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Cleon. THE rest are making ready, sir. Lys. So let them; there is time enough. Diph. You are the brother to the king, my lord; we will take your word.
Lys. Strato, thou hast some skill in poetry: What think'st thou of the masque? Will it be well? Strat. As well as masque can be. Lys. As masque can be?
Strat. Yes; they must commend their king, and speak in praise of the assembly; bless the bride and bridegroom, in person of some god. They are tied to rules of flattery.
Cle. See, good my lord, who is returned!
Lys. Noble Melantius! the land, by me, Welcomes thy virtues home to Rhodes. Thou, that with blood abroad buyest us our peace! The breath of kings is like the breath of gods; My brother wished thee here, and thou art here. He will be too kind, and weary thee with | Often welcomes. But the time doth give thee A welcome above his, or all the world's.
Mel. My lord, my thanks; but these scratch'd limbs of mine
Have spoke my love and truth unto my friends, More than my tongue e'er could. My mind's the
It ever was to you: Where I find worth
I love the keeper till he let it go, And then I follow it.
Diph. Hail, worthy brother!
Mel. I thank thee, Diphilus. But thou art Your virtuous sister. faulty;
A soldier's measure.
Mel. These soft and silken wars are not for me: The music must be shrill, and all confused, That stirs my blood; and then I dance with arms. But is Amintor wed?
Diph. This day.
Mel. All joys upon him! for he is my friend. Wonder not, that I call a man so young my friend: His worth is great; valiant he is, and temperate; And one that never thinks his life his own, If his friend need it. When he was a boy, As oft as I returned (as, without boast, I brought home conquest) he would gaze upon me, And view me round, to find in what one limb The virtue lay to do those things he heard. Then would he wish to see my sword, and feel The quickness of the edge, and in his hand Weigh it: He oft would make me smile at this. His youth did promise much, and his ripe years Will see it all performed.
Made me imagine, you had heard the change.
That bears the light above her, and strikes dead
Mel. Peace of heart betwixt them! But this is strange.
Lys. The king my brother did it To honour you; and these solemnities Are at his charge.
Mel. It is royal, like himself. But I am sad My speech bears so unfortunate a sound To beautiful Aspatia. There is rage Hid in her father's breast, Calianax,
Bent long against me; and he should not think,
Lys. Yes. But this lady Walks discontented, with her watery eyes Bent on the earth. The unfrequented woods Are her delight; and, when she sees a bank Stuck full of flowers, she, with a sigh, will tell Her servants, what a pretty place it were To bury lovers in; and make her maids Pluck them, and strew her over like a corse. She carries with her an infectious grief, That strikes all her beholders; she will sing The mournfullest things, that ever ear hath heard, And sigh, and sing again; and, when the rest Of our young ladies, in their wanton blood, Tell mirthful tales in course, that fill the room With laughter, she will, with so sad a look, Bring forth a story of the silent death Of some forsaken virgin, which her grief Will put in such a phrase, that, ere she end, She'll send them weeping one by one away.
Mel. She has a brother under my command, Like her; a face as womanish as hers; But with a spirit, that hath much out-grown The number of his years.
Cle. My lord, the bridegroom!
Mel. I might run fiercely, not more hastily, Upon my foe. I love thee well, Amintor; My mouth is much too narrow for my heart; I joy to look upon those eyes of thine; Thou art my friend, but my disorder'd speech Cuts off my love.
Amin. Thou art Melantius;
All love is spoke in that. A sacrifice,
As she was wont: May she build there and dwell;
What endless treasures would our enemies give,
Mel. I am but poor
In words; but credit me, young man, thy mother
Could do no more but weep for joy to see thee
Amin. Pardon, thou holy god
Of marriage-bed, and frown not; I am forc'd,
Mel. I fear thou art grown too fickle; for I hear A lady mourns for thee; men say, to death; Forsaken of thee; on what terms I know not.
Amin. She had my promise; but the king forbad it, And made me make this worthy change, thy sister, Accompanied with graces far above her; With whom I long to lose my lusty youth, And grow old in her arms.
Mel. Be prosperous!
Mel. [within.] Open the door.
Diag. I hope your lordship brings no troop with you; for, if you do, I must return them. Enter MELANTIUS and a Lady.
Mel. None but this lady, sir.
Diag. The ladies are all placed above, save those, that come in the king's troop: The best of Rhodes sit there, and there is room.
Mel. I thank you, sir. When I have seen you placed, madam, I must attend the king; but, the masque done, I'll wait on you again.
Diag. Stand back there-room for my lord Melantius-pray, bear back-this is no place for such youths and their trulls-let the doors shut again.-No!-do your heads itch? I will scratch them for you,-So, now thrust and hang.-Again! who is it now?--I cannot blame my lord Calianax for going away: Would he were here! he would run raging among them, and break a dozen wiser heads than his own, in the twinkling of an eye. What's the news now?
Within.] I pray you, can you help me to the speech of the master-cook?
Diag. If I open the door, I will cook some of your calves heads. Peace, rogues!-Again! who is it?
Mel. [within.] Melantius.
Cal. Let him not in.
Diag. O, my lord, I must. Make room there for my lord. Enter MELANTIUS. Is your lady placed? Mel. Yes, sir,
I thank you. My lord Calianax, well met.
Cal. Yes, I do service for your sister here, That brings my own poor child to timeless death: She loves your friend Amintor; such another False-hearted lord as you.
Mel. You do me wrong,
A most unmanly one, and I am slow
Mel. I did.
Mel. Bate the king, and be he flesh and blood, | By which I may discover all the place He lies, that says it! Thy mother at fifteen And persons, and how many longing eyes Was black and sinful to her. Are come to wait on our solemnities. Enter CINTHIA.
Diag. Good my lord!
Mel. Some god pluck threescore years from that fond man,
That I may kill him, and not stain mine honour.
If it were temperate; but testy years Are most contemptible.
Amin. Good sir, forbear.
Cal. There is just such another as yourself. Amin. He will wrong you, or me, or any man, And talk as if he ha no life to lose, Since this our match. The king is coming in: I would not for more wealth than I enjoy, He should perceive you raging. He did hear You were at difference now, which hastened him.
Cal. Make room there ! [Hautboys play within.
Cal. He shall not have my hand.
To force you to it. I do love you both: Calianax, you look well to your office; And you, Melantius, are welcome home. Begin the masque !
Me!. Sister, I joy to see you, and your choice.
Evad. O, my dearest brother!
Night. Our reign is come; for in the raging sea
How dull and black am I! I could not find
Cinth. Great queen, they be a troop, for whom alone
One of my clearest moons I have put on;
Night. Then let us keep them here; And never more our chariots drive away, But hold our places, and out-shine the day. Cinth. Great queen of shadows, you are pleased to speak
Of more than may be done: We may not break The gods' decrees; but, when our time is come, Must drive away, and give the day our room.
Night. Then shine at full, fair queen, and by thy power Produce a birth, to crown this happy hour, Of nymphs and shepherds: Let their songs dis
Easy and sweet, who is a happy lover.
Cinth. Thou dream'st, dark queen; that fair boy was not mine,
Nor went I down to kiss him. Ease and wine
Have bred these bold tales: Poets, when they rage,