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Can mine be easy then ? 'tis no small thing
Can vex your even Mind, and make you froward,
Froward with me, which you was ne'er till now:
This Night I folded you within these Arms,
And ask'd you if you slept, if you were well ?
You said, you could not sleep, and yet turn'd from me.
Turning from thee is Restlessness indeed ;
Thou only Comfort to my troubled Mind !
May Joys, and full Content remain in yours.
Oh, preach Content to one upon a Rack,
And he will hear as soon.
My Soul is so perplex'd with Fears for you,
That all the Joys of Nature or of Fortune,
Could find no entrance here at such a time.
Retire, retire; talking so tenderly,
You, like officious and condoling Friends,
But more afflict that Mind you would compose.
I hope you think me neither false nor foolish;
If it were fit for you to know my Cares,
'Twere ill in me to let you ask me twice:
Let that suffice, and leave me, 'tis a word,
I never us'd to thee before.
You would not use it now, if still you lov'd.
Can you have Thoughts unfit to own to me?
You are unjust, and I undone, farewel.
What means my PORTIA!
BRUTUŞ unjust! Oh, 'tis a Wonder, which your very Foes Would not believe, tho'told it by your Friends : And to me too, who had least cause to fear it! So little I deserv'd to find him fo. Am I but only Partner of your Pleasures ? Fit for your trifling Hours, and to be kept At hateful distance from your nobler Thoughts? What is it I have innocently done, To lose that Trust, which always follows Kindness. And therefore yours is chang’d; I see it plainly: Thunder is fall’n on my poor guiltless Head, [Weeps. And all but I, perhaps, have heard the Blow.
BRUTUS. In this you wrong me, PORTIA.
I never wish'd a Wrong to you before.
How have I liv'd, and which of all my Actions
Has giv'n the least occasion ev'n for Malice ?
I am, you know, not like the rest of Husbands;
My Promise and my Vows are Ties to me,
As strong as Fame and Virtue are to you:
I will not mention now the Bands of Love,
In which I thought we were for ever fix'd.
What these unjust Suspicions may produce
Either in you or me, alas, I know not.
Therefore be calm and kind, as thou art us'd,
And try such rough ungentle ways no more.
My Mind, you know, hardens against Compulsion,
But easily bends under gentle Usage.
O let me now try that soft way again.
Thus low, thus tenderly, I beg to know
[Falls on his Neck.
That which, in troubling you, ev'n tortures me.
Shunn'd as I am, I have a share in all
Your Resolutions, spite of
You cannot shut me out from tender Cares
For every Thought of yours : that zealous part
The meanest Slave may have in mighty CÆSAR,
And yet give no Offence.
The mighty CÆSAR ! I am that meanest Slave, if he remain [ Apart. The mighty CÆSAR. Kneel not, gentle PORTIA.
Ishould not need, if you were gentle BRUTUS. [Weeps.
O my soft Heart! my Resolution's arm'd
Against all Dangers, nay, against my Friend ;
Yet firm to all things else, it yields to Love ;
[Takes her in his Arms. It yields to PORTIA. You are now too charming: For pity hide your Kindness, or your Beauty ; There's no resisting both.
'Tis Kindness only Which makes me wish I had that Beauty too. But are you, then, not angry?
What, with thee?
The most obdurate Creature, ev'n a Tyrant,
In all his height of Anger, and of Pride,
Could not be proof against one Tear of thine.
O PORTIA, be not you that Tyrant then ;
For well you know your Power, and may be mine.
But tell me all.
Then, know that they who came to me this Night
But why should I go on to thee, my Portia,
In any Language but in that of Love
'Tis to profane thy Ear, to entertain it
With any harsher sound ; spare then thy self.
But you were just about to let me know.
Know what? know things that will but trouble thee!
Believe me, PORTIA, 'tis dangerous
For thee to tread in these obscurer Paths;
Serpents lie hidden there, whose conscious Sting
Will rob thee of thy Rest.
Oh, press not thus to bear a part in that,
Which with its weight will crush thy tender Mind.
I am a Woman, but am Cato's Daughter :
My Heart is tender, but to BRUTUS only.
Think you’tis nothing to have such a Father,
And such a Husband ?