The Noble Spanish Soldier – Act 3, Scene 1

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Enter MALATESTE and the Queen.

 MALATESTE
When first you came from Florence, would the world
Had with an universal dire eclipse
Been overwhelm’d, no more to gaze on day,
That you to Spain had never found the way
Here to be lost forever.

QUEEN
We from one climate
Drew suspiration, as thou then hast eyes
To read my wrongs, so be they head an engine
To raise up ponderous mischief to the height,
And then thy hands the executioners.
A true Italian spirit is a ball
Of wild-fire, hurting most when it seems spend’
Great ships on small rocks beating oft, are rent;
And so let Spain by us: but, Malateste,
Why from the presence did you single me
Into this gallery?

MALATESTE
To show you, madam,
The picture of yourself, but so defac’d
And mangled by proud Spaniards, it would whet
A sword to arm the poorest Florentine
In your just wrongs.

QUEEN
As how?  Let’s see that picture.

MALATESTE
Here, ‘tis thine.  Time is not scarce four days old
Since I and certain dons, sharp-witted fellows,
And of good rank, were with two Jesuits,
Grave profound scholars, in deep argument
Of various propositions; at the last,
Question was mov’d touching your marriage,
And the kind’s precontract.

QUEEN
So, and what followed?

MALATESTE
Whether it were a question mov’d by chance
Or spitefully of purpose, I being there,
And your own countryman, I cannot tell,
But when much tossing
Had bandied both the king and you, as pleas’d
Those that took up the rackets, in conclusion,
The father Jesuits, to whose subtle music
Every ear there was tied, stood with their lives
In stiff defence of this opinion—
Oh, pardon me if I must speak their language.

QUEEN
Say on.

MALATESTE
That the most Catholic king in marrying you
Keeps you but as his whore.

QUEEN
Are we their themes?

MALATESTE
And that Medina’s niece, Onælia,
Is his true wife; her bastard son, they said,
The king being dead, should claim and wear the crown,
And whatsoever children you shall bear,
To be bus bastards in the highest degree,
As being begotten in adultery.

QUEEN
We will not grieve at this, but with hot vengeance
Beat down this armed mischief.  Malateste,
What whirlwinds can we raise to blow this storm
Back in their faces who thus shoot at me?

MALATESTE
If I were fit to be your counsellor,
Thus would I speak:  Feign that you are with child,
The mother of the maids, and some worn ladies,
Who oft have guilty been to court great bellies,
May, though it be not so, get you with child
With swearing that ‘tis true.

QUEEN
Say ‘tis believ’d
Or that it so doth prove?

MALATESTE
The joy thereof,
Together with these earthquakes, which will shake
All Spain, if they their prince do disinherit,
So born of such a queen; being only daughter
To such a brave spirit as the Duke of Florence,
All this buzz’d into the king, he cannot choose
But charge that all the bells in Spain echo up
This joy to heaven.  That bonfires change the night
To a high noon, which beams of sparkling flames,
And that in churches, organs, charm’d with prayers,
Speak loud for your most safe delivery.

QUEEN
What fruits grow out of these?

MALATESTE
These:  you must stick,
As here and there spring weeds in banks of flowers,
Spies amongst the people, who shall lay their ears
To every mouth, and steal to you their whisperings.

QUEEN
So.

MALATESTE
‘Tis a plummet to sound Spanish hearts
How deeply they are yours; besides, a guess
Is hereby made of any faction
That shall combine against you; which the king seeing,
If then he will not rouse him like a dragon
To guard his golden fleece, and rid his harlot
And her base bastard hence, either by death,
Or in some traps of state, ensnare them both,
Let his own ruins crush him.

QUEEN
This goes to trial.
Be thou my magic book, which reading o’er
Their counter-spells we’ll break; or if the king
Will not by strong hand fix me in his throne,
But that I must be held Spain’s blazing star,
Be it an ominous charm to call up war.                                                            [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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