Act III - Scene x
Heartwell, Silvia. Silvia’s apartment.
As Amoret and Thyrsis lay
Melting the hours in gentle play,
Joining faces, mingling kisses,
And exchanging harmless blisses:
He trembling cried, with eager haste,
O let me feed as well as taste,
I die, if I’m not wholly blest.
[After the song a dance of antics.]
SILV. Indeed it is very fine. I could look upon ’em all day.
HEART. Well has this prevailed for me, and will you look upon me?
SILV. If you could sing and dance so, I should love to look upon you too.
HEART. Why, ’twas I sung and danced; I gave music to the voice, and life to their measures. Look you here, Silvia, [pulling out a purse and chinking it] here are songs and dances, poetry and music—hark! how sweetly one guinea rhymes to another—and how they dance to the music of their own chink. This buys all t’other—and this thou shalt have; this, and all that I am worth, for the purchase of thy love. Say, is it mine then, ha? Speak, Syren—Oons, why do I look on her! Yet I must. Speak, dear angel, devil, saint, witch; do not rack me with suspense.
SILV. Nay, don’t stare at me so. You make me blush—I cannot look.
HEART. O manhood, where art thou? What am I come to? A woman’s toy, at these years! Death, a bearded baby for a girl to dandle. O dotage, dotage! That ever that noble passion, lust, should ebb to this degree. No reflux of vigorous blood: but milky love supplies the empty channels; and prompts me to the softness of a child—a mere infant and would suck. Can you love me, Silvia? Speak.
SILV. I dare not speak until I believe you, and indeed I’m afraid to believe you yet.
HEART. Death, how her innocence torments and pleases me! Lying, child, is indeed the art of love, and men are generally masters in it: but I’m so newly entered, you cannot distrust me of any skill in the treacherous mystery. Now, by my soul, I cannot lie, though it were to serve a friend or gain a mistress.
SILV. Must you lie, then, if you say you love me?
HEART. No, no, dear ignorance, thou beauteous changeling—I tell thee I do love thee, and tell it for a truth, a naked truth, which I’m ashamed to discover.
SILV. But love, they say, is a tender thing, that will smooth frowns, and make calm an angry face; will soften a rugged temper, and make ill-humoured people good. You look ready to fright one, and talk as if your passion were not love, but anger.
HEART. ’Tis both; for I am angry with myself when I am pleased with you. And a pox upon me for loving thee so well—yet I must on. ’Tis a bearded arrow, and will more easily be thrust forward than drawn back.
SILV. Indeed, if I were well assured you loved; but how can I be well assured?
HEART. Take the symptoms—and ask all the tyrants of thy sex if their fools are not known by this party-coloured livery. I am melancholic when thou art absent; look like an ass when thou art present; wake for thee when I should sleep; and even dream of thee when I am awake; sigh much, drink little, eat less, court solitude, am grown very entertaining to myself, and (as I am informed) very troublesome to everybody else. If this be not love, it is madness, and then it is pardonable. Nay, yet a more certain sign than all this, I give thee my money.
SILV. Ay, but that is no sign; for they say, gentlemen will give money to any naughty woman to come to bed to them. O Gemini, I hope you don’t mean so—for I won’t be a whore.
HEART. The more is the pity. [Aside.]
SILV. Nay, if you would marry me, you should not come to bed to me—you have such a beard, and would so prickle one. But do you intend to marry me?
HEART. That a fool should ask such a malicious question! Death, I shall be drawn in before I know where I am. However, I find I am pretty sure of her consent, if I am put to it. [Aside.] Marry you? No, no, I’ll love you.
SILV. Nay, but if you love me, you must marry me. What, don’t I know my father loved my mother and was married to her?
HEART. Ay, ay, in old days people married where they loved; but that fashion is changed, child.
SILV. Never tell me that; I know it is not changed by myself: for I love you, and would marry you.
HEART. I’ll have my beard shaved, it sha’n’t hurt thee, and we’ll go to bed—
SILV. No, no, I’m not such a fool neither, but I can keep myself honest. Here, I won’t keep anything that’s yours; I hate you now, [throws the purse] and I’ll never see you again, ’cause you’d have me be naught. [Going.]
HEART. Damn her, let her go, and a good riddance. Yet so much tenderness and beauty and honesty together is a jewel. Stay, Silvia—But then to marry; why, every man plays the fool once in his life. But to marry is playing the fool all one’s life long.
SILV. What did you call me for?
HEART. I’ll give thee all I have, and thou shalt live with me in everything so like my wife, the world shall believe it. Nay, thou shalt think so thyself—only let me not think so.
SILV. No, I’ll die before I’ll be your whore—as well as I love you.
HEART. [Aside.] A woman, and ignorant, may be honest, when ’tis out of obstinacy and contradiction. But, s’death, it is but a may be, and upon scurvy terms. Well, farewell then—if I can get out of sight I may get the better of myself.
SILV. Well—good-bye. [Turns and weeps.]
HEART. Ha! Nay, come, we’ll kiss at parting. [Kisses her.] By heaven, her kiss is sweeter than liberty. I will marry thee. There, thou hast done’t. All my resolves melted in that kiss—one more.
SILV. But when?
HEART. I’m impatient until it be done; I will not give myself liberty to think, lest I should cool. I will about a licence straight—in the evening expect me. One kiss more to confirm me mad; so.
SILV. Ha, ha, ha, an old fox trapped—