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

  BEL.  A heaviness near death sits on my brow,
And I must sleep. Bear me, thou gentle bank,
For ever, if thou wilt. You sweet ones all,  [Lies down.]
Let me unworthy press you; I could wish        4
I rather were a corse strew’d o’er with you
Than quick above you. Dulness 2 shuts mine eyes,
And I am giddy: oh, that I could take
So sound a sleep that I might never wake!  [Sleeps.]        8

  PHI.  I have done ill; my conscience calls me false,
To strike at her what would not strike at me.
When I did fight, methought I heard her pray
The gods to guard me. She may be abus’d,        12
And I a loathed villain, if she be,
She will conceal who hurt her. He has wounds
And cannot follow; neither knows he me.
Who’s this? Bellario sleeping! If thou be’st        16
Guilty, there is no justice that thy sleep
Should be so sound, and mine, whom thou hast wrong’d,
So broken. (Cry within.) Hark! I am pursued. You gods
I’ll take his offer’d means of my escape.        20
They have no mark to know me but my blood,
If she be true; if false, let mischief light
On all the world at once! Sword, print my wounds
Upon this sleeping boy! I ha’ none, I think,        24
Are mortal, nor would I lay greater on thee.  Wounds BELLARIO.
  BEL.  Oh, death, I hope, is come! Blest be that hand!
It meant me well. Again, for pity’s sake!
  PHI.  I have caught myself;  Falls.        28
The loss of blood hath stay’d my flight. Here, here,
Is he that struck thee: take thy full revenge;
Use me, as I did mean thee, worse than death;
I’ll teach thee to revenge. This luckless hand        32
Wounded the princess; tell my followers 3
Thou didst receive these hurts in staying me,
And I will second thee; get a reward.
  BEL.  Fly, fly, my lord, and save yourself!        36
  PHI.        How’s this?
Wouldst thou I should be safe?
  BEL.        Else were it vain
For me to live. These little wounds I have        40
Ha’ not bled much. Reach me that noble hand;
I’ll help to cover you.
  PHI.        Art thou then true to me?
  BEL.  Or let me perish loath’d! Come, my good lord,        44
Creep in amongst those bushes; who does know
But that the gods may save your much-lov’d breath?
  PHI.  Then I shall die for grief, if not for this,
That I have wounded thee. What wilt thou do?        48
  BEL.  Shift for myself well. Peace! I hear’em come.  [PHILASTER creeps into a bush.]
[Voices] within.  Follow, follow, follow! that way they went.
  BEL.  With my own wounds I’ll bloody my own sword.
I need not counterfeit to fall; Heaven knows        52
That I can stand no longer.  Falls.

  PHA.  To this place we have track’d him by his blood.
  CLE.  Yonder, my lord, creeps one away.
  DION.  Stay, sir! what are you?        56
  BEL.  A wretched creature, wounded in these woods
By beasts. Relieve me, if your names be men,
Or I shall perish.
  DION.        This is he, my lord,        60
Upon my soul, that hurt her. ’Tis the boy,
That wicked boy, that serv’d her.
  PHA.        Oh, thou damn’d
In thy creation! What cause couldst thou shape        64
To hurt the princess?
  BEL.        Then I am betrayed.
Dion. Betrayed! No, apprehended.
  BEL.        I confess,        68
(Urge it no more) that, big with evil thoughts
I set upon her, and did take my aim,
Her death. For charity let fall at once
The punishment you mean, and do not load        72
This weary flesh with tortures.
  PHA.        I will know
Who hir’d thee to this deed.
  BEL.        Mine own revenge.        76
  PHA.  Revenge! for what?
  BEL.        It pleas’d her to receive
Me as her page, and, when my fortunes ebb’d,
That men strid o’er them careless, she did shower        80
Her welcome graces on me, and did swell
My fortunes till they overflow’d their banks,
Threat’ning the men that crossed’em; when, as swift
As storms arise at sea, she turn’d her eyes        84
To burning suns upon me, and did dry
The streams she had bestow’d, leaving me worse
And more contemn’d that other little brooks,
Because I had been great. In short, I knew        88
I could not live, and therefore did desire
To die reveng’d.
  PHA.        If tortures can be found
Long as thy natural life, resolve to feel        92
The utmost rigour.
  CLE.        Help to lead him hence.  PHILASTER creeps out of the bush.
  PHI.  Turn back, you ravishers of innocence!
Know ye the price of that you bear away        96
So rudely?
  PHA.        Who’s that?
  DION.        ’Tis the Lord Philaster.
  PHI.  ’Tis not the treasure of all kings in one,        100
The wealth of Tagus, nor the rocks of pearl
That pave the court of Neptune, can weigh down
That virtue. It was I that hurt the princess.
Place me, some god, upon a pyramis 4        104
Higher than hills of earth, and lend a voice
Loud as your thunder to me, that from thence
I may discourse to all the under-world
The worth that dwells in him!        108
  PHA.        How’s this?
  BEL.        My lord, some man
Weary of life, that would be glad to die.
  PHI.  Leave these untimely courtesies, Bellario.        112
  BEL.  Alas he’s mad! Come, will you lead me on?
  PHI.  By all the oaths that men ought most to keep,
And gods to punish most when men do break,
He touch’d her not.—Take heed, Bellario,        116
How thou dost drown the virtues thou hast shown
With perjury.—By all that’s good, ’twas I!
You know she stood betwixt me and my right.
  PHA.  Thy own tongue be thy judge!        120
  CLE.        It was Philaster.
  DION.  Is’t not a brave boy?
Well, sirs, I fear me we were all deceived.
  PHI.  Have I no friend her?        124
  DION.        Yes.
  PHI.        Then show it: some
Good body lend a hand to draw us nearer.
Would you have tears shed for you when you die?        128
Then lay me gently on his neck, that there
I may weep floods and breathe forth my spirit.
’Tis not the wealth of Plutus, nor the gold  [Embraces BEL.]
Lock’d in the heart of earth, can buy away        132
This arm-full from me; this had been a ransom
To have redeemed the Great Augustus Cæsar,
Had he been taken. You hard-hearted men,
More stony than these mountains, can you see        136
Such clear pure blood drop, and not cut your flesh
To stop his life, to bind whose bitter wounds,
Queens ought to tear their hair, and with their tears
Bathe ’em?—Forgive me, thou that art the wealth        140
Of poor Philaster!
Enter KING, ARETHUSA, and Guard

  KING.        Is the villain ta’en?
  PHA.  Sir, here be two confess the deed; but sure
It was Philaster.        144
  PHI.        Question it no more;
It was.
  KING.  The fellow that did fight with him,
Will tell us that.        148
  ARE.        Aye me! I know he will.
  KING.  Did not you know him?
  ARE.        Sir, if it was he,
He was disguis’d.        152
  PHI.        I was so. Oh, my stars,
That I should live still.  Aside.
  KING.        Thou ambitious fool,
Thou that hast laid a train for thy own life!—        156
Now I do mean to do, I’ll leave to talk.
Bear them to prison.
  ARE.  Sir, they did plot together to take hence
This harmless life; should it pass unreveng’d,        160
I should to earth go weeping. Grant me, then,
By all the love a father bears his child,
Their custodies, and that I may appoint
Their tortures and their deaths.        164
  DION.  Death! Soft; our law will not reach that for this fault.
  KING.  ’Tis granted; take ’em to you with a guard.—
Come, princely Pharamond, this business past,
We may with more security go on        168
To your intended match.  [Exeunt all except DION, CLEREMONT, and THRASILINE.]
  CLE.  I pray that this action lose not Philaster the hearts of the people.
  DION.  Fear it not; their over-wise heads will think it but a trick.  Exeunt.
Note 1. Another part of the forest. [back]
Note 2. Sleepiness. [back]
Note 3. Pursuers. [back]
Note 4. Pyramid. [back]


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