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The Duchess of Padua

He is Mantuan by birth.

Duke [advancing towards Guido]

You have the eyes of one I used to know,
But he died childless.  Are you honest, boy?
Then be not spendthrift of your honesty,
But keep it to yourself; in Padua
Men think that honesty is ostentatious, so
It is not of the fashion.  Look at these lords.

Count Bardi [aside]

Here is some bitter arrow for us, sure.

Duke

Why, every man among them has his price,
Although, to do them justice, some of them
Are quite expensive.

Count Bardi [aside]

There it comes indeed.

Duke

So be not honest; eccentricity
Is not a thing should ever be encouraged,
Although, in this dull stupid age of ours,
The most eccentric thing a man can do
Is to have brains, then the mob mocks at him;
And for the mob, despise it as I do,
I hold its bubble praise and windy favours
In such account, that popularity
Is the one insult I have never suffered.

Maffio [aside]

He has enough of hate, if he needs that.

Duke

Have prudence; in your dealings with the world
Be not too hasty; act on the second thought,
First impulses are generally good.

Guido [aside]

Surely a toad sits on his lips, and spills its venom there.

Duke

See thou hast enemies,
Else will the world think very little of thee;
It is its test of power; yet see thou show’st
A smiling mask of friendship to all men,
Until thou hast them safely in thy grip,
Then thou canst crush them.

Guido [aside]

O wise philosopher!
That for thyself dost dig so deep a grave.

Moranzone [to him]

Dost thou mark his words?

Guido

Oh, be thou sure I do.

Duke

And be not over-scrupulous; clean hands
With nothing in them make a sorry show.
If you would have the lion’s share of life
You must wear the fox’s skin.  Oh, it will fit you;
It is a coat which fitteth every man.

Guido

Your Grace, I shall remember.

Duke

That is well, boy, well.
I would not have about me shallow fools,
Who with mean scruples weigh the gold of life,
And faltering, paltering, end by failure; failure,
The only crime which I have not committed:
I would have men about me.  As for conscience,
Conscience is but the name which cowardice
Fleeing from battle scrawls upon its shield.
You understand me, boy?

Guido

I do, your Grace,