Fiction > Harvard Classics > Beaumont and Fletcher > Philaster
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Beaumont and Fletcher.  Philaster.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Act the Fourth
 
Scene III
 
 
Enter ARETHUSA 1

  ARE.  Where am I now? Feet, find me out a way.
Without the counsel of my troubled head.
I’ll follow you boldly about these woods,
O’er mountains, thorough brambles, pits, and floods.        4
Heaven, I hope, will ease me: I am sick.  Sits down.
 
Enter BELLARIO

  BEL.  Yonder’s my lady. God knows I want nothing,
Because I do not wish to live; yet I
Will try her charity.  [Aside.]—Oh hear, you that have plenty!        8
From that flowing store drop some on dry ground.—See,
The lively red is gone to guard her heart!
I fear she faints.—Madam, look up!—She breathes not.—
Open once more those rosy twins, and send        12
Unto my lord your latest farewell!—Oh, she stirs.—
How is it, madam? speak comfort.
  ARE.        ’Tis not gently done,
To put me in a miserable life,        16
And hold me there. I prithee, let me go;
I shall do best without thee; I am well.
 
Enter PHILASTER

  PHI.  I am to blame to be so much in rage.
I’ll tell her coolly when and where I heard        20
This killing truth. I will be temperate
In speaking, and as just in hearing.——
Oh, monstrous! Tempt me not, you gods! good gods,
Tempt me not a frail man! What’s he, that has a heart,        24
But he must ease it here!
  BEL.  My lord, help, help! The princess!
  ARE.  I am well: forbear.
  PHI.  [Aside.]  Let me love lightning, let me be embrac’d        28
And kiss’d by scorpions, or adore the eyes
Of basilisks, rather than trust the tongues
Of hell-bred women! Some good god look down,
And shrink these veins up! Stick me here a stone        32
Lasting to ages in the memory
Of this damn’d act!
—Hear me, you wicked ones!
You have put hills of fire into this breast,        36
Not to be quench’d with tears; for which may guilt
Sit on your bosoms! At your meals and beds
Despair await you! What, before my face?
Poison of asps between your lips! Diseases        40
Be your best issues! Nature make a curse,
And throw it on you!
  ARE.        Dear Philaster, leave
To be enrag’d, and hear me.        44
  PHI.        I have done;
Forgive my passion. Not the calmed sea,
When Æolus locks up his windy brood,
Is less disturb’d than I. I’ll make you know ’t.        48
Dear Arethusa, do but take this sword, Offers his drawn sword.
And search how temperate a heart I have;
Then you and this your boy may live and reign
In lust without control.—Wilt thou, Bellario?        52
I prithee kill me; thou art poor, and may’st
Nourish ambitious thoughts; when I am dead,
Thy way were freer. Am I raging now?
If I were mad, I should desire to live.        56
Sirs, 2 feel my pulse, whether you have known
A man in a more equal tune to die.
  BEL.  Alas, my lord, your pulse keeps madman’s time!
So does your tongue.        60
  PHI.        You will not kill me, then?
  ARE.  Kill you!
  BEL.        Not for the world.
  PHI.        I blame not thee,        64
Bellario; thou hast done but that which gods
Would have transform’d themselves to do. Be gone,
Leave me without reply; this is the last
Of all our meetings—Exit BELLARIO.  Kill me with this sword;        68
Be wise, or worse will follow: we are two
Earth cannot bear at once. Resolve to do,
Or suffer.
  ARE.  If my fortune be so good to let me fall        72
Upon thy hand, I shall have peace in death.
Yet tell me this, will there be no slanders,
No jealousy in the other world; no ill there?
  PHI.  No        76
  ARE.        Show me, then, the way.
  PHI.  Then guide my feeble hand,
You that have power to do it, for I must
Perform a piece of justice!—If your youth        80
Have any way offended Heaven, let prayers
Short and effectual reconcile you to it.
  ARE.  I am prepared.
 
Enter a Country Fellow

  C. FELL.  I’ll see the King, if he be in the forest; I have hunted him these two hours. If I should come home and not see him, my sisters would laugh at me. I can see nothing but people better hors’d than myself, that out-ride me; I can hear nothing but shouting These kings had need of good brains; this whooping is able to put a mean man out of his wits. There’s a courtier with his sword drawn; by this hand, upon a woman, I think!
        84
  PHI.  Are you at peace?
  ARE.        With heaven and earth.
  PHI.  May they divide thy soul and body!  Wounds her.
  C. FELL.  Hold, dastard! strike a woman! Thou’rt a craven, I warrant thee; thou wouldst be loth to play half a dozen venies 3 at wasters 4 with a good fellow for a broken head.        88
  PHI.  Leave us, good friend.
  ARE.  What ill-bred man art thou, to intrude thyself Upon our private sports, our recreation?
  C. FELL.  God ’uds 5 me, I understand you not; but I know the rogue has hurt you.
  PHI.  Pursue thy own affairs: it will be ill        92
To multiply blood upon my head; which thou
Wilt force me to.
  C. FELL.  I know not your rhetoric; but I can lay it on, if you touch the woman.
  PHI.  Slave, take what thou deservest!  They fight.        96
  ARE.        Heavens guard my lord!
  C. FELL.  Oh, do you breathe?
  PHI.  I hear the tread of people. I am hurt.
The gods take part against me: could this boor        100
Have held me thus else? I must shift for life,
Though I do loathe it. I would find a course.
To lose it rather by my will than force.  Exit.
  C. FELL.  I cannot follow the rogue. I pray thee, wench, come and kiss me now.        104
 
Enter PHARAMOND, DION, CLEREMONT, THRASILINE, and Woodmen

  PHA.  What art thou?
  C. FELL.  Almost kill’d I am for a foolish woman; a knave has hurt her.
  PHA.  The princess, gentlemen!—Where’s the wound, madam!
Is it dangerous?        108
  ARE.  He has not hurt me.
  C. FELL.  By God, she lies; h’as hurt her in the breast; look else.
  PHA.  O, sacred spring of innocent blood!
  DION.  ’Tis above wonder! Who should dare this?        112
  ARE.  I felt it not.
  PHA.  Speak, villain, who has hurt the princess?
  C. FELL.  Is it the princes?
  DION.  Ay.        116
  C. FELL.  Then I have seen something yet.
  PHA.  But who has hurt her?
  C. FELL.  I told you, a rogue; I ne’er saw him before, I.
  PHA.  Madam, who did it?        120
  ARE.        Some dishonest wretch;
Alas, I know him not, and do forgive him!
  C. FELL.  He’s hurt too; he cannot go far; I made my father’s old fox 6 fly about his ears.
  PHA.  How will you have me kill him?        124
  ARE.  Not at all; ’tis some distracted fellow.
  PHA.  By this hand. I’ll leave ne’er a piece of him bigger than a nut, and bring him all to you in my hat.
  ARE.  Nay, good sir.
If you do take him, bring him quick 7 to me,        128
And I will study for a punishment
Great as his fault.
  PHA.  I will.
  ARE.        But swear.        132
  PHA.        By all my love, I will.——
Woodmen, conduct the princess to the King,
And bear that wounded fellow to dressing.——
Come, gentlemen, we’ll follow the chase close.  Exeunt [on one side] PHARAMOND, DION, CLEREMONT, and THRASILINE; [exit on the other] ARETHUSA [attended by the] First Woodman.        136
  C. FELL.  I pray you, friend, let me see the King.
  2ND WOOD.  That you shall, and receive thanks.
  C. FELL.  If I get clear with this, I’ll go see no more gay sights.  Exeunt.
 
Note 1. Another part of the forest. [back]
Note 2. Formerly used to women as well as to men. [back]
Note 3. Bouts. [back]
Note 4. Cudgels. [back]
Note 5. God judge. [back]
Note 6. Broad sword. [back]
Note 7. Alive. [back]
 

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