Imágenes de página

dophil. That, indeed, is living upon cordials; but, as fast as one fails, you must supply it with another. You're like a gamester who has lost his estate; yet, in doing that, you have learned the advantages of play, and can arrive to live upon't. i

Rho. Truth is, I have been thinking on't, and have just resolved to take your counsel; and, faith, considering the damned disadvantages of a married man, I have provided well enough, for a poor humble sinner, that is not ambitious of great matters.

Pala. What is she, for a woman?

Rho. One of the stars of Syracuse, I assure you : Young enough, fair enough; and, but for one quality, just such a woman as I could wish.

Pala. O friend, this is not an age to be critical in beauty. When we had good store of handsome women, and but few chapmen, you might have been more curious in your choice; but now the price is enhanced upon us, and all mankind set up for mis. tresses, so that poor little creatures, without beauty, birth, or breeding, but only impud'ence, go off at unreasonable rates : And a man, in these hard times, snaps at them, as he does at broad gold; never examines the weight, but takes light or heavy, as he can get it.

Rho. But my mistress has one fault, that's almost unpardonable; for, being a town-lady, without any relation to the court, yet she thinks herself undone if she be not seen there three or four times a day with the princess Amalthea. And, for the king, she haunts and watches him so narrowly in a morning, that she prevents even the chemists, who beset his chamber, to turn their mercury into his gold.

Pala. Yet, hitherto, methinks, you are no very unhappy man.

Rho. With all this, she's the greatest gossip in nature; for, besides the court, she's the most eternal visitor of the town; and yet manages her time so well, that she seems ubiquitary. For my part, I can compare her to nothing but the sun; for, like him, she takes no rest, nor ever sets in one place, but to rise in another.

Pala. I confess, she had need be handsome, with these qualities.

Rho. No lady can be so curious of a new fashion, as she is of a new French word: she's the very mint of the nation; and as fast as any bullion comes out of France, coins it immediately into our language. · Pala. And her name is Rho. No naming; that's not like a cavalier: Find her, if you can, by my description; and I am not so ill a painter that I need write the name beneath the picture.

Pala. Well, then, how far have you proceeded in your love?

Rho. 'Tis yet in the bud, and what fruit it may bear I cannot tell; for this insufferable humour, of haunting the court, is so predominant, that she has hitherto broken all her assignations with me, for fear of missing her visits there.

Pala. That's the hardest part of your adventure. But, for aught I see, fortune has used us both alike: I have a strange kind of mistress too in court, besides her I am to marry.

Rho. You have made haste to be in love, then; for, if I am not mistaken, you are but this day arrived. · Pala. That's all one: I have seen the lady already, who has charmed me; seen her in these walks, courted her, and received, for the first time, an answer that does not put me into despair.

I'll tell you more at leisure my adventures. The

walks fill apace, I see. Stay, is not that the young lord Argaleon, the king's favourite?

Rho. Yes, and as proud as ever, as ambitious, and as revengeful.

Pala. How keeps he the king's favour with these qualities?

Rho. Argaleon's father helped him to the crown: besides, he gilds over all his vices to the king, and, standing in the dark to hin, sees all his inclinations, interests, and humours, which he so times and soothes, that, in effect, he reigns.

Pala. His sister Amalthea, who, I guess, stands by him, seems not to be of his temper.

Rho. O, she's all goodness and generosity.

Arga. Rhodophil, the king expects you earnestly.

Rho. "Tis done, my lord, what he commanded: I only waited his return from hunting. Shall I attend your lordship to him?

Arga. No; I go first another way. [Exit hastily.
Pala. He seems in haste, and discomposed.

Amal. [to RHOD. after a short whisper.] Your friend? then he must needs be of much merit.

Rho. When he has kissed the king's hand, I know he'll beg the honour to kiss yours. Come, Palamede.

[F.xeunt Rhodo. and Pala. bowing to

Arte. Madam, you tell me most surprising news.

Anial. The fear of it, you see,
Has discomposed my brother; but to me,
All, that can bring my country good, is welcome.

Arte. It seems incredible, that this old king,
Whom all the world thought childless,
Should come to search the farthest parts of S
In hope to find an heir.

Amal. To lessen your astonishment, I will

Unfold some private passages of state,
Of which you are yet ignorant: Know, first,
That this Polydamus, who reigns, unjustly
Gained the crown.
Arte. Somewhat of this I have confusedly

Amal. I'll tell you all in brief : Theagenes,
Our last great king,
Had, by his queen, one only son, an infant
Of three years old, called, after him, Theagenes.
The general, this Polydamus, then married;
The public feasts for which were scarcely past,
When a rebellion in the heart of Sicily
Called out the king to arms.

Arte. Polydamusi
Had then a just excuse to stay behind.

Amal. His temper was too warlike to accept it.
He left his bride, and the new joys of marriage,
And followed to the field. In short, they fought,
The rebels were o'ercome; but in the fight
The too bold king received a mortal wound.
When he perceived his end approaching near,
He called the general, to whose care he left
His widow queen, and orphan son; then died. .

Arte. Then false Polydamus betrayed his trust? Amal. He did; and, with my father's help, for

which Heaven pardon him!—so gained their soldiers' hearts, That, in a few days, he was saluted king: And when his crimes had impudence enough To bear the eye of day, He marched his army back to Syracuse. But see how heaven can punish wicked men, In granting their desires : The news was brought

him, That day he was to enter it, that Eubulus,

Whom his dead master had left governor,
Was fled, and with him bore away the queen,

And royal orphan; but, what more amazed him,
'His wife, now big with child, and much detesting
Her husband's practices, had willingly
Accompanied their flight.

Arte. How I admire her virtue!

Amal. What became Of her, and them, since that, was never known; Only, some few days since, a famous robber Was taken with some jewels of vast price, Which, when they were delivered to the king, He knew had been his wife's; with these, a letter, Much torn and sullied, but which yet he knew To be her writing.'

Arte. Sure, from hence he learned He had a son ?

Amal. It was not left so plain : The paper only said, she died in child-bed ; But when it should have mentioned son or daugh

Just there it was torn off.

Arte. Madam, the king.
To them POLYDAMUS, ARGA LEON, Guard and At-

Arga. The robber, though thrice racked, confes-

sed no more, But that he took those jewels near this place.

Poly. But yet the circumstances strongly argue, That those, for whom I search, are not far off.

Arga. I cannot easily believe it.

Arte. No,
You would not have it so.

[Aside. Poly. Those, I employed, have in the neighbour

ing hamlet, Amongst the fishers' cabins, made discovery

« AnteriorContinuar »