And now, my noble Lord - Nay, pardon, I have here a Lucca damask, The very web of silver and the roses So cunningly wrought that they lack perfume merely To cheat the wanton sense. Touch it, my Lord. Is it not soft as water, strong as steel? And then the roses! Are they not finely woven? I think the hillsides that best love the rose, At Bellosguardo or at Fiesole, Throw no such blossoms on the lap of spring, Or if they do their blossoms droop and die. Such is the fate of all the dainty things That dance in wind and water. Nature herself Makes war on her own loveliness and slays Her children like Medea. Nay but, my Lord, Look closer still. Why in this damask here It is summer always, and no winter's tooth Will ever blight these blossoms. For every ell I paid a piece of gold. Red gold, and good, The fruit of careful thrift.
GUIDO: Honest Simone, Enough, I pray you. I am well content; To-morrow I will send my servant to you, Who will pay twice your price.
SIMONE: My generous Prince! I kiss your hands. And now I do remember Another treasure hidden in my house Which you must see. It is a robe of state: Woven by a Venetian: the stuff, cut-velvet: The pattern, pomegranates: each separate seed Wrought of a pearl: the collar all of pearls, As thick as moths in summer streets at night, And whiter than the moons that madmen see Through prison bars at morning. A male ruby Burns like a lighted coal within the clasp The Holy Father has not such a stone, Nor could the Indies show a brother to it. The brooch itself is of most curious art, Cellini never made a fairer thing To please the great Lorenzo. You must wear it. There is none worthier in our city here, And it will suit you well. Upon one side A slim and horned satyr leaps in gold To catch some nymph of silver. Upon the other Stands Silence with a crystal in her hand, No bigger than the smallest ear of corn, That wavers at the passing of a bird, And yet so cunningly wrought that one would say, It breathed, or held its breath.
Worthy Bianca, Would not this noble and most costly robe Suit young Lord Guido well?
Nay, but entreat him; He will refuse you nothing, though the price Be as a prince's ransom. And your profit Shall not be less than mine.
BIANCA: Am I your prentice? Why should I chaffer for your velvet robe?
GUIDO: Nay, fair Bianca, I will buy the robe, And all things that the honest merchant has I will buy also. Princes must be ransomed, And fortunate are all high lords who fall Into the white hands of so fair a foe.
SIMONE: I stand rebuked. But you will buy my wares? Will you not buy them? Fifty thousand crowns Would scarce repay me. But you, my Lord, shall have them For forty thousand. Is that price too high? Name your own price. I have a curious fancy To see you in this wonder of the loom Amidst the noble ladies of the court, A flower among flowers.
They say, my lord, These highborn dames do so affect your Grace That where you go they throng like flies around you, Each seeking for your favour.
I have heard also Of husbands that wear horns, and wear them bravely, A fashion most fantastical.
GUIDO: Simone, Your reckless tongue needs curbing; and besides, You do forget this gracious lady here Whose delicate ears are surely not attuned To such coarse music.