1 Honest Whore – Act One, Scene Three

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Enter GASPARO the DUKE, DOCTOR BENEDICT, and two Servants.

DUKE
Give charge that none do enter, lock the doors,
And fellows, what your eyes and ears receive,
Upon your lives trust not the gadding air
To carry the least part of it: the glass,
The hourglass.

DOCTOR
Here, my lord.

DUKE
Ah, ’tis near spent.
But Doctor Benedict, does your art speak truth?
Art sure the soporiferous stream will ebb,
And leave the crystal banks of her white body
Pure as they were at first just at the hour?

DOCTOR
Just at the hour, my lord.

DUKE
Uncurtain her.      [The Doctor draws the curtain to reveal INFELICE in bed.

Softly, see, doctor, what a coldish heat
Spreads over all her body.

DOCTOR
Now it works:
The vital spirits that by a sleepy charm
Were bound up fast, and threw an icy crust
On her exterior parts, now ‘gin to break.
Trouble her not, my lord.

DUKE
Some stools! You call’d
For music, did you not?                         [The Servants bring stools.  Soft music.

Oh ho, it speaks,
It speaks!  Watch, sirs, her waking, note those sands.
Doctor, sit down.  A dukedom that should weigh
Mine own down twice, being put into one scale,
And that fond desperate boy, Hippolito,
Making the weight up, should not at my hands
Buy her i’th’tother, were her state more light
Than hers who makes a dowry up with alms.
Doctor, I’ll starve her on the Appenine
Ere he shall marry her.  I must confess,
Hippolito is nobly borne, a man,
Did not mine enemies’ blood boil in his veins.
Whom I would court to be my son-in-law.
But princes whose high spleens for empery swell
Are not with easy art made parallel.

SECOND SERVANT
She wakes, my lord.

DUKE
Look, Doctor Benedict.
I charge you on your lives maintain for truth
Whate’er the doctor or myself aver,
For you shall bear her hence to Bergamo.

INFELICE
Oh, God, what fearful dreams!

DOCTOR
Lady.

INFELICE
Ha?

DUKE
Girl.
Why, Infelice, how is’t now, ha? Speak.

INFELICE
I’m well. What makes this doctor here?  I’m well.

DUKE
Thou wert not so even now:  sickness’ pale hand
Laid hold on thee even in the midst of feasting,
And when a cup crown’d with thy lover’s health
Had touch’d thy lips, a sensible cold dew
Stood on thy cheeks, as if that death had wept
To see such beauty alter.

INFELICE
I remember
I sat at banquet, but felt no such change.

DUKE
Thou hast forgot then how a messenger
Came wildly in with this unsavoury news
That he was dead.

INFELICE
What messenger?  Who’s dead?

DUKE
Hippolito.  Alack, wring not thy hands.

INFELICE
I saw no messenger, heard no such news.

DOCTOR
Trust me you did, sweet lady.

DUKE
La you now.

BOTH SERVANTS
Yes, indeed, madam.

DUKE
La you now. [Aside to Servants.] ‘Tis well, good knaves.

INFELICE
You ha’ slain him, and now you’ll murder me!

DUKE
Good Infelice, vex not thus thyself:
Of this the bad report before did strike
So coldly to thy heart, that the swift currents
Of life were all frozen up.

INFELICE
It is untrue,
‘Tis most untrue! Oh, most unnatural father!

DUKE
And we had much to do by art’s best cunning
To fetch life back again.

DOCTOR
Most certain, lady.

DUKE
Why, la you now, you’ll not believe me. Friends,
Sweat we not all, had we not much to do?

SERVANTS

Yes, indeed, my lord, much.

DUKE
Death drew such fearful pictures in thy face,
That were Hippolito alive again,
I’d kneel and woo the noble gentleman
To be thy husband.  Now I sore repent
My sharpness to him and his family.
Nay, do not weep for him; we all must die.
Doctor, this place where she so oft hath seen
His lively presence hurts her, does it not?

DOCTOR
Doubtless, my lord, it does.

DUKE
It does, it does.
Therefore, sweet girl, thou shalt to Bergamo.

INFELICE
Even where you will, in any place there’s woe.

DUKE
A coach is ready. Bergamo doth stand
In a most wholesome air: sweet walks, there’s deer—
Ay, thou shalt hunt and send us venison,
Which like some goddess in the Cyprian groves,
Thine own fair hand shall strike. Sirs, you shall teach her
To stand and how to shoot.  Ay, she shall hunt.
Cast off this sorrow.  In, girl, and prepare
This night to ride away to Bergamo.

INFELICE
Oh, most unhappy maid!                                                                                [Exit.

DUKE
Follow her close.
No words that she was buried, on your lives,
Or that her ghost walks now after she’s dead;
I’ll hang you if you name a funeral.

FIRST SERVANT
I’ll speak Greek, my lord, ere I speak that deadly word.

SECOND SERVANT
And I’ll speak Welsh, which is harder than Greek.

DUKE
Away, look to her.                                                                          [Exeunt Servants.

Doctor Benedict,
Did you observe how her complexion alt’red
Upon his name and death?  Oh, would ’twere true!

DOCTOR
It may, my lord.

DUKE
May? How? I wish his death.

DOCTOR
And you may have your wish; say but the word,
And ’tis a strong spell to rip up his grave.
I have good knowledge with Hippolito.
He calls me friend.  I’ll creep into his bosom
And sting him there to death.  Poison can do’t.

DUKE
Perform it.  I’ll create thee half mine heir.

DOCTOR
It shall be done, although the fact be foul.

DUKE
Greatness hides sin, the guilt upon my soul.                                      [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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