Patient Grissel – Act 4, Scene 1

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Enter MARQUESS and FURIO with an infant in his arms.

Did she not see thee when thou tookst it up?

No, she was fast asleep.

Give me this blessed burden.  Pretty fool,
With what an amiable look it sleeps,
And in that slumber how it sweetly smiles,
And in that smile how my heart leaps for joy.
Furio, I’ll turn this circle to a cradle
To rock my dear babe.  A great Roman lord
Taught his young son to ride a hobby horse;
Then why should I think scorn to dandle mine?
Furio, behold it well, to whom is’t like?

You, there’s your nose and black eye-brows.

 Enter MARIO.

Thou dost but flatter me.  Here comes Mario.
I know Mario will not flatter me.
Mario, thy opinion.  View this child.
Doth not his lips, his nose, his fore-head,
And every other part, resemble mine?

So like, my lord, that the nice difference
Would stay the judgement of the curiost eye.

And yet methinks I am not half so brown.

Indeed, you cheeks bear a more lively colour.

Furio, play thou the nurse, handle it softly.

One were better get a dozen then nurse one.

Mario, step to Grissil.  She’s asleep.
Her white hand is the pillor to those cares
Which I ungently lodg’d within her head.
Steal thou the other child, and bring it hither.
If Grissil be awake and strive with thee,
Bring it perforce, nor let her know what hand
Hath robb’d her of this other.  Haste, Mario.

I fly, my gracious lord.                                                                                                 [Exit.

Run, flattery,
Because I did blaspheme and call it brown,
This parasite cried, like an echo, brown.

The child is fair, my lord; you were ne’er so fair.

I know ‘tis fair, I know ‘tis wondrous fair.

Dear pretty infant, let me with a kiss
Take that dishonour off, which the foul breath
Of a profane slave, laid upon thy cheeks.
Had I but said my boy’s a blackamoor,
He would have damn’d himself and so have swore.

 Enter GRISSIL and MARIO with a child.

Give me mine infant; where’s my other babe?
You cannot play the nurse; your horrid eyes
Will fright my little ones, and make them cry.
Your tongue’s too rough to chime a lullaby.
‘Tis not the pleasure of my lord, I know,
To load me with such wrong.

[Scoffingly.] No, I unload you.

Give her her child, Mario, and yet stay.
Furio, hold thou them both.  Grissil, forbear;
You are but nurse to them, they are not thine.

I know, my gracious lord, they are not mine.
I am but their poor nurse, I must confess.
Alas! let not a burse be pitiless.
To see the cold air make them look thus bleak
Makes me shed tears because they cannot speak.

If they could speak, what think you they would say?

That I in all things will your will obey.

Obey it then in silence.  Shall not I
Bestow what is mine own, as likes me best?
Deliver me these brats; come press me down
With weighty infamy. [Aside.] Here is a load
Of shame, of speckled shame.  Oh God!  how heavy
An armful of dishonour is.  Here’s two.
Grissil, for this I’ll thank none else but you
Which way so ere I turn I meet a face
That makes my cheeks blush at mine own disgrace.
This way or that way, never shall mine eye
Look thus, or thus; but, oh me!  presently.
Take them, for God’s sake, Furio! presently
I shall spend childish tears, true tears indeed,
That thus I wrong my babes and make her bleed.
[Aloud.]  Go, Grissil, get you in.

I go, my lord.
Farewell sweet, sweet, dear babes.  So you were free
Would all the world’s cares might be thrown on me.                                                 [Exit.

Ha, ha!  Why, this is pleasing harmony!

My lord, they’ll wrawl; what shall I do with them?

Tell her thou must provide a nurse for them.
Comes she not back, Mario?

No, my lord.

Tush, tush!  it cannot be but she’ll return.
I know her bosom bears no marble heart.
I know a tender mother cannot part,
With such a patient soul, from such sweet souls.
She stands and watches, sure, and sure she weeps
To see my seeming flinty breast.  Mario,
Withdraw from me.  Furio stay thou here still.
If she return, seem churlish, and deny
To let her kiss or touch them.                                                                                    [Exit.

Faith, not I:
I have not such a heart, and she ask to touch them, I’ll deny it because I’ll obey my lord; yet she shall kiss and touch them too, because I’ll please my lady.  Alas, alas! pretty fools, I love you will but I would you had a better nurse.

 Enter GRISSIL stealingly.

A better nurse? Seek’st thou a better nurse?
A better nurse than whom?

Then you.  Away!

I am their mother, I must not away.
Look, look, good Furio, look they smile on me.
I know poor hearts they fear to smile on thee.
I prithee, let me have them.

Touch them not.

I pray thee, let me touch them.

No, hands off!

I pray the gentle Furio, let me kiss them.

Not one kiss for a king’s crown!

Must I not kiss my babes?  Must I not touch them?
Alas! what sin so vile hath Grissil done
That thus she should be vex’d?  Not kiss my infants?
Who taught thee to be cruel, gentle churl?
What must thou do with them?

Get them a nurse.

A nurse, alack!  what nurse?  Where must she dwell?

I must not tell you till I know myself.

For God’s sake, who must nurse them?  Do but name her
And I will swear those fiery eyes do smile
And I will swear that which none else will swear,
That thy grim brows do mercy’s livery wear.

Chose you.

 Enter MARQUESS standing aside.

Oh God, oh God!  might Grissil have her choice
My babes should not be scar’d with thy devil’s voice.
Thou get a nurse for them?  they can abide
To taste no milk but mine.  Come, come, I’ll chide.
In faith, you cruel men.  I’ll chide indeed
If I grow angry.

Do, do.  I care not.

[Aside.] To chide and curse thy lord thou hast more need.

Wilt thou not tell me who shall be their nurse?


Wilt thou not let me kiss them?

No, I say.

I prithee let my tears, let my bow’d knees
Bend thy obdurate heart.  See here’s a fountain
Which heaven in to this alabaster bowls
Instill’d to nourish them; man, they’ll cry
And blame thee that this runs so lavishly.
Here’s milk for both my babes.  Two breasts for two.

[Aside.] Poor babes, I weep to see what wrong I do.

I pray thee, let them suck.  I am meet
To play their nurse.  They’ll smile and say ‘tis sweet
Which streams from hence, if thou dost bear them hence
My angry breasts will swell, and as mine eyes
Lets fall salt drops, with these white nectar tears
They will be mix’d; this sweet will then be brine;
They’ll cry.  I’ll chide and say the sin is thine.

Mine arms ache mightily.

And my heart aches.

[Aside.] And so doth mine.  Sweet sounds this discord makes.

Here, madam, take one.  I am weary of both; Touch it, and kiss it too; it’s a sweet child.  [Aside.] I would I were rid of my misery, for I shall drown my heart, with my tears that fall inward

Oh, this is gently done!  This is my boy,
My first born care.  Thy feet that never felt ground
Have travell’d longest in this land of woe,
This world’s wilderness, and hast most need
Of my most comfort.  Oh, I thank thee, Furio!
I knew I should transform thee with my tears
And melt thy adamantine heart like wax.
What wrong shall these have to be ta’en from me?
Mildly entreat their nurse to touch them mildly.
For my soul tells me that my honoured lord
Does but to try poor Grissil’s constancy.
He’s full of mercy, justice, full of love.

[Aside.] My cheeks do glow with shame to hear her speak.
Should I not weep for joy my heart would break
And yet a little more I’ll stretch my trial.

 Enter MARIO and LEPIDO.

Mario, Lepido?

My gracious lord?

You shall be witness of this open wrong.
I gave straight charge she should not touch these brats,
Yet has she tempted with lascivious tears,
The heart of Furio; see, she dandles them.
Take that child from her. [Aside to FURIO.] Stay, stay, I commend
That pity in thee which I’ll reprehend.


Dare you thus contradict our strict command?
But here’s a trusty groom!  Out hypocrite!
I shall do justice wrong to let thee breathe
For disobeying me!

My gracious lord—

Tempt me not, siren, since you are so loving.
Hold you, take both your children, get you gone!
Disrobe her of these rich abiliments.
Take down her hat, her pitcher, and her gown.
An she came to me in beggary,
So drive her to her father’s.

My dear lord—

Vex me not, good Mario, if you woo me,
Or you shed one tear, to pity her,
Or if by any drift you succour her
You loose my favour everlastingly.

We must obey, since there’s no remedy.

[Aside.] You must be villains; there’s no remedy.
[Aloud.] Mario, Lepido, you two shall help
To bear her children home.

It shall not need;
I can bear more.

Thou bearest too much indeed.

Come, come, sweet lambs, we’ll laugh and live content
Though from the court we live in banishment.
These rich attires are for your mother fit,
But not your nurse, therefore, I’ll off with it.

Away with her, I say!

Away, away?
Nothing but that cold comfort?  We’ll obey.
Heaven smile upon my lord, with gracious eye.

Drive her hence, Lepido.

Good, madam, hence.

This tyranny oppresseth innocence.
Thy looks seem heavy, but they heart is light,
For villains laugh when wrong oppresseth right.
Must we be driven hence?  [Runs to him.] Oh, see my lord
Sweet pretty fools they both smil’d at that word.
They smile as who should say, “Indeed, indeed!”
Your tongue cries hence, but your heart’s not agree’d.
Can you thus part from them?  In truth, I know,
Your true love cannot let these infants go.

[Turns from her.] She’ll triumph over me do what I can.

Good madam, hence!

Oh, send one gracious smile
Before we leave this place.  Turn not away.
Do but look back; let us but once more see
Those eyes, whose beams shall breathe new souls in thee.
It is enough.  Now we’ll depend on joy.
Nay, be not you so cruel; [To MARIO and LEPIDO.] Should you two
Be driven hence, trust me, I’d pity you.

Disrobe her presently.

It shall be done.

To work some good deed thus you would not run.


Oh, Grissil, in large characters of gold
Thy virtuous sacred fame shall be enroll’d.
Tell me thy judgement, Furio, of my wife?

I think, my lord, she’s a true woman, for she loves her children; a rare wife, for she loves you.  I believe you’ll hardly find her match, and I think she’s more than a woman, because she conquers all wrongs by patience.

Yet once more will I try her.  Presently
I’ll have thee go to old Janicola’s
And take her children from her; breed some doubt
By speeches in her, that her eyes shall never
Behold them more.  Bear them to Pavia;
Comment us to our brother; say from us
That we desire him with all kind respect
To nurse the infants, and withal conceal
Their parentage from any mortal ear.
I charge thee on thy life, reveal not this.
I charge thee on thy life, be like thy name,
When thou comst to her, rough and furious.

Well, I will.  It’s far from Saluce to Pavia.   The children will cry.  I have no teats, you know.  ‘Twere good you thought upon it.

There’s gold.

That’s good.

Provide them nurses.

That’s better.  I will and can.                                                                         [Exit FURIO.

Away, though I dare trust thy secrecy,
Yet I will follow in some disguise
And try thy faith, and Grissil’s constancy.
If thou abide unblemish’d, then I swear
I have found two wonders that are seldom rife,
A trusty servant, and a patient wife.                                                                           [Exit.

Proceed to the next scene


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