Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

Leo. Ah!

Phi, Nay, do not think me less than such a cure; Antonio was not; and 'tis possible Philippo may succeed. My blood and house Are as deep rooted, and as fairly spread, As Mark-antonio's; and in that, all seek, Fortune hath giv'n him no precedency: As for our thanks to Nature, I may burn Incense as much as he; I ever durst Walk with Antonio by the self-same light At any feast, or triumph, and ne'er cared Which side my lady or her woman took In their survey; I durst have told my tale too, Though his discourse new ended.

Leo. My repulse

Phi. Let not that torture you which makes me happy,
Nor think that conscience, fair, which is no shame;
'Twas no repulse, it was your dowry rather :
For then methought a thousand graces met
To make you lovely, and ten thousand stories
Of constant virtue, which you then out-reach'd,
In one example did proclaim you rich;
Nor do I think you wretched or disgraced
After this suffering, and do therefore take
Advantage of your need; but rather know,
You are the charge and business of those powers,
Who, like best tutors, do inflict hard tasks
Upon great natures, and of noblest hopes ;
Read trivial lessons and half-lines to slugs :
They that live long, and never feel mischance,
Spend more than half their age in ignorance,
"Leo. "Tis well you think so.

Phi. You shall think so too,
You shall, sweet Leocadia, and do so.

Leo. Good sir, no more; you have too fair a shape
To play so foul a part in, as the Tempter. ,
Say that I could make peace with fortune ; who,
Who should absolve me of my vow yet; ha?
My contract made?

Phi. Your contract ?

Leo,

Leo. Yes, my contract.
Am I not his? his wife ?

Phi. Sweet, nothing less.
Leo. I have no name then.

Phi. Truly then you have not.
How can you be his wife, who was before
Another's husband ?

Leo. Oh! though he dispense
With his faith given, I cannot with mine.

Phi. You do mistake, clear soul; his precontract
Doth annul yours, and you have giv'n no faith
That ties you, in religion, or humanity :
You rather sin against that greater precept,
To covet what's another's; sweet, you do,
Believe me, who dare not urge dishonest things.
Remove that scruple therefore, and but take
Your dangers now into your judgment's scale,
And weigh them with your safeties. Think but whither
Now you can go; what you can do to live ;
How near you have barr'd all ports to your own succour,
Except this one that I here open, love.
Should you be left alone, you were a prey
To the wild lust of any, who would look
Upon this shape like a temptation,
And think you want the man you personate;
Would not regard this shift, which love put on,
As virtue forc'd, but covet it like vice :
So should you live the stander of each sex,
And be the child of error and of shame;
And, which is worse, even Mark-antonio
Would be call'd just, to turn a wanderer off,
And fame report you worthy his contempt :
Where, if you make new choice, and settle here,
There is no further tumult in this flood,
Each current keeps his course, and all suspicions
Shall return honours. Came you forth a maid?
Go home a wife. Alone, and in disguise?
Go home a waited Leocadia. .
Go home, and, by the virtue of that charm,

Transform

Transform all mischiefs as you are transform'd,
Turn your offended father's wrath to wonder,
And all his loud grief to a silent welcome;
Unfold the riddles you have made.-What say you?
Now is the time ; delay is but despair;
If you be chang'd, let a kiss tell me so.

Lco. I am: but how, I rather feel than know.98

BON DUCA.

A TRAGEDY.
FLETCHER.

BY JOHN

Bonduca, the British Queen, taking occasion from a Defeat

of the Romans to impeach their Valour, is rebuked by Caratach.

BONDUCĂ, CARATACH, Hengo, Nennius, Soldiers. Bon. The hardy Romans! O ye gods of Britain, The rust of arms, the blushing shame of soldiers ! Are these the men that conquer by inheritance ? The fortune-makers ? these the Julians, That with the sun measure the end of Nature, Making the world but one Rome and one Cæsar? Shame, how they flee! Cæsar's soft soul dwells in them; Their mothers got them sleeping, pleasure nurst them, Their bodies sweat with sweet oils, love's allurements, Not lusty arms. Dare they send these to seek us, These Roman girls ? Is Britain grown so wanton ?

Twice

98 This is one of the most pleasing if not the most shining scenes in Fletcher. All is sweet, natural, and unforced. It is a copy which we may suppose Massinger to have profited by the studying.

Twice we have beat them, Nennius, scatter'd them,
And through their big-boned Germans, on whose pikes
The honour of their actions sit in triumph,
Made themes for songs to shame them : and a woman,
A woman beat them, Nennius; a weak woman,
A woman beat these Romans."

Car. So it seems. A man would shame to talk so.
Bon. Who's that?
Car. I.
Bon. Cousin, do you grieve at my fortunes?

Car. No, Bonduca,
If I grieve 'tis at the bearing of your fortunes;
You put too much wind to your sail : discretion
And hardy valour are the twins of honour,
And nurs'd together, make a conqueror;
Divided, but a talker. 'Tis a truth,
That Rome has fled before us twice, and routed.
A truth we ought to crown the gods for, lady,
And not our tongues. A truth, is none of ours,
Nor in our ends, more than the noble bearing:
For then it leaves to be a virtue, lady,
And we that have been victors, beat ourselves,
When we insult upon our honour's subject.

Bon. My valiant cousin, is it foul to say
What liberty and honour bid us do,
And what the gods allow us ?

Car. No, Bonduca,
So what we say exceed not what we do.
Ye call the Romans fearful, fleeing Romans,
And Roman girls, the lees of tainted pleasures:
Does this become a doer? are they such?

Bon. They are no more.

Car. Where is your conquest then ? Why are your altars crown'd with wreaths of flowers, The beasts with gilt horns waiting for the fire ? The holy Druides composing songs Of everlasting life to Victory? Why are these triumphs, lady? for a may-game? For hunting a poor herd of wretched Romans?

Is it no more? shut up your temples, Britons,
And let the husbandman redeem his heifers ;
Put out our holy fires; no timbrel ring; .
Let's home and sleep; for such great overthrows
A candle burns too bright a sacrifice;
A glow-worm's tail too full of flame. O Nennius,
Thou hadst a noble uncle knew a Roman,
And how to speak to him, how to give him weight
In both his fortunes.

Bon. By the gods, I think
Ye doat upon these Romans, Caratach.
Car. Witness these wounds, I do; they were fairly

given. I love an enemy, I was born a soldier ; And he that in the head of's troop defies me, Bending my manly body with his sword, I make a mistress. Yellow-tressed Hymen Ne'er tied a longing virgin with more joy, Than I am married to that man that wounds me: And are not all these Romans? Ten struck battles I suck'd these honour'd scars from, and all Roman. Ten years of bitter nights and heavy marches, When many a frozen storm sung through any cuirass, And made it doubtful whether that or I Were the more stubborn metal, have I wrought through, And all to try these Romans. Ten times a night I have swum the rivers, when the stars of Rome Shot at me as I floated, and the billows Tumbled their watry ruins on my shoulders, Charging my batter'd sides with troops of agues, And still to try these Romans; whom I found (And if I lie, my wounds be henceforth backward, And be you witness, gods, and all my dangers) As ready, and as full of that I brought (Which was not fear nor flight) as valiant, As vigilant, as wise, to do and suffer, Ever advanced as forward as the Britons; Their sleeps as short, their hopes as high as ours. Aye, and as subtil, lady. 'Tis dishonour,

And

« FöregåendeFortsätt »