Jaff. You use me thus, because you know my soul
Is fond of Belvidera: you perceive
My life feeds on her,
therefore thus you treat me;
Oh! could my soul ever have known satiety:
Were I that thief, the doer of
As you upbraid me with, what hinders me,
But I might send her back to you with contumely,
court my fortune where she would be kinder!
Priu. You dare not dot
Jaff. Indeed, my lord, I dare not.
My heart that awes me is too much my master:
Three years are past
since first our vows were plighted,
During which time, the world must bear me witness,
I have treated
Belvidera like your daughter,
The daughter of a senator of Venice;
Distinction, place, attendance, and
Due to her birth, she always has commanded;
Out of my little fortune I have done this;
(though hopeless eer to win your nature)
The world might see, I loved her for herself,
Not as the heiress
of the great Priuli
Priu. No more!
Jaff. Yes! all, and then adieu for ever.
Theres not a wretch that lives on common charity
than me: for I have known
The luscious sweets of plenty; every night
Have slept with soft content about my
And never waked but to a joyful morning;
Yet now must fall like a full ear of corn,
scaped, yets withered in the ripening.
Priu. Home and be humble, study to retrench;
Discharge the lazy vermin of thy hall,
Those pageants of
Reduce the glittering trappings of thy wife
To humble weeds, fit for thy little state;
Then to some
suburb cottage both retire;
Drudge, to feed loathsome life: get brats, and starve
Home, home, I say.
Jaff. Yes, if my heart would let me
This proud, this swelling heart: home I would go,
But that my doors
are hateful to my eyes,
Filled and dammed up with gaping creditors,
Watchful as fowlers when their game
I have now not fifty ducats in the world,
Yet still I am in love, and pleased with ruin.
oh, she is my wife
And we will bear our wayward fate together,
But neer know comfort more.
Pierr. My friend, good morrow!
How fares the honest partner of my heart?
What, melancholy! not a word
to spare me?
Jaff. Im thinking, Pierre, how that damned starving quality
Called Honesty got footing in the world.
Pierr. Why, powerful Villainy first set it up,
For its own ease and safety: honest men
Are the soft easy cushions
on which knaves
Repose and fatten: were all mankind villains,
Theyd starve each other; lawyers would
Cut-throats rewards: each man would kill his brother
Himself, none would be paid or hanged
Honesty was a cheat invented first
To bind the hands of bold deserving rogues,
That fools and
cowards might sit safe in power,
And lord it uncontrolled above their betters.
Jaff. Then Honesty is but a notion.
Pierr. Nothing else,
Like wit, much talked of, not to be defined:
He that pretends to most, too, has least
Tis a ragged virtue: Honesty! no more ont.
Jaff. Sure thou art honest?
Pierr.So indeed men think me?
But theyre mistaken, Jaffeir; I am a rogue
As well as they;
A fine gay bold-
faced villain, as thou seest me;
Tis true, I pay my debts when theyre contracted;
I steal from no man; would
not cut a throat
To gain admission to a great mans purse,
Or a whores bed; Id not betray my friend,