Swetnam the Woman Hater – Act Four, scene five

 

Return to the previous scene

Enter LISANDRO and the Guard.

LISANDRO
Good gentle friends, before I leave the land,
Suffer me to take my last farewell
Of my own dearest dear Leonida.
Accept this poor reward; would time permit,
I would more largely recompense your loves.

FIRST GUARD
You have prevail’d, my lord, but pray, be brief.
We are enjoin’d by strict commission
To see you shipp’d away this present tide.

LISANDRO
Indeed, I will.

FIRST GUARD
Then here you may behold,
All that its left of fair Leonida.                                                 [Reveals her body.

LISANDRO
Oh—

SECOND GUARD
How fare you, sir?

LISANDRO
Oh, gentlemen,
Can you behold this sacred cabinet,
Which Nature once had made her treasury.
But now broke ope by sacrilegious hands,
And not let fall a tear? You are unkind.
Nor marble but would wet at such a sight,
And cannot you? Oh, strange stupidity!
[Addresses body.] Thou mere relic of my dearest saint!
Upon this alter I will sacrifice
This offering to appease thy murder’d ghost.

FIRST GUARD
Restrain, my lord, this passion. We lament
As much as you, and grieve unfainedly
For her untimely loss.

LISANDRO
As much as I? Oh, ‘tis not possible.
You temporize with sorrow; mine’s sincere,
Which I will manifest to all the world.
See what a beauteous form she yet retains
In the despite of fate, that men may see,
Death could not seize but on her moral parts.
Her beauty was divine and heavenly.

FIRST GUARD
Nay, good my lord, dispatch. The time’s but short.

LISANDRO
Indeed, I will, to make and end of time,
For I can live no longer, since that she,
For whose sake only I held truce with time,
Hath left me desolate. No, divinest love,
What living was denied us, we’ll enjoy
Un immortality, where no cruelty
Under the form of justice dare appear.
Sweet sacred spirit, make not too much haste
To the Elysian Fields; stay but awhile,
And I will follow thee with swifter speed
Then meditation. Thus I seal my vow.                                          [Kisses her.
Methinks I feel fresh heat, as if her soul
Had resum’d her former seat again
To solemnize this blessed union
In our last consummation; or as it stays,
Awaiting only for my company.
It does, indeed, and I have done thee wrong
To let thy heavenly eyes want me so long.
But now I come, dear love. Oh, oh!                                                    [Stabs self.

FIRST GUARD
What sound what that?

SECOND GUARD
Oh, we are all undone!
The prince hath slain himself. What shall we do?

FIRST GUARD
There is no way but one; let’s leave the land.
If we stay here, we shall be sure to die
And suffer for our too much lenity,
Though we are innocent.

SECOND GUARD
Then haste, away.
The doom we’ll execute upon ourselves
And ship with speed for Holland; there, no doubt,
We shall have entertainment.
There are wars threatened betwixt Spain and them.

FIRST GUARD
Then let us hoise up sail; mercy receive
Thy soul to heaven; earth to earth we leave.                                              [Exeunt.

Enter ATLANTA.

ATLANTA
What spectacle is this? A man new slain,
Close by the princess’ hearse! Who is’t? Oh, me!
The noble prince Lisandro! Cruel fate,
Is there no hope of life? See, he looks up.
I’ll bear him out of the air and stop his wound.
If there be any hope, I have a balm
Of known experience in effecting cures
Almost impossible, and if the wound
Be not too deadly, will recover him.     [Exit ATLANTA carrying LISANDRO.

Enter AURELIA and IAGO.

IAGO
Dear queen, have patience.

AURELIO
How, Iago, patience?
‘Tis such a sin, that were I guily of
I should despair of mercy. Can a mother
Have all the blessings both of heaven and earth,
The hopeful issue of a thousand souls
Extinct in one, and yet have patience?
I wonder patient heaven bears so long,
And not send thunder to destroy the land.
The Earth, methinks, should vomit sulph’rous damps,
To stifle and annoy both man and beast;
Seditious hell should send black Furies forth,
To terrify the hearts of tyrant kings.
What say the people? Do they not exclaim
And curse the servile yoke in which they’re bound
Under so merciless a governor?

IAGO
Madam, in every month is heard to sound
Nothing but murmurings and private whispers
Tending to several ends; but all conclude
The king was too severe for such a fact.

Enter ATLANTA.

AURELIA
Atlanta, welcome! [Looks upon body.] Oh, my child, my child!
There lies the sum of all my misery!

ATLANTA
Gracious madam, do but hear me speak.

AURELIA
Atlanta, I should wrong thy merit else.
What wouldst thou say?
Something, I know, to mitigate my grief.

ATLANTA
Rather to add to your afflictions.
I am the messenger to heavy news.
Lisandro, Prince of Naples—

AURELIA
What of him?
Beholding the sad object of his love,
His violent passion drave him to despair,
And he hath slain himself.

IAGO
Disastrous chance!

ATLANTA
I found him gasping for his latest breath,
And bore him to my lord Iago’s house.
I us’d my best skill to save his life;
But all, I fear, in vain. The mortal wound
I find incurable; yet I prolong’d
His life a little, that he yet draws breath.
Go you and visit him with utmost speed.
The queen and I will follow.

IAGO
Go? I’ll run!                                                                                           [Exit.

AURELIA
Was ever father so unmerciful?
But for that monster that was cause of this,
That bloody, cruel, and inhuman wretch,
That slanderous detractor of our sex,
That Misogynos, that blasphemous slave!
I will be so reveng’d.

Enter Clown.

ATLANTA Madam, no more. He is not worth your wrath.
Let me alone with him.

CLOWN
Whist, do you hear?

ATLANTA
How now, what art thou?

CLOWN
Not your servant, and yet a messenger;
No servingman, and yet an usher too.

ATLANTA
What are you then, sir, speak.

CLOWN
That can resolve you, and yet cannot speak,   [Gives ATLANTA a letter.
I am no fool; I am a fencer, sir.

AURELIA
A fencer, sirrah? Ha, what country, man?

CLOWN
This countryman, forsooth, but yet born in England.

AURELIA
How? Born in England, and this country, man?

CLOWN
I have been born in many countries, madam,
But I think I’m best be this countryman,
For many take me for a silly one.

AURELIA
For a silly one?

CLOWN
Ay, a silly one.

ATLANTA
Oh, madam, I have such welcomness!

AURELIA
For me? What is’t?

ATLANTA
The baits of women have prevented us,
And he has entrap’d himself.

AURELIA
How? By what accident?

ATLANTA
Love, madam, love. Read that.

AURELIA
How’s this?
[Reads.] “To the wise and virtuous Amazon,
Chief pride and glory of the female sex.”
A promising induction. What’s within?
“Magnanimous lady, marvel not
That your once adversary does submit himself
To your unconquer’d beauty.”

ATLANTA
Cunning slave.

AURELIA
“Rather impute it to the power of love,
Whose heavenly influence hath wrought in me
So strange a metamorphosis.”

ATLANTA
The very quintessence of flattery.

AURELIA
“Insomuch, I vow hereafter, to spend all my days,
Devoted to your service. It shall be
To expiate my former blasphemies.
My desire is shortly to visit you.”

ATLANTA
It shall be to your cost then.

AURELIA
“To make testimony of my hearty contrition,
Till when and ever I will protest myself
To be the converted Misogynos.”

ATLANTA
Ha, ha, ha! Why, this is excellent
Beyond imagination!

AURELIA
You must not slip this opportunity.

ATLANTA
I’ll not let pass a minute. His own man
I’ll make an instrument to feed his follies
With a kind acceptance, and when he comes,
Let me alone to plot his punishment.

AURELIA
Excellent, Atlanta. I applaud thy wit.

ATLANTA
I’ll make him an example to all men
That dares calumniate a woman’s fame.
Attend an answer. I’ll reward thee well.

CLOWN
I thank your madamship, I’m glad of this.
‘Tis the best hit that ever fencer gave.                                           [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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