Read ACTUS QUARTUS of The Maids Tragedy, free online book, by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, on ReadCentral.com.

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 command 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.

Mel. I’le lock the door first.

[Exeunt Ladies.

Evad. Why?

Mel. I will not have your guilded things that dance in
visitation with their Millan skins choke up my business.

Evad. You are strangely dispos’d Sir.

Mel. Good Madam, not to make you merry.

Evad. No, if you praise me, ’twill 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’t; has it learned you nothing?

Evad. Me?

Mel. I Evadne, thou art young and handsom,
A Lady of a sweet complexion,
And such a flowing carriage, that it cannot
Chuse but inflame a Kingdom.

Evad. Gentle Brother!

Mel. ’Tis yet in thy remembrance, foolish woman,
To make me gentle.

Evad. How is this?

Mel. ’Tis base,
And I could blush at these years, through all
My honour’d scars, to come to such a parly.

Evad. I understand you not.

Mel. You dare not, Fool;
They that commit thy faults, fly the remembrance.

Evad. My faults, Sir! I would have you know I care not
If they were written here, here in my forehead.

Mel. Thy body is too little for the story,
The lusts of which would fill another woman,
Though she had Twins within her.

Evad. 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
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 was people in every place.

Evad. They and the seconds of it are base people;
Believe them not, they lyed.

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’le find him,
Though he lie lockt up in thy blood; be sudden;
There is no facing it, and be not flattered;
The burnt air, when the Dog raigns, 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’le be a Wolf first; ’tis to be thy Brother
An infamy below the sin of a Coward:
I am as far from being part of thee,
As thou art from thy vertue: 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’le ha’ you whipt; get you to your command,
And there preach to your Sentinels,
And tell them what a brave man you are; I shall laugh
at you.

Mel. Y’are grown a glorious Whore; where be your
Fighters? what mortal Fool durst raise thee to this
daring,
And I alive? by my just Sword, h’ad safer
Bestride a Billow when the angry North
Plows up the Sea, or made Heavens 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 ’em: will you tell
me? thou hast no hope to scape; 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 hast death about thee: h’as
undone thine honour, poyson’d thy vertue, 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 grave open’d,
And so pull’d on the Gods, that in their justice
They must restore him flesh again and life,
And raise his dry bones to revenge his scandal.

Evad. The gods are not of my mind; they had better
let ’em lie sweet still in the earth; they’l stink here.

Mel. Do you raise mirth out of my easiness?
Forsake me then all weaknesses of Nature,
That make men women: Speak you whore, speak truth,
Or by the dear soul of thy sleeping Father,
This sword shall be thy lover: tell, or I’le 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 humane help shall help thee,
If thou criest: when I have kill’d thee, as I have
Vow’d 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 mightie for me.

Mel. Do not fall back again; my sword’s unsheath’d yet.

Evad. What shall I do?

Mel. Be true, and make your fault less.

Evad. I dare not tell.

Mel. Tell, or I’le be this day a killing thee.

Evad. Will you forgive me then?

Mel. Stay, I must ask mine honour first, I have 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’t?

Evad. O hear me gently; it was the King.

Mel. No more. My worthy father’s and my services
Are liberally rewarded! King, I thank thee,
For all my dangers and my wounds, thou hast paid me
In my own metal: These are Souldiers thanks.
How long have you liv’d 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 th’hadst been so blest:
Dost thou not hate this King now? prethee 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
Too many sad confusions here to let in any loose flame
hereafter.

Mel. Dost thou not feel amongst all those one brave anger
That breaks out nobly, and directs thine arm to kill
this base King?

Evad. All the gods forbid it.

Mel. No, all the gods require it, they are dishonoured in him.

Evad. ’Tis too fearful.

Mel. Y’are valiant in his bed, and bold enough
To be a stale whore, and have your Madams name
Discourse for Grooms and Pages, and hereafter
When his cool Majestie hath laid you by,
To be at pension with some needy Sir
For meat and courser clothes, thus far you know no fear.
Come, you shall kill him.

Evad. Good Sir!

Mel. And ’twere to kiss him dead, thou’d smother him;
Be wise and kill him: Canst thou live and know
What noble minds shall make thee see thy self
Found out with every finger, made the shame
Of all successions, and in this great ruine
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 breath a full hour longer, not a thought:
Come ’tis a righteous oath; give me thy hand,
And both to heaven held up, swear by that wealth
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, I as far as Justice.
Ask me not why. Farewell.

[Exit 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 my self thus desperately,
And none for pity shew me how I wandred?
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. O my loaden soul,
Be not so cruel to me, choak not up

[Enter Amintor.

The way to my repentance. O my Lord.

Amin. How now?

Evad. My much abused Lord!
[Kneels.

Amin. This cannot be.

Evad. I do not kneel to live, I dare not hope it;
The wrongs I did are greater; look upon me
Though I appear with all my faults.

Amin. Stand up.
This is no 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 wilderness,
And do an out-rage: pray thee 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 dazle:
There cannot be a faith in that foul woman
That knows no God more mighty than her mischiefs:
Thou dost still worst, still number on thy faults,
To press my poor heart thus. Can I believe
There’s any seed of Vertue in that woman
Left to shoot up, that dares go on in sin
Known, and so known as thine is, O 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 the 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 remembring that I grieve.

Evad. 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
Knows to be tougher than the hand of time
Can cut from mans remembrance; no I do not;
I do appear the same, the same Evadne,
Drest in the shames I liv’d in, the same monster.
But these are names of honour, to what I am;
I do present my self the foulest creature,
Most poysonous, dangerous, and despis’d 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 condemn’d,
Till I have got your pardon.

Amin. Rise Evadne,
Those heavenly powers that put this good into thee,
Grant a continuance of it: I forgive thee;
Make thy self 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 plai’st
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 heavens honours have their ends, and good ones,
All but the cousening Crocodiles, false women;
They reign here like those plagues, those killing sores
Men pray against; and when they die, like tales
Ill told, and unbeliev’d, they pass away,
And go to dust forgotten: But my Lord,
Those short dayes I shall number to my rest,
(As many must not see me) shall though too late,
Though in my evening, yet perceive a will,
Since I can do no good because a woman,
Reach constantly at some thing that is near it;
I will redeem one minute of my age,
Or like another Niobe I’le weep till I am water.

Amin. I am now dissolved:
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 dayes:
My charity shall go along with thee,
Though my embraces must be far from thee.
I should ha’ kill’d thee, but this sweet repentance
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 Vertues: go Evadne,
The gods thus part our bodies, have a care
My honour falls no farther, I am well then.

Evad. All the dear joyes here, and above hereafter
Crown thy fair soul: thus I take leave my Lord,
And never shall you see the foul Evadne
Till sh’ave tryed all honoured means that may
Set her in rest, and wash her stains away.

[Exeunt.

Banquet. Enter King, Calianax. Hoboyes play within.

King. I cannot tell how I should credit this
From you that are his enemy.

Cal. I am sure he said it to me, and I’le justifie it
What way he dares oppose, but with my sword.

King. But did he break without all circumstance
To you his foe, that he would have the Fort
To kill me, and then escape?

Cal. If he deny it, I’le make him blush.

King. It sounds incredibly.

Cal. I, so does every thing I say of late.

King. Not so Calianax.

Cal. Yes, I should sit
Mute, whilst a Rogue with strong arms cuts your throat.

King. Well, I will try him, and if this be true
I’le pawn my life I’le find it; if’t be false,
And that you clothe your hate in such a lie,
You shall hereafter doat in your own house, not in the
Court.

Cal. Why if it be a lie,
Mine ears are false; for I’le be sworn I heard it:
Old men are good for nothing; you were best
Put me to death for hearing, and free him
For meaning of it; you would ha’ trusted me
Once, but the time is altered.

King. And will still where I may do with justice to the world;
You have no witness.

Cal. Yes, my self.

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 boysterous knave.

King. Enough; where’s Strato?

Stra. Sir!

Enter Strato.

King. Why where’s 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 ’em.

Cal. Why if you do think
’Tis fit an old Man and a Counsellor,
To fight for what he sayes, then you may grant it.

Enter Amin. Evad. Mel. Diph. [Lisip.] Clé. Stra. Diag.

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 a laughter
Amongst our wine? why Strato, where art thou?
Thou wilt chop out with them unseasonably
When I desire ’em not.

Strato. ’Tis my ill luck Sir, so to spend them then.

King. Reach me a boul of wine: Melantlius, thou art sad.

Amin. I should be Sir the merriest here,
But I ha’ ne’re a story of mine own
Worth telling at this time.

King. Give me the Wine.
Melantius, I am now considering
How easie ’twere for any man we trust
To poyson one of us in such a boul.

Mel. I think it were not hard Sir, for a Knave.

Cal. Such as you are.

King. I’ faith ’twere easie, it becomes us well
To get plain dealing men about our selves,
Such as you all are here: Amintor, to thee
And to thy fair Evadne.

Mel. Have you thought of this Calianax?

[Aside.

Cal. Yes marry have I.

Mel. And what’s your resolution?

Cal. Ye shall have it soundly?

King. Reach to Amintor, Strato.

Amin. Here my love,
This Wine will do thee wrong, for it will set
Blushes upon thy cheeks, and till thou dost a
fault, ’twere pity.

King. Yet I wonder much
Of the strange desperation of these men,
That dare attempt such acts here in our State;
He could not escape that did it.

Mel. Were he known, unpossible.

King. It would be known, Melantius.

Mel. It ought to be, if he got then away
He must wear all our lives upon his sword,
He need not fly the Island, he must leave no one alive.

King. No, I should think no man
Could kill me and scape clear, but that old man.

Cal. But I! heaven bless me: I, should I my Liege?

King. I do not think thou wouldst, but yet thou might’st,
For thou hast in thy hands the means to scape,
By keeping of the Fort; he has, Melantius, and he has
kept it well.

Mel. From cobwebs Sir,
’Tis clean swept: I can find no other Art
In keeping of it now, ’twas ne’re besieg’d since he
commanded.

Cal. I shall be sure of your good word,
But I have kept it safe from such as you.

Mel. Keep your ill temper in,
I speak no malice; had my brother kept it I should ha’
said as much.

King. You are not merry, brother; drink wine,
Sit you all still! Calianax, [Aside.
I cannot trust thus: I have thrown out words
That would have fetcht warm blood upon the cheeks
Of guilty men, and he is never mov’d, he knows
no such thing.

Cal. Impudence may scape, when feeble vertue is accus’d.

King. He must, if he were guilty, feel an alteration
At this our whisper, whilst we point at him,
You see he does not.

Cal. Let him hang himself,
What care I what he does; this he did say.

King. Melantius, you cannot easily conceive
What I have meant; for men that are in fault
Can subtly apprehend when others aime
At what they do amiss; but I forgive
Freely before this man; heaven do so too:
I will not touch thee so much as with shame
Of telling it, let it be so no more.

Cal. Why this is very fine.

Mel. I cannot tell
What ’tis you mean, but I am apt enough
Rudely to thrust into ignorant fault,
But let me know it; happily ’tis nought
But misconstruction, and where I am clear
I will not take forgiveness of the gods, much less
of you.

King. Nay if you stand so stiff, I shall call back my mercy.

Mel. I want smoothness
To thank a man for pardoning of a crime I never knew.

King. Not to instruct your knowledge, but to shew you
my ears are every where, you meant to kill me, and get
the Fort to scape.

Mel. Pardon me Sir; my bluntness will be pardoned:
You preserve
A race of idle people here about you,
Eaters, and talkers, to defame the worth
Of those that do things worthy; the man that uttered
this
Had perisht without food, be’t who it will,
But for this arm that fenc’t him from the foe.
And if I thought you gave a faith to this,
The plainness of my nature would speak more;
Give me a pardon (for you ought to do’t)
To kill him that spake this.

Cal. I, that will be the end of all,
Then I am fairly paid for all my care and service.

Mel. That old man who calls me enemy, and of whom I
(Though I will never match my hate so low)
Have no good thought, would yet I think excuse me,
And swear he thought me wrong’d in this.

Cal. Who I, thou shameless fellow! didst thou not speak
to me of it thy self?

Mel. O then it came from him.

Cal. From me! who should it come from but from me?

Mel. Nay, I believe your malice is enough,
But I ha’ lost my anger. Sir, I hope you are well
satisfied.

King. Lisip. Chear Amintor and his Lady; there’s no sound
Comes from you; I will come and do’t my self.

Amin. You have done already Sir for me, I thank you.

King. Melantius, I do credit this from him,
How slight so e’re you mak’t.

Mel. ’Tis strange you should.

Cal. ’Tis strange he should believe an old mans word,
That never lied in his life.

Mel. I talk not to thee;
Shall the wild words of this distempered man,
Frantick with age and sorrow, make a breach
Betwixt your Majesty and me? ’twas wrong
To hearken to him; but to credit him
As much, at least, as I have power to bear.
But pardon me, whilst I speak only truth,
I may commend my self ­I have bestow’d
My careless blood with you, and should be loth
To think an action that would make me lose
That, and my thanks too: when I was a boy,
I thrust my self into my Countries cause,
And did a deed that pluckt five years from time,
And stil’d me man then: And for you my King,
Your subjects all have fed by vertue of my arm.
This sword of mine hath plow’d the ground,
And reapt the fruit in peace;
And your self have liv’d at home in ease:
So terrible I grew, that without swords
My name hath fetcht you conquest, and my heart
And limbs are still the same; my will is great
To do you service: let me not be paid
With such a strange distrust.

King. Melantius, I held it great injustice to believe
Thine Enemy, and did not; if I did,
I do not, let that satisfie: what struck
With sadness all? More Wine!

Cal. A few fine words have overthrown my truth:
Ah th’art a Villain.

Mel. Why thou wert better let me have the Fort,
Dotard, I will disgrace thee thus for ever;

[Aside.

There shall no credit lie upon thy words;
Think better and deliver it.

Cal. My Liege, he’s at me now agen to do it; speak,
Deny it if thou canst; examine him
Whilst he’s hot, for he’l cool agen, he will
forswear it.

King. This is lunacy I hope, Melantius.

Mel. He hath lost himself
Much since his Daughter mist the happiness
My Sister gain’d; and though he call me Foe, I pity
him.

Cal. Pity! a pox upon you.

King. Mark his disordered words, and at the Mask.

Mel. Diagoras knows he raged, and rail’d at me,
And cal’d a Lady Whore, so innocent
She understood him not; but it becomes
Both you and me too, to forgive distraction,
Pardon him as I do.

Cal. I’le not speak for thee, for all thy cunning, if you
will be safe chop off his head, for there was never
known so impudent a Rascal.

King. Some that love him, get him to bed: Why, pity
should not let age make it self contemptible; we must
be all old, have him away.

Mel. Calianax, the King believes you; come, you shall go
Home, and rest; you ha’ done well; you’l give it up
When I have us’d you thus a moneth I hope.

Cal. Now, now, ’tis plain Sir, he does move me still;
He sayes he knows I’le give him up the Fort,
When he has us’d me thus a moneth: I am mad,
Am I not still?

Omnes. Ha, ha, ha!

Cal. I shall be mad indeed, if you do thus;
Why would you trust a sturdy fellow there
(That has no vertue in him, all’s in his sword)
Before me? do but take his weapons from him,
And he’s an Ass, and I am a very fool,
Both with him, and without him, as you use me.

Omnes. Ha, ha, ha!

King. ’Tis well Calianax; but if you use
This once again, I shall intreat some other
To see your Offices be well discharg’d.
Be merry Gentlemen, it grows somewhat late.
Amintor, thou wouldest be abed again.

Amin. Yes Sir.

King. And you Evadne; let me take thee in my arms,
Melantius, and believe thou art as thou deservest to
be, my friend still, and for ever. Good Calianax,
Sleep soundly, it will bring thee to thy self.

[Exeunt omnes. Manent Mel. and Cal.

Cal. Sleep soundly! I sleep soundly now I hope,
I could not be thus else. How dar’st thou stay
Alone with me, knowing how thou hast used me?

Mel. You cannot blast me with your tongue,
And that’s the strongest part you have about you.

Cal. I do look for some great punishment for this,
For I begin to forget all my hate,
And tak’t unkindly that mine enemy
Should use me so extraordinarily scurvily.

Mel. I shall melt too, if you begin to take
Unkindnesses: I never meant you hurt.

Cal. Thou’lt anger me again; thou wretched rogue,
Meant me no hurt! disgrace me with the King;
Lose all my Offices! this is no hurt,
Is it? I prethee what dost thou call hurt?

Mel. To poyson men because they love me not;
To call the credit of mens Wives in question;
To murder children betwixt me and land; this is
all hurt.

Cal. All this thou think’st is sport;
For mine is worse: but use thy will with me;
For betwixt grief and anger I could cry.

Mel. Be wise then, and be safe; thou may’st revenge.

Cal. I o’th’ King? I would revenge of thee.

Mel. That you must plot your self.

Cal. I am a fine plotter.

Mel. The short is, I will hold thee with the King
In this perplexity, till peevishness
And thy disgrace have laid thee in thy grave:
But if thou wilt deliver up the Fort,
I’le take thy trembling body in my arms,
And bear thee over dangers; thou shalt hold thy wonted
state.

Cal. If I should tell the King, can’st thou deny’t again?

Mel. Try and believe.

Cal. Nay then, thou can’st bring any thing about:
Thou shalt have the Fort.

Mel. Why well, here let our hate be buried, and
This hand shall right us both; give me thy aged breast
to compass.

Cal. Nay, I do not love thee yet:
I cannot well endure to look on thee:
And if I thought it were a courtesie,
Thou should’st not have it: but I am disgrac’d;
My Offices are to be ta’ne away;
And if I did but hold this Fort a day,
I do believe the King would take it from me,
And give it thee, things are so strangely carried;
Nere thank me for’t; but yet the King shall know
There was some such thing in’t I told him of;
And that I was an honest man.

Mel. Hee’l buy that knowledge very dearly.

[Enter Diphilus.

What news with thee?

Diph. This were a night indeed to do it in;
The King hath sent for her.

Mel. She shall perform it then; go Diphilus,
And take from this good man, my worthy friend,
The Fort; he’l give it thee.

Diph. Ha’ you got that?

Cal. Art thou of the same breed? canst thou deny
This to the King too?

Diph. With a confidence as great as his.

Cal. Faith, like enough.

Mel. Away, and use him kindly.

Cal. Touch not me, I hate the whole strain: if thou
follow me a great way off, I’le give thee up the
Fort; and hang your selves.

Mel. Be gone.

Diph. He’s finely wrought.

[Exeunt Cal. Diph.

Mel. This is a night in spite of Astronomers
To do the deed in; I will wash the stain
That rests upon our House, off with his blood.

Enter Amintor.

Amin. Melantius, now assist me if thou beest
That which thou say’st, assist me: I have lost
All my distempers, and have found a rage so pleasing;
help me.

Mel. Who can see him thus,
And not swear vengeance? what’s the matter friend?

Amin. Out with thy sword; and hand in hand with me
Rush to the Chamber of this hated King,
And sink him with the weight of all his sins to hell
for ever.

Mel. ’Twere a rash attempt,
Not to be done with safety: let your reason
Plot your revenge, and not your passion.

Amint. If thou refusest me in these extreams,
Thou art no friend: he sent for her to me;
By Heaven to me; my self; and I must tell ye
I love her as a stranger; there is worth
In that vile woman, worthy things, Melantius;
And she repents. I’le do’t my self alone,
Though I be slain. Farewell.

Mel. He’l overthrow my whole design with madness:
Amintor, think what thou doest; I dare as much as
valour;
But ’tis the King, the King, the King, Amintor,
With whom thou fightest; I know he’s honest,

[Aside.

And this will work with him.

Amint. I cannot tell
What thou hast said; but thou hast charm’d my sword
Out of my hand, and left me shaking here defenceless.

Mel. I will take it up for thee.

Amint. What a wild beast is uncollected man!
The thing that we call Honour, bears us all
Headlong unto sin, and yet it self is nothing.

Mel. Alas, how variable are thy thoughts!

Amint. Just like my fortunes: I was run to that
I purpos’d to have chid thee for.
Some Plot I did distrust thou hadst against the King
By that old fellows carriage: but take heed,
There is not the least limb growing to a King,
But carries thunder in it.

Mel. I have none against him.

Amint. Why, come then, and still remember we may
not think revenge.

Mel. I will remember.