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List Of Contents | Contents of The Duchess of Malfi, by John Webster
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I 'd make you what you would be.

BOSOLA.                           Any thing;
Give it me in a breath, and let me fly to 't.
They that think long small expedition win,
For musing much o' th' end cannot begin.

     [Enter JULIA]

JULIA.  Sir, will you come into supper?

CARDINAL.                                I am busy; leave me<.>

JULIA [Aside.]  What an excellent shape hath that fellow!

CARDINAL.  'Tis thus.  Antonio lurks here in Milan:
Inquire him out, and kill him.  While he lives,
Our sister cannot marry; and I have thought
Of an excellent match for her.  Do this, and style me
Thy advancement.

BOSOLA.  But by what means shall I find him out?

CARDINAL.  There is a gentleman call'd Delio
Here in the camp, that hath been long approv'd
His loyal friend.  Set eye upon that fellow;
Follow him to mass; may be Antonio,
Although he do account religion
But a school-name, for fashion of the world
May accompany him; or else go inquire out
Delio's confessor, and see if you can bribe
Him to reveal it.  There are a thousand ways
A man might find to trace him; as to know
What fellows haunt the Jews for taking up
Great sums of money, for sure he 's in want;
Or else to go to the picture-makers, and learn
Who bought<130> her picture lately:  some of these
Happily may take.

BOSOLA.            Well, I 'll not freeze i' th' business:
I would see that wretched thing, Antonio,
Above all sights i' th' world.

CARDINAL.                       Do, and be happy.

BOSOLA.  This fellow doth breed basilisks in 's eyes,
He 's nothing else but murder; yet he seems
Not to have notice of the duchess' death.
'Tis his cunning:  I must follow his example;
There cannot be a surer way to trace
Than that of an old fox.

     [Re-enter JULIA, with a pistol]

JULIA.  So, sir, you are well met.

BOSOLA.                             How Now!

JULIA.  Nay, the doors are fast enough:
Now, sir, I will make you confess your treachery.

BOSOLA.  Treachery!

JULIA.               Yes, confess to me
Which of my women 'twas you hir'd to put
Love-powder into my drink?

BOSOLA.  Love-powder!

JULIA.                 Yes, when I was at Malfi.
Why should I fall in love with such a face else?
I have already suffer'd for thee so much pain,
The only remedy to do me good
Is to kill my longing.

BOSOLA.                 Sure, your pistol holds
Nothing but perfumes or kissing-comfits.<131>
Excellent lady!
You have a pretty way on 't to discover
Your longing.  Come, come, I 'll disarm you,
And arm you thus:  yet this is wondrous strange.

JULIA.  Compare thy form and my eyes together,
You 'll find my love no such great miracle.
Now you 'll say
I am wanton:  this nice modesty in ladies
Is but a troublesome familiar
That haunts them.

BOSOLA.  Know you me, I am a blunt soldier.

JULIA.                                       The better:
Sure, there wants fire where there are no lively sparks
Of roughness.

BOSOLA.  And I want compliment.

JULIA.                           Why, ignorance
In courtship cannot make you do amiss,
If you have a heart to do well.

BOSOLA.                          You are very fair.

JULIA.  Nay, if you lay beauty to my charge,
I must plead unguilty.

BOSOLA.                 Your bright eyes
Carry a quiver of darts in them sharper
Than sun-beams.

JULIA.           You will mar me with commendation,
Put yourself to the charge of courting me,
Whereas now I woo you.

BOSOLA.  [Aside.] I have it, I will work upon this creature.--
Let us grow most amorously familiar:
If the great cardinal now should see me thus,
Would he not count me a villain?

JULIA.  No; he might count me a wanton,
Not lay a scruple of offence on you;
For if I see and steal a diamond,
The fault is not i' th' stone, but in me the thief
That purloins it.  I am sudden with you.
We that are great women of pleasure use to cut off
These uncertain wishes and unquiet longings,
And in an instant join the sweet delight
And the pretty excuse together.  Had you been i' th' street,
Under my chamber-window, even there
I should have courted you.

BOSOLA.  O, you are an excellent lady!

JULIA.  Bid me do somewhat for you presently
To express I love you.

BOSOLA.                 I will; and if you love me,
Fail not to effect it.
The cardinal is grown wondrous melancholy;
Demand the cause, let him not put you off
With feign'd excuse; discover the main ground on 't.

JULIA.  Why would you know this?

BOSOLA.                           I have depended on him,
And I hear that he is fall'n in some disgrace
With the emperor:  if he be, like the mice
That forsake falling houses, I would shift
To other dependance.

JULIA.                You shall not need
Follow the wars:  I 'll be your maintenance.

BOSOLA.  And I your loyal servant:  but I cannot
Leave my calling.

JULIA.             Not leave an ungrateful
General for the love of a sweet lady!
You are like some cannot sleep in feather-beds,
But must have blocks for their pillows.

BOSOLA.                                  Will you do this?

JULIA.  Cunningly.

BOSOLA.  To-morrow I 'll expect th' intelligence.

JULIA.  To-morrow! get you into my cabinet;
You shall have it with you.  Do not delay me,
No more than I do you:  I am like one
That is condemn'd; I have my pardon promis'd,
But I would see it seal'd.  Go, get you in:
You shall see my wind my tongue about his heart
Like a skein of silk.
     [Exit BOSOLA.]

     [Re-enter CARDINAL]

CARDINAL.              Where are you?

     [Enter Servants.]

SERVANTS.                              Here.

CARDINAL.  Let none, upon your lives, have conference
With the Prince Ferdinand, unless I know it.--
[Aside] In this distraction he may reveal
The murder.
     [Exeunt Servants.]
             Yond 's my lingering consumption:
I am weary of her, and by any means
Would be quit of.

JULIA.             How now, my lord! what ails you?

CARDINAL.  Nothing.

JULIA.               O, you are much alter'd:
Come, I must be your secretary, and remove
This lead from off your bosom:  what 's the matter?

CARDINAL.  I may not tell you.

JULIA.  Are you so far in love with sorrow
You cannot part with part of it?  Or think you
I cannot love your grace when you are sad
As well as merry?  Or do you suspect
I, that have been a secret to your heart
These many winters, cannot be the same
Unto your tongue?

CARDINAL.          Satisfy thy longing,--
The only way to make thee keep my counsel
Is, not to tell thee.

JULIA.                 Tell your echo this,
Or flatterers, that like echoes still report
What they hear though most imperfect, and not me;
For if that you be true unto yourself,
I 'll know.

CARDINAL.     Will you rack me?

JULIA.                           No, judgment shall
Draw it from you:  it is an equal fault,
To tell one's secrets unto all or none.

CARDINAL.  The first argues folly.

JULIA.  But the last tyranny.

CARDINAL.  Very well:  why, imagine I have committed
Some secret deed which I desire the world
May never hear of.

JULIA.              Therefore may not I know it?
You have conceal'd for me as great a sin
As adultery.  Sir, never was occasion
For perfect trial of my constancy
Till now:  sir, I beseech you----

CARDINAL.                           You 'll repent it.

JULIA.  Never.

CARDINAL.  It hurries thee to ruin:  I 'll not tell thee.
Be well advis'd, and think what danger 'tis
To receive a prince's secrets.  They that do,
Had need have their breasts hoop'd with adamant
To contain them.  I pray thee, yet be satisfi'd;
Examine thine own frailty; 'tis more easy
To tie knots than unloose them.  'Tis a secret
That, like a ling'ring poison, may chance lie
Spread in thy veins, and kill thee seven year hence.

JULIA.  Now you dally with me.

CARDINAL.                       No more; thou shalt know it.
By my appointment the great Duchess of Malfi
And two of her young children, four nights since,
Were strangl'd.

JULIA.           O heaven! sir, what have you done!

CARDINAL.  How now?  How settles this?  Think you your bosom
Will be a grave dark and obscure enough
For such a secret?

JULIA.              You have undone yourself, sir.


JULIA.           It lies not in me to conceal it.

CARDINAL.                                          No?
Come, I will swear you to 't upon this book.

JULIA.  Most religiously.

CARDINAL.                  Kiss it.
     [She kisses the book.]
Now you shall never utter it; thy curiosity
Hath undone thee; thou 'rt poison'd with that book.
Because I knew thou couldst not keep my counsel,
I have bound thee to 't by death.

     [Re-enter BOSOLA]

BOSOLA.  For pity-sake, hold!

CARDINAL.                      Ha, Bosola!

JULIA.                                      I forgive you
This equal piece of justice you have done;
For I betray'd your counsel to that fellow.
He over-heard it; that was the cause I said
It lay not in me to conceal it.

BOSOLA.  O foolish woman,
Couldst not thou have poison'd him?

JULIA.                               'Tis weakness,
Too much to think what should have been done.  I go,
I know not whither.

CARDINAL.            Wherefore com'st thou hither?

BOSOLA.  That I might find a great man like yourself,
Not out of his wits, as the Lord Ferdinand,
To remember my service.

CARDINAL.  I 'll have thee hew'd in pieces.

BOSOLA.  Make not yourself such a promise of that life
Which is not yours to dispose of.

CARDINAL.                          Who plac'd thee here?

BOSOLA.  Her lust, as she intended.

CARDINAL.                            Very well:
Now you know me for your fellow-murderer.

BOSOLA.  And wherefore should you lay fair marble colours
Upon your rotten purposes to me?
Unless you imitate some that do plot great treasons,
And when they have done, go hide themselves i' th' grave
Of those were actors in 't?

CARDINAL.                    No more; there is
A fortune attends thee.

BOSOLA.  Shall I go sue to Fortune any longer?

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