Read ACTUS QUARTUS. SCENA PRIMA. of The False One, free online book, by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, on ReadCentral.com.

Enter Ptolomy, Photinus, Achillas, Achoreus.

Ach. I told ye carefully, what this would prove to, What this inestimable wealth and glory Would draw upon ye: I advis’d your Majesty Never to tempt a Conquering Guest: nor add A bait, to catch a mind, bent by his Trade To make the whole world his.

Pho. I was not heard Sir: Or what I said, lost, and contemn’d: I dare say, (And freshly now) ’twas a poor weakness in ye, A glorious Childishness: I watch’d his eye, And saw how Faulcon-like it towr’d, and flew Upon the wealthy Quarry: how round it mark’d it: I observ’d his words, and to what it tended; How greedily he ask’d from whence it came, And what Commerce we held for such abundance: The shew of Nilus, how he laboured at To find the secret wayes the Song delivered.

Ach. He never smil’d, I noted, at the pleasures, But fixt his constant eyes upon the treasure; I do not think his ears had so much leisure After the wealth appear’d, to hear the Musique? Most sure he has not slept since, his mind’s troubled With objects that would make their own still labour.

Pho. Your Sister he ne’re gaz’d on: that’s a main note,
The prime beauty of the world had no power over him.

Ach. Where was his mind the whilst?

Pho. Where was your carefulness To shew an armed thief the way to rob ye? Nay, would you give him this, ’twill excite him To seek the rest. Ambition feels no gift, Nor knows no bounds, indeed ye have done most weakly.

Ptol. Can I be too kind to my noble friend?

Pho. To be unkind unto your noble self, but savours Of indiscretion, and your friend has found it. Had ye been train’d up in the wants and miseries A souldier marches through, and known his temperance In offer’d courtesies, you would have made A wiser Master of your own, and stronger.

Ptol. Why, should I give him all, he would return it:
’Tis more to him, to make Kings.

Pho. Pray be wiser, And trust not with your lost wealth, your lov’d liberty. To be a King still at your own discretion Is like a King; to be at his, a vassail. Now take good counsel, or no more take to ye The freedom of a Prince.

Achil. ’Twill be too late else: For, since the Masque, he sent three of his Captains (Ambitious as himself) to view again The glory of your wealth.

Pho. The next himself comes,
Not staying for your courtesie, and takes it.

Ptol. What counsel, my Achoreus?

Ach. I’le goe pray Sir,
(For that is best counsel now) the gods may help ye. [Ex.

Pho. I found ye out a way but ’twas not credited,
A most secure way: whither will ye flye now?

Achil. For when your wealth is gone, your power must follow.

Pho. And that diminisht also, what’s your life worth?
Who would regard it?

Ptol. You say true.

Achil. What eye Will look upon King Ptolomy? if they do look, It must be in scorn: For a poor King is a monster; What ear remember ye? ’twill be then a courtesie (A noble one) to take your life too from ye: But if reserv’d, you stand to fill a victory, As who knows Conquerours minds? though outwardly They bear fair streams. O Sir, does this not shake ye? If to be honyed on to these afflictions ­

Ptol. I never will: I was a Fool.

Pho. For then Sir
Your Countreys cause falls with ye too, and fetter’d:
All AEgypt shall be plough’d up with dishonour.

Ptol. No more: I am sensible: and now my spirit
Burns hot within me.

Achil. Keep it warm and fiery.

Pho. And last be counsel’d.

Ptol. I will, though I perish.

Pho. Goe in; we’l tell you all: and then we’l execute.

[Exeunt.

SCENA II.

Enter Cleopatra, Arsino, Eros.

Ars. You are so impatient.

Cleo. Have I not cause? Women of common Beauties, and low Births, When they are slighted, are allow’d their angers, Why should not I (a Princess) make him know The baseness of his usage?

Ars. Yes: ’tis fit:
But then again you know what man.

Cleo. He is no man: The shadow of a Greatness hangs upon him, And not the vertue: he is no Conquerour, H’as suffer’d under the base dross of Nature: Poorly delivered up his power to wealth, (The god of bed-rid men) taught his eyes treason Against the truth of love: he has rais’d rebellion: Defi’d his holy flames.

Eros. He will fall back again,
And satisfie your Grace.

Cleo. Had I been old, Or blasted in my bud, he might have shew’d Some shadow of dislike: But, to prefer The lustre of a little art, Arsino, And the poor glow-worm light of some faint Jewels, Before the life of Love, and soul of Beauty, Oh how it vexes me! he is no Souldier, (All honourable Souldiers are Loves servants) He is a Merchant; a meer wandring Merchant, Servile to gain: he trades for poor Commodities, And makes his Conquests, thefts; some fortunate Captains That quarter with him, and are truly valiant, Have flung the name of happy Cæsar on him, Himself ne’re won it: he is so base and covetous, He’l sell his sword for gold.

Ars. This is too bitter.

Cleo. Oh I could curse my self, that was so foolish, So fondly childish to believe his tongue, His promising tongue, e’re I could catch his temper, I had trash enough to have cloy’d his eyes withal, His covetous eyes; such as I scorn to tread on: Richer than e’re he saw yet, and more tempting; Had I known he had stoop’d at that, I had sav’d mine honour, I had been happy still: but let him take it, And let him brag how poorly I am rewarded: Let him goe conquer still weak wretched Ladies: Love has his angry Quiver too, his deadly, And when he finds scorn, armed at the strongest: I am a fool to fret thus, for a fool: An old blind fool too: I lose my health? I will not: I will not cry: I will not honour him With tears diviner than the gods he worships: I will not take the pains to curse a poor thing.

Eros. Doe not: you shall not need.

Cleo. Would I were prisoner To one I hate, that I might anger him, I will love any man, to break the heart of him: Any, that has the heart and will to kill him.

Ars. Take some fair truce.

Cleo. I will goe study mischief, And put a look on, arm’d with all my cunnings, Shall meet him like a Basilisque, and strike him: Love, put destroying flames into mine eyes, Into my smiles, deceits, that I may torture him, That I may make him love to death, and laugh at him.

Enter Apollodorus.

Ap. Cæsar commends his Service to your Grace.

Cleo. His service? what’s his service?

Eros. Pray ye be patient,
The noble Cæsar loves still.

Cleo. What’s his will?

Ap. He craves access unto your Highness.

Cleo. No:
Say no: I will have none to trouble me.

Ars. Good Sister.

Cleo. None I say: I will be private. Would thou hadst flung me into Nilus, keeper, When first thou gav’st consent, to bring my body To this unthankfull Cæsar.

Ap. ’Twas your will, Madam,
Nay more, your charge upon me, as I honoured ye:
You know what danger I endured.

Cleo. Take this, And carry it to that Lordly Cæsar sent thee: There’s a new Love, a handsom one, a rich one: One that will hug his mind: bid him make love to it: Tell the ambitious Broker, this will suffer ­

Enter Cæsar.

Ap. He enters.

Cleo. How?

Cæsar. I do not use to wait, Lady,
Where I am, all the dores are free, and open.

Cleo. I ghess so, by your rudeness.

Cæsar. Ye are not angry? Things of your tender mold, should be most gentle; Why do you frown? good gods, what a set-anger Have you forc’d into your face! Come, I must temper ye: What a coy smile was there, and a disdainfull! How like an ominous flash it broke out from ye! Defend me, Love, Sweet, who has anger’d ye?

Cleo. Shew him a glass; that false face has betrai’d me:
That base heart wrought me ­

Cæsar. Be more sweetly angry;
I wrong’d ye fair?

Cleo. Away with your foul flatteries: They are too gross: but that I dare be angry, And with as great a god as Cæsar is, To shew how poorly I respect his memory, I would not speak to ye.

Cæsar. Pray ye undoe this riddle,
And tell me how I have vext ye?

Cleo. Let me think first Whether I may put on a Patience That will with honour suffer me: know, I hate ye, Let that begin the story: Now I’le tell ye.

Cæsar. But do it milder: In a noble Lady, Softness of spirit, and a sober nature, That moves like summer winds, cool, and blows sweetness; Shews blessed like her self.

Cleo. And that great blessedness You first reap’d of me: till you taught my nature Like a rude storm to talk aloud, and thunder, Sleep was not gentler than my soul, and stiller; You had the Spring of my affections: And my fair fruits I gave you leave to taste of: You must expect: the winter of mine anger: You flung me off, before the Court disgrac’d me, When in the pride I appear’d of all my beauty, Appear’d your Mistress; took into your eyes The common-strumpet love of hated lucre, Courted with covetous heart, the slave of nature, Gave all your thoughts to gold, that men of glory, And minds adorn’d with noble love, would kick at: Souldiers of royal mark, scorn such base purchase: Beauty and honour are the marks they shoot at; I spake to ye then; I courted ye, and woo’d ye: Call’d ye dear Cæsar, hung about ye tenderly: Was proud to appear your friend.

Cæsar. You have mistaken me.

Cleo. But neither Eye, nor Favour, not a Smile Was I blessed back with; but shook off rudely, And, as ye had been sold to sordid infamy, You fell before the Images of treasure, And in your soul you worship’d: I stood slighted, Forgotten and contemn’d; my soft embraces, And those sweet kisses you call’d Elyzium, As letters writ in sand, no more remembred: The name and glory of your Cleopatra Laugh’d at, and made a story to your Captains, Shall I endure?

Cæsar. You are deceiv’d in all this,
Upon my life you are, ’tis your much tenderness.

Cleo. No, no, I love not that way; you are cozen’d:
I love with as much ambition as a Conquerour,
And where I love, will triumph.

Cæsar. So you shall: My heart shall be the Chariot that shall bear ye, All I have won shall wait upon ye: By the gods The bravery of this womans mind, has fired me: Dear Mistress shall I but this night? ­

Cleo. How Cæsar?
Have I let slip a second vanity
That gives thee hope?

Cæsar. You shall be absolute,
And Reign alone as Queen: you shall be any thing.

Cleo. Make me a maid again, and then I’le hear thee; Examine all thy art of War, to do that; And if thou find’st it possible, I’le love thee: Till when, farewel, unthankfull.

Cæsar. Stay.

Cleo. I will not.

Cæsar. I command.

Cleo. Command, and goe without, Sir.
I do command thee be my slave for ever,
And vex while I laugh at thee.

Cæsar. Thus low, beauty.

Cleo. It is too late; when I have found thee absolute,
The man that Fame reports thee, and to me,
May be I shall think better. Farewel Conquerour. [Exit.

Cæsar. She mocks me too: I will enjoy her Beauty: I will not be deni’d; I’le force my longing. Love is best pleas’d, when roundly we compel him, And as he is Imperious, so will I be. Stay fool, and be advis’d: that dulls the appetite, Takes off the strength and sweetness of delight. By Heaven she is a miracle, I must use A handsom way to win: how now; what fear Dwells in your faces? you look all distracted.

Enter Sceva, Anthony, Dolabella.

Sceva. If it be fear, ’tis fear of your undoing, Not of our selves: fear of your poor declining: Our lives and deaths are equall benefits, And we make louder prayers to dye nobly, Than to live high, and wantonly: whilst you are secure here, And offer Hecatombs of lazie kisses To the lewd god of love, and cowardize, And most lasciiously dye in delights, You are begirt with the fierce Alexandrians.

Dol. The spawn of Egypt flow about your Palace,
Arm’d all: and ready to assault.

Ant. Led on By the false and base Photinus and his Ministers; No stirring out; no peeping through a loop-hole, But straight saluted with an armed Dart.

Sce. No parley: they are deaf to all but danger, They swear they will fley us, and then dry our Quarters: A rasher of a salt lover, is such a Shooing-horn: Can you kiss away this conspiracy, and set us free? Or will the Giant god of love fight for ye? Will his fierce war-like bow kill a Cock-sparrow? Bring out the Lady, she can quel this mutiny: And with her powerfull looks strike awe into them: She can destroy, and build again the City, Your Goddesses have mighty gifts: shew ’em her fair brests, The impregnable Bulworks of proud Love, and let ’em Begin their battery there: she will laugh at ’em; They are not above a hundred thousand, Sir. A mist, a mist, that when her Eyes break out, Her powerfull radiant eyes, and shake their flashes, Will flye before her heats.

Cæsar. Begirt with Villains?

S[ce]. They come to play you, and your Love a Huntsup.
You were told what this same whorson wenching, long agoe would
come to:
You are taken napping now: has not a Souldier,
A time to kiss his friend, and a time to consider,
But he must lye still digging, like a Pioneer,
Making of mines, and burying of his honour there?
’Twere good you would think ­

Dol. And time too, or you will find else
A harder task, than Courting a coy Beauty.

Ant. Look out and then believe.

Sce. No, no, hang danger: Take me provoking broth, and then goe to her: Goe to your Love, and let her feel your valour; Charge her whole body, when the sword’s in your throat (Sir,) You may cry, Cæsar, and see if that will help ye.

Cæsar. I’le be my self again, and meet their furies, Meet, and consume their mischiefs: make some shift, Sceva, To recover the Fleet, and bring me up two Legions, And you shall see me, how I’le break like thunder Amongst these beds of slimy Eeles, and scatter ’em.

Sce. Now ye speak sense I’le put my life to the hazard,
Before I goe No more of this warm Lady,
She will spoil your sword-hand.

Cæsar. Goe: come, let’s to Counsel
How to prevent, and then to execute.

SCENA III.

Enter Souldiers.

1 Sold. Did ye see this Penitence?

2 Sold. Yes: I saw, and heard it.

3 Sold. And I too: look’d upon him, and observ’d it,
He’s the strangest Septimus now ­

1 Sold. I heard he was altered,
And had given away his Gold to honest uses:
Cry’d monstrously.

2 Sold. He cryes abundantly:
He is blind almost with weeping.

3 Sold. ’Tis most wonderfull That a hard hearted man, and an old Souldier Should have so much kind moisture: when his Mother dy’d He laugh’d aloud, and made the wickedst Ballads ­

1 Sold. ’Tis like enough: he never lov’d his parents; Nor can I blame him, for they ne’r lov’d him. His Mother dream’d before she was deliver’d That she was brought abed with a Buzzard, and ever after She whistl’d him up to th’ world: his brave clothes too He has flung away, and goes like one of us now: Walks with his hands in’s pockets, poor and sorrowfull, And gives the best instructions. ­

2 Sold. And tells stories Of honest and good people that were honour’d And how they were remembred: and runs mad If he but hear of any ungratefull person, A bloudy, or betraying man ­

3 Sold. If it be possible That an Arch-Villain may ever be recovered, This penitent Rascal will put hard: ’twere worth our labour To see him once again.

Enter Septimius.

1 Sold. He spares us that labour,
For here he comes.

Sep. ­Bless ye my honest friends,
Bless ye from base unworthy men; come not near me,
For I am yet too taking for your company.

1 Sold. Did I not tell ye?

2 Sold. What book’s that?

1 Sold. No doubt
Some excellent Salve for a sore heart: are you
Septimius, that base knave, that betray’d Pompey?

Sep. I was, and am; unless your honest thoughts Will look upon my penitence, and save me, I must be ever Villain: O good Souldiers You that have Roman hearts, take heed of falsehood: Take heed of blood; take heed of foul ingratitude. The Gods have scarce a mercy for those mischiefs, Take heed of pride, ’twas that that brought me to it.

2 Sol. This fellow would make a rare speech at the gallows.

Sol. ’Tis very fit he were hang’d to édifie us:

Sep. Let all your thoughts be humble, and obedient, Love your Commanders, honour them that feed ye: Pray, that ye may be strong in honesty As in the use of arms; Labour, and diligently To keep your hearts from ease, and her base issues, Pride, and ambitious wantonness, those spoil’d me. Rather lose all your limbs, than the least honesty, You are never lame indeed, till loss of credit Benumb ye through: Scarrs, and those maims of honour Are memorable crutches, that shall bear When you are dead, your noble names to Eternity.

1 Sol. I cry.

2 Sol. And so do I.

3 Sol. An excellent villain.

1 Sol. A more sweet pious knave I never heard yet.

2 Sol. He was happie he was Rascal, to come to this.

Enter Achoreus.

Who’s this? a Priest?

Sep. O stay, most holy Sir! And by the Gods of Egypt, I conjure ye, (Isis, and great Osiris) pity me, Pity a loaden man, and tell me truly With what most humble Sacrifice I may Wash off my sin, and appease the powers that hate me? Take from my heart those thousand thousand furies, That restless gnaw upon my life, and save me. Orestes bloody hands fell on his Mother, Yet, at the holy altar he was pardon’d.

Ach. Orestes out of madness did his murther, And therefore he found grace: thou (worst of all men) Out of cold blood, and hope of gain, base lucre, Slew’st thine own Feeder: come not near the altar, Nor with thy reeking hands pollute the Sacrifice, Thou art markt for shame eternal. [Exit.

Sep. Look all on me, And let me be a story left to time Of blood and Infamy, how base and ugly Ingratitude appears, with all her profits, How monstrous my hop’d grace, at Court! good souldiers Let neither flattery, nor the witching sound Of high and soft preferment, touch your goodness: To be valiant, old, and honest, O what blessedness ­

1 Sold. Dost thou want any thing?

Sep. Nothing but your prayers.

2 Sol. Be thus, and let the blind Priest do his worst,
We have gods as well as they, and they will hear us.

3 Sol. Come, cry no more: thou hast wep’t out twenty Pompeys.

Enter Photinus, Achillas.

Pho. So penitent?

Achil. It seems so.

Pho. Yet for all this
We must employ him.

1 Sol. These are the arm’d Souldier leaders:
Away: and let’s toth’ Fort, we shall be snapt else. [Exeunt.

Pho. How now? why thus? what cause of this dejection?

Achil. Why dost thou weep?

Sep. Pray leave me, you have ruin’d me,
You have made me a famous Villain.

Pho. Does that touch thee?

Achil. He will be hard to win: he feels his lewdness.

Pho. He must be won, or we shall want our right hand. This fellow dares, and knows, and must be heartned. Art thou so poor to blench at what thou hast done? Is Conscience a comrade for an old Soldier?

Achil. It is not that: it may be some disgrace
That he takes heavily; and would be cherish’d,
Septimius ever scorn’d to shew such weakness.

Sep. Let me alone; I am not for your purpose,
I am now a new man.

Pho. We have new affairs for thee,
Those that would raise thy head.

Sep. I would ’twere off, And in your bellies for the love you bear me. I’le be no more Knave: I have stings enough Already in my breast.

Pho. Thou shalt be noble:
And who dares think then that thou art not honest?

Achil. Thou shalt command in Chief, all our strong Forces
And if thou serv’st an use, must not all justifie it?

Sp. I am Rogue enough.

Pho. Thou wilt be more, and baser: A poor Rogue is all Rogues: open to all shames: Nothing to shadow him: dost thou think crying Can keep thee from the censure of the Multitude? Or to be kneeling at the altar save thee? ’Tis poor and servile: Wert thou thine own Sacrifice ’Twould seem so low, people would spit the fire out.

Achil. Keep thy self glorious still, though ne’re so stain’d, And that will lessen it, if not work it out. To goe complaining thus, and thus repenting Like a poor Girl that had betrai’d her maide-head ­

Sep. I’le stop mine ears.

Achil. Will shew so in a Souldier,
So simply, and so ridiculously, so tamely ­

Pho. If people would believe thee, ’twere some honesty, And for thy penitence would not laugh at thee (As sure they will) and beat thee for thy poverty: If they would allow thy foolery, there were some hope.

Sep. My foolery?

Pho. Nay, more than that, thy misery,
Thy monstrous misery.

Ahil. He begins to hearken:
Thy misery so great, men will not bury thee.

Sep. That this were true!

Pho. Why does this conquering Cæsar Labour through the worlds deep Seas of toyls and troubles, Dangers, and desperate hopes? to repent afterwards? Why does he slaughter thousands in a Battel, And whip his Country with the sword? to cry for’t? Thou killd’st great Pompey; he’l kill all his kindred, And justifie it: nay raise up Trophies to it. When thou hear’st him repent, (he’s held most holy too) And cry for doing daily bloody murthers, Take thou example, and go ask forgiveness, Call up the thing thou nam’st thy conscience, And let it work: then ’twill seem well Septimius.

Sep. He does all this.

Achil. Yes: and is honour’d for it;
Nay call’d the honour’d Cæsar, so maist thou be:
Thou wert born as near a Crown as he.

Sep. He was poor.

Pho. And desperate bloody tricks got him this credit.

Sep. I am afraid you will once more ­

Pho. Help to raise thee: Off with thy pining black, it dulls a Souldier, And put on resolution like a man, A noble Fate waits on thee.

Sep. I now feel
My self returning Rascal speedily.
O that I had the power ­

Achil. Thou shalt have all:
And do all through thy power, men shall admire thee,
And the vices of Septimius shall turn vertues.

Sep. Off: off: thou must off: off my cowardize,
Puling repentance off.

Pho. Now thou speakst nobly.

Sep. Off my dejected looks: and welcom impudence: My daring shall be Deity, to save me: Give me instructions, and put action on me: A glorious cause upon my swords point, Gentlemen, And let my wit, and valour work: you will raise me, And make me out-dare all my miseries?

Pho. All this, and all thy wishes.

Sep. Use me then, Womanish fear farewell: I’le never melt more, Lead on, to some great thing, to wake my spirit: I cut the Cedar Pompey, and I’le fell This huge Oak Cæsar too.

Pho. Now thou singst sweetly:
And Ptolomy shall crown thee for thy service.

Achil. He’s well wrought: put him on apace for cooling.
[Exeunt.