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ACT II.

MONTANO and VASQUEZ.
Mont. My plague in Venice? 'tis impossible !
Where saw you her?
Vasq.

Close by the city gate
She sat and fixt the gaze of all beholders.

Mont. Your eyes deceiv'd you sure?
Vasg.

At first, my lord,
I doubted whether I could trust their functions,
'Till drawing nearer from her throbbing breast
She drew a picture. 'Twas the very same,
Which, as a pledge and proof of early love,
You once presented her.
Mont.

On with your tale. Si
Vasq. She looked at it as one would look on joy
Long parted with; then gaz'd upon her child,
Then on the picture, then again on him,
And thus continued with alternate glance
To note each line and feature of resemblance,
Till big with her own thoughts she dropt a tear
On both, and hugg'd them to her bosom.
Mont.

Peace,
Thou ci oaking raven, peace. - I lov'd her once,
At least her beauty did persuade me so:
But of Brianthe

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What of her, my lord ? Mont. Sullen and cold she yet disdains my love.

(Shewing a letter.) But I have wherewithal to make her mine, Or much my hope deceives me. — Couldst thou not Deposit this where it may meet her eye Unseen of any else? Vasq.

No doubt, my lord. Mont. It is a letter from that shrew Rodone, Fillid with a long detail of raptures past, And hopes of coming joy. (Gives him the letter.) Vasq.

Address'd to Valletort. Mont. About it quick, and tell me it is done. . Vasq. Where shall we meet again ?

Mont. You'll find me here. (Exit Vasq. This cannot fail : there is a sting in it, Which rooted once, and rankling in the heart, No skill of mortals ever can pluck out, Or human patience render tolerable. The wiry scourge and limb-dissevering axe, Joint-racking wheels and slow-consuming fires, All tortures else which tyrants in their wrath Have conjur'd up to tear their trembling slaves, Are mercy all to this. — They only reach Our corporal sense of sufferance, but this For ages shall impale the groaning mind Upon the stretch of agony. Her love

I cannot reach – why then to rouse her vengeance.
Pride she undoubted has, for she's a woman,
And woman, when her pride roams for revenge,
Is little nice about the instrument;
But like the heedless whirlwind in her rage
Not rarely takes into especial grace,
To serve the present working of her hate,
The thing most loath'd before. She may be patient,
A martyr to her love! But injur'd there,
Where nature pleads reprisal, 'tis a goad
The chaste Lucretia ne'er was tempted with.
Succeed but this —
I'll bury there my love and deep revenge;
If not, some other means must be essay'd,
For she hath so absorpt my every sense
And taken with her beauty and her scorn
Such absolute possession of my soul
That I must pluck this coy retiring flower,
Tho' it o’erhung a nodding precipice,
And underneath the pois’nous adder lurk’d,
To leap and sting me e'en to death.

Enter VALLETORT.
Friend Valletort, why thou look’st melancholy:
Has ought untun'd thy soul ?
Vall.

My wife, Montano, I have just parted from her.

Mont.

Oh, she hath rail'd
Upon your truantry, and dinn'd your ears
With matronly correction -
Vall.

Oh! you wrong her.
Mont. What moves you then?
Vall.

A something in my breast, That tells me I'm a villain. Mont.

Tender conscience ! A bugbear that much frights unpractised sinners; Ghosts to scare children with. Vall.

Peace, peace, Montano:
However we affect to laugh it off,
Reflexion's sober time will come at last;
And he that shuffles by from day to day,
The hour of thought, trusting it ne'er may come,
Like a deluded bankrupt, still hopes on,
Adding fresh items to the heavy balance. -
Had you but seen her —

Mont. Oh! I can fancy it, for I have heard
A woman's murmurings.
Vall.

She murmur'd noty
Or if she murmur'd, 'twas but with a smile,
Which whilst it gently chid, forgave the wrong. *
She nothing utter'd, yet her eyes were full; i

* This passage is extracted from the Author's early poem of The Prisoner.

And as we parted, turn’d her head aside,
To hide the tears that fell upon her cheek,
And wrung my hand with such a piteous fondness,
As might have wak’d a soul of adamant,
And (like the prophet's touch from Horeb's rock)
Wrung forth repentant drops. I'll go no more:
The very image of her heavenly patience
Stands like a warning angel in my path,
And wafts me backwards.
Mont.

They are coz'ners all,
Sigh when they list, like reeds to every breeze,
And conjure up at will the oozing brine,
For smiles and tears are women's sorceries,
With which they wheedle man's deluded sense,
And melt him to their purpose. - Kind Rodone
Expects you there to-night.
Vall.

I'll go no more.
Mont. What! when luxuriant beauty, such as hers,
Panting and ripe, a banquet for a god!

Val. Oh, talk not of her, I am mad already.

Mont. For which immortal Jove had left his skies, And Mahomet renounc'd his fancied heaven. Vall.

No more — I prithee spare me. Mont. Unbosom'd all to thee? Vall.

Peace, peace, Montano; It fevers every sense.

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