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    Act III

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    Chapter 5
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    ACT III. SCENE I.

    _Enter_ RHODOPHIL, _meeting_ DORALICE _and_ ARTEMIS; RHODOPHIL _and_
    DORALICE _embrace._

    _Rho._ My own dear heart!

    _Dor._ My own true love! [_She starts back._] I had forgot myself to
    be so kind; indeed, I am very angry with you, dear; you are come home
    an hour after you appointed: if you had staid a minute longer, I was
    just considering whether I should stab, hang, or drown myself.
    [_Embracing him._

    _Rho._ Nothing but the king's business could have hindered me; and I
    was so vexed, that I was just laying down my commission, rather than
    have failed my dear. [_Kisses her hand._

    _Arte._ Why, this is love as it should be betwixt man and wife: such
    another couple would bring marriage into fashion again. But is it
    always thus betwixt you?

    _Rho._ Always thus! this is nothing. I tell you, there is not such a
    pair of turtles in Sicily; there is such an eternal cooing and kissing
    betwixt us, that indeed it is scandalous before civil company.

    _Dor._ Well, if I had imagined I should have been this fond fool, I
    would never have married the man I loved: I married to be happy, and
    have made myself miserable by over-loving. Nay, and now my case is
    desperate; for I have been married above these two years, and find
    myself every day worse and worse in love: nothing but madness can be
    the end on't.

    _Arte._ Doat on, to the extremity, and you are happy.

    _Dor._ He deserves so infinitely much, that, the truth is, there can
    be no doating in the matter; but, to love well, I confess, is a work
    that pays itself: 'Tis telling gold, and, after, taking it for one's
    pains.

    _Rho._ By that I should be a very covetous person; for I am ever
    pulling out my money, and putting it into my pocket again.

    _Dor._ O dear Rhodophil!

    _Rho._ O sweet Doralice! [_Embracing each other._

    _Arte._ [_Aside._] Nay, I am resolved, I'll never interrupt lovers:
    I'll leave them as happy as I found them. [_Steals away._

    _Rho._ What, is she gone? [_Looking up._

    _Dor._ Yes; and without taking leave.

    _Rho._ Then there's enough for this time. [_Parting from her._

    _Dor._ Yes, sure, the scene is done, I take it.

    _They walk contrary ways on the stage; he, with his hands in his
    pockets, whistling; she singing a dull melancholy tune._

    _Rho._ Pox o'your dull tune, a man can't think for you.

    _Dor._ Pox o'your damned whistling; you can neither be company to me
    yourself, nor leave me to the freedom of my own fancy.

    _Rho._ Well, thou art the most provoking wife!

    _Dor._ Well, thou art the dullest husband, thou art never to be
    provoked.

    _Rho._ I was never thought dull till I married thee; and now thou hast
    made an old knife of me; thou hast whetted me so long, till I have no
    edge left.

    _Dor._ I see you are in the husband's fashion; you reserve all your
    good humours for your mistresses, and keep your ill for your wives.

    _Rho._ Prythee leave me to my own cogitations; I am thinking over all
    my sins, to find for which of them it was I married thee.

    _Dor._ Whatever your sin was, mine's the punishment.

    _Rho._ My comfort is, thou art not immortal; and, when that blessed,
    that divine day comes of thy departure, I'm resolved I'll make one
    holiday more in the almanack for thy sake.

    _Dor._ Ay, you had need make a holiday for me, for I am sure you have
    made me a martyr.

    _Rho._ Then, setting my victorious foot upon thy head, in the first
    hour of thy silence, (that is, the first hour thou art dead, for I
    despair of it before) I will swear by thy ghost,--an oath as terrible
    to me as Styx is to the gods,--never more to be in danger of the banes
    of matrimony.

    _Dor._ And I am resolved to marry the very same day thou diest, if it
    be but to show how little I'm concerned for thee.

    _Rho._ Pray thee, Doralice, why do we quarrel thus a-days? ha! this is
    but a kind of heathenish life, and does not answer the ends of
    marriage. If I have erred, propound what reasonable atonement may be
    made before we sleep, and I will not be refractory; but withal
    consider, I have been married these three years, and be not too
    tyrannical.

    _Dor._ What should you talk of a peace a-bed, when you can give no
    security for performance of articles?

    _Rho._ Then, since we must live together, and both of us stand upon
    our terms, as to matters of dying first, let us make ourselves as
    merry as we can with our misfortunes. Why, there's the devil on't! if
    thou could'st make my enjoying thee but a little easy, or a little
    more unlawful, thou should'st see what a termagant lover I would
    prove. I have taken such pains to enjoy thee, Doralice, that I have
    fancied thee all the fine women of the town--to help me out: But now
    there's none left for me to think on, my imagination is quite jaded.
    Thou art a wife, and thou wilt be a wife, and I can make thee another
    no longer. [_Exit_ RHO.

    _Dor._ Well, since thou art a husband, and wilt be a husband, I'll try
    if I can find out another. 'Tis a pretty time we women have on't, to
    be made widows while we are married. Our husbands think it reasonable
    to complain, that we are the same, and the same to them, when we have
    more reason to complain, that they are not the same to us. Because
    they cannot feed on one dish, therefore we must be starved. 'Tis
    enough that they have a sufficient ordinary provided, and a table
    ready spread for them: If they cannot fall too, and eat heartily, the
    fault is theirs; and 'tis pity, methinks, that the good creature
    should be lost, when many a poor sinner would be glad on't.

    _Enter_ MELANTHA _and_ ARTEMIS _to her._

    _Mel._ Dear, my dear, pity me, I am so _chagrin_ to day, and have had
    the most signal affront at court! I went this afternoon to do my
    devoir to princess Amalthea, found her, conversed with her, and helped
    to make her court some half an hour; after which, she went to take the
    air, chose out two ladies to go with her, that came in after me, and
    left me most barbarously behind her.

    _Arte._ You are the less to be pitied, Melantha, because you subject
    yourself to these affronts, by coming perpetually to court, where you
    have no business nor employment.

    _Mel._ I declare, I had rather of the two be rallied nay, _mal
    traitée_ at court, than be deified in the town; for, assuredly,
    nothing can be so _ridicule_ as a mere town lady.

    _Dor._ Especially at court. How I have seen them crowd and sweat in
    the drawing-room on a holiday-night! For that's their time to swarm
    and invade the presence. O, how they catch at a bow, or any little
    salute from a courtier, to make show of their acquaintance! and,
    rather than be thought to be quite unknown, they court'sy to one
    another; but they take true pains to come near the circle, and press
    and peep upon the princess, to write letters into the country how she
    was dressed, while the ladies, that stand about, make their court to
    her with abusing them.

    _Arte._ These are sad truths, Melantha; and therefore I would e'en
    advise you to quit the court, and live either wholly in the town, or,
    if you like not that, in the country.

    _Dor._ In the country! nay, that's to fall beneath the town, for they
    live upon our offals here. Their entertainment of wit is only the
    remembrance of what they had when they were last in town;--they live
    this year upon the last year's knowledge, as their cattle do all
    night, by chewing the cud of what they eat in the afternoon.

    _Mel._ And they tell, for news, such unlikely stories! A letter from
    one of us is such a present to them, that the poor souls wait for the
    carrier's-day with such devotion, that they cannot sleep the night
    before.

    _Arte._ No more than I can, the night before I am to go a journey.

    _Dor._ Or I, before I am to try on a new gown.

    _Mel._ A song, that's stale here, will be new there a twelvemonth
    hence; and if a man of the town by chance come amongst them, he's
    reverenced for teaching them the tune.

    _Dor._ A friend of mine, who makes songs sometimes, came lately out of
    the west, and vowed he was so put out of countenance with a song of
    his; for, at the first country gentleman's he visited, he saw three
    tailors cross legged upon the table in the hall, who were tearing out
    as loud as ever they could sing,

    --After the pangs of a desperate lover, &c.

    And that all day he heard of nothing else, but the daughters of the
    house, and the maids, humming it over in every corner, and the father
    whistling it.

    _Arte._ Indeed, I have observed of myself, that when I am out of town
    but a fortnight, I am so humble, that I would receive a letter from my
    tailor or mercer for a favour.

    _Mel._ When I have been at grass in the summer, and am new come up
    again, methinks I'm to be turned into ridicule by all that see me; but
    when I have been once or twice at court, I begin to value myself
    again, and to despise my country acquaintance.

    _Arte._ There are places where all people may be adored, and we ought
    to know ourselves so well as to choose them.

    _Dor._ That's very true; your little courtier's wife, who speaks to
    the king but once a month, need but go to a town lady, and there she
    may vapour and cry,--"The king and I," at every word. Your town lady,
    who is laughed at in the circle, takes her coach into the city, and
    there she's called Your honour, and has a banquet from the merchant's
    wife, whom she laughs at for her kindness. And, as for my finical cit,
    she removes but to her country house, and there insults over the
    country gentlewoman that never comes up, who treats her with furmity
    and custard, and opens her dear bottle of _mirabilis_ beside, for a
    gill-glass of it at parting.

    _Arte._ At last, I see, we shall leave Melantha where we found her;
    for, by your description of the town and country, they are become more
    dreadful to her than the court, where she was affronted. But you
    forget we are to wait on the princess Amalthea. Come, Doralice.

    _Dor._ Farewell, Melantha.

    _Mel._ Adieu, my dear.

    _Arte._ You are out of charity with her, and therefore I shall not
    give your service.

    _Mel._ Do not omit it, I beseech you; for I have such a _tendre_ for
    the court, that I love it even from the drawing-room to the lobby, and
    can never be _rebutée_ by any usage. But hark you, my dears; one thing
    I had forgot, of great concernment.

    _Dor._ Quickly then, we are in haste.

    _Mel._ Do not call it my service, that's too vulgar; but do my _baise
    mains_ to the princess Amalthea; that is _spirituelle_!

    _Dor._ To do you service, then, we will _prendre_ the _carosse_ to
    court, and do your _baise mains_ to the princess Amalthea, in your
    phrase _spirituelle_. [_Exeunt_ ARTEMIS _and_ DORALICE.

    _Enter_ PHILOTIS, _with a paper in her hand._

    _Mel._ O, are you there, minion? And, well, are not you a most
    precious damsel, to retard all my visits for want of language, when
    you know you are paid so well for furnishing me with new words for my
    daily conversation? Let me die, if I have not run the risque already
    to speak like one of the vulgar, and if I have one phrase left in all
    my store, that is not thread-bare _et usé_, and fit for nothing but to
    be thrown to peasants.

    _Phil._ Indeed, Madam, I have been very diligent in my vocation; but
    you have so drained all the French plays and romances, that they are
    not able to supply you with words for your daily expence.

    _Mel._ Drained? What a word's there! _Epuisée_, you sot you. Come,
    produce your morning's work.

    _Phil._ 'Tis here, madam. [_Shows the paper._

    _Mel._ O, my Venus! fourteen or fifteen words to serve me a whole day!
    Let me die, at this rate I cannot last till night. Come, read your
    works: Twenty to one, half of them will not pass muster neither.

    Phil. _Sottises._ [_Reads._

    Mel. _Sottises: bon._ That's an excellent word to begin withal; as,
    for example, he or she said a thousand _sottises_ to me. Proceed.

    Phil. _Figure:_ As, what a _figure_ of a man is there! _Naive, and
    naiveté._

    _Mel._ _Naive!_ as how?

    _Phil._ Speaking of a thing that was naturally said, it was so
    _naive;_ or, such an innocent piece of simplicity 'twas such a
    _naiveté._

    _Mel._ Truce with your interpretations. Make haste.

    Phil. _Foible, chagrin, grimace, embarrasse, double entendre,
    equivoque, ecclaircissement, suittè, beveue, façon, penchant, coup
    d'etourdy,_ and _ridicule._

    _Mel._ Hold, hold; how did they begin?

    _Phil._ They began at _sottises_, and ended _en ridicule_.

    _Mel._ Now, give me your paper in my hand, and hold you my glass,
    while I practise my postures for the day. [MELANTHA _laughs in the
    glass._] How does that laugh become my face?

    _Phil._ Sovereignly well, madam.

    _Mel._ Sovereignly? Let me die, that's not amiss. That word shall not
    be yours; I'll invent it, and bring it up myself: My new point gorget
    shall be yours upon't. Not a word of the word, I charge you.

    _Phil._ I am dumb, madam.

    _Mel._ That glance, how suits it with my face?
    [_Looking in the glass again._

    _Phil._ 'Tis so _languissant_!

    _Mel._ _Languissant!_ that word shall be mine too, and my last Indian
    gown thine for't. That sigh? [_Looks again._

    _Phil._ 'Twill make a man sigh, madam. 'Tis a mere _incendiary_.

    _Mel._ Take my guimp petticoat for that truth. If thou hast most of
    these phrases, let me die but I could give away all my wardrobe, and
    go naked for them.

    _Phil._ Go naked? Then you would be a Venus, madam. O Jupiter! what
    had I forgot? This paper was given me by Rhodophil's page.

    _Mel._ [_Reading the letter._] Beg the favour from you.--Gratify my
    passion--so far--assignation--in the grotto--behind the terrace--clock
    this evening--Well, for the _billets doux_ there is no man in Sicily
    must dispute with Rhodophil; they are so French, so _gallant_, and so
    _tendre_, that I cannot resist the temptation of the assignation. Now,
    go you away, Philotis; it imports me to practise what to say to my
    servant when I meet him. [_Exit_ PHILOTIS.] Rhodophil, you'll wonder
    at my assurance to meet you here;--let me die, I am so out of breath
    with coming, that I can render you no reason of it.--Then he will make
    this _repartee_; Madam, I have no reason to accuse you for that which
    is so great a favour to me.--Then I reply, But why have you drawn me
    to this solitary place? Let me die, but I am apprehensive of some
    violence from you.--Then says he, Solitude, madam, is most fit for
    lovers; but by this fair hand--Nay, now I vow you're rude, sir. O fy,
    fy, fy; I hope you'll be honourable?--You'd laugh at me if I should,
    madam.--What, do you mean to throw me down thus? Ah me! ah! ah! ah!

    _Enter_ POLYDAMAS, LEONIDAS, _and Guards._

    O Venus! the king and court. Let me die, but I fear they have found my
    foible, and will turn me into _ridicule_. [_Exit, running._

    _Leon._ Sir, I beseech you.

    _Poly._ Do not urge my patience.

    _Leon._ I'll not deny,
    But what your spies informed you of is true:
    I love the fair Palmyra; but I loved her
    Before I knew your title to my blood.

    _Enter_ PALMYRA _guarded._

    See, here she comes, and looks, amidst her guards,
    Like a weak dove under the falcon's gripe.
    O heaven, I cannot bear it.

    _Poly._ Maid, come hither.
    Have you presumed so far, as to receive
    My son's affections?

    _Palm._ Alas, what shall I answer? To confess it
    Will raise a blush upon a virgin's face;
    Yet I was ever taught 'twas base to lie.

    _Poly._ You've been too bold, and you must love no more.

    _Palm._ Indeed I must; I cannot help my love;
    I was so tender when I took the bent,
    That now I grow that way.

    _Poly._ He is a prince, and you are meanly born.

    _Leon._ Love either finds equality, or makes it:
    Like death, he knows no difference in degrees,
    But plains, and levels all.

    _Palm._ Alas! I had not rendered up my heart,
    Had he not loved me first; but he preferred me
    Above the maidens of my age and rank,--
    Still shunned their company, and still sought mine.
    I was not won by gifts, yet still he gave;
    And all his gifts, though small, yet spoke his love.
    He picked the earliest strawberries in woods,
    The clustered filberds, and the purple grapes;
    He taught a prating stare to speak my name;
    And, when he found a nest of nightingales,
    Or callow linnets, he would show them me,
    And let me take them out.

    _Poly._ This is a little mistress, meanly born,
    Fit only for a prince's vacant hours,
    And then, to laugh at her simplicity,
    Not fix a passion there. Now hear my sentence.

    _Leon._ Remember, ere you give it, 'tis pronounced
    Against us both.

    _Poly._ First, in her hand
    There shall be placed a player's painted sceptre,
    And, on her head, a gilded pageant crown:
    Thus shall she go,
    With all the boys attending on her triumph;
    That done, be put alone into a boat,
    With bread and water only for three days;
    So on the sea she shall be set adrift,
    And who relieves her dies.

    _Palm._ I only beg that you would execute
    The last part first: Let me be put to sea;
    The bread and water for my three days life
    I give you back, I would not live so long;
    But let me 'scape the shame.

    _Leon._ Look to me, piety; and you, O Gods, look to my piety!
    Keep me from saying that, which misbecomes a son;
    But let me die before I see this done.

    _Poly._ If you for ever will abjure her sight,
    I can be yet a father; she shall live.

    _Leon._ Hear, O you powers! is this to be a father?
    I see 'tis all my happiness and quiet
    You aim at, sir; and take them:
    I will not save even my Palmyra's life
    At that ignoble price; but I'll die with her.

    _Palm._ So had I done by you,
    Had fate made me a princess.--Death, methinks,
    Is not a terror now:
    He is not fierce, or grim, but fawns, and sooths me,
    And slides along, like Cleopatra's aspick,
    Offering his service to my troubled breast.

    _Leon._ Begin what you have purposed when you please;
    Lead her to scorn, your triumph shall be doubled.
    As holy priests,
    In pity, go with dying malefactors,
    So I will share her shame.

    _Poly._ You shall not have your will so much; first part them,
    Then execute your office.

    _Leon._ No; I'll die
    In her defence. [_Draws his sword._

    _Palm._ Ah, hold, and pull not on
    A curse, to make me worthy of my death:
    Do not by lawless force oppose your father,
    Whom you have too much disobeyed for me.

    _Leon._ Here, take it, sir, and with it pierce my heart:
    [_Presenting his sword to his Father upon his
    knees._
    You have done more in taking my Palmyra.
    You are my father; therefore I submit.

    _Poly._ Keep him from any thing he may design
    Against his life, while the first fury lasts;
    And now perform what I commanded you.

    _Leon._ In vain; if sword and poison be denied me,
    I'll hold my breath and die.

    _Palm._ Farewell, my last Leonidas; yet live,
    I charge you, live, 'till you believe me dead.
    I cannot die in peace, if you die first;
    If life's a blessing, you shall have it last.

    _Poly._ Go on with her, and lead him after me.

    _Enter_ ARGALEON _hastily, with_ HERMOGENES.

    _Arga._ I bring you, sir, such news as must amaze you,
    And such as will prevent you from an action,
    Which would have rendered all your life unhappy. [HERMOGENES _kneels._

    _Poly._ Hermogenes, you bend your knees in vain,
    My doom's already past.

    _Her._ I kneel not for Palmyra, for I know
    She will not need my prayers; but for myself:
    With a feigned tale I have abused your ears,
    And, therefore, merit death: but since, unforced,
    I first accuse myself, I hope your mercy.

    _Poly._ Haste to explain your meaning.

    _Her._ Then, in few words, Palmyra is your daughter.

    _Poly._ How can I give belief to this impostor?
    He, who has once abused me, often may.
    I'll hear no more.

    _Arga._ For your own sake, you must.

    _Her._ A parent's love,--for I confess my crime,--
    Moved me to say, Leonidas was yours;
    But when I heard Palmyra was to die,
    The fear of guiltless blood so stung my conscience,
    That I resolved, even with my shame, to save
    Your daughter's life.

    _Poly._ But how can I be certain, but that interest,
    Which moved you first to say your son was mine,
    Does not now move you too, to save your daughter?

    _Her._ You had but then my word; I bring you now
    Authentic testimonies. Sir, in short,
    [_Delivers on his knees a jewel, and letter._
    If this will not convince you, let me suffer.

    _Poly._ I know this jewel well; 'twas once my mother's,
    [_Looking first on the jewel._
    Which, marrying, I presented to my wife.
    And this, O this is my Eudocia's hand.
    _This was the pledge of love given to Eudocia,_ [Reads.
    _Who, dying, to her young Palmyra leaves it;_
    _And this, when you, my dearest lord, receive,
    Own her, and think on me, dying Eudocia._
    Take it; 'tis well there is no more to read. [_To_ ARGA.
    My eyes grow full, and swim in their own light. [_He embraces_ PALM.

    _Palm._ I fear, sir, this is your intended pageant.
    You sport yourself at poor Palmyra's cost;
    But if you think to make me proud,
    Indeed I cannot be so: I was born
    With humble thoughts, and lowly, like my birth.
    A real fortune could not make me haughty,
    Much less a feigned.

    _Poly._ This was her mother's temper.
    I have too much deserved thou shouldst suspect
    That I am not thy father; but my love
    Shall henceforth show I am. Behold my eyes,
    And see a father there begin to flow:
    This is not feigned, Palmyra.

    _Palm._ I doubt no longer, sir; you are a king,
    And cannot lie: Falsehood's a vice too base
    To find a room in any royal breast.
    I know, in spite of my unworthiness,
    I am your child; for when you would have killed me,
    Methought I loved you then.

    _Arga._ Sir, we forget the prince Leonidas;
    His greatness should not stand neglected thus.

    _Poly._ Guards, you may now retire; Give him his sword,
    And leave him free.

    _Leon._ Then the first use I make of liberty
    Shall be, with your permission, mighty sir,
    To pay that reverence to which nature binds me.
    [_Kneels to_ HERMOGENES.

    _Arga._ Sure you forget your birth, thus to misplace
    This act of your obedience; you should kneel
    To nothing but to heaven, and to a king.

    _Leon._ I never shall forget what nature owes,
    Nor be ashamed to pay it; though my father
    Be not a king, I know him brave and honest,
    And well deserving of a worthier son.

    _Poly._ He bears it gallantly.

    _Leon._ Why would you not instruct me, sir, before, [_To_ HERM.
    Where I should place my duty?
    From which, if ignorance have made me swerve,
    I beg your pardon for an erring son.

    _Palm._ I almost grieve I am a princess, since
    It makes him lose a crown.

    _Leon._ And next, to you, my king, thus low I kneel,
    To implore your mercy; if in that small time
    I had the honour to be thought your son,
    I paid not strict obedience to your will.
    I thought, indeed, I should not be compelled,
    But thought it as your son; so what I took
    In duty from you, I restored in courage;
    Because your son should not be forced.

    _Poly._ You have my pardon for it.

    _Leon._ To you, fair princess, I congratulate
    Your birth; of which I ever thought you worthy:
    And give me leave to add, that I am proud
    The gods have picked me out to be the man,
    By whose dejected fate yours is to rise;
    Because no man could more desire your fortune,
    Or franklier part with his, to make you great.

    _Palm._ I know the king, though you are not his son,
    Will still regard you as my foster-brother,
    And so conduct you downward from a throne,
    By slow degrees, so unperceived and soft,
    That it may seem no fall: Or, if it be,
    May fortune lay a bed of down beneath you!

    _Poly._ He shall be ranked with my nobility,
    And kept from scorn by a large pension given him.

    _Leon._ You are all great and royal in your gifts; [_Bowing._
    But at the donor's feet I lay them down:
    Should I take riches from you, it would seem
    As I did want a soul to bear that poverty,
    To which the gods designed my humble birth:
    And should I take your honours without merit,
    It would appear, I wanted manly courage
    To hope them, in your service, from my sword.

    _Poly._ Still brave, and like yourself.
    The court shall shine this night in its full splendour,
    And celebrate this new discovery.
    Argaleon, lead my daughter: As we go,
    I shall have time to give her my commands,
    In which you are concerned. [_Exeunt all but_ LEONIDAS.

    _Leon._ Methinks, I do not want
    That huge long train of fawning followers,
    That swept a furlong after me.
    'Tis true I am alone;
    So was the godhead, ere he made the world,
    And better served himself, than served by nature.
    And yet I have a soul
    Above this humble fate. I could command,
    Love to do good, give largely to true merit,
    All that a king should do: But though these are not
    My province, I have scene enough within,
    To exercise my virtue.
    All that a heart, so fixed as mine, can move,
    Is, that my niggard fortune starves my love. [_Exit._

    SCENE II.

    PALAMEDE _and_ DORALICE _meet: She, with a book in her hand, seems
    to start at the sight of him._

    _Dor._ 'Tis a strange thing that no warning will serve your turn; and
    that no retirement will secure me from your impertinent addresses! Did
    not I tell you, that I was to be private here at my devotions?

    _Pala._ Yes; and you see I have observed my cue exactly: I am come to
    relieve you from them. Come, shut up, shut up your book; the man's
    come who is to supply all your necessities.

    _Dor._ Then, it seems, you are so impudent to think it was an
    assignation? This, I warrant, was your lewd interpretation of my
    innocent meaning.

    _Pala._ Venus forbid, that I should harbour so unreasonable a thought
    of a fair young lady, that you should lead me hither into temptation.
    I confess, I might think indeed it was a kind of honourable challenge,
    to meet privately without seconds, and decide the difference betwixt
    the two sexes; but heaven forgive me, if I thought amiss.

    _Dor._ You thought too, I'll lay my life on't, that you might as well
    make love to me, as my husband does to your mistress.

    _Pala._ I was so unreasonable to think so too.

    _Dor._ And then you wickedly inferred, that there was some justice in
    the revenge of it; or, at least, but little injury for a man to
    endeavour to enjoy that, which he accounts a blessing, and which is
    not valued as it ought by the dull possessor. Confess your
    wickedness,--did you not think so?

    _Pala._ I confess I was thinking so, as fast as I could; but you think
    so much before me, that you will let me think nothing.

    _Dor._ 'Tis the very thing that I designed; I have forestalled all
    your arguments, and left you without a word more, to plead for mercy.
    If you have any thing farther to offer, ere sentence pass--Poor
    animal, I brought you hither only for my diversion.

    _Pala._ That you may have, if you'll make use of me the right way; but
    I tell thee, woman, I am now past talking.

    _Dor._ But it may be, I came hither to hear what fine things you could
    say for yourself.

    _Pala._ You would be very angry, to my knowledge, if I should lose so
    much time to say many of them.--By this hand you would!

    _Dor._ Fye, Palamede, I am a woman of honour.

    _Pala._ I see you are; you have kept touch with your assignation: And
    before we part, you shall find that I am a man of honour. Yet I have
    one scruple of conscience--

    _Dor._ I warrant you will not want some naughty argument, or other, to
    satisfy yourself.--I hope you are afraid of betraying your friend?

    _Pala._ Of betraying my friend! I am more afraid of being betrayed by
    you to my friend. You women now are got into the way of telling first
    yourselves: A man, who has any care of his reputation, will be loth to
    trust it with you.

    _Dor._ O, you charge your faults upon our sex! You men are like cocks;
    you never make love, but you clap your wings, and crow when you have
    done.

    _Pala._ Nay, rather you women are like hens; you never lay, but you
    cackle an hour after, to discover your nest.--But I'll venture it for
    once.

    _Dor._ To convince you that you are in the wrong, I'll retire into the
    dark grotto, to my devotion, and make so little noise, that it shall
    be impossible for you to find me.

    _Pala._ But if I find you--

    _Dor._ Ay, if you find me--But I'll put you to search in more corners
    than you imagine. [_She runs in, and he after her._

    _Enter_ RHODOPHIL _and_ MELANTHA.

    _Mel._ Let me die, but this solitude, and that grotto are scandalous;
    I'll go no further; besides, you have a sweet lady of your own.

    _Rho._ But a sweet mistress, now and then, makes my sweet lady so much
    more sweet.

    _Mel._ I hope you will not force me?

    _Rho._ But I will, if you desire it.

    _Pala._ [_Within._] Where the devil are you, madam? 'Sdeath, I begin
    to be weary of this hide and seek: If you stay a little longer, till
    the fit's over, I'll hide in my turn, and put you to the finding me.
    [_He enters, and sees_ RHODOPHIL _and_ MELANTHA.] How! Rhodophil and
    my mistress!

    _Mel._ My servant, to apprehend me! this is _surprenant au dernier_.

    _Rho._ I must on; there's nothing but impudence can help me out.

    _Pala._ Rhodophil, how came you hither in so good company?

    _Rho._ As you see, Palamede; an effect of pure friendship; I was not
    able to live without you.

    _Pala._ But what makes my mistress with you?

    _Rho._ Why, I heard you were here alone, and could not in civility but
    bring her to you.

    _Mel._ You'll pardon the effects of a passion which I may now avow for
    you, if it transported me beyond the rules of _bienseance._

    _Pala._ But, who told you I was here? they, that told you that, may
    tell you more, for aught I know.

    _Rho._ O, for that matter, we had intelligence.

    _Pala._ But let me tell you, we came hither so very privately, that
    you could not trace us.

    _Rho._ Us! what us? you are alone.

    _Pala._ Us! the devil's in me for mistaking:--me, I meant. Or us, that
    is, you are me, or I you, as we are friends: That's us.

    _Dor._ Palamede, Palamede! [_Within._

    _Rho._ I should know that voice; who's within there, that calls you?

    _Pala._ Faith, I can't imagine; I believe the place is haunted.

    _Dor._ Palamede, Palamede, all-cocks hidden. [_Within._

    _Pala._ Lord, Lord, what shall I do?--Well, dear friend, to let you
    see I scorn to be jealous, and that I dare trust my mistress with you,
    take her back, for I would not willingly have her frighted, and I am
    resolved to see who's there; I'll not be daunted with a bugbear,
    that's certain:--Prithee, dispute it not, it shall be so; nay do not
    put me to swear, but go quickly: There's an effort of pure friendship
    for you now.

    _Enter_ DORALICE, _and looks amazed, seeing them._

    _Rho._ Doralice! I am thunder-struck to see you here.

    _Pala._ So am I! quite thunder-struck. Was it you, that called me
    within?--I must be impudent.

    _Rho._ How came you hither, spouse?

    _Pala._ Ay, how came you hither? And, which is more, how could you be
    here without my knowledge?

    _Dor._ [_To her husband._] O, gentlemen, have I caught you i'faith!
    have I broke forth in ambush upon you! I thought my suspicions would
    prove true.

    _Rho._ Suspicions! this is very fine, spouse! Prithee, what
    suspicions?

    _Dor._ O, you feign ignorance: Why, of you and Melantha; here have I
    staid these two hours, waiting with all the rage of a passionate,
    loving wife, but infinitely jealous, to take you two in the manner;
    for hither I was certain you would come.

    _Rho._ But you are mistaken, spouse, in the occasion; for we came
    hither on purpose to find Palamede, on intelligence he was gone
    before.

    _Pala._ I'll be hanged then, if the same party, who gave you
    intelligence I was here, did not tell your wife you would come hither.
    Now I smell the malice on't on both sides.

    _Dor._ Was it so, think you? nay, then, I'll confess my part of the
    malice too. As soon as ever I spied my husband and Melantha come
    together, I had a strange temptation to make him jealous in revenge;
    and that made me call Palamede, Palamede! as though there had been an
    intrigue between us.

    _Mel._ Nay, I avow, there was an appearance of an intrigue between us
    too.

    _Pala._ To see how things will come about!

    _Rho._ And was it only thus, my dear Doralice? [_Embrace._

    _Dor._ And did I wrong n'own Rhodophil, with a false suspicion?
    [_Embracing him._

    _Pala._ [_Aside._] Now I am confident we had all four the same design:
    'Tis a pretty odd kind of game this, where each of us plays for double
    stakes: This is just thrust and parry with the same motion; I am to
    get his wife, and yet to guard my own mistress. But I am vilely
    suspicious, that, while I conquer in the right wing, I shall be routed
    in the left; for both our women will certainly betray their party,
    because they are each of them for gaining of two, as well as we; and I
    much fear.

    If their necessities and ours were known,
    They have more need of two, than we of one.
    [_Exeunt, embracing one another._
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