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"T will prove, I fear a fatal tragedy;

But should she not be there, yet 'tis too much
For such a heart as mine, through ignorance
To have betray'd a gentleman, though faulty,
Into such cruel hands. I must go with them;
But so resolv'd, as in this bloody strife,
I'll salve my honour, or I'll loose my life.

SCENE changes to Don Carlos's House.

[Exit.

Enter DON OCTAVIO, DIEGO, and FLORA with a candle.
Flora. O th' unluckiness! I vow t' you, sir,

I have scarce known that door e'er lock'd before.
Don Octavio. There's no remedy, Flora: I am now
At the mercy of my enemies.

Diego. Having broken into another's ground, 'Tis just, i'faith, you should be put i' th' pound.

Don Octavio. The tide of my ill fate is swoln so high, 'T will not admit increase of misery;

Since, amongst all the curses, there is none
So wounds the spirit as privation:

For 'tis not where we lie, but whence we fell;
The loss of heav'n's the greatest pain in hell.
When I had sail'd the doubtful course of love,
Had safely gain'd my port, and, far above
My hopes, the precious treasure had secur'd
For which so many storms I had endur'd,
To be so soon from this great blessing torn,
That's hard to say, if 'twere first dead or born,
May doubtless seem such a transcendent curse,
That even the Fates themselves could do no worse:
Yet this I bore with an erected face,

Since fortune, not my fault, caus'd my disgrace;
But now my eyes unto the earth are bent,
Conscious of meriting this punishment:
For trusting a fond maid's officious care,
My life and honour's taken in this snare;
And thus I perish on this unseen shelf,
Pursu'd by fate, and false unto myself.
Flora, when I am dead, I pray present

VOL. XII.

[He pulls out his tablets.

H

These tablets to your lady; there she'll find
My last request, with reasons which I give,
That for my sake she would vouchsafe to live.
Give me the candle, Flora.

[Octavio sets the candle on a table, and sits down
to write in his tablets.

Diego. A double curse upon all love in earnest,
All constant love: 'tis still accompanied

With strange disasters; or else ends in that
Which is the worst of all disasters-marriage.
Flora. Sure you could wish that every body living
Had such a soul of quicksilver as your's

That can fix no where.

Diego. Why, 't would not be the worse for you, dear
Flora,

You then might hope in time to have your turn,
As well as those who have much better faces.

Flora. You, I presume, sir, would be one o' th'
latest

Which I should hear of; yet 'tis possible

That one might see you before you should be
Welcome.

Diego. She has wit and good-humour, excellent
Ingredients to pass away the time;

And I have kindness for her person too;
But that will end with marriage, and possibly
Her good-humour; for I have seldom known
The husband and the wife make any music,
Though when asunder they can play their parts.
Well, friend Diego, I advise you to look
Before you leap, for if you should be coupled
To a yoke, instead of a yoke-fellow,
'Tis likely you may wear it to your grave.
Yet, honest Diego, now I think on't better,
Your dancing and your vaulting days are done :
Faith, all your pleasures are three stories high,
They are come up to your mouth; you are now
For ease and eating, the only joys of life;
And there's no cook, nor dry-nurse, like a wife.
Don Octavio. Here, take my tablets, Flora: sure
they'll spare

Thy life for thy sex's sake; but for poor Diego-
Diego. Why, sir, they'll never offer to kill me.
There's nothing in the world I hate like death.

Don Octavio. Since death's the passage to eternity, To be for ever happy, we must die.

Diego. 'Tis very true; but most that die would live, If to themselves they could new leases give.

Don Octavio. We must possess our souls with such indifference,

As not to wish nor fear to part from hence.

Diego. The first I may pretend to, for I swear

I do not wish to part: 'tis true, I fear.

Don Octavio. Fear! why, death's only cruel when she flies,

And will not deign to close the weeping eyes.

Diego. That is a cruelty I can forgive,

For I confess, I'm not afraid to live.

Don Octavio. We shall still live, though 'tis by others' breath,

By our good fame, which is secur'd by death.

Diego. But we shall catch such colds, sir, under ground,

That we shall never hear Fame's trumpet sound. Don Octavio. "Tis but returning, when from hence we go,

As rivers to their mother-ocean flow.

Diego. We know our names and channels whilst w' are here;

W' are swallow'd in that dark abyss when there.

Don Octavio. Ingulf'd in endless joys and perfect

rest,

Unchangeable, i' th' center of the bless'd.

Diego. Hark, I hear a noise

[The noise of the opening of a door. [Diego runs to the door, looks into the next room, then comes running to Octavio.

Diego. O sir, w' are lost! I see two female giants Coming most terribly upon us.

Don Octavio. Away, you fearful fool

Enter CAMILLA and PORCIA, the one with a key, the other with a candle.

Porcia. I'm confident nobody saw us pass From th' other house.

Camilla. However, let us go through my brother's quarter,

And open the back-door into the street; 'Tis good in all events t' have a retreat

More ways than one.

[A door claps behind, and both look back. Porcia. O heavens, our passage is cut off! The wind has shut the door through which we came. Camilla. The accident's unlucky: 'tis a spring lock, That opens only on the other side.

Porcia. Let's on the faster, and make sure of th' other[Seeing Octavio, she starts. [Octavio hearing them, starts up. Don Octavio. Porcia in this place! may I trust my

Octavio here!

senses,

Or does my fancy form these chimeras?

Diego. Either we sleep, and dream extravagantly, Or else the fairies govern in this house.

Flora. Ah, dearest mistress !

me

Quit you so again.

[Flora runs to Porcia.

you shall never make

Porcia. But can that be Octavio?

Don Octavio. I was Octavio; but I am at present So much astonish'd, I am not myself.

Camilla. What can the meaning of this vision be?

[Don Octavio approaches Porcia: Don Octavio. My dearest Porcia, how is 't possible To find you in this place, my friend Antonio Having so generously undertaken

Your protection?

Porcia. Did he not your's so too? and yet I find Octavio here, where he is more expos'd

Than I, to certain ruin. I am loth

To say 'tis he who has betray'd us both.

Don Octavio. Antonio false? It is impossible.
Diego. 'Tis but too evident.

Don Octavio. Peace, slave! he is my noble friend, of noble blood,

Whose fame's above the level of those tongues
That bark by custom at the brightest virtues,
As dogs do at the moon.

Porcia. How hard it is for virtue to suspect!
Ah, Octavio! we have been both deceiv'd.
This vile Antonio is the very man

To whom my brother, without my consent
Or knowledge, has contracted me in Flanders.
Don Octavio. Antonio the man to whom you are
contracted?

Porcia the bride whom he is come to marry?

Porcia. The very same.

Don Octavio. Why did you not acquaint me with it sooner?

Porcia. Alas, I have not seen you since I knew it ;
But those few hours such wonders have produc'd,
As exceed all belief, and ask more time

Than your unsafe condition, in this place,
Will allow me, to make you comprehend it.

Camilla. Cousin, I cannot blame your apprehensions,

Nor your suspicion of Antonio's friendship;

But I am so possess'd with the opinion

Of his virtue, I shall as soon believe
Impossibilities as his apostacy

From honour.

Don Octavio. What's her concernment in Antonio, Porcia?

Porcia. O, that's the strangest part of our sad story, And which requires most time to let you know it.

[A blaze of light appears at the window, and a noise without.

See, Flora, at the window, what's that light

And noise we hear.

[Flora goes to the window.

Flora. O madam, we are all undone! I see Henrique, Carlos, and their servants, with torches,

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