Collaborative play writing/Aglaura/Act 3

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Act 3. Scene 1. The duke's palace

Enter Thomas, Leveller, and Chafing

Thomas. This way headlong, where an unwary duke

Remorselessly is taken!

Chafing. Most dangerous, my lord, but yet for love

Of you and liberty, we follow fast.

Leveller. His lordship will deserve what he obtains

No later than this minute.

Chafing. I marvel that Disgruntled is not come.

Thomas. Quite strange, but let that go. When honor, life,

And fortune are in doubt, far better is

It to think little and act much. We bend

The head, ram-like, and see what totters at

The wobbly base.

Enter Ziriff, Jacques, and the duke's guards

Leveller. Ha! Who are these?

Chafing. The guard!

Thomas. With Jacques!

Leveller. And grinning Ziriff!

Thomas. Betrayed! Betrayed!

Chafing. Shift for yourself, my lord. I do not mean

To lie dull when I see foes armed for me.

Leveller. Empale them all.

Thomas. All, all! Through walls of men with sharpest pikes

To run quite through the duke.

(They fight with swords, exeunt Thomas, Leveller, and Chafing retreating, followed by Ziriff, Jacques, and the guards

Enter the duke

Duke. Right. Follow, sirs. At them with blows of might!

See quickest execution done. Do not

Reserve one breathing man for wife or bed.

Below your heels with foes! Whoever steps

On fire and makes a jest of pain, soon sees

The grinning face that ships him into hell.

Re-enter Chafing, bleeding, followed by the guards

Chafing. Ha! Will I die tonight? Quite unprepared!

Duke. Chafing is down. Tread on him with swords down.

Chafing. A beetle twitching.

Duke. Post-haste to death!

Chafing. Slaves born in an hour, to die in the hour!

(The guards stab him

Chafing. No more of Chafing in this world! For me,

The world exists no more. (he dies

Duke. Good, good.

Re-enter Leveller

Leveller. Ha, Chafing, dead! Now I am mad indeed.

(He fights with his sword against the guards

Duke. Brave lord, he has killed two, but I remain.

Leveller. It is a pleasure to die near such men.

Duke. I'll live to tell of yours.

Leveller. I'll quickly come before the torrent swells.

(They fight

Duke. Brave coins on me, but earning you a death!

Enter Arnaud

Come, brother, why so slow?

Arnaud. No doubt you can kill him without my help.

Duke. I'll knee him yet. Let me not breathe in bed

Until I see this fellow in his grave.

Re-enter Ziriff

Is my son near?

Ziriff. Beneath your guards' sword-point yet still afresh

For further slaughters.

Duke. I'll end this traitor ere I speak again.

Ziriff. (stabbing Leveller from behind

My sword has found him.

Leveller. Spare me.

Ziriff. I do, from wheels and torment. (stabbing him

Leveller. I lose this light forever. Can my soul

Rise circumambiently? I much doubt that,

Yet happy in that Ziriff dies as well. (he dies

Duke. Have you stabbed him? All's well when traitors die.

Remove both. Traitor heads on pikes atop

The city walls, to let our subjects know

The end of rebels! After treachery,

Can such sons live? Find him. I'll dig his grave.

Exeunt the duke, Ziriff, and Arnaud, the guards carrying the dead bodies

Act 3. Scene 2. Ziriff's house

Enter Aglaura and Jacqueline

Aglaura. What thunder is this now?

Jacqueline. No thunder but men's difference against

Each other. Holy virgin, happily,

Though poor, in spite of pains, you quietly

Slept all night long, while we, astonished, sweat

Below our arm-pits to the neck and face,

As if the next man comes to murder us.

Aglaura. I shrink at it.

Jacqueline. The rage of men!

Aglaura. Enough to swallow the entire world.

Jacqueline. The duke is mad. Some wager he intends

To bleed his son before his mother's face.

Aglaura. O, Thomas! Let such mischiefs never be,

Or let me never be. Is Ziriff in?

Jacqueline. I think he is.

Aglaura. The walls should crumble underneath man's wrath.

A beggar, chewing on his walking-stick

For hunger, is secure compared with great

Ones when the rout is up. I'll wear a face

Of quietude until the winds cool off.

Exit Jacqueline

Aglaura. Come, is he here?

Re-enter Jacqueline

Jacqueline. He stays inside, my lady.

Aglaura. What, will he sleep until his sister gapes

Inside her closet in a sitting fear?

Jacqueline. I found him preening tranquilly aloft

Before approving glass, his perfumed suit

Above two stinking carcasses, a cap

At best advantage, strings of amber stones

Along his shirt-front, tightly fringed with ropes

Of rubies, that like blood of men appear,

Some darker than the wounds below his feet.

He, making mouths at your serene glass-case,

Has eyes to love his face, though rebels bleed,

Hot-iron wrenched, in some adjoining room,

For information on disloyalties,

He, stiff in bearing, smoothing wrinkled sleeves,

As if a dragon's seed bore him to man's

Age, never seems to hear their demon-shrieks,

But puckers as we do when touching lips

With deeper redness, pulls a fiery loop

Of diamonds to his thickly frizzled hair,

And lisps high melodies, while all the guards

Hum deepest basses to his airy tune.

Aglaura. Such natures yawn in cataracts. Drag him

With horses if you can.

Exit Jacqueline

Aglaura. Not yet?

Jacqueline (within

He comes.

Enter Ziriff

Aglaura. My brother! Heaven surely sends you.

Ziriff. I doubt that, girl. Do angels know such shapes?

Aglaura. In spite of fortune, will these walls yet hold?

Ziriff. Let Frenchmen singe our house-tops till we freeze:

I'll fear asleep in beds.

Aglaura. Ha, Ziriff, does the duke intend to kill

My only love?

Ziriff. I swear no longer I adore this duke

As I once did. More counsellors of state

Play with his ears, first Jacques, then that deep

And frowning brother, Arnaud, both of whom

I loathe with fingers, whose voice bid the duke

Arise as slaughter-man on rebel lords,

Both with his bosom, while I, destitute,

As sunshine blushes on their evils, cold

And naked in the moonlight, wait my turn

Before I tug apart his thighs, to bless

With warmer favors. Pah! Not to sit still,

I will do something, yet I know not what.

Aglaura. Where is my love?

Ziriff. Because I fondle less the careless duke,

I should more often kiss his enemies,

Of whom I count your love as pleasantest.

Aglaura. He, he! For his adoring lady, look

How he in haste troops forth.

Enter Thomas

Thomas. Hide me from the man, murderous in thought,

Unchaste in cold desires, I once called dad.

Ziriff. Too gladly!

Thomas. Not Ziriff? I will stand against you, knave.

Aglaura. Do not completely undo yourself:

He is a friend, more than a brother.

Thomas. I but espy a Persian traitor here.

Ziriff. Who is a traitor? Not you, sword in hand

Against a father? Will you stroke asleep

This father with a pike? I think you will,

In such a sleep as few on earth can wake

Such fathers up.

Aglaura. Sweet, are you followed?

Thomas. I'm hotly hounded by a rash of men

Corrupting all my blood, enough to spill

My own or theirs.

Aglaura. That minister of hell you must put up.

Jump to these arms instead, your nest of joys

Away from worlds of broil.

Ziriff. The fairest proposition to a stiff

And arrant rebel!

Aglaura. Another kind of stiffness I entice.

Thomas. Since last that beauteous visage I gazed on,

Benign time, wasting all my joys with dust

Of brawling, tying all my limbs not in love-bands,

Love's shrine and temple, but in armored plate,

Has metamorphisized unfaithful forms

Into a monster of unheard-of limbs,

Begetting fresher horrors. Ah, dear love,

The duke- I do not call him father, for

It is suspected when he cradled me

He tore my insides with a grosser lust-

Must be rid of before he claps my thighs

Next to a greener Gorgon- such she is

If not without your face, or else he hides

Me in a cellar, with but water rats

At suppertime to tell the time of day.-

Do you weep, love?

Ziriff. My sister cannot hold when lovers sigh.

Aglaura. A son should know his father better than

To let him thus escape. What should we do?

Ziriff. Do you intend to droop, as children when

Bewetted by their spleen? I will advance

If but to stroke the duke asleep, until

The dawn sees him as red as she, his blood

Escaped in rills he knows not how or where.

Aglaura. But what of Thomas?

Ziriff. Inside this vault, through which a man will gain

The frowning woods, out of his ducal hands,

Our Thomas may lie still, out of the air,

As if a babe caressed, not raven food.

Aglaura. My angel!

Ziriff. Until a devil teaches you the truth.

Thomas. Excited love, the dawn-

Ziriff. Will you kiss when death breathes on us? Away!

Thomas. When next we meet, all this will seem a masque,

Ape-measures to affright the eyes of fools.

Wine never tastes like wine as when we clear

The spider from the glass. I will reward

This honesty, my Ziriff.

Ziriff. Down safely with unknown adventurers!

Exit Thomas inside the vault

Aglaura. Could I but join him in his darkness there!

Ziriff. A foolish sister sometimes listened to!

Warm up your bed for him, while we annul

A father from a world a-weary of

His drooping sins.

Exeunt Aglaura and Ziriff

Act 3. Scene 3. The duke's palace

Enter Arnaud and Jacques

Arnaud. The heir is not yet killed. I wonder why

That is still so.

Jacques. I'll kill him ere he prays and wins again.

Arnaud. If you do that, Jacques, you'll know what a thing it is to be a duke's companion.

Jacques. To my mind, you are a duke already. Mark this: I'll do such things yet as will leave hearers in the court gaping at the wonder of the deeds of men.

Arnaud. Here's gold for even thinking of it.

Jacques. I thank your grace- I should say "lord", but what of that?

Arnaud. True, what of that?- My brother!

Jacques. Your brother like a bolt across dark clouds!

Enter the duke

Duke. No more delays! Find him, find him, I say,

And I will play the hangman. Leave at once.

A traitor live? Let it not be disclosed

I wink when devils lurk.- My only guard!

Enter Ziriff

Ziriff. My very good grace, send these starers off,

For I have business for your dukedom's peace,

Which may not be put off.

Duke. Let no man stay except my Ziriff here.

Arnaud. How, in our time of danger-

Duke. Off, off, away! Do not make me-

Arnaud. Pah! Can you threaten?

Duke. I will impose my will or die instead.

Out with all villain hogs who root for meals

From berries of my graces!

Exeunt Arnaud and Jacques

Ziriff. Not to delay your pleasure, best of lords,

With tedious self-laudations of my worth,

In kindest love best serving your high will,

I have affected what will startle you

In open exclamations of my deeds.

Duke. Unbutton. Half my midnight pleasure's yours.

Ziriff. This night Aglaura dances to your will.

Duke. I like your news, yet is that wonderful?

Am I no duke? Do not great dukes attract

Most absolute subjection at all times?

Ziriff. True, highest grace, but here is matter fit

To stuff in full contentment's orifice.

Your heir-

Duke. Dead? Say that word to be forever mine.

Ziriff. Not dead, not dead, yet likely to drop off

Into the mouth of night.

Duke. Instruct me how I am so fortunate.

Ziriff. In yonder cypress grove I chased your son,

When night looked dangerous and evil stars

Laughed at men flying in their horrid fears

In danger of a death, in hours of blood,

There I found out a web-stained hidden vault,

Home of his secret love, perhaps a grave

For one, or more.

Duke. Aglaura! Did they barter beads of sweat

With beads of sweat? Am I their jack by which

Two lovers tell the time to rise and fall?

I will uncap their necks in darkness as they bleed,

I'l make a pudding of her lustful blood,

In dungeon chambers she will gobble snow,

Or what half-famished rats faint to look on,

To make of her a story that will choke

With terror all-consenting womankind.

Ziriff. It is beyond my powers to express

The evil deeds of humankind. Let be.

Duke. I will, I will, I will, I will, I will.

Ziriff. My lord-

Duke. Lead me like clouds of thunder to their bed.

Ziriff. Though heaven or a duke maim me for it,

I scorn subjection, quite incapable

Of leading anyone to such a death

As I well know your lordship must intend.

Duke. How kind is heaven in my glorious state

To have a Persian friend look after me!

When padded traitors tread with feet of blood,

A servant smiles to say we may them kill,

If clasping nearest our man-wishing heart.

Ziriff. Omega for what everyone should wish!

Duke. Our entertainment will drown memories

Of hours past by so richly thick that love

Will dare reply with golden shows of love.

Dull gapers of the court will weep on that.

What they within a lifetime finger still,

Bowing and scraping, till their homage shrink

To an old man's shuffle, you will idly hold

Within a minute. Say so, all is yours.

Ziriff. All for the better and the best.

Duke. Time is a cripple till I see this son again.

Ziriff. This night you will.

Duke. The thought of that draws tears. Within there, sirs!

Come, Jacques.

Ziriff. What do you mean, your grace? Such a man now?

Duke. Do I own but one friend?

Ziriff. I do not like this.

Duke. My good friends all!

Re-enter Jacques

Jacques. Your servant till our death!

Duke. I'll be your recompense most certainly.

Ziriff. What does he here?

Duke. I'll have you two together.

Jacques. Until the grasp of death.

Ziriff. That may be sooner than you ever wished.

Duke. No, no, together, I command.

Jacques. Come, on my bosom, Ziriff.

Ziriff. Ha, off me, villain!

Duke. Tonight we shuffle, friends, so that our foes

May suddenly die.

Exit the duke

Jacques. You are a tyrant, Ziriff, when, thus near,

You play so closely with the duke's right ear.

Ziriff. I do and have no fellow.

Jacques. Let us fold neatly in a single piece.

Ziriff. A varlet hug the duke? Away with you!

Jacques. My lovely Ziriff and I but one mold!

Ziriff. I lie when saying I care for your like.

Jacques. For all this scorn concerning the duke's love,

Your only region, I perceive you do

Not love the duke.

Ziriff. But you much less.

Jacques. Most precious jewel! You are still about

The neck, his bracelet, adorning him

In a mock-state, yet ceremony trimmed

In curious shapes may strangle strangely

The authors of such shows. Will we compact?

Ziriff. The duke commands it.

Jacques. I'll shake both, though I die.

Ziriff. You do well. (striking him

Jacques. Death! On my face, too! Do you loathe the sun?

Ziriff. A gift for being near my charity.

Jacques. I'll ask no more of it.

Ziriff. Do not. You'll be deceived.

Jacques. Will this duke be our sole and tender aim?

Ziriff. By charity, I'll swear that should be so.

Jacques. With oaths of danger.- Do not start. A friend.

Re-enter Arnaud

Ziriff. Familiar slave, a duke's own brother, friend?

Arnaud. For once I'll grant him that.

Ziriff. How, hugging that fair rat? It is not night

Yet, my good lord.

Jacques. No further jests.

Arnaud. Are you compounded?

Jacques. I tame a wild one.

Arnaud. Is he our own and true?

Jacques. Like steel, but sharper.

Arnaud. Clasp tighter to be mine, forever mine.

Ziriff. We meet tonight together with the duke.

Arnaud. To kill the son?

Ziriff. Much hoped for still.

Arnaud. What better fashion to make friends than kill

Our enemies?

Jacques. Assuredly.

Ziriff. That should be done, and sooner than you hope.

Jacques. My loving Ziriff!

Ziriff. I scorn your presences. What I prepare

Will garner something for those rotting near

The golden portals of the heavy rich.

Arnaud. A joyful malcontent, for us a boon.

Trust gold when I am duke.

Ziriff. My only faith!

Arnaud. Will not the duke smile wildly, seeing us

Thus mingled all together?

Ziriff. No, no, but only grin.

Arnaud. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Best of servants still!

Where is my nephew?

Ziriff. Inside the forest. Whether he eats grass

Or pickled spiders I do not yet know.

Arnaud. I'll find this nephew though I rot through dung.

Exeunt Ziriff, Jacques, and Arnaud