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179

Meg. Do you study to forget me, and I'll study
To forget you.

[Exeunt King and Megra, sev'erally. Cle. Why, here's a male spirit fit for Hercules. If ever

there be Nine Worthies of women, this wench shall

ride astride and be their captain. Dion. Sure, she has a garrison of devils in her tongue,

she uttered such bails of wild-fire : she has so nettled the King, that all the doctors in the country will scarce cure him. That boy was a strange-foundout antidote to cure her infection; that boy, that princess' boy; that brave, chaste, virtuous lady's boy; and a fair boy, a well-spoken boy! All these considered, can make nothing else—but there I

leave you, gentlemen. Thra. Nay, we'll go wander with you. [Exeunt. ACT THE THIRD

SCENE I

The Court of the Palace.
Enter Dion, Cleremont, and Thrasiline.
Cle. Nay, doubtless, 'tis true.
Dion.

Ay; and 'tis the gods
That raised this punishment, to scourge the King
With his own issue. Is it not a shame
For us that should write noble in the land,
For us that should be freemen, to behold
A man that is the bravery of his age,
Philaster, pressed down from his royal right
By this regardless King ? and only look
And see the sceptre ready to be cast
Into the hands of that lascivious lady
That lives in lust with a smooth boy, now to be:

married
To yon strange prince, who, but that people please
To let him be a prince, is born a slave
In that which should be his most noble part,
His mind?

IO

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Thra.

That man that would not stir with you To aid Philaster, let the gods forget

That such a creature walks upon the earth!
Cle. Philaster is too backward in 't himself.

The gentry do await it, and the people,
Against their nature, are all bent for him,
And like a field of standing corn, that's moved

With a stiff gale, their heads bow all one way.
Dion. The only cause that draws Philaster back

From this attempt is the fair princess' love,

Which he admires, and we can now confute.
Thra. Perhaps he'll not believe it.
Dion.

Why, gentlemen, 'Tis without question so. Cle.

Ay, 'tis past speech,
She es dishonestly : but how shall we,

If he be curious, work upon his faith?
Thra. We all are satisfied within ourselves.

30 Dion. Since it is true, and tends to his own good,

I'll make this new report to be my knowledge;

I'll say I know it ; nay, I'll swear I saw it.
Cle. It will be best.
Thra.

'Twill move him. Dion.

Here he comes.
Enter Philaster.
Good morrow to your honour: we have spent
Some time in seeking you.

Phi.

My worthy friends,
You that can keep your memories to know
Your friend in miseries, and cannot frown
On men disgraced for virtue, a good day
Attend you all! What service may I do

40 Worthy your acceptation ? Dion.

My good lord,
We come to urge that virtue, which we know
Lives in your breast, forth. Rise, and make a

head:
The nobles and the people are all dulled
With this usurping King; and not a man,
That ever heard the word, or knew such a thing

As virtue, but will second your attempts.
Phi. How honourable is this love in you
To me that have deserved none !

Know, my
friends
(You, that were born to shame your poor Philaster
With too much courtesy), I could afford

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To melt myself in thanks : but my designs
Are not yet ripe: suffice it, that ere long
I shall employ your loves ; but yet the time

Is short of what I would.
Dion. The time is fuller, sir, than you expect;
That which hereafter will not, perhaps, be

reached By violence may now be caught. As for the

King,

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You know the people have long hated him ;

But now the princess, whom they loved-
Phi. Why, what of her?
Dion.

Is loathed as much as he.
Phi. By what strange means?
Dion.

She's known a whore.
Phi.

Thou liest. Dion. My lord Phi.

Thou liest.

[Offers to draw his sword: they hold him. And thou shalt feel it ! I had thought thy

mind
Had been of honour. Thus to rob a lady
Of her good name, is an infectious sin
Not to be pardoned : be it false as hell,
'Twill never be redeemed, if it be sown
Amongst the people, fruitful to increase
All evil they shall hear. Let me alone,

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That I may cut off falsehood whilst it springs !
Set hills on hills betwixt me and the man
That utters this, and I will scale them all,
And from the utmost top fall on his neck,

Like thunder from a cloud.
Dion.

This is most strange :
Sure, he does love her.
Phi.

I do love fair truth :
She is my mistress, and who injures her
Draws vengeance from me. Sirs, let go my arms.

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