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To peaceful quiet th' affrighted world,
And would strike dumb my passion. Best of virgins !
There is not that disparity 'twixt our births,
As there's unequal difference 'twixt our hearts:
Mine's all on fire; dare combat with the sun
For heat's priority; your's, mountain snow;
Cold as the north, and cruel as my fortunes:
Yet you may make them equal, as your eyes are,
By yielding up that fort, which will, when time
Has given it ceremonious privilege, be, perhaps,
By some unworthy groom, without resistance,
Surpriz'd and entered.
Isa. My lord, custom is become
In men a second nature, to deceive
Poor virgins by their flatteries. Noble youth!
That I do love you dearly, may these tears,
Shed for your folly, testify; look back
Into your priceless honour; call that up
To assist the fortress of your mind, assail'd
By foul unlawful passion: think how base it is
To rob a silly orphan of her dowry.
I have no other, but my virgin whiteness,
Left to uphold my fame; nought but my virtue
To my inheritance: should you despoil me
Of that fair portion, by your lust, my memory
Would, like an early rose-bud by the tempest,
Die on its stalk blasted.
Alb. I do dream, sure!
Isa. Women's fame, sir,
Are, like thin crystal glasses, by a breath
Blown into excellent form, and, by a touch,
Crack'd, or quite broken. Say I should consent
To your desires; your appetite once sated,
You would repent the fact, when you should see
Yourself surrounded in a mist of cares;
View bashful virgins point at you, as at
Some hateful prodigy; hear matrons cry-
'There goes the lustful thief, that glories in
The spoil of innocent virgins; that foul thief,
That has a hundred eyes to let lust in at,
As many tongues to give his wild thoughts utterance.'
Alb. To be in love, nay, to be so in love
To put off all our reason and discourse,
Which does distinguish us from savage beasts;
To dote upon a face (which, like a mirror,
Sully'd on any breath) by the least sickness
Grows pale and ghastly: is not this mere madness?
Why should't inhabit here then? Sure the god,
As 'tis a spirit of a subtle essence,
A form as thin and pure as is an angel's,
Can ne'er be author of these wild desires,
So opposite to its nature; they're all fleshly,
Sordid, as is the clay this frame's compos'd of.
Shall the soul,
The noble soul, be slave to these wild passions,
And bow beneath their weight?-ha, Isabella!
All reason, sense, and soul are in her looks;
There's no discourse beyond them. Cruel fair one!
Are you still resolute to persist in your
Strange tyranny, and scorn my constant love?
Isa. Do not, sir,
Abuse that sacred title, which the saints
And powers celestial glory in, by ascribing
It to your loose desires; 'pray, rather clothe them
In their own attribute; term them your lust, sir;
Your wild, irregular lust; which, like those firedrakes
Misguiding nighted travellers, will lead you
Forth of the fair path of your fame and virtue,
To unavoided ruin.
Alb. This is mere coyness,
A cunning coyness, to make me esteem
At a high rate, that jewel which you seem
To part from so unwillingly (merchants use it
To put bad wares away): dear Isabella,
Think what excessive honour thou shalt reap
In the exchange of one poor trivial gem,
And that but merely imaginary, a voice,
An unsubstantial essence; yet for that
Thou shalt have real pleasures, such as queens,
Prone to delicious luxury, would covet
To sate their appetites. Think, Isabella!
That hardest marble, though not cut by force,
By oft diffusion of salt drops is brought
Into whatever form the carver's fancy
Had before destin'd it. Your heart's that substance,
And will, by frequent oratory of tears,
Be brought to wear the perfect shape, the figure my affection on it.
Isa. Thus besieg'd,
It is high time I summon up my virtue,
All that is good about me, to assist
My resolution: sir, I would be loath
you should see me angry; 'tis a passion My modesty is unacquainted with;
Yet, in this case, dear to me as my honour,
I needs must chide your passion. O consider! look
What a precipice of certain ruin
Your violent will (as on some dangerous rock
That strikes whate'er dashes upon't in pieces)
Has cast your heedless youth upon, my lord;
Why should you venture your whole stock of goodness Upon forbidden merchandize? a prize
Which the most barbarous pirates of the laws
Of moral honesty, would fear to seize on,
Both for its sanctity and trivial value.
Alb. I'm thunderstruck!
Isa. What foolish thief, my lord, would rob an altar, Be guilty of the sacrilege to gain
A brazen censer? why should you, then, affect
A sin so great as spoiling me of honour,
For such a poor gain as the satisfying
Your sensual appetite? think, good my lord,
The pleasures you so covet are but like flattering mornings
That shew the rising sun in its full brightness,
Yet do, ere night, bury his head in tempests.
Alb. I'm disinchanted! all the charms are fled
That hung, like mists, about my soul, and robb'd it
Of the fair light of nature. Excellent angel!
You have that power in goodness as shall teach
Wonder, that child of ignorance, a faith,
No woman can be bad. I do confess,
Big with the rage of my intemperate lust,
I came to blast your purity, but am
Become its perfect convert; so reclaim'd
By your best goodness from these foul intentions,
Hell has not strength enough to tempt my frailty
To th' like wild looseness: pray, sweet, forgive me;
Seal it with one chaste kiss; and henceforth let me
Adore you as the saviour of my honour,
My truth and fame preserver.
Isa. I am glad
I've wrought this reclamation on your folly;
And, trust me, I shall ever love this in you,
Though my more humble thoughts shall ne'er aspire
To affect your person.
Alb. Had you yielded to my desires,
Been no whit virtuous, I should have esteem'd you
(My looser heat, by your consent, extinguish'd)
But as a fair house haunted with goblins,
Which none will enter to possess, and blest me
From the prodigious building; when now,
Big with the chaste assurance of your virtue,
I do beseech, by your love, your mercy,
Look on my innocent love more spotless
Than are the thoughts of babes which ne'er knew foulness;
Accept me for your husband; start not, lady!
By your fair self I mean it, do entreat it
As my extent of happiness.
Isa. This, my lord,
Is too extreme o'th' other side; as much
Too mean I hold myself to be your wife,
As my own fame and honour did esteem me
Too good to be your prostitute. My lord,
The wiving vine, that 'bout the friendly elm
Twines her soft limbs, and weaves a leafy mantle
For her supporting lover, dares not venture
To mix her humble boughs with the embraces
Of the more lofty cedar; 'twixt us two
Is the same difference. Love, my lord, and hope
A nobler choice,- -a lady of your own
Rank; all the ends my poor ambition
Shall ever aim shall be to love your w
But ne'er aspire your nuptials.
Alb. You're too humble,
Impose too mean a value on a gem
Kings would be proud to wear; dear Isabella,
Let not thy modest sweetness interpose
A new impediment 'twixt my lawful flames
And thy own vestal chastity; let not fear
(To the sex incident) of my father's wrath
Stagger thy resolution; thou shalt be
To me my father, mother, brother, friend,
My all of happiness; if we cannot here,
In peace, enjoy our wishes, we will love,
Like turtles in a desert, only blest
In one another's company."
Enter Albert to Wallenstein.
"Alb. Your grace was pleas'd to send for me. Wal. I did so:
Alb. Not yet, my lord.
Wal. I am your father, sir ;
Whose frowns you ought to tremble at, whose anger Should be as dreadful to you as heaven's curses: Look on my face, and read my business there.
Alb. Alas, my lord, your looks
Are discompos'd with rage; your fiery eyes
Roll with the accustom'd motion they had wont
To dart upon your enemies: I am
my innocence can no way merit
Your all-consuming anger.
Wal. 'Tis a lie!
A worthless lie! false as thy flattering hopes are:
You are in love; most gallantly in love
With Isabella; one who is compos'd
Of paint and plasters. Thou degenerate monster!
Traitor to fame, and parricide to renown!
Abject in thy condition as thy thoughts are!
Tear this vile strumpet from thy soul; do't quickly;
Renounce her with all binding ties can urge thee
To keep thy faith, or I will quite put off
The name of father, take as little notice
Thou art my offspring as the surly North
Does of the snow which, when it has engender'd,
Its wild breath scatters through the earth forgotten.
Alb. This was the killing fever I still fear'd:
Sir, I should be a stranger to your blood,
As well as noble worth, should I commit
Actions I sham'd to justify; I confess
I love fair Isabella; and beseech you,
The meanness of her fortune and her birth
Omitted she may be conferr'd upon me
In lawful marriage.
Speak this to me?
Alb. I should, sir, be degenerate
From your great spirit, should I fear to utter