Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Mess. Yes, he entreats her company at a banquet At Lady Livia's house.

Lean. Troth, shall I tell you, sir,

It is the most erroneous business

That e'er your honest pains was abus'd with:

I pray forgive me if I smile a little,

I cannot choose i'faith, sir, at an error

His

So comical as this, (I mean no harm though);
grace has been most wondrous ill inform'd,
Pray so return it, sir. What should her name be?

Mess. That I shall tell you straight too,-Biancha Capella.
Lean. How, sir! Biancha? What do you call th' other?
Mess. Capella. Sir, it seems you know no such then.
Lean. Who should this be? I never heard o' th' name.
Mess. Then 'tis a sure mistake.

Lean. What if you inquir'd

In the next street, sir? I saw gallants there

In the new houses that are built of late;

Ten to one, there you find her.

Mess. Nay, no matter,

I will return the mistake, and seek no farther.

Lean. Use your own will and pleasure, sir, you're welcome.

[Exit Messenger.

What shall I think of first! Come forth, Biancha,

Thou art betray'd, I fear me.

Enter Biancha.

Bian. Betray'd! how, sir?

Lean. The duke knows thee.

Bian. Knows me! how know you that, sir?

Lean. Has got thy name.

Bian. (aside.) Ay, and my good name too;

That's worse o' th' twain.

Lean. How comes this work about?

Bian. How should the duke know me? can you guess, mother? Moth. Not I with all my wits; sure we kept house close.

Lean. Kept close! not all the locks in Italy

Can keep you women so; you have been gadding,

And ventur'd out at twilight, to th' court green yonder,

And met the gallant bowlers coming home;

Without your masks too, both of you, I'll be hang'd else:
Thou hast been seen, Biancha, by some stranger;
Never excuse it.

Do

Bian. I'll not seek the way, sir :

you think you've married me to mew me up

Not to be seen? what would you make of me?
Lean. A good wife, nothing else.

Bian. Why, so are some

That are seen ev'ry day, else the devil take 'em.

Lean. No more, then! I believe all virtuous in thee,
Without an argument; 'twas but thy hard chance

To be seen somewhere, there lies all the mischief."

Our last extract commenced with a beautiful eulogy upon marriage. Let us now hear what the more experienced husband has to say upon this fertile subject.

"Lean. Oh, thou the ripe time of man's misery, wedlock,

When all his thoughts, like over-laden trees,

Crack with the fruits they bear, in cares, in jealousies!
Oh! that's a fruit that ripens hastily,

After 'tis knit to marriage: it begins,

As soon as the sun shines upon the bride,
A little to show colour. Blessed powers!
Whence comes this alteration? the distractions,
The fears and doubts it brings, are numberless,
And yet the cause I know not. What a peace
Has he that never marries! if he knew

The benefit he enjoy'd, or had the fortune

To come and speak with me, he should know then
The infinite wealth he had, and discern rightly

The greatness of his treasure by my logs."

The reader may now take an extract from a banquet scene, where Biancha glitters as the duke's mistress, and her husband, the melancholy Leantio, mourns over her defection.

Duke. A kiss; (kisses her.) that wit deserves to be made much

on:

Come, our caroch.

Guard. Stands ready for your grace.

Duke. My thanks to all your loves. Come, fair Biancha,
We have took special care of you, and provided

Your lodging near us now.

Bian. Your love is great, my lord.

Duke. Once more our thanks to all.

Omnes. All bless'd honours guard you.

[Exeunt all but Leantio and Livia. Cornets flourish.

Lean. (without noticing Liv.) Hast thou left me then, Biancha,

utterly?

Oh, Biancha! now I miss thee; oh! return

And save the faith of woman: I ne'er felt

The loss of thee till now; 'tis an affliction

Of greater weight than youth was made to bear;
As if a punishment of after-life

Were fall'n upon man here; so new it is

To flesh and blood; so strange, so insupportable;

A torment e'en mistook, as if a body

Whose death were drowning, must needs therefore suffer it
In scalding oil.

Liv. Sweet sir!

Lean. (without noticing her.) As long as mine eye saw thee, I half enjoy'd thee.

Liv. Sir!

Lean. (without noticing her.) Canst thou forget
The dear pains my love took? how it has watch'd
Whole nights together, in all weathers for thee,
Yet stood in heart more merry than the tempest
That sung about mine ears, like dangerous flatterers
That can set all their mischief to sweet tunes;
And then receiv'd thee from thy father's window
Into these arms at midnight; when we embrac'd ́
As if we had been statues only made for❜t,
To show art's life, so silent were our comforts,
And kiss'd as if our lips had grown together?”

They afterwards meet together at the lady's lodgings, when Leantio's anger overcomes his grief. The taunting which passes between them is very spirited.

"Lean. You're richly plac'd.

Bian. Methinks you're wond'rous brave, sir.

Lean. A sumptuous lodging.

Bian. You've an excellent suit there.

Lean. A chair of velvet.

Bian. Is your cloak lin❜d through, sir?

Lean. You're very stately here.

Bian. Faith, something proud, sir.

Lean. Stay, stay, let's see your cloth of silver slippers.

Bian. Who's your shoemaker? he's made you a new boot.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

We both thrive best asunder.

Lean. You're a whore.

Bian. Fear nothing, sir.

Lean. An impudent, spiteful strumpet.

Bian. Oh, sir, you give me thanks for your captainship;
I thought you had forgot all your good manners.

Lean. And, to spite thee as much, look there; there read,
[Gives her a paper.

Vex, gnaw; thou shalt find there I am not love-starv'd.
The world was never yet so cold, or pityless,
But there was ever still more charity found out,

Than at one proud fool's door; and 'twere hard, i'faith,
If I could not pass that. Read to thy shame there;

A cheerful, and a beauteous benefactor too,

As e'er erected the good works of love.

Bian. (aside.) Lady Livia!

Is't possible? Her worship was my pandress;
She dote, and send, and give, and all to him!

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

To play a hot religious bout with some of you,
And perhaps drive you and your course of sins
To their eternal kennels: I speak softly now,
'Tis manners in a noble woman's lodgings,
And I well know all my degrees of duty;
But come I to your everlasting parting once,
Thunder shall seem soft music to that tempest.

Bian. "Twas said last week there would be change of weather,
When the moon hung so, and belike you heard it.

Lean. Why here's sin made, and ne'er a conscience put to't;

A monster with all forehead, and no eyes!

Why do I talk to thee of sense or virtue,

That art as dark as death? and as much madness

To set light before thee, as to lead blind folks

To see the monuments, which they may smell as soon

As they behold; marry, ofttimes their heads,

For want of light, may feel the hardness of 'em ;
So shall thy blind pride my revenge and anger:
That canst not see it now; and it may fall
At such an hour, when thou least seest of all."

One more quotation, and we have done. It is where the Cardinal de Medici reproves his brother, the Duke of Florence, for his misdoings. The scene, though on the whole a little tedious, is impressive. We give a part of it only:

"Enter Lord Cardinal attended.

"Card. Set those lights down:

Depart till you be called.

[Exit Attendants.

Duke. (Aside.) There's serious business

Fixed in his look; nay, it inclines a little

To the dark colour of a discontentment.

Brother, what is't commands your eye so powerfully?
Speak, you seem lost.

Card. The thing I look on seems so;

To my eyes lost for ever.

Duke. You look on me.

Card. What a grief 'tis to a religious feeling,
To think a man should have a friend so goodly,
So wise, so noble, nay, a duke, a brother,
And all this certainly damn'd!

Duke. How!

Card. 'Tis no wonder,

If your great sin can do't: dare you look up
For thinking of a vengeance? dare you sleep
For fear of never waking, but to death?
And dedicate unto a strumpet's love
The strength of your affections, zeal and health?
Here
you stand now; can you assure your pleasures,
You shall once more enjoy her? but once more?
Alas! you cannot: what a misery 'tis then
To be more certain of eternal death,

Than of a next embrace! nay, shall I show you
How more unfortunate you stand in sin,
Than the low private man: all his offences,
Like enclos'd grounds, keep but about himself,
And seldom stretch beyond his own soul's bounds;
And when a man grows miserable, 'tis some comfort
When he's no further charg'd, than with himself:
"Tis a sweet ease to wretchedness: but, great man,
Ev'ry sin thou commit'st shows like a flame
Upon a mountain; 'tis seen far about;
And with a big wind made of popular breath,
The sparkles fly through cities: here one takes,
Another catches there, and in short time
Waste all to cinders: but remember still

What burnt the vallies first, came from the hill;
Ev'ry offence draws his particular pain,

But 'tis example proves the great man's bane.

Duke. If you have done, I have; no more, sweet brother.

« ForrigeFortsett »