Castelvines y Monteses (Cosens)/Act 3/Scene 1
Scene I.—A Room in Antonio's Palace at Verona.
Antonio and Julia discovered.
THY words would almost tempt a saint
To forfeit life.
Julia. Take it, 'tis thine—'twas thou who gavest it!
Antonio. I say again, it is my wish
That thou dost wed the Count.
Julia. The Count hath much offended in mine eyes,
He did not challenge in the fray,
But let Roselo Montes unmolested go his way.
Antonio. The Fates protect him 'gainst the darts of death,
And darkest danger harms him not.
Julia. Holding alone defence of cloak and sword,
That day he should have not escaped the Count.
Antonio. Loved you Otavio then so much,
Thou wilt not wed the Count, because
That villain Montes lives.
Julia. I did dissemble many days,
For my poor heart's sake. But now,
Resentment somewhat old, I dare
Not suffer shock of Montes' death or hurt.
Think it not lightness thus to speak;
I am but woman, and of purpose weak.
Antonio. Revenge may be as sweet to me
As e'er it is to womankind! As Paris' wife,
Thy hope more sure, in him our great
Defence must ever hold. He, knowing
How thy wishes drift, think'st thou
No cunning chance he'll find to slay
This villain we most hate of all the Montes' kin?
My word is pledged—thou'lt be Count Paris' wife?
Julia. Oh heavens! father!
Antonio. Had I thy wishes known, I had not
Call'd the Count, nor written him to press
His wedded hopes with thee,
Nor in my letters named him son!
This have I done, and thus thou'rt pledged
To be Count Paris' wife!
Julia. Alas! alas! Poor me!
Antonio. Thou dost forget a widow'd father's claim.
Why weep, and court such red-eyed grief?
I'm not thy foe, nor he who kill'd Otavio.
Remember, Julia, I have promise made;
Castelvin's honour knows no taint nor shade.
Julia (apart). Great Heaven, how I tremble. Dare I not die?
What fear I then?—thrice welcome death, oh! why?
Antonio (aside). She's doubting still. I know not what
To tell the Count. (Aloud.) Oh, Julia!
Julia.To tell the Count. (Aloud.) Oh, Julia! Sir,
I am ready, and to-day, to wed the Count;
Whene'er he cares to claim mine hand,
Antonio. Thou speakest bravely.
Julia. Sir, 'tis vain to seek to cross thee more:
Thine honour is as dear to me as is mine own.
Already call me, sir, Count Paris' wife.
Antonio. My heart brims o'er with grateful love,
And knows a double joy! Thy dower, girl,
It shall be great—thy mother's part,
In diamonds rich and rare; the whole at good
Six thousand ducats priced! The Count,
Thy husband, too, shall for his purse
Share full six thousand ducats more.
Julia (aside). Each moment do I die a hundred deaths!
Antonio. I go, my child, to see that all in order runs:
The parchments shall be drawn to-night!
Julia (aside). What poisonous draught can half as deadly be
As that sharp grief which doth encompass me?
Antonio. Fesenio here! Fesenio, quick, go bid our kin,
Julia. Portia did seek stern death in stifling flame;
Lucretia's steel was sharp and quick; Dido with sword
At breast, sighed sweet memories 'neath the moon
To her brave Trojan youth, weeping salt tears
To swell the sapphire sea; Iphis a cord
For blind Anaxaretes' love, and for that cold
Proud Roman's threat the subtle poison'd
Draught fair Sophonisba drain'd;
Hero of Sestus on her sea-girt tower waits
Sadly in vain; she sights Leander's ,
And casts her body headlong in the surge;
With poignard point at breast, and bated breath,
Slow sliding o'er the blood-stain'd grass
Dies Thisbe; and so 'mid lovers holds
The palm for purest love.
For me, nor fire, nor cord, nor poison'd bowl—
One single shock shall free the deathless soul!
Celia. With Aurelio, lady, did I speak, and in his hand
Your letter placed.
Julia. He read it?
Celia. He did.
Julia. Scann'd he each word?
Celia. Yes, dear lady; and my grief was great
To see Aurelio weep, for at each word
He read, a bitter sigh escaped his breast.
His cell he enter'd, and when an hour had gone
Return'd, and in my hand this phial placed,
And said that thou should'st drink the juice
It doth contain. So spake Aurelio, lady.
Julia. I did write that I would die by steel
Or cord, ere I, Roselo's wife, would Paris wed,
Celia, he knows our love, and knows that when
I penn'd those blotted lines, my life
Did hang upon a chance, and now distils
As comfort to my breaking heart nought
But some harmless sweet confection.
Celia. Thou knowest, lady, he's well skill'd
In subtlety of herb and poisonous weed,
And hath a fame more wide than all Verona holds.
(Some lines wanting here.)
(Some lines wanting here.)
He watch'd our growing love from earliest bud;
True he is learned in every herb that springs,
And every subtle distillation, too, he knows;
Should this be weak, and should its charm
Lead me to love the Count, and so Roselo harm?
Celia. To think thus, lady, is but witless wit.
He knows thy wedded hopes are new,
And ere he dare counsel thou shouldst wed again,
Would have written by my hand;
No, as rare remedy for this hapless ill,
He sends this sweet confection still.
Julia. Thou speakest wisely—say no more.
All evil when the body dies doth cease;
I drink the draught; Celia, farewell!
I die Roselo's own true wife; this truly tell!
Celia. 'Twill be but slumber, lady, soon we'll smile;
'Tis but to give thee strength to slay
Such sad and luckless misery.
Julia. Hah! the confection works through all my veins;
My quaking flesh doth creep, my very soul
Seems torn from out its earthly home!
Oh Heavens! some poison Aurelio hath distilled?
Hast given me the potion that he sent?
Celia. That, lady, only which Aurelio did command.
Julia. Methinks some sad deceit, and he
Hath changed the draught, the fluid works
Upon my bursting heart as rankest poison might.
Celia. Didst drink it all, sweet child?
Julia. Each drugged drop, unto the last.
Celia. What feel you now?
Julia. That every vein doth throb and burst,
And every breath comes thick and hard;
A crushing weight doth rest upon my heart;
Oh heavens, Celia!
Celia. Sweet lady!
Julia. Madness now seems to seize my beating brain!
Celia. What treachery's this? Would I had ne'er been born
To be the messenger of ill, sweet girl!
Julia. I would thou'dst brought it earlier. Oh, sweet sleep!
Tell my Roselo not my death to weep.
Celia. Alas! alas! dear lady, I!
Julia. Tell him I died his own true loving wife;
Tell him I wait him 'mid the starry host;
Tell him I died with woman's truth—
I could not live to be another's bride.
Tell him ne'er to forget his Julia—luckless maid!
Nor let her love e'er from his living memory fade.
Celia. What cruel agony!—what moisture rests,
Like swollen dew-drops, on her gentle brow.
Julia. My feet refuse their office—I cannot stand!
Celia. Come, come, rest upon thy conch and sleep;
'Twill soon pass o'er-let me lead thee in.
Julia. I know not! Oh, sad end to all my love!
And yet I die consoled—we'll meet above.
Celia, write tenderly to my husband when I'm dead;
Celia. What says my Julia—mistress dear?
Julia. I know not what I spake. 'Tis sad to die
Celia. Come, sweet lady—come, rest upon thy couch.
Julia. Father, adieu! I am Roselo's, and for ever now,
I'm his alone;—dear Celia, wipe my brow.
Celia. Come, gentle lady; come, I'll lead thee in.
Julia. I cannot stand! Oh, farewell, my husband!