Fiction > Harvard Classics > Beaumont and Fletcher > Philaster
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Beaumont and Fletcher.  Philaster.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Act the Second
 
Scene II
 
 
Enter PHARAMOND 1

  PHA.  Why should these ladies stay so long? They must come this way. I know the queen employs ’em not; for the reverend mother 2 sent me word, they would all be for the garden. If they should all prove honest 3 now, I were in a fair taking; I was never so long without sport in my life, and, in my conscience, ’tis not my fault. Oh, for our country ladies!
 
Enter GALATEA

Here’s one bolted; I’ll hound at her.—Madam!
  GAL.  Your grace!
  PHA.  Shall I not be a trouble?        4
  GAL.        Not to me, sir.
  PHA.  Nay, nay, you are too quick. By this sweet hand——
  GAL.  You’ll be forsworn, sir; ’tis but an old glove.
If you will talk at distance, I am for you:        8
But, good prince, be not bawdy, nor do not brag;
These two I bar;
And then, I think, I shall have sense enough
To answer all the weighty apophthegms        12
Your royal blood shall manage.
  PHA.  Dear lady, can you love?
  GAL.  Dear prince! how dear? I ne’er cost you a coach yet, nor put you to the dear repentance of a banquet. Here’s no scarlet, sir, to blush the sin out it was given for. This wire mine own hair covers; and this face has been so far from being dear to any, that it ne’er cost penny painting; and, for the rest of my poor wardrobe, such as you see, it leaves no hand 4 behind it, to make the jealous mercer’s wife curse our good doings.
  PHA.  You mistake me, lady.        16
  GAL.  Lord, I do so; would you or I could help it!
  PHA.  You’re very dangerous bitter, like a potion.
  GAL.  No, sir. I do not mean to purge you, though
I mean to purge a little time on you.        20
  PHA.  Do ladies of this country use to give
No more respect to men of my full being?
  GAL.  Full being! I understand you not, unless your grace means growing to fatness; and then your only remedy (upon my knowledge, prince) is, in a morning, a cup of neat white wine brew’d with carduus, 5 then fast till supper; about eight you may eat; use exercise, and keep a sparrow-hawk; you can shoot in a tiller: 6 but, of all, your grace must fly phlebotomy, 7 fresh pork, conger, 8 and clarified whey; they are all duller of the vital spirits.
  PHA.  Lady, you talk of nothing all this while.        24
  GAL.  ’Tis very true, sir; I talk of you.
  PHA.  [Aside.]  This is a crafty wench; I like her wit well; ’twill be rare to stir up a leaden appetite. She’s a Danaë, and must be courted in a shower of gold.—Madam, look here; all these, and more than——
  GAL.  What have you there, my lord? Gold! now, as I live, ’tis fair gold! You would have silver for it, to play with the pages. You could not have taken me in a worse time; but, if you have present use, my lord, I’ll send my man with silver and keep your gold for you.
  PHA.  Lady, lady!        28
  GAL.  She’s coming, sir, behind, will take white money.—[Aside.]  Yet for all this I’ll match ye.  Exit behind the hangings.
  PHA.  If there be but two such more in this kingdom, and near the court, we may even hang up our harps. Ten such camphire 9 constitutions as this would call the golden age again in question, and teach the old way for every ill-fac’d husband to get his own children; and what a mischief that would breed, let all consider!
 
Enter MEGRA

Here’s another: if she be of the same last, the devil shall pluck her on.—Many fair mornings, lady!
  MEG.  As many mornings bring as many days,        32
Fair, sweet and hopeful to your grace!
  PHA.  [Aside.]  She gives good words yet; sure this wrench is free.—
If your more serious business do not call you,
Let me hold quarter with you; we will talk        36
An hour out quickly.
  MEG.        What would your grace talk of?
  PHA.  Of some such pretty subject as yourself:
I’ll go no further than your eye, or lip;        40
There’s theme enough for one man for an age.
  MEG.  Sir, they stand right, and my lips are yet even,
Smooth, young enough, ripe enough, and red enough,
Or my glass wrongs me.        44
  PHA.  Oh, they are two twinn’d cherries dy’d in blushes
Which those fair suns above with their bright beams
Reflect upon and ripen. Sweetest beauty,
Bow down those branches, that the longing taste        48
Of the faint looker-on may meet those blessings,
And taste and live.  They kiss.
  MEG.  [Aside.]        Oh, delicate sweet prince!
She that hath snow enough about her heart        52
To take the wanton spring of ten such lines off,
May be a nun without probation.—Sir,
You have in such neat poetry gathered a kiss,
That if I had but five lines of that number,        56
Such pretty begging blanks, 10 I should commend
Your forehead or your cheeks, and kiss you too.
  PHA.  Do it in prose; you cannot miss it, madam.
  MEG.  I shall, I shall.        60
  PHA.        By my life, but you shall not;
I’ll prompt you first.  [Kisses her.]  Can you do it now?
  MEG.  Methinks ’tis easy, now you ha’ done’t before me;
But yet I should stick at it.  [Kisses him.]        64
  PHA.        Stick till to-morrow;
I’ll ne’er part you, sweetest. But we lose time:
Can you love me?
  MEG.  Love you, my lord! How would you have me love you?        68
  PHA.  I’ll reach you in a short sentence, ’cause I will not load your memory; this is all: love me, and lie with me.
  MEG.  Was it “lie with you” that you said? ’Tis impossible.
  PHA.  Not to a willing mind, that will endeavor. If I do not teach you to do it as easily in one night as you’ll go to bed, I’ll lose my royal blood for’t.
  MEG.  Why, prince, you have a lady of your own.        72
That yet wants teaching.
  PHA.  I’ll sooner teach a mare the old measures 11 than teach her anything belonging to the function. She’s afraid to lie with herself if she have but any masculine imaginations about her. I know, when we are married, I must ravish her.
  MEG.  By mine honour, that’s a foul fault, indeed;
But time and your good help will wear it out, sir.        76
Has your grace seen the court-star, Galatea?
  PHA.  Out upon her! She’s as cold of her favour as an apoplex; she sailed by but now.
  MEG.  And how do you hold her wit, sir?
  PHA.  I hold her wit? The strength of all the guard cannot hold it, if they were tied to it; she would blow ’em out of the kingdom. They talk of Jupiter; he’s but a squib-cracker to her; look well about you, and you may find a tongue-bolt. But speak, sweet lady, shall I be freely welcome? If you mistrust my faith, you do me the unnoblest wrong.        80
  MEG.  I dare not, prince, I dare not.
  PHA.  Make your own conditions, my purse shall seal ’em; and what you dare imagine you can want, I’ll furnish you withal. Give two hours to your thoughts every morning about it. Come, I know you are bashful; Speak in my ear, will you be mine? Keep this, And with it me: soon I will visit you.
  MEG.  My lord, my chamber’s most unsafe; but when ’tis night, I’ll find some means to slip into your lodging; Till when——
  PHA.  Till when, this and my heart go with thee!  Exeunt several ways.        84
 
Re-enter GALATEA from behind the hangings

  GAL.  Oh, thou pernicious petticoat prince! are these your virtues? Well, if I do not lay a train to blow your spot up, I am no woman: and, Lady Towsabel, I’ll fit you for’t.  Exit.
 
Note 1. A gallery in the palace. [back]
Note 2. In charge of the maids of honor. [back]
Note 3. Chaste. [back]
Note 4. Note of indebtedness. [back]
Note 5. A kind of thistle used as a medicine. [back]
Note 6. Cross bow. [back]
Note 7. Blood letting. [back]
Note 8. Cucumber. [back]
Note 9. I. e., cold. [back]
Note 10. Blank verses. [back]
Note 11. Stately dances. [back]
 

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