The Duke makes Bianca an offer that, with her honour despoiled by his actions, she feels she cannot afford to refuse. So she is now installed as his mistress, dressed in the resplendent clothes and jewels he has bestowed on her. But, alone on stage, she expresses to us the true state of her thoughts and emotions.
How strangely woman’s fortune comes about!
This was the farthest way to come to me,
All would have judged that knew me born in Venice, 25
And there with many jealous eyes brought up
That never thought they had me sure enough
But when they were upon me. Yet my hap
To meet it here, so far off from my birthplace,
My friends, or kindred! ‘Tis not good, in sadness, 30
To keep a maid so strict in her young days.
Restraint breeds wand’ring thoughts, as many fasting days
A great desire to see flesh stirring again.
I’ll ne’er use any girl of mine so strictly.
Howe’er they’re kept, their fortunes find ‘em out; 35
I see’t in me. If they be got in court
I’ll never forbid ‘em the country, nor the court
Though they be born i’th’country. They will come to’t,
And fetch their falls a thousand mile about,
Where one would little think on’t. 40