Suitors [calling from] within.
O good your grace, hear us! Hear the complaints
Of us poor men! O hear us! We are all
Undone! Good your honour, hear us.
Enter [the] Duke and Lucio.
Death encounter ‘em! Lucio, shut the door!
300'Tis the plague of greatness, the curse
Of pomp, that in our darkest privacy, we must
Even public be to every man’s affairs.
How now! All these saucy troops of brawling
Suitors attend on you, my glorious boy.
It is their humble skill not to arrive
Before your grace but by an advocate
A mediator blesséd in your eyes.
How apt am I to love! Yet now observe
Unkindness in my care and bitterness
310In physic: I study how to make thee less
That I may make the more, and more my own.
Office and dignity are enemies
To health and ease. Respect grows tedious,
Observance troublesome, where ’tis most due.
315He that gives his soul no more employment
Than what’s her own may sleep within a drum,
While busy hearts, that love to undertake
Beyond their reach of years, are fane to use
Drowsy potions, yet watch the winter night
320With more distinction than the parish clock.
Could’st thou resign thy titles and thy cares
To make me yet more capable of still
Enjoying thee?
My zeal unto myself forbids my speech,
325Since if I make reply to this, I but
Disparage duty and consume my breath.
Where sight is young and clear, there spectacles
Are troublesome, and rather hide than show
The object. The most devout obedience,
330Which I shall ever owe unto your grace,
Becomes nay heart much better than my tongue.
But yet observe, my Lucio,
Th’ unkind tricks of nature: how we are fooled
By a religious constancy in love.
335A prince’s hate doth ruin where it falls,
But his affections warmeth where it shines
Until it kindle fire to scorch himself.
If we are subject to the sin of heaven –
Too much charity, extremity of love –
340Let there be mercy shown in punishment.
Why is the corrupted use of royal love
Imputed to our charge, to our audit laid?
We that with all those organs furnished are,
All those faculties natural in men,
345Yet limited in use of each! Prescribed
Our conversation by a saucy form
Of state. How can we choose, by this restraint,
But struggle more for liberty? Make choice
Of some one ear wherein to empty out our souls
350When they are full of busy thoughts? Of plots
Abortive, crude and thin? ’Tis cheap and base
For majesty not to be singular
In all effects. O then, if I must give my heart
To the command of one, send him – sweet heaven! –
355A modest appetite: teach him to know
The stomach sooner surfeits with too much
Than starves for lack of that supply
Which covetous ambition calleth want.
For when my friend begs, my bounty then
360Concludes to make me poor before that he
Shall so unthrifty be of breath to ask in vain.
Distraction! Tameness! O my Lucio,
How canst thou conster this? After I have chid,
I seem to flatter thee.
My gracious lord —
I will no more employ my memory
Thus to discourage thine. Where’s Foreste?
’Tis fit he know you are not vigilant
370In his behalf. Farelo de Sforza,
My old secretary, is newly dead.
The place is his. I shall expect no thanks
From you, not yet from him:
My bounty is requited in her choice.
Your grace will bring us both within the reach
Of public envy.
Thou now would’st certify
His birth – obscure and base – discourageth
Such earnest help to his so great promotion.
380Not a jot! Know, my boy, ’tis the vulgar –
Not the royal – trade to patch up things,
Of seek to mend what was before of quality
Perfect enough itself. To make a man
Of nothing! Why, this same creation
385Inclines a little near divinity:
Near the old performance, which from chaos
Drew this multitude of subtle forms.
Since you, the royal maker, do commend
The metal and your workmanship, it shows
390There’s little skill in those which envy him.
Foreste is your creature. Many times
I do acquaint him what the general voice
Doth urge in his disgrace. He laughs it out,
And swears he would not lose that privilege
395Which nature gave him by her kind mistake
In his nativity, for the sea’s worth;
As if, from’s issue, he could ne’er deserve
A monument, unless himself do hew
The stones whereof ’tis built; unless he raise
400His monument on a wart, his dignity
On poverty obscure and base.
We do affect his thoughts. Such industry
Proclaims him fit for high designs. Some men
Attend the talking drum, and riddle out
405Their lives on earth with madness’ sophistry,
Calling their loss their gain, danger delight.
Some men converse with books, and melt the brain
In sullen study how to vindicate
The liberal arts. Those lose formality,
410Then grow methodical, and die i’th’ dark.
Some practice rules of state, and suffer much
For honour’s sake; nay, tread upon themselves
At first, to reach higher. Some pursue
The plough, and in their wholesome sweat do swim.
415And some, that furnished are with nimbler souls,
Employ their times in wanton exercise:
Masques and revels, the compliments of love,
And love I find the easiest vanity.
[Aside] O gentle Corsa, make it so with me!
420Fain would I, if I durst, reveal to him
The heat of my affection, and where ’tis fixed.
A noise [from the suitors] within.
Hark: sure the gallery door is left unlocked!
Are we debarred all place of privacy?
Nature in us hath lost her vulgar right.
425A loud, bawling suitor doth not waken
Charity but deafen her.
A shame upon ‘em all! In, Lucio.
Exeunt Duke and Lucio.
[At the same instant,] enter suitors at the other door.
1st Suitor
Heaven bless his grace!
4302nd Suitor
Amen! And my lord the count’s good honour.
3rd Suitor
Friend! Went the Duke this way?
2nd Suitor
Here. This way.
3rd Suitor
Pray, show me him they call Signor Lucio
2nd Suitor
The count. Come, I’ll show you him.
4351st Suitor
Follow, follow, follow!
Exeunt [suitors].