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Act III

SCENE I.--A great room in DON MANUEL'S house.

-

HIPPOLITO solus.

My master bid me speak for him to Julia:
Hard fate, that I am made a confident
Against myself!
Yet, though unwillingly I took the office,
I would perform it well: But how can I
Prove lucky to his love, who to my own
Am so unfortunate? he trusts his passion
Like him, that ventures all his stock at once
On an unlucky hand.

-

Enter AMIDEO.

Amid: Where is the lady Julia?

Hip: What new treason
Against my master's love have you contrived
With her?

Amid: I shall not render you account.

Enter JULIA.

Jul: I sent for him; yet if he comes, there's danger;
Yet if he does not, I for ever lose him.
What can I wish? and yet I wish him here,
Only to take the care of me from me.
Weary with sitting out a losing hand,
Twill be some ease to see another play it.
Yesterday I refused to marry him,
To-day I run into his arms unasked;
Like a mild prince encroached upon by rebels,
Love yielded much, till honour asked for all.
How now, where's Roderick? [Sees AMIDEO.
I mean Gonsalvo. [Sees HIPPOLITO.

Hip: You would do well to meet him--

Amid: Meet him! you shall not do't: I'll throw myself,
Like a young fawning spaniel, in your way
So often, you shall never move a step,
But you shall tread on me.

Jul: You need not beg me:
I would as soon meet a syren, as see him.

Hip: His sweetness for those frowns no subject finds:
Seas are the field of combat for the winds:
But when they sweep along some flowery coast,
Their wings move mildly, and their rage is lost.

Jul: 'Tis that which makes me more unfortunate;
Because his sweetness must upbraid my hate.
The wounds of fortune touch me not so near;
I can my fate, but not his virtue, bear.
For my disdain with my esteem is raised;
He most is hated when he most is praised:
Such an esteem, as like a storm appears,
Which rises but to shipwreck what it bears.

Hip: Infection dwells upon my kindness, sure,
Since it destroys even those whom it would cure.

[Cries, and exit.

Amid: Still weep, Hippolito; to me thy tears
Are sovereign, as those drops the balm-tree sweats.--
But, madam, are you sure you shall not love him?
I still fear.--

Jul: Thy fear will never let thee be a man.

Amid: Indeed I think it won't.

Jul: We are now
Alone; what news from Roderick?

Amid: Madam, he begs you not to fear; he has
A way, which, when you think all desperate,
Will set you free.

Jul: If not, I will not live
A moment after it.

Amid: Why? there's some comfort.

Jul: I strongly wish, for what I faintly hope:
Like the day-dreams of melancholy men,
I think and think on things impossible,
Yet love to wander in that golden maze.

Enter DON MANUEL, HIPPOLITO, and company.

Amid: Madam, your brother's here.

Man: Where is the bridegroom?

Hip: Not yet returned, sir, from his ship.

Man: Sister, all this good company is met,
To give you joy.

Jul: While I am compassed round
With mirth, my soul lies hid in shades of grief,
Whence, like the bird of night, with half shut eyes,
She peeps, and sickens at the sight of day. [Aside.

Enter Servant.

Serv: Sir, some gentlemen and ladies are without,
Who, to do honour to this wedding, come
To present a masque.

Man: Tis well; desire them
They would leave put the words, and fall to dancing.
The poetry of the foot takes most of late.

Serv: The poet, sir, will take that very ill;
He's at the door, with the argument o'the masque
In verse.

Man: Which of the wits is it that made it?

Serv: None of the wits, sir; 'tis one of the poets.

Man: What subject has he chose?

Serv: The rape of Proserpine.

Enter GONSALVO.

Man: Welcome, welcome, you have been long
expected.

Gons: I staid to see the unlading of some rarities,
Which are within--
Madam, your pardon that I was so long absent.

Jul: You need not ask it for your absence, sir.

Gons: Still cruel, Julia?

Jul: The danger's here, and Roderick not here:
I am not grieved to die; but I am grieved
To think him false. [Aside.

Man: Bid him begin. [The music plays.

A Cupid descends in swift motion, and speaks
these verses.

Cup: Thy conquests, Proserpine, have stretched too far;
Amidst heavens peace thy beauty makes a war:
For when, last night, I to Jove's palace went,
(The brightest part of all the firmament)
Instead of all those gods, whose thick resort
Filled up the presence of the thunderers court;
There Jove and Juno all forsaken sate,
Pensive, like kings in their declining state:
Yet (wanting power) they would preserve the show,
By hearing prayers from some few men below:
Mortals to Jove may their devotions pay;
The gods themselves to Proserpine do pray.
To Sicily the rival powers resort;
'Tis Heaven wherever Ceres keeps her court.
Phoebus and Mercury are both at strife,
The courtliest of our gods who want a wife.
But Venus, whate'er kindness she pretends,
Yet (like all females envious of their friends),
Has, by my aid, contrived a black design,
The god of hell should ravish Proserpine:
Beauties, beware; Venus will never bear
Another Venus shining in her sphere.

After Cupid's speech, Venus and Ceres descend in the slow machines; Ceres drawn by dragons, Venus by swans.

After them Phoebus and Mercury descend in swift motion. Then Cupid turns to Julia, and speaks.

Cup: The rival deities are come to woo
A Proserpine, who must be found below:
Would you, fair nymph, become, this happy hour,
In name a goddess, as you are in power?
Then to this change the king of shades will owe
A fairer Proserpine than heaven can show.

[Julia, first whispered by AMIDEO, goes into the dance, performed by Cupid, Phoebus, Mercury, Ceres, Venus,
and JULIA. Towards the end of the dance, RODORICK, in the habit of Pluto, rises from below in a black chariot,
all flaming, and drawn by black horses; he ravishes Julia, who personated Proserpine, and as he is carrying her away,
his vizard fails off: HIPPOLITO first discovers him.

Hip: A rape, a rape! 'tis Roderick, 'tis Roderick!

Rod: Then I must have recourse to this. [Draws.

Jul: O heavens!

[DON MANUEL and GONSALVO draw, and a Servant; the two that acted Phoebus and Mercury return
to assist RODORICK, and are beat back by MANUEL and a Servant, while GONSALVO attacks RODORICK.

Gons: Unloose thy hold, foul villain.

Rod: No, I'll grasp her
Even after death.

Jul: Spare him, or I'll die with him.

Gons: Must ravishers and villains live, while I
In vain implore her mercy?

[Thrusts at him, and hurts JULIA in the arm.

Jul: Oh, I am murdered!

Gons: Wretched that I am,
What have I done? To what strange punishment
Will you condemn this guilty hand? And yet
My eyes were guilty first--For they could look
On nothing else but you; and my unlucky hand
Too closely followed them!--

Enter MANUEL again.

Man: The powers above are just, that thou still livest,
For me to kill.

Rod: You'll find no easy task on't
Alone; come both together, I defy you!
Curse on this disguise, that has betrayed me
Thus cheaply to my death.--

Man: Under a devil's shape, thou could'st not be
Disguised.

Jul: Then, must he die?--
Yet, I'll not bid my Roderick farewell;
For they take leave, who mean to be long absent.

Gons: Hold, sir! I have had blood enough already;
And must not murder Julia again
In him she loves. Live, sir; and thank this lady.

Rod: Take my life, and spare my thanks.

Man: Though you
Forgive him, let me take my just revenge.

Gons: Leave that distinction to our dull divines:
That ill, I suffer to be done, I do.

Hip: My heart bleeds for him: to see his virtue
O'ercome so fatally, against such odds
Of fortune, and of love!--

Man: Permit his death, and Julia will be yours.

Jul: Permit it not, and Julia will thank you.

Gons: Who e'er could think, that one kind word from Julia
Should be preferred to Julia herself?
Could any man think it a greater good
To save a rival, than possess a mistress?
Yet this I do! these are thy riddles, love!--
What fortune gives me, I myself destroy;
And feed my virtue, but to starve my joy.
Honour sits on me like some heavy armour,
And with its stiff defence, encumbers me;
And yet, when I would put it off, it sticks
Like Hercules's shirt; heats me at once;
And poisons me!

Man: I find myself grow calm by thy example;
My panting heart heaves less and less, each pulse;
And all the boiling spirits scatter from it.
Since thou desirest he should not die, he shall not,
'Till I on nobler terms can take his life.

Rod: The next turn may be yours.--Remember,
I owed this danger to your wilfulness:
Once, you might easily have been mine, and would
not. [Exit RODORICK.

Man: Lead out my sister, friend; her hurt's so
small,
'Twill scarce disturb the ceremony.
Ladies, once more your pardons.

[Leads out the Company. Exeunt.

Manent JULIA, GONSALVO, AMIDEO, and HIPPOLITO. GONSALVO offers his hand,
JULIA pulls back hers.

Jul: This hand would rise in blisters, should'st
thou touch it!--
My Roderick's displeased with me, and thou,
Unlucky man, the cause. Dare not so much
As once to follow me. [Exit JULIA.

Gons: Not follow her! Alas, she need not bid me!
Oh, how could I presume to take that hand,
To which mine proved so fatal!
Nay, if I might, should I not fear to touch it?--
murderer's touch would make it bleed afresh!

Amid: I think, sir, I could kill her for your sake.

Gons: Repent that word, or I shall hate thee
Strangely:
Harsh words from her, like blows from angry kings,
Though they are meant affronts, are construed favours.

Hip: Her inclinations and aversions
Are both alike unjust; and both, I hope,
Too violent to last: Chear up yourself;
for if I live, (I hope I shall not long) [Aside.
She shall be yours.

Amid: 'Twere much more noble in him,
To make a conquest of himself, than her.
She ne'er can merit him; and, hadst not thou
A mean low soul, thou wouldst not name her to him.

Hip: Poor child, who would'st be wise above thy years!
Why dost thou talk, like a philosopher,
Of conquering love, who art not yet grown up,
To try the force of any manly passion?
The sweetness of thy mother's milk is yet
Within thy veins, not soured and turned by love.

Gons: Thou hast not field enough in thy young breast,
To entertain such storms to struggle in.

Amid: Young as I am, I know the power of love;
Its less disquiets, and its greater cares,
And all that's in it, but the happiness.
Trust a boy's word, sir, if you please, and take
My innocence for wisdom; Leave this lady;
Cease to persuade yourself you are in love,
And you will soon be freed. Not that I wish
A thing, so noble as your passion, lost
To all the sex: Bestow it on some other;
You'll find many as fair, though none so cruel.--
Would I could be a lady for your sake!

Hip: If I could be a woman, with a wish,
You should not be without a rival long.

Amid: A cedar, of your stature, would not cause
Much jealousy.

Hip: More than a shrub of yours.

Gons: How eagerly these boys fall out for nothing!--
Tell me, Hippolito, wert thou a woman,
Who would'st thou be?

Hip: I would be Julia, sir,
Because you love her.

Amid: I would not be she,
Because she loves not you.

Hip: True, Amideo;
And, therefore, I would wish myself a lady,
Who, I am sure, does infinitely love him.

Amid: I hope that lady has a name?

Hip: She has:
And she is called Honoria, sister to
This Julia, and bred up at Barcelona;
Who loves him with a flame so pure and noble,
That, did she know his love to Julia,
She would beg Julia to make him happy.

Gons: This startles me!

Amid: Oh, sir, believe him not:
They love not truly, who, on any terms,
Can part with what they love.

Gons: I saw a lady
At Barcelona, of what name I know not,
Who, next to Julia, was the fairest creature
My eyes did e'er behold: But, how camest thou
To know her?

Hip: Sir, some other time I'll tell you.

Amid: It could not be Honoria, whom you saw;
For, sir, she has a face so very ugly,
That, if she were a saint for holiness,
Yet no man would seek virtue there.

Hip: This is the lyingest boy, sir;--I am sure
He never saw Honoria; for her face,
'Tis not so bad to frighten any man--
None of the wits have libelled it.

Amid: Don Roderick's sister, Angelina, does
So far exceed her, in the ornaments
Of wit and beauty, though now hid from sight,
That, like the sun, (even when eclipsed) she casts
A yellowness upon all other faces.

Hip: I'll not say much of her, but only this,
Don Manuel saw not with my eyes, if e'er
He loved that Flanders shape; that lump of earth,
And phlegm together.

Amid: You have often seen her,
It seems, by your description of her person:
But I'll maintain on any Spanish ground,
Whate'er she be, yet she is far more worthy
To have my lord her servant, than Honoria.

Hip: And I'll maintain Honoria's right against her,
In any part of all the world.

Gons: You go
Too far, to quarrel on so slight a ground.

Hip: O pardon me, my lord, it is not slight:
I must confess, I am so much concerned,
I shall not bear it long.

Amid: Nor I, assure you.

Gons: I will believe what both of you have said,
That Honoria, and Angelina,
Both equally are fair.

Amid: Why did you name
Honoria first?

Gons: And, since you take their parts so eagerly
Henceforth I'll call you by those ladies' names:
You, my Hippolito, shall be Honoria;
And you, my Amideo, Angelina.

Amid: Then all my services, I wish, may make
You kind to Angelina, for my sake.

Hip: Put all my merits on Honoria's score,
And think no maid could ever love you more.

[Exeunt.


John Dryden

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