Patient Grissel – Act 1, Scene 1

Return to Dramatis Personæ

Enter the MARQUESS, PAVIA, MARIO, LEPIDO, and huntsmen: all like hunters.  A noise of horns within.

Look you so strong, my hearts, to see our limbs
Thus suited in a hunter’s livery?
Oh, ‘tis a lovely habit, when green youth
Like to the flowery blossom of the spring,
Conforms his outward habit to his mind.
Look how yon one-ey’d wagoner of heaven,
Hath by his horse’s fiery winged hoofs
Burst ope the melancholy gaol of night,
And with his gilt beams cunning alchemy,
Turn’d all these clouds to gold, who, with the winds
Upon their misty shoulders, bring in day.
Then sally not this morning with foul looks,
But teach you jocund spirits to ply the chase,
For hunting is a sport of emperors.

We know it is, and therefore do not throw
On these your pastimes, a contracted brow.
How swift youth’s bias runs to catch delights,
To me is not unknown.  No, brother Gwalter,
When you were wooed by us to choose a wife,
This day you vowed to wed.  But now I see
Your promises turn all to mockery.

This day you self appointed to give answer
To all those neighbour-princes, who in love
Offer their daughters, sisters, and allies
In marriage to your hand.  Yet for all this,
The hour being come that calls you to your choice,
You stand prepared for sport; and start aside
To hunt poor deer when you should seek a bride.

Nay, come, Mario, your opinion too
Had need of ten men’s wit that goes to woo.

First, satisfy these princes, who expect
You gracious answer to their embassies.
Then you may freely revel.  Now, you fly,
Both from your own vows, and their amity.

How much your judgements err!  Who gets a wife
Must like a huntsman beat untrodden paths
To gain the flying presence of his love.
Look, how the yelping beagles spend their mouths;
So lovers do their sighs; and as the dear
Out-strips the active hound, and oft turns back
To note the angry visage of her foe,
Who, greedy to possess so sweet a prey,
Never gives over till he seize on her;
So fares it with coy dames, who greet with scorn,
Shun the care-pined hearts that sue to them,
Yet on that feigned sight, love conquering them,
They cast an eye of longing back again,
As who would say, “be not dismayed with frowns,
For though our tongues speak no, our hearts sound yes;”
Or, if not so, before they’ll miss their lovers,
Their sweet breaths shall perfume the amorous air
And brave them still to run in beauty’s chase;
Then can you blame me to be hunter like
When I must get a wife?  But be content;
So you’ll engage you faith by oath to us,
Your wills shall answer mine, my liking yours,
And that no wrinkle on your cheeks shall ride.
This day the Marquess vows to choose a bride.

Even by my honour—

Brother, be advis’d
The importunity of you and these,
Thrusts my free thoughts into the yoke of love,
To groan under the load of marriage,
Since then you throw this burden on my youth
Swear to me whomsoever my fancy choose,
Of what descent, beauty, or birth she be,
Her you shall like and love as you love me.

Now, by my birth I swear, wed whom you please
And I’ll embrace her with a brother’s arm.

Mario and myself to your fair choice
Shall yield all duties and true reverence.

Your protestations please me jollily.
Let’s ring a hunter’s peal, and in the ears
Of our swift forest-citizens proclaim
Defiance to their lightness.  Our sport done,
The ven’son that we kill shall feast our bride.
If she prove bad, I’ll cast all blame on you;
But if sweet peace succeed this amorous strife,
I’ll say my wit was best to choose a wife.                                                      [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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