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Hold back thy hours, dark Night, till we have done:
The day will come too soon; Young maids will curse thee, if thou steal'st away, And leav'st their losses open to the day: Stay, stay, and hide
The blushes of the bride.
Stay, gentle Night, and with thy darkness cover The kisses of her lover.
Stay, and confound her tears, and her shrill cryings,
Her weak denials, vous, and often dyings;
Stay, and hide all,
But help not, tho' she call.
Nept. Great queen of us and heaven, hear
what I bring
To make this hour a full one,
If not o'ermeasure.
Cinth. Speak, sea's king.
When they will dance upon the rising wave, Nept. The tunes my Ainphitrite joys to have, And court me as she sails. My tritons, play Music to lead a storm; I'll lead the way.
Let him go on and flame! I hope to see
Another wild-fire in his axletree;
And all fall drenched. But I forgot; speak, queen.
The day grows on; I must no more be seen.
Cinth. Heave up thy drowsy head again, and see
A greater light, a greater majesty,
Between our sect and us! Whip up thy team!
The day-break's here, and yon sun-flaring beam
Shot from the south. Say, which way wilt thou go?
Night. I'll vanish into mists.
Enter EVADNE, ASPATIA, DULA, and other la
Evad. DULA, 'Would, thou could'st instil Some of thy mirth into Aspatia! Nothing but sad thoughts in her breast do dwell: Methinks, a mean betwixt you would do well.
Dula. She is in love: Hang me, if I were so, But I could run my country. I love, too, To do those things that people in love do.
Asp. It were a timeless smile should prove my check:
It were a fitter hour for me to laugh,
When at the altar the religious priest
Were pacifying the offended powers
With sacrifice, than now. This should have been
My night and all your hands have been employed
In giving me a spotless offering
young Amintor's bed, as we are now For you. Pardon, Evadne; 'would, my worth Were great as yours, or that the king, or he, Or both, thought so! Perhaps, he found me worthless :
But, till he did so, in these ears of mine,
These credulous ears, he poured the sweetest words
That art or love could frame. If he were false,
Pardon it, Heaven! And if I did want
Virtue, you safely may forgive that too;
For I have lost none, that I had from you.
Evad. Nay, leave this sad talk, madam.
Asp. 'Would, I could! then should I leave the
Evad. See, if you have not spoiled all Dula's mirth.
Asp. Thou thinkest thy heart hard; but if thou be'st caught,
Remember me; thou shalt perceive a fire
Shot suddenly into thee.
Dula. That's not so good; let them shoot any thing but fire, I fear them not.
Asp. Well, wench, thou may'st be taken.
Evad. Ladies, good night: I'll do the rest myself.
Dula. Nay, let your lord do some.
Asp. Lay a garland on my hearse,
Of the dismal yew.
Evad. That's one of your sad songs, madam.
Asp. Believe me, 'tis a very pretty one.
Evad. How is it, madam?
Asp. Lay a garland on my hearse,
Of the dismal yew;
Maidens, willow branches bear;
Say, I died true:
My love was false, but I was firm
From my hour of birth.
Upon my buried body lie
Lightly, gentle earth!
Evad. Fie on it, madam! the words are so strange, they are able to make one dream of hobgoblins. I could never have the power:' Sing that, Dula.
Dula. I could never have the pow'r
To love one above an hour,
But my heart would prompt mine eye
On some other man to fly:
Venus, fix thou mine eyes fast,
Or, if not, give me all that I shall see at last.
Evad. So, leave me now.
Dula. Nay, we must see you laid.
Asp. Madam, good night. May all the mar-
That longing maids imagine in their beds,
Prove so unto you. May no discontent
Grow 'twixt your love and you! But, if there do,
Enquire of me, and I will guide your moan;
Teach you an artificial way to grieve,
To keep your sorrow waking. Love your lord
No worse than I; but, if you love so well,
Alas, you may displease him; so did I.
This is the last time you shall look on me.
Ladies, farewell. As soon as I am dead,
Come all, and watch one night about my hearse;
Bring each a mournful story, and a tear,
To offer at it, when I go to earth.
With flattering ivy clasp my coffin round;
Write on my brow my fortune; let my bier
Be borne by virgins, that shall sing, by course,
The truth of maids, and perjuries of men.
Evad. Alas, I pity thee.
Omnes. Madam, good night.
1 Lady. Come, we'll let in the bridegroom. Dula. Where's my lord?
1 Lady. Here, take this light,
Ap. Go, and be happy in your lady's love. May all the wrongs, that you have done to me, Be utterly forgotten in my death!
I'll trouble you no more; yet I will take
A parting kiss, and will not be denied.
You'll come, my lord, and see the virgins weep,
When I am laid in earth, though you yourself
Can know no pity. Thus I wind myself
Into this willow garland, and am prouder,
That I was once your love, though now refused,
Than to have had another true to me.
So with my prayers I leave you, and must try
Some yet unpractised way to grieve and die. [Èxit.
Dala. Come, ladies, will you go?
Omaes. Good night, my lord.
Amin. Much happiness unto you all!
I did that lady wrong: Methinks, I feel
Her grief shoot suddenly through all my veins.
Mine eyes run: This is strange at such a time.
It was the king first moved me to't; but he
Has not my will in keeping. Why do I
Perplex myself thus? Something whispers me,
'Go not to bed.' My guilt is not so great
As my own conscience, too sensible,
Would make me think: I only brake a promise,
And 'twas the king that forced me. Timorous flesh,
Why shak'st thou so? Away, my idle fears!
Yonder she is, the lustre of whose eye
Can blot away the sad remembrance
Of all these things. Oh, my Evadne, spare
That tender body; let it not take cold.
The vapours of the night will not fall here;
To bed, my love. Hymen will punish us
For being slack performers of his rites.
Cam'st thou to call me?
Amin. Come, come, my love,
And let us loose ourselves to one another.
Why art thou up so long?
Evad. I am not well.
Thou weighest not any thing compared with me:
Life, honour, joys eternal, all delights
This world can yield, or hopeful people feign,
Or in the life to come, are light as air
To a true lover, when his lady frowns,
And bids him do this. Wilt thou kill this man?
Swear, my Amintor, and I'll kiss the sin
Off from thy lips.
Amin. I will not swear, sweet love,
Till I do know the cause.
Evad. I would, thou would'st.
Why, it is thou, that wrong'st me; I hate thee; Thou should'st have killed thyself.
Amin. If I should know that, I should quickly kill
The man, you hated.
Evad. Know it then, and do it.
Amin. Oh, no; what look soe'er thou shalt put on
To try my faith, I shall not think thee false:
I cannot find one blemish in thy face,
Amin. To bed then; let me wind thee in these Where falsehood should abide. Leave, and to bed.
Thy natural temper. Shall I call thy maids? Either thy healthful sleep hath left thee long,
Evad. I will not for the world.
Amin. Why, my dear love?
Evad. Why? I have sworn I will not. Amin. Sworn!
Amin. How! sworn, Evadne?
Evad. Yes, sworn, Amintor;
And will swear again, if you will wish to hear me.
Amin. To whom have you sworn this?
Evad. If I should name him, the matter were
Or else some fever rages in thy blood.
Evad. Neither, Amintor: Think you I am mad, Because I speak the truth?
Amin. Will you not lie with me to-night? Evad. To-night! you talk as if I would hereafter. Amin. Hereafter! yes, I do.
Evad. You are deceived.
Put off amazement, and with patience mark
What I shall utter; for the oracle
Knows nothing truer: 'tis not for a night.
Or two, that I forbear thy bed, but for ever.
Amin. I dream! Awake, Amintor!
Evad. You hear right.
I sooner will find out the beds of snakes,
And with my youthful blood warm their cold flesh,
Letting them curl themselves about my limbs,
Than sleep one night with thee. This is not feigned,
Nor sounds it like the coyness of a bride.
Amin. Is flesh so earthly to endure all this?
Are these the joys of marriage? Hymen, keep
This story (that will make succeeding youth
Neglect thy ceremonies) from all ears;
Let it not rise up, for thy shame and mine,
To after-ages: We will scorn thy laws,
If thou no better bless them. Touch the heart
Of her, that thou hast sent me, or the world
Shall know: There's not an altar, that will smoke
In praise of thee; we will adopt us sons;
Then virtue shall inherit, and not blood.
I do rage in vain;
She can but jest. O, pardon me, my love!
So dear the thoughts are that I hold of thee,
That I must break forth. Satisfy my fear;
It is a pain, beyond the hand of death,
To be in doubt: Confirm it with an oath,
If this be true.
Evad. Do you invent the form :
Let there be in it all the binding words
Devils and conjurers can put together,
And I will take it. I have sworn before,
And here, by all things holy, do again,
Never to be acquainted with thy bed.
Is your doubt over now?
Amin. I know too much. 'Would I had
Every ill-sounding word, or threatening look,
Thou shewest to me, will be revenged at fuil.
Amin. It will not, sure, Evadne?
Evad. Do not you hazard that.
Amin. Have you your champions?
Evad. Alas, Amintor, thinkest thou I forbear
To sleep with thee, because I have put on
A maiden's strictness? Look upon these cheeks,
And thou shalt find the hot and rising blood
Unapt for such a vow. No; in this heart
There dwells as much desire as ever yet
Was known to woman.
But it was the folly of thy youth
To think this beauty, to what land soever
It shall be called, shall stoop to any second.
I do enjoy the best, and in that height
doubt-Have sworn to stand or die: You guess the man.
Amin. No; let me know the man, that wrongs
Was ever such a marriage night as this!
Ye powers above, if you did ever mean
Man should be used thus, you have thought a way
How he may bear himself, and save his honour.
Instruct me in it; for to my dull eyes
There is no mean, no moderate course to run:
I must live scorned, or be a murderer.
Is there a third? Why is this night so calm?
Why does not heaven speak in thunder to us,
And drown her voice?
Evad. This rage will do no good.
Amin. Evadne, hear me: Thou hast ta'en an oath,
But such a rash one, that, to keep it, were
Worse than to swear it: Call it back to thee;
Such vows as those never ascend to heaven;
A tear or two will wash it quite away.
Have mercy on my youth, my hopeful youth,
If thou be pitiful; for, without boast,
This land was proud of me. What lady was there,
That men called fair and virtuous in this isle,
That would have shunned my love? It is in thee
To make me hold this worth. Oh! we vain men,
That trust out all our reputation,
To rest upon the weak and yielding hand
Of feeble woman! But thou art not stone;
Thy flesh is soft, and in thine eyes doth dwell
The spirit of love; thy heart cannot be hard.
Come, lead me, from the bottom of despair,
To all the joys thou hast; I know, thou wilt;
And make me careful, lest the sudden change
O'ercome my spirits.
Ecad. When I call back this oath,
The pains of hell environ me!
That I may cut his body into motes,
And scatter it before the northern wind.
Evad. You dare not strike him.
Amin. Do not wrong me so.
Yes, if his body were a poisonous plant,
That it were death to touch, I have a soul
Will throw me on him.
Evad. Why, it is the king.
Amin. The king!
Evad. What will you do now?
Amin. It is not the king!
Evad. What did he make this match for, dull
Amin. Oh, thou hast named a word, that wipes
All thoughts revengeful! In that sacred name,
"The king,' there lies a terror. What frail man
Dares lift his hand against it? Let the gods
Speak to him, when they please; till when, let us
Suffer, and wait.
Evad. Why should you fill yourself so full of
And haste so to my bed? I am no virgin.
Amin. What devil put it in thy fancy, then,
To marry me?
Evad. Alas, I must have one
To father children, and to bear the name
Of husband to me, that my sin may be
Amin. What a strange thing am I !
Evad. A miserable one; one, that myself
Am sorry for.
Amin. Why, shew it then in this:
If thou hast pity, though thy love be none,
Kill me; and all true lovers, that shall live
In after ages, crossed in their desires,
Shall bless thy memory, and call thee good;
Because such mercy in thy heart was found,
To rid a lingering wretch.
Erad. I must have one
To fill thy room again, if thou wert dead;
Else, by this might, I would: I pity thee.
Asp. Then, my good girls, be more than women,
At least, be more than I was; and be sure
You credit any thing the light gives light to,
Before a man. Rather believe the sca
Weeps for the ruined merchant, when he roars;
Amin. These strange and sudden injuries have Rather, the wind courts but the pregnant sails,
So thick upon me, that I lose all sense
Of what they are. Methinks, I am not wronged;
Nor is it aught, if from the censuring world
I can but hide it.
Thou art a word, no more.-But thou hast shewn
An impudence so high, that to the world
I fear thou wilt betray or shame thyself.
When the strong cordage cracks; rather, the sun
Comes but to kiss the fruit in wealthy autumn,
When all falls blasted. If you needs must love,
(Forced by ill fate) take to your maiden bosoms
Two dead-cold aspicks, and of them make lovers:
They cannot flatter, nor forswear; one kiss
Makes a long peace for all. But man,
Oh, that beast man! Come, let's be sad, my girls!
Erad. To cover shame, I took thee; never fear That down-cast of thine eye, Olympias,
That I would blaze myself.
Know, I conceive he wrongs me; then mine honour
Will thrust me into action, though my flesh
Could bear with patience. And it is some ease
To me in these extremes, that I knew this,
Before I touched thee; else, had all the sins
Of mankind stood betwixt me and the king,
I had gone through them to his heart and thine.
I have lost one desire: 'Tis not his crown
Shall buy me to thy bed now, I resolve,
He has dishonoured thee. Give me thy hand;
Be careful of thy credit, and sin close;
'Tis all I wish. Upon thy chamber floor
I'll rest to-night, that morning visitors
May think we did as married people use.
And, prithee, smile upon me when they come,
And seem to toy, as if thou hadst been pleased
With what we did.
Evad. Fear not; I will do this.
Amin. Come, let us practise; and, as wantonly
As ever loving bride and bridegroom met,
Let's laugh and enter here.
Enter ASPATIA, ANTIPHILA, and OLYMPIAS.
Asp. Away, you are not sad; force it no further.
Good gods, how well you look! Such a full colour
Young bashful brides put on. Sure, you are new
Ant. Yes, madam, to your grief.
Asp. Alas, poor wenches!
Go learn to love first; learn to lose yourselves;
Learn to be flattered, and believe, and bless
The double tongue, that did it. Make a faith
Out of the miracles of ancient lovers,
Such as spake truth, and died in it; and, like me,
Believe all faithful, and be miserable.
Did you ne'er love yet, wenches? Speak, Olympias:
Shews a fine sorrow. Mark, Antiphila;
Just such another was the nymph Œnone,
When Paris brought home Helen. Now, a tear;
And then thou art a piece expressing fully
The Carthage queen, when, from a cold sea-rock,
Full with her sorrow, she tied fast her eyes
To the fair Trojan ships; and, having lost them,
Just as thine eyes do, down stole a tear. Antiphila,
What would this wench do, if she were Aspatia?
Here she would stand, till some more pitying god
Turned her to marble! It is enough, my wench!
Shew me the piece of needlework you wrought.
Ant. Of Ariadne, madam?
This should be Theseus; he has a cozening face:
You meant him for a man?
Ant. He was so, madam.
Asp. Why, then, 'tis well enough. Never look