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

Enter a Servant, and Stremon, at the door.

Servant. He stirs, he stirs.

Strem. Let him, I am ready for him,
He shall not this day perish, if his passions
May be fed with Musick; are they ready?

Enter Memnon.

Ser. All, all: see where he comes.

Strem. I’le be straight for him. [Exit Stremon.

Enter Eumenes, and Captains.

Ser. How sad he looks and sullen! [Stand close.
Here are the Captains: my fear’s past now.

Mem. Put case i’th’ other world
She do not love me neither? I am old ’tis certain.

Eumen. His spirit is a little quieter.

Mem. My blood lost, and limbs stiff; my embraces Like the cold stubborn bark, hoarie, and heatless, My words worse: my fame only and atchievements Which are my strength, my blood, my youth, my fashion, Must wooe her, win her, wed her; that’s but wind, And women are not brought to bed with shadows: I do her wrong, much wrong; she is young and blessed, Sweet as the spring, and as his blossoms tender, And I a nipping North-wind, my head hung With hails, and frostie Isicles: are the souls so too When they depart hence, lame and old, and loveless? No sure, ’tis ever youth there; Time and Death Follow our flesh no more: and that forc’d opinion That spirits have no sexes, I believe not.

Enter Stremon, like Orpheus.

There must be love, there is love: what art thou?


Stre. Orpheus I am, come from the deeps below,
To thee fond man the plagues of love to show:
To the fair fields where loves eternal dwell
There’s none that come, but first they pass through hell:
Hark and beware unless thou hast lov’d ever,
Belov’d again, thou shalt see those joyes never.

Hark how they groan that dy’d despairing,
O take heed then:
Hark how they howl for over-daring,
All these were men.

They that be fools, and dye for fame
They lose their name;
And they that bleed
Hark how they speed.

Now in cold frosts, now scorching fires They sit, and curse their lost desires: Nor shall these souls be free from pains and fears, Till Women waft them over in their tears.

Mem. How should I know my passage is deni’d me?
Or which of all the Devils dare?

Eumen. This Song
Was rarely form’d to fit him.


Orph. Charon O Charon,
Thou wafter of the souls to bliss or bane.

Cha. Who calls the Ferry-man of Hell?

Orph. Come near,
And say who lives in joy, and who in fear.

Cha. Those that dye well, Eternal joy shall follow;
Those that dye ill, their own foul fate shall swallow.

Orph. Shall thy black Bark those guilty spirits stow
That kill themselves for love?

Cha. O no, no,
My cordage cracks when such great sins are near,
No wind blows fair, nor I myself can stear.

Orph. What lovers pass and in Elyzium raign?

Cha. Those Gentle loves that are belov’d again.

Orph. This Souldier loves, and fain wou’d dye to win,
Shall he goe on?

Cha. No ’tis too foul a sin.
He must not come aboard: I dare not row,
Storms of despair, and guilty blood will blow.

Orph. Shall time release him, say?

Cha. No, no, no, no. Nor time nor death can alter us, nor prayer; My boat is destinie, and who then dare But those appointed come aboard? Live still, And love by reason, Mortal, not by will.

Orph. And when thy Mistris shall close up thine eyes,

Cha. Then come aboard and pass,

Orph. Till when be wise.

Cha. Till when be wise.

Eumen. How still he sits: I hope this Song has setled him.

1 Capt. He bites his lip, and rowles his fiery eyes, yet
I fear for all this

2 Capt. Stremon still apply to him.

Strem. Give me more room, sweetly strike, divinely
Such strains as old earth moves at.

Orph. The power I have over both beast and plant, Thou man alone feelst miserable want. [Musick. Strike you rare Spirits that attend my will, And lose your savage wildness by my skill.

Enter a Mask of Beasts.

This Lion was a man of War that died,
As thou wouldst do, to gild his Ladies pride:
This Dog a fool that hung himself for love:
This Ape with daily hugging of a glove,
Forgot to eat and died. This goodly tree,
An usher that still grew before his Ladie,
Wither’d at root. This, for he could not wooe,
A grumbling Lawyer: this pyed Bird a page,
That melted out because he wanted age.
Still these lye howling on the Stygian shore,
O love no more, O love no more. [Exit Memnon.

Eumen. He steals off silently, as though he would sleep, No more, but all be near him, feed his fancie Good Stremon still; this may lock up his follie. Yet Heaven knows I much fear him; away softly. [Exeunt Captains.

Fool. Did I not doe most doggedly?

Strem. Most rarelie.

Fool. He’s a brave man, when shall we dog again?

Boy. Unty me first for Gods sake,

Fool. Help the Boy; he’s in a wood poor child: good hony Stremon Let’s have a bear-baiting; ye shall see me play The rarest for a single Dog: at head all; And if I do not win immortal glorie, Play Dog play Devil.

Strem. Peace for this time.

Fool. Prethee Let’s sing him a black Santis, then let’s all howl In our own beastly voices; tree keep your time, Untye there; bow, wow, wow.

Strem. Away ye Äße, away.

Fool. Why let us doe something To satisfie the Gentleman, he’s mad; A Gentleman-like humour, and in fashion, And must have men as mad about him.

Strem. Peace, And come in quicklie, ’tis ten to one else He’l find a staff to beat a dog; no more words, I’le get ye all imployment; soft, soft in all. [Exeunt.

Enter Chilax and Cloe.

Chi. When camest thou over wench?

Clo. But now this evening, And have been ever since looking out Siphax, I’th’ wars he would have lookt me: sure h’as gotten Some other Mistris?

Chi. A thousand, wench, a thousand,
They are as common here as Caterpillers
Among the corn, they eat up all the Souldiers.

Clo. Are they so hungry? yet by their leave hilax,
I’le have a snatch too.

Chi. Dost thou love him still wench?

Clo. Why should I not? he had my Maiden-head
And all my youth.

Chi. Thou art come the happiest, In the most blessed time, sweet wench the fittest, If thou darst make thy fortune: by this light, Cloe, And so I’le kiss thee: and if thou wilt but let me, For ’tis well worth a kindness.

Clo. What shou’d I let ye?

Chi. Enjoy thy miniken.

Clo. Thou art still old Chilax.

Chi. Still still, and ever shall be: if, I say,
Thou wo’t strike the stroke: I cannot do much harm wench.

Clo. Nor much good.

Chi. Siphax shall be thy Husband, Thy very Husband woman, thy fool, thy Cuckold, Or what thou wilt make him: I am over joy’d, Ravisht, clean ravisht with this fortune; kiss me, Or I shall lose my self.

Clo. My Husband said ye?

Chi. Said I? and will say, Cloe: nay and do it And do it home too; Peg thee as close to him As birds are with a pin to one another; I have it, I can do it: thou wantst clothes too, And hee’l be hang’d unless he marry thee E’re he maintain thee: now he has Ladies, Courtiers More than his back can bend at, multitudes; We are taken up for threshers, will ye bite?

Clo. Yes.

Chi. And let me

Clo. Yes and let ye

Chi. What!

Clo. Why that ye wote of.

Chi. I cannot stay, take your instructions And something toward houshold, come, what ever I shall advise ye, follow it exactlie, And keep your times I point ye; for I’le tell ye A strange way you must wade through.

Clo. Fear not me Sir.

Chi. Come then, and let’s dispatch this modicum, For I have but an hour to stay, a short one, Besides more water for another mill, An old weak over-shot I must provide for, There’s an old Nunnerie at hand.

Clo. What’s that?

Chi. A bawdie house.

Clo. A pox consume it.

Chi. If the stones ’tis built on Were but as brittle as the flesh lives in it, Your curse came handsomlie: fear not, there’s ladies, And other good sad people: your pinkt Citizens Think it no shame to shake a sheet there: Come wench. [Exeunt.

Enter Cleanthe and Siphax.

Clean. A Souldier and so fearfull?

Siph. Can ye blame me;
When such a weight lies on me?

Clean. Fye upon ye,
I tell ye, ye shall have her: have her safelie,
And for your wife with her own will.

Siph. Good Sister

Clé. What a distrustfull man are you! to morrow,
To morrow morning

Siph. Is it possible?
Can there be such a happiness?

Clean. Why hang me
If then ye be not married: if to morrow night,
Ye doe not

Siph. O dear Sister

Clean. What ye wou’d doe,
What ye desire to doe; lie with her: Devil,
What a dull man are you!

Siph. Nay I believe now,
And shall she love me?

Clean. As her life, and stroke ye.

Siph. O I will be her Servant.

Clean. ’Tis your dutie.

Siph. And she shall have her whole will.

Clean. Yes ’tis reason,
She is a Princess, and by that rule boundless.

Si. What wou’d you be? for I wou’d have ye Sister
Chuse some great place about us: as her woman
Is not so fit.

Clean. No, no, I shall find places.

Siph. And yet to be a Ladie of her bed-chamber,
I hold not so fit neither,
Some great title, believe it, shall be look’t out.

Clean. Ye may, a Dutchess
Or such a toye, a small thing pleases me Sir.

Sip. What you will Sister: if a neighbour Prince,
When we shall come to raign

Clean. We shall think on’t, Be ready at the time, and in that place too, And let me work the rest, within this half hour The Princess will be going, ’tis almost morning, Away and mind your business.

Siph. Fortune bless us. [Exeunt.

Enter King, Polydor and Lords.

Pol. I do beseech your grace to banish me.

King. Why Gentleman, is she not worthy marriage?

Pol. Most worthy, Sir, where worth again shall meet her, But I like thick clouds sailing slow and heavy, Although by her drawn higher, yet shall hide her, I dare not be a traitor; and ’tis treason, But to imagine: as you love your honour

King. ’Tis her first maiden doting, and if crost,
I know it kills her.

1 Lord. How knows your grace she loves him?

King. Her woman told me all (beside his story)
Her maid Lucippe, on what reason too,
And ’tis beyond all but enjoying.

Polydor. Sir,
Even by your wisdom; by that great discretion
Ye owe to rule and order

2 Lord. This man’s mad sure,
To plead against his fortune

1 Lord. And the King too,
Willing to have it so!

Pol. By those dead Princes From whose descents ye stand a star admir’d at, Lay not so base a lay upon your vertues; Take heed, for honours sake take heed: the bramble No wise man ever planted by the rose, It cankers all her beauty; nor the vine When her full blushes court the sun, dares any Choke up with wanton Ivy: good my Lords, Who builds a monument, the Basis Jasper, And the main body Brick?

2 Lord. Ye wrong your worth,
Ye are a Gentleman descended nobly.

1 Lord. In both bloods truly noble.

King. Say ye were not,
My will can make ye so.

Pol. No, never, never; ’Tis not descent, nor will of Princes does it, ’Tis Vertue which I want, ’tis Temperance, Man, honest man: is’t fit your Majesty Should call my drunkenness, my rashness, Brother? Or such a blessed Maid my breach of faith, (For I am most lascivious) and fell angers In which I am also mischievous, her Husband? O Gods preserve her! I am wild as Winter, Ambitious as the Devil: out upon me, I hate my self, Sir, if ye dare bestow her Upon a Subject, ye have one deserves her.

King. But him she does not love: I know your meaning. This young mans love unto his noble Brother Appears a mirrour; what must now be done Lords? For I am gravel’d, if she have not him, She dies for certain, if his Brother miss her, Farewel to him, and all our honours.

1 Lord. He is dead, Sir,
Your Grace has heard of that, and strangely.

King. No, I can assure you no, there was a trick in’t, Read that, and then know all; what ails the Gentleman? Hold him; how do ye Sir? [Polydor is sick o’th’ sudden.

Pol. Sick o’th’ sudden,
Extreamly ill, wondrous ill.

King. Where did it take ye?

Pol. Here in my head, Sir, and my heart, for Heaven sake.

King. Conduct him to his Chamber presently,
And bid my Doctors

Pol. No, I shall be well, Sir,
I do beseech your Grace, even for the Gods sake
Remember my poor Brother, I shall pray then.

King. Away, he grows more weak still: I will do it,
Or Heaven forget me ever. Now your Counsels, [Ex. Pol.
For I am at my wits end; what with you Sir?

Enter Messenger with a Letter.

Mess. Letters from warlike Pelius.

King. Yet more troubles? The Spartans are in Arms, and like to win all: Supplies are sent for, and the General; This is more cross than t’other; come let’s to him, For he must have her, ’tis necessity, Or we must lose our honours, let’s plead all, For more than all is needful, shew all reason If love can hear o’ that side, if she yield We have fought best, and won the noblest field. [Exeunt.

Enter Eumenes, Captains, Stremon.

1 Cap. I have brought the wench, a lusty wench,
And somewhat like the Princess.

Eumen. ’Tis the better, let’s see her,
And go you in and tell him, that her Grace
Is come to visit him: how sleeps he Stremon?

Stre. He cannot, only thinks, and calls on Polydor,
Swears he will not be fool’d; sometimes he rages,
And sometimes sits and muses. [Exit Stremon.

Enter Whore, and Captain.

Eume. He’s past all help sure?
How do ye like her?

2 Capt. By th’ mass a good round Virgin,
And at first sight resembling, she is well cloath’d too.

Eume. But is she sound?

2 Cap. Of wind and limb, I warrant her.

Eume. You are instructed Lady?

Who. Yes, and know, Sir,
How to behave my self, ne’re fear.

Eume. Polybius,
Where did he get this Vermin?

1 Capt. Hang him Badger,
There’s not a hole free from him, whores and whores mates
Do all pay him obedience.

Eume. Indeed i’th’ War,
His quarter was all Whore, Whore upon Whore,
And lin’d with Whore; beshrew me ’tis a fair Whore.

1 Capt. She has smockt away her blood; but fair or foul, Or blind or lame, that can but lift her leg up, Comes not amiss to him, he rides like a night Mare, All Ages, all Religions.

Eume. Can ye state it?

Who. I’le make a shift.

Eume. He must lie with ye, Lady.

Who. Let him, e’s not the first man I have lain with,
Nor shall not be the last.

Enter Memnon.

2 Capt. He comes, no more words,
She has her lesson throughly; how he views her!

Eumen. Go forward now, so, bravely, stand!

Mem. Great Lady,
How humbly I am bound

Who. You shall not kneel, Sir,
Come, I have done you wrong; stand my Souldier,
And thus I make amends [Kisses him.

Eumen. A Plague confound ye,
Is this your state?

2 Capt. ’Tis well enough.

Mem. O Lady, Your Royal hand, your hand my dearest beauty Is more than I must purchase: here divine one, I dare revenge my wrongs: ha?

1 Capt. A damn’d foul one.

Eume. The Lees of Baudy prewns: mourning Gloves?
All spoil’d by Heaven.

Mem. Ha! who art thou?

2 Capt. A shame on ye,
Ye clawing scabby Whore.

Mem. I say, who art thou?

Eumen. Why ’tis the Princess, Sir.

Mem. The Devil, Sir,
’Tis some Roguey thing.

Who. If this abuse be love, Sir,
Or I that laid aside my modesty

Eumen. So far thou’t never find it.

Mem. Do not weep, For if ye be the Princess, I will love ye, Indeed I will, and honour ye, fight for ye, Come, wipe your eyes; by Heaven she stinks; who art thou? Stinks like a poyson’d Rat behind a hanging? Woman, who art? like a rotten Cabbage.

2 Capt. Y’are much to blame, Sir, ’tis the Princess.

Mem. How?
She the Princess?

Eumen. And the loving Princess.

1 Capt. Indeed the doating Princess.

Mem. Come hither once more, The Princess smells like mornings breath, pure Amber, Beyond the courted Indies in her spices. Still a dead Rat by Heaven; thou a Princess?

Eumen. What a dull Whore is this!

Mem. I’le tell ye presently, For if she be a Princess, as she may be And yet stink too, and strongly, I shall find her; Fetch the Numidian Lyon I brought over, If she be sprung from the Royal blood, the Lyon, He’l do you reverence, else

Who. I beseech your Lordship

Eumen. He’l tear her all to pieces.

Who. I am no Princess, Sir.

Mem. Who brought thee hither?

2 Capt. If ye confess, we’ll hang ye.

Who. Good my Lord

Mem. Who art thou then?

Who. A poor retaining Whore, Sir,
To one of your Lordships Captains.

Mem. Alas poor Whore, Go, be a Whore still, and stink worse: Ha, ha, ha. [Ex. Cloe. What fools are these, and Coxcombs! [Exit Memnon.

Eumen. I am right glad yet,
He takes it with such lightness.

1 Cap. Me thinks his face too
Is not so clouded as it was; how he looks!

Eume. Where’s your dead Rat?

2 Cap. The Devil dine upon her
Loins; why what a Medicine had he gotten
To try a Whore!

Enter Stremon.

Stre. Here’s one from Polydor stays to speak with ye.

Eume. With whom?

Stre. With all; where has the General been?
He’s laughing to himself extreamly.

Eumen. Come,
I’le tell thee how; I am glad yet he’s so merry. [Exeunt.