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THE Perjur'd Husband: OR, THE Adventures of VENICE. A TRAGEDY. As it is Acted at the THEATRE-ROYAL IN DRURY-LANE. BY His MAJESTY's Servants.

Written by Mrs. CENTLIVRE.

LONDON: Printed for W. FEALES, at Rowe's-Head, over-against St. Clement's Church in the Strand, M.DCC.XXXVII.

To His GRACE WRIOTHESLY, DUKE of BEDFORD.

May it please your Grace,

IT is the just Prerogative of true Greatness to be universally admir'd by all; and one so eminently possess'd of it as your Grace, can no more escape the Tribute of our Praise and Admiration, than you can cease to deserve it: Not that 'tis in the Power of any one, or even the Applause of Multitudes, to reach half your Merit, yet may we be al­low'd, according to the Proportion of our poor Stock, to throw in our Mite; and not be frightned from the Hopes of your Grace's Patronage, by considering the Unwor­thiness of the Offering; for were none but worthy Offerings made, the Gods themselves wou'd lose their Sacrifice; and they that deserve most our Praise shou'd have it least, because 'tis hardest to give them their Due.

And 'tis impossible, my Lord, this Poem should find Sanctuary any where but in the Umbrage of your Fa­vour, for the Eyes of all Mankind are so fixt upon your Grace, that 'twou'd be a Disappointment to the Publick. to lay at any other's Door, what is so much your Duee And tho' I hit not a Wildair for the Humour of the [Page] Town in my Play, I may boldly say I have copied the greatest Part of Mankind in the just Admiration of your Grace.

Your particular Art, in appearing free, complaisant and conversible, without quitting a Noble Greatness proper to yourself, makes us at once approach you with Freedom and with Awe: Your Goodness, that makes you stoop to your Inferiors, loses nothing by being view'd near at hand, but is the more admir'd for it; and thus we consider your Grace arriv'd at the Height of Greatness, without a mortifying Reflection on the Low­ness of our own Condition; nor does the World envy the truly Great, who by their Goodness and Affability make Mankind partake of their Felicity.

I may plead Prescription in Excuse of this Presump­tion, and tell how Poets in all Ages have pretended a Right to lay their Works at some Nobleman's Feet; but I'd rather submit to your Grace's Goodness; for if I have offended, 'tis a Fault of the best kind, and pro­ceeds from too much Zeal to let the World know how much I am,

My Lord,
Your Grace's most Obedient, and Devoted Humble Servant, Susanna Centlivre.

PREFACE.

I SHOULD not trouble my Reader with a Preface, if Mr. Collier had taught Man­ners to Masks, Sense to Beaus, and Good Nature to Criticks, as well as Morality to the Stage; the first are sure to envy what they can't equal, and condemn what they don't understand; the Beaus usually take a grea­ter Liberty with our Sex than they wou'd with their own, because there's no Fear of drawing a Duel upon their Hands; the latter are a Sort of rude splenatick Men, that seldom commend any thing but what they have had a Hand in. These snarling Sparks were pleas'd to carp at one or two Expressions, which are spoken in 'em Aside by one of the in­ferior Characters in the Drama; and without considering the Reputation of the Persons in whose Mouths the Language is put, condemn it strait for loose and obscure: Now (with Submission to better Judges) I cannot believe that a Prayer-Book shou'd be put into the Hands of a Woman, whose innate Virtue won't secure her Reputation; nor is it reasonable to expect a Person, whose Inclinations are always forming Projects to the Dishonour of her Husband, shou'd deliver her Commands to her Confident in the Words of a Psalm. I heartily wish that those that find fault with the Liberty of my Stile, wou'd be pleas'd to set a Pattern to the Town, by retrenching some of their Debaucheries, for Modesty thrives best by Example. Modest Language from the truly Virtuous is expected; I mean such as will neither act ill, nor suffer ill to be acted: It is not enough that Lucy says she's honest, in having de­nied the Brutal Part; who ever thinks Virtue centers in that, has a wrong Notion of it; no, Virtue is a tender Plant, which cannot live in tainted Ground; Virtue is what the Air [Page] of Flattery cannot blast, nor the vile sordid Dross of Gain poison; and she that can withstand these two Shocks, may be stil'd truly Virtuous. I ask my Reader's Pardon for my Bluntness, but I hope none of my Sex so qualified will con­demn me for exposing the Vices of the seeming Religious

I fear there are but too many hit by the Character of Sig­nora Pizalta; I wish, for the sake of the reverse Party, there were fewer, or they better known, since the malicious World are so apt to judge of Peoples Inclinations by the Com­pany they keep; which is sometimes authentick, but not al­ways an infallible Rule. I shall say little in Justification of the Play, only desire the Reader to judge impartially, and not condemn it by the Shortness of its Life, since the Season of the Year never promis'd much better Success. It went off with general Applause; and 'tis the Opinion of some of our best Judges, that it only wanted the Addition of good Actors, and a full Town, to have brought me a Sixth Night, there having been worse Plays within this Twelve-month approv'd of.

THE PROLOGUE.

Spoken by Mrs. OLDFIELD.
SUCH dreadful Laws of late 'gainst Wit are made,
It dares not in the City show its Head.
No Place is safe; each Cuckold turns Informer,
If we make merry—it must be in a Corner.
And here's To-night, what doubly makes it sweet,
A private Table, and a Lady's Treat:
At her Reflections none can be uneasy,
When the kind Creature does her best to please ye.
Humbly she sues, and 'tis not for your Glory
T'insult a Lady—when she falls before ye.
But since no human Wit can stand the Test,
With Gorman! and the Champion of the West!
She'll fill the Lists, and then you cannot slight her,
(With Honour safe) for she's a fair Inviter.
Expects no Favour, but at Honour's Call,
Defies the boldest Briton of you all;
Whate'er's her Fate, she's sure to gain the Field,
For Women always conquer, when they yeild.

THE EPILOGUE.

Spoken by Mr. JO. HAINES.
TOO long the Poets brought before the Bar,
Have with their bold Accuser wag'd the War;
They now plead Guilty: And confess the Stage
Has been immoral, and debauch'd the Age.
Nay, they will mend—But wish that in their Station,
All Men were pleas'd to forward Reformation.
First, let no Politicians, with vain Fears,
About suceeeding Kings create new Jars;
Let Lawyers now no more perplex the Laws,
Nor with malicious Quibbles split a Cause;
Let Magistrates consider 'tis but fitting,
That as they take down Bills, they'd put down cheating;
Let our young Heroes, who would be Commanders,
Brag less o'er Coffee, and fight more in Flanders;
Let Cheapside Doctors in a frantick Fit,
No more make impious War with sacred Wit;
Let City Wives (but that's too hard a Task)
Mimick no more Town-Ladies in a Mask,
Nor from their Prentices the Favour ask;
[Page]Let no old cast-off Miss assume the Saint,
Let Cowards cease to huff, and Beaus to paint;
Let at yond Corner House the Wits and Bards,
Gain by Religion, what they lose at Cards;
Let snarling peevish Criticks cease to bite,
Or in a false Sublime dull Plays to write;
Let Galleries no more for Judges sit,
But leave to the bright Boxes, and the Pit,
Their lawful Empire o'er immortal Wit.
When all this heavy Task is well perform'd,
We dare ingage the Stage shall be reform'd.

Dramatis Personae.

MEN.
Count Bassino, a Savoyard, married to Placentia, and in Love with Aurelia,
Mr. Mills.
Armando, Bassino's Friend,
Mr. Simpson.
Alonzo, a Venetian Gentleman, be­trothed to Aurelia,
Mr. Thomas.
Pizalto, a Noble Venetian,
Mr. Norris.
Ludovico, a Frenchman.
Mr. Fairbank.
WOMEN.
Placentia, Bassino's Wife,
Mrs. Kent.
Aurelia, a young Venetian Lady, be­trothed to Alonzo, but in Love with Bassino,
Mrs. Oldfield.
Florella, her Woman,
Mrs. Baker.
Lady Pizalta, Pizalto's Wife,
Mrs. Moore.
Lucy, her Woman,
Mrs. Lucas.
  • Maskers, Dancers, Singers, and Attendants.
SCENE, VENICE, in Carnival-Time.

[Page] THE PERJUR'D HUSBAND.

ACT I.

SCENE I.

The Curtains fly up, and discover a Mask in Pizalto's House. Pizalto, Lady Pizalta, Lucy; Ludovico talk­ing to Lady Pizalta; Bassino and Aurelia talking to­gether; Florella and other Maskers.
A Spanish Entry.
While the Dance is performing, enter Armando, and gives Bassino two Letters, which he opens and reads.
Lady Pizalta and Lucy advance to the Front of the Stage.
Lady Pizalta.
OH! Lucy, I'm undone—
That Stranger there has charm'd my Heart: I feel
The Pow'r of conquering Love; quick, quickly tell me,
What shall I do to ease this racking Pas­sion?
Lucy.

Nay, Madam, I fancy your Passion has little Occasion for Lenitives; it blazes so violently at first, 'tis like to be soon extinguish'd.

L. Piz.
[Page 14]

Dear Lucy, don't trifle with me; but con­trive, imagine, do any thing, to bless thy Love-sick Mistress with the Sight of that dear Man: And as an Earnest of further Rewards, here, take this—

[Gives her a Ring.
Lucy.

Madam, I receive your Commands with much Joy, but your Present with more—

[Aside.]

I'll try what this projecting Brain can do, and if you step into the next Room, I'll soon give you an Account of my Proceedings.

[Exit L. Pizalta.
Bass.
Ye Gods!
What have I done, that you pursue me thus!
Why did you e'er decree that I should wed
A Wife I now must hate? Why did I see
The bright Aurelia? Why am I thus torn
'Twixt Love and Duty? Oh! what Pangs, what Torments
My Soul endures! Oh! my Aurelia!
[Exeunt omnes, but Lucy & Ludov.
Lucy pulling Ludovico by the Sleeve.
Lucy.

Sir, Sir, one Word with you.

Lud.

Your Business—

Lucy.

May one ask you a civil Question, and be resolv'd?

Lud.

Hum—A civil Question, sayst thou? What's it, prithee, a Night's Lodging? If so, pull off thy Mask, and I'll resolve thee instantly—But I never strike Bargains in the Dark.

Lucy.

I don't know, Sir, but it may tend to that, by way of Proxy, at the long-run: But at present my Com­mission reaches no further than to know your Lodgings; if any Thing comes on't, I fancy 'twill not displease you.

Lud.
(Aside.)

Hum—This is but a Pettifogger in Intrigues, I find—Egad, I'm like to be pretty well employ'd during the Carnival—Well, considering I am a Stranger here, this Hit may be a lucky one, and the Lady handsome—Egad, I'll fancy her so at least, wer't but for the Pleasure of Expectation.

Lucy.

What are you studying, Sir? Are you so long resolving whether you shall accept a Lady's Favour, or no?

Lud.
[Page 15]

No, faith, Child: I am not over-scrupulous in those Matters—Let her be but Woman, and we shan't disagree—And so thou mayst tell her—There's a Direction for thee.

[Tears the Superscription of a Letter, and gives it her.
[Exit Ludovico.
Lucy.

Frank and easy, a la mode de Paris—Well, these indifferent Sparks charm more than all your cring­ing Fops—Now for my Business—Let me see—I'll to my Lady, she'll write; I'll carry the Letter, and the Devil will turn Saint, if I don't bring 'em together, and merit a further Recompence

By Coupling many have there Fortunes made;
I only want Perferment, not my Trade.
[Exit Lucy.

SCENE II.

The Scene changes to Bassino's Lodgings and discovers the Count in his Night-gown, a Table with Lights, and Let­ters lying on the Table.
Bas.
All Things lie hush'd in peaceful Silence here:
All but Bassino's Mind—Oh! happy he
Who lives secure and free from Love's Alarms.
But happier far, who, Master of himself,
Ranges abroad without that Clog, a Wife.
Oh! rigorous Laws impos'd on Free-born Man!
On Man, by bounteous Nature first design'd
The Sovereign Lord of all the Universe!
Why must his generous Passion thus be starv'd,
And be confin'd to one alone?
The Woman, whom Heaven sent as a Relief,
To ease the Burden of a tedious Life,
And be enjoy'd when summon'd by Desire,
Is now become the Tyrant of our Fates.
[Takes up a Letter.
But hold, Bassino! whither does thy Passion
Hurry thy wandering Reason: Let this Letter
Re-call the Fugitive, and fix thy Senses
On dutious Love—A Wife, so young, so fair,
[Page 16]So excellent, whose Charms not three Months since
Did fire thy Soul; a Wife, who dotes on thee;
A Wife to whom thou sworest eternal Love—
By Heaven, I swear again I will be true.
This Thought again restores my Peace of Mind—
No, charming Wife; no dear Placentia, no,
Thou shalt not beg in vain: I will return.
[Kisses the Letter.
But who comes here—My Friend Armando?
Enter Armando.
Arm.
Dear Friend, I heard
The Conflict of your Passion, and my Joys
Are now compleat, since Virtue gains the Day.
Bas.
Yes, dear Armando, the Conflict is o'er,
And I'm resolv'd to fly to my Placentia.
Arm.
Cherish that Thought: By Heaven your Resolution
Transports my Soul with Joy!
A kind, a virtuous Wife waits your Embraces;
A Wife, who like a Turtle mourns the Absence
Of her dear Mate. Haste then, my Friend, to drive
That Cloud of Sorrow which o'recasts her Mind,
And, like the Sun, dispel her gloomy Thoughts.
Bas.
Thanks for your Counsel—
You like a God support my feeble Virtue.
This very Morning I'll prepare for Turin,
Where Time and Absence will deface the Image
Of that bewitching Beauty, which how haunts
My tortur'd Mind—Yet, first I'll take my Leave
Of this fair Charmer—And Heaven grant
That I may see her unconcern'd—
Arm.
My Lord, what d'you mean?
Have you well weigh'd the Danger of this Visit?
Bas.
What Danger can there be?
Arm.
Danger! my Lord—Consider well how feeble
Our Reason is against the Pow'r of Beauty—
Bas.
My Resolution's firm; no Charm can shake it.
Arm.
If not her Beauty, fear her Syren Tongue;
Fear her endearing Prayers, her fond Reproaches,
Her tender Sighs, her Vows, her trickling Tears.
[Page 17]Nay—if all these prove vain, fear her Despair,
A Woman, an abandon'd Woman's Rage.
Bas.
Were there more Dangers, yet I'll stand 'em all;
My Honour bids me pay this parting Visit:
My Heart shall have no Share in what I'll speak.
Trust me this once, and be yourself a Witness,
Bassino can controul unlawful Love.—
Arm.
My Lord, 'tis with Regret I see you go,
May Heaven assist you in this dangerous Strife.

SCENE III.

Aurelia's Chamber; She in an Undress with Florella.
Aur.
No more of that—Cease thy ungrateful Suit,
Alonzo is a Man I cannot love;
I own he's witty, generous and brave;
Has all the Charms that Nature can bestow
To fire a Woman's Heart—Yet I'm insensible,
His very Sight chills all my trembling Spirits;
Therefore, name him no more—I charge thee do not.
Flor.
Madam. I've done—Yet shall I be permitted
To ask a Question? Are you then resolved
Ne'er to admit a Passion in your Breast?
Aur.
Oh! Dear Florella, press not a Confession,
Which but too well my Eyes themselves disclose.
Alas! I love—I love to such Excess,
That tho' I know I'm lov'd again, my Mind
Is still perplex'd with Doubts and jealous Fears.
Flor.
You love and are belov'd! Then sure you reach
The Height of human Bliss, and bounteous Heaven
Can scarce give more—But who's the happy Man;
Is it not Count Bassino?
Aur.
Oh! charming Name; there's Musick in that Sound!
Yes, Count Bassino is the Man I love.
Canst thou now blame my Coldness to Alonzo?
Flor.
Forgive me, Madam, if I dare persume
To speak my Sentiments: I must confess
[Page 18] Bassino is a Man of excellent Virtue;
His Education at the Court of Savoy,
Has still refin'd what he receiv'd from Nature;
His Person too is charming—
And, what most Women court, he has a Title—
But then consider, you are unacquainted
With his Estate, and tho' his Equipage
Denotes an ample Fortune, yet we see
Many a Stranger here, during the Carnival,
Who makes a Figure by industrious Gaming.
As for Alonzo, he was born at Venice,
Of Noble Parents; his Estate, a large one—
Even from his Youth you had his amorous Wishes,
And as he grew in Years his Love encreas'd:
You lov'd him too—Nay, which is more, your Father
Approv'd your mutual Loves, and at his Death
Bequeath'd you to Alonzo.
Aur.
Oh! my Florella, thou hast rouz'd a Thought,
Which will for every break Aurelia's Rest.
I know my Father's Tenderness to me
Made him confirm Alonzo's Suit, for then
I lov'd Alonzo
But were my gentle Father still alive,
I'm sure he would not cross my Inclinations.
But, Oh! name not my Father; I cannot bear
The sad Remembrance of so great a Loss.
[Weeps.
Flor.
But fear you not t'offend his peaceful Ghost,
By breaking with the Man he destin'd yours?
Aur.
'Tis not my Fault: and just Heaven must forgive
What Heaven decrees—Yes, 'tis my cruel Stars
That made my Heart inconstant to Alonzo,
'Tis with Regret I break my plighted Faith;
In vain I strive to check my new-born Love,
I cannot, cannot live without Bassino.
Flor.
Madam, I wish your Passion ne'er prove fatal,
But much I fear this inauspicious Match.
[Page 19] Enter Bassino, Armando.
Aur.
May Heaven avert th' unlucky Combination
Of our presaging Thoughts: For, know I tremble too—
But here's the Man that will dispel my Fears.
Arm. to Bass.
My Lord, remember
To keep your Resolution.
Bas. to Arm.
Yes—I will keep it—
[To Aur.]
Madam, you will pardon
A Morning Visit, when you know what Reasons
Press'd me to fix it on this early Hour.—
By Letters from the Court I was last Night
Commanded to return with Speed to Turin,
And thence set out for France, to represent
My Sovereign Leige in solemn Embassy.
This Day I must prepare to take my Journey,
Tho' 'tis with killing Grief I leave my dear,
My fair Aurelia
[To Arm.]
Now, my Armando.
Arm.
My Lord, 'tis well: But still be on your Guard,
The dreadful Shock comes on—
Arm.
This Day be gone! What means my Lord? Oh! Heaven,
My boding Fears are come to pass: I see
A Cloud of Woes just ready to o'erwhelm me.
Is't possible! how can that Form divine
Harbour such Treachery! Is then Bassino false?
Say, perjur'd Man, how often did you swear
This happy Day should make you mine for ever!
How can you now forget your solemn Vows?
Why have I met with this inhuman Usage?
Bas.
Madam, my Prince's Orders
Are absolute: My Honour is concern'd.
Aur.
Must a vain Title be preferr'd to Love?
But no—You never lov'd—'twas base Deceit.
Curst, curst dissembling Men! Their flattering Tongues
Can feign a Passion that will look like Love,
Till by Degrees they get us in their Power;
Then with bold Impudence they draw the Vizor,
[Page 20]And shew the Cheat that mock'd our credulous Hopes.
Faithless Bassino,
How oft you swore your Love cou'd ne'er expire:
How oft you swore one Smile of mine had Charms,
Even above the Glories of a Crown.
Those were the Oaths I fondly did believe;
Those Words convey'd a Poison to my Heart,
And even now I feel its mighty Force:
My Head turns giddy, and my trembling Knees
Betray their sinking Burden—
Alas! I faint, I die—
[She faints, Bassino runs and embraces he [...]
Bass.
Oh! stay, my Love, my Life, my Soul, my all▪
The Conflict's past, and I am thine again.
But she is breathless! Oh! ye rigorous Gods,
Give back her Soul, or let my own be plung'd
To dark Elysium—Oh! my dear Aurelia!
[Hugs he [...]
Arm.
Is this your Resolution? By Heaven, I blush
To call you Friend. Your Wife, my Lord, remembe [...]
Your Wife—
Bass.
Curse on that Name—
Urge me no more to follow your Chimera's,
Left you oblige me to break off that Friendship
You blush to own—Oh! my Aurelia!
Arm. aside.
How sweet is treacherous Vice! how e [...] ge [...]
Fond Man pursues his Ruin!
All Arguments were vain—yet still one Way remain
Which cannot fail, to stop the Progress of this impio [...] Lov [...]
His Wife, by my Direction, comes to Venice:
Her Sight will soon awake his slumbering Virtue,
At least it will retrieve Aurelia's Senses.
[Exit Armand [...]
Aur. recovering.
Where am I? Where's my Lord, [...] false Bassino?
Bass.
Here, here, my Soul, my charming Dear.
Aur. thrusts him off.
Hold off—Approach me not-urge not my Rage,
Or with this Dagger I'll revenge my Wrongs
On thy perfidious Heart—But, oh! his
Heart's too hard,
[Page 21] [...]ven for temper'd Steel—Therefore I'll sheath it here.
(Offers at her Breast: Bassino snatches the Dagger, and throws himself at her Feet in a distracted Manner.
Bass.
Oh! hold—forbid it, Gods!
[...] am the cursed Cause, and I must die.
[...]h! who could bear my Load of mortal Woe!
[...]e heavenly Powers bestow the Stroke of Grace,
[...]nd rack Bassino: Let your vengeful Thunder
[...]ow crush my guilty Head—Or thou, Oh! Parent Earth,
[...]pen thy Bosom, and conceal my Crime.
[Tears the Ground.
[Falls down.
Aur.
Is he then mine again!
[...]ok up, my Lord, my Love, my Life!
[...]y dear Bassino! 'Tis Aurelia calls.
[...]t me for ever fold thee in my Arms,
[...]d beg thou'lt never speak of parting more.
[Embraces him.
Both rise and embrace in an Extasy.
Bass.
Oh! never, never—
[...]e Poles shall meet, the Sun and Moon invert
[...]eir wonted Motion ere I part from thee.
[...]ondly try'd how much I was belov'd,
[...]d since you're true, my Bliss is now compleat.
Aur.
Was't but a Trial? then my Griefs are va­nish'd,
[...]d I am lost in Joy—Bassino's mine;
[They embrace again.
Bass.
Thine, thine for ever: And this happy Day,
[...]ll end Aurelia's Fears—Ha—
[...]is Day, said I, but where's Placentia then?
[...] Wife Placentia! Little does she think
[...]at Baseness I intend—Oh! racking Thought!
[...] 'tis resolv'd, I'll change nor think no more:
[...] try to plunge, and reach the blissful Shore;
[...]d if I sink, yet still this Hope's my Friend,
[...] snatch my Treasure ere my Course I end.
[Aside.
Aur.
My Lord, what makes you pause?
Bass.
The ravishing Thoughts of mighty Joys to come,
[...]t me in Extasy, and made me dumb;
[Page 22]When on thy snowy Breast dissolv'd I lie,
What Monarch can there be more blest than I?
[Bassino leads her off with a languishing [...]
Enter Alonzo.
Alon.
Sure, if my Eyes deceive me not, I saw
Aurelia with the Count just parting hence,
Dissolv'd in Love, and languishing they seem'd.
Damnation—
I cannot bear the Thought—I'll after 'em.
Alonzo going.
Enter Florella.
Flor. aside.

Ha—Alonzo here! I must preven [...] Discovery.

Alon.

Florella here! she comes opportunely— [...] may inform me of what I yet but fear—G [...] morrow, Florella: How fares my Love, my dear [...] relia?

Flor.

Signior, Good-morrow; you are an early [...] sitant.

Alon.

Not for a Man in Love; but answer me, [...] does Aurelia?

Flor.

Well in Health—Only she's now and [...] in a little Fit of Melancholy, such as usually pro [...] from timorous Doubts about that dreadful State of [...] trimony: You know the Time draws nigh that [...] her to your Arms.

Alon.

By Heaven! 'Tis an Age, there's six Day [...] to come.

Flor.

An Age, indeed, if he knew all.

[ [...]
Alon.
But haste, Florella; lead me to my Dear,
She only can contract that tedious Age
Of lingring Pain, and sooth it with her Smiles.
Say, is she alone?
Flor.
Yes—No—
Oh! Heaven! What shall I say?
[ [...]
She's, she's a—
Alon.
Ha—What means this faultering Answe [...]
[Page 23]All's not right, and my Suspicion's true.
Flor.

Signior, my Lady is not drest, and I shall dis­please her, in admitting even you, without her Leave.

Alon.
Ha—not drest—Take heed you mock me not;
Nor think to blind me with your feign'd Excuse:
For in your guilty Face I read the Truth.
Come, tell me who's with her? is't not Bassino?
Flor. aside.

Oh! Heaven! What shall I say?

Alon.
Nay, nay, no Study: Lying will not do:
I saw 'em part from hence, just now I saw 'em.
Harkee, sweet Mistress, how long have you practis'd
This subtle Trade? I find you're much improv'd.
Hell and Damnation—quickly, tell me
What did Bassino give for his Admittance?
I'll double the Reward—but she's not drest for me—
Oh! damn'd, damn'd Sex!
Flor.

Signior, what do you mean?

Alon.
To see Aurelia—see her instantly—
Nay, by Heaven! I will: All Opposition's vain:
For by th' avenging Power of Love I swear,
Tho' in Bassino's Arms I'll drag her thence,
Only to cast her from my Sight for ever:
Nor shall he live to triumph in my Shame.
What tho' the Marriage Rites be not perform'd,
Yet I may call her Wife. Her Father gave her to me:
And her own Vows have fix'd my Heart in her's.
Must then Alonzo be deny'd Admittance,
Under that poor Pretence that she's not drest?
Whilst base Bassino lies dissolv'd in Pleasures
On her perfidious Breast—Oh! killing Thought!
She makes my Name of Husband infamous,
Even before the Priest has join'd our Hands.
I'll in, and if th' Affront I tamely bear,
May Heaven deny me at my latest Prayer,
[Exeunt.

SCENE IV.

Ludovico's Lodgings.
Ludovico solus.
Lud.

Who waits?

Enter Mountaine.
Mount.

Did you call, Sir?

Lud.

Mountaine, run to Signiora Ronquilla, and tell her I have done with her for ever, if she does not send this Evening the hundred Ducats she promised to lend me—And harkee, as you come back, acquaint Signiora Cornara I shall be busy To-morrow, and de­sire she will put off her Visit till another Day.

[Knocking at the Door.
Mount.

Sir, there's somebody at the Door.

Lud.

See who 'tis.

Mount.

Sir, a Gentlewoman desires to speak with you.

Lud.
A Gentlewoman! admit her—Well,
'Tis a great Fatigue to oblige the whole Sex.
Enter Lucy.
Oh! what News from your Lady?
Lucy.

This will inform you, Sir.

[Gives him a Letter.
Lud. reads.

Hum, hum, a Letter—Tho' it may seem improper for one of my Sex to make the first Step in an Amour, yet you ought to consider, that the rigorous Confine­ment we are under all the Year round, may, in some mea­sure, excuse the Liberties we take during the Carnival. If you have the Courage to meet me, I shall be at four in the Afternoon in the Plazza d' Espagna, invisible to all but yourself.—Well, I believe all Women in Venice are wild for Gallants.

Lucy.

Sir, what Answer shall I return to my Lady?

Lud. aside.

Egad—I am in doubt whether I shall throw my Time away on this Intrigue or no— [Page 25] Harkee Child, step into the next Chamber, and I'll answer your Message instantly—

[Exit Lucy.]

Let me see—

[Reads in his Table Book]

Monday, at Two in the Afternoon I am to meet Signiora Belleza at her Nurse's—She's a pretty Rogue, and so I'll go—At Three of the Clock, Signiora Dorinda the Senator's Wife, at the Indian House—Pshaw, she's an old Ac­quaintance,—I shan't go—At half an Hour past Three, the Countess Wrinkle, who presented me with a Gold-hilted Sword—Silly Fool! does she think I'll bestow one of my Visits on an old shrivelled Piece of Antiquity, for a trifling Present, not worth above three-score Pistoles—At a Quarter past Four, my Sem­stress Dorothy Steenkirk, who supplies me with Linen,—Oh! this Visit may be put off for a new Intrigue—And so I'll acquaint the Messenger.

[Exit Ludovico.
The End of the First Act.

ACT II.

SCENE I.

A Chamber in Signior Pizalto's House.
Enter Lady Pizalta, Lucy.
Lady Piz.

DID you deliver my Letter to Ludo­vico, Lucy?

Lucy.

Madam, I did; I found him in his Study, reading the Lover's Watch, which he swears does not at all agree with his Constitution. He hates Injunctions of Love, like those of Penance: For the one, says he, is no more pleasurable to the Body, than the other beneficial to the Soul.

L. Piz.

What a fine Gallant I'm like to have with these Principles! Well—what did he say to a Sum­mons from a Woman of my Quality? Did it not make him wish the Time of Assignation were sooner than the Appointment in the Letter?

Lucy.

He first hum'd over your Billet; and pausing a while, he desir'd me to stay for an Answer in a next Room; then coming to me, he ask'd me what Coun­trywoman you were? For, said he, if she should prove an old Acquaintance, I would use her damnably—But when I and assur'd him you never saw the Outside of these Walls, he began to have that Desire which all Men have to a new Face

L. Piz.

Very well; and what then?

Luc.

He strait enquir'd whether you were black, brown, fair, old, young, Maid, Wife or Widow? I told him you was a wretched Wise to an old, impotent, [Page 27] rich, covetous, noble Venetian; beautiful, young, gene­rous, and of a fair Complexion. He hugg'd me at these Words, seem'd transported with the News, and swore that in Intrigues, a Wife was most suitable to his Temper; for, said he, there's neither Children to fa­ther, nor Honour to repair: and where his Pocket and Liberty are safe, he is contented to venture his Body and Soul,

L. Piz.

Excellent Maxims!

Lucy.

In short, Madam, he says he has had several Bills of this Nature drawn upon him of late, and how much his Stock may be exhausted, he knows not; but however he'll meet you, and if he cannot answer your Expectation, he'll give you Earnest.

L. Piz.

You talk merrily, Girl; I hope you did not tell my Name. I should be loath to trust a Man of his Character with my Reputation at first Dash.

Lucy.

No, Madam, I only told your Quality.

L. Piz.

That's well: Oh! Reputation, what several Sorts of Slavery do we undergo to preserve thee! for to be thought virtuous, we are forced to be constantly rail­ing against Vice, tho' our Tongues and Maxims seldom agree.

Lucy.

Alas! Madam, that Pretence is grown too common: For the Men now take it for granted, that a Lady is very near surrendring, when once she holds out that Flag of Defiance.

L. Piz.

Well—Men use us very barbarously: They will neither suffer us to be honest, nor allow us to be thought so—Here, take this Key, and secure every thing that concerns my Reputation: And if my Husband wakes ere I come back, you may easily find some Excuse to prevent his Enquiries; for the Carnival allows us more Liberty, than at other times we dare pretend to—I know thy Honesty, and will rely upon't.

Lucy.

Yes, indeed, Madam, I am honest at the Bot­tom.

L. Piz.

Well, I'll be gone: 'Tis about the Hour

[Ex. L. Piz.
[Page 28] Enter Pizalto.
Lucy.

Good Luck attend you, Madam—Oh! Heavens! here's my Lord—Madam, Madam, Madam—Oh! Lord, what shall I say, now she's gone?

Piz.

Hist, hist, Lucy: Don't, don't, don't call your Lady, for I have a Word or two to say to thee in pri­vate, and have waited for this lucky Opportunity a great while—

Lucy, aside.

Now Venus be prais'd, I hope he has found some Business of his own, that may give my Lady an Opportunity to mind her's.

Piz.

Well, Lucy, well,—canst thou guess my Business now?

Lucy.

No, indeed, Sir—But I'm certain, an old Man's Business can't be great.

[Aside.
Piz.
[Gives her a Looking-glass.]

Here, Child, this will tell thee—Look in't, look in't, I say—Ah! ah! thou hast a pretty pouting Lip, a delicate roguish Eye; such an Ogle, such a Cast—Ah! Rogue—Faith, thou'rt very pretty: And, in short, if any one rival thy Lady, it will be thee, Lucy—Egad, I have Fire in me yet.

Lucy, aside.

O' my Conscience, and little too, I be­lieve: Yet I wish he has enough to serve my Ends. I'll make my Fortune—Lord, Sir, what do you mean? I rival my Lady! Heaven forbid; I would not injure so good a Woman for the World—

Piz.

Pshaw, pshaw—Where's the Injury done to her, Child? Adod, I'll give thee a hundred Crowns.

Lucy.

No Injury, say you, my Lord? Why, I won­der you should be so jealous of my Lady, and preach such religious Maxims to her, when your own Principles are quite opposite.

Piz.

Look ye, Child, a Man may do that, which would look abominable in a Wife—A Woman's Reputation is a nice Thing.—

Lucy.
[Page 29]

'Tis so—and therefore 'tis but Reason I should take Care of mine.

Piz.

Prithee, no more of that: Thy Reputation shall be safe; I'll marry thee to my Gentleman.

Lucy.

Gentleman—Valet! Faugh—And what Good will a hundred Crowns do me, when my Virginity is gone? Indeed, if you lov'd me as much as you say, and would make my Fortune, (for I should love ex­treamly to be a Lady) I cannot tell how far you might persuade me—I know my Reputation would be safe in your Hands.

Piz.

Make thy Fortune! Why, I've known some of our Nobles marry a Wife with less than a hundred Crowns—But adod, thou'rt a charming Girl, and therefore I'll make it a hundred Pistoles—What say'st thou now, Lucy? Ah! adod, I must buss thee;

[Kisses her.]

Ah! Rogue, methinks I'm a young, lusty, vigorous Fellow again—Thou shall find I am, Girl.

Lucy aside.

I believe I shall fail you, old Gentleman. Well, my Lord, make it up a thousand Pistoles, and I am your's, else I'll die a Maid, I'm resolv'd.

Piz.

A thousand Pistoles, why thour't the most uncon­scionable Wench in Italy: Why, 'tis a Price for a Du­tchess in some Countries▪ Come, come, prithee be rea­sonable, Lucy?

Lucy.

Reasonable! why you don't ask a reasonable Thing—Look you, you know my Mind, I'll not bate a Penny—I'll warrant my Lady will give me two hundred at least for my Discovery

[Going.
Piz. aside.

Udslife! she won't tell my Wife, sure, [...]m ruin'd if she does; I'd rather give her two thou­ [...]and—Hold, hold, Lucy, sweet Lucy, prithee [...]ome back—Faith, thou'rt so charming, I can de­ [...]y thee nothing—Come, it shall be what thou wilt—Come now Rogue, let's retire to thy Cham­ [...]er—

Lucy.

Nay, nay, no entring the Premises, till you [...]ave paid the Purchase.—

Piz.
[Page 30]

Adod, thou'rt a Wag—Come in then, and I'll discharge the Debt: Thou art a cunning Gipsy.

[Exit Pizal.
Lucy.

You shall have Reason to say so ere I have done with you, old Gentleman—For I am resolv'd to show you a Trick, and preserve my Virtue.

[Aside.
For did base Men within my Power fall,
T' avenge my injur'd Sex, I'd jilt 'em all.
And would but Women follow my Advice,
They should be glad at last to pay our Price.
[Exit Lucy.

SCENE II.

The Piazza d' Espagna in Venice.
Enter Lady Pizalta sola.
L. Piz.
Not come yet! ungrateful Man! must a
Woman of my Quality wait?
How have we lost our Pow'r since the Creation?
When the whole World had but one single Lord,
Whom every Creature readily obey'd?
Yet he, that mighty he, caught with a Smile,
Hew to th' Embraces of the tempting Fair.
But now each puny Sinner dares to cross
A Woman's Inclinations—
Enter Ludovico.
Oh! are you come, Signior? I suppose you have
Some other Assignation, that made you miss
My Hour—Pursue it pray—I'll not interrupt you—
Your Servant—
[Going
I hope he'll not take me at my Word.
[Asid [...]
Lud.

Nay, nay, Signiora, why this Passion?

[Stops he [...]

You sent me a Challenge, and I, like a Man of Courage am come to answer it—Pray don't let a Quarter [...] [Page 31] an Hour break Squares—I own it was a Fault to make a Lady wait; but Friends, Madam, Friends, and good Wine are the Devil—Come I'll make you amends.

L. Piz.

Friends and good Wine! I suppose those Friends were Female ones—

Lud.

No, Faith: You shall judge of that—But suppose they were—Why should you be angry that I did not fly with the desir'd Haste, as long as I am come time enough to give you Satisfaction—Besides, I han't seen your Face yet, and for aught I know, it mayn't reward my Complement in coming now—Prithee, Child, unmask, and then I'll tell thee more of my Mind.

L. Piz.

The Devil take this Fellow—and yet me­thinks I love him for his Indifferency—

[Aside.]

You talk as if you were unskill'd in the Art of Love: Don't you know that Expectation feeds more than twenty tasted Pleasures?

Lud.

Hum—some Sort of Fops it may: But I'm none of those—I never give my Opinion of a Dish till I've tasted; neither do I care to dine often on one Sort of Meat without changing the Sauce—But when that Cloud's withdrawn, how long I shall keep my Re­solution I know not.

L. Piz

Say you so! Why then the only Way to pre­serve your Appetite is to feed you slenderly; or only let you see the Food, but not to taste.

Lud.

Faith, Madam, I'm no Camelion, but Flesh and Blood—Therefore these Prescriptions are of no Use—One Sight of that dear charming Face of your's, would be more obliging to your humble Servant.

L. Piz. unmasks.

Well, Sir, what think you? Is there any thing in this Face worth your Regard?

Lud.

Ah! by Heaven, an Angel—Oh! Madam, now blame yourself for my Neglect, for had you sent the Picture of her, in whom all those Beauties center, I had in this Place waited the coming of my Goddess, or ra­ther flown on the Wings of eager Love, to meet my Fair, tho' in the Arms of ten thousand Dangerss— [Page 32] Say, my charming Angel, do you forgive me? But why do I ask? your Eyes assure me you do; at least I'll force a Pardon from these dear, soft, ruby Lips.

[Kisses her in Extasy.
L. Piz.

Hold, hold! been't so lavish—a sparing Gamester is the likeliest to keep in Stock—whilst a profuse Hand at one Cast throws all he has away.

Lud.

To fear that, were to doubt your Charms, in which a Lover is sure to find constant Supplies—But we lose Time—Let's retire to my Lodgings, where I'll give thee the best Proofs of my Love I can?

L. Piz. aside.

Well! He's a charming Fellow—Oh! how happy are Wives in France and England, where such as he swarm!

Lud.

Come, Madam, come—Why, what do you mean by this Delay? Consider I'm a Man, a mortal, wishing, amorous Man—

L. Piz.

And consider I'm a Woman—

Lud. aside.

Ay, ay: That I know: At least I hope to find you such—or I would not be in such Haste—

L. Piz.

And have a Reputation to preserve.

Lud.

Oh! Lord, what a damn'd Turn's here? Re­putation, say you? Egad, I find all Women make Pre­tence to that mysterious Word.

[Aside.]

What! Are not you married, Madam?

L. Piz.

Yes, what then?

Lud.

Why then you have a Reputation to preserve—that's all.

L. Piz.

All, Sir, yes, and all in all to me—Do you consider what Country you're in, Sir?

Lud.

Yes, Faith, Madam; and what Constitution I am of too. I know Murder is as venial a Sin here, as Adultery is in some Countries; And I am too apprehen­sive of my mortal Part not to avoid Danger—There­fore, Madam, you have an infallible Security—if I should betray you, I bring myself into Jeopardy, and of all Pleasures, Self-Preservation is the dearest.

L. Piz.

A very open Speaker, I vow.

Lud.
[Page 33]

Ay, Madam, that's best—Hang your creeping, cringing, whining, sighing, dying, lying Lovers—Pough! Their Flames are not more durable than mine, tho' they make more Noise in the Blaze.

Sings:
Hang the whining Way of Wooing,
Loving was design'd a Sport.
L. Piz. aside.

The Duce take me if this Fellow has not charm'd me strangely—Well, the Carnival is almost over, and then must I be shut up like a Nun again—Hey! Hoa! This Time will be so short—

Lud.

Let's make the better Use on't then, my Dear. We will consider when we have nothing else to do, but at present there's a Matter of the greatest Moment, which I must impart to you—Therefore, come dear Rogue, come—

L. Piz.
[Looking on her Watch.]

Hold—I have outstaid my Time, and must return home instantly, to prevent Discoveries.

Lud.

Faith, Madam, this is not fair—to raise a Man's Expectation, and then disappoint him! Would you be serv'd so yourself now?

L. Piz.

I'll endeavour to disingage myself from my jealous Husband, and contrive another Meeting.

Lud.

But will you be sure to meet me again?

L. Piz.

I give you my Hand as a Pledge—

Lud. kisses her.

And I this Kiss in Return—Adieu, my Charmer.

L. Piz.

Signior, farewel.

[Exeunt severally.
Enter Bassino, Alonzo.
Bass.
Well, Sir, your Business—
Alon.
It is to tell you—
You are a Villain—
Bass.
Ha—
Alon.
[Page 34]
And that as such
I ought to have treated you before the Face
Of false Aurelia—But I scorn to follow
The barbarous Custom of my native Country,
I seek with Honour to revenge my Wrongs;
Therefore, Sir, draw—
Bass.
This Action speaks you noble—be like­wise just,
And let me know the Cause that moves your Anger.
By Heaven I'd rather call you still my Friend,
Than be your Enemy—Yet, if I wrong'd you,
I'll give you Satisfaction—
Alon.
Trifler away—Too well thou knowst the Cause;
And now wouldst sooth my Wrongs with Flattery.
But my Resolve is fixt as Heaven's Decrees:
And one of us must fall—Let the Surviver
Dispose of that base, false, perjur'd Aurelia,
As both his Love and Honour shall direct.
If my propitious Stars defend my Life,
You shall not die alone—Th' adulterous Fair
Shall bear you Company—Now draw.
Bass.
Oh! hold.
One Moment hold, I must unfold this Riddle:
Adulterous Fair, say you?
Alon.
Yes: She's my Wife.
Bass.
Ha—your Wife!
Sure there's a Curse entail'd upon that Name.
[Aside.
What! your real Wife?
Alon.
If the Command of an expiring Father,
And her own Vows can make her mine, she's so:
Indeed the Marriage Rites are yet to come,
Which slily she delay'd these two Months past,
On slight Pretence of finishing the Time
Of Mourning for her Father—But 'tis plain,
I was a Property to your base Love,
And only design'd to fill up your Place,
When surfeited you should return to Turin.
Hell—Furies! Draw, or in my just Revenge,
I'll pin you to the Earth—
Bass.
[Page 35]
Oh! Woman! Woman!
[Aside.
Yes, I will draw—But ere the fatal Stroke
Is past Recal, I swear Aurelia's Virtue,
Is clear and spotless, like Diana's self:
Nor was I prompted on this early Visit,
But with Design to take my last Farewel,
Having last Night received my Prince's Orders
To haste to Turin—Therefore if I fall,
I hope she'll meet with Mercy—Now come on.
Alon.
Hold, hold, my Lord; Oh! could I credit this,
I would ask Pardon, and entreat your Friendship.
Bass.
'Tis true, upon my Honour—
But if you doubt my Words, I'm ready—
Tho' I have Reason to decline this Combat,
At least at present—Oh! Placentia!
[Aside.
Oh! my Placentia! why should I abuse thee?
Alon.
My Lord, you seem disturb'd—
Bass.
Oh! Alonzo! Alonzo!
Should I acquaint you with my wretched Fate,
You'd find that Life itself is grown a Burden,
I cannot bear, since I can ne'er be happy.
But 'tis a Story that must ne'er be told,
Let it suffice, to settle your Repose,
That Turin holds the Cause of my Misfortunes.
Alon.
Then I am happy:
[Aside.
My Lord, I wish 'twere in my Power to serve you,
I'd do it as a Friend—
Bass.
Generous Sir, I thank you;
As far as I am capable, I am Alonzo's.
[Exit Alonzo.
Oh! Force of treacherous Love! to gain my End,
I wrong a Wife, a Mistress, and a Friend.
[Ex. Bassino,
The End of the Second Act.

ACT III.

SCENE I.

Aurelia's Lodgings.
Enter Aurelia, Florella.
Aur.
OH! how I tremble for my dear Bassino!
Haste, fly, Florella, brings me News he lives,
Or else expect to see thy Mistress die.
Flor.
Madam, be patient—
Consult your Reputation, and consider
That the least Noise you make on this Occasion,
Reflects upon your Virtue—
Aur.
Away, away—Talk not of Reputation,
When Love's in t'other Scale—But what can shock my Reputation;
Heaven's my Witness, I ne'er lodg'd a Thought,
For Count Bassino that could wrong my Virtue.
Perhaps the Gods pursue me with their Hatred,
Because I break my Promise to Alonzo.
But then, why did they not secure me his?
Why must weak Mortals be expos'd to Passions,
Which are not in our Power to subdue,
And yet account for what they prompt us to?
But I will think no more—Almighty Love,
Now hear my last Resolve—if angry Heaven
Refused to guard my dear Bassino's Life,
Aurelia too shall fall, and leave his Murderer
Accurst for ever—
[Page 37] Enter Alonzo.
Flor.
Oh! Heaven! where will this end?
Aur.
Ha.—
[Aside.
The Gods have sent him to decide my Fate.
How now! how dare you meet my angry View?
Or think I'll e'er forgive the base Affront
This very Day you offer'd to my Fame?
Aur.
Just Heaven refuses not a Penitent,
Therefore I cannot think that fair Aurelia,
Whose Charms are all divine, should sail in Goodness.
Oh! Let my Love atone for my rash Deed:
The Count and I are Friends, why should Aurelia be more severe?
Aur.
He lives! blest News!
Do then rash Actions speak your Love to me?
Must I in publick bear with your Insults
Before I'm yours? what must I then expect
When the strict Ties of Marriage shall confirm
Your jealous Passions?
No, you have taught me to avoid the Shelf,
I was just running on—know, base Alonzo,
That from this Moment I resume my Freedom,
I disingage you from your former Vows,
And will henceforth be Mistress of myself.
Alon.
Ha—
[Aside.
This sudden Coldness has another Spring,
Than my rash Carriage—Oh! my jealous Fears,
But I'm resolv'd to trace her winding Thoughts,
And fetch the Secret forth—
Madam, I hope you do but try my Love:
I cannot think Aurelia would be false.
Besides, you can't recal what's registred in Heaven.
Aur.
Then stay till we come there—There you'll have Witness.
Alon.
Witness!
Oh! faithless, perjur'd Woman, canst thou think
Upon thyself, and bid me call my Witness?
Yes, you are mine—By all the Gods you are.
[Page 38]And shall there be a Power on this Side Heaven,
To stop my Bliss? No—by my Love I swear.
I now can guess at your perfidious Meaning,
And tho' that cowardly Villain slily thought
To blind me with a Tale his Guilt had fram'd,
'Tis plain he is your Minion—yet wants Courage
To own his Treachery.
Aur.
Detracting, slanderous Villain!
How dare you treat me thus?
Oh! for the Look of a fierce Basilisk,
To punish this audacious Insolence!
Alon.
Marry thee! No—by Heavens, I had rather
Be rackt'd to Death—And for thy vile Injustice,
None shall enjoy thee, while this Sword is mine.
[Lays hold on his Sword.
Nor shall your Lover scape, to serve your Lust,
Till he has forc'd a Passage thro' this Breast.
[Points to his Breast.
Aur.
Oh! my Bassino.
[Aside.
Oh! cruel Man! Are not you then contented
To wreak your Spite on poor Aurelia?
Why must your Rage involve the Innocent?
Oh! Let me fall your Passion's Sacrifice;
Let my Blood wash the Stain you fix on me,
But do not blast your Name with base Revenge.—
Alon.
By Heaven! she dotes on him! Oh! cunning Woman!
But this Pretence won't serve to save his Life;
I'll not be caught again—No, Syren, No.
Bassino dies—Nor will I leave to Fortune
The vengeful Stroke, but take a safer Way.
Aur.
Oh! Heaven!
[Kneels.
What Words shall I invent to sooth his Rage,
[Aside.
And save my dear Bassino? Oh! Alonzo.
My once-lov'd, Dear, will you not here me speak?
Oh! I conjure you by our plighted Love's,
Whose Purity outshone the Stars above,
Hear me this Time, then use me as you please,
Alon.
Oh! Woman, Woman!
Aur.
If e'er Aurelia
[Page 39]So much as in her Thoughts did wrong Alonzo,
May sudden Death pursue her perjur'd Steps:
Heaven forgive
[Aside.
The Purjury, since I've no other way
To save Bassino's Life.—
Alon.
Aurelia, rise—
[Raising her.
Oh! could I credit this, how happy were Alonzo!
But something tells me that thou art forsworn;
And yet thou seemest as fair as Truth itself;
How is it possible that Guilt can look
With so a Divine a Face?
Aur.
Oh! kill me instantly: kill me, I beg you, kill me;
Let me not linger out an Age in Pain,
For such is every Moment of your Anger;
I cannot bear to live in your Displeasure.
Alon.
By Heaven she's true—
Hence frivolous Fears be gone—she's only mine.
Come to my Breast, my bright Aurelia, come.
[Embraces her.
To that soft Shrine that holds that Sacred Image,
Which triumphs o'er my Soul, and grasps it all,
I knew my boundless Treasure, and the Thought
Of losing thee had rais'd my Love to Madness.
But now I'm calm—No more shall that fierce Passion,
Rude Jealousy, disturb my peaceful Mind.
Do but forgive the Faults my Rage committed,
And you will find our Loves will grow the purer;
Just as the Sky looks brighter when the Storm
Is chas'd away, and Phoebus smiles again.
Aur.
Since both have been to blame, let it suffice,
We both repent, and will offend no more.
Alon.
Oh! never, never,
I'll ne'er suspect you more—Only resolve me this—
Aur.
What's it?
Alon.
Why was Bassino
Admitted to your View, and I denied?
Aur.
He came to take his Leave, and 't had been rude
Not to admit a Man of his high Birth
On this Occasion; Nor was you denied,
[Page 40]But thro' by Woman's Fears of your Suspicions.
She thought you would misconstrue the Count's Visit,
As you have really done—I blam'd her for it,
Indeed, this is the Truth—I hope Alonzo
Believes me now—
Alon.
Believe Thee! Yes—As willingly as Martyrs
A State of endless Joy.
I will so love my Dear, that all Mankind
Shall look with Envy on our mutual Bliss.
I'm like a Merchant tost at Sea by Storms,
Who his last Course with Pray'rs and Toil performs;
And the rich Cargo safely brought on Shore,
He hugs it thus, and vows to part no more.
[Embraces her.
Aur.
(Aside.)
So in a flowry Mead a Serpent lurks,
And the unwary Traveller surprizes,
Where he suspects least Danger! Cursed Cheat.
[Aside.
Oh! that I could disclose the fatal Story!
But it must never out—I beg, Alonzo,
You'd leave me for a while, and rest secure,
You have my Love—
Alon.
Then the bright Sun in all his circling Turn,
Cannot behold a Man more truly happy:
What you command, I readily obey.
Farewel, my Dear.
[Exit Alonzo.
Aur.
Where art thou now, Aurelia?
How wilt thou scape that dreadful Precipice,
On which thou art hurried on by thy fatal Passion?
With conscious Horror I deceiv'd Alonzo;
I hate this base Treachery, but 'twas unavoidable:
The Truth had been more fatal—
More fatal!—No—For I must never wed
My dear Bassino, whilst Alonzo lives.
Oh! the distracting Thought! what shall I do?
Why! die Aurelia: That's the only Way,
To keep thy Vows to both—Ha—die, said I?
But whether then? who knows what Punishment,
Just Heav'n prepares for guilty Souls, like mine.
But I must think no more, lest I grow mad with Thought,
If there's a Power that guards us here below,
Oh! look with pitying Eyes on poor Aurelia:
[Page 41]Appease the Tumults of my anxious Fear,
And load me with no more than I can bear.
[Exeunt Aurelia, Florella.

SCENE II.

Lady Pizalta's Lodgings.
L. Piz.

Well, thou'rt an admirable Girl! What would half the Ladies in Venice give for such a Servant?

Lucy.
(Aside.)

Truly you have Reason to say so, for 'tis not the first Intrigue I have manag'd for you—Oh! dear Madam, your Ladyship does me too much Ho­nour—But how do you like your new Servant, Madam?

L. Piz.

Oh! above all Men living, Lucy: He has the most bewitching Conversation I ever met with—Say, is there no way to contrive a second Meeting? For I'm impatient till I see the dear Man again—The End of the Carnival draws near, which is indeed the End of Life to me: For then must I be coop'd up with Age: Condemn'd to an eternal Coughing, Spitting, Snoring and Ill-nature—Then let me make the best of Life—since Hell cannot have a worse Plague in Store than I have felt already.

Luc.

Indeed, Madam, I pity you: And with 'twere in my Power to free you from this old, wither'd Log, but tho' that's impossible, yet I may do you some little Servi­ces to make Life's tedious Journey pleasant—Let me see, I have it—What would you say now, Ma­dam, if I should contrive a Way to have your Lover in your own Chamber?

L. Piz.

That were worth a King's Revenue—Speak, quickly, how, how, good Lucy?

Luc.

Why, thus: He shall put on my Cloaths, and in my Place attend you.

L. Piz.

Rare Contrivance; but my Husband, Lucy?

Luc.

Oh! let me alone, Madam, to manage him: He is defective in Sight, you know; and not mistrusting any thing, will not be over curious: But if he should, I [Page 42] have a way to bring you off—My Life on't—This Plot may be of Use to my Design, I'll manage it with Care.

[Aside.
L. Piz.

Oh! the Pleasure of hearing my Husband lie coughing, and calling me to Bed: And my answer­ing him, I'm coming, Dear; and while he imagines me in the next Room undressing, I'm happy in the Arms of my Ludovico. Certainly there's as much Satisfaction in deceivig a dull jealous Husband, as in getting a new Gal­lant; Were it not grown so common—each. Trades­man's Wife must have her Gallant too—and some­times makes a Journey-man of the Apprentice e'er his Indentures be half out—'Tis an unsufferable Fault, that Quality can have no Pleasure above the Vulgar, except it be in paying their Debts. Well, dear Lucy, I admire thy Contrivance—About it instantly—

Lucy.
(Aside.)

About it instantly! is that all? I must have my t'other Fee first.—I will, Madam; and you may expect your Lover instantly. But, Madam, what's to be done with your Brocade Night Gown you tore last Night? it can ne'er be mended handsomely.

L. Piz.

Nothing to be done without a Bribe I find, in Love as well as Law—Well, Lucy, if you manage this Intrigue with Care and Secresy, the Gown is yours.

Enter Page.
Page.

Madam, my Lord desires so speak with you.

Lucy.

Madam, I'll go about your Business: Your La­dyship's very humble Servant.

[Exit Lucy.
L. Piz.

Tell him I'm coming—

[Exit Page.

Now by way of Mortification, must I go entertain my old, jealous Husband.

[Exit Lady Pizalta.

SCENE III.

The Piazza.
Enter Ludovico Singing.
Give me but Wine, that Liquor of Life,
And a Girl that is wholesome and clean,
Two or three Friends, but the Devil a Wife,
And I'd not change State with a King.
Enter Lucy.
Luc.

What Singing, Signior! Well, you're a pleasant Gentleman—

Lud.

Ah! my little Female Mercury, what Message bringst Thou? Ha—will thy Lady bless me with ano­ther Sight—Ha—How—When? where? I am all in a Flame.

Luc.

Come along with me, Sir, I'll help you to an Extinguisher presently.

Lud.

If thou meanest thy Lady, with all my Heart—But I can tell thee, she'll rather prove Oyl, than what you speak of—But, say, where am I to see my lovely Charmer?

Lucy.

In her Chamber—

Lud.

Good! But how the Devil can that be done?

Lucy.

Nay, without the Help of a Conjurer, I assure you; If you dare take me for your Pilot, I'll warrant you Success in your Voyage—I'll set you safe in the Island of Love; 'tis your Business to improve the Soil.

Lud.

I warrant thee, Girl; do you but bring me there once, and if I play not my Part, may I never more know the Pleasure of an Intrigue.

Luc.

Which, if I mistake not, is the greatest Curse can fall on you—Well, you must suffer a small Metamor­phosis: What think you of personating me a little? That is dressing in my Cloaths, and waiting on your Mi­stress in her Bed Chamber—Ha—

Lud.
[Page 44]

Egad, I'm afraid I shall make but an awkward Chamber-maid, I'm undisciplin'd in dressing a Lady's Head—

Lucy.

Oh! Sir, your Commission won't reach so high as the Head: I believe my Lady will excuse little Mat­ters: You can undress, I suppose.

Lud.

Oh! the best and the quickest of any Man in Venice. But a Pox on't—Canst find no other way?—I, I, I,—I like Petticoats in their proper Places, but I don't care to have my Legs in 'em.

Luc.

And so you resolve against it? Ha—

Lud.

No, not absolutely resolve, Child: But—a—

Lucy.

But what, Sir!

Lud.

Nothing—I will follow thy Directions, what­ever comes on't. Now lead the way: For nothing sutes better with my Humour than a Friend, a Bottle, a new Mistress, and a convenient Place.

[Exit. Lucy, Ludovico.

SCENE IV.

Pizalto's Lodgings.
Enter Pizalto with a Bond in his Hand.
Piz.

Well—My Wife's a fine Woman! a very fine Woman! But a Pox she's a Wife still, and this young Jade runs in my Head plaguly: Well—here 'tis under my Hand; a Thousand Pistoles—A great Sum for a Maidenhead, as Maidenheads go now-a-days—Ah, had I been young now.

A Fiddle and a Treat had bore the Prize away,
But when we old Fools dote, they make us pay.
Enter Lucy.

Oh! are you come! Here, here, Lucy: Here's a For­tune for thee, worth Twenty Maidenheads, adod! I have not so much Money by me at present, but there's Secu­rity.

[Gives her the Bond.
Luc.
[Page 45]

Your Lordship's Bond's sufficient—Well, but that I am satisfied my Reputation is safe with your Lordship, or twice the Sum should not have prevail'd—Go to my Chamber, my Lord, I'll but stop and see if my Lady wants any thing, and I'll be with you instant­ly.

Piz

You won't stay, Lucy? Ah Girl, buss thy Lady's Chucky; now do now—

Lucy.

Oh! Lord! not here, we shall be discovered.

Piz.

Well, thou art a cunning Sinner: make haste, Lucy, dost hear?

[Exit Piz.
Lucy.

You're in mighty Haste, old Gentleman! but I shall deceive you,

My End is gain'd; I have my Fortune made,
Man has not me, but I have Man betray'd.
The End of the Third Act.

ACT IV.

SCENE I.

Armando's Lodgings.
Enter Armando, Placentia.
Pla.
OH! Armando!
Thou more than Friend to the distress'd Placentia!
Say, how shall I regain my lost Bassino.
My false, perfidious Husband?
[Weeps.
Arm.
Dear Madam, moderate your Sorrow:
Reserve those Tears to move Bassino's Heart,
Mine is all Pity: You may rest secure
Of all the Arguments a Friend can use
To bring him back to your endearing Arms.
Virtue's not quite extinguish'd in his Breast,
Therefore I hope the Sight of bright Placentia
Will rouze his slumbring Reason—
Plac.
Oh! Bassino! Bassino!
Oh! wretched Woman! Oh! that I had dy'd
E'er I had known him false: Then I were happy:
And tho' contented with his second Choice,
He with a pitying Sigh, perhaps, had grac'd
My Memory—
Oh! all ye Powers that virtuous Love inspire,
Assist me now: inform my Vocal Organs
With Angel Eloquence, such as can melt
His Heart of Flint, and move his former Kindness.
(Aside.)
But if that fail, I will remove the Cause
[Page 47]Of both our Woes—Yes, that happy Charmer,
That Rival of my Love shall surely die.
Arm.
Doubt not of the Success: What Heart of Steel
Could ere resist such Beauty drest in Tears?
Enter a Servant.
Serv.

Sir, Count Bassino enquires if you are within.

Plac.
Oh! Heavens! how I tremble!
Arm.
Lucky Opportunity—shew him up.
Madam, be pleas'd to step into that Closet,
Till I can sound the utmost of his Thoughts,
And shew him naked to your secret View.
Then when he's in the Heighth of impious Passion,
You like a Bolt from Heav'n shall rush on him,
And strike his Folly dumb.
Plac.
Almighty Powers, whose providential Care
Is ever kind to virtuous Innocence,
Oh! help me now in this Extremity.
[Exit Placentia.
Enter Bassino.
Bass.
How does my Friend Armando?
Arm.
My Lord, Armando's well,
And wishes you were so.
Bass.
Dost thou discover ought that gives thee Cause
To doubt I am not well? Indeed I think
I am in perfect Health—
Arm.
My Lord, I should be glad
To find that Fever of your Mind abated
In which I left you last—
Bass. aside.
I must dissemble now,
Else I'll ne'er gain my Ends—my dear Armando,
That Fever, thou speakest of, is now succeeded
By a cold Ague-Fit: The bare Remembrance
Of my unlawful Passion shakes my Soul.
Arm.
Such sudden Cures have often prov'd per­nicious,
[Page 48]And we have Reason to suspect a Wound
Too quickly heal'd—
Bass.
Not when thou knowest what Balsom I ap­plied.
Arm.
There's scarce a Balm for the deep Wounds of Love,
Besides Possession, and I cannot think
You have enjoy'd Aurelia.
Bass.
I swear I have not—
But I enjoy my Reason, my free Reason:
And who possesses that, can never cherish
A Thought against himself: For such I call
Whatsoever keeps me from my lawful Wife,
My dear Placentia, to whose Arms I'll fly
With all the eager Haste of a fond Bridegroom.
There I shall revel in the virtuous Pleasures
Of a chaste Bed—Oh! my Friend Armando!
My dear Placentia's Friend! can'st thou forgive?
Indeed I'm penitent, and will offend no more.
Arm.
My Lord, these are the Words you spoke before:
What greater Reason have I now to think
You'll keep your Promise?
Bass.
Pride, Honour, Justice are come to my Aid,
And Love too feeble to withstand 'em all,
Has left the Field to my victorious Reason.
Pride, with the Prospect of my future Greatness,
Allures me to return with Speed to Turin,
T' obey my Prince's Orders.
Honour and Justice tell me I'm Placentia's,
And that Aurelia is Alonzo's Bride.
To him she gave her Virgin Vows: Nay, more,
To him her dying Father did bequeath her;
He loves her too, and shall not be depriv'd:
My Passion is subdu'd, and I'm resolv'd
Myself to give Aurelia to Alonzo.
Arm.
If this be true, then you are my Friend again:
But how came you to learn Aurelia's
Engagement to Alonzo?
Bass.
[Page 49]
I have it from himself, who an Hour since,
With eager Fury sought to 'venge on me
His injur'd Love, and challenged me to fight:
I chose with Justice to defend my Life,
And quit Aurelia, rather than to vanquish
In such a Cause—Alonzo strait embrac'd me,
Call'd me his Friend, and vow'd I should not go,
Till I had seen him join'd in solemn Marriage
With bright Aurelia—This I readily granted.
Canst thou believe me true?
Arm.
My Lord, I do believe you—
And am o'erjoy'd to hear your Resolution:
By Heaven! there's more Glory in subduing
Our wild Desires, than an embattl'd Foe.
Now do I wish his Wife had never come.
[Aside.
Bass.
Armando, Thou'rt my Friend, and on that Score
I must desire you to repair to Turin,
With all the Speed you can, to bear these Letters
To our great Prince, and beg he will excuse
My Stay for three Days more—And here this Letter
Bear to Placentia—speak to her the kindest
The softest Things thy Fancy can suggest.
I shall make good thy Promise—
My dear Placentia! Oh! that she were here
Panting and warm within these longing Arms!
'Tis a long Age since I did see her last!
But come, my Friend, you must this Hour set for­ward.
Arm.
With all my Heart: But 'twill not be amiss,
Before I go, to fix the Victory,
Which conquering Virtue in your Breast has gain'd;
And if what you pretend be real Truth,
I have a welcome Present for Bassino.
Madam, come forth—
[Page 50] Enter Placentia.
Bass.
What do I see! my Wife! This was a lucky Plot:
[Aside.
Hypocrisy did re'er befriend me more.
This was not like a Friend—why should Armando
Disturb her soft Tranquillity of Mind,
And give her ocular Proofs of my Disloyalty?
Oh! my Placentia! my beloved Wife!
[Embraces her.
Oh! that I should e'er think to wrong my Dear!
Pla.
My Lord, waste not a Sigh on my Account:
My Joys are infinite, since you are mine,
And what is past I easily forget.
Nay, let me beg for Pardon: For I know
I have offended you in coming hither.
I should have waited this Return of Virtue:
Or, if abandon'd, silently have mourn'd
My Loss, without upbraiding my lov'd Lord.
All this I should have done, but mighty Love,
Too powerful for Duty to withstand,
Guided my Steps to Venice
In Hopes my Presence would retrieve your Heart.
Bass.
Gods! that this Woman were Aurelia!
[Aside.
Thou Wonder of thy Sex! thou best of Women!
I blush to think that thou hast heard my Folly:
Yet since your Love cancels your just Complaints,
You make me doubly blest: And I'll reward
This excellent Goodness with eternal Fondness.
Oh! that thou hadst been here! Not all the Beau­ties
That Venice holds could have diverted me,
No, not one Moment from my dear Placentia.
Long Absence is the Bane of new-born Love,
But Fate shall ne'er have Power to part us more.
Plac.
Oh! my dear Lord, your Goodness is too great:
And I'm o'er-paid for all my Sorrows past.
Armando, say, is not he wondrous kind?
Arm.
[Page 51]
Madam, I told you Virtue
Was struggling in his Breast; and that it might
O'ercome his vicious Love, I thought your Presence
Was requisite—And now, my Lord, I hope
You will forgive me, since all the Endeavours
I us'd before had been in vain. I once
Design'd to let Aurelia know your Marriage;
But then perhaps she would not have believ'd me:
Let this plead my Excuse in sending for Placentia
Without your Knowledge.
Bass.
I must not let him see I am concern'd.
[Aside.
I know 'twas Friendship all, well-meaning Friend­ship:
I only am to blame: But I'll retrieve
My Credit in your Heart, and still deserve
The Name of Friend—And thou, the best of Wives,
Shalt ne'er have Cause to doubt my constant Love.
Plac.
Oh! my Bassino! this Excess of Kindness
Exalts me o'er all Mortals, if you're true,
There's not a Blast within the Power of Fortune
Can shock my Happiness.
Bass.
Thou shalt ne'er find me false, I swear thou shalt not.
Oh! that I could engage
She would return to Turin with Armando;
[As [...]de.
For if she stays, I never can enjoy
My bright Aurelia, and by Heaven I will,
Altho' ten thousand Lives should pay the Purchase.
Pla.
My Lord, you seem disturb'd.
Bass.
It troubles me
You can't appear in Venice with a Train
That may bespeak the Rank you hold in Savoy.
Plac. to Armando.
Oh! Armando!
He is so kind, I wish I ne'er had come!
What if I offer to return with you?
Arm.
Madam, you will do well:
For I myself cannot suspect him now.
Plac.
My Lord, let not my Presence here disturb you,
[Page 52]I doubt your Love no more, and to convince you,
I will go back before 'tis known I'm here.
Besides, 'tis fit I should prepare all things
To welcome you at home.
Bass. aside.
Blest Opportunity!
Fortune I thank thee: Would my Dear then leave me
So very soon? Alas! 'twill be an Age
E'er I return to Turin: Three long Days;
No, my Dear, no; I will not part from thee,
At least this Night, my Love—
Plac.
Will then Armando stay?
Bass.
No, my best Hopes, he instantly departs
With Letters to my Prince.
Plac.
Then suffer me to go this very Moment.
Three Days will soon be o'er, and your Return,
Shall make me fully blest—If I should stay
'Twould look like base Distrust, and I can't think
Bassino would be false—
Bass. aside.

Oh! Heaven! that I were not!

Arm
Indeed, my Lord, I think you're truly happy,
Scarce does any Age produce so good a Wife.
Bass.
Oh! that I could reward this wondrous Goodness!
Plac.
My Lord, what makes you sigh?
Bass.
To part from thee: But since 'tis your De­sire,
It shall be so. Armando, to thy Charge
I here commit the Treasure of my Soul,
Take Care of her, and think that on her Safety
My Life depends.
Arm.
My Lord, I hope you do not doubt my Care
Bass.
Dear Friend, I do not—
May Heaven's Blessings still attend my Love,
My dear Placentia.
[Embraces, and goes to lead her off
Plac.
As many more guard my Bassino.
Bass. aside.
A sudden Horror seizes all my Limbs:
I tremble at the Thought of this base Deed—
[Pulls out his Handkerchief, and drops a Letter, which Armando takes up.
[Page 53]Ha—Tears uncall'd for bath my guilty Eyes—
Gods! either give me Virtue to withstand
This impious Love, or Courage to pursue it
Without Remorse; for I'm but half a Villain.
[Exeunt Bassino, Placent.
Arm. opens the Letter.

A Letter! and to Aurelia! now Curiosity prompts me to know the Subject—What's here?

Reads.

I have dispatch'd Armando to the Court of Sa­voy, and found Pretence to stay behind

False treacherous Man!

This Night I give a Mask at my Lodgings, which, I hope, will divert Alonzo, till the Priest has joined our Hands; and while all the Company are engaged in Mirth, I'll steal to the dear Arms of my divine Aurelia.

Oh! Villain, Villain! Monstrous Villain!
Oh! poor Placentia! But I will prevent
His Policy, and break his wicked Measures.
[Exit Armando.

SCENE II.

Pizalto's Lodgings.
Enter Pizalto solus.
Piz.

Why, what makes this young Jade stay so long? Adod, this is to pay before-hand—Ha—methinks I hear a Laughing and Giggling in my Wife's Apart­ment; I must know whence their Mirth proceeds. Ho! here's Lucy coming—Harkee you, pray, why did you make me wait so long? Nay, I'm resolved you shan't 'scape me now—

Goes to the Door, and pulls in Ludovico in Lucy's Cloaths, whose Commode falls off in the Struggle, and discovers his bald Head.]

Oh! Be­nedicite! What have we here? A Man disguis'd in my Wife's Chamber! and I unarm'd! Oh! Curst Mi­nute!—Speak, thou wicked Prophet, thou Son of Ini­quity, what camest thou here for? Ha—Thou Priest [Page 54] of Baal, to offer Sacrifices on the Altar of my Wife? Oh! my Head! my Horns weigh it down to the Ground already—Within there, bring me my Sword and Pistols.

Lud.

A Pox on all Petticoats—What a Devil shall I say now? Oh! for a Sword! that would be of more Use to me now than my Tongue.

Enter Lady Pizalta.
Piz.

Oh! thou wicked salacious Woman!

L. Piz.

What ails my dear Chucky? Why dost thou call for Arms, Deary?

Piz.

To cut down that vile Creeper which over-runs thy Garden of Virtue—

L. Piz. aside.

Now Impudence assist me.

Ah! Heavens! What's here? A Man in Disguise? A Thief it must be—Raise the Servants—Oh! Hea­ven! we might have had all our Throats cut in our Beds—Now for Lucy, for I am at a Loss to come off.

[Aside.
Piz.

No, no, I warrant, you know he is more gentle in Bed

Lud. aside.

Oh! the Devil, what does she mean? Death, Hell and Furies! if I come off now, catch me at this Sport again, and hang me—

Enter Lucy.
L. Piz.

Oh! are you there, Mistress? How came this Man here in your Cloaths? Ha! Gentlewoman—

Lucy aside.

How confidently she asks the Question, poor Lady! as if she knew nothing of it! Now must I bring her off—For Reasons you must not know, Madam.

Piz.

Ah! Thou wicked Pair of Bellows to blow the Fire of Iniquity! Why, thou art the very Casement thro' which thy Mistress sucks the Air of Abomination—Tell me, I say, how he came here, and for what—and be sure it be a substantial Lie, or 'twill not pass.

Lucy aside.
[Page 55]

All my Hopes are in her Impudence.

Lucy to Pizal.

Harkee, Sir, one Word with you—Do you remember our Agreement To-night?

Piz.

Why, what of that? ha—

Lucy.

Then imagine what I design'd that Gentleman for: I'm honest, Sir, that's all—

Piz.

I'm honest, Sir, that's all—

[Mimicking her Tone.]

Honest! with a Pox—What! and so you honestly provided a Companion for my Wife in my Absence—ha—

Lucy

No, Sir, I design'd him for your Companion in my Absence—This is the Business he was drest for: Therefore no more Words, but believe my Lady honest, or all shall out.

Piz.

Oh! the Devil! this shan't pass, Hussy—Do you think I'll be cuckold, jilted, bubbled, and let it pass for a Christmas Gambol. Adod, give me my Bond again, or—or—

[Holds up his Cane.
Lucy.

No—hold there, Sir: Women and Lawyers ne'er refund a Fee: But 'tis your best Way to be patient now, I'll not take Blows.

L. Piz.

Why all this Whispering? Why mayn't I know the Business?

Piz.

I am mistaken if you have not known too much Business already: But I am right enough serv'd—I had more Ground before than I could manage; I had no Need of my Neighbour's.

Lucy.

Right, my Lord; Ground that lies fallow will breed Weeds in Time; but your's is clear yet.

Piz.

Damn your Jests: I shall expect a better Ac­count, do you hear? I'll find a Servant to see you out of Door.

[To Ludovico.
[Exeunt Pizalto and Lady.
Lud.

Well, this was an admirable Lift at a Pinch—She has brought me off now—And if e'er they catch me at this Musick again, I'll give 'em Leave to make an Italian Singer of me—No more Intrigues in Disguise—if it had not been for the Waiting-Woman now, I might have been hang'd for a Thief.

Lucy.
[Page 56]

What, all amort, Signior, no Courage left?

Lud.

Faith, not much—I think I have lost my Manhood with my Breeches—This Trans­formation may suit with Gods, but not with Mortals of my Humour—Come, prithee, good Mistress Lucy, help me to my proper Shape again; for tho' I have a natural Inclination to Petticoats, I hate 'em upon my own Back.

[A Flourish of Musick within.
Lucy.

Hark! I hear Count Bassino's Musick: He gives a Mask To-night; you are already drest for Masque­rade, won't you stay and take a Dance?

Lud.

Egad, I'd rather dance a Jig with thee else­where: Faith thou'rt a pretty Girl—and hast a good deal of Wit too—But then, Pox on't, thou'rt ho­nest, thou sayest, thou cannot swallow a Pill, except 'tis gilded o'er with Matrimony.

Lucy

—And that turns your Stomach, I warrant.

Lud.

Why, Ay: Faith my Stomach is damn'd squeem­ish in these Matters: Yet, egad, if I could find one with half as much Money as thou hast Wit and Beauty, I'd marry, and live honest.

Lucy.

That is, you'd marry her Money—

Lud.

One with the other, Child: There's no living upon Love, thou knowest—Tho' Faith I could live well enough too.

Lucy.

Well, suppose I help you to a Lady with a round Sum; you'd keep your Word, and marry her?

Lud.

I am a Gentleman, I scorn to break my Word.

Lucy.

Well, Sir, come to the Mask, and I'll engage you a Mistress, if you are not over-curious.

Lud.
With all my Heart:
I'm now resolv'd to leave this Wenching-Trade:
For no Man's safe upon a Hackney Jade;
Th' Ally of Danger makes the Pleasure Pain,
A Virtuous Wife will always be the same.
The End of the Fourth Act.

ACT V.

SCENE I.

A Mask in Bassino's Lodging.
Bassino, Alonzo, Armando, in a Disguise; Placentia in Man's Cloaths, Signior Pizalto, Lady Pizalta, Lucy, &c.
An Entry of three Men, and three Women of several Nations.
Bass.
I Can't imagine where I dropt my Letter:
Pray Heaven it be where none can ever find it.
Gods! Let me once enjoy her, then call on me
Your Store of Plagues, and I will meet 'em all.
Enter Ludovico, singing.
Lud.

Ah! Mistress Lucy! I'm come thou seest—I expect thou shalt be as good as thy Word, Child—is the Lady here?

Lud.

The Lady is forthcoming, if you are still in the same Mind?

L. Piz.

My Lover here! Harkee, Lucy.

Lucy.

By and by, Madam, I am catering for myself now—Well, Sir, will two thousand Pistoles do?

Lud.

I must humour her—

[Aside]

Ay Child.

Lucy.
[Page 58]

Why then, I take you at your Word, Sir, and can produce the aforesaid Sum—

[To Piz.]

With a lit­tle of your Assistance, my Lord.

Lud. aside.

Hum—A pretty Wife I am like to have—Catch me there if you can—

Piz.

Ha—How's that?

Lud.

How! Mistress Lucy, worth two thousand Pi­stoles?

Lucy.

Ay: And I have a very good Pay-master for one Half of it two—Do you know this Hand, my Lord?

[To Pizalto.]

(Shows the Bond.)
Piz. aside.

Confound your jilting Sneer.

Lud.

Ha, ha, ha—What, a Thousand Pistoles a Dish, my Lord? I hope you don't change often, ha—ha—

Piz.

Hussy, I'll be reveng'd—'Tis all false, 'tis coun­terfeit.

Lucy.

Ha—ha—But it had been current Coin, if I had suffer'd you to put your Stamp upon't—in my Bed-Chamber, my Lord—

L. Piz.

How Mistress, have you trick'd my Husband out of a thousand Pistoles, and never told me of it?

Lucy.

Nay, Madam, don't frown—Remember you have tricked him out of something too, which I ne­ver told him of—Don't urge me to more Discove­ries.

Lud. aside.

So—Here's Trick upon Trick: But, Faith, you shall never trick me out of my Liberty. I'm not so fond of a Wise to marry a Chamber-maid, tho' with ten Times as much Money: and so, sweet Mistress Abigail, your humble Servant.

[Exit. Ludovico.
L. Piz. aside.

The Jade has me upon the Hip—I must be silent.

She who has her Husband's Bed abus'd,
Can ne'er expect she should be better us'd.
[Exit.
Lucy.

Ha—What! my Lover gone I With all my Heart: Better now than after; for whilst I have my [Page 59] Fortune in my own Hands, I shall have no Need to sue for a separate Maintenance, and get nothing for it nei­ther.

Arm. to Placent.
Now, Madam, go: May Heaven be propitious
To your Designs: I'll stay and watch Bassino:
And when he goes, will follow with Alonzo.
Pla.
Oh! my sick Fancy frames a thousand Forms,
Which tell me that our Meeting will prove fatal,
And warn me not to go, what shall I do?
Must I bear calmly my Bassino's Loss?
Why do I tremble thus?
Sure it can't be the Fear of Death—No, for if
I go not I must lose him, and that's more
Than Death to me—and if I go, I can but fall,
And Life without him is the greater Woe,
Therefore I'll on, I'll use the softest Words
That Tongue can frame to sooth her into Pity,
And dissuade her from this impious Marraige.
If I succeed I am compleatly happy,
If not, I'd rather die than live with Hate,
But first, curst Rival, thou shalt share my Fate.
[Exit Placentia.
A Flourish of Musick.
Bass.
'Tis now the Time—But whither do I go?
Shall I a Maid, a Wife, a Friend betray?
Mo matter—
All Arguments are vain, where Love bears Sway.
[Exit Bassino.
A SONG.
When the Winds rage, and the Seas grow high,
They bid Mankind beware,
But when they smooth, and calm the Sky,
'Tis then they would ensnare,
[Page 60] So the bright Thais Kindness shows,
By frowning on her Lovers,
For Ruin only from her flows,
When she her Charms discovers.
Piz.

Come now, Gentlemen and Ladies, be pleas'd to walk into the next Room, and take a small Colla­tion—But where's my Lord Bassino? Come, Gen­tlemen, he's gone before us.

Arm.

Where we will quickly follow.

(Aside.)

Alonzo, a Word with you—

[Exit Omnes.

SCENE II.

A Chamber in Aurelia's House.
Two Arm-Chairs. Aurelia Sola.
Aur.
I wonder much at my Bassino's Stay:
Oh! Love! how swiftly fly thy Hours away
When we are blest! How tedious are thy Minutes
When cruel Absence parts two longing Lovers!
Enter Florella.
Is my Bassino come? speak—
Flor.

No, Madam, A young Stranger desires to speak with you: He says you are not acquainted with his Name, but will soon with his Business, which is some­thing of great Import, that can be told to none but your­self.

Aur.
A Stranger Business with me! I know of none
I have with Strangers—Heaven! what's this?
I feel a sudden Throbbing in my Heart,
As if 'twas conscious of some fatal News—
[Aside.
Womanish Fears—Admit him—
(Exit Florella)
it must be
[Page 61]One of Bassino's Friends, whom he intrusts
To be a Witness of our Marriage Vows.
Enter Placentia in Mans Cloaths.
Pla.
Madam, I was inform'd that Count Bassino
Was to be here—and having Things t'impart
That much concern him, I made bold to come—
Aur.
Sir, I expect him straight—if you're his Friend
I will account you mine—Be pleas'd to sit.
[Both sit.
Pla.
My Brother, Madam, is extreamly happy
In being favour'd by so fair a Lady—
Aur.
Your Brother, Sir! is then my Lord your Bro­ther?
Pla.
Madam, he is.
Aur.
Then I may call you Brother too;
For all the solemn Vows of Love have pass'd
'Twixt him and me—And blissful Hymen waits
With lighted Torch to tie the sacred Knot,
Which shall be done this Honr—
Pla.
This hour! say you? Oh! Madam, have a Care:
You tread inchanted Ground, and e'er you know
What Path you take, you're hurried to Destruction.
Aur.
Where lies the Danger?
Pla.
Oh! 'Tis a fatal Tale, yet you must hear it;
Therefore summon your Courage to your Aid,
For you will need it all, whilst I relate
The fatal Story—
Aur.
Ah! how I tremble!
Say, is he dead? has any murderous Villain
Kill'd my Bassino?
Pla.
No—he is well in Health: but his distemper'd Mind
Is of a wild and feverish Disposition,
Longing to taste, what tasted will undo him.
Aur.
Your speech is all a Riddle: Pray speak plainer:
But yet, e'er you proceed, if Count Bassino lives,
I care not what must follow, since he's mine.
Plac.
[Page 62]
No, he's not yours—Nor ever must.
Aur.
'Tis false—There's not a Pow'r on Earth can part us:
Perhaps,
You think my Blood to base to mix with yours—
But, Sir, your Brother loves me, and in Love
All Ranks are equal—
Pla.
No—I wish that were all:
But there's a greater Obstacle—He—is—married—
Oh! Gods! unfortunately married!
Aur.
Married!
Pla.
Yes—Married—to my Sister,
To my unfortunate, abandon'd Sister.
Oh! do not you conspire t'undo her quite;
It is enough, she's false Bassino's Wife.
Aur.
Gods! Married!
And is it possible! Oh! faithless Men!
Oh! Truth! Oh! Justice! Whither are you fled?
Now all my Fears and Horrors are explain'd.
Pla.
I'm glad I reach'd this Place in Time, to hinder
Those Ills that must waited on your Marriage,
Now it is in your Power, both to be happy,
And, in some Measure, make my Sister so.
[Both rise.
Aur.
A Paradox in Nature—Bid Aurelia.
Be happy, when you rob her of her Heaven!
Her dear Bassino!
Indeed your Sister may be counted happy,
If she's his Wife—Ha—Wife—By Heaven! 'tis false—
No, no—He has no other Wife but me—
He is not married, you bely him basely—
He cannot be so treacherous—
Pla.
Madam, I swear, whate're I said is Truth—
Do but defer this Marriage for a Day
And if I don't produce convincing Proofs,
May all the Plagues a Woman can invent
Fall on my perjur'd Head—
Aur.
Defer our Marriage—No, by Heaven I will not.
I can't suspect him—Neither do I think
[Page 63]You durst maintain this Story to his Face.
Pla.
Madam, I dare; Nay, which is more, I'll die,
Or vindicate my injur'd Sister's Honour—
Aur.
Bold Arrogance!
Oh! That he were but here to answer the Affront!
Perhaps he may have wrong'd your Family:
Debauch'd your Sister; for which you would force him
To marry her?—But, I must tell thee, Boy,
He's mine already: nor would he forsake me
To hold Command o'er all the Universe.
Pla.
Oh! Heaven! must I bear this!
Aur.
Nay, expect more, if he should find you here,
'Tis not your being Brother to his Mistress,
That will secure you from his just Revenge.
Pla.
Revenge! Nay, then away with all Disguise,
Pity be gone—And in its Room fell Rage
Take place, that I may dash that haughty Insolence
That dares to treat me thus—Know, Madam,
I am his Wife—his lawful wedded Wife.
With borrow'd Shape I came to try your Virtue,
Which I have found so light, that the least Puff
Of wanton Love will blast it—Else my Visit
Had met a better Welcome—Here with Sword in Hand
I'll wait his coming,
[Draws.
And as he enters, pierce thy haughty Breast.
I know he loves thee, and therefore 'tis brave
Revenge, to let him see thy dying Pangs:
Thy parting Sighs will rack him worse than Hell.
Aur.
His Wife! Oh! Insolence!
In vain you waste your Breath, it moves not me:
So much I love him, so much I'm belov'd,
That should an Angel from yond Heaven descend,
To tell me he's marry'd, I'd not credit him,
Kill me if you dare—He will revenge my Death:
That pleasing Thought gives Courage to my Soul:
To live without him would be Death indeed!
No—he'll ne'er leave me for a common Thing,
For such I'm sure thou art—
Pla.
[Page 64]
Common! Proud Wretch—by Heaven that Word gives Wings
To my Revenge—Vile Creature, die—
[Stabs her.
Aur.
Help,—Murder, murder—
Enter Bassino.
Bass.
Ha—That to my Heart—
[kills Plac.]
Wer't thou a Demi-god
And durst attempt this Shi [...]e, thus shouldst thou fall—
Pla. falling.
Oh! Bassino! Oh!
Aur.
Oh! hold, my Lord, what has your Rashness done?
I only should have dy'd—I'll not upbraid
Your Treachery—No, 'tis the Hand of Heaven
That guides the Stoke that takes my guilty Life,
For being faithless to Alonzo.
Bass.
Talk not of Death, my fair, my dear Aurelia;
That very Sound does harrow up my Soul.
But who art than whose sacrilegious Hand
Durst to profane the Temple of my Love?
Pla.
I am your Wife—Your loving Wife Placentia.
Oh! Pardon this rash Deed; blame jealous Love—
And grace me with a Sigh, that I may die contented.
Bass.
My Wife! And kill'd by me!
Under what Load of Miseries I stand!
Oh! Horror! Horror! Infinity of Guilt!
Hurl now your vengeful Bolts, Almighty Powers,
On my devoted Head!
Oh! I have wrong'd you both: Deceiv'd you basely:
Thus prostrate on the Ground, let me beg Pardon:
[Throws himself on the Ground.
I do not ask it with Design to live.
Aur.
Oh! Dear Bassino, live:
And try to save her, for she's innocent:
We only are in Fault—
I urg'd my wretched Fate with impious Language,
[Page 65]For which I beg Forgiveness: Generous Lady,
Let not my Soul depart with Guilt opprest.
Pla.
As I forgive you, so may Heaven me.
Bass.
Oh! Placentia! Oh! my Wife!
Aur.
One thing more, and I'm happy—
Were but Alonzo here, that I might ask
Forgiveness for my Falshood! But, alas!
My Spirits faint within my frozen Veins,
And every Thing seems double to my Sight:
Oh! How I dread th'uncertain future State!
Bass.
Unhappy Maid! Oh! my once dear Aurelia!
Curst, Curst Bassino! Oh! my Wife! How dare
I stand the View of both these injur'd Women!
Oh! Heaven! Why name I Heaven! Heaven will not hear
A Wretch like me—No, even Hell wants Torment
Proportion'd to my Guilt—Oh! my Placentia! Oh!
Pla.
Oh! my dear Lord, I cannot see you thus:
Live, live, my Lord; be happy when I'm dead.
Nay, for your Sake, I wish Aurelia too
May live to make you happy—
Bass.
Oh! hold!
Heap not more Curses on me by your Kindness:
I wish that she might live, but not for me,
Only to clear me from her guilty Blood—
Oh! Placentia!
Pla.
Rise, my Lord, rise: Do not indulge your Woe,
Your Sighs atone for all, and make e'en Death a Plea­sure—
I see him coming, he will soon be here—
Bass.
No, I will never rise: ne'er see the Day.
The Sun would blush to shine on such an impious Wretch.
Here let me lie, and tear with these curst Hands
[Tears the Ground in a distracted Manner.
A Passage thro' the Earth and hide my Face for ever.
Alon. within.
Where, where's this Villian? Where's Bassino?
Aur.
'Tis Alonzo's Voice.
Oh! fly, my Lord, fly from his just Revenge.
[Page 66] Enter Alonzo hastily.
Bass.
Fly—
Where shall I fly from Justice? No, Heaven is kind
In sending him to help my Journey forward.
Alon.
Where's Bassino?
Bass. rising.
Here, Sir, I stand.
Alon.
Then there stands a Villain—Ha—what
Do I see!—Aurelia murder'd!
Oh! treacherous Maid, thy Love hast cost thee dear,
Think not thy broken Vows, and call to Heaven for Mercy.
Thy Death I will revenge, because I lov'd thee once.
Aur.
Oh! Alonzo, pardon me.
Alon to Bassino.
Now Villain, now what Story, what Pretence
Canst thou invent to avoid my just Revenge?
Oh! That I ne'er had listned to thy Tongue!
Thy base, perfidious Tongue! Then all these Murders
Had been prevented, and thou curst in Hell—
Thou monstrous Fiend—
Bass.
You talk too much—Let's see what you can do:
Thus I return your Villian—
Alon.
Take thy Reward.
[They fight, Bassino falls.
Enter Armando
Arm.
Hold! hold: Oh! Gods! I'm come too late
What has my fatal Friendship done!
Ha—Placentia too—curst Letter!
Bass.
My Friend Armando! Oh! I blush to see thee:
But let me have your Pardon—now I need it.
Arm.
Oh! first pardon me—
For I have been the Cause of all this Mischief.
Whilst my officious Friendship strives to save you,
I bring you all to this unhappy End.
Say, can you pardon me?
Bass.
I do—
[Page 67]And Oh! my Friend! had Virtue been my Guide,
As it was thine, I still were truly happy.
Aur.
Where am I?
Why do I hover thus 'twixt Rest and Misery?
Oh! good Alonzo, say you pardon me,
And let me die in Peace, else full of Horror
My guilty Soul must wander in the Shades
Of gloomy Night, and never, never rest.
Alon.
Thou hast my Pardon, and with it this Promise
Never to love again—
Aur.
Oh! you're—too—kind—and I want—
Breath to thank—you—Farewel.
[Dies.
Bass.
Oh! Placentia!
[Embraces her.
Thus in thy Arms my Thread of Life shall break.
Pla.
My Lord, my Husband, Oh! come nearer yet,
That I may take a parting Kiss, to smooth
My Passage to the Realms of endless Night.
[Kissing him.
So—Now—I die—much happier than I lived.
Farewel—
[Dies.
Bass.
Farewel, fair Excellence! Thou best of Wives!
But I shall quickly follow—Yet before I go,
I beg, Alonzo, let my Death atone
For all the Injuries my Life has done you.
Oh! spare my Memory, when I'm no more
Alon.
By Heaven!
I see such Virtue struggling in thy Breast,
As makes me wish I could prevent the Flight
Of thy departing Soul—
Bass.
No, no—I would not live:
Hadst thou not come, my Hand had set me free.
But now I fell more nobly, and less guilty.
My Friend, my Dear Armando,
Haste to inform my Prince, Bassino rests:
But hide, if possible, my Shame: And let
One Grave hold both this wretched Corps and mine,
Oh! my Placentia
[Dies.
Alon.
Unhappy Pair! But far more wretched me!
For I must live, and live without Aurelia!
Tho' I'm convinc'd she lov'd me not, I can't
[Page 66] [...][Page 67] [...]
[Page 68]Banish her Image from my Love-sick mind
Oh! that I ne'er had seen the charming Fair!
Arm.
The Gods are just in all their Funishments:
And by this single Act, we plainly see
That Vengeance always treads on Perjury;
And tho' sometimes no Bolts be at us hurl'd,
Whilst we enjoy the Pleasures of this World;
Yet a Day waits, a Day of general Doom,
When guilty Souls must to an Audit come;
Then that we may not tremble, blush, or fear,
Let our Desires be just; our Lives unsullied here.
[Exeunt Omnes.
FINIS.

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