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Act V


ACT V. SCENE I.

PALAMEDE, STRATO. PALAMEDE _with a letter in his hand._

_Pala._ This evening, sayest thou? will they both be here?

_Stra._ Yes, sir, both my old master, and your mistress's father. The
old gentlemen ride hard this journey; they say, it shall be the last
time they will see the town; and both of them are so pleased with this
marriage, which they have concluded for you, that I am afraid they
will live some years longer to trouble you, with the joy of it.

_Pala._ But this is such an unreasonable thing, to impose upon me to
be married to-morrow; 'tis hurrying a man to execution, without giving
him time to say his prayers.

_Stra._ Yet, if I might advise you, sir, you should not delay it; for
your younger brother comes up with them, and is got already into their
favours. He has gained much upon my old master, by finding fault with
innkeepers' bills, and by starving us, and our horses, to shew his
frugality; and he is very well with your mistress's father, by giving
him recipes for the spleen, gout and scurvy, and other infirmities of
old age.

_Pala._ I'll rout him, and his country education: Pox on him, I
remember him before I travelled, he had nothing in him but mere
jockey; used to talk loud, and make matches, and was all for the crack
of the field: Sense and wit were as much banished from his discourse,
as they are when the court goes out of town to a horse race. Go now
and provide your master's lodgings.

_Stra._ I go, sir. [_Exit._

_Pala._ It vexes me to the heart, to leave all my designs with
Doralice unfinished; to have flown her so often to a mark, and still
to be bobbed at retrieve: If I had once enjoyed her, though I could
not have satisfied my stomach with the feast, at least I should have
relished my mouth a little; but now--

_Enter_ PHILOTIS.

_Phil._ Oh, sir, you are happily met; I was coming to find you.

_Pala._ From your lady. I hope.

_Phil._ Partly from her; but more especially from myself: She has just
now received a letter from her father, with an absolute command to
dispose herself to marry you to-morrow.

_Pala._ And she takes it to the death?

_Phil._ Quite contrary: The letter could never have come in a more
lucky minute; for it found her in an ill-humour with a rival of yours,
that shall be nameless, about the pronunciation of a French word.

_Pala._ Count Rhodophil? never disguise it, I know the amour: But I
hope you took the occasion to strike in for me?

_Phil._ It was my good fortune to do you some small service in it; for
your sake I discommended him all over,--clothes, person, humour,
behaviour, every thing; and, to sum up all, told her, it was
impossible to find a married man that was otherwise; for they were all
so mortified at home with their wives' ill humours, that they could
never recover themselves to be company abroad.

_Pala._ Most divinely urged!

_Phil._ Then I took occasion to commend your good qualities; as the
sweetness of your humour, the comeliness of your person, your good
mein, your valour; but, above all, your liberality.

_Pala._ I vow to Gad I had like to have forgot that good quality in
myself, if thou hadst not remembered me of it: Here are five pieces
for thee.

_Phil._ Lord, you have the softest hand, sir, it would do a woman good
to touch it: Count Rhodophil's is not half so soft; for I remember I
felt it once, when he gave me ten pieces for my new-years-gift.

_Pala._ O, I understand you, madam; you shall find my hand as soft
again as Count Rhodophil's: There are twenty pieces for you. The
former was but a retaining fee; now I hope you'll plead for me.

_Phil._ Your own merits speak enough. Be sure only to ply her with
French words, and I'll warrant you'll do your business. Here are a
list of her phrases for this day: Use them to her upon all occasions
and foil her at her own weapon; for she's like one of the old Amazons,
she'll never marry, except it be the man who has first conquered her.

_Pala._ I'll be sure to follow your advice: But you'll forget to
further my design.

_Phil._ What, do you think I'll be ungrateful?--But however, if you
distrust my memory, put some token on my finger to remember it by:
That diamond there would do admirably.

_Pala._ There 'tis; and I ask your pardon heartily for calling your
memory into question: I assure you I'll trust it another time, without
putting you to the trouble of another token.

_Enter_ PALMYRA _and_ ARTEMIS.

_Art._ Madam, this way the prisoners are to pass; Here you may see
Leonidas.

_Palm._ Then here I'll stay, and follow him to death.

_Enter_ MELANTHA, _hastily._

_Mel._ O, here's her highness! Now is my time to introduce myself, and
to make my court to her, in my new French phrases. Stay, let me read
my catalogue--_Suite_, _figure_, _chagrin_, _naiveté_, and _let me
die_, for the parenthesis of all.

_Pala._ [_Aside._] Do, persecute her; and I'll persecute thee as fast
in thy own dialect.

_Mel._ Madam, the princess! let me die, but this is a most horrid
spectacle, to see a person, who makes so grand a figure in the court,
without the _suite_ of a princess, and entertaining your _chagrin_ all
alone:--_Naiveté_ should have been there, but the disobedient word
would not come in. [_Aside._

_Palm._ What is she, Artemis?

_Art._ An impertinent lady, madam; very ambitious of being known to
your highness.

_Pala._ [_To_ MELANTHA.] Let me die, madam, if I have not waited you
here these two long hours, without so much as the _suite_ of a single
servant to attend me; entertaining myself with my own _chagrin_ till I
had the honour of seeing your ladyship, who are a person that makes so
considerable a figure in the court.

_Mel._ Truce with your _douceurs_, good servant; you see I am
addressing to the princess; pray do not _embarrass_ me--_Embarrass_
me! what a delicious French word do you make me lose upon you too!
[_To the Princess._] Your highness, madam, will please to pardon the
_beveue_ which I made, in not sooner finding you out to be a princess:
But let me die if this _eclaircissement_, which is made this day of
your quality, does not ravish me; and give me leave to tell you--

_Pala._ But first give me leave to tell you, madam, that I have so
great a _tendre_ for your person, and such a _penchant_ to do you
service, that--

_Mel._ What, must I still be troubled with your _sottises_? (There's
another word lost, that I meant for the princess, with a mischief to
you!) But your highness, madam--

_Pala._ But your ladyship, madam--

_Enter_ LEONIDAS, _guarded and led over the stage._

_Mel._ Out upon him, how he looks, madam! now he's found no prince, he
is the strangest figure of a man; how could I make that _coup
d'etourdi_ to think him one?

_Palm._ Away, impertinent!--my dear Leonidas!

_Leon._ My dear Palmyra!

_Palm._ Death shall never part us; my destiny is yours.
[_He is led off, she follows._

_Mel._ Impertinent! Oh I am the most unfortunate person this day
breathing: That the princess should thus _rompre en visiere_, without
occasion. Let me die, but I'll follow her to death, till I make my
peace.

_Pala._ [_Holding her._] And let me die, but I'll follow you to the
infernals, till you pity me.

_Mel._ [_Turning towards him angrily._] Ay, 'tis long of you that this
_malheur_ is fallen upon me; your impertinence has put me out of the
good graces of the princess, and all that, which has ruined me, and
all that, and, therefore, let me die, but I'll be revenged, and all
that.

Pala. _Façon, façon,_ you must and shall love me, and all that; for my
old man is coming up, and all that; and I am _desesperé au dernier_,
and will not be disinherited, and all that.

_Mel._ How durst you interrupt me so _mal apropos_, when you knew I
was addressing to the princess?

_Pala._ But why would you address yourself so much _a contretemps_
then?

_Mel._ Ah, _mal peste!_

_Pala._ Ah, _j'enrage!_

Phil. _Radoucissez vous, de grace, madame; vous étes bien en colere
pour peu de chose. Vous n'entendez pas la raillerie gallante._

Mel. _Ad autres, ad autres_: He mocks himself of me,[1] he abuses me:
Ah me unfortunate! [_Cries._

_Phil._ You mistake him, madam, he does but accommodate his phrase to
your refined language. _Ah qu'il est un cavalier accompli!_ Pursue
your point, sir-- [_To him._

Pala. _Ah qu'il fait beau dans ces boccages;_ [Singing.] _Ah que le
ciet donne un beau jour!_ There I was with you, with a _minuét._

_Mel._ Let me die now, but this singing is fine, and extremely French
in him: [_Laughs._] But then, that he should use my own words, as it
were in contempt of me, I cannot bear it. [_Crying._

Pala. _Ces beaux sejours, ces doux ramages_-- [Singing.

Mel. _Ces beaux sejours, ces doux ramages._ [Singing after him.] _Ces
beaux sejours nous invitent á l'amour!_ Let me die, but he sings _en
cavalier_, and so humours the cadence! [_Laughing._

Pala. _Foy, ma Clymene, voy sous ce chene._ [Singing again.]
_S'entrebaiser ces oiseaux amoreux!_ Let me die now, but that was
fine. Ah, now, for three or four brisk Frenchmen, to be put into
masking habits, and to sing it on a theatre, how witty it would be!
and then to dance helter skelter to a _chanson a boire: Toute la
terre, toute la terre est a moi!_ What's matter though it were made
and sung two or three years ago in _cabarets_, how it would attract
the admiration, especially of every one that's an _eveillé!_

_Mel._ Well; I begin to have a _tendre_ for you; but yet, upon
condition, that--when we are married, you--
[PAL. _sings, while she speaks._

_Phil._ You must drown her voice: If she makes her French conditions,
you are a slave for ever.

_Mel._ First, you will engage--that--

_Pala._ Fa, la, la, la, &c. [_Louder._

_Mel._ Will you hear the conditions?

_Pala._ No; I will hear no conditions; I am resolved to win you _en
François_: To be very airy, with abundance of noise, and no sense: Fa
la, la, la, &c.

_Mel._ Hold, hold: I am vanquished with your _gayeté d'esprit._ I am
yours, and will be yours, _sans nulle reserve, ni condition_: And let
me die, if I do not think myself the happiest nymph in Sicily--My
dear French dear, stay but a _minuite_, till I _raccommode_ myself
with the princess; and then I am yours, _jusqu' a la mort. Allons
donc._-- [Exeunt MEL. PHIL.

_Palu._ [_Solus, fanning himself with his hat._] I never thought
before that wooing was so laborious an exercise; if she were worth a
million, I have deserved her; and now, methinks too, with taking all
this pains for her, I begin to like her. 'Tis so; I have known many,
who never cared for hare nor partridge, but those they caught
themselves would eat heartily: The pains, and the story a man tells of
the taking them, makes the meat go down more pleasantly. Besides, last
night I had a sweet dream of her, and, gad, she I have once dreamed
of, I am stark mad till I enjoy her, let her be never so ugly.

_Enter_ DORALICE.

_Dor._ Who's that you are so mad to enjoy, Palamede?

_Pala._ You may easily imagine that, sweet Dorarlice.

_Dor._ More easily than you think I can: I met just now with a certain
man, who came to you with letters from a certain old gentleman,
y'cleped your father; whereby I am given to understand, that to-morrow
you are to take an oath in the church to be grave henceforward, to go
ill-dressed and slovenly, to get heirs for your estate, and to dandle
them for your diversion; and, in short, that love and courtship are to
be no more.

_Pala._ Now have I so much shame to be thus apprehended in the manner,
that I can neither speak nor look upon you; I have abundance of grace
in me, that I find: But if you have any spark of true friendship in
you, retire with me a little into the next room, that hath a couch or
bed in it, and bestow your charity upon a dying man! A little comfort
from a mistress, before a man is going to give himself in marriage, is
as good as a lusty dose of strong-water to a dying malefactor: it
takes away the sense of hell and hanging from him.

_Dor._ No, good Palamede, I must not be so injurious to your bride:
'Tis ill drawing from the bank to-day, when all your ready money is
payable to-morrow.

_Pala._ A wife is only to have the ripe fruit, that falls of itself;
but a wise man will always preserve a shaking for a mistress.

_Dor._ But a wife for the first quarter is a mistress.

_Pala._ But when the second comes--

_Dor._ When it does come, you are so given to variety, that you would
make a wife of me in another quarter.

_Pala._ No, never, except I were married to you: married people can
never oblige one another; for all they do is duty, and consequently
there can be no thanks: But love is more frank and generous than he is
honest; he's a liberal giver, but a cursed pay-master.

_Dor._ I declare I will have no gallant; but, if I would, he should
never be a married man; a married man is but a mistress's
half-servant, as a clergyman is but the king's half-subject: For a man
to come to me that smells of the wife! 'Slife, I would as soon wear
her old gown after her, as her husband.

_Pala._ Yet 'tis a kind of fashion to wear a princess's cast shoes;
you see the country ladies buy them, to be fine in them.

_Dor._ Yes, a princess's shoes may be worn after her, because they
keep their fashion, by being so very little used; but generally a
married man is the creature of the world the most out of fashion: his
behaviour is dumpish; his discourse, his wife and family; his habit so
much neglected, it looks as if that were married too; his hat is
married, his peruke is married, his breeches are married,--and, if we
could look within his breeches, we should find him married there too.

_Pala._ Am I then to be discarded for ever? pray do but mark how that
word sounds: for ever! it has a very damn'd sound, Doralice.

_Dor._ Ay, for ever! it sounds as hellishly to me, as it can do to
you, but there's no help for it.

_Pala._ Yet, if we had but once enjoyed one another!--but then once
only, is worse than not at all: It leaves a man with such a lingering
after it.

_Dor._ For aught I know, 'tis better that we have not; we might upon
trial have liked each other less, as many a man and woman, that have
loved as desperately as we, and yet, when they came to possession,
have sighed and cried to themselves, Is this all?

_Pala._ That is only, if the servant were not found a man of this
world; but if, upon trial, we had not liked each other, we had
certainly left loving; and faith, that's the greater happiness of the
two.

_Dor._ 'Tis better as 'tis; we have drawn off already as much of our
love as would run clear; after possessing, the rest is but jealousies,
and disquiets, and quarrelling, and piecing.

_Pala._ Nay, after one great quarrel, there's never any sound piecing;
the love is apt to break in the same place again.

_Dor._ I declare I would never renew a love; that's like him, who
trims an old coach for ten years together; he might buy a new one
better cheap.

_Pala._ Well, madam, I am convinced, that 'tis best for us not to have
enjoyed; but, gad, the strongest reason is, because I can't help it.

_Dor._ The only way to keep us new to one another is never to enjoy,
as they keep grapes, by hanging them upon a line; they must touch
nothing, if you would preserve them fresh.

_Pala._ But then they wither, and grow dry in the very keeping;
however, I shall have a warmth for you, and an eagerness, every time I
see you; and, if I chance to out-live Melantha--

_Dor._ And if I chance to out-live Rhodophil--

_Pala._ Well, I'll cherish my body as much as I can, upon that hope.
'Tis true, I would not directly murder the wife of my bosom; but, to
kill her civilly, by the way of kindness, I'll put as fair as another
man: I'll begin to-morrow night, and be very wrathful with her; that's
resolved on.

_Dor._ Well, Palamede, here's my hand, I'll venture to be your second
wife, for all your threatenings.

_Pala._ In the mean time I'll watch you hourly, as I would the
ripeness of a melon; and I hope you'll give me leave now and then to
look on you, and to see if you are not ready to be cut yet.

_Dor._ No, no, that must not be, Palamede, for fear the gardener
should come and catch you taking up the glass.

_Enter_ RHODOPHIL.

_Rho._ [_Aside._] Billing so sweetly! now I am confirmed in my
suspicions; I must put an end to this ere it go farther--[_To_
DORALICE.] Cry you mercy, spouse, I fear I have interrupted your
recreations.

_Dor._ What recreations?

_Rho._ Nay, no excuses, good spouse; I saw fair hand conveyed to lip,
and prest, as though you had been squeezing soft wax together for an
indenture. Palamede, you and I must clear this reckoning: why would
you have seduced my wife?

_Pala._ Why would you have debauched my mistress?

_Rho._ What do you think of that civil couple, that played at a game,
called Hide and Seek, last evening in the grotto?

_Pala._ What do you think of that innocent pair, who made it their
pretence to seek for others, but came, indeed, to hide themselves
there?

_Rho._ All things considered, I begin vehemently to suspect, that the
young gentleman I found in your company last night, was a certain
youth of my acquaintance.

_Pala._ And I have an odd imagination, that you could never have
suspected my small gallant, if your little villainous Frenchman had
not been a false brother.

_Rho._ Further arguments are needless; draw off; I shall speak to you
now by the way of _bilbo_. [_Claps his hand to his sword._

_Pala._ And I shall answer you by the way of Dangerfield[2].
[_Claps his hand on his._

_Dor._ Hold, hold; are not you two a couple of mad fighting fools, to
cut one another's throats for nothing?

_Pala._ How for nothing? He courts the woman I must marry.

_Rho._ And he courts you, whom I have married.

_Dor._ But you can neither of you be jealous of what you love not.

_Rho._ Faith, I am jealous, and this makes me partly suspect that I
love you better than I thought.

_Dor._ Pish! a mere jealousy of honour.

_Rho._ Gad, I am afraid there's something else in't; for Palamede has
wit, and, if he loves you, there's something more in ye than I have
found: Some rich mine, for aught I know, that I have not yet
discovered.

_Pala._ 'Slife, what's this? Here's an argument for me to love
Melantha; for he has loved her, and he has wit too, and, for aught I
know, there may be a mine; but, if there be, I am resolved I'll dig
for it.

_Dor._ [_To_ RHODOPHIL.] Then I have found my account in raising your
jealousy. O! 'tis the most delicate sharp sauce to a cloyed stomach;
it will give you a new edge, Rhodophil.

_Rho._ And a new point too, Doralice, if I could be sure thou art
honest.

_Dor._ If you are wise, believe me for your own sake: Love and
religion have but one thing to trust to; that's a good sound faith.
Consider, if I have played false, you can never find it out by any
experiment you can make upon me.

_Rho._ No? Why, suppose I had a delicate screwed gun; if I left her
clean, and found her foul, I should discover, to my cost, she had been
shot in.

_Dor._ But if you left her clean, and found her only rusty, you would
discover, to your shame, she was only so for want of shooting.

_Pala._ Rhodophil, you know me too well to imagine I speak for fear;
and therefore, in consideration of our past friendship, I will tell
you, and bind it by all things holy, that Doralice is innocent.

_Rho._ Friend, I will believe you, and vow the same for your Melantha;
but the devil on't is, how shall we keep them so?

_Pala._ What dost think of a blessed community betwixt us four, for
the solace of the women, and relief of the men? Methinks it would be a
pleasant kind of life: Wife and husband for the standing dish, and
mistress and gallant for the desert.

_Rho._ But suppose the wife and mistress should both long for the
standing dish, how should they be satisfied together?

_Pala._ In such a case they must draw lots; and yet that would not do
neither, for they would both be wishing for the longest cut.

_Rho._ Then I think, Palamede, we had as good make a firm league, not
to invade each other's propriety.

_Pala._ Content, say I. From henceforth let all acts of hostility
cease betwixt us; and that, in the usual form of treaties, as well by
sea as land, and in all fresh waters.

_Dor._ I will add but one _proviso_, that whoever breaks the league,
either by war abroad, or neglect at home, both the women shall revenge
themselves by the help of the other party.

_Rho._ That's but reasonable. Come away, Doralice; I have a great
temptation to be sealing articles in private.

_Pala._ Hast thou so? [_Claps him on the shoulder._

"Fall on, Macduff,
And cursed be he that first cries, Hold, enough."

_Enter_ POLYDAMAS, PALMYRA, ARTEMIS, ARGALEON: _After them_ EUBULUS
_and_ HERMOGENES, guarded.

_Palm._ Sir, on my knees I beg you--

_Poly._ Away, I'll hear no more.

_Palm._ For my dead mother's sake; you say you loved her,
And tell me I resemble her. Thus she
Had begged.

_Poly._ And thus I had denied her.

_Palm._ You must be merciful.

_Arga._ You must be constant.

_Poly._ Go, bear them to the torture; you have boasted
You have a king to head you; I would know
To whom I must resign.

_Eub._ This is our recompence
For serving thy dead queen.

_Herm._ And education
Of thy daughter.

_Arga._ You are too modest, in not naming all
His obligations to you: Why did you
Omit his son, the prince Leonidas?

_Poly._ That imposture
I had forgot; their tortures shall be doubled.

_Herm._ You please me; I shall die the sooner.

_Eub._ No; could I live an age, and still be racked,
I still would keep the secret. [_As they are going off,_

_Enter_ LEONIDAS, _guarded._

_Leon._ Oh, whither do you hurry innocence!
If you have any justice, spare their lives;
Or, if I cannot make you just, at least
I'll teach you to more purpose to be cruel.

_Palm._ Alas, what does he seek!

_Leon._ Make me the object of your hate and vengeance:
Are these decrepid bodies, worn to ruin,
Just ready of themselves to fall asunder.
And to let drop the soul,--
Are these fit subjects for a rack and tortures?
Where would you fasten any hold upon them?
Place pains on me,--united fix them here,--
I have both youth, and strength, and soul to bear them;
And, if they merit death, then I much more,
Since 'tis for me they suffer.

_Herm._ Heaven forbid
We should redeem our pains, or worthless lives,
By our exposing yours.

_Eub._ Away with us. Farewell, sir:
I only suffer in my fears for you.

_Arga._ So much concerned for him! Then my [_Aside._
Suspicion's true. [_Whispers the King._

_Palm._ Hear yet my last request for poor Leonidas,
Or take my life with his.

_Arga._ Rest satisfied, Leonidas is he. [_To the King._

_Poly._ I am amazed: What must be done?

_Arga._ Command his execution instantly:
Give him not leisure to discover it;
He may corrupt the soldiers.

_Poly._ Hence with that traitor, bear him to his death:
Haste there, and see my will performed.

_Leon._ Nay, then, I'll die like him the gods have made me.
Hold, gentlemen, I am-- [ARGALEON _stops his mouth._

_Arga._ Thou art a traitor; 'tis not fit to hear thee.

_Leon._ I say, I am the-- [_Getting loose a little._

_Arga._ So; gag him, and lead him off. [_Again stopping his mouth._
[LEONIDAS, HERMOGENES, EUBULUS, _led off;_
POLYDAMAS _and_ ARGALEON _follow._

_Palm._ Duty and love, by turns, possess my soul
And struggle for a fatal victory.
I will discover he's the king:--Ah, no!
That will perhaps save him;
But then I'm guilty of a father's ruin.
What shall I do, or not do? Either way
I must destroy a parent, or a lover.
Break heart; for that's the least of ills to me,
And death the only cure. [_Swoons._

_Arte._ Help, help the princess.

_Rho._ Bear her gently hence, where she may
Have more succour. [_She is borne off;_ ARTE. _follows her._
[_Shouts within, and clashing of swords._

_Pala._ What noise is that?

_Enter_ AMALTHEA, _running._

_Amal._ Oh, gentlemen, if you have loyalty,
Or courage, show it now! Leonidas,
Broke on the sudden from his guards, and snatching
A sword from one, his back against the scaffold,
Bravely defends himself, and owns aloud
He is our long-lost king; found for this moment,
But, if your valour helps not, lost for ever.
Two of his guards, moved by the sense of virtue,
Are turned for him, and there they stand at bay
Against an host of foes.

_Rho._ Madam, no more;
We lose time; my command, or my example,
May move the soldiers to the better cause.
You'll second me? [_To_ PALA.

_Pala._ Or die with you: No subject e'er can meet
A nobler fate, than at his sovereign's feet. [_Exeunt._
[_Clashing of swords within, and shouts._

_Enter_ LEONIDAS, RHODOPHIL, PALAMEDE, EUBULUS, HERMOGENES, _and
their Party, victorious;_ POLYDAMAS _and_ ARGALEON, _disarmed._

_Leon._ That I survive the dangers of this day,
Next to the gods, brave friends, be yours the honour;
And, let heaven witness for me, that my joy
Is not more great for this my right restored,
Than 'tis, that I have power to recompense
Your loyalty and valour. Let mean princes,
Of abject souls, fear to reward great actions;
I mean to shew,
That whatsoe'er subjects, like you, dare merit,
A king, like me, dares give.

_Rho._ You make us blush, we have deserved so little.

_Pala._ And yet instruct us how to merit more.

_Leon._ And as I would be just in my rewards,
So should I in my punishments; these two,
This, the usurper of my crown, the other,
Of my Palmyra's love, deserve that death,
Which both designed for me.

_Poly._ And we expect it.

_Arga._ I have too long been happy, to live wretched.

_Poly._ And I too long have governed, to desire
A life without an empire.

_Leon._ You are Palmyra's father; and as such,
Though not a king, shall have obedience paid
From him who is one. Father, in that name
All injuries forgot, and duty owned. [_Embraces him._

_Poly._ O, had I known you could have been this king,
Thus god-like, great and good, I should have wished
To have been dethroned before. 'Tis now I live,
And more than reign; now all my joys flow pure,
Unmixed with cares, and undisturbed by conscience.

_Enter_ PALMYRA, AMALTHEA, ARTEMIS, DORALICE, _and_ MELANTHA.

_Leon._ See, my Palmyra comes! the frighted blood
Scarce yet recalled to her pale cheeks,
Like the first streaks of light broke loose from darkness,
And dawning into blushes.--Sir, you said [_To_ POLY.
Your joys were full; Oh, would you make mine so!
I am but half restored without this blessing.

_Poly._ The gods, and my Palmyra, make you happy,
As you make me! [_Gives her hand to_ LEONIDAS.

_Palm._ Now all my prayers are heard:
I may be dutiful, and yet may love.
Virtue and patience have at length unravelled
The knots, which fortune tyed.

_Mel._ Let me die, but I'll congratulate his majesty: How admirably
well his royalty becomes him! Becomes! that is _lui sied_, but our
damned language expresses nothing.

_Pala._ How? Does it become him already? 'Twas but just now you said,
he was such a figure of a man.

_Mel_ True, my dear, when he was a private man he was a figure; but
since he is a king, methinks he has assumed another figure: He looks
so grand, and so august! [_Going to the King._

_Pala._ Stay, stay; I'll present you when it is more convenient. I
find I must get her a place at court; and when she is once there, she
can be no longer ridiculous; for she is young enough, and pretty
enough, and fool enough, and French enough, to bring up a fashion
there to be affected.

_Leon._ [_To_ RHODOPHIL.]
Did she then lead you to this brave attempt?
[_To_ AMALTHEA.] To you, fair Amalthea, what I am,
And what all these, from me, we jointly owe:
First, therefore, to your great desert we give
Your brother's life; but keep him under guard
Till our new power be settled. What more grace
He may receive, shall from his future carriage
Be given, as he deserves.

_Arga._ I neither now desire, nor will deserve it;
My loss is such as cannot be repaired,
And, to the wretched, life can be no mercy.

_Leon._ Then be a prisoner always: Thy ill fate
And pride will have it so: But since in this I cannot,
Instruct me, generous Amalthea, how
A king may serve you.

_Amal._ I have all I hope,
And all I now must wish; I see you happy.
Those hours I have to live, which heaven in pity
Will make but few, I vow to spend with vestals:
The greatest part in prayers for you; the rest
In mourning my unworthiness.
Press me not farther to explain myself;
'Twill not become me, and may cause your trouble.

_Leon._ Too well I understand her secret grief, [_Aside._
But dare not seem to know it.--Come, my fairest; [_To_ PALMYRA.
Beyond my crown I have one joy in store,
To give that crown to her whom I adore. [_Exeunt._


EPILOGUE.

Thus have my spouse and I informed the nation,
And led you all the way to reformation;
Not with dull morals, gravely writ, like those,
Which men of easy phlegm with care compose,--
Your poets, of stiff words and limber sense,
Born on the confines of indifference;
But by examples drawn, I dare to say,
From most of you who hear and see the play.
There are more Rhodophils in this theatre,
More Palamedes, and some few wives, I fear:
But yet too far our poet would not run;
Though 'twas well offered, there was nothing done.
He would not quite the women's frailty bare,
But stript them to the waist, and left them there:
And the men's faults are less severely shown,
For he considers that himself is one.--
Some stabbing wits, to bloody satire bent,
Would treat both sexes with less compliment;
Would lay the scene at home; of husbands tell,
For wenches, taking up their wives i' the Mall;
And a brisk bout, which each of them did want,
Made by mistake of mistress and gallant.
Our modest author thought it was enough
To cut you off a sample of the stuff:
He spared my shame, which you, I'm sure, would not,
For you were all for driving on the plot:
You sighed when I came in to break the sport,
And set your teeth when each design fell short.
To wives and servants all good wishes lend,
But the poor cuckold seldom finds a friend.
Since, therefore, court and town will take no pity,
I humbly cast myself upon the city.


Footnotes:
1. _He mocks himself of me_.] Melantha, like some modern coxcombs,
uses the idiom as well as the words of the French language.

2. _Dangerfield._] A dramatic bully, whose sword and habit became
proverbial. "This gentleman, appearing with his mustaccios,
according to the Turkish manner, Cordubee hat, and strange
out-of-the-way clothes, just as if one had been dressed up to act
Captain Dangerfield in the play, &c." _Life of Sir Dudley North._

John Dryden

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