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Title: The Works of John Marston. Volume 1

Author: John Marston

Editor: A. H. Bullen

Release date: March 25, 2014 [eBook #45209]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by David Clarke, Carol Brown, and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
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The English Dramatists

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Two hundred copies of this Edition on Laid paper, medium 8vo, have been printed, viz., 120 for the English Market, and 80 for America. Each copy numbered as issued.

No. 30




These Volumes




Marston’s Works were edited in 1856 by Mr. Halliwell (3 vols. 8vo.) for Mr. Russell Smith’s Library of Old Authors. I yield to none in my admiration for the best and the most accurate of living Shakespearean scholars; but I am sure that Mr. Halliwell-Phillipps, who in his Outlines of the Life of Shakespeare has set so singularly high a standard of excellence, would be the first to acknowledge that his edition of Marston’s Works needs revision.

In the present volumes I have done my best to regulate the text, which is frequently very corrupt; but I am painfully conscious that I have left plenty of work for future editors.

A valuable edition of Marston’s poems was published in 1879, for private circulation, by Dr. Grosart. I have availed myself freely of the results of Dr. Grosart’s biographical researches; and I am indebted to his edition for the text of the Entertainment in vol. iii.

Dr. Brinsley Nicholson, whose recently published edition of Reginald Scot’s Discovery of Witchcraft met with the enthusiastic welcome that it deserved, has helped me liberally with advice and suggestions; and I have to thank Mr. P. A. Daniel, whose scholarship is as sound as it is acute, for his kindness in reading my Introduction.

In deference to friendly criticism, I have prefixed to each play a brief summary of the plot.

18th March 1887.




When other poets were repeating Horace’s boast, “Exegi monumentum,” &c., John Marston dedicated the first fruits of his genius “To everlasting Oblivion.” In much of Marston’s satire there is an air of evident insincerity, but the dedicatory address at the close of The Scourge of Villainy is of startling earnestness:

“Let others pray
For ever their fair poems flourish may;
But as for me, hungry Oblivion,
Devour me quick, accept my orison,
My earnest prayers, which do importune thee,
With gloomy shade of thy still empery
To veil both me and my rude poesy.”

Those lines were printed in 1598. Six and thirty years afterwards the poet was laid in his grave, and on the grave-stone was inscribed “Oblivioni sacrum.” But prayers cannot purchase oblivion; and the rugged Timon of the Elizabethan drama, who sought to shroud himself “in the uncomfortable night of nothing,” will be forced from time to time to emerge from the shades and pass before the eyes of curious scholars.

It was established by the genealogical researches of that acute and indefatigable antiquary, Joseph Hunter,[1] that John Marston belonged to the old Shropshire family of Marstons. The dramatist’s father, John Marston, third son of Ralph Marston of Gayton (or Heyton), co. Salop, was admitted a member of the Middle Temple in 1570; married Maria, daughter of Andrew Guarsi[2] (or Guersie), an Italian surgeon who had settled in London, and had married Elizabeth Gray, daughter of a London merchant; migrated to Coventry; was lecturer of the Middle Temple in 1592.

The year of the poet’s birth is unknown, but it may be fixed circ. 1575, and we shall probably not be wrong in assuming that the birthplace was Coventry. For his early education Marston was doubtless indebted to the Coventry free-school. On 4th February 1591-2, “John Marston, aged 16, a gentleman’s son, of co. Warwick,” was matriculated at Brazennose College, Oxford (Grosart’s Introduction, p. x.). There is not the slightest doubt that this John Marston, who was admitted Bachelor of Arts on 6th February 1593-4 as the “eldest son of an Esquire” (Wood’s Fasti, ed. Bliss, i. 602), was the poet; and Wood went wrong in identifying our John Marston with another John Marston, or Marson, who belonged to Corpus. In the will of the elder Marston, proved in 1599, there is a curious passage which shows that the poet, contrary to his father’s wishes, abandoned the profession of the law. An abstract of the will (communicated by Col. Chester) has been printed by Dr. Grosart, and is here reprinted:

“John Marston of City of Coventry Gent dated 24 Oct. 1599 to Mary my wife, my mansion &c. in Crosse Cheepinge in Coventry and other premises for life remr to John my son and heirs of body remr to heirs of body of Raphe Marston Gent my father decd remr to right heirs of my sd son[;] to sd wife my interest in certain lands &c. after death of John Butler[3] my father in law and Margaret his now wife in par. Cropedy co. Oxon and others in Wardington co. Oxon remr to John my son to sd wife ½ of plate and household stuff &c. to sd son John my furniture &c. in my chambers in the Middle Temple my law books &c. to my sd son whom I hoped would have profited by them in the study of the law but man proposeth and God disposeth &c. to kinsman and servant Thos Marston 20 nobles to my poorest brother Richd Marston 20 nobles for him and his children all residue to Mary my wife &c. (G. Gascoigne a witness) Proved 29 Nov. 1599.” In the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (82 Kidd.).

Wood vaguely says that the poet (the John Marston of Brazennose College) “after completing that degree [the degree of B.A.] by determination, went his way and improved his learning in other faculties.” It is clear from his father’s will that he found legal studies distasteful, and we may conjecture that he quickly turned from the professional career on which he had entered and devoted his attention to literature and the stage. Few biographical facts concerning Marston have come down. He married (but at what precise date we cannot determine) Mary, daughter of the Rev. William Wilkes, Chaplain to James I., and Rector of St. Martin’s, co. Wilts. Ben Jonson told Drummond of Hawthornden that “Marston wrote his father-in-law’s preachings, and his father-in-law his comedies;” a witty remark, contrasting the asperity of Marston’s comedies with the blandness of his father-in-law’s sermons. Marston’s plays—with the exception of The Insatiate Countess—were published between 1602 and 1607. He seems to have definitely abandoned play-writing about the year 1607; but the date at which he entered the Church is not clearly ascertained. On 10th October 1616 he was presented to the living of Christ Church in Hampshire;[4] he compounded for the firstfruits of Christ Church on 12th February 1616-7; and he formally resigned the living (probably from ill-health) on 13th September 1631. William Sheares the publisher issued in 1633 a collective edition of Marston’s plays, and in the dedicatory address to Lady Elizabeth Carey, Viscountess Falkland, speaks of the author as “in his autumn and declining age” and “far distant from this place.” On 25th June 1634 Marston died in Aldermanbury parish, London. His will, dated 17th June 1634, was drawn up when he was so ill as to be compelled to make a mark instead of affixing his signature. The will[5] runs thus:

“In the name of God Amen I John Marston of London Clarke being sicke in bodie but of perfect and sound mind and memorie doe make my last Will and Testament in manner and forme following Imprimise I give and bequeath my soule into the hands of Allmightie God my Maker and Redeemer and my bodie to be buried in Christian buriall in some convenient place where my executor hereafter named shall appointe Item I give and bequeath to James Coghill and James Boynton both of Christchurch in the County of Southtn the somme of fortie shillinges apeece to be paide within six mounthes after my decease Item I give and bequeath to Marie Fabian the wife of Wm Fabian of Christchurch aforesaide towards the educac’on of hir five sonnes the somme of twentie eight pound of currant money of England to be paide to hir within sixe monthes after my decease Item I give to the parrish Church of Christchurch aforesaide the somme of five poundes to be paide within sixe monthes next after my decease Item I give and bequeath to my couzin Hunt of Ashford in the countie of Saloppe the somme of twentie poundes to be paide within sixe moneths after my decease Item I give and bequeath to my cozen Griffins daughter of Kingston in the Countie of Surrey the somme of five poundes to be paide unto hir within sixe monthes after my decease  Item I give to Marie Collice the daughter of my cozen Anne Collis of Chancerie Lane the somme of five poundes to be paide unto hir sixe monthes after my decease Item I give and bequeath to my cozen Richard Marston of Newe Inne in the Countie of Midd’ my silver bason and ewre but my will is that my wife shall have the use of it untill it shalbe demaunded of hir by the said Richard or his attorney in that behalfe lawfullye deputed Item I give and bequeath unto George Wallie and James Walley sonnes of Mr Henry Wallie the somme of five poundes apeece to be paide to the saide Henrie for theier vse within sixe monthes after my decease Item all the rest of my goodes and cattles moveable and vnmoveable my debts and legacies and funeral expences being charged I give and bequeathe to my wel beloved wiefe Marie whome I ordaine my soule Executrixe of this my last Will and Testament And I doe hereby renounce and make voide all former Wills by me heretofore made In Witnes whereof I have herevnto putt my hand and seale the seaventeenth daie of June in the tenth yeere of the rainge [sic] of oure Soveraigne Lord Charles 1634.”

Wood tells us that he was buried beside his father “in the church belonging to the Temple in the suburb of London, under the stone which hath written on it Oblivioni Sacrum.” Dr. Grosart prints the following entry from the Temple Church burial-register:

“1634, June 26. Mr. John Marston, Minister, sometimes of the Middle Temple, who died in Aldermanbury parish: buried below the Communion Table on the Middle Temple side.”

The will was proved on 9th July 1634 in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury by his widow, who was buried by his side on 4th July 1657. She had desired in her will,[6] dated 12th June 1657, that she should be buried “by the body of my dear husband decd;” and she bequeathed her “dear husband’s picture” to Master Henry Wally of Stationers’ Hall. Neither in Marston’s will nor in his widow’s is there mention of children.

Marston’s earliest publication was The Metamorphosis of Pygmalion’s Image:[7] And Certain Satires, which was entered in the Stationers’ Registers on 27th May 1598, and issued in the same year. Another series of satires, The Scourge of Villainy, was published later in 1598; it had been entered in the Stationers’ Registers on 8th September. A second edition of the Scourge, containing an additional satire (the tenth), appeared in 1599.

Pygmalion is written in the same metre as Venus and Adonis (from which poem Marston drew his inspiration)—a metre which Lodge had handled with considerable success. A poet who would approach the subject of Pygmalion and his image ought to be gifted with tact and delicacy. In our own day Mr. Morris (in The Earthly Paradise) has told the old Greek story in choice and fluent narrative verse; no poet could have treated it more gracefully. Tact and delicacy were precisely the qualities in which Marston was deficient; but the versification is tolerably smooth, and the licentiousness does not call for any special reprehension. In the Scourge of Villainy (sat. vi.) Marston pretends that Pygmalion was written to bring contempt on the class of poems to which it belongs:

“Hence, thou misjudging censor! know I wrote
Those idle rhymes to note the odious spot
And blemish that deforms the lineaments
Of modern poesy’s habiliments.”

But it would require keener observation than most readers possess to discover in Pygmalion any trace of that moral motive by which the poet claimed to have been inspired. Archbishop Whitgift did not approve of its moral tone, for in 1599 he ordered it to be committed to the flames with Sir John Davies’ Epigrams, Cutwode’s Caltha Poetarum, and other works of a questionable character. In Cranley’s Amanda, 1635, it is mentioned, in company with Hero and Leander and Venus and Adonis, as part of a courtezan’s library.

There is not much pleasure or profit to be derived from a perusal of Marston’s satires. The author deliberately adopted an uncouth and monstrous style of phraseology; his allusions are frequently quite unintelligible to modern readers, and even the wits of his contemporaries must have been sorely exercised. After a course of Marston’s satires Persius is clear as crystal. In the second satire there are some lines which aptly express the reader’s bewilderment:

"O darkness palpable; Egypt’s black night!
My wit is stricken blind, hath lost his sight:
My shins are broke with searching for some sense
To know to what his words have reference.”

Our sense is deafened by the tumult of noisy verbiage “as when a madman beats upon a drum.” In Marston’s satires there is little of the raciness and buoyancy that we find in the elder satirists—Skelton, Roy, and William Baldwin—who dealt good swashing blows in homely vigorous English. Persius would not have been flattered by Marston’s or Hall’s attempts at imitation: “nec pluteum cædit nec demorsos sapit ungues” would have been his comment on the spurious pseudo-classical Elizabethan satire. Hall claimed to have been the first to introduce classical satire into England. In the prologue to the first book of Virgidemiæ, 1597, he writes:

“I first adventure with foolhardy might
To tread the steps of perilous despight:
I first adventure: follow me who list,
And be the second English satirist.”

It matters little whether Hall’s claim was well-founded or not; but it has been often pointed out that there is extant a MS. copy of Donne’s satires dated 1593. Hall, who lived to be one of the glories of the English Church, in early manhood certainly did not present an example of Christian meekness and charity. He took a very low view of contemporary writers, but never had the slightest misgivings about his own abilities. It is not easy to ascertain how his quarrel with Marston arose, but it seems clear that he was the aggressor. Pygmalion was published a year later than Virgidemiæ, but it had probably been circulated in manuscript, according to the custom of the time, before it issued from the press. There can be little doubt that the ninth satire of book i. of Virgidemiæ, is directed against Marston. The opening lines run thus:

“Envy, ye Muses, at your thrilling mate,
Cupid hath crowned a new laureat;
I saw his statue gaily tired in green,
As if he had some second Phœbus been;
His statue trimm’d with the Venerean tree
And shrined fair within your sanctuary.
What! he that erst to gain the rhyming goal,
The worn recital-post of capitol,
Rhymed in rules of stewish ribaldry
Teaching experimental bawdery,
Whiles th’ itching vulgar, tickled with the song,
Hanged on their unready poet’s tongue?
Take this, ye patient Muses, and foul shame
Shall wait upon your once profaned name.”

When Pygmalion was published Hall wrote a poor epigram (see vol. iii. p. 369), which he contrived to paste in those copies of the poem “that came to the stationers at Cambridge.”[8] One of the satires, entitled “Reactio,”[9] appended to Pygmalion, is a violent attack on Hall. In his “Defiance to Envy,” prefixed to Virgidemiæ, Hall had boasted that he could, an’ that he would, hold his own with any of the poets,—even hinting that he was a match for Spenser. The “Defiance” is a well-written piece of verse, but it gave Marston an excellent opportunity, which he used to the full in “Reactio,” of making a very effective attack. In the first satire of book vi. of Virgidemiæ Hall replies to Marston’s raillery with less vigour than we should have expected. Again and again in The Scourge of Villainy Marston attacks Hall; he would not let the quarrel drop, but worried his adversary with the pertinacity of a bull-dog. In 1601 a certain “W. I.,” who has been doubtfully identified (by Dr. Nicholson) with a Cambridge man, William Ingram, published The Whipping of the Satire, which was chiefly directed against Marston (with gibes at Ben Jonson and others). There is a lengthy and spirited preface, in which Marston is taken to task after this fashion:

“Think you that foul words can beget fair manners? If you do I will not bate you an ace of an ass, for experience gives you the lie to your face. But your affection over-rules your reason, and therefore you are as sudden of passion in all matters as an interjection and yet as defective in most cases as an heteroclite: you gathered up men’s sins as though they had been strawberries, and picked away their virtues as they had been but the stalks. They shall not make me believe but that you were the devil’s intelligencer, for there went not a lie abroad but it was presently entertained of your ear; and every sin kept under writing for fear lest the devil waxing almost six thousand years of age should fail in his memory and so chance to forget it.”

The following stanzas have a sting in them:

“Can you seem wise to any simple men
That seem’d so simple unto all the wise
And fitter far to hold the plough than pen,
Such incompt stuff you rudely poetise?
Yet I confess there’s much conceipt in it,
For you have shown great store of little wit.

Take me your staff and walk some half-score miles,
And I’ll be hang’d if in that quantity
You find me out but half so many stiles
As you have made within your poesy:
Nay for your style there’s none can you excel,
You may be called John-a-Stile full well.

* * * * *

But he that mounts into the air of Fame
Must have two wings, Nature and Art, to fly;
And that he may soar safely with the same
Must take his rise low from humility;
And not with you a goose’s quill to take,
Thinking with that an eagle’s flight to make.

Your stately Muse, starched with stiff-neck’d pride,
Dain’d it amongst us, most imperiously;
With lavish laughter she did each deride
That came within the prospect of her eye:
Despising all, all her again despise,
Contemn’d of foolish and condemn’d of wise.”

At this easy rate “W. I.” ambles on; and the quiet leisurely stanzas are a relief after the fury of the Scourge. Modern readers will feel that Marston was not driven by “sæva indignatio” to write satire, and they will not be inclined to accept the young author of Pygmalion as a sedate moralist. “W. I.” puts the matter clearly:

“He scourgeth villainies in young and old
As boys scourge tops for sport on Lenten day.”

The publication of The Whipping of the Satire could hardly have been agreeable to Marston, but it is highly improbable that he is to be held responsible for the poor answer to The Whipping, published anonymously in the same year, under the title of The Whipper of the Satire, his Penance in a White Sheet; or the Beadle’s Confutation.[10] If I have read The Whipper aright, it is the work of one of Marston’s personal friends, or of some admirer who had more zeal than wit. There are some general remarks, of slight account, on the use of satire; and Marston is exhorted to persist in his task of scourging the vices of the age. It will be enough to quote two stanzas:

“Meantime, good satire, to thy wonted train,
As yet there are no lets to hinder thee:
Thy touching quill with a sweet moving strain
Sings to the soul a blessèd lullaby:
Thy lines beget a timorous fear in all,
And that same fear deep thoughts angelical.

So that the whilom lewd lascivious man
Is now remote from his abhorred life,
And cloathes [loathes?] the dalliance of a courtezan;
And every breathing wicked soul at strife,
Contending which shall first begin to mend
That they may glory in a blessèd end.”

The italicised lines give a delightfully ludicrous description of The Scourge of Villainy.

It is abundantly clear that Marston’s uncouth satires, which to-day are so difficult to read, caused much excitement at the time of their publication. Meres in Palladis Tamia, 1598, reckons Marston among the leading English satirists. John Weever, in his Epigrams, 1599, couples Marston’s name with Jonson’s:

Ad Jo. Marston et Ben Johnson.

Marston, thy muse enharbours Horace’ vein,
Then some Augustus give thee Horace’ merit!
And thine, embuskin’d Johnson, doth retain
So rich a style and wondrous gallant spirit,
That if to praise your Muses I desired
My Muse would muse. Such wits must be admired.”

The following address is from Charles Fitzgeoffrey’s Affaniæ, 1601:

Ad Joannem Marstonium.

Gloria, Marstoni, satirarum proxima primæ,
Primaque, fas primas si numerare duas!
Sin primam duplicare nefas, tu gloria saltem,
Marstoni, primæ proxima semper eris.
Nec te pœniteat stationis, Jane: secundus,
Cum duo sint tantum, est neuter at ambo pares.”

But the most elaborate notice that any contemporary has given of Marston’s satires is to be found in The Return from Parnassus.[11] The passage has been often quoted, but it must find a place here:

“What, Monsieur Kinsayder, lifting up your leg and pissing against the world? put up, man! put up, for shame!
Methinks he is a ruffian in his style,
Withouten bands or garters’ ornament:
He quaffs a cup of Frenchman’s Helicon,
Then roister-doister in his oily terms;
Cuts, thrusts, and foins at whomsoever he meets
And strews about Ram-Alley meditations.
Tut, what cares he for modest close-couch’d terms
Cleanly to gird our looser libertines?
Give him plain naked words stripp’d from their shirts,
That might become plain-dealing Aretine.
Ay, there is one that backs a paper-steed,
And manageth a pen-knife gallantly:
Strikes his poynado at a button’s breadth,
Brings the great battering-ram of terms to towns,[12]
And at first volly of his cannon-shot
Batters the walls of the old fusty world.”

Under date 28th September 1599 Henslowe records in his Diary (p. 156, ed. Collier) that he lent “unto Mr. Maxton, the new poete (Mr. Mastone), the sum of forty shillings” in earnest of an unnamed play. The name “Mastone” is interlined in a different hand as a correction for “Maxton;” but there can be no doubt that the “new poete,” whose name the illiterate manager misspelled, was John Marston. There is no other mention of him in the Diary. In 1602 were published Marston’s First Part of Antonio and Mellida and Antonio’s Revenge, which had been entered in the Stationers’ Registers on 24th October 1601, and had been ridiculed in that year by Ben Jonson in The Poetaster. Considered as a work of art the two parts of Antonio and Mellida cannot be rated highly. The plot is clumsy and grotesque, and the characters, from the prodigious nature of their sins and sorrows, fail to excite in us any real interest. Marston was possessed of high tragic power, but he has not done himself justice. The magnificent prologue to Antonio’s Revenge prepares us to expect an impressive tale of tragic woe, but the promise is not worthily redeemed. He could conceive a fine situation, and he had at his command abundance of striking imagery. But we are never sure of him: from tragic solemnity he passes to noisy rhodomontade; at one moment he gives us a passage Æschylean in its subtle picturesqueness, at another he feebly reproduces the flaccid verbosity of Seneca’s tragedies. Lamb quoted in his Specimens the finest scene of Antonio and Mellida,—the scene where the old Andrugio on the Venice marsh, overthrown by the chance of war and banished from his kingdom, gives tongue to the conflicting passions that shake his breast. That scene deserves the eloquent praise that it received from the hands of Lamb; and if Marston had been able to keep the rest of the play at that level the First Part of Antonio and Mellida would rank with the masterpieces of Webster. But what is to be said of a writer who, in describing a shipwreck, gives us such lines as the following?

“Lo! the sea grew mad,
His bowels rumbling with wind-passion;
Straight swarthy darkness popp’d out Phœbus’ eye,
And blurr’d the jocund face of bright-cheek’d day;
Whilst crudled fogs mask’d even darkness’ brow:
Heaven bad ’s good night, and the rocks groan’d
At the intestine uproar of the main.
Now gusty flaws strook up the very heels
Of our mainmast, whilst the keen lightning shot
Through the black bowels of the quaking air;
Straight chops a wave, and in his sliftred paunch
Down falls our ship, and there he breaks his neck;
Which in an instant up was belkt again.”

This is hardly a fair specimen of Marston’s powers, but it exhibits to perfection his besetting fault of straining his style a peg too high; of seeking to be impressive by the use of exaggerated and unnatural imagery. When he disencumbers himself of this fatal habit his verse is clear and massive. Neither Webster nor Chapman ever gave utterance to more dignified reflections than Marston puts into the mouth of the discrowned Andrugio in the noble speech beginning, “Why, man, I never was a prince till now” (vol. i., p. 64). There is nothing of bluster in that speech; there is not a word that one would wish to alter. Nor is Marston without something of that power, which Webster wielded so effectively, of touching the reader’s imagination with a vague sense of dread. He felt keenly the mysteries of the natural world; the weird stillness that precedes the breaking of the dawn, and

“the deep affright
That pulseth in the heart of night.”

Antonio and Mellida amply testifies that Marston possessed a strangely subtle and vivid imagination; but few are the traces of that “sanity” which Lamb declared to be an essential condition to true genius.

In 1604 was published The Malcontent;[13] another edition, augmented by Webster, appeared in the same year. From the Induction we learn that it had been originally acted by the Children’s Company at the Blackfriars; and that when the Children appropriated The Spanish Tragedy, in which the King’s Company at the Globe had an interest, the King’s Company retaliated by acting Marston’s play, with Webster’s additions. The Malcontent has more dramatic interest than Antonio and Mellida; it is also more orderly and artistic. Jonson’s criticism evidently had a salutary effect, for we find no such flowers of speech as “glibbery urchin,” “sliftred paunch,” “the fist of strenuous vengeance is clutch’d,” &c. Marston has been at pains to give a more civil aspect to his “aspera Thalia.” Moreover, the moralising is less tedious, and the satire more pungent than in the earlier plays. There is less of declamation and more of action. The atmosphere is not so stifling, and one can breathe with something of freedom. There are no ghosts to shout “Vindicta!” and no boys to be butchered at midnight in damp cloisters; nobody has his tongue cut out prior to being hacked to pieces. Marston has on this occasion contrived to write an impressive play without deeming it necessary to make the stage steam like a shambles. As before, the scene is laid in Italy; and again we have a vicious usurper, and a virtuous deposed duke; but the characters are more human than in the earlier plays. Mendoza, the upstart tyrant, is indeed a deeply debased villain, but he is not deformed, like Piero, beyond all recognition. Altofronto, the banished duke, who disguises himself in the character of a malcontent and settles at the usurper’s court, is a more possible personage than Andrugio. The description that the malcontent gives of himself in iii. 1, and the other description of the hermit’s cell in iv. 2, exemplify Marston’s potent gift of presenting bold conceptions in strenuously compact language.

The Malcontent was dedicated by Marston in very handsome terms to Ben Jonson, and there is a complimentary allusion to Jonson in the epilogue. At this distance of time it is impossible to fully understand the relations that existed between Jonson and Marston. There seem to have been many quarrels and more than one reconciliation. During his visit to Hawthornden, Jonson told Drummond that “He had many quarrels with Marston, beat him and took his pistol from him, wrote his Poetaster on him; the beginning of them were that Marston represented him in the stage in his youth given to venery.”[14] The original quarrel seems to have begun about the year 1598. In the apology at the end of The Poetaster, Jonson writes:

“Three years
They did provoke me with their petulant styles
On every stage: and I at last unwilling,
But weary, I confess, of so much trouble,
Thought I would try if shame could win upon ’em.”

The Poetaster was produced in 1601; so these attacks on Jonson, in which Marston must have taken a leading part, began about 1598. In the address “To those that seem judicial Perusers” prefixed to The Scourge of Villainy, Marston undoubtedly ridicules Ben Jonson for his use of “new-minted epithets[15] (as real, intrinsecate, Delphic).” “Real” occurs in Every Man out of his Humour (ii. 1); “intrinsecate"” in Cynthia’s Revels (v. 2); and “Delphic” in an early poem of Jonson’s. But, as Every Man out of his Humour was first produced at Christmas 1599, and Cynthia’s Revels in 1600, these “new-minted epithets” must have been used by Jonson in some early plays that have perished. Jonson retaliated by attacking Marston in Every Man out of his Humour, and Cynthia’s Revels. In the former play (iii. 1) he introduces two characters, Clove and Orange, who are expressly described as “mere strangers to the whole scope of our play.” They are on the stage only for a few minutes. Clove is represented as a pretender to learning: “he will sit you a whole afternoon sometimes in a bookseller’s shop, reading the Greek, Italian, and Spanish, when he understands not a word of either.” Orange is a mere simpleton who can say nothing but “O Lord, sir,” and “It pleases you to say so, sir.” In the “characters of the persons" (prefixed to the play) we are told that this “inseparable case of coxcombs ... being well flattered” will “lend money and repent when they have done. Their glory is to invite players and make suppers.” Dr. Brinsley Nicholson suggests that Orange was intended as a caricature of Dekker, and that Clove stands for Marston. This view is, doubtless, partly correct, but we must not insist on it too strongly. Dekker—whatever may be said of Marston—had no money to lend, and would rather have expected to sup at the players’ expense than to be made the shot-clog of the feast: again and again in The Poetaster he is ridiculed on the score of poverty. It is undeniable that Jonson, to raise a laugh against Marston, puts into Clove’s mouth grotesque words culled from The Scourge of Villainy. “Monsieur Orange,” whispers Clove to his companion, as they are walking in the middle aisle of Paul’s, “yon gallants observe us; prithee let’s talk fustian a little and gull them; make them believe we are great scholars.” Presently we have the passage containing the Marstonian words (which I have printed in italics):

“Now, sirs, whereas the ingenuity of the time and the soul’s synderisis are but embryons in nature, added to the paunch of Esquiline,[16] and the intervallum of the zodiac, besides the ecliptic line being optic and not mental, but by the contemplative and theoric part thereof doth demonstrate to us the vegetable circumference and the ventosity of the tropics, and whereas our intellectual, or mincing capreal (according to the metaphysics) as you may read in Plato’s Histriomastix.[17] You conceive me, sir?"

In the first scene of the second act, Puntarvolo addresses Carlo Buffone as “thou Grand Scourge, or Second Untruss of the time,” in allusion to Marston’s Scourge of Villainy.

Cynthia’s Revels was produced in 1600 and printed in 1601. In this play, Anaides and Hedon are represented as being jealous of Crites, and as seeking by underhand means to bring him into discredit. It is certain that Jonson was glancing particularly at Marston and Dekker. In the second scene of the third act, Crites, defending himself against his two traducers, observes:

“If good Chrestus,
Euthus, or Phronimus, had spoke the words,
They would have moved me, and I should have call’d
My thoughts and actions to a strict account
Upon the hearing; but when I remember
’Tis Hedon and Anaides, alas, then
I think but what they are, and am not stirr’d.
The one a light voluptuous reveller,
The other a strange arrogating puff,
Both impudent and arrogant enough;
That talk as they are wont, not as I merit;
Traduce by custom, as most dogs do bark;
Do nothing out of judgment, but disease;
Speak ill because they never could speak well:
And who’d be angry with this race of creatures?”

Dekker in Satiromastix[18] puts four of these lines (“I think but what they are ... arrogant enough”) into the mouth of Horace (Jonson), plainly assuming that the abuse was intended for Marston and himself. Marston, too, in What You Will (p. xlviii.), fastens on this speech of Crites and uses it as a weapon against Jonson. Cynthia’s Revels was quickly followed by The Poetaster, which was produced in 1601 by the Children of the Queen’s Chapel. Hitherto, Jonson had merely skirmished with his adversaries; in The Poetaster he assails them might and main with all the artillery of invective. Marston is ridiculed as Crispinus, and Dekker as Demetrius Fannius. Crispinus is represented as a coarse-minded, ill-conditioned fellow, albeit of gentle parentage, who, like the bore encountered by Horace in the Via Sacra, is prepared to adopt the meanest stratagems in order to gain admittance to the society of courtiers and wits. He plots with the shifty out-at-elbows Demetrius (a witless “dresser of plays about the town here,” to wit, Thomas Dekker), and a huffing Captain Tucca, to disgrace Horace (Ben Jonson). But the attempt results in a ludicrous failure; Crispinus and Demetrius are arraigned at a session of the poets, and, after receiving a severe rebuke for their calumnies, are contemptuously dismissed on taking oath for their future good behaviours. In court a dose of hellebore is administered to Crispinus, who thereupon proceeds to vomit up gobbets of Marston’s fustian vocabulary. When the physic has worked its effect Virgil gives Crispinus such advice as Lycinus gave to Lexiphanes in Lucian’s dialogue; bidding him form his style on classical models and not

“hunt for wild outlandish terms
To stuff out a peculiar dialect.”

The Poetaster was entered in the Stationers’ Register on 21st December 1601, and Satiromastix had already been entered on the 11th of the preceding month. The title-page of Satiromastix bears only Dekker’s name, and to Dekker the play is attributed in the Stationers’ Register. It was doubtless with Marston’s approval that Dekker took up the cudgels against the truculent Ben, but there is no evidence to show that Marston had any share in the authorship of Satiromastix. It is not necessary to deal here with Dekker’s spirited rejoinder, but there is one difficult passage, put into the mouth of Horace, to which passing attention must be called:

“As for Crispinus, that Crispin-ass and Fannius his play-dresser, who (to make the Muses believe their subjests’ [sic] ears were starved and that there was a dearth of poesy) cut an innocent Moor i’th middle, to serve him in twice, and when he had done made Poules’ work of it; as for these twins, these poet-apes,

Their mimic tricks shall serve
With mirth to feast our muse whilst their own starve.”
(Works, 1873, i. 212.)

The meaning of this obscure passage seems to be that Marston and Dekker wrote in conjunction a play which had a Moor for its leading character; that the writers’ barren invention prompted them to treat the story again in a Second Part; and that the two parts, when they had served their time upon the stage, were published in Paul’s Churchyard. At least that is the only intelligible explanation that I can give to the words; but I am altogether unable to fix on any extant play, in which a Moor figures, that could be attributed to Marston and Dekker. From Henslowe’s Diary we know that Dekker was concerned in the authorship of a play called The Spanish Moor’s Tragedy (which has been doubtfully identified with Lust’s Dominion, printed in 1657 as a work of Marlowe’s); but Dekker’s coadjutors in that play were William Haughton and John Day.

It is curious to note that in the very year (1601) when the quarrel between Marston and Jonson reached a climax, the two enemies are contributing poems to the Divers Poetical Essays appended to Robert Chester’s tedious and obscure Love’s Martyr. The other contributors were Shakespeare and Chapman; Marston’s verses follow Shakespeare’s Phœnix and Turtle. In 1604, as we have noticed, Marston dedicated his Malcontent to Jonson in very cordial terms; and in 1605 he prefixed some complimentary verses to Sejanus.

In 1605 was published the comedy of The Dutch Courtezan, which had been acted by the Children’s Company at the Blackfriars. There is more of life and movement in this play than in any other of Marston’s productions. The character of the passionate and implacable courtesan, Franceschina, is conceived with masterly ability. Few figures in the Elizabethan drama are more striking than this fair vengeful fiend, who is as playful and pitiless as a tigress; whose caresses are sweet as honey and poisonous as aconite. All the characters are drawn with skill and spirit. Young Freevill is a typical Elizabethan gallant, very frank in his utterances, and not burthened with an excess of modesty. Malheureux, his moody friend, is noted for his strictness of life, but a glance from Franceschina scatters his virtuous resolutions, and he is ready at the temptress’ bidding to kill his friend in order to satisfy his passion. The innocent shamefaced Beatrice, affianced to young Freevill, is drawn with more tenderness than Marston usually shows; and her gay prattling sister Crispinella recalls (longo intervallo) another more famous Beatrice. Cockledemoy, the droll and nimble trickster, who at every turn dexterously cozens Master Mulligrub, the vintner, affords abundance of amusement; but his plain speaking shocks the sensitively chaste ears of Mary Faugh, the old bawd. Antony Nixon, in The Black Year, 1606, speaks of the play as “corrupting English conditions”;[19] but Nixon’s protest went for little. In December 1613 The Dutch Courtezan was acted at Court (Cunningham’s Extracts from the Accounts of the Revels, p. xliv.). Having received some alterations at the hands of Betterton, it was revived in 1680 under the title of The Revenge, or A Match in Newgate.

A singularly fresh and delightful study of city-life is the comedy of Eastward Ho, published in 1605. Three dramatists combined to produce this genial masterpiece—Chapman, Jonson, and Marston. It seems to have been written shortly after James’ accession, when the hungry Scots were swarming southwards in quest of preferment. Englishmen were justly indignant at the favours bestowed by James on these Scotch adventurers, and a passage in Eastward Ho stated the grievance very plainly. “You shall live freely there” [i.e., in Virginia], says Seagull, “without sergeants, or courtiers, or lawyers, or intelligencers, only a few industrious Scots, perhaps, who, indeed, are dispersed over the face of the whole earth. But as for them, there are no greater friends to Englishmen and England, when they are out on’t, in the world, than they are. And for my part, I would a hundred thousand of ’hem were there, for we are all one countrymen now, ye know; and we should find ten times more comfort of them there than we do here.” At the instance of Sir James Graham, one of James’ newly-created knights, the playwrights were committed to prison[20] for their abuse of the Scots, and the report went that their ears were to be cut and their noses slit. Ben Jonson told Drummond that he had not contributed the objectionable matter, and that he voluntarily imprisoned himself with Chapman and Marston, who “had written it amongst them.” After his release from prison Jonson gave a banquet to “all his friends,” Camden and Selden being among the guests. In the middle of the banquet his old mother drank to him and produced a paper containing “lusty strong poison,” which she had intended, if the sentence had been confirmed, to take to the prison and mix in his drink; and she declared—to show “that she was no churl”—that “she minded first to have drunk of it herself.” The passage about the Scots is found only in some copies of the 4tos; in others it was expunged. Scotch pride seems to have been easily wounded. On 15th April, 1598, George Nicolson, the English agent at the Scotch Court, writing from Edinburgh to Lord Burghley, stated that “it is regretted that the Comedians of London should scorn the king and the people of this land in their play; and it is wished that the matter be speedily amended, lest the king and the country be stirred to anger” (Cal. of State Papers, Scotland, ii. 749). Certainly the reflections in Eastward Ho have somewhat more of bitterness than banter; but one would have thought that the favoured Scots about the Court would be content to let the matter pass. Sir James Murray was the person who acted as delator, and it is not improbable that he found in the play some uncomplimentary allusions to himself, in addition to the sweeping satire on his countrymen. In the first scene of the fourth act there is a curious passage which has no point unless we suppose that it is directed against some particular courtier:

1st Gent. I ken the man weel; he’s one of my thirty pound knights.

2d Gent. No, no, this is he that stole his knighthood o’ the grand day for four pound given to a page; all the money in’s purse, I wot well.”

Satirical references to King James’ knights, the men who purchased knighthood from the king, are as common as blackberries; but in the present passage there must be a covert allusion to some person who procured the honour by an unworthy artifice, and I suspect that the allusion is to Sir James Murray. It is surprising that, when the reflections on the Scots were expunged, the passage in iv. 1 was allowed to stand; for, whether Sir James Murray was or was not personally ridiculed, the mimicry of James’ Scotch accent is unmistakeable. Perhaps the king joined in the laugh against himself, when the play was acted before him by the Lady Elizabeth’s Servants at Whitehall on 25th January 1613-4 (Cunningham’s Extracts from the Account of the Revels, p. xliv.).

Of the merits of Eastward Ho it would be difficult to speak too highly. To any who are in need of a pill to purge melancholy this racy old comedy may be safely commended. Few readers, after once making his acquaintance, will forget Master Touchstone, the honest shrewd old goldsmith, rough of speech at times but ever gentle at heart, thrifty to outward show but bountiful as the sun in May: he lives in our affections with Orlando Friscobaldo and Simon Eyre. Quicksilver, the rowdy prentice, dazed from last night’s debauch, reciting in a thick voice stale scraps of Jeronymo as he reels about Master Touchstone’s shop, heedless of the maxims of temperance which frown in print from the walls; Golding, the well-conducted prentice, the apple of his master’s eye, armed at all points with virtue and sobriety; Gertrude, the goldsmith’s extravagant daughter, with her magnificent visions of coaches, and castles, and cherries at an angel a pound; Mildred, her sister, simple and dutiful; Mistress Touchstone, who has been infected with Gertrude’s vanity, but quickly learns penitence in the school of necessity; Sir Petronel Flash, the shifty knight, eager to escape from creditors and serjeants to the new-found land of Virginia; Security, the blood-sucker and egregious gull:—all these characters, and the list is not exhausted, stand limned in all the warmth of life. Mr. Swinburne, in his masterly essay on Chapman, says with truth that “in no play of the time do we get such a true taste of the old city life so often turned to mere ridicule by playwrights of less good humour, or feel about us such a familiar air of ancient London as blows through every scene.”

It is very certain that Marston could never have written single-handed so rich and genial a play. In all Marston’s comedies there is a strong alloy of bitterness; we are never allowed to rise from the comic feast with a pleasant taste in the mouth. What precise share Marston had in Eastward Ho it would be difficult to determine with any approach to certainty. In the very first scene (vol. iii. p. 8) we come across a passage which is distinctly in Marston’s manner:

“I am entertained among gallants, true; they call me cousin Frank, right; I lend them monies, good; they spend it well.”

Compare a passage of The Fawn (vol. ii. p. 181):

“His brother your husband, right; he cuckold his eldest brother, true; he get her with child, just.”

But in the same opening scene there are equally unmistakable signs of Jonson’s presence. Touchstone says of Golding:—“He is a gentleman, though my prentice ...; well friended, well parted.” The curious expression “well parted” will be at once recognised as Jonsonian by the vigilant reader, who will remember how Macilente, in “The Characters of the Persons” prefixed to Every Man out of his Humour,[21] is described as “A man well parted, a sufficient scholar,” &c. Jonson and Marston worked on the first scene together; and it seems to me that throughout the first two acts we have the mixed work of these two writers. In the second scene of the third act, as Mr. Swinburne notices, Chapman’s hand is clearly seen in the quaint allusion to “the ship of famous Draco.” Quicksilver’s moralising, in iv. 1, after he has scrambled ashore at Wapping on the night of the drunken shipwreck, is again in Chapman’s manner; but his elaborate devices for blanching copper and sweating angels (later in the same scene) must, without the shadow of a doubt, be ascribed to the invention of the author of The Alchemist. It would be of doubtful advantage to pursue the inquiry at length.

Eastward Ho was revived at Drury Lane on Lord Mayor’s day 1751, under the title of The Prentices (n. d. 12mo), and again in 1775 under the title of Old City Manners. Hogarth is said to have drawn from Eastward Ho the plan of his prints The Industrious and Idle Prentices. Nahum Tate’s farce Cuckold’s Haven, published in 1685, is drawn partly from Eastward Ho and partly from The Devil is an Ass.

Parasitaster, or the Fawn, published in 1606, takes us again to Italy, and once more we have to listen to a satirical exposure of the courtiers’ vices and follies. In spite of occasional tediousness the play is interesting. Dulcimel, Gonzago’s witty daughter, who gulls her self-conceited old father by a pretended discovery of Tiberio’s love for her, and succeeds by her blandishments in converting the young misogynist into a perfervid wooer, is a delightfully attractive heroine. The stratagem employed by Dulcimel is of ancient date: it is found in Terence’s Adelphi, Boccaccio’s Decameron (third tale of the third day), and Molière’s L’École des Maris. I am half inclined to suspect that Marston was slily glancing at the “wise fool” King James in the person of the silly and pedantic Gonzago; and it is probable that some social scandals of the time afforded material for the description of the intrigues of Gonzago’s courtiers. Granuffo, who gains a reputation for wisdom by never opening his mouth, might possibly be made an amusing character by an actor skilled in facial contortions; but the humour of the thing is not very apparent in print. Signior No in the Noble Spanish Soldier (attributed to Samuel Rowley, though the play may properly belong to Dekker), and Littleword in Nabbes’ Covent Garden, are somewhat similar characters. The address To the Equal Reader, prefixed to Parasitaster, is excellently written, and exhibits Marston in a very pleasant light. “For mine own interest for once,” he writes, with a frankness which is not without a touch of pathos, “let this be printed,—that of men of my own addiction I love most, pity some, hate none; for let me truly say it, I once only loved myself, for loving them, and surely I shall ever rest so constant to my first affection, that let their ungentle combinings, discourteous whisperings, never so treacherously labour to undermine my unfenced reputation, I shall (as long as I have being) love the least of their graces and only pity the greatest of their vices.” A candid and creditable avowal, but, alas, “words is wind and wind is mutable.” In the second edition there follows a briefer address, in which the writer promises to “present a tragedy which shall boldly abide the most curious perusal;” and from a marginal note we learn that the tragedy of Sophonisba, published in 1606, was the work which was so boldly to challenge criticism. It is to be feared that this cherished offspring of Marston’s imagination will not be regarded with affection by many readers. For hideous blood-curdling realism the description of the witch Erictho and her cave is, I venture to think, without a parallel in literature. Tough as whipcord must have been the nerves of an audience which could listen patiently to the recital of Erictho’s atrocities. If there were any women of delicate health among the audience, a repetition of the mishaps connected with the performance of the Eumenides must surely have been unavoidable. Regarded, however, as a whole, the play is not impressive. Sophonisba is a fearless and magnanimous heroine, but her temper is too masculine; she talks too much and too bluntly, and is too fond of striking an attitude. Syphax, the villain of the play, is so prodigiously brutal as to appear perfectly grotesque; and the hero Massinissa bores us by his trite moral reflections. Marston strove to produce a stately tragedy, and was under the impression that his efforts had been crowned with success; but candid readers will judge the performance to be stiff and crude, wanting in energy and dramatic movement, too rhetorical, “climbing to the height of Seneca his style.” In the prefatory address he has a hit at Sejanus (to which in the previous year he had contributed a copy of eulogistic verses), informing us that “to transcribe authors, quote authorities, and translate Latin prose orations into English blank verse, hath, in this subject, been the least aim of my studies.” But Sejanus has certainly not less of dramatic interest than Sophonisba, and in other respects it is far superior.

In 1607 was published the comedy of What You Will (written, I suspect, shortly after the appearance of Cynthia’s Revels), which is largely indebted for its plot to Plautus’s Amphitruo. In the Induction, Marston again has his fling at Ben Jonson. Philomusus’ heated denunciation of censorious critics,

“Believe it, Doricus, his spirit
Is higher blooded than to quake and pant
At the report of Scoff’s artillery,” &c.,

was evidently written in derisive mimicry of Jonson’s scornful addresses to the audience; and Doricus’ remonstrance,

“Now out upon’t, I wonder what tight brain
Wrung in this custom to maintain contempt
’Gainst common censure,” &c.,

was unquestionably intended as a stiff rebuke to Jonson’s towering arrogance. But these strokes of personal satire are not confined to the Induction. Quadratus’ scathing ridicule of Lampatho Doria, in the first scene of the second act, was certainly aimed at some adversary of Marston’s; and there can be little doubt that this adversary was Ben Jonson. Lampatho is described in the following terms by his admirer Simplicius Faber:

“Monsieur Laverdure, do you see that gentleman? He goes but in black satin, as you see, but, by Helicon! he hath a cloth of tissue wit. He breaks a jest;[22] ha, he’ll rail against the court till the gallants—O God! he is very nectar: if you but sip of his love, you were immortal.”

At first Lampatho speaks the language of an affected gallant; it is nothing but “protest” with him. Quadratus is disgusted with him:

“A fusty cask
Devote to mouldy customs of hoary eld.”

After listening to much abuse, Lampatho turns on his assailant:

“So Phœbus warm my brain, I’ll rhyme thee dead.
Look for the satire: if all the sour juice
Of a tart brain can souse thy estimate,
I’ll pickle thee.”

The threat only irritates Quadratus the more:

“Why, you Don Kinsayder!
Thou canker-eaten rusty cur, thou snaffle
To freer spirits!
Think’st thou a libertine, an ungyved breast,
Scorns not the shackles of thy envious clogs?
You will traduce us unto public scorn?”

Curious that Marston should apply his own nom de plume “Kinsayder” to the adversary whom he is bullying! In the Scourge of Villainy he sneered at his own poem Pygmalion, and here he is referring contemptuously to his own achievements in satire. A man who openly ridicules himself blunts the edge of an enemy’s sarcasm.

We have seen (p. xxxiii.) that Crites’ bitter abuse of Anaides and Hedon (i.e., Marston and Dekker), in Cynthia’s Revels, was flung back in Jonson’s face by Dekker. Marston puts into the mouth of Quadratus a speech, modelled closely on those lines of Crites:

Lam. O sir, you are so square, you scorn reproof.”
Qua. No, sir; should discreet Mastigophorus,
Or the dear spirit acute Canaidus
(That Aretine, that most of me beloved,
Who in the rich esteem I prize his soul,
I term myself); should these once menace me,
Or curb my humour with well-govern’d check,
I should with most industrious regard,
Observe, abstain, and curb my skipping lightness;
But when an arrogant, odd, impudent,
A blushless forehead, only out of sense
Of his own wants, bawls in malignant questing
At others’ means of waving gallantry,—
Pight foutra!”

Who “discreet Mastigophorus” and “acute Canaidus” were it would be useless to conjecture. But it is not to be doubted that Quadratus’ abuse of Lampatho was levelled at Ben Jonson; and that Marston was avenging himself in this way for the insults showered upon him by Jonson. In iv. 1, Quadratus sneers at Lampatho’s verse. Lampatho threatens to be revenged. “How, prithee?” says Quadratus; “in a play? Come, come, be sociable.”

The tragedy of The Insatiate Countess was published in 1613, with Marston’s name on the title-page. In the Duke of Devonshire’s library there is a copy,[23] dated 1616, with no name on the title-page. The play was reprinted in 1631, and Marston’s name is found on the title-page of most copies of that edition; but the Duke of Devonshire possesses a copy,[24] in which the author’s name is given as William Barksteed. In the collected edition of Marston’s plays, 1633, The Insatiate Countess is not included. It is therefore clear that Marston’s authorship is not established by external evidence. When we come to examine the play itself, which has unfortunately descended in a most corrupt state, the difficulty is not removed. Two picturesque lines at the close of the last scene,

“Night, like a masque, is enter’d heaven’s great hall,
With thousand torches ushering the way,”

are found verbatim in Barksteed’s poem Myrrha. We know little of Barksteed, but it is probable that he is to be identified with the William Barksted, or Backsted, who was one of Prince Henry’s players in August 1611 (Collier’s Memoirs of Edward Alleyn, p. 98), and belonged to the company of the Prince Palatine’s players in March 1615-6 (ibid., p. 126). He is the author of two poems,[25] which display some graceful fancy (though the subject of the first is ill-chosen),—Myrrha the Mother of Adonis, 1607, and Hiren and the Fair Greek, 1611. As we read The Insatiate Countess we cannot fail to notice passages containing a richness of fancy, and a musical fluency of expression, to which Marston’s undoubted plays afford no parallel. The italicised lines are certainly not in Marston’s vein:

“Like to the lion when he hears the sound
Of Dian’s bowstring in some shady wood,
I should have couched my lowly limb on earth
And held my silence a proud sacrifice.”
“Others, compared to her, show like faint stars
To the full moon of wonder in her face.”

Again: the play contains an unusually large number of imitations of Shakespearean passages. In fact I know no play of this early date in which Shakespeare is so persistently imitated or plagiarised. Again and again we find images and expressions borrowed more or less closely from Hamlet. Shakespeare’s historical plays, too, were laid under contribution. In the very first scene we have these lines:

“Slave, I will fight with thee at any odds;
Or name an instrument fit for destruction,
That e’er was made to make away a man,
I’ll meet thee on the ridges of the Alps,
Or some inhospitable wilderness.”

A very cool piece of plagiarism from Richard II. (i. 1):

“Which to maintain I would allow him odds
And meet him, were I tied to run a-foot
Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps
Or any other ground inhabitable.”

In the lines,

“The ghosts of misers that imprison’d gold
Within the harmless bowels of the earth,”

the italicised words were unquestionably suggested by a passage of Hotspur’s famous speech in Henry IV., i. 2,

“That villainous salt-petre should be digg’d
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth.“

When Don Sago in iv. 3 exclaims

“A hundred times in life a coward dies,”

we are immediately reminded of Shakespeare’s Julius Cæsar (ii. 2),

“Cowards die many times before their death;”

and Sago’s lament in v. 1,

“Although ... the waves of all the Northern sea
Should flow for ever through these guilty hands,
Yet the sanguinolent stain would extant be,”

decidedly smacks of Macbeth. Occasionally, it is true, Marston does not scruple to borrow from Shakespeare, but in none of his plays are the Shakespearean echoes so clear and frequent as in The Insatiate Countess. The text, as I have said, is extremely corrupt, and the confusion among the dramatis personæ is perplexing to the last degree (see note, vol. iii. p. 154). I suspect that Marston, on entering the church, left this tragedy in a fragmentary state, and that it was completed by the actor Barksteed. The whole interest centres in the beautiful and sinful Isabella, whose wayward glances, as she moves in splendour, fascinate all beholders; who is indeed a “glorious devil” without shame or pity, boundless and insatiable as the sea in the enormity of her caprices.

In addition to his plays, his poem of Pygmalion, and his satires, Marston wrote a Latin pageant on the occasion of the visit paid by the King of Denmark to James I. in 1606, and an entertainment, which is not without elegance, in honour of a visit paid by the Dowager Countess of Derby to her son-in-law and daughter, Lord and Lady Huntingdon, at Ashby. I strongly doubt whether The Mountebank’s Masque, performed at Court in February 1616-17 (when Marston was attending to his clerical duties in Hampshire), has been correctly assigned to Marston.

There are two anonymous plays[26] in which Marston’s hand is plainly discernible,—Histriomastix, published in 1610, and Jack Drum’s Entertainment, published in 1616. It has been mentioned (see note, p. xxxii.) that Jonson in Every Man out of his Humour puts into Clove’s mouth, with the object of ridiculing Marston, words and expressions found in Histriomastix (coupling them with flowers of speech culled from The Scourge of Villainy), and even mentions the play by name—“as you may read in Plato’s Histriomastix.” Only in a few scenes of Histriomastix can Marston’s hand be detected. It is a poor semi-allegorical play, a clumsy piece of patchwork. Marston’s additions must have been made before Christmas 1599 (when Every Man out of his Humour was produced), on the occasion of some revival. The following lines, which occur early in the second act, seem to refer to Ben Jonson:

“How, you translating scholar? You can make
A stabbing satire or an epigram,
And think you carry just Rhamnusia’s whip
To lash the patient! go, get you clothes:
Our free-born blood such apprehension loathes.”

Jack Drum’s Entertainment, an indifferent comedy, which appears to have been written about the year 1600,[27] bears the clearest traces of Marston’s early style. All the monstrous phraseology of The Scourge of Villainy and Antonio and Mellida is seen here in perfection. When Jonson in The Poetaster (v. 1) ridiculed Marston’s absurd vocabulary, he selected, inter alia, for castigation, some expressions which occur only in Jack Drum, and are not found (in so closely parallel a form) in the works published under Marston’s name: clear proof that the authorship of this play is to be ascribed, at least in part if not entirely, to Marston. In act iii. of Jack Drum we have

“Crack not the sinews of my patience,”

which is ridiculed in The Poetaster

“As if his organons of sense would crack
The sinews of my patience.”

In act ii. are these ridiculous lines

“Let clumsy chilblain’d gouty wits
Bung up their chief contents within the hoops
Of a stuff’d dry-fat;”

so in The Poetaster

“Upon that puft-up lump of barmy froth,
Or clumsy chilblain’d judgment.”

In act iv. Planet’s reflections on the arrogant Old Brabant are clearly directed against Jonson.

Collier in his Memoirs of Edward Alleyn (p. 154) printed a letter of Marston to Henslowe; but, as “the whole letter is manifestly a forgery, having been first traced in pencil, the marks of which are in places still visible” (Warner’s Catalogue of Dulwich Manuscripts and Muniments, p. 49), this relic is of no interest. Another letter, addressed to Lord Kimbolton by a “John Marston,"[28] is printed in Collier’s Shakespeare[29] (i. 179, ed. 1858); but as it was written in 1641, the writer could not have been the dramatist, who died in 1634. Among the additional MSS. (14,824-6) in the British Museum is a poem entitled The New Metamorphosis, or a Feast of Fancy or Poetical Legends ... Written by J. M., Gent., 1600, which has been, not very wisely, ascribed to Marston. I must confess that I have only a superficial acquaintance with this poem; but, as the work fills nearly nine hundred closely-packed pages, I trust that my confession will not be severely criticised. After the title-page is a leaf containing the arguments of books i.-vi.; then comes a new title-page An Iliad of Metamorphosis or the Arraignment of Vice, followed by a dialogue between Cupid and Momus. Six lines headed “The Author to his Book” follow the dialogue, and then comes “The Epistle Dedicatory,” consisting of a couple of lines

“To Momus, that same ever-carping mate,
And unto Cupid I this dedicate.”

After the commendably brief epistle come two lines which inform us that

“My name is French, to tell you in a word;
Yet came not in with conquering William’s sword.”

(Marston’s name was certainly not French; it was a good old Shropshire name.) The prologue begins thus:

“Upon the public stage to Albion’s eye
I here present my new-born poesy,
Not with vain-glory puft to make it known,
Nor Indian-like with feathers not mine own
To deck myself, as many use to do;
To filching lines I am a deadly foe,” &c.

Presently the poet indulges in his invocation:

“Matilda fair, guide you my wand’ring quill!”

Having turned some thirty thousand verses off the reel, “J. M., Gent.” abruptly concludes, with the remark,

“My leave I here of poetry do take,
For I have writ until my hand doth ache.”

There is a fine field for an editor in The New Metamorphosis; virgin soil, I warrant.

Manningham in his Diary, under date 21st November 1602, has been at the pains to record a bon mot of Marston:—“Jo. Marstone, the last Christmas, when he daunct with Alderman Mores wives daughter, a Spaniard borne, fell into a strange commendation of hir witt and beauty. When he had done she thought to pay him home, and told him, she thought he was a poet. ’Tis true, said he, for poets feigne and lye, and soe did I, when I commended your beauty, for you are exceeding foule.” Not a very witty saying, and not very polite.

In 1633, William Sheares the publisher issued, in 1 vol. sm. 8vo, The Workes[30] of Mr. John Marston, being Tragedies and Comedies collected into one volume containing the two parts of Antonio and Mellida, Sophonisba, What You Will, The Fawn, and The Dutch Courtezan. The following dedicatory epistle to Viscountess Falkland, in which the publisher insists on the modesty (save the mark!) of Marston’s Muse, is found in some copies:

To the Right Honourable, the Lady Elizabeth Carey, Viscountess Falkland.

“Many opprobies and aspersions have not long since been cast upon Plays in general, and it were requisite and expedient that they were vindicated from them; but, I refer that task to those whose leisure is greater, and learning more transcendent. Yet, for my part, I cannot perceive wherein they should appear so vile and abominable, that they should be so vehemently inveighed against. Is it because they are Plays? The name, it seems, somewhat offends them; whereas, if they were styled Works, they might have their approbation also. I hope that I have now somewhat pacified that precise sect, by reducing all our Author’s several Plays into one volume, and so styled them The Works of Mr. John Marston, who was not inferior unto any in this kind of writing, in those days when these were penned; and, I am persuaded, equal unto the best poets of our times. If the lines be not answerable to my encomium of him, yet herein bear with him, because they were his Juvenilia and youthful recreations. Howsoever, he is free from all obscene speeches, which is the chief cause that makes Plays to be so odious unto most men. He abhors such writers, and their works; and hath professed himself an enemy to all such as stuff their scenes with ribaldry, and lard their lines with scurrilous taunts and jests; so that, whatsoever, even in the spring of his years, he hath presented upon the private and public theatre, now, in his autumn and declining age, he need not be ashamed of. And, were it not that he is so far distant from this place, he would have been more careful in revising the former impressions, and more circumspect about this, than I can. In his absence, Noble Lady, I have been emboldened to present these Works unto your Honour’s view; and the rather, because your Honour is well acquainted with the Muses. In brief, Fame hath given out that your Honour is the mirror of your sex, the admiration, not only of this island, but of all adjacent countries and dominions, which are acquainted with your rare virtues and endowments. If your Honour shall vouchsafe to accept this work, I, with my book, am ready pressed and bound to be

“Your truly devoted,


Ben Jonson’s copy of the 1633 edition of Marston’s plays is preserved in the Dyce Library at South Kensington.

Marston’s literary career barely covers a space of ten years: his satires were published in 1598, and he seems to have entered the Church, and to have abandoned the writing of plays, about the year 1607. It is hard to picture Marston as a preacher of the Gospel of Glad Tidings. Were we to judge him by his writings we should say that he was a scornful spirit, at strife with himself and with the world; a man convinced of the hollowness of present life, and yet not looking forward hopefully to any future sphere of activity; only anxious to drop into the jaws of that oblivion which he invoked in his verse and courted even on his gravestone. There was another, a greater than Marston, who began by writing satires and ended by writing sermons. Marston’s sermons have perished, but the sermons of John Donne,[31] Dean of St. Paul’s, are imperishable. At the thought of that oblivion for which Marston hungered the soul of Donne turned sick. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Fearful indeed; but “to fall out of the hands of the living God,” said Donne in a sermon preached before the Earl of Carlisle, “is a horror beyond our expression, beyond our imagination.” In a strain of marvellous eloquence he proceeds; and surely no utterance of poet or divine is more pitiful and passionate than this cry wrung from the heart of the great Dean Donne:

“That God should let my soul fall out of His hand into a bottomless pit and roll an unremovable stone upon it, ... and never think more of that soul, never have more to do with it; that of that providence of God, that studies the life of every weed, and worm, and ant, and spider, and toad, and viper, there should never, never any beam flow out upon me; that that God, who looked upon me, when I was nothing, and called me when I was not, as though I had been, out of the womb and depth of darkness, will not look upon me now, when, though a miserable, and a banished, and a damned creature, yet I am His creature still, and contribute something to His glory, even in my damnation; that that God, who hath often looked upon me in my foullest uncleanness, and when I had shut out the eye of the day, the sun, and the eye of the night, the taper, and the eyes of all the world, with curtains and windows and doors, did yet see me, and see me in mercy, by making me see that He saw me, and sometimes brought me to a present remorse and (for that time) to a forbearing of that sin, should so turn Himself from me to His glorious Saints and Angels, as that no Saint nor Angel nor Christ Jesus Himself should ever pray Him to look towards me, never remember Him that such a soul there is; that that God,—who hath so often said to my soul Quare morieris? Why wilt thou die? and so often sworn to my soul Vivit Dominus, As the Lord liveth I would not have thee die but live,—will neither let me die nor let me live, but die an everlasting life and live an everlasting death; that that God, who when He could not get into me by standing and knocking, by His ordinary means of entering, by His word, His mercies, hath applied His judgments and hath shaked the house, this body, with agues and palsies, and set this house on fire with fevers and calentures, and frighted the master of the house, my soul, with horrors and heavy apprehensions, and so made an entrance into me; that that God should frustrate all His own purposes and practises upon me, and leave me and cast me away, as though I had cost Him nothing; that this God at last should let this soul go away, as a smoke, as a vapour, as a bubble, and that then this soul cannot be a smoke, a vapour, nor a bubble, but must lie in darkness, as long as the Lord of light is light itself, and never spark of that light reach to my soul: what Tophet is not Paradise, what brimstone is not amber, what gnashing is not a comfort, what gnawing of the worm is not a tickling, what torment is not a marriage-bed to this damnation, to be secluded eternally, eternally, eternally from the sight of God!”

[1] Add. MS. 24,487 (“Chorus Vatum”).

[2] Grosart’s Introduction to Marston’s Poems, 1879 (privately printed).

[3] Elizabeth Guarsi, the poet’s grandmother, on the death of her husband, Andrew Guarsi, had married John Butler of Wardington, co. Oxon.

[4] I have to thank the Dean of Winchester for supplying me, from the books of the Dean and Chapter of Winchester, with the date of Marston’s presentation. The date of his resignation had been previously communicated to me by Dr. Brinsley Nicholson, who procured it from the Diocesan Registry, Winchester.

[5] The will was printed in Halliwell’s preface to his edition of Marston. Dr. Grosart gives a literatim copy (which I have followed) collated by Col. Chester with the original.

[6] An abstract of her will, communicated by Col. Chester, is printed in Dr. Grosart’s Introduction (p. xxiv.). To her “reverend Pastor Master Edward Calamy”—the famous puritan minister, Edmund Calamy—she leaves “6 angels as a token of my respect.”

[7] Pygmalion’s Image was republished, without the satires, in 1613 and 1628, in a volume containing the anonymous poem Alcilia and S. P.’s [Samuel Page’s?] Amos and Laura.

[8] In the epigram he refers to the nom de plume “Kinsayder” which Marston had adopted, and we learn that it was derived from the “kinsing” (cutting the tails?) of dogs. It is to be noticed that the name “Kinsayder” does not occur in the Pygmalion volume. The dedicatory verses to “The World’s Mighty Monarch, Good Opinion,” are merely subscribed with the initials “W. K.” We first find the full name “W. Kinsayder” in the address “To those that seem judicial perusers,” prefixed to The Scourge of Villainy.

[9] The title shows Hall was the original aggressor (at least in Marston’s opinion). Guilpin in the sixth satire of Skialetheia alludes to Marston’s “Reactio” in a somewhat enigmatic manner. See note, vol. iii. p. 287.

[10] Both The Whipping and The Whipper are exceedingly rare. Sir Charles Isham, Bart., of Lamport Hall, possesses a little volume (the loan of which I gratefully acknowledge) which contains these two tracts and Nicholas Breton’s No Whipping No Tripping.

[11] Dr. Nicholson suggests that the character of Furor Poeticus in this play was intended as a satirical portrait of Marston. The suggestion is very plausible.

[12] “This should be town. To bring to town = to bring home.”—P. A. Daniel. (I prefer the old reading.)

[13] There were really two separate editions of the unrevised play published in 1604. I too hastily assumed that the copy in the Dyce Library was identical with the copy in the British Museum, apart from such textual variations as are frequently found in copies of the same impression of an old play; but I have since discovered that the two copies belong to separate editions. The title of the enlarged edition is curious: The Malcontent. Augmented by Marston. With the Additions played by the Kings Maiesties Servants. Written by Ihon Webster. Slovenly wording and vicious punctuation.

John Davies of Hereford, in the Scourge of Folly (1611?), has the following epigram on The Malcontent:

To acute Mr. John Marston.

“Thy Malcontent or Malcontentedness
Hath made thee change thy muse, as some do guess;
If time misspent make her a malcontent
Thou need’st not then her timely change repent.
The end will show it; meanwhile do but please
With virtuous pains as erst thou didst with ease,
Thou shalt be praised and kept from want and woe;
So blest are crosses that do bless us so.”

[14] Perhaps some sage commentator of the future will tell us that Syphax in Sophonisba was intended as a satirical portrait of Ben.

[15] It is hard to see why Jonson should be ridiculed for using these epithets. Marston uses two of them (“real” and “Delphic”) himself.

[16] We have “Port Esquiline” twice in the Scourge of Villainy; but the very phrase Paunch of Esquiline occurs in Histriomastix (Simpson’s School of Shakspere, ii. 51), an anonymous play which undoubtedly contains some of Marston’s work. “Zodiac,” “ecliptic line,” “demonstrate,” and “tropics” are also found in Histriomastix (ibid. ii. 25-6); they are not in Marston’s satires. The other words will be found in the Scourge of Villainy.

[17] Of Histriomastix I shall have to speak later.

[18] Dekker’s Works (Pearson’s Reprint), i. 195.

[19] “Some booksellers this year,” says Nixon, “shall not have cause to boast of their winnings, for that many write that flow with phrases and yet are barren in substance, and such are neither wise nor witty; others are so concise that you need a commentary to understand them, others have good wits but so critical that they arraign other men’s works at the tribunal seat of every censurious Aristarch’s understanding, when their own are sacrificed in Paul’s Churchyard for bringing in the Dutch Courtezan to corrupt English conditions and sent away westward for carping both at court, city, and country. For they are so sudden-witted that a flea can no sooner frisk forth but they must needs comment on her.”

[20] Among the Hatfield MSS. is a letter (communicated to Gifford by the elder Disraeli), dated “1605,” of Ben Jonson to Lord Salisbury, in which Jonson writes that he had been committed to prison unexamined and unheard, “and with me a gentleman (whose name may perhaps have come to your lordship), one Mr. George Chapman, a learned and honest man,” for introducing into a play some matter which had given offence. With much warmth he declares that, since his “first error,” he had been scrupulously careful not to write anything against which objection could be taken. Gifford assumed that “first error” referred to Eastward Ho, and that Jonson was suffering for another offence when the letter was written. What the “first error” was cannot be determined with certainty, for it is not improbable that Jonson was frequently in trouble. It is quite possible that the letter was written when Jonson and Chapman were in prison on the Eastward Ho charge. Jonson may have written on Chapman’s behalf and his own, leaving Marston to shift for himself. But such conduct would have been ungenerous; and I prefer to adopt Gifford’s view that the imprisonment of which the letter complains was not connected with Eastward Ho. Besides, the satirical reflections on the Scots, and any particular allusions to Sir James Graham, would have been more pertinent in 1603 than in 1605.

[21] In Every Man out of his Humour, iii. 3, we have:

“Whereas let him be poor and meanly clad,
Though ne’er so richly parted,” &c.

[22] The words “He [i.e., Lampatho] breaks a jest” have the look of a stage-direction.

[23] The Insatiate Countesse. London, Printed by N. O. for Thomas Archer, &c., 1616, 4to.

[24] The full title is [The] Insatiate Covntesse. A Tragedy: Acted, at White-Friers. Written, By William Barksteed. London, Printed for Hvgh Perrie, and are to be sold at his shop at the signe of the Harrow in Brittaines-Burse. 1631. 4to.

[25] Reprinted in Dr. Grosart’s valuable Occasional Issues.

[26] These plays are printed in the second volume of Simpson’s School of Shakspere. I have not included them in this edition of Marston; they are of little value and are easily accessible. Marston’s share in Histriomastix was slight.

[27] See Simpson’s School of Shakespere, ii. 127.

[28] Probably the Rev. John Marston, of St. Mary Magdalene, Canterbury, who published in 1642 A Sermon preached ... before many ... Members of the House of Commons.

[29] In his Shakespeare Collier states that the letter was written in 1605, and that it refers to the Gunpowder Plot; but in his Bibliographical Account, 1. xxiv*, correcting his former statement, he says that the letter was written in 1641, and that it concerns the arrest of the Five Members.

[30] In some copies the author’s name is not given, and the title-page runs, Tragedies and Comedies collected into one volume, viz. 1. Antonio and Mellida. 2. Antonio’s Revenge. 3. The Tragedie of Sophonisba. 4. What You Will. 5. The Fawne. 6. The Dutch Courtezan.

[31] Some verses, signed “Jo. Mar.,” prefixed to Donne’s Poems, 1633, have been ascribed to Marston; but, as the heading of the verses is “Hexasticon Bibliopolæ,” and as the publisher or bibliopola was Jo[hn] Mar[riott], Marston’s claim can hardly be sustained.


Vol. i. page 13. “Blind Gew.”—I have come upon a mention of this actor in the fifth satire of Edward Guilpin’s Skialetheia, 1598:

“But who’s in yonder coach? my lord and fool,
One that for ape-tricks can put Gue to school.”

Guilpin’s eleventh epigram is addressed “To Gue”:

Gue, hang thyself for woe, since gentlemen
Are now grown cunning in thy apishness,” &c.

Page 15, line 17. “Heavy dryness.”—I was wrong in accepting the reading of ed. 1633 in preference to the “heathy dryness” of ed. 1602. Heathy is a Marstonian word; and we find it in act iv. of Jack Drum’s Entertainment:

“Good faith, troth is they are all apes and gulls,
Vile imitating spirits, dry heathy turfs.”

Page 60, line 256. Dr. Nicholson proposes “Her own heels, God knows, are not half so light”—a good emendation.

Page 239, line 21. “Distilled oxpith,” &c.—We have a similar list of provocatives in John Mason’s Turk, first published in 1610, but written some years previously:

“Here is a compound of Cantharides, diositerion, marrow of an ox, hairs of a lion, stones of a goat, cock-sparrows’ brains, and such like.” (Sig. F. 3, verso.)

Page 311, lines 88, 89. “Life is a frost ... vanity.”—I have discovered that these lines are from an epigram in Thomas Bastard’s Chrestoleros, 1598, sig. H. I quote the epigram in full, as it is of striking solemnity:

“When I behold with deep astonishment
To famous Westminster how there resort,
Living in brass or stony monument,
The princes and the worthies of all sort,
Do not I see reform’d nobility
Without contempt or pride or ostentation?
And look upon offenceless majesty
Naked of pomp or earthly domination?
And how a play-game of a painted stone
Contents the quiet now and silent sprites
Whom all the world, which late they stood upon,
Could not content nor squench [sic] their appetites?
Life is a frost of cold felicity
And death the thaw of all our vanity.

Vol. ii. page 355, line 274. Mr. P. A. Daniel suggests that for “others’ fate” we should read “adverse fate.”

Vol. iii. page 51, lines 41-2. “But a little higher, but a little higher,” &c.—These lines are from a song of Campion, beginning

“Mistress, since you so much desire
To know the place of Cupid’s fire,” &c.

No. xvi. in Campion and Rosseter’s Book of Airs, 1601. They occur again in Campion’s Fourth Book of Airs, No. xxii.

Page 243, line 247. “Like Mycerinus,” &c.—I notice that a similar emendation is made, in a seventeenth century hand, in the margin of one of Dyce’s copies at South Kensington. My emendation was printed before I discovered that it had been anticipated.



Page 64, line 48, for Tyrrian read Tyrian.

Page 120, note 2, for Grumean read Grumeau.

Page 159, note 1, for “The star-led wisards hasten” read “The star-led wisards haste.”

Page 191, after “Antonii Vindictæ” the word “Finis” should be added (i.e., “End of Antonio’s Revenge”).


Page 125, note 2, after “The Famous History of Fryer” add “Bacon.”

Page 322, line 15, for “Sir Signior” read “Sir, Signior” (comma after “Sir”).

Page 363, for “Still went on went I” read “Still on went I” (an annoying blunder).

Page 394, lines 158-9, in “delicious, sweet” the comma should be struck out, as “sweet” is doubtless to be taken as a substantive.


Page 3, five lines from the bottom, read “insists on starting.”

Page 342, note 2, in “Huc usque of Xylinum” del. “of.”


For the following corrections and emendations I am indebted to Mr. P. A. Daniel. I am sorry that I did not have them earlier.

First I will correct the actual mistakes for which I must bear the responsibility (in whole or part).

Vol. i., page xxxviii., line 11, for “Sir James Graham” read “Sir James Murray.”

Vol. i., page 26, line 205, for “The first thing he spake” read “The first word that he spake.”

Vol. i., page 60, line 263, for “in time to come” the old eds. read “time to come.” (I prefer "in time,” but should not have added "in” silently.)

Vol. i., page 89, line 296, “His father’s” [fathers] is the reading of ed. 1602; but ed. 1633 gives “His father”—a better reading.

Vol. i., page 121, line 318, for “aspish” read “apish.”

Vol. i., page 175, line 78, for “scorn’d” read “scorn’t.”

Vol. ii., page 17, the stage-direction “Enter Cocledemoy” is superfluous.

Vol. ii., page 28, line 160, for “feast o’ grace” (where old eds. give fiest) read “fist o’ grace,” and compare page 42, line 58, &c.

Vol. ii., page 32, line 33, for “not swaggering” read “not of swaggering.”

Vol. ii., page 109. The address should be headed “To my Equal Reader.”

Vol. ii., page 197, line 417, for “show” read “sue” (the reading of ed. 1633).

Vol. ii., page 213, line 92, delete “not.”

Vol. ii., page 222, line 308, in “thy vice from apparent here” delete “from.” (But query “thy vice from apparent heir”?)

Vol. ii., page 277, line 117, “All but Zanthia and Vangue depart.” Unquestionably these words are a stage-direction. They are printed as part of the text in ed. 1633; but in ed. 1606 they are italicised, and (though printed in the same line as “Withdraw, withdraw”) evidently form part of the previous stage-direction.

Vol. ii., page 328, for “For many debts” read “For many many debts.”

Vol. ii., page 341, line 227, for “For” read “Fore.”

Vol. ii., page 346, line 51, for “hoary eld” ed. 1607 reads “hoard,” and ed. 1633 “hoar’d.” Probably the true reading is “hoar.”

Vol. ii., page 369, lines 37-38. These lines have been transposed by my printers; line 38 ("And those that rank,” &c.) should stand before line 37 (“Study a faint salute,” &c.).

In the foregoing instances it is I who am chiefly to blame, and not the old copies. I now come to Mr. Daniel’s valuable emendations.

Vol. i., page 8, line 35, for “great” read “create” (an excellent emendation).

Vol. i., page 32, line 56. Does not this speech belong to Feliche?

Vol. i., page 53, line 107. The prefix should be “Cat.”

Vol. i., page 60, line 247. Add the stage-direction “Exit Antonio.”

Vol. i., page 70, line 182. Mr. Daniel suggests that for “Spavento” (an awkward word here) we should read “Speranza.”

Vol. i., page 110. “Enter Antonio,” &c.—Strike out the names of Feliche and Forobosco.

Vol. i., page 128, line 107, for “How could he come on?” Mr. Daniel proposes “How coldly he comes on!”

[Vol. i., page 142, line 2. In old eds. the line stands thus:—“Bout heauens brow. (12) Tis now starke dead night.” The bracketed “(12)” I expanded into a stage-direction; but Mr. Swinburne suggests to me that “the word ‘twelve’—ejaculated by Antonio on hearing the clock strike—is wanted for the metre.” If we are to insert the word “twelve” I should place it at the end of the line.]

Vol. i., page 145, line 54, for “The neat gay mists of the light’s not up” Mr. Daniel suggests “The neat gay mistress,” &c. (i.e., Aurora)—an admirable emendation.

[Vol. i., page 150, line 190, for “swell thy hour out” Mr. Swinburne proposes “honour.” If any change is needed I should prefer to read “horror;” but “hour” frequently has a dissyllabic value.]

Vol. i., page 151, line 211, for “night-ghosts and graves” Mr. Daniel would read “Night (i.e., good-night), ghosts and graves.”

Vol. i., page 156, line 99, for “Why lags delay” Mr. Daniel would read “Why, lags, delay?” taking lags as a substantive (“the sooty coursers of the night”).

Vol. i., page 158, line 41. I should have mentioned in a footnote that “stirs” is an old form of “steers.”

[Vol. i., page 172, line 22. Mr. Swinburne doubts whether my correction “see” for “sir” is necessary, as the apostrophe “sir” or “sirs” is occasionally found in a monologue.]

Vol. ii., page 9, line 54. Here, and in line 58, the prefix should be “Tys.”; and at line 62 Tysefew’s exit should be marked.

Vol. ii., page 16. At the bottom of the page should be marked “Exit Mary,” and at line 180 “Exit Cocledemoy.”

Vol. ii., page 86. “Enter Franceschina,” &c. Among those who enter should be included “Freeville disguised.”

Vol. ii., page 93, line 46. “Ha, get you gone.” It is a question whether these words apply to Freeville’s disguise or are addressed to musicians. (In spite of line 32, “I bring some music,” it is doubtful whether there are any musicians on the stage.)

Vol. ii., page 139, line 111. “Nymphadoro, in direct phrase.” Mr. Daniel proposes (rightly) to read:— “Nym. In direct phrase,” &c.

Vol. ii., page 145, line 252. This speech should probably be given to Herod.

Vol. ii., page 153, line 460. The prefix should doubtless be “Zuc.”

Vol. ii., page 154, lines 477, 478. “And nose” should doubtless be given to Hercules, and “And brain” to Zuccone.

Vol. ii., page 157, line 569. The old. eds give “Venice duke,” but we should read “Urbin’s duke” (cf. page 226, line 444).

Vol. ii., page 171, line 299. Mr. Daniel suggests that we should place a full stop after the word “speaks” and read “His signs to me and mien of profound reach.”

Vol. ii., page 248, line 134. The words “No more: I bleed” appear to belong to the wounded Carthalon.

Vol. ii., page 261, lines 21, 22. Query “bemoan’t” and “revenge’t”?

Vol. ii., page 414, line 244, for “prolonged” Mr. Daniel ingeniously suggests “prologued.”

Vol. iii., page 214, line 78, for “faint” Mr. Daniel proposes “feigned” (a certain emendation). In line 91, for “I resisted” he proposes “if resisted.”

Vol. iii., page 240, line 166, for “stung” Mr. Daniel proposes “stone.”

Mr. Daniel sends me the following note on the plot of What You Will:

“A somewhat similar plot is found in I Morti Vivi, Comedia, del molto excellente signore Sforza D’Oddi, nell’Academia degli Insensati detto Forsennato, 1576. Oranta, a lady of Naples, whose husband, Tersandro, is supposed drowned at sea, is about to re-marry with Ottavio. Luigi, another suitor for her hand, to hinder the marriage conspires with others to induce one Iancola to personate Tersandro. Tersandro, however, has escaped the sea, and arrives to find himself denied by his own family (who have discovered Luigi’s plot), and to be mistaken by the conspirators themselves for Iancola. Tersandro’s adventures till his identity is established are somewhat similar to those of Albano in What You Will.

“D’Oddi apparently derived many incidents of his plot from the Greek romance of Clitophon and Leucippe, by Achilles Tatius; as also did Anibal Caro for his comedy of Gli Straccioni, 1582.”




The History of Antonio and Mellida. The first part. As it hath beene sundry times acted, by the children of Paules. Written by I. M. London Printed for Mathewe Lownes, and Thomas Fisher, and are to be soulde in Saint Dunstans Church-yarde. 1602. 4to.


Andrugio, Duke of Genoa, being utterly defeated in a sea-fight by Piero Sforza, Duke of Venice, and banished by the Genoways, conceals himself, with Lucio (an old courtier) and a page, among the marshes round Venice. Piero proclaims throughout Italy that whoever brings the head of Andrugio or of Andrugio’s son, Antonio (who is in love with Piero’s daughter, Mellida), shall receive a reward of twenty thousand pistolets. Antonio disguises himself as an Amazon, and, obtaining an interview with Mellida, announces that her lover has been drowned at sea. The pretended Amazon is received as a guest in Piero’s palace, and there quickly discovers himself to Mellida. Arrangements are made by the lovers to escape to England; but Piero gaining intelligence (through a letter that Mellida has dropped) of the intended flight, the plot is frustrated and Mellida escapes to the marshes in the disguise of a page. While Piero is giving orders for Antonio’s arrest, a sailor rushes forward, pretending to be in hot pursuit of Antonio towards the marshes. The pursuer is Antonio himself, who had assumed the disguise of a sailor at the instance of Feliche, a high-minded gentleman of the Venetian court. Piero gives the pretended sailor his signet-ring that he may pass the watch and not be hindered in the pursuit. Arrived at the marshes, Antonio, distracted with grief for the fall of his father and for the loss of Mellida, flings himself prostrate on the ground. Presently Andrugio approaches with Lucio and the page, and a joyful meeting ensues between father and son. Andrugio and Lucio retire to a cave which they had fitted up as a dwelling, and Antonio, promising to quickly rejoin them, stays to hear a song from Andrugio’s page. Meanwhile Mellida, disguised as a page, approaches unobserved, and hearing her name passionately pronounced, recognises the sailor as Antonio. She discovers herself to her lover, and after a brief colloquy despatches him across the marsh to observe whether any pursuers are in sight. Hardly has Antonio departed when Piero and his followers come up, and Mellida is drawn from a thicket where she had concealed herself. Piero hastens back to the court with his daughter, whom he resolves to marry out of hand to Galeatzo, son of the Duke of Florence. Antonio, returning in company with Andrugio and Lucio to the spot where he had left Mellida, learns from Andrugio’s page that she has been carried away. Andrugio now separates himself from Antonio and Lucio; proceeds, clad in a complete suit of armour, to the court of Piero, and announces that he has come to claim the reward offered for Andrugio’s head. Piero declares his willingness to pay the reward; and then Andrugio, raising his beaver, discovers himself to Piero and the assembled courtiers. Piero affects to be struck with admiration for his adversary’s magnanimity, and professes friendship for the future. A funeral procession now enters, followed by Lucio, who announces that he has brought the body of Antonio. Andrugio mourns for the death of his son and Piero affects to share his grief, protesting that he would give his own life or his daughter’s hand to purchase breath for the dead man. Thereupon Antonio, who had died only in conceit, rises from the bier and claims the hand of Mellida. Piero assents, and the First Part of Antonio and Mellida closes joyfully.

To the only rewarder and most just poiser of virtuous merits, the most honourably renowned Nobody,[32] bounteous Mecænas of poetry and Lord Protector of oppressed innocence, do dedicoque.

Since it hath flowed with the current of my humorous blood to affect (a little too much) to be seriously fantastical, here take (most respected Patron) the worthless present of my slighter idleness. If you vouchsafe not his protection, then, O thou sweetest perfection (Female Beauty), shield me from the stopping of vinegar bottles. Which most wished favour if it fail me, then Si nequeo flectere superos, Acheronta movebo. But yet, honour’s redeemer, virtue’s advancer, religion’s shelter, and piety’s fosterer, yet, yet, I faint not in despair of thy gracious affection and protection; to which I only shall ever rest most servingman-like, obsequiously making legs and standing (after our free-born English garb) bareheaded. Thy only affied slave and admirer,

J. M.

[32] So Day dedicates his Humour out of Breath to “Signior Nobody.”


Piero Sforza, Duke of Venice.
Andrugio, Duke of Genoa.
Antonio, son to Andrugio, in love with Mellida.
Feliche, a high-minded courtier.
Alberto, a Venetian gentleman, in love with Rossaline.
Balurdo, a rich gull.
Matzagente, a modern braggadoch, son to the Duke of Milan.
Galeatzo, son to the Duke of Florence, a suitor to Mellida.
Forobosco, a Parasite.
Castilio Balthazar, a spruce courtier.
Lucio,[34] an old nobleman, friend to Andrugio.
Catzo, page to Castilio.
Dildo, page to Balurdo.
Painter, Andrugio’s page, &c.

Mellida, daughter to Piero, in love with Antonio.
Rossaline, niece to Piero.
Flavia, a waiting-woman.

Scene—Venice and the Neighbourhood.

[33] There is no list of characters in old eds.

[34] Dilke (Old English Plays, 1814, vol. ii.) wrongly describes Lucio as Andrugio’s page.


Enter Galeatzo, Piero, Alberto, Antonio, Forobosco, Balurdo, Matzagente, and Feliche, with parts in their hands; having cloaks cast over their apparel.

Gal. Come, sirs, come! the music will sound straight for entrance. Are ye ready, are ye perfect?

Pier. Faith! we can say our parts; but we are ignorant in what mould we must cast our actors.

Alb. Whom do you personate?

Pier. Piero, Duke of Venice.

Alb. O! ho! then thus frame your exterior shape
To haughty form of elate majesty,
As if you held the palsy-shaking head
Of reeling chance under your fortune’s belt    10
In strictest vassalage: grow big in thought,
As swoln with glory of successful arms.

Pier. If that be all, fear not; I’ll suit it right.
Who cannot be proud, stroke up the hair, and strut?

Alb. Truth; such rank custom is grown popular;
And now the vulgar fashion strides as wide,
And stalks as proud upon the weakest stilts
Of the slight’st fortunes, as if Hercules
Or burly Atlas shoulder’d up their state.

Pier. Good: but whom act you?    20

Alb. The necessity[36] of the play forceth me to act two parts: Andrugio, the distressed Duke of Genoa, and Alberto, a Venetian gentleman, enamoured on the Lady Rossaline; whose fortunes being too weak to sustain the port of her, he proved always disastrous in love; his worth being much underpoised by the uneven scale, that currents all things by the outward stamp of opinion.

Gal. Well, and what dost thou play?

Bal. The part of all the world.

Alb. The part of all the world? What’s that?    30

Bal. The fool. Ay, in good deed law now, I play Balurdo, a wealthy mountbanking burgomasco’s heir of Venice.

Alb. Ha! ha! one whose foppish nature might seem great, only for wise men’s recreation; and, like a juiceless bark, to preserve the sap of more strenuous spirits. A servile hound, that loves the scent of forerunning fashion, like an empty hollow vault, still giving an echo to wit: greedily champing what any other well valued judgment had beforehand chew’d.[37]    40

Foro. Ha! ha! ha! tolerably good, good faith, sweet wag.

Alb. Umph; why tolerably good, good faith, sweet wag? Go, go; you flatter me.

Foro. Right; I but dispose my speech to the habit of my part.

Alb. Why, what plays he?

[To Feliche.

Feli. The wolf that eats into the breasts of princes; that breeds the lethargy and falling sickness in honour; makes justice look asquint; and blinds[38] the eye of merited reward from viewing desertful virtue.    51

Alb. What’s all this periphrasis, ha?

Feli. The substance of a supple-chapt flatterer.

Alb. O! doth he play Forobosco the Parasite? Good, i’faith. Sirrah, you must seem now as glib and straight in outward semblance as a lady’s busk,[39] though inwardly as cross as a pair of tailors’ legs; having a tongue as nimble as his needle, with servile patches of glavering flattery to stitch up the bracks[40] of unworthily honour’d—    60

Foro. I warrant you, I warrant you, you shall see me prove the very periwig to cover the bald pate of brainless gentility. Ho! I will so tickle the sense of bella gratiosa madonna with the titillation of hyperbolical praise, that I’ll strike it in the nick, in the very nick, chuck.

Feli. Thou promisest more than I hope any spectator gives faith of performance; but why look you so dusky, ha?

[To Antonio.

Ant. I was never worse fitted since the nativity of my actorship; I shall be hiss’d at, on my life now.    70

Feli. Why, what must you play?

Ant. Faith, I know not what; an hermaphrodite, two parts in one; my true person being Antonio, son to the Duke of Genoa; though for the love of Mellida, Piero’s daughter, I take this feigned presence of an Amazon, calling myself Florizell, and I know not what. I a voice to play a lady! I shall ne’er do it.

Alb. O! an Amazon should have such a voice, virago-like. Not play two parts in one? away, away, ’tis common fashion. Nay, if you cannot bear two subtle fronts under one hood, idiot, go by, go by, off this world’s stage! O time’s impurity!    82

Ant. Ay, but when use hath taught me action
To hit the right point of a lady’s part,
I shall grow ignorant, when I must turn
Young prince again, how but to truss[41] my hose.

Feli. Tush, never put them off; for women wear the breeches still.

Mat. By the bright honour of a Milanoise,
And the resplendent fulgor of this steel,    90
I will defend the feminine to death,
And ding[42] his spirit to the verge of hell,
That dares divulge a lady’s prejudice!

[Exeunt Matzagente, Forobosco, and Balurdo.[43]

Feli. Rampum scrampum, mount tufty Tamburlaine!
What rattling thunderclap breaks from his lips?

Alb. O! ’tis native to his part. For acting a modern[44] braggadoch under the person of Matzagente, the Duke of Milan’s son, it may seem to suit with good fashion of coherence.    99

Pier. But methinks he speaks with a spruce Attic accent of adulterate Spanish.

Alb. So ’tis resolv’d. For Milan being half Spanish, half high Dutch, and half Italians, the blood of chiefest houses is corrupt and mongrel’d; so that you shall see a fellow vain-glorious for a Spaniard, gluttonous for a Dutchman, proud for an Italian, and a fantastic idiot for all. Such a one conceit this Matzagente.

Feli. But I have a part allotted me, which I have neither able apprehension to conceit, nor what I conceit gracious ability to utter.    110

Gal. Whoop, in the old cut![45] Good, show us a draught of thy spirit.

Feli. ’Tis steady and must seem so impregnably fortressed with his own content that no envious thought could ever invade his spirit; never surveying any man so unmeasuredly happy, whom I thought not justly hateful for some true impoverishment; never beholding any favour of Madam Felicity gracing another, which his well-bounded content persuaded not to hang in the front of his own fortune; and therefore as far from envying any man, as he valued all men infinitely distant from accomplished beatitude. These native adjuncts appropriate to me the name of Feliche. But last, good, thy humour.    124

[Exeunt Piero, Alberto, and Galeatzo.[46]

Ant. ’Tis to be described by signs and tokens. For unless I were possessed with a legion of spirits, ’tis impossible to be made perspicuous by any utterance: for sometimes he must take austere state, as for the person of Galeatzo, the son of the Duke of Florence, and possess his exterior presence with a formal majesty: keep popularity in distance, and on the sudden fling his honour so prodigally into a common arm, that he may seem to give up his indiscretion to the mercy of vulgar censure. Now as solemn as a traveller,[47] and as grave as a Puritan’s ruff;[48] with the same breath as slight and scattered in his fashion as a—a—anything; now as sweet and neat as a barber’s casting-bottle;[49] straight as slovenly as the yeasty breast of an ale-knight: now lamenting, then chafing, straight laughing, then——    140

Feli. What then?

Ant. Faith, I know not what; ’t had been a right part for Proteus or Gew. Ho! blind Gew[50] would ha’ done ’t rarely, rarely.

Feli. I fear it is not possible to limn so many persons in so small a tablet as the compass of our plays afford.

Ant. Right! therefore I have heard that those persons, as he and you, Feliche, that are but slightly drawn in this comedy, should receive more exact accomplishment in a second part; which, if this obtain gracious acceptance, means to try his fortune.    151

Feli. Peace, here comes the Prologue: clear the stage.


[35] We have an Induction before What you Will and The Malcontent. Ben Jonson was particularly fond of introducing preliminary dialogues, which are usually so tedious that we are fain to exclaim with Cordatus (in the Induction to Every Man out of his Humour), “I would they would begin once; this protraction is able to sour the best settled patience in the theatre.”

[36] I.e., the poverty of the theatrical company. It was common for an actor to represent two characters (or more) in the same play. For example, William Shurlock personated Maharbal and Prusias in Nabbes’ Hannibal and Scipio, 1635; and in the same play, Hugh Clerke, besides taking the part of Syphax, personated the Nuntius.

[37] Old eds. “shew’d.”

[38] So ed. 1633.—The 4to gives “blinks.”

[39] A piece of whalebone, steel, or wood worn down the front of the stays to keep them straight.

[40] Rents, cracks.

[41] “Truss my hose” = tie the tagged laces of my breeches.

[42] Hurl violently.

[43] Old eds.Exeunt Ant. and Alb.

[44] Common, worthless.—The use of “modern” in this sense is frequently found, and was sanctioned by Shakespeare; but it did not escape Ben Jonson’s censure in The Poetaster, v. i.:—

“Alas! that were no modern consequence
To have cothurnal buskins frightened hence.”

[45] “The old cut” = the old fashion. So Nashe in the epistle dedicatory prefixed to Strange News of the Intercepting Certain Letters, 1593:—“You are amongst grave Doctors and men of judgment in both laws every day. I pray ask them the question in my absence whether such a man as I have described this epistler to be ... that hath made many proper rhymes of the old cut in his days,” &c.

[46] Old eds.Exit Alb.

[47] “Jaques in As You Like It, describing his own melancholy, says it is extracted from many objects, and that the contemplation of his travels often wraps him in a most humorous sadness: on which Rosalind observes—‘A traveller! by my faith you have great reason to be sad!’”—Dilke.

[48] The Puritans’ short starched ruffs were constantly ridiculed. See Middleton’s Works, viii. 69.

[49] A bottle for sprinkling perfumes.

[50] Probably an actor who had gone blind; but I can find no information about him.


The wreath of pleasure and delicious sweets,
Begirt the gentle front of this fair troop!
Select and most respected auditors,
For wit’s sake do not dream of miracles.
Alas! we shall but falter, if you lay
The least sad weight of an unusèd hope
Upon our weakness; only we give up
The worthless present of slight idleness
To your authentic censure. O! that our Muse
Had those abstruse and sinewy faculties,    10
That, with a strain of fresh invention,
She might press out the rarity of Art;
The pur’st elixèd juice of rich conceit
In your attentive ears; that with the lip
Of gracious elocution we might drink
A sound carouse into your health of wit.
But O! the heavy[51] dryness of her brain,
Foil to your fertile spirits, is asham’d
To breathe her blushing numbers to such ears.
Yet (most ingenious) deign to veil our wants;    20
With sleek acceptance polish these rude scenes;
And if our slightness your large hope beguiles,
Check not with bended brow, but dimpled smiles.

[Exit Prologue.

[51] So ed. 1633.—Ed. 1602 “heathy.”






Neighbourhood of Venice.

The cornets sound a battle within.

Enter Antonio, disguised like an Amazon.

Ant. Heart, wilt not break? and thou abhorrèd life,
Wilt thou still breathe in my enragèd blood?
Veins, sinews, arteries, why crack ye not,
Burst and divulst with anguish of my grief?
Can man by no means creep out of himself,
And leave the slough of viperous grief behind?
Antonio, hast thou seen a fight at sea,
As horrid as the hideous day of doom,
Betwixt thy father, Duke of Genoa,
And proud Piero, the Venetian Prince:    10
In which the sea hath swoln with Genoa’s blood,
And made spring-tides with the warm reeking gore,
That gush’d from out our galleys’ scupper-holes?
In which thy father, poor Andrugio,
Lies sunk, or leap’d into the arms of chance,
Choked with the labouring ocean’s brackish foam;
Who, even despite Piero’s canker’d hate,
Would with an armèd hand have seized thy love,
And link’d thee to the beauteous Mellida.
Have I outlived the death of all these hopes?    20
Have I felt anguish pour’d into my heart,
Burning like balsamum in tender wounds!
And yet dost live! Could not the fretting sea
Have roll’d me up in wrinkles of his brow?
Is death grown coy, or grim confusion nice,
That it will not accompany a wretch,
But I must needs be cast on Venice’ shore,
And try new fortunes with this strange disguise
To purchase my adorèd Mellida?

[The cornets sound a flourish; cease.

Hark how Piero’s triumphs beat the air!    30
O, rugged mischief, how thou grat’st my heart!—
Take spirit, blood; disguise, be confident;
Make a firm stand; here rests the hope of all:
Lower than hell, there is no depth to fall.

The cornets sound a senet. Enter Feliche and Alberto, Castilio and Forobosco, a Page carrying a shield; Piero in armour; Catzo and Dildo and Balurdo. All these (saving Piero) armed with petronels.[52] Being entered, they make a stand in divided files.

Pier. Victorious Fortune, with triumphant hand,
Hurleth my glory ’bout this ball of earth,
Whilst the Venetian Duke is heavèd up
On wings of fair success, to overlook
The low-cast ruins of his enemies,
To see myself adored and Genoa quake;    40
My fate is firmer than mischance can shake.

Feli. Stand; the ground trembleth.

Pier. Ha! an earthquake?

Bal. O! I smell a sound.

Feli. Piero, stay, for I descry a fume
Creeping from out the bosom of the deep,
The breath of darkness, fatal when ’tis wist
In greatness’ stomach. This same smoke, call’d pride,
Take heed: she’ll lift thee to improvidence,
And break thy neck from steep security;    50
She’ll make thee grudge to let Jehovah share
In thy successful battles. O! she’s ominous;
Enticeth princes to devour heaven,
Swallow omnipotence, out-stare dread fate,
Subdue eternity in giant thought;
Heaves[53] up their heart[54] with swelling, puff’d conceit,
Till their souls burst with venom’d arrogance.
Beware, Piero; Rome itself hath tried,
Confusion’s train blows up this Babel pride.

Pier. Pish! Dimitto superos, summa votorum attigi.[55]    60
Alberto, hast thou yielded up our fix’d decree
Unto the Genoan ambassador?
Are they content, if that their Duke return,
To send his and his son Antonio’s head,
As pledges steep’d in blood, to gain their peace?

Alb. With most obsequious sleek-brow’d entertain,
They all embrace it as most gracious.

Pier. Are proclamations sent through Italy,
That whosoever brings Andrugio’s head,
Or young Antonio’s, shall be guerdonèd    70
With twenty thousand double pistolets,
And be endearèd to Piero’s love?

Foro. They are sent every way: sound policy,
Sweet lord.

Feli. [Aside.] Confusion to these limber sycophants!
No sooner mischiefs born in regency,
But flattery christens it with policy.[56]

Pier. Why, then,—O me cœlitum excelsissimum!
The intestine malice and inveterate hate
I always bore to that Andrugio,    80
Glories in triumph o’er his misery;
Nor shall that carpet-boy[57] Antonio
Match with my daughter, sweet-cheek’d Mellida.
No; the public power makes my faction strong.

Feli. Ill, when public power strength’neth private wrong.

Pier. ’Tis horse-like not for man to know his force.

Feli. ’Tis god-like for a man to feel remorse.[58]

Pier. Pish! I prosecute my family’s revenge,
Which I’ll pursue with such a burning chase,
Till I have dried up all Andrugio’s blood;    90
Weak rage, that with slight pity is withstood.—

[The cornets sound a flourish.

What means that fresh triumphal flourish sound?

Alb. The prince of Milan, and young Florence’ heir,
Approach to gratulate your victory.

Pier. We’ll girt them with an ample waste of love.
Conduct them to our presence royally;
Let vollies of the great artillery
From off our galleys’ banks[59] play prodigal,
And sound loud welcome from their bellowing mouths.

[Exeunt all but Piero.

The cornets sound a senet. Enter above, Mellida, Rossaline, and Flavia. Enter below, Galeatzo with Attendants; Piero meeteth him, embraceth; at which the cornets sound a flourish; Piero and Galeatzo exeunt; the rest stand still.

Mel. What prince was that passed through my father’s guard?    100

Fla. ’Twas Galeatzo, the young Florentine.

Ros. Troth, one that will besiege thy maidenhead;
Enter the walls, i’faith (sweet Mellida),
If that thy flankers be not cannon-proof.

Mel. O, Mary Ambree,[60] good, thy judgment, wench?
Thy bright election’s clear:[61] what will he prove?

Ros. Hath a short finger and a naked chin,
A skipping eye; dare lay my judgment (faith)
His love is glibbery;[62] there’s no hold on’t, wench.
Give me a husband whose aspect is firm;    110
A full-cheek’d gallant with a bouncing thigh:
O, he is the Paradizo dell madonne contento.

Mel. Even such a one was my Antonio.

[The cornets sound a senet.

Ros. By my nine and thirtieth servant, sweet,
Thou art in love; but stand on tiptoe,[63] fair;
Here comes Saint Tristram Tirlery Whiffe, i’faith.

Enter Matzagente; Piero meets him, embraceth; at which the cornets sound a flourish: they two stand, using seeming compliments, whilst the scene passeth above.

Mel. St. Mark, St. Mark! what kind of thing appears?

Ros. For fancy’s passion, spit upon him! Fie,
His face is varnish’d. In the name of love,
What country bred that creature?

Mel. What is he, Flavia?    120

Fla. The heir of Milan, Signior Matzagente.

Ros. Matzagente! now, by my pleasure’s hope,
He is made like a tilting-staff; and looks
For all the world like an o’er-roasted pig:
A great tobacco-taker too, that’s flat;
For his eyes look as if they had been hung
In the smoke of his nose.

Mel. What husband will he prove, sweet Rossaline?

Ros. Avoid him; for he hath a dwindled leg,
A low forehead, and a thin coal-black beard;    130
And will be jealous too, believe it, sweet;
For his chin sweats, and hath a gander neck,
A thin lip, and a little monkish eye.
’Precious! what a slender waist he hath!
He looks like a may-pole,[64] or a notched stick;
He’ll snap in two at every little strain.
Give me a husband that will fill mine arms,
Of steady judgment, quick and nimble sense;
Fools relish not a lady’s excellence.

[Exeunt all on the lower stage; at which the cornets sound a flourish, and a peal of shot is given.

Mel. The triumph’s ended; but look, Rossaline!    140
What gloomy soul in strange accustrements[65]
Walks on the pavement?

Ros. Good sweet, let’s to her; prithee, Mellida.

Mel. How covetous thou art of novelties!

Ros. Pish! ’tis our nature to desire things
That are thought strangers to the common cut.

Mel. I am exceeding willing, but——

Ros. But what? prithee, go down; let’s see her face:
God send that neither wit nor beauty wants,
Those tempting sweets, affection’s adamants.    150


Ant. Come down: she comes like—O, no simile
Is precious, choice, or elegant enough
To illustrate her descent! Leap heart, she comes!
She comes! smile heaven, and softest southern wind
Kiss her cheek gently with perfumèd breath.
She comes! creation’s purity, admir’d,
Ador’d amazing rarity, she comes!
O, now, Antonio, press thy spirit forth
In following passion, knit thy senses close,
Heap up thy powers, double all thy man.    160

Enter Mellida, Rossaline, and Flavia.

She comes!
O, how her eyes dart wonder on my heart!
Mount blood! soul to my lips! taste Hebe’s cup:
Stand firm on deck, when beauty’s close fight’s[66] up.

Mel. Lady, your strange habit doth beget
Our pregnant thoughts, even great of much desire,
To be acquaint with your condition.

Ros. Good, sweet lady, without more ceremonies,
What country claims your birth? and, sweet, your name?

Ant. In hope your bounty will extend itself    170
In self-same nature of fair courtesy,
I’ll shun all niceness; my name’s Florizell,
My country Scythia; I am Amazon,
Cast on this shore by fury of the sea.

Ros. Nay, faith, sweet creature, we’ll not veil our names.
It pleas’d the font to dip me Rossaline;
That lady bears the name of Mellida,
The Duke of Venice’ daughter.

Ant. Madam, I am oblig’d to kiss your hand,
By imposition of a now dead man.    180

[To Mellida, kissing her hand.

Ros. Now, by my troth, I long, beyond all thought,
To know the man; sweet beauty, deign his name.

Ant. Lady, the circumstance is tedious.

Ros. Troth, not a whit; good fair, let’s have it all:
I love not, I, to have a jot left out,
If the tale come from a loved orator.

Ant. Vouchsafe me, then, your hush’d observances.—
Vehement in pursuit of strange novelties,
After long travel through the Asian main,
I shipp’d my hopeful thoughts for Brittany;[67]    190
Longing to view great Nature’s miracle,
The glory of our sex, whose fame doth strike
Remotest ears with adoration.
Sailing some two months with inconstant winds,
We view’d the glistering Venetian forts,
To which we made: when lo! some three leagues off,
We might descry a horrid spectacle;
The issue of black fury strew’d the sea
With tatter’d carcasses of splitted ships,
Half sinking, burning, floating topsy-turvy.    200
Not far from these sad ruins of fell rage,
We might behold a creature press the waves;
Senseless he sprawl’d, all notch’d with gaping wounds.
To him we made, and (short) we took him up;
The first thing he spake was,—Mellida!
And then he swooned.[68]

Mel. Ay me!

Ant. Why sigh you, fair?

Mel.[69] Nothing but little humours; good sweet, on.

Ant. His wounds being dress’d, and life recoverèd,
We ’gan discourse; when lo! the sea grew mad,
His bowels rumbling with wind-passion;    210
Straight swarthy darkness popp’d out Phœbus’ eye,
And blurr’d the jocund face of bright-cheek’d day;
Whilst crudled[70] fogs masked even darkness’ brow:
Heaven bad’s good night, and the rocks groan’d
At the intestine uproar of the main.
Now gusty flaws strook up the very heels
Of our mainmast, whilst the keen lightning shot
Through the black bowels of the quaking air;
Straight chops a wave, and in his sliftred[71] paunch
Down falls our ship, and there he breaks his neck;    220
Which in an instant up was belkt again.
When thus this martyr’d soul began to sigh:
“Give me your hand (quoth he): now do you grasp
Th’ unequall’d[72] mirror of ragg’d misery:
Is’t not a horrid storm? O, well-shaped sweet,
Could your quick eye strike through these gashèd wounds,
You should behold a heart, a heart, fair creature,
Raging more wild than is this frantic sea.
Wolt[73] do me a favour? if thou chance survive,
But visit Venice, kiss the precious white    230
Of my most,—nay, all epithets are base
To attribute to gracious Mellida:
Tell her the spirit of Antonio
Wisheth his last gasp breath’d upon her breast.”

Ros. Why weeps soft-hearted Florizell?

Ant. Alas, the flinty rocks groan’d at his plaints.
“Tell her, (quoth he) that her obdurate sire
Hath crack’d his bosom;” therewithal he wept,
And thus sigh’d on: “The sea is merciful;
Look how it gapes to bury all my grief!    240
Well, thou shalt have it, thou shalt be his tomb:
My faith in my love live; in thee, die woe;
Die, unmatch’d anguish, die, Antonio!”
With that he totter’d from the reeling deck,
And down he sunk.

Ros. Pleasure’s body! what makes my Lady weep?

Mel. Nothing, sweet Rossaline, but the air’s sharp[74]
My father’s palace, Madam, will be proud
To entertain your presence, if you’ll deign
To make repose within. Ay me!    250

Ant. Lady, our fashion is not curious.[75]

Ros. ’Faith, all the nobler, ’tis more generous.

Mel. Shall I then know how fortune fell at last,
What succour came, or what strange fate ensued?

Ant. Most willingly: but this same court is vast,
And public to the staring multitude.

Ros. Sweet Lady, nay good sweet, now by my troth
We’ll be bedfellows: dirt on compliment froth![76]

[Exeunt; Rossaline giving Antonio the way.

[52] Carbines.

[53] Ed. 1633 “Heavens.”

[54] Old eds. “hurt.”

[55] Senec. Thyestes, 888.

[56] “Christens it with policy” = dignifies it with the title of policy.

[57] A term of contempt, like “carpet-knight,” for an effeminate gallant “who never charged beyond a mistress’ lips.”

[58] Pity.

[59] The rowers’ benches.

[60] The famous Amazon, whose “valorous acts performed at Gaunt” (Ghent), circ. 1584, are celebrated in a fine old ballad. The name was commonly applied to any woman of spirit.

[61] “Thy bright election’s clear” = you are a woman of keen perception.

[62] A favourite word with Marston. It is ridiculed by Ben Jonson in The Poetaster, v. 1:—

“What, shall thy lubrical and glibbery muse
Live, as she were defunct, like punk in stews?”

[63] Old eds. “tiptoed.”

[64] It was a common form of abuse to compare a person to a may-pole. Hermia, railing at Helena, addresses her as “thou painted may-pole” (Midsummer Night’s Dream, iii. 2).

[65] Accoutrements.—Elsewhere Marston has the original French form “accoustrements,” which is also found in Spenser.

[66]Close fight is an old sea-term. ‘A ship’s close fights are small ledges of wood laid cross one another, like the grates of iron in a prison window, betwixt the main-mast and fore-mast, and are called gratings or nettings.’ Smith’s Sea Grammar, 1627.”—Halliwell.

[67] The form “Brittany,” for “Britain,” is not uncommon. Marlowe uses it in Edward II., ii. 2. l. 42; and I have restored it, metri causa, in the prologue to the Jew of Malta, l. 29.

[68] Ed. 1633 “swounded.”

[69] Old eds.Ros.

[70] Thick, curdled.

[71] Cleft, rifted.

[72] Old eds. “unequal,” which Dilke explains to mean “the partial and unjust representative”—an explanation which I wholly fail to understand. Later in the present play (p. 42, l. 309) we have “unmatch’d mirrors of calamity.”

[73] Wilt.

[74] Dilke quotes appositely from Richard II.:—

Rich. And, say, what store of parting tears were shed?
Aum. ’Faith none by me: except the north-east wind,
Which then blew bitterly against our faces,
Awak’d the sleepy rheum; and so, by chance,
Did grace our hollow parting with a tear.”

[75] “Our fashion is not curious,” i.e., Amazons do not stand on ceremony.

[76] Rossaline, seeing Antonio make way for her to pass, insists on giving him precedence. “No empty compliments! take the lead.”



Palace of the Duke of Venice.

Enter Catzo, with a capon eating; Dildo following him.

Dil. Hah, Catzo, your master wants a clean trencher: do you hear?
Balurdo calls for your diminutive attendance.

Cat. The belly hath no ears,[77] Dildo.

Dil. Good pug,[78] give me some capon.

Cat. No capon, no not a bit, ye smooth bully;[78] capon’s no meat for Dildo: milk, milk, ye glibbery urchin, is food for infants.

Dil. Upon mine honour.

Cat. Your honour with a paugh! ’slid, now every jackanapes loads his back with the golden coat of honour; every ass puts on the lion’s skin and roars his honour. Upon your honour? By my lady’s pantable,[79] I fear I shall live to hear a vintner’s boy cry, “’Tis rich neat canary.” Upon my honour!    14

Dil. My stomach’s up.

Cat. I think thou art hungry.

Dil. The match of fury is lighted, fastened to the linstock[80] of rage, and will presently set fire to the touch-hole of intemperance, discharging the double culverin of my incensement in the face of thy opprobrious speech.

Cat. I’ll stop the barrel thus: good Dildo, set not fire to the touch-hole.    22

Dil. My rage is stopp’d, and I will eat to the health of the fool, thy master Castilio.

Cat. And I will suck the juice of the capon, to the health of the idiot, thy master Balurdo.

Dil. Faith, our masters are like a case[81] of rapiers sheathed in one scabbard of folly.

Cat. Right Dutch blades. But was’t not rare sport at the sea-battle, whilst rounce robble hobble roared from the ship-sides, to view our masters pluck their plumes and drop their feathers, for fear of being men of mark.    32

Dil. ’Slud (cried Signior Balurdo), O for Don Rosicleer’s[82] armour, in the Mirror of Knighthood! what coil’s here? O for an armour, cannon-proof! O, more cable, more featherbeds![83] more featherbeds, more cable! till he had as much as my cable-hatband[84] to fence him.

Enter Flavia in haste, with a rebato.[85]

Cat. Buxom Flavia, can you sing? song, song!

Fla. My sweet Dildo, I am not for you at this time: Madam Rossaline stays for a fresh ruff to appear in the presence: sweet, away.    41

Dil. ’Twill not be so put off, delicate, delicious, spark-eyed, sleek-skinn’d, slender-waisted, clean-legg’d, rarely-shaped

Fla. Who? I’ll be at all your service another season: my faith, there’s reason in all things.

Dil. Would I were reason then, that I might be in all things.

Cat. The breve and the semiquaver is, we must have the descant you made upon our names, ere you depart.

Fla. Faith, the song will seem to come off hardly.    51

Cat. Troth not a wit, if you seem to come off quickly.

Fla. Pert Catzo, knock[86] it lustily then.

[A song.

Enter Forobosco, with two torches: Castilio singing fantastically; Rossaline running a coranto[87] pace, and Balurdo; Feliche following, wondering at them all.

Foro. Make place, gentlemen; pages, hold torches; the prince approacheth the presence.

Dil. What squeaking cart-wheel have we here? ha! “Make place, gentlemen; pages, hold torches; the prince approacheth the presence.”

Ros. Faugh, what a strong scent’s here! somebody useth to wear socks.    60

Bal. By this fair candle light, ’tis not my feet; I never wore socks since I sucked pap.

Ros. Savourly put off.

Cast. Hah, her wit stings, blisters, galls off the skin with the tart acrimony of her sharp quickness: by sweetness, she is the very Pallas that flew out of Jupiter’s brainpan. Delicious creature, vouchsafe me your service: by the purity of bounty, I shall be proud of such bondage.

Ros. I vouchsafe it; be my slave.—Signior Balurdo, wilt thou be my servant, too?    70

Bal. O God,[88] forsooth in very good earnest, law, you would make me as a man should say, as a man should say

Feli. ’Slud, sweet beauty, will you deign him your service?

Ros. O, your fool is your only servant. But, good Feliche, why art thou so sad? a penny for thy thought, man.

Feli. I sell not my thought so cheap: I value my meditation at a higher rate.    80

Bal. In good sober sadness, sweet mistress, you should have had my thought for a penny: by this crimson satin that cost eleven shillings, thirteen pence, three pence halfpenny a yard, that you should, law!

Ros. What was thy thought, good servant?

Bal. Marry forsooth, how many strike of pease would feed a hog fat against Christtide.

Ros. Paugh! [she spits] servant,[89] rub out my rheum, it soils the presence.

Cast. By my wealthiest thought, you grace my shoe with an unmeasured honour: I will preserve the sole of it, as a most sacred relic for this service.    92

Ros. I’ll spit in thy mouth, and thou wilt, to grace thee.

Feli. [Aside.] O that the stomach of this queasy age
Digests, or brooks such raw unseasoned gobs,
And vomits not them forth! O! slavish sots!
Servant, quoth you? faugh! if a dog should crave
And beg her service, he should have it straight:
She’d give him favours too, to lick her feet,
Or fetch her fan, or some such drudgery:    100
A good dog’s office, which these amorists
Triumph of: ’tis rare, well give her more ass,
More sot, as long as dropping of her nose
Is sworn rich pearl by such low slaves as those.

Ros. Flavia, attend me to attire me.

[Exeunt Rossaline and Flavia.

Bal. In sad good earnest, sir, you have touched the very bare of naked truth; my silk stocking hath a good gloss, and I thank my planets, my leg is not altogether unpropitiously shaped. There’s a word: unpropitiously? I think I shall speak unpropitiously as well as any courtier in Italy.    111

Foro. So help me your sweet bounty, you have the most graceful presence, applausive elecuty, amazing volubility, polish’d adornation, delicious affability.

Feli. Whoop: fut, how he tickles yon trout under the gills! you shall see him take him by and by with groping flattery.

Foro. That ever ravish’d the ear of wonder. By your sweet self, than whom I know not a more exquisite, illustrate, accomplished, pure, respected, adored, observed, precious, real,[90] magnanimous, bounteous—if you have an idle rich cast jerkin, or so, it shall not be cast away, if—ha! here’s a forehead, an eye, a head, a hair, that would make a—: or if you have any spare pair of silver spurs, I’ll do you as much right in all kind offices

Feli. [Aside.] Of a kind parasite.

Foro. As any of my mean fortunes shall be able to.

Bal. As I am true Christian now, thou hast won the spurs.

Feli. [Aside.] For flattery.    130
O how I hate that same Egyptian louse,
A rotten maggot, that lives by stinking filth
Of tainted spirits! vengeance to such dogs,
That sprout by gnawing senseless carrion!

Enter Alberto.

Alb. Gallants, saw you my mistress, the lady Rossaline?

Foro. My mistress, the lady Rossaline, left the presence even now.

Cast. My mistress, the lady Rossaline, withdrew her gracious aspect even now.

Bal. My mistress, the lady Rossaline, withdrew her gracious aspect even now.    141

Feli. [Aside.] Well said, echo.

Alb. My mistress, and his mistress, and your mistress, and the dog’s mistress. Precious dear heaven, that Alberto lives to have such rivals!
’Slid, I have been searching every private room,
Corner, and secret angle of the court:
And yet, and yet, and yet she lives conceal’d.
Good sweet Feliche, tell me how to find
My bright-faced mistress out.    150

Feli. Why man, cry out for lanthorn and candle-light:[91] for ’tis your only way, to find your bright-flaming wench with your light-burning torch: for most commonly, these light creatures live in darkness.

Alb. Away, you heretic, you’ll be burnt for——

Feli. Go, you amorous hound, follow the scent of your mistress’ shoe; away!

Foro. Make a fair presence; boys, advance your lights; the princess makes approach.

Bal. And please the gods, now in very good deed, law, you shall see me tickle the measures for the heavens. Do my hangers[92] show?    162

Enter Piero, Antonio, Mellida, Rossaline, Galeatzo, Matzagente, Alberto, and Flavia. As they enter, Feliche and Castilio make a rank for the Duke to pass through. Forobosco ushers the Duke to his state:[93] then, whilst Piero speaketh his first speech, Mellida is taken by Galeatzo and Matzagente to dance, they supporting her: Rossaline, in like manner, by Alberto and Balurdo: Flavia, by Feliche and Castilio.

Pier. Beauteous Amazon, sit and seat your thoughts
In the reposure of most soft content.
Sound music there! Nay, daughter, clear your eyes,
From these dull fogs of misty discontent:
Look sprightly, girl. What? though Antonio’s drown’d,—
That peevish dotard on thy excellence,
That hated issue of Andrugio,—
Yet may’st thou triumph in my victories;    170
Since, lo, the high-born bloods of Italy
Sue for thy seat of love.—Let[94] music sound!
Beauty and youth run descant on love’s ground.[95]

Mat. Lady, erect your gracious symmetry,
Shine in the sphere of sweet affection:
Your eye[’s] as heavy, as the heart of night.

Mel. My thoughts are as black as your beard; my fortunes as ill-proportioned as your legs; and all the powers of my mind as leaden as your wit, and as dusty as your face is swarthy.    180

Gal. Faith, sweet, I’ll lay thee on the lips for that jest.

Mel. I prithee intrude not on a dead man’s right.

Gal. No, but the living’s just possession:
Thy lips and love are mine.

Mel. You ne’er took seizin on them yet: forbear.
There’s not a vacant corner of my heart,
But all is fill’d with dead Antonio’s loss.
Then urge no more; O leave to love at all;
’Tis less disgraceful not to mount than fall.

Mat. Bright and refulgent lady, deign your ear:    190
You see this blade,—had it a courtly lip,
It would divulge my valour, plead my love,
Justle that skipping feeble amorist
Out of your love’s seat; I am Matzagent.

Gal. Hark thee; I pray thee, taint not thy sweet ear
With that sot’s gabble; by thy beauteous cheek,
He is the flagging’st bulrush that e’er droop’d
With each slight mist of rain. But with pleased eye
Smile on my courtship.

Mel. What said you, sir? alas my thought was fix’d    200
Upon another object. Good, forbear:
I shall but weep. Ay me, what boots a tear!
Come, come, let’s dance. O music, thou distill’st
More sweetness in us than this jarring world:
Both time and measure from thy strains do breathe,
Whilst from the channel of this dirt doth flow
Nothing but timeless grief, unmeasured woe.

Ant. O how impatience cramps my crackèd veins
And cruddles thick my blood, with boiling rage!
O eyes, why leap you not like thunderbolts,
   210 Or cannon bullets in my rival’s face!
Ohime infeliche misero, O lamentevol fato!

Alb. What means the lady fall upon the ground?

Ros. Belike the falling sickness.

Ant. I cannot brook this sight, my thoughts grow wild:
Here lies a wretch, on whom heaven never smiled.

Ros. What, servant, ne’er a word, and I here man?
I would shoot some speech forth, to strike the time
With pleasing touch of amorous compliment.
Say, sweet, what keeps thy mind, what think’st thou on?    220

Alb. Nothing.

Ros. What’s that nothing?

Alb. A woman’s constancy.

Ros. Good, why, would’st thou have us sluts, and never shift
The vesture of our thoughts? Away for shame.

Alb. O no, th’art too constant to afflict my heart,
Too too firm fixèd in unmovèd scorn.

Ros. Pish, pish; I fixed in unmovèd scorn!
Why, I’ll love thee to-night.

Alb. But whom to-morrow?

Ros. Faith, as the toy puts me in the head.

Bal. And pleased the marble heavens, now would I might be the toy, to put you in the head, kindly to conceit my—my—my—pray you, give in an epithet for love.

Feli. Roaring, roaring.    232

Bal.[96] O love, thou hast murder’d me, made me a shadow, and you hear not Balurdo, but Balurdo’s ghost.

Ros. Can a ghost speak?

Bal. Scurvily, as I do.

Ros. And walk?

Bal. After their fashion.

Ros. And eat apples?

Bal. In a sort, in their garb.    240

Feli. Prithee, Flavia, be my mistress.

Fla. Your reason, good Feliche?

Feli. Faith, I have nineteen mistresses already, and I not much disdain that thou should’st make up the full score.

Fla. O, I hear you make commonplaces of your mistresses to perform the office of memory by. Pray you, in ancient times were not those satin hose? In good faith, now they are new dyed, pink’d, and scoured, they show as well as if they were new. What, mute, Balurdo?    250

Feli. Ay, in faith, and ’twere not for printing, and painting, my breech and your face would be out of reparation.[97]

Bal. Ay, in[98] faith, and ’twere not for printing, and painting,[99] my breech and your face would be out of reparation.

Feli. Good again, Echo.

Fla. Thou art, by nature, too foul to be affected.

Feli. And thou, by art, too fair to be beloved.
By wit’s life, most spark spirits, but hard chance.
La ty dine.    261

Pier. Gallants, the night grows old; and downy sleep
Courts us to entertain his company:
Our tirèd limbs, bruis’d in the morning fight,
Entreat soft rest, and gentle hush’d repose.
Fill out Greek wines; prepare fresh cressit-light:[100]
We’ll have a banquet: Princes, then good-night.

[The cornets sound a senet, and the Duke goes out in state. As they are going out, Antonio stays Mellida: the rest exeunt.

Ant. What means these scatter’d looks? why tremble you?
Why quake your thoughts in your distracted eyes?
Collect your spirits, Madam; what do you see?    270
Dost not behold a ghost?
Look, look where he stalks, wrapt up in clouds of grief,
Darting his soul upon thy wond’ring eyes.
Look, he comes towards thee; see, he stretcheth out
His wretched arms to gird thy loved waist,
With a most wish’d embrace: see’st him not yet?
Nor yet? Ha, Mellida; thou well may’st err:
For look, he walks not like Antonio:
Like that Antonio, that this morning shone
In glistering habiliments of arms,    280
To seize his love, spite of her father’s spite:
But like himself, wretched, and miserable,
Banish’d, forlorn, despairing, strook quite through,
With sinking grief, rolled up in sevenfold doubles
Of plagues [un]vanquishable: hark, he speaks to thee.

Mel. Alas, I cannot hear, nor see him.

Ant. Why? all this night about the room he stalk’d,
And groan’d, and howl’d, with raging passion,
To view his love (life-blood of all his hopes,
Crown of his fortune) clipp’d by strangers’ arms.    290
Look but behind thee.

Mel. O Antonio!
My lord, my love, my——

Ant. Leave passion, sweet; for time, place, air, and earth,
Are all our foes: fear, and be jealous; fair,
Let’s fly.

Mel. Dear heart, ha, whither?

Ant. O, ’tis no matter whither, but let’s fly.
Ha! now I think on’t, I have ne’er a home,
No father, friend, or country to embrace
These wretched limbs: the world, the all that is,    300
Is all my foe: a prince not worth a doit:
Only my head is hoisèd to high rate,
Worth twenty thousand double pistolets,
To him that can but strike it from these shoulders.
But come, sweet creature, thou shalt be my home;
My father, country, riches, and my friend,
My all, my soul; and thou and I will live,—
Let’s think like what—and you and I will live
Like unmatch’d mirrors of calamity.
The jealous ear of night eave-drops our talk.    310
Hold thee, there’s a jewel; and look thee, there’s a note
That will direct thee when, where, how to fly.
Bid me adieu.

Mel. Farewell, bleak misery!

Ant. Stay, sweet, let’s kiss before you go!

Mel. Farewell, dear soul!

Ant. Farewell, my life, my heart!


[77] A proverbial expression: γαστὴρ ὠτὰς οὐκ ἔχει.

[78] A familiar form of address.

[79] Slipper.

[80] The stick which held the gunner’s match.

[81] “Case of rapiers”—pair of rapiers.

[82] All the editions give “Bessicler’s;” but this is evidently a misprint. Rosicleer was the brother of the Knight of the Sun, and he figures prominently in the group of romances published under the Mirror of Knighthood (7 pts., 1583-1601). He had an excellent suit of armour, which proved very serviceable in his combats with giants.

[83] Dilke, in 1814, says that featherbeds were still used to protect the men from the fire of the enemy. As to the use of cables I refer the reader to Sir William Monson’s Naval Tracts (Collection of Voyages and Travels, 1704, iii. 358), where in the directions “How to preserve the men in fighting” it is stated:—“I prefer the coiling of cables on the deck, and keeping part of the men within them...; for the soldiers are in and out speedily upon all sudden occasions to succour any part of the ship, or to enter an enemy, without trouble to the sailors in handling their sails or to the gunners in playing their ordnance.”

[84] A twisted band worn round the hat. In Every Man out of his Humour (1599), the “cable-hatband” is mentioned as a novelty of the latest fashion:—“I had on a gold cable hat-band then new come up

[85] Ruff, falling-band.

[86] “So in King Henry VIII.:—

‘Let the music knock it.’”—Dilke.

[87] A quick lively dance.

[88] “The exclamation was too fashionable in the time of Marston for those who had nothing else to say; and is ridiculed by Ben Jonson in the character of Orange in Every Man out of his Humour, as ‘O Lord, sir,’ is by Shakespeare in All’s Well that Ends Well. Orange is thus described:—‘’Tis as dry an Orange as ever grew: nothing but salutation; and, O God, sir; and, it please you to say so, sir.’”—Dilke.

[89] Lover, suitor.

[90] Regal, noble.—In the address “To those that seem judicial observers” prefixed to the Scourge of Villainy, Marston ridicules Ben Jonson (under the name of Torquatus) for introducing “new-minted epithets, as real, intrinsecate, Delphic.”

[91] “Lanthorn and candle-light”—the bellman’s cry.

[92] Loops or straps (fastened to the girdle) in which the rapier was suspended.

[93] Throne, chair of dignity.

[94] “Let music sound!” is printed as a stage-direction in the old copies.

[95] Musical term for an air on which variations or divisions were to be made.

[96] The words “O love ... Balurdo’s ghost” are given to Feliche in old eds.

[97] There is the same joke in the Merry Jests of George Peele, 1627:—“George used often to an ordinary in this town, where a kinswoman of the good wife’s in the house held a great pride and vain opinion of her own mother-wit; for her tongue was a jack continually wagging.... Now this titmouse, what she scanted by nature, she doth replenish by art, as her boxes of red and white daily can testify. But to come to George, who arrived at the ordinary among other gallants, throws his cloak upon the table, salutes the gentlemen, and presently calls for a cup of canary. George had a pair of hose on, that for some offence durst not to be seen in that hue they were first dyed in, but from his first colour being a youthful green, his long age turned him into a mournful black, and for his antiquity was in print. Which this busybody perceiving, thought now to give it him to the quick; and drawing near Master Peele, looking upon his breeches, ‘By my troth, sir,’ quoth she, ‘these are exceedingly well printed.’ At which word, George, being a little moved in his mind that his old hose were called in question, answered, ‘And by my faith, mistress,’ quoth George, ‘your face is most damnably ill painted.’ ‘How mean you, sir?’ quoth she. ‘Marry thus, mistress,’ quoth George, ‘that if it were not for printing and painting, my arse and your face would grow out of reparations.’”

[98] Old eds. “an.”

[99] Ed. 1602, “pointing.”

[100] See Dyce’s Shakesp. Gloss., s. Cressets.



The sea-shore.

Enter Andrugio in armour, Lucio with a shepherd’s gown in his hand, and a Page.

And. Is not yon gleam the shuddering morn that flakes
With silver tincture the east verge of heaven?

Lu. I think it is, so please your excellence.

And. Away! I have no excellence to please.
Prithee observe the custom of the world,
That only flatters greatness, states exalts.
And please my excellence! O Lucio,
Thou hast been ever held respected dear,
Even precious to Andrugio’s inmost love.
Good, flatter not. Nay, if thou giv’st not faith    10
That I am wretched, O read that, read that.

Piero Sforza to the Italian Princes, fortune.

Lu. [reads] EXCELLENT, the just overthrow Andrugio took in the Venetian gulf, hath so assured the Genoways of the [in]justice of his cause, and the hatefulness of his person, that they have banish’d him and all his family: and, for confirmation of their peace with us, have vowed, that if he or his son can be attached, to send us both their heads. We therefore, by force of our united league, forbid you to harbour him, or his blood: but if you apprehend his person, we entreat you to send him, or his head, to us. For we vow, by the honour of our blood, to recompense any man that bringeth his head, with twenty thousand double pistolets, and the endearing of our choicest love.

From Venice: Piero Sforza.    24

And. My thoughts are fix’d in contemplation
Why this huge earth, this monstrous animal,
That eats her children, should not have eyes and ears.
Philosophy maintains that Nature’s wise,
And forms no useless or unperfect thing.
Did Nature make the earth, or the earth Nature?    30
For earthly dirt makes all things, makes the man,
Moulds me up honour; and, like a cunning Dutchman,
Paints me a puppet even with seeming breath,
And gives a sot appearance of a soul.
Go to, go to; thou liest, Philosophy.
Nature forms things unperfect, useless, vain.
Why made she not the earth with eyes and ears
That she might see desert, and hear men’s plaints?
That when a soul is splitted, sunk with grief,
He might fall thus, upon the breast of earth,    40

[He throws himself on the ground.

Exclaiming thus: O thou all-bearing earth,
Which men do gape for, till thou cramm’st their mouths,
And chokest their throats with dust; O chaune[101] thy breast,
And let me sink into thee! Look who knocks;
Andrugio calls.—But O, she’s deaf and blind:
A wretch but lean relief on earth can find.

Lu. Sweet lord, abandon passion, and disarm.
Since by the fortune of the tumbling sea,
We are roll’d up upon the Venice marsh,
Let’s clip all fortune, lest more low’ring fate—    50

And. More low’ring fate! O Lucio, choke that breath.
Now I defy chance: Fortune’s brow hath frown’d,
Even to the utmost wrinkle it can bend:
Her venom’s spit. Alas, what country rests,
What son, what comfort that she can deprive?
Triumphs not Venice in my overthrow?
Gapes not my native country for my blood?
Lies not my son tomb’d in the swelling main?
And yet more low’ring fate! There’s nothing left
Unto Andrugio, but Andrugio:    60
And that nor mischief, force, distress, nor hell can take.
Fortune my fortunes, not my mind, shall shake.

Lu. Spoke[102] like yourself; but give me leave, my Lord,
To wish your safety. If you are but seen,
Your arms display you; therefore put them off,
And take——.

And. Would’st thou have me go unarm’d among my foes?
Being besieg’d by passion, ent’ring lists,
To combat with despair and mighty grief;
My soul beleaguer’d with the crushing strength    70
Of sharp impatience? ha, Lucio, go unarm’d?
Come soul, resume the valour of thy birth;
Myself, myself will dare all opposites:[103]
I’ll muster forces, an unvanquish’d power:
Cornets of horse shall press th’ ungrateful earth;
This hollow wombèd mass shall inly groan,
And murmur to sustain the weight of arms:
Ghastly amazement, with upstarted hair,
Shall hurry on before, and usher us,
Whilst trumpets clamour with a sound of death.    80

Lu. Peace, good my Lord, your speech is all too light.
Alas, survey your fortunes, look what’s left
Of all your forces, and your utmost hopes:
A weak old man, a page, and your poor self.

And. Andrugio lives, and a fair cause of arms,—
Why that’s an army all invincible!
He who hath that, hath a battalion royal,
Armour of proof, huge troops of barbèd steeds,
Main squares of pikes, millions of harquebush.
O, a fair cause stands firm, and will abide;    90
Legions of angels fight upon her side.[104]

Lu. Then, noble spirit, slide, in strange disguise,
Unto some gracious Prince, and sojourn there,
Till time and fortune give revenge firm means.

And. No, I’ll not trust the honour of a man.
Gold is grown great, and makes perfidiousness
A common waiter in most princes’ courts:
He’s in the check-roll;[105] I’ll not trust my blood;
I know none breathing but will cog a die[106]
For twenty thousand double pistolets.    100
How goes the time?

Lu. I saw no sun to-day.[107]

And. No sun will shine, where poor Andrugio breathes.
My soul grows heavy: boy, let’s have a song:
We’ll sing yet, faith, even in[108] despite of fate.

[A song.

And. ’Tis a good boy, and by my troth, well sung.
O, and thou felt’st my grief, I warrant thee,
Thou would’st have strook division[109] to the height,
And made the life of music breathe: hold, boy; why so.
For God’s sake call me not Andrugio,
That I may soon forget what I have been.    110
For heaven’s name, name not Antonio,
That I may not remember he was mine.
Well, ere yon sun set, I’ll show myself,
Worthy my blood. I was a Duke; that’s all.
No[110] matter whither, but from whence we fall.[111]


[101] Open (Gr. χαίνω, χαυνῶ). Cotgrave gives:—“To chawne,—se fendre, gercer, crevasser, crever, se jarcer.

[102] Old eds. “Speake” (and “Speak”).

[103] “‘The king enacts more wonders than a man,
Daring an opposite to every danger.’ Richard III.”—Dilke.

[104] Cf. Richard III. (v. 3):—
  “God and good angels fight on Richmond’s side.”

[105] Old eds. “Chekle-roule.”

[106] “Cog a die” = load a die.

[107] Dilke compares Richard III. (v. 3):—

“Who saw the sun to-day?
Rat. Not I, my lord.
Rich. Then he disdains to shine.”

[108] Omitted in ed. 1.

[109] Variations in music.

[110] The sentiment is from Seneca’s Thyestes, l. 925:—

“Magis unde cadas
Quam quo refert.”

[111] “The situation of Andrugio and Lucio resembles that of Lear and Kent, in that King’s distresses. Andrugio, like Lear, manifests a kind of royal impatience, a turbulent greatness, an affected resignation. The enemies which he enters lists to combat, ‘Despair, and mighty Grief, and sharp Impatience;’ and the Forces (‘Cornets of Horse,’ &c.) which he brings to vanquish them, are in the boldest style of allegory. They are such a ‘race of mourners’ as ‘the infection of sorrows loud’ in the intellect might beget on ‘some pregnant cloud’ in the imagination.”—Charles Lamb.


Palace of the Duke of Venice.

Enter Feliche walking, unbraced.

Feli. Castilio, Alberto, Balurdo! none up?
Forobosco! Flattery, nor thou up yet?
Then there’s no courtier stirring: that’s firm truth?
I cannot sleep: Feliche seldom rests
In these court lodgings. I have walk’d all night,
To see if the nocturnal court delights
Could force me envy their felicity:
And by plain troth, I will confess plain troth,
I envy nothing but the travense[112] light.
O, had it eyes, and ears, and tongues, it might    10
See sport, hear speech of most strange surquedries.[113]
O, if that candle-light were made a poet,
He would prove a rare firking satirist,
And draw the core forth of imposthum’d sin.
Well, I thank heaven yet, that my content
Can envy nothing, but poor candle-light.
As for the other glistering copper spangs,
That glisten in the tire of the court,
Praise God, I either hate, or pity them.
Well, here I’ll sleep till that the scene of up    20
Is pass’d at court. O calm hush’d rich Content,
Is there a being blessedness without thee?
How soft thou down’st the couch where thou dost rest,
Nectar to life, thou sweet Ambrosian feast!

Enter Castilio and his Page Catzo: Castilio with a casting-bottle[114] of sweet water in his hand, sprinkling himself.

Cast. Am not I a most sweet youth now?

Cat. Yes, when your throat’s perfum’d; your very words
Do smell of ambergris. O stay, sir, stay;
Sprinkle some sweet water to your shoe’s heels,
That your mistress may swear you have a sweet foot.

   30 Cast. Good, very good, very passing[115] passing good.

Feli. Fut, what treble minikin[116] squeaks there, ha? “good, very good, very very good!”

Cast. I will warble to the delicious conclave of my mistress’ ear: and strike her thoughts with the pleasing touch of my voice.

[A song.

Cast. Feliche, health, fortune, mirth, and wine.

Feli. To thee, my love divine.

Cast. I drink to thee, sweeting.

Feli. [Aside.] Plague on thee for an ass!

Cast. Now thou hast seen the court, by the perfection of it, dost not envy it?    41

Feli. I wonder it doth not envy me. Why, man,
I have been borne upon the spirit’s wings,
The soul’s swift Pegasus, the fantasy:
And from the height of contemplation,
Have view’d the feeble joints men totter on.
I envy none; but hate, or pity all.
For when I view, with an intentive thought,
That creature fair but proud; him rich, but sot;
Th’ other witty, but unmeasured arrogant;    50
Him great, yet boundless in ambition;
Him high-born, but of base life; t’ other fear’d,
Yet fearèd fears, and fears most to be loved;[117]
Him wise, but made a fool for public use;
The other learned, but self-opinionate:
When I discourse all these, and see myself
Nor fair, nor rich, nor witty, great, nor fear’d,
Yet amply suited with all full content,
Lord, how I clap my hands, and smooth my brow,
Rubbing my quiet bosom, tossing up    60
A grateful spirit to Omnipotence!

Cast. Hah, hah! but if thou knew’st my happiness,
Thou would’st even grate away thy soul to dust,
In envy of my sweet beatitude.
I cannot sleep for kisses; I cannot rest
For ladies’ letters, that importune me
With such unusèd vehemence of love,
Straight to solicit them, that——.

Feli. Confusion seize me, but I think thou liest.
Why should I not be sought to then as well?    70
Fut, methinks I am as like a man.
Troth, I have a good head of hair, a cheek
Not as yet wan’d, a leg, ’faith, in the full.
I ha’ not a red beard, take not tobacco much:
And ’lid, for other parts of manliness

Cast. Pew waw, you ne’er accourted[118] them in pomp,
Put your good parts in presence graciously.
Ha, and you had, why, they would ha’ come off,
Sprung to your arms, and sued, and prayed, and vowed,
And opened all their sweetness to your love.    80

Feli. There are a number of such things as thou[119]
Have often urged me to such loose belief;
But, ’slid, you all do lie, you all do lie.
I have put on good clothes, and smugg’d my face,
Strook a fair wench with a smart, speaking eye;
Courted in all sorts, blunt and passionate;
Had opportunity, put them to the ah!
And, by this light, I find them wondrous chaste,
Impregnable; perchance a kiss, or so:
But for the rest, O most inexorable!    90

Cast. Nay then, i’faith, prithee look here.

[Shows him the superscription of a seeming letter.

Feli. To her most esteemed, loved, and generous servant, Sig. Castilio Balthazar.
Prithee from whom comes this? faith, I must see.
From her that is devoted to thee, in most private sweets of love, Rossaline.
Nay, God’s my comfort, I must see the rest;
I must, sans ceremony; faith, I must.

[Feliche takes away the letter by force.

Cast. O, you spoil my ruff, unset my hair; good, away!    100

Feli. Item, for strait canvass, thirteen pence halfpenny; item, for an ell and a half of taffeta to cover your old canvass doublet, fourteen shillings and threepence.—’Slight, this is a tailor’s bill.

Cast. In sooth, it is the outside of her letter, on which I took the copy of a tailor’s bill.

Dil. But ’tis not cross’d, I am sure of that. Lord have mercy on him, his credit hath given up the last gasp. Faith, I’ll leave him; for he looks as melancholy as a wench the first night she——    110


Feli. Honest musk-cod, ’twill not be so stitched together; take that [striking him], and that, and belie no lady’s love: swear no more by Jesu, this madam, that lady; hence, go, forswear the presence, travel three years to bury this bastinado: avoid, puff-paste, avoid!

Cast. And tell not my lady-mother. Well, as I am a true gentleman, if she had not willed me on her blessing not to spoil my face, if I could not find in my heart to fight, would I might ne’er eat a potato-pie more.


Enter Balurdo, backward; Dildo following him with a looking-glass in one hand, and a candle in the other hand: Flavia following him backward, with a looking-glass in one hand, and a candle in the other; Rossaline following her; Balurdo and Rossaline stand setting of faces; and so the Scene begins.

Feli. More fool, more rare fools! O, for time and place, long enough, and large enough, to act these fools! Here might be made a rare scene of folly, if the plat[120] could bear it.    123

Bal. By the sugar-candy sky, hold up the glass higher, that I may see to swear in fashion. O, one loof[121] more would ha’ made them shine; God’s neaks,[122] they would have shone like my mistress’ brow. Even so the Duke frowns, for all this curson’d[123] world: O, that gern[124] kills, it kills. By my golden—what’s the richest thing about me?    130

Dil. Your teeth.

Bal. By my golden teeth, hold up, that I may put in: hold up, I say, that I may see to put on my gloves.

Dil. O, delicious, sweet-cheek’d master, if you discharge but one glance from the level of that set face, O, you will strike a wench; you’ll make any wench love you.

Bal. By Jesu, I think I am as elegant a courtier as——. How likest thou my suit?

Cat. All, beyond all, no peregal:[125] you are wondered at—[Aside.] for an ass.    141

Bal. Well, Dildo, no Christen creature shall know hereafter, what I will do for thee heretofore.

Ros. Here wants a little white, Flavia.

Dil. Ay, but, master, you have one little fault; you sleep open-mouth’d.

Bal. Pew, thou jest’st. In good sadness, I’ll have a looking-glass nail’d to the testern of the bed, that I may see when I sleep whether ’tis so or not; take heed you lie not: go to, take heed you lie not.    150

Fla. By my troth, you look as like the princess, now—Ay—but her lip is—lip is—a little——redder, a very little redder.

Ros.[126] But by the help of art or nature, ere I change my periwig, mine shall be as red.

Fla.[127] O ay, that face, that eye, that smile, that writhing of your body, that wanton dandling of your fan, becomes prethely, so sweethly, ’tis even the goodest lady that breathes, the most amiable——. Faith, the fringe of your satin petticoat is ript. Good faith, madam, they say you are the most bounteous lady to your women that ever—— most delicious beauty! Good madam, let me kith it.

Feli. Rare sport, rare sport! A female fool, and a female flatterer.    164

Ros. Body o’ me, the Duke! away[128] the glass!

Enter Piero.

Pier. Take up your paper, Rossaline.

Ros. Not mine, my Lord.

Pier. Not yours, my Lady? I’ll see what ’tis.

Bal. And how does my sweet mistress? O Lady dear, even as ’tis an old say, “’tis an old horse can neither wighy,[129] nor wag his tail:” even so do I hold my set face still: even so, ’tis a bad courtier that can neither discourse, nor blow his nose.    173

Pier.—[reads.] Meet me at Abraham’s, the Jew’s, where I bought my Amazon’s disguise. A ship lies in the port, ready bound for England; make haste, come private.  Antonio.

Enter Castilio and Forobosco.

Forobosco, Alberto, Feliche, Castilio, Balurdo! run, keep the palace, post to the ports, go to my daughter’s chamber! whither now? scud to the Jew’s! stay, run to the gates, stop the gundolets,[130] let none pass the marsh! do all at once! Antonio! his head, his head! Keep you the court, the rest stand still, or run, or go, or shout, or search, or scud, or call, or hang, or do-do-do su-su-su something! I know not who-who-who what I do-do-do, nor who-who-who, where I am.    185
O trista traditrice, rea ribalda fortuna,
Negando mi vindetta mi causa fera morte.

[Exeunt all but Feliche.

Feli. Ha ha ha! I could break my spleen at his impatience.

Enter Antonio and Mellida.

Ant. Alma et graziosa fortuna siate favorevole,
Et fortunati siano voti del[la] mia dolce Mellida, Mellida.

Mel. Alas, Antonio, I have lost thy note!
A number mount my stairs; I’ll straight return.


Feli. Antonio,    194
Be not affright, sweet Prince; appease thy fear,
Buckle thy spirits up, put all thy wits
In wimble[131] action, or thou art surprised.

Ant. I care not.

Feli. Art mad, or desperate? or——

Ant. Both, both, all, all: I prithee let me lie;    200
Spite of you all, I can, and I will die.

Feli. You are distraught; O, this is madness’ breath!

Ant. Each man take[s] hence life, but no man death:
He’s a good fellow, and keeps open house:
A thousand thousand ways lead to his gate,
To his wide-mouthèd porch, when niggard life
Hath[132] but one little, little wicket through.
We wring ourselves into this wretched world,
To pule, and weep, exclaim, to curse and rail,
To fret, and ban the fates, to strike the earth,    210
As I do now. Antonio, curse thy birth,
And die!

Feli. Nay, heaven’s my comfort, now you are perverse:
You know I always loved you; prithee live.
Wilt thou strike dead thy friends, draw mourning tears?

Ant. Alas, Feliche, I ha’ ne’er a friend;
No country, father, brother, kinsman left
To weep my fate or sigh my funeral:
I roll but up and down, and fill a seat
In the dark cave of dusky misery.    220

Feli. ’Fore heaven, the Duke comes! hold you, take my key,
Slink to my chamber; look you, that is it:
There shall you find a suit I wore at sea;
Take it, and slip away. Nay, ’precious!
If you’ll be peevish, by this light, I’ll swear
Thou rail’dst upon thy love before thou diedst,
And call’d her strumpet.

Ant. She’ll not credit thee.

Feli. Tut, that’s all one: I will defame thy love,
And make thy dead trunk held in vile regard.

Ant. Wilt needs have it so? why then, Antonio,    230
Vive esperanza in dispetto del fato.


Enter Piero, Galeatzo, Matzagente, Forobosco, Balurdo, and Castilio, with weapons.

Pier. O, my sweet princes, was’t not bravely found?
Even there I found the note, even there it lay:
I kiss the place for joy, that there it lay.
This way he went, here let us make a stand:
I’ll keep this gate myself. O gallant youth!
I’ll drink carouse unto your country’s health
Even in Antonio’s skull.

Bal. Lord bless us, his breath is more fearful than a sergeant’s voice when he cries, I arrest.    240

Enter Antonio, disguised as a sailor.

Ant. Stop Antonio! keep, keep Antonio!

Pier. Where, where, man, where?

Ant. Here, here: let me pursue him down the marsh!

Pier. Hold, there’s my signet, take a gundelet:
Bring me his head, his head, and, by mine honour,
I’ll make thee the wealthiest mariner that breathes.

Ant. I’ll sweat my blood out till I have him safe.

Pier. Spoke[133] heartily, i’faith, good mariner.
O, we will mount in triumph; soon at night,
I’ll set his head up. Let’s think where.    250

Bal. Upon his shoulders, that’s the fittest place for it.
If it be not as fit as if it were made for them, say,—
Balurdo, thou art a sot, an ass.

Enter Mellida in Pages attire, dancing.

Pier. Sprightly, i’faith. In troth he’s somewhat like
My daughter Mellida: but, alas! poor soul,
Her honour’s[134] heels, God knows, are[n’t] half so light.

Mel. [Aside.] Escaped I am, spite of my father’s spite.


Pier. Ho, this will warm my bosom ere I sleep.

Enter Flavia running.

Fla. O my Lord, your daughter——

Pier. Ay, ay, my daughter’s safe enough, I warrant thee.—    260
This vengeance on the boy will lengthen out
My days unmeasuredly.
It shall be chronicled in time to come,
Piero Sforza slew Andrugio’s son.

Fla. Ay, but, my Lord, your daughter——

Pier. Ay, ay, my good wench, she is safe enough.

Fla. O, then, my Lord, you know she’s run away.

Pier. Run away, away! how run away?

Fla. She’s vanish’d in an instant, none knows whither.

Pier. Pursue, pursue, fly, run, post, scud away!    270

Feli. [Sings.] “And was not good king Salomon,” &c.

Pier. Fly, call, run, row, ride, cry, shout, hurry, haste!
Haste, hurry, shout, cry, ride, row, run, call, fly,
Backward and forward, every way about!
Mal[e]detta fortuna che[135] dura sorte!
Che farò, che dirò, pur fugir tanto mal!

Cast. ’Twas you that struck me even now: was it not?

Feli. It was I that struck you even now.

Cast. You bastinadoed me, I take it.

Feli. I bastinadoed you, and you took it.    280

Cast. ’Faith, sir, I have the richest tobacco in the court for you; I would be glad to make you satisfaction, if I have wronged you. I would not the sun should set upon your anger; give me your hand.

Feli. Content, faith; so thou’lt breed no more such lies.
I hate not man, but man’s lewd qualities.


[112] So the old eds., but I suspect that the true reading is “traverse light,” i.e., light cast slant-wise.

[113] Wanton excesses.

[114] See note 2, p. 13.

[115] “Passing passing good.”—So ed. 1602.—Ed. 1633, “passing good.”

[116] Fiddle-string.—Here applied to Castilio’s squeaky voice.

[117] Old eds. “most loved.”

[118] So ed. 1602.—Ed. 1633 “courted.”—Dilke gives “accosted"; but Spenser has the word accourt in Book II. of the Faerie Queene.

[119] Old eds. “then.”

[120] Plot of the play.

[121] There is no meaning in the word “loof:” perhaps we should read “one touch more.” Balurdo seems to be beautifying some part of his person; but his movements are not quite clear.

[122] “God’s neaks”—a meaningless oath constantly used by Marston.

[123] A corruption of christened.

[124] Snarl, grin.—The word is still used in the north country.

[125] Equal.

[126] The words “But by the help ... as red,” are given to Flavia in the old eds.

[127] Ed. 1633 gives this speech to Balurdo.

[128] I.e., put the glass out of sight.

[129] Neigh.—Cf. Fletcher’s Women Pleased, iv. 1:—

“This beast of Babylon I will never back again;
His pace is sure prophane, and his lewd wi-hies
The Songs of Hymyn and Gymyn in the wilderness.”

So Ben Jonson in Every Man out of his Humour, ii. 1:—“So the legerity for that, and the whig-hie and the daggers in the nose.”

[130] “Gundolet”—old form of gondola.

[131] Nimble.—The word is used by Spenser.

[132] Should we not rather read “Hath but one little wicket thorough which”?

[133] Old eds. “Speake.”

[134] Ed. 1. “honour.”

[135] Old eds.chy condura sorta.”



Sea-shore near Venice.

Enter Antonio, in his sea-gown running.

Ant. Stop, stop Antonio, stay Antonio!
Vain breath, vain breath, Antonio’s lost;
He cannot find himself, not seize himself.
Alas, this that you see is not Antonio;
His spirit hovers in Piero’s court,
Hurling about his agile faculties,
To apprehend the sight of Mellida:
But poor, poor soul, wanting apt instruments
To speak or see, stands dumb and blind, sad spirit,
Roll’d up in gloomy clouds as black as air    10
Through which the rusty coach of Night is drawn.
’Tis so; I’ll give you instance that ’tis so.
Conceit you me: as having clasp’d a rose[136]
Within my palm, the rose being ta’en away,
My hand retains a little breath of sweet:
So may man’s trunk, his spirit slipp’d away,
Hold[137] still a faint perfume of his sweet guest.
’Tis so; for when discursive powers fly out,
And roam in progress through the bounds of heaven,
The soul itself gallops along with them,    20
As chieftain of this wingèd troop of thought,
Whilst the dull lodge of spirit standeth waste,
Until the soul return from——. What was’t I said?
O, this is naught but speckling melancholy.
I have been—
That Morpheus’ tender skinp[138] —Cousin german
Bear with me, good—
Mellida: clod upon clod thus fall.
Hell is beneath, yet heaven is over all.

[Falls on the ground.

Enter[139] Andrugio, Lucio, and Page.

And. Come, Lucio, let’s go eat: what hast thou got?    30
Roots, roots? alas, they are seeded, new cut up.
O, thou hast wrongèd Nature, Lucio:
But boots not much; thou but pursu’st the world,
That cuts off virtue, ’fore it comes to growth,
Lest it should seed, and so o’errun her son,
Dull purblind error.—Give me water, boy.
There is no poison in’t, I hope; they say
That lu[r]ks in massy plate: and yet the earth
Is so infected with a general plague,
That he’s most wise, that thinks there’s no man fool;    40
Right prudent, that esteems no creature just;
Great policy the least things to mistrust.
Give me assay[140] ——. How we mock greatness now!

Lu. A strong conceit is rich, so most men deem;
If not to be, ’tis comfort yet to seem.

And. Why man, I never was a prince till now.
’Tis not the barèd pate, the bended knees,
Gilt tipstaves, Tyrrian purple, chairs of state,
Troops of pied butterflies that flutter still
In greatness’ summer, that confirm a prince:    50
’Tis not the unsavoury breath of multitudes,
Shouting and clapping, with confusèd din,
That makes a prince. No, Lucio, he’s a king,
A true right king, that dares do aught save wrong;
Fears nothing mortal but to be unjust;
Who is not blown up with the flattering puffs
Of spongy sycophants; who stands unmov’d,
Despite the justling of opinion;
Who can enjoy himself, maugre the throng
That strive to press his quiet out of him;    60
Who sits upon Jove’s footstool, as I do,
Adoring, not affecting, majesty;
Whose brow is wreathèd with the silver crown
Of clear content: this, Lucio, is a king,
And of this empire every man’s possest
That’s worth his soul.

Lu. My Lord, the Genoways had wont to say

And. Name not the Genoways: that very word
Unkings me quite, makes me vile passion’s slave.
O, you that slide[141] upon the glibbery ice    70
Of vulgar favour, view Andrugio.
Was never prince with more applause confirm’d,
With louder shouts of triumph launchèd out
Into the surgy main of government;
Was never prince with more despite cast out,
Left shipwrack’d, banish’d, on more guiltless ground.
O rotten props of the crazed multitude,
How you still double, falter under the lightest chance
That strains your veins! Alas, one battle lost,
Your whorish love, your drunken healths, your houts[142] and shouts,    80
Your smooth God save’s, and all your devils lost[143]
That tempts our quiet to your hell of throngs!
Spit on me, Lucio, for I am turnèd slave:
Observe how passion domineers o’er me.

Lu. No wonder, noble Lord, having lost a son,
A country, crown, and——.

And. Ay, Lucio, having lost a son, a son,
A country, house, crown, son. O lares, miseri[144] lares!
Which shall I first deplore? My son, my son,
My dear sweet boy, my dear Antonio!    90

Ant. Antonio?

And. Ay, echo, ay; I mean Antonio.

Ant. Antonio, who means Antonio?

And. Where art? what art? know’st thou Antonio?

Ant. Yes.

And. Lives he?

Ant. No.

And. Where lies he dead?

Ant. Here.

And. Where?

Ant. Here.[145]

And. Art thou Antonio?

Ant. I think I am.

And. Dost thou but think? What, dost not know thyself?

Ant. He is a fool that thinks he knows himself.

And. Upon thy faith to heaven, give thy name.    100

Ant. I were not worthy of Andrugio’s blood,
If I denied my name’s Antonio.

And. I were not worthy to be call’d thy father,
If I denied my name Andrugio.
And dost thou live? O, let me kiss thy cheek,
And dew thy brow with trickling drops of joy.
Now heaven’s will be done: for I have lived
To see my joy, my son Antonio.
Give me thy hand; now fortune do thy worst,
His blood, that lapp’d thy spirit in the womb,    110
Thus (in his love) will make his arms thy tomb.

Ant. Bless not the body with your twining arms,
Which is accurs’d of heaven. O, what black sin
Hath been committed by our ancient house,
Whose scalding vengeance lights upon our heads,
That thus the world and fortune casts us out,
As loathèd objects, ruin’s branded slaves!

And. Do not expostulate the heavens’ will,
But, O, remember to forget thyself;
Forget remembrance what thou once hast been.    120
Come, creep with me from out this open air:
Even trees have tongues, and will betray our life.
I am a-raising of our house, my boy,
Which fortune will not envy, ’tis so mean,
And like the world (all dirt): there shalt thou rip
The inwards of thy fortunes in mine ears,
While I sit weeping, blind with passion’s tears.
Then I’ll begin, and we’ll such order keep,
That one shall still tell griefs, the other weep.

[Exeunt Andrugio and Lucio, leaving Antonio and the Page.

Ant. I’ll follow you. Boy, prithee stay a little.    130
Thou hast had a good voice, if this cold marsh
Wherein we lurk have not corrupted it.

Enter Mellida, standing out of sight, in her Page’s suit.

I prithee sing, but, sirra, (mark you me)
Let each note breathe the heart of passion,
The sad extracture of extremest grief.
Make me a strain speak groaning like a bell
That tolls departing souls;
Breathe me a point that may enforce me weep,
To wring my hands, to break my cursèd breast,
Rave, and exclaim, lie grovelling on the earth,    140
Straight start up frantic, crying, Mellida!
Sing but, Antonio hath lost Mellida,
And thou shalt see me (like a man possess’d)
Howl out such passion, that even this brinish marsh
Will squeeze out tears from out his spongy cheeks:
The rocks even groan, and——prithee, prithee sing,
Or I shall ne’er ha’ done when I am in;
’Tis harder for me end, than to begin.

[The Boy runs a note, Antonio breaks it.

For look thee, boy, my grief that hath no end,    149
I may begin to plain, but——prithee, sing.

[A song.

Mel. Heaven keep you, sir!

Ant. Heaven keep you from me, sir!

Mel. I must be acquainted with you, sir.

Ant. Wherefore? Art thou infected with misery,
Sear’d with the anguish of calamity?
Art thou true sorrow, hearty grief? canst weep?
I am not for thee if thou canst not rave,

[Antonio falls on the ground.

Fall flat on the ground, and thus exclaim on heaven:
O trifling nature, why inspired’st thou breath?

Mel. Stay, sir, I think you namèd Mellida.

Ant. Know’st thou Mellida?    160

Mel. Yes.

Ant. Hast thou seen Mellida?

Mel. Yes.

Ant. Then hast thou seen the glory of her sex,
The music of Nature, the unequall’d lustre
Of unmatch’d excellence, the united sweet
Of heaven’s graces, the most adorèd beauty,
That ever strook amazement in the world!

Mel. You seem to love her.

Ant. With my very soul.

Mel. She’ll not requite it: all her love is fix’d    170
Upon a gallant, one[146] Antonio,
The Duke of Genoa’s son. I was her page,
And often as I waited, she would sigh,
O, dear Antonio! and to strengthen thought,
Would clip my neck, and kiss, and kiss me thus.
Therefore leave loving her: fa, faith methinks
Her beauty is not half so ravishing
As you discourse of; she hath a freckled face,
A low forehead, and a lumpish eye.    179

Ant. O heaven, that I should hear such blasphemy!
Boy, rogue, thou liest! and
Spavento del mio cor dolce Mellida,
Di grave morte ristoro vero, dolce Mellida,
Celeste salvatrice, sovrana Mellida
Del mio sperar; trofeo vero Mellida.

Mel. Diletta e soave anima mia Antonio,
Godevole bellezza cortese Antonio.
Signior mio e virginal amore bell’Antonio,
Gusto delli miei sensi, car’Antonio.

Ant. O svanisce[147] il cor in un soave bacio.    190

Mel. Muoiono[148] i sensi nel desiato desio:

Ant. Nel cielo può esser beltà più chiara?

Mel. Nel mondo può[149] esser beltà più chiara?

Ant. Dammi un bacio da quella bocca beata,
Lasciami[150] coglier l’aura odorata
Che ha[151] sua seggia in quelle dolci labbra.

Mel. Dammi per impero del tuo gradit’amore
Che bea me con sempiterno honore,
Così, così mi converrà morir.
Good sweet, scout o’er the marsh, for my heart trembles    200
At every little breath that strikes my ear.
When thou returnest, then I will discourse
How I deceiv’d the court; then thou shalt tell
How thou escaped’st the watch: we’ll point our speech
With amorous kissing[152] commas, and even suck
The liquid breath from out each other’s lips.

Ant. Dull clod, no man but such sweet favour clips.
I go, and yet my panting blood persuades me stay.
Turn coward in her sight? away, away!    209


[Page.] I think confusion of Babel is fall’n upon those lovers, that they change their language; but I fear me, my master having but feigned the person of a woman, hath got their unfeigned imperfection, and is grown double tongued: as for Mellida, she were no woman, if she could not yield strange language. But howsoever, if I should sit in judgment, ’tis an error easier to be pardoned by the auditors, than excused by the authors; and yet some private respect may rebate the edge of the keener censure.

Enter Piero, Castilio, Matzagente, Forobosco, Feliche, Galeatzo, at one door; Balurdo, and his Page, at another door.

Pier. This way she took: search, my sweet gentlemen.
How now, Balurdo, canst thou meet with anybody?    221

Bal. As I am true gentleman, I made my horse sweat, that he hath ne’er a dry thread on him: and I can meet with no living creature, but men and beasts. In good sadness,[153] I would have sworn I had seen Mellida even now; for I saw a thing stir under a hedge, and I peep’d, and I spied a thing, and I peer’d, and I tweer’d[154] underneath: and truly a right wise man might have been deceived, for it was——.

Pier. What, in the name of heaven?    230

Bal. A dun cow.

Feli. Sh’ad ne’er a kettle[155] on her head?

Pier. Boy, did’st thou see a young lady pass this way?

Gal. Why speak you not?

Bal. God’s neaks, proud elf, give the Duke reverence!
Stand bare with a——.
Whogh! heavens bless me! Mellida, Mellida!

Pier. Where man, where?

Bal. Turned man, turned man; women wear the breeches.
Lo, here!    240

Pier. Light and unduteous! kneel not, peevish elf;
Speak not, entreat not, shame unto my house,
Curse to my honour. Where’s Antonio?
Thou traitress to my hate, what, is he shipp’d
For England now? well, whimpering harlot, hence!

Mel. Good father!

Pier. Good me no goods. Seest thou that sprightly youth?
Ere thou canst term to-morrow morning old,
Thou shalt call him thy husband, lord, and love.

Mel. Ay me!    250

Pier. Blirt on your “ay me’s!” guard her safely hence.
Drag her away, I’ll be your guard to-night.
Young prince, mount up your spirits and prepare
To solemnise your nuptial’s eve with pomp.

Gal. The time is scant: now nimble wits appear:
Phœbus begins to[156] gleam, the welkin’s clear.

[Exeunt all but Balurdo and his Page.

Bal. Now nimble wits appear! I’ll myself appear,
Balurdo’s self, that in quick wit doth surpass,
Will show the substance of a complete——.

Dil. Ass, ass.

Bal. I’ll mount my courser, and most gallantly prick——.    260

Dil. Gallantly prick is too long, and stands hardly in the verse, sir.

Bal. I’ll speak pure rhyme, and will so bravely prank it, that I’ll toss love like a—prank, prank it!—a rhyme for prank it?

Dil. Blanket.

Bal. That I’ll toss love, like a dog in a blanket. Hah hah, indeed, law. I think, hah hah; I think, hah hah, I think I shall tickle the Muses. And I strike it not dead, say, Balurdo, thou art an arrant sot.    270

Dil. Balurdo, thou art an arrant sot.

Enter Andrugio and Antonio wreathed together, Lucio.

And. Now, come, united force of chap-fall’n death;
Come, power of fretting anguish, leave distress.
O, thus enfolded, we have breasts of proof
’Gainst all the venom’d stings of misery.

Ant. Father, now I have an antidote
’Gainst all the poison that the world can breathe:
My Mellida, my Mellida doth bless
This bleak waste with her presence.—How
now, boy, Why dost thou weep? alas! where’s Mellida?    280

Page.[157] Ay me, my Lord.

Ant.[158] A sudden horror doth invade my blood;
My sinews tremble, and my panting heart
Scuds round about my bosom, to go out,
Dreading the assailant, horrid passion.
O, be no tyrant, kill me with one blow;
Speak quickly, briefly, boy.

Page. Her father found, and seized her; she is gone.

And. Son, heat thy blood, be not froze up with grief
Courage, sweet boy, sink not beneath the weight    290
Of crushing mischief. O where’s thy dauntless heart,
Thy father’s spirit! I renounce thy blood,
If thou forsake thy valour.

Lu. See how his grief speaks in his slow-paced steps.
’Tis more than he can utter, let him go:
Dumb solitary path best suiteth woe.

[Exit Antonio.

And. Give me my arms, my armour, Lucio.

Lu. Dear lord, what means this rage? when lacking use[159]
Scarce safe’s your life, will you in armour rise?    300

And. Fortune fears valour, presseth cowardice.

Lu. Then valour gets applause, when it hath place,
And means to blaze it.

And. Nunquam potest non esse.

Lu. Patience, my lord, may bring your ills some end.

And. What patience, friend, can ruin’d hopes attend?
Come, let me die like old Andrugio,
Worthy my birth. O, blood-true-honour’d graves
Are far more blessèd than base life of slaves.


[136] A correspondent of Notes and Queries (1st ser., vol. ix. p. 513) points out that Erasmus has the same simile:—“Anima quæ moderatur utrumque corpus animantis improprie dicitur anima cum revera sint animæ reliquiæ, non aliter quam odor rosarum manet in manu etiam rosa sublata.”—Colloq., Leyden ed., i. 694.

[137] Old ed. “Holds.”

[138] These ravings are unintelligible.

[139] The stage-direction in the old eds. is “Enter Andrugio, Lucio, Cole, and Norwood.” I suppose that Cole and Norwood are the names of the actors who personated Andrugio and Lucio.

[140] “Give me assay” = taste it before I drink. The assayer in courts and baronial halls was the officer who tasted the dishes before the banquet in order to make sure that no poison was concealed.

[141] Old eds.made open the glibbery ice,” which modern editors absurdly retain. The word “glibbery” has been already noticed (note 3, p. 22).

[142] Cf. Julius Cæsar, i. 2 (text of First Folio):—“And then he offered it the third time; hee put it the third time by, and still as hee refus’d it the rabblement howted and clapp’d their chopt hands.” In that passage the first three folios give howted and the fourth houted; but modern editors reject the word and read either hooted or shouted. The present passage of Marston affords strong warrant for restoring the reading of the folios. Hout is clearly an onomatopœic word, like hoit:—He sings and hoits and revels among his drunken companions,” (Knight of the Burning Pestle).

[143] Old eds. “last” (and so modern editors).

[144] Old eds.misereri.”

[145] Antonio is concealed behind a bush.

[146] So ed. 1633.—Ed. 1602 “on.”

[147] Old eds.suamisce. “—Dilke reads “smarisce.”

[148] Old eds.Murono.”

[149] Old eds.pol.

[150] So Dilke. Old eds.Bassiammi.”

[151] Old eds.Che in sua neggia in quello,” &c.

[152] Old eds. repeat the word “kissing.”

[153] “In good sadness” = seriously.

[154] “Tweer” (or “twire”) = peep, pry.

[155] “The ‘Dun Cow’ is, we all know, intimately connected with the celebrated Guy, Earl of Warwick, and I believe his ‘kettle’ is one of the pretended relics still shown there. From the text I conjecture that the dun cow with the kettle on her head was in the time of Marston a well-known sign.”—Dilke.

[156] Omitted in ed. 1602.

[157] Old eds.Ant.

[158] Old eds.And.

[159] It is hard for Andrugio to escape detection even when he is unarmed; but if he puts on his armour he will be at once recognised. Cf. p. 46:—

“If you are but seen,
Your arms display you; therefore put them off.”



Palace of the Duke of Venice.

Enter Balurdo, a Painter with two pictures, and Dildo.

Bal. And are you a painter? sir, can you draw, can you draw?

Pa. Yes, sir.

Bal. Indeed, law! now so can my father’s forehorse. And are these the workmanship of your hands?

Pa. I did limn them.

Bal. Limn them? a good word, limn them: whose picture is this? Anno Domini, 1599. Believe me, master Anno Domini was of a good settled age when you limn’d him: 1599 years old! Let’s see the other. Ætatis suæ 24. Byrlady, he is somewhat younger. Belike master Ætatis suæ was Anno Domini’s son.    12

Pa. Is not your master a——

Dil. He hath a little proclivity to him.

Pa. Proclivity, good youth? I thank you for your courtly proclivity.

Bal. Approach, good sir. I did send for you to draw me a device, an Imprezza, by Synecdoche a Mott. By Phœbus’ crimson taffeta mantle, I think I speak as melodiously,—look you, sir, how think you on’t? I would have you paint me, for my device, a good fat leg of ewe mutton, swimming in stewed broth of plums (boy, keel[160] your mouth, it runs over) and the word[161] shall be, Hold my dish, whilst I spill my pottage. Sure, in my conscience, ’twould be the most sweet device, now.    25

Pa. ’Twould scent of kitchen-stuff too much.

Bal. God’s neaks, now I remember me, I ha’ the rarest device in my head that ever breathed. Can you paint me a driveling reeling song, and let the word be, Uh.    30

Pa. A belch?

Bal. O, no no: Uh, paint me Uh, or nothing.

Pa. It cannot be done, sir, but by a seeming kind of drunkenness.

Bal. No? well, let me have a good massy ring, with your own posy graven in it, that must sing a small treble, word for word, thus:

And if you will[162] my true lover be,
Come follow me to the green wood.

Pa. O Lord, sir, I cannot make a picture sing.    40

Bal. Why? ’slid, I have seen painted things sing as sweet;
But I have’t will tickle it for a conceit, i’faith.

Enter Feliche and Alberto.

Alb. O dear Feliche, give me thy device.
How shall I purchase love of Rossaline?

Feli. ’Swill, flatter her soundly.

Alb. Her love is such, I cannot flatter her:
But with my utmost vehemence of speech,
I have ador’d her beauties.

Feli. Hast writ good moving unaffected rhymes to her?

Alb. O, yes, Feliche, but she scorns my writ.    50

Feli. Hast thou presented her with sumptuous gifts?

Alb. Alas, my fortunes are too weak to offer them.

Feli. O, then I have it, I’ll tell thee what to do.

Alb. What, good Feliche?

Feli. Go and hang thyself; I say, go hang thyself,
If that thou canst not give, go hang thyself:
I’ll rhyme thee dead, or verse thee to the rope.
How think’st thou of a poet that sung thus?
Munera sola pacant, sola addunt munera formam:
Munere sollicites Pallada, Cypris erit.    60
Munera, munera!

Alb. I’ll go and breathe my woes unto the rocks,
And spend my grief upon the deafest seas.
I’ll weep my passion to the senseless trees,
And load most solitary air with plaints.
For woods, trees, sea, or rocky Apennine,
Is not so ruthless as my Rossaline.
Farewell, dear friend, expect no more of me:
Here ends my part in this love’s comedy.    69

[Exeunt Alberto and Painter.

Feli. Now, master Balurdo, whither are you going, ha?

Bal. Signior Feliche, how do you, faith? and by my troth, how do you?

Feli. Whither art thou going, bully?[163]

Bal. And as heaven help me, how do you?
How, do you, i’faith, hee?

Feli. Whither art going, man?

Bal. O God, to the court; I’ll be willing to give you grace and good countenance, if I may but see you in the presence.

Feli. O, to court? farewell.    80

Bal. If you see one in a yellow taffeta doublet, cut upon carnation velure,[164] a green hat, a blue pair of velvet hose, a gilt rapier, and an orange-tawny pair of worsted silk stockings, that’s I, that’s I.

Feli. Very good: farewell.

Bal. Ho, you shall know me as easily; I ha’ bought me a new green feather with a red sprig; you shall see my wrought[165] shirt hang out at my breeches; you shall know me.    89

Feli. Very good, very good, farewell.

Bal. Marry, in the mask ’twill be somewhat hard. But if you hear anybody speak so wittily, that he makes all the room laugh; that’s I, that’s I. Farewell, good Signior.

Enter Forobosco, Castilio, a Boy carrying a gilt harp; Piero, Mellida, in night apparel; Rossaline, Flavia, two Pages.

Pier. Advance the music’s prize; now, cap’ring wits,
Rise to your highest mount; let choice delight
Garland the brow of this triumphant night.
’Sfoot, ’a sits like Lucifer himself.

Ros. Good sweet Duke,
First let their voices strain for music’s prize.[166]
Give me the golden harp:    100
Faith, with your favour, I’ll be umperess.

Pier. Sweet niece, content: boys, clear your voice and sing.

First[167] Boy sings.

Ros. By this gold, I had rather have a servant with a short nose, and a thin hair, than have such a high-stretch’d minikin[168] voice.

Pier. Fair niece, your reason?

Ros. By the sweet of love, I should fear extremely that he were an eunuch.

Cast. Spark spirit, how like you his voice?

Ros. Spark spirit, how like you his voice!    110
So help me, youth, thy voice squeaks like a dry corkshoe:[169] come, come; let’s hear the next.

Second Boy sings.

Pier. Trust me, a strong mean. Well sung, my boy.

Enter Balrudo.

Bal. Hold, hold, hold: are ye blind? could ye not see my voice coming for the harp? And I knock not division[170] on the head, take hence the harp, make me a slip,[171] and let me go but for ninepence. Sir Mark, strike up for master Balurdo.

Third Boy sings.

Judgment, gentlemen, judgment! Was’t not above line?
I appeal to your mouths that heard my song.    120
Do[172] me right, and dub me knight, Balurdo.

Ros. Kneel down, and I’ll dub thee knight of the golden harp.

Bal. Indeed, law, do, and I’ll make you lady of the silver fiddlestick.

Ros. Come, kneel, kneel.

Enter a Page to Balurdo.

Bal. My troth, I thank you, it hath never a whistle in’t.

Ros. Nay, good sweet coz, raise up your drooping eyes; and I were at the point of To have and to hold from this day forward, I would be asham’d to look thus lumpish. What, my pretty coz, ’tis but the loss of an odd maidenhead.    133
Shall’s dance? thou art so sad, hark in thine[173] ear:
I was about to say, but I’ll forbear.

Bal. I come, I come; more than most honeysuckle sweet ladies, pine not for my presence, I’ll return in pomp. Well spoke, Sir Jeffrey Balurdo. As I am a true knight, I feel honourable eloquence begin to grope me already.    140


Pier. Faith, mad niece, I wonder when thou wilt marry?

Ros. Faith, kind uncle, when men abandon jealousy, forsake taking of tobacco, and cease to wear their beards so rudely long. O, to have a husband with a mouth continually smoking, with a bush of furze on the ridge of his chin, ready still to flop into his foaming chaps; ah, ’tis more than most intolerable.

Pier. Nay faith, sweet niece, I was mighty strong in thought we should have shut up night with an old comedy: the Prince of Florence[174] shall have Mellida, and thou should’st have——.    152

Ros. Nobody, good sweet uncle. I tell you, sir, I have thirty-nine servants, and my monkey that makes the fortieth. Now I love all of them lightly for something, but affect none of them seriously for anything. One’s a passionate fool, and he flatters me above belief; the second’s a testy ape, and he rails at me beyond reason; the third’s as grave as some censor, and he strokes up his mustachios three times, and makes six plots of set faces, before he speaks one wise word; the fourth’s as dry as the bur of an hartichoke; the fifth paints, and hath always a good colour for what he speaks; the sixth——.    164

Pier. Stay, stay, sweet niece, what makes you thus suspect your gallants’ worth?

Ros. O, when I see one wear a periwig, I dread his hair; another wallow in a great slop,[175] I mistrust the proportion of his thigh; and wears a ruffled boot,[176] I fear the fashion of his leg. Thus, something in each thing, one trick in everything makes me mistrust imperfection in all parts; and there’s the full point of my addiction.    172

The cornets sound a senet. Enter Galeatzo, Matzagente, and Balurdo in maskery.

Pier. The room’s too scant: boys, stand in there, close.

Mel. [To Galeatzo.] In faith, fair sir, I am too sad to dance.

Pier. How’s that, how’s that? too sad? By heaven, dance,
And grace him too, or go to——, I say no more.

Mel. A burning glass, the word[177] splendente Phœbo?
It is too curious, I conceit it not.

Gal. Faith, I’ll tell thee. I’ll no longer burn,
Than you will shine and smile upon my love.    180
For look ye, fairest, by your pure sweets,
I do not dote upon your excellence;
And faith, unless you shed your brightest beams
Of sunny favour and acceptive grace
Upon my tender love, I do not burn:
Marry, but shine, and I’ll reflect your beams

With fervent ardour. Faith! I would be loath to flatter thee, fair soul, because I love, not dote, court like thy husband, which thy father swears to-morrow morn I must be. This is all; and now from henceforth, trust me, Mellida, I’ll not speak one wise word to thee more.

Mel. I trust ye.    192

Gal. By my troth, I’ll speak pure fool[178] to thee now.

Mel. You will speak the liker yourself.

Gal. Good faith, I’ll accept of the coxcomb, so you will not refuse the bable.[179]

Mel. Nay, good sweet, keep them both; I am enamoured of neither.

Gal. Go to, I must take you down for this. Lend me your ear.    200

Ros. A glow-worm? the word,—Splendescit tantùm tenebris.

Mat. O, lady, the glow-worm figurates my valour, which shineth brightest in most dark, dismal, and horrid achievements.

Ros. Or rather, your glow-worm represents your wit, which only seems to have fire in it, though indeed ’tis but an ignis fatuus, and shines only in the dark dead night of fools’ admiration.

Mat. Lady, my wit hath spurs, if it were dispos’d to ride you.    211

Ros. Faith, sir, your wit’s spurs have but walking rowels; dull, blunt, they will not draw blood: the gentlemen-ushers may admit them the presence, for any wrong they can do to ladies.

Bal. Truly, I have strained a note above ela[180] for a device: look you, ’tis a fair-ruled singing book; the word, Perfect, if it were prick’d.

Fla. Though you are mask’d, I can guess who you are by your wit. You are not the exquisite Balurdo, the most rarely-shaped Balurdo.    221

Bal. Who, I? No, I am not Sir Jeffrey Balurdo. I am not as well known by my wit as an alehouse by a red lattice.[181] I am not worthy to love and be beloved of Flavia.

Fla. I will not scorn to favour such good parts As are applauded in your rarest self.    227

Bal. Truly, you speak wisely, and like a jantlewoman of fourteen years of age. You know the stone called lapis; the nearer it comes to the fire, the hotter it is: and the bird, which the geometricians call avis, the farther it is from the earth, the nearer it is to the heaven; and love, the nigher it is to the flame, the more remote (there’s a word, remote!) the more remote it is from the frost. Your wit is quick; a little thing pleaseth a young lady, and a small favour contenteth an old courtier; and so, sweet mistress, I truss my codpiece point.    238

Enter Feliche.

Pier. What might import this flourish? Bring us word.

Feli. Stand away: here’s such a company of flyboats,[182] hulling[183] about this galleasse[184] of greatness, that there’s no boarding him.

Do you hear, yon thing call’d duke?

Pier. How now, blunt Feliche; what’s the news?

Feli. Yonder’s a knight, hath brought Andrugio’s head,
And craves admittance to your chair of state.

Cornets sound a senet. Enter Andrugio in armour.

Pier. Conduct him with attendance sumptuous;
Sound all the pleasing instruments of joy;
Make triumph stand on tiptoe whilst we meet:
O sight most gracious, O revenge most sweet!    250

And. We vow, by the honour of our birth, to recompense any man that bringeth Andrugio’s head, with twenty thousand double pistolets, and the endearing to our choicest love.

Pier. We still with most unmoved resolve[185] confirm
Our large munificence, and here breathe
A sad and solemn protestation:
When I recall this vow, O, let our house
Be even commanded, stain’d, and trampled on,
As worthless rubbish of nobility.    260

And. Then here [raising his beaver], Piero, is Andrugio’s head,
Royally casquèd in a helm of steel:
Give me thy love, and take it. My dauntless soul
Hath that unbounded vigour in his spirits
That it can bear more rank indignity,
With less impatience than thy canker’d hate
Can sting and venom his untainted worth
With the most vip’rous sound of malice. Strike!
O, let no glimpse of honour light thy thoughts;
If there be any heat of royal breath    270
Creeping in thy veins, O stifle it;
Be still thyself, bloody and treacherous.
Fame not thy house with an admirèd act
Of princely pity. Piero, I am come
To soil thy house with an eternal blot
Of savage cruelty; strike, or bid me strike.
I pray my death; that thy ne’er-dying shame
Might live immortal to posterity.
Come, be a princely hangman, stop my breath.
O dread thou shame, no more than I dread death.    280

Pier. We are amazed, our royal spirit’s numb’d
In stiff astonish’d wonder at thy prowess.
Most mighty, valiant, and high-tow’ring heart,
We blush, and turn our hate upon ourselves,
For hating such an unpeer’d excellence.
I joy my state: him whom I loath’d before,
That now I honour, love, nay more, adore.

[The still flutes sound a mournful senet. Enter a funeral procession, followed by Lucio.

But stay; what tragic spectacle appears!
Whose body bear you in that mournful hearse?

Lu. The breathless trunk of young Antonio.    290

Mel. Antonio! ay me! my lord, my love! my——.

And. Sweet precious issue of most honour’d blood,
Rich hope, ripe virtue, O untimely loss!
Come hither, friend: prithee, do not weep.
Why, I am glad he’s dead; he shall not see
His father’s vanquish’d by his enemy,
Even in princely honour. Nay, prithee, speak!
How died the wretched boy?

Lu. My lord!

And. I hope he died yet like my son, i’faith.    300

Lu. Alas, my lord!

And. He died unforced, I trust, and valiantly?

Lu. Poor gentleman, being——

And. Did his hand shake, or his eye look dull,
His thoughts reel fearful when he struck the stroke?
And if they did, I’ll rend them out the hearse,
Rip up his cerecloth, mangle his bleak face,
That when he comes to heaven, the powers divine,
Shall ne’er take notice that he was my son:
I’ll quite disclaim his birth. Nay, prithee, speak!    310
And ’twere not hooped with steel, my breast would break.

Mel. O that my spirit in a sigh could mount
Into the sphere where thy sweet soul doth rest!

Pier. O that my tears, bedewing thy wan cheek,
Could make new spirit sprout in thy cold blood!

Bal. Verily, he looks as pitifully as a poor John;[186] as I am true knight, I could weep like a ston’d horse.

And. Villain, ’tis thou hast murderèd my son!
Thy unrelenting spirit, thou black dog,    320
That took’st no passion[187] of his fatal love,
Hath forced him give his life untimely end.

Pier. O! that my life, her love, my dearest blood,
Would but redeem one minute of his breath!

Ant. [rising.] I seize that breath. Stand not amazed, great states;
I rise from death that never lived till now.
Piero, keep thy vow, and I enjoy
More unexpressèd height of happiness
Than power of thought can reach; if not, lo, here
There stands my tomb, and here a pleasing stage.    330
Most-wish’d spectators of my tragedy,
To this end have I feign’d, that her fair eye,
For whom I lived, might bless me ere I die.

Mel. Can breath depaint[188] my unconceivèd thoughts?
Can words describe my infinite delight
Of seeing thee, my lord Antonio?
O no; conceit, breath, passion, words, be dumb,
Whilst I instill the dew of my sweet bliss,
In the soft pressure of a melting kiss!
Sic, sic juvat ire sub umbras.    340

Pier. Fair son (now I’ll be proud to call thee son),
Enjoy me thus: my very breast is thine;
Possess me freely, I am wholly thine.

Ant. Dear father——

And. Sweet son, sweet son, I can speak no more:
My joy’s passion flows above the shore,
And chokes the current of my speech.

Pier. Young Florence prince, to you my lips must beg
For a remittance of your interest.

Gal. In your fair daughter? with all my thought.    350
So help me faith, the nak’d truth I’ll unfold;
He that was never[189] hot will soon be cold.

Pier. No man else makes claim unto her?

Mat. The valiant speak truth in brief: no

Bal. Truly, for Sir Jeffrey Balurdo, he disclaims to have had anything in her.

Pier. Then here I give her to Antonio.
Royal, valiant, most respected prince,
Let’s clip our hands, I’ll thus observe my vow:
I promised twenty thousand double pistolets,    360
With the endearing to my dearest love,
To him that brought thy head; thine be the gold,
To solemnise our houses’ unity;
My love be thine, the all I have, be thine.
Fill us fresh wine, the form we’ll take by this;
We’ll drink a health, while they two sip a kiss.[190]
Now there remains no discord that can sound
Harsh accents to the ear of our accord:
So please you,[191] niece, to match.    369

Ros. Troth, uncle, when my sweet-faced coz hath told me how she likes the thing called wedlock, may be I’ll take a survey of the checkroll of my servants; and he that hath the best parts of—I’ll prick him down for my husband.

Bal. For passion of love now, remember me to my mistress, lady Rossaline, when she is pricking down the good parts of her servants. As I am true knight, I grow stiff; I shall carry it.

Pier. I will.
Sound Lydian wires, once make a pleasing note    380
On nectar streams of your sweet airs to float.

Ant. Here ends the comic crosses of true love;
O! may the passage most successful prove!

[160] Cool.—To keel the pot was to stir the contents gently in order to keep them from boiling over.

[161] Motto.

[162] So ed. 1602.—Ed. 1633 “thou wilt.”

[163] A familiar form of address.

[164] A sort of velvet.

[165] In Every Man out of his Humour, iv. 4, after Fastidious Brisk has been describing the damage done to his finery in a duel, Carlo observes—“I wonder he speaks not of his wrought shirt.” Gifford remarks—“The linen, both of men and women, was either so worked as to resemble the finest lace, or was ornamented by the needle with representations of fruits, flowers, passages of history, &c.

[166] Ed. 1602 “price.”

[167] This play was acted by the Paul’s Children, whose voices were carefully trained: hence the frequent introduction of songs.

[168] See note 2, p. 51.

[169] “Their corkèd shoes to bear them high.”—Stephen Gosson’s Pleasant Quips, &c.

[170] See note 6, p. 48.

[171] “Slip”—counterfeit coin.

[172] “Do me right and dub me knight.”—Part of an old catch. So Silence in 2 Henry IV., v. 3:—

“Do me right
And dub me knight,

Again in Nashe’s Summer’s Last Will and Testament:—

All. Monsieur Mingo for quaffing did surpass,
In cup, in can, or glass.
Bac. Ho, well shot a toucher, a toucher.
For quaffing Toy doth pass
In cup, in can, or glass.
All. God Bacchus, do him right,
And dub him knight.

[173] Old eds. “mine.”

[174] Old eds. “Millane;” but Galeatzo, son of the Duke of Florence, was the suitor whom Piero had chosen. Cf. p. 91:

“Young Florence prince, to you my lips must be,
For a remittance of your interest.”

[175] Wide loose breeches.

[176] “Ruffled boot.”—See notes on Middleton, i. 26, viii. 70.

[177] Motto.

[178] “‘Speak pure fool.’—This is idiomatic, and is in sense equivalent to, ‘I will speak like a pure fool.’ Thus in Othello, act ii., ‘Drunk? and speak parrot?’—that is, talk foolishly or idly like a parrot.”—Halliwell.

[179] Old form of “bauble.”

[180] The highest note in the scale.—Cf. Nashe’s Christ’s Tears over Jerusalem (Works, ed. Grosart, v. 188):—“No, no, either you must strain your wits an ela above theirs,” &c. The form of expression is not uncommon.

[181] A red lattice was the distinguishing mark of a tavern.

[182] “Flyboat” (Span. filibote)—a fast-sailing vessel.

[183] “To float, to swim, as borne along or driven by wind or water.”—Dyce’s Shakesp. Glossary.

[184] A large galley.

[185] Old eds. “resolv’d.”

[186] “Poor John” = inferior dried hake. (Ed. 1633 “as Poor John.”)

[187] Sorrow, pity.

[188] Depict.

[189] Old eds. “nere.”

[190] “Sip a kiss”—a translation of the Latin expression “oscula libare.”

[191] Old eds. “your.”


And. Gentlemen, though I remain an armed Epilogue,[192] I stand not as a peremptory challenger of desert, either for him that composed the Comedy, or for us that acted it; but a most submissive suppliant for both. What imperfection you have seen in us, leave with us, and we’ll amend it; what hath pleased you, take with you, and cherish it. You shall not be more ready to embrace anything commendable, than we will endeavour to amend all things reprovable. What we are, is by your favour. What we shall be, rests all in your applausive encouragements.


[192] It was probably in derision of Marston’s “armed Epilogue” that Ben Jonson heralded The Poetaster with an armed Prologue. In Troilus and Cressida we have an armed Prologue:—

“And hither am I come,
A Prologue armed—but not in confidence
Of author’s pen.”



Antonios Reuenge. The second part. As it hath beene sundry times acted, by the children of Paules. Written by I. M. London. Printed for Thomas Fisher, and are to be soulde in Saint Dunstans Church-yarde. 1602. 4to.


Piero had been a suitor for the hand of Maria, daughter of the Duke of Ferrara, but his addresses had been rejected and Maria had married Andrugio, the offspring of the union being Antonio. When Piero, dissembling his hatred, affects to be reconciled to Andrugio, Lucio is despatched to bring Maria to the Venetian Court. Piero, at a banquet given on the eve of his daughter’s marriage with Antonio, instils in Andrugio’s cup a poison which has no immediate effect but works fatally after a few hours. With the help of a base creature, Strotzo, he proceeds in the night to murder Antonio’s friend, Feliche, whose body is carried by Strotzo to Mellida’s chamber. At sunrise Maria and Lucio arrive at Venice. Antonio, whose sleep has been troubled by hideous dreams, is abroad early, and is met by his mother as he paces disquietly in front of Mellida’s chamber. Presently the window-curtain is drawn aside and there is exposed the body of Feliche, stabbed thick with wounds. While Antonio is distractedly calling upon Mellida to rise, Piero advances and proclaims himself the author of Feliche’s death, protesting that he had found his daughter in the embraces of the murdered man. The scene of confusion is heightened by the entrance of Strotzo, who announces that Andrugio has died from excess of joy at his sudden change of fortunes. Mellida is put in close confinement, and a day is appointed for her trial. Strotzo is instructed by Piero to come forward at the trial and accuse Antonio of having instigated the murders of Andrugio and Feliche. But before the trial Andrugio’s ghost appears to Antonio, discloses Piero’s villainy, and bids Antonio take vengeance on the murderer. Antonio stabs Piero’s young son Julio at Andrugio’s shrine; he then disguises himself as Maria’s fool and watches his opportunity for further vengeance. The trial of Mellida is held: Strotzo enters the court with a cord round his neck, declaring that he had been suborned by Antonio to commit the crimes; and officers are despatched to arrest Antonio, who in his fool’s habit is watching the proceedings. It had been part of the plot that Strotzo, after making his confession, should break into passionate outbursts of sorrow and implore Piero to rid him of a dishonourable life; whereupon Piero was to spring forward, grasp the cord round Strotzo’s neck as with intent to strangle him, then suddenly to relax his hold, moved by Strotzo’s penitent conduct. Strotzo goes through his part of the performance; but Piero, grasping one end of the cord while Castilio (a courtier) grasps the other, is careful not to loose his hold before the victim is strangled. Presently word is brought that Antonio in a fit of distraction has flung himself from a high tower into the sea. At this news Mellida falls into a deep swoon and is conveyed to her chamber, whither Antonio after a short delay contrives to follow her, but arrives only in time to see her expire. Piero, notwithstanding his daughter’s untoward death, determines that his marriage with Maria (who affects to acquiesce in the arrangement) shall take place without delay. A scheme of vengeance is contrived between Antonio, Pandulfo (Feliche’s father) and Alberto (Feliche’s friend). The conspirators attire themselves as maskers and appear at a banquet given by Piero on the eve of his marriage. On the appearance of the maskers Piero enquires for his son, Julio, and sends an attendant to fetch him to see the dances. After dancing a measure the maskers request Piero to have the hall cleared while they sit unmasked at the banquet. Thereupon the guests and retainers withdraw, but Piero at the maskers’ request remains. He takes a seat at the banquet; the conspirators, unmasking themselves, spring forward and bind him with cords to the chair; insult over him, cut out his tongue, produce in a dish the limbs of his murdered son, and finally hack him to death with their swords. The tyrant’s death is welcomed with universal joy. The conspirators are hailed as saviours of their country, and are offered high offices of state; but prefer to spend the rest of their lives in the seclusion of a religious house.


The rawish dank of clumsy[193] winter ramps
The fluent summer’s vein; and drizzling sleet
Chilleth the wan bleak cheek of the numb’d earth,
Whilst snarling gusts nibble the juiceless leaves
From the nak’d shudd’ring branch; and pills[194] the skin
From off the soft and delicate aspects.
O now, methinks, a sullen tragic scene
Would suit the time with pleasing congruence.
May we be happy in our weak devoir,
And all part pleasèd in most wish’d content!    10
But sweat of Hercules can ne’er beget
So blest an issue. Therefore, we proclaim,
If any spirit breathes within this round,
Uncapable of weighty passion,
(As from his birth being huggèd in the arms,
And nuzzled ’twixt the breasts of happiness)
Who winks, and shuts his apprehension up
From common sense of what men were and are,
Who would not know what men must be—let such
Hurry amain from our black-visaged shows:    20
We shall affright their eyes. But if a breast
Nail’d to the earth with grief; if any heart
Pierc’d through with anguish pant within this ring;
If there be any blood whose heat is choked
And stifled with true sense of misery;
If ought of these strains fill this consort up—
Th’ arrive most welcome. O that our power
Could lackey or keep wing with our desires,
That with unusèd paize[195] of style and sense,
We might weigh massy in judicious scale.    30
Yet here’s the prop that doth support our hopes:
When our scenes falter, or invention halts,
Your favour will give crutches to our faults.[196]


[193] Marston’s use of the words clumsy and ramp is ridiculed in The Poetaster (v. 1).

[194] Peels.

[195] An old form of poise.

[196] “This prologue, for its passionate earnestness, and for the tragic note of preparation which it sounds, might have preceded one of those tales of Thebes, or Pelops’ line, which Milton has so highly commended, as free from the common errors in his days, ‘of intermixing comic stuff with tragic sadness and gravity, brought in without discretion corruptly to gratify the people.’ It is as solemn a preparative as the ‘warning voice which he who saw th’ Apocalypse heard cry.’”—Charles Lamb.


Piero Sforza, Duke of Venice.
Antonio, son to the murdered Andrugio, affianced to Mellida.
Pandulfo, father to the murdered Feliche.
Alberto, a Venetian gentleman.
Balurdo, a rich gull.
Matzagente, a modern braggadoch.
Galeatzo, son to the Duke of Milan.
Forobosco, a Parasite.
Castilio Balthazar, a spruce courtier.
Lucio, an old nobleman, attendant to Maria.
Strotzo, a creature of Piero.
Julio, son to Piero.

Maria, Andrugio’s widow, mother to Antonio.
Mellida, daughter to Piero, affianced to Antonio.
Nutriche, attendant to Maria.
Two Senators, Herald, Waiting-women, Page, &c.

Ghost of Andrugio, Ghost of Feliche.

The Scene—Venice.

[197] There is no list of characters in the old eds.




A corridor in the palace of Piero.

Enter Piero, unbraced, his arms bare, smeared in blood, a poniard in one hand bloody, and a torch in the other; Strotzo following him with a cord.

Pier. Ho, Gasper Strotzo, bind Feliche’s trunk
Unto the panting side of Mellida!

[Exit Strotzo.

’Tis yet dead night, yet all the earth is clutch’d[198]
In the dull leaden hand of snoring sleep;
No breath disturbs the quiet of the air,
No spirit moves upon the breast of earth,
Save howling dogs, night-crows, and screeching owls,
Save meagre ghosts, Piero, and black thoughts.
One, two!

[Clock strikes.

Lord, in two hours what a topless mount    10
Of unpeer’d mischief have these hands cast up!

Re-enter Strotzo.

I can scarce coop triumphing vengeance up
From bursting forth in braggart passion.

Str. My lord, ’tis firmly said that——

Pier. Andrugio sleeps in peace: this brain hath choked
The organ of his breast. Feliche hangs
But as a bait upon the line of death,
To tice on mischief. I am great in blood,
Unequall’d in revenge. You horrid scouts
That sentinel swart night, give loud applause    20
From your large palms. First, know, my heart was rais’d
Unto Andrugio’s life upon this ground—

Str. Duke, ’tis reported——

Pier. We both were rivals in our may of blood,
Unto Maria, fair Ferrara’s heir.
He won the lady, to my honour’s death,
And from her sweets cropp’d this Antonio;
For which I burnt in inward swelt’ring hate,
And fester’d rankling malice in my breast,
Till I might belk revenge upon his eyes:    30
And now (O blessèd now!) ’tis done. Hell, night,
Give loud applause to my hypocrisy.
When his bright valour even dazzled sense,
In off’ring his own head, public reproach
Had blurr’d my name. Speak, Strotzo, had it not?
If then I had——

Str. It had, so please——

Pier. What had, so please? Unseasoned sycophant,
Piero Sforza is no numbèd lord,
Senseless of all true touch;[199] stroke not the head    40
Of infant speech, till it be fully born;
Go to!

Str. How now! Fut, I’ll not smother your speech.

Pier. Nay, right thine eyes: ’twas but a little spleen,—
(Huge plunge![200]
Sin’s grown a slave, and must observe slight evils;
Huge villains are enforced to claw[201] all devils.)—
Pish, sweet, thy thoughts, and give me——.

Str. Stroke not the head of infant speech! go to!

Pier. Nay, calm this storm. I ever held thy breast
More secret, and more firm in league of blood,    50
Than to be struck in heat with each slight puff.
Give me thy ears; huge infamy [had] press[’d] down
My honour, if even then, when his fresh act
Of prowess bloom’d out full,
I had ta’en vengeance on his hated head——.

Str. Why it had——.

Pier. Could I avoid to give a seeming grant
Unto fruition of Antonio’s love?

Str. No.

Pier. And didst thou ever see a Judas kiss    60
With a more covert touch of fleering hate?

Str. No.

Pier. And having clipt them with pretence of love,
Have I not crush’d them with a cruel wring?

Str. Yes.

Pier. Say, faith, didst thou e’er hear, or read, or see
Such happy vengeance, unsuspected death?
That I should drop strong poison in the bowl,
Which I myself caroused unto his health
And future fortune of our unity!    70
That it should work even in the hush[202] of night,
And strangle him on sudden, that fair show
Of death, for the excessive joy of his fate,
Might choke the murder! Ha, Strotzo, is’t not rare?
Nay, but weigh it. Then Feliche stabb’d
(Whose sinking thought[203] frighted my conscious heart),
And laid by Mellida, to stop the match,
And hale on mischief. This all in one night!
Is’t to be equall’d, think’st thou? O, I could eat
Thy fumbling throat, for thy lagg’d censure. Fut,    80
Is’t not rare?

Str. Yes.

Pier. No? yes? nothing but no and yes, dull lump?
Canst thou not honey me with fluent speech,
And even adore my topless villainy?
Will I not blast my own blood for revenge,
Must not thou straight be perjur’d for revenge,
And yet no creature dream ’tis my revenge?
Will I not turn a glorious bridal morn
Unto a Stygian night? Yet naught but no and yes!    90

Str. I would have told you, if the incubus[204]
That rides your bosom would have patience,
It is reported that in private state
Maria, Genoa’s duchess, makes to court,
Longing to see him, whom she ne’er shall see,
Her lord Andrugio. Belike she hath receiv’d
The news of reconciliation.
A[205] reconciliation with death!
Poor lady! shall but find poor comfort in’t.

Pier. O, let me swoon for joy. By heaven, I think    100
I ha’ said my prayers, within this month at least;
I am so boundless happy. Doth she come?
By this warm reeking gore, I’ll marry her.
Look I not now like an inamorate?[206]
Poison the father, butcher the son, and marry the mother, ha!
Strotzo, to bed: snort in securest sleep;
For see, the dapple grey coursers of the morn
Beat up the light with their bright silver hooves,
And chase it through the sky.—To bed, to bed!
This morn my vengeance shall be amply fed.    110


[198] Old eds. “cloucht,” which we might regard as a misprint for “coucht” if Marston had not shown an excessive fondness (ridiculed in The Poetaster) for the word “clutch.”

[199] Feeling, perception.—See Dyce’s Shakesp. Glossary.

[200] Plunge often has the meaning of—difficulty, embarrassment. I suppose it has that meaning here. Piero is annoyed at having to speak fair words to so paltry a rascal as Strotzo.

[201] Stroke gently, flatter.—A common name for a flatterer was clawback.—“Flatant.—Flattering, fawning, colloguing with, clawing, smoothing, stroaking.”—Cotgrave.

[202] Old eds. “husht.”

[203] “Sinking thought” is a curious expression. It means, I suppose—deep discernment, penetrative shrewdness. Piero dreaded that his villainies would be detected by Feliche.

[204] Marston’s use of this word is ridiculed in The Poetaster (v. 1).

[205] Old eds. “Reconciliation with a death?” Metre and sense show that the article “a” has been misplaced by the printer.

[206] So old eds.


Precincts of the palace of Piero.

Enter Lucio, Maria, and Nutriche.

Mar. Stay, gentle Lucio, and vouchsafe thy hand.

Lu. O, Madam——.

Mar. Nay, prithee give me leave to say, vouchsafe;
Submiss entreats beseem my humble fate.
Here let us sit. O Lucio, fortune’s gilt
Is rubb’d quite off from my slight tin-foil’d state,
And poor Maria must appear ungraced
Of the bright fulgor of gloss’d majesty.

Lu. Cheer up your spirits, Madam; fairer chance,
Than that which courts your presence instantly,    10
Can not be formed by the quick mould of thought.

Mar. Art thou assured the dukes are reconciled?
Shall my womb’s honour wed fair Mellida?
Will heaven at length grant harbour to my head?
Shall I once more clip my Andrugio,
And wreath my arms about Antonio’s neck?
Or is glib rumour grown a parasite,
Holding a false glass to my sorrow’s eyes,
Making the wrinkled front of grief seem fair,
Though ’tis much rivell’d[207] with abortive care?    20

Lu. Most virtuous princess, banish straggling fear,
Keep league with comfort. For these eyes beheld
The dukes united; yon faint glimmering light
Ne’er peepèd through the crannies of the east,
Since I beheld them drink a sound carouse,
In sparkling Bacchus, unto each other’s health;
Your son assur’d[208] to beauteous Mellida,
And all clouds clear’d of threat’ning discontent.

Mar. What age is morning of?

Lu. I think ’bout five.

Mar. Nutriche, Nutriche!    30

Nut. Beshrow your fingers! marry, you have disturb’d the pleasure of the finest dream. O God! I was even coming to it, law. O Jesu! ’twas coming of the sweetest. I’ll tell you now, methought I was married, and methought I spent (O Lord, why did you wake me?), and methought I spent three spur-royals[209] on the fiddlers for striking up a fresh hornpipe. Saint Ursula! I was even going to bed, and you, methought, my husband, was even putting out the tapers, when you—Lord I shall never have such a dream come upon me, as long as——.    40

Mar. Peace, idle creature, peace!—When will the court rise?

Lu. Madam, ’twere best you took some lodging up,
And lay in private till the soil of grief
Were clear’d your cheek, and new burnish’d lustre
Clothèd your presence, ’fore you saw the dukes,
And enter’d ’mong the proud Venetian states.[210]

Mar. No, Lucio, my dear lord is wise, and knows
That tinsel glitter, or rich purfled[211] robes,
Curl’d hairs, hung full of sparkling carcanets,
Are not the true adornments of a wife.    50
So long as wives are faithful, modest, chaste,
Wise lords affect them. Virtue doth not waste
With each slight flame of crackling vanity.
A modest eye forceth affection,
Whilst outward gayness’ light looks but entice:
Fairer than nature’s fair is foulest vice.
She that loves art to get her cheek more lovers,
Much outward gauds, slight inward grace discovers.
I care not to seem fair but to my lord:
Those that strive most to please most strangers’ sight,
Folly may judge most fair, wisdom most light.    61

[Music sounds a short strain.

But hark, soft music gently moves the air!
I think the bridegroom’s up. Lucio, stand close.
O now, Maria, challenge grief to stay
Thy joy’s encounter. Look, Lucio, ’tis clear day.

[They retire to the back of the stage.

Enter Antonio, Galeatzo, Matzagente, Balurdo, Pandulpho, Feliche, Alberto, Forobosco, Castilio, and a Page.

Ant. Darkness is fled: look, infant morn hath drawn
Bright silver curtains ’bout the couch of night;
And now Aurora’s horse trots azure rings,[212]
Breathing fair light about the firmament.—
Stand, what’s that?    70

Mat. And if a hornèd devil should burst forth,
I would pass on him with a mortal stock.[213]

Alb. Oh, a horned devil would prove ominous
Unto a bridegroom’s eyes.

Mat. A horned devil? Good: ha, ha, ha!—very good!

Alb. Good tann’d prince, laugh not. By the joys of love,
When thou dost girn,[214] thy rusty face doth look
Like the head of a roasted rabbit: fie upon’t!

Bal. By my troth, methinks his nose is just colour de roy.[215]

Mat. I tell thee, fool, my nose will abide no jest.    80

Bal. No, in truth, I do not jest; I speak truth. Truth is the touchstone of all things; and, if your nose will not abide the truth, your nose will not abide the touch; and, if your nose will not abide the touch, your nose is a copper nose, and must be nail’d up for a slip.[216]

Mat. I scorn to retort the obtuse jest of a fool.

[Balurdo draws out his writing tables, and writes.

Bal. Retort and obtuse, good words, very good words.

Gal. Young prince, look sprightly; fie, a bridegroom sad!

Bal. In truth, if he were retort and obtuse, no question he would be merry; but, and please my genius, I will be most retort and obtuse ere night. I’ll tell you what I’ll bear soon at night in my shield, for my device.    92

Gal. What, good Balurdo?

Bal. O, do me right:—Sir Jeffrey Balurdo; sir, sir, as long as ye live, sir.

Gal. What, good Sir Jeffrey Balurdo?

Bal. Marry forsooth, I’ll carry for my device my grandfather’s great stone horse, flinging up his head, and jerking out his left leg: the word, “Wighy Purt.” As I am a true knight, will’t not be most retort and obtuse, ha?    101

Ant. Blow hence these sapless jests. I tell you, bloods,
My spirit’s heavy, and the juice of life
Creeps slowly through my stiffen’d arteries.
Last sleep, my sense was steep’d in horrid dreams:
Three parts of night were swallow’d in the gulf
Of ravenous time, when to my slumb’ring powers,
Two meagre ghosts made apparition.
The one’s breast seem’d fresh paunch’d with bleeding wounds,
Whose bubbling gore sprang in [my] frighted eyes;    110
The other ghost assum’d my father’s shape:
Both cried, “Revenge!” At which my trembling joints,
Icèd quite over with a frozed cold sweat,[217]
Leap’d forth the sheets. Three[218] times I g[r]asp’d at shades,
And thrice, deluded by erroneous sense,
I forc’d my thoughts make stand; when lo, I oped[219]
A large bay window, th[o]rough which the night
Struck terror to my soul. The verge of heaven
Was ring’d with flames, and all the upper vault
Thick-lac’d with flakes of fire; in midst whereof    120
A blazing comet shot his threat’ning train
Just on my face. Viewing these prodigies,
I bow’d my naked knee and pierc’d the star
With an outfacing eye, pronouncing thus:
Deus imperat astris. At which, my nose straight bled;
Then doubted I my word, so slunk to bed.    126

Bal. Verily, Sir Jeffrey had a monstrous strange dream the last night. For methought I dreamt I was asleep, and methought the ground yawn’d and belkt up the abhominable ghost of a misshapen simile, with two ugly pages; the one called master, even as going before; and the other mounser,[220] even so following after; whilst Signior Simile stalk’d most prodigiously in the midst. At which I bewray’d[221] the fearfulness of my nature, and being ready to forsake the fortress of my wit, start up, called for a clean shirt, ate a mess of broth, and with that I awaked.

Ant. I prithee, peace. I tell you, gentlemen,
The frightful shades of night yet shake my brain:
My jellied[222] blood’s not thaw’d: the sulphur damps,    140
That flew[223] in wingèd lightning ’bout my couch,
Yet stick within my sense, my soul is great
In expectation of dire prodigies.

Pan. Tut, my young prince, let not thy fortunes see
Their lord a coward. He that’s nobly born
Abhors to fear: base fear’s the brand of slaves.
He that observes, pursues, slinks back for fright,
Was never cast in mould of noble sprite.

Gal. Tush, there’s a sun will straight exhale these damps
Of chilling fear. Come, shall’s salute the bride?    150

Ant. Castilio, I prithee mix thy breath with his:
Sing one of Signior Renaldo’s airs,
To rouse the slumb’ring bride from gluttoning
In surfeit of superfluous sleep. Good signior, sing.

[A Song.

What means this silence and unmovèd calm?
Boy, wind thy cornet: force the leaden gates
Of lazy sleep fly open with thy breath.
My Mellida not up? not stirring yet? umh!

Mar. That voice should be my son’s, Antonio’s. Antonio!    160

Ant. Here: who calls? here stands Antonio.

Mar. Sweet son!

Ant. Dear mother!

Mar. Fair honour of a chaste and loyal bed,
Thy father’s beauty, thy sad mother’s love,
Were I as powerful as the voice of fate,
Felicity complete should sweet thy state;
But all the blessings that a poor banish’d wretch
Can pour upon thy head, take, gentle son:
Live, gracious youth, to close thy mother’s eyes,    170
Loved of thy parents, till their latest hour.
How cheers my lord, thy father? O sweet boy,
Part of him thus I clip, my dear, dear joy.

[Embraces Antonio.

Ant. Madam, last night I kissed his princely hand,
And took a treasured blessing from his lips.
O mother, you arrive in jubilee,
And firm atonement of all boist’rous rage;
Pleasure, united love, protested faith,
Guard my loved father, as sworn pensioners:
The dukes are leagued in firmest bond of love,    180
And you arrive even in the solsticy
And highest point of sunshine happiness.

[One winds a cornet within.

Hark, madam, how yon cornet jerketh up
His strain’d shrill accents in the capering air,
As proud to summon up my bright-cheek’d love!
Now, mother, ope wide expectation;
Let loose your amplest sense, to entertain
Th’ impression of an object of such worth
That life’s too poor to——

Gal. Nay, leave hyperboles.

Ant. I tell thee, prince, that presence straight appears
Of which thou canst not form hyperboles;    191
The trophy of triumphing excellence,
The heart of beauty, Mellida appears.
See, look, the curtain stirs; shine nature’s pride,
Love’s vital spirit, dear Antonio’s bride.

[The curtain’s drawn, and the body of Feliche, stabb’d thick with wounds, appears hung up.

What villain bloods the window of my love?
What slave hath hung yon gory ensign up
In flat defiance of humanity?
Awake, thou fair unspotted purity!
Death’s at thy window, awake, bright Mellida!    200
Antonio calls!

Enter Piero, unbraced, with Forobosco.

Pier. Who gives these ill-befitting attributes
Of chaste, unspotted, bright, to Mellida?
He lies as loud as thunder: she’s unchaste,
Tainted, impure, black as the soul of hell.

[Antonio draws his rapier, offers to run at Piero, but Maria holds his arm and stays him.

Ant. Dog! I will make thee eat thy vomit up,
Which thou hast belkt ’gainst taintless Mellida.

Pier.[224] Ram’t quickly down, that it may not rise up
To imbraid[225] my thoughts. Behold my stomach;
Strike me quite through with the relentless edge    210
Of raging fury. Boy, I’ll kill thy love.
Pandulf Feliche, I have stabb’d thy son:
Look, yet his lifeblood reeks upon this steel.
Albert, yon hangs thy friend. Have none of you
Courage of vengeance? Forget I am your duke;
Think Mellida is not Piero’s blood;
Imagine on slight ground I’ll blast his honour;
Suppose I saw not that incestuous slave,
Clipping the strumpet with luxurious twines![226]
O, numb my sense of anguish, cast my life    220
In a dead sleep, whilst law cuts off yon maim,[227]
Yon putrid ulcer of my royal blood!

For. Keep league with reason, gracious sovereign.

Pier. There glow no sparks of reason in the world;
All are raked up in ashy beastliness.
The bulk of man’s as dark as Erebus,
No branch of reason’s light hangs in his trunk:
There lives no reason to keep league withal.
I ha’ no reason to be reasonable.
Her wedding eve, link’d to the noble blood    230
Of my most firmly-reconcilèd friend,
And found even cling’d in sensuality!
O heaven! O heaven! Were she as near my heart
As is my liver, I would rend her off.

Enter Strotzo.

Str. Whither, O whither shall I hurl vast grief!

Pier. Here, into my breast: ’tis a place built wide
By fate, to give receipt to boundless woes.

Str. O no; here throb those hearts, which I must cleave
With my keen-piercing news. Andrugio’s dead.

Pier. Dead!    240

Mar. O me, most miserable!

Pier. Dead! alas, how dead?

[Gives seeming passion.

[Aside.] Fut, weep, act, feign—Dead! alas, how dead?

Str. The vast delights of his large sudden joys
Open’d his powers so wide, that ’s native heat
So prodigally flow’d t’ exterior parts,
That th’inner citadel was left unmann’d,
And so surpris’d on sudden by cold death.

Mar. O fatal, disastrous, cursèd, dismal!
Choke breath and life! I breathe, I live too long.    250
Andrugio, my lord, I come, I come!


Pier. Be cheerful, princess; help, Castilio,
The lady’s swounèd;[228] help to bear her in:
Slow comfort to huge cares is swiftest sin.

Bal. Courage, courage, sweet lady, ’tis Sir Jeffrey Balurdo bids you courage. Truly I am as nimble as an elephant about a lady.

[Exeunt Piero, Castilio, Forobosco and Balurdo, bearing out Maria.

Pan. Dead!

Ant. Dead!

Alb. Dead!    260

Ant. Why, now the womb of mischief is deliver’d,
Of the prodigious issue of the night.

Pan. Ha, ha, ha!

Ant. My father dead: my love attaint of lust,—
That’s a large lie, as vast as spacious hell!
Poor guiltless lady! O, accursèd lie!
What, whom, whither, which shall I first lament?
A[229] dead father, a dishonour’d wife? Stand.
Methinks I feel the frame of nature shake.
Cracks not the joints of earth to bear my woes?    270

Alb. Sweet prince, be patient.

Ant. ’Slid, sir, I will not in despite of thee.
Patience is slave to fools: a chain that’s fixt
Only to posts, and senseless log-like dolts.

Alb. ’Tis reason’s glory to command affects.[230]

Ant. Lies thy cold father dead, his glossèd eyes
New closèd up by thy sad mother’s hands?
Hast thou a love, as spotless as the brow
Of clearest heaven, blurr’d with false defames?
Are thy moist entrails crumpled up with grief    280
Of parching mischiefs? Tell me, does thy heart
With punching anguish spur thy gallèd ribs?
Then come, let’s sit[231] and weep and wreathe our arms:
I’ll hear thy counsel.

Alb. Take comfort.

Ant. Confusion to all comfort! I defy it.
Comfort’s a parasite, a flattering jack,[232]
And melts resolv’d despair. O boundless woe,
If there be any black yet unknown grief,
If there be any horror yet unfelt,    290
Unthought of mischief in thy fiend-like power,
Dash it upon my miserable head;
Make me more wretch, more cursèd if thou canst!
O, now my fate is more than I could fear:
My woes more weighty than my soul can bear.


Pan. Ha, ha, ha!

Alb. Why laugh you, uncle? That’s my coz, your son,
Whose breast hangs casèd in his cluttered[233] gore.

Pan. True, man, true: why, wherefore should I weep?
Come, sit, kind nephew: come on; thou and I    300
Will talk as chorus to this tragedy.
Entreat the music strain their instruments
With a slight touch, whilst we—Say on, fair coz.

Alb. He was the very hope of Italy,

[Music sounds softly.

The blooming honour of your drooping age.

Pan. True, coz, true. They say that men of hope are crush’d;
Good are supprest by base desertless clods,
That stifle gasping virtue. Look, sweet youth,
How provident our quick Venetians are,
Lest hooves of jades should trample on my boy:    310
Look how they lift him up to eminence,
Heave him ’bove reach of flesh. Ha, ha, ha!

Alb. Uncle, this laughter ill becomes your grief.

Pan. Would’st have me cry, run raving up and down,
For my son’s loss? Would’st have me turn rank mad,
Or wring my face with mimic action;
Stamp, curse, weep, rage, and then my bosom strike?
Away, ’tis aspish action, player-like.[234]
If he is guiltless, why should tears be spent?
Thrice blessèd soul that dieth innocent.    320
If he is leper’d with so foul a guilt,
Why should a sigh be lent, a tear be spilt?
The gripe of chance is weak to wring a tear
From him that knows what fortitude should bear.
Listen, young blood. ’Tis not true valour’s pride
To swagger, quarrel, swear, stamp, rave, and chide,
To stab in fume of blood, to keep loud coil[s]
To bandy factions in domestic broils,
To dare the act of sins, whose filth excels
The blackest customs of blind infidels.    330
No, my lov’d youth: he may of valour vaunt
Whom fortune’s loudest thunder cannot daunt;
Whom fretful gales of chance, stern fortune’s siege,
Makes not his reason slink, the soul’s fair liege;
Whose well-pais’d[235] action ever rests upon
Not giddy humours but discretion.
This heart in valour even Jove out-goes:
Jove is without, but this ’bove sense of woes:[236]
And such a one, eternity. Behold—
Good morrow, son; thou bid’st a fig for cold.    340
Sound louder music: let my breath exact

[Loud music.

You strike sad tones unto this dismal act.


[207] Wrinkled.

[208] Affianced.

[209] Spur-royal was a gold coin worth fifteen shillings.

[210] Nobles.

[211] Embroidered (Fr. pourfiler).

[212] To make a horse tread the ring was an equestrian feat. The ring was the circular piece of ground on which the horse displayed his agility. See note on Middleton, vol. i. p. 190.

[213] Stockado, stoccata,—a thrust in fencing.

[214] Grin or snarl.

[215]Couleur de Roy was in the old time Purple; but now is the bright Tawnie which wee also tearme Coulour de Roy.”—Cotgrave.

[216] A counterfeit coin.

[217] A reminiscence of Virgil:—

“Tum gelidus toto manabat corpore sudor:
Corripio e stratis corpus.”—Æn. iii. 174-5.

[218] Again we are reminded of Virgil:—

“Ter conatus ibi collo dare brachia circum,
Ter frustra comprensa manus effugit imago.”—Æn. vi, 699-700.

[219] For “I oped” old eds. give “top’t.”

[220] Old form of “monsieur.”—Balurdo is talking arrant nonsense.

[221] The dramatists are fond of punning on the words, (1) bewray (betray), (2) beray (befoul). Cf. Middleton, i. 82, &c.

[222] Old eds. “gellied,” which I take to be jellied—not gelid. In the first edition of Shelley’s Cenci (iv. 3) we have:—“The gellyed blood runs freely through my veins:” later editions read jellied.

[223] Old eds. “flow.”

[224] Not marked in ed. 1602.

[225] Reproach, upbraid.

[226] “Luxurious twines”—lustful embraces.

[227] Old eds. “maine.”

[228] So ed. 1602.—Ed. 1633, “swounded.”

[229] The metrical harshness might be removed by reading “A father dead, a wife dishonour’d.”

[230] Affections, feelings.

[231] Old eds. “and let’s sit.”

[232] Saucy fellow.

[233] “‘Grumean de sang, a clot or clutter of congealed blood,’ Cotgrave. Cluttered blood, ‘Holinshed, Hist. Engl. p. 74.’”—Halliwell.

[234] There seems to be an allusion to old Hieronymo’s frantic behaviour in The Spanish Tragedy.

[235] Well-balanced.

[236] A Stoic sentiment. Seneca writes:—“Est aliquid quo sapiens antecedat deum: ille beneficio naturæ non timet, suo sapiens.” (Ep. Mor., Lib. vi, Ep. 1.) But see particularly the quotation from Seneca on p. 133.



A dumb show.

The cornets sound a senet.

Enter two mourners with torches, two with streamers; Castilio and Forobosco, with torches; a Herald bearing Andrugio’s helm and sword; the coffin; Maria supported by Lucio and Alberto; Antonio, by himself; Piero and Strotzo, talking; Galeatzo and Matzagente, Balurdo and Pandulfo: the coffin set down; helm, sword, and streamers hung up, placed by the Herald, whilst Antonio and Maria wet their handkerchers with their tears, kiss them, and lay them on the hearse, kneeling: all go out but Piero. Cornets cease, and he speaks.

Pier. Rot there, thou cerecloth that enfolds the flesh
Of my loath’d foe; moulder to crumbling dust;
Oblivion choke the passage of thy fame!
Trophies of honour’d birth drop quickly down:
Let nought of him, but what was vicious, live.
Though thou art dead, think not my hate is dead:
I have but newly twone my arm in the curl’d locks
Of snaky vengeance. Pale, beetle-brow’d hate
But newly bustles up. Sweet wrong, I clap thy thoughts!
O let me hug thy[237] bosom, rub thy[237] breast,    10
In hope of what may hap. Andrugio rots,
Antonio lives: umh: how long? ha, ha! how long?
Antonio pack’d hence, I’ll his mother wed,
Then clear my daughter of supposèd lust,
Wed her to Florence heir. O excellent!
Venice, Genoa, Florence at my beck,
At Piero’s nod.—Balurdo, O ho![238]
O ’twill be rare, all unsuspected done.
I have been nursed in blood, and still have suck’d
The steam of reeking gore.—Balurdo, ho!    20

Enter Balurdo with a beard, half off, half on.

Bal. When my beard is on, most noble prince, when my beard is on.

Pier. Why, what dost thou with a beard?

Bal. In truth, one told me that my wit was bald, and that a mermaid was half fish and half fish [sic]; and therefore to speak wisely, like one of your counsel, as indeed it hath pleased you to make me, not only being a fool of your counsel, but also to make me of your counsel being a fool: if my wit be bald, and a mermaid be half fish and half conger, then I must be forced to conclude—The tiring man hath not glued on my beard half fast enough. God’s bores, it will not stick to fall off.    32

Pier. Dost thou know what thou hast spoken all this while?

Bal. O lord, duke, I would be sorry of that. Many men can utter that which no man but themselves can conceive: but I thank a good wit, I have the gift to speak that which neither any man else nor myself understands.

Pier. Thou art wise. He that speaks he knows not what, shall never sin against his own conscience: go to, thou art wise.    40

Bal. Wise? O no, I have a little natural discretion, or so; but for wise, I am somewhat prudent; but for wise, O lord!

Pier. Hold, take those keys, open the castle vault, And put in Mellida.

Bal. And put in Mellida? Well, let me alone.

Pier. Bid Forobosco and Castilio guard;
Endear thyself Piero’s intimate.

Bal. Endear, and intimate; good, I assure you. I will endear and intimate Mellida into the dungeon presently.    51

Pier. Will[239] Pandulfo Feliche wait on me.

Bal. I will make him come, most retort and obtuse, to you presently. I think Sir Jeffrey talks like a counsellor. Go to, god’s neaks, I think I tickle it.

Pier. I’ll seem to wind yon fool with kindest arm.
He that’s ambitious-minded, and but man,
Must have his followers beasts, damn’d[240] slavish sots,
Whose service is obedience, and whose wit
Reacheth no further than to admire their lord,    60
And stare in adoration of his worth.
I loathe a slave, raked out of common mud,
Should seem to sit in counsel with my heart.
High-honour’d blood’s too squeamish to assent
And lend a hand to an ignoble act:
Poison from roses who could e’er abstract?—

Enter Pandulfo.

How now, Pandulfo? weeping for thy son?

Pan. No, no, Piero, weeping for my sins:
Had I been a good father, he had been
A gracious son.

Pier. Pollution must be purged.    70

Pan. Why taint’st thou then the air with stench of flesh,
And human putrefaction’s noisome scent?
I pray his body. Who less boon can crave
Than to bestow upon the dead his grave?

Pier. Grave! Why, think’st thou he deserves a grave,
That hath defil’d the temple of——

Pan. Peace, peace!
Methinks I hear a humming murmur creep
From out his jellied[241] wounds. Look on those lips,
Those now lawn pillows, on whose tender softness
Chaste modest speech, stealing from out his breast,    80
Had wont to rest itself, as loath to post
From out so fair an inn! look, look, they seem to stir
And breathe defiance to black obloquy!

Pier. Think’st thou thy son could suffer wrongfully?

Pan. A wise man wrongfully, but never wrong
Can take;[242] his breast’s of such well-tempered proof
It may be razed, not pierced by savage tooth
Of foaming malice: showers of darts may dark
Heaven’s ample brow, but not strike out a spark,
Much less pierce the sun’s cheek. Such songs as these
I often dittied till my boy did sleep;    91
But now I turn plain fool, alas, I weep.

Pier. [Aside.] ’Fore heaven he makes me shrug; would ’a were dead.
He is a virtuous man: what has our court to do
With virtue, in the devil’s name!—Pandulpho, hark:
My lustful daughter dies; start not, she dies.
I pursue justice; I love sanctity,
And an undefiled temple of pure thoughts.
Shall I speak freely? Good Andrugio’s dead:
And I do fear a fetch;[243] but (umh) would I durst speak—
I do mistrust but (umh)—[Aside.] Death is he all, all man,
Hath he no part of mother in him, ha?    102
No licorish womanish inquisitiveness?

Pan. Andrugio’s dead!

Pier. Ay; and I fear his own unnatural blood,
To whom he gave life, hath given death for life.
[Aside.] How could he come on? I see false suspect
Is viced; wrung hardly in a virtuous heart.—
Well, I could give you reason for my doubts:
You are of honour’d birth, my very friend:    110
You know how god-like ’tis to root out sin.
Antonio is a villain: will you join
In oath with me against the traitor’s life,
And swear you knew he sought his father’s death?
I loved him well, yet I love justice more:
Our friends we should affect, justice adore.

Pan. My lord, the clapper of my mouth’s not glibb’d
With court-oil, ’twill not strike on both sides yet.

Pier. ’Tis[244] just that subjects act commands of kings.

Pan. Command then just and honourable things.    120

Pier. Even so, myself then will traduce his guilt.

Pan. Beware, take heed, lest guiltless blood be spilt.

Pier. Where only honest deeds to kings are free,
It is no empire, but a beggary.

Pan. Where more than noble deeds to kings are free,
It is no empire, but a tyranny.

Pier. Tush, juiceless graybeard, ’tis immunity,
Proper to princes, that our state exacts;
Our subjects not alone to bear, but praise our acts.    129

Pan. O, but that prince, that worthful praise aspires,
From hearts, and not from lips, applause desires.

Pier. Pish!
True praise the brow of common men doth ring,
False only girts the temple of a king.
He that hath strength and ’s ignorant of power,
He was not made to rule, but to be rul’d.

Pan. ’Tis praise to do, not what we can, but should.

Pier. Hence, doting stoic! by my hope of bliss,
I’ll make thee wretched.

Pan. Defiance to thy power, thou rifted jawn![245]    140
Now, by the lovèd heaven, sooner thou shalt
Rinse thy foul ribs from the black filth of sin
That soots thy heart than make me wretched. Pish!
Thou canst not coop me up. Hadst thou a jail
With treble walls, like antique Babylon,
Pandulpho can get out. I tell thee, duke,
I have old Fortunatus’ wishing-cap,
And can be where I list even in a trice.
I’ll skip from earth into the arms of heaven:
And from triumphal arch of blessedness,    150
Spit on thy frothy breast. Thou canst not slave
Or banish me; I will be free at home,
Maugre the beard of greatness. The port-holes
Of sheathèd spirit are ne’er corbèd[246] up,
But still stand open ready to discharge
Their precious shot into the shrouds of heaven.

Pier. O torture! slave, I banish thee the town,
Thy native seat of birth.

Pan. How proud thou speak’st! I tell thee, duke, the blasts    159
Of the swoll’n-cheek’d winds, nor all the breath of kings
Can puff me out my native seat of birth.
The earth’s my body’s, and the heaven’s my soul’s
Most native place of birth, which they will keep
Despite the menace of mortality.
Why, duke,
That’s not my native place,[247] where I was rock’d.
A wise man’s home is wheresoe’er he is wise;
Now that, from man, not from the place, doth rise.

Pier. Would I were deaf! O plague! Hence, dotard wretch!
Tread not in court: all that thou hast, I seize.    170
[Aside.] His quiet’s firmer than I can disease.

Pan. Go, boast unto thy flatt’ring sycophants
Pandulpho’s slave Piero hath o’erthrown:
Loose fortune’s rags are lost, my own’s my own.

[Piero going out, looks back.

’Tis true, Piero, thy vex’d heart shall see,
Thou hast but tripp’d my slave, not conquered me.

[Exeunt at several doors.

[237] So ed. 1633.—Ed. 1602 “my.”

[238] We are to suppose that Piero has left the church and is in the courtyard of the palace.

[239] i.e., desire, order.

[240] Old eds. “dub’d.”

[241] See note 2, p. 114.

[242] Pandulpho is again ready with his Stoic maxims. Seneca wrote a dissertation to show “Nec injuriam nec contumeliam accipere sapientem.

[243] “I do fear a fetch,” i.e., I suspect that Andrugio has perished by treachery. Fetch = plot, device.

[244] There is an Attic flavour in this passage of stichomythia. For a passing moment one is reminded of Creon’s altercation with his son (in the Antigone):

Κρ. ὦ παγκάκιστε, διὰ δίκης ἰὼν πατρί.

Αι. οὐ γὰρ δίκαιά σ’ ἐξαμαρτάνονθ’ ὁρῶ.

Κρ. ἁμαρτάνω γὰρ τὰς ἐμὰς ἀρχὰς σέβων;

Αι. οὐ γὰρ σέβεις, τιμάς γε τὰς θεῶν πατῶν.

[245] Marston uses indifferently the forms chawn and jawn for a rift or chasm.

[246] “Corbèd” (old eds. “corb’d”) is “good,” as Polonius would say; but I have no suspicion as to its meaning. It would be a pity to suggest an emendation.

[247] Seneca is fond of harping on this theme. “In ultimas expellaris terras licebit,” he writes in one of his epistles, “in quolibet barbariæ angulo colloceris, hospitalis tibi illa qualiscumque sedes erit; magis quis veneris quam quo, interest, et ideo nulli loco addicere debemus arbitrium. Cum hac persuasione vivendum est: ‘Non sum uni angulo natus, patria mea totus hic mundus est.’”


Before the palace of Piero.

Enter Antonio, in black, with a book; Lucio and Alberto.

Alb. Nay, sweet, be comforted, take counsel and——.

Ant. Alberto, peace: that grief is wanton-sick,
Whose stomach can digest and brook the diet
Of stale ill-relish’d counsel. Pigmy cares
Can shelter under patience’ shield; but giant griefs
Will burst all covert.

Lu. My lord, ’tis supper time.

Ant. Drink deep, Alberto; eat, good Lucio;
But my pined heart shall eat on nought but woe.

Alb. My lord, we dare not leave you thus alone.

Ant. You cannot leave Antonio alone.    10
The chamber of my breast is even throng’d
With firm attendance that forswears to flinch.
I have a thing sits here; it is not grief,
’Tis not despair, nor the [ut]most plague
That the most wretched are infected with;
But the most griefful,[248] [most] despairing, wretched,
Accursèd, miserable—O, for heaven’s sake
Forsake me now; you see how light I am,
And yet you force me to defame my patience.

Lu. Fair gentle prince——.    20

Ant. Away, thy voice is hateful: thou dost buzz,
And beat my ears with intimations
That Mellida, that Mellida is light,
And stainèd with adulterous luxury!
I cannot brook’t. I tell thee, Lucio,
Sooner will I give faith that Virtue’s cant[249]
In princes’ courts will be adorn’d with wreath
Of choice respect, and endear’d intimate;
Sooner will I believe that friendship’s rein
Will curb ambition from utility,    30
Than Mellida is light. Alas, poor soul,
Didst e’er see her?—good heart!—hast heard her speak?
Kind, kind soul! Incredulity itself
Would not be so brass-hearted, as suspect
So modest cheeks.

Lu. My lord——.

Ant. Away!
A self-sown[250] guilt doth only hatch distrust;
But a chaste thought’s as far from doubt as lust.
I entreat you, leave me.

Alb. Will you endeavour to forget your grief?

Ant. I’faith I will, good friend, i’faith I will.    40
I’ll come and eat with you. Alberto, see,
I am taking physic, here’s philosophy.
Good honest, leave me, I’ll drink wine anon.

Alb. Since you enforce us, fair prince, we are gone.

[Exeunt Alberto and Lucio.

Antonio reads.

A. Ferte[251] fortiter: hoc est quo deum antecedatis. Ille enim extra patientiam malorum, vos supra. Contemnite dolorem: aut solvetur, aut solvet. Contemnite fortunam: nullum telum, quo feriret animum habet.[252]

Pish, thy mother was not lately widowèd,
Thy dear affièd love lately defam’d    50
With blemish of foul lust, when thou wrotest thus;
Thou wrapt in furs, beaking[253] thy limbs ’fore fires;
Forbid’st the frozen zone to shudder. Ha, ha! ’tis nought
But foamy bubbling of a fleamy[254] brain,
Nought else but smoke. O what dank marish spirit,
But would be fired with impatience
At my——
No more, no more; he that was never blest
With height of birth, fair expectation
Of mounted fortunes, knows not what it is    60
To be the pitied object of the world.
O, poor Antonio, thou may’st sigh!

Mel. [from beneath.] Ay me!

Ant. And curse.

Pan. [from within.] Black powers!

Ant. And cry.

Mar. [from within.] O Heaven!

Ant. And close laments with——.

Mel.[255] [from beneath.] O me, most miserable!

Pan. Woe for my dear, dear son!    70

Mar. Woe for my dear, dear husband!

Mel. Woe for my dear, dear love!

Ant. Woe for me all, close all your woes in me!
In me, Antonio!—ha! where live these sounds?
I can see nothing; grief’s invisible,
And lurks in secret angles of the heart.
Come, sigh again, Antonio bears his part.

Mel. O here, here is a vent to pass my sighs.
I have surcharged the dungeon with my plaints.
Prison and heart will burst, if void of vent.    80
Ay, that is Phœbe, empress of the night,
That ’gins to mount; O chastest deity,
If I be false to my Antonio,
If the least soil of lust smears my pure love,
Make me more wretched, make me more accurs’d
Than infamy, torture, death, hell, and heaven,
Can bound with amplest power of thought: if not,
Purge my poor heart from[256] defamation’s blot.

Ant. Purge my poor heart from defamation’s blot!
Poor heart, how like her virtuous self she speaks.—    90
Mellida, dear Mellida! it is Antonio:
Slink not away, ’tis thy Antonio.

Mel. How found you out, my lord? Alas! I know
’Tis easy in this age to find out woe.
I have a suit to you.

Ant. What is’t, dear soul?

Mel. Kill me; i’faith I’ll wink, not stir a jot.
For God sake kill me; in sooth, lovèd youth,
I am much injur’d; look, see how I creep.
I cannot wreak my wrong, but sigh and weep.

Ant. May I be cursèd, but I credit thee.    100

Mel. To-morrow I must die.

Ant. Alas, for what?

Mel. For loving thee. ’Tis true, my sweetest breast,
I must die falsely: so must thou, dear heart.
Nets are a-knitting to entrap thy life.
Thy father’s death must make a paradise
To my (I shame to call him) father. Tell me, sweet,
Shall I die thine? dost love me still, and still?

Ant. I do.

Mal. Then welcome heaven’s will.

Ant. Madam, I will not swell, like a tragedian,
In forcèd passion of affected strains.    110
If I had present power of ought but pitying you,
I would be as ready to redress your wrongs
As to pursue your love. Throngs of thoughts
Crowd for their passage; somewhat I will do.
Reach me thy hand; think this is honour’s bent,
To live unslavèd, to die innocent.

Mel. Let me entreat a favour, gracious love.
Be patient, see me die; good, do not weep:
Go sup, sweet chuck, drink, and securely sleep.

Ant. I’faith I cannot; but I’ll force my face    120
To palliate my sickness.

Mel. Give me thy hand. Peace on thy bosom dwell:
That’s all my woe can breathe. Kiss: thus, farewell.

Ant. Farewell: my heart is great of thoughts; stay, dove:
And therefore I must speak: but what? O love!
By this white hand: no more: read in these tears,
What crushing anguish thy Antonio bears.

[Antonio kisseth Mellida’s hand: then Mellida goes from the grate.

Mel. Good night, good heart.

Ant. Thus heat from blood, thus souls from bodies part.    129

Enter Piero and Strotzo.

Pier. He grieves; laugh, Strotzo, laugh. He weeps.
Hath he tears? O pleasure! hath he tears?
Now do I scourge Andrugio with steel whips
Of knotty vengeance. Strotzo, cause me straight
Some plaining ditty to augment despair.

[Exit Strotzo.

Triumph, Piero: hark, he groans. O rare!

Ant. Behold a prostrate wretch laid on his tomb.
His epitaph, thus: Ne plus ultra. Ho!
Let none out-woe me: mine’s Herculean woe.

[A song within.Exit Piero at the end of the song.

Enter Maria.

Ant. May I be more cursed than Heaven can make me, if
I’m not more wretched than man can conceive me.    140
Sore forlorn orphant, what omnipotence
Can make thee happy?

Mar. How now, sweet son? Good youth,
What dost thou?

Ant. Weep, weep.

Mar. Dost nought but weep, weep?

Ant. Yes, mother, I do sigh, and wring my hands,
Beat my poor breast, and wreathe my tender arms.
Hark ye; I’ll tell you wondrous strange, strange news.

Mar. What, my good boy, stark mad?

Ant. I am not.

Mar. Alas!
Is that strange news?    150

Ant. Strange news? why, mother, is’t not wondrous strange
I am not mad—I run not frantic, ha?
Knowing, my father’s trunk scarce cold, your love
Is sought by him that doth pursue my life!
Seeing the beauty of creation,
Antonio’s bride, pure heart, defamed, and stowed
Under the hatches of obscuring earth!
Heu, quo labor, quo vota ceciderunt mea!

Enter Piero.

Pier. Good evening to the fair Antonio;
Most happy fortune, sweet succeeding time,    160
Rich hope: think not thy fate a bankrout,[257] though——

Ant. [Aside.] Umh! the devil in his good time and tide forsake thee.

Pier. How now? hark ye, prince.

Ant. God be with you.

Pier. Nay, noble blood, I hope ye not suspect——

Ant. Suspect! I scorn’t. Here’s cap and leg, good night.
[Aside.] Thou that wants power, with dissemblance fight.

[Exit Antonio.

Pier. Madam, O that you could remember to forget——

Mar. I had a husband and a happy son.

Pier. Most powerful beauty, that enchanting grace——

Mar. Talk not of beauty, nor enchanting grace,——    170
My husband’s dead, my son’s distraught, accurs’d!
Come, I must vent my griefs, or heart will burst.

[Exit Maria.

Pier. She’s gone, and yet she’s here: she hath left a print
Of her sweet graces fix’d within my heart,
As fresh as is her face. I’ll marry her.
She’s most fair,—true; most chaste,—false;[258] because
Most fair, ’tis firm I’ll marry her.

Enter Strotzo.

Str. My lord.

Pier. Ha, Strotzo, my other soul, my life!
Dear, hast thou steel’d the point of thy resolve?
Will’t not turn edge in execution?

Str. No.    180

Pier. Do it with rare passion, and present thy guilt
As if ’twere wrung out with thy conscience’ gripe.
Swear that my daughter’s innocent of lust,
And that Antonio bribed thee to defame
Her maiden honour, on inveterate hate
Unto my blood; and that thy hand was feed
By his large bounty for his father’s death.
Swear plainly that thou choked’st Andrugio,
By his son’s only egging. Rush me in
Whilst Mellida prepares herself to die,    190
Halter about thy neck, and with such sighs,
Laments, and applications lifen it,
As if impulsive power of remorse——

Str. I’ll weep.

Pier. Ay, ay, fall on thy face and cry “why suffer you
So lewd a slave as Strotzo is to breathe?”

Str. I’ll beg a strangling, grow importunate——

Pier. As if thy life were loathsome to thee: then I
Catch straight the cord’s end; and, as much incens’d
With thy damn’d mischiefs, offer a rude hand    200
As ready to gird in thy pipe of breath;
But on the sudden straight I’ll stand amaz’d,
And fall in exclamations of thy virtues.

Str. Applaud my agonies and penitence.

Pier. Thy honest stomach, that could not disgest[259]
The crudities of murder, but surcharged,
Vomited’st them up in Christian piety.

Str. Then clip me in your arms.

Pier. And call thee brother, mount thee straight to state,
Make thee of council: tut, tut, what not? what not?    210
Think on’t, be confident, pursue the plot.

Str. Look, here’s a trope: a true rogue’s lips are mute,
I do not use to speak, but execute.

[He lays finger on his mouth, and draws his dagger.—Exit.

Pier. So, so; run headlong to confusion:
Thou slight-brain’d mischief, thou art made as dirt,
To plaster up the bracks[260] of my defects.
I’ll wring what may be squeezed from out his use,
And good night, Strotzo. Swell plump, bold heart;
For now thy tide of vengeance rolleth in:
O now Tragœdia Cothurnata[261] mounts,    220
Piero’s thoughts are fix’d on dire exploits.
Pell mell—confusion and black murder guides
The organs of my spirit: shrink not, heart!
Capienda[262] rebus in malis præceps via est.


[248] Old eds. “greeful.”

[249] Old eds. “scant.”—Cant = the corner or niche in which the statue of Virtue was placed. Cf. Middleton, vii. 222:—“Directly under her, in a cant by herself, was Arete (Virtue) enthroned.”

[250] Old eds. “self-one.”

[251] The quotation is from Seneca’s De Providentia, cap. vi.

[252] The true reading is dedi.

[253] “‘Beak’—bask in the heat. North.”—Halliwell.

[254] Fleam = phlegm.

[255] Old eds.Alb.

[256] Ed. 1602 “with.”

[257] Old form of “bankrupt.”

[258] Ed. 1602 “most false.”

[259] Old form of digest.

[260] Flaws, cracks.

[261] Cf. Spanish Tragedy, v. 1:—

“Give me a stately-written tragedy,
Tragœdia Cothurnata, fitting kings.”

[262]Rapienda rebus,” &c., is the true reading. The quotation is from Seneca’s Agamemnon, l. 154.



A dumb show. The cornets sounding for the Act.

Enter Castilio and Forobosco, Alberto and Balurdo, with poleaxes; Piero, talking with Strotzo, seemeth to send him out: exit Strotzo. Re-enter Strotzo with Maria, Nutriche, and Lucio. Piero passeth through his guard, and talks with Maria with seeming amorousness; she seemeth to reject his suit, flies to the tomb, kneels, and kisseth it. Piero bribes Nutriche and Lucio; they go to her, seeming to solicit his suit. She riseth, offers to go out; Piero stayeth her, tears open his breast, embraceth and kisseth her; and so they go all out in state.

After the dumb show enter two Pages, the one with tapers, the other holding a chafing-dish with a perfume in it; Antonio, in his night-gown and a night-cap, unbraced, following after.

Ant. The black jades of swart night trot foggy rings[263]
’Bout heaven’s brow: [clock strikes twelve] ’tis now stark dead night.
Is this Saint Mark’s Church?

1st Pa. It is, my lord.

Ant. Where stands my father’s hearse?

2d Pa. Those streamers bear his arms. Ay, that is it.

Ant. Set tapers to the tomb, and lamp the church:
Give me the fire.—Now depart and sleep.

[Exeunt Pages.

I purify the air with odorous fume.
Graves, vaults, and tombs, groan not to bear my weight;
Cold flesh, bleak trunks, wrapt in your half-rot shrouds,
I press you softly with a tender foot.    11
Most honour’d sepulchre, vouchsafe a wretch
Leave to weep o’er thee. Tomb, I’ll not be long
Ere I creep in thee, and with bloodless lips
Kiss my cold father’s cheek. I prithee, grave,
Provide soft mold to wrap my carcass in.
Thou royal spirit of Andrugio,
Where’er thou hover’st, airy intellect,
I heave up tapers to thee (view thy son)
In celebration of due obsequies;    20
Once every night I’ll dew thy funeral hearse
With my religious tears.
O, blessèd father of a cursèd son,
Thou died’st most happy, since thou lived’st not
To see thy son most wretched, and thy wife
Pursued by him that seeks my guiltless blood!
O, in what orb thy mighty spirit soars,
Stoop and beat down this rising fog of shame,
That strives to blur thy blood, and girt defame
About my innocent and spotless brows.    30
Non est mori miserum, sed misere mori.

[Ghost of Andrugio rises.

Ghost of And. Thy pangs of anguish rip my cerecloth up,
And, lo, the ghost of old Andrugio
Forsakes his coffin. Antonio, revenge!
I was empoison’d by Piero’s hand.
Revenge my blood! take spirit, gentle boy;
Revenge my blood! Thy Mellida is chaste:
Only to frustrate thy pursuit in love,
Is blazed unchaste. Thy mother yields consent
To be his wife, and give his blood a son,    40
That made her husbandless, and doth complot
To make her sonless; but before I touch
The banks of rest, my ghost shall visit her.
Thou vigour of my youth, juice of my love,
Seize on revenge, grasp the stern-bended front
Of frowning vengeance with unpaiz’d[264] clutch.[265]
Alarum Nemesis, rouse up thy blood!
Invent some stratagem of vengeance,
Which, but to think on, may like lightning glide
With horror through thy breast! Remember this:    50
Scelera[266] non ulcisceris, nisi vincis.

[Exit Andrugio’s ghost.

Enter Maria, her hair about her ears; Nutriche and Lucio, with Pages, and torches.

Mar. Where left you him? show me, good boys, away!

Nut. God’s me, your hair!

Mar. Nurse, ’tis not yet proud day:
The neat gay mists of the light’s not up,
Her cheek’s not yet slur’d over with the paint
Of borrow’d crimson; the unprankèd world
Wears yet the night-clothes. Let flare my loosèd hair!
I scorn the presence of the night.—
Where’s my boy?—Run: I’ll range about the church,
Like frantic Bacchanal or Jason’s wife,    60
To tell me where.—Ha? O my poor wretched blood!
What dost thou up at midnight, my kind boy?
Dear soul, to bed! O thou hast struck a fright
Unto thy mother’s panting——

Ant.[267] O quisquis nova
Supplicia functis dirus umbrarum arbiter
Disponis, quisquis exeso jaces
Pavidus sub antro,[268] quisquis venturi times
Montis ruinam, quisquis avidorum feros[269]
Rictus leonum, et dira furiarum agmina    70
Implicitus horres, Antonii vocem excipe
Properantis ad vos—Ulciscar!

Mar. Alas! my son’s distraught. Sweet boy, appease
Thy mutining affections.

Ant. By the astonning terror of swart night,
By the infectious damps of clammy graves,
And[270] by the mould that presseth down
My dead father’s skull, I’ll be revenged!

Mar. Wherefore? on whom? for what? Go, go to bed,
Good, duteous son. Ho, but thy idle——    80

Ant. So I may sleep tomb’d in an honour’d hearse,
So may my bones rest in that sepulchre,——

Mar. Forget not duty, son: to bed, to bed.

Ant. May I be cursèd by my father’s ghost,
And blasted with incensèd breath of Heaven,
If my heart beat[271] on ought but vengeance!
May I be numb’d with horror, and my veins
Pucker with singeing torture, if my brain
Disgest[272] a thought but of dire vengeance;
May I be fetter’d slave to coward Chance,    90
If blood, heart, brain, plot ought save vengeance.

Mar. Wilt thou to bed? I wonder when thou sleep’st!
I’faith thou look’st sunk-ey’d; go couch thy head:
Now, faith, ’tis idle: sweet, sweet son, to bed.

Ant. I have a prayer or two to offer up
For the good, good prince, my most dear, dear lord,
The duke Piero, and your virtuous self;
And then, when those prayers have obtain’d success,
In sooth I’ll come (believe it now) and couch
My head in downy mould. But first I’ll see    100
You safely laid: I’ll bring ye all to bed.
Piero, Maria, Strotzo, Lucio,
I’ll see you all laid: I’ll bring you all to bed,
And then, i’faith, I’ll come and couch my head,
And sleep in peace.

Mar. Look then, we go before.

[Exeunt all but Antonio.

Ant. Ay, so you must, before we touch the shore
Of wish’d revenge. O, you departed souls,
That lodge in coffin’d trunks, which my feet press,
(If Pythagorean Axioms be true,
Of spirits’ transmigration) fleet no more    110
To human bodies, rather live in swine,
Inhabit wolves’ flesh, scorpions, dogs, and toads,
Rather than man. The curse of Heaven rains
In plagues unlimited through all his days:
His mature age grows only mature vice,
And ripens only to corrupt and rot
The budding hopes of infant modesty.
Still striving to be more than man, he proves
More than a devil. Devilish suspect,
Devilish cruelty,    120
All hell-strai[n’]d juice is pourèd to his veins,
Making him drunk with fuming surquedries;[273]
Contempt of Heaven, untam’d arrogance,
Lust, state, pride, murder.

Ghost of And. Murder!



Ghost of Feli. Murder!

} From above and beneath.


Pan.[274] Murder!


Ant. Ay, I will murder: graves and ghosts
Fright me no more, I’ll suck red vengeance
Out of Piero’s wounds, Piero’s wounds!

[Retires to the back of the stage.

Enter two boys, with Piero in his night-gown and night-cap.

Pier. Maria, love, Maria! she took this aisle.
Left you her here? On, lights, away!
I think we shall not warm our beds to-day.    130

Enter Julio, Forobosco, and Castilio.

Jul. Ho, father! father!

Pier. How now, Julio, my little pretty son?
Why suffer you the child to walk so late?

For. He will not sleep, but calls to follow you,
Crying that bug-bears and spirits haunted him.

[Antonio offers to come near and stab; Piero presently withdraws.

Ant. [Aside.] No, not so.
This shall be sought for; I’ll force him feed on life
Till he shall loath it. This shall be the close
Of vengeance’ strain.

Pier. Away there, pages, lead on fast with light;    140
The church is full of damps; ’tis yet dead night.

[Exeunt all, saving Julio and Antonio.

Jul. Brother Antonio, are you here, i’faith?
Why do you frown? Indeed my sister said
That I should call you brother, that she did,
When you were married to her. Buss me: good truth,
I love you better than my father, ’deed.

Ant. Thy father? Gracious, O bounteous Heaven!
I do adore thy justice: venit in nostras manus
Tandem vindicta, venit et tota quidem.[275]

Jul. Truth, since my mother died, I loved you best.    150
Something hath anger’d you; pray you, look merrily.

Ant. I will laugh, and dimple my thin cheek
With cap’ring joy; chuck, my heart doth leap
To grasp thy bosom.—[Aside.] Time, place, and blood,
How fit you close together! Heaven’s tones
Strike not such music to immortal souls
As your accordance sweets my breast withal.
Methinks I pace upon the front of Jove,
And kick corruption with a scornful heel!
Griping this flesh, disdain mortality!    160
O that I knew which joint, which side, which limb,
Were father all, and had no mother in’t,
That I might rip it vein by vein, and carve revenge
In bleeding races! but since ’tis mix’d together,
Have at adventure, pell mell, no reverse.—
Come hither, boy. This is Andrugio’s hearse.

Jul. O God, you’ll hurt me. For my sister’s sake,
Pray you do not hurt me. And you kill me, ’deed,
I’ll tell my father.

Ant. O, for thy sister’s sake, I flag revenge.    170

Ghost of And. Revenge!

Ant. Stay, stay, dear father, fright mine eyes no more.
And cleaves[276] his heart.—Come, pretty tender child,
It is not thee I hate, not thee I kill.
Thy father’s blood that flows within thy veins,
Is it I loathe; is that revenge must suck.
I love thy soul: and were thy heart lapp’d up
In any flesh but in Piero’s blood,
I would thus kiss it; but being his, thus, thus,    180
And thus I’ll punch it. Abandon fears:
Whilst thy wounds bleed, my brows shall gush out tears.

Jul. So you will love me, do even what you will.

Ant. Now barks the wolf against the full-cheek’d moon;
Now lions half-clam’d[277] entrails roar for food;
Now croaks the toad, and night-crows screech aloud,
Fluttering ’bout casements of departed souls;
Now gapes the graves, and through their yawns let loose
Imprison’d spirits to revisit earth;
And now, swart night, to swell thy hour out,    190
Behold I spurt warm blood in thy black eyes.

[He stabs Julio.—From under the stage a groan.

Howl not, thou putry[278] mould; groan not, ye graves;
Be dumb, all breath. Here stands Andrugio’s son,
Worthy his father. So: I feel no breath.
His jaws are fall’n, his dislodg’d soul is fled:
And now there’s nothing but Piero left:
He is all Piero, father all. This blood,
This breast, this heart, Piero all:
Whom thus I mangle. Sprite of Julio,
Forget this was thy trunk. I live thy friend:    200
May’st thou be twinèd with the soft’st embrace
Of clear eternity: but thy father’s blood
I thus make incense of to vengeance.
Ghost of my poison’d sire, suck this fume:
To sweet revenge perfume thy circling air
With smoke of blood. I sprinkle round his gore,
And dew thy hearse with these fresh-reeking drops.
Lo thus I heave my blood-dyed hands to heaven,
Even like insatiate hell still crying, More!
My heart hath thirsting dropsies after gore.    210
Sound peace and rest to church, night-ghosts, and graves:
Blood cries for blood, and murder murder craves.


[263] See note 1, p. 111.

[264] We should have expected “paizèd,” i.e., steady, unfaltering. (The reader will note that Marston constantly uses “vengeance” as a trisyllable.)

[265] Cf. p. 178. “The fist of strenuous vengeance is clutch’d”—a line which Ben Jonson ridicules in The Poetaster (v. i.)

[266] A quotation from Seneca’s Thyestes, 194-5.

[267] Not marked in old eds.—The Latin lines are from Seneca’s Thyestes. ll. 13-14, 75-80.

[268] Ed. 1602 “antri.”

[269] Old eds.feres.”

[270] The metre might be restored by reading—

“And by the mould that presseth down the skull
Of my dead father, I will be revenged.”

[271] Is busy with.—So in The Tempest:—

“Do not infest your mind with beating on
The strangeness of this business.”

[272] Old form of digest.

[273] Wanton excesses.

[274] It is hard to see why Pandulfo should be shouting with the ghosts.

[275] Senec., Thyestes, 494-5:—

“Venit in nostras manus
Tandem Thyestes; venit et totus quidem.”

[276] Old eds. “cleares.”

[277] Half-starved.

[278] So ed. 1633.—Ed. 1602 “pury.”


Chamber of Maria.

Enter two Pages with torches; Maria, her hair loose, and Nutriche.

Nut. Fie, fie; to-morrow your wedding day, and weep! God’s my comfort! Andrugio could do well: Piero may do better. I have had four husbands myself. The first I called, sweet duck; the second, dear heart; the third, pretty pug;[279] but the fourth, most sweet, dear, pretty, all in all; he was the very cockall of a husband. What, lady? your skin is smooth, your blood warm, your cheek fresh, your eye quick: change of pasture makes fat calves; choice of linen clean bodies, and (no question) variety of husbands perfect wives. I would you should know it: as few teeth as I have in my head, I have read Aristotle’s Problems,[280] which saith that woman receiveth perfection by the man. What then be the men? Go to, to bed, lie on your back, dream not on Piero; I say no more. To-morrow is your wedding: go,[281] dream not of Piero.    16

Enter Balurdo with a base viol.

Mar. What an idle prate thou keep’st, good nurse; go sleep.
I have a mighty task of tears to weep.

Bal. Lady, with a most retort and obtuse leg,
I kiss the curlèd locks of your loose hair.    20

The Duke hath sent you the most musical Sir Jeffrey, with his not base, but most ennobled viol, to rock your baby thoughts in the cradle of sleep.

Mar. I give the noble Duke respective[282] thanks.

Bal. Respective; truly a very pretty word. Indeed, madam, I have the most respective fiddle; did you ever smell a more sweet sound? My ditty must go thus; very witty, I assure you: I myself in an humorous passion made it, to the tune of my mistress Nutriche’s beauty. Indeed, very pretty, very retort, and obtuse, I’ll assure you; ’tis thus:    31

My mistress’ eye doth oil my joints,
And makes my fingers nimble:
O love, come on, untruss your points,
My fiddlestick wants rozen.
My lady’s duggs are all so smooth,
That no flesh must them handle:
Her eyes do shine, for to say sooth,
Like a new-snuffèd candle.

Mar. Truly, very pathetical and unvulgar.    40

Bal. Pathetical and unvulgar; words of worth, excellent words. In sooth, madam, I have taken a murr,[283] which makes my nose run most pathetically, and unvulgarly. Have you any tobacco?

Mar. Good Signior, your song.

Bal. Instantly, most unvulgarly, at your service. Truly, here’s the most pathetical rozen. Umh.

[A Song.

Mar. In sooth, most knightly sung, and like Sir Jeffrey.

Bal. Why, look you, lady, I was made a knight only for my voice; and a councillor only for my wit.    51

Mar. I believe it. Good night, gentle sir, good night.

Bal. You will give me leave to take my leave of my mistress, and I will do it most famously in rhyme.

Farewell, adieu! saith thy love true,
As to part loath.
Time bids us part, mine own sweet heart,
God bless us both.

[Exit Balurdo.

Mar. Good night, Nutriche. Pages, leave the room.
The life of night grows short, ’tis almost dead.    60

[Exeunt Pages and Nutriche.

O thou cold widow-bed, sometime thrice blest
By the warm pressure of my sleeping lord,
Open thy leaves, and whilst on thee I tread,
Groan out,—Alas, my dear Andrugio’s dead!

[Maria draweth the curtain: and the ghost of Andrugio is displayed, sitting on the bed.

Amazing terror, what portent is this!

Ghost of And. Disloyal to our hymeneal[284] rites,
What raging heat reigns in thy strumpet blood?
Hast thou so soon forgot Andrugio?
Are our love-bands so quickly cancellèd?
Where lives thy plighted faith unto this breast?    70
O weak Maria! Go to, calm thy fears.
I pardon thee, poor soul! O shed no tears;
Thy sex is weak. That black incarnate fiend
May trip thy faith that hath o’erthrown my life:
I was impoison’d by Piero’s hand.
Join with my son to bend up strain’d revenge,
Maintain a seeming favour to his suit,
Till time may form our vengeance absolute.

Enter Antonio, his arms bloody, bearing a torch, and a poniard.

Ant. See, unamazed I will behold thy face;
Outstare the terror of thy grim aspect,    80
Daring the horrid’st object of the night.
Look how I smoke in blood, reeking the steam
Of foaming vengeance. O my soul’s enthroned
In the triumphant chariot of revenge!
Methinks I am all air, and feel no weight
Of human dirt clog. This is Julio’s blood!
Rich music, father: this is Julio’s blood!
Why lives that mother?

Ghost of And. Pardon ignorance.
Fly, dear Antonio:
Once more assume disguise, and dog the court    90
In feignèd habit, till Piero’s blood
May even o’erflow the brim of full revenge.
Peace and all blessèd fortunes to you both!
Fly thou from court, be peerless in revenge:

[Exit Antonio.

Sleep thou in rest, lo, here I close thy couch.

[Exit Maria to her bed, Andrugio drawing the curtains.

And now ye sooty coursers of the night,
Hurry your chariot into hell’s black womb.
Darkness, make flight; graves, eat your dead again:
Let’s repossess our shrouds. Why lags delay?
Mount sparkling brightness, give the world his day!    100

[Exit Andrugio.

[279] A common term for endearment.

[280] The Problemes of Aristotle, with other Philosophers and Phisitions, wherein are contayned diuers questions, with their answers, touching the estate of man’s bodie, 1595, 1597, &c.—an old chap-book.

[281] Old eds. “do.”

[282] Respectful.

[283] Violent cold.

[284] Ed. 1602 “Hymniall.”



Enter Antonio in a fool’s habit, with a little toy of a walnut shell, and soap to make bubbles: Maria and Alberto.

Mar. Away with this disguise in any hand!

Alb. Fie, ’tis unsuiting to your elate spirit:
Rather put on some transhaped cavalier,
Some habit of a spitting critic, whose mouth
Voids nothing but gentile and unvulgar
Rheum of censure: rather assume——

Ant. Why, then should I put on the very flesh
Of solid folly. No, this cock’s comb is a crown
Which I affect even with unbounded zeal.

Alb. ’Twill thwart your plot, disgrace your high resolve.    10

Ant. By wisdom’s heart, there is no essence mortal
That I can envy, but a plump-cheek’d fool:
O, he hath a patent of immunities
Confirm’d by custom, seal’d by policy,
As large as spacious thought.

Alb. You cannot press among the courtiers,
And have access to——

Ant. What? not a fool? Why, friend, a golden ass,
A babled[285] fool, are sole canonical,
Whilst pale-cheek’d wisdom, and lean-ribbèd art    20
Are kept in distance at the halbert’s point;
All held Apocrypha, not worth survey.
Why, by the genius of that Florentine,
Deep, deep observing, sound-brain’d Machiavel,
He is not wise that strives not to seem fool.
When will the Duke hold fee’d intelligence,
Keep wary observation in large pay,
To dog a fool’s act?

Mar. Ay, but feigning known disgraceth much.

Ant. Pish! Most things that morally adhere to souls,    30
Wholly exist in drunk opinion:
Whose reeling censure, if I value not,
It values nought.

Mar. You are transported with too slight a thought,
If you but meditate of what is past,
And what you plot to pass.

Ant. Even in that note a fool’s beatitude:
He is not capable of passion;
Wanting the power of distinction,
He bears an unturned sail with every wind:    40
Blow east, blow west, he stirs his course alike.
I never saw a fool lean: the chub-faced fop
Shines sleek with full-cramm’d fat of happiness,
Whilst studious contemplation sucks the juice
From wisards’[286] cheeks: who making curious search
For nature’s secrets, the first innating cause
Laughs them to scorn, as man doth busy apes
When they will zany men. Had Heaven been kind,
Creating me an honest senseless dolt,
A good poor fool, I should want sense to feel    50
The stings of anguish shoot through every vein;
I should not know what ’twere to lose a father;
I should be dead of sense to view defame
Blur my bright love; I could not thus run mad,
As one confounded in a maze of mischief,
Stagger’d, stark, fell’d with bruising stroke of chance;
I should not shoot mine eyes into the earth,
Poring for mischief that might counterpoise
Mischief, murder and——

Enter Lucio.

How now, Lucio?

Lu. My lord, the Duke, with the Venetian states,[287]    60
Approach the great hall to judge Mellida.

Ant. Ask’d he for Julio yet?

Lu. No motion[288] of him: dare you trust this habit?

Ant. Alberto, see you straight rumour me dead.
Leave me, good mother; leave me, Lucio;
Forsake me, all.

[Exeunt omnes, saving Antonio.

Now patience hoop my sides
With steelèd ribs, lest I do burst my breast
With struggling passions. Now disguise, stand bold:
Poor scornèd habits oft choice souls enfold.

[The cornets sound a senet.

Enter Castilio, Forobosco, Balurdo, and Alberto, with pole-axes, Lucio bare; followed by Piero and Maria talking together; two Senators, Galeatzo, Matzagente, and Nutriche.

Pier. Entreat me not: there’s not a beauty lives    70
Hath that imperial predominance
O’er my affects[289] as your enchanting graces:
Yet give me leave to be myself

Ant. [Aside.] A villain.

Pier. Just

Ant. [Aside.] Most just.

Pier. Most just and upright in our judgment seat.
Were Mellida mine eye, with such a blemish
Of most loath’d looseness, I would scratch it out.
Produce the strumpet in her bridal robes,
That she may blush t’appear so white in show,    80
And black in inward substance. Bring her in.

[Exeunt Forobosco and Castilio.

I hold Antonio, for his father’s sake,
So very dearly, so entirely choice,
That knew I but a thought of prejudice
Imagined ’gainst his high ennobled blood,
I would maintain a mortal feud, undying hate,
’Gainst the conceiver’s life. And shall justice sleep
In fleshly lethargy, for mine own blood’s favour,
When the sweet prince hath so apparent scorn
By my—I will not call her daughter? Go,    90
Conduct in the loved youth Antonio:

[Exit Alberto to fetch Antonio.

He shall behold me spurn my private good;
Piero loves his honour more than ’s blood.

Ant. [Aside.] The devil he does more than both.

Bal. Stand back there, fool; I do hate a fool most, most pathetically. O, these that have no sap of retort and obtuse wit in them: faugh!

Ant. Puff, hold, world; puff, hold, bubble; puff, hold, world; puff, break not behind; puff, thou art full of wind; puff, keep up thy[290] wind; puff, ’tis broke! and now I laugh like a good fool at the breath of mine own lips, he, he, he, he, he!    102

Bal. You fool!

Ant. You fool, puff!

Bal. I cannot disgest[291] thee, the unvulgar fool. Go, fool.

Pier. Forbear, Balurdo; let the fool alone.
Come hither.[292] Is he your fool?

Mar. Yes, my loved lord.

Pier. [Aside.] Would all the states[293] in Venice were like thee!
O then I were secur’d.    110
He that’s a villain, or but meanly soul’d,
Must still converse and cling to routs of fools,
That can not search the leaks of his defects.
O, your unsalted fresh fool is your only man:
These vinegar tart spirits are too piercing,
Too searching in the unglued joints of shaken wits.
Find they a chink, they’ll wriggle in and in,
And eat like salt sea in his siddow[294] ribs,
Till they have opened all his rotten parts
Unto the vaunting surge of base contempt,    120
And sunk the tossèd galleasse[295] in depth
Of whirlpool scorn. Give me an honest fop.—
Dud a dud a! Why lo, sir, this takes he
As grateful now as a monopoly.

[The still flutes sound softly.

Enter Forobosco and Castilio: Mellida supported by two waiting-women.

Mel. All honour to this royal confluence.

Pier. Forbear, impure, to blot bright honour’s name
With thy defilèd lips. The flux of sin
Flows from thy tainted body: thou so foul,
So all dishonour’d, canst no honour give,
No wish of good, that can have good effect    130
To this grave senate, and illustrate bloods.
Why stays the doom of death?

1st. Sen. Who riseth up to manifest her guilt?

2d Sen. You must produce apparent proof, my lord.

Pier. Why, where is Strotzo?—he that swore he saw
The very act, and vow’d that Feliche fled
Upon his sight: on which I brake the breast
Of the adulterous lecher with five stabs.
Go, fetch in Strotzo. Now, thou impudent,
If thou hast any drop of modest blood    140
Shrouded within thy cheeks, blush, blush for shame,
That rumour yet may say thou felt’st defame.

Mel. Produce the devil; let your Strotzo come:
I can defeat his strongest argument,

Pier. With what?

Mel. With tears, with blushes, sighs, and claspèd hands;
With innocent uprearèd arms to Heaven;
With my unnookt[296] simplicity. These, these
Must, will, can only quit my heart of guilt:    150
Heaven permits not taintless blood be spilt.
If no remorse live in your savage breast——

Pier. Then thou must die.

Mel. Yet dying, I’ll be blest.

Pier. Accurst by me.

Mel. Yet blest, in that I strove
To live, and die——

Pier. My hate.

Mel. Antonio’s love.

Ant. [Aside.] Antonio’s love!

Enter Strotzo, with a cord about his neck.

Str. O what vast ocean of repentant tears
Can cleanse my breast from the polluting filth
Of ulcerous sin! Supreme Efficient,
Why cleavest thou not my breast with thunderbolts    160
Of wing’d revenge?

Pier. What means this passion?

Ant. [Aside.] What villainy are they decocting now? Umh!

Str. In[297] me convertite ferrum, O proceres.
Nihil iste, nec ista.

Pier. Lay hold on him! What strange portent is this?

Str. I will not flinch. Death, hell more grimly stare
Within my heart than in your threatening brows.
Record, thou threefold guard of dreadest power,[298]
What I here speak is forcèd from my lips
By the [im]pulsive strain of conscience.    170
I have a mount of mischief clogs my soul,
As weighty as the high-noll’d[299] Apennine,
Which I must straight disgorge, or breast will burst.
I have defam’d this lady wrongfully,
By instigation of Antonio,
Whose reeling love, tost on each fancy’s surge,
Began to loath before it fully joyed.

Pier. Go, seize Antonio! guard him strongly in!

[Exit Forobosco.

Str. By his ambition being only bribed,
Fee’d by his impious hand, I poisonèd    180
His agèd father, that his thirsty hope[s]
Might quench their dropsy of aspiring drought
With full unbounded quaff.

Pier. Seize me, Antonio!

Str. O, why permit you now such scum of filth
As Strotzo is to live and taint the air
With his infectious breath!

Pier. Myself will be thy strangler, unmatched slave.

Piero comes from his chair, snatcheth the cord’s end, and Castilio aideth him: both strangle Strotzo.

Str. Now change your——

Pier. I—pluck Castilio!—I change my humour: pluck Castilio!
Die, with thy death’s entreats even in thy jaws.—    190
[Aside.] Now, now, now, now, now, my plot begins to work!
Why, thus should statesmen do,
That cleave through knots of craggy policies,
Use men like wedges, one strike out another,
Till by degrees the tough and knurly[300] trunk
Be riv’d in sunder.—Where’s Antonio?

Enter Alberto, running.

Alb. O, black accursèd fate! Antonio’s drown’d.

Pier. Speak, on thy faith, on thy allegiance, speak.

Alb. As I do love Piero, he is drown’d.

Ant. [Aside.] In an inundation of amazement.    200

Mel. Ay, is this the close of all my strains in love?
O me most wretched maid!

Pier. Antonio drown’d! how? how? Antonio drown’d!

Alb. Distraught and raving, from a turret’s top
He threw his body in the swollen sea,
And as he headlong topsy turvy ding’d[301] down,
He still cried “Mellida!”

Ant. [Aside.] My love’s bright crown!

Mel. He still cried “Mellida"!

Pier. Daughter, methinks your eyes should sparkle joy,
Your bosom rise on tiptoe at this news.    210

Mel. Ay me!

Pier. How now? Ay, me! why, art not great of thanks
To gracious Heaven for the just revenge
Upon the author of thy obloquies!

Mar. Sweet beauty, I could sigh as fast as you,
But that I know that, which I weep to know.
[Aside.] His[302] fortunes should be such he dare not show
His open presence!

Mel. I know he lov’d me dearly, dearly, ay:
And since I cannot live with him, I die.    220


Pier. ’Fore Heaven, her speech falters; look, she swouns.
Convey her up into her private bed.

[Maria, Nutriche, and the Ladies bear out Mellida, as being swooned.

I hope she’ll live. If not——

Ant. Antonio’s dead! the fool will follow too.
He, he, he!
[Aside.] Now works the scene; quick observation, scud
To cote[303] the plot, or else the path is lost:
My very self am gone, my way is fled:
Ay, all is lost, if Mellida is dead.

[Exit Antonio.

Pier. Alberto, I am kind; Alberto, kind.    230
I am sorry for thy coz, i’faith I am.
Go, take him down, and bear him to his father.
Let him be buried; look ye, I’ll pay the priest.

Alb. Please you to admit his father to the court?

Pier. No.

Alb. Please you to restore his lands and goods again?

Pier. No.

Alb. Please you vouchsafe him lodging in the city?

Pier. God’s fut, no, thou odd uncivil fellow!
I think you do forget, sir, where you are.    240

Alb. I know you do forget, sir, where you must be.

Foro. You are too malapert, i’faith you are.
Your honour might do well to——

Alb. Peace, parasite; thou bur, that only sticks
Unto the nap of greatness.

Pier. Away with that same yelping cur—away!

Alb. I—I am gone; but mark, Piero, this.
There is a thing call’d scourging Nemesis.[304]

[Exit Alberto.

Bal. God’s neaks, he has wrong, that he has: and s’fut, and I were as he, I would bear no coals.[305] Law, I, I begin to swell—puff.    251

Pier. How now, fool, fop, fool!

Bal.[306] Fool, fop, fool! Marry muffe![307] I pray you, how many fools have you seen go in a suit of satin? I hope, yet, I do not look a fool i’faith! a fool! God’s bores, I scorn’t with my heel. ’S neaks, and I were worth but three hundred pound a year more, I could swear richly; nay, but as poor as I am, I will swear the fellow hath wrong.

Pier. Young Galeatzo! Ay, a proper man;    260
Florence, a goodly city: it shall be so,
I’ll marry her to him instantly.
Then Genoa mine, by my Maria’s match,
Which I’ll solemnise ere next setting sun:
Thus Venice, Florence, Genoa, strongly leagued.
Excellent, excellent! I’ll conquer Rome,
Pop out the light of bright religion;
And then, helter skelter, all cock-sure.

Bal. Go to, ’tis just, the man hath wrong: go to.

Pier. Go to, thou shall have right. Go to, Castilio,
Clap him into the palace dungeon;    271
Lap him in rags, and let him feed on slime
That smears the dungeon’ cheek. Away with him.

Bal. In very good truth, now, I’ll ne’er do so more; this one time and——

Pier. Away with him—observe it strictly—go!

Bal. Why then, O wight!
Alas, poor knight!
O, welladay,
Sir Jefferay!    280
Let poets roar,
And all deplore;
For now I bid you good-night.

Exit Balurdo with Castilio.

Re-enter Maria.

Mar. O piteous end of love! O too, too rude hand
Of unrespective death! Alas, sweet maid!

Pier. Forbear me, Heaven. What intend these plaints?

Mar. The beauty of admired creation,
The life of modest unmix’d purity,
Our sex’s glory, Mellida is——

Pier. What, O Heaven, what!

Mar. Dead!    290

Pier. May it not sad your thoughts, how?

Mar. Being laid upon her bed, she grasp’d my hand,
And kissing it, spake thus: “Thou very poor,
Why dost not weep? The jewel of thy brow,
The rich adornment that enchased thy breast,
Is lost: thy son, my love, is lost, is dead.
And do I live to say Antonio’s dead?
And have I lived to see his virtues blurr’d
With guiltless blots? O world, thou art too subtle
For honest natures to converse withal,    300
Therefore I’ll leave thee; farewell, mart of woe,
I fly to clip my love, Antonio!”
With that her head sunk down upon her breast;
Her cheek changed earth, her senses slept in rest,
Until my fool, that press’d unto the bed,
Screech’d out so loud that he brought back her soul,
Call’d her again, that her bright eyes gan ope,
And stared upon him. He, audacious fool,
Dared kiss her hand, wish’d her “soft rest, loved bride;”
She fumbled out, “thanks, good;” and so she died.    310

Pier. And so she died! I do not use to weep;
But by thy love (out of whose fertile sweet
I hope for as fair fruit) I am deep sad.—
I will not stay my marriage for all this.—
Castilio, Forobosco, all,
Strain all your wits, wind up invention
Unto his highest bent, to sweet this night;
Make us drink Lethe by your quaint conceits,
That for two days oblivion smother grief.
But when my daughter’s exequies approach,    320
Let’s all turn sighers. Come, despite of fate,
Sound loudest music, let’s pace out in state!

[The cornets sound.—Exeunt.

[285] “Bable” was the old form of “bauble.”

[286] “Wisards” = wise men. In the Ode on the Nativity Milton styles the wise men from the East wisards:

“The star-led wisards hasten with odours sweet.”

[287] Nobles.

[288] I.e., there has been no question asked about him.

[289] Affections.

[290] Old eds. “by.”

[291] Old form of digest.

[292] Old eds. “Come hither (ficto).” The bracketed word is, I suppose, a direction to the actor; Piero is to talk in an affected voice to Antonio,—treat him as a simpleton.

[293] Nobles.

[294] “The word siddow is of very unusual occurrence in early English, but it is preserved in the provincial dialect of the West of England. In Gloucestershire peas which become pulpy soft by boiling are then said to be siddow.”—Halliwell.

[295] Large galleon.

[296]Unnookt simplicity” (if the reading is right) must mean “simplicity in which no guile is hidden.”

[297] A mangled quotation from Æn. ix. 427-8.

[298] The “threefold guard of dreadest power” is, I suppose, “tergemina Hecate.” Cf. p. 176 “By the d[r]ead brow of triple Hecate.”

[299] High-peaked.—Nol = head, top.

[300] Full of knurs, i.e. knotted, gnarled.

[301] Dashed violently.—We have had the word before (p. 11) used transitively; but it is also used intransitively, as in Drayton’s Ballad of Agincourt:

“This while our noble king,
His broadsword brandishing.
Down the French host did ding
As to o’erwhelm it.” (Text of ed. 1619.)

[302] I.e. alas, that his fortunes should be, &c.

[303] Cote (another form of quote) = mark, note.

[304] So Hieronymo in The Spanish Tragedy:

“Well heaven is heaven still!
And there is Nemesis and furies,
And things call’d whips.”

[305] “Bear coals” = put up with injuries.

[306] Not marked in ed. 1602.

[307] “Marry muffe”—a common expression of contempt.—Middleton, i. 42, 71, &c.]


Enter Antonio solus, in fool’s habit.

Ant. Ay, heaven, thou may’st, thou may’st, omnipotence.
What vermin bred of putrefacted slime
Shall dare to expostulate with thy decrees!
O heaven, thou may’st indeed: she was all thine,
All heavenly: I did but humbly beg
To borrow her of thee a little time.
Thou gavest her me, as some weak-breasted dame
Giveth her infant, puts it out to nurse;
And when it once goes high-lone,[308] takes it back.
She was my vital blood, and yet, and yet,    10
I’ll not blaspheme. Look here! behold!

[Antonio puts off his cap and lieth just upon his back.

I turn my prostrate breast upon thy face,
And vent a heaving sigh. O hear but this!
I am a poor, poor orphant—a weak, weak child,—
The wrack of splitted fortune, the very ooze,
The quicksand that devours all misery.
Behold the valiant’st creature that doth breathe!
For all this I dare live, and I will live,
Only to numb some other’s cursèd blood
With the dead palsy of like misery.    20
Then, death, like to a stifling incubus,[309]
Lie on my bosom. Lo, see,[310] I am sped.
My breast is Golgotha, grave for the dead.

Enter Pandulpho, Alberto, and a Page, carrying Feliche’s trunk in a winding sheet, and lay it thwart Antonio’s breast.

Pan. Antonio, kiss my foot: I honour thee,
In laying thwart my blood upon thy breast.
I tell thee, boy, he was Pandulpho’s son;
And I do grace thee with supporting him.
Young man,
He[311] who hath naught that fortune’s gripe can seize,
The domineering monarch of the earth;    30
He who is all impregnably his own,
He whose great heart heaven cannot force with force,
Vouchsafes his love. Non servio Deo, sed assentio.

Ant. I ha’ lost a good wife.

Pan. Didst find her good, or didst thou make her good?
If found, thou may’st refind, because thou hadst her;
If made, the work is lost, but thou that madest her
Livest yet as cunning. Hast lost a good wife?
Thrice-blessèd man that lost her whilst she was good,
Fair, young, unblemish’d, constant, loving, chaste.    40
I tell thee, youth, age knows, young loves seem graced,
Which with gray cares, rude jars, are oft defaced.

Ant. But she was full of hope.

Pan. May be, may be; but that which may be stood,
Stands now without all may. She dièd good,
And dost thou grieve?

Alb. I ha’ lost a true friend.

Pan. I live encompass’d with two blessèd souls.
Thou lost a good wife, thou lost a true friend, ha!
Two of the rarest lendings of the heavens,—
But lendings which, at the fix’d day of pay    50
Set down by fate, thou must restore again.[312]
O what unconscionable souls are here!
Are you all like the spoke-shaves of the church?
Have you no maw to restitution?
Hast lost a true friend, coz? then thou hadst one.
I tell thee, youth, ’tis all as difficult
To find true friend in this apostate age
(That balks all right affiance ’twixt two hearts)
As ’tis to find a fixèd modest heart
Under a painted breast. Lost a true friend!    60
O happy soul that lost him whilst he was true!
Believe it, coz, I to my tears have found,
Oft dirt’s respect makes firmer friends unsound.

Alb. You have lost a good son.

Pan. Why, there’s the comfort on’t, that he was good.
Alas, poor innocent!

Alb. Why weeps mine uncle?

Pan. Ha, dost ask me why? ha, ha!
Good coz, look here!

[He shows him his son’s breast.

Man will break out, despite philosophy.
Why, all this while I ha’ but played a part,    70
Like to some boy that acts a tragedy,
Speaks burly words, and raves out passion;
But, when he thinks upon his infant weakness,
He droops his eye. I spake more than a god,
Yet am less than a man.
I am the miserablest soul that breathes.

[Antonio starts up.

Ant. ’Slid, sir, ye lie! by the heart of grief, thou liest!
I scorn’d that any wretched should survive,
Outmounting me in that superlative,
Most miserable, most unmatch’d in woe.    80
Who dare assume that but Antonio?

Pan. Wilt still be so, and shall yon blood-hound live?

Ant. Have I an arm, a heart, a sword, a soul?

Alb. Were you but private unto what we know——

Pan. I’ll know it all; first let’s inter the dead.
Let’s dig his grave with that shall dig the heart,
Liver, and entrails of the murderer.

[They strike the stage with their daggers, and the grave openeth.

Ant. Wilt sing a dirge, boy?

Pan. No, no song; ’twill be vile out of tune.

Alb. Indeed, he’s hoarse; the poor boy’s voice is crack’d.    90

Pan. Why, coz! why should it not be hoarse and crack’d,
When all the strings of nature’s symphony
Are crack’d and jar? Why should his voice keep tune,
When there’s no music in the breast of man?
I’ll say an honest antic rhyme I have:
Help me, good sorrow-mates, to give him grave.

[They all help to carry Feliche to his grave.

Death, exile, plaints, and woe,
Are but man’s lackeys, not his foe.
No mortal ’scapes from fortune’s war
Without a wound, at least a scar.    100
Many have led thee[313] to the grave;
But all shall follow, none shall save.
Blood of my youth, rot and consume;
Virtue in dirt doth life assume.
With this old saw close up this dust:—
Thrice blessèd man that dieth just.

Ant. The gloomy wing of night begins to stretch
His lazy pinion o’er the air.
We must be stiff and steady in resolve;
Let’s thus our hands, our hearts, our arms involve.    110

[They wreath their arms.

Pan. Now swear we by this Gordian knot of love,
By the fresh-turned up mould that wraps my son,
By the d[r]ead brow of triple Hecate,
Ere night shall close the lids of yon bright stars,
We’ll sit as heavy on Piero’s heart,
As Ætna doth on groaning Pelorus.

Ant. Thanks, good old man; we’ll cast at royal chance.
Let’s think a plot—then pell-mell, vengeance!

[Exeunt, their arms wreathed.

[308] Quite alone.—See note on Middleton, i. 46.

[309] See note 1, p. 107.

[310] Old eds. “sir.”

[311] In old eds. ll. 29-30 are transposed, and the passage is rendered unintelligible. “The domineering monarch” is of course fortune.

[312] Seneca moralises in the same strain:—“Rerum natura illum tibi non mancipio dedit sed commodavit: cum visum est deinde, repetiit nec tuam in eo satietatem secuta est, sed suam legem. Si quis pecuniam creditam solvisse se moleste ferat, eam præsertim cujus usum gratuitum acceperit, nonne injustus vir habeatur?” (Ad Polybium de Consolatione.)

[313] Old ed. “these.”



The cornets sound for the Act.

The dumb show.

Enter at one door Castilio and Forobosco, with halberts; four Pages with torches; Lucio, bare; Piero, Maria, and Alberto, talking; Alberto draws out his dagger, Maria her knife, aiming to menace the Duke. Then Galeatzo, betwixt two Senators, reading a paper to them, at which they all make semblance of loathing Piero, and knit their fists at him; two Ladies and Nutriche. All these go softly over the stage, whilst at the other door enters the ghost of Andrugio, who passeth by them, tossing his torch about his head in triumph. All forsake the stage, saving Andrugio, who, speaking, begins the Act.

Ghost of And. Venit dies, tempusque, quo reddat suis
Animam squalentem sceleribus.
The[314] fist of strenuous vengeance is clutch’d,
And stern Vindicta tow’reth up aloft,
That she may fall with a more weighty paise,
And crush life’s sap from out Piero’s veins.
Now ’gins the leprous cores of ulcered sins
Wheel to a head; now is his fate grown mellow,
Instant to fall into the rotten jaws
Of chap-fall’n death. Now down looks Providence,    10
T’attend the last act of my son’s revenge.
Be gracious, observation, to our scene,
For now the plot unites his scatter’d limbs
Close in contracted bands. The Florence Prince
(Drawn by firm notice of the Duke’s black deeds)
Is made a partner in conspiracy.
The states of Venice are so swoll’n in hate
Against the Duke for his accursèd deeds
(Of which they are confirm’d by some odd letters
Found in dead Strotzo’s study, which had past    20
Betwixt Piero and the murd’ring slave)
That they can scarce retain from bursting forth
In plain revolt. O, now triumphs my ghost,
Exclaiming, Heaven’s just, for I shall see
The scourge of murder and impiety!


[314] This line is ridiculed in The Poetaster, v. 1:—

“Break his back,
O poets all and some! for now we list
Of strenuous vengeance to clutch the fist.”


Balurdo from under the Stage.

Bal. Ho, who’s above there, ho? A murrain on all proverbs. They say hunger breaks through stone walls; but I am as gaunt as lean-ribb’d famine, yet I can burst through no stone walls. O now, Sir Jeffrey, show thy valour, break prison and be hang’d. Nor shall the darkest nook of hell contain the discontented Sir Balurdo’s ghost. Well, I am out well; I have put off the prison to put on the rope. O poor shotten herring, what a pickle art thou in! O hunger, how thou domineer’st in my guts! O for a fat leg of ewe mutton in stewed broth, or drunken song to feed on! I could belch rarely, for I am all wind. O cold, cold, cold, cold, cold! O poor knight! O poor Sir Jeffrey, sing like an unicorn before thou dost dip thy horn in the water of death. O cold, O sing, O cold, O poor Sir Jeffrey, sing, sing!    16

[A song.

Enter Antonio and Alberto at several doors, their rapiers drawn, in their masking attire.

Ant. Vindicta!

Alb. Mellida!

Ant. Alberto!

Alb. Antonio!

Ant. Hath the Duke supp’d?

Alb. Yes, and triumphant revels mount aloft.
The Duke drinks deep to overflow his grief;
The court is rack’d to pleasure; each man strains
To feign a jocund eye. The Florentine——

Ant. Young Galeatzo!

Alb. Even he is mighty on our part. The states of Venice,

Enter Pandulpho, running, in masking attire.

Pan. Like high-swoll’n floods drive down the muddy dams
Of pent allegiance. O, my lusty bloods,
Heaven sits clapping of our enterprise.    30
I have been labouring general favour firm,
And I do find the citizens grown sick
With swallowing the bloody crudities
Of black Piero’s acts; they fain would cast
And vomit him from off their government.
Now is the plot of mischief ript wide ope;
Letters are found ’twixt Strotzo and the Duke,
So clear apparent, yet more firmly strong
By suiting circumstance, that, as I walk’d,
Muffled, to eavesdrop speech, I might observe    40
The graver statesmen whispering fearfully.
Here one gives nods and hums what he would speak;
The rumour’s got ’mong troop of citizens,
Making loud murmur, with confusèd din;
One shakes his head and sighs, “O ill-used power!”
Another frets, and sets his grinding teeth,
Foaming with rage, and swears this must not be;
Here one complots, and on a sudden starts,
And cries, O monstrous, O deep villainy!
All knit their nerves, and from beneath swoll’n brows    50
Appears a gloating eye of much mislike;
Whilst swart Piero’s lips reak steam of wine,
Swallows lust-thoughts, devours all pleasing hopes,
With strong imagination of—what not?
O now Vindicta! that’s the word we have,
A royal vengeance, or a royal grave!

Ant. Vindicta!

Bal. [From beneath the stage.] I am acold.

Pan. Who’s there? Sir Jeffrey?

Bal. A poor knight, god wot: the nose of thy knighthood is bitten off with cold. O poor Sir Jeffrey, cold, cold!    62

Pan. What chance of fortune hath tripp’d up his heels, And laid him in the kennel, ha?

Alb. I will discourse it all. Poor honest soul,
Hadst thou a beaver to clasp up thy face,
Thou should’st associate us in masquery,
And see revenge.

Bal. Nay, and you talk of revenge, my stomach’s up, for I am most tyrannically hungry. A beaver! I have a headpiece, a skull, a brain of proof, I warrant ye.    71

Alb. Slink to my chamber then, and tire thee.

Bal. Is there a fire?

Alb. Yes.

Bal. Is there a fat leg of ewe mutton?

Alb. Yes.

Bal. And a clean shirt?

Alb. Yes.

Bal. Then am I for you, most pathetically, and unvulgarly, law!    80


Ant. Resolved hearts, time curtails night, opportunity shakes us his foretop. Steel your thoughts, sharp your resolve, embolden your spirit, grasp your swords; alarum mischief, and with an undaunted brow, out scout the grim opposition of most menacing peril.
Hark! here proud pomp shoots mounting triumph up,
Borne in loud accents to the front of Jove.

Pan. O now, he that wants soul to kill a slave,
Let him die slave, and rot in peasant’s grave.

Ant. Give me thy hand, and thine, most noble heart;
Thus will we live, and, but thus, never part.    91

[Exeunt, twined together.

Cornets sound a senet.


A Banqueting-hall.

Enter Castilio and Forobosco; two Pages, with torches; Lucio, bare; Piero and Maria, Galeatzo, two Senators, and Nutriche.

Pier. Sit close unto my breast, heart of my love;
Advance thy drooping eyes, thy son is drown’d.
Rich happiness that such a son is drown’d!
Thy husband’s dead: life of my joys most bless’d,
In that the sapless log, that press’d thy bed
With an unpleasing weight, being lifted hence,
Even I, Piero, live to warm his place.
I tell you, lady, had you view’d us both
With an unpartial eye, when first we wooed
Your maiden beauties, I had borne the prize.    10
’Tis firm I had; for, fair, I ha’ done that——

Mar. [Aside.] Murder.

Pier. Which he would quake to have adventurèd;
Thou know’st I have——

Mar. [Aside.] Murder’d my husband.

Pier. Borne out the shock of war, and done—what not,
That valour durst? Dost love me, fairest? Say.

Mar. As I do hate my son, I love thy soul.

Pier. Why, then, Io[315] to Hymen, mount a lofty note!
Fill[316] red-cheek’d Bacchus, let Lyæus float    20
In burnish’d goblets! Force the plump-lipp’d god.
Skip light lavoltas[317] in your full-sapp’d veins!
’Tis well, brim full. Even I have glut of blood:
Let quaff carouse. I drink this Burdeaux wine
Unto the health of dead Andrugio,
Feliche, Strotzo, and Antonio’s ghosts.
[Aside.] Would I had some poison to infuse it with;
That having done this honour to the dead,
I might send one to give them notice on’t:
I would endear my favour to the full.—    30
Boy, sing aloud; make heaven’s vault to ring
With thy breath’s strength. I drink. Now loudly sing.

[A song. The song ended the cornets sound a senet.

Enter Antonio, Pandulpho, and Alberto, in maskery; Balurdo, and a Torchbearer.

Pier. Call Julio hither. Where’s the little soul?
I saw him not to-day. Here’s sport alone
For him, i’faith; for babes and fools, I know,
Relish not substance, but applaud the show.

Gal. (To the conspirators as they stand in rank for the measure.[318]) All blessèd fortune crown your brave attempt.

[To Antonio.

I have a troop to second your attempt.

[To Pandulpho.

The Venice states join hearts unto your hands.

[To Alberto.

Pier. By the delights in contemplation    40
Of coming joys, ’tis magnificent.
You grace my marriage eve with sumptuous pomp.
Sound still, loud music! O, your breath gives grace
To curious feet, that in proud measure pace.

Ant. [Aside to Maria.] Mother, is Julio’s body——

Mar. [Aside to Antonio.] Speak not, doubt not; all is above all hope.

Ant. [Aside.] Then will I dance and whirl about the air:
Methinks I am all soul, all heart, all spirit.
Now murder shall receive his ample merit.

The measure.

While the measure is dancing, Andrugio’s ghost is placed betwixt the music-houses.[319]

Pier. Bring hither suckets, candied delicates.    50
We’ll taste some sweetmeats, gallants, ere we sleep.

Ant.—We’ll cook your sweetmeats, gallants, with tart sour sauce.

Ghost of And. Here will I sit, spectator of revenge,
And glad my ghost in anguish of my foe.

[The maskers whisper with Piero.

Pier. Marry and shall; i’faith I were too rude,
If I gainsaid so civil fashion.—
The maskers pray you to forbear the room
Till they have banqueted. Let it be so:
No man presume to visit them, on death.

[The maskers whisper again.

Only my self? O, why, with all my heart;    60

[Exeunt all but Piero and the maskers.

I’ll fill your consort. Here Piero sits;
Come on, unmask, let’s fall to.

[The conspirators bind Piero, pluck out his tongue, and triumph over him.

Ant. Murder and torture! no prayers, no entreats!

Pan. We’ll spoil your oratory. Out with his tongue.

Ant. I have ’t, Pandulpho; the veins panting bleed,
Trickling fresh gore about my fist. Bind fast—so, so!

Ghost of And. Bless’d be thy hand! I taste the joys of heaven,
Viewing my son triumph in his black blood.

Bal. Down to the dungeon with him! I’ll dungeon with him! I’ll fool you; Sir Jeffrey will be Sir Jeffrey; I’ll tickle you.    71

Ant. Behold, black dog!

Pan. Grinn’st thou, thou snurling[320] cur?

Alb. Eat thy black liver.

Ant. To thine anguish see
A fool triumphant in thy misery.
Vex him, Balurdo.

Pan. He weeps; now do I glorify my hands;
I had no vengeance, if I had no tears.

Ant. Fall to, good Duke. O these are worthless cates,
You have no stomach to them; look, look here:
Here lies a dish to feast thy father’s gorge.    80

[Uncovering the dish that contains Lucio’s limbs.

Here’s flesh and blood, which I am sure thou lov’st.

[Piero seems to condole his son.

Pan. Was he thy flesh, thy son, thy dearest son?

Ant. So was Andrugio, my dearest father.

Pan. So was Feliche, my dearest son.

Enter Maria.

Mar. So was Andrugio my dearest husband.

Ant. My father found no pity in thy blood.

Pan. Remorse was banish’d, when thou slew’st my son.

Mar. When thou empoisoned’st my loving lord,
Exiled was piety.

Ant. Now therefore pity, piety, remorse,    90
Be aliens to our thoughts; grim fire-ey’d rage
Possess us wholly.

Pan. Thy son? true; and which is my most joy,
I hope no bastard, but thy very blood,
Thy true-begotten, most legitimate
And lovèd issue—there’s the comfort on’t.

Ant. Scum of the mud of hell!

Alb. Slime of all filth!

Mar. Thou most detested toad!

Bal. Thou most retort and obtuse rascal!

Ant. Thus charge we death at thee; remember hell,
And let the howling murmurs of black spirits,    101
The horrid torments of the damnèd ghosts,
Affright thy soul as it descendeth down
Into the entrails of the ugly deep.

Pan. Sa, sa; no, let him die, and die, and still be dying.

[They offer to run all at Piero, and on a sudden stop.

And yet not die till he hath died and died
Ten thousand deaths in agony of heart.

Ant. Now pellmell: thus the hand of Heaven chokes
The throat of murder. This for my father’s blood!

[He stabs Piero.

Pan. This for my son!    110

Alb. This for them all!
And this, and this, sink to the heart of hell!

[They run all at Piero with their rapiers.

Pan. Murder for murder, blood for blood, doth yell!

And. ’Tis done, and now my soul shall sleep in rest:
Sons that revenge their father’s blood are blest.

[The curtains being drawn, exit Andrugio.

Enter Galeatzo, two Senators, Lucio, Forobosco, Castilio, and Ladies.

1st Sen. Whose hand presents this gory spectacle?

Ant. Mine.

Pan. No, mine.

Alb. No, mine.

Ant. I will not lose the glory of the deed,    120
Were all the tortures of the deepest hell
Fix’d to my limbs. I pierced the monster’s heart
With an undaunted hand.

Pan. By yon bright-spangled front of heaven ’twas I!
’Twas I sluiced[321] out his life-blood.

Alb. Tush, to say truth, ’twas all.

2d Sen. Blest be you all, and may your honours live
Religiously held sacred, even for ever and ever.

Gal. (to Antonio). Thou art another Hercules to us,
In ridding huge pollution from our state.    130

1st Sen. Antonio, belief is fortified
With most invincible approvements[322] of much wrong
By this Piero to thee. We have found
Beadrolls of mischief, plots of villainy,
Laid ’twixt the Duke and Strotzo, which we found
Too firmly acted.

2d Sen. Alas, poor orphant!

Ant. Poor!
Standing triumphant over Belzebub!
Having large interest for blood, and yet deem’d poor?

1st Sen. What satisfaction outward pomp can yield,
Or chiefest fortunes of the Venice state,    140
Claim freely. You are well-season’d props,
And will not warp, or lean to either part;
Calamity gives a man a steady heart.

Ant. We are amaz’d at your benignity;
But other vows constrain another course.

Pan. We know the world, and did we know no more,
We would not live to know; but since constraint
Of holy bands forceth us keep this lodge
Of dirt’s corruption, till dread power calls
Our soul’s appearance, we will live enclosed    150
In holy verge of some religious order,
Most constant votaries.

[The curtains are drawn, Piero departeth.

Ant. First let’s cleanse our hands,
Purge hearts of hatred, and entomb my love,
Over whose hearse I’ll weep away my brain
In true affection’s tears.
For her sake here I vow a virgin bed:
She lives in me, with her my love is dead.

2d Sen. We will attend her mournful exequies;
Conduct you to your calm sequestered life,
And then——    160

Mar. Leave us to meditate on misery,
To sad our thought with contemplation
Of past calamities. If any ask
Where lives the widow of the poison’d lord?
Where lies the orphant of a murder’d father?
Where lies the father of a butcher’d son?
Where lives all woe?—conduct him to us three,
The down-cast ruins of calamity.

Ant.[323] Sound doleful tunes, a solemn hymn advance,
To close the last act of my vengeance;    170
And when the subject of your passion’s spent,
Sing Mellida is dead; all hearts will relent,
In sad condolement at that heavy sound.
Never more woe in lesser plot was found!
And, O, if ever time create a muse,
That to th’ immortal fame of virgin faith
Dares once engage his pen to write her death,
Presenting it in some black tragedy,
May it prove gracious; may his style be deck’d
With freshest blooms of purest elegance;
May it have gentle presence, and the scenes suck’d up
By calm attention of choice audience;    181
And when the closing Epilogue appears,
Instead of claps, may it obtain but tears.

[A song.—Exeunt omnes.

Antonii vindictæ [sic].

[315] “Io”—the joyful cry with which Hymen was invoked by the ancients. Cf. Catullus:

“Ite, concinite in modum:
Io Hymen Hymenæe io,
Io Hymen Hymenæe!”

[316] Old eds. “Ful.”

[317] A sort of waltz, described in Sir John Davies’ Orchestra, st. 70.—Cf. Chapman’s May Day (1611), iv. 1:

“Fill red-cheek’d Bacchus, let the Burdeux grape
Skip like [sic] lavoltas in their swelling veins”

—lines made up from the present passage.

[318] “Measure”—a grave solemn dance.

[319] See Collier’s Hist. of Engl. Dram. Poetry, iii. 251-2 (ed. 2).

[320] So Marston uses “knurl’d” (p. 166) for “gnarl’d.”

[321] Cf. Richard II., i. 1:—“Sluiced out his innocent soul through streams of blood.”

[322] Proofs.

[323] Old eds.And.


The Malcontent. By Iohn Marston. 1604. At London printed by V. S. for William Aspley, and are to be solde at his shop in Paules Church-yard. 4to.

The Malcontent. Augmented by Marston. With the Additions played by the Kings Maiesties servants. Written by Ihon Webster. 1604. At London Printed by V. S. for William Aspley, and are to be sold at his shop in Paules Church-yard. 4to.


Giovanni Altofronto, Duke of Genoa, driven from power by the plots of Pietro Jacomo, disguises himself and lives under the name of Malevole at the usurper’s court, assuming the character of a malcontent. His identity is known only to his faithful friend Celso. A crafty courtier, Mendoza, who had assisted in dethroning Altofronto, has adulterous intercourse with Pietro’s wife, Aurelia. Malevole exposes the intrigue to Pietro; but meanwhile Aurelia, induced by an old procuress, Maquerelle, to believe that her lover is faithless, discards Mendoza and engages in an intrigue with another courtier, Ferneze. Pietro, sword in hand, seeks Mendoza, who makes passionate protestations of his own innocence, and declares that the guilty person is Ferneze. On that very night Ferneze has an appointment with the Duchess; and it is agreed that Pietro with some of the guard shall break into the Duchess’ chamber, while Mendoza waits with his drawn sword at the door. Ferneze is to be allowed to escape from the chamber, only to be received on the sword of Mendoza, who is then to stand over the body and pretend that he is guarding it from assault. Thus Mendoza will not only serve Pietro, but by his seeming generosity towards Ferneze will earn the gratitude of Aurelia, who, should she attempt to take vengeance on her husband, will not fail to make Mendoza acquainted with her plots, which he will incontinently reveal to Pietro. At the hour appointed, Pietro and the guard invade the Duchess’ chamber; the flying gallant is stabbed by Mendoza and left for dead (though he afterwards recovers from the wound); Aurelia receives Mendoza again into favour, and practises with him to murder Pietro. Mendoza, selecting a time when Pietro had gone a-hunting, bribes Malevole to commit the murder. Malevole undertakes to kill Pietro by stealth in the forest, fling his body into the sea, and then return to announce that Pietro, distracted by grief at the dishonour brought on him by his wife, has made away with himself by leaping into the sea from a high rock. To the forest goes Malevole, finds Pietro, and exposes to him the plot; presently Celso appears bringing a hermit’s weeds, into which Pietro shifts. They return to the court, and the pretended hermit describes with much detail how he saw Pietro perish, the narrative being substantiated by Malevole. Mendoza is proclaimed Duke, and his first act is to pronounce a sentence of perpetual banishment on Aurelia. He then commissions Malevole to bring from the citadel (where she is confined) the wife of the banished Altofronto, the virtuous Maria, whom he intends to make his Duchess. His brain is now exercised to procure the destruction of the supposed murderers. Malevole is instructed to poison the hermit at a supper given in the citadel, and the hermit on the same occasion is to poison Malevole; thus two awkward agents will be removed, and the suspicion will fall on Maria, whose fears will drive her to submit to Mendoza. Pietro informs Malevole of the instructions he had received, and learns that similar instructions have been given to Malevole. Weighed down with sorrow at his own dishonour, and disgusted with Mendoza’s villainy, Pietro declares his determination to dedicate his life to religious solitude, and make it his one care that the banished Altofronto shall be restored to the dukedom. Thereupon Malevole puts off his disguise, and Pietro beholds the banished Duke. Ferneze now approaches with Celso, and receives pardon from Pietro, who had supposed him to be dead. The four then take counsel how they shall depose Mendoza. Malevole goes to the usurper and announces that he has poisoned the hermit; he then produces a box of poison, which, he declares, will cause instant death on being opened and held to the nostrils. Mendoza opens the box and tries its effects on Malevole, who feigns to fall dead. A masque is ordered by Mendoza to be given in honour of Maria, who shows herself indifferent both to the tyrant’s flatteries and threats. At the entertainment Malevole, Pietro, and Ferneze appear masked; Malevole chooses Maria as his partner in the dance, and Pietro is matched with Aurelia, who has deeply repented of her misconduct. At the close of the dance, during which Malevole and Pietro have discovered themselves to their partners, the maskers environ Mendoza, level their pistols at his head, and unmask. Altofronto is received with joyful acclamations by the assembled company, and Mendoza—whose life the restored Duke disdains to take—is banished with shameful ignominy.










D. D.

[324] Ed. 2. “Beniamini.


I am an ill orator; and, in truth, use to indite more honestly than eloquently, for it is my custom to speak as I think, and write as I speak.

In plainness, therefore, understand, that in some things I have willingly erred, as in supposing a Duke of Genoa, and in taking names different from that city’s families: for which some may wittily accuse me; but my defence shall be as honest as many reproofs unto me have been most malicious. Since, I heartily protest, it was my care to write so far from reasonable offence, that even strangers, in whose state I laid my scene, should not from thence draw any disgrace to any, dead or living. Yet, in despite of my endeavours, I understand some have been most unadvisedly over-cunning in misinterpreting me, and with subtlety as deep as hell have maliciously spread ill rumours, which, springing from themselves, might to themselves have heavily returned. Surely I desire to satisfy every firm spirit, who, in all his actions, proposeth to himself no more ends than God and virtue do, whose intentions are always simple: to such I protest that, with my free understanding, I have not glanced at disgrace of any, but of those whose unquiet studies labour innovation, contempt of holy policy, reverend, comely superiority, and established unity: for the rest of my supposed tartness, I fear not but unto every worthy mind it will be approved so general and honest as may modestly pass with the freedom of a satire. I would fain leave the paper; only one thing afflicts me, to think that scenes, invented merely to be spoken, should be enforcively published to be read, and that the least hurt I can receive is to do myself the wrong. But, since others otherwise would do me more, the least inconvenience is to be accepted. I have myself, therefore, set forth this comedy; but so, that my enforced absence must much rely upon the printer’s discretion: but I shall entreat slight errors in orthography may be as slightly over-passed, and that the unhandsome shape which this trifle in reading presents, may be pardoned for the pleasure it once afforded you when it was presented with the soul of lively action.

Sine aliqua dementia nullus Phœbus.[325]

[325] For this motto ed. 1. gives “Me mea sequentur fata.





Enter W. Sly,[327] a Tire-man following him with a stool.

Tire-man. Sir, the gentlemen will be angry if you sit here.

Sly. Why, we may sit upon the stage at the private house.[328] Thou dost not take me for a country gentleman, dost? dost think I fear hissing?[329] I’ll hold my life thou tookest me for one of the players.

Tire-man. No, sir.

Sly. By God’s slid, if you had, I would have given you but sixpence[330] for your stool. Let them that have stale suits sit in the galleries. Hiss at me! He that will be laughed out of a tavern or an ordinary, shall seldom feed well, or be drunk in good company.—Where’s Harry Condell, Dick Burbadge, and William Sly? Let me speak with some of them.    14

Tire-man. An’t please you to go in, sir, you may.

Sly. I tell you, no: I am one that hath seen this play often, and can give them intelligence for their action: I have most of the jests here in my table-book.

Enter Sinklo.[331]

Sinklo. Save you, coz!

Sly. O, cousin, come, you shall sit between my legs here.    21

Sinklo. No, indeed, cousin: the audience then will take me for a viol-de-gambo, and think that you play upon me.

Sly. Nay, rather that I work upon you, coz.

Sinklo. We stayed for you at supper last night at my cousin Honeymoon’s, the woollen-draper. After supper we drew cuts for a score of apricocks, the longest cut still to draw an apricock: by this light, ’twas Mistress Frank Honeymoon’s fortune still to have the longest cut: I did measure for the women.—What be these, coz?    32

Enter D. Burbadge,[332] H. Condell, and J. Lowin.

Sly. The players.—God save you!

Burbadge. You are very welcome.

Sly. I pray you, know this gentleman, my cousin; ’tis Master Doomsday’s son, the usurer.

Condell. I beseech you, sir, be covered.

Sly. No,[333] in good faith, for mine ease: look you, my hat’s the handle to this fan: God’s so, what a beast was I, I did not leave my feather at home! Well, but I’ll take an order with you.    41

[Puts his feather in his pocket.

Burbadge. Why do you conceal your feather, sir?

Sly. Why, do you think I’ll have jests broken upon me in the play, to be laughed at? this play hath beaten all your gallants out of the feathers: Blackfriars hath almost spoiled Blackfriars for feathers.[334]

Sinklo. God’s so, I thought ’twas for somewhat our gentlewomen at home counselled me to wear my feather to the play: yet I am loth to spoil it.

Sly. Why, coz?    50

Sinklo. Because I got it in the tilt-yard; there was a herald broke my pate for taking it up: but I have worn it up and down the Strand, and met him forty times since, and yet he dares not challenge it.

Sly. Do you hear, sir? this play is a bitter play.

Condell. Why, sir, ’tis neither satire nor moral, but the mean passage of a history: yet there are a sort of discontented creatures that bear a stingless envy to great ones, and these will wrest the doings of any man to their base, malicious appliment; but should their interpretation come to the test, like your marmoset, they presently turn their teeth to their tail and eat it.    62

Sly. I will not go so far with you; but I say, any man that hath wit may censure,[335] if he sit in the twelve-penny room;[336] and I say again, the play is bitter.

Burbadge. Sir, you are like a patron that, presenting a poor scholar to a benefice, enjoins him not to rail against anything that stands within compass of his patron’s folly. Why should not we enjoy the ancient freedom of poesy? Shall we protest to the ladies that their painting makes them angels? or to my young gallant that his expenses in the brothel shall gain him reputation? No, sir, such vices as stand not accountable to law should be cured as men heal tetters, by casting ink upon them. Would you be satisfied in anything else, sir?    76

Sly. Ay, marry, would I: I would know how you came by this play?

Condell. Faith, sir, the book was lost; and because ’twas pity so good a play should be lost, we found it, and play it.    81

Sly. I wonder you would play it, another company having interest in it.

Condell. Why not Malevole in folio with us, as Jeronimo in decimo-sexto[337] with them? They taught us a name for our play; we call it One for another.

Sly. What are your additions?

Burbadge. Sooth, not greatly needful; only as your salad to your great feast, to entertain a little more time, and to abridge the not-received custom of music in our theatre. I must leave you, sir.


Sinklo. Doth he play the Malcontent.    92

Condell. Yes, sir.

Sinklo. I durst lay four of mine ears the play is not so well acted as it hath been.

Condell. O, no, sir, nothing ad Parmenonis suem.[338]

Lowin. Have you lost your ears, sir, that you are so prodigal of laying them?

Sinklo. Why did you ask that, friend?

Lowin. Marry, sir, because I have heard of a fellow would offer to lay a hundred-pound wager that was not worth five baubees:[339] and in this kind you might venture four of your elbows; yet God defend[340] your coat should have so many!    104

Sinklo. Nay, truly, I am no great censurer; and yet I might have been one of the college of critics once. My cousin here hath an excellent memory indeed, sir.

Sly. Who, I? I’ll tell you a strange thing of myself; and I can tell you, for one that never studied the art of memory, ’tis very strange too.    110

Condell. What’s that, sir?

Sly. Why, I’ll lay a hundred pound, I’ll walk but once down by the Goldsmiths’ Row in Cheap, take notice of the signs, and tell you them with a breath instantly.

Lowin. ’Tis very strange.

Sly. They begin as the world did, with Adam and Eve. There’s in all just five and fifty.[341] I do use to meditate much when I come to plays too. What do you think might come into a man’s head now, seeing all this company?    120

Condell. I know not, sir.

Sly. I have an excellent thought. If some fifty of the Grecians that were crammed in the horse’-belly had eaten garlic, do you not think the Trojans might have smelt out their knavery?

Condell. Very likely.

Sly. By God, I would they[342] had, for I love Hector horribly.

Sinklo. O, but, coz, coz!
“Great[343] Alexander, when he came to the tomb of Achilles,
Spake with a big loud voice, O thou thrice blessèd and happy!”    131

Sly. Alexander was an ass to speak so well of a filthy cullion.[344]

Lowin. Good sir, will you leave the stage? I’ll help you to a private room.[345]

Sly. Come, coz, let’s take some tobacco.[346] —Have you never a prologue?

Lowin. Not any, sir.

Sly. Let me see, I will make one extempore.

[Come[347] to them, and fencing of a congey with arms and legs, be round with them.

Gentlemen,[348] I could wish for the women’s sakes you had all soft cushions; and, gentlewomen, I could wish that for the men’s sakes you had all more easy standings.

What would they wish more but the play now? and that they shall have instantly.    144


[326] The Induction was added in ed. 2.

[327] For an account of William Sly and the other actors introduced in the Induction, see Collier’s Memoirs of the Principal Actors in the Plays of Shakespeare.

[328] The Malcontent had been acted at the Blackfriars Theatre, a private theatre. It was afterwards acted at the Globe, a public theatre.

[329] It was a common practice for gallants to sit on the stage; but when a coxcomb obstructed the view by planting himself in a prominent position, the audience naturally took offence. Dekker, in the chapter of the Gull’s Horn-Book, describing “how a gallant should behave himself at a play-house,” writes:—“But on the very rushes where the comedy is to dance, yea, and under the state of Cambyses himself, must our feathered estridge, like a piece of ordnance, be planted valiantly (because impudently), beating down the mews and hisses of the opposed rascality.”

[330] Sixpence, as we learn from the Gull’s Horn-Book, Induction to Cynthia’s Revels, &c., was the usual charge for the loan of a stool. Francis Lenton in his Young Gallant’s Whirligig tells us of an “expensive fool” who was ready to “pay an angel for a paltry stool.” It was not uncommon to pay a shilling for the convenience.

[331] Dr. Karl Elze in his Notes on the Elizabethan Dramatists (2nd. ser., pp. 160-4) indulges in some speculations about this actor.

[332] From A Funeral Elegy on Burbadge, first printed by Collier, we learn that the great actor took the part of Malevole in The Malcontent:

“Vindex is gone, and what a loss was he!
Frankford, Brachiano, and Malevole.”

The elegy is in the main unquestionably genuine.

[333] “A quotation from the part of Osrick in Hamlet. Sly might have been the original performer of that character.”—Steevens.

[334] The meaning is that in The Malcontent, which had been originally acted at Blackfriars Theatre, the practice of wearing feathers had been so ridiculed that the feather-makers of Blackfriars had suffered injury in their business. In v. 4 occurs the passage in which the use of feathers is ridiculed:—“For as now-a-days no courtier but has his mistress, no captain but has his cockatrice, no cuckold but has his horns, and no fool but has his feather.&c. Blackfriars was noted as being the residence of Puritans, many of whom followed the trade of feather-makers. There is some amusing ridicule of the Puritan feather-makers in Ben Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair, Randolph’s Muses’ Looking-Glass, &c.

[335] Judge.

[336] Box.

[337] The expression “in decimo sexto” is used in reference to the company of the Children of the Chapel, acting at Blackfriars. Cf. Middleton’s Father Hubburd’s Tales (Works, ed. Bullen, viii. 64):—“But for fear I interrupt this small actor in less than decimo sexto, “&c. The Children’s Company at the Blackfriars seems to have appropriated Jeronimo, i.e., The Spanish Tragedy, in which the King’s Company at the Globe had an interest; whereupon the King’s Company retaliated by acting Malevole, i.e. The Malcontent. The expression “Malevole in folio” means “The Malcontent acted by men-actors.”—Dyce did not understand the passage.

[338] A proverbial saying. “L. S.” in the Shakespeare Society’s Papers, ii. 85 (1847), quotes from Plutarch’s Symposium, v. 1:—“For upon what other account should men be moved to admire Parmeno’s sow so much as to pass it into a proverb? Yet ’tis reported that Parmeno, being very famous for imitating the grunting of a pig, some endeavoured to rival and outdo him. And when the hearers, being prejudiced, cried out, ‘Very well, indeed, but nothing comparable to Parmeno’s sow,’ one took a pig under his arm and came upon the stage; and when, tho’ they heard the very pig, they still continued, ‘This is nothing comparable to Parmeno’s sow,’ he threw his pig amongst them to show that they judged according to opinion and not truth” (Creech’s translation). Phædrus has a fable on the subject.

[339] Halfpennies.

[340] Forbid.

[341] “This is a pleasant exaggeration on the part of Sly. There were in all, as Stow tells, ‘ten fair dwelling-houses and fourteen shops.’ See ‘Goldsmiths’ Row’ in Handbook of London, ed. 1850.—P. Cunningham (Notes and Queries, 2d ser. vol. i. 71).

[342] The old ed. “he.”

[343] These lines are a translation by Gabriel Harvey’s younger brother John, of some lines of Petrarch, Son. cliii. They are quoted with two other “lusty hexameters” in a letter of Gabriel Harvey to Spenser. See Grosart’s edition of Gabriel Harvey, i. 89-90.

[344] Rogue.

[345] Box.

[346] It was the practice for gallants to smoke in the theatre. “Fie, this stinking tobacco kills me!” says the citizen’s wife, in The Knight of the Burning Pestle, to the gallants smoking on the stage: “Would there were none in England! Now, I pray, gentlemen, what good does this stinking tobacco do you? nothing, I warrant you: make chimnies o’ your faces!”

[347] This stage direction is printed as part of the text in old ed.

[348] “This seems intended as a burlesque [?] on the epilogue to As You Like It.”—Reed.


Giovanni Altofronto, disguised as Malevole, sometime Duke of Genoa.
Pietro Jacomo, Duke of Genoa.
Mendoza, a minion to the Duchess of Pietro Jacomo.
Celso, a friend to Altofronto.
Bilioso, an old choleric marshal.
Prepasso, a gentleman-usher.
Ferneze, a young courtier, and enamoured on the Duchess.
Ferrardo, a minion to Duke Pietro Jacomo.




} two courtiers.

Passarello, fool to Bilioso.

Aurelia, Duchess to Duke Pietro Jacomo.
Maria, Duchess to Duke Altofronto.




} two ladies attending on Aurelia.

Maquerelle, an old panderess.

The Scene—Genoa.




Palace of the Duke of Genoa.

The vilest out-of-tune music being heard, enter Bilioso and Prepasso.

Bil. Why, how now! are ye mad, or drunk, or both, or what?

Pre. Are ye building Babylon there?

Bil. Here’s a noise in court! you think you are in a tavern, do you not?

Pre. You think you are in a brothel-house, do you not?—This room is ill-scented.

Enter One with a perfume.

So, perfume, perfume; some upon me, I pray thee.— The duke is upon instant entrance: so, make place there!

Enter Pietro, Ferrardo, Equato; Celso and Guerrino before.

Pietro. Where breathes that music?    10

Bil. The discord rather than the music is heard from the malcontent Malevole’s chamber.

Fer. [calling] Malevole!

Mal. [above, out of his chamber] Yaugh, god-a-man, what dost thou there? Duke’s Ganymede, Juno’s jealous of thy long stockings: shadow of a woman, what wouldst, weasel? thou lamb o’court, what dost thou bleat for? ah, you smooth-chinned catamite!

Pietro. Come down, thou rugged[350] cur, and snarl here; I give thy dogged sullenness free liberty: trot about and bespurtle whom thou pleasest.    21

Mal. I’ll come among you, you goatish-blooded toderers,[351] as gum into taffata, to fret, to fret: I’ll fall like a sponge into water, to suck up, to suck up. [Howls again.[352]] I’ll go to church,[353] and come to you.

[Exit above.

Pietro. This Malevole is one of the most prodigious affections that ever conversed with nature: a man, or rather a monster, more discontent than Lucifer when he was thrust out of the presence. His appetite is unsatiable as the grave; as far from any content as from heaven: his highest delight is to procure others’ vexation, and therein he thinks he truly serves heaven; for ’tis his position, whosoever in this earth can be contented is a slave and damned; therefore does he afflict all in that to which they are most affected. The elements struggle within him; his own soul is at variance within herself;[354] his speech is halter-worthy at all hours. I like him, faith: he gives good intelligence to my spirit, makes me understand those weaknesses which others’ flattery palliates.—Hark! they sing. [A song.] See, he comes. Now shall you hear the extremity of a malcontent: he is as free as air; he blows over every man.    42

Enter Malevole below.

And, sir, whence come you now?

Mal. From the public place of much dissimulation, the church.[355]

Pietro. What didst there?

Mal. Talk with a usurer; take up at interest.

Pietro. I wonder what religion thou art of?[356]

Mal. Of a soldier’s religion.

Pietro. And what dost thou[357] think makes most infidels now?    51

Mal. Sects, sects. I have seen seeming piety change her robe so oft, that sure none but some arch-devil can shape her a new[358] petticoat.

Pietro. O, a religious policy.

Mal. But, damnation on a politic religion! I am weary: would I were one of the duke’s hounds now![359]

Pietro. But what’s the common news abroad, Malevole? thou doggest rumour still.    59

Mal. Common news! why, common words are, God save ye, Fare ye well; common actions, flattery and cozenage; common things, women and cuckolds.—And how does my little Ferrard? Ah, ye lecherous animal!—my little ferret, he goes sucking up and down the palace into every hen’s nest, like a weasel:—and to what dost thou addict thy time to now more than to those antique painted drabs that are still effected of young courtiers,—flattery, pride, and venery?

Fer. I study languages. Who dost think to be the best linguist of our age?    70

Mal. Phew! the devil: let him possess thee; he’ll teach thee to speak all languages most readily and strangely;[360] and great reason, marry, he’s travelled greatly i’ the world, and is everywhere.

Fer. Save i’ the court.

Mal. Ay, save i’ the court.—[To Bilioso.] And how does my old muckhill, overspread with fresh snow? thou half a man, half a goat, all a beast! how does thy young wife, old huddle?[361]

Bil. Out, you improvident rascal!    80

Mal. Do, kick, thou hugely-horned old duke’s ox, good Master Make-pleas.

Pietro. How dost thou live nowadays, Malevole?

Mal. Why, like the knight Sir Patrick Penlohans,[362] with killing o’ spiders for my lady’s monkey.[363]

Pietro. How dost spend the night? I hear thou never sleepest.

Mal. O, no; but dream the most fantastical! O heaven! O fubbery, fubbery!

Pietro. Dream! what dreamest?    90

Mal. Why, methinks I see that signior pawn his footcloth,[364] that metreza[365] her plate: this madam takes physic, that t’other monsieur may minister to her: here is a pander jewelled; there is[366] a fellow in shift of satin this day, that could not shift a shirt t’other night: here a Paris supports that Helen; there’s a Lady Guinever bears up that Sir Lancelot: dreams, dreams, visions, fantasies, chimeras, imaginations, tricks, conceits!—[To Prepasso.] Sir Tristram Trimtram, come aloft,[367] Jack-an-apes, with a whim-wham: here’s a knight of the land of Catito shall play at trap with any page in Europe; do the sword-dance with any morris-dancer in Christendom; ride at the ring[368] till the fin[369] of his eyes look as blue as the welkin; and run the wildgoose-chase even with Pompey the Huge.[370]    105

Pietro. You run!

Mal. To the devil.—Now, signior Guerrino, that thou from a most pitied prisoner shouldst grow a most loathed flatterer!—Alas, poor Celso, thy star’s oppressed: thou art an honest lord: ’tis pity.    110

Equato. Is’t pity?

Mal. Ay, marry is’t, philosophical Equato; and ’tis pity that thou, being so excellent a scholar by art, should be so ridiculous a fool by nature.—I have a thing to tell you, duke: bid ’em avaunt, bid ’em avaunt.

Pietro. Leave us, leave us.

[Exeunt all except Pietro and Malevole.

Now, sir, what is’t?

Mal. Duke, thou art a becco,[371] a cornuto.

Pietro. How!

Mal. Thou art a cuckold.    120

Pietro. Speak, unshale[372] him quick.

Mal. With most tumbler-like nimbleness.

Pietro. Who? by whom? I burst with desire.

Mal. Mendoza is the man makes thee a horned beast; duke, ’tis Mendoza cornutes thee.

Pietro. What conformance? relate; short, short.

Mal. As a lawyer’s beard.
There is an old crone in the court, her name is Maquerelle,
She is my mistress, sooth to say, and she doth ever tell me.
Blirt o’ rhyme, blirt o’ rhyme! Maquerelle is a cunning bawd; I am an honest villain; thy wife is a close drab; and thou art a notorious cuckold. Farewell, duke.    132

Pietro. Stay, stay.

Mal. Dull, dull duke, can lazy patience make lame revenge? O God, for a woman to make a man that which God never created, never made!

Pietro. What did God never make?

Mal. A cuckold: to be made a thing that’s hoodwinked with kindness, whilst every rascal fillips his brows; to have a coxcomb with egregious horns pinned to a lord’s back, every page sporting himself with delightful laughter, whilst he must be the last must know it: pistols and poniards! pistols and poniards!    143

Pietro. Death and damnation!

Mal. Lightning and thunder!

Pietro. Vengeance and torture!

Mal. Catso![373]

Pietro. O, revenge!

Mal.[374] Nay, to select among ten thousand fairs
A lady far inferior to the most,
In fair proportion both of limb and soul;
To take her from austerer check of parents,
To make her his by most devoutful rites,    150
Make her commandress of a better essence
Than is the gorgeous world, even of a man;
To hug her with as rais’d an appetite
As usurers do their delv’d-up treasury
(Thinking none tells it but his private self);
To meet her spirit in a nimble kiss,
Distilling panting ardour to her heart;
True to her sheets, nay, diets strong his blood,
To give her height of hymeneal sweets,——

Pietro. O God!    160

Mal. Whilst she lisps, and gives him some court-quelquechose,[375]
Made only to provoke, not satiate:
And yet even then the thaw of her delight
Flows from lewd heat of apprehension,
Only from strange imagination’s rankness,
That forms the adulterer’s presence in her soul,
And makes her think she clips the foul knave’s loins.
Pietro. Affliction to my blood’s root!

Mal. Nay, think, but think what may proceed of this; Adultery is often the mother of incest.    170

Pietro. Incest!

Mal. Yes, incest: mark:—Mendoza of his wife begets perchance a daughter: Mendoza dies; his son marries this daughter: say you? nay, ’tis frequent, not only probable, but no question often acted, whilst ignorance, fearless ignorance, clasps his own seed.

Pietro. Hideous imagination!

Mal. Adultery? why, next to the sin of simony, ’tis the most horrid transgression under the cope of salvation.    180

Pietro. Next to simony!

Mal. Ay, next to simony, in which our men in next age shall not sin.

Pietro. Not sin! why?

Mal. Because (thanks to some churchmen) our age will leave them nothing to sin with. But adultery, O dulness! should show[376] exemplary punishment, that intemperate bloods may freeze but to think it. I would damn him and all his generation: my own hands should do it; ha, I would not trust heaven with my vengeance:—anything.    191

Pietro. Anything, anything, Malevole: thou shalt see instantly what temper my spirit holds. Farewell; remember I forget thee not; farewell.

[Exit Pietro.

Mal.[377] Farewell.
Lean thoughtfulness, a sallow meditation,
Suck thy veins dry, distemperance rob thy sleep!
The heart’s disquiet is revenge most deep:
He that gets blood, the life of flesh but spills,
But he that breaks heart’s peace, the dear soul kills.    200
Well, this disguise doth yet afford me that
Which kings do seldom hear, or great men use,—
Free speech: and though my state’s usurp’d,
Yet this affected strain gives me a tongue
As fetterless as in an emperor’s.
I may speak foolishly, ay, knavishly,
Always carelessly, yet no one thinks it fashion
To poise my breath; for he that laughs and strikes
Is lightly felt, or seldom struck again.
Duke, I’ll torment thee now; my just revenge    210
From thee than crown a richer gem shall part:
Beneath God, naught’s so dear as a calm heart.

Re-enter Celso.

Celso. My honour’d lord,

Mal. Peace, speak low, peace! O Celso, constant lord,
(Thou to whose faith I only rest discover’d,
Thou, one of full ten millions of men,
That lovest virtue only for itself;
Thou in whose hands old Ops may put her soul)
Behold forever-banish’d Altofront,
This Genoa’s last year’s duke. O truly noble!    220
I wanted those old instruments of state,
Dissemblance and suspect: I could not time it, Celso;
My throne stood like a point midst[378] of a circle,
To all of equal nearness; bore with none;
Rein’d all alike; so slept in fearless virtue,
Suspectless, too suspectless; till the crowd,
(Still lickorous of untried novelties)
Impatient with severer government
Made strong with Florence, banish’d Altofront.

Celso. Strong with Florence! ay, thence your mischief rose;    230
For when the daughter of the Florentine
Was match’d once with this Pietro, now duke,
No stratagem of state untried was left,
Till you of all——

Mal. Of all was quite bereft:
Alas, Maria too close prisonèd,
My true-faith’d duchess, i’ the citadel!

Celso. I’ll still adhere: let’s mutiny and die.

Mal. O, no,[379] climb not a falling tower, Celso;
’Tis well held desperation, no zeal,
Hopeless to strive with fate: peace; temporise.    240
Hope, hope, that ne’er forsak’st the wretched’st man,
Yet bidd’st me live, and lurk in this disguise!
What, play I well the free-breath’d discontent?
Why, man, we are all philosophical monarchs
Or natural fools. Celso, the court’s a-fire;
The duchess’ sheets will smoke for’t ere’t be long:
Impure Mendoza, that sharp-nos’d lord, that made
The cursèd match link’d Genoa with Florence,
Now broad-horns the duke, which he now knows.
Discord to malcontents is very manna:    250
When the ranks are burst, then scuffle, Altofront.

Celso. Ay, but durst——

Mal. ’Tis gone; ’tis swallow’d like a mineral:
Some way ’twill work; pheut, I’ll not shrink:
He’s resolute who can no lower sink.

Bilioso re-entering, Malevole shifteth his speech.

O[380] the father of May-poles! did you never see a fellow whose strength consisted in his breath, respect in his office, religion in[381] his lord, and love in himself? why, then, behold.

Bil. Signior,—    260

Mal. My right worshipful lord, your court night-cap makes you have a passing high forehead.

Bil. I can tell you strange news, but I am sure you know them already: the duke speaks much good of you.

Mal. Go to, then: and shall you and I now enter into a strict friendship?

Bil. Second one another?

Mal. Yes.

Bil. Do one another good offices?

Mal. Just: what though I called thee old ox, egregious wittol, broken-bellied coward, rotten mummy? yet, since I am in favour——    272

Bil. Words of course, terms of disport. His grace presents you by me a chain, as his grateful remembrance for—I am ignorant for what; marry, ye may impart: yet howsoever—come—dear friend; dost know my son?

Mal. Your son!

Bil. He shall eat wood-cocks, dance jigs, make possets, and play at shuttle-cock with any young lord about the court: he has as sweet a lady too; dost know her little bitch?    281

Mal. ’Tis a dog, man.

Bil. Believe me, a she-bitch: O, ’tis a good creature! thou shalt be her servant. I’ll make thee acquainted with my young wife too: what! I keep her not at court for nothing. ’Tis grown to supper-time; come to my table: that, anything I have, stands open to thee.

Mal. [aside to Celso] How smooth to him that is in state of grace,
How servile is the rugged’st courtier’s face!
What profit, nay, what nature would keep down,    290
Are heav’d to them are minions to a crown.
Envious ambition never sates his thirst,
Till sucking all, he swells and swells, and burst.[382]

Bil. I shall now leave you with my always-best wishes; only let’s hold betwixt us a firm correspondence, a mutual friendly-reciprocal kind of steady-unanimous-heartily-leagued——

Mal. Did your signiorship ne’er see a pigeon-house that was smooth, round, and white without, and full of holes and stink within? ha’ ye not, old courtier?    300

Bil. O, yes, ’tis the form, the fashion of them all.

Mal. Adieu, my true court-friend; farewell, my dear Castilio.[383]

[Exit Bilioso.

Celso. Yonder’s Mendoza.

Mal. True, the privy-key.

[Descries Mendoza.

Celso. I take my leave, sweet lord.

Mal. ’Tis fit; away!

[Exit Celso.

Enter Mendoza with three or four Suitors.

Men. Leave your suits with me; I can and will: attend my secretary; leave me.

[Exeunt Suitors.

Mal. Mendoza, hark ye, hark ye. You are a treacherous villain: God b’ wi’ ye!

Men. Out, you base-born rascal!    310

Mal. We are all the sons of heaven, though a tripe-wife were our mother: ah, you whoreson, hot-reined he-marmoset! Ægisthus! didst ever hear of one Ægisthus?

Men. Gisthus?

Mal. Ay, Ægisthus: he was a filthy incontinent fleshmonger, such a one as thou art.

Men. Out, grumbling rogue!

Mal. Orestes, beware Orestes!

Men. Out, beggar!

Mal. I once shall rise.    320

Men. Thou rise!

Mal. Ay, at the resurrection.
No vulgar seed but once may rise and shall;
No king so huge but ’fore he die may fall.


Men. Now, good Elysium! what a delicious heaven is it for a man to be in a prince’s favour! O sweet God! O pleasure! O fortune! O all thou best of life! what should I think, what say, what do to be a favourite, a minion? to have a general timorous respect observe a man, a stateful silence in his presence, solitariness in his absence, a confused hum and busy murmur of obsequious suitors training him; the cloth held up, and way proclaimed before him; petitionary vassals licking the pavement with their slavish knees, whilst some odd palace-lampreels that engender with snakes, and are full of eyes on both sides, with a kind of insinuated[384] humbleness, fix all their delights[385] upon his brow. O blessed state! what a ravishing prospect doth the Olympus of favour yield! Death, I cornute the duke! Sweet women! most sweet ladies! nay, angels! by heaven, he is more accursed than a devil that hates you, or is hated by you; and happier than a god that loves you, or is beloved by you: you preservers of mankind, life-blood of society, who would live, nay, who can live without you? O paradise! how majestical is your austerer presence! how imperiously chaste is your more modest face! but, O, how full of ravishing attraction is your pretty, petulant, languishing, lasciviously-composed countenance! these amorous smiles, those soul-warming sparkling glances, ardent as those flames that singed the world by heedless Phaeton! in body how delicate,[386] in soul how witty, in discourse how pregnant, in life how wary, in favours how judicious, in day how sociable, and in night how—— O pleasure unutterable! indeed, it is most certain, one man cannot deserve only to enjoy a beauteous woman: but a duchess! in despite of Phœbus, I’ll write a sonnet instantly in praise of her.    357


[349] In the margin of old eds., opposite the title, is printed “Vexat censura columbas.” (Juvenal, Sat. ii. 63.)

[350] So ed. 1.—Ed. 2. “ragged.”

[351] “I suppose this is a word coined from tod, a certain weight of sheep’s wool. He seems willing to intimate that the duke, &c., are mutton-mongers. The meaning of laced mutton is well known.”—Steevens.—Not at all satisfactory.

[352] Old eds. “Howle againe”—printed as part of the text.

[353] So ed. 2.—Ed. 1. “pray.”

[354] “Within herself”—added in ed. 2.

[355] “The church”—added in ed. 2.

[356] “Of”—added in ed. 2.

[357] Omitted in ed. 2.

[358] Omitted in ed. 2.

[359] “I am weary ... now”—added in ed. 2.

[360] There is an allusion to the old superstition (which Ben Jonson has amusingly illustrated in The Devil is an Ass, v. 5), that a person possessed by the devil was able to converse in various tongues.

[361] A term of contempt for a sordid old man.—Cf. The Widow, ii. 2:—“Hear you me that, old huddle" (Middleton, v. 165).

[362] Ed. 2. “Penlolians.”

[363]Monkeys, apes, stellions, lizards, wasps, ichneumons, swallows, sparrows, muskins, hedge-sparrows feed on spiders,” says Dr. Muffet in one of his delightful chapters on spiders in The Theater of Insects (Topsel’s Nat. Hist., ed. 1658, p. 1073).

[364] The housings of a horse.

[365] Mistress (Ital.).

[366] Added in ed. 2.

[367] The cry of the ape-ward when the ape was to climb the pole and display his feats of agility.

[368] The sport of Running at the Ring, in which the tilter tried to drive the point of his spear through a suspended ring.

[369] This word is used in the Duchess of Malfi, ii.    1 :—“The fins of her eyelids look most teeming blue!”

[370] “Greater than Great, great, great, great Pompey! Pompey the Huge!”—Love’s Labour Lost, v. 2.

[371] Cuckold (Ital.).

[372] Unshell.

[373] Obscene exclamation (from the Italian).

[374] “Nay, to select ... freeze but to think it” (ll.    146 -188).—This passage was added in ed. 2.

[375] See Skeat’s Etym. Dict. s. KICKSHAWS.

[376] For “should show” old ed. gives “shue should.”

[377] This speech was added in ed. 2.

[378] Ed. 2. “in middest.”

[379] Added in ed. 2.

[380] “O the father ... my dear Castilio” (ll. 256-303).—This passage was added in ed. 2.

[381] Old ed. “on.”

[382] Old ed. “burstes.”

[383] An allusion to Baldessar Castiglione, author of the famous book of manners, Il Cortese, which was translated into English (in 1561) by Sir Thomas Hoby.

[384] Ed. 1. “insinuating.”

[385] Ed. 1. “lights.”

[386] “What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form, and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!”—Hamlet, act ii. sc. 2.


Palace of the Duke of Genoa.

Enter Ferneze ushering Aurelia, Emilia and Maquerelle bearing up her train, Bianca attending: then exeunt Emilia and Bianca.

Aurel. And is’t possible? Mendoza slight me! possible?

Fer. Possible!
What can be strange in him that’s drank with favour,[387]
Grows insolent with grace?—Speak, Maquerelle, speak.

Maq. To speak feelingly, more, more richly in solid sense than worthless words, give me those jewels of your ears to receive my enforced duty. As for my part, ’tis well known I can put up[388] anything [Ferneze privately feeds Maquerelle’s hands with jewels during this speech]; can bear patiently with any man: but when I heard he wronged your precious sweetness, I was enforced to take deep offence. ’Tis most certain he loves Emilia with high appetite: and, as she told me (as you know we women impart our secrets one to another), when she repulsed his suit, in that he was possessed with your endeared grace, Mendoza most ingratefully renounced all faith to you.    16

Fer. Nay, called you—Speak, Maquerelle, speak.

Maq. By heaven, witch, dried biscuit; and contested blushlessly he loved you but for a spurt or so.

Fer. For maintenance.

Maq. Advancement and regard.

Aurel. O villain! O impudent Mendoza!

Maq. Nay, he is the rustiest-jawed,[389] the foulest-mouthed knave in railing against our sex: he will rail against[390] women

Aurel. How? how?

Maq. I am ashamed to speak’t, I.

Aurel. I love to hate him: speak.

Maq. Why, when Emilia scorned his base unsteadiness, the black-throated rascal scolded, and said—    30

Aurel. What?

Maq. Troth, ’tis too shameless.

Aurel. What said he?

Maq. Why, that, at four, women were fools; at fourteen, drabs; at forty, bawds; at fourscore, witches; and [at] a hundred, cats.

Aurel. O unlimitable impudency!

Fer. But as for poor Ferneze’s fixèd heart,
Was never shadeless meadow drier parch’d
Under the scorching heat of heaven’s dog,    40
Than is my heart with your enforcing eyes.

Maq. A hot simile.

Fer. Your smiles have been my heaven, your frowns my hell:
O, pity, then! grace should with beauty dwell.

Maq. Reasonable perfect, by’r lady.

Aurel. I will love thee, be it but in despite
Of that Mendoza:—witch!—Ferneze,—witch!—
Ferneze, thou art the duchess’ favourite:
Be faithful, private: but ’tis dangerous.

Fer. His love is lifeless that for love fears breath:    50
The worst that’s due to sin, O, would ’twere death!

Aurel. Enjoy my favour. I will be sick instantly and take physic: therefore in depth of night visit

Maq. Visit her chamber, but conditionally you shall not offend her bed: by this diamond!

Fer. By this diamond.

[Giving diamond to Maq.

Maq. Nor tarry longer than you please: by this ruby!

Fer. By this ruby.

[Giving ruby to Maq.

Maq. And that the door shall not creak.    60

Fer. And that the door shall not creak.

Maq. Nay, but swear.

Fer. By this purse.

[Giving purse to Maq.

Maq. Go to, I’ll keep your oaths for you: remember, visit.

Aurel. Dried biscuit!—Look where the base wretch comes.

Enter Mendoza, reading a sonnet.

Men.Beauty’s life, heaven’s model, love’s queen,”

Maq. That’s his Emilia.

Men.Natures triumph, best on[391] earth,”—    70

Maq. Meaning Emilia.

Men.Thou only wonder that the world hath seen,”

Maq. That’s Emilia.

Aurel. Must I, then, hear her praised?—Mendoza!

Men. Madam, your excellency is graciously encountered: I have been writing passionate flashes in honour of—

[Exit Ferneze.

Aurel. Out, villain, villain!
O judgment, where have been my eyes? what
Bewitch’d election made me dote on thee?    80
What sorcery made me love thee? But, be gone;
Bury thy head. O, that I could do more
Than loath thee! hence, worst of ill!
No reason ask, our reason is our will.[392]

[Exit with Maquerelle.

Men. Women! nay, Furies; nay, worse; for they torment only the bad, but women good and bad. Damnation of mankind! Breath, hast thou praised them for this? and is’t you, Ferneze, are wriggled into smock-grace? sit sure. O, that I could rail against these monsters in nature, models of hell, curse of the earth, women! that dare attempt anything, and what they attempt they care not how they accomplish; without all premeditation or prevention; rash in asking, desperate in working, impatient in suffering, extreme in desiring, slaves unto appetite, mistresses in dissembling, only constant in unconstancy, only perfect in counterfeiting: their words are feigned, their eyes forged, their sighs[393] dissembled, their looks counterfeit, their hair false, their given hopes deceitful, their very breath artificial: their blood is their only god; bad clothes, and old age, are only the devils they tremble at. That I could rail now!    102

Enter Pietro, his sword drawn.

Pietro. A mischief fill thy throat, thou foul-jaw’d slave! Say thy prayers.

Men. I ha’ forgot ’em.

Pietro. Thou shalt die.

Men. So shalt thou. I am heart-mad.

Pietro. I am horn-mad.

Men. Extreme mad.

Pietro. Monstrously mad.

Men. Why?    111

Pietro. Why! thou, thou hast dishonoured my bed.

Men. I! Come, come, sit; here’s my bare heart to thee,
As steady as is the centre to this[394] glorious world:
And yet, hark, thou art a cornuto,—but by me?

Pietro. Yes, slave, by thee.

Men. Do not, do not with tart and spleenful breath
Lose him can lose thee. I offend my duke!
Bear record, O ye dumb and raw-air’d nights,
How vigilant my sleepless eyes have been    120
To watch the traitor! record, thou spirit of truth,
With what debasement I ha’ thrown myself
To under offices, only to learn
The truth, the party, time, the means, the place,
By whom, and when, and where thou wert disgrac’d!
And am I paid with slave? hath my intrusion
To places private and prohibited,
Only to observe the closer passages,
Heaven knows with vows of revelation,
Made me suspected, made me deem’d a villain?    130
What rogue hath wrong’d us?

Pietro. Mendoza, I may err.

Men. Err! ’tis too mild a name: but err and err,
Run giddy with suspect, ’fore through me thou know
That which most creatures, save thyself, do know:
Nay, since my service hath so loath’d reject,
’Fore I’ll reveal, shalt find them clipt together.

Pietro. Mendoza, thou knowest I am a most plain-breasted man.

Men. The fitter to make a cornuto:[395] would your brows were most plain too!    140

Pietro. Tell me: indeed, I heard thee rail

Men. At women, true: why, what cold fleam[396] could choose,
Knowing a lord so honest, virtuous,
So boundless loving, bounteous, fair-shap’d, sweet,
To be contemn’d, abus’d, defam’d, made cuckold?
Heart! I hate all women for’t: sweet sheets, wax lights, antic bedposts, cambric smocks, villainous curtains, arras pictures, oiled hinges, and all the[397] tongue-tied lascivious witnesses of great creatures’ wantonness,—what salvation can you expect?    150

Pietro. Wilt thou tell me?

Men. Why, you may find it yourself; observe, observe.

Pietro. I ha’ not the patience: wilt thou deserve me, tell, give it.

Men. Take’t: why, Ferneze is the man, Ferneze: I’ll prove’t; this night you shall take him in your sheets: will’t serve?

Pietro. It will; my bosom’s in some peace: till night

Men. What?

Pietro. Farewell.

Men. God! how weak a lord are you!    160
Why, do you think there is no more but so?

Pietro. Why!

Men. Nay, then, will I presume to counsel you:
It should be thus. You with some guard upon the sudden
Break into the princess’ chamber: I stay behind,
Without the door, through which he needs must pass:
Ferneze flies; let him: to me he comes; he’s kill’d
By me, observe, by me: you follow: I rail,
And seem to save the body. Duchess comes,
On whom (respecting her advancèd birth,    170
And your fair nature), I know, nay, I do know,
No violence must be us’d; she comes: I storm,
I praise, excuse Ferneze, and still maintain
The duchess’ honour: she for this loves me.
I honour you; shall know her soul, you mine:
Then naught shall she contrive in vengeance
(As women are most thoughtful in revenge)
Of her Ferneze, but you shall sooner know’t
Than she can think’t. Thus shall his death come sure,
Your duchess brain-caught: so your life secure.    180

Pietro. It is too well: my bosom and my heart
When nothing helps, cut off the rotten part.


Men. Who cannot feign friendship can ne’er produce the effects of hatred. Honest fool duke! subtle lascivious duchess! silly novice Ferneze! I do laugh at ye. My brain is in labour till it produce mischief, and I feel sudden throes, proofs sensible, the issue is at hand.
As bears shape young, so I’ll form my device,
Which grown proves horrid: vengeance makes men wise.


[387] “With favour”—omitted in some copies of ed. 2.

[388] Omitted in ed. 2.

[389] Ed. 2. “rustiest jade.”

[390] Ed. 1. “agen.”

[391] Ed. 1. “of.”

[392] Ed. 1. gives:—

“No reason else, my reason is my will.”

[393] Old eds. “sights” (and, as Dyce remarks, so the word was sometimes written).

[394] Ed. 1. “this center to this.”—Ed. 2. “this centre to the.”

[395] Ed. 2. “cuckolde.”

[396] Phlegm.

[397] Ed. 1. “ye.”


The palace of the Duke of Genoa.

Enter Malevole and Passarello.

Mal. Fool, most happily encountered: canst sing, fool?

Pass. Yes, I can sing, fool, if you’ll bear the burden; and I can play upon instruments, scurvily, as gentlemen do. O, that I had been gelded! I should then have been a fat fool for a chamber, a squeaking fool for a tavern, and a private fool for all the ladies.

Mal. You are in good case since you came to court, fool: what, guarded, guarded![399]    9

Pass. Yes, faith, even as footmen and bawds wear velvet, not for an ornament of honour, but for a badge of drudgery; for, now the duke is discontented, I am fain to fool him asleep every night.

Mal. What are his griefs?

Pass. He hath sore eyes.

Mal. I never observed so much.

Pass. Horrible sore eyes; and so hath every cuckold, for the roots of the horns spring in the eyeballs, and that’s the reason the horn of a cuckold is as tender as his eye, or as that growing in the woman’s forehead twelve years since,[400] that could not endure to be touched. The duke hangs down his head like a columbine.    22

Mal. Passarello, why do great men beg fools?[401]

Pass. As the Welshman stole rushes when there was nothing else to filch; only to keep begging in fashion.

Mal. Pooh, thou givest no good reason; thou speakest like a fool.

Pass. Faith, I utter small fragments, as your knight courts your city widow with jingling[402] of his gilt spurs, advancing his bush-coloured beard,[403] and taking tobacco: this is all the mirror of their knightly complements.[404] Nay, I shall talk when my tongue is a-going once; ’tis like a citizen on horseback, evermore in a false gallop.    33

Mal. And how doth Maquerelle fare nowadays?

Pass. Faith, I was wont to salute her as our English women are at their first landing in Flushing;[405] I would call her whore: but now that antiquity leaves her as an old piece of plastic[406] to work by, I only ask her how her rotten teeth fare every morning, and so leave her. She was the first that ever invented perfumed smocks for the gentlewomen, and woollen shoes, for fear of creaking for the visitant. She were an excellent lady, but that her face peeleth like Muscovy glass.[407]    43

Mal. And how doth thy old lord, that hath wit enough to be a flatterer, and conscience enough to be a knave?

Pass. O, excellent: he keeps beside me fifteen jesters, to instruct him in the art of fooling, and utters their jests in private to the duke and duchess: he’ll lie like to your Switzer or lawyer; he’ll be of any side for most money.    50

Mal. I am in haste, be brief.

Pass. As your fiddler when he is paid.—He’ll thrive, I warrant you, while your young courtier stands like Good-Friday in Lent; men long to see it, because more fatting days come after it; else he’s the leanest and pitifullest actor in the whole pageant. Adieu, Malevole.

Mal. [Aside.] O world most vile, when thy loose vanities,
Taught by this fool, do make the fool seem wise!

Pass. You’ll know me again, Malevole.

Mal. O, ay, by that velvet.    60

Pass. Ay, as a pettifogger by his buckram bag. I am as common in the court as an hostess’s lips in the country; knights, and clowns, and knaves, and all share me: the court cannot possibly be without me. Adieu, Malevole.


[398] This scene was added in ed. 2.

[399] Ornamented with guards or facings.—The coats of fools were commonly guarded.

[400] “The woman with the horn in her forehead was probably Margaret Griffith, wife of David Owen, of Llan Gaduain, in Montgomery. A portrait of her is in existence, prefixed to a scarce pamphlet, entitled, ‘A miraculous and monstrous, but yet most true and certayne Discourse of a Woman, now to be seen in London, of the age of threescore yeares or thereabouts, in the midst of whose forehead there groweth out a crooked Horne of four ynches long. Imprinted at London, by Thomas Orwin, and are to be sold by Edward White, dwelling at the little north dore of Paules Church, at the signe of the Gun, 1588.’”—Gilchrist.

[401] To beg a person for a fool was to apply to be made guardian of a person who had been legally proved to be an idiot. It was in the king’s power to grant the custody of an idiot’s person and the profits of his estate to any subject.

[402] Gallants prided themselves on wearing spurs that jingled. Middleton, after elaborately describing a young prodigal’s attire, adds:—“Lastly, he walked the chamber with such a pestilent jingle that his spurs over-squeaked the lawyer" (Works, viii. 71). So Chapman in Monsieur D’Olive:—“You may hear them (the gallants) half a mile ere they come at you—six or seven make a perfect morice-dance; they need no bells, their spurs serve their turn.”

[403] This is the reading of Dyce’s copy of ed. 2. Other copies read:— “Faith, I utter small fragments as your knight courtes your Citty widow with something of his guilt: some aduancing his high-colored beard,” &c.

[404] Accomplishments.

[405] “At this time Flushing was in the hands of the English as part of the security for money advanced by Queen Elizabeth to the Dutch. The governor and garrison were all Englishmen.”—Reed.

[406] Model in wax or clay.

[407] Talc.—Reed quotes from Giles Fletcher’s Russe Commonwealth, 1591, p. 10:—“In the province of Corelia, and about the river Duyna towards the North-sea, there groweth a soft rock which they call Slude. This they cut into pieces, and so tear it into thin flakes, which naturally it is apt for, and so use it for glasse lanthorns and such like. It giveth both inwards and outwards a clearer light then glasse, and for this respect is better than either glasse or horne; for that it neither breaketh like glasse, nor yet will burne like the lanthorne.”



Chamber in the Duke’s Palace.

Enter Mendoza with a sconce,[408] to observe Ferneze’s entrance, who, whilst the act is playing, enters unbraced, two Pages before him with lights; is met by Maquerelle and conveyed in; the Pages[409] are sent away.

Men. He’s caught, the woodcock’s head is i’ the noose.
Now treads Ferneze in dangerous path of lust,
Swearing his sense is merely[410] deified:
The fool grasps clouds, and shall beget Centaurs:
And now, in strength of panting faint delight,
The goat bids heaven envy him. Good goose,
I can afford thee nothing
But the poor comfort of calamity, pity.
Lust’s like the plummets hanging on clock-lines,
Will ne’er ha’ done till all is quite undone;    10
Such is the course salt sallow lust doth run;
Which thou shalt try. I’ll be reveng’d. Duke, thy suspect;
Duchess, thy disgrace; Ferneze, thy rivalship;
Shall have swift vengeance. Nothing so holy,
No band of nature so strong,
No law of friendship so sacred,
But I’ll profane, burst, violate, ’fore I’ll
Endure disgrace, contempt, and poverty.
Shall I, whose very hum struck all heads bare,
Whose face made silence, creaking of whose shoe    20
Forc’d the most private passages fly ope,
Scrape like a servile dog at some latch’d door?
Learn how to make a leg, and cry “Beseech ye,
Pray ye, is such a lord within?” be aw’d
At some odd usher’s scoff’d formality?
First sear my brains! Unde cadis, non quo, refert;[411]
My heart cries, “Perish all!” How! how! what fate
Can once avoid revenge, that’s desperate?
I’ll to the duke: if all should ope—if! tush,
Fortune still dotes on those who cannot blush.    30


[408] Lantern.

[409] Some copies of ed. 1. “the Dutches pages.”

[410] Wholly.

[411] See note 1, p. 49.


Chamber in the Duke’s Palace.

Enter Malevole at one door; Bianca, Emilia, and Maquerelle at the other door.

Mal. Bless ye, cast o’ ladies![412] —Ha, dipsas![413] how dost thou, old coal?

Maq. Old coal!

Mal. Ay, old coal: methinks thou liest like a brand under these[414] billets of green wood. He that will inflame a young wench’s heart, let him lay close to her an old coal that hath first been fired, a panderess, my half-burnt lint, who though thou canst not flame thyself, yet art able to set a thousand virgin’s tapers afire.—And how does[415] Janivere thy husband, my little periwinkle? is he troubled with the cough o’ the lungs still? does he hawk o’ nights still? he will not bite.    12

Bian. No, by my troth, I took him with his mouth empty of old teeth.

Mal. And he took thee with thy belly full of young bones: marry, he took his maim by the stroke of his enemy.

Bian. And I mine by the stroke of my friend.

Mal. The close stock![416] O mortal wench! Lady, ha’ ye now no restoratives for your decayed Jasons?[417] look ye, crab’s guts baked,[418] distilled ox-pith,[419] the pulverised hairs of a lion’s upper-lip, jelly of cock-sparrows, he-monkey’s marrow, or powder of fox-stones?—And whither are all[420] you ambling now?    24

Bian. Why,[421] to bed, to bed.

Mal. Do your husbands lie with ye?

Bian. That were country fashion, i’faith.

Mal. Ha’ ye no foregoers about you? come, whither in good deed, la, now?

Maq.[422] In good indeed, la, now, to eat the most miraculously, admirably, astonishable composed posset with three curds, without any drink. Will ye help me with a he-fox?—Here’s the duke.    33

Mal.[423] Fried frogs are very good, and French-like, too.

[Exeunt Ladies.

Enter Pietro, Celso, Equato, Bilioso, Ferrardo, and Mendoza.

Pietro. The night grows deep and foul: what hour is’t?

Celso. Upon the stroke of twelve.

Mal. Save ye, duke!

Pietro. From thee: begone, I do not love thee; let me see thee no more; we are displeased.

Mal. Why, God b’wi’ thee![424] Heaven hear my curse,—may thy wife and thee live long together!    41

Pietro. Begone, sirrah!

Mal. When Arthur first in court began,[425] —Agamemnon—Menelaus—was ever any duke a cornuto?

Pietro. Begone, hence!

Mal. What religion wilt thou be of next?

Men. Out with him!

Mal. With most servile patience.—Time will come
When wonder of thy error will strike dumb
Thy bezzled[426] sense.—    50
Slaves! ay, favour: ay, marry, shall he rise:[427]
Good God! how subtle hell doth flatter vice!
Mounts[428] him aloft, and makes him seem to fly,
As fowl the tortoise mock’d, who to the sky
The ambitious shell-fish rais’d! the end of all
Is only, that from height he might dead fall.

Bil.[429] Why, when?[430] out, ye rogue! begone, ye rascal!

Mal. I shall now leave ye with all my best wishes.

Bil. Out, ye cur!

Mal. Only let’s hold together a firm correspondence.

Bil. Out!    61

Mal. A mutual-friendly-reciprocal-perpetual kind of steady-unanimous-heartily-leagued

Bil. Hence, ye gross-jawed, peasantly—out, go!

Mal. Adieu, pigeon-house; thou burr, that only stickest to nappy fortunes. The serpigo, the strangury, an eternal uneffectual priapism seize thee!

Bil. Out, rogue!

Mal. May’st thou be a notorious wittolly pander to thine own wife, and yet get no office, but live to be the utmost misery of mankind, a beggarly cuckold!    71


Pietro. It shall be so.

Men. It must be so, for where great states revenge,
’Tis requisite the parts be closely dogg’d,[431]
(Which piety and soft respect forbears).
Lay one into his breast shall sleep with him,
Feed in the same dish, run in self-faction,
Who may discover[432] any shape of danger;
For once disgrac’d, displayèd[433] in offence,
It makes man blushless, and man is (all confess)    80
More prone to vengeance than to gratefulness.
Favours are writ in dust; but stripes we feel
Depravèd nature stamps in lasting steel.

Pietro. You shall be leagu’d with the duchess.

Equato. The plot is very good.

Pietro.[434] You shall both kill, and seem the corse to save.

Fer. A most fine brain-trick.

Celso. [aside] Of a most cunning knave.

Pietro. My lords, the heavy action we intend
Is death and shame, two of the ugliest shapes
That can confound a soul; think, think of it:    90
I strike, but yet, like him that ’gainst stone walls
Directs, his shafts rebound in his own face;
My lady’s shame is mine, O God, ’tis mine!
Therefore I do conjure all secrecy:
Let it be as very little as may be,
Pray ye, as may be.
Make frightless entrance, salute her with soft eyes,
Stain naught with blood; only Ferneze dies,
But not before her brows. O gentlemen,
God knows I love her! Nothing else, but this:—    100
I am not well: if grief, that sucks veins dry,
Rivels[435] the skin, casts ashes in men’s faces,
Be-dulls the eye, unstrengthens all the blood,
Chance to remove me to another world,
As sure I once must die, let him succeed:
I have no child; all that my youth begot
Hath been your loves, which shall inherit me:
Which as it ever shall, I do conjure it,
Mendoza may succeed: he’s nobly[436] born;
With me of much desert.

Celso. [aside] Much![437]    110

Pietro. Your silence answers, “Ay:”
I thank you. Come on now. O, that I might die
Before her shame’s display’d! would I were forc’d
To burn my father’s tomb, unheal[438] his bones,
And dash them in the dirt, rather than this!
This both the living and the dead offends:
Sharp surgery where naught but death amends.


[412] “Cast o’ ladies”—couple of ladies.

[413] A very venomous little serpent. “A man or beast wounded with this serpent,” says Topsel in his Hist. of Serpents (ed. 1658, p. 699), “is afflicted with intolerable thirst, insomuch as it is easier for him to break his belly than to quench his thirst with drinking; always gaping like a bull, casteth himself down into the water and maketh no spare of the cold liquor, but continually sucketh it in till either the belly break or the poison drive out the life by overcoming the vital spirits.”

[414] Omitted in ed. 2.—“A maquerela, in plain English a bawd,” says Overbury in his Characters, “is an old charcoal that hath been burnt herself, and therefore is able to kindle a whole green coppice.”

[415] Ed. 2. “dooth.”

[416] Stockado—a thrust in fencing.

[417] Ed. 1. “Jason.”

[418] So in the Scourge of Villainy:

“A crab’s baked guts and lobster’s butter’d thigh,
I hear them swear is blood for venery.”

[419] Ox-pith is mentioned among other provocatives in John Taylor’s The Sculler, ep. 32:—

“Look how yon lecher’s legs are worn away,
With haunting of the whore-house every day!
He knows more greasy panders, bawds and drabs,
And eats more lobsters, artichokes and crabs,
Blue roasted eggs, potatoes, muscadine,
Oysters, and pith that grows i’ the ox’s chine,
With many drugs, compounds, and simples store,
Which makes him have a stomach to a whore.”

[420] Omitted in ed. 2.

[421] Omitted in ed. 2.

[422] This speech is given to Bianca in ed. 2.

[423] This speech was added in ed. 2.

[424] Ed. 2. “be with thee.”

[425] The first line of an old ballad (printed in Percy’s Reliques). Falstaff is introduced humming a snatch of it in 2 Henry IV., ii. 4.

[426] Drunken.

[427] The line is corrupt. Old eds. “slaues I fauour, I marry shall he rise.”—Dyce reads “The slave’s in favour: ay, marry, shall he rise.”

[428] Ed. 1. “mount.”

[429] “Why, when? ... cuckold” (ll. 57-71).—This passage was added in ed. 2.

[430] A common exclamation of impatience.

[431] The passage is very corrupt. Old eds. read:—

“’Tis requisite, the parts [ed. 2. partes] with piety,
And soft [ed. 2. and some copies of ed. 1. loft] respect forbeares, be closely dogg’d,” &c.

Dyce’s emendation is:—

“’Tis requisite the parties with piety
And soft respect ever be closely dogg’d.”

W. N. Lettsom proposed:—

“It must be so, for where
Great states revenge, ’tis requisite the parties
With spy of close respect be closely dogg’d.”

[432] Ed. 1. “disseuer.”

[433] Ed. 1. “discouered.”

[434] Old eds.Mend.

[435] Wrinkles.

[436] Ed. 2. “noble.”

[437] Ironical exclamation.

[438] Uncover.—“Descouvrir. To discover, uncover, unhill, denude, &c.”—Cotgrave.


A chamber in the Duke’s Palace.

Enter Maquerelle, Emilia, and Bianca, with a posset.

Maq. Even here it is, three curds in three regions individually distinct, most methodically[439] according to art compos’d, without any drink.

Bian. Without any drink!

Maq. Upon my honour. Will ye sit and eat?

Emil. Good, the composure: the receipt, how is’t?

Maq. ’Tis a pretty pearl; by this pearl (how does’t with me?) thus it is. Seven and thirty yolks of Barbary hens’ eggs; eighteen spoonfuls and a half of the juice of cock-sparrow bones; one ounce, three drams, four scruples, and one quarter of the syrup of Ethiopian dates; sweetened with three quarters of a pound of pure candied Indian eringoes; strewed over with the powder of pearl of America, amber of Cataia, and lamb-stones of Muscovia.    15

Bian. Trust me, the ingredients are very cordial, and, no question, good, and most powerful in restauration.[440]

Maq. I know not what you mean by restauration; but this it doth,—it purifieth the blood, smootheth the skin, enliveneth the eye, strengtheneth the veins, mundifieth the teeth, comforteth the stomach, fortifieth the back, and quickeneth the wit; that’s all.    22

Emil. By my troth, I have eaten but two spoonfuls, and methinks I could discourse most swiftly and wittily already.

Maq. Have you the art to seem honest?

Bian. Ay, thank advice and practice.    27

Maq. Why, then, eat me o’ this posset, quicken your blood, and preserve your beauty. Do you know Doctor Plaster-face? by this curd, he is the most exquisite in forging of veins, sprightening of eyes, dying of hair, sleeking of skins, blushing of cheeks, surphling[441] of breasts, blanching and bleaching of teeth, that ever made an old lady gracious by torchlight; by this curd, la.

Bian. Well,[442] we are resolved, what God has given us we’ll cherish.    36

Maq. Cherish anything saving your husband; keep him not too high, lest he leap the pale: but, for your beauty, let it be your saint; bequeath two hours to it every morning in your closet. I ha’ been young, and yet, in my conscience, I am not above five-and-twenty: but, believe me, preserve and use your beauty; for youth and beauty once gone, we are like bee-hives without honey, out-o’-fashion apparel that no man will wear: therefore use me your beauty.    45

Emil. Ay, but men say

Maq. Men say! let men say what they will: life o’ woman! they are ignorant of our[443] wants. The more in years, the more in perfection they grow; if they lose youth and beauty, they gain wisdom and discretion: but when our beauty fades, good-night with us. There cannot be an uglier thing than to see an old woman: from which, O pruning, pinching, and painting, deliver all sweet beauties!    54

[Music within.

Bian. Hark! music!

Maq. Peace, ’tis i’ the duchess’ bed-chamber.
Good rest, most prosperously-graced ladies.

Emil. Good night, sentinel.

Bian. Night, dear Maquerelle.

Maq. May my posset’s operation send you my wit and honesty; and me, your youth and beauty: the pleasingest rest!    62

[Exeunt, at one door, Bianca and Emilia; at another Maquerelle.

A Song within.

Whilst the song is singing, enter Mendoza with his sword drawn, standing ready to murder Ferneze as he flies from the duchess’ chamber.—Tumult within.

[Within.] Strike, strike!

[Aur. within.] Save my Ferneze! O, save my Ferneze!

[Within.] Follow, pursue!

[Aur. within.] O, save Ferneze!

Enter Ferneze in his shirt, and is received upon Mendoza’s sword.

Men. Pierce, pierce!—Thou shallow fool, drop there!

[Thrusts his rapier in Ferneze.

He that attempts a princess’ lawless love
Must have broad hands, close heart, with Argus’ eyes,
And back of Hercules, or else he dies.    70

Enter Aurelia, Pietro, Ferrardo, Bilioso, Celso, and Equato.

All. Follow, follow!

Men. Stand off, forbear, ye most uncivil lords!

Pietro. Strike!

Men. Do not; tempt not a man resolv’d:

[Mendoza bestrides the wounded body of Ferneze, and seems to save him.

Would you, inhuman murderers, more than death?

Aur. O poor Ferneze!

Men. Alas, now all defence too late!

Aur. He’s dead.

Pietro. I am sorry for our shame.—Go to your bed:
Weep not too much, but leave some tears to shed
When I am dead.    81

Aur. What, weep for thee! my soul no tears shall find.

Pietr. Alas, alas, that women’s souls are blind!

Men. Betray such beauty!
Murder such youth! contemn civility!
He loves him not that rails not at him.

Pietro. Thou canst not move us: we have blood enough.—
And please you, lady, we have quite forgot
All your defects: if not, why, then—

Aur. Not.

Pietro. Not: the best of rest: good-night.    90

[Exeunt Pietro, Ferrardo, Bilioso, Celso, and Equato.

Aur. Despite go with thee!

Men. Madam, you ha’ done me foul disgrace; you have wronged him much loves you too much: go to, your soul knows you have.

Aur. I think I have.

Men. Do you but think so?

Aur. Nay, sure, I have: my eyes have witnessed thy love: thou hast stood too firm for me.

Men. Why, tell me, fair-cheeked lady, who even in tears art powerfully beauteous, what unadvised passion struck ye into such a violent heat against me? Speak, what mischief wronged us? what devil injured us? speak.    103

Aur. The thing ne’er worthy of the name of man, Ferneze; Ferneze swore thou lov’[d]st Emilia; Which to advance, with most reproachful breath Thou both didst blemish and denounce my love.

Men. Ignoble villain! did I for this bestride
Thy wounded limbs? for[444] this, rank opposite
Even to my sovereign? for this, O God, for this,    110
Sunk all my hopes, and with my hopes my life?
Ripp’d bare my throat unto the hangman’s axe?—
Thou most dishonoured trunk!—Emilia!
By life, I know her not—Emilia!—
Did you believe him?

Aur. Pardon me, I did.

Men. Did you? and thereupon you gracèd him?

Aur. I did.

Men. Took him to favour, nay, even clasp’d with him?

Aur. Alas, I did!

Men. This night?    120

Aur. This night.

Men. And in your lustful twines the duke took you?

Aur. A most sad truth.

Men. O God, O God! how we dull honest souls,
Heavy-brain’d men, are swallow’d in the bogs
Of a deceitful ground! whilst nimble bloods,
Light-jointed spirits speed;[445] cut good men’s throats,
And ’scape. Alas, I am too honest for this age,
Too full of fleam and heavy steadiness;
Stood still whilst this slave cast a noose about me;    130
Nay, then to stand in honour of him and her,
Who had even slic’d my heart!

Aur. Come, I did err,
And am most sorry I did err.

Men. Why, we are both but dead: the duke hates us;
And those whom princes do once groundly hate,
Let them provide to die, as sure as fate.
Prevention is the heart of policy.

Aur. Shall we murder him?

Men. Instantly?

Aur. Instantly; before he casts a plot,    140
Or further blaze my honour’s much-known blot,
Let’s murder him.

Men. I would do much for you: will ye marry me?

Aur. I’ll make thee duke. We are of Medicis;
Florence our friend; in court my faction
Not meanly strengthful; the duke then dead;
We well prepar’d for change; the multitude
Irresolutely reeling; we in force;
Our party seconded; the kingdom maz’d;
No doubt of swift success all shall be grac’d.    150

Men. You do confirm me; we are resolute:
To-morrow look for change; rest confident.
’Tis now about the immodest waist of night:
The mother of moist dew with pallid light
Spreads gloomy shades about the numbèd earth.
Sleep, sleep, whilst we contrive our mischief’s birth.
This man I’ll get inhum’d. Farewell: to bed;
Ay, kiss thy[446] pillow, dream the duke is dead.
So, so, good night.

[Exit Aurelia.

How fortune dotes on impudence!
I am in private the adopted son    160
Of yon good prince:
I must be duke; why, if I must, I must.
Most silly lord, name me! O heaven! I see
God made honest fools to maintain crafty knaves.
The duchess is wholly mine too; must kill her husband
To quit her shame; much![447] then marry her: ay.
O, I grow proud in prosperous treachery!
As wrestlers clip, so I’ll embrace you all,
Not to support, but to procure your fall.

Enter Malevole.

Mal. God arrest thee!    170

Men. At whose suit?

Mal. At the devil’s. Ah, you treacherous, damnable monster, how dost? how dost, thou treacherous rogue? Ah, ye rascal! I am banished the court, sirrah.

Men. Prithee, let’s be acquainted; I do love thee, faith.

Mal. At your service, by the Lord, la: shall’s go to supper? Let’s be once drunk together, and so unite a most virtuously-strengthened friendship: shall’s, Huguenot? shall’s?    180

Men. Wilt fall upon my chamber to-morrow morn?

Mal. As a raven to a dunghill. They say there’s one dead here; pricked for the pride of the flesh.

Men. Ferneze: there he is; prithee, bury him.

Mal. O, most willingly: I mean to turn pure Rochelle[448] churchman, I.

Men. Thou churchman! why, why?

Mal. Because I’ll live lazily, rail upon authority, deny kings’ supremacy in things indifferent, and be a pope in mine own parish.    190

Men. Wherefore dost thou think churches were made?

Mal. To scour plough-shares: I ha’[449] seen oxen plough up altars; et nunc seges ubi Sion fuit.[450]

Men. Strange!

Mal. Nay, monstrous! I ha’ seen a sumptuous steeple turned to a stinking privy; more beastly, the sacredest place made a dogs’ kennel; nay, most inhuman, the stoned coffins of long-dead Christians burst up, and made hogs’ troughs: hic finis Priami.[451] Shall I ha’ some sack and cheese at thy chamber? Good night, good mischievous incarnate devil; good night, Mendoza; ah, ye inhuman villain, good night! night, fub.    202

Men. Goodnight: to-morrow morn?

Mal. Ay, I will come, friendly damnation, I will come. [Exit Mendoza.] I do descry cross-points; honesty and courtship straddle as far asunder as a true Frenchman’s legs.

Fer. O!

Mal. Proclamations! more proclamations!

Fer. O! a surgeon!    210

Mal. Hark! lust cries for a surgeon. What news from Limbo? how does[452] the grand cuckold, Lucifer?

Fer. O, help, help! conceal and save me.

[Ferneze stirs, and Malevole helps him up.

Mal. Thy shame more than thy wounds do grieve me far:
Thy wounds but leave upon thy flesh some scar;
But fame ne’er heals, still rankles worse and worse;
Such is of uncontrollèd lust the curse.
Think what it is in lawless sheets to lie;
But, O Ferneze, what in lust to die!
Then thou that shame respect’st, O, fly converse    220
With women’s eyes and lisping wantonness!
Stick candles ’gainst a virgin wall’s white back,
If they not burn, yet at the least they’ll black.
Come, I’ll convey thee to a private port,
Where thou shalt live (O happy man!) from court.
The beauty of the day begins to rise,
From whose bright form night’s heavy shadow flies.
Now ’gin close plots to work; the scene grows full,
And craves his eyes who hath a solid skull.

[Exit, conveying Ferneze away.

[439] Ed. 2. “methodicall.”

[440] Some copies of ed. 1. “operation.”

[441] Washing with cosmetics.

[442] Ed. 2. “We.”

[443] Ed. 2. “your.”

[444] “For this ... sovereign.”—These words are omitted in ed. 2.

[445] Dodsley’s correction.—Ed. 1. “pent;” ed. 2. “spent.”

[446] Ed. 2. “the.”

[447] Ironical exclamation.

[448] At this time Rochelle was an asylum for persecuted Protestants.

[449] Ed. 2. “have.”

[450] “Jam seges est ubi Troja fuit.”—Ovid, Her. Epist. i. 53.

[451] “Hæc finis Priami fatorum.”—Virgil, Æn. ii. 554.

[452] Ed. 2. “dooth.”



A room in the Duke’s Palace.

Enter Pietro, Mendoza, Equato, and Bilioso.

Pietro. ’Tis grown to youth of day: how shall we waste this light?
My heart’s more heavy than a tyrant’s crown.
Shall we go hunt? Prepare for field.

[Exit Equato.

Men. Would ye could be merry!

Pietro. Would God I could! Mendoza, bid ’em haste.

[Exit Mendoza.

I would fain shift place; O vain relief!
Sad souls may well change place, but not change grief:
As deer, being struck, fly thorough many soils,[453]
Yet still the shaft sticks fast, so——

Bil. A good old simile, my honest lord.    10

Pietro. I am not much unlike to some sick man
That long desirèd hurtful drink; at last
Swills in and drinks his last, ending at once
Both life and thirst. O, would I ne’er had known
My own dishonour! Good God, that men should desire
To search out that, which, being found, kills all
Their joy of life! to taste the tree of knowledge,
And then be driven from out paradise!—
Canst give me some comfort?    19

Bil. My lord, I have some books which have been dedicated to my honour, and I ne’er read ’em, and yet they had very fine names, Physic for Fortune,[454] Lozenges of sanctified sincerity,[455] very pretty works of curates, scriveners, and schoolmasters. Marry, I remember one Seneca, Lucius Annæus Seneca——

Pietro. Out upon him! he writ of temperance and fortitude, yet lived like a voluptuous epicure, and died like an effeminate coward.—Haste thee to Florence: Here, take our letters; see ’em seal’d: away!
Report in private to the honour’d duke    30
His daughter’s forc’d disgrace; tell him at length
We know too much: due compliments[456] advance:
There’s naught that’s safe and sweet but ignorance.[457]


Enter Bianca.

Bil. Madam, I am going ambassador for Florence; ’twill be great charges to me.

Bian. No matter, my lord, you have the lease of two manors come out next Christmas; you may lay your tenants on the greater rack for it: and when you come home again, I’ll teach you how you shall get two hundred pounds a-year by your teeth.    40

Bil. How, madam?

Bian. Cut off so much from house-keeping: that which is saved by the teeth, you know, is got by the teeth.

Bil. ’Fore God, and so I may; I am in wondrous credit, lady.

Bian. See the use of flattery: I did ever counsel you to flatter greatness, and you have profited well: any man that will do so shall be sure to be like your Scotch barnacle,[458] now a block, instantly a worm, and presently a great goose: this it is to rot and putrefy in the bosom of greatness.    52

Bil. Thou art ever my politician. O, how happy is that old lord that hath a politician to his young lady! I’ll have fifty gentlemen shall attend upon me: marry, the most of them shall be farmers’ sons, because they shall bear their own charges; and they shall go apparelled thus,—in sea-water-green suits, ash-colour cloaks, watchet stockings, and popinjay-green feathers: will not the colours do excellent?    60

Bian. Out upon’t! they’ll look like citizens riding to their friends at Whitsuntide; their apparel just so many several parishes.

Bil. I’ll have it so; and Passarello, my fool, shall go along with me; marry, he shall be in velvet.

Bian. A fool in velvet!

Bil. Ay, ’tis common for your fool to wear satin; I’ll have mine in velvet.

Bian. What will you wear, then, my lord?    69

Bil. Velvet too; marry, it shall be embroidered, because I’ll differ from the fool somewhat. I am horribly troubled with the gout: nothing grieves me, but that my doctor hath forbidden me wine, and you know your ambassador must drink. Didst thou ask thy doctor what was good for the gout?

Bian. Yes; he said, ease, wine, and women, were good for it.

Bil. Nay, thou hast such a wit! What was good to cure it, said he?    79

Bian. Why, the rack. All your empirics could never do the like cure upon the gout the rack did in England, or your Scotch boot.[459] The French harlequin[460] will instruct you.

Bil. Surely, I do wonder how thou, having for the most part of thy lifetime been a country body, shouldst have so good a wit.

Bian. Who, I? why, I have been a courtier thrice two months.    88

Bil. So have I this twenty year, and yet there was a gentleman-usher called me coxcomb t’other day, and to my face too: was’t not a backbiting rascal? I would I were better travelled, that I might have been better acquainted with the fashions of several countrymen: but my secretary, I think, he hath sufficiently instructed me.

Bian. How, my lord?

Bil. “Marry, my good lord,” quoth he, “your lordship shall ever find amongst a hundred Frenchmen forty hot-shots; amongst a hundred Spaniards, three-score braggarts; amongst a hundred Dutchmen, four-score drunkards; amongst an hundred Englishmen, four-score and ten madmen; and amongst an hundred Welshmen”——    102

Bian. What, my lord?

Bil. “Four-score and nineteen gentlemen.”[461]

Bian. But since you go about a sad embassy, I would have you go in black, my lord.

Bil. Why, dost think I cannot mourn, unless I wear my hat in cipres,[462] like an alderman’s heir? that’s vile, very old, in faith.

Bian. I’ll learn of you shortly: O, we should have a fine gallant of you, should not I instruct you! How will you bear yourself when you come into the Duke of Florence’ court?    113

Bil. Proud enough, and ’twill do well enough: as I walk up and down the chamber, I’ll spit frowns about me, have a strong perfume in my jerkin, let my beard grow to make me look terrible, salute no man beneath the fourth button; and ’twill do excellent.

Bian. But there is a very beautiful lady there; how will you entertain her?    120

Bil. I’ll tell you that, when the lady hath entertained me: but to satisfy thee, here comes the fool.

Enter Passarello.

Fool, thou shalt stand for the fair lady.

Pass. Your fool will stand for your lady most willingly and most uprightly.

Bil. I’ll salute her in Latin.

Pass. O, your fool can understand no Latin.

Bil. Ay, but your lady can.

Pass. Why, then, if your lady take down your fool, your fool will stand no longer for your lady.    130

Bil. A pestilent fool! ’fore God, I think the world be turned upside down too.

Pass. O, no, sir; for then your lady and all the ladies in the palace should go with their heels upward, and that were a strange sight, you know.

Bil. There be many will repine at my preferment.

Pass. O, ay, like the envy of an elder sister, that hath her younger made a lady before her.

Bil. The duke is wondrous discontented.

Pass. Ay, and more melancholic than a usurer having all his money out at the death of a prince.    141

Bil. Didst thou see Madam Floria to-day?

Pass. Yes, I found her repairing her face to-day; the red upon the white showed as if her cheeks should have been served in for two dishes of barberries in stewed broth, and the flesh to them a woodcock.

Bil. A bitter fool![463] —Come, madam, this night thou shalt enjoy me freely, and to-morrow for Florence.    148

Pass. What a natural fool is he that would be a pair of boddice to a woman’s petticoat, to be trussed and pointed to them! Well, I’ll dog my lord; and the word is proper: for when I fawn upon him, he feeds me; when I snap him by the fingers, he spits in my mouth. If a dog’s death were not strangling, I had rather be one than a serving-man; for the corruption of coin is either the generation of a usurer or a lousy beggar.

[Exeunt Bianca and Passarello.

Enter Malevole in some frize gown, whilst Bilioso reads his patent.

Mal. I cannot sleep; my eyes’ ill-neighbouring lids
Will hold no fellowship. O thou pale sober night,
Thou that in sluggish fumes all sense dost steep;
Thou that giv’st all the world full leave to play,    160
Unbend’st the feebled veins of sweaty labour!
The galley-slave, that all the toilsome day
Tugs at his oar against the stubborn wave,
Straining his rugged veins, snores fast;
The stooping scythe-man, that doth barb the field,
Thou mak’st wink sure: in night all creatures sleep;
Only the malcontent, that ’gainst his fate
Repines and quarrels,—alas, he’s goodman tell-clock!
His sallow jaw-bones sink with wasting moan;
Whilst others’ beds are down, his pillow’s stone.    170

Bil. Malevole!

Mal. Elder of Israel, thou honest defect of wicked nature and obstinate ignorance, when did thy wife let thee lie with her?

Bil. I am going ambassador to Florence.

Mal. Ambassador! Now, for thy country’s honour, prithee, do not put up mutton and porridge i’ thy cloakbag. Thy young lady wife goes to Florence with thee too, does she not?

Bil. No, I leave her at the palace.    180

Mal. At the palace! Now, discretion shield, man; for God’s love, let’s ha’ no more cuckolds! Hymen begins to put off his saffron[464] robe: keep thy wife i’ the state of grace. Heart o’ truth, I would sooner leave my lady singled in a bordello than in the Genoa palace:
Sin there appearing in her sluttish shape,
Would soon grow loathsome, even to blushes’ sense;
Surfeit would choke[465] intemperate appetite,
Make the soul scent the rotten breath of lust.
When in an Italian lascivious palace,    190
A lady guardianless,
Left to the push of all allurement,
The strongest incitements to immodesty,
To have her bound, incens’d with wanton sweets,
Her veins fill’d high with heating delicates,
Soft rest, sweet music, amorous masquerers,
Lascivious banquets, sin itself gilt o’er,
Strong fantasy tricking up strange delights,
Presenting it dress’d pleasingly to sense,
Sense leading it unto the soul, confirm’d    200
With potent examples impudent custom,
Entic’d by that great bawd, opportunity;[466]
Thus being prepar’d, clap to her easy ear
Youth in good clothes, well-shap’d, rich,
Fair-spoken, promising, noble, ardent, blood-full,
Witty, flattering,—Ulysses absent,
O Ithaca,[467] can chastest Penelope hold out?

Bil. Mass, I’ll think on’t. Farewell.

Mal. Farewell. Take thy wife with thee. Farewell.

[Exit Bilioso.

To Florence; um! it may prove good, it may;    210
And we may once unmask our brows.

Enter Celso.

Celso. My honour’d lord,

Mal. Celso, peace! how is’t? speak low: pale fears
Suspect that hedges, walls, and trees, have ears:
Speak, how runs all?

Celso. I’faith, my lord, that beast with many heads,
The staggering multitude, recoils apace:
Though thorough great men’s envy, most men’s malice,
Their much-intemperate heat hath banish’d you,
Yet now they find[468] envy and malice ne’er    220
Produce faint reformation.
The duke, the too soft duke, lies as a block,
For which two tugging factions seem to saw;
But still the iron through the ribs they draw.

Mal. I tell thee, Celso, I have ever found
Thy breast most far from shifting cowardice
And fearful baseness: therefore I’ll tell thee, Celso,
I find the wind begins to come about;
I’ll shift my suit of fortune.
I know the Florentine, whose only force,    230
By marrying his proud daughter to this prince,
Both banish’d me, and made this weak lord duke,
Will now forsake them all; be sure he will:
I’ll lie in ambush for conveniency,
Upon their severance to confirm myself.

Celso. Is Ferneze interr’d?

Mal. Of that at leisure: he lives.

Celso. But how stands Mendoza? how is’t with him?

Mal. Faith, like a pair of snuffers, snibs[469] filth in other men, and retains it in himself.[470]    240

Celso. He does fly from public notice, methinks, as a hare does from hounds; the feet whereon he flies betray him.

Mal. I can track him, Celso.
O, my disguise fools him most powerfully!
For that I seem a desperate malcontent,
He fain would clasp with me: he’s the true slave
That will put on the most affected grace
For some vile second cause.

Celso. He’s here.

Mal. Give place.

[Exit Celso.

Enter Mendoza.

Illo, ho, ho, ho! art there, old truepenny?[471] Where hast thou spent thyself this morning? I see flattery in thine eyes, and damnation in thy soul. Ha, ye[472] huge rascal!

Men. Thou art very merry.    253

Mal. As a scholar futuens gratis. How does[473] the devil go with thee now?

Men. Malevole, thou art an arrant knave.

Mal. Who, I? I have been a sergeant, man.

Men. Thou art very poor.

Mal. As Job, an alchymist, or a poet.

Men. The duke hates thee.    260

Mal. As Irishmen[474] do bum-cracks.

Men. Thou hast lost his amity.

Mal. As pleasing as maids lose their virginity.

Men. Would thou wert of a lusty spirit! would thou wert noble!    265

Mal. Why, sure my blood gives me I am noble, sure I am of noble kind; for I find myself possessed with all their qualities;—love dogs, dice, and drabs, scorn wit in stuff-clothes; have beat my shoemaker, knocked my semstress, cuckold my pothecary, and undone my tailor. Noble! why not? since the stoic said, Neminem servum non ex regibus, neminem regem non ex servis esse oriundum;[475] only busy Fortune touses, and the provident Chances blend them together. I’ll give you a simile: did you e’er see a well with two buckets, whilst one comes up full to be emptied, another goes down empty to be filled? such is the state of all humanity. Why, look you, I may be the son of some duke; for, believe me, intemperate lascivious bastardy makes nobility doubtful: I have a lusty daring heart, Mendoza.    280

Men. Let’s grasp; I do like thee infinitely: wilt enact one thing for me?

Mal. Shall I get by it? [Men. gives him his purse.] Command me; I am thy slave, beyond death and hell.

Men. Murder the duke.

Mal. My heart’s wish, my soul’s desire, my fantasy’s dream, my blood’s longing, the only height of my hopes! How, O God, how! O, how my united spirits throng together, to[476] strengthen my resolve!

Men. The duke is now a-hunting.    290

Mal. Excellent, admirable, as the devil would have it! Lend me, lend me, rapier, pistol, cross-bow: so, so, I’ll do it.

Men. Then we agree.

Mal. As Lent and fishmongers. Come, a-cap-a-pe, how? inform.

Men. Know that this weak-brain’d duke, who only stands
On Florence’ stilts, hath out of witless zeal
Made me his heir, and secretly confirm’d
The wreath to me after his life’s full point.    300

Mal. Upon what merit?

Men. Merit! by heaven, I horn him:
Only Ferneze’s death gave me state’s life.
Tut, we are politic, he must not live now.

Mal. No reason, marry: but how must he die now?

Men. My utmost project is to murder the duke, that I might have his state, because he makes me his heir; to banish the duchess, that I might be rid of a cunning Lacedæmonian, because I know Florence will forsake her; and then to marry Maria, the banished Duke Altofront’s wife, that her friends might strengthen me and my faction: that is all, la.    311

Mal. Do you love Maria?

Men. Faith, no great affection, but as wise men do love great women, to ennoble their blood and augment their revenue. To accomplish this now, thus now. The duke is in the forest next the sea: single him, kill him, hurl him i’ the main, and proclaim thou sawest wolves eat him.

Mal. Um! not so good. Methinks when he is slain,
To get some hypocrite, some dangerous wretch    320
That’s muffled o[’e]r with feignèd holiness,
To swear he heard the duke on some steep cliff
Lament his wife’s dishonour, and, in an agony
Of his heart’s torture, hurl’d his groaning sides
Into the swollen sea,—this circumstance
Well made sounds probable: and hereupon
The duchess——

Men. May well be banish’d:
O unpeerable invention! rare!
Thou god of policy! it honeys me.    330

Mal. Then fear not for the wife of Altofront;
I’ll close to her.

Men. Thou shalt, thou shalt. Our excellency is pleas’d:
Why wert not thou an emperor? when we
Are duke, I’ll make thee some great man, sure.

Mal. Nay,
Make me some rich knave, and I’ll make myself
Some great man.

Men. In thee be all my spirit:
Retain ten souls, unite thy virtual powers:
Resolve; ha, remember greatness! heart, farewell:    340
The fate of all my hopes in thee doth dwell.


Re-enter Celso.

Mal. Celso, didst hear?—O heaven, didst hear
Such devilish mischief? suffer’st thou the world
Carouse damnation even with greedy swallow,
And still dost wink, still does thy vengeance slumber?
If now thy brows are clear, when will they thunder?


[453] Streams.—A deer was said to take soil when it took to the water to escape the hunters.

[454] “In 1579 was published a book, entitled Physic against Fortune, as well prosperous as adverse, contained in two Books. Written in Latin by Francis Petrarch, a most famous poet and oratour, and now first Englished by Thomas Twyne. 4to. B. L.”—Reed.

[455] This seems to be a fictitious book, but some of the old divines chose titles quite as quaint. One of Thomas Becon’s works is entitled The Pomander of Prayer.

[456] Ed. 1. “complaints.”

[457] What follows, down to the entrance of Malevole (l. 156), was added in ed. 2.

[458] It was a common superstition that this shell-fish turned itself into a solan-goose. See Nares’ Glossary.

[459] A horrid instrument of torture by which the legs were crushed. In Millœus’ Praxis Criminis Persequendi, Paris, 1541, fol., there is a blood-curdling representation of a victim undergoing this torture. The instrument was never used in England; but was frequently applied in France and Scotland to extort confession from criminals.

[460] Old ed. “herlakeene.”

[461] Concerning Welshmen’s pride in their gentility, see Middleton, iii. 23 (note).

[462] Fine crape.

[463] Old ed. “fowl.”—The word fowl seems to have been pronounced fool (Middleton, vi. 249). Perhaps the reading “fowl” (after the mention of “woodcock”) should be retained, as some sort of joke may have been intended.

[464] Hymen was usually represented in masques with a saffron robe.

[465] Old eds. “cloake” and “cloke.”

[466] “So in Shakespeare’s Lucrece:

‘O Opportunity, thy guilt is great!
  ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·
Thou foul abettor! thou notorious bawd!’”—Dyce.

So Heywood:—

“Win Opportunity,
She’s the best bawd.”—Fair Maid of the West, i. 1.

[467] Ed. 2. “O Ithacan.”

[468] Some copies of ed. 1. “faind.”

[469] Snubs, rebukes. Cf. Middleton’s Five Gallants, ii.    3 :—“Push! i’faith, sir, you’re to blame; you have snibbed the poor fellow too much.”

[470] Ed. 2. “itself.”


Hor. [within] Hillo, ho, ho, my lord!
Ham. Hillo, ho, ho, boy! come, bird, come.
·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·
·   ·   ·   ·  art thou there, truepenny?”—Hamlet, i. 5.

[472] Ed. 2. “thou.”

[473] Ed. 2. “dooth.”

[474] “This fantastical cohibition against the freedom of Nature in this part, makes me reflect upon as inconvenient a restraint (deserving but a collateral insertion) imposed upon the reverse of this and the benefit we receive from the egestions of Port Esquiline. For the Guineans are very careful [ne pardant], and wondered much at the Netherlanders’ rusticity and impudence.... The Irish are much of the same opinion in this point of unnatural restraint, whereas the Romans, by an edict of Claudius the Emperor, most consonant to the law of Nature, at all times and in all places, upon a just necessity, freely challenged the benefit of Nature.”—Bulwer’s Artificial Changeling, ed. 1650, p. 220.

[475] Seneca, Epist. xliv.

[476] Old eds. “so.”


A forest near the sea.

Enter Pietro, Ferrardo, Prepasso, and Three Pages.

Fer. The dogs are at a fault.

[Cornets like horns within.

Pietro. Would God nothing but the dogs were at it! Let the deer pursue safety,[477] the dogs follow the game, and do you follow the dogs: as for me, ’tis unfit one beast should hunt another; I ha’ one chaseth me: an’t[478] please you, I would be rid of ye a little.

Fer. Would your grief would, as[479] soon as we, leave you to quietness!

Pietro. I thank you.

[Exeunt Ferrardo and Prepasso.

Boy, what dost thou dream of now?    10

First Page. Of a dry summer, my lord; for here’s a hot world towards: but, my lord, I had a strange dream last night.

Pietro. What strange dream?

First Page. Why, methought I pleased you with singing, and then I dreamt that you gave me that short sword.

Pietro. Prettily begged: hold thee, I’ll prove thy dream true; take’t.

[Giving sword.

First Page. My duty: but still I dreamt on, my lord; and methought, an’t[478] shall please your excellency, you would needs out of your royal bounty give me that jewel in your hat.    23

Pietro. O, thou didst but dream, boy; do not believe it: dreams prove not always true; they may hold in a short sword, but not in a jewel. But now, sir, you dreamt you had pleased me with singing; make that true, as I ha’ made the other.

First Page. Faith, my lord, I did but dream, and dreams, you say, prove not always true; they may hold in a good sword, but not in a good song: the truth is, I ha’ lost my voice.    32

Pietro. Lost thy voice! how?

First Page. With dreaming, faith: but here’s a couple of sirenical rascals shall enchant ye: what shall they sing, my good lord?

Pietro. Sing of the nature of women; and then the song shall be surely full of variety, old crotchets, and most sweet closes: it shall be humorous, grave, fantastic, amorous, melancholy, sprightly, one in all, and all in one.    41

First Page. All in one!

Pietro. By’r lady, too many. Sing: my speech grows culpable of unthrifty idleness: sing. Ah, so, so, sing.

Song by Second and Third Pages.

I am heavy: walk off; I shall talk in my sleep: walk off.

[Exeunt Pages.

Enter Malevole, with cross-bow and pistol.

Mal. Brief, brief: who? the duke! good heaven, that fools
Should stumble upon greatness!—Do not sleep, duke;
Give ye good-morrow: I[480] must be brief, duke;
I am fee’d to murder thee: start not: Mendoza,    50
Mendoza hir’d me; here’s his gold, his pistol,
Cross-bow, and[481] sword: ’tis all as firm as earth.
O fool, fool, chokèd with the common maze
Of easy idiots, credulity!
Make him thine heir! what, thy sworn murderer!

Pietro. O, can it be?

Mal. Can!

Pietro. Discover’d he not Ferneze?

Mal. Yes, but why? but why? for love to thee?
Much, much![482] to be reveng’d upon his rival,
Who had thrust his jaws awry;
Who being slain, suppos’d by thine own hands,    60
Defended by his sword, made thee most loathsome,
Him most gracious with thy loose princess:
Thou, closely yielding egress and regress to her,
Madest him heir; whose hot unquiet lust
Straight tous’d thy sheets, and now would seize thy state.
Politician! wise man! death! to be
Led to the stake like a bull by the horns;
To make even kindness cut a gentle throat!
Life, why art thou numb’d? thou foggy dulness, speak:
Lives not more faith in a home-thrusting tongue    70
Than in these fencing tip-tap courtiers?

Enter Celso, with a hermit’s gown and beard.

Pietro.[483] Lord Malevole, if this be true——

Mal. If! come, shade thee with this disguise. If! thou shalt handle it; he shall thank thee for killing thyself. Come, follow my directions, and thou shalt see strange sleights.

Pietro. World, whither wilt thou?

Mal. Why, to the devil. Come, the morn grows late: A steady quickness is the soul of state.


[477] Old eds. “safely.”

[478] Ed. 1. “and please you.”

[479] Ed. 2. “as soone leaue you as we to quietnesse.”

[480] For “I must” ed. 1. reads “must;” ed. 2. “you must.”

[481] Omitted in ed. 1.

[482] Ironical exclamation.

[483] Old eds.Cel.



Palace of the Duke.

Enter Maquerelle.

Maq. [Knocking at the ladies’ door.] Medam, medam, are you stirring, medam? if you be stirring, medam,—if I thought I should disturb ye

Enter Page.

Page. My lady is up, forsooth.

Maq. A pretty boy, faith: how old art thou?

Page. I think fourteen.

Maq. Nay, an ye be in the teens—are ye a gentleman born? do you know me? my name is Medam Maquerelle; I lie in the old Cunny-court.

[Page.] See, here the ladies.    10

Enter Bianca and Emilia.

Bian. A fair day to ye, Maquerelle.

Emil. Is the duchess up yet, sentinel?

Maq. O ladies, the most abominable mischance! O dear ladies, the most piteous disaster! Ferneze was taken last night in the duchess’ chamber: alas, the duke catched him and killed him!

Bian. Was he found in bed?    17

Maq. O, no; but the villainous certainty is, the door was not bolted, the tongue-tied hatch held his peace: so the naked troth is, he was found in his shirt, whilst I, like an arrant beast, lay in the outward chamber, heard nothing; and yet they came by me in the dark, and yet I felt them not, like a senseless creature as I was. O beauties, look to your busk-points;[484] if not chastely, yet charily: be sure the door be bolted.—Is your lord gone to Florence?

Bian. Yes, Maquerelle.    27

Maq. I hope you’ll find the discretion to purchase a fresh gown ’fore his return.—Now, by my troth, beauties, I would ha’ ye once wise: he loves ye; pish! he is witty; bubble! fair-proportioned; mew! nobly-born; wind! Let this be still your fixed position; esteem me every man according to his good gifts, and so ye shall ever remain most worthy to be, most dear ladies.

Emil. Is the duke returned from hunting yet?

Maq. They say not yet.

Bian. ’Tis now in midst of day.    37

Emil. How bears the duchess with this blemish now?

Maq. Faith, boldly; strongly defies defame, as one that has a duke to her father. And there’s a note to you: be sure of a stout friend in a corner, that may always awe your husband. Mark the behaviour of the duchess now: she dares defame; cries, “Duke, do what thou canst, I’ll quit mine honour:” nay, as one confirmed in her own virtue against ten thousand mouths that mutter her disgrace, she’s presently for dances.

Bian. For dances!

Maq. Most true.

Emil. Most strange.

Enter Ferrardo.

See, here’s my servant, young Ferrardo: how many servants thinkest thou I have, Maquerelle?    51

Maq. The more, the merrier: ’twas well said, use your servants as you do your smocks; have many, use one, and change often; for that’s most sweet and court-like.

Fer. Save ye, fair ladies! Is the duke return’d?

Bian. Sweet sir, no voice of him as yet in court.

Fer. ’Tis very strange.

Bian. And how like you my servant, Maquerelle?    59

Maq. I think he could hardly draw Ulysses’ bow; but, by my fidelity, were his nose narrower, his eyes broader, his hands thinner, his lips thicker, his legs bigger, his feet lesser, his hair blacker, and his teeth whiter, he were a tolerable sweet youth, i’faith. And he will come to my chamber, I will read him the fortune of his beard.

[Cornets sound within.

Fer. Not yet returned! I fear—but the duchess approacheth.

Enter Mendoza supporting Aurelia and Guerrino: the ladies that are on the stage rise: Ferrardo ushers in Aurelia, and then takes a lady to tread a measure.[485]

Aur. We will dance:—music!—we will dance.

Guer. Les quanto[486] lady, Pensez bien, Passa regis, or Bianca’s brawl?    70

Aur. We have forgot the brawl.

Fer. So soon? ’tis wonder.

Guer. Why, ’tis but two singles on the left, two on the right, three doubles[487] forward, a traverse of six round: do this twice, three singles side, galliard trick-of-twenty,[488] coranto-pace; a figure of eight, three singles broken down, come up, meet, two doubles, fall back, and then honour.

Aur. O Dædalus, thy maze! I have quite forgot it.

Maq. Trust me, so have I, saving the falling-back, and then honour.    81

Aur. Music, music!

Enter Prepasso.

Prep. Who saw the duke? the duke?

Aur. Music!

Enter Equato.

Equato. The duke? is the duke returned?

Aur. Music!

Enter Celso.

Celso. The duke is either quite invisible, or else is not.

Aur. We are not pleased with your intrusion upon our private retirement; we are not pleased: you have forgot yourselves.    90

Enter a Page.

Celso. Boy, thy master? where’s the duke?

Page. Alas, I left him burying the earth with his spread joyless limbs: he told me he was heavy, would sleep; bade[489] me walk off, for that the strength of fantasy oft made him talk[490] in his dreams. I straight obeyed, nor ever[491] saw him since: but wheresoe’er he is, he’s sad.

Aur. Music, sound high, as is our heart! sound high!

Enter Malevole, and Pietro disguised like an hermit.

Mal. The duke,—peace!—the duke is dead.

Aur. Music!

Mal. Is’t music?    100

Men. Give proof.

Fer. How?

Celso. Where?

Prep. When?

Mal. Rest in peace, as the duke does; quietly sit: for my own part, I beheld him but dead; that’s all: marry, here’s one can give you a more particular account of him.

Men. Speak, holy father, nor let any brow Within this presence fright thee from the truth: Speak confidently and freely.

Aur. We attend.    110

Pietro. Now had the mounting sun’s all-ripening wings
Swept the cold sweat of night from earth’s dank breast,
When I, whom men call Hermit of the Rock,
Forsook my cell, and clambered up a cliff,
Against whose base the heady Neptune dash’d
His high-curl’d brows; there ’twas I eas’d my limbs:
When, lo! my entrails melted with the moan
Some one, who far ’bove me was climb’d, did make
I shall offend.

Men. Not.    120

Aur. On.

Pietro. Methinks I hear him yet:—“O female faith!
Go sow the ingrateful sand, and love a woman:
And do I live to be the scoff of men?
To be the[492] wittol-cuckold, even to hug
My poison? Thou knowest, O truth!
Sooner hard steel will melt with southern wind,
A seaman’s whistle calm the ocean,
A town on fire be extinct with tears,
Than women, vow’d to blushless impudence,    130
With sweet behaviour and soft minioning[493]
Will turn from that where appetite is fix’d.
O powerful blood! how thou dost slave their soul!
I wash’d an Ethiop, who, for recompense,
Sullied my name: and must I, then, be forc’d
To walk, to live thus black? must! must! fie!
He that can bear with must, he cannot die.”
With that, he sigh’d so[494] passionately deep,
That the dull air even groan’d: at last he cries,
“Sink shame in seas, sink deep enough!” so dies;    140
For then I viewed his body fall, and souse[495]
Into the foamy main. O, then I saw,
That which methinks I see, it was the duke;
Whom straight the nicer-stomach’d sea belch’d up:
But then——

Mal. Then came I in; but, ’las, all was too late!
For even straight he sunk.

Pietro. Such was the duke’s sad fate.

Celso. A better fortune to our Duke Mendoza!

Omnes. Mendoza!    150

[Cornets flourish.

Men. A guard, a guard!

Enter a Guard.

We, full of hearty tears,
For our good father’s loss,
(For so we well may call him
Who did beseech your loves for our succession),
Cannot so lightly over-jump his death
As leave his woes revengeless.—Woman of shame,

[To Aurelia.

We banish thee for ever to the place
From whence this good man comes; nor permit,
On death, unto thy[496] body any ornament;
But, base as was thy life, depart away.    160

Aur. Ungrateful!

Men. Away!

Aur. Villain, hear me!

Men. Begone!

[Prepasso and Guerrino lead away Aurelia guarded.

My lords,
Address to public council; ’tis most fit:
The train of fortune is borne up by wit.
Away! our presence shall be sudden; haste.

[All depart, except Mendoza, Malevole, and Pietro.

Mal. Now, you egregious devil! ha, ye murdering politician! how dost, duke? how dost look now? brave duke, i’faith.    170

Men. How did you kill him?

Mal. Slatted[497] his brains out, then soused him in the briny sea.

Men. Brained him, and drowned him too?

Mal. O ’twas best, sure work; for he that strikes a great man, let him strike home, or else ’ware, he’ll prove no man: shoulder not a huge fellow, unless you may be sure to lay him in the kennel.

Men. A most sound brain-pan! I’ll make you both emperors.    180

Mal. Make us Christians, make us Christians.

Men. I’ll hoist ye, ye shall mount.

Mal. To the gallows, say ye? come:[498] præmium incertum petit certum scelus.[499] How stands the progress?

Men. Here, take my ring unto the citadel;

[Giving ring.

Have entrance to Maria, the grave duchess
Of banish’d Altofront. Tell her we love her;
Omit no circumstance to grace our person: do’t.

Mal. I’ll[500] make an excellent pander: duke, farewell; ’dieu, adieu, duke.    190

Men. Take Maquerelle with thee; for ’tis found
None cuts a diamond but a diamond.

[Exit Malevole.

Thou art a man for me, my confessor:
O thou selected spirit, born for my good!
Sure thou wouldst make
An excellent elder in a deform’d church.
Come, we must be inward,[501] thou and I all one.

Pietro. I am glad I was ordained for ye.

Men. Go to, then; thou must know that Malevole is a strange villain; dangerous, very dangerous: you see how broad ’a speaks; a gross-jawed rogue: I would have thee poison him: he’s like a corn upon my great toe, I cannot go for him; he must be cored out, he must. Wilt do’t, ha?

Pietro. Anything, anything.    204

Men. Heart of my life! thus, then. To the citadel:
Thou shalt consort with this Malevole;
There being at supper, poison him: it shall be laid
Upon Maria, who yields love or dies:
Scud quick.[502]

Pietro. Like lightning: good deeds crawl, but mischief flies.    210


Re-enter Malevole.

Mal. Your devilship’s ring has no virtue: the buff-captain, the sallow Westphalian gammon-faced zaza cries, “Stand out;” must have a stiffer warrant, or no pass into the castle of comfort.

Men. Command our sudden letter.—Not enter! sha’t: what place is there in Genoa but thou shalt? into my heart, into my very heart: come, let’s love; we must love, we two, soul and body.

Mal. How didst like the hermit? a strange hermit, sirrah.    220

Men. A dangerous fellow, very perilous:
He must die.

Mal. Ay, he must die.

Men. Thou’st[503] kill him.
We are wise; we must be wise.

Mal. And provident.

Men. Yea, provident: beware an hypocrite;
A churchman once corrupted, O, avoid!
A fellow that makes religion his stalking-horse,[504]
He breeds a plague: thou shalt poison him.

Mal. O, ’tis wondrous necessary: how?

Men. You both go jointly to the citadel;
There sup, there poison him: and Maria,    230
Because she is our opposite, shall bear
The sad suspect; on which she dies or loves us.

Mal. I run.


Men. We that are great, our sole self-good still moves us.
They shall die both, for their deserts crave more
Than we can recompense: their presence still
Imbraids[505] our fortunes with beholdingness,
Which we abhor; like deed, not doer: then conclude,
They live not to cry out “Ingratitude!”
One stick burns t’other, steel cuts steel alone:    240
’Tis good trust few; but, O, ’tis best trust none!


[484] The tagged laces by which the busk (the upright piece of whalebone in the front of the stays) was fastened.

[485] A slow solemn dance.

[486] “Qy. ‘Los guantes?’ Mr. Collier (Shakespeare Soc. Papers, i. 28), quotes from Rawlinson’s MS. No. 108, Bodl. Lib., a list of dances, among which is ‘Quarto dispayne;’ while Mr. Halliwell (Dict. of Arch. and Prov. Words) gives from the same MS., ‘Quanto-dispaine.’—In Munday’s Banquet of Daintie Conceits, 1588, is:

“‘A Dyttie expressing a familiar controversie between Wit and Will: wherein Wit mildlie rebuketh the follies of Will, and sheweth him (as in a glasse) the fall of wilfull heads.

“‘This Dittie may be sung after the note of a courtlie daunce, called Les Guanto.’”—Dyce.

[487] Ed. 1. “double.”

[488] We have the expression “trick-of-twenty” again in the Dutch Courtesan. What the particular figure was I am unable to say. (Sometimes “trick-of-twenty” is used in the sense of “excellent device.” Cf. Brome’s City Wit, iv.    2 :—“Well, ’twas mine error, not malice; but as for the procurer of it, if I pay not him in his own coin, Mr. Footwell! I’ll show you a trick of twenty.”)

[489] Ed. 2. “bid.”

[490] Ed. 1. “talking.”

[491] Some copies of ed. 1. “neuer.”

[492] Ed. 1. “their.”

[493]i.e., being treated as a minion or darling.”—Steevens.

[494] Ed. 2. “too.”

[495] Fall with violence.—The word is used of a hawk swooping down on its prey.

[496] Old eds. “the.”

[497] “i.e., dashed. It is a North-country word. See Ray’s Collection of English Words, p. 54, ed. 1768.”—Reed.

[498] Some copies of ed. 1. “O ô me.”


“præmium incertum petis,
Certum scelus.”—Seneca, Phœn. 632.

[500] Ed. 1. “Iste.”

[501] Intimate.

[502] Ed. 2. “Skud quicke like lightning.

Pie. Good deedes crawl, but mischiefe flies.”

[503] A contraction of “Thou must.”

[504] “In the margin at this place, the words ‘shoots under his belly’ are inserted; which is merely an explanation of the manner in which a corrupted churchman makes religion his stalking-horse, viz. by shooting at his object under its belly.”—Collier.

[505] Upbraids.


Court of the Palace.

Enter Malevole and Pietro, still disguised, at several doors.

Mal. How do you? how dost, duke?

Pietro. O, let
The last day fall! drop, drop on[506] our curs’d heads!
Let heaven unclasp itself, vomit forth flames:

Mal. O, do not rave,[507] do not turn player; there’s more of them than can well live one by another already. What, art an infidel still?

Pietro. I am amazed;[508] struck in a swown with wonder: I am commanded to poison thee

Mal. I am commanded to poison thee at supper

Pietro. At supper

Mal. In the citadel

Pietro. In the citadel.    10

Mal. Cross capers! tricks! truth o’ heaven! he[509] would discharge us as boys do eldern guns, one pellet to strike out another. Of what faith art now?

Pietro. All is damnation; wickedness extreme:
There is no faith in man.

Mal. In none but usurers and brokers; they deceive no man: men take ’em for blood-suckers, and so they are. Now, God deliver me from my friends!

Pietro. Thy friends!    19

Mal. Yes, from my friends; for from mine enemies I’ll deliver myself. O, cut-throat friendship is the rankest villainy! Mark this Mendoza; mark him for a villain: but heaven will send a plague upon him for a rogue.

Pietro. O world!

Mal. World! ’tis the only region of death, the greatest shop of the devil; the crudest prison of men, out of the which none pass without paying their dearest breath for a fee; there’s nothing perfect in it but extreme, extreme calamity, such as comes yonder.

Enter Aurelia, two halberts before and two after, supported by Celso and Ferrardo; Aurelia in base mourning attire.

Aur. To banishment! lead[510] on to banishment!    30

Pietro. Lady, the blessedness of repentance to you!

Aur. Why, why, I can desire nothing but death,
Nor deserve anything but hell.
If heaven should give sufficiency of grace
To clear my soul, it would make heaven graceless:
My sins would make the stock of mercy poor;
O, they would tire[511] heaven’s goodness to reclaim them!
Judgment is just yet[512] from that vast villain;
But, sure, he shall not miss sad punishment
’Fore he shall rule.—On to my cell of shame!    40

Pietro. My cell ’tis, lady; where, instead of masks,
Music, tilts, tourneys, and such court-like shows,
The hollow murmur of the checkless winds
Shall groan again; whilst the unquiet sea
Shakes the whole rock with foamy battery.
There usherless[513] the air comes in and out:
The rheumy vault will force your eyes to weep,
Whilst you behold true desolation:
A rocky barrenness shall pain[514] your eyes,
Where all at once one reaches where he stands,    50
With brows the roof, both walls with both his hands.

Aur. It is too good.—Bless’d spirit of my lord,
O, in what orb soe’er thy soul is thron’d,
Behold me worthily most miserable!
O, let the anguish of my contrite spirit
Entreat some reconciliation!
If not, O, joy, triumph in my just grief!
Death is the end of woes and tears’ relief.

Pietro. Belike your lord not lov’d you, was unkind.

Aur. O heaven!    60
As the soul loves[515] the body, so lov’d he:
’Twas death to him to part my presence, heaven
To see me pleas’d.
Yet I, like to a wretch given o’er to hell,
Brake all the sacred rites of marriage,
To clip a base ungentle faithless villain;
O God! a very pagan reprobate—
What should I say? ungrateful, throws me out,
For whom I lost soul, body, fame, and honour.
But ’tis most fit: why should a better fate    70
Attend on any who forsake chaste sheets;
Fly the embrace of a devoted heart,
Join’d by a solemn vow ’fore God and man,
To taste the brackish flood[516] of beastly lust
In an adulterous touch? O ravenous immodesty!
Insatiate impudence of appetite!
Look, here’s your end; for mark, what sap in dust,
What good in sin,[517] even so much love in lust.
Joy to thy ghost, sweet lord! pardon to me!

Celso. ’Tis the duke’s pleasure this night you rest in court.

Aur. Soul, lurk in shades; run, shame, from brightsome skies:    80
In night the blind man misseth not his eyes.

[Exit with Celso, Ferrardo, and halberts.

Mal. Do not weep, kind cuckold: take comfort, man; thy betters have been beccos:[518] Agamemnon, emperor of all the merry Greeks, that tickled all the true Trojans, was a cornuto; Prince Arthur, that cut off twelve kings’ beards, was a cornuto; Hercules, whose back bore up heaven, and got forty wenches with child in one night,

Pietro. Nay, ’twas fifty.    90

Mal. Faith, forty’s enow, o’ conscience,—yet was a cornuto. Patience; mischief grows proud: be wise.

Pietro. Thou pinchest too deep; art too keen upon me.

Mal. Tut, a pitiful surgeon makes a dangerous sore: I’ll tent thee to the ground. Thinkest I’ll sustain myself by flattering thee, because thou art a prince? I had rather follow a drunkard, and live by licking up his vomit, than by servile flattery.

Pietro. Yet great men ha’ done ’t.    100

Mal. Great slaves fear better than love, born naturally for a coal-basket;[519] though the common usher of princes’ presence, Fortune, ha’[520] blindly given them better place. I am vowed to be thy affliction.

Pietro. Prithee, be;
I love much misery, and be thou son to me.

Mal. Because you are an usurping duke.——

Enter Bilioso.

Your lordship’s well returned from Florence.

Bil. Well returned, I praise my horse.

Mal. What news from the Florentines?

Bil. I will conceal the great duke’s pleasure; only this was his charge: his pleasure is, that his daughter die; Duke Pietro be banished for banishing his blood’s dishonour; and that Duke Altofront be re-accepted. This is all: but I hear Duke Pietro is dead.    114

Mal. Ay, and Mendoza is duke: what will you do?

Bil. Is Mendoza strongest?

Mal. Yet he is.

Bil. Then yet I’ll hold with him.

Mal. But if that Altofront should turn straight again?

Bil. Why, then, I would turn straight again.    120
’Tis good run still with him that has most might:
I had rather stand with wrong, than fall with right.

Mal.[521] What religion will you be of now?

Bil. Of the duke’s religion,[522] when I know what it is.

Mal. O Hercules!

Bil. Hercules! Hercules was the son of Jupiter and Alcmena.

Mal. Your lordship is a very wit-all.

Bil. Wittal!

Mal. Ay, all-wit.    130

Bil. Amphitryo was a cuckold.

Mal. Your lordship sweats; your young lady will get you a cloth for your old worship’s brows. [Exit Bilioso. Here’s a fellow to be damned: this is his inviolable maxim,—flatter the greatest and oppress the least: a whoreson flesh-fly, that still gnaws upon the lean galled backs.

Pietro. Why dost, then, salute him?    138

Mal. Faith,[523] as bawds go to church, for fashion’ sake. Come, be not confounded; thou’rt but in danger to lose a dukedom. Think this:—this earth is the only grave and Golgotha wherein all things that live must rot; ’tis but the draught wherein the heavenly bodies discharge their corruption; the very muck-hill on which the sublunary orbs cast their excrements: man is the slime of this dung-pit, and princes are the governors of these men; for, for our souls, they are as free as emperors, all of one piece; there[524] goes but a pair of shears betwixt an emperor and the son of a bagpiper; only the dying, dressing, pressing, glossing, makes the difference. Now, what art thou like to lose?    151
A gaoler’s office to keep men in bonds,
Whilst toil and treason all life’s good confounds.

Pietro. I here renounce for ever regency:
O Altofront, I wrong thee to supplant thy right,
To trip thy heels up with a devilish sleight!
For which I now from throne am thrown: world-tricks abjure;
For vengeance though’t[525] comes slow, yet it comes sure.
O, I am chang’d! for here, ’fore the dread power,
In true contrition, I do dedicate    160
My breath to solitary holiness,
My lips to prayer, and my breast’s care shall be,
Restoring Altofront to regency.

Mal. Thy vows are heard, and we accept thy faith.

[Undisguiseth himself.

Re-enter Ferneze and Celso.

Banish amazement: come, we four must stand
Full shock of fortune: be not so wonder-stricken.

Pietro. Doth Ferneze live?

Fer. For your pardon.

Pietro. Pardon and love. Give leave to recollect
My thoughts dispers’d in wild astonishment.
My vows stand fix’d in heaven, and from hence    170
I crave all love and pardon.

Mal. Who doubts of providence,
That sees this change? a hearty faith to all!
He needs must rise who[526] can no lower fall:
For still impetuous vicissitude
Touseth[527] the world; then let no maze intrude
Upon your spirits: wonder not I rise;
For who can sink that close can temporise?
The time grows ripe for action: I’ll detect
My privat’st plot, lest ignorance fear suspect.
Let’s close to counsel, leave the rest to fate:    180
Mature discretion is the life of state.


[506] Ed. 1. “in.”

[507] Ed. 2. “rand.”

[508] Some copies of ed. 1. “mazde.”

[509] Added in ed. 2.

[510] Ed. 1. “led.”—Ed. 2. “ledde.”

[511] Some copies of ed. 1. “try.”

[512] The text is not satisfactory, though the meaning is perfectly plain.—Quy. “Judgment is just, yea, e’en from,” &c.

[513]i.e. without the ceremony of an usher to give notice of its approach, as is usual in courts. As fine as Shakespeare: ‘the bleak air thy boisterous chamberlain.’”—Charles Lamb.

[514] Ed. 2. “pierce.”

[515] Old eds. “lou’d.”

[516] Old eds. “bloud.”

[517] Old eds. “What sinne in good,” &c.

[518] Cuckolds.

[519] To carry coals was esteemed the vilest employment to which a man could be put.

[520] Ed. 2. “hath.”

[521] “What [ed. 1. Of what] religion ... cuckold” (ll.    123 -137).—This passage is not found in some copies of ed. 1.

[522] Cf. Day’s Isle of Gulls, iii. 1:—

Lys. Thou speak’st like a Christian: prethee what religion art of?
Man. How many soever I make use of, I’ll answer with Piavano Orlotto the Italian, I profess the Duke’s only.
Demet. What’s his reason for that?
Man. A very sound reason: for, says he, I came raw into the world and I would not willingly go roasted out.”

[523] Ed. 2. “Yfaith.”

[524] “There goes but a pair of shears betwixt”—i.e., they are cut out of the same piece. An old proverbial expression.

[525] Ed. 1. “that.”

[526] Omitted in ed. 2.

[527] Ed. 1. “Looseth”


SCENE I.[528]

A room in the Palace.

Enter Bilioso and Passarello.

Bil. Fool, how dost thou like my calf in a long stocking?

Pass. An excellent calf, my lord.

Bil. This calf hath been a reveller this twenty year. When Monsieur Gundi lay here ambassador, I could have carried a lady up and down at arm’s end in a platter; and I can tell you, there were those at that time who, to try the strength of a man’s back and his arm, would be coistered.[529] I have measured calves with most of the palace, and they come nothing near me; besides, I think there be not many armours in the arsenal will fit me, especially for the headpiece. I’ll tell thee—    12

Pass. What, my lord?

Bil. I can eat stewed broth as it comes seething off the fire; or a custard as it comes reeking out of the oven; and I think there are not many lords can do it. A good pomander,[530] a little decayed in the scent; but six grains of musk, ground with rose-water, and tempered with a little civet, shall fetch her again presently.

Pass. O, ay, as a bawd with aqua-vitæ.    20

Bil. And, what, dost thou rail upon the ladies as thou wert wont?

Pass. I were better roast a live cat, and might do it with more safety. I am as secret to [the] thieves as their painting. There’s Maquerelle, oldest bawd and a perpetual beggar—did you never hear of her trick to be known in the city?

Bil. Never.

Pass. Why, she gets all the picture-makers to draw her picture; when they have done, she most courtly finds fault with them one after another, and never fetcheth them: they, in revenge of this, execute her in pictures as they do in Germany, and hang her in their shops: by this means is she better known to the stinkards than if she had been five times carted.    35

Bil. ’Fore God, an excellent policy.

Pass. Are there any revels to-night, my lord?

Bil. Yes.

Pass. Good my lord, give me leave to break a fellow’s pate that hath abused me.    40

Bil. Whose pate?

Pass. Young Ferrardo, my lord.

Bil. Take heed, he’s very valiant; I have known him fight eight quarrels in five days, believe it.

Pass. O, is he so great a quarreller? why, then, he’s an arrant coward.

Bil. How prove you that?

Pass. Why, thus. He that quarrels seeks to fight; and he that seeks to fight seeks to die; and he that seeks to die seeks never to fight more; and he that will quarrel, and seeks means never to answer a man more, I think he’s a coward.    52

Bil. Thou canst prove anything.

Pass. Anything but a rich knave; for I can flatter no man.

Bil. Well, be not drunk, good fool: I shall see you anon in the presence.


[528] This scene was added in ed. 2.

[529] Reed suggests that this word may be derived from old Fr. coisser (= incommoder) or coiter (= presser, exciter). Nares explains coistered to mean “coiled up into a small compass.”

[530] A ball of perfumed paste, worn round the neck or at the girdle.


Before the Citadel.

Enter, from opposite sides, Malevole and Maquerelle, singing.

Mal. The Dutchman for a drunkard,

Maq. The Dane for golden locks,

Mal. The Irishman for usquebaugh,

Maq. The Frenchman for the (——).

Mal. O, thou art a blessed creature! had I a modest woman to conceal, I would put her to thy custody; for no reasonable creature would ever suspect her to be in thy company: ah, thou art a melodious Maquerelle,—thou picture of a woman, and substance of a beast!

Enter Passarello with wine.

Maq. O fool,[531] will ye be ready anon to go with me to the revels? the hall will be so pestered anon.    11

Pass. Ay, as the country is with attorneys.

Mal. What hast thou there, fool?

Pass. Wine; I have learned to drink since I went with my lord ambassador: I’ll drink to the health of Madam Maquerelle.

Mal. Why, thou wast wont to rail upon her.

Pass. Ay; but since I borrowed money of her, I’ll drink to her health now; as gentlemen visit brokers, or as knights send venison to the city, either to take up more money, or to procure longer forbearance.    21

Mal. Give me the bowl. I drink a health to Altofront, our deposed duke.


Pas. I’ll take it [Drinks]:—so. Now I’ll begin a health to Madam Maquerelle.


Mal. Pooh! I will not pledge her.

Pass. Why, I pledged your lord.

Mal. I care not.

Pass. Not pledge Madam Maquerelle! why, then, will I spew up your lord again with this fool’s finger.    30

Mal. Hold; I’ll take it.


Maq. Now thou hast drunk my health, fool, I am friends with thee.

Pass. Art? art?
When Griffon[532] saw the reconcilèd quean
Offering about his neck her arms to cast,
He threw off sword and heart’s malignant spleen,
And lovely her below the loins embrac’d.
Adieu, Madam Maquerelle.


Mal. And how dost thou think o’ this transformation of state now?    41

Maq. Verily, very well; for we women always note, the falling of the one is the rising of the other; some must be fat, some must be lean; some must be fools, and some must be lords; some must be knaves, and some must be officers; some must be beggars, some must be knights; some must be cuckolds, and some must be citizens. As for example, I have two court-dogs, the most fawning curs, the one called Watch, the other Catch: now I, like Lady Fortune, sometimes love this dog, sometimes raise that dog, sometimes favour Watch, most commonly fancy Catch. Now, that dog which I favour I feed; and he’s so ravenous, that what I give he never chaws it, gulps it down whole, without any relish of what he has, but with a greedy expectation of what he shall have. The other dog now——    56

Mal. No more dog, sweet Maquerelle, no more dog. And what hope hast thou of the Duchess Maria? will she stoop to the duke’s lure? will she come,[533] thinkest?

Maq. Let me see, where’s the sign now? ha’ ye e’er a calendar? where’s the sign, trow you?    61

Mal. Sign! why, is there any moment in that?

Maq. O, believe me, a most secret power: look ye, a Chaldean or an Assyrian, I am sure ’twas a most sweet Jew, told me, court any woman in the right sign, you shall not miss. But you must take her in the right vein then; as, when the sign is in Pisces, a fishmonger’s wife is very sociable; in Cancer, a precisian’s wife is very flexible; in Capricorn, a merchant’s wife hardly holds out; in Libra, a lawyer’s wife is very tractable, especially if her husband be at the term; only in Scorpio ’tis very dangerous meddling. Has the duke sent any jewel, any rich stones?    73

Mal. Ay, I think those are the best signs to take a lady in.

Enter Captain.

By your favour, signior, I must discourse with the Lady Maria, Altofront’s duchess; I must enter for the duke.

Capt. She here shall give you interview: I received the guardship of this citadel from the good Altofront, and for his use I’ll keep’t, till I am of no use.    80

Mal. Wilt thou? O heavens, that a Christian should be found in a buff-jerkin! Captain Conscience, I love thee, captain. We attend.

[Exit Captain.

And what hope hast thou of this duchess’ easiness?

Maq. ’Twill go hard, she was a cold creature ever; she hated monkeys, fools, jesters, and gentlemen-ushers extremely; she had the vile trick on’t, not only to be truly modestly honourable in her own conscience, but she would avoid the least wanton carriage that might incur suspect; as, God bless me, she had almost brought bed-pressing out of fashion; I could scarce get a fine for the lease of a lady’s favour once in a fortnight.    92

Mal. Now, in the name of immodesty, how many maidenheads has thou brought to the block?

Maq. Let me see: heaven forgive us our misdeeds!—Here’s the duchess.

Enter Maria with Captain.

Mal. God bless thee, lady!

Maria. Out of thy company!

Mal. We have brought thee tender of a husband.

Maria. I hope I have one already.    100

Maq. Nay, by mine honour, madam, as good ha’ ne’er a husband as a banished husband; he’s in another world now. I’ll tell ye, lady, I have heard of a sect that maintained, when the husband was asleep the wife might lawfully entertain another man, for then her husband was as dead; much more when he is banished.

Maria. Unhonest creature!

Maq. Pish, honesty is but an art to seem so:
Pray ye, what’s honesty, what’s constancy,
But fables feign’d, odd old fools’ chat, devis’d    110
By jealous fools to wrong our liberty?

Mal. Molly, he that loves thee is a duke, Mendoza; he will maintain thee royally, love thee ardently, defend thee powerfully, marry thee sumptuously, and keep thee, in despite of Rosicleer or Donzel del Phebo.[534] There’s jewels: if thou wilt, so; if not, so.

Maria. Captain, for God’s love,[535] save poor wretchedness
From tyranny of lustful insolence!
Enforce me in the deepest dungeon dwell,
Rather than here; here round about is hell.—    120
O my dear’st Altofront! where’er thou breathe,
Let my soul sink into the shades beneath,
Before I stain thine honour! ’tis[536] thou has’t,
And long as I can die, I will live chaste.

Mal. ’Gainst him that can enforce how vain is strife!

Maria. She that can be enforc’d has ne’er a knife:
She that through force her limbs with lust enrolls,
Wants Cleopatra’s asps and Portia’s coals.
God amend you!    129

[Exit with Captain.

Mal. Now, the fear of the devil for ever go with thee!—Maquerelle, I tell thee, I have found an honest woman: faith, I perceive, when all is done, there is of women, as of all other things, some good, most bad; some saints, some sinners: for as nowadays no courtier but has his mistress, no captain but has his cockatrice,[537] no cuckold but has his horns, and no fool but has his feather; even so, no woman but has her weakness and feather too, no sex but has his—I can hunt the letter no farther.—[Aside] O God, how loathsome this toying is to me! that a duke should be forced to fool it! well, stultorum plena sunt omnia:[538] better play the fool lord than be the fool lord.—Now, where’s your sleights, Madam Maquerelle?    143

Maq. Why, are ye ignorant that ’tis said a squeamish affected niceness is natural to women, and that the excuse of their yielding is only, forsooth, the difficult obtaining? You must put her to’t: women are flax, and will fire in a moment.

Mal. Why, was the flax put into thy mouth, and yet thou—Thou set fire, thou inflame her!    150

Maq. Marry, but I’ll tell ye now, you were too hot.

Mal. The fitter to have inflamed the flax, woman.

Maq. You were too boisterous, spleeny, for, indeed——

Mal. Go, go, thou art a weak pandress: now I see,
Sooner earth’s fire heaven itself shall waste,
Than all with heat can melt a mind that’s chaste.
Go: thou the duke’s lime-twig! I’ll make the duke turn thee out of thine office: what, not get one touch of hope, and had her at such advantage!    160

Maq. Now, o’ my conscience, now I think in my discretion, we did not take her in the right sign; the blood was not in the true vein, sure.


Enter Bilioso.

Bil. Make way[539] there! the duke returns from the enthronement.—Malevole,

Mal. Out, rogue!

Bil. Malevole,

Mal. Hence, ye gross-jawed, peasantly—out, go![540]    168

Bil. Nay, sweet Malevole, since my return I hear you are become the thing I always prophesied would be,—an advanced virtue, a worthily-employed faithfulness, a man o’ grace, dear friend. Come; what! Si quoties peccant homines[541]—if as often as courtiers play the knaves, honest men should be angry—why, look ye, we must collogue[542] sometimes, forswear sometimes.

Mal. Be damned sometimes.

Bil. Right: nemo omnibus horis sapit; no man can be honest at all hours: necessity often depraves virtue.

Mal. I will commend thee to the duke.

Bil. Do: let us be friends, man.    180

Mal. And knaves, man.

Bil. Right: let us prosper and purchase:[543] our lordships shall live, and our knavery be forgotten.

Mal. He that by any ways gets riches, his means never shames him.

Bil. True.

Mal. For impudency and faithlessness are the main stays to greatness.

Bil. By the Lord, thou art a profound lad.

Mal. By the Lord, thou art a perfect knave: out, ye ancient damnation!    191

Bil. Peace, peace! and thou wilt not be a friend to me as I am a knave, be not a knave to me as I am thy friend, and disclose me. Peace! cornets!

Enter Prepasso and Ferrardo, two Pages with lights, Celso and Equato, Mendoza in duke’s robes, and Guerrino.

Men. On, on; leave us, leave us.

[Exeunt all except Malevole and Mendoza.

Stay, where is the hermit?

Mal. With Duke Pietro, with Duke Pietro.

Men. Is he dead? is he poisoned?

Mal. Dead, as the duke is.

Men. Good, excellent: he will not blab; secureness lives in secrecy. Come hither, come hither.    201

Mal. Thou hast a certain strong villainous scent about thee my nature cannot endure.

Men. Scent, man! What returns Maria, what answer to our suit?

Mal. Cold, frosty; she is obstinate.

Men. Then she’s but dead; ’tis resolute, she dies: Black deed only through black deed[544] safely flies.

Mal. Pooh! per scelera semper sceleribus tutum est iter.[545]

Men. What, art a scholar? art a politician? sure, thou art an arrant knave.    211

Mal. Who, I? I ha’ been twice an under-sheriff, man.[546] Well, I will go rail upon some great man, that I may purchase the bastinado, or else go marry some rich Genoan lady, and instantly go travel.

Men. Travel, when thou art married?

Mal. Ay, ’tis your young lord’s fashion to do so, though he was so lazy, being a bachelor, that he would never travel so far as the university: yet when he married her, tales off, and, Catso,[547] for England!    220

Men. And why for England?

Mal. Because there is no brothel-houses there.

Men. Nor courtezans?

Mal. Neither; your whore went down with the stews, and your punk came up with your puritan.

Men. Canst thou empoison? canst thou empoison?

Mal. Excellently; no Jew, pothecary, or politician better. Look ye, here’s a box: whom wouldst thou empoison? here’s a box [Giving it], which, opened and the fume ta’en[548] up in conduits[549] thorough which the brain purges itself, doth instantly for twelve hours’ space bind up all show of life in a deep senseless sleep: here’s another [Giving it], which, being opened under the sleeper’s nose, chokes all the pores[550] of life, kills him suddenly.    235

Men. I’ll try experiments; ’tis good not to be deceived.—So, so; catso!

[Seems to poison Malevole, who falls.

Who would fear that may destroy?
Death hath no teeth nor[551] tongue;
And he that’s great, to him are slaves,    240
Shame, murder, fame, and wrong.

Enter Celso.

Celso. My honour’d lord?

Men. The good Malevole, that plain-tongu’d man,
Alas, is dead on sudden, wondrous strangely!
He held in our esteem good place. Celso,
See him buried, see him buried.

Celso. I shall observe ye.

Men. And, Celso, prithee, let it be thy care to-night
To have some pretty show, to solemnise
Our high instalment; some music, maskery.    250
We’ll give fair entertain unto Maria,
The duchess to the banish’d Altofront:
Thou shalt conduct her from the citadel
Unto the palace. Think on some maskery.

Celso. Of what shape, sweet lord?

Men. What[552] shape! why, any quick-done fiction;
As some brave spirits of the Genoan dukes,
To come out of Elysium, forsooth,
Led in by Mercury, to gratulate
Our happy fortune; some such anything,    260
Some far-fet[553] trick good for ladies, some stale toy
Or other, no matter, so’t be of our devising.
Do thou prepare’t; ’tis but for fashion[554] sake;
Fear not, it shall be grac’d, man, it shall take.

Celso. All service.

Men. All thanks; our hand shall not be close to thee: farewell.
[Aside.] Now is my treachery secure, nor can we fall:
Mischief that prospers, men do virtue call.
I’ll trust no man: he that by tricks gets wreaths
Keeps them with steel; no man securely breathes    270
Out of deservèd[555] ranks; the crowd will mutter, “fool:”
Who cannot bear with spite, he cannot rule.
The chiefest secret for a man of state
Is, to live senseless of a strengthless hate.


Mal. [starting up] Death of the damned thief! I’ll make one i’ the mask; thou shalt ha’ some brave spirits of the antique dukes.

Cel. My lord, what strange delusion?

Mal. Most happy, dear Celso, poisoned with an empty box: I’ll give thee all, anon: my lady comes to court; there is a whirl of fate comes tumbling on; the castle’s captain stands for me, the people pray for me, and the great leader of the just stands for me: then courage, Celso;    284
For no disastrous chance can ever move him
That leaveth nothing but a God above him.


[531] “O fool.... Adieu, Madam Maquerelle” (ll. 10-39).—This passage was added in ed. 2.

[532]Griffon is one of the heroes of Orlando Furioso, from whence one might suspect these lines to be taken. I do not, however, find them there.”—Reed. For “spleen” in l. 37 all the editions give “stream.”

[533] i.e., yield.—Ed. 2. “cowe.”

[534] Rosicleer and Donzel del Phebo were heroes in the romance of The Mirrour of Knighthood. See note 3, p. 30.

[535] Ed. 2. “sake.”

[536] Ed. 2. “this.”

[537] The term cockatrice seems to have been specially applied to a captain’s mistress, though it is also found as a general name for a courtesan.

[538] Cicero, Epist. ad Fam. ix. 22.

[539] “Make way there.... Peace! cornets!” (ll. 164-194).—This passage was added in ed. 2.

[540] These are the words that Bilioso had used to Malevole, ii. 2. l. 64.

[541] Ovid’s Tristia, ii. 33.

[542] Cog, wheedle.—“Sadayer. To handle gently or stroke softly; also to flatter, smooth, cog, or collogue with.”—Cotgrave. The word also means—confer for an unlawful purpose.

[543] Acquire wealth.—Purchase was a cant term for stolen goods, but it was also used in the general sense of riches.

[544] Ed. 1. “deedes.”

[545] Seneca, Agam. 115.

[546] Ed. 2. continues thus:—

Enter Malevole and Mendoza.

Mend. Hast bin with Maria?
Mal. As your scriuener to your vsurer I haue delt about taking of this commoditie, but she’s could-frosty. Well, I will go raile, &c.” Perhaps the scene was intended to begin here and the preceding speeches were not properly cancelled.—Ed. 1. omits a few speeches and proceeds as in l. 226:

Men. Canst thou empoison?” &c.

[547] An obscene expression (Ital.)

[548] Ed. 2. “taken up.”

[549] Some copies of ed. 2. “cõmodites.”—The compositor was thinking of the common expression take up commodities.

[550] Ed. 2. “power.”

[551] Ed. 2. “or.”

[552] Old eds. “Why.”

[553] An allusion to the proverb Far fet and dear bought is good for ladies.

[554] Ed. 2. and some copies of ed. 1. “a fashion.”


The Presence-Chamber.

Enter Bilioso and Prepasso, two Pages before them; Maquerelle, Bianca, and Emilia.

Bil. Make room there, room for the ladies! why, gentlemen, will not ye suffer the ladies to be entered in the great chamber? why, gallants! and you, sir, to drop your torch where the beauties must sit too!

Pre. And there’s a great fellow plays the knave; why dost not strike him?

Bil. Let him play the knave, o’ God’s name; thinkest thou I have no more wit than to strike a great fellow?—The music! more lights! revelling-scaffolds! do you hear? Let there be oaths enow ready at the door, swear out the devil himself. Let’s leave the ladies, and go see if the lords be ready for them.    12

[Exeunt Bilioso, Prepasso, and Pages.

Maq. And, by my troth, beauties, why do you not put you into the fashion? this is a stale cut; you must come in fashion: look ye, you must be all felt, felt and feather, a felt upon your bare hair:[556] look ye, these tiring things are justly out of request now: and, do ye hear? you must wear falling-bands, you must come into the falling fashion: there is such a deal o’ pinning these ruffs, when the fine clean fall is worth all: and again, if ye should chance to take a nap in the afternoon, your falling-band requires no poting-stick[557] to recover his form: believe me, no fashion to the falling,[558] I say.    23

Bian. And is not Signior St. Andrew[559] a gallant fellow now.

Maq. By my maidenhead, la, honour and he agree as well together as a satin suit and woollen stockings.

Emilia. But is not Marshal Make-room, my servant in reversion, a proper gentleman?    29

Maq. Yes, in reversion, as he had his office; as, in truth, he hath all things in reversion: he has his mistress in reversion, his clothes in reversion, his wit in reversion; and, indeed, is a suitor to me for my dog in reversion: but, in good verity, la, he is as proper a gentleman in reversion as—and, indeed, as fine a man as may be, having a red beard and a pair of warpt[560] legs.

Bian. But, i’faith, I am most monstrously in love with Count Quidlibet-in-quodlibet: is he not a pretty, dapper, unidle[561] gallant?    39

Maq. He is even one of the most busy-fingered lords; he will put the beauties to the squeak most hideously.

Re-enter Bilioso.

Bil. Room! make a lane there! the duke is entering: stand handsomely for beauty’s sake, take up the ladies there! So, cornets, cornets!

Re-enter Prepasso, joins to Bilioso; then enter two Pages with lights, Ferrardo, Mendoza; at the other door, two Pages with lights, and the Captain leading in Maria; Mendoza meets Maria and closeth with her; the rest fall back.

Men. Madam, with gentle ear receive my suit;
A kingdom’s safety should o’er-peise[562] slight rites;
Marriage is merely nature’s policy:
Then, since unless our royal beds be join’d,
Danger and civil tumults fright the state,
Be wise as you are fair, give way to fate.    50

Maria. What wouldst thou, thou affliction to our house?
Thou ever-devil, ’twas thou that banished’st
My truly noble lord!

Men. I!

Maria. Ay, by thy plots, by thy black stratagems:
Twelve moons have suffer’d change since I beheld
The lovèd presence of my dearest lord.
O thou far worse than death! he parts but soul
From a weak body; but thou soul from soul
Dissever’st, that which God’s own hand did knit;    60
Thou scant of honour, full of devilish wit!

Men. We’ll check your too-intemperate lavishness:
I can, and will.

Maria. What canst?

Men. Go to; in banishment thy husband dies.

Maria. He ever is at home that’s ever wise.

Men. You’st[563] ne’er meet more: reason should love control.

Maria. Not meet!
She that dear loves, her love’s still in her soul.

Men. You are but a woman, lady, you must yield.    70

Maria. O, save me, thou innated bashfulness,
Thou only ornament of woman’s modesty!

Men. Modesty! death, I’ll torment thee.

Maria. Do, urge all torments, all afflictions try;
I’ll die my lord’s as long as I can die.

Men. Thou obstinate, thou shalt die.—Captain, that lady’s life
Is forfeited to justice: we have examin’d her,
And we do find she hath empoisonèd
The reverend hermit; therefore we command
Severest custody.—Nay, if you’ll do’s no good,    80
You’st do’s no harm: a tyrant’s peace is blood.

Maria. O, thou art merciful; O gracious devil,
Rather by much let me condemnèd be
For seeming murder than be damn’d for thee!
I’ll mourn no more; come, girt my brows with flowers:
Revel and dance, soul, now thy wish thou hast;
Die like a bride, poor heart, thou shalt die chaste.

Enter Aurelia in mourning habit.

Life[564] is a frost of cold felicity,

Aur. And death the thaw of all our vanity:
Was’t not an honest priest that wrote so?    90

Men. Who let her in?

Bil. Forbear!

Pre. Forbear!

Aur. Alas, calamity is everywhere:
Sad misery, despite your double doors,
Will enter even in court.

Bil. Peace!

Aur.I ha’ done.[565]

Bil. One word,—take heed!

Aur. I ha’ done.

Enter Mercury with loud music.

Mer. Cyllenian Mercury, the god of ghosts,
From gloomy shades that spread the lower coasts,[566]
Calls four high-famèd Genoan[567] dukes to come,    100
And make this presence their Elysium,
To pass away this high triumphal night
With song and dances, court’s more soft delight.

Aur. Are you god of ghosts? I have a suit pending in hell betwixt me and my conscience; I would fain have thee help me to an advocate.

Bil. Mercury shall be your lawyer, lady.

Aur. Nay, faith, Mercury has too good a face to be a right lawyer.

Pre. Peace, forbear! Mercury presents the mask.    110

Cornets: the song to the cornets, which playing, the mask enters; Malevole, Pietro, Ferneze, and Celso, in white robes, with dukes’ crowns upon laurel-wreaths, pistolets and short swords under their robes.

Men. Celso, Celso, court[568] Maria for our love.
Lady, be gracious, yet grace.

Maria. With me, sir?

[Malevole takes Maria to dance.

Mal. Yes, more lovèd than my breath;
With you I’ll dance.

Maria. Why, then, you dance with death.
But, come, sir, I was ne’er more apt for[569] mirth.
Death gives eternity a glorious breath:
O, to die honour’d, who would fear to die?

Mal. They die in fear who live in villainy.

Men. Yes, believe him, lady, and be rul’d by him.

Pietro. Madam, with me.

[Pietro takes Aurelia to dance.

Aur. Wouldst, then, be miserable?    120

Pietro. I need not wish.

Aur. O, yet forbear my hand! away! fly! fly!
O, seek not her that only seeks to die!

Pietro. Poor lovèd soul!

Aur. What, wouldst court misery?

Pietro. Yes.

Aur. She’ll come too soon:—O my grievèd heart!

Pietro. Lady, ha’ done, ha’ done:
Come,[570] let us dance; be once from sorrow free.

Aur. Art a sad man?

Pietro. Yes, sweet.

Aur. Then we’ll agree.    128

[Ferneze takes Maquerelle and Celso Bianca: then the cornets sound the measure, one change, and rest.

Fer. [to Bianca.] Believe it, lady; shall I swear? let me enjoy you in private, and I’ll marry you, by my soul.

Bian. I had rather you would swear by your body: I think that would prove the more regarded oath with you.

Fer. I’ll swear by them both, to please you.

Bian. O, damn them not both to please me, for God’s sake!    136

Fer. Faith, sweet creature, let me enjoy you to-night, and I’ll marry you to-morrow fortnight, by my troth, la.

Maq. On his troth, la! believe him not; that kind of cony-catching is as stale as Sir Oliver Anchovy’s perfumed[571] jerkin: promise of matrimony by a young gallant, to bring a virgin lady into a fool’s paradise; make her a great woman, and then cast her off;—’tis as common and[572] natural to a courtier, as jealousy to a citizen, gluttony to a puritan, wisdom to an alderman, pride to a tailor, or an empty hand-basket[573] to one of these sixpenny damnations: of his troth, la! believe him not; traps to catch pole-cats.

Mal. [to Maria]. Keep your face constant, let no sudden passion
Speak in your eyes.

Maria. O my Altofront!    150

Pietro. [to Aurelia.] A tyrant’s jealousies
Are very nimble: you receive it all?

Aur. My heart, though not my knees, doth humbly fall
Low as the earth, to thee.

Mal.[574] Peace! next change; no words.

Maria. Speech to such, ay, O, what will affords!

[Cornets sound the measure over again; which danced, they unmask.

Men. Malevole!

[They environ Mendoza, bending their pistols on him.

Mal. No.

Men. Altofront! Duke Pietro![575] Ferneze! ha!

All. Duke Altofront! Duke Altofront!

[Cornets, a flourish.They seize upon Mendoza.

Men. Are we surpris’d? what strange delusions mock    160
Our senses? do I dream? or have I dreamt
This two days’ space? where am I?

Mal. Where an arch-villain is.

Men. O, lend me breath till[576] I am fit to die!
For peace with heaven, for your own souls’ sake,
Vouchsafe me life!

Pietro. Ignoble villain! whom neither heaven nor hell,
Goodness of God or man, could once make good!

Mal. Base, treacherous wretch! what grace canst thou expect,
That hast grown impudent in gracelessness?    170

Men. O, life!

Mal. Slave, take thy life.
Wert thou defencèd, th[o]rough blood and wounds,
The sternest horror of a civil fight,
Would I achieve thee; but prostrate at my feet,
I scorn to hurt thee: ’tis the heart of slaves
That deigns to triumph over peasants’ graves;
For such thou art, since birth doth ne’er enroll
A man ’mong monarchs, but a glorious soul.
O,[577] I have seen strange accidents of state!    180
The flatterer, like the ivy, clip the oak,
And waste it to the heart; lust so confirm’d,
That the black act of sin itself not sham’d
To be term’d courtship.
O, they that are as great as be their sins,
Let them remember that th’ inconstant people
Love many princes[578] merely for their faces
And outward shows; and they do covet more
To have a sight of these than of their virtues.
Yet thus much let the great ones still conceive,[579]    190
When they observe not heaven’s impos’d conditions,
They are no kings,[580] but forfeit their commissions.

Maq. O good my lord, I have lived in the court this twenty year: they that have been old courtiers, and come to live in the city, they are spited at, and thrust to the walls like apricocks, good my lord.

Bil. My lord, I did know your lordship in this disguise; you heard me ever say, if Altofront did return, I would stand for him: besides, ’twas your lordship’s pleasure to call me wittol and cuckold: you must not think, but that I knew you, I would have put it up so patiently.    202

Mal. You o’er-joy’d spirits, wipe your long-wet eyes.

[To Pietro and Aurelia.

Hence with this man [Kicks out Mendoza]: an eagle takes not flies.
You to your vows [To Pietro and Aurelia]: and thou into the suburbs.[581]

[To Maquerelle.

You to my worst friend I would hardly give;
Thou art a perfect old knave [To Bilioso]: all-pleas’d live
You two unto my breast [To Celso and the Captain]: thou to my heart.

[To Maria.

The rest of idle actors idly part:
And as for me, I here assume my right,    210
To which I hope all’s pleas’d: to all, good-night.

[Cornets, a flourish. Exeunt.

[555] Some copies of ed. 1. “distuned.”

[556] Some copies of ed. 1. “head.”

[557] Sticks for setting the plaits of ruffs. They were first made of wood or bone, but afterwards of steel.

[558] Some copies of ed. 1. “falling-band.”

[559] Some copies of ed. 1. “St. Andrew Jaques.”

[560] Ed. 2. “wrapt.”

[561] This is the reading of ed. 2.—Some copies of ed. 1. give “windle.” Perhaps the true reading is “wimble” (= nimble), a word which Marston uses in The First Part of Antonio and Mellida (see p. 58).

[562] Outweigh.

[563] Contraction of “you must.”

[564] Given to Aurelia (perhaps rightly) in ed. 2. and some copies of ed. 1.

[565] “I ha’ done,” &c.—Old eds.:—

Aur. I ha done; one word, take heede, I ha done.”

[566] Regions.—“Marche. A region, coast, or quarter.”—Cotgrave.

[567] Some copies of ed. 1. “Genoa.”

[568] Ed. 2. “count.”

[569] Ed. 2. “to.”

[570] Some copies of ed. 1. “come downe.”

[571] A frotted jerkin—a jerkin in which sweet oil had been rubbed. Cf. Cynthia’s Revels, v. 2:—
 “Amo. Is the perfume rich in this jerkin?
Per. Taste, smell; I assure you, sir, pure benjamin, the only spirited scent that ever awaked a Neapolitan nostril.... I frotted a jerkin for a new-revenued gentleman yielded me three score crowns but this morning, and the same titillation.”

[572] Old eds. “as.”

[573] Omitted in some copies of ed. 1.

[574] Old eds.Pietro.

[575] Some copies of ed. 1. “Lorenzo.

[576] Some copies of ed. 1. “to liue till.”

[577] “O, I have seen ... so patiently” (ll. 180-202).—This passage was added in ed. 2.

[578] Some copies read “men.”

[579] Old ed. “conceale.”

[580] Some copies read “men.”

[581] Where the bawdy-houses were located.



To wrest each hurtless thought to private sense
Is the foul use of ill-bred impudence:
Immodest censure now grows wild,
All over-running.
Let innocence be ne’er so chaste,
Yet at the last
She is defil’d
With too nice-brainèd cunning.
O you of fairer soul,
Control    10
With an Herculean arm
This harm;
And once teach all old freedom of a pen,
Which still must write of fools, whiles’t writes of men!

[582] The “imperfect ode” and the epilogue are not found in some copies of ed. 1.


Your modest silence, full of heedy stillness,
Makes me thus speak: a voluntary illness
Is merely[583] senseless; but unwilling error,
Such as proceeds from too rash youthful fervour,
May well be call’d a fault, but not a sin:
Rivers take names from founts where they begin.
Then let not too severe an eye peruse
The slighter brakes[584] of our reformèd Muse,
Who could herself herself of faults detect,
But that she knows ’tis easy to correct,    10
Though some men’s labour: troth, to err is fit,
As long as wisdom’s not profess’d, but wit.
Then till another’s happier Muse appears,[585]
Till his Thalia feast your learnèd ears,
To whose desertful lamps pleased Fates impart
Art above nature, judgment above art,
Receive this piece, which hope nor fear yet daunteth:
He that knows most knows most how much he wanteth.

[583] Wholly.

[584] Clearly another form of bracks, i.e., cracks, flaws.

[585] A fine compliment to Ben Jonson.



Transcriber’s Note:

Minor punctuation errors were corrected. Footnotes were renumbered sequentially and were moved to follow the section of text or scene of the play in which the related anchors occur. In screen view, transliterations of Greek appear when the cursor is placed over the dotted underline text.

Line numbers in the original text are occasionally inaccurate. Line numbers for the prose portions of plays may not be accurate if the display width of the user’s viewer does not match the width of the original text.

Anomolies noted; left unchanged:

—In Act V of “Antonio’s Revenge,” the first two scenes are both identified as “Scene 1.”

—Footnotes [78], [237], and [478] each have two anchors that refer to the note.

Changes to text:

—Introduction: ‘indentified’ to ‘identified’ “... he is to be identified with ...”
—First part of Antonio and Mellida, Act III, Scene 1, line 113: duplicate ‘myself’ removed from “... Well, ere yon sun set, I’ll show myself myself,...”
—The Malcontent, Act V, Scene 3, line 88: duplicate ‘a’ removed from “... Life is a a frost of cold felicity,...”