A wide plain, with a prospect of mountains in the distance.
(First Shepherd; Second Shepherd; Master of the Flocks; Julio; Violante; Roderick; Henriquez)
The Master of the Flocks and two shepherds discuss the madman who has recently come to live nearby them, mentioning his apparent love of music. The madman enters and turns out to be Julio, ranting about treachery. The shepherds send the Master’s boy, who is actually Violante in disguise, to talk to Julio in the hopes of finding out more about what brought him here. Julio almost notices that the shepherd boy is a woman, along with guessing that “he” has suffered in love, and counsels Violante to kill herself. The shepherds grab him to stop him harming anyone, but he fights them off, thinking one of them is Henriquez. Julio goes off, cursing Henriquez, and the injured shepherds go off to a tavern. The Master of the Flocks pans to meet them there, but first, having guessed that Violante is a woman, decides to have his way with her. She pleads with him, but he has no patience for that. Just as he is about to rape her, Roderick interrupts and she manages to escape. Roderick asks the Master some questions, but the curmudgeonly fellow refuses even to tell him the way. The nobleman is shocked at this lack of manners. It turns out that he is in the area looking for his brother, who is in the area because Leonora has cloistered herself in a nunnery nearby. Henriquez finds his brother, and insists that he must have the lady, and abduct her from the nunnery; Roderick agrees to help if only to try and make Henriquez behave honorably. He comes up with the plan of pretending to be carrying a body to burial and asking to spend the night at the nunnery, thus gaining access to Leonora. Roderick insists that she is to be treated honorably, and Henriquez agrees. (243 lines)
Enter Master of the Flocks, three or four Shepherds, and Violante in boy’s clothes.
Well, he’s as sweet a man, heav’n comfort him! As ever these eyes look’d on.
If he have a mother, I believe, neighbors, she’s a woe-woman for him at this hour.
Why should he haunt these wild unpeopled mountains,
Where nothing dwells but hunger, and sharp winds?
His melancholy, sir, that’s the main devil does it. Go to, I fear he has had too much foul play offer’d him.
How gets he meat?
Why, now and then he takes our victuals from us, though we desire him to eat; and instead of a short grace, beats us well and soundly, and then falls to.
Where lies he?
Ev’n where the night o’ertakes him.
Now will I be hang’d, an’ some fair-snouted skittish woman, or other, be not at the end of this madness.
Well, if he lodg’d within the sound of us, I knew our music would allure him. How attentively he stood, and how he fix’d his eyes, when your boy sung his love-ditty. Oh, here he comes again.
Let him alone; he wonders strangely at us.
Not a word, sirs, to cross him, as you love your shoulders.
He seems much disturb’d: I believe the mad fit is upon him.
Horsemanship!—Hell—Riding shall be abolish’d:
Turn the barb’d steed loose to his native wildness;
It is a beast too noble to be made
The property of man’s baseness. What a letter
Wrote he to’s brother? What a man was I?
Why, Perseus did not know his seat like me;
The Parthian, that rides swift without the rein,
Match’d not my grace and firmness. Shall this lord
Die, when men pray for him? Think you ’tis meet?
I don’t know what to say: neither I, nor all the confessors in Spain, can unriddle this wild stuff.
I must to court! Be usher’d into grace,
By a large list of praises ready penn’d!
O devil! What a venomous world is this,
When commendations are the baits to ruin!
All these good words were gyves and fetters, sir,
To keep me bolted there: while the false sender
Play’d out the game of treach’ry.—Hold; come hither;
You have an aspect, sir, of wond’rous wisdom,
And, as it seems, are travell’d deep in knowledge;
Have you e’er seen the Phoenix of the Earth,
The Bird of Paradise?
In troth, not I, sir.
I have; and known her haunts, and where she built
Her spicy nest: ’till, like a credulous fool,
I shew’d the treasure to a friend in trust,
And he hath robb’d me of her.—Trust no friend:
Keep thy heart’s counsels close.—Hast thou a mistress?
Give her not out in words; nor let thy pride
Be wanton to display her charms to view;
Love is contagious: and a breath of praise,
Or a slight glance, has kindled up its flame,
And turn’d a friend a traitor. ’Tis in proof;
And it has hurt my brain.
Marry, now there is some moral in his madness, and we may profit by it.
See, he grows cool, and pensive.
Go towards him, boy, but do not look that way.
Alas! I tremble—
Oh, my pretty youth!
Come hither, child; did not your song imply
Something of love?
Ha—ha—goes it there? Now if the boy be witty, we shall trace something.
Yes, sir, it was the subject.
Sit here then: come, shake not, good pretty soul,
Nor do not fear me; I’ll not do thee wrong.
Why do you look so on me?
I have reasons.
It puzzles my philosophy, to think
That the rude blast, hot sun, and dashing rains
Have made no fiercer war upon thy youth;
Nor hurt the bloom of that vermilion cheek.
You weep too, do you not?
Sometimes, I do.
I weep sometimes too. You’re extremely young.
Indeed, I’ve seen more sorrows far than years.
Yet all these have not broken your complexion.
You have a strong heart, and you are the happier.
I warrant, you’re a very loving woman.
A woman, sir?
I fear, h’as found me out.
He takes the boy for a woman. Mad, again!
You’ve met some disappointment; some foul play
Has cross’d your love. I read it in your face.
You read a truth then.
Where can lie the fault?
Is’t in the man, or some dissembling knave,
He put in trust? Ho! Have I hit the cause?
You’re not far off.
This world is full of coz’ners, very full;
Young virgins must be wary in their ways.
I’ve known a Duke’s son do as great a knavery.
Will you be rul’d by me?
’Twill be a terror to the villain’s conscience,
The longest day he lives.
By no means. What?
Yes; I’ll have it so.
I fear, his fit is returning. Take heed of all hands. —Sir,—do you want any thing?
Thou liest; thou can’st not hurt me: I am proof
’Gainst farther wrongs. Steal close behind me, lady.
I will avenge thee.
Thank the heav’ns, I’m free.
O treach’rous, base Henriquez! Have I caught thee?
Help! Help! Good neighbors; he will kill me else.
Julio seizes on the Shepherd.
Violante runs out.
Here thou shalt pay thy heart-blood for the wrongs
Thou’st heap’d upon this head. Faith-breaker! Villain!
I’ll suck thy life-blood.
Good sir, have patience; this is no Henriquez.
They rescue the Shepherd.
Well; let him slink to court, and hide a coward;
Not all his father’s guards shall shield him there.
Or if he prove too strong for mortal arm,
I will sollicit ev’ry saint in heav’n
To lend me vengeance.—I’ll about it straight.—
The wrathful elements shall wage this war;
Furies shall haunt him; vultures gnaw his heart;
And nature pour forth all her stores of plagues,
To join in punishment of trust betray’d.
Go thy ways, and a vengeance go with thee!—Pray, feel my nose; is it fast, neighbors?
’Tis as well as may be.
He pull’d at it, as he would have drag’d a bullock backward by the tail. An’t had been some men’s nose that I know, neighbors, who knows where it had been now? He has given me such a devilish dash o’er the mouth, that I feel, I shall never whistle to my sheep again. Then they’ll make holiday.
Come, shall we go? For, I fear, if the youth return, our second course will be much more against our stomachs.
Walk you afore; I will but give my boy
Some short instructions, and I’ll follow straight.
We’ll crash a cup together.
Pray, do not linger.
I will not, sirs;—this must not be a boy;
His voice, mein, gesture, ev’rything he does,
Savour of soft and female delicacy.
He but puts on this seeming, and his garb
Speaks him of such a rank, as well persuades me,
He plays the swain, rather to cloak some purpose,
Than forced to’t by a need: I’ve waited long
To mark the end he has in his disguise;
But am not perfect in’t. The madman’s coil
Has driv’n him shaking hence. These fears betray him.
If he prove right, I’m happy. O, he’s here.
Come hither, boy; where did you leave the flock, child?
Grazing below, sir.—What does he mean, to stroke one o’the cheek so? I hope, I’m not betray’d.
Have you learnt the whistle yet, and when to fold?
And how to make the dog bring in the strayers?
Time, sir, will furnish me with all these rules;
My will is able, but my knowledge weak, sir.
That’s a good child: why dost thou blush, my boy?
’Tis certainly a woman.
Speak, my boy.
Heav’n! How I tremble.—’Tis unusual to me
To find such kindness at a master’s hand,
That am a poor boy, ev’ry way unable,
Unless it be in pray’rs to merit it.
Besides, I’ve often heard old people say,
Too much indulgence makes boys rude and saucy.
Are you so cunning!
How his eyes shake fire,
And measure ev’ry piece of youth about me!
To the Master.
The ewes want water, sir: shall I go drive ’em
Down to the cisterns? Shall I make haste, sir?
Would I were five miles from him—how he gripes me!
Come, come, all this is not sufficient, child,
To make a fool of me. This is a fine hand,
A delicate fine hand,—never change color;
You understand me,—and a woman’s hand.
You’re strangely out: yet if I were a woman,
I know, you are so honest and so good,
That though I wore disguises for some ends,
You would not wrong me.
Come, you’re made for love;
Will you comply? I’m madder with this talk.
There’s nothing you can say, can take my edge off.
Oh, do but quench these foul affections in you,
That, like base thieves, have rob’d you of your reason,
And I will be a woman; and begin
So sad a story, that if there be aught
Of humane in you, or a soul that’s gentle,
You cannot choose but pity my lost youth.
No stories now.
Kill me directly, sir;
As you have any goodness, take my life.
Hoa! Shepherd, will you hear, sir?
What bawling rogue is that, i’th’ devil’s name?
Blessings upon him, whatsoe’er he be!
Good even, my friend; I thought, you all had been asleep in this country.
You had lied then; for you were waking, when you thought so.
I thank you, sir.
I pray, be cover’d; ’tis not so much worth, sir.
Was that thy boy ran crying?
Yes; what then?
Why dost thou beat him so?
To make him grow.
A pretty med’cine! Thou can’st not tell me the way to the next nunnery?
How do you know that?—Yes, I can tell you; but the question is, whether I will or no; and, indeed, I will not. Fare you well.
What a brute fellow’s this! Are they all thus?
My brother Henriquez tells me by his letters,
The mistress of his soul not far from hence
Hath taken sanctuary: from which he prays
My aid to bring her back.—From what Camillo
Hinted, I wear some doubts.—Here ’tis appointed
That we should meet; it must be here; ’tis so.
Now, brother, what’s this post-haste business
You hurry me about?—Some wenching matter—
My letter told you, sir.
’Tis true, it tells me, that you’ve lost a mistress
Whom your heart bleeds for; but the means to win her
From her close life, I take it, is not mention’d.
You’re ever in these troubles.
I own, I have too freely giv’n a scope
To youth’s intemp’rate heat, and rash desires:
But think not, that I would engage your virtues
To any cause, wherein my constant heart
Attended not my eye. ’Till now my passions
Reign’d in my blood; ne’er pierc’d into my mind;
But I’m a convert grown to purest thoughts:
And must in anguish spend my days to come,
If I possess not her: so much I love.
The means? She’s in a cloister, is she not?
Within whose walls to enter as we are,
Will never be: few men, but friars, come there;
Which we shall never make.
If that would do it,
I would make anything.
Are you so hot?
I’ll serve him, be it but to save his honor.
To feign a corpse—By th’ mass, it shall be so.
We must pretend, we do transport a body
As ’twere to’s funeral: and coming late by,
Crave a night’s leave to rest the herse i’th’ convent.
That be our course; for to such charity
Strict zeal and custom of the house give way.
And, opportune, a vacant herse pass’d by
From rites but new perform’d: this for a price
We’ll hire, to put our scheme in act. Ho! Gerald—
Enter Gerald, whom Henriquez whispers; then Gerald goes out.
When we’re once lodg’d, the means of her conveyance,
By safe and secret force, with ease we’ll compass
But, brother, know my terms. If that your mistress
Will to the world come back, and she appear
An object worthy in our father’s eye,
Woo her, and win her; but if his consent
Keep not pace with your purpose—
Doubt it not.
I’ve look’d not with a common eye; but chose
A noble virgin, who to make her so,
Has all the gifts of heav’n and earth upon her.
If ever woman yet could be an angel,
She is the nearest.
Well; a lover’s praise
Feasts not a common ear.—Now to our plot;
We shall bring night in with us.