Act 3. Scene 1. The duke's palace
Enter Thomas, Leveller, and Chafing
Thomas. This way headlong, where an unwary duke
Remorselessly is taken!
Chafing. Most dangerous, my lord, but yet for love
Of you and liberty, we follow fast.
Leveller. His lordship will deserve what he obtains
No later than this minute.
Chafing. I marvel that Disgruntled is not come.
Thomas. Quite strange, but let that go. When honor, life,
And fortune are in doubt, far better is
It to think little and act much. We bend
The head, ram-like, and see what totters at
The wobbly base.
Enter Ziriff, Jacques, and the duke's guards
Leveller. Ha! Who are these?
Chafing. The guard!
Thomas. With Jacques!
Leveller. And grinning Ziriff!
Thomas. Betrayed! Betrayed!
Chafing. Shift for yourself, my lord. I do not mean
To lie dull when I see foes armed for me.
Leveller. Empale them all.
Thomas. All, all! Through walls of men with sharpest pikes
To run quite through the duke.
(They fight with swords, exeunt Thomas, Leveller, and Chafing retreating, followed by Ziriff, Jacques, and the guards
Enter the duke
Duke. Right. Follow, sirs. At them with blows of might!
See quickest execution done. Do not
Reserve one breathing man for wife or bed.
Below your heels with foes! Whoever steps
On fire and makes a jest of pain, soon sees
The grinning face that ships him into hell.
Re-enter Chafing, bleeding, followed by the guards
Chafing. Ha! Will I die tonight? Quite unprepared!
Duke. Chafing is down. Tread on him with swords down.
Chafing. A beetle twitching.
Duke. Post-haste to death!
Chafing. Slaves born in an hour, to die in the hour!
(The guards stab him
Chafing. No more of Chafing in this world! For me,
The world exists no more. (he dies
Duke. Good, good.
Leveller. Ha, Chafing, dead! Now I am mad indeed.
(He fights with his sword against the guards
Duke. Brave lord, he has killed two, but I remain.
Leveller. It is a pleasure to die near such men.
Duke. I'll live to tell of yours.
Leveller. I'll quickly come before the torrent swells.
Duke. Brave coins on me, but earning you a death!
Come, brother, why so slow?
Arnaud. No doubt you can kill him without my help.
Duke. I'll knee him yet. Let me not breathe in bed
Until I see this fellow in his grave.
Is my son near?
Ziriff. Beneath your guards' sword-point yet still afresh
For further slaughters.
Duke. I'll end this traitor ere I speak again.
Ziriff. (stabbing Leveller from behind
My sword has found him.
Leveller. Spare me.
Ziriff. I do, from wheels and torment. (stabbing him
Leveller. I lose this light forever. Can my soul
Rise circumambiently? I much doubt that,
Yet happy in that Ziriff dies as well. (he dies
Duke. Have you stabbed him? All's well when traitors die.
Remove both. Traitor heads on pikes atop
The city walls, to let our subjects know
The end of rebels! After treachery,
Can such sons live? Find him. I'll dig his grave.
Exeunt the duke, Ziriff, and Arnaud, the guards carrying the dead bodies
Act 3. Scene 2. Ziriff's house
Enter Aglaura and Jacqueline
Aglaura. What thunder is this now?
Jacqueline. No thunder but men's difference against
Each other. Holy virgin, happily,
Though poor, in spite of pains, you quietly
Slept all night long, while we, astonished, sweat
Below our arm-pits to the neck and face,
As if the next man comes to murder us.
Aglaura. I shrink at it.
Jacqueline. The rage of men!
Aglaura. Enough to swallow the entire world.
Jacqueline. The duke is mad. Some wager he intends
To bleed his son before his mother's face.
Aglaura. O, Thomas! Let such mischiefs never be,
Or let me never be. Is Ziriff in?
Jacqueline. I think he is.
Aglaura. The walls should crumble underneath man's wrath.
A beggar, chewing on his walking-stick
For hunger, is secure compared with great
Ones when the rout is up. I'll wear a face
Of quietude until the winds cool off.
Aglaura. Come, is he here?
Jacqueline. He stays inside, my lady.
Aglaura. What, will he sleep until his sister gapes
Inside her closet in a sitting fear?
Jacqueline. I found him preening tranquilly aloft
Before approving glass, his perfumed suit
Above two stinking carcasses, a cap
At best advantage, strings of amber stones
Along his shirt-front, tightly fringed with ropes
Of rubies, that like blood of men appear,
Some darker than the wounds below his feet.
He, making mouths at your serene glass-case,
Has eyes to love his face, though rebels bleed,
Hot-iron wrenched, in some adjoining room,
For information on disloyalties,
He, stiff in bearing, smoothing wrinkled sleeves,
As if a dragon's seed bore him to man's
Age, never seems to hear their demon-shrieks,
But puckers as we do when touching lips
With deeper redness, pulls a fiery loop
Of diamonds to his thickly frizzled hair,
And lisps high melodies, while all the guards
Hum deepest basses to his airy tune.
Aglaura. Such natures yawn in cataracts. Drag him
With horses if you can.
Aglaura. Not yet?
Aglaura. My brother! Heaven surely sends you.
Ziriff. I doubt that, girl. Do angels know such shapes?
Aglaura. In spite of fortune, will these walls yet hold?
Ziriff. Let Frenchmen singe our house-tops till we freeze:
I'll fear asleep in beds.
Aglaura. Ha, Ziriff, does the duke intend to kill
My only love?
Ziriff. I swear no longer I adore this duke
As I once did. More counsellors of state
Play with his ears, first Jacques, then that deep
And frowning brother, Arnaud, both of whom
I loathe with fingers, whose voice bid the duke
Arise as slaughter-man on rebel lords,
Both with his bosom, while I, destitute,
As sunshine blushes on their evils, cold
And naked in the moonlight, wait my turn
Before I tug apart his thighs, to bless
With warmer favors. Pah! Not to sit still,
I will do something, yet I know not what.
Aglaura. Where is my love?
Ziriff. Because I fondle less the careless duke,
I should more often kiss his enemies,
Of whom I count your love as pleasantest.
Aglaura. He, he! For his adoring lady, look
How he in haste troops forth.
Thomas. Hide me from the man, murderous in thought,
Unchaste in cold desires, I once called dad.
Ziriff. Too gladly!
Thomas. Not Ziriff? I will stand against you, knave.
Aglaura. Do not completely undo yourself:
He is a friend, more than a brother.
Thomas. I but espy a Persian traitor here.
Ziriff. Who is a traitor? Not you, sword in hand
Against a father? Will you stroke asleep
This father with a pike? I think you will,
In such a sleep as few on earth can wake
Such fathers up.
Aglaura. Sweet, are you followed?
Thomas. I'm hotly hounded by a rash of men
Corrupting all my blood, enough to spill
My own or theirs.
Aglaura. That minister of hell you must put up.
Jump to these arms instead, your nest of joys
Away from worlds of broil.
Ziriff. The fairest proposition to a stiff
And arrant rebel!
Aglaura. Another kind of stiffness I entice.
Thomas. Since last that beauteous visage I gazed on,
Benign time, wasting all my joys with dust
Of brawling, tying all my limbs not in love-bands,
Love's shrine and temple, but in armored plate,
Has metamorphisized unfaithful forms
Into a monster of unheard-of limbs,
Begetting fresher horrors. Ah, dear love,
The duke- I do not call him father, for
It is suspected when he cradled me
He tore my insides with a grosser lust-
Must be rid of before he claps my thighs
Next to a greener Gorgon- such she is
If not without your face, or else he hides
Me in a cellar, with but water rats
At suppertime to tell the time of day.-
Do you weep, love?
Ziriff. My sister cannot hold when lovers sigh.
Aglaura. A son should know his father better than
To let him thus escape. What should we do?
Ziriff. Do you intend to droop, as children when
Bewetted by their spleen? I will advance
If but to stroke the duke asleep, until
The dawn sees him as red as she, his blood
Escaped in rills he knows not how or where.
Aglaura. But what of Thomas?
Ziriff. Inside this vault, through which a man will gain
The frowning woods, out of his ducal hands,
Our Thomas may lie still, out of the air,
As if a babe caressed, not raven food.
Aglaura. My angel!
Ziriff. Until a devil teaches you the truth.
Thomas. Excited love, the dawn-
Ziriff. Will you kiss when death breathes on us? Away!
Thomas. When next we meet, all this will seem a masque,
Ape-measures to affright the eyes of fools.
Wine never tastes like wine as when we clear
The spider from the glass. I will reward
This honesty, my Ziriff.
Ziriff. Down safely with unknown adventurers!
Exit Thomas inside the vault
Aglaura. Could I but join him in his darkness there!
Ziriff. A foolish sister sometimes listened to!
Warm up your bed for him, while we annul
A father from a world a-weary of
His drooping sins.
Exeunt Aglaura and Ziriff
Act 3. Scene 3. The duke's palace
Enter Arnaud and Jacques
Arnaud. The heir is not yet killed. I wonder why
That is still so.
Jacques. I'll kill him ere he prays and wins again.
Arnaud. If you do that, Jacques, you'll know what a thing it is to be a duke's companion.
Jacques. To my mind, you are a duke already. Mark this: I'll do such things yet as will leave hearers in the court gaping at the wonder of the deeds of men.
Arnaud. Here's gold for even thinking of it.
Jacques. I thank your grace- I should say "lord", but what of that?
Arnaud. True, what of that?- My brother!
Jacques. Your brother like a bolt across dark clouds!
Enter the duke
Duke. No more delays! Find him, find him, I say,
And I will play the hangman. Leave at once.
A traitor live? Let it not be disclosed
I wink when devils lurk.- My only guard!
Ziriff. My very good grace, send these starers off,
For I have business for your dukedom's peace,
Which may not be put off.
Duke. Let no man stay except my Ziriff here.
Arnaud. How, in our time of danger-
Duke. Off, off, away! Do not make me-
Arnaud. Pah! Can you threaten?
Duke. I will impose my will or die instead.
Out with all villain hogs who root for meals
From berries of my graces!
Exeunt Arnaud and Jacques
Ziriff. Not to delay your pleasure, best of lords,
With tedious self-laudations of my worth,
In kindest love best serving your high will,
I have affected what will startle you
In open exclamations of my deeds.
Duke. Unbutton. Half my midnight pleasure's yours.
Ziriff. This night Aglaura dances to your will.
Duke. I like your news, yet is that wonderful?
Am I no duke? Do not great dukes attract
Most absolute subjection at all times?
Ziriff. True, highest grace, but here is matter fit
To stuff in full contentment's orifice.
Duke. Dead? Say that word to be forever mine.
Ziriff. Not dead, not dead, yet likely to drop off
Into the mouth of night.
Duke. Instruct me how I am so fortunate.
Ziriff. In yonder cypress grove I chased your son,
When night looked dangerous and evil stars
Laughed at men flying in their horrid fears
In danger of a death, in hours of blood,
There I found out a web-stained hidden vault,
Home of his secret love, perhaps a grave
For one, or more.
Duke. Aglaura! Did they barter beads of sweat
With beads of sweat? Am I their jack by which
Two lovers tell the time to rise and fall?
I will uncap their necks in darkness as they bleed,
I'l make a pudding of her lustful blood,
In dungeon chambers she will gobble snow,
Or what half-famished rats faint to look on,
To make of her a story that will choke
With terror all-consenting womankind.
Ziriff. It is beyond my powers to express
The evil deeds of humankind. Let be.
Duke. I will, I will, I will, I will, I will.
Ziriff. My lord-
Duke. Lead me like clouds of thunder to their bed.
Ziriff. Though heaven or a duke maim me for it,
I scorn subjection, quite incapable
Of leading anyone to such a death
As I well know your lordship must intend.
Duke. How kind is heaven in my glorious state
To have a Persian friend look after me!
When padded traitors tread with feet of blood,
A servant smiles to say we may them kill,
If clasping nearest our man-wishing heart.
Ziriff. Omega for what everyone should wish!
Duke. Our entertainment will drown memories
Of hours past by so richly thick that love
Will dare reply with golden shows of love.
Dull gapers of the court will weep on that.
What they within a lifetime finger still,
Bowing and scraping, till their homage shrink
To an old man's shuffle, you will idly hold
Within a minute. Say so, all is yours.
Ziriff. All for the better and the best.
Duke. Time is a cripple till I see this son again.
Ziriff. This night you will.
Duke. The thought of that draws tears. Within there, sirs!
Ziriff. What do you mean, your grace? Such a man now?
Duke. Do I own but one friend?
Ziriff. I do not like this.
Duke. My good friends all!
Jacques. Your servant till our death!
Duke. I'll be your recompense most certainly.
Ziriff. What does he here?
Duke. I'll have you two together.
Jacques. Until the grasp of death.
Ziriff. That may be sooner than you ever wished.
Duke. No, no, together, I command.
Jacques. Come, on my bosom, Ziriff.
Ziriff. Ha, off me, villain!
Duke. Tonight we shuffle, friends, so that our foes
May suddenly die.
Exit the duke
Jacques. You are a tyrant, Ziriff, when, thus near,
You play so closely with the duke's right ear.
Ziriff. I do and have no fellow.
Jacques. Let us fold neatly in a single piece.
Ziriff. A varlet hug the duke? Away with you!
Jacques. My lovely Ziriff and I but one mold!
Ziriff. I lie when saying I care for your like.
Jacques. For all this scorn concerning the duke's love,
Your only region, I perceive you do
Not love the duke.
Ziriff. But you much less.
Jacques. Most precious jewel! You are still about
The neck, his bracelet, adorning him
In a mock-state, yet ceremony trimmed
In curious shapes may strangle strangely
The authors of such shows. Will we compact?
Ziriff. The duke commands it.
Jacques. I'll shake both, though I die.
Ziriff. You do well. (striking him
Jacques. Death! On my face, too! Do you loathe the sun?
Ziriff. A gift for being near my charity.
Jacques. I'll ask no more of it.
Ziriff. Do not. You'll be deceived.
Jacques. Will this duke be our sole and tender aim?
Ziriff. By charity, I'll swear that should be so.
Jacques. With oaths of danger.- Do not start. A friend.
Ziriff. Familiar slave, a duke's own brother, friend?
Arnaud. For once I'll grant him that.
Ziriff. How, hugging that fair rat? It is not night
Yet, my good lord.
Jacques. No further jests.
Arnaud. Are you compounded?
Jacques. I tame a wild one.
Arnaud. Is he our own and true?
Jacques. Like steel, but sharper.
Arnaud. Clasp tighter to be mine, forever mine.
Ziriff. We meet tonight together with the duke.
Arnaud. To kill the son?
Ziriff. Much hoped for still.
Arnaud. What better fashion to make friends than kill
Ziriff. That should be done, and sooner than you hope.
Jacques. My loving Ziriff!
Ziriff. I scorn your presences. What I prepare
Will garner something for those rotting near
The golden portals of the heavy rich.
Arnaud. A joyful malcontent, for us a boon.
Trust gold when I am duke.
Ziriff. My only faith!
Arnaud. Will not the duke smile wildly, seeing us
Thus mingled all together?
Ziriff. No, no, but only grin.
Arnaud. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Best of servants still!
Where is my nephew?
Ziriff. Inside the forest. Whether he eats grass
Or pickled spiders I do not yet know.
Arnaud. I'll find this nephew though I rot through dung.
Exeunt Ziriff, Jacques, and Arnaud