Duke. Why do you laugh?
I hardly know myself. Stay! Was it not
On yesterday we were speaking of the Earl?
Of the Earl Politian? Yes! it was yesterday.
Alessandra, you and I, you must remember!
We were walking in the garden.
I do remember it—what of it—what then?
Cas. O nothing—nothing at all.
Duke. Nothing at all!
It is most singular that you should laugh
At nothing at all!
Cas. Most singular—singular!
Duke. Look you, Castiglione, be so kind
As tell me, sir, at once what ’tis you mean.
What are you talking of?
Cas. Was it not so?
We differed in opinion touching him.
Cas. Why, sir, the Earl Politian.
Duke. The Earl of Leicester! Yes!—is it he you mean?
We differed, indeed. If I now recollect
The words you used were that the Earl you knew
Was neither learned nor mirthful.
Cas. Ha! ha!—now did I?
Duke. That did you, sir, and well I knew at the time
You were wrong, it being not the character
Of the Earl—whom all the world allows to be
A most hilarious man. Be not, my son,
Too positive again.
Cas. ’Tis singular!
Most singular! I could not think it possible
So little time could so much alter one!
To say the truth about an hour ago,
As I was walking with the Count San Ozzo,
All arm in arm, we met this very man
The Earl—he, with his friend Baldazzar,
Having just arrived in Rome. Hal ha! he is altered!
Such an account he gave me of his journey!
’Twould have made you die with laughter—such tales he told
Of his caprices and his merry freaks
Along the road—such oddity—such humor—
Such wit—such whim—such flashes of wild merriment
Set off too in such full relief by the grave
Demeanor of his friend—who, to speak the truth,
Was gravity itself—
Duke. Did I not tell you?
Cas. You did—and yet ’tis strange! but true as strange,
How much I was mistaken! I always thought
The Earl a gloomy man.
Duke. So, so, you see! Be not too positive. Whom have we here?
It can not be the Earl?
Cas. The Earl! Oh, no! ’Tis not the Earl—but yet it is—and leaning
Upon his friend Baldazzar. Welcome, sir!
(Enter Politian and Baldazzar.)
My lord, a second welcome let me give you
To Rome—his Grace the Duke of Broglio.
Father! this is the Earl Politian, Earl
Of Leicester in Great Britain. [Politian bows haughtily.]
That, his friend
Baldazzar, Duke of Surrey. The Earl has letters,
So please you, for Your Grace.
Duke. Hal ha! Most welcome
To Rome and to our palace, Earl Politian!
And you, most noble Duke! I am glad to see you!
I knew your father well, my Lord Politian.
Castiglione! call your cousin hither,
And let me make the noble Earl acquainted
With your betrothed. You come, sir, at a time
Most seasonable. The wedding—
Politian. Touching those letters, sir,
Your son made mention of—your son, is he not?
Touching those letters, sir, I wot not of them.
If such there be, my friend Baldazzar here—
Baldazzar! ah!—my friend Baldazzar here
Will hand them to Your Grace. I would retire.
Duke. Retire!—So soon?
Came What ho! Benito! Rupert!
His lordship’s chambers—show his lordship to them!
His lordship is unwell. (Enter Benito.)
Ben. This way, my lord! (Exit, followed by Politian.)
Duke. Retire! Unwell!
Bal. So please you, sir. I fear me
’Tis as you say—his lordship is unwell.
The damp air of the evening—the fatigue
Of a long journey—the—indeed I had better
Follow his lordship. He must be unwell.
I will return anon.
Duke. Return anon!
Now this is very strange! Castiglione!
This way, my son, I wish to speak with thee.
You surely were mistaken in what you said
Of the Earl, mirthful, indeed!—which of us said
Politian was a melancholy man? (Exeunt.)