« PreviousContinue »
Why does not heaven turn black, or with a frown
Undo the world ?—why does not earth start up,
And strike the sins that tread upon't?--oh,
Wer't not for gold and women, there would be no damnation.
Hell would look like a lord's great kitchen, without fire in't.
But 'twas decreed before the world began,
That they should be the hooks to catch at man. [erit.
Enter Vindici and Hippolito, bringing out their mother, with daggers
in their hands.
Vin. O thou, for whom no name is bad enough!
Moth. What mean my sons ? what, will you murder me?
Vin. Wicked unnatural parent!
Hip. Fiend of women !
Moth. Oh! are sons turned monsters ? help!
Vin. In vain.
Moth. Are you so barbarous as to set iron nipples
Upon the breast that gave you suck?
Vin. That breast
Is turn'd to quarled poison.
Moth. Cut not your days for’t! am not I your mother?
Vin. Thou dost usurp that title now by fraud,
For in that shell of mother breeds a bawd.
Moth. A bawd ? O name far loathsomer than hell!
Hip. It should be so, knew'st thou thy office well.
Moth. I hate it.
Vin. Ah! is't possible, you powers on high,
That women should dissemble when they die!
Vin. Did not the duke's son direct
A fellow, of the world's condition, hither,
That did corrupt all that was good in thee?
Made thee uncivilly forget thyself,
And work our sister to his lust?
Moth. Who I ?
That had been monstrous. I defy that man
such intent! none lives so pure,
But shall be soild with slander ;—good son, believe it not.
Vin. Oh, I'm in doubt,
Whether I'm myself, or no-
Stay, let me look again upon this face.
Who shall be sav'd, when mothers have no grace ?
[resumes his disguise. Hip. 'Twould make one half despair.
Vin. I was the man ;
Defy me now, let's see, do't modestly.
Moth. O hell unto my
Vin. In that disguise, I, sent from the duke's son,
Tri'd you, and found you were base metal,
As any villain might have done.
Moth. O no, no tongue but yours could have bewitch'd
Vin. O nimble in damnation, quick in turn ! There is no devil could strike fire so soon : I am confuted in a word. Moth. Oh sons, forgive me! to myself I'll prove more
true ; You that should honour me, I kneel to you.
Vin. A mother to give aim to her own daughter !
Hip. True, brother; how far beyond nature 'tis,
Tho' many mothers do't!
Vin. Nay, and you draw tears once, go you to bed ;
Wet will make iron blush and change to red.
Brother, it rains, 'twill spoil your dagger, house it.
Hip. 'Tis done.
Vin. I'faith, tis a sweet shower, it does much good.
The fruitful grounds and meadows of her soul,
Have been long dry: pour down, thou blessed dew.
Rise, mother; troth this show'r has made you higher.
Moth. O you heavens! take this infectious spot out of
I'll rince it in seven waters of mine eyes !
Make my tears salt enough to taste of grace.
To weep, is to our sex naturally given :
But to weep truly, that's a gift from heaven.
Vin. Nay, I'll kiss you now.
Kiss her, brother :
Let's marry her to our souls, wherein's no lust,
And honourably love her.
Hip. Let it be.
Vin. For honest women are so seld and rare,
'Tis good to cherish those poor few that are.
O you of easy wax! do but imagine
Now the disease has left you, how leprously
That office would have cling'd unto your forehead!
All mothers that had any graceful hue,
Would have worn masks to hide their face at you :
It would have grown to this, at your foul name,
Green-colour'd maids would have turn'd red with shame.
Hip. And then our sister, full of hire and baseness
Vin. There had been boiling lead again,
The duke's son's great concubine !
A drab of state, a cloth o'silver slut,
To have her train borne up, and her soul trail i'th'dirt !
Hip. To be great, miserable; to be rich, eternally wretched.
Vin. O common madness!
Ask but the thriving'st harlot in cold blood,
She'd give the world to make her honour good.
Perhaps you'll say, but only to the duke's son
In private; why she first begins with one,
Who afterward to thousand proves a whore :
• Break ice in one place, it will crack in more.'
Moth. Most certainly apply'd !
Hip. Oh, brother, you forget our business.
Vin. And well remember'd; joy's a subtil elf,
I think man's happiest when he forgets himself.
Farewell, once dry, now holy-water'd mead;
Our hearts wear feathers, that before wore lead.
Moth. I'll give you this, that one I never knew,
Plead better for, and 'gainst the devil, than you.
Vin. You make me proud on't.
Hip. Commend us in all virtue to our sister.
Vin. Ay, for the love of heaven, to that true maid.
Moth. With my best words.
Vin. Why that was motherly said.
Moth. I wonder now what fury did transport me!
I feel good thoughts begin to settle in me.
Oh with what forehead can I look on her,
Whose honour I've so impiously beset ?
And here she comes.
[enter Castiza. Cast. Now, mother, you have wrought with me so strongly, That what for my advancement, as to calm The trouble of your tongue, I am content.
Moth. Content, to what ?
Cast. To do as you have wish'd me;
To prostitute my breast to the duke's son;
And put myself to common usury.
Moth. I hope you will not so!
Cast. Hope you I will not?
That's not the hope you look to be sav'd in.
Moth. Truth but it is.
Cast. Do not deceive yourself,
I am as you, e'en out of marble wrought.
What would you now? are ye not pleas'd yet with me?
You shall not wish me to be more lascivious
Than I intend to be.
Moth. Strike not me cold.
Cast. How often have you charg'd me on your blessing To be a cursed woman? When you knew Your blessing had no force to make me lewd, You laid your curse upon me; that did more, The mother's curse is heavy; where that fights, Sons set in storm, and daughters lose their lights.
Moth. Good child, dear maid, if there be any spark
Of heavenly intellectual fire within thee, oh let my breath
Revive it to a flame!
Put not all out, with woman's wilful follies.
I am recover'd of that foul disease
That haunts too many mothers; kind, forgive me,
Make me not sick in health !--if then
My words prevail'd when they were wickedness,
How much more now when they are just and good ?
Cast. I wonder what you mean ! are not you she,
For whose infect persuasions I could scarce
Kneel out my prayers, and had much ado
In three hours' reading, to untwist so much
Of the black serpent, as you wound about me?
Moth. 'Tis unfruitful, held tedious to repeat what's past; I'm now your present mother.
Cast. Pish, now 'tis too late.
Muth. Bethink again, thou know'st not what thou say'st.
Cast. No! deny advancement ! treasure ! the duke's son!
Moth. O see, I spoke those words, and now they poisonme!
What will the deed do then ?
Advancement, true ; as high as shame can pitch!
For treasure; who e'er knew a harlot rich?
Or could build by the purchase of her sin,
An hospital to keep her bastards in? The duke's son ;
Oh! when women are young courtiers, they are sure to be
old beggars ;
To know the miseries most harlots taste,
Thoud'st wish thyself unborn, when thou’rt unchaste.
Cast. O mother, let me twine about your neck,
And kiss you till my soul melt on your lips ;
I did but this to try you.
Moth. O speak truth !
Cast. Indeed I did not; for, no tongue has force to alter
me from honest.
If maidens would, men's words could have no power ;
A virgin's honour is a crystal tower,
Which, being weak, is guarded with good spirits ;
Until she basely yields, no ill inherits.”
This is Vindici's address to the skull of Gloriana.
“ Thou sallow picture of my poison'd love,
My study's ornament, thou shell of death,
Once the bright face of my betrothed lady,
When life and beauty naturally fill'd out
These ragged imperfections ;
When two heaven-pointed diamonds were set
In those unsightly rings,--then 'twas a face
So far beyond the artificial shine
Of any woman's bought complexion,
That the uprightest man, (if such there be,
That sin but seven times a day) broke custom,
And made up eight with looking after her.
Oh, she was able to ha' made a usurer's son
Melt all his patrimony in a kiss;
And what his father fifty years had told,
To have consum'd, and yet his suit been cold."
The revenge which slowly but effectually falls on the head of the Duke, is of the most elaborate and refined kind.-Whilst Vindici is attending upon Lussurioso in disguise, he is employed by the Duke to introduce him to a lady. Vindici promises, and appoints the place of meeting, where he is prepared with the skull of the poisoned Gloriana, dressed in seeming like a woman. The Duke, with court gallantry, salutes her, and recoils with horror, but not before he had imbibed the poison which Vindici had spread around its bony mouth. There is another adjunct to the death-scene of this hoary sinner, which it is not necessary to mention. Vindici reads a fine lecture on mortality, on this “ dome of thought, the palace of the soul.”
Able to tempt a great man
to serve God:
A pretty hanging lip, that has forgot now to dissemble.
Methinks this mouth should make a swearer tremble;
A drunkard clasp his teeth, and not undo 'em
To suffer wet damnation to run through 'em.
Here's a cheek keeps her colour let the wind go whistle :
Spout rain, we fear thee not : be hot or cold,
All's one with us; and is not he absurd,
Whose fortunes are upon their faces set,
That fear no other God but wind and wet ?