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My share of credit equal with thine,
If I do stir?

Amin. No; for it will be called

Honour in thee to spill thy sister's blood,
If she her birth abuse; and, on the king,

A brave revenge: But on me, that have walked
With patience in it, it will fix the name

Of fearful cuckold, Oh, that word! Be quick. Mel. Then join with me.

Amin. I dare not do a sin, or else I would. Be speedy.

Mel. Then dare not fight with me; for that's a sin.

His grief distracts him: Call thy thoughts again, And to thyself pronounce the name of friend, And see what that will work. I will not fight, Amin. You must.

Mel. I will be killed first. Though my passions Offered the like to you, 'tis not this earth Shall buy my reason to it. Think awhile, For you are (I must weep, when I speak that) Almost besides yourself."

Amin. Oh, my soft temper!

So many sweet words from thy sister's mouth,
I am afraid, would make me take her

To embrace, and pardon her. I am mad, indeed,
And know not what I do. Yet, have a care
Of me in what thou dost.

Mel. Why thinks my friend

Iwill forget his honour? or, to save
The bravery of our house, will lose his fame,
And fear to touch the throne of majesty?

Amin. A curse will follow that; but rather live, And suffer with me.

Mel. I'll do what worth shall bid me, and no


Amin. 'Faith, I am sick, and desperately, I hope; Yet, leaning thus, I feel a kind of ease.

Mel. Come, take again your mirth about you. Amin. I shall never do't.

Mel. I warrant you; look up; we'll walk together; Put thine arm here; all shall be well again. Amin. Thy love (oh, wretched!) ay, thy love, Melantius!

Why, I have nothing else.
Mel. Be merry then.

Enter MELANTIUS again.


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Diph. Yonder has been such laughing.
Mel. Betwixt whom?

Diph. Why, our sister and the king; I thought their spleens would break; they laughed us all out of the room.

Mel. They must weep, Diphilus.

Diph. Must they?

Mel. They must.

Thou art my brother; and if I did believe Thou hadst a base thought, I would rip it out, Lie where it durst.

Diph. You should not; I would first mangle myself, and find it.

Mel. That was spoke according to our strain. Come, join thy hands to mine,

And swear a firmness to what project I
Shall lay before thee.

Diph. You do wrong us both:
People hereafter shall not say, there passed
A bond, more than our loves, to tie our lives
And deaths together.

Mel. It is as nobly said as I would wish. Anon I'll tell you wonders. We are wronged. Diph. But I will tell you now, we'll right our


Mel. Stay not: Prepare the armour in my house;
And what friends you can draw unto our side,
Not knowing of the cause, make ready too.
Haste, Diphilus, the time requires it; haste!
[Exit Diphilus.

I hope my cause is just; I know my blood
Tells me it is; and I will credit it.
To take revenge, and lose myself withal,
Were idle; and to escape impossible,
Without I had the fort, which (misery!)
Remaining in the hands of my old enemy
Calianax- -But I must have it. See,

Where he comes, shaking by me. Good my lord,
Forget your spleen to me; I never wronged you,
But would have peace with every man.

Cal. 'Tis well;

If I durst fight, your tongue would lie at quiet.

Without I have this fort.

Mel. You're touchy without all cause.
Cal. Do, mock me.

Mel. By mine honour I speak truth.
Cal. Honour? where is it?

Mel. See, what starts you make into your hatred, to my love and freedom to you. I come with resolution to obtain a suit of you.

Cal. A suit of me! 'Tis very like it should be granted, sir.

Mel. Nay, go not hence:

Tis this; you have the keeping of the fort,
And I would wish you, by the love you ought
To bear unto me, to deliver it

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Cal. And should I help thee?
Now thy treacherous mind betrays itself.
Mel. Come, delay me not;

Give me a sudden answer, or already
Thy last is spoke! refuse not offered love,
When it comes clad in secrets.

Cal. If I say

I will not, he will kill me; I do see it
Writ in his looks; and should I say I will,
He'll run and tell the king. I do not shun
Your friendship, dear Melantius, but this cause
Is weighty; give me but an hour to think.
Mel. Take it. I know this goes unto the king;
But I am armed.
[Exit Melantius.

Cal. Methinks I feel myself
But twenty now again! this fighting fool
Wants policy! I shall revenge my girl,
And make her red again. I pray, my legs
Will last that pace, that I will carry them :
I shall want breath, before I find the king.


Enter MELANTIUS, EVADNE, and a lady.
Mel. SAVE you!

Evad. Save you, sweet brother!
Mel. In my blunt eye,

Methinks, you look, Evadne

Evad. Come, you would make me blush.

Mel. I would, Evadne: I shall displease my ends else.

Evad. You shall, if you commend me; I am bashful.

Come, sir, how do I look?

Mel. I would not have your women hear me Break into commendation of you; 'tis not seemly. Evad. Go, wait me in the gallery. Now speak. [Exeunt ladies.

Mel. I'll lock the door first.
Evad. Why?

Mel. I will not have your gilded things, that dance
In visitation with their Milan skins,
Choke up my business.

Evad. You are strangely disposed, sir.

Mel. Good madam, not to make you merry. Evad. No; if you praise me, it will make me sad. Mel. Such a sad commendation I have for you. Evad. Brother, the court hath made you witty, And learn to riddle.

Mel. I praise the court for it: Has it learnt you nothing?

Evad. Me?

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If they were written here, here in my forehead. This is saucy:

Look you intrude no more! There lies your way, Mel. Thou art my way, and I will tread upon thee, 'Till I find truth out.

Evad. What truth is that, you look for?
Mel. Thy long-lost honour. 'Would the gods
had set me

Rather to grapple with the plague, or stand
One of their loudest bolts! Come, tell me quickly,
Do it without enforcement, and take heed
You swell me not above my temper.

Evad. How, sir! where got you this report? Mel. Where there were people, in every place. Evad. They and the seconds of it are base people: Believe them not, they lied.

Mel. Do not play with mine anger, do not, wretch!

I come to know that desperate fool, that drew thee From thy fair life: Be wise, and lay him open. Evad. Unhand me, and learn manners: Such another

Forgetfulness forfeits your life.

Mel. Quench me this mighty humour, and then tell me

Whose whore you are; for you are one, I know it. Let all mine honours perish, but I'll find him, Though he lie locked up in thy blood! Be sudden; There is no facing it, and be not flattered!

The burnt air, when the Dog reigns, is not fouler Than thy contagious name, 'till thy repentance (If the gods grant thee any) purge thy sickness. Evad. Be gone! You are my brother; that's your safety.

Mel. I'll be a wolf first! 'Tis, to be thy brother, An infamy below the sin of coward.

I am as far from being part of thee,

As thou art from thy virtue: Seek a kindred 'Mongst sensual beasts, and make a goat thy brother;

A goat is cooler. Will you tell me yet?

Evad. If you stay here and rail thus, I shall tell you,

I'll have you whipped! get you to your command, And there preach to your centinels, and tell them What a brave man you are: I shall laugh at you. Mel. You're grown a glorious whore! Where

be your fighters?

What mortal fool durst raise thee to this daring,
And I alive? By my just sword, he had safer
Bestrid a billow, when the angry north
Plows up the sea, or made heaven's fire his food!
Work me no higher. Will you discover yet?

Evad. The fellow's mad: Sleep, and speak sense. Mel. Force my swollen heart no further: I would save thee.

Your great maintainers are not here, they dare not: Would they were all, and armed! I would speak loud;

Here's one should thunder to them! will you tell me?

Thou hast no hope to escape: He, that dares most,
And damns away his soul to do thee service,
Will sooner fetch meat from a hungry lion,
Than come to rescue thee; thou'st death about thee.
Who has undone thine honour, poisoned thy virtue,
And, of a lovely rose, left thee a canker?
Evad. Let me consider.

Mel. Do, whose child thou wert,
Whose honour thou hast murdered, whose


And so pulled on the gods, that in their justice
They must restore him flesh again, and life,
And raise his dry bones to revenge this scandal.
Etad. The gods are not of my mind; they had

Let them lie sweet still in the earth; they'll stink here.

Mel. Do you raise mirth out of my easiness?
Forsake me, then, all weaknesses of nature,
That make men women! Speak, harlot, speak

Or, by the dear soul of thy sleeping father,
This sword shall be thy lover! Tell, or I'll kill thee;
And, when thou hast told all, thou wilt deserve it.
Evad. You will not murder me?

Mel. No? 'tis a justice, and a noble one,
To put the light out of such base offenders.
Evad. Help!

Mel. By thy foul self, no human help shall help thee,

If thou criest! When I have killed thee, as I have VOL. I.

| Vowed to do, if thou confess not, naked, As thou hast left thine honour, will I leave thee; That on thy branded flesh the world may read Thy black shame, and my justice. Wilt thou bend yet?

Evad. Yes.

Mel. Up, and begin your story.

Evad. Oh, I am miserable!

Mel. 'Tis true, thou art. Speak truth still.
Evad. I have offended:

Noble sir, forgive me.

Mel. With what secure slave?
Evad. Do not ask me, sir:
Mine own remembrance is a misery
Too mighty for me.

Mel. Do not fall back again :
My sword's unsheathed yet.

Evad. What shall I do?

Mel. Be true, and make your fault less.
Evad. I dare not tell.

Mel. Tell, or I'll be this day a-killing thee.
Evad. Will you forgive me then?

Mel. Stay; I must ask

Mine honour first. I've too much foolish nature

In me: Speak.

Evad. Is there none else here?

Mel. None but a fearful conscience; that's too many. Who is it?

Evad. Oh, hear me gently. It was the king. Mel. No more. My worthy father's and my


Are liberally rewarded. King, I thank thee! For all my dangers and my wounds, thou hast paid me

In my own metal: These are soldiers' thanks! How long have you lived thus, Evadne?

Evad. Too long.

Mel. Too late you find it. Can you be sorry?
Evad. 'Would I were half as blameless!
Mel. Evadne, thou wilt to thy trade again!
Evad. First to my grave.

Mel. 'Would gods thou hadst been so blest! Dost thou not hate this king now? prithee hate him.

Couldst thou not curse him? I command thee, curse him.

Curse, till the gods hear, and deliver him
To thy just wishes! Yet, I fear, Evadne,
You had rather play your game out.

Evad. No; I feel

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To be a stale hour, and have your madam's name
Discourse for grooms and pages; and, hereafter,
When his cool majesty hath laid you by,
To be at pension with some needy sir,

For meat and coarser cloaths: Thus far you know no fear.

Come, you shall kill him.

Evad. Good sir!

Mel. An 'twere to kiss him dead, thou'dst smother him.

Be wise, and kill him. Canst thou live, and know
What noble minds shall make thee, see thyself
Found out with every finger, made the shame
Of all successions, and in this great ruin
Thy brother and thy noble husband broken?
Thou shalt not live thus. Kneel, and swear to
help me,

When I shall call thee to it; or, by all

Holy in heaven and earth, thou shalt not live
To breathe a full hour longer; not a thought!
Come, 'tis a righteous oath. Give me thy hands,
And, both to heaven held up, swear, by that

This lustful thief stole from thee, when I say it,
To let his foul soul out.

Evad. Here I swear it;

And, all you spirits of abused ladies,
Help me in this performance!

Mel. Enough. This must be known to none
But you and I, Evadne; not to your lord,
Though he be wise and noble, and a fellow
Dares step as far into a worthy action
As the most daring; ay, as far as justice.
Ask me not why. Farewell.

[Erit Mel. Evad. 'Would I could say so to my black disgrace!

Oh, where have I been all this time? how 'friended,
That I should lose myself thus desperately,
And none for pity shew me how I wandered?
There is not in the compass of the light
A more unhappy creature: Sure, I am monstrous!
For I have done those follies, those mad mischiefs,
Would dare a woman. Oh, my loaden soul,
Be not so cruel to me; choke not up

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Amin. Stand up.

This is a new way to beget more sorrow :
Heaven knows I have too many! Do not mock me:
Though I am tame, and bred up with my wrongs,
Which are my foster-brothers, I may leap,
Like a hand-wolf, into my natural wildness,
And do an outrage. Prithee, do not mock me.
Evad. My whole life is so leprous, it infects
All my repentance. I would buy your pardon,
Though at the highest set; even with my life.

That slight contrition, that's no sacrifice For what I have committed.

Amin. Sure I dazzle:

There cannot be a faith in that foul woman,
That knows no god more mighty than her mis-

Thou dost still worse, still number on thy faults,
To press my poor heart thus. Can I believe
There's any seed of virtne in that woman,
Left to shoot up, that dares go on in sin,
Known, and so known as thine is? Oh, Evadne!
'Would there were any safety in thy sex,
That I might put a thousand sorrows off,
And credit thy repentance! But I must not :
Thou hast brought me to that dull calamity,
To that strange misbelief of all the world,
And all things that are in it, that I fear
I shall fall like a tree, and find my grave,
Only remembering, that I grieve.

Évad. My lord,

Give me your griefs: You are an innocent,
A soul as white as heaven; let not my sins
Perish your noble youth. I do not fall here
To shadow, by dissembling with my tears,
(As, all say, women can) or to make less,
What my hot will hath done, which heaven and you
Know to be tougher than the hand of time
Can cut from man's remembrance. No, I do not:
I do appear the same, the same Evadne,
Drest in the shames I lived in; the same monster!
But these are names of honour, to what I am :
I do present myself the foulest creature,
Most pois'nous, dang'rous, and despised of men,
Lerna e're bred, or Nilus! I am hell,
'Till you, my dear lord, shoot your light into me,
The beams of your forgiveness. I am soul-sick,
And wither with the fear of one condemned,
'Till I have got your pardon.

Amin. Rise, Évadne.

Those heavenly powers, that put this good into thee,
Grant a continuance of it! I forgive thee:
Make thyself worthy of it; and take heed,
Take heed, Evadne, this be serious.
Mock not the powers above, that can and dare
Give thee a great example of their justice
To all ensuing eyes, if thou playest
With thy repentance, the best sacrifice.

Evad. I have done nothing good to win belief, My life hath been so faithless. All the creatures, Made for heaven's honours, have their ends, and

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My frozen soul melts. May each sin thou hast,
Find a new mercy! Rise; I am at peace.
Hadst thou been thus, thus excellently good,
Before that devil king tempted thy frailty,
Sure thou hadst made a star! Give me thy hand.
From this time I will know thee; and, as far
As honour gives me leave, be thy Amintor.
When we meet next, I will salute thee fairly,
And pray the gods to give thee happy days.
My charity shall go along with thee,
Though my embraces must be far from thee.

I should have killed thee, but this sweet repent


Locks up my vengeance; for which thus I kiss thee

The last kiss we must take! And 'would to heaven
The holy priest, that gave our hands together,
Had given us equal virtues! Go, Evadne;
The gods thus part our bodies. Have a care
My honour falls no farther: I am well then.
Evad. All the dear joys here, and, above,

Crown thy fair soul! Thus I take leave, my lord;
And never shall you see the foul Evadne,
Till she have tried all honoured means, that

Set her in rest, and wash her stains away.


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King. And will still,

Where I may do with justice to the world: You have no witness.

Cal. Yes, myself.
King. No more,

I mean, there were that heard it.
Cal. How! no more?

Would you have more? why, am not I enough
To hang a thousand rogues?

King. But, so, you may

Hang honest men too, if you please.
Cal. I may!

'Tis like I will do so: There are a hundred
Will swear it for a need too, if I say it-
King. Such witnesses we need not.
Cal. And 'tis hard

If my word cannot hang a boisterous knave.
King. Enough. Where's Strato.

Stra. Sir!

King. Why, where is all the company? Call

Amintor in;

Evadne. Where's my brother, and Melantius?
Bid him come too; and Diphilus. Call all,
[Exit Strato.

That are without there.-If he should desire
The combat of you, 'tis not in the power
Of all our laws to hinder it, unless
We mean to quit them.

Cal. Why, if you do think
"Tis fit an old man, and a counsellor,
Do fight for what he says, then you may grant it.

King. Come, sirs! Amintor, thou art yet a bridegroom,

And I will use thee so: Thou shalt sit down.
Evadne, sit; and you, Amintor, too:
This banquet is for you, sir. Who has brought
A merry tale about him, to raise laughter
Amongst our wine? Why, Strato, where art

Thou wilt chop out with them unscasonably,
When I desire them not.

Stra. 'Tis my ill luck, sir, so to spend them then.

King. Reach me a bowl of wine. Melantius, thou

Art sad.

Mel. I should be, sir, the merriest here,
But I have ne'er a story of my own
Worth telling at this time.

King. Give me the wine.
Melantius, I am now considering
How easy 'twere, for any man we trust,
To poison one of us in such a bowl.

Mel. I think it were not hard, sir, for a knave.
Cal. Such as you are.

King. I'faith, 'twere easy: It becomes us well To get plain-dealing men about ourselves ;

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