Double Falsehood Scenes
The prospect of a village.
(Fabian; Lopez; Henriquez)
Fabian and Lopez overhear Henriquez as he wrestles with his conscience after raping Violenta, trying to convince himself that her silence implied acquiescence. He is terrified of being found out and dishonored, especially as he is no longer in love with Violante but with Leonora, even though she is his friend Julio’s lady. His despair is strong enough that the two onlookers are worried he will harm himself. ( line)
Enter Fabian and Lopez; Henriquez on the opposite side.
Soft, soft you, neighbor; who comes here? Pray you, slink aside—
Ha! Is it come to this? Oh the devil, the devil, the devil!
Lo you now! For want of the discreet ladle of a cool understanding, will this fellow’s brains boil over.
To have enjoy’d her, I would have given—what?
All that at present I could boast my own,
And the reversion of the world to boot,
Had the inheritance been mine: and now,
(Just doom of guilty joys!) I grieve as much
That I have rifled all the stores of beauty,
Those charms of innocence and artless love,
As just before I was devour’d with sorrow,
That she refus’d my vows, and shut the door
Upon my ardent longings.
Love! Love! Downright love! I see by the foolishness of it.
Now then to recollection—was’t not so? A promise first of marriage—not a promise only, for ’twas bound with surety of a thousand oaths—and those not light ones neither.
Yet I remember too, those oaths could not prevail;
Th’ unpractis’d maid trembled to meet my love:
By force alone I snatch’d th’ imperfect joy,
Which now torments my memory. Not love,
But brutal violence prevail’d; to which
The time, and place, and opportunity,
Were accessaries most dishonorable.
Shame, shame upon it!
What a heap of stuff’s this—I fancy, this fellow’s head would make a good peddler’s pack, neighbor.
Hold, let me be severe to myself, but not unjust. Was it a rape then? No. Her shrieks, her exclamations then had drove me from her. True, she did not consent; as true, she did resist; but still in silence all.
’Twas but the coyness of a modest bride,
Not the resentment of a ravish’d maid.
And is the man yet born, who would not risk
The guilt, to meet the joy? The guilt! That’s true—
But then the danger; the tears, the clamours of the ruin’d maid, pursuing me to court. That, that, I fear will (as it already does my conscience) something shatter my honor. What’s to be done? But now I have no choice. Fair Leonora reigns confest the tyrant queen of my revolted heart, and Violante seems a short usurper there. Julio’s already by my arts remov’d.—O friendship!
How wilt thou answer that? Oh, that a man
Could reason down this fever of the blood,
Or sooth with words the tumult in his heart!
Then, Julio, I might be, indeed, thy friend.
They, they only should condemn me,
Who born devoid of passion ne’er have prov’d
The fierce disputes ’twixt virtue and desire.
While they, who have, like me,
The loose escapes of youthful nature known,
Must wink at mine, indulgent to their own.
This man is certainly mad, and may be mischievous. Prithee, neighbor, let’s follow him; but at some distance, for fear of the worst.
Exeunt after Henriquez.