British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

By George Henry Nettleton; Arthur Eillicot Case | Go to book overview
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ANT. Hanged, sweetheart? Prithee, be 170
quiet. Hanged, quoth-a, that's a merry conceit, with all my heart. Why, thou jok'st, Nacky; thou art given to joking, I'll swear. Well, I protest, Nacky -- nay, I must protest, and will protest that
I love joking dearly, man. And I love thee for 175
joking, and I'll kiss thee for joking, and touse thee for joking -- and odd, I have a devilish mind to take thee aside about that business for joking, too -- odd, I have! and (sings) Hey then, up go we, dum dum
derum dump. 180

AQUIL. (draws a dagger). See you this, sir?

ANT. O laud, a dagger! O laud! it is naturally my aversion; I cannot endure the sight on't; hide it, for heaven's sake! I cannot look that way till it be

gone -- hide it, hide it, oh, oh, hide it! 185

AQUIL. Yes, in your heart, I'll hide it.

ANT. My heart! What, hide a dagger in my heart's blood!

AQUIL. Yes, in thy heart -- thy throat, thou pam-pered devil!
Thou hast helped to spoil my peace, and I'll have vengeance

On thy curst life for all the bloody Senate, 190
The perjured, faithless Senate. Where's my lord, My happiness, my love, my god, my hero?
Doomed by thy accursèd tongue, amongst the rest,
T'a shameful wrack? By all the rage that's in me,
I'll be whole years in murdering thee! 195

ANT. Why, Nacky, wherefore so passionate? What have I done? What's the matter, my dear
Nacky? Am not I thy love, thy happiness, thy lord,
thy hero, thy senator, and everything in the world,

Nacky? 200

AQUIL. Thou! Thinkst thou, thou art fit to meet my joys --

To bear the eager clasps of my embraces? Give me my Pierre, or --

ANT. Why, he's to be hanged, little Nacky --

trussed up for treason, and so forth, child. 205

AQUIL. Thou li'st! stop down thy throat that hellish sentence,
Or 'tis thy last. Swear that my love shall live,
Or thou art dead.

ANT. Ah-h-h-h.

AQUIL. Swear to recall his doom --
Swear at my feet, and tremble at my fury.

ANT. I do. [Aside.] Now, if she would but 210
kick a little bit -- one kick now, ah-h-h-h.

AQUIL. Swear, or --

ANT. I do, by these dear fragrant foots and little toes, sweet as -- e-e-e-e, my Nacky, Nacky, Nacky.

AQUIL. How! 215

ANT. Nothing but untie thy shoestring, a little, faith and troth; that's all -- that's all, as I hope to live, Nacky, that's all.

AQUIL. Nay, then --

ANT. Hold, hold! thy love, thy lord, thy hero 220
Shall be preserved and safe.

AQUIL. Or may this poniard
Rust in thy heart!

ANT. With all my soul.

AQUIL. Farewell --

Exit AQUILINA.

ANT. Adieu. Why, what a bloody-minded, inveterate, termagant strumpet have I been plagued

with! Oh-h-h, yet more! nay, then, I die, I 225
die -- I am dead already. (Stretches himself out.)


[SCENE II]
[A street near PRIULI'S house.]

Enter JAFFEIR.

JAFF. Final destruction seize on all the world!
Bend down, ye heavens, and shutting round this earth,
Crush the vile globe into its first confusion;
Scorch it with elemental flames to one curst cinder,

And all us little creepers in't, called men, 5
Burn, burn to nothing: but let Venice burn
Hotter than all the rest: here kindle hell
Ne'er to extinguish, and let souls hereafter
Groan here, in all those pains which mine feels now.

Enter BELVIDERA.

BELV. (meeting him). My life --

JAFF. (turning from her). My plague --

BELV. Nay, then I see my ruin, 10
If I must die!

JAFF. No, Death's this day too busy; Thy father's ill-timed mercy came too late.
I thank thee for thy labors, though, and him, too,
But all my poor, betrayed, unhappy friends

Have summons to prepare for fate's black hour; 15
And yet I live.

BELV. Then be the next my doom. I see thou hast passed my sentence in thy heart,
And I'll no longer weep or plead against it,
But with the humblest, most obedient patience
Meet thy dear hands, and kiss 'em when they wound

me; 20
Indeed I am willing, but I beg thee do it With some remorse; and where thou giv'st the blow,
View me with eyes of a relenting love,
And show me pity, for 'twill sweeten justice.

JAFF. Show pity to thee?

BELV. Yes, and when thy hands, 25
Charged with my fate, come trembling to the deed, As thou hast done a thousand, thousand dear times
To this poor breast, when kinder rage has brought thee,

____________________
SCENE II. 22]Q1Q2where; Q3 when.

-145-

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British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan
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