The White Devil

Act IV


Enter Francisco and Monticelso

Mont. Come, come, my lord, untie your folded thoughts,

And let them dangle loose, as a bride's hair.

Fran. Far be it from my thoughts

To seek revenge.

Mont. What, are you turn'd all marble?

Fran. Shall I defy him, and impose a war,

Most burthensome on my poor subjects' necks,

Which at my will I have not power to end?

You know, for all the murders, rapes, and thefts,

Committed in the horrid lust of war,

He that unjustly caus'd it first proceed,

Shall find it in his grave, and in his seed.

Mont. That 's not the course I 'd wish you; pray observe me.

We see that undermining more prevails

Than doth the cannon. Bear your wrongs conceal'd,

And, patient as the tortoise, let this camel

Stalk o'er your back unbruis'd: sleep with the lion,

And let this brood of secure foolish mice

Play with your nostrils, till the time be ripe

For th' bloody audit, and the fatal gripe:

Aim like a cunning fowler, close one eye,

That you the better may your game espy.

Fran. Free me, my innocence, from treacherous acts!

I know there 's thunder yonder; and I 'll stand,

Like a safe valley, which low bends the knee

To some aspiring mountain: since I know

Treason, like spiders weaving nets for flies,

By her foul work is found, and in it dies.

To pass away these thoughts, my honour'd lord,

It is reported you possess a book,

Wherein you have quoted, by intelligence,

The names of all notorious offenders

Lurking about the city.

Mont. Sir, I do;

And some there are which call it my black-book.

Well may the title hold; for though it teach not

The art of conjuring, yet in it lurk

The names of many devils.

Fran. Pray let 's see it.

Mont. I 'll fetch it to your lordship. [Exit.

Fran. Monticelso,

I will not trust thee, but in all my plots

I 'll rest as jealous as a town besieg'd.

Thou canst not reach what I intend to act:

Your flax soon kindles, soon is out again,

But gold slow heats, and long will hot remain.

Enter Monticelso, with the book

Mont. 'Tis here, my lord.

Fran. First, your intelligencers, pray let 's see.

Mont. Their number rises strangely;

And some of them

You 'd take for honest men.

Next are panders.

These are your pirates; and these following leaves

For base rogues, that undo young gentlemen,

By taking up commodities; for politic bankrupts;

For fellows that are bawds to their own wives,

Only to put off horses, and slight jewels,

Clocks, defac'd plate, and such commodities,

At birth of their first children.

Fran. Are there such?

Mont. These are for impudent bawds,

That go in men's apparel; for usurers

That share with scriveners for their good reportage:

For lawyers that will antedate their writs:

And some divines you might find folded there,

But that I slip them o'er for conscience' sake.

Here is a general catalogue of knaves:

A man might study all the prisons o'er,

Yet never attain this knowledge.

Fran. Murderers?

Fold down the leaf, I pray;

Good my lord, let me borrow this strange doctrine.

Mont. Pray, use 't, my lord.

Fran. I do assure your lordship,

You are a worthy member of the State,

And have done infinite good in your discovery

Of these offenders.

Mont. Somewhat, sir.

Fran. O God!

Better than tribute of wolves paid in England;

'Twill hang their skins o' th' hedge.

Mont. I must make bold

To leave your lordship.

Fran. Dearly, sir, I thank you:

If any ask for me at court, report

You have left me in the company of knaves.

[Exit Monticelso.

I gather now by this, some cunning fellow

That 's my lord's officer, and that lately skipp'd

From a clerk's desk up to a justice' chair,

Hath made this knavish summons, and intends,

As th' rebels wont were to sell heads,

So to make prize of these. And thus it happens:

Your poor rogues pay for 't, which have not the means

To present bribe in fist; the rest o' th' band

Are razed out of the knaves' record; or else

My lord he winks at them with easy will;

His man grows rich, the knaves are the knaves still.

But to the use I 'll make of it; it shall serve

To point me out a list of murderers,

Agents for my villany. Did I want

Ten leash of courtesans, it would furnish me;

Nay, laundress three armies. That in so little paper

Should lie th' undoing of so many men!

'Tis not so big as twenty declarations.

See the corrupted use some make of books:

Divinity, wrested by some factious blood,

Draws swords, swells battles, and o'erthrows all good.

To fashion my revenge more seriously,

Let me remember my dear sister's face:

Call for her picture? no, I 'll close mine eyes,

And in a melancholic thought I 'll frame

[Enter Isabella's Ghost.

Her figure 'fore me. Now I ha' 't - how strong

Imagination works! how she can frame

Things which are not! methinks she stands afore me,

And by the quick idea of my mind,

Were my skill pregnant, I could draw her picture.

Thought, as a subtle juggler, makes us deem

Things supernatural, which have cause

Common as sickness. 'Tis my melancholy.

How cam'st thou by thy death? - how idle am I

To question mine own idleness! - did ever

Man dream awake till now? - remove this object;

Out of my brain with 't: what have I to do

With tombs, or death-beds, funerals, or tears,

That have to meditate upon revenge? [Exit Ghost.

So, now 'tis ended, like an old wife's story.

Statesmen think often they see stranger sights

Than madmen. Come, to this weighty business.

My tragedy must have some idle mirth in 't,

Else it will never pass. I am in love,

In love with Corombona; and my suit

Thus halts to her in verse. - [He writes.

I have done it rarely: Oh, the fate of princes!

I am so us'd to frequent flattery,

That, being alone, I now flatter myself:

But it will serve; 'tis seal'd. [Enter servant.] Bear this

To the House of Convertites, and watch your leisure

To give it to the hands of Corombona,

Or to the Matron, when some followers

Of Brachiano may be by. Away! [Exit Servant.

He that deals all by strength, his wit is shallow;

When a man's head goes through, each limb will follow.

The engine for my business, bold Count Lodowick;

'Tis gold must such an instrument procure,

With empty fist no man doth falcons lure.

Brachiano, I am now fit for thy encounter:

Like the wild Irish, I 'll ne'er think thee dead

Till I can play at football with thy head,

Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo. [Exit.


Enter the Matron, and Flamineo

Matron. Should it be known the duke hath such recourse

To your imprison'd sister, I were like

T' incur much damage by it.

Flam. Not a scruple.

The Pope lies on his death-bed, and their heads

Are troubled now with other business

Than guarding of a lady.

Enter Servant

Servant. Yonder 's Flamineo in conference

With the Matrona. - Let me speak with you:

I would entreat you to deliver for me

This letter to the fair Vittoria.

Matron. I shall, sir.

Enter Brachiano

Servant. With all care and secrecy;

Hereafter you shall know me, and receive

Thanks for this courtesy. [Exit.

Flam. How now? what 's that?

Matron. A letter.

Flam. To my sister? I 'll see 't deliver'd.

Brach. What 's that you read, Flamineo?

Flam. Look.

Brach. Ha! 'To the most unfortunate, his best respected Vittoria'.

Who was the messenger?

Flam. I know not.

Brach. No! who sent it?

Flam. Ud's foot! you speak as if a man

Should know what fowl is coffin'd in a bak'd meat

Afore you cut it up.

Brach. I 'll open 't, were 't her heart. What 's here subscrib'd!

Florence! this juggling is gross and palpable.

I have found out the conveyance. Read it, read it.

Flam. [Reads the letter.] "Your tears I 'll turn to triumphs, be but


Your prop is fallen: I pity, that a vine

Which princes heretofore have long'd to gather,

Wanting supporters, now should fade and wither."

Wine, i' faith, my lord, with lees would serve his turn.

"Your sad imprisonment I 'll soon uncharm,

And with a princely uncontrolled arm

Lead you to Florence, where my love and care

Shall hang your wishes in my silver hair."

A halter on his strange equivocation!

"Nor for my years return me the sad willow;

Who prefer blossoms before fruit that 's mellow?"

Rotten, on my knowledge, with lying too long i' th' bedstraw.

"And all the lines of age this line convinces;

The gods never wax old, no more do princes."

A pox on 't, tear it; let 's have no more atheists, for God's sake.

Brach. Ud's death! I 'll cut her into atomies,

And let th' irregular north wind sweep her up,

And blow her int' his nostrils: where 's this whore?

Flam. What? what do you call her?

Brach. Oh, I could be mad!

Prevent the curs'd disease she 'll bring me to,

And tear my hair off. Where 's this changeable stuff?

Flam. O'er head and ears in water, I assure you;

She is not for your wearing.

Brach. In, you pander!

Flam. What, me, my lord? am I your dog?

Brach. A bloodhound: do you brave, do you stand me?

Flam. Stand you! let those that have diseases run;

I need no plasters.

Brach. Would you be kick'd?

Flam. Would you have your neck broke?

I tell you, duke, I am not in Russia;

My shins must be kept whole.

Brach. Do you know me?

Flam. Oh, my lord, methodically!

As in this world there are degrees of evils,

So in this world there are degrees of devils.

You 're a great duke, I your poor secretary.

I do look now for a Spanish fig, or an Italian sallet, daily.

Brach. Pander, ply your convoy, and leave your prating.

Flam. All your kindness to me, is like that miserable courtesy of

Polyphemus to Ulysses; you reserve me to be devoured last: you would

dig turfs out of my grave to feed your larks; that would be music to

you. Come, I 'll lead you to her.

Brach. Do you face me?

Flam. Oh, sir, I would not go before a politic enemy with my back

towards him, though there were behind me a whirlpool.

Enter Vittoria to Brachiano and Flamineo

Brach. Can you read, mistress? look upon that letter:

There are no characters, nor hieroglyphics.

You need no comment; I am grown your receiver.

God's precious! you shall be a brave great lady,

A stately and advanced whore.

Vit. Say, sir?

Brach. Come, come, let 's see your cabinet, discover

Your treasury of love-letters. Death and furies!

I 'll see them all.

Vit. Sir, upon my soul,

I have not any. Whence was this directed?

Brach. Confusion on your politic ignorance!

You are reclaim'd, are you? I 'll give you the bells,

And let you fly to the devil.

Flam. Ware hawk, my lord.

Vit. Florence! this is some treacherous plot, my lord;

To me he ne'er was lovely, I protest,

So much as in my sleep.

Brach. Right! there are plots.

Your beauty! Oh, ten thousand curses on 't!

How long have I beheld the devil in crystal!

Thou hast led me, like an heathen sacrifice,

With music, and with fatal yokes of flowers,

To my eternal ruin. Woman to man

Is either a god, or a wolf.

Vit. My lord - -

Brach. Away!

We 'll be as differing as two adamants,

The one shall shun the other. What! dost weep?

Procure but ten of thy dissembling trade,

Ye 'd furnish all the Irish funerals

With howling past wild Irish.

Flam. Fie, my lord!

Brach. That hand, that cursed hand, which I have wearied

With doting kisses! - Oh, my sweetest duchess,

How lovely art thou now! - My loose thoughts

Scatter like quicksilver: I was bewitch'd;

For all the world speaks ill of thee.

Vit. No matter;

I 'll live so now, I 'll make that world recant,

And change her speeches. You did name your duchess.

Brach. Whose death God pardon!

Vit. Whose death God revenge

On thee, most godless duke!

Flam. Now for ten whirlwinds.

Vit. What have I gain'd by thee, but infamy?

Thou hast stain'd the spotless honour of my house,

And frighted thence noble society:

Like those, which sick o' th' palsy, and retain

Ill-scenting foxes 'bout them, are still shunn'd

By those of choicer nostrils. What do you call this house?

Is this your palace? did not the judge style it

A house of penitent whores? who sent me to it?

To this incontinent college? is 't not you?

Is 't not your high preferment? go, go, brag

How many ladies you have undone, like me.

Fare you well, sir; let me hear no more of you!

I had a limb corrupted to an ulcer,

But I have cut it off; and now I 'll go

Weeping to heaven on crutches. For your gifts,

I will return them all, and I do wish

That I could make you full executor

To all my sins. O that I could toss myself

Into a grave as quickly! for all thou art worth

I 'll not shed one tear more - I 'll burst first.

[She throws herself upon a bed.

Brach. I have drunk Lethe: Vittoria!

My dearest happiness! Vittoria!

What do you ail, my love? why do you weep?

Vit. Yes, I now weep poniards, do you see?

Brach. Are not those matchless eyes mine?

Vit. I had rather

They were not matches.

Brach. Is not this lip mine?

Vit. Yes; thus to bite it off, rather than give it thee.

Flam. Turn to my lord, good sister.

Vit. Hence, you pander!

Flam. Pander! am I the author of your sin?

Vit. Yes; he 's a base thief that a thief lets in.

Flam. We 're blown up, my lord - -

Brach. Wilt thou hear me?

Once to be jealous of thee, is t' express

That I will love thee everlastingly,

And never more be jealous.

Vit. O thou fool,

Whose greatness hath by much o'ergrown thy wit!

What dar'st thou do, that I not dare to suffer,

Excepting to be still thy whore? for that,

In the sea's bottom sooner thou shalt make

A bonfire.

Flam. Oh, no oaths, for God's sake!

Brach. Will you hear me?

Vit. Never.

Flam. What a damn'd imposthume is a woman's will!

Can nothing break it? [Aside.] Fie, fie, my lord,

Women are caught as you take tortoises,

She must be turn'd on her back. Sister, by this hand

I am on your side. - Come, come, you have wrong'd her;

What a strange credulous man were you, my lord,

To think the Duke of Florenc would love her!

Will any mercer take another's ware

When once 'tis tows'd and sullied? And yet, sister,

How scurvily this forwardness becomes you!

Young leverets stand not long, and women's anger

Should, like their flight, procure a little sport;

A full cry for a quarter of an hour,

And then be put to th' dead quat.

Brach. Shall these eyes,

Which have so long time dwelt upon your face,

Be now put out?

Flam. No cruel landlady i' th' world,

Which lends forth groats to broom-men, and takes use

For them, would do 't.

Hand her, my lord, and kiss her: be not like

A ferret, to let go your hold with blowing.

Brach. Let us renew right hands.

Vit. Hence!

Brach. Never shall rage, or the forgetful wine,

Make me commit like fault.

Flam. Now you are i' th' way on 't, follow 't hard.

Brach. Be thou at peace with me, let all the world

Threaten the cannon.

Flam. Mark his penitence;

Best natures do commit the grosses faults,

When they 're given o'er to jealousy, as best wine,

Dying, makes strongest vinegar. I 'll tell you:

The sea 's more rough and raging than calm rivers,

But not so sweet, nor wholesome. A quiet woman

Is a still water under a great bridge;

A man may shoot her safely.

Vit. O ye dissembling men!

Flam. We suck'd that, sister,

From women's breasts, in our first infancy.

Vit. To add misery to misery!

Brach. Sweetest!

Vit. Am I not low enough?

Ay, ay, your good heart gathers like a snowball,

Now your affection 's cold.

Flam. Ud's foot, it shall melt

To a heart again, or all the wine in Rome

Shall run o' th' lees for 't.

Vit. Your dog or hawk should be rewarded better

Than I have been. I 'll speak not one word more.

Flam. Stop her mouth

With a sweet kiss, my lord. So,

Now the tide 's turn'd, the vessel 's come about.

He 's a sweet armful. Oh, we curl-hair'd men

Are still most kind to women! This is well.

Brach. That you should chide thus!

Flam. Oh, sir, your little chimneys

Do ever cast most smoke! I sweat for you.

Couple together with as deep a silence,

As did the Grecians in their wooden horse.

My lord, supply your promises with deeds;

You know that painted meat no hunger feeds.

Brach. Stay, ungrateful Rome - -

Flam. Rome! it deserve to be call'd Barbary,

For our villainous usage.

Brach. Soft; the same project which the Duke of Florence,

(Whether in love or gallery I know not)

Laid down for her escape, will I pursue.

Flam. And no time fitter than this night, my lord.

The Pope being dead, and all the cardinals enter'd

The conclave, for th' electing a new Pope;

The city in a great confusion;

We may attire her in a page's suit,

Lay her post-horse, take shipping, and amain

For Padua.

Brach. I 'll instantly steal forth the Prince Giovanni,

And make for Padua. You two with your old mother,

And young Marcello that attends on Florence,

If you can work him to it, follow me:

I will advance you all; for you, Vittoria,

Think of a duchess' title.

Flam. Lo you, sister!

Stay, my lord; I 'll tell you a tale. The crocodile, which lives

in the River Nilus, hath a worm breeds i' th' teeth of 't, which puts

it to extreme anguish: a little bird, no bigger than a wren, is

barber-surgeon to this crocodile; flies into the jaws of 't, picks out

the worm, and brings present remedy. The fish, glad of ease, but

ungrateful to her that did it, that the bird may not talk largely of

her abroad for non-payment, closeth her chaps, intending to swallow

her, and so put her to perpetual silence. But nature, loathing such

ingratitude, hath armed this bird with a quill or prick on the head,

top o' th' which wounds the crocodile i' th' mouth, forceth her open

her bloody prison, and away flies the pretty tooth-picker from her

cruel patient.

Brach. Your application is, I have not rewarded

The service you have done me.

Flam. No, my lord.

You, sister, are the crocodile: you are blemish'd in your fame, my lord

cures it; and though the comparison hold not in every particle, yet

observe, remember, what good the bird with the prick i' th' head hath

done you, and scorn ingratitude.

It may appear to some ridiculous

Thus to talk knave and madman, and sometimes

Come in with a dried sentence, stuffed with sage:

But this allows my varying of shapes;

Knaves do grow great by being great men's apes.


Enter Francisco, Lodovico, Gasparo, and six Ambassadors

Fran. So, my lord, I commend your diligence.

Guard well the conclave; and, as the order is,

Let none have conference with the cardinals.

Lodo. I shall, my lord. Room for the ambassadors.

Gas. They 're wondrous brave to-day: why do they wear

These several habits?

Lodo. Oh, sir, they 're knights

Of several orders:

That lord i' th' black cloak, with the silver cross,

Is Knight of Rhodes; the next, Knight of St. Michael;

That, of the Golden Fleece; the Frenchman, there,

Knight of the Holy Ghost; my Lord of Savoy,

Knight of th' Annunciation; the Englishman

Is Knight of th' honour'd Garter, dedicated

Unto their saint, St. George. I could describe to you

Their several institutions, with the laws

Annexed to their orders; but that time

Permits not such discovery.

Fran. Where 's Count Lodowick?

Lodo. Here, my lord.

Fran. 'Tis o' th' point of dinner time;

Marshal the cardinals' service.

Lodo. Sir, I shall. [Enter Servants, with several dishes covered.

Stand, let me search your dish. Who 's this for?

Servant. For my Lord Cardinal Monticelso.

Lodo. Whose this?

Servant. For my Lord Cardinal of Bourbon.

Fr. Ambass. Why doth he search the dishes? to observe

What meat is dressed?

Eng. Ambass. No, sir, but to prevent

Lest any letters should be convey'd in,

To bribe or to solicit the advancement

Of any cardinal. When first they enter,

'Tis lawful for the ambassadors of princes

To enter with them, and to make their suit

For any man their prince affecteth best;

But after, till a general election,

No man may speak with them.

Lodo. You that attend on the lord cardinals,

Open the window, and receive their viands.

Card. [Within.] You must return the service: the lord cardinals

Are busied 'bout electing of the Pope;

They have given o'er scrutiny, and are fallen

To admiration.

Lodo. Away, away.

Fran. I 'll lay a thousand ducats you hear news

Of a Pope presently. Hark; sure he 's elected:

Behold, my Lord of Arragon appears

On the church battlements. [A Cardinal on the terrace.

Arragon. Denuntio vobis gaudium magnum: Reverendissimus Cardinalis

Lorenzo de Monticelso electus est in sedem apostolicam, et elegit sibi

nomen Paulum Quartum.

Omnes. Vivat Sanctus Pater Paulus Quartus!

Servant. Vittoria, my lord - -

Fran. Well, what of her?

Servant. Is fled the city - -

Fran. Ha!

Servant. With Duke Brachiano.

Fran. Fled! where 's the Prince Giovanni?

Servant. Gone with his father.

Fran. Let the Matrona of the Convertites

Be apprehended. Fled? O damnable!

How fortunate are my wishes! why, 'twas this

I only labour'd: I did send the letter

T' instruct him what to do. Thy fame, fond duke,

I first have poison'd; directed thee the way

To marry a whore; what can be worse? This follows:

The hand must act to drown the passionate tongue,

I scorn to wear a sword and prate of wrong.

Enter Monticelso in State

Mont. Concedimus vobis Apostolicam benedictionem, et remissionem


My lord reports Vittoria Corombona

Is stol'n from forth the House of Convertites

By Brachiano, and they 're fled the city.

Now, though this be the first day of our seat,

We cannot better please the Divine Power,

Than to sequester from the Holy Church

These cursed persons. Make it therefore known,

We do denounce excommunication

Against them both: all that are theirs in Rome

We likewise banish. Set on.

[Exeunt all but Francisco and Lodovico.

Fran. Come, dear Lodovico;

You have ta'en the sacrament to prosecute

Th' intended murder?

Lodo. With all constancy.

But, sir, I wonder you 'll engage yourself

In person, being a great prince.

Fran. Divert me not.

Most of his court are of my faction,

And some are of my council. Noble friend,

Our danger shall be like in this design:

Give leave part of the glory may be mine. [Exit Francisco.

Enter Monticelso

Mont. Why did the Duke of Florence with such care

Labour your pardon? say.

Lodo. Italian beggars will resolve you that,

Who, begging of alms, bid those they beg of,

Do good for their own sakes; or 't may be,

He spreads his bounty with a sowing hand,

Like kings, who many times give out of measure,

Not for desert so much, as for their pleasure.

Mont. I know you 're cunning. Come, what devil was that

That you were raising?

Lodo. Devil, my lord?

Mont. I ask you,

How doth the duke employ you, that his bonnet

Fell with such compliment unto his knee,

When he departed from you?

Lodo. Why, my lord,

He told me of a resty Barbary horse

Which he would fain have brought to the career,

The sault, and the ring galliard: now, my lord,

I have a rare French rider.

Mont. Take your heed,

Lest the jade break your neck. Do you put me off

With your wild horse-tricks? Sirrah, you do lie.

Oh, thou 'rt a foul black cloud, and thou dost threat

A violent storm!

Lodo. Storms are i' th' air, my lord;

I am too low to storm.

Mont. Wretched creature!

I know that thou art fashion'd for all ill,

Like dogs, that once get blood, they 'll ever kill.

About some murder, was 't not?

Lodo. I 'll not tell you:

And yet I care not greatly if I do;

Marry, with this preparation. Holy father,

I come not to you as an intelligencer,

But as a penitent sinner: what I utter

Is in confession merely; which, you know,

Must never be reveal'd.

Mont. You have o'erta'en me.

Lodo. Sir, I do love Brachiano's duchess dearly,

Or rather I pursued her with hot lust,

Though she ne'er knew on 't. She was poison'd;

Upon my soul she was: for which I have sworn

T' avenge her murder.

Mont. To the Duke of Florence?

Lodo. To him I have.

Mont. Miserable creature!

If thou persist in this, 'tis damnable.

Dost thou imagine, thou canst slide on blood,

And not be tainted with a shameful fall?

Or, like the black and melancholic yew-tree,

Dost think to root thyself in dead men's graves,

And yet to prosper? Instruction to thee

Comes like sweet showers to o'er-harden'd ground;

They wet, but pierce not deep. And so I leave thee,

With all the furies hanging 'bout thy neck,

Till by thy penitence thou remove this evil,

In conjuring from thy breast that cruel devil. [Exit.

Lodo. I 'll give it o'er; he says 'tis damnable:

Besides I did expect his suffrage,

By reason of Camillo's death.

Enter Servant and Francisco

Fran. Do you know that count?

Servant. Yes, my lord.

Fran. Bear him these thousand ducats to his lodging.

Tell him the Pope hath sent them. Happily

That will confirm more than all the rest. [Exit.

Servant. Sir.

Lodo. To me, sir?

Servant. His Holiness hath sent you a thousand crowns,

And wills you, if you travel, to make him

Your patron for intelligence.

Lodo. His creature ever to be commanded. -

Why now 'tis come about. He rail'd upon me;

And yet these crowns were told out, and laid ready,

Before he knew my voyage. Oh, the art,

The modest form of greatness! that do sit,

Like brides at wedding-dinners, with their looks turn'd

From the least wanton jests, their puling stomach

Sick from the modesty, when their thoughts are loose,

Even acting of those hot and lustful sports

Are to ensue about midnight: such his cunning!

He sounds my depth thus with a golden plummet.

I am doubly arm'd now. Now to th' act of blood,

There 's but three furies found in spacious hell,

But in a great man's breast three thousand dwell.