Thomas Otway.

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And clouded brow, methinks I see my fate:
You will not kill me!

_Cham._ Pr'ythee, why dost talk so?

_Mon._ Look kindly on me, then: I cannot bear
Severity; it daunts, and does amaze me:
My heart's so tender, should you charge me rough,
I should but weep, and answer you with sobbing.
But use me gently, like a loving brother,
And search through all the secrets of my soul.

_Cham._ Fear nothing, I will show myself a brother,
A tender, honest, and a loving brother.
You've not forgot our father?

_Mon._ I shall never.

_Cham._ Then you'll remember too, he was a man
That lived up to the standard of his honour,
And prized that jewel more than mines of wealth:
He'd not have done a shameful thing but once;
Though kept in darkness from the world, and hidden,
He could not have forgiven it to himself.
This was the only portion that he left us;
And I more glory in't than if possessed
Of all that ever fortune threw on fools.
'Twas a large trust, and must be managed nicely.
Now if, by any chance, Monimia,
You've soiled this gem, and taken from its value,
How will you account with me?

_Mon._ I challenge envy,
Malice, and all the practices of hell,
To censure all the actions of my past
Unhappy life, and taint me if they can!

_Cham._ I'll tell thee then: three nights ago, as I
Lay musing in my bed, all darkness round me,
A sudden damp struck to my heart, cold sweat
Dewed all my face, and trembling seized my limbs:
My bed shook under me, the curtains started,
And to my tortured fancy there appeared
The form of thee, thus beauteous as thou art;
Thy garments flowing loose, and in each hand
A wanton lover, which by turns caressed thee
With all the freedom of unbounded pleasure:
I snatched my sword, and in the very moment
Darted it at the phantom; straight it left me;
Then rose and called for lights; when, O dire omen!
I found my weapon had the arras pierced,
Just where that famous tale was interwoven,
How the unhappy Theban[19] slew his father.

_Mon._ And for this cause my virtue is suspected!
Because in dreams your fancy has been ridden,
I must be tortured waking!

_Cham._ Have a care;
Labour not to be justified too fast:
Hear all, and then let Justice hold the scale.
What followed was the riddle that confounds me:
Through a close lane as I pursued my journey,
And meditated on the last night's vision,
I spied a wrinkled hag, with age grown double,
Picking dry sticks and mumbling to herself;
Her eyes with scalding rheum were galled and red;
Cold palsy shook her head, her hands seemed withered,
And on her crooked shoulders had she wrapped
The tattered remnant of an old striped hanging,
Which served to keep her carcass from the cold;
So there was nothing of a piece about her:
Her lower weeds were all o'er coarsely patched
With different-coloured rags, black, red, white, yellow,
And seemed to speak variety of wretchedness.
I asked her of my way, which she informed me;
Then craved my charity, and bade me hasten
To save a sister: - at that word I started.

_Mon._ The common cheat of beggars every day;
They flock about our doors, pretend to gifts
Of prophecy, and telling fools their fortunes.

_Cham._ Oh! but she told me such a tale, Monimia,
As in it bore great circumstance of truth: -
Castalio and Polydore, my sister -

_Mon._ Ha!

_Cham._ What, altered! does your courage fail you?
Now, by my father's soul, the witch was honest;
Answer me, if thou hast not lost to them
Thy honour at a sordid game?

_Mon._ I will,
I must; so hardly my misfortune loads me.
That both have offered me their loves, most true.

_Cham._ And 'tis as true too, they have both undone thee.

_Mon._ Though they both with earnest vows
Have pressed my heart, if e'er in thought I yielded
To any but Castalio -

_Cham._ But Castalio?

_Mon._ Still will you cross the line of my discourse?
Yes, I confess that he has won my soul
By generous love, and honourable vows:
Which he this day appointed to complete,
And make himself by holy marriage mine.

_Cham._ Art thou then spotless? hast thou still preserved
Thy virtue white, without a blot, untainted?

_Mon._ When I'm unchaste, may Heaven reject my prayers!
Or, more to make me wretched, may you know it!

_Cham._ Oh, then, Monimia, art thou dearer to me
Than all the comforts ever yet blessed man.
But let not marriage bait thee to thy ruin.
Trust not a man; we are by nature false,
Dissembling, subtle, cruel, and unconstant:
When a man talks of love, with caution trust him;
But if he swears, he'll certainly deceive thee.
I charge thee let no more Castalio soothe thee:
Avoid it as thou wouldst preserve the peace
Of a poor brother, to whose soul thou'rt precious.

_Mon._ I will.

_Cham._ Appear as cold, when next you meet, as great ones
When merit begs; then shalt thou see how soon
His heart will cool, and all his pains grow easy. [_Exit._

_Mon._ Yes, I will try him, torture him severely;
For, O Castalio! thou too much hast wronged me,
In leaving me to Polydore's ill usage.
He comes; and now, for once, O Love, stand neuter,
Whilst a hard part's performed! for I must tempt,
Wound his soft nature, though my heart aches for it. [_Exit._

_Re-enter_ CASTALIO.

_Cast._ Monimia, Monimia! - She's gone;
And seemed to part with anger in her eyes:
I am a fool; and she has found my weakness;
She uses me already like a slave
Fast bound in chains, to be chastised at will.
'Twas not well done to trifle with my brother:
I might have trusted him with all the secret,
Opened my silly heart, and shown it bare.
But then he loves her too; - but not like me.
I am a doting, honest slave, designed
For bondage, marriage-bonds, which I have sworn
To wear. It is the only thing I e'er
Hid from his knowledge; and he'll sure forgive
The first transgression of a wretched friend,
Betrayed to love, and all its little follies.

_Re-enter_ POLYDORE _and_ Page _at the Door_.

_Pol._ Here place yourself, and watch my brother throughly:
If he should chance to meet Monimia, make
Just observation of each word and action;
Pass not one circumstance without remark:
Sir, 'tis your office; do't, and bring me word. [_Exit._

_Re-enter_ MONIMIA.

_Cast._ Monimia, my angel! 'twas not kind
To leave me like a turtle here alone,
To droop and mourn the absence of my mate.
When thou art from me, every place is desert,
And I, methinks, am savage and forlorn:
Thy presence only 'tis can make me blest,
Heal my unquiet mind, and tune my soul.

_Mon._ Oh, the bewitching tongues of faithless men!
'Tis thus the false hyæna makes her moan,
To draw the pitying traveller to her den:
Your sex are so, such false dissemblers all;
With sighs and plaints ye entice poor women's hearts,
And all that pity you are made your prey.

_Cast._ What means my love? Oh, how have I deserved
This language from the sovereign of my joys!
Stop, stop those tears, Monimia, for they fall
Like baneful dew from a distempered sky;
I feel them chill me to the very heart.

_Mon._ Oh, you are false, Castalio, most forsworn.
Attempt no farther to delude my faith;
My heart is fixed, and you shall shake't no more.

_Cast._ Who told you so? what hell-bred villain durst
Profane the sacred business of my love?

_Mon._ Your brother, knowing on what terms I'm here,
The unhappy object of your father's charity,
Licentiously discoursed to me of love,
And durst affront me with his brutal passion.

_Cast._ 'Tis I have been to blame, and only I;
False to my brother, and unjust to thee.
For, oh! he loves thee too, and this day owned it;
Taxed me with mine, and claimed a right above me.

_Mon._ And was your love so very tame, to shrink,
Or, rather than lose him, abandon me?

_Cast._ I, knowing him precipitate and rash,
To calm his heat, and to conceal my happiness,
Seemed to comply with his unruly will;
Talked as he talked, and granted all he asked;
Lest he in rage might have our loves betrayed,
And I for ever had Monimia lost.

_Mon._ Could you then? did you? can you own it too?
'Twas poorly done, unworthy of yourself,
And I can never think you meant me fair.

_Cast._ Is this Monimia? surely no; till now
I ever thought her dove-like, soft, and kind.
Who trusts his heart with woman's surely lost:
You were made fair on purpose to undo us,
Whilst greedily we snatch the alluring bait,
And ne'er distrust the poison that it hides.

_Mon._ When love ill-placed would find a means to break -

_Cast._ It never wants pretences or excuse.

_Mon._ Man therefore was a lord-like creature made,
Rough as the winds, and as inconstant too;
A lofty aspect given him for command,
Easily softened, when he would betray.
Like conquering tyrants, you our breasts invade,
Where you are pleased to forage for a while;
But soon you find new conquests out, and leave
The ravaged province ruinate and waste.
If so, Castalio, you have served my heart,
I find that desolation's settled there,
And I shall ne'er recover peace again.

_Cast._ Who can hear this, and bear an equal mind!
Since you will drive me from you, I must go;
But O, Monimia, when thou'st banished me,
No creeping slave, though tractable and dull
As artful woman for her ends would choose,
Shall ever dote as I have done: for oh!
No tongue my pleasure nor my pain can tell;
'Tis Heaven to have thee, and without thee hell.

_Mon._ Castalio! stay! we must not part. I find
My rage ebbs out, and love flows in apace.
These little quarrels love must needs forgive;
They rouse up drowsy thoughts, and wake the soul.
Oh! charm me with the music of thy tongue;
I'm ne'er so blest as when I hear thy vows,
And listen to the language of thy heart.

_Cast._ Where am I? surely paradise is round me!
Sweets planted by the hand of Heaven grow here,
And every sense is full of thy perfection.
To hear thee speak might calm a madman's frenzy,
Till by attention he forgot his sorrows;
But to behold thy eyes, thy amazing beauties,
Might make him rage again with love, as I do.
To touch thee's Heaven; but to enjoy thee, oh!
Thou Nature's whole perfection in one piece!
Sure, framing thee Heaven took unusual care;
As its own beauty it designed thee fair;
And formed thee by the best-loved angel there. [_Exeunt._

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

FOOTNOTES:

[18] "Superstitious" in old edition, but evidently a misprint.

[19] OEdipus.




ACT THE THIRD.


SCENE I. - _The Garden before_ ACASTO'S _House_.

_Enter_ POLYDORE _and_ Page.

_Pol._ Were they so kind? Express it to me all
In words, 'twill make me think I saw it too.

_Page._ At first I thought they had been mortal foes;
Monimia raged, Castalio grew disturbed;
Each thought the other wronged, yet both so haughty,
They scorned submission, though love all the while
The rebel played, and scarce could be contained.

_Pol._ But what succeeded?

_Page._ Oh, 'twas wondrous pretty!
For of a sudden all the storm was past,
A gentle calm of love succeeded it;
Monimia sighed and blushed, Castalio swore;
As you, my lord, I well remember, did
To my young sister in the orange grove,
When I was first preferred to be your page.

_Pol._ Happy Castalio! now by my great soul,
My ambitious soul, that languishes to glory,
I'll have her yet; by my best hopes, I will.
She shall be mine, in spite of all her arts.
But for Castalio why was I refused?
Has he supplanted me by some foul play?
Traduced my honour? death! he durst not do't.
It must be so: we parted, and he met her,
Half to compliance brought by me; surprised
Her sinking virtue, till she yielded quite.
So poachers basely pick up tired game,
Whilst the fair hunter's cheated of his prey.
Boy!

_Page._ My lord!

_Pol._ Go to your chamber, and prepare your lute;
Find out some song to please me, that describes
Women's hypocrisies, their subtle wiles,
Betraying smiles, feigned tears, inconstancies;
Their painted outsides and corrupted minds;
The sum of all their follies, and their falsehoods. [_Exit_ Page.

_Enter_ Servant.

_Serv._ Oh, the unhappiest tidings tongue e'er told!

_Pol._ The matter?

_Serv._ Oh! your father, my good master,
As with his guests he sat in mirth raised high,
And chased the goblet round the joyful board,
A sudden trembling seized on all his limbs;
His eyes distorted grew; his visage pale;
His speech forsook him; life itself seemed fled;
And all his friends are waiting now about him.

_Enter_ ACASTO _leaning on two_ Attendants.

_Acast._ Support me, give me air; I'll yet recover:
'Twas but a slip decaying Nature made,
For she grows weary near her journey's end.
Where are my sons? Come near, my Polydore:
Your brother! where's Castalio?

_Serv._ My lord,
I've searched, as you commanded, all the house:
He and Monimia are not to be found.

_Acast._ Not to be found! then where are all my friends?
Tis well; -
I hope they'll pardon an unhappy fault
My unmannerly infirmity has made.
Death could not come in a more welcome hour,
For I'm prepared to meet him; and, methinks,
Would live and die with all my friends about me.

_Enter_ CASTALIO.

_Cast._ Angels preserve my dearest father's life;
Bless it with long, uninterrupted days!
Oh! may he live till time itself decay;
Till good men wish him dead, or I offend him!

_Acast._ Thank you, Castalio; give me both your hands,
And bear me up; I'd walk. So, now, methinks,
I appear as great as Hercules himself,
Supported by the pillars he had raised.

_Cast._ My lord, your chaplain.

_Acast._ Let the good man enter.

_Enter_ Chaplain.

_Chap._ Heaven guard your lordship, and restore your health!

_Acast._ I have provided for thee if I die.
No fawning! 'tis a scandal to thy office.
My sons, as thus, united, ever live;
And for the estate, you'll find, when I am dead,
I have divided it betwixt you both,
Equally parted, as you shared my love;
Only to sweet Monimia I've bequeathed
Ten thousand crowns; a little portion for her,
To wed her honourably as she's born.
Be not less friends because you're brothers; shun
The man that's singular, - his mind's unsound,
His spleen o'erweighs his brains; but, above all,
Avoid the politic, the factious fool,
The busy, buzzing, talking, hardened knave,
The quaint smooth rogue, that sins against his reason;
Calls saucy loud suspicion public zeal,
And mutiny the dictates of his spirit:
Be very careful how ye make new friends.
Men read not morals now; it was a custom:
But all are to their fathers' vices born,
And in their mothers' ignorance are bred.
Let marriage be the last mad thing ye do,
For all the sins and follies of the past.
If you have children, never give them knowledge;
'Twill spoil their fortune; fools are all the fashion.
If you've religion, keep it to yourselves;
Atheists will else make use of toleration,
And laugh you out on't: never show religion,
Except ye mean to pass for knaves of conscience,
And cheat believing fools that think ye honest.

_Enter_ SERINA.

_Ser._ My father!

_Acast._ My heart's darling!

_Ser._ Let my knees
Fix to the earth; ne'er let my eyes have rest,
But wake and weep, till Heaven restore my father!

_Acast._ Rise to my arms, and thy kind prayers are answered,
For thou'rt a wondrous extract of all goodness,
Born for my joy, and no pain's felt when near thee.

_Enter_ CHAMONT.

Chamont!

_Cham._ My lord, may't prove not an unlucky omen!
Many I see are waiting round about you,
And I am come to ask a blessing too.

_Acast._ Mayst thou be happy!

_Cham._ Where?

_Acast._ In all thy wishes.

_Cham._ Confirm me so, and make this fair one mine.
I am unpractised in the trade of courtship,
And know not how to deal love out with art:
Onsets in love seem best like those in war,
Fierce, resolute, and done with all the force;
So I would open my whole heart at once,
And pour out the abundance of my soul.

_Acast._ What says Serina? Canst thou love a soldier?
One born to honour, and to honour bred?
One that has learnt to treat even foes with kindness;
To wrong no good man's fame, nor praise himself?

_Ser._ Oh, name not love, for that's allied to joy;
And joy must be a stranger to my heart,
When you're in danger. May Chamont's good fortune
Render him lovely to some happier maid!
Whilst I at friendly distance see him blest,
Praise the kind gods, and wonder at his virtues.

_Acast._ Chamont, pursue her, conquer and possess her;
And, as my son, a third of all my fortune
Shall be thy lot.
But keep thy eyes from wandering, man of frailty:
Beware the dangerous beauty of the wanton;
Shun their enticements; ruin, like a vulture,
Waits on their conquests: falsehood too's their business;
They put[20] false beauty off to all the world;
Use false endearments to the fools that love 'em;
And, when they marry, to their silly husbands
They bring false virtue, broken fame and fortune.

_Ser._ Hear ye that, my lord?

_Cham._ Yes, my fair monitor, old men always talk thus.

_Acast._ Chamont, you told me of some doubts that pressed you.
Are you yet satisfied that I'm your friend?

_Cham._ My lord, I would not lose that satisfaction
For any blessing I could wish for.
As to my fears, already I have lost them;
They ne'er shall vex me more, nor trouble you.

_Acast._ I thank you. Daughter, you must do so too.
My friends, 'tis late;
For my disorder, it seems all past and over,
And I methinks begin to feel new health.

_Cast._ Would you but rest, it might restore you quite.

_Acast._ Yes, I'll to bed; old men must humour weakness.
Let me have music then, to lull and chase
This melancholy thought of death away.
Good-night, my friends! Heaven guard ye all! Good-night!
To-morrow early we'll salute the day,
Find out new pleasures, and redeem lost time.

[_Exeunt all but_ CHAMONT _and_ Chaplain.

_Cham._ Hist, hist, Sir Gravity, a word with you.

_Chap._ With me, sir?

_Cham._ If you're at leisure, sir, we'll waste an hour;
'Tis yet too soon to sleep, and 'twill be charity
To lend your conversation to a stranger.

_Chap._ Sir, you're a soldier?

_Cham._ Yes.

_Chap._ I love a soldier;

And had been one myself, but my parents would make me what you
see me: yet I'm honest, for all I wear black.

_Cham._ And that's a wonder.
Have you had long dependence on this family?

_Chap._ I have not thought it so, because my time's
Spent pleasantly. My lord's not haughty nor imperious,
Nor I gravely whimsical; he has good nature,
And I have manners:

His sons too are civil to me, because I do not pretend to be
wiser than they are; I meddle with no man's business but my
own; I rise in a morning early, study moderately, eat and drink
cheerfully, live soberly, take my innocent pleasures freely;
so meet with respect, and am not the jest of the family.

_Cham._ I'm glad you are so happy. -
A pleasant fellow this, and may be useful. [_Aside._
Knew you my father, the old Chamont?

_Chap._ I did, and was most sorry when we lost him.

_Cham._ Why? didst thou love him?

_Chap._ Everybody loved him; besides, he was my master's friend.

_Cham._ I could embrace thee for that very notion.
If thou didst love my father, I could think
Thou wouldst not be an enemy to me.

_Chap._ I can be no man's foe.

_Cham._ Then pr'ythee tell me,
Think'st thou the Lord Castalio loves my sister?
Nay, never start. Come, come, I know thy office
Opens thee all the secrets of the family.
Then, if thou'rt honest, use this freedom kindly.

_Chap._ Loves your sister!

_Cham._ Ay, loves her.

_Chap._ Sir, I never asked him; and wonder you should ask it me.

_Cham._ Nay, but thou'rt an hypocrite; is there not one
Of all thy tribe that's honest in your schools?
The pride of your superiors makes ye slaves:
Ye all live loathsome, sneaking, servile lives;
Not free enough to practise generous truth,
Though ye pretend to teach it to the world.

_Chap._ I would deserve a better thought from you.

_Cham._ If thou wouldst have me not contemn thy office
And character, think all thy brethren knaves,
Thy trade a cheat, and thou its worst professor,
Inform me; for I tell thee, priest, I'll know.

_Chap._ Either he loves her, or he much has wronged her.

_Cham._ How, wronged her! have a care; for this may lay
A scene of mischief to undo us all.
But tell me - wronged her, saidst thou?

_Chap._ Ay, sir, wronged her.

_Cham._ This is a secret worth a monarch's fortune:
What shall I give thee for't? thou dear physician
Of sickly souls, unfold this riddle to me,
And comfort mine -

_Chap._ I would hide nothing from you willingly.

_Cham._ Nay, then again thou'rt honest. Wouldst thou tell me?

_Chap._ Yes, if I durst.

_Cham._ Why, what affrights thee?

_Chap._ You do,
Who are not to be trusted with the secret.

_Cham._ Why, I am no fool.

_Chap._ So, indeed, you say.

_Cham._ Pr'ythee, be serious then.

_Chap._ You see I am so,
And hardly shall be mad enough to-night
To trust you with my ruin.

_Cham._ Art thou then
So far concerned in't? What has been thy office?
Curse on that formal steady villain's face!
Just so do all bawds look; nay, bawds, they say,
Can pray upon occasion, talk of Heaven,
Turn up their goggling eye-balls, rail at vice,
Dissemble, lie, and preach like any priest.
Art thou a bawd?

_Chap._ Sir, I'm not often used thus.

_Cham._ Be just then.

_Chap._ So I shall be to the trust
That's laid upon me.

_Cham._ By the reverenced soul
Of that great honest man that gave me being,
Tell me but what thou know'st concerns my honour,
And if I e'er reveal it to thy wrong,
May this good sword ne'er do me right in battle!
May I ne'er know that blessed peace of mind,
That dwells in good and pious men, like thee!

_Chap._ I see your temper's moved, and I will trust you.

_Cham._ Wilt thou?

_Chap._ I will; but if it ever 'scape you -

_Cham._ It never shall.

_Chap._ Swear then.

_Cham._ I do, by all
That's dear to me, by the honour of my name,
And by that Power I serve, it never shall.

_Chap._ Then this good day, when all the house was busy,
When mirth and kind rejoicing filled each room,
As I was walking in the grove I met them.

_Cham._ What, met them in the grove together? tell me,
How? walking, standing, sitting, lying? ha!

_Chap._ I, by their own appointment, met them there;
Received their marriage-vows, and joined their hands.

_Cham._ How! married!

_Chap._ Yes, sir.

_Cham._ Then my soul's at peace:
But why would you delay so long to give it?



Online LibraryThomas OtwayThe works of Mr. Thomas Otway, in two volumes (Volume 1) → online text (page 11 of 30)