Act 4

Act IV

Scene I.—Auranthe’sApartment.

Aurantheand Conraddiscovered

Conrad. Well, well, I know what ugly jeopardy
We are caged in; you need not pester that
Into my ears. Pr’ythee, let me be spared
A foolish tongue, that I may bethink me
Of remedies with some deliberation.
You cannot doubt but ’tis in Albert’s power
To crush or save us?

Auranthe. No, I cannot doubt.
He has, assure yourself, by some strange means,
My secret; which I ever hid from him,
Knowing his mawkish honesty.

Conrad. Cursed slave!

Auranthe. Ay, I could almost curse him now myself.
Wretched impediment! Evil genius!
A glue upon my wings, that cannot spread,
When they should span the provinces! A snake,
A scorpion, sprawling on the first gold step,
Conducting to the throne high canopied.

Conrad. You would not hear my counsel, when his life
Might have been trodden out, all sure and hushed;
Now the dull animal forsooth must be
Entreated, managed! When can you contrive
The interview he demands?

Auranthe. As speedily
It must be done as my bribed woman can
Unseen conduct him to me; but I fear
’Twill be impossible, while the broad day
Comes through the panes with persecuting glare.
Methinks, if ’t now were night I could intrigue
With darkness, bring the stars to second me,
And settle all this trouble.

Conrad. Nonsense! Child!
See him immediately; why not now?

Auranthe. Do you forget that even the senseless doorposts.
Are on the watch and gape through all the house?
How many whisperers there are about,
Hungry for evidence to ruin me,—
Men I have spurned, and women I have taunted?
Besides, the foolish prince sends, minute whiles,
His pages—so they tell me—to inquire
After my health, entreating, if I please,
To see me.

Conrad. Well, suppose this Albert here;
What is your power with him?

Auranthe. He should be
My echo, my taught parrot! but I fear
He will be our enough to bark at me;
Have his own say; read me some silly creed
’Bout shame and pity.

Conrad. What will you do then?

Auranthe. What I shall do, I know not: what I would
Cannot be done; for see, this chamber-floor
Will not yield to the pick-axe and the spade,—
Here is no quiet depth of hollow ground.

Conrad. Sister, you have grown sensible and wise,
Seconding, ere I speak it, what is now,
I hope, resolved between us.

Auranthe. Say, what is ’t?

Conrad. You need not be his sexton, too: a man
May carry that with him shall make him die
Elsewhere,—give that to him; pretend the while
You will to-morrow succumb to his wishes,
Be what they may, and send him from the Castle
On some fool’s errand; let his latest groan
Frighten the wolves!

Auranthe. Alas! he must not die!

Conrad. Would you were both hearsed up in stifling lead!

  By PanEris using Melati.

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