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Enter Melantha again, hastily, and runs to embrace DoilALICE.
Mel. O, my dear, I was just going to pay my devoirs to you; I had not time this morning, for making my court to the king, and our new prince. Well, never nation was so happy, and all that, in a young prince; and he is the kindest person in the world to me, let me die if he is not.
Dor. He has been bred up far from court, and therefore-^
Mel. That imports not: Though he has not seen the grand monde, and all that, let me die but he has the air of the court most absolutely.
Pala. But yet, madam, he
Mel. O, servant, you can testify that I am in his good graces. Well, I cannot stay long with you, because I have promised him this afternoon to But hark you, my dear, I'll tell you a secret.
[Whispers to Dor.
Rho. The devil's in me, that I must love this woman. [Aside. Pala. The devil's in me, that I must marry this woman. [Aside. Mel. [Raising her voice.] So the prince and I— But you must make a secret of this, my dear; for I would not for the world your husband should hear it, or my tyrant, there, that must be.
Pala. Well, fair impertinent, your whisper is not lost, we hear you. [Aside.
Dor. I understand then, that——
Mel. I'll tell you, my dear, the prince took me by the hand, and pressed it a la derobbee, because the king was near, made the doux yeux to me, and, ensuite, said a thousand gallantries, or let me die, my dear.
Dor. Then I am sure you
Mel. You are mistaken, my dear.
Dor. What, before I speak?
Mel. But I know your meaning. You think, my dear, that I assumed something of Jierte into my countenance, to rebute him; but, quite contrary, I regarded him,—I know not how to express it in our dull Sicilian language,—dun airenjoite; and said nothing but ad autre, ad autre, and that it was all grimace, and would not pass upon me.
Enter Artemis: Meiantha sees her, and runs away from Doralice.
[To Artemis.] My dear, I must beg your pardon, I was just making a loose from Doralice, to pay my respects to you. Let me die, if I ever pass time so agreeably as in your company, and if I would leave it for any lady's in Sicily.
Arte. The princess Amalthea is coming this way.
Enter Amalthea: Melantha runs to her.
Mel. O, dear madam! I have been at your lodging, in my new galeche, so often, to tell you of a new amour, betwixt two persons whom you would little suspect for it, that, let me die if one of my coach-horses be not dead, and another quite tired, and sunk under the fatigue.
Amal. (), Melantha, I can tell you news; the prince is coming this way.
Mel. The prince? () sweet prince! He and I are to—and I forgot it.—Your pardon, sweet madam, for my abruptness.—Adieu, my dear servant,—KhodophU.—Servant, servant, servant all. ,
Amal. Rhodophil, a word with you. [fFhispers.
Dor. [To Pala.] Why do you not follow your mistress, sir?
Pala. Follow her? Why, at this rate she'll be at the Indies within this half hour.
Dor. However, if you cannot follow her all day, you will meet her at night, I hope?
Pala. But can you, in charity, suffer me to be so mortified, without affording me some relief? If it be but to punish that sign of a husband there, that lazy matrimony, that dull insipid taste, who leaves such delicious fare at home, to dine abroad on worse meat, and pay dear for it into the bargain.
Dor. All this is in vain: Assure yourself, I will never admit of any visit from you in private.
Pala. That is to tell me, in other words, my condition is desperate.
Dor. I think you in so ill a condition, that I am resolved to pray for you, this very evening, in the close walk behind the terrace; for that's a private place, and there I am sure nobody will disturb my devotions. And so, good-night, sir. [Exit.
Pala. This is the newest way of making an appointment I ever heard of. Let women alone to contrive the means; I find we are but dunces to them. Well, I will not be so prophane a wretch as to interrupt her devotions; but, to make them more effectual, I'll down upon my knees, and endeavour to join my own with them. [Exit.
Amal. [To Rao.J I know already they do not love each other; and that my brother acts but a forced obedience to the king's commands; so that if a quarrel should arise betwixt the prince and him, I were most miserable on both sides.
Rho. There shall be nothing wanting in me, madam, to prevent so sad a consequence.
Enter the King and Leon Idas; the King whispers Amalthea.
[To himself.] I begin to hate this Palamede, because he is to marry my mistress: Yet break with him I dare not, for fear of being quite excluded from her company. It is a hard case, when a man must go by his rival to his mistress: But it is, at worst, but using him like a pair of heavy boots in a dirty journey; after I have fouled him all day, I'll throw him off at night. [Exit.
Amal. [To the King.] This honour is too great for me to hope.
Poly. You shall this hour have the assurance of it.— Leonidas, come hither; you have heard, I doubt not, that the father of this princess Was my most faithful friend, while I was yet A private man; and when I did assume This crown, he served me in the high attempt. You see, then, to what gratitude obliges me; Make your addresses to her.
Leon. Sir, I am yet too young to be a courtier; I should too much betray my ignorance, And want of breeding to so fair a lady.
Amal. Your language speaks you not bred up in desarts, But in the softness of some Asian court, Where luxury and ease invent kind words, To cozen tender virgins of their hearts.
Poly. You need not doubt, But in what words soe'er a prince can offer His crown and person, they will be received. You know my pleasure, and you know your duty.
Leon. Yes, sir, I shall obey, in what I can.
Poly. In what you can, Leonidas? Consider, He's both your king, and father, who commands you. Besides, what is there hard in my injunction?
Leon. Tis hard to have my inclination forced. J would not marry, sir; and, when I do, I hope you'll give me freedom in my choice.
Poly. View well this lady, Whose mind as much transcends her beauteous face; As that excels all others.
Amal. My beauty, as it ne'er could merit love, So neither can it beg: And, sir, you may Believe, that what the king has offered you, I should refuse, did I not value more Your person than your crown.
Leon. Think it not pride,
Poly. But what, Leonidas?
Leon. Sir, ask the stars,
Poly. Leonidas, you owe me more
Leon. I owe you all things, sir; but something, too, I owe myself.
Poly. You shall dispute no more; I am a king, And I will be obeyed.
Leon. You are a king, sir, but you are no god; Or, if you were, you could not force my will. Poly. [Aside.] But you are just, ye gods; O you are just, In punishing the crimes of my rebellion With a rebellious son!Yet I can punish him, as you do me.—