What's the Matter?
Palermo. Hall of royal palace. Enter
Lucinda, Katrina, and Sophia
Love is a spirit all compact of fire,
Not gross to sink, but light, and will aspire.
Coz, I have heard it is a life in death,
That laughs and weeps, and all but with a breath.
Lucinda, tell this maid what ’tis to love.
It is to be all made of sighs and tears.
It is to be all made of faith and service.
It is to be all made of fantasy.
All adoration, duty, and respect.
All made of passion and all made of wishes.
All humbleness, all patience and impatience,
All purity, all trial, all observance.
Love, Sophia, is all wanton as a child,
That longs for every thing that he can come by;
Full of unbefitting strains, skipping and vain,
Formed by the eye and therefore, like the eye,
Full of strange shapes, of habits and of forms,
Varying in subjects as the eye doth roll
To every varied object in his glance.
Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs;
Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes;
Being vex’d a sea nourish’d with lovers’ tears:
What is it else?
Love, dear ladies, is merely a madness—
—A madness most discreet.
Love is merely a madness, and, I tell you, deserves as well a dark
house and a whip as madmen do: and the reason why they are not so
punished and cured is, that the lunacy is so ordinary that the
whippers are in love too. This driveling love is like a great
natural, that runs lolling up and down to hide his bauble in a hole.
This is the montruosity in love, Katrina: the will is infinite and
the execution confined, the desire is boundless and the act a slave
To be wise and love exceeds man’s might.
All this wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a Scotch jig, a
measure, and a cinque pace: the first suit is hot and hasty, like a
Scotch jig, and full as fantastical; the wedding, mannerly-modest,
as a measure, full of state and ancientry; and then comes repentance
and, with his bad legs, falls into the cinque pace faster and
faster, till he sink into his grave. And men are April when they
woo, December when they wed: maids are May when they are maids, but
the sky changes when they are wives.
Still, Princess, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.
Not till God make men of some other metal than earth. Would it not
grieve a woman to be overmastered with a piece of valiant dust? to
make an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl?
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks and true obedience;
Too little payment for so great a debt.
Such duty as the subject owes the prince
Even such a woman oweth to her husband.
No, Sophia, I’ll none: Adam’s sons are my brethren; and, truly, I
hold it a sin to match in my kindred. Besides, I could not endure a
husband with a beard on his face: I had rather lie in the woolen. He
that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is
less than a man: and he that is more than a youth is not for me, and
he that is less than a man, I am not for him.
Returns from hunting now thy lord, thy keeper,
Thy noble husband, Prince Amadeo
Enter Amadeo, Valmond, Beauchance,
With all our guests: Duke Valmond,
And Monsieur Musik Welcome visitors.
What’s the matter, ladies?
Love! Than whom no mortal so magnificent!
This whimpled, whining, purblind, wayward boy;
This senior-junior, giant-dwarf, Dan Cupid;
Regent of love-rhymes, lord of folded arms,
The anointed sovereign of sighs and groans,
Liege of all loiterers and malcontents,
Dread prince of plackets, king of codpieces,
Sole imperator and great general
Of trotting ’paritors.
Ah, to be in love!
Where scorn is bought with groans;
Coy looks with heart-sore sighs; one fading
With twenty watchful, weary, tedious nights:
If haply won, perhaps a hapless gain;
If lost, why then a grievous labour won;
However, but a folly bought with wit,
Or else a wit by folly vanquished.
So by your circumstance, you call me fool.
’Tis love you cavil at: I am not Love.
Love is your master, for he masters you:
And he that is so yoked by a fool,
Methinks, should not be chronicled for wise.
Yet, Monsieur Musik, writers say, eating love
Inhabits in the finest wits of all.
And writers say, by love the young and tender wit
Is turn’d to folly.
But wherefore waste I time to counsel thee,
That art a votary to fond desire?
Then counsel me, sir, if it please you.
Note this, sweet Princess Katrina:
Where Love reigns, disturbing Jealousy
Doth call himself Affection’s sentinel;
Gives false alarms, suggesteth mutiny,
And in a peaceful hour doth cry “Kill, kill!”
Distempering gentle Love in his desire,
As air and water do abate the fire.
And even as one heat another heat expels,
Or as one nail by strength drives out another,
So the remembrance of a former love
Is by a newer object quite forgotten.
(Gazing at Lucinda.)
O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou!
That falls into abatement and low price,
Even in a minute.
Alas, how love can trifle with itself
’Tis pity love should be so contrary.
Ay me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love—
Never did run smooth?
But, either it was different in blood—
O cross! too high to be enthrall’d to low.
Or else misgraffed in respect of years—
O spite! too old to be engaged to young.
Or else it stood upon the choice of friends—
O hell! to choose love by another’s eyes.
Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it,
Making it momentary as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say “Behold!”
The jaws of darkness do devour it up.
So quick bright things come to confusion.
These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume: the sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite:
Therefore love moderately;
(Putting his arm around Wife Sophia)
Long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.
What think’st thou, Duke Valmond?
I know love is begun by time;
And I see, in passages of proof,
Time qualifies the spark and fire of it.
There lives within the very flame of love
A kind of wick or snuff that will abate it.
Nay, my gentle duke; one day thou shalt find Love’s gentle spring
doth always fresh remain.
This word “love,” which graybeards call divine,
Be resident in men like one another
And not in me.
O hard-believing love.
(To Katrina, Lucinda, Sophia and Amadeo.)
He is of a very melancholy disposition.
What it should be,
More than his father's death, that thus hath put
So much from th’ understanding of himself,
I cannot dream of.
Was ever son so rued a father’s death?
But thus far can I praise him; he is of a noble
Strain, of approved valour and confirmed honesty.
Hear him debate of commonwealth affairs,
You would say it hath been all in all his study:
Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian knot of it he will unloose,
Familiar as his garter.
I will vouch the truth of this.
A true knight,
Not yet mature, yet matchless, firm of word,
Speaking in deeds and deedless in his tongue;
Not soon provoked nor being provoked soon
His heart and hand both open and both free;
For what he has he gives, what thinks he shows;
Yet gives he not till judgment guide his bounty,
Nor dignifies an impure thought with breath.
The duke looks cheerfully and smooth today;
He hath a kind of honour sets him off.
I think there’s never a man in Christendom
That can less hide his love or hate than he;
For by his face straight shall you know his heart.
Amadeo leads Sophia and Katrina over to
Sister, thou rememberest the Duke of Burgundy,
And know’st that we two went to school together.
We were trained together in our childhoods.
In school-days’ friendship, childhood innocence,
We, like two artificial gods,
Had been incorporate and grew together,
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart.
There rooted betwixt us then such an affection, which cannot choose
but branch now. Since our more mature dignities and royal
necessities make separation of our society, our encounters, though
not personal, have been royally attorneyed with interchange of
gifts, letters, loving embassies; we have seemed to be together,
though absent, shook hands, as over a vast, and embraced, as it
were, from the ends of opposed winds.
The heavens continue your loves. I think, this coming summer, my
brother means to pay
Burgundy the visitation which he justly owes him.
School days! Frightful, desperate, wild, and
Our prime of manhood daring, bold, and
Nay, I remember the trick you served me when—
(To Katrina, cutting off Amadeo.)
Be kind and courteous to this gentleman.
Sophia leads Amadeo away.
Sir, I have seen you in the court of France.
I have been sometimes there.
They say you are a melancholy fellow.
I am so, Princess. I myself am best
When least in company.
But wherefore? What’s the matter, sir?
I have of late lost all my mirth;
In sooth, I know not why I am so sad:
It wearies me;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff ’tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.
Perhaps the remembrance of thy father’s death?
I prithee, Princess Katrina,
Measure my strangeness with my unripe years:
Before I know myself, seek not to know me.
Pardon me. Then let us say you are sad
Because you are not merry: I trust that you
Be not one of such vinegar aspect
That they’ll not show their teeth in way of smile,
Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.
I cannot hide what I am; I must be sad when I have cause, eat when I
have stomach and laugh when I am merry. I hold the world but as
A stage where every man must play a part
And mine a sad one.
The more pity.
(Gesturing toward Beauchance and Lucinda.)
But here is a pair of loving turtle-doves.
Love’s firm votary.
And Love’s high priestess.
At the first sight they have changed eyes.
There was never any thing so sudden—no sooner
met but they looked—
No sooner looked but they loved—
No sooner loved but they sighed—
No sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason—
No sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy—
And in these degrees they have made a pair of stairs which they will
Or else be incontinent before marriage: they are in the very wrath
of love and they will together.
I do know the Count a well-accomplished youth,
Of all that virtue love for virtue loved:
For he hath wit to make an ill shape good.
And shape to win grace though he had no wit.
And a merrier man,
Within the limit of becoming mirth,
I never spent an hour’s talk withal:
His eye begets occasion for his wit;
For every object that the one doth catch
The other turns to a mirth-moving jest,
Which his fair tongue, conceit’s expositor,
Delivers in such apt and gracious words
That aged ears play truant at his tales
And younger hearings are quite ravished;
So sweet and voluble is his discourse.
Dost thou think that the oath of a lover
Is no stronger than the word of a tapster?
Do you question me, as an honest man should do, for my simple true
judgment; or would you have me speak after my custom, as being a
professed tyrant to their sex?
I pray thee speak in sober judgment.
I think oaths are servants to deceitful men.
’Tis not the many oaths that makes the truth,
But the plain single vow that is vow’d true.
And thy fair virtue’s force perforce doth move me
On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.
I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be
buried in thy eyes.
For your verity in love, I do think you as concave as a covered
goblet or a worm-eaten nut. I thank God and my cold blood: I had
rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.
Lady, you are the cruell’st she alive,
If you will lead these graces to the grave
And leave the world no copy.
O, sir, I will not be so hard-hearted; I will give out divers
schedules of my beauty: it shall be inventoried, and every particle
and utensil labeled to my will: as, item, two lips, indifferent red;
item, two blue eyes, with lids to them; item, one neck, one chin,
and so forth.
I see you what you are, you are too proud;
But, if you were the devil, you are fair.
Is it not true that young men’s love then lies
Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes?
Then, I confess.
Mine eye is much enthralled to thy shape;
So is mine ear enamour’d of thy note.
Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
For I never saw true beauty till this night.
Enter King Lucentio and Queen Adrianna,
It is the Duke of Burgundy, good father;
And the Duke’s companions in travel,
Count Guy de Beauchance and Monsieur Musik.
Most dearly welcome! The blessed gods
Purge all infection from our air whilst you
Do climate here!
Give them friendly welcome every one:
Let them want nothing that our house affords.
Duke, thou bear’st thy father’s face;
Frank nature, rather curious than in haste,
Hath well composed thee. Thy father’s moral
Mayst thou inherit too, and succeed thy father
In manners, as in shape. Thy blood and virtue
Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
Share with thy birthright! Welcome to Palermo.
King Lucentio, Queen Adrianna,
I offer greetings to thy royal person;
My thanks and duty are your majesties’.
Lucentio Our daughter Katrina
Stands here, like beauty’s child, whom nature gat
For men to see, and seeing wonder at.
It pleaseth you, my royal father, to express
My commendations great, whose merit’s less.
Enter Duke Camillo.
Know you our trusty brother-in-law,
Lord Camillo, the Duke of Syracuse?
Good Lord Camillo, health and fair greeting;
Please let our old acquaintance be renewed.
Excellent young man! We joy to see thee.
And pardon us the interruption, Duke.
I beseech your highness, pardon me; I have
News to tell you. Here comes in embassy
Lord Tertius of Naples, with yourself to speak.
He attendeth here hard by,
To know whether you’ll admit him.
Shall I call in the ambassador, my liege?
Not yet, my brother; we would be resolved,
Before we hear him, of some things of weight
That task our thoughts. Another day,
After our guests God grants a fair departure,
We will give him audience. In the meantime,
Convey our greetings and provide for them.
Come, come: let’s to dinner, let’s to dinner.
Copyright by A. K. Ludwig