The Virgin Martyr – Act 5, Scene 1

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Enter THEOPHILUS in his study; books about him.

Is’t holiday, Oh Cæsar, that thy servant,
Thy provost, to see execution done
On these base Christians in Cæsarea,
Should now want work?  Sleep, these idolaters,
That none are stirring?  [Rises.] As a curious painter,
When he has made some admirable piece,
Stands off, and with a searching eye examines
Each colour, hot ‘tis sweeten’d, and then hugs
Himself for his rare workmanship.  [Sits.] So here
Will I my drolleries and bloody landskips
Long past wrap’d up unfold to make me merry
With shadows, now I want the substances.                                               [Book.
My muster book of hell-hounds.  Were the Christians,
Whose names stand here, alive and arm’d, not Rome
Could move upon her hinges.  What I have done,
Or shall hereafter, is not out of hate
To poor tormented wretches; no, I am carried
With violence of zeal, and streams of service
I owe our Roman gods.  [Reads.] “Great Britain”—what?
[Reads.] “A thousand wives with brats sucking their breasts
Had not iron pinch ‘em off, and thrown to swine;
And then their fleshy backparts, hewed with hatchets,
Were minc’d and bak’d in pies to feed starv’d Christians!”
Ha, ha!
Again, again, [Reads.] “East Angles”—oh, “East Angles,
Bandogs, kept three days hungry, worried
A thousand British rascals, stied up fat
Of purpose, stripped naked, and disarm’d.”
I could outstare a year of suns and moons,
To sit at these sweet bull-baitings, so I could
Thereby but one Christian win to fall
In adoration to my Jupiter.  [Reads.] “Twelve hundred
Eyes bor’d with augres out” Oh!   “Eleven thousand
Torn by wild beasts; two hundred ramm’d i’th’earth
To the armpits, and full platters round about ‘em,
But far enough for reaching.”  Eat, dogs, ha, ha, ha!                  [He rises.
Tush!  All these tortures are but fillipings!

Enter ANGELO with a basket filled with fruit and flowers.

                    I, before the destines
My bottom did wind up, would flesh myself
Once more, upon some one remarkable
Above all these.  This Christian slut was well,
A pretty one; but let such horror follow
The nest I feed with torments, that when Rome
Shall hear it, her foundation at the sound
May feel an earthquake!  How now?                                                           [Music.

Are you amazed, sir?
So great a Roman spirit and does it tremble?

How camst thou in?  To whom thy business?

To you.
I had a mistress late sent hence by you
Upon a bloody errand; you entreated
That when she came into that blessed garden
Whither she knew she went, and where, now happy,
She feeds upon all joy, she would send to you
Some of that garden fruit and flowers, which here,
To have her promise sav’d, are brought by me.

Cannot I see this garden?

Yes, if the master
Will give you entrance.                                                         [He vanishes.

‘Tis a tempting fruit,
And the most bright cheek’d child I ever view’d,
Sweet smelling goodly fruit!  What flowers are these?
In Dioclesian’s gardens, the most beauteous,
Compared with these, are weeds!  Is it not February?
The second day she died.  Frost, ice, and snow
Hang on the beard of winter.  Where’s the sun
That gilds this summer?  Pretty sweet boy, say
In what country shall a man find this garden?
My delicate boy!  Gone!  Vanish’d!
Within there!  Julianus and Geta!

Enter two Servants.

My lord.

Are my gates shut?

And guarded.

Saw you not—a boy?


Here he enter’d; a young lad;
A thousand blessings danc’d upon his eyes,
A smooth fac’d glorious thing that brought this basket.

No, sir.

Away, but be in reach if my voice calls you,                    [Exeunt Servants.
No!  Vanish’d and not seen!  Be thou a spirit
Sent from that witch to mock me, I am sure
This is essential, and how ere it grows
Will taste it.                                                                                              [Eats.

[Within.] Ha, ha, ha, ha!

So good, I’ll have some more, sure.

Ha, ha, ha, ha!  Great liquorish fool!

What art thou?

A fisherman.

What dost thou catch?

Souls, souls, a fish call’d soul.


Enter a Servant.

My lord.

[Within.] Ha, ha, ha, ha!

What insolent slave is this dares laugh at me?
Or what ist the dog grins at so?

I neither know, my lord, at what nor whom, for there is none without but my fellow Julianus, and he’s making a garland for Jupiter.

Jupiter!  All within me is not well,
And yet not sick!

[Louder.] Ha, ha, ha, ha!

What is thy name, slave?

[At one end.] Go look.

‘Tis Harpax’ voice.

Harpax, go drag this caitiff to my foot,
That I may stamp upon him.

[At t’other end.] Fool, thou liest!

He’s yonder now, my lord.

Watch thou that end,
Whilst I make good this.

[At the middle.] Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

He’s at barley-break, and the last couple are no in hell.
Search for him, all this ground, methinks, is bloody,            [Exit Servant.
And pav’d with thousands of these Christian eyes
Whom I have tortur’d, and they stare upon me.
What was this apparition?  Sure it had
A shape angelical!  Mine eyes, though dazzl’d
And daunted at first sight, tell me it wore
A pair of glorious wings—yes, they were wings!
And hence he flew.  ‘Tis vanished.  Jupiter,
For all my sacrifices done to him,
Never once gave me smile.  How can stone smile
Or wooden image laugh? [Music.] Ha!  I remember
Such music gave a welcome to me—‘tis in the air,
Or from some better place; a power divine
Through my dark ignorance on my sould does shine
And makes me see a conscience all stain’d o’er,
Nay drown’d and damn’d for ever in Christian gore.

[Within.] Ha, ha, ha!

Again, what dainty relish on my tongue
This fruit hath left, some angel hath me fed.
If so toothful, I will be banqueted.                                             [Eats another.

Enter HARPAX in a fearful shape, fire flashing out of the study.


Not for Cæsar.

But for me thou shalt.

Thou art no twin to him that last was here.
You powers whom my soul bids me reverence
Guide me.  What art thou?

I’m thy master.


And thou my everlasting slave.  That Harpax,
Who hand in hand hath led thee to thy hell,
Am I.


I will not.  Cast thou down
That basket with the things in’t, and fetch up
What thou hast swallowed, and then take a drink
Which I shall give thee, and I’m gone.

My fruit!
Dost this offend thee?  See.

Spit it to th’earth
And tread upon it, or I’ll piecemeal tear thee!

Art thou with this affrighted?  See, here’s more.                           [Flowers.

Fling them away—I’ll take thee else and hang thee
In a contorted chain of icicles
I’th frigid zone.  Done with them!

At the bottom,
One thing I found not yet, see?                                         [A cross of flowers.

Oh, I’m tortur’d!

Can this do’t?  Hence, thou fiend infernal, hence!

Clasp Jupiter’s image, and away with that.

At thee I’ll fling that Jupiter, for methinks
I serve a better master; he now checks me
For murdering my two daughters, put on by thee!
By thy damn rhetoric I did hunt the life
Of Dorothea, the holy virgin martyr;
She is not angry with the axe, nor me,
But sends these presents to me, and I’ll travel
O’er worlds to find her, and from her white hand
To beg a forgiveness.

No, I’ll bind thee here.

I serve a strength above thine; this small weapon
Methinks is armour hard enough.

Keep from me!                                                  [Sinks a little.

Art posting to thy centre?  Down, hellhound, down;
Me thou hast lost; that arm which hurls thee hence
Save me, and set me up the strong defence
In the fair Christian’s quarrel.

Enter ANGELO; HARPAX vanishes.

Fix thy foot there,
Nor be thou shaken with a Cæsar’s voice,
Though thousand deaths in it, and I then
Will bring thee to a river that shall wash
Thy bloody hands clean, and more white than snow,
And to that garden where these blest things grow,
And to that martyr’d virgin, who hath sent
That heavenly token to thee; spread this brave wing
And serve, than Cæsar, a far greater king.                                        [Exit.

It is, it is some angel!  Vanish’d again!
Oh, come back ravishing boy, bright messenger;
Thou hast, by these mine eyes fix’d on thy beauty,
Illumined all my soul.  Now look I back
On my black tyrannies, which, as they did
Out-dare the bloodiest, thou, blest spirit that leads me,
Teach me what I must do, and to do well,
That my last act, the best may parallel.                                             [Exit.


Proceed to the next scene


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