Luci. Who should I sweare by, Thou beleeuest no God, That graunted, how can'st thou beleeue an oath? Aron. What if I do not, as indeed I do not, Yet for I know thou art Religious, And hast a thing within thee, called Conscience, With twenty Popish trickes and Ceremonies, Which I haue seene thee carefull to obserue: Therefore I vrge thy oath, for that I know An Ideot holds his Bauble for a God, And keepes the oath which by that God he sweares, To that Ile vrge him: therefore thou shalt vow By that same God, what God so ere it be That thou adorest, and hast in reuerence, To saue my Boy, to nourish and bring him vp, Ore else I will discouer nought to thee

Luci. Euen by my God I sweare to thee I will

Aron. First know thou, I begot him on the Empresse

Luci. Oh most Insatiate luxurious woman! Aron. Tut Lucius, this was but a deed of Charitie, To that which thou shalt heare of me anon, 'Twas her two Sonnes that murdered Bassianus, They cut thy Sisters tongue, and rauisht her, And cut her hands off, and trim'd her as thou saw'st

Lucius. Oh detestable villaine! Call'st thou that Trimming? Aron. Why she was washt, and cut, and trim'd, And 'twas trim sport for them that had the doing of it

Luci. Oh barbarous beastly villaines like thy selfe! Aron. Indeede, I was their Tutor to instruct them That Codding spirit had they from their Mother, As sure a Card as euer wonne the Set: That bloody minde I thinke they learn'd of me, As true a Dog as euer fought at head. Well, let my Deeds be witnesse of my worth: I trayn'd thy Bretheren to that guilefull Hole, Where the dead Corps of Bassianus lay: I wrote the Letter, that thy Father found, And hid the Gold within the Letter mention'd. Confederate with the Queene, and her two Sonnes, And what not done, that thou hast cause to rue, Wherein I had no stroke of Mischeife in it. I play'd the Cheater for thy Fathers hand, And when I had it, drew my selfe apart, And almost broke my heart with extreame laughter. I pried me through the Creuice of a Wall, When for his hand, he had his two Sonnes heads, Beheld his teares, and laught so hartily, That both mine eyes were rainie like to his: And when I told the Empresse of this sport, She sounded almost at my pleasing tale, And for my tydings, gaue me twenty kisses

Goth. What canst thou say all this, and neuer blush? Aron. I, like a blacke Dogge, as the saying is

Luci. Art thou not sorry for these hainous deedes? Aron. I, that I had not done a thousand more: Euen now I curse the day, and yet I thinke Few come within few compasse of my curse, Wherein I did not some Notorious ill, As kill a man, or else deuise his death, Rauish a Maid, or plot the way to do it, Accuse some Innocent, and forsweare my selfe, Set deadly Enmity betweene two Friends, Make poore mens Cattell breake their neckes, Set fire on Barnes and Haystackes in the night, And bid the Owners quench them with the teares: Oft haue I dig'd vp dead men from their graues, And set them vpright at their deere Friends doore, Euen when their sorrowes almost was forgot, And on their skinnes, as on the Barke of Trees, Haue with my knife carued in Romaine Letters, Let not your sorrow die, though I am dead. Tut, I haue done a thousand dreadfull things As willingly, as one would kill a Fly, And nothing greeues me hartily indeede, But that I cannot doe ten thousand more

Luci. Bring downe the diuell, for he must not die So sweet a death as hanging presently

Aron. If there be diuels, would I were a deuill, To liue and burne in euerlasting fire, So I might haue your company in hell, But to torment you with my bitter tongue

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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