Act 4. Scene 1. Ziriff's house
Enter Aglaura and Jacqueline
Aglaura. The duke advances, servant, yet I swear
I do not cherish lovers as I ought.
Jacqueline. We creep with danger, as I hear some say,
When first we love and then refuse to love.
Aglaura. I scorn all fears of danger. In that vein,
My brother's mood is heavy on my brows.
Jacqueline. And yet the duke!
Aglaura. And yet my Thomas! Satyrs will I clasp
If not his groaning pleasures. Let none sway
My mounting thoughts except the man I love.
Jacqueline. Dear mistress, midnight's bell would make me sweat
Much less were you for once but fixed, unpressed
By manly burdens, at least just to one.
Let me remind myself in my note-book:
Are you not married?
Aglaura. I know I am, and gladly would I sleep
With Thomas and lie thomased till I die,
But how should I reveal that to my duke?
And yet he is a man.
Jacqueline. A duke, too.
Aglaura. A man. You are too faint and womanish.
What may I do with men? I swear on this
My sex, man is the mirror of the world,
The imaged picture of all worthiness.
For his sake I arise each morning, sing
With Chanticleer, till blushing of the sun
Or of my love, for his sake I eat up
My fill at noon, take medications when
I sicken, on sight of horrendous deeds
Forbear to end myself, though withering
Next to the rank of beggars. Pah! I blanch
On what I undergo, but yet not die,
Were only manhood here. Man's body! Is
There- say so if you know- another form
Of paradise except that? Only know
That one, for which I'll scuff and scrape on knees
Both day and night. Let my purse be cut, my breath
Lie stifled with a rheum approaching death,
My mother set adrift on soggy planks,
Iced in the middle of the Arctic sea,
My worthy cousins choke in pools of blood
By grooms who kill for pennies, hideous rakes
Surprise me in the night, turn my face
Into soft jelly, hack at every limb,
Until the body festers, worthy for
The venison of curs, I will not weep,
But jest at pains, were only manhood here.
(Sound of a trumpet heard
Jacqueline. I hear his trumpet. Fears nudge me away.
Exit Jacqueline and enter the duke
Duke. A woman who makes day before the sun!
Aglaura!- Are you silent? Is it so?
No word of greeting to a happy duke?
Aglaura. A visit from a duke! Must I then thank
Your pity, or your scorn? My fortune is
Such that both are deserved.
Duke. Have I not been a Jupiter to you,
With pieces raining on receiving thighs?
I answer minions with a frown of might,
All thirsting in cups of solicitude,
To shower you with diamonds. Are these lost,
With thanks forgotten as soon as received?
I am a cipher, added to your sums
To make my little as complete a store
As many women never hope to wish.
Aglaura. I grant you, money spills from you. I take
Your seed with hands, yet stifling deathlessly
With nightly visits more than I dare say.
Duke. I grieve at that, yet sorrow on that face
Becomes it more than gladness on a queen.
Aglaura. You mock.
Duke. I never do. There is no shallow priest
Who would not kiss such griefs as a night-friend
Whenever blessed by them. I chide neglect
Of my most potent summons, making men
Who nurture disobedience choke in pains.
Aglaura. Make me aggrieved. I like it better than
Your love, which is no love.
Duke. Soon you will not.
Aglaura. If I sin in proportion to the smart
Of penalities to undergo, take life,
Yours as I speak. Who would not offer life
To be made happy, where I never am?
If my defaults be black against the state,
Then let my state be black, to shrinking down
In a toad's dwelling, turning whitest skin
As the depositary of ant-eggs,
A progeny of running blackness apt
As punishment to my indifference.
Duke. But you deserve much worse. Have you repaid
Abundant stocks of love-thoughts poured down from
My eyes? Say so, and I'll not punish yet.
Aglaura. A public sentence I at least expect,
Not quickly murdered in a private room.
Duke. And yet I know you will repent, you must,
So quickly, too, lest we sink bellowing.
I must have satisfaction.
Aglaura. What satisfaction can you hope from me,
A stranger, not your wife? As subject, do
I live but for your pleasure? Hear aright:
I am no ordinary monster as
Most women are, two faces with two hearts.
You know another heart binds mine in vows
Of holiness, entwined like yarn to yarn,
Not to be separated, loath to pine
Without him as for you to hug with joy
Your murderer. Consider what it is
To sever love from love: it is one flame.
I'll glut on bones before releasing him.
You waste your cheeks on feebly dying light.
Duke. No more.
Aglaura. Take more, take all. You may as well persuade
The light to stay behind when the sun sinks.
Duke. I do not know him, nor will I know you
If like some sleepy Samson I lie shorn.
Aglaura. Alas, like brooks commingling wave on wave,
We have encompassed all the joys of love
In marriage, heaven's image, or else hell's:
There is no purgatory in that state.
Now rocks of old men's power must divide.
Whoever should design to kill my love
Annuls Aglaura, too. It must be so.
Duke. I am appeased. I'll demonstrate the way
I am.- Within there, ho! A duke commands.
Enter Ziriff and Jacques
A strange emotion, pity, cowers me,
Too dangerous while hurting malcontents
Who wish me dead, yet, howsoever, love
Must sway. Aglaura, from this happy hour,
I'll be both duke and servant, lest delays
Kill you, the worst of crimes, especially
To one akin to moonbeams we cry for
When losing general light.- Ziriff, come.
We go. I grieve, my Ziriff. Pitiful
And strange, this humor men call love!
Jacques. Your grace, I wish to speak to her.
Ziriff. You heard the duke. On, follow.
Jacques. My lord-
Duke. Come, Ziriff, dance away and let him stay.
Exeunt the duke and Ziriff
Jacques. Will you believe him, child?
Aglaura. What, Jacques, hah? What is your wish with me?
Jacques. Do not.
Aglaura. What do you mean?
Jacques. The duke intends you harm.
Aglaura. I am all wonder, courtier. Speak again.
Jacques. Do not believe him, for strong lust and rage
Are all the emblems he can answer to.
Aglaura. My torment!
Jacques. It will increase, no later than tonight.
So far you have sucked hard on ripest fruits
A court serves up; now servitude attends.
Aglaura. O, my chipped jewel!
Jacques. What? Do you mean your chastity? So nice?
I thought no woman living in this age
Considers that. In spite of many faults,
He is a duke and therefore can command
What men in danger fail to yield to him.
Aglaura. I will not fail or yield.
Jacques. Lest you die wretched, do. One lately
Refused him. I beheld this duke take out
His sword, and with the flat end smack her twice
On unsuspecting buttocks, rumpling clothes
And body to her floor- and ending thus:
She lost her nose and part of her left pap,
Then, carted like a lewd one on soiled straw
For being what she never could become,
Before her parents' and intended's sight,
Whipped five times in the market-place, the end
Of which I think you saw last Saturday.
Aglaura. I did, down in my sickness to the knees,
An open-mouthed blank.
Jacques. Just when we thought chastisement at an end,
Two murderers climbed to her window sill-
I must stop when I see you quaking so.
Aglaura. My fears like nightly serpents cover me.
Jacques. I will be missed, Aglaura; otherwise,
I would convince where it is evident.
He may not brook disdain, not from his foes,
Much less his friends. He flashes and men die.
Either he takes your all, or lies defunct,
An abject pup of lust, a boyhood mock,
Erectile whimperer on beds of seed.
Exit Jacques and re-enter Jacqueline
Aglaura. I am a stone of misery. Strange thoughts
Assault my griefs, when nothing gives me peace
Except what is too deadly dangerous.
Jacqueline. Your worried brother meant to speak with you.
Aglaura. I know he did, but what of that? Commands
Of woman's nature guide me now throughout.
Jacqueline. I am uncertain whether that is well.
Aglaura. To take his life who but intends to take
The life of life, my honor! If accomplishing
But half my thoughts, I'll be a wonder past
The age among all women. Cast away
Loose sex and tameness, let no Lucrece blade
Aim at my heart, but his; may rapist fiends
Grow pale in only thinking of this deed,
Heroic past example in the world,
Or I will have at worst a common grave
Which all of us strive for.
Jacqueline. O! Now I fear more than I ever did.
Aglaura. Whose shadow is this now?
Jacqueline. Ha! Not the duke already?
Disgruntled. No, I, your comfortable guest.
Jacqueline. Your knight abed from the other night.
Aglaura. He almost scared me out of my shirt. What is your wish, sir, hah?
Jacqueline. He gropes confused.
Aglaura. What do you say, sir?- Leave us, slave.
No wisdom from a man in torn night-clothes?
Disgruntled. Where am I? I remember now: we slept in the same bed.
Aglaura. What do you mean?
Disgruntled. One may not be blamed when asking what a woman intends by keeping her servant so long in her bed. Where is Thomas?
Aglaura. Escaped from the duke.
Disgruntled. Have I slept out the revolution?
Aglaura. It evidently seems so.
Disgruntled. Yet I remember a woman-tigress in bed, hot and musty, kissing me fully on the mouth a hundred times at least, stroking my beard, next a woman-eel slithering below my naked body, sweaty to provoke more sweat, then joyfully and confidently above to play the man a little, only to fall cooing for some deeper thrusts and surer grips. Was that you?
Disgruntled. I must reach Thomas, save him from himself if not from the duke.
Aglaura. He hides underground, never to be seen, even by moles. Yet, if you meet him, beseech him to remain a living buried one, since the duke is up, intending no fatherly hug and welcoming.
Disgruntled. I will.
Exeunt Aglaura and Disgruntled
Act 4. Scene 2. The duke's palace
Enter Orbella and Paul
Orbella. I tremble when I think I spy the duke.
You have not seen him yet?
Paul. If I have, what of that?
Orbella. So brief? There was a time I was your all.
Paul. That time is not.
Orbella. More groom than noble, will you grin and sneer?
Paul. I rather wish not speak with you at all.
Orbella. Did we not share last night two pillows, slave?
Paul. We did.
Orbella. Have you no friend I can replace you with?
Your active body with a nobler mind?
Paul. Almost impossible to woman's hope.
You'll have large-thighed grooms lisping poesy.
Orbella. I dally with my life.
Paul. Yet what of mine?
Orbella. Pooh! What life can a younger brother have?
Paul. None, when annexed with yours.
Orbella. A friend of yours casts scornful eyes at me.
Paul. What then?
Orbella. Remind him I am duchess, more than that:
The one commanding in the place he lives.
Paul. I'll speak of that. Should he desire to, so;
If not, go swimming naked, duchess.
Orbella. The serpent glares. Hell-fire is gentler than
The man I love.
Paul. Is there but this lean fragment left to eat?
Orbella. Ha, are you speaking of my body? Once
My Ziriff- stifle that. To know his aim!
I will not beg, but find whether he loves.
My blood should freeze on sight of Ziriff's face
For what I do to him. No more of that.
Paul. Most gentle. Pah!
Orbella. Are you so rich as to void filth on it?
Paul. No, I am not, yet, lady, not so poor
To be a woman's fool.
Orbella. More pleasant niceties of replenished man!
Paul. Ho, not for Neptune's store.
Orbella. Is he your barber?
Paul. No murderous metal crosses me.
Orbella. Lazar-licking hound, you know your mission. I must not weary you.
Paul. You cannot, for your body has done so already. Ziriff should learn of your drooping appendages.
Orbella. The villain faces me.
Paul. How I do I fail to understand, with such a face.
Orbella. Take this letter.
Paul. A letter? No. What type of man conveys
A lady's letters? No.
Orbella. The type of man you are? Is that your query? I do not stoop so low as to study intricate forms of muck.
Paul. Not for Ziriff, no, not on the part of bloated lustfulness.
Orbella. Although Ziriff dances in the ascendant with the duke, height is the greatest danger.
Paul. I'll tell him that.
Orbella. Let him beware of it.
Paul. And also beware of you.
Paul. Are you not great?
Orbella. Misused, rebuked, and flouted! Villains snap
To have their way. I will soon rid myself
Of dangerous and heady creatures. Have
I slept this fortnight?
Paul. A piece of worry steeped in dregs of vice!
Orbella. These outgrowths lying far too near the court,
The duke always too tame a gardener!
Paul. I'll bring him shears.
Exeunt Orbella and Paul
Act 4. Scene 3. A forest
Enter Thomas and Arnaud
Thomas. Ha, captured?
Arnaud. No, nephew. Have you not heard? I am your father's no more, but yours, for you are duke.
Thomas. Can I believe you?
Arnaud. Believe or not. I stroll this way to improve my health, yet I would not have you die so soon.
Thomas. Why not?
Arnaud. Should you not be the duke?
Thomas. For filth I am almost a duke already.
Arnaud. Your father in his mind, you on the outside.
Thomas. Where should I go, uncle?
Arnaud. I cannot dream of guessing on that subject yet.
Thomas. What and where should I eat?
Arnaud. Your meals are at your feet.
Thomas. Enjoy dirt and some carrots, man,
If woman you wish to enjoy.
Arnaud. I'll have Jacques deliver you mushrooms and herbs from his garden.
Thomas. Out! I die on sight of them. Is he in the plot against my father, too?
Arnaud. Who is not?
Arnaud. Compact with us, a very subtle knave, no doubt pliable, to help us in our need against the tyrant none would desire to keep and uphold but all would strangle if they could without suspicion.
Thomas. I am afire to accomplish it.
Arnaud. In a coat so wet? Jacques will disclose how we should plan and organize. I asked him to walk around a cabin we noticed hereabouts. Do you know it?
Thomas. I slept there last night, if I had any sleep.
Arnaud. Then never doubt but we'll soon see yet another crafty knave on the winning side, joining us here, big inside our plots, to overturn with shovels a rotting piece of cabbage.
Thomas. Ah, cold, cold, and wetted through to every hair! Caugh, hah, caugh!
Arnaud. I never like such coughs.
Thomas. Should we go towards the cabin now?
Arnaud. No, farther up this road, the better for friend Jacques cheerfully to spy us out.
Thomas. Were he already here with log and fire!
Arnaud. So does he, without the log and fire, but only you, precious one, the heir, on whom I depend for any hope of future happiness.
Thomas. I thank you, uncle.
Arnaud. Are we no very loving family?
Thomas. I think so, but, if we love each other, we must kill my father.
Thomas. A strange kind of loving here!
Arnaud. The lusthead slave deserves it.
Thomas. As I often say and repeat.
Arnaud. Who lurks behind these bushes?
Ha, an enemy?
Disgruntled. A friend.
Arnaud. I nearly stabbed him through the heart once, but yet a friend now, it appears.
Thomas. No traitor when we marched against the tyrant?
Disgruntled. I fell asleep during that action.
Disgruntled. I should not tell.
Arnaud. Let be. You know, Thomas, the sluggard likes you almost as much as his bed, and may help against one with too numerous a retinue for us to challenge allegiance of members to our cause.
Disgruntled. I'll fight with two stubs if found without arms.
Arnaud. There's a man.
Thomas. Huh, as you wish or hope.
Arnaud. Sir Disgruntled, what do you say?
Disgruntled. Look here, another!
Thomas. More enemies?
Arnaud. Jacques, I think and hope.
Thomas. I should hide, I think.
Arnaud. Do not. All your enemies are friends.
Jacques. Thomas, found! We catch the knave with the football.
Thomas. Off me, minion! I swear he means to choke me yet.
Arnaud. Unlikely at this juncture. Instead, strike his shoulders, call him yours, for the knave, like a used shoe, wears more comfortably after a week or two.
Thomas. What now?
Disgruntled. Kill a tyrant.
Jacques. I have a secret strategem for that.
Arnaud. I knew he would. A new prophet, I. Here is the man to whom I am unworthy to untie his breeches.
Jacques. The duke is lustful, no?
Arnaud. Like apes in two cages smelling each other, like ferrets when the ground thaws and their testicles extend.
Jacques. He means to visit Aglaura no later than tonight.
Thomas. Hah? I should prevent that. Watch me do it.
Jacques. Joyfully, provided you use more of your steel, less of your tongue.
Thomas. Though he were my own father- hold, he is my father.
Arnaud. I understand two knaves' fatal drift, to kill him hotly rising in her chamber.
Disgruntled. She once spoke of a tunnel under her house.
Arnaud. A tunnel for her tunnel: perfect to our wishes! Where is it, nephew?
Thomas. How do you know that, friend?
Disgruntled. Do women speak? I do not know how or why, but I shrewdly suspect Aglaura hides lovers within, taking them from a vault hidden inside her room whenever needful to her lusts.
Thomas. Had any other man spoken, stabbing without words!
Arnaud. Where is it, nephew?
Thomas. I should not tell you.
Arnaud. You must.
Disgruntled. How? Distrusting friends?
Thomas. At least warn her beforehand.
Arnaud. To risk the duke discovering our plot?
Jacques. Expecting the duke this night, I'll emerge
With surety from the vault, and so what then
May happen I cannot yet tell, but it
Is far unlikely to be of much good
To Thomas' father.
Thomas. Precious friends! I know you now.
Arnaud. The night and us bring death to evil dukes.
Lead on, two very friends together joined.-
Exeunt Thomas and Disgruntled
Hold, listen, Jacques.
Arnaud. I think two men tonight may die.
Jacques. The father with the son!
Arnaud. Two witty knaves succeed with that.
Jacques. But dangerous. I think we should send forth
The son before the father, kill the duke
At home, when he expects love's quietness.
Arnaud. We will reflect on this and more.
Exeunt Arnaud and Jacques