The Parliament Of Love "There Are A Thousand Doors To Let Out Life"

Philip Massinger

"There Are A Thousand Doors To Let Out Life"

Context: Extant in only fragmentary form, The Parliament of Love has a complex plot involving various matters of love and lovers. Among the latter is Cleremond, whom Leonora berates after he has bribed a servant to let him in her home so that he may apologize for having earlier asked her ultimate favors before marriage. To test him when he swears he will do anything for her if she will marry him, she asks him to kill his best friend. Believing that Montrose is possibly his truest friend, Cleremond pretends that he is to fight a duel and that he needs a second. Montrose volunteers to aid him regardless of any danger to himself. Cleremond, now feeling sure that Montrose is his best friend–a man of action, not of mere words–, determines that he must die. Reaching the site of the supposed duel, Cleremond reveals his villainous intent. But in the fight it is Cleremond who falls wounded. When he begs Montrose to kill him, Montrose refuses, pitying him in his seeming madness. Montrose pleads:

. . .
Live, O live, Cleremond, and, like a man,
Make use of reason, as an exorcist
To cast this devil out, that does abuse you;
This fiend of false affection.
Will you not kill me?
You are then more tyrannous than Leonora.
An easy thrust will do it: you had ever
A charitable hand; do not deny me,
For our old friendship's sake: no! will't not be?
There are a thousand doors to let out life;
You keep not guard of all: and I shall find,
By falling headlong from some rocky cliff,
Poison, or fire, that long rest which your sword
Discourteously denies me.
I will follow:
And something I must fancy, to dissuade him
From doing sudden violence to himself:
That's now my only aim; and that to me,
Succeeding well, is a true victory.