Act I

SCENE I.—A Room in the House of Venturewell.

Enter Venturewell and Jasper.

Vent. Sirrah, I’ll make you know you are my prentice,
And whom my charitable love redeemed
Even from the fall of fortune; gave thee heat
And growth, to be what now thou art, new-cast thee;
Adding the trust of all I have, at home,
In foreign staples, or upon the sea,
To thy direction; tied the good opinions
Both of myself and friends to thy endeavours;
So fair were thy beginnings. But with these,
As I remember, you had never charge
To love your master’s daughter, and even then
When I had found a wealthy husband for her;
I take it, sir, you had not: but, however,
I’ll break the neck of that commission,
And make you know you are but a merchant’s factor.

Jasp. Sir, I do liberally confess I am yours,
Bound both by love and duty to your service,
In which my labour hath been all my profit:
I have not lost in bargain, nor delighted
To wear your honest gains upon my back;
Nor have I given a pension to my blood,
Or lavishly in play consumed your stock;
These, and the miseries that do attend them,
I dare with innocence proclaim are strangers
To all my temperate actions. For your daughter,
If there be any love to my deservings
Borne by her virtuous self, I cannot stop it;
Nor am I able to refrain her wishes,
She’s private to herself, and best of knowledge
Whom she will make so happy as to sigh for:
Besides, I cannot think you mean to match her
Unto a fellow of so lame a presence,
One that hath little left of nature in him.

Vent. ’Tis very well, sir: I can tell your wisdom
How all this shall be cured.

Jasp. Your care becomes you.

Vent. And thus it shall be, sir: I here discharge you
My house and service; take your liberty;
And when I want a son, I’ll send for you.


Jasp. These be the fair rewards of them that love!
Oh, you that live in freedom, never prove
The travail of a mind led by desire!

Enter Luce.

Luce. Why, how now, friend? struck with my father’s thunder!

Jasp. Struck, and struck dead, unless the remedy
Be full of speed and virtue; I am now,
What I expected long, no more your father’s.

Luce. But mine.

Jasp. But yours, and only yours, I am;
That’s all I have to keep me from the statute.
You dare be constant still?

Luce. Oh, fear me not!
In this I dare be better than a woman:
Nor shall his anger nor his offers move me,
Were they both equal to a prince’s power.

Jasp. You know my rival!

Luce. Yes, and love him dearly;
Even as I love an ague or foul weather:
I prithee, Jasper, fear him not.

Jasp. Oh, no!
I do not mean to do him so much kindness.
But to our own desires: you know the plot
We both agreed on?

Luce. Yes, and will perform
My part exactly.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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