Outside an apartment.
(Henriquez; Gerald; Violante)
Henriquez and his servants arrive at Violante’s window, waiting for some musicians. When they arrive, they serenade her at Henriquez’s request. When he tries to woo her, she reminds him that she has said no to him already, as she is a lower-class woman and mistrusts lords’ promises. Henriquez is insulted by her rejection, but decides to try to be humble to gain her. (84 lines)
Enter Henriquez, Gerald, and servants with lights.
Bear the lights close—where is the music, sirs?
Coming, my lord.
Let ’em not come too near. This maid,
For whom my sighs ride on the night’s chill vapour,
Is born most humbly, though she be as fair
As nature’s richest mould and skill can make her,
Mended with strong imagination.
But what of that? Th’ obscureness of her birth
Cannot eclipse the lustre of her eyes,
Which make her all one light.—Strike up, my masters;
But touch the strings with a religious softness;
Teach sound to languish through the night’s dull ear,
’Till melancholy start from her lazy couch,
And carelessness grow convert to attention.
She drives me into wonder, when I sometimes
Hear her discourse; the court, whereof report,
And guess alone inform her, she will rave at,
As if she there sev’n reigns had slander’d time.
Then, when she reasons on her country state,
Health, virtue, plainness, and simplicity,
On beauties true in title, scorning art,
Freedom as well to do, as think, what’s good;
My heart grows sick of birth and empty rank,
And I become a villager in wish.
Play on—she sleeps too sound—be still, and vanish:
A gleam of day breaks sudden from her window:
O taper, graced by that midnight hand!
Violante appears above at her window.
Who is’t, that woos at this late hour? What are you?
One, who for your dear sake—
Watches the starless night!
My lord Henriquez, or my ear deceives me.
You’ve had my answer, and ’tis more than strange
You’ll combat these repulses. Good my lord!
Be friend to your own health; and give me leave,
Securing my poor fame, nothing to pity
What pangs you swear you suffer. ’Tis impossible
To plant your choice affections in my shade,
At least, for them to grow there.
Alas! Sir, there are reasons numberless
To bar your aims. Be warn’d to hours more wholesome;
For, these you watch in vain. I have read stories,
(I fear, too true ones) how young lords, like you,
Have thus besung mean windows, rhymed their suff’rings
Ev’n to th’ abuse of things divine, set up
Plain girls, like me, the idols of their worship,
Then left them to bewail their easie faith,
And stand the world’s contempt.
Too faithful to the wrongs of few lost maids,
Makes fear too general.
Let us be homely,
And let us too be chaste, doing you lords no wrong;
But crediting your oaths with such a spirit,
As you profess them: so no party trusted
Shall make a losing bargain. Home, my lord!
What you can say, is most unseasonable; what sing,
Most absonant and harsh: nay, your perfume,
Which I smell hither, cheers not my sense
Like our field-violet’s breath.
Why this dismission
Does more invite my staying.
Men of your temper
Make ev’ry thing their bramble. But I wrong
That which I am preserving, my maid’s name,
To hold so long discourse. Your virtues guide you
T’ effect some nobler purpose!
Stay, bright maid!
Come back, and leave me with a fairer hope.
She’s gone. Who am I, that am thus contemn’d?
The second son to a prince? Yes, well, what then?
Why, your great birth forbids you to descend
To a low alliance. Her’s is the self-same stuff,
Whereof we Dukes are made; but clay more pure!
And take away my title, which is acquir’d
Not by myself, but thrown by fortune on me,
Or by the merit of some ancestor
Of singular quality, she doth inherit
Deserts t’ outweigh me. I must stoop to gain her;
Throw all my gay comparisons aside,
And turn my proud additions out of service,
Rather than keep them to become my masters.
The dignities we wear, are gifts of pride;
And laugh’d at by the wise, as mere outside.