Act 3. Scene 1. Before a well
Enter Libertine and Jeremina
Libertine. Are you at liberty?
Jeremina. Free to refuse, ignore, dismiss, cut off.
Libertine. Women as free as you should be all the bolder, when desire takes wing towards any we follow, skilful to counfound the vigilance of Argus fathers.
Jeremina. I cannot hear you without blushing still.
Libertine. A sign your Russian spring is thawing. Let
Love conjure willingness with traced lines
Outside a father's profitless respect.
Jeremina. Desires are punishments to women thick
With love's unwanted burden when you go.
Libertine. Or else conjure inside the circle of untouched darkness love is happy to aim at. A virgin bastion totters against love's iron showers. Desire's fulness swells as we speak, and plays the gardener in removing musty virgin bulbs out of the glass-house into rougher sun and winds. I am no idle farmer, but rather cojoin different species of lilies unadulterated, unshaken by the squibs your father throws on us, when his nose freezes at the name of a daughter's pleasure.
Jeremina. I'll never touch the lilly, or rather your pricked rose, unless you forbid a maiden's liberty with violence.
Libertine. Only a father, in monkish profligacy to earn his place alone in heaven, which he calls austere living and learning, keeps you from woman's freedom. I'll show you sights many dream of, whenever pale hands tremble to reach beyond their Bible.
Jeremina. My father bid me fetch my pail, not men.
Libertine. I'll fill your pail, believe it, so that you
Need never look elsewhere.
Jeremina. Not nearly what he asks for.
Libertine. Because his pleasure is your punishment.
Jeremina. I know men sigh but to beguile. You plead
To grunt awhile, then joyfully depart.
Libertine. I know virgin mouths more usually tempted by salty preparations than the main course. Will you remain a fool at fifteen? What finger is hurt by plucking on a pea-pod? The pleasure that awaits exceeds hymns, lamentations, and descants beside weeping candles. Will you sleep with Isaiah? Can Calvin pierce with joy? Will you always murmur with doctors of theology, whose eyes, shaded by hat-bands to signify zest for the cause, follow a temple maiden's discreet and correct toe, to instil awe and reverence, or else with mincing aunts and moral uncles deliberate and frowning in the very act of dalliance?
Jeremina. Man and virgin beneath a tree portend no school of virtue.- Here's water to my ears.- Do you expect a village Jezebel? Your lusts, like bits of iron touched with stones, draw on, but only with your kind.
Libertine. I bear no punitive device, but a
Shrewd warming-piece for many winter nights.
Jeremina. I may not wear it.
Libertine. Come, melt.
Jeremina. Between my candles when my knees touch ground.
Love me instead and hope.
Libertine. Love without pleasure is a sunless rose, pleasure without love a rose blooming and dying in three seconds. Enter my room at night: I'll show you works of ancient design, none in marble or lime. Will you not?
Jeremina. My circumambient-eyed father!
Libertine. Old apoplexy frowning half the day!
Jeremy. Puckering, wantoning, mistress?
Jeremina. Never if I live.
Libertine. Her lips, to her credit, seem like charnel monuments in sunlight.
Jeremy. I will be gentler than I ever was.
Jeremina. The awful fear's enough.
Jeremy. I think so, sometimes hope so, too.
Libertine. Well, sir. Should you wish for any further communication on my part, I'll happily oblige.
Jeremy. Most false intruder, some few words before
You leave to tempt another to her death.
Libertine. I never try but win, when she agrees.
Jeremy. Not here.
Libertine. Too promptly said. We'll let no maiden burn
For man's desire, which I admit to lie
Beyond the zodiac in scope, subject to
Precession somewhat, yet remaining true.
Jeremina. A father does not use his daughter's flesh
As strangers do.
Jeremy. O, no, O, no.
Libertine. I had hoped to win friends.
Jeremy. No such friend wanted here. For her, no streak
Or welt, not now or ever, though lust burns
At instep or at elbow every way.
Jeremina. No rancor or dismissal I expect.
Jeremy. Devoid of mildest petulance even.
Libertine. No spectacle, to make of you the gaze
And talk of Sunday-weary Londoners.
Libertine. I take my leave.
Jeremy. May you rot where you go.
Libertine. Toothless impertinence! Street-wiper of English mores! Lick dust from common by-roads as you leap to chide bed-roadsters. Do you speak to me? I can exchange with nerves of wrath, except those crumbling beside their grave. You make women what they are.
Jeremy. Rather a paralyzed virtue who cannot sit than a skipping wanton!
Jeremina. To what a pit of shame I sink into!
Humiliation hisses with the lips
Of Ezechiel's conflagrations.
Jeremina. Ten times or more each night as I draw breath.
Jeremy. I'll see that overwillingly.
Jeremina. I am ten times your burden or my own.
Jeremy. Ah, gentler. No harm with the fissure safe.
Jeremy. Of what use is a father if not to
Advise, suggest, the best too leniently?
Libertine. Quite little, I admit, the mother, too.
Jeremy. My purest untouched snowdrop innocence!
Libertine. Ho, without question that rock should thank you
On floors whenever lacking poultices.
Jeremy. Are you unhappy at your quest this day?
Libertine. Yes, slightly disappointed, probity.
Jeremina. I like the name.
Libertine. Or anchorite in smoky cellarage-
Libertine. Whose only music is his grinding teeth.
Jeremina. And I the daughter to this Caucasus,
On whose dry flintless breasts Promethean flames
Return to icicles.
Jeremy. Do you feel that? Book-doctrines breathing life!
Libertine. Her nose like acorns stiffen as we kiss.
Jeremy. The gladder. All my pains rewarded well!
Libertine. I wonder at myself for thinking that
I bothered to inveigle that ice-pit.
Jeremina. More excellent sport!
Jeremy. The best and only, when the eager mourn.
Libertine. My daily homage to all virtuous maids,
To edge my compass forward.
Jeremina. My needle points with yours, but finds the north
By ten degrees too hot.
Jeremy. An answer as I always dreamt to wish!
Exeunt Jeremina and Jeremy, enter Amaryll
Libertine. Hole-in-my-bed, most welcome in my griefs!
Amaryll. Will you undo me forever? My husband gropes for herbs in the adjoining field.
Libertine. To sink in mud while I smell his life's rose.
Amaryll. Kissing with lips still warm from another's?
Libertine. Of whose, Jeremina's? That rounded ice-cube?
Amaryll. I saw you sniffing at each flank and limb.
Libertine. For my pains knocked on by father and daughter, their bowling match after service hymns.
Amaryll. So should I, though mistress Brewen commands us to church only when threatened by fines.
Libertine. Why should you go, when you already feel
Each sin you wish to shirk?
Amaryll. Your fault, I guess.
Libertine. Admit a frozen pilgrim in your church.
Amaryll. The prodigy of blood! It raises flags
Atop a mossy tower levelled down.
Libertine. What commendations may one lorn invent
To tempt you into good adulteries?
Amaryll. This stable-fly bites into more than flesh
Of horses or of bulls.
Libertine. I scorn farmyards, except when tending to
A husband's ram-horns.
Amaryll. We smile and crawl with pleasure into hell.
Libertine. Return to infancy instead: two babes
In muckholes playing.
Amaryll. No babe can rise so high, or point so hard.
Libertine. Or rest so soon, unless the nurses suck.
Amaryll. Should Trencher see your matted buttocks, he
Would eat his muddy lettuce without oil.
Libertine. Where are your lips?
Amaryll. Which ones?
Libertine. Complete for any man to burn at will.
Amaryll. I'm half your flame.
Libertine. Come, do not speak by mouth. In woman stilled,
Hell is above and heaven deep below.
Amaryll. In both all fire and wax.
Libertine. Our sudden blazing warms up hell anew.
Amaryll. For Luther's sake, call back stern Jephthah's beard.
Libertine. No, rather let hell howl and swallow me.
Amaryll. I am in labor till I see us there.
Fernando. Ha, excellent furze-lechers at it still!
Amaryll. A worse face than a husband's!
Libertine. He scared me out of my breeches.
Amaryll. Here is adultery singed in her fire.
Fernando. (drawing out his sword I would rather see the sun die than my love for her. Libertine, I vow? A word or two before you die.
Libertine. Death is a doctor who keeps us waiting.
Fernando. I need not remind you Amaryll is Trencher's husband and truest love. No. Of what relevance is that to me? I will not recall the rite of marriage you mire on with intemperate lusts and merriment. No. Of what use are sacraments to me, or to anyone? Instead, I remind myself I am a failed medical student, whose curiosity remains yet undimmed by bad teachers, with a particular interest in Estienne's findings on the valves of the hepatic veins.
Libertine. Look at his diagrams instead.
Fernando. For evil, man and woman fan the air
With thirsty swallows, to do good no clog
Or plummet's drowsier.
Libertine. Can you charm him?
Amaryll. Like Barbary apes with raisins.
Libertine. Do it in haste. My sleeves begin to reek.
Fernando. How potently adulteries mend gaps,
To gape in fear forever afterwards!
Libertine. A pot of oil is clearer than these quips.
Amaryll. Will you have love tonight?
Fernando. I'm stilled.
Amaryll. Not that, but swords of flesh are wanted here.
Fernando. The other whirling back to scabbard peace.
Libertine. I am appeased, Fernando. For a while,
I thought this likely your last death-day.
Fernando. In rankest dread, you tore my pocket here.
Libertine. To be paid thrice its value, as estimated by any condemned falsifier you like. Forgive, so that devotedly I may one day kiss the bed that begot you.
Amaryll. Is there any evil worse than religion? You chide me for wife-straying while pocketing my sin.
Fernando. Do priests yield us richer ware when we pocket heaven, our unseen nothing? I look at my soul like a cat on its image in water.
Libertine. I on my mistress' sole.
Fernando. Go home with courage, to keep it sturdily away from men's noses.
Exeunt Libertine, Amaryll, and Fernando
Act 3. Scene 2. An ale-house
Enter John and the two citizens
John. Are we grown riotous?
Citizen 1. By my faith, no, a broken window or two.
Citizen 2. Why should the law concern itself with men
Who suck on bottles? First extinguish fires
Inside our brothels, slaves, where danger lies.
John. A melancholy gamester! I begin
To pity you.
Citizen 2. Do it with lifting of the elbow.
John. You remind me of who I am.- Do you weep?
Citizen 1. Of joy, hyetally. Who would not with such a rout of brethen about?
John. Let those who loathe our revellings beweep
On sermon dishes.
Citizen 2. To love!
John. Shall we have women?
Citizen 1. As common-wearisome as blighted corn.
I will have rarer pleasures.
Citizen 2. To love!
John. I am most melancholy in that I
Have not yet lost mine at the stake.
Citizen 1. Some dice here! Who wins mine?
Citizen 2. I would not cut my purse for mine.
John. For the sake of love, I forswear dicing, to imbibe instead. Should we howl until cockcrow?
Citizen 1. A venerable way to pass the time!
Citizen 2. Unless we grow waterish from too little wine.
John. Excellent discretion in a parson's son!
Citizen 1. I'll swallow urine ere neglecting friends.
Citizen 2. I have seen him do it. The stream is straight and very correct.
John. Hee! Hee! An excellent company of men are we, none among women's company at all nobler or more discreet and affable.
Citizen 1. I question why officers of law frown on us, as if we were begotten under damp stones.
Citizen 2. Let us caper.
Citizen 1. How?- O, I bepissed myself again.
John. The lord mayor should give prizes for that feat.
Citizen 2. Or to whoever farts longest.
Citizen 1. I'll make a buttock of my face to win it cleanly. Purt! Purt! Proot! Proot! Twoof!
Citizen 2. Here's your prize. (farting
Citizen 1. Ah, villain. You grow tedious all at once,
Not learnedly as I expected when
I first enjoyed your worthy company.
John. Hold, an armed vessel chugging towards port.
Anne. The meaning of these alarums?
John. Alas, I grieve to tell.
Anne. Do you grieve? Have you lost your wife, I mean
John. By the god of oblations, no, only my second one, you.
Citizen 1. I came to bid for you.
Citizen 2. And I perhaps to rob you.
John. These cards, I regret to say, reveal my lost, his gain, our ending.
Citizen 2. And I the lecherous suitor who lost. Name your price and then avaunt, sir.
Citizen 1. I stay with mine.
John. Truly a wise choice, though I say so who should not.
Citizen 2. Never look on dry pirates, but on me. There is more love in my beseeching eyes than in all the drops our savior lost.
John. Take both. I am unable to choose well.
Does not their fire excel when first I sighed,
Unable to write sonnets on your brow?
I swear they'll please you thoroughly and well.
Citizen 1. Out, varlet! I won her.
Citizen 2. But I'll take her and sing, before your face,
Behind it, too, before the bishop of
Canabury, religious breeder still,
By Hooker's discourse on justification,
Where it is proved we need not understand
Salvation by faith to win heaven's light,
By holy loathing of the pope and Jews,
Together with their heads, invisibly
Commanding gentle lives. Let all three stand,
Here, or at holy mountains of their choice,
For each a word- three words at least, three words
For the price of one, better, by the host,
Than any heard in Jewry or in mosque
Who pray to one. The flogger should be paid
Three times his wages, for he scourged all three.
John. He goads, I can feel it. Come, sir, awake
Or die in waking. Collet burnt his toe
But for our sake on Smithfield's holy ground.
Citizen 2. Come to me, little ones, my bottles of
The realm. Unless you drink as these, I say,
You are not fit to enter where I am.
Citizen 1. No matter, only dribbling of the beard.
Unless your wife is shorter with my neck
Than was Alecto, she is ever mine.
John. No fear. But she perhaps will scorn your friends.
Citizen 2. I scorn all scorners, living with my God,
Especially when most contrite, alone.
John. This wife's a Parthian, casting darts behind.-
Will you depart so soon?
Citizen 2. We better our instructions: some have walked
On water, while we tread on wine, some turn
Their water into wine, we wine into
Citizen 1. I should perhaps change my mind. I think Anne,
My wife, begins to look contentiously.
John. I have observed such looks, which bode men ill.
Proud Juno never looked on Ithaca
More jealously than she on our full board.
Citizen 1. I doubt about my prize now.
John. As your particular friend, I say you should.
Citizen 1. Is she in bed like stirring ones we know?
Citizen 2. Love her nevertheless, love all, all love,
My message all too simple, yet refused
By churches even, many sects built up
But to displease the pope, regardless of
Citizen 1. I leave you, neighbor, glad to drink with you,
Not burn with you.
Citizen 2. Burn, burn, burn, burn.
Exeunt the two citizens
John. Your will with me?
Anne. Not now forswearing all these sucking sins?
John. Your will?
Anne. Mere dangling on a spider's thread, I vow.
John. Reproaches, damned in them!
Anne. An infant with curtains on fire and no one in the house. If you tempt the devil to dinner, he'll burn your pot-roast.
John. I do not delight in you. No, no. We fail to exult.
Anne. For my pains, litotes.
John. For your pains Sapience, for your pleasures, too.
Anne. You know of him?
John. I do.
John. Noble philosophy!
Anne. Doing what you cannot.
John. He comes for us.
Anne. For you? How? Why?
John. Like a good gardener, to chop the weeds.
Anne. Am I no temperate wife?
John. I'll be an ass if I temporize further.
Anne. You are an ass sensu stricto and jure stricto.
John. To help forgetfulness of that, imbibe.
Anne. All to be dearly paid.
John. All sweaty now. Forgive. All mortals here.
Anne. That you will find.
John. The woefullest husband not yet dead!
Anne. No doubt.
John. Let me on barren peaks shift for dry bones,
In desolation's cave sigh on no root
But ashes, on some flaming dragon's head
Sweat drops, miraculously: not one tear,
Oblivious sinking, bottle-pining jest,
Provided I am never married. Then
I taste with Adam fruits of paradise.
Anne. These admirations will not help your case.
John. No throne, dominion, cherubim for me.
The cohorts blessedly converse, but not
With me. The misery of marriages!
Anne. Priests only celebrate with rites of death.
John. If always true, I would be blessed by now.
Should we not kiss?
Anne. Rather the muscularly folding rings
Of undigesting pythons.
John. I cannot brook the eyes of murdering.
Anne. Pah! Such a man! No pale amazement to
Take down my hangman humor! I see you
By day or night in air.
John. Swine on their bloody block of wood fear less.
I'm on the surest way I know not where.
Anne. O, what a thing I bedded with! Alas,
I twist my bulk on beanstalks. Idiot sleep
To stagger in, alone for twenty years!
John. A flaming pit I cherish, but not you.
Anne. Wheat not to be sieved, beetle-habited,
Large thirsty toad, or paralytic worm,
Ere on grave-dust I silently lie straight,
With justicers allowed by law to bind
And punish malefactors, richly paid
By dead men's friends and brothers to assure
Their victim sweat unnecessarily,
Be certain harm may come to you at last.
No greater pleasure to a woman give
Except that sight.
John. I'll swallow half my tongue before I kiss
Such loves again.
Anne. Do and not do both. Kill yourself. I swear
I'm out of love with you. Hereafter dream
To sleep in hell, not on our pumice bed.
John. I'm excellent at filing, soldering,
Or casting, needing help in polishing
While praying to Eligius in his shop
Of clouds, but never yet on marriage-bonds.
Gold, malleable and ductile, I
Weld piece by piece together on a broach,
Or stretch in stringlets never tarnishing,
But never yet a woman hating me.
Anne. Some fearful vermin, to be treaded on.
John. What journeys we go on, to kill or to
Be killed for sixty thousand days at least.
Hah, Calvary's a pleasure-garden next
To those, when pale atrocities with bony grin
Like crazed gardeners plant oranges
In snow, the whips of time misspent on us.
Anne. I'll dare the jury bravely.
John. Spill without heed or care your vat of blood:
Receive at once your dole, no punishment.
Anne. Could I with nails tear off that flesh of sin!
Oh no, not yet, not yet, not yet, not yet.
Some ghost of patience keeps me in despair.
John. You comfort me too well.
Anne. I'll gambol, weeper, wailing hypocrite,
Male Magdalen with vomit for perfume.
I miss a progeny to stab revenge
On his loose bowels.
John. I kiss my rod for more than twenty years.
Anne. No picture but the grimace of a man!
John. True, as we speak.
Anne. So soon away? A slave forgets himself.
My love in readiness? Then welcome, hope.
Sapience. Ha, is he gone?
Anne. Not where I wish such husbands to lie down.
Sapience. That's in his grave. Behold: a gift for you.
Anne. A washing basin?
Sapience. Yes, to collect his blood.
Anne. And this?
Sapience. A poniard polished by his very hands.
Anne. You make me tremble more with pleasure here
Than on forbidden beds below the moon.
Sapience. And this.
Anne. Strange brew! To make him sleep, I nearly guess.
Sapience. Forever, in spite of a curate's words
Of needless promise understood by none.
Anne. To pour destruction on his very face!
Sapience. He'll wash his face in blood without the hands.
Anne. Thrift in housewifery! Thus served, he can
Do something else besides.
Sapience. True, such as bleeding drop by drop to death.
Anne. Sometimes he likes to shave at midnight when
He finds it warm, to sweeten ridge and vale,
For otherwise face-pricking makes me dull.
That way, it climbs on Venus inch by inch.
Sapience. Tonight he'll be too cold for you to thrive
By that, not high enough for woman's wants.
Anne. But yet you need not slily slit the throat,
Or cut away both hands.
Sapience. Why not?
Anne. He has a habit of bestowing face
And hands on water as he rinses off,
Instead of which I easily pour down
This horrid acid in your pleasant bowl.
Sapience. Bestow the gift on him tonight.
Anne. From both of us a present, merrily.
Exeunt Anne and Sapience
Act 3. Scene 3. The earl's palace
Enter the two counsellors
2 Counsellor. Where is he now?
1 Counsellor. Here but a quarter of an hour ago.
2 Counsellor. My lord?
1 Counsellor. Gone.
2 Counsellor. The king is angry.
1 Counsellor. Not with us yet.
2 Counsellor. Nor must he be.
1 Counsellor. Have you looked everywhere?
2 Counsellor. No.
(Somerset is revealed
My lord, why do you lie below your bed?
Somerset. I must be madder than I thought or dreamed.
1 Counsellor. Should your high lorship be quite innocent-
Somerset. I should more greatly fear, and so I do.
2 Counsellor. Yet who is innocent? Which man says so?
1 Counsellor. Your wife, as any grocer knows, is not.
2 Counsellor. Your wife, as any husband knows, is not:
And so how can a husband not know it?
Somerset. Know what?
2 Counsellor. Know anything at all his wife devised.
Someserset. Including heinous thoughts of murder, sir?
2 Counsellor. I do not say that now, but some may do.
1 Counsellor. Some have, and more than once, and more than twice.
2 Counsellor. Repeated in the king's ear, listened, too.
Somerset. Ah, ah, the king, my friend, the king, but of
No use, of absolutely no use at all.
2 Counsellor. Surrender, best of lords.
1 Counsellor. Surrender, best of lords.
2 Counsellor. We have been asked to apprehend the earl
Of Somerset, and so we must and do.
Exeunt Somerset and the two counsellors
Act 3. Scene 4. Brewen's house
Enter Anne and Sapience
Anne. He is at last preparing for his couch.
Sapience. The only final one we know about.
Anne. No screaming yet.
Sapience. I never knew such silence in a house,
Except the grave's.
Anne. What if he drops asleep?
Sapience. We'll try again tomorrow.
Anne. How? To kill twice?
Sapience. Ha! Is it he?
Anne. You startled me. Perhaps a mouse. I am
Not known to jump at sights.
Sapience. I tread on pieces of glass till I hear
This husband moan.
Anne. Too slow, too slow!- When will he?- Why not now?
Sapience. A quite uncommodating slave!
Anne. Now, now, now.
Sapience. Thick silence.
Anne. Discovery's near.- Why did you jump?
Sapience. You batter with such thoughts.
Anne. What did he say when first he saw you here?
Sapience. Allowing entry to a friend.
Anne. O, had I never seen the basin, had
I not poured out so soon!
Sapience. Go to him now.
Anne. Not now.
Sapience. Go, or we whimper indecisivelly
In worse than fears.
Not here already?
A face of misused paper! So? When? When?
Anne. He stares, unbudging.
Sapience. He'll come, or soon enough.
Anne. No, never soon enough.
Sapience. Will he not do it?
Anne. Worse than I ever was.
Sapience. Your fault, entirely.
Anne. Blame me already. Good.
Sapience. I will not. Pardon.
Anne. It is my husband who should pardon us.
Sapience. Will never this be done?
Anne. Now, now, now!
Sapience. Will he come out?
Anne. O, never may that be.
John. Ah, ah, ah!
Anne. Stab him.
Sapience. I have forgotten the knife.
John. Ah! You have done it at last, you have done me.
Anne. That sight, the worst and best I ever saw!
John. No hands but molten flesh! Look at the face.
Hee, hee! Remember it in dreams to come.
Anne. O, never.
John. O, often, if the dying have their wish.
Anne. Where is the slave?
John. Your lover? May he die along the way.
Ah, ah, ah! No, no, may he prick instead.
Anne. The tardiest malefactor! Go, stab him.
Sapience. He never sits still.
Anne. You dropped it.
Sapience. I know I did. Still, stiller yet, my arms!
Anne. He's down now. Skewer him.
Sapience. Ha, twitching, too? Where should I strike? Where not?
John. Ah, ah, ah, ah!
Anne. That howling! How he roars and sputters now!
John. Remove me from the living. Ah, ah, ah!
Anne. Do as he says.
Anne. The thickest sag-brained fool!
Sapience. Where? How?
John. A face of fire! Remember slumbering
To see it often. Ah, ah, ah, ah!
But kill me first, I beg.
Anne. Do as he says.
Sapience. Here now, now, now, is that done well? Not well? (stabbing him
John. Well, well, well, well, now kiss my flaky lips. (he dies
Anne. The greatest kindness!
Sapience. True, better than he wished.
Anne. Worse than I hoped.
Sapience. Our faces! Parchments on which we decry
Dreams of ten thousand dooms.
Anne. Take it away. I may not see again.
Sapience. You kill what you cannot in peace behold.
Anne. O, gentle lovers never pass such nights.
Away, away! I cannot see. Away!
Sapience. How, blind?
Anne. No, do not touch the face.
Sapience. All quiet now.
Anne. The stillest night! The heaviest on these orbs.
Sapience. Ha! Can you see?
Sapience. After such nights, no more, when buried well.
Anne. In a sheep's grave. He will defile my dog's.
Sapience. Then time for other country pleasures, girl.
Exeunt Anne and Sapience, bearing the body