Act 2. Scene 1. Brewen's house
Enter Sapience and Amaryll
Amaryll. You dog me still.
Sapience. No kiss?
Amaryll. My dog's lips first.
Sapience. Excellent hyena, nuzzle me closer, or, if you frown, I'll take you indirectly. The male hyena rushes towards the female, then veers away, as I do, to make sure he is safe. (kissing her
Amaryll. I thought you came up short for thoughts of love.
Sapience. Ha! Ha! A shorter kiss just for that jest. (kissing her
Amaryll. Hell-fire is cooler.
Sapience. May devils dance against each side of you.
Amaryll. Manners grosser than Mayday ribbon-mongers!- Fut! Do you swell the lip?
Sapience. A vixen maddens me.
Amaryll. I know a friend who may amend your lusts.
Sapience. Your Spaniard? I scorn the heels of his shoes.
Amaryll. He bears a blade.
Sapience. I scorn both blade and whiskers.
Amaryll. I must draw milk.
Sapience. Draw some from me instead.
Amaryll. Ha, forcing me? An ape of hell so bold?
Sapience. What is the harm in chewing some rare bits
Of spiced adultery each working day,
More on a Sunday?
Amaryll. One day we'll dream we never closed together.
Sapience. Should I run mad? No other word of grace?
Amaryll. None yet.
Sapience. Have I not pleaded, showered you with gold
Like Danae, neglected wife and son's
Slack bellies for your love, as if my own
And only mine? Is smooth indifference
To all my oaths and protestations
To be my pickings on each winter day?
In climbing of the apple-tree, I find
Soot and grey cinders, shrivelling the tongue,
Love's root transplanted in Gomorrah with
Each of my members frozen evermore.
Amaryll. I am pursued by jealous husbands, one
Of whom may plant a blade inside my ribs
If you conduct me where I dare not think.
I cannot Daphne-like to laurel change
Should my Apollo trim my straying hedge.
Sapience. Dare not?
Amaryll. But yet I'll make a banquet of my eyes
In looking at your body all I can.
Sapience. Scorned, scorned! Why always speak of looking, ha?
I carry members meant to be both food
And mouth, to make you wish you had ten more.
Amaryll. Fair centaur! Am I to be wedding meat
Whenever you arrive to thrash about?
Sapience. Such is the meed of niceness! I should go
To brothels or to churches for my lusts.
Enter Fernando with a drawn sword
Fernando. Why fly from me already, Amaryll?
Amaryll. I'll stay.
Fernando. Where? With your lover?
Sapience. O, I am dead. Cart me away to earth.
Fernando. Admit it, girl. I am no husband here.
Fernando. No husband yet.
Sapience. I'll go.
Fernando. (striking him
Sapience. Perhaps I'll stay instead.
Fernando. I'll play on you as do anatomists
On bones unless you sit more staidly by.
Sapience. Were my head sleeping in a viper's nest!
Amaryll. On hollow bladder skins we slumber when
Each billow swallows us.
Sapience. I am a made man.
Fernando. Behold this brow of blood; learn to fear it.
Amaryll. An apter pupil than I ever thought,
Full of obedience, mildness, and respect.
Fernando. Pale winter flea! He feeds on woman's blood,
Not daring to come nearer man's regard.
Amaryll. How can a woman be avenged on him?
Reflect on that if you love Amaryll.
Fernando. Stay! This time a man pleads and begs, inclined
To droop on your ripe breast or otherwhere.
Amaryll. What poison have you swallowed? Am I not
Who I am, Amaryll and married still?
Fernando. (ripping off her shirt
Too true, you are another's.
Amaryll. Ha? Are you mad?
Fernando. I had forgotten that.
Amaryll. How, sucking like an infant in the street?
Fernando. An infant, but extremely vengeful, too.
I promise that to any who adhere
Where I would like to stay.
Amaryll. So. But will I be tainted with the crime?
Fernando. No, sweetest innocence. Should he advance
Against your absolute express commands,
Smear on these drops. Let copulation suck,
To fall corrupted past all modern cures.
Amaryll. How, on both nipples?
Fernando. No harm to you, for him none either, in
That death ends all our dangers in this life.
Amaryll. Ingenious vengeance!
Fernando. Should not all women be defended so
In lusty England?
Amaryll. Should he offend, into a lover's grave
He'll pitch down senselessly.
Fernando. Who better is acquainted with old death
Than lovers? Women recognize that well.
Amaryll. I'll never ask for deeper proofs of love.
Fernando. No more trite words. Let Plato speak for us:
Our greatest happiness is to do good.
Exeunt Amaryll and Fernando
Act 2. Scene 2. Brewen's house
Enter Anne and Sapience
Anne. Fretted and pestered!
Sapience. Like house flies shake him off.
Anne. Are such deeds possible?
Sapience. There is little we cherish more than murder carried well.
Anne. Consider yet the earl's resolve to work
Against the deed.
Sapience. Let no flesh sink into fear. Rather let
It rise again as any man would wish.
Anne. Agreed. I never knew a sweeter sin.
Sapience. No husband's bed can bind a woman's lust,
Acknowledging no known geography.
Anne. You have not drunk my husband's dissipation.
Sapience. I do not doubt he is a filthy, troublesome man of lust, as men are so inclined, or those who are not dare not do what their conscience bids them to. No airy words as "sin" and "commandment" restrain concupiscence whenever it rages and chafes.
Anne. You know his type: a deadly entertainer of jests, wont to make a beggar's belly shake with cutting down of reputations, though mangy and foodless, a truant at forty years, one who would rather cease breathing than carousing, or cease carousing than pouring between strange laps, a cogger when he bestirs himself, one who at seventeen pilfered his mother's paralytic purse, to run away and make her die of sorrow.
Sapience. A triple six for describing an excellent example of manhood! I know no worthier one.
Anne. I describe nature's error. Can any man carry such a load of sins without being struck by a thunderbolt, when Onan merely frisked with his fingers?
Sapience. You speak ill of God's watchfulness.
Anne. He? A half-aborted cur! His father, a magistrate of harsh though clear living, could never savor acknowledging such a son, especially after sorrowfully beholding all the gradations of his boyish lusts, calling him no child of his before the boy-in-all-but-vices resolved his first multiplication.
Sapience. Why not do as Roman fathers did, excused for taking off sons rich only in vices, to spare the world a shudder?
Anne. If only he were gone! If only I
Were rid of all of him! I gain a dream
Of paradise by it.
Sapience. Easily achieved.
Anne. Of what use are poisons if not for bad husbands?
Sapience. In serving you, there is no cornerstone of danger I would not build on.
Anne. What woman would not applaud such resolution, more profitable, I guess, than Fernando's!
Sapience. You open to him as well?
Anne. No more.
Sapience. Should my mother stand in front of either, my rapier goes through. I laugh in whirlwinds, scorning commodity, just to hear your commendations.
Anne. I am the wretchedest if you fail to affect it.
Sapience. I scorn comparisons, yet Polyphemus in his den was not so choleric and bloody as I can be should the woman be worth it. No crazed voluptuary ever existed till I appeared, or dissembling pirate, infant-separator, officer of law with tooth of steel to grind out prisoners' lives, or a remorseless mother, who for whining pours out babe and bath, or drunken alley-magistrates, worse than Caracella in his madness, who take both wallet and life. Weep and quail aghast, or swell with anger, if your husband's eye do not close in earth.
Anne. This as our prelude. (kissing him
Sapience. Never fail in woman's ailment while I plot.
Anne. Do you call love woman's ailment?
Sapience. I do, man as her happy physician.
Anne. Does the mouse scurry off?
Fernando. I do not know why Sapience chooses to leave whenever I appear. Thus briefly as I pass, master Brewen-
Fernando. In his usual profligacy, my master offers himself colors of many brews, spilling most of them before they reach that bottomless pit: his throat: But a few minutes ago the drink was lapped away by your dog, because of which he never recovered.
Anne. Has he murdered my friend?
Fernando. The dog, truly yes. When last I saw your husband, he frisked at Old Square with the dog's ears on his hat.
Sapience. That's Brewen. I recognize him there.
Anne. Bring forth my chopped love.
Sapience. So casual a sinner is rarely seen.
Re-enter Fernando with a dead dog in a basket
Anne. O, he is worse than bruised. An animal
I know did this.
Sapience. Excellent tenderness for a wife, mourning before her dog's bier.
Anne. He will not live another day.
Fernando. Madam, I say the dog is dead.
Sapience. Reveal, unlucky messenger, the end of him,
How Biter lived, how most unhappily
The dog was not.
Anne. Say, while I whisper comfort to his corpse.
Fernando. No sooner did the happy-yelping hound incline to proffers of human friendship than swiftly he dragged sideways, to whine, as if a farmer's pitchfork had struck his sides. Then my shrill nuzzler into fitful roarings broke, enough to melt a horse's sinews to the ground. Your husband smiled at this, fortune blessing him so well that what was meant for man fell to beast, yet everyone present, except him, was sorry for that. Finally, in hideous convulsions the sapless mongrel flipped, almost a tennis-ball against the grimy walls, whose severity flowered at each passing hour, my tavern-knaves by then altogether tired of the sport, scarcely eyeing him, when, marrow-struck, bent in two as if some glass-blower breathed fire inside his belly, the puking sufferer amid green stuff expired, which with tossing of goblets and chicken bones on the floor was rarely noticed, till nostrils told the story.
Anne. I would not have had it otherwise.
Sapience. A good martial end, I think. This falls well. Reason dictates preservation from such husbands. My twelve-year-old son lent his hand at experiments on his cat with tweezer and knife, I hear, to study pain, the better to avoid it: so will your husband, I think.
Anne. I'll study each fly resting on his cadaver as astronomers do the constellations.
Sapience. I am no more a man if he is one tomorrow.
Fernando. The master may find time to repent this deed.
Anne. I hope not.
Sapience. Neither do I, if I expect to kiss in bed.
Fernando. Here I acknowledge you as my mistress' particular friend.
Sapience. Here is my query: were you not beside dissipation in full sway, consequently abetting every deed? How else did my lady's lap-friend meet with his end before Brewen's indifferent eye?
Fernando. My good and very noble friend, let no Cato's eye of censure reprove the humblest of your servants. What with holding my master's head, in danger of drowning in offals of his wassails, the great noise of gurgling gorges, less than human in the breach of decorum, enough to mangle the patience of sedate parsons, you are pleasant if you assume so much against my attendance as to lay claim in any fashion common to our citizenry that I, past any sense of obligation, hold murderous thoughts against my mistress' innocent companion.
Sapience. A juggling face I often see. Good trencher-sweeper-
Fernando. You misunderstand yourself when preening in front of my mistress, I often notice.
Anne. O, O, my large-nosed lubber, are you gone?
Sapience. Do I fly beyond my faculties, or else discern some horrible attempt at perpretations against man's life between you and her? Are you not his drudge as well as hers, his lick-spittle, his tavern-Ganymede sometimes, when unoccupied on a Sunday afternoon?
Fernando. Your gentlemanship quite mistakes my life and intentions, as well as his kind. Far too often- to my prejudice may it be spoken- I have so well captured to mind a steward's duty as rarely failing to lay hands on my master's hat whenever in danger of being bespattered in the mud and puddles of London streets.
Sapience. My duty to my mistress prevents me from expounding on these courtesies, in which your master, pulled by your hackney tendance, obviously indulges in, to the profit of companies more than womanly, to the defamation of his manhood.
Fernando. Dare you call me a whoremonger?
Sapience. Your officiality crouches below that, as the servant of those who tuck in the coin.
Anne. Quite gone?
Fernando. I know so well my duty that I seldom choose to receive wrongs as a truant's head some falling leaves while he whistles autumnal airs.
Sapience. Do you affect a bolder front than usual?
Anne. Friend, never be abused by the slave's insolence: my good servant as well as his master's.
Fernando. I everlastingly thank you, madam.
Sapience. I do not marvel he is defended when I see the slave truss up a certain lady's petticoat in her excursions at night.- Dare you frown on a gentleman?
Fernando. I know my duty better, I hope.
Sapience. All stirrup-cleaners should.
Fernando. I rarely strive higher, sir.
Sapience. Except when nosing between gentlewomen's legs.
Anne. Enough, pail-emptying sir.
Sapience. Where do you glean these pickpurse Apollos?
Fernando. I speak no oracle, yet gentlemen
I once knew neither speak nor hear when my
Sword passes through.
Anne. The idle winds pass by in silent grief!
Sapience. I first saw his sooty countenance near the Great Walk, hat in hand, bargaining his appleskins with my lady's monkey.
Anne. Hold, servant.
Fernando. I may at length be prevailed on.
Sapience. How the toad swells! Shrink, villain. (striking him
Fernando. Ha! You have struck my face.
Sapience. Egypt has more wonders than this.
Fernando. My face was struck, I think.
Sapience. A Spaniard's, too. What of that? Your trencher-honor's maimed, I find.
Fernando. I'll lead your gentlemanship by the hand if I find a cure.
Sapience. Secret varlet! If you do, I'll unbosom you, in faith.
Anne. I say, hold.
Fernando. Dogs have memories.
Anne. You have created a dangerous groom, when he was meant to be a gentle murderer, whom I entertain for lack of office in my sheets.
Sapience. I scorn danger and his sons before my love. Teach a hangman's apprentice to turn his face from offal, not I in front of danger. Before stomaching impertinence, I will unhinge a kingdom. A pedlar's suitor! A schizopherical love-match bears no worse a conflict than that between our brows.
Anne. Allay such heats in woman's cup.
Sapience. The only comfort when I'm up.
Anne. My avid bee, gathering pleasures from one flower to the next.
Exeunt Anne and Sapience
Act 2. Scene 3. The earl's palace
Enter the earl of Somerset and the two counsellors
Somerset. So, Wrington never saw me puke if I
Cannot defend myself against this gear.
Counsellor 1. So woe-begone?
Somerset. My mentor, dead, my wife accused of all!
Counsellor 2. My lord, worse still: yourself may sit accused,
If not of murdering, abetting of
The horrid murder.
Somerset. I know I will. Who will uphold me if I fall?
One place: the tower with its sweating wall.
Counsellor 1. Unthinking rages turn against ourselves.
Somerset. A maxim as I sink? Whose thought is that?
Counsellor 1. Did I not hear, within this room, I think,
Your lordship curse the meddling Overbury?
Counsellor 2. Were we but a short while ago incensed
To make our murderers particular
Prey of that angry wolf, the law, when now
You must defend yourself against that law
For your own life, together with a spouse
Whose guilt seems most assured to all, except
To blind fools when they drink?
Somerset. Ah, too rash Overbury, why were you
Against my marriage? Why stood you against
My wife, since childhood apt to wrong all wrongs
In triplicate, though she deprives herself
Thereby of more revenges?
Counsellor 1. A pitiable plight!
Counsellor 2. My very thought as I awoke today!
Say that your lordship is found guilty, grant
It is unluckily true, beg at once
For mercy. Otherwise, he may not help.
Somerset. Ah, ah, the king!
Counsellor 2. That struck him well! Against his teeth, I think.
Counsellor 1. His rise to prominence! Who saw it flash?
Counsellor 2. Does not Lord Somerset convince the king
To break up parliaments when Scottish lords
Are threatened by a loss of privilege?
Counsellor 1. From menial of the earl of Dunbar to
The treasury of Scotland in a bolt!
Counsellor 1. And half of England's, too. No warrior broke
His leg at tilting more auspiciously.
Counsellor 2. None, with a king as nurse.
Exeunt the two counsellors