[SCENE II.]The Rialto
Jaff. I am here, and thus, the shades of night around me,
I look as if all hell were in my heart,
And I in
hell. Nay, surely tis so with me;
For every step I tread, methinks some fiend
Knocks at my breast, and
bids it not be quiet:
Ive heard, how desperate wretches, like myself,
Have wandered out at this dead
time of night
To meet the foe of mankind in his walk:
Sure Im so curst, that, tho of Heaven forsaken,
minister of darkness cares to tempt me.
Hell! hell! why sleepest thou?
Pierr. Sure I have stayed too long:
The clock has struck, and I may lose my proselyte.
Speak, who goes
Jaff. A dog, that comes to howl
At yonder moon: whats he that asks the question?
Pierr. A friend to dogs, for they are honest creatures
And neer betray their masters; never fawn
that they love not: well met, friend:
Jaff. The same. O Pierre! thou art come in season,
I was just going to pray.
Pierr. Ah, thats mechanic,
Priests make a trade ont, and yet starve by it too:
No praying, it spoils business,
and times precious;
Jaff. For a day or two
Ive lodged her privately, till I see further
What fortune will do with me? Prithee,
If thou wouldst have me fit to hear good counsel,
Speak not of Belvidera
Pierr. Speak not of her.
Jaff. Oh no!
Pierr. Nor name her. May be I wish her well.
Jaff. Who well?
Pierr. Thy wife, thy lovely Belvidera;
I hope a man may wish his friends wife well,
And no harm done!
Jaff. Y are merry, Pierre!
Pierr. I am so:
Thou shalt smile too, and Belvidera smile;
Well all rejoice; heres something to buy pins,
Jaff. I but half wished
To see the Devil, and hes here already.
What must this buy, rebellion, murder,
Tell me which way I must be damned for this.
Pierr. When last we parted, we had no qualms like those.
But entertained each others thoughts like
Whose souls were well acquainted. Is the world
Reformed since our last meeting? what new miracles
happened? has Priulis heart relented?
Can he be honest?
Jaff. Kind Heaven! let heavy curses
Gall his old age; cramps, aches, rack his bones,
And bitterest disquiet
wring his heart;
Oh, let him live till life become his burden!
Let him groan undert long, linger an age
worst agonies and pangs of death,
And find its ease, but late.
Pierr Nay, couldst thou not
As well, my friend, have stretched the curse to all
The Senate round, as to
one single villain?