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My happiness, and mighty kings look pale
With envy, while I triumph in mine own.
O mother, look on her! sister, admire her!
For sure this present age yields not a woman
Worthy to be her second.

Fran. Your excellence,

Their numbers full, and in their councils wise;
But then, the haughty Spaniard is all fire,
Hot in his executions, fortunate

In his attempts, married to victory.
Ay, there it is that shakes me.

Marc. Speak to him, Francisco.
Fran. Excellent lady,

[Aside. [Apart

One gale of your sweet breath will easily Though I confess you give her but her own, Disperse these clouds; and, but yourself, there's

Forces her modesty to the defence

Of a sweet blush.

Sfor. It need not, my Marcelia;

When most I strive to praise thee, I appear
A poor detractor: for thou art, indeed,
So absolute in body and in mind
That, but to speak the least part to the height,
Would ask an angel's tongue, and yet then end
In silent admiration!

Isa. You still court her

As if she were a mistress, not your wife. Sfor. A mistress, mother! she is more to me, And every day deserves more to be sued to. Marc. My worthiest lord!

My pride, my glory, in a word, my all! Bear witness, heaven, that I esteem myself In nothing worthy of the meanest praise You can bestow, unless it be in this,

That in my heart I love you, and desire, When you are sated with all earthly glories, And age and honours make you fit for heaven, That one grave may receive us.

Sfor 'Tis believ'd

Believ'd, my blest one.

Immortal viands ta'en in at his eyes.


Mari. How she winds herself

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I could live ever thus.

Enter a Courier.

From whence?

Cour. From Pavia, my dread lord.

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Sfor. Speak, is all lost?

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And I have heard you swear, I being safe,
There was no loss could move you.
day, sir,
Is by your gift made mine. Can you revok
A grant made to Marcelia?
your Marcelia?
For whose love, nay, whose honour, gentle si
All deep designs, and state affairs deferr'd,
Be, as you purpos'd, merry.

Sfor. Out of my sight!.

[Throws away the Letter And all thoughts that may strangle mirt forsake me.

Fall what can fall, I dare the worst of fate Though the, foundation of the earth shoul shrink,

The glorious eye of heaven lose his splendou Supported thus, I'll stand upon the ruins, And seek for new life here. Why are you sac Some music there! by heaven he's not

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Cour. [Delivers a Letter] The letter will Although his message should import my he

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this, I heard a bold defiance delivered by a herald from the emperor, which was cheerfully received by the king of France. The battles being ready to join, and the can guard committed to my charge, en- To guard your excellency from certain dan Your high- He ceased to be a man. GASPERO. Sfor. All that my fears

forces me to end abruptly.

ness's humble servant.


Ready to join!-By this, then, I am nothing. Could fashion to me, or my enemies wis Or my estate secure.

[Aside. Is fallen upon me. Silence that harsh

Tis now unseasonable: a tolling bell,
As a sad harbinger to tell me that

This pamper'd lump of flesh must feast the worms,

Is fitter for me: I am sick.

Marc. My lord!

Think, think, Marcelia, what a cursed thing
I were, beyond expression!
Marc. Do not feed

Those jealous thoughts; the only blessing that Heav'n hath bestow'd on us, more than on beasts, Is, that 'tis in our pleasure when to die. Sfor. Sick to the death, Marcelia. Remove Besides, were I now in another's power, These signs of mirth: they were ominous, and I would not live for one short minute his; but usher'd I was born only yours, and I will die so. Sfor. Angels reward the goodness of this woman!

Sorrow and ruin.

Marc. Bless us, heaven!

Isa. My son.

Marc. What sudden change is this? Sfor. All leave the room;

I'll bear alone the burden of my grief, And must admit no partner. I am yet Your prince, where's your obedience?


All I can pay is nothing. Why, uncall'd for? Fran. It is of weight, sir, that makes me thus press

Upon your privacies. Your constant friend, [Exeunt Tiberio, Stephano, Fran- The marquis of Pescara, tir'd with haste, cisco, Isabella, Mariana, and At- Hath business that concerns your life and for


Stay, Marcelia;

I cannot be so greedy of a sorrow, In which you must not share.

Marc. And cheerfully

I will sustain my part. Why look you pale?
Where is that wonted constancy and courage,
That dar'd the worst of fortune? where is Sforza,
To whom all dangers that fright common men,
Appear'd but panic terrors? why do you eye me,
With such fix'd looks? Love, counsel, duty,

May flow from me, not danger.
Sfar. O Marcelia!

It is for thee I fear; for thee, thy Sforza
Shakes like a coward: for myself, unmov'd
I could have heard my troops were cut in pieces,
My general slain, and he, on whom my hopes
Ofrale, of state, of life, had their dependence,
The Ling of France, my greatest friend, made

To so proud enemies.

Mare. Then you have just cause To show you are a man.

Sfor. All this were nothing, Though I add to it, that I am assured, For giving aid to this unfortunate king, The emperor, incens'd, lays his command On his victorious army, flesh'd with spoil, And bold of conquest, to march up against me, And seize on my estates: suppose that done too, ite city ta'en, the kennels running blood, Myself bound fast in chains, to grace their triumph;

I would be Sforza still. But when I think That my Marcelia, to whom all these Are but as atoms to the greatest hill, Most suffer in my cause, and for me suffer! earthly torments, nay, even those the damn'd lil for in hell, are gentle strokes, compar'd In what I feel, Marcelia.

Marc. Good sir, have patience: cam as well partake your adverse fortune, I thus long have had an ample share our prosperity. Tis not in the power te to alter me; for while I am, hate of it, I'm yours.

Mor. But should that will

so-forced, Marcelia; and I live those eyes I prize above my own, favours, though compell'd, upon another; teose sweet lips, yielding immortal nectar, grally touch'd by any but myself;


And with speed to impart.

Sfor. Wait on him hither. [Exit Francisco. And, dearest, to thy closet. Let thy prayers Assist my councils.

Marc. To spare imprecations
Against myself, without you I am nothing.
Sfor. The marquis of Pescara! a great soldier;
And though he serv'd upon the adverse party,
Ever my constant friend.

Re-enter FRANCISCO, with PESCara.
Fran. Yonder he walks,
Full of sad thoughts.


Pes. Blame him not, good Francisco, He hath much cause to grieve; would I might end so,

And not add this to fear!

[Apa: t.

Sfor. My dear Pescara; A miracle in these times! a friend, and happy, Cleaves to a falling fortune!

Pes. If it were

As well in my weak power, in act, to raise it, As 'tis to bear a part of sorrow with you, You then should have just cause to say, Pes


Look'd not upon your state, but on your virtues,
When he made suit to be writ in the list
Of those you favour'd. But my haste forbids
All compliment; thus then, sir, to the purpose:
The cause that, unattended brought me hither,
Was not to tell you of your loss or danger
(For fame hath many wings to bring ill tidings,
And I presume you've heard it), but to give


Such friendly counsel, as, perhaps, may make
Your sad disaster less.

Sfor. You are all goodness;
And I give up myself to be dispos'd of,
As in your wisdom you think fit.
Pes. Thus, then, sir;

To hope you can hold out against the emperor,
Were flattery in yourself, to your undoing;
Therefore, the safest course that you can take,
Is, to give up yourself to his discretion,
Before you be compell'd; for rest assur'd,
A voluntary yielding may find grace,
And will admit defence, at least, excuse:
But should you linger doubtful, till his powers
Have seiz'd your person and estates perforce,
You must expect extremes.

Sfor. I understand you;

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Sfor. I think so;

For I have ever found you true and thankful,
Which makes me love the building I have rais'd
In your advancement; and repent no grace
I have conferr'd upon you. And, believe me,
Though now I should repeat my favours to you,
The titles I have given you, and the means
Suitable to your honours; that I thought you
Worthy my sister and my family,

And in my dukedom made you next myself;
It is not to upbraid you; but to tell you

I find you are worthy of them, in your love

And service to me.

Fran. Sir, I am your creature;

That were before us; and such as succeed, Though taught in hell's black school, shall ne'er

come near us.

Art thou not shaken yet?

Fran. I grant you move me:
But to a man confirm'd-
Sfor. I'll try your temper:
What think you of my wife?

Fran. As a thing sacred;

To whose fair name and memory I pay gladly These signs of duty.

Sfor. Is she not the abstract

Of all that's rare, or to be wish'd in woman?
Fran. It were a kind of blasphemy to dis-
pute it.
But to the purpose, sir.

Sfor. Add too, her goodness,
Her tenderness of me, her care to please me,
Her unsuspected chastity, ne'er equall'd;
Her innocence, her honour-Oh, I am lost
In the ocean of her virtues and her graces,
When I think of them!

Fran. Now I find the end

Of all your conjurations; there's some service To be done for this sweet lady. If she have enemies,

That she would have remov'd

Sfor. Alas! Francisco,

Her greatest enemy is her greatest lover;
Yet, in that hatred, her idolater.

And any shape that you would have me wear, One smile of hers would make a savage tame;

I gladly will put on.

Sfor. Thus, then, Francisco:

I now am to deliver to your trust

A weighty secret; of so strange a nature,
And 'twill, I know, appear so monstrous to you,
That you will tremble in the execution,
As much as I am tortur'd to command it:
For 'tis a deed so horrid, that, but to hear it,
Would strike into a ruffian flesh'd in murders,
Or an obdurate hangman, soft compassion;
And yet, Francisco, of all men the dearest,
And from me most deserving, such my state
And strange condition is, that thou alone
Must know the fatal service, and perform it.
Fran. These preparations, sir, to work

Or to one unacquainted with your bounties,
Might appear useful; but to me they are
Needless impertinences: for I dare do
Whate'er you dare command.


Sfor. But you must swear it; And put into the oath all joys or torments That fright the wicked, or confirm the good; Not to conceal it only that is nothingBut, whensoe'er my will shall speak, "Strike now!"

To fall upon't like thunder.

Fran. Minister

The oath in any way or form you please,
I stand resolv'd to take it.

Sfor. Thou must do, then,
What no malevolent star will dare to look on,
It is so wicked for which men will curse thee
For being the instrument; and the blest angels
Forsake me at my need, for being the author:
For 'tis a deed of night, of night, Francisco!
In which the memory of all good actions
We can pretend to, shall be buried quick:
Or, if we be remember'd, it shall be
To fright posterity by our example,
That have outgone all precedents of villains

One accent of that tongue would calm the seas, Though all the winds at once strove there for


Yet I, for whom she thinks all this too little,
Should I miscarry in this present journey,
From whence it is all number to a cipher,
I ne'er return with honour, by thy hand
Must have her murder'd.

Fran. Murder'd!-She that loves so,
And so deserves to be belov'd again!
And I, who sometimes you were pleas'd to
Pick'd out the instrument!

Sfor. Do not fly off.

What is decreed can never be recall'd.

Tis more than love to her, that marks her out
A wish'd companion to me in both fortunes:
And strong assurance of thy zealous faith,
That gives up to thy trust a secret, that
Racks should not have forc'd from me. Oh

There is no heaven without her, nor a hell
Where she resides. I ask from her but justice
And what I would have paid to her, had sicknes
Or any other accident, divorc'd

Her purer soul from her unspotted body.
Express a ready purpose to perform

What I command, or, by Marcelia's soul,
This is thy latest minute.

Fran. Tis not fear

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SCENE L-The same.

An open Space before the Castle.


Steph. How! left the court?

You never heard the motives that induc'd him To this strange course?

Tib. No, those are cabinet councils,
And not to be communicated, but

To such as are his own, and sure. Alas!
We fill up empty places, and in public
Are taught to give our suffrages to that
Which was before deterrnin'd; and are safe so.
Seignior Francisco (upon whom alone
His absolute power is, with all strength con-

During his absence) can with ease resolve you.
Steph. But, my good lord Tiberio, this

Is on the sudden strangely rais'd.

Tib. O sir,

He took the thriving course: he had a sister,
A fair one too, with whom, as it is rumour'd,
The duke was too familiar; but she, cast off,
Upon the sight of this, forsook the court,
And since was never seen.

Steph. But how is

His absence borne by the dutchess?

Tib. Sadly, it seems;

For since he left the court,

For the most part she hath kept her private chamber,

No visitants admitted. But on the other side,
The darling of his mother, Mariana,
As there were an antipathy between
Her and the dutchess's passions; and as
She'd no dependance on her brother's fortune,
She ne'er appear'd so full of mirth.

Steph. Tis strange.

[They retire.

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Mus. But if we should offend,

And have access at all times to her closet; Such is my impudence! when your grave lordships

Are masters of the modesty to attend
Three hours, nay, sometimes four; and then
bid wait
Upon her the next morning.
Steph. He derides us.

[Apart. Tib. Pray you, what news is stirring? You know all.

Grac. Who, I? alas! I've no intelligence At home nor abroad; I only sometimes guess The change of the times: I should ask of your lordships

Who are to keep their honours, who to lose them;

Who the dutchess smil'd on last, or on whom frown'd;

You only can resolve me; and could you tell

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Isa. But the purpose, daughter,

That brings us hither? Is it to bestow A visit on this woman?

Mari. If to vex her

The dutchess having silenc'd us, and these lords May be interpreted to do her honour,

Stand by to hear us.

Grac. They in name are lords,

But I am one in power; and, for the dutchess, But yesterday we were merry for her pleasure; Well now be for my lady's.

[Tiberio and Stephano come forward. Tib. Seignior Graccho.

Grac. A poor man, sir, a servant to the princess;

But you, great lords and counsellors of state,
Whom I stand bound to reverence.
Tib. Come, we know

You are a man in grace.

Grac. Fie! no: I grant

I bear


She shall have many of them.

My brother, being not by now to protect her, I am her equal.

Play any thing

That's light and loud enough but to torment


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Mari. May it please your greatness, one smile, I pray you,

On your poor servants.

Isa. She's made of courtesy.


fortunes patiently; serve the prin

Mari. Mistress of all hearts!


Isa. 'Tis wormwood, and it works.



Marc. If doting age could let you but Than in a paradise at her entreaty.


You have a son; or frontless impudence,
You are a sister; and, in making answer
To what was most unfit for you to speak,
Or me to hear, borrow of my just anger;
You durst not then, on any hire or hope,
Rememb'ring what I am, and whose I am,
Put on the desp'rate boldness to disturb
The least of my retirements.
Mari. Note her now.


And for you, upstart

Offi. What shall become of these?
Fran. See them well whipp'd,
As you will answer it.

Grac. I preach patience,

And must endure my fortune.

[Exeunt all but Francisco and Marcelia.

Fran. Let them first know themselves, and

how you are

Marc. For both shall understand, though To be serv'd and honour'd; which, when they

the one presume

Upon the privilege due to a mother;


You may again receive them to your favour;

The duke stands now on his own legs, and And then it will show nobly.


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Marc. For you,

Marc. With my thanks,

The duke shall pay you his, if he return
To bless us with his presence.

Fran. Any service done to so much sweet


In your favour finds

A wish'd and glorious end.
Marc. From you I take this

From this hour learn to serve me, or you'll feel As loyal duty; but in any other,

I must make use of my authority,

And, as a princess, punish it.

Isa. A princess!

It would appear gross flattery.
Fran. Flattery, madam!

You are so rare and excellent in all things,

Mari. I had rather be a slave unto a Moor, And rais'd so high upon a rock of goodness, Than know thee for my equal.

Enter FRANCISCO and Guards.
Fran. What wind hath rais'd this tempest?
A tumult in the court! What's the cause?
Speak, Mariana.

Mari. Do you hear, sir?

As that vice cannot reach you: who but looks on
This temple, built by nature to perfection,
But must bow to it; and out of that zeal,
Not only learn to adore it, but to love it?
Marc. Whither will this fellow? [Aside.
Fran. Pardon, therefore, madam,
If an excess in me of humble duty,

Right me on this monster, or ne'er look to Teach me to hope my piety and love

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As when himself perform'd the willing office.
Grac. I would I were well off! Aside.
Fran. And therefore I beseech you, gentle But by a plain and usual form of speech,
All superstitious reverence laid by,

Name those that have offended you.

Isa. I am one.

Mari. And I will justify it.

Fran. Remember she's the dutchess.
Marc. But us'd with more contempt than
if I were
A peasant's daughter.

Fran. Think not then I speak
(For I stand bound to honour, and to serve you);
But that the duke, that lives in this great lady,
For the contempt of him in her, commands you
To be close prisoners.

Isa. Mari. Prisoners!
Fran. Bear them hence.
Marc. I am not cruel,

But pleas'd they may have liberty.
Isa. Pleas'd, with a mischief!

I love you as a man. Why do you start?
I am no monster, and you but a woman;
A woman made to yield, and by example
Told it is lawful.

Marc. Keep off! O, you powers!
Are all the princely bounties, favours, honour
Which, with some prejudice to his own wisdon
Thy lord and raiser hath conferr'd upon the
In three days absence, buried? And is this,
This impudent attempt to taint mine honou
The fair return of both our ventur'd favour:
Fran. Hear my excuse.
Marc. Read my life,

And find one act of mine so loosely carried
That could invite a most self-loving fool,
Set off with all that fortune could throw


Mari. I'llrather live in any loathsome dungeon, To the least hope to find

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