above thy head,
Between her innocence and my revenge!
I bade thee, when I was distracted of my wits,
Go kill my dearest friend, and thou hast done 't.
For let me but examine well the cause:
What was the meanness of her match to me?
Only I must confess I had a hope,
Had she continu'd widow, to have gain'd
An infinite mass of treasure by her death:
And that was the main cause,--her marriage,
That drew a stream of gall quite through my heart.
For thee, as we observe in tragedies
That a good actor many times is curs'd
For playing a villain's part, I hate thee for 't,
And, for my sake, say, thou hast done much ill well.

BOSOLA. Let me quicken your memory, for I perceive
You are falling into ingratitude: I challenge
The reward due to my service.

FERDINAND. I 'll tell thee
What I 'll give thee.


FERDINAND. I 'll give thee a pardon
For this murder.


FERDINAND. Yes, and 'tis
The largest bounty I can study to do thee.
By what authority didst thou execute
This bloody sentence?

BOSOLA. By yours.

FERDINAND. Mine! was I her judge?
Did any ceremonial form of law
Doom her to not-being? Did a complete jury
Deliver her conviction up i' the court?
Where shalt thou find this judgment register'd,
Unless in hell? See, like a bloody fool,
Thou 'st forfeited thy life, and thou shalt die for 't.

BOSOLA. The office of justice is perverted quite
When one thief hangs another. Who shall dare
To reveal this?

FERDINAND. O, I 'll tell thee;
The wolf shall find her grave, and scrape it up,
Not to devour the corpse, but to discover
The horrid murder.

BOSOLA. You, not I, shall quake for 't.

FERDINAND. Leave me.

BOSOLA. I will first receive my pension.

FERDINAND. You are a villain.

BOSOLA. When your ingratitude
Is judge, I am so.

FERDINAND. O horror,
That not the fear of him which binds the devils
Can prescribe man obedience!--
Never look upon me more.

BOSOLA. Why, fare thee well.
Your brother and yourself are worthy men!
You have a pair of hearts are hollow graves,
Rotten, and rotting others; and your vengeance,
Like two chain'd-bullets, still goes arm in arm:
You may be brothers; for treason, like the plague,
Doth take much in a blood. I stand like one
That long hath ta'en a sweet and golden dream:
I am angry with myself, now that I wake.

FERDINAND. Get thee into some unknown part o' the world,
That I may never see thee.

BOSOLA. Let me know
Wherefore I should be thus neglected. Sir,
I serv'd your tyranny, and rather strove
To satisfy yourself than all the world:
And though I loath'd the evil, yet I lov'd
You that did counsel it; and rather sought
To appear a true servant than an honest man.

FERDINAND. I 'll go hunt the badger by owl-light:
'Tis a deed of darkness.

BOSOLA. He 's much distracted. Off, my painted honour!
While with vain hopes our faculties we tire,
We seem to sweat in ice and freeze in fire.
What would I do, were this to do again?
I would not change my peace of conscience
For all the wealth of Europe.--She stirs; here 's life:--
Return, fair soul, from darkness, and lead mine
Out of this sensible hell:--she 's warm, she breathes:--
Upon thy pale lips I will melt my heart,
To store them with fresh colour.--Who 's there?
Some cordial drink!--Alas! I dare not call:
So pity would destroy pity.--Her eye opes,
And heaven in it seems to ope, that late was shut,
To take me up to mercy.

DUCHESS. Antonio!

BOSOLA. Yes, madam, he is living;
The dead bodies you saw were but feign'd statues.
He 's reconcil'd to your brothers; the Pope hath wrought
The atonement.


BOSOLA. O, she 's gone again! there the cords of life broke.
O sacred innocence, that sweetly sleeps
On turtles' feathers, whilst a guilty conscience
Is a black register wherein is writ
All our good deeds and bad, a perspective
That shows us hell! That we cannot be suffer'd
To do good when we have a mind to it!
This is manly sorrow;
These tears, I am very certain, never grew
In my mother's milk. My estate is sunk
Below the degree of fear: where were
These penitent fountains while she was living?
O, they were frozen up! Here is a sight
As direful to my soul as is the sword
Unto a wretch hath slain his father.
Come, I 'll bear thee hence,
And execute thy last will; that 's deliver
Thy body to the reverend dispose
Of some good women: that the cruel tyrant
Shall not deny me. Then I 'll post to Milan,
Where somewhat I will speedily enact
Worth my dejection.
Exit [with the body].

Act V

Scene I<120>


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,<121>
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 heretic<122>
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.

DELIO. Sir, I have a suit to you.


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.


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.

ANTONIO. How they fortify
Themselves with my ruin!

DELIO. Sir, I am
Little bound to you.


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.

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 fraight<123> 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.

Scene II<124>


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.


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.


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.<125>

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's<126> 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,<127> 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,<128> flay off his skin to cover one of the anatomies<129>
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

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.
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]


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