Classic Horror Plays > The White Devil > Act III
The White Devil
By John Webster
Published in 1612
Act III: Scene I
Enter Francisco de Medicis, and Monticelso, their Chancellor and Register
FRANCISCO. You have dealt discreetly, to obtain the presence
Of all the great lieger ambassadors
To hear Vittoria's trial.
MONTICELSO. 'Twas not ill;
For, sir, you know we have naught but circumstances
To charge her with, about her husband's death:
Their approbation, therefore, to the proofs
Of her black lust shall make her infamous
To all our neighbouring kingdoms. I wonder
If Brachiano will be here?
FRANCISCO. Oh, fie! 'Twere impudence too palpable. [Exeunt.]
Enter Flamineo and Marcello guarded, and a Lawyer
LAWYER. What, are you in by the week? So--I will try now whether they
wit be close prisoner--methinks none should sit upon thy sister, but
FLAMINEO. Or cuckolds; for your cuckold is your most terrible tickler of
lechery. Whore-masters would serve; for none are judges at tilting,
but those that have been old tilters.
LAWYER. My lord duke and she have been very private.
FLAMINEO. You are a dull ass; 'tis threatened they have been very public.
LAWYER. If it can be proved they have but kissed one another----
FLAMINEO. What then?
LAWYER. My lord cardinal will ferret them.
FLAMINEO. A cardinal, I hope, will not catch conies.
LAWYER. For to sow kisses (mark what I say), to sow kisses is to reap
lechery; and, I am sure, a woman that will endure kissing is half won.
FLAMINEO. True, her upper part, by that rule; if you will win her neither
part too, you know what follows.
LAWYER. Hark! the ambassadors are 'lighted----
FLAMINEO. I do put on this feigned garb of mirth,
To gull suspicion.
MARCELLO. Oh, my unfortunate sister!
I would my dagger-point had cleft her heart
When she first saw Brachiano: you, 'tis said,
Were made his engine, and his stalking horse,
To undo my sister.
FLAMINEO. I am a kind of path
To her and mine own preferment.
MARCELLO. Your ruin.
FLAMINEO. Hum! thou art a soldier,
Followest the great duke, feed'st his victories,
As witches do their serviceable spirits,
Even with thy prodigal blood: what hast got?
But, like the wealth of captains, a poor handful,
Which in thy palm thou bear'st, as men hold water;
Seeking to grip it fast, the frail reward
Steals through thy fingers.
FLAMINEO. Thou hast scarce maintenance
To keep thee in fresh chamois.
FLAMINEO. Hear me:
And thus, when we have even pour'd ourselves
Into great fights, for their ambition,
Or idle spleen, how shall we find reward?
But as we seldom find the mistletoe,
Sacred to physic, or the builder oak,
Without a mandrake by it; so in our quest of gain,
Alas, the poorest of their forc'd dislikes
At a limb proffers, but at heart it strikes!
This is lamented doctrine.
MARCELLO. Come, come.
FLAMINEO. When age shall turn thee
White as a blooming hawthorn----
MARCELLO. I 'll interrupt you:
For love of virtue bear an honest heart,
And stride o'er every politic respect,
Which, where they most advance, they most infect.
Were I your father, as I am your brother,
I should not be ambitious to leave you
A better patrimony.
FLAMINEO. I 'll think on 't. [Enter Savoy Ambassador.]
The lord ambassadors.
[Here there is a passage of the Lieger Ambassadors over the stage
Enter French Ambassador
LAWYER. Oh, my sprightly Frenchman! Do you know him? he 's an
FLAMINEO. I saw him at last tilting: he showed like a pewter candlestick
fashioned like a man in armour, holding a tilting staff in his hand,
little bigger than a candle of twelve i' th' pound.
LAWYER. Oh, but he's an excellent horseman!
FLAMINEO. A lame one in his lofty tricks; he sleeps a-horseback, like a
Enter English and Spanish
LAWYER. Lo you, my Spaniard!
FLAMINEO. He carried his face in 's ruff, as I have seen a serving-man
carry glasses in a cypress hatband, monstrous steady, for fear of
breaking; he looks like the claw of a blackbird, first salted, and
then broiled in a candle. [Exeunt.]
Act II: Scene II |
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