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

  KING.  Gentlemen, who saw the prince?
  CLE.  So please you, sir, he’s gone to see the city
And the new platform, with some gentlemen
Attending on him.        4
  KING.        Is the princess ready
To bring her prisoner out?
  THRA.        She waits your grace.
  KING.  Tell her we stay.  Exit THRASILINE.        8
  DION.        [Aside.]  King, you may be deceiv’d yet.
The head you aim at cost more setting on
Than to be lost so lightly. If it must off,—
Like a wild overflow, that swoops before him        12
A golden stack, and with it shakes down bridges,
Cracks the strong hearts of pines, whose cable-roots
Held out a thousand storms, a thousand thunders,
And, so made mightier, takes whole villages        16
Upon his back, and in that heat of pride
Charges strong towns, towers, castles, palaces,
And lays them desolate; so shall thy head,
Thy noble head, bury the lives of thousands,        20
That must bleed with thee like a sacrifice,
In thy red ruins.
Enter ARETHUSA, PHILASTER, BELLARIO in a robe and garland, [and THRASILINE.]
  KING.  How now? What masque is this?        24
  BEL.  Right royal sir, I should
Sing you an epithalamion of these lovers,
But having lost my best airs with my fortunes,
And wanting a celestial harp to strike        28
This blessed union on, thus in glad story
I give you all. These two fair cedar-branches
The noblest of the mountain where they grew,
Straightest and tallest, under whose still shades        32
The worthier beasts have made their lairs, and slept
Free from the fervour of the Sirian star
And the fell thunder-stroke, free from the clouds,
When they were big with humour, and deliver’d,        36
In thousand spouts their issues to the earth;
Oh, there was none but silent quiet there!
Till never-pleased Fortune shot up shrubs,
Base under-brambles, to divorce these branches;        40
And for a while they did so, and did reign
Over the mountain, and choke up his beauty
With brakes, rude thorns and thistles, till the sun
Scorch’d them even to the roots and dried them there.        44
And now a gentle gale hath blown again,
That made these branches meet and twine together.
Never to be divided. The god that sings
His holy numbers over marriage-beds        48
Hath knit their noble hearts; and here they stand
Your children, mighty King: and I have done.
  KING.  How, how?
  ARE.        Sir, if you love it in plain truth,        52
(For now there is no masquing in’t,) this gentlemen,
The prisoner that you gave me, is become
My keeper, and through all the bitter throes
Your jealousies and his ill fate have wrought him,        56
Thus nobly hath he struggled, and at length
Arrived here my dear husband.
  KING.        Your dear husband!—
Call in the Captain of the Citadel.—        60
There you shall keep your wedding. I’ll provide
A masque shall make your Hymen turn his saffron
Into a sullen coat, and sing sad requiems
To your departing souls.        64
Blood shall put out your torches; and, instead
Of gaudy flowers about your wanton necks,
An axe shall hang, like a prodigious meteor,
Ready to crop your loves’ sweets. Hear, you gods!        68
From this time do I shake all title off
Of father to this woman, this base woman;
And what there is of vengeance in a lion
Chaf’d among dogs or robb’d of his dear young,        72
The same, enforc’d more terrible, more mighty,
Expect from me!
  ARE.  Sir. by that little life I have left to swear by,
There’s nothing that can stir me from myself.        76
What I have done, I have done without repentance,
For death can be no bugbear unto me,
So long as Pharamond is not my headsman.
  DION.  [Aside.]  Sweet peace upon thy soul, thou worthy maid,        80
Whene’er thou diest! For this time I’ll excuse thee,
Or be thy prologue.
  PHI.        Sir, let me speak next;
And let my dying words be better with you        84
Than my dull living actions. If you aim
At the dear life of this sweet innocent,
You are a tyrant and a savage monster,
That feeds upon the blood you gave a life to;        88
Your memory shall be as foul behind you,
As you are living; all your better deeds
Shall be in water writ, but this in marble;
No chronicle shall speak you, though your own,        92
But for the shame of men. No monument,
Though high and big as Pelion, shall be able
To cover this base murder: make it rich
With brass, with purest gold and shining jasper,        96
Like the Pyramides; lay on epitaphs
Such as make great men gods; my little marble
That only clothes my ashes, not my faults,
Shall far outshine it. And for after-issues,        100
Think not so madly of the heavenly wisdoms,
That they will give you more for your mad rage
To cut off, unless it be some snake, or something
Like yourself, that in his birth shall strangle you.        104
Remember my father, King! There was a fault,
But I forgive it. Let that sin persuade you
To love this lady; if you have a soul,
Think, save her, and be saved. For myself,        108
I have so long expected this glad hour,
So languish’d under you, and daily withered,
That, Heaven knows, it is a joy to die;
I find a recreation in’t.        112
Enter a Messenger

  MESS.  Where is the King?
  KING.        Here.
  MESS.        Get you to your strength
And rescue the Prince Pharamond from danger;        116
He’s taken prisoner by the citizens,
Fearing 2 the Lord Philaster.
  DION.        [Aside.]  Oh, brave followers!
Mutiny, my fine dear countrymen, mutiny!        120
Now, my brave valiant foremen, shew your weapons
In honour of your mistresses!  [Aside.]
Enter a Second Messenger

  2ND MESS.Arm, arm, arm, arm!
  KING.  A thousand devils take ’em!        124
  DION.  [Aside.]  A thousand blessings on ’em!
  2ND MESS.Arm, O King! The city is in mutiny,
Led by an old grey ruffian, who comes on
In rescue of the Lord Philaster.        128
  KING.  Away to the citadel! I’ll see them safe,
And then cope with these burghers. Let the guard
And all the gentlemen give strong attendance.  Exeunt all except DION, CLEREMONT, and THRASILINE.
  CLE.  The city up! this was above our wishes.        132
  DION.  Ay, and the marriage too. By my life,
This noble lady has deceiv’d us all.
A plague upon myself, a thousand plagues,
For having such unworthy thoughts of her dear honour!        136
Oh, I could beat myself! Or do you beat me,
And I’ll beat you; for we had all one thought.
  CLE.  No, no, ’twill but lose time.
  DION.  You say true. Are your swords sharp?—Well, my dear countrymen What-ye-lacks, 3 if you continue, and fall not back upon the first broken skin, I’ll have you chronicled and chronicled, and cut and chronicled, and all-to-be-prais’d and sung in sonnets, and bawled in new brave ballads, that all tongues shall troll you in sæcula sæculorum, my kind can-carriers.        140
  THRA.  What, if a toy 4 take ’em i’ the heels now, and they run all away, and cry, “the devil take the hindmost”?
  DION.  Then the same devil take the foremost too, and souse him for his breakfast! If they all prove cowards, my curses fly amongst them, and be speeding! May they have murrains reign to keep the gentlemen at home unbound in easy frieze! May the moths branch 5 their velvets, and their silks only to be worn before sore eyes! May their false lights undo ’em, and discover presses, 6 holes, stains, and oldness in their stuffs, and make them shop-rid! May they keep whores and horses, and break; and live mewed up with necks of beef and turnips! May they have many children, and none like the father! May they know no language but that gibberish they prattle to their parcels, unless it be the goatish Latin they write in their bonds—and may they write that false, and lose their debts!
Re-enter KING

  KING.  Now the vengeance of all the gods confound them! How they swarm together! What a hum they raise!—Devils choke your wild throats! If a man had need to use their valours, he must pay a brokage for it, and then bring ’em on, and they will fight like sheep. ’Tis Philaster, none but Philaster, must allay this heat. They will not hear me speak, but fling dirt at me and call me tyrant. Oh, run, dear friend, and bring the Lord Philaster! Speak him fair; call him prince; do him all the courtesy you can; commend me to him. Oh, my wits, my wits!  Exit CLEREMONT.
  DION.  [Aside.]  Oh, my brave countrymen! as I live, I will not buy a pin out of your walls for this. Nay, you shall cozen me, and I’ll thank you, and send you brawn and bacon, and soil 7 you every long vacation a brace of foremen, 8 that at Michaelmas shall come up fat and kicking.        144
  KING.  What they will do with this poor prince, the gods know, and I fear.
  DION.  [Aside.]  Why, sir, they’ll flay him, and make church-buckets on’s skin, to quench rebellion; then clap a rivet in’s sconce, and hang him up for a sign.

  KING.  Oh, worthy sir, forgive me! Do not make
Your miseries and my faults meet together,        148
To bring a greater danger. Be yourself,
Still sound amongst diseases. I have wrong’d you;
And though I find it last, and beaten to it,
Let first your goodness know it. Calm the people,        152
And be what you were born to. Take your love,
And with her my repentance, all my wishes,
And all my prayers. By the gods, my heart speaks this;
And if the least fall from me not perform’d,        156
May I be struck with thunder!
  PHI.        Mighty sir,
I will not do your greatness so much wrong,
As not to make your word truth. Free the princess        160
And the poor boy, and let me stand the shock
Of this mad sea-breach, which I’ll either turn,
Or perish with it.
  KING.        Let your own word free them.        164
  PHI.  Then thus I take my leave, kissing your hand,
And hanging on your royal word. Be kingly,
And be not moved, sir. I shall bring you peace
Or never bring myself back.        168
  KING.        All the gods go with thee.  Exeunt.
Note 1. A state-room in the palace. [back]
Note 2. I. e., fearing for. [back]
Note 3. I. e., shopkeepers, who were in the habit of thus addressing passers-by. [back]
Note 4. Trifle, whim. [back]
Note 5. Eat patterns on. [back]
Note 6. Creases. [back]
Note 7. Fatten. [back]
Note 8. Geese. [back]


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