Po. Bold foolish wickednesse is that
Which walks by day, expos’d to the world’s eie.
Sinne is the daughter of the darkest night,
And therefore doth abhorre to come to light.
Give me that cole blacke sinne that can lye hid.
Under the candid robes of see[m]ing sanctity;
Which dares put out the perspicacious eyes
Of those that shall attempt to find her out.
Come dull Agnostus, let us disguise our selves
And be prepar’d to act some stratagem
To eclipse the glory of these festivals.
She puts on the garment. This robe of vertue doth belong to me;
This goodly vaile shall hide my blacke intents.
Thus personated, I durst undertake
To rend a well woven state in factious peeces;
To win the eares of mighty Potentates;
And hood-winke Kings, that they should neither see
To doe what’s just, nor heare the pitteous cryes
Of those that are opprest.
But that thou, Agnostus, maist second my designes,
‘Tis very fit thou shouldst be thus accouter’d.
Ag. My deare Poneria, I am yours.
Shee puts on his beard.
Po. Then first unto thy chin we apply
This Philosophicall beesome.
Now is the old proverbe really perform’d,
More haire than wit.
How like a Senator he lookes?
What a world of gravity’s harbour’d in that beard?
Surely the world can take him for no other
Than the third Cato that should fall from Heaven.
But here’s the Ensigne of learning,
The badge of the seven Liberal Sciences,
Operculum ingenij, the silken Case of wit,
The Cap of knowledge; Clap this upon thy
Empty hogshead, put this on, and then thy head
Will become a Helicon, and thy braine a Pyrene.
He puts on the Cap.
Ag. It fits me exceeding well.
Po. Dost not perceive thy head begin to ake
With meere abundance of knowledge?
Ag. Now, me thinks, I could confute a Colledge of Divines,
A Synod of Doctors, a Lycaeum of Philosophers;
Yet me thinkes my braines are not right,
And somewhat too weake to maintaine a paradox.
Po. Away fond idiot, doe not conceit
That this Cap can infuse any thing reall into thy pate,
That is uncapable of all art and science.
Under the protection of this Cap, thou maist be bold
To traduce thy betters, to censure the best,
To decide controversies without discretion,
To torment all companies with thy discourse,
And weary eares of yron with thy impertinences;
Doe but weare this head-peece over the Coyfe of
Selfe-conceit (alwayes provided) that thou forget’st
Not to leave off a brazen face; and I dare
Undertake it, thou in a short time, shalt gaine
More respect (especially among Plebean Coxcombs)
Then ever Pythagoras, had of his auditors.
Ag. I am thy slave, divine Poneria:
Oh admirable rare Artist that I am!
Po. But yet, me thinkes, there’s somewhat else to doe
To make thee more accomplish’d and compleat.
‘Slight, the politicall gowne; I had as cleane forgot it,
As the time since I lost my mayden head.
Here ’tis: dispatch, and put it on,
And then be reputed both grave,-
Learn’d, and wise.
Doubtlesse it will become thee exceeding well. He puts on the Gowne.
Now lookes he not like a maine stud of a Corporation?
Ag. How heavy is the burthen of authority?
Po. ‘Tis true, authority is heavy, I confesse,
But not so heavy but an Asse may beare’t.
Since now, Agnostus, that we are well fitted
With habits meet, to act what we intend;
Thou seeming like a grave and learned Sire;
Though thou indeed then that bee’st nothing lesse,
And I like to a vertuous maiden dight,
Though I all vertue deeply doe abhorre;
We thus disguis’d, will all the world delude,
And set the flowers at ods among themselves,
That they in civill enmities embroyl’d,
Shall of their pride and gloryes be dispoyl’d.
Ma. To hinder the conjunction of those starres,
We must try all our skill, Cynosbatus.
Cy. I jealous am of their maligne aspect,
And therefore hold it best to take away
That cause which may produce such bad effects;
For I shall never cease t’applaud his skill,
That in the shell, the Cockatrice doth kill.
Ma. The Serpent will be hatch’d, I shrewdly feare,
E’re we the mischiefe can prevent, if thus
We should delay to act our purposes:
For late, a certaine rumor, through my eare,
Did strike me to the heart; when ’twas reported
That Rhodon on Hymettus hill was seene;
Where by Anthophotus, and his sister Iris,
He was with such solemnity receiv’d,
That all surmise there is a match intended
Betweene the Shepheard Rhodon and faire Iris.
Cy. If once they be conjoyn’d in Hymens rites,
Then all our toyle’s ridiculous and vaine;
For Hymens obligations are (we see)
Seldome by any cancell’d, but by death.
Ma. Then let us set some Stratagem abroach,
The Cords of their new amity to breake.
The tender twig may easily be broke,
But who’s so strong to bow the sturdy Oke.
Our friends will say (if we procrastinate)
That, like the Trojans, we were wise too late.
Since that the gods will not my woe redresse,
Since men are altogether pittilesse,
Ye silent ghosts unto my plaints give eare;
Give eare (I say, ye ghosts) if ghosts can heare:
And listen to my plaints that doe excell
The dol’rous tune of ravish’d Philomel.
Now let Ixions wheele stand still a while,
Let Danaus daughters now surcease their toyle:
Let Sisyphus rest on his restlesse stone,
Let not the Apples flye from Plotas sonne;
And let the full gorg’d Vultur cease to teare
The growing liver of the ravisher;
Let these behold my sorrowes, and confesse
Their paines doe farre come short of my distresse.
Were I but Lady of more wealthy store
Then e’re the Sunne beheld; or had I more
Then Midas e’re desir’d; I would (in briefe)
Give all to be deliver’d from this griefe.
Rocks of rich Indian pearle, shores pav’d with gemmes,
Mountaines of gold, and Empires Diadems,
These would I give, yea, and my selfe to boot,
My selfe and these prostrating at his foot,
To enjoy him whom I so dearely love.
Aye me, fond love, that art a sweet sower evill,
A pleasant torture, a well-favour’d devill.
But why doe I, weake wretch, prolong my griefe?
Why doe I live, since death affords reliefe?
Doe thou (sweet ponyard) all my sorrowes ease,
That art a medicine for all grievances,
Assist my hand, thou goddesse of revenge,
That on my selfe, I may my selfe avenge.
Enter Poneria and Agnostus.
Po. Hold, hold thy hand, faire Shepheardesse,
Attempt not to commit a fact so horrid.
Eg. What Fury sent you hither, Caitiffes vile,
Thus to prolong my sorrow, and my toyle.
Po. No Fury, but your happy Genius
Brought us to these uncomfortable shades,
For to prevent your mischievous intent.
Eg. Death is a plaister for all ills (they say)
What mischiefe then can be in death, I pray.
Po. ‘Tis true; death is a mortall wound that cures all wounds
Of body, and of mind: it is the soules potion
That purgeth her from corporall pollution.
But you must not your owne Physician prove,
Nor be the Doctor, and the Patient too:
For if thy soule be sickly, and grow weary
Of this unwholesome earthly habitation,
Because this ayres spissitude suits not
With her Celestiall Constitution,
She must not like a bankrupt Tenant prove,
That flyes by night from an unprofitable Farme,
Before the terme of his Lease be expir’d:
But stay till heaven shall give her egresse free
Unto the haven of rest and happinesse.
Eg. Were I not plunged in a grievous plight,
Perhaps I would not thinke thy counsell light.
Po. Art not thou the sister of Cynosbatus,
Lord of the silver mines, and golden mountaines.
And art not thou as faire a Shepheardesse
As trips upon the plaines of Thessaly?
Eg. For being great, I am malign’d by Fate,
For being faire, I am unfortunate.
Po. I know thy sorrowes, sweetest Eglantine;
Thy Rhodons absence hath wrought all thy woe,
Who now, they say, doth beauteous Iris court.
But if thou wilt make me thy instrument,
I’ll undertake to breake the match,
If not, renew the love which earst he bare to thee.
Eg. Doe this, and I will live (Poneria)
To give thy merit ample satisfaction.
I will adore thy skill, and thee adorne
With what may make thee famous through all Thessaly.
Po. Then banish all these melancholly thoughts,
And decke thy selfe in thy most sumptuous weeds.
Make hast unto the Fane of gentle Venus,
A payre of Turtles of a snowy hue,
Upon her altars offer thou to her,
And her beseech to intercede for thee
Unto her angry boy: Then shalt thou finde
The god and goddesse to true lovers kinde.
Eg. My deare Poneria, I am truly thine.
But tell me, I prethe, what grave Sr. is this
That lookes like one of Greeces Sages;
His reverent Countenance makes me surmise
That he’s a man of sublime qualities.
Po. He is but what he seemes, faire Shepheardesse:
His head’s the officine of art; his tongue
The oracle of truth; he is the man
Whom onely Nature hath vouchsaf’d to make
Her privy Counsellour.
Those abstruse secrets which no mortall eye
Did ever view, he plainely can discry;
He is the man that’s destin’d to find out
That grand mysterious secret, in whose discovery
So many bold adventrous wits have perished:
I meane th’ Elixar, the Philosophers precious stone.
He is the man who by strange policies
Can breake the strong Confederacies of Kings,
And overthrow more Empires by his plots,
Then mighty Alexander er’e did by strength:
Agnostus is his name, renown’d no lesse
For honesty, than skill in Sciences.
Eg. His silence argues something extraordinary.
Ag. Belphegor, Zazel, Astragoth, Golguth,
Egl. offers to flye away, and is stayed by Po.
Eg. Aye me, Poneria.
Po. Agnostus, not a word more for thy life.
Stay, stay, sweet Eglantine, and dread no harme,
This is the language which the Persian Magi us’d
When they with their familiars did converse,
To which he is so frequently accustom’d,
That oft he speakes it e’re he be aware.
(Agnostus) vouchsafe to use your native language,
That Eglantine may know what you are.
I hope you know your lesson,
Aside. Twice twenty times and ten, &c.
Ag. Twice twenty times and ten, hath Titan run
Quite through the Zodiacke, since I begun
To converse with wise fiends, that I might get
The golden key of Natures Cabinet.
By industry I got immortall fame,
For ignorance begets contempt and shame:
So perfect in the Magicke Arts I grew,
That natures secrets most abstruse I knew
The spirits of ayre and earth did me dread,
And did at my venite come with speed;
The silly ghosts from graves I did forth call
The earth I make to bellow, starres to fall.
The world at my great awfull charmes did quake,
Nature her selfe for very feare did shake:
To change midday to midnight, or to cause
Estivall snowes, or breake the vipers jawes,
Or to drive rivers backe to their spring heads,
And make seas stand unmov’d, or to strike dead
The vernall blossome, or the harvest eare:
A man would thinke these strange conclusions were,
But I account them of small weight: I know
The use of hearbes, and whatsoever grow;
The cause to the effect I can apply,
And worke strange things by hidden sympathies.
I doe exactly know the compositions
Of unctious Philters, and loves potions:
Figures, suspensions and ligations,
Characters and suffumigations.
For I the vertues of all simples know
From whence; effects that seeme impossible I show.
The gall of shreeke Owles, & harsh night Ravens tongu[e]s
Guts of Panthers, and Chamelions lungs,
A blacke Buls eyes, a speckled toads dry’d head,
Frankincense, camphire, and white poppie-seed;
Poysenous Melanthion, and a white Cocks bloud,
Sweet Myrrhe, Bay-berries, precious balsome wood,
A Harts marrow that hath devour’d a snake,
And scalpes which from a wilde beasts jawes we take,
The bone that lyes ith’ left side of a Frogge,
A stone that is bitten with a mad dogge.
The Mandrake root, the blood of a blacke Cat,
A Turtles liver, the braines of a Batt,
Hyaenas heart, the Cockatrices bloud,
That are against so many evils good:
The haire of a thiefe that hangs on a tree;
The nailes of ships that wracked be,
The blood of a wretched man that was slaine,
The eyes of a Dragon and Weasels braines.
The precious simples, and a thousand more
I could produce; I have them all in store:
And though they seeme to men meere trifling things,
Each one (I vow) ore’weighes ransomes of Kings.
The blindnesse of these times cannot discrie
The vertues rare that in these simples lye.
Po. Enough Agnostus: Now faire Shepherdesse,
I hope you have a faire expression
Of this learn’d mans sublime desert, and art?
Eg. I doe admire his skill, and see (by happe)
Good stuffe may be beneath a satten Cap.
Rhodon, Martagon, Violetta, Acanthus.
Rho. Know Martagon, that as no dynasties can stand,
No Empires long subsist, unlesse they be
Supported by the Columnes of true equity:
So shall that government of thine decay,
Since thy oppression makes the weake a pray.
Mar. Tis no oppression for to punish those,
That have transgrest the Lawes, as I suppose.
Vio. The lawes (Colossus) proud, unjust tyrant,
That dost observe nor equity nor law.
But by the torrent of ambition hurry’d,
Dost act what lawlesse passion prompts thee to:
What Lawes have I transgrest? it is thy might,
That into seeming wrong hath chang’d our right:
Had Fortune beene as just as was our cause,
We that are censur’d now for breach of Lawes,
Maugre thy viprous hate, had now bin free,
And for thy foule injustice censur’d thee.
Mar. And is your pride Virago still so high?
That it doth over-top your misery.
Cann’t sorrow strike thee dumbe, can no disaster,
The liberty of thy tongue over-master.
Ac. Nay, be assur’d (proud man) not any smart,
Can cure the courage of a valiant heart:
No force a heart of adamant can breake;
And loosers must, and shall have leave to speake:
Rho. No more Acanthus: heare me Martagon:
Wilt thou give Violetta what’s her owne?
Will thou restore her right and due possessions?
And make a recompence for all oppressions,
That happy peace with joy and plenty crown’d,
May in the fields of Thessaly be found?
Mar. This will I doe,
When seas shall be drunke dry by Phoebus beames,
And when the lesser starres shall drinke the streames.
This will I doe,
When of my life and freedome I am weary,
Non minor est virtus quam quae rere parta tueri.
Ac. Before this guiltlesse woman shall endure
Such shamefull injuries: they selfe assure
I’le empty all these azure rivulets
Of their virmilion streames; and quite discharge
This contemn’d bulke of mine, of living ayre;
And stretch’d upon the gelid bed of death,
Ile to the world this Epitaph bequeath,
Here lyes a Swaine that spent his deerest blood,
To kill a Tyrant for a Virgins good.
Ma. Bold heroe doe thy worst, what I have won
I nere will part withall till life be done.
Rho. Tenacious Tyrant, in whose flinty heart
Nor equity, nor justice ere had part:
Assure thy selfe thy guilty soule shall feele
Revenges hand, arm’d with a scourge of steele.
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Based on Keywords: quam, thinkes, maintaine, colossus, ake, gowne, ravisher, evill, reliefe, vouchsaf, sisyphus