Act 5. Scene 1. Ziriff's house
Enter Aglaura and Jacqueline, the former with a dagger in one hand and a rope in the other
Jacqueline. Armed thus, you cannot dream of future joy.
Forbear henceforth all thoughts of happiness
Or moments of light joyance, in your dreams
To demons and forbidden creatures send
A message, never bandy peaceful hopes,
Resist all forms of charity, for with
This deed you banish semblances of good.
Expect mere blackness on your brightest day
And terror from your nights. On earth we hope
For justice only, which you murder here.
Aglaura. I'm in no mood to chatter. What I do
Is done with love for love.
Jacqueline. You cannot love yourself with those in hand.
Aglaura. Slave, dim the fatal chamber and let be.
(The vault is revealed
Jacqueline. Ah, what is that? A tomb?
Aglaura. Off with you and all candles from this room!
Jacqueline. I see you will be grave tonight.
Aglaura. How ghastly instruments of murder seem
To woman's gentle hands! Yet out they must,
Here for the sake of love. "One of us goes,"
My honor says, for honor is my friend
As much as Thomas'. What is murder, then?
A trifle, foam in tankards when we quaff
Sad love's forgetful silence. So must love
Kill, or else die. Forbear my love for him?
He is a duke, and yet a duke may bleed,
And yet I sweat, a greenish sickly girl,
Because with murder everyone is green.-
A noise! Put out all lights.
Jacqueline. Ha! Is it he?
(The lights are extinguished
I will receive laudations afterwards
In my great mettle. Steady, and strike true.
My fears live fresh inside, yet they must die,
For otherwise I am a monument
Forgotten, on which tears do not erode.-
He comes, he comes. Now, woman, rise, for once
The subject of man's wonder, not his scorn.
Some bravery, beskirted meekness! Show
Your courage this time in a death, not birth.
Wet fingers and the candles out! He comes.
Enter Thomas, rising from the vault
Thomas. Within love's arms of joy, there's day in night.
Aglaura. Strike, strike! (stabbing him
Thomas. Ha! Jacques?
Aglaura. Alive? Another way! (strangling him
Thomas. Not speaking more. (he dies
Aglaura. O, happy day! Brave deeds achieved, I think.
No man could have done better. Nerveless love
Once steeled my arm to make me fortunate.
Jacqueline. O, O, my deadly fears! Is the duke dead?
Aglaura. Some lights at last, lights, lights!
Jacqueline. I creep forth altogether tremblingly.
Aglaura. More noise?
(The lights return
Aglaura. Ha! Is it my fair love! Ah, ah, ah. ah!
Jacqueline. O, inescapable and deadly woe!
Ziriff. Aglaura gasping! Do I come too late?
Aglaura. I have done what should make us melt in ruth.
Jacqueline. O, Thomas, stabbed and strangled by your hands!
Aglaura. Dead. Lights reveal our darkness.
Ziriff. The vault! Attending our impatient duke,
I could not free myself in time to warn.
Aglaura. Good. Ziriff will soon find his sister free.
Ziriff. A ladder here behind!
Exit Ziriff inside the vault
Aglaura. Tell me: can we go down to hell from there?
Jacqueline. O, pitiable, pitiable sight!
I guess too clearly. Snake-brained Jacques' scarf!
Jacqueline. My brother living in this tragedy?
Ziriff. A plot, and Jacques triumphs in our shame!
Jacqueline. No, no, no, no. Hide me, remorseless earth.
Exit Jacqueline and re-enter Ziriff
Aglaura. Hum, what of that? You speak of nothing here.
Do you behold these hands? Red, stirring, wet.
Good brother, I will howl in every room
Because I am not dead, no tender corpse
Yet, but one to wring blankest stone to bleed,
Insensible to words.- Not cooler yet? O! O!
Look downward, Ziriff: can my love be dead
With hands and face so warm?
Ziriff. Be merciful to your sad mind, look up.
We have more knives and ropes than these in France.
Aglaura. Forever gone! Sit in the dark, to speak
I know not what, do as philosophers,
I mean, those wiser than an open grave.
The other night into these arms he leapt.
Look at him now! He was stiff then as well,
Now in another fashion, horrible,
Which spills out every thought of love from me.
Ziriff. Will you despair, with all our work undone?
Aglaura. The earth before me like a viper glows,
Cold reptile-lewdness snatching. Underneath
My mind smokes better. Do I contemplate
A globe of fire here, too? Below, above,
A fire within a fire!
Ziriff. Ho, raise your head. Cold vengeance beats on mine.
Aglaura. I'll hop-dance to that tune.
Ziriff. More tortures to think of, come, more and more!
Aglaura. The murder of my only love must find
Chastisements heaven never yet thought of.
Ziriff. That, sister, that, think of more beauties still.
Aglaura. Yes, something to deform men's nose and ears,
Make scorpions tremble, crack the watchful globes
Of infant violators looking down.
Ziriff. We'll make those still alive wish that they were
As quiet as he is.
Aglaura. An oracle!
Ziriff. A prophet!
Aglaura. A little clod of earth is fit for me.
Aglaura. No, I quit for this time. Farewell, farewell,
I'll see you at the brothel.
Exeunt Aglaura and Ziriff, carrying Thomas' corpse
Act 5. Scene 2. The duke's palace
Enter Arnaud and Jacques
Jacques. A glorious night!
Arnaud. Is Thomas, the heir I detest most, dead?
Jacques. If not, let me not laugh tonight.
Arnaud. You killed him from behind?
Jacques. A richer story: his own lover did,
Right in his face. At worst she will be blamed.
As we were climbing to Aglaura's room,
The bold impatient lover, blinking in
The darkness, stopped, then groaned. I fled at once,
With women's louder shriekings far behind.
Arnaud. Night's darkness is in love with murderers.
Jacques. Where is the duke?
Arnaud. Behind the curtain. Have we dropped again
From the original womb, as if sent
Into the world a second time to laugh?
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Jacques. Events as proper to our purposes
As dead men in their graves. Is Ziriff here?
Arnaud. I think so.
Jacques. He comes at last, and grinning.
Arnaud. A goodly sign.
Ziriff. My friends, I come to make you fortunate.
Arnaud. Some say that is so when we molder in
Our quiet grave.
Ziriff. Those who say so jest. Is the duke within?
Jacques. Within, but soon below.
Arnaud. Do hands hold steadily? Yet stiff for work?
Ziriff. Whoever doubts them lie much stiffer now.
Jacques. I dare speak for them.
Ziriff. To kill a duke's a trifle to me.
Arnaud. I hear him snorting. Knock him down amazed.
We carry sword-points thirsting for his throat.
Exeunt Arnaud and Jacques, enter the duke
Duke. A friend, my Ziriff!
Ziriff. Am I, or even should I be? Some say
You'll force Aglaura.
Duke. I'll visit her tonight. I must, you know.
Duke. She is my love.
Ziriff. What if you are refused?
Ziriff. She will. You will no doubt constrain her, then.
Duke. Should I let her people a new kingdom?
Ziriff. A padlock crosses what you aim at.
Duke. I'll break that, her, you, and others, never to be crossed in any way for any reason.
Ziriff. Should she refuse, you'll find her going where you'll never see her more, unless my right arm fails.
Duke. You will defend?
Ziriff. Believe it now, for I do not usually jest.
Duke. Jacques reveals the existence of a tunnel below your house, which may surprise her as I wish.
Ziriff. I'll show you a map of my house, how to enter it without suspicion.
Duke. I am on fire to learn more.
Ziriff. I cool most fires.
Exeunt the duke and Ziriff, re-enter Arnaud and Jacques
Jacques. Hum, very quiet suddenly!
Arnaud. I like such silence, perhaps breeder of an occasion to engender death to foes, infants of glory to us.
Jacques. Ziriff's work with circumspection: I recognize his manner, silent slithering on the grass, the open mouth at one hundred and eighty degrees, and the weasel disappears.
Arnaud. I trust him as I do the grave.
Jacques. He will dispatch with wonder.
Arnaud. But why so long?
Jacques. My leg itches when I worry.
Arnaud. This place puts strange thoughts in me. Why am I thinking of a pumpkin splitting in two? I'll be great should he succeed, no more a puny second but a root growing above the earth.
Jacques. Ha! His looks bespeak his happiness with ours.
Re-enter Ziriff, dragging out the duke's dead body
Ziriff. Heigh-ho, here's joy this time of day for you.
Arnaud. My brother, mangled, dead! I never lived
Until this instant.
Jacques. A coldness yielding warmth on warmth for us!
Sementhe: coy, cold dame, I am for you,
No more the nothing never noticed of.
Ziriff. Here, Jacques.
Jacques. We stick together now with blood, my friend.
Ziriff. You killed Aglaura's Thomas?
Jacques. I led him onward where Aglaura showed
Herself a man. Was that not well, my friend?
Ziriff. O, excellent, my friend! (stabbing him
Jacques. Ha! Ha! So treacherous? I sink to death.
Arnaud. What have you done?
Ziriff. Why, nothing, killed a traitor.
Jacques. Let me not die, not now, at fortune's height
From an unsteady base. (he dies
Arnaud. Ha! When did I command to murder him?
Ziriff. I thought you would be better pleased, my lord.
Arnaud. Am I not duke?
Ziriff. You should not boast of it, for I kill dukes.
Arnaud. (drawing out his rapier
Another minute till you bleed in hell.
Ziriff. Orbella is the subject of contention,
Because of whom you die as no wise duke.
Arnaud. Brave, onward, with some manly will!
(They fight with rapier
Ziriff. Your rapier's sharp.
Arnaud. On your throat famished till you drop away.-
Ziriff. Ha, from you I draw water still.
Arnaud. So delicate and cruel? Viper blood
Beats every second from your nasty heart.
Ziriff. My rapier never knocks but enters. No?
Ha, lazy trifler, come. I come, I come.
So far we merely play.
Arnaud. Ha! That was near.
Ziriff. Nearer. (stabbing him
Arnaud. Ha! Where or why, my coward life? You flee.
Ziriff. Done, done.
Arnaud. Our life's a bubble.
Ziriff. Ha, not dead yet?
Arnaud. Ah, death, the shame of nature! Stay awhile,
To chide my follies. Where is strong revenge?
Ah, no, he does not live. The crown- I die
But thinking of what I miss, so near still.
All's lost, ambition, all.
Ziriff. Die gazing on my smiling face, Arnaud.
Arnaud. Ambition: deadly will-o'-the-wisp!
I see I fall where I begun,
Just where I first begun. (he dies
Enter Paul and Lenu
Paul. Who cries so loudly?
Ziriff. What you must whimper on.
Paul. My brother, dead!
Ziriff. What a great swelling mighty man this was,
And what a nothing now! How soon a man
Beside his noontide shadow vanishes,
As if he never were! Ah, seldom hope
Has gladlier smiled on me: so, can I live?
Lenu. No doubt the lord deserved that.
Paul. Ha, flouting me?
Ziriff. Take up that little lump of vanity,
For he may serve. As for the rest, the bin
Lenu. The duke!
Ziriff. Hold, look about no more. There are no more.
Paul. Ha, slave, with help I'll cut away your heart.
Lenu. Hah, what a feast of bones on Paris grounds!
Ziriff. Do not spend all the day in exclamations.
Can we raise forth an army?
Lenu. An army? No doubt if at your command.
Ziriff. After the news of the duke's death, believe
The commons will be up. Good, let them howl
And hurrry forward in large troops of death.
Lenu. But who is duke?
Ziriff. I am.
Ziriff. I hope you do not believe that small thing we saw is duke. We'll cut him, rive all his complaints with one flash of the sword. Who then remains? Orbella. Who is master of Orbella? To Frenchmen, my death-face.
Lenu. I am in all throughout your follower.
Ziriff. The best of friends! Best, best!
Exit Ziriff, enter Sementhe and the guards
Sementhe. I heard- O! Is my Jacques dead?
Lenu. Two lords and a lover, by great thoughts made secure, tread the way to the great nothingness. Alas, I would rather be as just so much burden than mouth a prayer for them. These two men of high actions, heavier in life than private, retired ones, beaming authority far off, look how they swell with air, bubbles, not so heavy now. This high man, erewhile lover mightily scorned by you, seems more like a courtier of the second form, unable to stand on his legs till a thousand parasites move them: the worms will make them move.
Sementhe. I repent of my coldness now.
Lenu. What has become of the ducal brother, what of that trifle within us, making us quarrel, laugh, and fight? Let him be what he will, I'll make bold with him, when before I bowed like all the others, for he is a very undukely thing now, which a bug can pierce.
Sementhe. I think I saw myself in that dead face.
Lenu. You should. As for this duke- remove
That glassy terror, now our broken piece.
He'll have a better epitaph than I.
Exeunt Lenu and Sementhe, the guards carrying the dead bodies
Act 5. Scene 3. The duke's palace
Enter Ziriff and Orbella
Ziriff. All quiet! Does the court sleep peacefully
Between two knots? Here is a light behind,
Where lust takes little care of form or age.
A glass? Fie, madam, that's a flatterer:
I will tell you more boldly what you are.
Orbella. What busies you at this late hour, my friend?
Ziriff. My business is quite bold. (seizing her
Orbella. Ha, no! Will you kill me?
Ziriff. That's not my pleasure now. But had I thought
Erewhile of your soul's state, you would not be
The fragrant whore you are.
Orbella. Ha, do you speak to me?
Ziriff. I think I do. Are you Orbella, queen
Of harlots, no fine duchess when she sleeps
With husband and two brothers of the same?
Orbella. A sad prologue. What act will follow that?
Ziriff. Should we not speak of ducal majesty,
Which you have made a wonder of the age?
Orbella. Sins like black grains stick on my nether lips.
Ziriff. A ducal cuckold in his household marked,
The bull unmoved, whose horns stick to his bed-post!
Orbella. True accusations singing me! No more.
Ziriff. Are those loins never cool? When should cheeks burn
Except with penance? Not with studied art
On a foul callet's bed! Had you forbeared,
You would be living happily with him.
Orbella. Where is my husband? I am frightened now.
He is well, no?
Ziriff. Oh, never better. If to be released
From sickness, treachery of itchy wives,
And the world's smart, be to be well, he is.
Orbella. What do you mean?
Ziriff. Pale cheeks reveal your tale.
Ziriff. And your son, too.
Orbella. O, no! Not so.
Ziriff. Both almost as dead as your sense of shame.
Orbella. Not Thomas, too!
Ziriff. I saw blood leave his cheeks forever, but
Why it did is strange when his mother whores.
Orbella. Ah, ah! This news may do some good, because
I can weep now, when I could not before.
Ziriff. A husband womaned nearly every day
By voluntary ones, involuntary
Orbella. Retarded dew becomes quite ill a grave:
It makes the lodging colder in these nights.
Ziriff. Have you not thought of danger, when the man
Who killed your husband may kill you as well?
Orbella. Where can I fly?
Ziriff. But yet it is not safe to raise the court.
Orbella. Where is Arnaud?
Ziriff. Ha, why choose him for the succession? States
Sink on such bladders.
Orbella. Who else can save a frenzied duchess here?
Ziriff. Who else indeed?
Orbella. Dispute no more, my friend, but find Arnaud.
Ziriff. I will refuse that honor.
Orbella. What else do you suggest?
Ziriff. I must have you.
Orbella. Ha? Do you mock?
Ziriff. I can deserve to have you.
Orbella. Before my husband cools?
Ziriff. The frantic night is big with miracles.
Orbella. Off, Ziriff!
Ziriff. You'll love a husband yet: that is an oath
By which I live before another day
Finds me alone.
Ziriff. Have you already chosen? I'll be back.
Orbella. Hear, Syrian craft, I know it is a plot
To force out my love's greatness. I suspect
You greatly fear Arnaud, as much as I
Fear monsters in the flesh. Do I guess right?
I think you mean no good to me today.-
Re-enter Ziriff below and enter Lenu above, carrying Arnaud's corpse
Orbella. What is your faithful servant carrying?
Ziriff. Did you not order me to find Arnaud?
(Lenu throws the corpse below and exits
Orbella. O! O! O! O! O! O! You have hurt him.
Ziriff. Past any hurt, the apple rotting in
Your giant mouth.
Orbella. I do not know my temper. I can do
Some wonders now, I think. I am mad, mad,
Bordello-mad, when duchesses go there,
With what you show. Ho, treason, treason; ho!
Ziriff. Hold! Daggers stop a mouth.
Orbella. Ha, will you murder more?
Ziriff. Here is your glass: behold your sins full blown:
No region unforesworn, and gladly, too.
May God forgive you soon, for I will not.
Like maidens, blushing in a garden, pluck
Each primrose of the wanton spring, you make
A dallying and thawing treasure of
Your lap, to choose again, though appetite
Be overfull with many tiny men.
Orbella. You rage because you are not one of them.
Ziriff. I dug into your husband to get you:
Now likely to be great, this may not be,
Lest enemies betray our government.
Orbella. Our government? What does the raver mean?
Ziriff. We'll marry.
Orbella. Ha? Give me poison.
Ziriff. To casual whores, death is no punishment.
It is the sense, the fears, the conscience of our harm
That make a profitable death.
Orbella. Then kill me now, be merciful, unless
You wish a crazed one on your mounting bed.
Ziriff. Weep yet again, wash out each grimy spot
Of sin to a primeval freshness.
Orbella. What is your wish?
Ziriff. One kiss.
Orbella. I'll make you die in pleasure of that kiss,
But first let me prepare.
Ziriff. More of your woman's arts?
Orbella. Where is my mirror?- There, in readiness
Of yours and only yours.
Ziriff. Come nearer.
Orbella. The nearest, love. (kissing him
Ziriff. Ah, treasures on each side!
Orbella. Not more?
Ziriff. Ah, death, death, death, your lips!
Orbella. True. Death. You guess at last right.
Ziriff. Ten scalding kisses from your poisoned lips!
Orbella. Is this no loving scheme? Forbidden man,
You die because you love. Could you not guess?
Ambition, sleep: what you achieve is dust.
Ziriff. Well. Many thanks for that. (he dies
Orbella. Sleep, sleep, forever, man, forgotten, too.
Enter Paul, Sementhe, and the guards
Paul. What have we here, a churchyard? Griefs atop
Each other piled!
Orbella. Is not the world so?
Paul. (drawing out his sword
Am I too late? Is Ziriff truly dead?
Orbella. You mock all eyes with courage. Look on him:
Have you beheld a sweeter corpse this year?
Paul. I no longer believe you are a woman.
Orbella. He sleeps, he sleeps, he sleeps, forever and
All but his crimes, which may succeeding years
Remember, as the schoolboy with the rod
He dreads. May all good people at his name
Jump, in a stricken wonder gape and blink,
On their knees falling, praying loudly that
They will not be, even approach, what now
He has become. To all the bad undeaf,
May the mere sounding of his horrid name
Be an infection to unheeding ears.
Their cursing will help mine, so that henceforth
That name will be a terror to men's thoughts,
Inciting them to goodness, not the fear
Of punishments deferred or never seen.
Paul. I am the duke should that corpse be Arnaud's.
Orbella. It is.
Paul. I am the duke.
Orbella. Arnaud, could I recall you to this world!
No, that's a subject for more tears of pitch,
Not for our hope. We may not knit the rose,
When it is cut, back to the mourning stalk:
Preserve it in the bowl of water of
Our tears: such is love's tribute on your grave,
So that my violets only will grow there,
The herald of a newer afternoon,
From viciousness and worms free, to spring up
Paul. I am the duke.
Orbella. Awake, all lustful maidens of the court,
Gaze on my tragedy and claw your cheeks
To thinner gaudy ribbons, famish lust
Out of your loins and breasts, behold the end
Of gaiety and murder.
Sementhe. I hear you, madam.
Orbella. Come, help me weep, and cry aloud the more
Till I dissolve into a muddy grave.
Sementhe. Our mothers should repent that they failed to
Command the nurse to place a rope beside
Our cradle, putting us from the first hour
Before our eyes the pains to be endured
In this foul gibbet-world.
Orbella. Have I mourned well enough?
Paul. I think so, madam. Will you still remain
Our mighty duchess?
Orbella. I would.
Paul. Then be my bride after interring these.
Orbella. We must all die: that is my comfort, sir.
Paul. I will command you to your happiness
And mine, as duke of all.
Orbella. The valiant Ziriff missed that.
Paul. Yes, but he was no duke.
Orbella. Ah, you are frenzied in the greatest haste.
Paul. Should I not be, as a duke who commands
What he asks for? What else should a duke do
But to command and get what he asks for?
Orbella. I am no happy woman fit to know,
Or one to answer wisely.
Orbella. When lewdly pressing, you bind all the more
My tongue of woe.
Paul. Look up, the world is here.
Orbella. Let me but grow to earth, a silly weed,
Retrieve it, and then drop it softly in
My final mound, forlorn and desolate.
Paul. No, in my heart.
Orbella. Where grief and death should be.
Paul. Tomorrow when bright heavens bleed on us,
We'll sorrow for the duke my brother, grieve
For Jacques, shed a tear for Ziriff, strike
Our breast-plate for Arnaud, your hand in mine.
Orbella. I think I can now, duke.
Paul. Bear out the corpses, slow defenders. You
For me must do much better, if I hope.
Sementhe. Come, madam, will you rise?
Paul. Up to my liking as her duke and love.
Orbella. I think I can.
Exeunt Orbella, Paul, Sementhe, and the guards carrying the corpses