Achilles. An Opera - Act 2


Scene I.

Diphilus. Achilles.

Ach. I am very sensible, my Lord, of the particular Honours that are shewn me.
Diph. Honours, Madam! Lycomedes is still more particular. How happy must that Woman be whom he respects!
Ach. What do you mean, my Lord?
Diph. Let this speak both for him and me: The Present is worthy him to give, and you to receive.
Ach. I have too many Obligations already.
Diph. 'Tis in your Power. Madam, to return 'em all.
Ach. Thus I return 'em. And, if you dare be honest, tell him this Ring had been a more honourable Present to Theaspe .

AIR XX. Abroad as I was walking.

Diph. [Offering the Ring a second time.]

Such Homage to her Beauty,
What Coyness can reject?
Accept, as 'tis your Duty,
The Tribute with Respect.
What more can Beauty gain thee?
With Love I offer Power.
What Shame can ever stain thee,
Restrain thee,
Or pain thee,
When blest with such a Dower?
Diph. 'Tis but an earnest, Madam, of future Favours. — When Lycomedes his Power is yours, I intreat your Highness not to forget your Servant.
Ach. I shall remember thee with Contempt and Abhorrence.
Diph. I beg you, Madam, to consider your present Situation. — — This uncommon Distinction requires a softer Answer.
Ach. I shall give no other, my Lord. — I dare say, Diphilus , you think yourself highly honour'd by your present Negotiation. — Is there no Office too mean for Ambition? — Was you not a Man of Quality, was you not a Favourite, the World, my Lord, wou'd call you a Pimp, a Pandar, a Bawd, for this very honourable Proposal of yours.
Diph. What an unmerciful Weapon is a Woman's Tongue! — I beg your Highness to confine yourself within the Bounds of common Civility, and to consider who I am.
Ach. I do consider it. Diphilus , and that makes thee a thousand times the more contemptible.

AIR XXI. Butter'd Pease.

Shou'd the Beast of the noblest Race
Act the Brute of the lowest Class;
Tell me, which do you think more base,
Or the Lion or the Ass?
Boast not then of thy Rank or State;
That but shews thee the meaner Slave.
Take thy due then of Scorn and Hate.
As thou'rt but the greater Knave.
Diph. Though the Sex have the Privilege of unlimited Expression, and that a Woman's Words are not to be resented; yet a Lady, Madam, may be ill-bred. Ladies too are generally passionate enough without a Provocation, so that a Reply at present would be unnecessary.
Ach. Are such the Friends of Power? — How unhappy are Princes to have their Passions so very readily put in Execution, that they seldom know the Benefit of Reflexion! Go, and for once make your Report faithfully and without Flattery.

Scene II.


Diph. This Girl is so excessively ill-bred, and such an arrant Termagant, that I cou'd as soon fall in love with a Tigress. She hath a handsome Face, 'tis true, but in her Temper she is a very Fury. — But Lycomedes likes her; and 'tis not for me to dispute either his Taste or Pleasure. — Notwithstanding she is such a Spitfire, 'tis my Opinion the thing may still do: Things of this Nature shou'd be always transacted in Person, for there are Women so ridiculously half-modest, that they are asham'd in Words to consent to what (when a Man comes to the Point) they will make no Difficulties to comply with.

Scene III.

Lycomedes, Diphilus.

Lycom. Well, Diphilus , in what manner did she receive my Present?
Diph. 'Tis my Opinion, Sir, that she will accept it only from your Hands. From me she absolutely refuses it.

AIR XXII. Come open the Door sweet Betty . Lycom.

What, must I remain in Anguish?
And did not her Eyes consent?
No Sigh, not a Blush, nor Languish
That promis'd a kind Event!
It must be all Affectation,
The Tongue hath her Heart bely'd;
That oft hath withstood Temptation,
When ev'ry thing else comply'd.
Lycom. How did she receive you? Did you watch her Eyes? What was her Behaviour when you first told her I lov'd her?
Diph. She seem'd to be desperately disappointed, that you had not told her so your self.
Lycom. But when you press'd it to her —
Diph. She had all the Resentment and Fury of the most complying Prude.
Lycom. But did not she soften upon Consideration?
Diph. She seem'd to take it mortally ill of me, that my meddling in the Affair had delay'd your Majesty's Application.
Lycom. What no favourable Circumstance!
Diph. Nay, I was not in the least surpris'd at her Behaviour. Love at second-hand to a Lady of her warm Constitution! It was a Disappointment, Sir; and she cou'd not but treat it accordingly. — Whatever was my Opinion, 'twas my Duty, Sir, to obey you, but I found just the Reception I expected. Apply to her your self, Sir; answer her Wishes, and (if I know any thing of Woman) she will then answer yours, and behave herself as she ought.
Lycom. But, dear Diphilus , I grow more and more impatient.
Diph. That too by this time is her Case. — To save the Appearances of Virtue, the most easy Woman expects a little gentle Compulsion, and to be allow'd the Decency of a little feeble Resistance. For the Quiet of her own Conscience a Woman may insist upon acting the Part of Modesty, and you must comply with her Scruples. — You will have no more trouble but what will heighten the Pleasure.
Lycom. Pyrrha! — This is beyond my Hopes. — Diphilus , lay your Hand upon my Breast. Feel how my Heart flutters.
Diph. Did Pyrrha feel these Assurances of Love she wou'd not appear so thoughtful.
Lycom. Deidamia too not with her!
Diph. She is with the Queen, Sir.
Lycom. My other Daughters, who seem less fond of her, are in the Garden; so all 's safe. — Leave me, Diphilus , and let none, upon Pain of my Displeasure, presume to intrude.

Scene IV.

Lycomedes, Achilles.

Lycom. Lady Pyrrha , my dear Child, why so thoughtful?
Ach. Thoughts may not be so respectful; they may be too familiar, too friendly, too true: And who about you presumes to communicate 'em? Words and Forms only are for your Ear, Sir.
Lycom. You know, Pyrrha , you was never receiv'd upon the Foot of Ceremony, but Friendship; so that it wou'd be more respectful, if you was less shy and less reserv'd. — 'Tis your Behaviour, Pyrrha , that keeps me at a Distance.
Ach. If I was wanting Sir, either in Duty to you or my self, my own Heart wou'd be the first to reproach me. Your Majesty's Generosity is too solicitous upon my Account; and your Courtesy and Affability may even now detain you from Affairs of Importance. — If you have no Commands, Sir, the Princesses expect me in the Garden.
Lycom. Nay, positively, my dear Pyrrha , you shall not go.
Ach. But why, Sir? — For Heaven's Sake, what hath set you a trembling? — — I fear, Sir, you are out of Order. — — Who waits there?
Lycom. I did not call, Pyrrha .
Ach. Let me then, Sir, know your Commands. —

AIR XXIII. Altro Giorno in compagnia. Lycom.

If my Passion want explaining,
This way turn and read my Eyes;
These will tell thee, without feigning,
What in Words I must disguise.
Ach. Why do you fix your Eyes so intensely upon me? — Speak your Pleasure, speak to me then. — Why am I seiz'd? — Spare me, Sir, for I have a Temper that can't bear Provocation.
Lycom. I know there are a thousand necessary Affectations of Modesty, which Women, in Decency to themselves, practice with common Lovers before Compliance. — But my Passion, Pyrrha , deserves some Distinction.
Ach. I beg you then, Sir, don't lay violent Hands upon me.
Lycom. The Present you refus'd from Diphilus accept from me.
Ach. Why will you persist? — Nay, dear Sir, I can't answer for my Passions.
Lycom. 'Tis not Diphilus , but I give it you.
Ach. That Diphilus , Sir, is your Enemy.
Lycom. 'Tis I that offer it.
Ach. Your very worst Enemy, your Flatterer.
Lycom. You shou'd strive, Child, to conquer these extravagant Passions.
Ach. How I despise that Fellow! that Pimp, that Pandar!

AIR XXIV. Trip to the Laundry.

How unhappy are the Great,
Thus begirt with servile Slaves!
Such with Praise your Reason cheat.
Flatt'rers are the meanest Knaves.
They, in Friendship's Guise accost you;
False in all they say or do.
When these Wretches have ingross'd you,
Who 's the Slave, Sir, they or you?
Lycom. Is this reproachful Language, Pyrrha , befitting my Presence?
Ach. Nay, dear Sir, don't worry me. By Jove , you'll provoke me.
Lycom. Your Affectation, Pyrrha , is intolerable. There 's enough of it. — Those Looks of Aversion are insupportable. — I will have no struggling.
Ach. Then, Sir, I must have no Violence.

AIR XXV. As I walk'd along Fleetstreet . Lycom.

When the Fort on no Condition
Will admit the gen'rous Foe,
Parley but delays Submission;
We by Storm shou'd lay it low.
Lycom. I am in earnest, Lady. — I will have no trifling, no coquetting; you may spare those little Arts of Women, for my Passion is warm and vehement enough without 'em. — Do you know, Pyrrha , that Obedience is your Duty?
Ach. I know my Duty, Sir; and, had it not been for that Sycophant Diphilus , perhaps you had known yours.
Lycom. I am not, Lady, to be aw'd and frighten'd by stern Looks and Frowns. — Since your obstinate Behaviour then makes Violence necessary — —
Ach. You make Self-preservation, Sir, as necessary.
Lycom. I won't be refus'd.

AIR XXVI. The Lady's New-Year's Gift. Lycom.

Why such Affectation? Ach.
Why this Provocation? Lycom.
Must I bear Resistance still! Ach.
Check your Inclination. Lycom.
Dare you then deny me? Ach.
You too far may try me. Lycom.
Must I then against your Will! Ach.
Force shall never ply me.
Lycom. Never was such a Termagant!
Ach. By Jove , never was such an Insult!
Lycom. Will you? — Dare you? — Never was such Strength! —
Ach. Desist then.
Lycom. Audacious Fury, know you what you have done? —

AIR XXVII. Puppet-Show Trumpet Tune. Ach.

What Heart hath not Courage, by Force assail'd,
To brave the most desperate Fight?
'Tis Justice and Virtue that hath prevail'd;
Power must yield to Right.
Lycom. Am I so ignominiously to be got the better of!
Ach. You are.
Lycom. By a Woman!
Ach. You now, Sir, find you had acted a greater Part, if (in Spite of your Flatterers) you had got the better of your own Passions.

Scene V.

Lycomedes, Achilles, Diphilus, Courtiers.

1 Court. An Attempt upon the King's Life! — The Guards! where are the Guards?
2 Court. Such an open, bare-fac'd Assassination!
3 Court. And by a Woman too!
1 Court. Where are your Wounds, Sir.
2 Court. Take the Dagger from her, that she do no farther Mischief.
3 Court. The Dagger! Where? What Dagger?
1 Court. You will find it some where or other conceal'd; examine her, search her.
Ach. Save your Zeal, Sirs, for times of real Danger. Let Lycomedes accuse me. — He knows my Offence.
Lycom. How have I expos'd my self! — — Diphilus , bid these over-officious Friends leave me, and, as they value my Favour, that they say nothing of what they have seen. — [Diphilus talks apart with the Courtiers, who go out .] Though the Insult from any other Person had been unpardonable; there are ways that you, Madam, might still take to reconcile me.
Ach. Self-defence, Sir, is the Privilege of Mankind. I know your Power, but as I have offended no Law I rely upon your Justice.
Lycom. 'Twou'd be safer, Madam, to rely on your own future Behaviour.
Ach. Who was the Aggressor, Sir?
Lycom. Beauty, Inclination, Love. If you will merit Favour you know the Conditions.

AIR XXVIII. Old King Cole.

No more be coy;
Give a Loose to Joy,
And let Love for thy Pardon sue.
A Glance cou'd all my Rage destroy,
And light up my Flame anew.
For though a Man can stand at Bay
Against a Woman's Will;
And keep, amid the loudest Fray,
His Resolution still:
Yet when consenting Smiles accost,
The Man in her Arms is lost.

Scene VI.

Lycomedes, Achilles, Diphilus.

Ach. If your Resentment wants only the Show of Justice, let this honourable Man here be my Accuser; it may be necessary for him to trump up a horrid Conspiracy to skreen his own infamous Practices.
Diph. Your Majesty hath had too much Confidence in this Woman. The Lives of Kings are sacred, and the Matter (trivial as it seems) deserves further Inquiry. — There must be some secret villainous Design in this Affair.
Ach. And are not you, Diphilus , conscious of that secret villainous Design?
Diph. 'Tis an Offence, Sir, that is not to be pardon'd. Your Dignity, Sir, calls upon you (notwithstanding your Partiality to her) to make her an Example. There must be Things of Consequence that we are still ignorant of; and she ought to undergo the severest Examination. — My zeal for your Service, Sir, was never as yet at a loss for Witnesses upon these Occasions.
Lycom. Don't you see the Queen coming this Way? Have done with this Discourse, dear Diphilus , and leave me. — Wou'd I cou'd forget this ridiculous Affair! For the present, Pyrrha , I trust you to return to the Ladies; though (considering your passionate Temper) I have little Reason to rely on your Discretion.

Scene VII.

Lycomedes, Theaspe, Deidamia.

Theas. I thought I had heard Pyrrha 's Voice.
Lycom. A jealous Woman's Thoughts are her own and her Husband's eternal Plague; so I beg you, my Dear, say no more of her.
Theas. And have I no reason but my own Thoughts, my Liege?

AIR XXIX. Dicky's Walk in Dr. Faustus . Theas.

What give o'er!
I must and will complain. Lycom.
You plague us both in vain. Theas.
You won't then hear a Wife! Lycom.
I must, it seems, for Life.
Teaze no more. Theas.
Nay, Sir, you know 'tis true,
That 'tis to her I owe my Due.
No Thanks to you! It behoves Kings, Sir, to have the severest Guard upon their Actions; for as their great ones are trumpeted by Fame, their little ones are as certainly and as widely convey'd from Ear to Ear by a whisper.
Lycom. These chimerical Jealousies, Madam, may provoke my Patience.
Theas. Chimerical Jealousies! — And do you really, Sir, think your ignominious Affair is still a Secret? — Am I to be ignorant of a Thing that is already whisper'd every where?

AIR XXX. Puddings and Pyes.


The Slips of a Husband you Wives
Will never forget:
Your Tongue for the Course of our Lives
Is never in debt.
'Tis now funning,
And then dunning;
Intent on our Follies alone,
'Tis so fully employ'd that you never can think of your own.
Theas. My Suspicions have, indeed , wrong'd Pyrrha . — How I respect and honour that Girl! — Deidamia , that honourable, that virtuous Creature Pyrrha , well deserves both your Friendship and mine. — As soon as you have found her bring her to me, that I may acknowledge the Merits she hath to me.

Scene VIII.

Lycomedes, Theaspe.

Theas. After the Repulse and Disgrace you have very justly met with, you might with Reason censure me for want of Duty and Respect shou'd I upbraid you. — 'Tis past; and if you will never again put me in mind, I choose to forget it. — Yet, wou'd you reward Virtue, and had you any Regard for my Quiet. —

AIR XXXI. My Dilding, my Dalding.

Ah! shou'd you ever find her
Complying and kinder;
Though now you have resign'd her;
What then must ensue!
Your Flame, though now 'tis over,
Again will recover;
You'll prove as fond a Lover,
As I'm now of you.
Lycom. What wou'd you have me do?
Theas. I wou'd have you distrust your self and remove the Temptation. — I have long had it at Heart to find a Match for my Nephew Periphas , and I really think we can never meet with a more deserving Woman.
Lycom. Whatever Scheme you have for her, I shall not interfere with you. — I have had enough of her termagant Humours; she hath not the common Softness of the Sex. — 'Tis my Opinion, that Periphas will not find himself much oblig'd to you; for the Man that marries her must either conquer his own Passions, or hers, and one of 'em (according to my Observation) is not to be conquer'd.
Theas. Marriage, Sir, hath broke many a Woman's Spirit; and that will be only his Affair. — When he takes her with him, your own Family at least will be easy.
Lycom. Her Presence just now wou'd be shocking. — I cou'd not stand the Shame and Confusion. — I see her, and Deidamia with her. — Do with her as you please; you have my Consent.

Scene IX.

Theaspe, Deidamia, Achilles.

Theas. The Character Deidamia hath given of you, and your own Behaviour, Child, have so charm'd me, that I think I never can sufficiently reward your Merits.
Ach. Deidamia 's Friendship may make her partial. — My only Merit. Madam, is Gratitude.
Theas. To convince you of the Opinion I have of you — But I must first ask you a Question — Don't you think, Lady Pyrrha , that my Nephew Periphas is very agreeable?
Ach. That Impatience of his, to serve as a Volunteer with the Troops of Lycomedes at the Siege of Troy , is becoming his Birth. — So much Fire, and so much Spirit! — I don't wonder your Majesty is fond of him.
Theas. But I am sure, Pyrrha , you must think his Person agreeable.
Ach. No Woman alive can dispute it.
Theas. I don't know, every way, so deserving a young Man; and I have that Influence upon him, and at the same time that Regard for him, that I wou'd have him happy. — Don't think, child, that I wou'd make him happy at your Expence; for knowing him, I know you will be so. — Was the Princess Calistra here, 'tis a Match she cou'd not disapprove of; therefore let that be no Obstacle, for every thing, in regard to her. I take upon my self.
Ach. Wou'd you make me the Obstacle to his Glory? Pardon me, Madam, I know my self undeserving.

AIR XXXII. How happy are you and I.

First let him for Honour roam.
And martial Fame obtain:
Then (if he shou'd come Home)
Perhaps I may explain.
Since then alone the Hero's Deeds
Can make my Heart give way;
' Till Ilion falls and Hector bleeds ,
I must my Choice delay.
Theas. Nay, Pyrrha , I won't take these romantick Notions of yours for an Answer. — Deidamia is so much your Friend, that, I am sure, she must be happy with this Alliance, so, while I make the Proposal to my Nephew, I leave you two to talk over the Affair together.

Scene X.

Deidamia, Achilles.

Ach. Was there ever a Man in so whimsical a Circumstance!
Deid. Was there ever a Woman in so happy and so unhappy a one as mine!
Ach. Why did I submit? why did I plight my Faith thus infamously to conceal my self? — What is become of my Honour?
Deid. Ah Pyrrha, Pyrrha , what is become of mine!
Ach. When shall I behave my self as a Man!
Deid. Wou'd you had never behav'd yourself as one!

AIR XXXIII. Fy gar rub her o'er with Straw. Deid.

Think what Anguish tears my Quiet,
Since I suffer'd Shame for thee:
Man at large may rove and riot,
We are bound but you are free.
Are thy Vows and Oaths mistaken?
See the Birds that wing the Sky;
These their Mates have ne'er forsaken,
'Till their Young at least can fly.
Ach. Pester'd and worried thus from every Quarter 'tis impossible much longer to prevent discovery!
Deid. Dear, dear Pyrrha , confide in me. Any other Discovery but to me only wou'd be inevitable Perdition to us both. — Am I treated like a common Prostitute? Can your Gratitude (wou'd I might say Love!) refuse to let me know the Man to whom I owe my Ruin?
Ach. You must rely, my dear Princess, upon my Honour; for I am not, like a fond weak Husband, to be teaz'd into the breaking my Resolution.

AIR XXXIV. Beggar 's Opera. Hornpipe. Ach.

Know that Importunity's in vain. Deid.
Can then nothing move thee? Ach.
Ask not, since Denial gives me Pain. Deid.
Think how much I love thee. Ach.
What 's a Secret in a Woman's Breast? Deid.
Canst thou thus upbraid me! Ach.
Let me leave thy Heart and Tongue at rest. Deid.
Love then hath betray'd me.
Ach. For Heaven's sake, Deidamia , if you regard my Love, give me Quiet. — Intreaties, Fondness, Tears, Rage and the whole matrimonial Rhetorick of Woman to gain her Ends are all thrown away upon me; for, by the Gods, my dear Deidamia , I am inexorable.
Deid. But, my dear Pyrrha , (for you oblige me still to call you by that Name) only imagine what must be the Consequence of a Month or two. — Think of my unhappy Condition. — To save my Shame (if you are a Man of Honour) you must then come to some Resolution.
Ach. 'Till I deserve these Suspicions, Deidamia , methinks it wou'd be more becoming your Professions of Love to spare 'em. — I have taken my Resolutions; and when the time comes, you shall know 'em: till then be easy, and press me no farther.

AIR XXXV. My time, O ye Muses. Deid.

How happy my Days and how sweet was my Rest,
Ere Love with his Passions my Bosom distrest!
Now I languish with Sorrow, I doubt and I fear:
But Love hath me all when my Pyrrha is near .
Yet why have I griev'd? — Ye vain Passions adieu!
I know my own Heart and I'll think thee as true;
And as you know my Heart, 'twou'd be folly to range;
For who'd be inconstant to lose by the Change?
Deid. My Life, my Honour, then I implicitly intrust with you.
Ach. Who wou'd have the trouble of putting on a Character that does not naturally belong to him! the Life of a Hypocrite must be one continual Scene of Anxiety. When shall I appear as I am, and extricate my self out of this Chain of Perplexities! — I have no sooner escap'd being ravish'd but I am immediately to be made a Wife.
Deid. But, dear Pyrrha , for my sake, for your own, have a particular Regard to your Behaviour till your Resolution is ripe for Execution. — You now and then take such intolerable Strides, that I vow you have set me a blushing.
Ach. Considering my continual Restraint, and how much the Part I act differs from my Inclinations, I am surpriz'd at my own Behaviour.

AIR XXXVI. I am come to your House. Ach.

Your Dress, your Conversations,
Your Airs of Joy and Pain,
All these are Affectations
We never can attain.
The Sex so often varies,
'Tis Nature more than Art:
To play their whole Vagaries
We must have Woman's Heart.
Deid. Your Swearing too, upon certain Occasions, sounds so very masculine — an Oath startles me. — — Wou'd I cou'd cure my self of these violent Apprehensions!
Ach. As for that matter, there are Ladies who, in their Passions, can take all the Liberties of Speech.
Deid. Then too, you very often look so agreeably impudent upon me, that, let me die, if I have not been mortally afraid my Sisters wou'd find you out.
Ach. Impudent! are Women so censorious that Looks cannot escape 'em? — May not one Woman look kindly upon another without Scandal?
Deid. But such Looks! — Nay, perhaps I may be particular, and it may be only my own Fears; for (notwithstanding your Dress) whenever I look upon you, I have always the Image of a Man before my eyes.
Ach. Do what we will, Love at some Moments will be unguarded. — But what shall I do about this Periphas?
Deid. His Heart is so set upon the Siege, that I know you can have but very little Persecution upon his Account.
Ach. Wou'd I cou'd go with him!
Deid. And cou'd you leave me thus?
Ach. Have you only a womanish Fondness? I thought, Deidamia , you lov'd me. And you cannot truly love and esteem, if in every Circumstance of Life you have not a just Regard for my Honour.
Deid. Dear Pyrrha , don't mention it; the very Thought of it kills me. You have set my Heart in a most violent Palpitation. — Let us talk no more upon this disagreeable Subject. — My Sisters will grow very impatient. — Shou'd we stay longer together I might again be importunate and ask to know you, and I had rather bear the eternal Plague of unsatisfied Curiosity, than give you a Moment's Disquiet. — They are now expecting us in the Garden, and, considering my present Circumstances, I wou'd not give 'em occasion to be impertinent, for of late they have been horridly prying and inquisitive. — Let us go to 'em.
Ach. I envy that Periphas . His Honour, his Fame, his Glory is not shackled by a Woman.

AIR XXXVII. The Clarinette. Ach.

Ah, why is my Heart so tender!
My Honour incites me to Arms:
To Love shall I Fame surrender?
By Laurels I'll merit thy Charms. Deid.
How can I bear the Reflection? Ach.
I balance; and Honour, gives way. Deid.
Reward my Love by Affection;
I ask thee no more than I pay.
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