Read Actus Tertius. Scena Prima of The Mad Lover, free online book, by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, on

Enter a Priestess of Venus and a Boy.

Pri. Find him by any means; and good child tell him He has forgot his old friend, give him this, And say this night without excuse or business, As ever he may find a friend, come to me, He knows the way and how, begon.

Boy. I gallop. [Exit Boy.

Enter Cleanthe.

Clé. I have been looking you.

Pri. The fair Cleanthe,
What may your business be?

Clé. O holy Mother Such business, of such strange weight, now or never. As ye have loved me, as ye do or may do, When I shall find a fit time.

Pri. If by my means Your business may be fitted; ye know me, And how I am tyed unto you; be bold Daughter To build your best hopes.

Clé. O but ’tis a strange one,
Stuck with as many dangers

Pri. There’s the working,
Small things perform themselves and give no pleasures;
Be confident, through death I’le serve.

Clea. Here.

Pri. Fye no corruption.

Clé. Take it; ’tis yours,
And goodness is no gall to th’ Conscience,
I know ye have ways to vent it: ye may hold it.

Pr. I’ll keep it for ye; when?

Clé. To morrow morning
I’ll visit ye again; and when occasion
Offers it self

Pr. Instruct me, and have at ye.

Clé. Farewel till then; be sure.

Pri. As your own thoughts, Lady.

Clé. ’Tis a main work, and full of fear. [Exit Clé.

Pri. Fools only Make their effects seem fearful, farewell daughter. This gold was well got for my old tuff Souldier, Now I shall be his sweet again; what business Is this she has a foot? some lusty lover Beyond her line, the young Wench would fain piddle, A little to revive her must be thought of, ’Tis even so, she must have it; but how by my means, A Devil, can she drive it? I that wait still Before the Goddess, giving Oracle, How can I profit her? ’tis her own project, And if she cast it false, her own fault be it. [Exit Priest.

Enter Polydore, Eumenes, Captains, Stremon.

Pol. Why, this is utter madness.

Eum. Thus it is, Sir.

Pol. Only the Princess sight?

1 Cap. All we can judge at.

Pol. This must be lookt to timely.

Eum. Yes, and wisely.

Pol. He does not offer at his life?

Eum. Not yet, Sir,
That we can hear of.

Pol. Noble Gentlemen,
Let me entreat your watches over him,
Ye cannot do a worthier work.

2 Cap. We came, Sir,
Provided for that service.

Pol. Where is Chilax?

Strem. A little busie, Sir.

Pol. Is the Fool and Boy here?

Strem. They are, Sir.

Enter Memnon.

Pol. Let ’em be still so; and as they find his humours.

Eumen. Now ye may behold him.

Pol. Stand close, and make no noise;
By his eyes now, Gentlemen,
I guess him full of anger.

Eumen. Be not seen there.

Mem. The hour’s past long ago, he’s false and fearful, Coward, go with thy Caitive soul, thou Cur Dog, Thou cold Clod, wild fire warm thee, monstrous fearful, I know the Slave shakes but to think on’t.

Pol. Who’s that?

Eumen. I know not, Sir.

Mem. But I shall catch ye, Rascal, Your mangy Soul is not immortal here, Sir, Ye must dye, and we must meet; we must, maggot, Be sure we must, for not a Nook of Hell, Not the most horrid Pit shall harbour thee; The Devils tail sha’n’t hide thee, but I’ll have thee, And how I’ll use thee! whips and firebrands: Tosting thy tail against a flame of wild fire, And basting it with Brimstone, shall be nothing, Nothing at all; I’ll teach ye to be treacherous: Was never Slave so swing’d since Hell was Hell As I will swinge thy Slaves Soul; and be sure on’t.

Pol. Is this imagination, or some circumstance?
For ’tis extream strange.

Eumen. So is all he does, Sir.

Mem. Till then I’ll leave ye; who’s there? where’s the Surgeon?

Dem. My Lord.

Mem. Bring the Surgeon:
And wait you too.

Enter Surgeon.

Pol. What wou’d he with a Surgeon?

Eum. Things mustring in his head: pray mark.

Mem. Come hither,
Have you brought your Instruments?

Sur. They are within, Sir.

Mem. Put to the doors a while there; ye can incise
To a hairs breadth without defacing.

Sur. Yes Sir.

Mem. And take out fairly from the flesh.

Sur. The least thing.

Mem. Well come hither; take off my doublet, For look ye Surgeon, I must have ye cut My Heart out here, and handsomly: Nay, stare not, Nor do not start; I’ll cut your throat else, Surgeon, Come swear to do it.

Sur. Good Sir

Mem. Sirrah, hold him,
I’ll have but one blow at his head.

Sur. I’ll do it,
Why what should we do living after you, Sir?
We’ll dye before if ye please.

Mem. No, no.

Sur. Living? hang living.
Is there ne’r a Cat hole where I may creep through?
Would I were in the Indies. [Aside.

Mem. Swear then, and after my death presently
To kill your selves and follow, as ye are honest,
As ye have faiths, and loves to me.

Dem. We’ll do it.

Eum. Pray do not stir yet, we are near enough
To run between all dangers.

Mem. Here I am, Sir; Come, look upon me, view the best way boldly, Fear nothing, but cut home; if your hand shake, Sirrah, Or any way deface my heart i’th’ cutting, Make the least scratch upon it; but draw it whole, Excellent fair, shewing at all points, Surgeon, The Honour and the Valour of the Owner, Mixt with the most immaculate love I send it, Look to’t, I’ll slice thee to the Soul.

Sur. Ne’r fear, Sir,
I’ll do it daintily; would I were out once.

Mem. I will not have ye smile, Sirrah, when ye do it,
As though ye cut a Ladies Corn; ’tis scurvy:
Do me it as thou dost thy Prayers, seriously.

Sur. I’ll do it in a dump, Sir.

Mem. In a Dog, Sir,
I’ll have no dumps, nor dumplins; fetch your tools,
And then I’ll tell ye more.

Sur. If I return
To hear more, I’ll be hang’d for’t.

Mem. Quick, quick.

Dem. Yes Sir,
With all the heels we have. [Exeunt Surgeon, Demagoras.

Eumen. Yet stand.

Pol. He’l do it.

Eum. He cannot, and we here.

Mem. Why when ye Rascals,
Ye dull Slaves: will ye come, Sir? Surgeon, syringe,
Dog-leach, shall I come fetch ye?

Pol. Now I’ll to him.
God save ye honour’d Brother.

Mem. My dear Polydore,
Welcome from travel, welcome; and how do ye?

Pol. Well Sir, would you were so.

Mem. I am, I thank ye.
You are a better’d man much, I the same still,
An old rude Souldier, Sir.

Pol. Pray be plain, Brother, And tell me but the meaning of this Vision, For to me it appears no more; so far From common Course and Reason.

Mem. Thank thee, Fortune,
At length I have found the man: the man must do it,
The man in honour bound.

Pol. To do what?

Mem. Hark, for I will bless ye with the circumstance
Of that weak shadow that appear’d.

Pol. Speak on, Sir. [Walks with him.

Mem. It is no Story for all ears.

Pol. The Princess? [Whispers.

Mem. Peace and hear all.

Pol. How?

Eum. Sure ’tis dangerous
He starts so at it.

Pol. Your heart? do you know, Sir?

Mem. Yes, Pray thee be softer.

Pol. Me to do it?

Mem. Only reserv’d, and dedicated.

Pol. For shame, Brother,
Know what ye are, a man.

Mem. None of your Athens,
Good sweet Sir, no Philosophy, thou feel’st not
The honourable end, fool.

Pol. I am sure I feel The shame and scorn that follows; have ye serv’d thus long The glory of your Country, in your Conquests? The envy of your Neighbours, in your Vertues? Rul’d Armies of your own, given Laws to Nations, Belov’d and fear’d as far as Fame has travell’d, Call’d the most fortunate and happy Memnon, To lose all here at home, poorly to lose it? Poorly, and pettishly, ridiculously To fling away your fortune? where’s your Wisedom? Where’s that you govern’d others by, discretion? Do’s your Rule lastly hold upon your self? fie Brother, How ye are faln? Get up into your honour, The top branch of your bravery, and from thence, Look and behold how little Memnon seems now.

Mem. Hum! ’tis well spoken; but dost thou think young Scholar, The tongues of Angels from my happiness Could turn the end I aim at? no, they cannot. This is no Book-case, Brother; will ye do it? Use no more art, I am resolv’d.

Pl. Ye may Sir
Command me to do any thing that’s honest,
And for your noble end: but this, it carries

Mem. Ye shall not be so honour’d; live an Ass still,
And learn to spell for profit: go, go study.

Eum. Ye must not hold him up so, he is lost then.

Mem. Get thee to School again, and talk of turnips,
And find the natural Cause out, why a Dog
Turns thrice about e’re he lyes down: there’s Learning.

Pol. Come, I will do it now; ’tis brave, I find it,
And now allow the reason.

Mem. O do you so, Sir?
Do ye find it currant?

Pol. Yes, yes, excellent.

Mem. I told ye.

Pol. I was foolish: I have here too
The rarest way to find the truth out; hark ye?
Ye shall be rul’d by me.

Mem. It will be: but

Pol. I reach it,
If the worst fall, have at the worst; we’ll both go.
But two days, and ’tis thus; ha?

Mem. ’Twill do well so.

Pol. Then is’t not excellent, do ye conceive it?

Mem. ’Twill work for certain.

Pol. O ’twill tickle her,
And you shall know then by a line.

Mem. I like it,
But let me not be fool’d again.

Pol. Doubt nothing,
You do me wrong then, get ye in there private
As I have taught ye; Basta.

Mem. Work. [Exit Memnon.

Pol. I will do.

Eum. Have ye found the cause?

Pol. Yes, and the strangest, Gentlemen, That e’r I heard of, anon I’ll tell ye: Stremon Be you still near him to affect his fancy, And keep his thoughts off: let the Fool and Boy Stay him, they may do some pleasure too: Eumenes What if he had a Wench, a handsome Whore brought, Rarely drest up, and taught to state it?

Eum. Well Sir.

Pol. His cause is meerly heat: and made believe
It were the Princess mad for him.

Eum. I think
’Twere not amiss.

1 Cap. And let him kiss her.

Pol. What else?

2 Cap. I’ll be his Bawd an’t please you, young and wholesome
I can assure ye he shall have.

Eum. Faith let him.

Pol. He shall, I hope ’twill help him, walk a little. I’ll tell you how his case stands, and my project In which you may be mourners, but by all means Stir not you from him, Stremon.

Strem. On our lives, Sir. [Exeunt.

Enter Priestess, and Chilax.

Pri. O y’are a precious man! two days in town
And never see your old Friend?

Chi. Prithee pardon me.

Pri. And in my Conscience if I had not sent.

Chi. No more, I would ha’ come; I must.

Pri. I find ye,
God a mercy want, ye never care for me
But when your Slops are empty.

Chi. Ne’r fear that, Wench;
Shall find good currant Coin still; Is this the old House?

Pri. Have ye forgot it?

Chi. And the door still standing
That goes into the Temple?

Pri. Still.

Chi. The Robes too,
That I was wont to shift in here?

Pri. All here still.

Chi. O ye tuff Rogue, what troubles have I trotted through! What fears and frights! every poor Mouse a Monster That I heard stir, and every stick I trod on, A sharp sting to my Conscience.

Pri. ’Las poor Conscience.

Chi. And all to liquor thy old Boots, Wench.

Pri. Out Beast:
How you talk!

Chi. I am old, Wench,
And talking to an old man is like a stomacher,
It keeps his blood warm.

Pri. But pray tell me

Chi. Any thing.

Pri. Where did the Boy meet with ye? at a Wench sure?
At one end of a Wench, a Cup of Wine, sure?

Chi. Thou know’st I am too honest.

Pri. That’s your fault,
And that the Surgeon knows.

Chi. Then farewel,
I will not fail ye soon.

Pri. Ye shall stay Supper;
I have sworn ye shall, by this ye shall.

Chi. I will, Wench;
But after Supper for an hour, my business.

Pri. And but an hour?

Chi. No by this kiss, that ended
I will return and all night in thine Arms wench.

Pr. No more, I’le take your meaning; come ’tis Supper time.

Enter Calis, Cleanthe, Lucippe.

Calis. Thou art not well.

Clean. Your grace sees more a great deal
Than I feel, (yet I lye) O Brother!

Cal. Mark her,
Is not the quickness of her eye consumed, wench?
The lively red and white?

Lucip. Nay she is much alter’d,
That on my understanding, all her sleeps Lady
Which were as sound and sweet

Clé. Pray do not force me,
Good Madam, where I am not, to be ill,
Conceit’s a double sickness; on my faith your highness
Is meer mistaken in me.  A Dead March within
 of Drum and Sagbutts

Cal. I am glad on’t.
Yet this I have ever noted when thou wast thus,
It still forerun some strange event: my Sister
Died when thou wast thus last: hark hark, ho,
What mournfull noise is this comes creeping forward?
Still it grows nearer, nearer, do ye hear it?

Enter Polydor, and Captains, Eumenes mourning.

Lucip. It seems some Souldiers funeral: see it enters.

Cl. What may it mean?

Pol. The Gods keep ye fair Calis.

Cal. This man can speak, and well; he stands and views us; Wou’d I were ne’r worse look’t upon: how humbly His eyes are cast now to the Earth! pray mark him And mark how rarely he has rankt his troubles: See now he weeps, they all weep; a sweeter sorrow I never look’t upon, nor one that braver Became his grief; your will with us?

Pol. Great Lady, [Plucks out the Cup.
Excellent beauty.

Cal. He speaks handsomely.
What a rare rhetorician his grief plaies!
That stop was admirable.

Pol. See, see thou Princess,
Thou great commander of all hearts.

Cal. I have found it,
O how my soul shakes!

Pol. See, see the noble heart Of him that was the noblest: see and glory (Like the proud God himself) in what thou hast purchas’d, Behold the heart of Memnon: does it start ye?

Cal. Good gods, what has his wildness done?

Pol. Look boldlie, You boldlie said you durst, look wretched woman, Nay flie not back fair follie, ’tis too late now, Vertue and blooming honour bleed to death here, Take it, the Legacie of Love bequeath’d ye, Of cruel Love a cruel Legacie; What was the will that wrought it then? can ye weep? Imbalm it in your truest tears If women can weep a truth, or ever sorrow sunk yet Into the soul of your sex, for ’tis a Jewel The worlds worth cannot weigh down, Take it Lady; And with it all (I dare not curse) my sorrows, And may they turn to Serpents.

Eumen. How she looks
Still upon him! see now a tear steals from her.

2 Capt. But still she keeps her eye firm.

Pol. Next read this,
But since I see your spirit somewhat troubled
I’le doe it for ye.

2 Capt. Still she eyes him mainlie.

Goe happy heart for thou shalt lye
Intomb’d in her for whom I dye
Example of her cruelty.

Tell her if she chance to chide
Me for slowness in her pride
That it was for her I died.

If a tear escape her eye
’Tis not for my memory
But thy rights of obsequy.

The Altar was my loving breast,
My heart the sacrificed beast,
And I was my self the Priest.

Your body was the sacred shrine,
Your cruel mind the power divine
Pleas’d with hearts of men, not kine.

Eumen. Now it pours down.

Pol. I like it rarelie: Ladie.

Eumen. How greedily she swallows up his language!

2 Capt. Her eye inhabits on him.

Pol. Cruel Ladie, Great as your beautie scornfull; had your power But equal poise on all hearts, all hearts perish’t; But Cupid has more shafts than one, more flames too, And now he must be open ey’d, ’tis Justice: Live to injoy your longing; live and laugh at The losses and the miseries we suffer; Live to be spoken when your crueltie Has cut off all the vertue from this Kingdom, Turn’d honour into earth, and faithful service.

Cal. I swear his anger’s excellent.

Pol. Truth, and most tried love
Into disdain and downfall.

Calis. Still more pleasing.

Pol. Live then I say famous for civil slaughters, Live and lay out your triumphs, gild your glories, Live and be spoken this is she, this Ladie, This goodly Ladie, yet most killing beautie; This with the two edg’d eyes, the heart for hardness Outdoing rocks; and coldness, rocks of Crystal. This with the swelling soul, more coy of Courtship Than the proud sea is when the shores embrace him; Live till the mothers find ye, read your story, And sow their barren curses on your beauty, Till those that have enjoy’d their loves despise ye, Till Virgins pray against ye, old age find ye, And even as wasted coals glow in their dying, So may the Gods reward ye in your ashes: But y’are the Sister of my King; more prophecies Else I should utter of ye, true loves and loyal Bless themselves ever from ye: so I leave ye.

Cal. Prethee be angry still young man: good fair Sir
Chide me again, what wou’d this man doe pleas’d,
That in his passion can bewitch souls? stay.

Eumen. Upon my life she loves him.

Calis. Pray stay.

Pol. No.

Cal. I do command ye.

Pol. No, ye cannot Ladie, I have a spell against ye, Faith and Reason, Ye are too weak to reach me: I have a heart too, But not for hawks meat Ladie.

Cal. Even for Charity
Leave me not thus afflicted: you can teach me.

Pol. How can you Preach that Charity to others That in your own soul are an Atheist, Believing neither power nor fear? I trouble ye, The Gods be good unto ye.

Cal. Amen.

Lucip. Ladie. [She Swounds.

Ce. O royal Madam, Gentlemen for heaven sake.  They
Pol._ Give her fresh air, she comes again: away sirs  back._
And here stand close till we perceive the working.

Eumen. Ye have undone all.

Pol. So I fear.

2 Capt. She loves ye.

Eumen. And then all hopes lost this way.

Pol. Peace she rises.

Clean. Now for my purpose Fortune.

Calis. Where’s the Gentleman?

Lucip. Gone Madam.

Calis. Why gone?

Lucip. H’as dispatch’t his business.

Calis. He came to speak with me,
He did.

Clean. He did not.

Calis. For I had many questions.

Lucip. On my Faith Madam, he
Talk’t a great while to ye.

Calis. Thou conceiv’st not,
He talk’t not as he should doe; O my heart
Away with that sad sight; didst thou e’re love me?

Lucip. Why do you make that question?

Calis. If thou didst
Run, run wench, run: nay see how thou stir’st.

Lucip. Whither?

Calis. If ’twere for any thing to please thy self
Thou woud’st run toth’ devil: but I am grown

Clean. Fie Lady.

Cal. I ask none of your fortunes, nor your loves, None of your bent desires I slack, ye are not In love with all men, are ye? one for shame You will leave your honour’d mistris? why do ye stare so? What is that ye see about me, tell me? Lord what am I become? I am not wilde sure, Heaven keep that from me: O Cleanthe help me, Or I am sunk to death.

Clé. Ye have offended and mightily, love is incenst against ye, And therefore take my Counsel, to the Temple, For that’s the speediest physick: before the Goddess Give your repentant prayers: ask her will, And from the Oracle attend your sentence, She is milde and mercifull.

Calis. I will: O Venus
Even as thou lov’st thy self!

Clean. Now for my fortune. [Exeunt Cal. and women.

Pol. What shall I doe?

1 Capt. Why make your self.

Pol. I dare not, No Gentlemen, I dare not be a villain, Though her bright beauty would entice an Angel. I will toth’ King my last hope: get him a woman As we before concluded: and as ye pass Give out the Spartans are in arms; and terrible; And let some letters to that end be feign’d too And sent to you, some Posts too, to the General; And let me work: be ne’re him still.

Eumen. We will Sir.

Pol. Farewel: and pray for all: what e’re I will ye
Doe it, and hope a fair end.

Eumen. The Gods speed ye. [Exeunt.

Enter Stremon, Fool, Boy, and Servants.

Servants. He lies quiet.

Strem. Let him lye, and as I told ye Make ready for this shew: h’as divers times Been calling upon Orpheus to appear And shew the joyes: now I will be that Orpheus, And as I play and sing, like beasts and trees I wou’d have you shap’t and enter: thou a Dog, fool, I have sent about your sutes: the Boy a bush, An Ass you, you a Lion.

Fool. I a Dog?
I’le fit you for a Dog. Bow wow.

Strem. ’Tis excellent,
Steal in and make no noise.

Fool. Bow wow.

Strem. Away Rogue. [Exeunt.

Enter Priestess, and Chilax.

Priest. Good sweet friend be not long.

Chi. Thou think’st each hour ten
Till I be ferreting.

Prie. You know I love ye.

Chi. I will not be above an hour; let thy robe be readie
And the door be kept.  Knock. Cleanthe
 knocks within.
Prie. Who knocks there?
Yet more business?

Enter Cleanthe.

Chi. Have ye more pensioners? the Princess woman?
Nay then I’le stay a little, what game’s a foot now?

Clean. Now is the time.

Chi. A rank bawd by this hand too,
She grinds o’ both sides: hey boyes.

Priest. How, your Brother Siphax?
Loves he the Princess?

Clé. Deadlie, and you know
He is a Gentleman descended noblie.

Chi. But a rank knave as ever pist.

Clé. Hold Mother,
Here’s more gold and some jewells.

Chi. Here’s no villany,
I am glad I came toth’ hearing.

Priest. Alas Daughter,
What would ye have me doe?

Chi. Hold off ye old whore;
There’s more gold coming; all’s mine, all.

Clé. Do ye shrink now,
Did ye not promise faithfully, and told me
Through any danger?

Pri. Any I can wade through.

Clé. Ye shall and easily, the sin not seen neither,
Here’s for a better stole and a new vail mother:
Come, ye shall be my friend.

Chi. If all hit, hang me,
I’le make ye richer than the Goddess.

Pri. Say then,
I am yours, what must I doe?

Clé. I’th’ morning But very early, will the Princess visit The Temple of the Goddess, being troubled With strange things that distract her: from the Oracle (Being strongly too in love) she will demand The Goddess pleasure, and a Man to cure her, That Oracle you give: describe my Brother, You know him perfectly.

Pri. I have seen him often.

Clé. And charge her take the next man she shall meet with
When she comes out: you understand me.

Priest. Well.

Clé. Which shall be he attending; this is all, And easily without suspicion ended, Nor none dare disobey, ’tis Heaven that does it, And who dares cross it then, or once suspect it? The venture is most easie.

Pri. I will doe it.

Clé. As ye shall prosper?

Pri. As I shall prosper.

Clé. Take this too, and farewel; but first hark hither.

Chi. What a young whore’s this to betray her Mistris? A thousand Cuckolds shall that Husband be, That marries thee, thou art so mischievous. I’le put a spoak among your wheels.

Clean. Be constant.

Priest. ’Tis done.

Chi. I’le doe no more at drop shot then. [Exit Chilax.

Pri. Farewel wench. [Exeunt Priest and Cleanthe.