Yet there is one thing seems a point of conscience, and conscience is a tender babe. If I should bind myself, for the sake of this living, to marry nurse, and maintain her afterwards, I doubt it might 170 be looked on as a kind of simony.
COUP. (rising up). If it were sacrilege, the living's worth it: therefore no more words, good doctor, but with the parish ----- here (giving Nurse to him) ----- take the parsonage-house. 'Tis true, 'tis a 175 little out of repair; some dilapidations there are to be made good; the windows are broke, the wainscot is warped, the ceilings are peeled, and the walls are cracked; but a little glazing, painting, white-wash, and plaster will make it last thy time. 180
BULL. Well, sir, if it must be so, I shan't contend: what Providence orders, I submit to.
NURSE. And so do I, with all humility.
COUP. Why, that now was spoke like good people: come, my turtle-doves, let us go help this poor 185 pigeon to his wandering mate again; and after institution and induction you shall all go a-cooing together. Exeunt.
Enter AMANDA, in a scarf, etc., as just returned, her Woman following her.
AMAN. Prithee, what care I who has been here?
WOM. Madam, 'twas my Lady Bridle and my Lady Tiptoe.
AMAN. My Lady Fiddle and my Lady Faddle. What dost stand troubling me with the visits of a 5 parcel of impertinent women? when they are well seamed with the small-pox they won't be so fond of showing their faces. There are more coquettes about this town -----
WOM. Madam, I suppose they only came to 10 return your ladyship's visit, according to the custom of the world.
AMAN. Would the world were on fire, and you in the middle on't! Begone: leave me. Exit Woman.
AMAN. (sola). At last I am convinced. My eyes are testimonies of his falsehood. 15 The base, ungrateful, perjured villain -----
Good gods -- what slippery stuff are men composed
Sure the account of their creation's false,
And 'twas the woman's rib that they were formed of.
But why am I thus angry? 20 This poor relapse should only move my scorn. 'Tis true, the roving flights of his unfinished youth
Had strong [excuses] from the plea of Nature:
Reason had thrown the reins loose on his neck,
And slipt1 him to unlimited desire. 25 If therefore he went wrong, he had a claim To my forgiveness, and I did him right.
But since the years of manhood rein him in,
And reason, well digested into thought,
Has pointed out the course he ought to run; 30 If now he strays? 'Twould be as weak and mean in me to pardon,
As it has been in him t'offend. But hold:
'Tis an ill cause indeed, where nothing's to be said for't.
My beauty possibly is in the wane: 35 Perhaps sixteen has greater charms for him: Yes, there's the secret. But let him know,
My quiver's not entirely emptied yet,
I still have darts, and I can shoot 'em too;
They're not so blunt, but they can enter still; 40 The want's not in my power, but in my will. Virtue's his friend; or, through another's heart,
I yet could find the way to make his smart.
(Going off, she meets WORTHY.)
Ha! He here?
Protect me, heaven, for this looks ominous. 45
WOR. You seem disordered, madam;
I hope there's no misfortune happened to you?
AMAN. None that will long disorder me, I hope.
WOR. Whate'er it be disturbs you, I would
To heaven 'twere in my power to bear the pain 50 Till I were able to remove the cause.
AMAN. I hope ere long it will remove itself.
At least, I have given it warning to be gone.
WOR. Would I durst ask, where 'tis the thorn torments you?
Forgive me if I grow inquisitive; 55 'Tis only with desire to give you ease.
AMAN. Alas! 'tis in a tender part.
It can't be drawn without a world of pain:
Yet out it must;
For it begins to fester in my heart. 60
WOR. If 'tis the sting of unrequited love,
Remove it instantly:
I have a balm will quickly heal the wound.
AMAN. You'll find the undertaking difficult:
The surgeon who already has attempted it 65 Has much tormented me.
WOR. I'll aid him with a gentler hand --
If you will give me leave.
AMAN. How soft soe'er the hand may be,
There still is terror in the operation.
WOR. Some few preparatives would make it easy,
Could I persuade you to apply 'em. 70