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For I have ever found you true and thankful,
Which makes me love the building I have rais'd
In your advancement; and repent no grace
I have conferr'd upon you. And, believe me,
Though now I should repeat m in vours to you,
The titles I have given you, and the means
Suitable to your honours; that I thought you
Worthy my sister and my family,

And in my dukedom made you next myself;
It is not to upbraid you; but to tell you

I find you are worthy of them, in your love And service to me.

Fran. Sir, I am your creature;

That were before us; and such as succeed, Though taught in hell's black school, shall ne'er

come near us.

Art thou not shaken yet?

Fran. I grant you move me:
But to a man confirm'd--
Sfor. I'll try your temper:
What think you of my wife?

Fran. As a thing sacred;

To whose fair name and memory I pay gladly These signs of duty.

Sfor. Is she not the abstract

Of all that's rare, or to be wish'd in woman?
Fran. It were a kind of blasphemy to dis-
pute it.
But to the purpose, sir.

Sfor. Add too, her goodness,

Her tenderness of me, her care to please me,
Her unsuspected chastity, ne'er equall'd;
Her innocence, her honour-Oh, I am lost
In the ocean of her virtues and her graces,
When I think of them!

Fran. Now I find the end

Of all your conjurations; there's some service To be done for this sweet lady. If she have enemies,

That she would have remov'd-
Sfor. Alas! Francisco,

Her greatest enemy is her greatest lover;
Yet, in that hatred, her idolater.

And any shape that you would have me wear, One smile of hers would make a savage tame; I gladly will put on.

Sfor. Thus, then, Francisco:

I now am to deliver to your trust

A weighty secret; of so strange a nature,
And 'twill, I know, appear so monstrous to you,
That you will tremble in the execution,
As much as I am tortur'd to command it:
For 'tis a deed so horrid, that, but to hear it,
Would strike into a ruffian flesh'd in murders,
Or an obdurate hangman, soft compassion;
And yet, Francisco, of all men the dearest,
And from me most deserving, such my state
And strange condition is, that thou alone
Must know the fatal service, and perform it.
Fran. These preparations, sir, to work
stranger,

Or to one unacquainted with your bounties,
Might appear useful; but to me they are
Needless impertinences: for I dare do
Whate'er you dare command.

Sfor. But you must swear it; And put into the oath all joys or torments That fright the wicked, or confirm the good; Not to conceal it only-that is nothingBut, whensoe'er will shall speak, my now!"

To fall upon't like thunder.

Fran. Minister

a

"Strike

The oath in any way or form you please,
I stand resolv'd to take it.

Sfor. Thou must do, then,

What no malevolent star will dare to look on,
It is so wicked for which men will curse thee
For being the instrument; and the blest angels
Forsake me at my need, for being the author:
For 'tis a deed of night, of night, Francisco!
In which the memory of all good actions
We can pretend to, shall be buried quick:
Or, if we be remember'd, it shall be
To fright posterity by our example,
That have outgone all precedents of villains

One accent of that tongue would calm the seas, Though all the winds at once strove there for

empire.

Yet I, for whom she thinks all this too little,
Should I miscarry in this present journey,
From whence it is all number to a cipher,
I ne'er return with honour, by thy hand
Must have her murder'd.

Fran. Murder'd!-She that loves so,
And so deserves to be belov'd again!
And I, who sometimes you were pleas'd to
favour,

Pick'd out the instrument!
Sfor. Do not fly off.

What is decreed can never be recall'd.
Tis more than love to her, that marks her out
A wish'd companion to me in both fortunes:
And strong assurance of thy zealous faith,
That gives up to thy trust a secret, that
Racks should not have forc'd from me. Oh,
Francisco!

There is no heaven without her, nor a hell
Where she resides. I ask from her but justice,
And what I would have paid to her, had sickness,
Or any other accident, divorc'd

Her purer soul from her unspotted body.
Express a ready purpose to perform
What I command, or, by Marcelia's soul,
This is thy latest minute.

Fran. 'Tis not fear

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Repine who dares.

Mus. But if we should offend,

And have access at all times to her closet; Such is my impudence! when your grave lordships...

Are masters of the modesty to attend
Three hours, nay, sometimes four; and then
bid wait
Upon her the next morning.
Steph. He derides us.

[Apart Tib. Pray you, what news is stirring? You know all

Grac. Who, I? alas! I've no intelligence At home nor abroad; I only sometimes guess The change of the times; I should ask of i your lordships

Who are to keep their honours, who to lose them;

Who the dutchess smil'd on last, or on whom frown'd;

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Mari. Thou dost mistake; they durst not Use the least word of scorn, although provok'd, To any thing of mine.-Go, get you home, And to your servants, friends, and flatt'rers, number

How many descents you're noble.

[Exeunt Tiberio and Stephano. Grac. Your excellence hath the best gift to dispatch

These arras pictures of nobility,

I ever read of.

Isa. But the purpose, daughter,

That brings us hither? Is it to bestow A visit on this woman?

Mari. If to vex her

The dutchess having silenc'd us, and these lords May be interpreted to do her honour,

Stand by to hear us.

Grac. They in name are lords,

She shall have many of them.

My brother, being not by now to protect her, But I am one in power; and, for the dutchess, I am her equal. we were merry for her pleasure; Play any thing

But yesterday

Well now be for my lady's. [Tiberio and Stephano come forward. Tib. Seignior Graccho.

Grac. A poor man, sir, a servant to the princess;

But you, great lords and counsellors of state,
Whom I stand bound to reverence.
Tib. Come, we know

You are a man in grace.
Grac. Fie! no: I grant.

I bear my fortunes patiently; serve the prin

cess,

That's light and loud enough but to torment

her.

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[Music.

[Apart.

Mari. May it please your greatness, one smile, I pray you,

On your poor servants.

Isa. She's made of courtesy.

[Apart.

Mari. Mistress of all bearts!

[Apart,

Isa. "Tis wormwood, and it works. Apart.

Marc. If doting age could let you but Than in a paradise at her entreaty.

remember,

You have a son; or frontless impudence,
You are a sister; and, in making answer
To what was most unfit for you to speak,
Or me to hear, borrow of my just anger;
You durst not then, on any hire or hope,
Rememb'ring what I am, and whose I am,
Put on the desp'rate boldness to disturb
The least of my retirements.
Mari. Note her now.

[Apart

And for you, upstart

Offi. What shall become of these?
Fran. See them well whipp'd,

As you will answer it.

Grac. I preach patience,

And must endure my fortune.

[Exeunt all but Francisco and Marcelia.

Fran. Let them first know themselves, and

how you are

Marc. For both shall understand, though To be serv'd and honour'd; which, when they

the one presume

Upon the privilege due to a mother;

confess,

You may again receive them to your favour;

The duke stands now on his own legs, and And then it will show nobly.

needs

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Marc. For you,

Marc. With my thanks,

The duke shall pay you his, if he return
To bless us with his presence.

Fran. Any service done to so much sweet

ness,

In your favour finds

A wish'd and glorious end.
Marc. From you I take this

From this hour learn to serve me, or you'll feel As loyal duty; but in any other,

I must make use of my authority,

And, as a princess, punish it.

Isa. A princess!

It would appear gross flattery.
Fran. Flattery, madam!

You are so rare and excellent in all things,

Mari. I had rather be a slave unto a Moor, And rais'd so high upon a rock of goodness, Than know thee for my equal.

Enter FRANCISCO and Guards.

Fran. What wind hath rais'd this tempest? A tumult in the court! What's the cause? Speak, Mariana.

Mari. Do you hear, sir?

As that vice cannot reach you: who but looks on
This temple, built by nature to perfection,
But must bow to it; and out of that zeal,
Not only learn to adore it, but to love it?
Marc. Whither will this fellow?
Fran. Pardon, therefore, madam,
If an excess in me of humble duty,

Right me on this monster, or ne'er look to Teach me to hope my piety and love

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[Aside.

you shall

A full possession of it: but take heed
That you fix here, and feed no hope beyond it;
If you do, it will prove fatal.

Fran. Be it death,

And death with torments tyrants ne'er found
out,

Yet I must say I love you.
Marc. As a subject,

And 'twill become you.

Fran. Farewell circumstance!
And since you are not pleas'd to understand

me,

As when himself perform'd the willing office.
Grac. I would I were well off! Aside.
Fran. And therefore I beseech you, gentle But by a plain and usual form of speech,
madam,
All superstitious reverence laid by,

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Mari. And I will justify it.

Fran. Remember she's the dutchess.
Marc. But us'd with more contempt than
if I were
A peasant's daughter.

Fran. Think not then I speak
(For I stand bound to honour, and to serve you);
But that the duke, that lives in this great lady,
For the contempt of him in her, commands you
To be close prisoners.

Isa. Mari. Prisoners!
Fran. Bear them hence.
Marc. I am not cruel,

But pleas'd they may have liberty.

Isa. Pleas'd, with a mischief!

I love you as a man. Why do you start?
I am no monster, and you but a woman;
A woman made to yield, and by example
Told it is lawful.

Marc. Keep off! O, you powers!
Are all the princely bounties, favours, honours
Which, with some prejudice to his own wisdom,
Thy lord and raiser hath conferr'd upon thee,
In three days absence, buried? And is this,
This impudent attempt to taint mine honour,
The fair return of both our ventur'd favours?
Fran. Hear my excuse.
Marc. Read my life,

And find one act of mine so loosely carried,
That could invite a most self-loving fool,
Set off with all that fortune could throw on

him,

Mari. I'll rather live in any loathsome dungeon, To the least hope to find way to my favour

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Fran. And while the duke did prize you to
your value,

I well might envy him; but durst not hope
To stop you in your full career of goodness:
But now I find that he's fall'n from his fortune,
And, howsoever he would appear doting,
Grown cold in his affection; I presume,
From his most barbarous neglect of you,
To offer my true service. Nor stand I bound
To look back on the courtesies of him
That, of all living men, is most unthankful.
Marc. Unheard-of arrogance!
Fran. You'll say I am modest
When I have told the story.
You think he loves you

With unexampl'd fervour; nay, dotes on you,
As there were something in you more than

woman:

When, on my knowledge, he long since hath wish'd

You were among the dead.

Marc. Bless me, good angels,

Or I am blasted! Lies so false and wicked,
And fashion'd to so damnable a purpose,
Cannot be spoken by a human tongue.
My husband hate me! give thyself the lie,
False and accurs'd! Thy soul, if thou hast any,
Can witness, never lady stood so bound
To the unfeign'd affections of her lord,
As I do to my Sforza. If thou wouldst work
Upon my weak credulity, tell me, rather,
There's peace between the lion and the lamb;
Or, that the ravenous eagle and the dove
Keep in one aerie, and bring up their young;
Or any thing that is averse to nature;
And I will sooner credit it than that
My lord can think of me but as a jewel
He loves more than himself, and all the world.
Fran. O innocence abus'd! simplicity cozen'd!
It were a sin, for which we have no name,
To keep you longer in this wilful error.
Read his affections here; [Gives her a Pa-
per] and then observe

How dear he holds you! 'Tis his character,
Which cunning yet could never counterfeit.
Marc. 'Tis his hand, I'm resolv'd of it: I'll
try

What the inscription is.
Fran. Pray you do so.

Fran. But I am true,
And live to make you happy.
Marc. I prefer the hate

Of Sforza, though it mark me for the grave,
Before thy base affection. I am yet
Pure and unspotted, in my true love to him;
Nor shall it be corrupted, though he's tainted;
Nor will I part with innocence, because
He is found guilty. For thyself, thou art
A thing, that, equal with the devil himself,
I do detest and scorn.

Fran. Thou, then, art nothing:

Thy life is in my power, disdainful woman!
Think on't, and tremble.

Marc. No, with

my curses

Of horror to thy conscience in this life,
And pains in hell hereafter, I defy thee. [Exit.

Fran. I am lost

In the discovery of this fatal secret.
Curs'd hope, that flatter'd me, that wrongs
could make her

A stranger to her goodness! all my plots
Turn back upon myself; but I am in,
And must go on; and since I have put off
From the shore of innocence, guilt be now
my pilot!
[Exit.

ACT III.

SCENE I.-The Imperial Camp before PAVIA.
Enter MEDINA, HERNANDO, and ALPHONSO,
Med. The spoil, the spoil! 'tis that the sol-
dier fights for.

Our victory, as yet, affords us nothing
But wounds and empty honour.
Her. Hell put it in

The enemy's mind to be desperate, and hold
out!

Yieldings and compositions will unda us;
And what is that way given, for the most part,
Comes to the emperor: the poor soldier left
To starve, or fill up hospitals.

Alph. But, when

We enter towns by force, and carve ourselves,
Pleasure with pillage-

Med. I long to be at it.
Her. My main hope is,

To begin the sport at Milan: there's enough,
And of all kinds of pleasure we can wish for,
To satisfy the most covetous.
Alph. Every day
We look for a remove.

Marc. [Reads] You know my pleasure,
and the hour of Marcelia's death, which
fail not to execute, as you will answer
the contrary, not with your head alone, Med. For Lodowick Sforza,
but with the ruin of your whole family. The duke of Milan, I, on mine own knowledge,
And this, written with my own hand, Can say thus much: he is too much a soldier;
and signed with my privy signet, shall Too confident of his own worth; too rich too;
your sufficient warrant.-

be

I do obey it! every word's a poniard,

LUDOVICO SFORZA.

[Swoons.

And reaches to my heart.

Fran. What have I done?
Madam! for heaven's sake, madam!-
Dear lady!-

She stirs. For the duke's sake! for Sforza's

sake

Marc. Sforza's! stand off! though dead, I
will be his;

And even my ashes shall abhor the touch
Of any other. O unkind, and cruel!
Learn, women, learn to trust in one another;
There is no faith in man: Sforza is false,
False to Marcelia!

And understands too well the emperor hates him,
To hope for composition.

Alph. On my life

We need not fear his coming in,

Her. On mine

I do not wish it: I had rather that,
To show his valour, he'd put us to the trouble
To fetch him in by the ears.
Med. The emperor!

Flourish. Enter the EMPEROR CHARLES,
PESCARA, and Attendants.
Emp. C. You make me wonder: nay, it is
no counsel:

You may partake it, gentlemen. Who'd have
thought

That he, that scorn'd our proffer'd amity

When he was sued to, should, ere he be Freely acknowledged, to give up the reasons

summon'd,

First kneel for mercy?

Med. When your majesty

Shall please to instruct us who it is, we may
Admire it with you.

Emp. C. Who, but the duke of Milan,
The right hand of the French! of all that stand
In our displeasure, whom necessity
Compels to seek our favour, I would have

sworn

Sforza had been the last.

Her. And should be writ so In the list of those you pardon. city

Would his Had rather held us out a siege, like Troy, Than, by a feign'd submission, he should cheat

you

Of a just revenge, or us of those fair glóries
We have sweat blood to purchase!

Alph. The sack alone of Milan

Will pay the army.

Emp. C. I am not so weak,

To be wrought on as you fear; nor ignorant
That money is the sinew of the war:
Yet, for our glory, and to show him that
We've brought him on his knees, it is resolv'd
To hear him as a suppliant. Bring him in;
But let him see the effects of our just anger,
In the guard that you make for him.

[Exit Pescara.

Her. I am now
Familiar with the issue; all plagues on it!
He will appear in some dejected habit,
His countenance suitable, and for his order,
A rope about his neck; then kneel, and tell
Old stories-what more worthy thing it is
To have power than to use it;

To make a king than kill one: which apply'd
To the emperor and himself, a pardon's granted
To him, an enemy; and we, his servants,
Condemn'd to beggary. [Apart to Medina.
Med. Yonder he comes;
But not as you expected.

Re-enter PESCARA, with LUDOVICO
strongly guarded.

Alph. He looks as if

He would outface his dangers.

Her. I am cozen'd:

A suitor, in the devil's name!
Med. Hear him speak.

Sfor. I come not, emperor, to

mercy,

My hate against thyself, and love to him
That made me so affected: in my wants
I ever found him faithful; had supplies
Of men and money from him; and my hopes
Quite sunk, were, by his grace, buoy'd up again;
I dare to speak his praise now, in as high
And loud a key, as when he was thy equal.
The benefits he sow'd in me met not
Unthankful ground, but yielded him his own
With fair increase, and I still glory in it.
And though my fortunes

Are in thy fury burnt, let it be mention'd,
They serv'd but as small tapers to attend
The solemn flame at this great funeral:
And with them I will gladly waste myself,
Rather than undergo the imputation
Of being base, or unthankful.
Alph. Nobly spoken!

[Apart. Her. I do begin, I know not why, to hate

Less than I did.

him

[Apart.

Sfor. If that, then, to be grateful
For courtesies receiv'd, or not to leave
A friend in his necessities, be a crime
Amongst you Spaniards, Sforza brings his head
To pay the forfeit. Nor come I as a slave,
Pinion'd and fetter'd, in a squalid weed,
Falling before thy feet, kneeling and howling
For a forestall'd remission; I ne'er fear'd to die,
More than I wish'd to live. When I had reach'd
My ends in being a duke, I wore these robes,
This crown upon my head, and to my side
This sword was girt; and witness, truth, that

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I do begin strangely to love this fellow.

Sfor. But, if example

SFORZA, Of my fidelity to the French,

[Apart.

Has power to invite you to make him a friend, That hath given evident proof he knows to love, [Apart. And to be thankful: this my crown, now yours, You may restore me.

By fawning on thy fortune; nor bring with me
Excuses or denials. I profess,
And with a good man's confidence, even this

[Apart.

[Apart. Alph. By this light, [Apart. Tis a brave gentleman. invade thy Emp. C. Thou hast so far Outgone my expectation, noble Sforza, For such I hold thee; and true constancy, Rais'd on a brave foundation, bears such palm And privilege with it, that where we behold it, Though in an enemy, it does command us That I am in thy power, I was thine enemy; To love and honour it. By my future hopes, Thy deadly and vow'd enemy; one that wish'd I am glad, for thy sake, that, in seeking favour, Confusion to thy person and estates; Thou didst not borrow of vice her indirect, And with my utmost powers, and deepest Crooked, and abject means: and so far

instant

counsels,

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I am from robbing thee of the least honour,
That with my hands, to make it sit the faster,
I set thy crown once more upon thy head;
And do not only style thee duke of Milan,
But vow to keep thee so. Yet, not to take
From others to give only to myself,

I will not hinder your magnificence
[Aside. To my commanders, neither will I urge it;
But in that, as in all things else, I leave you

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