The province of Andalusia in Spain. A royal palace.
(Duke Angelo; Roderick)
Roderick is disturbed by the fact that his father is discussing his mortality, but as Duke Angelo has no regrets about his life, he does not see why his son should be bothered. Angelo’s only fear is that his younger son Henriquez’s behavior will tarnish the family name, but Roderick is certain that with age Henriquez will calm down. Angelo hopes that this is true, but is still bothered by the fact that Henriquez has removed himself from court. Roderick reports that Henriquez is sending his friend Julio to court to get some money for him to buy some horses. Angelo and Roderick decide to see whether they can get Julio to spy for them on his friend. (50 lines)
Enter Roderick and the Duke.
My gracious father, this unwonted strain
Visits my heart with sadness.
Why, my son?
Making my death familiar to my tongue
Digs not my grave one jot before the date.
I’ve worn the garland of my honors long,
And would not leave it wither’d to thy brow,
But flourishing and green; worthy the man,
Who, with my Dukedoms, heirs my better glories.
This praise, which is my pride, spreads me with blushes.
Think not, that I can flatter thee, my Roderick;
Or let the scale of love o’er-poise my judgment.
Like a fair glass of retrospection, thou
Reflect’st the virtues of my early youth;
Making my old blood mend its pace with transport:
While fond Henriquez, thy irregular brother,
Sets the large credit of his name at stake,
A truant to my wishes, and his birth.
His taints of wildness hurt our nicer honor,
And call for swift reclaim.
I trust, my brother
Will, by the vantage of his cooler wisdom,
E’er-while redeem the hot escapes of youth,
And court opinion with a golden conduct.
Be thou a prophet in that kind suggestion!
But I, by fears weighing his unweigh’d course,
Interpret for the future from the past.
And strange misgivings, why he hath of late
By importunity, and strain’d petition,
Wrested our leave of absence from the court,
Awake suspicion. Thou art inward with him;
And, haply, from the bosom’d trust can’st shape
Some formal cause to qualify my doubts.
Why he hath press’d this absence, sir, I know not;
But have his letters of a modern date,
Wherein by Julio, good Camillo’s son,
(Who, as he says, shall follow hard upon;
And whom I with the growing hour expect)
He doth sollicit the return of gold
To purchase certain horse, that like him well.
This Julio he encounter’d first in france,
And lovingly commends him to my favor;
Wishing, I would detain him some few days,
To know the value of his well-placed trust.
O, do it, Roderick; and assay to mould him
An honest spy upon thy brother’s riots.
Make us acquainted when the youth arrives;
We’ll see this Julio, and he shall from us
Receive the secret loan his friend requires.
Bring him to court.