Act 5. Scene 2.
Mrs. Dorothy, I speak your wel∣come to this house, I dare say, with a matchless affection. Here you may dilate your heart. Such dangers as you fear, can∣not reach hither. And you will find no ri∣gid Uncle here.
Madam, I equally rejoyce in my own liberty and your love. But whereas I had so much of the Schollar given to me in my breeding, that I understand above the plain of learning, and therefore have long ago done with legitimating heresie, or crutching it up, or skinning it over with hypocrisie; whereas I cannot con∣verse with Blackamore-soul'd Atheists, or with Dwarf-devotion'd Hypocrites: cannot attend to Pulpit-Cymbalists, (let them stand for me in a perpetual Pancra∣sie, in the Solstice of their Honour;) nor to the Tub-Prophets, living under the Meridian of bitter-sweet, under the Equi∣noctial of good and evil; nor disquiet the Crasis of my Soul with the new-fangled Presbyter and his painted Pageantry, and manifold Anticks: Whereas I cannot em∣balm him, nor pitty and condole with his surviving Amorosos and Fantasticks: it rests in the Repository, that I give life to my zealous Determinations, and repair to a Nunnery, to the which the beauty of that state lures me.
Mrs. Dorothy, The Angels sit on your lips, and speak from your mouth, or the Nightingale sings there. Bring your thoughts forth, while they are warm. The image of a Prince is then impressed upon the Gold, when it is melting soft. I Page 53 see, that you are excellently skill'd in the sacred Opticks; and have a seeing soul, that hever knows night. A Looking-Glass set against the Sun, not onely receives the Beams of the Sun, but also the Image of it.
Madam, the Ostrich leaves her Eggs on the Libyan-shore, to be hatch't by the Sun, but I must concurre to my own happinesse. Besides, In the Nunne∣ry I shall be wholly disenchanted from these feares, and from communication with those heady people, who precipitate themselves into more changes than the Beast and Herb-Chameleons in the Natu∣ralist, or Proteus in the Fiction; yea, become as the soul of man in the opinion of some great Pretenders to learning; which is, say they, round and globous in the head, long in the arms, broad in the brest; and as the light is indeed, round in the Sun, in the fire Pyramidal. Now they have no reason to object change against me, because they have so often changed from themselves.
Mistris, There are in view as ma∣ny subjects of change, as there are crea∣tures under the Moon: Because earthly and inferior bodies are by the Laws of nature, subjected to the bodies that are superiour and heavenly: which being in continual Motion and Revolution, and continually changing in their Positions and Aspects; and moreover, darting as they move with and in their spheres, new influences upon the Sublunaries, make new impresses upon them accordingly. But your change was effected from above the Moon, and was Heavenly in the high∣est degree.
Madam, I perceive that our bree∣ding hath incircled us in a like proporti∣on of knowledg. The soul it self is chan∣ged from without by the presentation of external and occasional Objects; and from within by the Passions, and is driven every way by them, as the Waves by the Winds; indeed, primordially and prin∣cipally by love, the Amazon-Queen of the Passions; afterwards by her Bride∣maids, Desire and Hope; yea, by Anger Love's-Champion. And then the chan∣ges are good or evill, as the objects are evil or good, concerning which these Passions are excited; and as the carriage of the Passions in their tendencies, is or∣dinate, (managed by a prudent and pi∣ous Ordination) or disordinate: The Sea breaking its bounds, is boundless in mischief. To wade nearer our affair: The best change of the soul, answerable to man as a reasonable creature, and within the Dominions of nature; is, when the moral vertues in it, are directed and gui∣ded by Prudence, and every Action tu∣tour'd by some vertue, because the Pas∣sions are obedient to reason. Nature is higher perfected by degrees: but of that I will speak in the Nunnery.
You give plentifull testimony, that you understand the businesse before you, and that you are well rooted and grounded in it.
O my most sugar and hony∣child, my spirit leaps in my body like the Lambs in a good Pasture, to find thee here. Thy Gold is all safe: The entire summe, my pretty Duckling, amounts to five thou∣sand pounds. But I have a request to thee, Fair one; a most humble request, imcomperable beauty. (It is a Rule we have, and we act by it, good words put us to no charge: hence we get all we can, but we part from nothing.) What saist thou, fairest of Maids, Saint upon earth, canst thou grant me a reasonable request?
Reverend Father, I shall grant it, if it fall within my Verge: I am ready to give it passage by my ears to my willing soul.
Why this it is then, devout Mrs. Dorothy, (that name most propor∣tions your condition, (you go now to un∣dergo a poor life; and it is essentiall to your future state, that you vow poverty: The Nuns seldome receive with a Novice above five hundred Pounds, (it is a great summe for them) you have five thousand: Divine Mrs. Dorothy, give us the rest: and we will found a new Monastery; you shall be set up before the Gate as the Foundresse of it, I mean your Image; and the Monks there shall continually pray for zealous Mrs. Dorothy, now, hereafter, and to the worlds end.
Reverend Father, your Request is, as you languag'd it, reasonable: it is granted.
O heavenly creature, I adore thy Devotion. O that we were all, or the best of us, so devout as thou art. Thou mak'st the tears go ambling down my ctheeks: tears of Comfort. I am com∣forted, that thou hast one foot in Hea∣ven already. I am Mathematically cer∣tain, as the Schools speak, that the to∣ther will follow; I am more than moral∣ly certain, and almost certain by physical certitude; and I cannot but leap for joy, for joy that the tother foot will certainly follow. To Heaven, to Heaven, 'tis even so, a Maid to Heaven dos easily go, for joy what I say I scarcely know. I forget. Mistris of my heart, give way to my ex∣pression, I have given order to Father Robert to go to your Uncle in the disguise of a Seaman; and to say that he saw you take Shipping at Gravesend, and Saile under the Conduct of a good Wind for France: Otherwise, Sweetheart, par∣don my boldnesse, he will lay waite for you at the Port-Towns: when he shall believe, and is satisfied, that you are gone, and the search is blown over, you shall away indeed with safety.
This invention is steep'd in Pru∣dence. Reverend Father, I am a great ad∣mirer of your wisdom.
In fine: We must now be merry. It is reckon'd amongst our cu∣stomes, that when we send any to Mo∣nasteries, Nunneries, or the like, they take their last leaves of the world with extraordinary jollity; and so must you: Wee'l be jovially merry before we part. Madam, where's your little Cozen? (the Girle that I begot of thy body, when I kept my Rule, and look't not beyond my own length, or the length of my Grave;) let us begin our Carnival with a Song.
Pretty, Call my Cozen.
They may honestly be mer∣ry, who afterwards presently renounce all mirth. He who saies, that fraud cannot be pious, nor piety fraudulent, is an Ass, a short ear'd Ass, and was never bottom'd in Schoole Divinity.
My little Cozen, pleasure us now with a Song, and you bind us over to kiss your hands. (She sings.) As much to the pur∣pose as you can.
Directly to the purpose.
Mistresse Dorothy, England's Helen for beauty: my Cozen levels at your favour.
She has her aim. She sings like a little Nun.
Three or four dayes we con∣secrate to mirth.
Our Prologue to it has been sweet.
To singing, dancing, feasting.
Betwixt fasting and feasting, there is but the difference of one poor let∣ter; we may readily slip out of one into the other.
Come dear Friends, follow me merrily, merrily.