Fiction > Harvard Classics > Beaumont and Fletcher > Philaster
Beaumont and Fletcher.  Philaster.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
Act the First
Scene II
Enter Arethusa and a Lady 1

  ARE.  Comes he not?
  LADY.        Madam?
  ARE.        Will Philaster come?
  LADY.  Dear madam, you were wont to credit me        4
At first.
  ARE.  But didst thou tell me so?
I am forgetful, and my woman’s strength
Is so o’ercharg’d with dangers like to grow        8
About my marriage, that these under-things
Dare not abide in such a troubled sea.
How look’d he when he told thee he would come?
  LADY.  Why, well.        12
  ARE.  And not a little fearful?
  LADY.  Fear, madam! Sure, he knows not what it is.
  ARE.  You all are of his faction; the whole court
Is bold in praise of him; whilst I        16
May live neglected, and do noble things,
As fools in strife throw gold into the sea,
Drown’d in the doing. But, I know he fears.
  LADY.  Fear, madam! Methought, his looks hid more        20
Of love than fear.
  ARE.        Of love! To whom? To you?
Did you deliver those plain words I sent,
With such a winning gesture and quick look        24
That you have caught him?
  LADY.        Madam, I mean to you.
  ARE.  Of love to me! alas, thy ignorance
Lets thee not see the crosses of our births!        28
Nature, that loves not to be questioned
Why she did this or that, but has her ends,
And knows she does well, never gave the world
Two things so opposite, so contrary,        32
As he and I am: if a bowl of blood
Drawn from this arm of mine would poison thee,
A draught of his would cure thee. Of love to me!
  LADY.  Madam, I think I hear him.        36
  ARE.        Bring him, in.  [Exit Lady.]
You gods, that would not have your dooms withstood,
Whose holy wisdoms at this time it is
To make the passion of a feeble maid        40
The way unto your justice, I obey.
[Re]-enter [Lady with] PHILASTER

  LADY.  Here is my Lord Philaster.
  ARE.        Oh, ’tis well.
Withdraw yourself.  [Exit Lady.]        44
  PHI.        Madam, your messenger
Made me believe you wish’d to speak with me.
  ARE.  ’Tis true, Philaster; but the words are such
I have to say, and do so ill beseem        48
The mouth of woman, that I wish them said,
And yet am loath to speak them. Have you known
That I have aught detracted from your worth?
Have I in person wrong’d you, or have set        52
My baser instruments to throw disgrace
Upon your virtues?
  PHI.        Never, madam, you.
  ARE.  Why, then, should you, in such a public place,        56
Injure a princess, and a scandal lay
Upon my fortunes, fam’d to be so great,
Calling a great part of my dowry in question?
  PHI.  Madam, this truth which I shall speak will be        60
Foolish: but, for your fair and virtuous self,
I could afford myself to have no right
To any thing you wish’d.
  ARE.        Philaster, know,        64
I must enjoy these kingdoms.
  PHI.        Madam, both?
  ARE.  Both, or I die: by heaven, I die, Philaster,
If I not calmly may enjoy them both.        68
  PHI.  I would do much to save that noble life;
Yet would be loath to have posterity
Find in our stories, that Philaster gave
His right unto a sceptre and a crown        72
To save a lady’s longing.
  ARE.        Nay, then, hear:
I must and will have them, and more——
  PHI.        What more?        76
  ARE.  Or lose that little life the gods prepared
To trouble this poor piece of earth withal.
  PHI.  Madam, what more?
  ARE.        Turn, then, away thy face.        80
  PHI.  No.
  ARE.  Do.
  PHI.  I can endure it. Turn away my face!
I never yet saw enemy that look’d        84
So dreadfully, but that I thought myself
As great a basilisk 2 as he; or spake
So horrible, but that I though my tongue
Bore thunder underneath, as much as his;        88
Nor beast that I could turn from. Shall I then
Begin to fear sweet sounds? A lady’s voice,
Whom I do love? Say you would have my life;
Why, I will give it you; for ’tis of me        92
A thing so loath’d, and unto you that ask
Of so poor use, that I shall make no price:
If you entreat, I will unmov’dly hear.
  ARE.  Yet, for my sake, a little bend thy looks.        96
  PHI.  I do.
  ARE.        Then know, I must have them and thee.
  PHI.  And me?
  ARE.        Thy love; without which, all the land        100
Discovered yet will serve me for no use
But to be buried in.
  PHI.        Is’t possible?
  ARE.  With it, it were too little to bestow        104
On thee. Now, though thy breath do strike me dead,
(Which, know, it may,) I have unript my breast.
  PHI.  Madam, you are too full of noble thoughts,
To lay a train for this contemned life,        108
Which you may have for asking. To suspect
Were base, where I deserve no ill. Love you!
By all my hopes, I do, above my life!
But how this passion should proceed from you        112
So violently, would amaze a man
That would be jealous. 3
  ARE.  Another soul into my body shot
Could not have fill’d me with more strength and spirit        116
Than this thy breath. But spend not hasty time
In seeking how I came thus: ’tis the gods,
The gods, that make me so; and, sure, our love
Will be the nobler and the better blest,        120
In that the secret justice of the gods
Is mingled with it. Let us leave, and kiss;
Lest some unwelcome guest should fall betwixt us,
And we should part without it.        124
  PHI.  ’Twill be ill
I should abide here long.
  ARE.        ’Tis true; and worse
You should come often. How shall we devise        128
To hold intelligence, that our true loves,
On any new occasion, may agree
What path is best to tread?
  PHI.        I have a boy,        132
Sent by the gods, I hope, to this intent,
Not yet seen in the court. Hunting the buck,
I found him sitting by a fountain’s side,
Of which he borrow’d some to quench his thirst,        136
And paid the nymph against as much in tears.
A garland lay him by, made by himself,
Of many several flowers bred in the vale,
Stuck in that mystic order that the rareness        140
Delighted me: but ever when he turn’d
His tender eyes upon ’em, he would weep,
As if he meant to make ’em grow again.
Seeing such pretty helpless innocence        144
Dwell in his face, I ask’d him all his story.
He told me that his parents gentle died,
Leaving him to the mercy of the fields,
Which gave him roots; and of the crystal springs,        148
Which did not stop their courses; and the sun,
Which still, he thank’d him, yielded him his light.
Then took he up his garland, and did show
What every flower, as country-people hold,        152
Did signify, and how all, ordered thus,
Express’d his grief; and, to my thoughts, did read
The prettiest lecture of his country-art
That could be wish’d: so that methought I could        156
Have studied it. I gladly entertain’d
Him, who was glad to follow; and have got
The trustiest, loving’st, and the gentlest boy
That ever master kept. Him will I send        160
To wait on you, and bear our hidden love.
  ARE.  ’Tis well; no more.
Re-enter Lady

  LADY.  Madam, the prince is come to do his service.
  ARE.  What will you do, Philaster, with yourself?        164
  PHI.  Why, that which all the gods have pointed out for me.
  ARE.  Dear, hide thyself.—
Bring in the prince.  [Exit Lady.]
  PHI.        Hide me from Pharamond!        168
When thunder speaks, which is the voice of God,
Though I do reverence, yet I hide me not;
And shall a stranger-prince have leave to brag
Unto a foreign nation, that he made        172
Philaster hide himself?
  ARE.        He cannot know it.
  PHI.  Though it should sleep for ever to the world,
It is a simple sin to hide myself,        176
Which will for ever on my conscience lie.
  ARE.  Then, good Philaster, give him scope and way
In what he says; for he is apt to speak
What you are loath to hear. For my sake, do.        180
  PHI.  I will.
[Re-enter [Lady with] PHARAMOND

  PHA.  My princely mistress, as true lovers ought,
I come to kiss these fair hands, and to show,  [Exit Lady.]
In outward ceremonies, the dear love        184
Writ in my heart.
  PHI.  If I shall have an answer no directlier, I am gone.
  PHA.  To what would he have answer?
  ARE.  To his claim unto the kingdom.        188
  PHA.  Sirrah, I forbare you before the King—
  PHI.  Good sir, do so still; I would not talk with you.
  PHA.  But now the time is fitter. Do but offer
To make mention of right to any kingdom,        192
Though it be scarce habitable——
  PHI.        Good sir, let me ho.
  PHA.  And by the gods—
  PHI.        Peace, Pharamond! if thou——        196
  ARE.  Leave us, Philaster.
  PHI.        I have done.  [Going.]
  PHA.  You are gone! by Heaven I’ll fetch you back.
  PHI.  You shall not need.  [Returning.]        200
  PHI.        What now?
  PHI.        Know, Pharamond,
I loathe to brawl with such a blast as thou,
Who art nought but a valiant voice; but if        204
Thou shalt provoke me further, men shall say,
“Thou wert,” and not lament it.
  PHA.        Do you slight
My greatness so, and in the chamber of The princess?        208
  PHI.  It is a place to which I must confess
I owe a reverence; but were’t the church,
Ay, at the altar, there’s no place so safe,
Where thou dar’st injure me, but I dare kill thee.        212
And for your greatness, know, sir, I can grasp
You and your greatness thus, thus into nothing.
Give not a word, not a word back! Farewell.  Exit.
  PHA.  ’Tis an odd fellow, madam; we must stop        216
His mouth with some office when we are married.
  ARE.  You were best make him your controller.
  PHA.  I think he would discharge it well. But, madam,
I hope our hearts are knit; but yet so slow        220
The ceremonies of state are, that ’twill be long
Before our hands be so. If then you please,
Being agreed in heart, let us not wait
For dreaming form, but take a little stolen        224
Delights, and so prevent 4 our joys to come.
  ARE.  If you dare speak such thoughts,
I must withdraw in honour.  Exit.
  PHA.  The constitution of my body will never hold out till the wedding;        228
I must seek elsewhere.  Exit.
Note 1. Arethusa’s apartment in the palace. [back]
Note 2. A fabulous serpent that killed with a glance. [back]
Note 3. Suspicious. [back]
Note 4. Anticipate. [back]


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