Siege, The: Or, Love's Convert, A Tragi-Comedy - Act 1. Scene 1

ACT. I. SCEN. I.

Scedasus, Patacion, Epigenes, Terpander,
Eudemus, Nicias with the Pictures of three
Byzantine Virgins.

Sced. But there's no other way.
Epi. They must be sent
Or we must die.
Pat. Wee're no such subtile feeders
As to make Meals on Air, sup on a Blast,
And think a fresh Gale Second Course.
Terp. No verily; Let's see thy Pictures, Nicias . I would the Tyrant had a mind to all the
Wenches in the Citty, and would barter Bread in exchange: a Loaf a Wench, have at
him from one end o'th' Town to the other.
Eud. Fond men!
You strive to purchase a short Liberty
By means more infamous than Servitude;
If that a Tyrant's lust do burn, are we
Bound to supply that which may quench his fury?
If his unruly Passion, kindled by
Report of Beauty, doth grow big with flames,
And saucily exact what e'r is fair
And eminently gracefull, as if Nature
Had sent it as a Tribute due to him,
Though't be the dowrie of another State,
Shall we surrender it, and basely prize
Our Innocence below his haughty Anger?
Terp. I say the Pictures then shall not be sent.
Pat. Had we a Magazine well furnish'd, were
Our Granaries charg'd with Corn, there were some Plea
Against his practice: but this tedious Siedge
Forceth our noble thoughts to other wales,
Whiles Famine cals that Lawful which is base.
Terp. Why then the Pictures must be sent how e'r.
Eud. Will you still owe your vertues to your Bellies?
And only then think nobly when y'are full?
Doth Fodder keep you honest? are you bad
When out of flesh? and think you't an excuse
Of vile and ignominious Actions, that
Y'are lean, and out of liking? for I must
Speak of you now as Cattle, whiles you thus
Enslave your selves unto the Paunch, enduring
A Tyranny beyond that you complain of.
Terp. I say he must speak of us now as Beasts;
Say what you will the Pictures sha'n't be sent.
Sced. 'Tis better do't than starve.
Eud. Well rumbled Belly;
There spoke a stomack.
Terp. I, there spok a stomack.
Sced. We have not strength left to uphold our weapons;
Armour, that was e'r while a Garment only,
Is now a Burthen. Famine hath imprinted
Old age upon the Visages of Children,
And Youths appear like th' Ghosts of the deceas'd;
Or like some Creatures, whom the Destinies
Will not permit to dye; W'have scarce enough
Flesh to receive a Wound, no force to give one;
Would you have Skelletons maintain a fight
That will fall with th' Ayre of the passing Dart?
We have not vigour to defend our selves,
Nor yet a Sacrifice to win the Gods
Over unto our side.
Eud. To win the Gods?
Have you not Minds, and Pray'rs? 'tis not the Beasts
Heart that propitiates Heaven, but your own,
Think not that I engage my self in this
For a particular end, a private good;
'Tis common what I aime at: 'tis not that
My Daughter's liable to his choice
That I diswade. Whiles I deny the sending
Of these three faces, I deny your Wives,
Your Daughters, nay, perhaps your Sons; for that
Which now desires but one, will spread to all;
Without distinguishing of Age, or Sexe.
Think what a Blot will stain our memory
To all Posterity, when't shall be said
Byzantium was a Pander to a Tyrant.
Let yet our miseries be honest; let us,
If that the Gods deny us happinesse,
Persist unfortunate without Reproach.
Terp. And that's considerable, wee'l be honest sure.
Epi. We do approve your reasons; but if he
(As it is likely) conquer us, we shall
'Mongst other our indignities, be sure
To suffer this too. Then consider with
What mind we do't; we yield up one to reskue
All other from abuse. Our own misfortunes
Are not as yet i'th' Catalogue. What can we
Expect so mercifull as death? he won't
Indulge a killing torment; we shall be
Reserv'd to after miseries, and life
Only kept in to keep us longer dying.
Terp. Marry God forbid; we will not be mangled sure.
Eud. Fear never wanted arguments; you do
Reason your selves into a Carefull bondage,
Circumspect only to your Misery:
I could urge Freedom, Charters, Country, Laws,
Gods, and Religion, and such precious names;
Nay, what you value higher, Wealth; but that
You sue for Bondage, yielding to demands
As Impious, as th'are Insolent, and have
Only this sluggish aime, to perish full.
Terp. Painter, budg not a foot, wee'l stand it out.
Nic. You speak most rightly Sir, but we are hungry.
Pat. Hunger will be the least of evils, we
Shall not be found so Innocent, as only
To pine, and dye; our miseries will grow savage:
Man will refresh himself on man; the stronger
Devour the weaker, till at last one pair
Be only left who must be call'd the Citty.
Terp. Haste for thy life, we cannot stand it out.
Nic. I hope your Worships will dispatch me with 'em.
'Tis my request my pains be only thus
Rewarded, to present 'em to the Tyrant.
Sced. Most fit, good Nicias . All agree?
Epig. Pat. Yes, all.
Eud. It is one happiness that he askes no more:
And we are blest in that a Tyrant's modest,
Being beholding to his wishes, that
They've put such limits to our Infamy.
There is no Beast more stubborn and unruly
Than is the Belly: Th' empty and the full
Are both alike in this, that they'll not listen.
The Brand be yours, if the Misfortune mine.
Pat. Sir, the misfortune cann't be only yours;
For I've a Daughter too, that in a love
To better education waits on yours;
Who hath from thence contracted such a tye
Unto her Ladies vertues, that she is
Resolv'd to run an equall hazard with her:
'Tis my Euthalpe ; whom, were she anothers,
I would call fair, and vertuous, and deserving.
Terp. Go, go, go: follow and take order.
Nicias , come hither: I'l impart a secret to thee.
The truth is, one of us is much o'rseen: 'twas a most improvident thing, who e'r 'twas did it,
to go and beget a fair Daughter, and here aske the advice of the Common-Councel before
hand. But let's be now judicious, and weigh reasons.
Our Innocence priz'd below his Anger? — — Carry 'em not Painter.
Yet Famine cals that lawfull which is base. — — Thou must carry 'em Painter.
Still owe our Vertues to our Bellies? — — Stay Painter.
Yet no vigour left to defend our selves. — — Go Painter.
This sluggish aime to perish full? — — Stand Painter.
Yet the stronger will devour the weaker. — — Run Painter.
All these wisely consider'd, thou must not go, and thou must go, and so I leave thee.
Ni. Now I am Legat Nicias : th' only way
If you'd perform an Embassie with just
And decent Ceremony, is to fast long;
This Siedge hath sterv'd me into so good Manners,
That when I'm feasted in the Tyrant's Tent
I shall not choose but make as many obeysances
Unto the Chine of Beet, as he that carrieth it
Doth to the Chair of State. My lofty Widdow,
Who, if that I had dignity, hath promis'd
T' accept my Person, will be hence demerited:
For though I be abus'd, and made their mirth,
To suffer from a Prince is still thought worth.
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