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That lived up to the standard of his honour,
And prized that jewel more than mines of wealth :
He'd not have done a shameful thing but once.
Though kept in darkness from the world, and hidden,
He could not have forgiven it to himself.
This was the only portion that he left us,
And I more glory in't than if possessed
Of all that ever fortune threw on fools.
'Twas a large trust, and must be managed nicely;
Now, if by any chance, Monimia,
You have soiled this gem, and taken from its value,
How will you account with me?
Mon. I challenge envy,
Malice, and all the practices of hell,
To censure all the actions of my past
Unhappy life, and taint me if they can !
Cham. I'll tell thee, then; three nights ago, as I
Lay musing on my bed, all darkness round me,
A sudden damp struck to my heart, cold sweat
Dewed all my face, and trembling seized my limbs :
My bed shook under me, the curtains started,
And to my tortured fancy there appeared
The form of thee, thus beauteous as thou art;
Thy garments flowing loose, and in each hand
A wanton lover, who by turns caressed thee
With all the freedom of unbounded pleasure.
I snatched my sword, and in the very moment
Darted it at the phantom ; straight it left me;
Then rose, and called for lights, when, O dire omen!
I found my weapon had the arras pierced,
Just where that famous tale was interwoven,
How the unhappy Theban slew his father.
Mon. And for this cause my virtue is
suspected! Because in dreams your fancy has been ridden, I must be tortured waking !
Cham. Have a care;
Labour not to be justified too fast :
Hear all, and then let justice hold the scale.
What followed was the riddle that confounds me.
Through a close lane, as I pursued my journey,
And meditating on the last night's vision,
I spied a wrinkled hag, with age grown double,
Picking dry sticks, and mumbling to herself;
Her eyes with scalding rheum were galled and red;
Cold palsy shook her head, her hand seemed withered,
And on her crooked shoulders had she wrapped
The tattered remnant of an old striped hanging,
Which served to keep her carcass from the cold :
So there was nothing of a piece about her.
Her lower weeds were all o'er coarsely patched
With different coloured rags, black, red, white, yellow,
And seemed to speak variety of wretchedness.
I asked her of my way, which she informed me;
Then craved my charity, and bade me hasten
To save a sister! at that word I started !
Mon. The common cheat of beggars ; every day
They flock about our doors, pretend to gifts
Of prophecy, and telling fools their fortunes.
Cham. Oh! but she told me such a tale, Monimia,
As in it bore great circumstance of truth :
Castalio and Polydore, my sister.
Cham. What, altered ? does your courage fail you ? Now, by my father's soul, the witch was honest,
Answer me, if thou hast not lost them
Thy honour at a sordid game?
Mon. I will,
I must, so hardly my misfortune loads me :-
That both have offered me their love's most true.
Cham. And 'tis as true too they have both undone thee.
Mon. Though they both with earnest vows Have pressed my heart, if e'er in thought I yielded To any
but Castalio Cham. But Castalio ! Mon. Still will you cross the line of my
discourse. Yes, I confess that he hath won my
soul By generous love and honourable vows, Which he this day appointed to complete, And make himself by holy marriage mine.
Cham. Art thou then spotless ? hast thou still preserved Thy virtue white, without a blot, untainted ?
Mon. When I'm unchaste, may Heaven reject my prayers; O more, to make me wretched, may you know it!
Cham. Oh, then, Monimia, art thou dearer to me
Than all the comforts ever yet blessed man.
But let not marriage bait thee to thy ruin.
Trust not a man; we are by nature false,
Dissembling, subtle, cruel, and inconstant :
When a man talks of love, with caution trust him ;
But if he swears, he'll certainly deceive thee.
I charge thee, let no more Castalio soothe thee;
Avoid it, as thou wouldst preserve the peace
Of a poor brother, to whose soul thou’rt precious.
Mon. I will.
Cham. Appear as cold, when next you meet, as great
When merit begs; then shalt thou see how soon
His heart will cool, and all his pains grow easy.
[Exit. Mon. Yes, I will try him, torture him severely ; For, 0, Castalio, thou too much hast wronged me, In leaving me to Polydore's ill usage. He comes; and
O Lovc, stand neuter,
Whilst a hard part's performed; for I must tempt,
Wound his soft nature, though my heart aches for’t.
SABELLA, supposing her Husband, Biron, was killed at the Siege of
Candy, and reduced to extreme Poverty, consents to marry VILLEROY. Shortly after her second Marriage, Biron arrives, the news of his Death being false. He seeks ISABELLA, not knowing her Union with VILLEROY, and, not wishing to alarm her, first sends a Ring by IsaBELLA's Nurse, feigning to be a Messenger from her late Husband.
ISABELLA, Nurse, Biron.
Isa. I've heard of witches, magic spells, and charms,
That have made Nature start from her old course :
The sun has been eclipsed, the moon brought down
From her career, still paler, and subdued
To the abuses of this under world;
Now I believe all possible. This ring,
This little ring, with necromantic force,
Has raised the ghost of pleasure to my fears,
Conjured the sense of honour and of love
Into such shapes, they fright me from myself;
I dare not think of them-
Nurse. Madam, the gentleman's below.
Isa. I had forgot; pray let me speak with him.
[Exit Nurse. This ring was the first present
To Biron, my first husband : I must blush
To think I have a second. Biron died
(Still to my loss) at Candy; there's my hope.
Oh, do I live to hope, that he died there?
It must be he's dead, and this ring left,
By his last breath, to some known faithful friend,
To bring me back again ;
That's all I have to trust to
Enter Biron. [Isabella looking at him.) ]
My fears were woman's—I have viewed him all;
And let me, let me say it to myself,
I live again, and rise but from his tomb.
Bir. Have you forgot me quite ?
Isa. Forgot you!
Bir. Then farewell my disguise, and my misfortunes : My Isabella! [He goes to her; she shrieks, and faints.
Isa. Ha !
Bir. Oh, come again!
Thy Biron summons thee to life and love;
Thy once loved, ever-loving husband calls
Thy Biron speaks to thee.
Isa. My husband ! Biron !
Bir. Excess of love and joy, for my return,