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

  KING.  Is it appeas’d?
  DION.  Sir, all is quiet as this dead of night,
As peaceable as sleep. My lord Philaster
Brings on the prince himself.        4
  KING.        Kind gentleman!
I will not break the least word I have given
In promise to him. I have heap’d a world
Of grief upon his head, which yet I hope        8
To wash away.

  CLE.        My lord is come.
  KING.        My son!
Blest be the time that I have leave to call        12
Such virtue mine! Now thou art in mine arms,
Methinks I have a salve unto my breast
For all the stings that dwell there. Streams of grief
That I have wrong’d thee, and as much of joy        16
That I repent it, issue from mine eyes;
Let them appease thee. Take thy right; take her;
She is thy right too; and forget to urge
My vexed soul with that I did before.        20
  PHI.  Sir, it is blotted from my memory,
Past and forgotten.—For you, prince of Spain,
Whom I have thus redeem’d, you have full leave
To make an honourable voyage home.        24
And if you would go furnish’d to your realm
With fair provision, I do see a lady,
Methinks, would gladly bear you company.
How like you this piece?        28
  MEG.        Sir, he likes it well,
For he hath tried it, and hath found it worth
His princely liking. We were ta’en abed;
I know your meaning. I am not the first        32
That nature taught to seek a fellow forth;
Can shame remain perpetually in me,
And not in others? Or have princes salves
To cure ill names, that meaner people want?        36
  PHI.  What mean you?
  MEG.        You must get another ship,
To bear the princess and her boy together.
  DION.  How now!        40
  MEG.  Others took me, and I took her and him.
Ship us all four, my lord; we can endure
Weather and wind alike.
  KING.  Clear thou thyself, or know not me for father.        44
  ARE.  This earth, how false it is! What means is left for me
To clear myself? It lies in your belief.
My lords, believe me; and let all things else
Struggle together to dishonour me.        48
  BEL.  Oh, stop your ears, great King, that I may speak
As freedom would! Then I will call this lady
As base as are her actions. Hear me, sir;
Believe your heated blood when it rebels        52
Against your reason, sooner than this lady.
  MEG.  By this good light, he bears it handsomely.
  PHI.  This lady! I will sooner trust the wind
With feathers, or the troubled sea with pearl,        56
Than her with any thing. Believe her not.
Why, think you, if I did believe her words,
I would outlive ’em? Honour cannot take
Revenge on you; then what were to be known        60
But death?
  KING.        Forget her, sir, since all is knit
Between us. But I must request of you
One favour, and will sadly 2 be denied.        64
  PHI.  Command, whate’er it be.
  KING.        Swear to be true
To what you promise.
  PHI.        By the powers above,        68
Let it not be the death of her or him,
And it is granted!
  KING.        Bear away that boy
To torture; I will have her clear’d or buried.        72
  PHI.  Oh, let me call my word back, worthy sir!
Ask something else: bury my life and right
In one poor grave; but do not take away
My life and fame at once.        76
  KING.  Away with him! It stands irrevocable.
  PHI.  Turn all your eyes on me. Here stands a man,
The falsest and the basest of this world.
Set swords against this breast, some honest man,        80
For I have liv’d till I am pitied!
My former deeds were hateful; but this last
Is pitiful, for I unwillingly
Have given the dear preserver of my life        84
Unto his torture. Is it in the power
Of flesh and blood to carry this, and live?  Offers to stab himself.
  ARE.  Dear sir, be patient yet! Oh, stay that hand!
  KING.  Sirs, strip that boy.        88
  DION.        Come, sir; your tender flesh
Will try your constancy.
  BEL.        Oh, kill me, gentlemen!
  DION.  No.—Help, sirs,        92
  BEL.        Will you torture me?
  KING.        Haste there;
Why stay you?
  BEL.        Then I shall not break my vow,        96
You know, just gods, though I discover all.
  KING.  How’s that? Will he confess?
  DION.        Sir, so he says.
  KING.  Speak then.        100
  BEL.        Great King, if you command
This lord to talk with me alone, my tongue,
Urg’d by my heart, shall utter all the thoughts
My youth hath known; and stranger things than these        104
You hear not often.
  KING.        Walk aside with him.  [DION and BELLARIO walk apart.]
  DION.  Why speak’st thou not?
  BEL.        Know you this face, my lord?        108
  DION.  No.
  BEL.        Have you not seen it, nor the like?
  DION.  Yes, I have seen the like, but readily
I know not where.        112
  BEL.        I have been often told
In court of one Euphrasia, a lady,
And daughter to you; betwixt whom and me
They that would flatter my bad face would swear        116
There was such strange resemblance, that we two
Could not be known asunder, drest alike.
  DION.  By Heaven, and so there is!
  BEL.        For her fair sake,        120
Who now doth spend the spring-time of her life
In holy pilgrimage, move to the King,
That I may scape this torture.
  DION.        But thou speak’st        124
As like Euphrasia as thou dost look.
How came it to thy knowledge that she lives
In pilgrimage?
  BEL.        I know it not, my lord;        128
But I have heard it, and do scarce believe it.
  DION.  Oh, my shame! is it possible? Draw near,
That I may gaze upon thee. Art thou she,
Or else her murderer? 3 Where wert thou born?        132
  BEL.  In Syracusa.
  DION.        What’s thy name?
  BEL.        Euphrasia.
  DION.  Oh, ’tis just, ’tis she!        136
Now I do know thee. Oh, that thou hadst died,
And I had never seen thee nor my shame!
How shall I own thee? Shall this tongue of mine
E’er call thee daughter more?        140
  BEL.  Would I had died indeed! I wish it too;
And so I must have done by vow, ere publish’d
What I have told, but that there was no means
To hide it longer. Yet I joy in this,        144
The princess is all clear.
  KING.        What, have you done?
  DION.  All is discovered.
  PHI.        Why then hold you me?        148
All is discovered! Pray you, let me go.  Offers to stab himself.
  KING.  Stay him.
  ARE.        What is discovered?
  DION.        Why, my shame.        152
It is a woman: let her speak the rest.
  PHI.  How? That again!
  DION.        It is a woman.
  PHI.  Blessed be you powers that favour innocence!        156
  KING.  Lay hold upon that lady.  [MEGRA is seized.]
  PHI.  It is a woman, sir!—Hark, gentlemen,
It is a woman!—Arethusa, take
My soul into thy breast, that would be gone        160
With joy. It is a woman! Thou art fair,
And virtuous still to ages, in despite
Of malice.
  KING.  Speak you, where lies his shame?        164
  BEL.        I am his daughter.
  PHI.  The gods are just.
  DION.  I dare accuse none; but, before you two,
The virtue of our age, I bend my knee        168
For mercy.  [Kneels.]
  PHI.  [raising him]  Take it freely; for I know,
Though what thou didst were undiscreetly done,
’Twas meant well.        172
  ARE.        And for me,
I have a power to pardon sins, as oft
As any man has power to wrong me.
  CLE.  Noble and worthy!        176
  PHI.        But, Bellario,
(For I must call thee still so,) tell me why
Thou didst conceal thy sex. It was a fault,
A fault, Bellario, though thy other deeds        180
Of truth outweigh’d it: all these jealousies
Had flown to nothing, if thou hadst discovered
What now we know.
  BEL.        My father oft would speak        184
Your worth and virtue; and, as I did grow
More and more apprehensive, 4 I did thirst
To see the man so prais’d. But yet all this
Was but a maiden-longing, to be lost        188
As soon as found; till, sitting in my window,
Printing my thoughts in lawn, I saw a god,
I thought, (but it was you,) enter our gates.
My blood flew out and back again, as fast        192
As I had puff’d it forth and suck’d it in
Like breath. Then was I called away in haste
To entertain you. Never was a man,
Heav’d from a sheep-cote to a sceptre, rais’d        196
So high in thoughts as I. You left a kiss
Upon these lips then, which I mean to keep
From you for ever. I did hear you talk,
Far above singing. After you were gone,        200
I grew acquainted with my heart, and search’d
What stirred it so: alas, I found it love!
Yet far from lust; for, could I but have liv’d
In presence of you, I had had my end.        204
For this I did delude my noble father
With a feign’d pilgrimage, and dress’d myself
In habit of a boy; and, for I knew
My birth no match for you, I was past hope        208
Of having you; and, understanding well
That when I made discovery of my sex
I could not stay with you, I made a vow,
By all the most religious things a maid        212
Could call together, never to be known,
Whilst there was hope to hide me from men’s eyes,
For other than I seem’d, that I might ever
Abide with you. Then sat I by the fount,        216
Where first you took me up.
  KING.        Search out a match
Within our kingdom, where and when thou wilt,
And I will pay thy dowry; and thyself        220
Wilt well deserve him.
  BEL.        Never, sir, will I
Marry; it is a thing within my vow:
But, if I may have leave to serve the princess,        224
To see the virtues of her lord and her,
I shall have hope to live.
  ARE.        I, Philaster,
Cannot be jealous, though you had a lady        228
Drest like a page to serve you; nor will I
Suspect her living here.—Come, live with me;
Live free as I do. She that loves my lord,
Curs’d be the wife that hates her!        232
  PHI.  I grieve such virtue should be laid in earth
Without an heir.—Hear me, my royal father:
Wrong not the freedom of our souls so much,
To think to take revenge of that base woman;        236
Her malice cannot hurt us. Set her free
As she was born, saving from shame and sin.
  KING.  Set her at liberty.—But leave the court;
This is no place for such.—You, Pharamond,        240
Shall have free passage, and a conduct home
Worthy so great a prince. When you come there,
Remember ’twas your faults that lost you her,
And not my purpos’d will.        244
  PHA.        I do confess,
Renowned sir.
  KING.  Last, join your hands in one. Enjoy, Philaster,
This kingdom, which is yours, and, after me,        248
Whatever I call mine. My blessing on you!
All happy hours be at your marriage-joys,
That you may grow yourselves over all lands,
And live to see your plenteous branches spring        252
Wherever there is sun! Let princes learn
By this to rule the passions of their blood;
For what Heaven wills can never be withstood.  Exeunt omnes.
Note 1. An apartment in the palace. [back]
Note 2. Shall be sorry to be denied. [back]
Note 3. In some barbarous countries, it was believed that the murderer inherited the form and qualities of his victim.—Mason. [back]
Note 4. Quick to understand. [back]


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