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And with the best collection of my thoughts
I have ambition to the wars.

Bell. You have?

Gio. O 'tis a brave profession and rewards All loss we meet, with double weight in glory; A calling, Princes still are proud to own; And some do willingly forget their crowns, To be commanded. 'Tis the spring of all We here entitle fame to; Emperors, And all degrees of honours, owing all Their names to this employment; in her vast And circular embraces holding Kings, And making them; and yet so kind as not To exclude such private things as I, who may Learn and commence in her great arts.—My life Hath been too useless to my self and country; 'Tis time I should employ it, to deserve A name within their registry, that bring The wealth, the harvest, home of well-bought honour.

Bell. Yet I can see
Through all this revolution, Giovanni,
Tis something else has wrought this violent change.
Pray let me be of counsel with your thoughts,
And know the serious motive; come, be clear.
I am no enemy, and can assist
Where I allow the cause.

Gio. You may be angry,
Madam, and chide it as a saucy pride
In me to name or look at honour; nor
Can I but know what small addition
Is my unskilful arm to aid a country.

Bell. I may therefore justly suspect there is
Something of other force, that moves you to
The wars. Enlarge my knowledge with the secret.

Gio. At this command I open my heart. Madam,

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I must confess there is another cause,
Which I dare not in my obedience
Obscure, since you will call it forth ; and yet
I know you will laugh at me-

Bell. It would ill
Become my breeding, Giovanni-

Gio. Then,
Know, Madam, I am in love.

Bell. In love with whom?

Gio. With one I dare not name, she is so much Above

my

birth and fortunes.
Bell. I commend
Your flight.

But does she know it?
Gio. I durst never
Appear with so much boldness to discover
My heart's so great ambition ; it is here still
A strange and busy guest.

Bell. And you think absence
May cure this wound-

Gio. Or death

Bell. I may presume
You think she's fair-

Gio. I dare as soon question your beauty, Madam,
The only ornament and star of Venice,
Pardon the bold comparison ; yet there is
Something in you, resembles my great Mistress.
She blushes-(aside).
Such very beams disperseth her bright eye,
Powerful to restore decrepit nature;
But when she frowns, and changes from her sweet
Aspect, (as in my fears I see you now,
Offended at my boldness,) she does blast
Poor Giovanni thus, and thus I wither
At heart, and wish myself a thing lost in
My own forgotten dust.

THE DEVIL'S LAW CASE: A TRAGI-COMEDY. BY JOHS

WEBSTER, 1623.

Clergy-comfort.
I must talk to you, like a Divine, of patience.-

I have heard some talk of it very much, and many
Times to their auditors' impatience; but I pray,
What practice do they make on't in their lives?
They are too full of choler with living honest,-
And some of them not only impatient
Of their own slightest injuries, but stark mad
At one another's preferment.

Sepulture.
Two Bellmen, a Capuchin; Romelio, and others.

Cap. For pity's sake, you that have tears to shed,
Sigh a soft requiem, and let fall a bead,
For two unfortunate Nobles *, whose sad fate
Leaves them both dead and excommunicate.
No churchman's pray'r to comfort their last groans,
No sacred seed of earth to hide their bones;
But as their fury wrought them out of breath,
The Canon speaks them guilty of their own death.

Rom. Denied Christian burial ! I pray, what does that?
Or the dead lazy march in the funeral ?
Or the flattery in the epitaph ?—which shows
More sluttish far than all the spiders' webs,
Shall ever grow upon it: what do these
Add to our well-being after death?

Cap. Not a scruple.

• Slain in a duel.

my

Rom. Very well thenI have a certain meditation, (If I can think of,) somewhat to this purpose ;I'll say it to you, while mother there Numbers her beads.“ You that dwell near these graves and vaults, Which oft do hide physicians' faults, Note what a small room does suffice To express men's goods : their vanities Would fill more volume in small hand, Than all the evidence of Church Land. Funerals hide men in civil wearing, And are to the Drapers a good hearing ; Make th' Heralds laugh in their black rayment; And all die Worthies, die with payment To th' Altar offerings : tho' their fame, And all the charity of their name, 'Tween heav'n and this, yield no more light Than rotten trees, which shine in th’ night. O look the last Act be best in th’ Play, And then rest gentle bones! yet pray, That when by the Precise you're view'd, A supersedeas be not sued; To remove you to a place more airy, That in your stead they may keep chary Stockfish, or seacoal; for the abuses Of sacrilege have turn d graves to vilder uses. How then can any monument say, Here rest these bones to the Last Day ; When Time, swift both of foot and feather, May bear them the Sexton knows not whither ?What care I then, tho' my last sleep Be in the desart, or in the deep; No lamp, nor taper, day and night, To give my charnel chargeable light?

I have there like quantity of ground;
And at the last day I shall be found *."

Immature Death.

Contarino's dead.

O that he should die so soon!

Why, I pray, tell me:
Is not the shortest fever best ? and are not
Bad plays the worse for their length ?

Guilty Preferment.
I have a plot, shall breed,
Out of the death of these two noblemen;
Th' advancement of our house-

Oh take heed
A grave is a rotten foundation.

Mischiefs
are like the visits of Franciscan friars,
They never come to prey upon us single.

Last Love strongest.
as we love our youngest children best,
So the last fruit of our affection,
Wherever we bestow it, is most strong,
Most violent, most irresistible;
Since 'tis indeed our latest harvest home,
Last merryment 'fore winter; and we Widows,
As men report of our best picture-makers,

* Webster was parish clerk at St. Andrew's, Holborn. The anxious recurrence to church-matters ; sacrilege ; tomb-stones; with the frequent introduction of dirges ; in this, and his other tragedies, may be traced to his professional sympathies.

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