Read ACTUS SECUNDUS of The Maids Tragedy, free online book, by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, on

Enter Evadne, Aspatia, Dula, and other Ladies.

Dul. Madam, shall we undress you for this fight?
The Wars are nak’d that you must make to night.

Evad. You are very merry Dula.

Dul. I should be far merrier Madam, if it were with me
as it is with you.

Eva. Why how now wench?

Dul. Come Ladies will you help?

Eva. I am soon undone.

Dul. And as soon done:
Good store of Cloaths will trouble you at both.

Evad. Art thou drunk Dula?

Dul. Why here’s none but we.

Evad. Thou think’st belike, there is no modesty
When we are alone.

Dul. I by my troth you hit my thoughts aright.

Evad. You prick me Lady.

Dul. ’Tis against my will,
Anon you must endure more, and lie still.
You’re best to practise.

Evad. Sure this wench is mad.

Dul. No faith, this is a trick that I have had
Since I was fourteen.

Evad. ’Tis high time to leave it.

Dul. Nay, now I’le keep it till the trick leave me;
A dozen wanton words put in your head,
Will make you lively in your Husbands bed.

Evad. Nay faith, then take it.

Dul. Take it Madam, where?
We all I hope will take it that are here.

Evad. Nay then I’le give you o’re.

Dul. So will I make
The ablest man in Rhodes, or his heart to ake.

Evad. Wilt take my place to night?

Dul. I’le hold your Cards against any two I know.

Evad. What wilt thou do?

Dul. Madam, we’l do’t, and make’m leave play too.

Evad. Aspatia, take her part.

Dul. I will refuse it.
She will pluck down a side, she does not use it.

Evad. Why, do.

Dul. You will find the play
Quickly, because your head lies well that way.

Evad. I thank thee Dula, would thou could’st instill
Some of thy mirth into Aspatia:
Nothing but sad thoughts in her breast do dwell,
Methinks a mean betwixt you would do well.

Dul. She is in love, hang me if I were so,
But I could run my Country, I love too
To do those things that people in love do.

Asp. It were a timeless smile should prove my cheek,
It were a fitter hour for me to laugh,
When at the Altar the Religious Priest
Were pacifying the offended powers
With sacrifice, than now, this should have been
My night, and all your hands have been imployed
In giving me a spotless offering
To young Amintors bed, as we are now
For you: pardon Evadne, would my worth
Were great as yours, or that the King, or he,
Or both thought so, perhaps he found me worthless,
But till he did so, in these ears of mine,
(These credulous ears) he pour’d the sweetest words
That Art or Love could frame; if he were false,
Pardon it heaven, and if I did want
Vertue, you safely may forgive that too,
For I have left none that I had from you.

Evad. Nay, leave this sad talk Madam.

Asp. Would I could, then should I leave the cause.

Evad. See if you have not spoil’d all Dulas mirth.

Asp. Thou think’st thy heart hard, but if thou beest
caught, remember me; thou shalt perceive a fire shot
suddenly into thee.

Dul. That’s not so good, let’m shoot any thing but fire, I
fear’m not.

Asp. Well wench, thou mayst be taken.

Evad. Ladies good night, I’le do the rest my self.

Dul. Nay, let your Lord do some.

Asp. Lay a Garland on my Hearse of the dismal Yew.

Evad. That’s one of your sad songs Madam.

Asp. Believe me, ’tis a very pretty one.

Evad. How is it Madam?


Asp_. Lay a Garland on my Hearse of the dismal yew;
Maidens, Willow branches bear; say I died true:
My Love was false, but I was firm from my hour of birth;
Upon my buried body lay lightly gentle earth_.

Evad. Fie on’t Madam, the words are so strange, they
are able to make one Dream of Hobgoblins; I could never
have the power
, Sing that Dula.

Dula_. I could never have the power
To love one above an hour,
But my heart would prompt mine eye
On some other man to flie;_
Venus, fix mine eyes fast,
Or if not, give me all that I shall see at last

Evad. So, leave me now.

Dula. Nay, we must see you laid.

Asp. Madam good night, may all the marriage joys
That longing Maids imagine in their beds,
Prove so unto you; may no discontent
Grow ’twixt your Love and you; but if there do,
Enquire of me, and I will guide your moan,
Teach you an artificial way to grieve,
To keep your sorrow waking; love your Lord
No worse than I; but if you love so well,
Alas, you may displease him, so did I.
This is the last time you shall look on me:
Ladies farewel; as soon as I am dead,
Come all and watch one night about my Hearse;
Bring each a mournful story and a tear
To offer at it when I go to earth:
With flattering Ivie clasp my Coffin round,
Write on my brow my fortune, let my Bier
Be born by Virgins that shall sing by course
The truth of maids and perjuries of men.

Evad. Alas, I pity thee.
[Exit Evadne.

Omnes. Madam, goodnight.

1 Lady. Come, we’l let in the Bridegroom.

Dul. Where’s my Lord?

1 Lady. Here take this light.

[Enter Amintor.

Dul. You’l find her in the dark.

1 Lady. Your Lady’s scarce a bed yet, you must help her.

Asp. Go and be happy in your Ladies love;
May all the wrongs that you have done to me,
Be utterly forgotten in my death.
I’le trouble you no more, yet I will take
A parting kiss, and will not be denied.
You’l come my Lord, and see the Virgins weep
When I am laid in earth, though you your self
Can know no pity: thus I wind my self
Into this willow Garland, and am prouder
That I was once your Love (though now refus’d)
Than to have had another true to me.
So with my prayers I leave you, and must try
Some yet unpractis’d way to grieve and die.

Dul. Come Ladies, will you go?
[Exit Aspatia.

Om. Goodnight my Lord.

Amin. Much happiness unto you all.

[Exeunt Ladies.

I did that Lady wrong; methinks I feel
Her grief shoot suddenly through all my veins;
Mine eyes run; this is strange at such a time.
It was the King first mov’d me to’t, but he
Has not my will in keeping ­why do I
Perplex my self thus? something whispers me,
Go not to bed; my guilt is not so great
As mine own conscience (too sensible)
Would make me think; I only brake a promise,
And ’twas the King that forc’t me: timorous flesh,
Why shak’st thou so? away my idle fears.

[Enter Evadne.

Yonder she is, the lustre of whose eye
Can blot away the sad remembrance
Of all these things: Oh my Evadne, spare
That tender body, let it not take cold,
The vapours of the night will not fall here.
To bed my Love; Hymen will punish us
For being slack performers of his rites.
Cam’st thou to call me?

Evad. No.

Amin. Come, come my Love,
And let us lose our selves to one another.
Why art thou up so long?

Evad. I am not well.

Amint. To bed then let me wind thee in these arms,
Till I have banisht sickness.

Evad. Good my Lord, I cannot sleep.

Amin. Evadne, we’l watch, I mean no sleeping.

Evad. I’le not go to bed.

Amin. I prethee do.

Evad. I will not for the world.

Amin. Why my dear Love?

Evad. Why? I have sworn I will not.

Amin. Sworn!

Evad. I.

Amint. How? Sworn Evadne?

Evad. Yes, Sworn Amintor, and will swear again
If you will wish to hear me.
0 Amin. To whom have you Sworn this?

Evad. If I should name him, the matter were not great.

Amin. Come, this is but the coyness of a Bride.

Evad. The coyness of a Bride?

Amin. How prettily that frown becomes thee!

Evad. Do you like it so?

Amin. Thou canst not dress thy face in such a look
But I shall like it.

Evad. What look likes you best?

Amin. Why do you ask?

Evad. That I may shew you one less pleasing to you.

Amin. How’s that?

Evad. That I may shew you one less pleasing to you.

Amint. I prethee put thy jests in milder looks.
It shews as thou wert angry.

Evad. So perhaps I am indeed.

Amint. Why, who has done thee wrong?
Name me the man, and by thy self I swear,
Thy yet unconquer’d self, I will revenge thee.

Evad. Now I shall try thy truth; if thou dost love me,
Thou weigh’st not any thing compar’d with me;
Life, Honour, joyes Eternal, all Delights
This world can yield, or hopeful people feign,
Or in the life to come, are light as Air
To a true Lover when his Lady frowns,
And bids him do this: wilt thou kill this man?
Swear my Amintor, and I’le kiss the sin off from
thy lips.

Amin. I will not swear sweet Love,
Till I do know the cause.

Evad. I would thou wouldst;
Why, it is thou that wrongest me, I hate thee,
Thou shouldst have kill’d thy self.

Amint. If I should know that, I should quickly kill
The man you hated.

Evad. Know it then, and do’t.

Amint. Oh no, what look soe’re thou shalt put on,
To try my faith, I shall not think thee false;
I cannot find one blemish in thy face,
Where falsehood should abide: leave and to bed;
If you have sworn to any of the Virgins
That were your old companions, to preserve
Your Maidenhead a night, it may be done without this

Evad. A Maidenhead Amintor at my years?

Amint. Sure she raves, this cannot be
Thy natural temper; shall I call thy maids?
Either thy healthful sleep hath left thee long,
Or else some Fever rages in thy blood.

Evad. Neither Amintor; think you I am mad,
Because I speak the truth?

Amint. Will you not lie with me to night?

Evad. To night? you talk as if I would hereafter.

Amint. Hereafter? yes, I do.

Evad. You are deceiv’d, put off amazement, and with patience mark
What I shall utter, for the Oracle
Knows nothing truer, ’tis not for a night
Or two that I forbear thy bed, but for ever.

Amint. I dream, ­awake Amintor!

Evad. You hear right,
I sooner will find out the beds of Snakes,
And with my youthful blood warm their cold flesh,
Letting them curle themselves about my Limbs,
Than sleep one night with thee; this is not feign’d,
Nor sounds it like the coyness of a Bride.

Amin. Is flesh so earthly to endure all this?
Are these the joyes of Marriage? Hymen keep
This story (that will make succeeding youth
Neglect thy Ceremonies) from all ears.
Let it not rise up for thy shame and mine
To after ages; we will scorn thy Laws,
If thou no better bless them; touch the heart
Of her that thou hast sent me, or the world
Shall know there’s not an Altar that will smoak
In praise of thee; we will adopt us Sons;
Then vertue shall inherit, and not blood:
If we do lust, we’l take the next we meet,
Serving our selves as other Creatures do,
And never take note of the Female more,
Nor of her issue. I do rage in vain,
She can but jest; Oh! pardon me my Love;
So dear the thoughts are that I hold of thee,
That I must break forth; satisfie my fear:
It is a pain beyond the hand of death,
To be in doubt; confirm it with an Oath, if this be true.

Evad. Do you invent the form:
Let there be in it all the binding words
Devils and Conjurers can put together,
And I will take it; I have sworn before,
And here by all things holy do again,
Never to be acquainted with thy bed.
Is your doubt over now?

Amint. I know too much, would I had doubted still;
Was ever such a marriage night as this!
You powers above, if you did ever mean
Man should be us’d thus, you have thought a way
How he may bear himself, and save his honour:
Instruct me in it; for to my dull eyes
There is no mean, no moderate course to run,
I must live scorn’d, or be a murderer:
Is there a third? why is this night so calm?
Why does not Heaven speak in Thunder to us,
And drown her voice?

Evad. This rage will do no good.

Amint. Evadne, hear me, thou hast ta’ne an Oath,
But such a rash one, that to keep it, were
Worse than to swear it; call it back to thee;
Such vows as those never ascend the Heaven;
A tear or two will wash it quite away:
Have mercy on my youth, my hopeful youth,
If thou be pitiful, for (without boast)
This Land was proud of me: what Lady was there
That men call’d fair and vertuous in this Isle,
That would have shun’d my love? It is in thee
To make me hold this worth ­Oh! we vain men
That trust out all our reputation,
To rest upon the weak and yielding hand
Of feeble Women! but thou art not stone;
Thy flesh is soft, and in thine eyes doth dwell
The spirit of Love, thy heart cannot be hard.
Come lead me from the bottom of despair,
To all the joyes thou hast; I know thou wilt;
And make me careful, lest the sudden change
O’re-come my spirits.

Evad. When I call back this Oath, the pains of hell inviron me.

Amin. I sleep, and am too temperate; come to bed, or by
Those hairs, which if thou hast a soul like to thy locks,
Were threads for Kings to wear about their arms.

Evad. Why so perhaps they are.

Amint. I’le drag thee to my bed, and make thy tongue
Undo this wicked Oath, or on thy flesh
I’le print a thousand wounds to let out life.

Evad. I fear thee not, do what thou dar’st to me;
Every ill-sounding word, or threatning look
Thou shew’st to me, will be reveng’d at full.

Amint. It will not sure Evadne.

Evad. Do not you hazard that.

Amint. Ha’ye your Champions?

Evad. Alas Amintor, thinkst thou I forbear
To sleep with thee, because I have put on
A maidens strictness? look upon these cheeks,
And thou shalt find the hot and rising blood
Unapt for such a vow; no, in this heart
There dwels as much desire, and as much will
To put that wisht act in practice, as ever yet
Was known to woman, and they have been shown
Both; but it was the folly of thy youth,
To think this beauty (to what Land soe’re
It shall be call’d) shall stoop to any second.
I do enjoy the best, and in that height
Have sworn to stand or die: you guess the man.

Amint. No, let me know the man that wrongs me so,
That I may cut his body into motes,
And scatter it before the Northern wind.

Evad. You dare not strike him.

Amint. Do not wrong me so;
Yes, if his body were a poysonous plant,
That it were death to touch, I have a soul
Will throw me on him.

Evad. Why ’tis the King.

Amint. The King!

Evad. What will you do now?

Amint. ’Tis not the King.

Evad. What, did he make this match for dull Amintor?

Amint. Oh! thou hast nam’d a word that wipes away
All thoughts revengeful: in that sacred name,
The King, there lies a terror: what frail man
Dares lift his hand against it? let the Gods
Speak to him when they please;
Till then let us suffer and wait.

Evad. Why should you fill your self so full of heat,
And haste so to my bed? I am no Virgin.

Amint. What Devil put it in thy fancy then
To marry me?

Evad. Alas, I must have one
To Father Children, and to bear the name
Of Husband to me, that my sin may be more honourable.

Amint. What a strange thing am I!

Evad. A miserable one; one that my self am sorry for.

Amint. Why shew it then in this,
If thou hast pity, though thy love be none,
Kill me, and all true Lovers that shall live
In after ages crost in their desires,
Shall bless thy memory, and call thee good,
Because such mercy in thy heart was found,
To rid a lingring Wretch.

Evad. I must have one
To fill thy room again, if thou wert dead,
Else by this night I would: I pity thee.

Amint. These strange and sudden injuries have faln
So thick upon me, that I lose all sense
Of what they are: methinks I am not wrong’d,
Nor is it ought, if from the censuring World
I can but hide it ­Reputation,
Thou art a word, no more; but thou hast shown
An impudence so high, that to the World
I fear thou wilt betray or shame thy self.

Evad. To cover shame I took thee, never fear
That I would blaze my self.

Amint. Nor let the King
Know I conceive he wrongs me, then mine honour
Will thrust me into action, that my flesh
Could bear with patience; and it is some ease
To me in these extreams, that I knew this
Before I toucht thee; else had all the sins
Of mankind stood betwixt me and the King,
I had gone through ’em to his heart and thine.
I have lost one desire, ’tis not his crown
Shall buy me to thy bed: now I resolve
He has dishonour’d thee; give me thy hand,
Be careful of thy credit, and sin close,
’Tis all I wish; upon thy Chamber-floore
I’le rest to night, that morning visiters
May think we did as married people use.
And prethee smile upon me when they come,
And seem to toy, as if thou hadst been pleas’d
With what we did.

Evad. Fear not, I will do this.

Amint. Come let us practise, and as wantonly
As ever loving Bride and Bridegroom met,
Lets laugh and enter here.

Evad. I am content.

Amint. Down all the swellings of my troubled heart.
When we walk thus intwin’d, let all eyes see
If ever Lovers better did agree.


Enter Aspatia, Antiphila and Olympias.

Asp. Away, you are not sad, force it no further;
Good Gods, how well you look! such a full colour
Young bashful Brides put on: sure you are new married.

Ant. Yes Madam, to your grief.

Asp. Alas! poor Wenches.
Go learn to love first, learn to lose your selves,
Learn to be flattered, and believe, and bless
The double tongue that did it;
Make a Faith out of the miracles of Ancient Lovers.
Did you ne’re love yet Wenches? speak Olympias,
Such as speak truth and dy’d in’t,
And like me believe all faithful, and be miserable;
Thou hast an easie temper, fit for stamp.

Olymp. Never.

Asp. Nor you Antiphila?

Ant. Nor I.

Asp. Then my good Girles, be more than Women, wise.
At least be more than I was; and be sure you credit any
thing the light gives light to, before a man; rather
believe the Sea weeps for the ruin’d Merchant when he
roars; rather the wind courts but the pregnant sails
when the strong cordage cracks; rather the Sun comes
but to kiss the Fruit in wealthy Autumn, when all falls
blasted; if you needs must love (forc’d by ill fate)
take to your maiden bosoms two dead cold aspicks,
and of them make Lovers, they cannot flatter nor
forswear; one kiss makes a long peace for all; but
man, Oh that beast man!
Come lets be sad my Girles;
That down cast of thine eye, Olympias,
Shews a fine sorrow; mark Antiphila,
Just such another was the Nymph Oenone,
When Paris brought home Helen: now a tear,
And then thou art a piece expressing fully
The Carthage Queen, when from a cold Sea Rock,
Full with her sorrow, she tyed fast her eyes
To the fair Trojan ships, and having lost them,
Just as thine eyes do, down stole a tear, Antiphila;
What would this Wench do, if she were Aspatia?
Here she would stand, till some more pitying God
Turn’d her to Marble: ’tis enough my Wench;
Shew me the piece of Needle-work you wrought.

Ant. Of Ariadne, Madam?

Asp. Yes that piece.
This should be Theseus, h’as a cousening face,
You meant him for a man.

Ant. He was so Madam.

Asp. Why then ’tis well enough, never look back,
You have a full wind, and a false heart Theseus;
Does not the story say, his Keel was split,
Or his Masts spent, or some kind rock or other
Met with his Vessel?

Ant. Not as I remember.

Asp. It should ha’ been so; could the Gods know this,
And not of all their number raise a storm?
But they are all as ill. This false smile was well
Just such another caught me; you shall not go
so Antiphila,
In this place work a quick-sand,
And over it a shallow smiling Water.
And his ship ploughing it, and then a fear.
Do that fear to the life Wench.

Ant. ’Twill wrong the story.

Asp. ’Twill make the story wrong’d by wanton Poets
Live long and be believ’d; but where’s the Lady?

Ant. There Madam.

Asp. Fie, you have mist it here Antiphila,
You are much mistaken Wench;
These colours are not dull and pale enough,
To shew a soul so full of misery
As this sad Ladies was; do it by me,
Do it again by me the lost Aspatia,
And you shall find all true but the wild Island;
I stand upon the Sea breach now, and think
Mine arms thus, and mine hair blown with the wind,
Wild as that desart, and let all about me
Tell that I am forsaken, do my face

(If thou hadst ever feeling of a sorrow)
Thus, thus, Antiphila strive to make me look
Like sorrows monument; and the trees about me,
Let them be dry and leaveless; let the Rocks
Groan with continual surges, and behind me
Make all a desolation; look, look Wenches,
A miserable life of this poor Picture.

Olym. Dear Madam!

Asp. I have done, sit down, and let us
Upon that point fix all our eyes, that point there;
Make a dull silence till you feel a sudden sadness
Give us new souls.
[Enter Calianax.

Cal. The King may do this, and he may not do it;
My child is wrong’d, disgrac’d: well, how now Huswives?
What at your ease? is this a time to sit still? up you
Lazie Whores, up or I’le sweng you.

Olym. Nay, good my Lord.

Cal. You’l lie down shortly, get you in and work;
What are you grown so resty? you want ears,
We shall have some of the Court boys do that Office.

Ant. My Lord we do no more than we are charg’d:
It is the Ladies pleasure we be thus in grief;
She is forsaken.

Cal. There’s a Rogue too, A young dissembling slave; well, get you in, I’le have a bout with that boy; ’tis high time Now to be valiant; I confess my youth Was never prone that way: what, made an Ass? A Court stale? well I will be valiant, And beat some dozen of these Whelps; I will; and there’s Another of ’em, a trim cheating souldier, I’le maul that Rascal, h’as out-brav’d me twice; But now I thank the Gods I am valiant; Go, get you in, I’le take a course with all.

[Exeunt Omnes.