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'Tis a madness that he
When neither can hinder the other.
Song. Re-enter DORALICE and BELIZA.
Dor. I did not think to have had witnesses of my bad singing.
Pala. If I have erred, madam, I hope you'll pardon the curiosity of a stranger; for I may well call myself so, after five years absence from the court: but you have freed me from one error.
Dor. What's that, I beseech you?
Pala. I thought good voices, and ill faces, had been inseparable; and that to be fair, and sing well, had been only the privilege of angels.
Dor. And how many more of these fine things can you say to me?
Pala. Very few, madam; for if I should continue to see you some hours longer, you look so kill. ingly, that I should be mute with wonder.
Dor. This will not give you the reputation of a wit with me. You travelling monsieurs live upon the stock you have got abroad, for the first day or two; to repeat with a good memory, and apply with a good grace, is all your wit; and, commonly, your gullets are sewed up, like cormorants. When you have regorged what you have taken in, you are the leanest things in nature,
Pala. Then, nadam, I think you had best make that use of mę; let me wait on you for two or three days together, and you shall hear all I have learnt of extraordinary in other countries; and one thing
which I never saw 'till I came home, that is, a lady of a better voice, better face, and better wit, than any I have seen abroad. And, after this, if I should not declare myself most passionately in love with you, I should have less wit than yet you think I have.
Dor. A very plain, and pithy declaration. I see, sir, you have been travelling in Spain or Italy, or some of the hot countries, where men come to the point immediately. But are you sure these are not words of course? For I would not give my poor heart an occasion of complaint against me, that I engaged it too rashly, and then could not bring it
Pala. Your heart may trust itself with me safely; I shall use it very civilly while it stays, and never turn it away, without fair warning to provide for itself.
Dor. First, then, I do receive your passion with as little consideration, on my part, as ever you gave it me, on yours. And now, see what a miserable wretch you have made yourself!
Pala. Who, I miserable? Thank you for that. Give me love enough, and life enough, and I defy Fortune.
Dor. Know, then, thou man of vain imagination, know, to thy utter confusion, that I am virtuous.
Pala. Such another word, and I give up the ghost..
Dor. Then, to strike you quite dead, know that I am married too.
Pala. Art thou married? O thou damnable virtuous woman!
Dor. Yes, married to a gentleman; young, handsome, rich, valiant, and with all the good qualities that will make you despair, and hang yourself.
Pala. Well, in spite of all that, I'll love you: For
tune has cut us out for one another; for I am to be married within these three days; married, past redemption, to a young, fair, rich, and virtuous lady; and it shall go hard but I will love my wife as little, as, I perceive, you do your husband.
Dór. Remember, I invade no propriety: my.servant you are, only 'till you are married.
Pala. In the meantime, you are to forget you have a husband.
Dor. And you, that you are to have a wife.
Bel. [aside, to her Lady.] O madam, my lord's just at the end of the walks! and, if you make not haste, will discover you.
Dor. Some other time, new servant, we'll talk further of the premises; in the mean while, break not my first commandment, that is, not to follow
Pala. But where, then, shall I find you again?
[Exeunt DÓRALICE and BELIZ. Pala. Well, I'll say that for thee, thou art a very dexterous executioner; thou hast done my business at one stroke : yet I must marry another--and yet I must love this; and if it lead me into some little inconveniencies, as jealousies, and duels, and death, and so forth-yet, while sweet love is in the case, Fortune, do thy worst, and avaunt, mortality! Enter RHODOPHIL, who seems speaking to one within.
Rho. Leave 'em with my lieutenant, while I fetch new orders from the king. -How? Palamede!
[Sees PALAMEDE. · Pala. Rhodophil !
Rho. Who thought to have seen you in Sicily?
Pala. Who thought to have found the court so far from Syracuse?
Rho. The king best knows the reason of the pro:
gress. But, answer me, I beseech you, what brought you home from travel?
Pala. The commands of an old rich father.
Pala. Both together, as you see, have prevailed on my good nature. In few words, my old man has already married me; for he has agreed with another old man, as rich and as covetous as himself; the articles are drawn, and I have given my consent, for fear of being disinherited; and yet know not what kind of woman I am to marry.
· Rho. Sure your father intends you some very ugly wife, and has a mind to keep you in ignorance till you have shot the gulf. ,
Palà. I know not that; but obey I will, and must.
Rho. Then I cannot chuse but grieve for all the good girls and courtezans of France and Italy. They have lost the most kind-hearted, doting, prodigal humble servant, in Europe.
Pala. All I could do, in these three years I staid behind you, was to comfort the poor creatures for the loss of you. But what's the reason that, in all, this time, a friend could never hear from you?
Rho. Alas, dear Palamede! I have had no joy to write, nor indeed to do any thing in the world to please me. The greatest misfortune imaginable is fallen upon me.
Pala. Pr’ythee, what's the matter?
Rho. In one word, I am married : wretchedly married; and have been above these two years. Yes, faith, the devil has had power over me, in spite of my vows and resolutions to the contrary.
Pala. I find you have sold yourself for filthy lucre; she's old, or ill conditioned.
Rho. No; none of these: I'm sure she's young; and, for her humour, she, laughs, sings, and dances
eternally; and, which is more, we never quarrel about it, for I do the same.
Pala. You're very unfortunate indeed: then the case is plain, she is not handsome.
Rho. A great beauty too, as people say.
Pala. As people say? why, you should know that best yourself.
Rho. Ask those, who have smelt to a strong perfume two years together, what's the scent.
Pala. But here are good qualities enough for onc woman.
Rho. Ay, too many, Palamede. If I could put them into three or four women, I should be content.
Pala. O, now I have found it! you dislike her for no other reason but because she's your wife.
Rho. And is not that enough? All that I know of her perfections now, is only by memory. I remember, indeed, that about two years ago I loved her passionately; but those golden days are gone, Palamede: Yet I loved her a whole half year, double the natural term of any mistress; and I think, in my conscience, I could have held out another quarter, but then the world began to laugh at me, and a certain shame, of being out of fashion, seized me, At last, we arrived at that point, that there was nothing left in us to make us new to one another. Yet still I set a good face upon the matter, and am infinite fond of her before company; but when we are alone, we walk like lions in a room; she one way, and I another. And we lie with our backs to each other, so far distant, as if the fashion of great beds was only invented to keep husband and wife sufficiently asunder.
Pala. The truth is, your disease is very desperate; but, though you cannot be cured, you may be patched up a little: you must get you a mistress, Rhos