Fiction > Harvard Classics > Beaumont and Fletcher > Philaster
Beaumont and Fletcher.  Philaster.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
Act the Second
Scene I

  PHI.  And thou shalt find her honourable, boy;
Full of regard unto thy tender youth,
For thine own modesty; and, for my sake,
Apter to give than thou wilt be to ask,        4
Ay, or deserve.
  BEL.        Sir, you did take me up
When I was nothing; and only yet am something
By being yours. You trusted me unknown;        8
And that which you were apt to conster 2
A simple innocence in me, perhaps
Might have been craft, the cunning of a boy
Hard’ned in lies and theft: yet ventur’d you        12
To part my miseries and me; for which,
I never can expect to serve a lady
That bears more honour in her breast than you.
  PHI.  But. boy, it will prefer 3 thee. Thou art young,        16
And bear’st a childish overflowing love
To them that clap thy cheeks and speak thee fair yet;
But when thy judgment comes to rule those passions,
Thou wilt remember best those careful friends        20
That plac’d thee in the noblest way of life.
She is a princess I prefer thee to.
  BEL.  In that small time I have seen the world,
I never knew a man hasty to part        24
With a servant he thought trusty. I remember,
My father would prefer the boys he kept
To greater men than he; but did it not
Till they were grown too saucy for himself.        28
  PHI.  Why, gentle boy, I find no fault at all
In thy behaviour.
  BEL.        Sir, if I have made
A fault in ignorance, instruct my youth:        32
I shall be willing, if not apt, to learn;
Age and experience will adorn my mind
With larger knowledge; and if I have done
A wilful fault, think me not past all hope        36
For once. What master holds so strict a hand
Over his boy, that he will part with him
Without one warning? Let me be corrected
To break my stubbornness, if it be so,        40
Rather than turn me off; and I shall mend.
  PHI.  Thy love doth plead so prettily to stay,
That, trust me, I could weep to part with thee.
Alas, I do not turn thee off! Thou knowest        44
It is my business that doth call thee hence;
And when thou art with her, thou dwell’st with me.
Think so, and ’tis so; and when time is full,
That thou hast well discharg’d this heavy trust,        48
Laid on so weak a one, I will again.
With joy receive thee; as I live, I will!
Nay, weep not, gentle boy. ’Tis more than time
Thou didst attend the princess.        52
  BEL.        I am gone.
But since I am to part with you, my lord,
And none knows whether I shall live to do
More service for you, take this little prayer:        56
Heaven bless your loves, your fights, all your designs!
May sick men, if they have your wish, be well;
And Heaven hate those you curse, though I be one!  Exit.
  PHI.  The love of boys unto their lords is strange;        60
I have read wonders of it: yet this boy
For my sake (if a man may judge by looks
And speech) would out-do story. I may see
A day to pay him for his loyalty.  Exit.        64
Note 1. An apartment in the palace. [back]
Note 2. Construe, interpret. [back]
Note 3. Advance. [back]


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