"What Is Past My Help Is Past My Care"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Virolet, a noble gentleman of Naples, discloses to his wife Juliana that there is a plot afoot to assassinate Ferrand, the tyrant of the city-state. Juliana encourages her husband to proceed with the plot, saying that she would be prouder to be the widow of a man who died liberating his country than one who tamely bore the ills of the time. Upon her exit, Brissonet, Camillo, and Ronvere enter; and Ronvere immediately begins a defense of himself, saying that he loves freedom as well as anyone living. He says that he has means to put into operation that which is merely at the moment being plotted. Virolet says that Ronvere, a faithful follower of Ferrand, will betray the whole plot and have all the plotters executed. Camillo and Brissonet, however, point out that Ronvere has lost favor with Ferrand, has been relieved of his military command, and has been disgraced. Virolet maintains that to make his peace with Ferrand, Ronvere will glady betray his fellow plotters. He further says that if it were not for the laws of hospitality, if the creature were not at that moment in his own house, he would kill him on the spot. He adds, however, that what he can do nothing about he does not try to remedy.

You are too suspicious,
And I have borne too much, beyond my temper.
Take your own ways. I'll leave you.
You may stay now;
You have enough, and all indeed you fished for.
But one word, gentlemen: have you discovered
To him alone our plot?
To him and others that are at his devotion.
Worse and worse:
For were he only conscious of our purposes,
Though with the breach of hospitable laws,
In my own house, I'd silence him for ever;
But what is past my help is past my care.