[Enter Marco, a young Milanese courtier.] It is he, is it not, whose honeyed barbs drip with sweet condescension, and whose kisses taint fair Bianca’s lips with similar speech? Behold, how he frames her vision to reflect his own and directs her preferences accordingly.
Fie, I have been April’s fool in believing Antonio my ally. His encouragement was as sweetmeats to a greedy child; but I have chipped a tooth on that candy-coated morsel and found its centre to be flavoured with deceit.
My cousin Bianca, whose name speaks directly to her nature, whose light once made shadows dance for joy; how extinguished she appears now. For as Antonio sparkles and splutters at her side, her brilliance flickers and fades.
Lo, how he has seeded his untruths within her honest heart. His lies smuggled like contraband, his blandishments the articles of his trade. God’s wounds! Such a purveyor of frippery and falsehood I have never met the equal of.
It is high time to confront this sneak thief in his lurking-hole and to uncloak his creeping connivance. I shall bottle my rival’s words and choose carefully the occasion for their uncorking; then pour for the crowd a rich liquor of ripe requital.
‘It is notorious that we speak no more than half-truths in our ordinary conversation, and even a soliloquy is likely to be affected by the apprehension that walls have ears.’ - Eric Robert Linklater