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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

From ‘The Maid of Honour’

By Philip Massinger (1583–1640)

  • [Camiola, who is in love with Bertoldo, is told by his friends Antonio and Gasparo that he is a prisoner, and that the King has refused to pay his ransom.]

  • Enter a Servant
    Servant—The signiors, madam, Gasparo and Antonio,

    Selected friends of the renowned Bertoldo,

    Put ashore this morning.
    Camiola—Without him?
    Servant—I think so.

    Camiola—Never think more, then!
    Servant—They have been at court,

    Kissed the King’s hand, and, their first duties done

    To him, appear ambitious to tender

    To you their second service.
    Camiola—Wait them hither.

    Fear, do not rack me! Reason, now if ever

    Haste with thy aids, and tell me, such a wonder

    As my Bertoldo is, with such care fashioned,

    Must not, nay, cannot, in Heaven’s providence

    So soon miscarry!—

    Enter Antonio and Gasparo
    Pray you, forbear: ere you take

    The privilege as strangers to salute me,

    (Excuse my manners) make me first understand

    How it is with Bertoldo.
    Gasparo—The relation

    Will not, I fear, deserve your thanks.
    Antonio—I wish

    Some other should inform you.
    Camiola—Is he dead?

    You see, though with some fear, I dare inquire it.

    Gasparo—Dead! Would that were the worst: a debt were paid then,

    Kings in their birth owe nature.
    Camiola—Is there aught

    More terrible than death?
    Antonio—Yes, to a spirit

    Like his: cruel imprisonment, and that

    Without the hope of freedom.
    Camiola—You abuse me:

    The royal King cannot, in love to virtue,

    (Though all the springs of affection were dried up)

    But pay his ransom.
    Gasparo—When you know what ’tis,

    You will think otherwise: no less will do it

    Than fifty thousand crowns.
    Camiola—A petty sum,

    The price weighed with the purchase: fifty thousand!

    To the King ’tis nothing. He that can spare more

    To his minion for a masque, cannot but ransom

    Such a brother at a million. You wrong

    The King’s munificence.
    Antonio—In your opinion;

    But ’tis most certain: he does not alone

    In himself refuse to pay it, but forbids

    All other men.
    Camiola—Are you sure of this?
    Gasparo—You may read

    The edict to that purpose, published by him.

    That will resolve you.
    Camiola—Possible! Pray you, stand off.

    If I do mutter treason to myself

    My heart will break; and yet I will not curse him,—

    He is my King. The news you have delivered

    Makes me weary of your company: we’ll salute

    When we meet next. I’ll bring you to the door.

    Nay, pray you, no more compliments.