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220

Cha. Prythee, why dost thou talk so

Mon. Look kindly on me then : I cannot bear
Severity; it daunts, and does amaze me.
My heart's so tender, should you charge me rough,
I should but weep, and answer you with sobbing ;
But use me gentiy like a loving brother,
And search through all the secrets of my soul.

Cha. Fear nothing, I will shew myself a brother,
A tender, honest, and a loving brother.
You've not forgot our father?

Mon. I shall never.

Cha. Then you'll remember too, he was a man
That liv'd up to the standard of his honour,
And priz'd that jewel more than mines of wealth.
He'd not have done a shameful thing but once,
Though kept in darkness from the world, and hidden,
He could not have forgiven it to himself.
This was the only portion that he left us ;
And I more glory in't, than if possest
Of all that ever fortune threw on fools.
'Twas a large trust, and must be managed nicely;
Now, if by any chance, Monimia,
You have soil'd this gem, and taken from its value,
How will you account with me?

Mon. I challenge envy,
Malice, and all the practices of hell,
To censure all the actions of my past

240 Unhappy life, and taint me if they can!

Cha. I'll tell thee, then; three nights ago, as I Lay musing in my bed, all darkness round me,

A sudden damp struck to my heart, cold sweat
Dew'd all my face, and trembling seiz'd my limbs.
My bed shook under me, the curtains started,
And to my tortur’d fancy there appear'd
The form of thee, thus beauteous as thou art;
Thy garments flowing loose, and in each hand
A wanton lover, who by turns caress'd thee,
With all the freedom of unbounded pleasure.
I snatch'd my sword, and in the very moment
Darted it at the phantom ; straight it left me.
Then rose, and call’d for lights, when, oh, dire omen!
I found my weapon had the arras pierc'd,
Just where that famous tale was interwoven,
How the unhappy Theban slew his father.

Mon. And for this cause my virtue is suspected !
Because in dreams your fancy has been ridden,
I must be tortur'd waking!

263 Cha. Have a care! Labour not to be justify'd too fast. Hear all, and then let justice hold the scale. What follow'd was the riddle that confounds me. Through a close lane, as I pursu'd my journey, And meditating on the last night's vision, I spy'd a wrinkled hag, with age grown double, Picking dry sticks, and mumbling to herself; Her

eyes with scalding rheum where gall’d and red; Cold palsy shook her head, her hands seem'd wither’d, And o'er her crooked shoulders had she wrapp'd The tatter'd remnant of an old strip'd hanging, Which serv'd to keep her carcass from the cold;

So there was nothing of a piece about her.
Her lower weeds were all o'er coarsely patch'd
With diff'rent colour'd rags, black, red, white, yel.

low,
And seem'd to speak variety of wretchedness.
I ask'd her of my way, which she inform’d me;
Then crav'd my charity, and bade me hasten
To save a sister : at that word I started !

280
Mon. The common cheat of beggars, every day
They flock about our doors, pretend to gifts
Of prophecy, and telling fools their fortunes.

Cha. Oh! but she told me such a tale, Monimia,
As in it bore great circumstance of truth;
Castalio and Polydore, my sister.

Mon. Hah!

Cha. What, alter'd I does your courage fail you!
Now, by my father's soul, the witch was honest.
Answer me, if thou hast not lost to them
Thy honour at a sordid game ?

Mon. I will,
I must, so hardly my misfortune loads me,
That both have offer'd me their loves most true.
Cha. And 'tis as true too, they have both undone

thee.
Mon. Though they both with earnest vows
Have prest my heart, if e'er in thought I yielded
To any but Castalio-

Cha. But Castalio!

Mon. Still will you cross the line of my discourse. Yes, I confess that he has won my soul

301

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By gen'rous love, and honourable vows,
Which he this day appointed to complete,
And make himself by holy marriage mine.

Cha. Art thou then spotless? Hast thou still preserv’d
Thy virtue white, without a blot, untainted?
Mon. When I'm unchase may Heav'n reject my

pray’rs ! Or more, to make me wretched, may you know it!

Cha. Oh, then, Monimia, art thou dearer to me Than all the comforts ever yet blest man. But let not marriage bait thee to thy ruin. Trust not a man; we are by nature false, Dissembling, subtile, cruel, and unconstant. When a man talks of love, with caution trust him ; But if he swears, he'll certainly deceive thee. I charge thee let no more Castalio sooth thee; Avoid it, as thou would'st preserve the

peace poor brother, to whose soul thou’rt precious. Mon. I will. Cha. Appear as cold, when next you meet, as great

320 When merit begs; then shalt thou see how soon His heart will cool, and all his pains grow easy. [Exit.

Mon. Yes, I will try him; torture him severely; For, oh, Castalio! thou too much hast wrong'd me, In leaving me to Polydore's ill usage. He comes; and for once, oh, love, stand neuter, Whilst a hard part's perform’d! for I must ’tempt Wound his soft nature, though my heart aches for't.

[Exit.

Of a

ones

She's gone;

Enter CASTALIO. Cast. Monimia, Monimia ! And seem'd to part with anger in her eyes ; I am a fool, and she has found my weakness; She uses me already like a slave Fast bound in chains, to be chastis'd at will. 'Twas not well done to trifle with my brother; I might have trusted him with all the secret, Open'd my silly heart, and shewn it bare.But then he loves her too; but not like me: I am a doating honest slave, design'd For bondage, marriage bonds, which I have sworn To wear. It is the only thing I e'er

940 Hid from his knowledge ; and he'll sure forgive The first transgression of a wretched friend, Betray'd to love, and all its little follies. [Exit.

Enter POLYDORE and PAGE at the Door. Pol. Here place yourself, and watch my brother

thoroughly. If he should chance to meet Monimia, make Just observation on each word and action; Pass not one circumstance without remark: Sir, 'tis your office; do't, and bring me word. [Exit Pol.

Enter MONIMIA and CASTALIO.
Cast. Monimia, my angel ! 'twas not kind
To leave me like a turtle here alone,
To droop and mourn the absence of my mate.

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