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Were not one better make it smiling, thus,
Than in deep groans, and terrible ghastly looks,
As if the gifts we parted with procur'd
That violent distraction ?

Ant. 0, much better.

Duchess. If I had a husband now, this care were quit: But I intend to make you overseer. What good deed shall we first remember? say.

Ant. Begin with that first good deed began i'th' world
After man's creation, the sacrament of marriage:
I'd have you first provide for a good husband;
Give him all.

Duchess. All ?
Ant. Yes, your excellent self.
Duchess. St. Winifred, that were a strange will !

Ant. 'Twere strange if there were no will in you
To marry again.

Duchess. What do you think of marriage ?

Ant. I take 't, as those that deny purgatory,
It locally contains or heaven or hell,
There's no third place in ’t.

Duchess. How do you affect it?

Ant. My banishment, feeding my melancholy, Would often reason thus.

Duchess, Pray, let's hear it.

Ant. Say a man never marry, nor have children,
What takes that from him ? only the bare name
Of being a father, or the weak delight
To see the little wanton ride a cock-horse
Upon a painted stick, or hear him chatter
Like a taught starling.

Duchess. Fie! fie! what's all this?
One of your eyes is blood-shot; use my ring to't,
They say 'tis very sovereign: 'twas my wedding ring,
And I did vow never to part with it
But to my second husband.

Ant. You have parted with it now.
Duchess. Yes, to help your eyesight.

Ant. You have made me stark-blind.
Duchess. How?

Ant. There is a saucy and ambitious devil,
Is dancing in this circle.

Duchess. Remove him.
Ant. How?

Duchess. There needs small conjuration, when your finger May do it. Thus; is it fit?

[She puts the ring upon his finger: he kneels. Ant. What said you?

Duchess. Sir,
This goodly roof of yours is too low-built;
I cannot stand upright in 't nor discourse,
Without I raise it higher: raise yourself;
Or, if you please, my hand to help you: so.

Ant. Ambition, madam, is a great man's madness,
That is not kept in chains, and close-pent-rooms,
But in fair lightsome lodgings, and is girt
With the wild noise of prattling visitants,
Which makes it lunatic beyond all cure.
Conceive not I am so stupid but I aim
Whereto

your

favours tend: but he's a fool,
That, being a-cold, would thrust his hands i'th' fire
To warm them.

Duchess. So, now the ground 's broke,
You may discover what a wealthy mine
I make you lord of.

Ant. O, my unworthiness !

Duchess. You were ill to sell yourself:
This darkening of your worth is not like that
Which tradesmen use i'th' city; their false lights
Are to rid bad wares off: and I must tell you,
If you will know where breathes a complete man,
(I speak it without flattery,) turn your eyes,
And progress through yourself.

Ant. Were there nor heaven nor hell,
I should be honest: I have long serv'd virtue,
And ne'er ta’en wages of her.

you a young widow

Duchess. Now she

pays

it.
The misery of us that are born great !
We are forc'd to woo, because none dare woo us;
And as a tyrant doubles with his words,
And fearfully equivocates, so we
Are forc'd to express our violent passions
In riddles, and in dreams, and leave the path
Of simple virtue, which was never made
To seem the thing it is not. Go, go brag
You have left me heartless; mine is in your bosom;
I hope 'twill multiply love there. You do tremble :
Make not your heart so dead a piece of flesh,
To fear, more than to love me. Sir, be confident:
What is 't distracts you? This is flesh and blood, sir ;
'Tis not the figure, cut in alabaster,
Kneels at my husband's tomb. Awake, awake, man !
I do here put off all vain ceremony,
And only do appear

to That claims

you for her husband, and, like a widow, I use but half a blush in 't.

Ant. Truth speak for me ;
I will remain the constant sanctuary
Of your good name.

Duchess. I thank you, gentle love:
And 'cause you shall not come to me in debt,
Being now my steward, here upon your lips
I sign your Quietus est.

This
you

should have begg'd now;
I have seen children oft eat sweatmeats thus,
As fearful to devour them too soon.
Ant. But for

your

brothers ?
Duchess. Do not think of them :
All discord without this circumference
Is only to be pitied, and not fear'd:
Yet, should they know it, time will easily
Scatter the tempest.

Ant. These words should be mine,
And all the parts you have spoke, if some parts of it
Would not have savour'd flattery.

Duchess. Kneel. [Cariola comes from behind the arras.
Ant. Ha!
Duchess. Be not amaz’d, this woman 's of

my

counsel :
I have heard lawyers say, a contract in a chamber
Per verba presenti is absolute marriage.
Bless, Heaven, this sacred gordian, which let violence
Never untwine!

Ant. And may our sweet affections, like the spheres,
Be still in motion.

Duchess. Quickening, and make
The like soft music.

Ant. That we may imitate the loving palms,
Best emblem of a peaceful marriage
That never bore fruit divided.

Duchess. What can the church force more?

Ant. That fortune may not know an accident
Either of joy, or sorrow, to divide
Our fixed wishes.

Duchess. How can the church build faster?
We now are man and wife, and 'tis the church
That must but echo this. Maid, stand apart
I now am blind.

SCENE II. The Duchess and her husband conceal their marriage for several years, during which children are born to them.

The brothers keep a watch over the unfortunate pair, and determine on their destruction. Ferdinand thus announces his stern resolves :

Ferd. Virtue, where art thou hid? What hideous thing
Is it that doth eclipse thee?

Duchess. Pray, sir, hear me !

Ferd. Or is it true thou art but a bare name,
And no essential thing?

Duchess. Sir-
Ferd. Do not speak.

Duchess. No, sir:
I will plant my soul in mine ears, to hear you.

you see

Ferd. O, most imperfect light of human reason,
That mak'st us so unhappy to foresee
What we can least prevent. Pursue thy wishes,
And glory in them: there's in shame no comfort,
But to be past all bounds and sense of shame.

Duchess. I pray, sir, hear me: I am married.
Ferd. So.

Duchess. Happily, not to your liking: but for that,
Alas, your shears do come untimely now
To clip the bird's wings that 's already flown!
Will

my husband ? Ferd. Yes, if I could change Eyes with a basilisk.

Duchess. Sure, you came hither By his confederacy.

Ferd. The howling of a wolf Is music to thee, screech-owl: prithee, peace. Whate'er thou art that hast enjoy'd my sister, For I am sure thou hear'st me, for thine own sake Let me not know thee. I came hither prepar'd To work thy discovery; yet am now persuaded It would beget such violent effects As would damn us both. I would not for ten millions I had beheld thee: therefore use all means I never may have knowledge of thy name; Enjoy thy lust still, and a wretched life, On that condition. And for thee, vild woman, If thou do wish thy lecher may grow

old In thy embracements, I would have thee build Such a room for him as our anchorites To holier use inhabit. Let not the sun Shine on him, till he's dead; let dogs and monkeys Only converse with him, and such dumb things To whom nature denies use to sound his name;

not keep a paraquito, lest she learn it; If thou do love him, cut out thine own tongue Lest it bewray him.

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