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Bri. I have been told (would I had ne'er believ'd
By other cozeners than my flattering glass,
That nature in a kind and lavish mood
Endow'd my fair exterior, and men's tongues
Outrunning far the modest phrase of truth,
Have better'd nature's workmanship. — Alas!
Beauty like early blossoms of the spring
Fills up the wonder of a short-liv'd hour,
And then droops unregarded.
Tax not thus
With general speech our sex.
Oh! you all
Worship the trick'd out image of your fancies,
Till having rudely torn the veil aside
In which your wond'rous goddess is inshrined,
You marvel at your folly and grow wise.
False to my. love! No matter, I alone
Am culpable. I might have lov’d more wisely,
Nor broke my father's heart by my perverseness.
But that's past remedy..
Bri. Ay, where's my remedy ?
The common one,
Of wives who, slighted by ungrateful lords,
Look for some friend to do them ample justice.
Bri. Have I a friend like this?
Behold him here. (Kneels.)
Nay, turn not thus away, nor fill those eyes
With scorn, whose beams alone bring comfort to me:
Think with what ardent longing I have lov’d;
How I have spent the day in thinking of thee,
And wearied out the night in watchfulness,
Whilst he that should bring transport to thy arms,
And fill them with enjoyment -
Is thy friend,
Thy unsuspecting, gen’rous, trusting friend,
Whom thou would'st meanly take advantage of,
To stab his honour.
True, he is my friend;
But what is friendship when compar'd to love ?
Love is omnipotent, and rends the seal
Even from the bond of friendship; in itself
Absorbing every other faculty:
Come then, nor coy it thus 'gainst nature's mood,
And woman's dearest privilege.-Oh! come,
And let me press thee warm and panting to me.
Bri. Unhand me, let me pass.
You mean it not.
There is a kind confession in thine eye *
Which mocks the faint refusal of thy tongue.
* These lines were transferred to The Curfew.
Bri. (Breaks from him.) Villain, thou liest; my
burning cheek is red At thine ill-manner'd speeches, and mine eye, Had it the lightning's eloquence, should blast Thy arrogant presumption. - What, art mad ! Or drunk with wine, that here in mine own house . You thus abuse mine ears, and vent at will Your bacchanalian rudeness ? Doubt not, my lord, your unsuspicious friend, Your friend shall know from what most worthy motives You have espous'd his cause. What, crest fall’n! think, Think of your open honourable dealing; And whilst you feel how pitifully low, How much beneath th' opinion of itself Vice can debase the most exalted rank, Learn to revere the dignity of virtue.
[Exit BRIANTHE; MONTANO follows.
Why what a wretch am I? The needy villain
Who preys on the benighted passenger,
Goaded by poverty and starving brats,
Remorseless justice in his prime cuts off,
Whilst he who on the turning of a die
Beggars his family and blasts at once
The rip’ning hopes of his posterity,
Walks unrequited for the deed; and why?
The grey-hair'd justice slips his ermine off
And shakes the box himself; and erring man
Finds self-born mercy knocking at his heart,
To wink at vices which himself commits.
Or rather gaming is so huge an evil,
A savage monster so untameable,
That human vengeance cannot chain him down,
And leaves it to the slower wrath of heaven. -
My friend to shun me too — that is not well. [Exit.
Enter Montano and VASQUEZ. Vasq. Think you she'll tell her husband ? Mont. No doubt, no doubt. Vasq.
Then it will end in blood. Mont. Yes, blood must flow, but whose blood ?
Art thou indeed a friend, or is thy zeal
Hollow as exhalations of the morn?
What means my lord ?
Mont. To night he revels with that shrew Rodone,
From whom returning he must chuse his road
Thro' many a lonely and untravelld spot
Suited to acts of darkness. Heed'st thou me ?
Vasq. Most earnestly.
Oh, Vasquez! there are deeds
Which will not bear the piercing eye of day,
Yet when the moon, night's grand inquisitor,
Doth wink behind a cloud
· Go on, go on! Mont. Psha! or thy sense is dull, or thy will slow To execute. Have I not said enough? In the still hour of night, when justice sleeps, Vengeance from some dark ambush'd lurking place Might steal abroad his arm, as I do now,
(Drawing a dagger.) And stab securely. Art thou now my friend, And canst thou answer that ? Vasq.
Speak out your purpose. Mont. Then briefly thus - this Valletort's my foe, And I would have him — Vasq.
Yes, by thee.
Vasq. Murder'd by me, oh, horrible! the thought
Like thick besieging agues shakes me thro'.
Mont. Base palpitating villain !
Hear me first,
And then condemn me.
Hear thee, coward slave!
What need to hear thee? thy pale quiv’ring lip,