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  Vortigern Studies > Vortigern > Art & Literature > Play 2 > Act 3, scene 3

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Scene 3.3 Off a country road

CASTIZA
No help, no succour?

HORSUS
Louder yet? [Extend]
Your voice to the last rack, you shall have leave now;
Y'are far from any pity.

CASTIZA
What's my sin?

HORSUS
Contempt of man, and he's a noble creature,
And takes it in ill part to be despis'd.

CASTIZA
I never despis'd any.

HORSUS
No? You hold us
Unworthy to be lov'd. What call you that?

CASTIZA
I have a lord disproves you.

HORSUS
Pish, your lord!
You're bound to love your lord, that's no thanks to you;
You should love those you are not tied to love:
That's the right trial of a woman's charity.

CASTIZA
I know not what you are nor what my fault is,
But if't be life you seek, whate'er you be,
Use no immodest words and take it from me:
You kill me more in talking sinfully
Than acting cruelly; be so far pitiful
To end me without words.

HORSUS
Long may you live,
The wish of a good subject; 'tis not life
That I thirst after: loyalty forbid
I should commit such treason! You mistake me,
I have no such bloody thought; only your love
Shall content me.

CASTIZA
What said you, sir?

HORSUS
Thus, thus plainly,
To strip my words as naked as my purpose,
I must and will enjoy you.

[Castiza swoons.]

Gone already?
Look to her, bear her up, she goes apace.
I fear'd this still, and therefore came provided.

[Takes out a vial and gives some of its liquid to Castiza.]

There's that will fetch life from a dying spark
And make it spread a furnace; she's well straight.
It kept a lord seven years alive together
In spite of nature, that he look'd like one
Had leave to walk out of a grave to air himself
Yet still walked lord.

[Castiza recovers.]

Pish, let her go; she stands,
Upon my knowledge, or else she counterfeits.
I know the virtue.

CASTIZA
Never did sorrows in afflicted woman
Meet with such cruelty; such hard-hearted ways
Human invention never found before.
To call back life to live is but ill-taken
By some departing soul; then to force mine back
To an eternal act of death in lust,
What is it but most execrable?

HORSUS
So, so;
But this is from the business. List to me:
Here you are now far from all hope of friendship,
Save what you make mine; 'scape me you cannot,
Send your soul that assurance. That resolv'd on
You know not who I am nor never shall,
I need not fear you then; but give consent
Then with the faithfulness of a true friend:
I'll open myself to you, fall your servant,
As I do now in hope, proud of submission,
And seal the deed up with eternal secrecy,
Not death should pick it open, much less [the] king's
Authority or torture.

VORTIGER
[Aside] I admire him.

CASTIZA
[Kneeling] Oh, sir, whate'er you are, I teach my knee
Thus to requite you; be content to take
Only my sight as ransom for mine honour,
And where you have but mock'd mine eyes with darkness,
Pluck 'em out quite: all outward light of body
I'll spare most willingly, but take not from me
That which must guide me to another world
And leave me dark forever, fast without
That cursed pleasure which would make two souls
Endure a famine everlastingly.

HORSUS
[Aside] This almost moves.

VORTIGER
[Aside] By this light, he'll be taken.

HORSUS
[Aside] I'll wrastle down all pity.--Will you consent?

CASTIZA
I'll never be so guilty.

HORSUS
Farewell words then;
You hear no more of me, but thus I seize thee.

CASTIZA
Oh, if a power above be [reverenc'd] in thee,
I bind thee by that name, by manhood, nobleness,
And all the charms of honour!

Exeunt Vortiger [carrying off] Castiza.

HORSUS
Here's one caught
For an example; never was poor lady
So mock'd into false terror. With what anguish
She lies with her own lord! Now she could curse
All into barrenness and beguile herself by it.
Conceit's a powerful thing, and is indeed
Plac'd as a palate to taste grief or love,
And as that relishes so we approve:
[1]
Hence it comes that our taste is so beguil'd,
Changing pure blood for some that's mix'd and soil'd.

Exit.

NOTES

[1] Conceit's a powerful thing...approve: Relativism and the power of perception is a frequent theme of Middleton's, as it is with Shakespeare, e.g., "Nothing is but thinking makes it so" (Hamlet II.ii).

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