Shakespeare Publications

Home          What's the Matter?          Buy What's the Matter?          The Obscure Bird          Contact

Previous Excerpt Act I, Scene 1


Next Excerpt Act II, Scene 1



What's the Matter?


Scene 2

    Palermo. Garden of the royal palace. Lucinda
    and Beauchance, Katrina and Valmond, each
                      couple strolling together.

Although I did meet thee but so late ago,
Hear my soul speak:
The very instant that I saw you, did
My heart fly to your service; there resides,
To make me slave to it;
Being your slave, what should I do but tend
Upon the hours and times of your desire?

Do you love me?
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully.

O heaven, O earth, bear witness to this
And crown what I profess with kind event
If I speak true! if hollowly, invert
What best is boded me to mischief! I
Beyond all limit of what else i’ the world
Do love, prize, honour you.

If thou think’st I am too quickly won,
I’ll frown and be perverse and say thee nay,
So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world.
In truth, fair Beauchance, I am too fond,
And therefore thou mayst think my ’havior light:
But trust me, gentleman, I’ll prove more true
Than those that have more cunning to be
I should have been more strange; therefore
     pardon me,
And not impute this yielding to light love.

O Lucinda! Full many a lady
I have eyed with best regard and many a time
The harmony of their tongues hath into bondage
Brought my too diligent ear: for several virtues
Have I liked several women; never any
With so fun soul, but some defect in her
Did quarrel with the noblest grace she owed
And put it to the foil: but you, O you,
So perfect and so peerless, are created
Of every creature’s best! Wherefore weep you?

At mine unworthiness that dare not offer
What I desire to give, and much less take
What I shall die to want.
Sweet, bid me hold my tongue,
For in this rapture I shall surely speak
The thing I shall repent.
Thou know’st no less but all; I have unclasp’d
To thee the book even of my secret soul.

What shall you ask of me that I’ll deny?

The exchange of thy love’s faithful vow for mine.

       Beauchance and Lucinda walk aside.

Monsieur Musik is magnanimous;
Of very reverend reputation,
Of credit infinite, gentle, never schooled and yet learned, full of noble device, of all sorts enchantingly beloved; and a man that I love and honour with my soul, and my heart, and my duty, and my life.

A fit counselor and servant for a prince.

Full often he hath in conversation
Told the sad story of my father’s death,
And twenty times made pause to sob and weep,
That all the standers-by had wet their cheeks
Like trees bedash’d with rain: in that sad time
My manly eyes did scorn an humble tear.

’Tis sweet and commendable in his nature,
To give these mourning duties to your father.
But this makes you sad.

Princess, if I have veil’d my look,
I turn the trouble of my countenance
Merely upon myself.

I beg thy pardon, Duke.

Trouble yourself no further. Vexed I am
Of late with passions of some difference,
Conceptions only proper to myself,
Which give some soil perhaps to my behaviors;
But let not therefore my good friends be grieved.
I will from henceforth be of better cheer.

I pray God’s blessing into thy attempt.

Princess, I thank thee for thy orisons.
But yet methinks
Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
Which we ascribe to heaven.

We cannot but obey the powers above us.

The fated sky
Gives us free scope, only doth backward pull
Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.

What can be avoided
Whose end is purposed by almighty God?

Yet I will believe that
What’s to come is in your and my discharge.

But there’s a divinity that shapes our ends.

In despite of all, Princess, I will live
As if a man were author of himself.

   Enter Morelli and the Duchess of Messina.

Look, here comes the Duke, my Uncle Morelli,
And the Duchess, with eyes full of anger;
He is a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

Morelli. (Seeing Lucinda and Beauchance.)
To be paddling palms and pinching fingers,
As now they are, and making practised smiles,
As in a looking-glass, and then to sigh, as ’twere
The mort o’ the deer; O, that is entertainment
My bosom likes not, nor my brows!

Count Beauchance, let us depart, I pray you.

            Exit Beauchance and Valmond.

How now, daughter and our royal cousin:
Beware of them, their promises, enticements, oaths, tokens, and all these engines of lust, are not the things they go under: many a maid hath been seduced by them. I hope I need not to advise you further; but I hope your own grace will keep you where you are, though there were no further danger known but the modesty which is so lost.

Do not give dalliance
Too much the rein: be more abstemious.

        Exit Morelli and Duchess of Messina.

Tell me truly, coz, what thou think’st of
Gentle County Beauchance.

Truly, I have not seen
So likely an ambassador of love;
A day in April never came so sweet,
To show how costly summer was at hand,
As this fore-spurrer comes before his lord.
Now, tell me, dost thou affect the Count?

How I dote on him! I do adore him so!
Yea, I will hereupon confess—I am in love!

Why he more than another?

Of many good I think him best.

Your reason?

I have no other but a woman’s reason; I think him so because I think him so.

Is it possible, on such a sudden, you should fall into so strong a liking?

Yea, for soothe!
Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul
Of the wide world dreaming on things to come,
Can yet the lease of my true love control!

                          Exit Lucinda.

Even so quickly may one catch the plague?

                         Exit. Blackout.

Copyright by A. K. Ludwig


Return to top

  Next Excerpt Act II, Scene 1
Home     |    The Obscure Bird    |    What's the Matter?   :   Excerpt 1  |  Excerpt 2  |  Excerpt 3    |    Contact
  Copyright 2018 by Shakespeare Publications