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THE CARDINAL! 'Cause we express no scene,
We do believe most of you, gentlemen,
Are at this hour in France, and busy there,
Though you vouchsafe to lend your bodies here;
But keep your fancy active, till you know,
By th' progress of our play, 't is nothing so.
A poet's art is to lead on your thought
Through subtle paths and workings of a plot;
And where your expectation does not thrive,
If things fall better, yet you may forgive.
I will say nothing positive; you may

Think what you please; we call it but a Play:
Whether the comic Muse, or ladies' love,
Romance, or direful tragedy it prove,
The bill determines not; and would you be
Persuaded, I would have 't a Comedy,
For all the purple in the name and state
Of him that owns it; but 't is left to fate.

Yet I will tell you, ere you see it play'd,

What the author, and he blusht too, when he said,
Comparing with his own, (for 't had been pride,
He thought, to build his wit a pyramid

Upon another's wounded fame,) this play
Might rival with his best, and dar'd to say-

Troth, I am out: he said no more. You, then,

When 't's done, may say your pleasures, gentlemen.

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That must be obey'd; like some sad passenger,
That looks upon the coast his wishes fly to,
But is transported by an adverse wind,
Sometimes a churlish pilot.

2 Lord. She has a sweet and noble nature. 1 Lord.

That 50

Commends Alvarez; Hymen cannot tie
A knot of two more equal hearts and blood.

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you

5

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Duch. Ladies, I thank both; pray excuse a little melancholy That is behind; my year of mourning hath not So clear'd my account with sorrow, but there

may

Some dark thoughts stay, with sad reflections,
Upon my heart, for him I lost. Even this
New dress and smiling garment, meant
show

to

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20

A peace concluded 'twixt my grief and me,
Is but a sad remembrance. But I resolve
To entertain more pleasing thoughts; and if
You wish me heartily to smile, you must
Not mention grief, not in advice to leave it.
Such counsels open but afresh the wounds
Ye would close up, and keep alive the cause,
Whose bleeding you would cure. Let's talk of
something

That may delight. You two are read in all
The histories of our court: tell me, Valeria, 25
Who has thy vote for the most handsome
man?

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Had sweetness to deserve me from the world, 35 Duch. Aside.] Alvarez! she's a spy upon my heart.

Val. He's young and active, and compos'd most sweetly.

Duch. I have seen a face more tempting. Val. It had then Too much of woman in 't: his eyes speak movingly,

Which may excuse his voice, and lead away 40 All female pride his captive; his hair, black, Which, naturally falling into curls

Duch. Prithee, no more; thou art in love with him.

The man in your esteem, Celinda, now?

Cel. Alvarez is, I must confess, a gentle

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Duch. Wait you, as I directed. When be

comes,

Acquaint me privately.

Ant.

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'Tis now arriv'd the court; we shall have war Duch. [Aside.] I find an army here of killing

thoughts.

Ant. The king has chosen Don Columbo general,

Who is immediately to take his leave. Duch. [Aside.] What flood is let inte my heart! How far

Is he to go?

Ant. Duch.

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Be admitted to your conference ; you have Enlarg'd my spirits; they shall droop no mere. Cel. We are happy, if we may advance thought

To your grace's pleasure.

Val. Your eye before was in eclipse; these smiles

Become you, madam.

Duch. Aside.] I have not skill to conta myself.

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To tell him my free thoughts.

Enter COLUMBO.

Duch. My lord, while I'm in study to requite The favour you ha' done me, you increase My debt to such a sum, still by a new honouring

Your servant, I despair of my own freedom. Colum. Madam, he kisseth your white hand. that must

106

Not surfeit in this happiness - and, ladies,
I take your smiles for my encouragement
I have not long to practise these court tactics.
[Kisses them.

Cel. He has been taught to kiss.

1 Q. Valeria, but cf. vv. 45-57, above.

2 Q. Fal.

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Duch. Pray give leave to examine a few thoughts;

3

Expect me in the garden.
Ladies. We attend. Exeunt Ladies. 150
Duch. This is above all expectation happy.
Forgive me, Virtue, that I have dissembled,
And witness with me, I have not a thought
To tempt or to betray him, but secure
The promise I first made, to love and honour. 155
Re-enter Secretary [ANTONIO].

Ant. The Count d'Alvarez, madam.
Duch.
Admit him,
And let none interrupt us. [Exit ANTONIO.] -
How shall I

Behave my looks? The guilt of my neglect, Which had no seal from hence, will call up blood To write upon my cheeks the shame and story 180 In some red letter.

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Our mutual vows, thou canst suspect it possible
I should revoke a promise, made to heaven
And thee, so soon? This must arise from some
Distrust of thy own faith.

Alv.
Your grace's pardon; 176
To speak with freedom, I am not so old
In cunning to betray, nor young in time,
Not to see when and where I am at loss,
And how to bear my fortune, and my wounds, 180
Which, if I look for health, must still bleed in-
ward,

A hard and desperate condition.

185

190

I am not ignorant your birth and greatness
Have plac'd you to grow up with the king's grace
And jealousy, which to remove, his power
Hath chosen a fit object for your beauty
To shine upon, Columbo, his great favourite.
I am a man on whom but late the king
Has pleas'd to cast a beam, which was not meant
To make me proud, but wisely to direct,
And light me to my safety. Oh, dear madam!
I will not call more witness of my love
(If you will let me still give it that name)
Than this, that I dare make myself a loser,
And to your will give all my blessings up.
Preserve your greatness, and forget a trifle,
That shall, at best, when you have drawn me up,
But hang about you like a cloud, and dim
The glories you are born to.

3 Await.

195

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If I then be happy

To have a name within your thought, there can 229
Be nothing left to crown me with new blessing.
But I dream thus of heaven, and wake to find
My amorous soul a mockery. When the priest
Shall tie you to another, and the joys
Of marriage leave no thought at leisure to
Look back upon Alvarez, that must wither
For loss of you; yet then I cannot lose
So much of what I was once in your favour,
But, in a sigh, pray still you may live happy.

235

Exit.

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Surfeit betray 'em ; for their soldier's.] Bred up with coarse and common bread, wi show

Such appetites on the rich cates they find, They'll spare our swords a victory, when their

Own

Riot and luxury destroys 'em.

Col.

That

Will show our patience too like a fear.
With favour of his excellence, I think
The spoil of cities takes not off the courage,
But doubles it on soldiers; besides,

While we have tameness to expect, the noise #
Of their success and plenty will increase
Their army.

Her.

'Tis considerable; we do not Exceed in foot or horse, our muster not 'Bove sixteen thousand both; and the infantry Raw, and not disciplin'd to act.

Alph.

Their hearts. » But with a brave thought of their country's honour,

Will teach 'em how to fight, had they not seen A sword. But we decline 3 our own too mueb; The men are forward in their arms, and take The use with avarice of fame.

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I do suspect you are a coward.

Her.

Sir!

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I call'd you to a council, sir, of war ; Yet keep your place.

Her.

I have worn other names.

Colum. Deserve 'em. Such

Another were enough to unsoul an army.
Ignobly talk of patience, till they drink
And reel to death! We came to fight, and force
'em

To mend their pace: thou hast no honour in

thee,

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