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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
From ‘The Maid of Honour’
By Philip Massinger (1583–1640)
 
          [Camiola, who is in love with Bertoldo, is told by his friends Antonio and Gasparo that he is a prisoner, and that the King has refused to pay his ransom.]

Enter a Servant
  Servant—The signiors, madam, Gasparo and Antonio,
Selected friends of the renowned Bertoldo,
Put ashore this morning.
  Camiola—                      Without him?
  Servant—                              I think so.
  Camiola—Never think more, then!
  Servant—                    They have been at court,
Kissed the King’s hand, and, their first duties done        5
To him, appear ambitious to tender
To you their second service.
  Camiola—                      Wait them hither.
Fear, do not rack me! Reason, now if ever
Haste with thy aids, and tell me, such a wonder
As my Bertoldo is, with such care fashioned,        10
Must not, nay, cannot, in Heaven’s providence
So soon miscarry!—
Enter Antonio and Gasparo
                Pray you, forbear: ere you take
The privilege as strangers to salute me,
(Excuse my manners) make me first understand
How it is with Bertoldo.
  Gasparo—                        The relation
        15
Will not, I fear, deserve your thanks.
  Antonio—                                I wish
Some other should inform you.
  Camiola—                            Is he dead?
You see, though with some fear, I dare inquire it.
  Gasparo—Dead! Would that were the worst: a debt were paid then,
Kings in their birth owe nature.
  Camiola—                            Is there aught
        20
More terrible than death?
  Antonio—                        Yes, to a spirit
Like his: cruel imprisonment, and that
Without the hope of freedom.
  Camiola—                        You abuse me:
The royal King cannot, in love to virtue,
(Though all the springs of affection were dried up)        25
But pay his ransom.
  Gasparo—                When you know what ’tis,
You will think otherwise: no less will do it
Than fifty thousand crowns.
  Camiola—                        A petty sum,
The price weighed with the purchase: fifty thousand!
To the King ’tis nothing. He that can spare more        30
To his minion for a masque, cannot but ransom
Such a brother at a million. You wrong
The King’s munificence.
  Antonio—                    In your opinion;
But ’tis most certain: he does not alone
In himself refuse to pay it, but forbids        35
All other men.
  Camiola—                Are you sure of this?
  Gasparo—                                You may read
The edict to that purpose, published by him.
That will resolve you.
  Camiola—                      Possible! Pray you, stand off.
If I do mutter treason to myself
My heart will break; and yet I will not curse him,—        40
He is my King. The news you have delivered
Makes me weary of your company: we’ll salute
When we meet next. I’ll bring you to the door.
Nay, pray you, no more compliments.
 
 
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