Ben Jonson

"Sejanus His Fall Act 5. Scene 6"

Another Room in the same.


Macro! most welcome, a most coveted friend!
Let me enjoy my longings. When arrived you?

About the noon of night.

Satrius, give leave.

[Exit Sat.

I have been, since I came, with both the consuls,
On a particular design from Caesar.

How fares it with our great and royal master?

Right plentifully well; as, with a prince,
That still holds out the great proportion
Of his large favours, where his judgment hath
Made once divine election: like the god
That wants not, nor is wearied to bestow
Where merit meets his bounty, as it doth
In you, already the most happy, and ere
The sun shall climb the south, most high Sejanus.
Let not my lord be amused. For, to this end
Was I by Caesar sent for to the isle,
With special caution to conceal my journey;
And, thence, had my dispatch as privately
Again to Rome; charged to come here by night;
And only to the consuls make narration
Of his great purpose; that the benefit
Might come more full, and striking, by how much
It was less look'd for, or aspired by you,
Or least informed to the common thought.

What may be this? part of myself, dear Macro,
If good, speak out; and share with your Sejanus.

If bad, I should for ever loath myself
To be the messenger to so good a lord.
I do exceed my instructions to acquaint
Your lordship with thus much; but 'tis my venture
On your retentive wisdom: and because
I would no jealous scruple should molest
Or rack your peace of thought. For I assure
My noble lord, no senator yet knows
The business meant: though all by several letters
Are warned to be there, and give their voices,
Only to add unto the state and grace
Of what is purposed.

You take pleasure, Macro,
Like a coy wench, in torturing your lover.
What can be worth this suffering?

That which follows,
The tribunitial dignity and power:
Both which Sejanus is to have this day
Conferr'd upon him, and by public senate.

Fortune be mine again! thou hast satisfied
For thy suspected loyalty. [Aside.

My lord,
I have no longer time, the day approacheth,
And I must back to Caesar.

Where's Caligula?

That I forgot to tell your lordship. Why,
He lingers yonder about Capreae,
Disgraced; Tiberius hath not seen him yet:
He needs would thrust himself to go with me,
Against my wish or will; but I have quitted
His forward trouble, with as tardy note
As my neglect or silence could afford him.
Your lordship cannot now command me aught,
Because I take no knowledge that I saw you;
But I shall boast to live to serve your lordship:
And so take leave.

Honest and worthy Macro;
Your love and friendship.

[Exit Macro.]

——Who's there? Satrius,
Attend my honourable friend forth.-O!
How vain and vile a passion is this fear,
What base uncomely things it makes men do!
Suspect their noblest friends, as I did this,
Flatter poor enemies, entreat their servants,
Stoop, court, and catch at the benevolence
Of creatures, unto whom, within this hour,
I would not have vouchsafed a quarter-look,
Or piece of face! By you that fools call gods,
Hang all the sky with your prodigious signs,
Fill earth with monsters, drop the scorpion down,
Out of the zodiac, or the fiercer lion,
Shake off the loosen'd globe from her long hinge,
Roll all the world in darkness, and let loose
The enraged winds to turn up groves and towns!
When I do fear again, let me be struck
With forked fire, and unpitied die:
Who fears, is worthy of calamity.


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