Act II



Aquil. By all thy wrongs, thou’rt dearer to my arms
Than all the wealth of Venice: prithee stay,
And let us love to-night.

Pierr. No: there’s fool,
There’s fool about thee: when a woman sells
Her flesh to fools, her beauty’s lost to me;
They leave a taint, a sully where they’ve past,
There’s such a baneful quality about ’em,
E’en spoils complexions with their own nauseousness.
They infect all they touch; I cannot think
Of tasting anything a fool has palled.

Aquil. I loathe and scorn that fool thou mean’st, as much
Or more than thou canst; but the beast has gold
That makes him necessary: power too,
To qualify my character, and poise me
Equal with peevish virtue, that beholds
My liberty with envy: in their hearts
Are loose as I am; but an ugly power
Sits in their faces, and frights pleasures from ’em.

Pierr. Much good may’t do you, madam, with your Senator.

Aquil. My Senator! why, canst thou think that wretch
E’er filled thy Aquilina’s arms with pleasure?
Think’st thou, because I sometimes give him leave
To foil himself at what he is unfit for;
Because I force myself to endure and suffer him,
Think’st thou I love him? No, by all the joys
Thou ever gav’st me, his presence is my penance;
The worst thing an old man can be’s a lover,
A mere memento mori to poor woman.
I never lay by his decrepit side,
But all that night I pondered on my grave.

Pierr. Would he were sent thither!

Aquil. That’s my wish too:
For then, my Pierre, I might have cause with pleasure
To play the hypocrite: oh! how I could weep
Over the dying dotard, and kiss him too,
In hopes to smother him quite; then, when the time
Was come to pay my sorrows at his funeral,
For he’s already made me heir to treasures,
Would make me out-act a real widow’s whining:
How could I frame my face to fit my mourning,
With wringing hands attend him to his grave,
Fall swooning on his hearse: take mad possession
Even of the dismal vault where he lay buried,
There like the Ephesian matron dwell, till thou,
My lovely soldier, com’st to my deliverance;
Then throwing up my veil, with open arms
And laughing eyes, run to new-dawning joy.

Pierr. No more! I have friends to meet me here to-night,
And must be private. As you prize my friendship
Keep up your coxcomb: let him not pry nor listen
Nor fisk about the house as I have seen him,
Like a tame mumping squirrel with a bell on;
Curs will be abroad to bite him if you do.

Aquil. What friends to meet? may I not be of your council?

Pierr. How! a woman ask questions out of bed?
Go to your Senator, ask him what passes
Amongst his brethren, he’ll hide nothing from you;
But pump not me for politics. No more!
Give order that whoever in my name
Comes here, receive admittance: so good-night.

Aquil. Must we ne’er meet again! Embrace no more!
Is love so soon and utterly forgotten!

Pierr. As you henceforward treat your fool, I’ll think on’t.

Aquil. Curst be all fools, and doubly curst myself,
The worst of fools—I die if he forsakes me;
And now to keep him, heaven or hell instruct me.


  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.