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The White Devil by John Webster

Part 2 out of 4

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The Arraignment of Vittoria

Enter Francisco, Monticelso, the six Lieger Ambassadors, Brachiano,
Vittoria, Zanche, Flamineo, Marcello, Lawyer, and a Guard.

Mont. Forbear, my lord, here is no place assign'd you.
This business, by his Holiness, is left
To our examination.

Brach. May it thrive with you. [Lays a rich gown under him.

Fran. A chair there for his Lordship.

Brach. Forbear your kindness: an unbidden guest
Should travel as Dutch women go to church,
Bear their stools with them.

Mont. At your pleasure, sir.
Stand to the table, gentlewoman. Now, signior,
Fall to your plea.

Lawyer. Domine judex, converte oculos in hanc pestem, mulierum

Vit. What 's he?

Fran. A lawyer that pleads against you.

Vit. Pray, my lord, let him speak his usual tongue,
I 'll make no answer else.

Fran. Why, you understand Latin.

Vit. I do, sir, but amongst this auditory
Which come to hear my cause, the half or more
May be ignorant in 't.

Mont. Go on, sir.

Vit. By your favour,
I will not have my accusation clouded
In a strange tongue: all this assembly
Shall hear what you can charge me with.

Fran. Signior,
You need not stand on 't much; pray, change your language.

Mont. Oh, for God's sake--Gentlewoman, your credit
Shall be more famous by it.

Lawyer. Well then, have at you.

Vit. I am at the mark, sir; I 'll give aim to you,
And tell you how near you shoot.

Lawyer. Most literated judges, please your lordships
So to connive your judgments to the view
Of this debauch'd and diversivolent woman;
Who such a black concatenation
Of mischief hath effected, that to extirp
The memory of 't, must be the consummation
Of her, and her projections----

Vit. What 's all this?

Lawyer. Hold your peace!
Exorbitant sins must have exulceration.

Vit. Surely, my lords, this lawyer here hath swallow'd
Some 'pothecaries' bills, or proclamations;
And now the hard and undigestible words
Come up, like stones we use give hawks for physic.
Why, this is Welsh to Latin.

Lawyer. My lords, the woman
Knows not her tropes, nor figures, nor is perfect
In the academic derivation
Of grammatical elocution.

Fran. Sir, your pains
Shall be well spar'd, and your deep eloquence
Be worthily applauded amongst thouse
Which understand you.

Lawyer. My good lord.

Fran. Sir,
Put up your papers in your fustian bag--
[Francisco speaks this as in scorn.
Cry mercy, sir, 'tis buckram and accept
My notion of your learn'd verbosity.

Lawyer. I most graduatically thank your lordship:
I shall have use for them elsewhere.

Mont. I shall be plainer with you, and paint out
Your follies in more natural red and white
Than that upon your cheek.

Vit. Oh, you mistake!
You raise a blood as noble in this cheek
As ever was your mother's.

Mont. I must spare you, till proof cry whore to that.
Observe this creature here, my honour'd lords,
A woman of must prodigious spirit,
In her effected.

Vit. My honourable lord,
It doth not suit a reverend cardinal
To play the lawyer thus.

Mont. Oh, your trade instructs your language!
You see, my lords, what goodly fruit she seems;
Yet like those apples travellers report
To grow where Sodom and Gomorrah stood,
I will but touch her, and you straight shall see
She 'll fall to soot and ashes.

Vit. Your envenom'd 'pothecary should do 't.

Mont. I am resolv'd,
Were there a second paradise to lose,
This devil would betray it.

Vit. O poor Charity!
Thou art seldom found in scarlet.

Mont. Who knows not how, when several night by night
Her gates were chok'd with coaches, and her rooms
Outbrav'd the stars with several kind of lights;
When she did counterfeit a prince's court
In music, banquets, and most riotous surfeits;
This whore forsooth was holy.

Vit. Ha! whore! what 's that?

Mont. Shall I expound whore to you? sure I shall;
I 'll give their perfect character. They are first,
Sweetmeats which rot the eater; in man's nostrils
Poison'd perfumes. They are cozening alchemy;
Shipwrecks in calmest weather. What are whores!
Cold Russian winters, that appear so barren,
As if that nature had forgot the spring.
They are the true material fire of hell:
Worse than those tributes i' th' Low Countries paid,
Exactions upon meat, drink, garments, sleep,
Ay, even on man's perdition, his sin.
They are those brittle evidences of law,
Which forfeit all a wretched man's estate
For leaving out one syllable. What are whores!
They are those flattering bells have all one tune,
At weddings, and at funerals. Your rich whores
Are only treasures by extortion fill'd,
And emptied by curs'd riot. They are worse,
Worse than dead bodies which are begg'd at gallows,
And wrought upon by surgeons, to teach man
Wherein he is imperfect. What's a whore!
She 's like the guilty counterfeited coin,
Which, whosoe'er first stamps it, brings in trouble
All that receive it.

Vit. This character 'scapes me.

Mont. You, gentlewoman!
Take from all beasts and from all minerals
Their deadly poison----

Vit. Well, what then?

Mont. I 'll tell thee;
I 'll find in thee a 'pothecary's shop,
To sample them all.

Fr. Ambass. She hath liv'd ill.

Eng. Ambass. True, but the cardinal 's too bitter.

Mont. You know what whore is. Next the devil adultery,
Enters the devil murder.

Fran. Your unhappy husband
Is dead.

Vit. Oh, he 's a happy husband!
Now he owes nature nothing.

Fran. And by a vaulting engine.

Mont. An active plot; he jump'd into his grave.

Fran. What a prodigy was 't,
That from some two yards' height, a slender man
Should break his neck!

Mont. I' th' rushes!

Fran. And what's more,
Upon the instant lose all use of speech,
All vital motion, like a man had lain
Wound up three days. Now mark each circumstance.

Mont. And look upon this creature was his wife!
She comes not like a widow; she comes arm'd
With scorn and impudence: is this a mourning-habit?

Vit. Had I foreknown his death, as you suggest,
I would have bespoke my mourning.

Mont. Oh, you are cunning!

Vit. You shame your wit and judgment,
To call it so. What! is my just defence
By him that is my judge call'd impudence?
Let me appeal then from this Christian court,
To the uncivil Tartar.

Mont. See, my lords,
She scandals our proceedings.

Vit. Humbly thus,
Thus low to the most worthy and respected
Lieger ambassadors, my modesty
And womanhood I tender; but withal,
So entangled in a curs'd accusation,
That my defence, of force, like Perseus,
Must personate masculine virtue. To the point.
Find me but guilty, sever head from body,
We 'll part good friends: I scorn to hold my life
At yours, or any man's entreaty, sir.

Eng. Ambass. She hath a brave spirit.

Mont. Well, well, such counterfeit jewels
Make true ones oft suspected.

Vit. You are deceiv'd:
For know, that all your strict-combined heads,
Which strike against this mine of diamonds,
Shall prove but glassen hammers: they shall break.
These are but feigned shadows of my evils.
Terrify babes, my lord, with painted devils,
I am past such needless palsy. For your names
Of 'whore' and 'murderess', they proceed from you,
As if a man should spit against the wind,
The filth returns in 's face.

Mont. Pray you, mistress, satisfy me one question:
Who lodg'd beneath your roof that fatal night
Your husband broke his neck?

Brach. That question
Enforceth me break silence: I was there.

Mont. Your business?

Brach. Why, I came to comfort he,
And take some course for settling her estate,
Because I heard her husband was in debt
To you, my lord.

Mont. He was.

Brach. And 'twas strangely fear'd,
That you would cozen her.

Mont. Who made you overseer?

Brach. Why, my charity, my charity, which should flow
From every generous and noble spirit,
To orphans and to widows.

Mont. Your lust!

Brach. Cowardly dogs bark loudest: sirrah priest,
I 'll talk with you hereafter. Do you hear?
The sword you frame of such an excellent temper,
I 'll sheath in your own bowels.
There are a number of thy coat resemble
Your common post-boys.

Mont. Ha!

Brach. Your mercenary post-boys;
Your letters carry truth, but 'tis your guise
To fill your mouths with gross and impudent lies.

Servant. My lord, your gown.

Brach. Thou liest, 'twas my stool:
Bestow 't upon thy master, that will challenge
The rest o' th' household-stuff; for Brachiano
Was ne'er so beggarly to take a stool
Out of another's lodging: let him make
Vallance for his bed on 't, or a demy foot-cloth
For his most reverend moil. Monticelso,
Nemo me impune lacessit. [Exit.

Mont. Your champion's gone.

Vit. The wolf may prey the better.

Fran. My lord, there 's great suspicion of the murder,
But no sound proof who did it. For my part,
I do not think she hath a soul so black
To act a deed so bloody; if she have,
As in cold countries husbandmen plant vines,
And with warm blood manure them; even so
One summer she will bear unsavoury fruit,
And ere next spring wither both branch and root.
The act of blood let pass; only descend
To matters of incontinence.

Vit. I discern poison
Under your gilded pills.

Mont. Now the duke's gone, I will produce a letter
Wherein 'twas plotted, he and you should meet
At an apothecary's summer-house,
Down by the River Tiber,--view 't, my lords,
Where after wanton bathing and the heat
Of a lascivious banquet--I pray read it,
I shame to speak the rest.

Vit. Grant I was tempted;
Temptation to lust proves not the act:
Casta est quam nemo rogavit.
You read his hot love to me, but you want
My frosty answer.

Mont. Frost i' th' dog-days! strange!

Vit. Condemn you me for that the duke did love me?
So may you blame some fair and crystal river,
For that some melancholic distracted man
Hath drown'd himself in 't.

Mont. Truly drown'd, indeed.

Vit. Sum up my faults, I pray, and you shall find,
That beauty and gay clothes, a merry heart,
And a good stomach to feast, are all,
All the poor crimes that you can charge me with.
In faith, my lord, you might go pistol flies,
The sport would be more noble.

Mont. Very good.

Vit. But take your course: it seems you 've beggar'd me first,
And now would fain undo me. I have houses,
Jewels, and a poor remnant of crusadoes;
Would those would make you charitable!

Mont. If the devil
Did ever take good shape, behold his picture.

Vit. You have one virtue left,
You will not flatter me.

Fran. Who brought this letter?

Vit. I am not compell'd to tell you.

Mont. My lord duke sent to you a thousand ducats
The twelfth of August.

Vit. 'Twas to keep your cousin
From prison; I paid use for 't.

Mont. I rather think,
'Twas interest for his lust.

Vit. Who says so but yourself?
If you be my accuser,
Pray cease to be my judge: come from the bench;
Give in your evidence 'gainst me, and let these
Be moderators. My lord cardinal,
Were your intelligencing ears as loving
As to my thoughts, had you an honest tongue,
I would not care though you proclaim'd them all.

Mont. Go to, go to.
After your goodly and vainglorious banquet,
I 'll give you a choke-pear.

Vit. O' your own grafting?

Mont. You were born in Venice, honourably descended
From the Vittelli: 'twas my cousin's fate,
Ill may I name the hour, to marry you;
He bought you of your father.

Vit. Ha!

Mont. He spent there in six months
Twelve thousand ducats, and (to my acquaintance)
Receiv'd in dowry with you not one Julio:
'Twas a hard pennyworth, the ware being so light.
I yet but draw the curtain; now to your picture:
You came from thence a most notorious strumpet,
And so you have continued.

Vit. My lord!

Mont. Nay, hear me,
You shall have time to prate. My Lord Brachiano--
Alas! I make but repetition
Of what is ordinary and Rialto talk,
And ballated, and would be play'd a' th' stage,
But that vice many times finds such loud friends,
That preachers are charm'd silent.
You, gentlemen, Flamineo and Marcello,
The Court hath nothing now to charge you with,
Only you must remain upon your sureties
For your appearance.

Fran. I stand for Marcello.

Flam. And my lord duke for me.

Mont. For you, Vittoria, your public fault,
Join'd to th' condition of the present time,
Takes from you all the fruits of noble pity,
Such a corrupted trial have you made
Both of your life and beauty, and been styl'd
No less an ominous fate than blazing stars
To princes. Hear your sentence: you are confin'd
Unto a house of convertites, and your bawd----

Flam. [Aside.] Who, I?

Mont. The Moor.

Flam. [Aside.] Oh, I am a sound man again.

Vit. A house of convertites! what 's that?

Mont. A house of penitent whores.

Vit. Do the noblemen in Rome
Erect it for their wives, that I am sent
To lodge there?

Fran. You must have patience.

Vit. I must first have vengeance!
I fain would know if you have your salvation
By patent, that you proceed thus.

Mont. Away with her,
Take her hence.

Vit. A rape! a rape!

Mont. How?

Vit. Yes, you have ravish'd justice;
Forc'd her to do your pleasure.

Mont. Fie, she 's mad----

Vit. Die with those pills in your most cursed maw,
Should bring you health! or while you sit o' th' bench,
Let your own spittle choke you!

Mont. She 's turned fury.

Vit. That the last day of judgment may so find you,
And leave you the same devil you were before!
Instruct me, some good horse-leech, to speak treason;
For since you cannot take my life for deeds,
Take it for words. O woman's poor revenge,
Which dwells but in the tongue! I will not weep;
No, I do scorn to call up one poor tear
To fawn on your injustice: bear me hence
Unto this house of--what's your mitigating title?

Mont. Of convertites.

Vit. It shall not be a house of convertites;
My mind shall make it honester to me
Than the Pope's palace, and more peaceable
Than thy soul, though thou art a cardinal.
Know this, and let it somewhat raise your spite,
Through darkness diamonds spread their richest light. [Exit.

Enter Brachiano

Brach. Now you and I are friends, sir, we'll shake hands
In a friend's grave together; a fit place,
Being th' emblem of soft peace, t' atone our hatred.

Fran. Sir, what 's the matter?

Brach. I will not chase more blood from that lov'd cheek;
You have lost too much already; fare you well. [Exit.

Fran. How strange these words sound! what 's the interpretation?

Flam. [Aside.] Good; this is a preface to the discovery of the
duchess' death: he carries it well. Because now I cannot counterfeit
a whining passion for the death of my lady, I will feign a mad humour
for the disgrace of my sister; and that will keep off idle questions.
Treason's tongue hath a villainous palsy in 't; I will talk to any man,
hear no man, and for a time appear a politic madman.

Enter Giovanni, and Count Lodovico

Fran. How now, my noble cousin? what, in black!

Giov. Yes, uncle, I was taught to imitate you
In virtue, and you must imitate me
In colours of your garments. My sweet mother

Fran. How? where?

Giov. Is there; no, yonder: indeed, sir, I 'll not tell you,
For I shall make you weep.

Fran. Is dead?

Giov. Do not blame me now,
I did not tell you so.

Lodo. She 's dead, my lord.

Fran. Dead!

Mont. Bless'd lady, thou art now above thy woes!
Will 't please your lordships to withdraw a little?

Giov. What do the dead do, uncle? do they eat,
Hear music, go a-hunting, and be merry,
As we that live?

Fran. No, coz; they sleep.

Giov. Lord, Lord, that I were dead!
I have not slept these six nights. When do they wake?

Fran. When God shall please.

Giov. Good God, let her sleep ever!
For I have known her wake an hundred nights,
When all the pillow where she laid her head
Was brine-wet with her tears. I am to complain to you, sir;
I 'll tell you how they have us'd her now she 's dead:
They wrapp'd her in a cruel fold of lead,
And would not let me kiss her.

Fran. Thou didst love her?

Giov. I have often heard her say she gave me suck,
And it should seem by that she dearly lov'd me,
Since princes seldom do it.

Fran. Oh, all of my poor sister that remains!
Take him away for God's sake! [Exit Giovanni.

Mont. How now, my lord?

Fran. Believe me, I am nothing but her grave;
And I shall keep her blessed memory
Longer than thousand epitaphs.


Enter Flamineo as distracted, Marcello, and Lodovico

Flam. We endure the strokes like anvils or hard steel,
Till pain itself make us no pain to feel.
Who shall do me right now? is this the end of service? I'd rather go
weed garlic; travel through Frahce, and be mine own ostler; wear
sheep-skin linings, or shoes that stink of blacking; be entered into
the list of the forty thousand pedlars in Poland. [Enter Savoy
Ambassador.] Would I had rotted in some surgeon's house at Venice,
built upon the pox as well as one pines, ere I had served Brachiano!

Savoy Ambass. You must have comfort.

Flam. Your comfortable words are like honey: they relish well in your
mouth that 's whole, but in mine that 's wounded, they go down as if
the sting of the bee were in them. Oh, they have wrought their purpose
cunningly, as if they would not seem to do it of malice! In this a
politician imitates the devil, as the devil imitates a canon;
wheresoever he comes to do mischief, he comes with his backside towards

Enter French Ambassador

Fr. Ambass. The proofs are evident.

Flam. Proof! 'twas corruption. O gold, what a god art thou! and O man,
what a devil art thou to be tempted by that cursed mineral! Your
diversivolent lawyer, mark him! knaves turn informers, as maggots turn
to flies, you may catch gudgeons with either. A cardinal! I would he
would hear me: there 's nothing so holy but money will corrupt and
putrity it, like victual under the line. [Enter English Ambassador.]
You are happy in England, my lord; here they sell justice with those
weights they press men to death with. O horrible salary!

Eng. Ambass. Fie, fie, Flamineo.

Flam. Bells ne'er ring well, till they are at their full pitch; and I
hope yon cardinal shall never have the grace to pray well, till he come
to the scaffold. If they were racked now to know the confederacy: but
your noblemen are privileged from the rack; and well may, for a little
thing would pull some of them a-pieces afore they came to their
arraignment. Religion, oh, how it is commeddled with policy! The
first blood shed in the world happened about religion. Would I were a

Marc. Oh, there are too many!

Flam. You are deceived; there are not Jews enough, priests enough, nor
gentlemen enough.

Marc. How?

Flam. I 'll prove it; for if there were Jews enough, so many Christians
would not turn usurers; if priests enough, one should not have six
benefices; and if gentlemen enough, so many early mushrooms, whose best
growth sprang from a live by begging: be thou one of them practise the
art of Wolner in England, to swallow all 's given thee: and yet let one
purgation make thee as hungry again as fellows that work in a saw-pit.
I 'll go hear the screech-owl. [Exit.

Lodo. This was Brachiano's pander; and 'tis strange
That in such open, and apparent guilt
Of his adulterous sister, he dare utter
So scandalous a passion. I must wind him.

Re-enter Flamineo.

Flam. How dares this banish'd count return to Rome,
His pardon not yet purchas'd! I have heard
The deceased duchess gave him pension,
And that he came along from Padua
I' th' train of the young prince. There 's somewhat in 't:
Physicians, that cure poisons, still do work
With counter-poisons.

Marc. Mark this strange encounter.

Flam. The god of melancholy turn thy gall to poison,
And let the stigmatic wrinkles in thy face,
Like to the boisterous waves in a rough tide,
One still overtake another.

Lodo. I do thank thee,
And I do wish ingeniously for thy sake,
The dog-days all year long.

Flam. How croaks the raven?
Is our good duchess dead?

Lodo. Dead.

Flam. O fate!
Misfortune comes like the coroner's business
Huddle upon huddle.

Lodo. Shalt thou and I join housekeeping?

Flam. Yes, content:
Let 's be unsociably sociable.

Lodo. Sit some three days together, and discourse?

Flam. Only with making faces;
Lie in our clothes.

Lodo. With faggots for our pillows.

Flam. And be lousy.

Lodo. In taffeta linings, that 's genteel melancholy;
Sleep all day.

Flam. Yes; and, like your melancholic hare,
Feed after midnight. [Enter Antonelli and Gasparo.
We are observed: see how yon couple grieve.

Lodo. What a strange creature is a laughing fool!
As if man were created to no use
But only to show his teeth.

Flam. I 'll tell thee what,
It would do well instead of looking-glasses,
To set one's face each morning by a saucer
Of a witch's congeal'd blood.

Lodo. Precious rogue!
We'll never part.

Flam. Never, till the beggary of courtiers,
The discontent of churchmen, want of soldiers,
And all the creatures that hang manacled,
Worse than strappadoed, on the lowest felly
Of fortune's wheel, be taught, in our two lives,
To scorn that world which life of means deprives.

Ant. My lord, I bring good news. The Pope, on 's death bed,
At th' earnest suit of the great Duke of Florence,
Hath sign'd your pardon, and restor'd unto you----

Lodo. I thank you for your news. Look up again,
Flamineo, see my pardon.

Flam. Why do you laugh?
There was no such condition in our covenant.

Lodo. Why?

Flam. You shall not seem a happier man than I:
You know our vow, sir; if you will be merry,
Do it i' th' like posture, as if some great man
Sat while his enemy were executed:
Though it be very lechery unto thee,
Do 't with a crabbed politician's face.

Lodo. Your sister is a damnable whore.

Flam. Ha!

Lodo. Look you, I spake that laughing.

Flam. Dost ever think to speak again?

Lodo. Do you hear?
Wilt sell me forty ounces of her blood
To water a mandrake?

Flam. Poor lord, you did vow
To live a lousy creature.

Lodo. Yes.

Flam. Like one
That had for ever forfeited the daylight,
By being in debt.

Lodo. Ha, ha!

Flam. I do not greatly wonder you do break,
Your lordship learn'd 't long since. But I 'll tell you.

Lodo. What?

Flam. And 't shall stick by you.

Lodo. I long for it.

Flam. This laughter scurvily becomes your face:
If you will not be melancholy, be angry. [Strikes him.
See, now I laugh too.

Marc. You are to blame: I 'll force you hence.

Lodo. Unhand me. [Exeunt Marcello and Flamineo.
That e'er I should be forc'd to right myself,
Upon a pander!

Ant. My lord.

Lodo. H' had been as good met with his fist a thunderbolt.

Gas. How this shows!

Lodo. Ud's death! how did my sword miss him?
These rogues that are most weary of their lives
Still 'scape the greatest dangers.
A pox upon him; all his reputation,
Nay, all the goodness of his family,
Is not worth half this earthquake:
I learn'd it of no fencer to shake thus:
Come, I 'll forget him, and go drink some wine.



Enter Francisco and Monticelso

Mont. Come, come, my lord, untie your folded thoughts,
And let them dangle loose, as a bride's hair.

Fran. Far be it from my thoughts
To seek revenge.

Mont. What, are you turn'd all marble?

Fran. Shall I defy him, and impose a war,
Most burthensome on my poor subjects' necks,
Which at my will I have not power to end?
You know, for all the murders, rapes, and thefts,
Committed in the horrid lust of war,
He that unjustly caus'd it first proceed,
Shall find it in his grave, and in his seed.

Mont. That 's not the course I 'd wish you; pray observe me.
We see that undermining more prevails
Than doth the cannon. Bear your wrongs conceal'd,
And, patient as the tortoise, let this camel
Stalk o'er your back unbruis'd: sleep with the lion,
And let this brood of secure foolish mice
Play with your nostrils, till the time be ripe
For th' bloody audit, and the fatal gripe:
Aim like a cunning fowler, close one eye,
That you the better may your game espy.

Fran. Free me, my innocence, from treacherous acts!
I know there 's thunder yonder; and I 'll stand,
Like a safe valley, which low bends the knee
To some aspiring mountain: since I know
Treason, like spiders weaving nets for flies,
By her foul work is found, and in it dies.
To pass away these thoughts, my honour'd lord,
It is reported you possess a book,
Wherein you have quoted, by intelligence,
The names of all notorious offenders
Lurking about the city.

Mont. Sir, I do;
And some there are which call it my black-book.
Well may the title hold; for though it teach not
The art of conjuring, yet in it lurk
The names of many devils.

Fran. Pray let 's see it.

Mont. I 'll fetch it to your lordship. [Exit.

Fran. Monticelso,
I will not trust thee, but in all my plots
I 'll rest as jealous as a town besieg'd.
Thou canst not reach what I intend to act:
Your flax soon kindles, soon is out again,
But gold slow heats, and long will hot remain.

Enter Monticelso, with the book

Mont. 'Tis here, my lord.

Fran. First, your intelligencers, pray let 's see.

Mont. Their number rises strangely;
And some of them
You 'd take for honest men.
Next are panders.
These are your pirates; and these following leaves
For base rogues, that undo young gentlemen,
By taking up commodities; for politic bankrupts;
For fellows that are bawds to their own wives,
Only to put off horses, and slight jewels,
Clocks, defac'd plate, and such commodities,
At birth of their first children.

Fran. Are there such?

Mont. These are for impudent bawds,
That go in men's apparel; for usurers
That share with scriveners for their good reportage:
For lawyers that will antedate their writs:
And some divines you might find folded there,
But that I slip them o'er for conscience' sake.
Here is a general catalogue of knaves:
A man might study all the prisons o'er,
Yet never attain this knowledge.

Fran. Murderers?
Fold down the leaf, I pray;
Good my lord, let me borrow this strange doctrine.

Mont. Pray, use 't, my lord.

Fran. I do assure your lordship,
You are a worthy member of the State,
And have done infinite good in your discovery
Of these offenders.

Mont. Somewhat, sir.

Fran. O God!
Better than tribute of wolves paid in England;
'Twill hang their skins o' th' hedge.

Mont. I must make bold
To leave your lordship.

Fran. Dearly, sir, I thank you:
If any ask for me at court, report
You have left me in the company of knaves.
[Exit Monticelso.
I gather now by this, some cunning fellow
That 's my lord's officer, and that lately skipp'd
From a clerk's desk up to a justice' chair,
Hath made this knavish summons, and intends,
As th' rebels wont were to sell heads,
So to make prize of these. And thus it happens:
Your poor rogues pay for 't, which have not the means
To present bribe in fist; the rest o' th' band
Are razed out of the knaves' record; or else
My lord he winks at them with easy will;
His man grows rich, the knaves are the knaves still.
But to the use I 'll make of it; it shall serve
To point me out a list of murderers,
Agents for my villany. Did I want
Ten leash of courtesans, it would furnish me;
Nay, laundress three armies. That in so little paper
Should lie th' undoing of so many men!
'Tis not so big as twenty declarations.
See the corrupted use some make of books:
Divinity, wrested by some factious blood,
Draws swords, swells battles, and o'erthrows all good.
To fashion my revenge more seriously,
Let me remember my dear sister's face:
Call for her picture? no, I 'll close mine eyes,
And in a melancholic thought I 'll frame
[Enter Isabella's Ghost.
Her figure 'fore me. Now I ha' 't--how strong
Imagination works! how she can frame
Things which are not! methinks she stands afore me,
And by the quick idea of my mind,
Were my skill pregnant, I could draw her picture.
Thought, as a subtle juggler, makes us deem
Things supernatural, which have cause
Common as sickness. 'Tis my melancholy.
How cam'st thou by thy death?--how idle am I
To question mine own idleness!--did ever
Man dream awake till now?--remove this object;
Out of my brain with 't: what have I to do
With tombs, or death-beds, funerals, or tears,
That have to meditate upon revenge? [Exit Ghost.
So, now 'tis ended, like an old wife's story.
Statesmen think often they see stranger sights
Than madmen. Come, to this weighty business.
My tragedy must have some idle mirth in 't,
Else it will never pass. I am in love,
In love with Corombona; and my suit
Thus halts to her in verse.-- [He writes.
I have done it rarely: Oh, the fate of princes!
I am so us'd to frequent flattery,
That, being alone, I now flatter myself:
But it will serve; 'tis seal'd. [Enter servant.] Bear this
To the House of Convertites, and watch your leisure
To give it to the hands of Corombona,
Or to the Matron, when some followers
Of Brachiano may be by. Away! [Exit Servant.
He that deals all by strength, his wit is shallow;
When a man's head goes through, each limb will follow.
The engine for my business, bold Count Lodowick;
'Tis gold must such an instrument procure,
With empty fist no man doth falcons lure.
Brachiano, I am now fit for thy encounter:
Like the wild Irish, I 'll ne'er think thee dead
Till I can play at football with thy head,
Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo. [Exit.


Enter the Matron, and Flamineo

Matron. Should it be known the duke hath such recourse
To your imprison'd sister, I were like
T' incur much damage by it.

Flam. Not a scruple.
The Pope lies on his death-bed, and their heads
Are troubled now with other business
Than guarding of a lady.

Enter Servant

Servant. Yonder 's Flamineo in conference
With the Matrona.--Let me speak with you:
I would entreat you to deliver for me
This letter to the fair Vittoria.

Matron. I shall, sir.

Enter Brachiano

Servant. With all care and secrecy;
Hereafter you shall know me, and receive
Thanks for this courtesy. [Exit.

Flam. How now? what 's that?

Matron. A letter.

Flam. To my sister? I 'll see 't deliver'd.

Brach. What 's that you read, Flamineo?

Flam. Look.

Brach. Ha! 'To the most unfortunate, his best respected Vittoria'.
Who was the messenger?

Flam. I know not.

Brach. No! who sent it?

Flam. Ud's foot! you speak as if a man
Should know what fowl is coffin'd in a bak'd meat
Afore you cut it up.

Brach. I 'll open 't, were 't her heart. What 's here subscrib'd!
Florence! this juggling is gross and palpable.
I have found out the conveyance. Read it, read it.

Flam. [Reads the letter.] "Your tears I 'll turn to triumphs, be but
Your prop is fallen: I pity, that a vine
Which princes heretofore have long'd to gather,
Wanting supporters, now should fade and wither."
Wine, i' faith, my lord, with lees would serve his turn.
"Your sad imprisonment I 'll soon uncharm,
And with a princely uncontrolled arm
Lead you to Florence, where my love and care
Shall hang your wishes in my silver hair."
A halter on his strange equivocation!
"Nor for my years return me the sad willow;
Who prefer blossoms before fruit that 's mellow?"
Rotten, on my knowledge, with lying too long i' th' bedstraw.
"And all the lines of age this line convinces;
The gods never wax old, no more do princes."
A pox on 't, tear it; let 's have no more atheists, for God's sake.

Brach. Ud's death! I 'll cut her into atomies,
And let th' irregular north wind sweep her up,
And blow her int' his nostrils: where 's this whore?

Flam. What? what do you call her?

Brach. Oh, I could be mad!
Prevent the curs'd disease she 'll bring me to,
And tear my hair off. Where 's this changeable stuff?

Flam. O'er head and ears in water, I assure you;
She is not for your wearing.

Brach. In, you pander!

Flam. What, me, my lord? am I your dog?

Brach. A bloodhound: do you brave, do you stand me?

Flam. Stand you! let those that have diseases run;
I need no plasters.

Brach. Would you be kick'd?

Flam. Would you have your neck broke?
I tell you, duke, I am not in Russia;
My shins must be kept whole.

Brach. Do you know me?

Flam. Oh, my lord, methodically!
As in this world there are degrees of evils,
So in this world there are degrees of devils.
You 're a great duke, I your poor secretary.
I do look now for a Spanish fig, or an Italian sallet, daily.

Brach. Pander, ply your convoy, and leave your prating.

Flam. All your kindness to me, is like that miserable courtesy of
Polyphemus to Ulysses; you reserve me to be devoured last: you would
dig turfs out of my grave to feed your larks; that would be music to
you. Come, I 'll lead you to her.

Brach. Do you face me?

Flam. Oh, sir, I would not go before a politic enemy with my back
towards him, though there were behind me a whirlpool.

Enter Vittoria to Brachiano and Flamineo

Brach. Can you read, mistress? look upon that letter:
There are no characters, nor hieroglyphics.
You need no comment; I am grown your receiver.
God's precious! you shall be a brave great lady,
A stately and advanced whore.

Vit. Say, sir?

Brach. Come, come, let 's see your cabinet, discover
Your treasury of love-letters. Death and furies!
I 'll see them all.

Vit. Sir, upon my soul,
I have not any. Whence was this directed?

Brach. Confusion on your politic ignorance!
You are reclaim'd, are you? I 'll give you the bells,
And let you fly to the devil.

Flam. Ware hawk, my lord.

Vit. Florence! this is some treacherous plot, my lord;
To me he ne'er was lovely, I protest,
So much as in my sleep.

Brach. Right! there are plots.
Your beauty! Oh, ten thousand curses on 't!
How long have I beheld the devil in crystal!
Thou hast led me, like an heathen sacrifice,
With music, and with fatal yokes of flowers,
To my eternal ruin. Woman to man
Is either a god, or a wolf.

Vit. My lord----

Brach. Away!
We 'll be as differing as two adamants,
The one shall shun the other. What! dost weep?
Procure but ten of thy dissembling trade,
Ye 'd furnish all the Irish funerals
With howling past wild Irish.

Flam. Fie, my lord!

Brach. That hand, that cursed hand, which I have wearied
With doting kisses!--Oh, my sweetest duchess,
How lovely art thou now!--My loose thoughts
Scatter like quicksilver: I was bewitch'd;
For all the world speaks ill of thee.

Vit. No matter;
I 'll live so now, I 'll make that world recant,
And change her speeches. You did name your duchess.

Brach. Whose death God pardon!

Vit. Whose death God revenge
On thee, most godless duke!

Flam. Now for ten whirlwinds.

Vit. What have I gain'd by thee, but infamy?
Thou hast stain'd the spotless honour of my house,
And frighted thence noble society:
Like those, which sick o' th' palsy, and retain
Ill-scenting foxes 'bout them, are still shunn'd
By those of choicer nostrils. What do you call this house?
Is this your palace? did not the judge style it
A house of penitent whores? who sent me to it?
To this incontinent college? is 't not you?
Is 't not your high preferment? go, go, brag
How many ladies you have undone, like me.
Fare you well, sir; let me hear no more of you!
I had a limb corrupted to an ulcer,
But I have cut it off; and now I 'll go
Weeping to heaven on crutches. For your gifts,
I will return them all, and I do wish
That I could make you full executor
To all my sins. O that I could toss myself
Into a grave as quickly! for all thou art worth
I 'll not shed one tear more--I 'll burst first.
[She throws herself upon a bed.

Brach. I have drunk Lethe: Vittoria!
My dearest happiness! Vittoria!
What do you ail, my love? why do you weep?

Vit. Yes, I now weep poniards, do you see?

Brach. Are not those matchless eyes mine?

Vit. I had rather
They were not matches.

Brach. Is not this lip mine?

Vit. Yes; thus to bite it off, rather than give it thee.

Flam. Turn to my lord, good sister.

Vit. Hence, you pander!

Flam. Pander! am I the author of your sin?

Vit. Yes; he 's a base thief that a thief lets in.

Flam. We 're blown up, my lord----

Brach. Wilt thou hear me?
Once to be jealous of thee, is t' express
That I will love thee everlastingly,
And never more be jealous.

Vit. O thou fool,
Whose greatness hath by much o'ergrown thy wit!
What dar'st thou do, that I not dare to suffer,
Excepting to be still thy whore? for that,
In the sea's bottom sooner thou shalt make
A bonfire.

Flam. Oh, no oaths, for God's sake!

Brach. Will you hear me?

Vit. Never.

Flam. What a damn'd imposthume is a woman's will!
Can nothing break it? [Aside.] Fie, fie, my lord,
Women are caught as you take tortoises,
She must be turn'd on her back. Sister, by this hand
I am on your side.--Come, come, you have wrong'd her;
What a strange credulous man were you, my lord,
To think the Duke of Florenc would love her!
Will any mercer take another's ware
When once 'tis tows'd and sullied? And yet, sister,
How scurvily this forwardness becomes you!
Young leverets stand not long, and women's anger
Should, like their flight, procure a little sport;
A full cry for a quarter of an hour,
And then be put to th' dead quat.

Brach. Shall these eyes,
Which have so long time dwelt upon your face,
Be now put out?

Flam. No cruel landlady i' th' world,
Which lends forth groats to broom-men, and takes use
For them, would do 't.
Hand her, my lord, and kiss her: be not like
A ferret, to let go your hold with blowing.

Brach. Let us renew right hands.

Vit. Hence!

Brach. Never shall rage, or the forgetful wine,
Make me commit like fault.

Flam. Now you are i' th' way on 't, follow 't hard.

Brach. Be thou at peace with me, let all the world
Threaten the cannon.

Flam. Mark his penitence;
Best natures do commit the grosses faults,
When they 're given o'er to jealousy, as best wine,
Dying, makes strongest vinegar. I 'll tell you:
The sea 's more rough and raging than calm rivers,
But not so sweet, nor wholesome. A quiet woman
Is a still water under a great bridge;
A man may shoot her safely.

Vit. O ye dissembling men!

Flam. We suck'd that, sister,
From women's breasts, in our first infancy.

Vit. To add misery to misery!

Brach. Sweetest!

Vit. Am I not low enough?
Ay, ay, your good heart gathers like a snowball,
Now your affection 's cold.

Flam. Ud's foot, it shall melt
To a heart again, or all the wine in Rome
Shall run o' th' lees for 't.

Vit. Your dog or hawk should be rewarded better
Than I have been. I 'll speak not one word more.

Flam. Stop her mouth
With a sweet kiss, my lord. So,
Now the tide 's turn'd, the vessel 's come about.
He 's a sweet armful. Oh, we curl-hair'd men
Are still most kind to women! This is well.

Brach. That you should chide thus!

Flam. Oh, sir, your little chimneys
Do ever cast most smoke! I sweat for you.
Couple together with as deep a silence,
As did the Grecians in their wooden horse.
My lord, supply your promises with deeds;
You know that painted meat no hunger feeds.

Brach. Stay, ungrateful Rome----

Flam. Rome! it deserve to be call'd Barbary,
For our villainous usage.

Brach. Soft; the same project which the Duke of Florence,
(Whether in love or gallery I know not)
Laid down for her escape, will I pursue.

Flam. And no time fitter than this night, my lord.
The Pope being dead, and all the cardinals enter'd
The conclave, for th' electing a new Pope;
The city in a great confusion;
We may attire her in a page's suit,
Lay her post-horse, take shipping, and amain
For Padua.

Brach. I 'll instantly steal forth the Prince Giovanni,
And make for Padua. You two with your old mother,
And young Marcello that attends on Florence,
If you can work him to it, follow me:
I will advance you all; for you, Vittoria,
Think of a duchess' title.

Flam. Lo you, sister!
Stay, my lord; I 'll tell you a tale. The crocodile, which lives
in the River Nilus, hath a worm breeds i' th' teeth of 't, which puts
it to extreme anguish: a little bird, no bigger than a wren, is
barber-surgeon to this crocodile; flies into the jaws of 't, picks out
the worm, and brings present remedy. The fish, glad of ease, but
ungrateful to her that did it, that the bird may not talk largely of
her abroad for non-payment, closeth her chaps, intending to swallow
her, and so put her to perpetual silence. But nature, loathing such
ingratitude, hath armed this bird with a quill or prick on the head,
top o' th' which wounds the crocodile i' th' mouth, forceth her open
her bloody prison, and away flies the pretty tooth-picker from her
cruel patient.

Brach. Your application is, I have not rewarded
The service you have done me.

Flam. No, my lord.
You, sister, are the crocodile: you are blemish'd in your fame, my lord
cures it; and though the comparison hold not in every particle, yet
observe, remember, what good the bird with the prick i' th' head hath
done you, and scorn ingratitude.
It may appear to some ridiculous
Thus to talk knave and madman, and sometimes
Come in with a dried sentence, stuffed with sage:
But this allows my varying of shapes;
Knaves do grow great by being great men's apes.


Enter Francisco, Lodovico, Gasparo, and six Ambassadors

Fran. So, my lord, I commend your diligence.
Guard well the conclave; and, as the order is,
Let none have conference with the cardinals.

Lodo. I shall, my lord. Room for the ambassadors.

Gas. They 're wondrous brave to-day: why do they wear
These several habits?

Lodo. Oh, sir, they 're knights
Of several orders:
That lord i' th' black cloak, with the silver cross,
Is Knight of Rhodes; the next, Knight of St. Michael;
That, of the Golden Fleece; the Frenchman, there,
Knight of the Holy Ghost; my Lord of Savoy,
Knight of th' Annunciation; the Englishman
Is Knight of th' honour'd Garter, dedicated
Unto their saint, St. George. I could describe to you
Their several institutions, with the laws
Annexed to their orders; but that time
Permits not such discovery.

Fran. Where 's Count Lodowick?

Lodo. Here, my lord.

Fran. 'Tis o' th' point of dinner time;
Marshal the cardinals' service.

Lodo. Sir, I shall. [Enter Servants, with several dishes covered.
Stand, let me search your dish. Who 's this for?

Servant. For my Lord Cardinal Monticelso.

Lodo. Whose this?

Servant. For my Lord Cardinal of Bourbon.

Fr. Ambass. Why doth he search the dishes? to observe
What meat is dressed?

Eng. Ambass. No, sir, but to prevent
Lest any letters should be convey'd in,
To bribe or to solicit the advancement
Of any cardinal. When first they enter,
'Tis lawful for the ambassadors of princes
To enter with them, and to make their suit
For any man their prince affecteth best;
But after, till a general election,
No man may speak with them.

Lodo. You that attend on the lord cardinals,
Open the window, and receive their viands.

Card. [Within.] You must return the service: the lord cardinals
Are busied 'bout electing of the Pope;
They have given o'er scrutiny, and are fallen
To admiration.

Lodo. Away, away.

Fran. I 'll lay a thousand ducats you hear news
Of a Pope presently. Hark; sure he 's elected:
Behold, my Lord of Arragon appears
On the church battlements. [A Cardinal on the terrace.

Arragon. Denuntio vobis gaudium magnum: Reverendissimus Cardinalis
Lorenzo de Monticelso electus est in sedem apostolicam, et elegit sibi
nomen Paulum Quartum.

Omnes. Vivat Sanctus Pater Paulus Quartus!

Servant. Vittoria, my lord----

Fran. Well, what of her?

Servant. Is fled the city----

Fran. Ha!

Servant. With Duke Brachiano.

Fran. Fled! where 's the Prince Giovanni?

Servant. Gone with his father.

Fran. Let the Matrona of the Convertites
Be apprehended. Fled? O damnable!
How fortunate are my wishes! why, 'twas this
I only labour'd: I did send the letter
T' instruct him what to do. Thy fame, fond duke,
I first have poison'd; directed thee the way
To marry a whore; what can be worse? This follows:
The hand must act to drown the passionate tongue,
I scorn to wear a sword and prate of wrong.

Enter Monticelso in State

Mont. Concedimus vobis Apostolicam benedictionem, et remissionem
My lord reports Vittoria Corombona
Is stol'n from forth the House of Convertites
By Brachiano, and they 're fled the city.
Now, though this be the first day of our seat,
We cannot better please the Divine Power,
Than to sequester from the Holy Church
These cursed persons. Make it therefore known,
We do denounce excommunication
Against them both: all that are theirs in Rome
We likewise banish. Set on.
[Exeunt all but Francisco and Lodovico.

Fran. Come, dear Lodovico;
You have ta'en the sacrament to prosecute
Th' intended murder?

Lodo. With all constancy.
But, sir, I wonder you 'll engage yourself
In person, being a great prince.

Fran. Divert me not.
Most of his court are of my faction,
And some are of my council. Noble friend,
Our danger shall be like in this design:
Give leave part of the glory may be mine. [Exit Francisco.

Enter Monticelso

Mont. Why did the Duke of Florence with such care
Labour your pardon? say.

Lodo. Italian beggars will resolve you that,
Who, begging of alms, bid those they beg of,
Do good for their own sakes; or 't may be,
He spreads his bounty with a sowing hand,
Like kings, who many times give out of measure,
Not for desert so much, as for their pleasure.

Mont. I know you 're cunning. Come, what devil was that
That you were raising?

Lodo. Devil, my lord?

Mont. I ask you,
How doth the duke employ you, that his bonnet
Fell with such compliment unto his knee,
When he departed from you?

Lodo. Why, my lord,
He told me of a resty Barbary horse
Which he would fain have brought to the career,
The sault, and the ring galliard: now, my lord,
I have a rare French rider.

Mont. Take your heed,
Lest the jade break your neck. Do you put me off
With your wild horse-tricks? Sirrah, you do lie.
Oh, thou 'rt a foul black cloud, and thou dost threat
A violent storm!

Lodo. Storms are i' th' air, my lord;
I am too low to storm.

Mont. Wretched creature!
I know that thou art fashion'd for all ill,
Like dogs, that once get blood, they 'll ever kill.
About some murder, was 't not?

Lodo. I 'll not tell you:
And yet I care not greatly if I do;
Marry, with this preparation. Holy father,
I come not to you as an intelligencer,
But as a penitent sinner: what I utter
Is in confession merely; which, you know,
Must never be reveal'd.

Mont. You have o'erta'en me.

Lodo. Sir, I do love Brachiano's duchess dearly,
Or rather I pursued her with hot lust,
Though she ne'er knew on 't. She was poison'd;
Upon my soul she was: for which I have sworn
T' avenge her murder.

Mont. To the Duke of Florence?

Lodo. To him I have.

Mont. Miserable creature!
If thou persist in this, 'tis damnable.
Dost thou imagine, thou canst slide on blood,
And not be tainted with a shameful fall?
Or, like the black and melancholic yew-tree,
Dost think to root thyself in dead men's graves,
And yet to prosper? Instruction to thee
Comes like sweet showers to o'er-harden'd ground;
They wet, but pierce not deep. And so I leave thee,
With all the furies hanging 'bout thy neck,
Till by thy penitence thou remove this evil,
In conjuring from thy breast that cruel devil. [Exit.

Lodo. I 'll give it o'er; he says 'tis damnable:
Besides I did expect his suffrage,
By reason of Camillo's death.

Enter Servant and Francisco

Fran. Do you know that count?

Servant. Yes, my lord.

Fran. Bear him these thousand ducats to his lodging.
Tell him the Pope hath sent them. Happily
That will confirm more than all the rest. [Exit.

Servant. Sir.

Lodo. To me, sir?

Servant. His Holiness hath sent you a thousand crowns,
And wills you, if you travel, to make him
Your patron for intelligence.

Lodo. His creature ever to be commanded.--
Why now 'tis come about. He rail'd upon me;
And yet these crowns were told out, and laid ready,
Before he knew my voyage. Oh, the art,
The modest form of greatness! that do sit,
Like brides at wedding-dinners, with their looks turn'd
From the least wanton jests, their puling stomach
Sick from the modesty, when their thoughts are loose,
Even acting of those hot and lustful sports
Are to ensue about midnight: such his cunning!
He sounds my depth thus with a golden plummet.
I am doubly arm'd now. Now to th' act of blood,
There 's but three furies found in spacious hell,
But in a great man's breast three thousand dwell. [Exit.



A passage over the stage of Brachiano, Flamineo, Marcello, Hortensio,
Corombona, Cornelia, Zanche, and others: Flamineo and Hortensio remain.

Flam. In all the weary minutes of my life,
Day ne'er broke up till now. This marriage
Confirms me happy.

Hort. 'Tis a good assurance.
Saw you not yet the Moor that 's come to court?

Flam. Yes, and conferr'd with him i' th' duke's closet.
I have not seen a goodlier personage,
Nor ever talk'd with man better experience'd
In State affairs, or rudiments of war.
He hath, by report, serv'd the Venetian

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