The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Select Collection of Old English Plays,
Volume 10 (of 15), by Various

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Title: A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Volume 10 (of 15)

Author: Various

Release Date: July 25, 2014 [EBook #46412]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


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New York

First published 1874-1876[Pg 1]
Reissued 1964 by Benjamin Blom, Inc.
L.C. Catalog Card No. 64-14702

Printed in U.S.A. by
New York 3, N. Y.

[Pg 2]


For a notice of the Edition, see the next page.

[Pg 3]


Cyril Torneur is known only as an author, none of the dramatic biographers giving any account of him. Winstanley quotes the following distich from a contemporary poet, by which it appears that he was not held in much estimation for his writings—

"His fame unto that pitch was only rais'd,
As not to be despis'd, nor over-prais'd."

He was the author of—

[(1.) The Transformed Metamorphosis, a Poem. 8o, London, 1600.[1]]

(2.) The Revengers Tragœdie. As it hath beene sundry times Acted by the Kings Maiesties Seruants. At London. Printed by G. Eld, and are to be sold at his house in Fleete-lane at the signe of the Printers-Presse. 1607, 4o. Again (a new date only) 1608, 4o.[2]

(3.) "The Atheists Tragedie: Or The honest Mans Reuenge. As in diuers places it hath often beene Acted. Written by Cyril Tourneur. At London Printed for [Pg 4]John Stepneth and Richard Redmer, and are to be sold at their shop, at the West end of Paules. 1611,"[3] 4o. Again, 1612, 4o.

(4.) A Traji-Comedy, called The Nobleman, never printed, and which Oldys says was destroyed by ignorance.[4]

(5.) A Funerall Poeme. Vpon the Death of the most Worthie and Trve Sovldier: Sir Francis Vere, Knight, Captaine of Portsmouth, L. Gouernour of his Maiesties Cautionarie Towne of Briell in Holland, &c., 4o, 1609.

(6.) A Griefe on the Death of Prince Henrie. Expressed in a broken Elegie, according to the nature of such a sorrow, 4o, 1613.[5]

[Pg 5]

[A MS. note in one of the former editions says: "This is a most splendid work. The character of Vendice surpasses anything else of the kind. The power with which it is conceived and conducted is appalling. The quaint way that accompanies it adds to its fearful effect. The whole is perfectly tremendous."]

[Pg 6]


[1] [See Hazlitt's "Handbook," 1867, art. Tourneur, in Appendix.]

[2] "The Revenger's Tragedy" was entered on the Stationers' Books, with "A Trick to Catch the Old One," on the 7th October 1607.

[3] There are some good passages in this play, but upon the whole it is considerably inferior to "The Revenger's Tragedy." The plot is unnatural, and the manner in which the catastrophe is brought about ludicrous.—Collier.

[4] It is very probable that Tourneur was concerned in other dramatic productions, which are either anonymous, or have been lost. He is mentioned in the following terms by Robert Daborne in a letter to P. Henslowe, dated 5th June 1613: "I have not only laboured my own play, which shall be ready before they (the company) come over, but given Cyrill Tourneur an act of the 'Arraignment of London' to write, yt we may have that likewise ready for them."—Collier.

[5] [This is part of a volume entitled, "Three Elegies on the most Lamented Death of Prince Henrie," 1613. The others are by John Webster and T. Heywood.] After the title comes a prose dedication, "To my noble Maister George Carie," and four lines "To the Reader." At the end of the "Griefe" are verses "On the representation of the Prince at his funeralle," and "On the succession," each in eight lines.—Gilchrist.


The Scene, Italy.

[Pg 7]


[6] [Not in the old copy.]



Enter Vendice. The Duke, Duchess, Lusurioso the Duke's son, Spurio the bastard, with a train, pass over the stage with torchlight.

Ven.[8] Duke! royal lecher! go, grey-hair'd adultery!
And thou his son, as impious steep'd as he:
And thou his bastard, true begot in evil:
And thou his duchess, that will do with devil:
Four exc'llent characters! O, that marrowless age
Should stuff the hollow bones with damn'd desires!
And, 'stead of heat, kindle infernal fires
Within the spendthrift veins of a dry duke,
A parch'd and juiceless luxur.[9] O God! one,
[Pg 8] That has scarce blood enough to live upon;
And he to riot it, like a son and heir!
O, the thought of that
Turns my abused heart-strings into fret.
Thou sallow picture of my poison'd love,

[Views the skull in his hand.

My study's ornament, thou shell of death,
Once the bright face of my betrothed lady,
When life and beauty naturally fill'd out
These ragged imperfections;
When two heaven-pointed diamonds were set
In those unsightly rings—then 'twas a face
So far beyond the artificial shine
Of any woman's bought complexion,
That the uprightest man (if such there be,
That sin but seven times a day) broke custom,
And made up eight with looking after her.
O, she was able to ha' made a usurer's son
Melt all his patrimony in a kiss;
And what his father [in] fifty years told,
To have consum'd, and yet his suit been cold.
But, O accursed palace!
Thee, when thou wert apparell'd in thy flesh,
The old duke poison'd,
Because thy purer part would not consent
Unto his palsied[10] lust; for old men lustful
Do show like young men angry: eager, violent,
Outbid, [be]like, their limited performances.
O, 'ware an old man hot and vicious!
"Age, as in gold, in lust is covetous."
Vengeance, thou murder's quit-rent, and whereby
Thou show'st thyself tenant to tragedy;
O, keep thy day, hour, minute, I beseech,
[Pg 9] For those thou hast determin'd. Hum! whoe'er knew
Murder unpaid? faith, give revenge her due,
Sh' has kept touch hitherto: be merry, merry,
Advance thee, O thou terror to fat folks!
To have their costly three-pil'd flesh worn off
As bare as this; for banquets, ease, and laughter
Can make great men, as greatness goes by clay;
But wise men little are more great than they.

Enter Hippolito.

Hip. Still sighing o'er death's vizard?
Ven. Brother, welcome!
What comfort bring'st thou? how go things at court?
Hip. In silk and silver, brother: never braver.
Ven. Puh!
Thou play'st upon my meaning. Prythee, say,
Has that bald madman, opportunity,
Yet thought upon's? speak, are we happy yet?
Thy wrongs and mine are for one scabbard fit.
Hip. It may prove happiness.
Ven. What is't may prove?
Give me to taste.
Hip. Give me your hearing, then.
You know my place at court?
Ven. Ay, the duke's chamber!
But 'tis a marvel thou'rt not turn'd out yet!
Hip. Faith, I've been shov'd at; but 'twas still my hap
To hold by th' duchess' skirt: you guess at that:
Whom such a coat keeps up, can ne'er fall flat.
But to the purpose—
Last evening, predecessor unto this,
The duke's son warily inquir'd for me,
Whose pleasure I attended: he began
[Pg 10] By policy to open and unhusk me
About the fame[11] and common rumour:
But I had so much wit to keep my thoughts
Up in their built houses; yet afforded him
An idle satisfaction without danger.
But the whole aim and scope of his intent
Ended in this: conjuring me in private
To seek some strange-digested fellow forth,
Of ill-contented nature; either disgrac'd
In former times, or by new grooms displac'd,
Since his step-mother's nuptials; such a blood,
A man that were for evil only good—
To give you the true word, some base-coin'd pander.
Ven. I reach you; for I know his heat is such,
Were there as many concubines as ladies,
He would not be contain'd; he must fly out.
I wonder how ill-featur'd, vile-proportion'd,
That one should be, if she were made for woman
Whom, at the insurrection of his lust,
He would refuse for once. Heart! I think none.
Next to a skull, though more unsound than one,
Each face he meets he strongly doats upon.
Hip. Brother, y' have truly spoke him.
He knows not you, but I will swear you know him.
Ven. And therefore I'll put on that knave for once,
And be a right man then, a man o' th' time;
For to be honest is not to be i' th' world.
Brother, I'll be that strange-composed fellow.
Hip. And I'll prefer you, brother.
Ven. Go to, then:
The smallest advantage fattens wronged men:
It may point out occasion, if I meet her,
I'll hold her by the foretop fast enough;
Or, like the French Mole,[12] heave up hair and all.
I have a habit that will fit it quaintly.
[Pg 11] Here comes our mother.
Hip. And sister.
Ven. We must coin:
Women are apt, you know, to take false money;
But I dare stake my soul for these two creatures,
Only excuse excepted, that they'll swallow,
Because their sex is easy in belief.

Enter Gratiana and Castiza.

Gra. What news from court, son Carlo?
Hip. Faith, mother,
Tis whisper'd there the duchess' youngest son
Has play'd a rape on Lord Antonio's wife.
Gra. On that religious lady!
Cas. Royal blood! monster, he deserves to die,
If Italy had no more hopes but he.
Ven. Sister, y'have sentenc'd most direct and true,
The law's a woman, and would she were you.
Mother, I must take leave of you.
Gra. Leave! for what?
Ven. I intend speedy travel.
Hip. That he does, madam.
Gra. Speedy indeed!
Ven. For since my worthy father's funeral,
My life's unnatural[13] to me, even compell'd;
As if I liv'd now, when I should be dead.
Gra. Indeed, he was a worthy gentleman,
Had his estate been fellow to his mind.
Ven. The duke did much deject him.
Gra. Much?
Ven. Too much:
And though disgrace oft smother'd in his spirit,
When it would mount, surely I think he died
Of discontent, the noble man's consumption.
Gra. Most sure he did.
[Pg 12]
Ven. Did he? 'lack! you know all:
You were his midnight secretary.
Gra. No,
He was too wise to trust me with his thoughts.
Ven. I' faith, then, father, thou wast wise indeed;
"Wives are but made to go to bed and feed."
Come, mother, sister: you'll bring me onward,[14] brother?
Hip. I will.
Ven. I'll quickly turn into another. [Aside. Exeunt.

Enter the old Duke, Lusurioso his son, the Duchess: the Bastard, the Duchess's two sons Ambitioso and Supervacuo; the third, her youngest, brought out with Officers for the rape. Two Judges.

Duke. Duchess, it is your youngest son, we're sorry,
His violent act has e'en drawn blood of honour,
And stain'd our honours;
Thrown ink upon the forehead of our state;
Which envious spirits will dip their pens into
After our death; and blot us in our tombs:
For that which would seem treason in our lives
Is laughter, when we're dead. Who dares now whisper,
That dares not then speak out, and e'en proclaim
With loud words and broad pens our closest shame?
Judge. Your grace hath spoke like to your silver years,
Full of confirmed gravity; for what is it to have
A flattering false insculption[15] on a tomb,
And in men's hearts reproach? the bowell'd corpse
[Pg 13] May be sear'd in, but (with free tongue I speak)
The faults of great men through their sear-cloths break.
Duke. They do; we're sorry for't: it is our fate
To live in fear, and die to live in hate.
I leave him to your sentence; doom him, lords—
The fact is great—whilst I sit by and sigh.
Duch. My gracious lord, I pray be merciful:
Although his trespass far exceed his years,
Think him to be your own, as I am yours;
Call him not son-in-law: the law, I fear,
Will fall too soon upon his name and him:
Temper his fault with pity.
Lus. Good my lord,
Then 'twill not taste so bitter and unpleasant
Upon the judges' palate; for offences,
Gilt o'er with mercy, show like fairest women,
Good only for their beauties, which wash'd off,
No sin is uglier.[16]
Amb. I beseech your grace,
Be soft and mild; let not relentless law
Look with an iron forehead on our brother.
Spu. He yields small comfort yet [or] hope he shall die;
And if a bastard's wish might stand in force,
Would all the court were turn'd into a corse! [Aside.
Duch. No pity yet? must I rise fruitless then?
A wonder in a woman! are my knees
Of such low metal, that without respect——
1st Judge. Let the offender stand forth:
'Tis the duke's pleasure, that impartial doom
Shall take fast hold of his unclean attempt.
A rape! why 'tis the very core of lust—
Double adultery.
Jun. So, sir.
[Pg 14]
2d Judge. And which was worse,
Committed on the Lord Antonio's wife,
That general honest lady. Confess, my lord,
What mov'd you to't?
Jun. Why, flesh and blood, my lord;
What should move men unto a woman else?
Lus. O, do not jest thy doom! trust not an axe
Or sword too far: the law is a wise serpent,
And quickly can beguile thee of thy life.
Though marriage only has made thee my brother,
I love thee so far, play not with thy death.
Jun, I thank you, troth; good admonitions, faith,
If I'd the grace now to make use of them.
1st Judge. That lady's name has spread such a fair wing
Over all Italy, that if our tongues
Were sparing toward the fact, judgment itself
Would be condemn'd, and suffer in men's thoughts.
Jun. Well then, 'tis done; and it would please me well,
Were it to do again: sure, she's a goddess,
For I'd no power to see her, and to live.
It falls out true in this, for I must die;
Her beauty was ordain'd to be my scaffold.
And yet, methinks, I might be easier 'sess'd:
My fault being sport, let me but die in jest.
1st Judge. This be the sentence——
Duch. O, keep't upon your tongue; let it not slip;
Death too soon steals out of a lawyer's lip.
Be not so cruel-wise!
1st Judge. Your grace must pardon us;
'Tis but the justice of the law.
Duch. The law
Is grown more subtle than a woman should be.
Spu. Now, now he dies! rid 'em away. [Aside.
Duch. O, what it is to have an old cool duke,
To be as slack in tongue as in performance! [Aside.
1st Judge. Confirm'd, this be the doom irrevocable.
[Pg 15]
Duch. O!
1st Judge. To-morrow early——
Duch. Pray be abed, my lord.
1st Judge. Your grace much wrongs yourself.
Amb. No, 'tis that tongue:
Your too much right does do us too much wrong.
1st Judge. Let that offender——
Duch. Live, and be in health.
1st Judge. Be on a scaffold——-
Duke. Hold, hold, my lord!
Spu. Pox on't,
What makes my dad speak now?
Duke. We will defer the judgment till next sitting:
In the meantime, let him be kept close prisoner.
Guard, bear him hence.
Amb. Brother, this makes for thee;
Fear not, we'll have a trick to set thee free. [Aside.
Jun. Brother, I will expect it from you both;
And in that hope I rest. [Aside.
Sup. Farewell, be merry. [Exit with a guard.
Spu. Delay'd! deferr'd! nay then, if judgment have cold blood,
Flattery and bribes will kill it.
Duke. About it, then, my lords, with your best powers:
More serious business calls upon our hours.

[Exeunt, manet Duchess.

Duch. Was't ever known step-duchess was so mild
And calm as I? some now would plot his death
With easy doctors, those loose-living men,
And make his wither'd grace fall to his grave,
And keep church better.
Some second wife would do this, and despatch
Her double-loathed lord at meat or sleep.
[Pg 16] Indeed, 'tis true, an old man's twice a child;
Mine cannot speak; one of his single words
Would quite have freed my youngest dearest son
From death or durance, and have made him walk
With a bold foot upon the thorny law,
Whose prickles should bow under him; but 'tis not,
And therefore wedlock-faith shall be forgot:
I'll kill him in his forehead; hate, there feed;
That wound is deepest, though it never bleed.
And here comes he whom my heart points unto,
His bastard son, but my love's true-begot;
Many a wealthy letter have I sent him,
Swell'd up with jewels, and the timorous man
Is yet but coldly kind.
That jewel's mine that quivers in his ear,
Mocking his master's dullness and vain fear.
H' has spied me now!

Enter Spurio.[17]

Spu. Madam, your grace so private?
My duty on your hand.
Duch. Upon my hand, sir! troth, I think you'd fear
To kiss my hand too, if my lip stood there.
Spu. Witness I would not, madam. [Kisses her.
Duch. 'Tis a wonder,
For ceremony has made many fools![18]
It is as easy way unto a duchess,
As to a hatted dame,[19] if her love answer:
But that by timorous humours,[20] pale respects,
[Pg 17] Idle degrees of fear, men make their ways
Hard of themselves. What, have you thought of me?
Spu. Madam, I ever think of you in duty,
Regard, and——
Duch. Puh! upon my love, I mean.
Spu. I would 'twere love; but 'tis a fouler name
Than lust: you are my father's wife—your grace may guess now
What I could call it.
Duch. Why, th' art his son but falsely;
'Tis a hard question whether he begot thee.
Spu. I' faith, 'tis true: I'm an uncertain man
Of more uncertain woman. Maybe, his groom
O' th' stable begot me; you know I know not;
He could ride a horse well, a shrewd suspicion, marry!—
He was wondrous tall: he had his length, i' faith;
For peeping over half-shut holyday windows,
Men would desire him light, when he was afoot.
He made a goodly show under a pent-house;
And when he rid, his hat would check the signs,
And clatter barbers' basons.
Duch. Nay, set you a-horseback once,
You'll ne'er light off.[21]
Spu. Indeed, I am a beggar.
Duch. That's the more sign thou'rt great.—
But to our love:
Let it stand firm both in thy thought and mind,
That the duke was thy father, as no doubt
[Pg 18] He bid fair for't—-thy injury is the more;
For had he cut thee a right diamond,
Thou had'st been next set in the dukedom's ring,
When his worn self, like age's easy slave,
Had dropp'd out of the collet[22] into th' grave.
What wrong can equal this? canst thou be tame,
And think upon't?
Spu. No, mad, and think upon't.
Duch. Who would not be reveng'd of such a father,
E'en in the worst way? I would thank that sin,
That could most injure him, and be in league with it.
O, what a grief 'tis that a man should live
But once i' th' world, and then to live a bastard!
The curse o' the womb, the thief of nature,
Begot against the seventh commandment,
Half-damn'd in the conception by the justice
Of that unbribed, everlasting law.
Spu. O, I'd a hot-back'd devil to my father.
Duch. Would not this mad e'en patience, make blood rough?
Who but an eunuch would not sin? his bed,
By one false minute disinherited.
Spu. Ay, there's the vengeance that my birth was wrapp'd in!
I'll be reveng'd for all: now, hate, begin;
I'll call foul incest but a venial sin.
Duch. Cold still! in vain then must a duchess woo?
Spu. Madam, I blush to say what I will do.
Duch. Thence flew sweet comfort. Earnest, and farewell.

[Kisses him.

Spu. O, one incestuous kiss picks open hell.
Duch. Faith now, old duke, my vengeance shall reach high,
[Pg 19] I'll arm thy brow with woman's heraldry. [Exit.
Spu. Duke, thou didst do me wrong; and, by thy act
Adultery is my nature.
Faith, if the truth were known, I was begot
After some gluttonous dinner; some stirring dish
Was my first father, when deep healths went round,
And ladies' cheeks were painted red with wine,
Their tongues, as short and nimble as their heels,
Uttering words sweet and thick; and when they rose,
Were merrily dispos'd to fall again.
In such a whisp'ring and withdrawing hour,
When base male-bawds kept sentinel at stair-head,
Was I stol'n softly. O damnation meet![23]
The sin of feasts, drunken adultery!
I feel it swell me; my revenge is just!
I was begot in impudent wine and lust.
Step-mother, I consent to thy desires;
I love thy mischief well; but I hate thee
And those three cubs thy sons, wishing confusion,
Death and disgrace may be their epitaphs.
As for my brother, the duke's only son,
Whose birth is more beholding to report
Than mine, and yet perhaps as falsely sown
(Women must not be trusted with their own),
I'll loose my days upon him, hate-all-I;
Duke, on thy brow I'll draw my bastardy:
For indeed a bastard by nature should make cuckolds,
Because he is the son of a cuckold-maker. [Exit.

Enter Vendice and Hippolito. Vendice in disguise, to attend L. Lusurioso, the duke's son.

Ven. What, brother, am I far enough from myself?
Hip. As if another man had been sent whole
[Pg 20] Into the world, and none wist how he came.
Ven. It will confirm me bold—the child o' th' court;
Let blushes dwell i' th' country. Impudence!
Thou goddess of the palace, mistress of mistresses,
To whom the costly perfum'd people pray,
Strike thou my forehead into dauntless marble,
Mine eyes to steady sapphires. Turn my visage;
And, if I must needs glow, let me blush inward,
That this immodest season may not spy
That scholar in my cheeks, fool bashfulness;
That maid in the old time, whose flush of grace
Would never suffer her to get good clothes.
Our maids are wiser, and are less asham'd;
Save Grace the bawd, I seldom hear grace nam'd!
Hip. Nay, brother, you reach out o' th' verge now——
'Sfoot, the duke's son! settle your looks.
Ven. Pray, let me not be doubted.
Hip. My lord——

Enter Lusurioso.

Lus. Hippolito—be absent, leave us!
Hip. My lord, after long search, wary inquiries,
And politic siftings, I made choice of yon fellow,
Whom I guess rare for many deep employments:
This our age swims within him; and if Time
Had so much hair, I should take him for Time,
He is so near kin to this present minute.
Lus. 'Tis enough;
We thank thee: yet words are but great men's blanks;
Gold, though it be dumb, does utter the best thanks.

[Gives him money.

[Pg 21]

Hip. Your plenteous honour! an excellent fellow, my lord.

Lus. So, give us leave—[Exit Hippolito.] welcome, be not far off; we must be better acquainted: pish, be bold with us—thy hand.

Ven. With all my heart, i' faith: how dost, sweet musk-cat?
When shall we lie together?
Lus. Wondrous knave,
Gather him into boldness! 'sfoot, the slave's
Already as familiar as an ague,
And shakes me at his pleasure. Friend, I can
Forget myself in private; but elsewhere
I pray do you remember me.
Ven. O, very well, sir—I conster myself saucy.
Lus. What hast been?
Of what profession?
Ven. A bone-setter.
Lus. A bone-setter!
Ven. A bawd, my lord—
One that sets bones together.
Lus. Notable bluntness!
Fit, fit for me; e'en train'd up to my hand:
Thou hast been scrivener to much knavery, then?
Ven. Fool to abundance, sir: I have been witness
To the surrenders of a thousand virgins;
And not so little
I have seen patrimonies wash'd a-pieces,
Fruit-fields turn'd into bastards,
And in a world of acres
Not so much dust due to the heir 'twas left to
As would well gravel[24] a petition.
Lus. Fine villain! troth, I like him wondrously:
He's e'en shap'd for my purpose. [Aside.] Then thou know'st
I' th' world strange lust?
[Pg 22]
Ven. O Dutch lust! fulsome lust!
Drunken procreation! which begets so many drunkards:
Some fathers dread not (gone to bed in wine) to slide from the mother,
And cling the daughter-in-law;[25]
Some uncles are adulterous with their nieces:
Brothers with brothers' wives. O hour of incest!
Any kin now, next to the rim o' th' sister,[26]
Is man's meat in these days; and in the morning,
When they are up and dress'd, and their mask on,
Who can perceive this, save that eternal eye,
That sees through flesh and all? Well, if anything be damn'd,
It will be twelve o'clock at night; that twelve
Will never 'scape;
It is the Judas of the hours, wherein
Honest salvation is betray'd to sin.
Lus. In troth, it is true; but let this talk glide.
It is our blood to err, though hell gape wide.[27]
Ladies know Lucifer fell, yet still are proud.
Now, sir, wert thou as secret as thou'rt subtle,
And deeply fathom'd into all estates,
I would embrace thee for a near employment;
And thou shouldst swell in money, and be able
To make lame beggars crouch to thee.
Ven. My lord.
Secret! I ne'er had that disease o' th' mother,
I praise my father: why are men made close,
But to keep thoughts in best? I grant you this,
Tell but some women a secret over night,
Your doctor may find it in the urinal i' th' morning.
[Pg 23] But, my lord——
Lus. So thou'rt confirm'd in me,
And thus I enter thee. [Gives him money.
Ven. This Indian devil
Will quickly enter any man but a usurer;
He prevents that by entering the devil first.
Lus. Attend me. I am past my depth in lust,
And I must swim or drown. All my desires
Are levell'd at a virgin not far from court,
To whom I have convey'd by messenger
Many wax'd lines, full of my neatest spirit,
And jewels that were able to ravish her
Without the help of man; all which and more
She (foolish chaste) sent back, the messengers
Receiving frowns for answers.
Ven. Possible!
'Tis a rare Phœnix, whoe'er she be.
If your desires be such, she so repugnant,
In troth, my lord, I'd be reveng'd, and marry her.
Lus. Pish! the dowry of her blood and of her fortunes
Are both too mean—good enough to be bad withal.
I'm one of that number can defend
Marriage as good;[28] yet rather keep a friend.
Give me my bed by stealth—there's true delight;
What breeds a loathing in't, but night by night!
Ven. A very fine religion!
Lus. Therefore, thus
I'll trust thee in the business of my heart;
Because I see thee well-experienc'd
In this luxurious day, wherein we breathe.
Go thou, and with a smooth, enchanting tongue
Bewitch her ears, and cosen her of all grace:
Enter upon the portico[29] of her soul—
Her honour, which she calls her chastity,
[Pg 24] And bring it into expense; for honesty
Is like a stock of money laid to sleep
Which, ne'er so little broke, does never keep.
Ven. You have gi'n 't the tang, i' faith, my lord:
Make known the lady to me, and my brain
Shall swell with strange invention: I will move it,
Till I expire with speaking, and drop down
Without a word to save me—but I'll work——
Lus. We thank thee, and will raise thee—
Receive her name; it is the only daughter to
Madam Gratiana, the late widow.
Ven. O my sister, my sister! [Aside.
Lus. Why dost walk aside?
Ven. My lord, I was thinking how I might begin:
As thus, O lady—or twenty hundred devices—
Her very bodkin will put a man in.
Lus. Ay, or the wagging of her hair.
Ven. No, that shall put you in, my lord.
Lus. Shall't? why, content. Dost know the daughter, then?
Ven. O, excellent well by sight.
Lus. That was her brother,
That did prefer thee to us.
Ven. My lord, I think so;
I knew I had seen him somewhere——
Lus. And therefore, prythee, let thy heart to him
Be (as a virgin) close.
Ven. O my good lord.
Lus. We may laugh at that simple age within him.
Ven. Ha, ha, ha!
Lus. Himself being made the subtle instrument,
To wind up a good fellow.
Ven. That's I, my lord.
Lus. That's thou,
To entice and work his sister.
[Pg 25]
Ven. A pure novice!
Lus. 'Twas finely manag'd.
Ven. Gallantly carried!
A pretty perfum'd villain!
Lus. I've bethought me,
If she prove chaste still and immovable,
Venture upon the mother; and with gifts,
As I will furnish thee, begin with her.

Ven. O, fie, fie! that's the wrong end, my lord. 'Tis mere impossible that a mother, by any gifts, should become a bawd to her own daughter!

Lus. Nay, then, I see thou'rt but a puisne
In the subtle mystery of a woman.
Why, 'tis held now no dainty dish: the name
Is so in league with age, that nowadays
It does eclipse three quarters of a mother.
Ven. Does it so, my lord?
Let me alone, then, to eclipse the fourth.
Lus. Why, well-said—come, I'll furnish thee; but first
Swear to be true in all.
Ven. True!
Lus. Nay, but swear.
Ven. Swear?—I hope your honour little doubts my faith.
Lus. Yet, for my humour's sake, 'cause I love swearing——
Ven. 'Cause you love swearing, 'slud, I will.
Lus. Why, enough!
Ere long look to be made of better stuff.
Ven. That will do well indeed, my lord.
Lus. Attend me. [Exit.
Ven. O!
Now let me burst. I've eaten noble poison;
We are made strange fellows, brother, innocent villains!
Wilt not be angry, when thou hear'st on't, think'st thou?
[Pg 26] I' faith, thou shalt: swear me to foul my sister!
Sword, I durst make a promise of him to thee;
Thou shalt disheir him; it shall be thine honour.
And yet, now angry froth is down in me,
It would not prove the meanest policy,
In this disguise, to try the faith of both.
Another might have had the selfsame office;
Some slave that would have wrought effectually,
Ay, and perhaps o'erwrought 'em; therefore I,
Being thought-travell'd, will apply myself
Unto the selfsame form, forget my nature,
As if no part about me were kin to 'em,
So touch 'em;—though I durst almost for good
Venture my lands in heaven upon their blood.[30] [Exit.

Enter the discontented Lord Antonio, whose wife the Duchess's youngest son ravished: he discovering the body of her dead to certain Lords and Hippolito.

Ant. Draw nearer, lords, and be sad witnesses
Of a fair comely building newly fall'n,
Being falsely undermin'd. Violent rape
Has play'd a glorious act: behold, my lords,
A sight that strikes man out of me.
Piero. That virtuous lady!
Ant. President for wives!
Hip. The blush of many women, whose chaste presence
Would e'en call shame up to their cheeks, and make
Pale wanton sinners have good colours——
Ant. Dead!
Her honour first drank poison, and her life,
Being fellows in one house, did pledge her honour.
[Pg 27]
Piero. O, grief of many!
Ant. I mark'd not this before—
A prayer-book, the pillow to her cheek:
This was her rich confection; and another
Plac'd in her right hand, with a leaf tuck'd up,
Pointing to these words—
Melius virtute mori, quam per dedecus vivere:
True and effectual it is indeed.
Hip. My lord, since you invite us to your sorrows,
Let's truly taste 'em, that with equal comfort,
As to ourselves, we may relieve your wrongs:
We have grief too, that yet walks without tongue;
Curæ leves loquuntur, majores stupent.
Ant. You deal with truth, my lord,
Lend me but your attentions, and I'll cut
Long grief into short words. Last revelling night,
When torch-light made an artificial noon
About the court, some courtiers in the masque,
Putting on better faces than their own,
Being full of fraud and flattery—amongst whom
The duchess' youngest son (that moth to honour)
Fill'd up a room, and with long lust to eat
Into my warren,[31] amongst all the ladies
Singled out that dear form, who ever liv'd
As cold in lust as she is now in death,
(Which that step-duchess monster knew too well)
And therefore in the height of all the revels,
When music was heard loudest, courtiers busiest,
And ladies great with laughter—O vicious minute!
Unfit but for relation to be spoke of:
Then with a face more impudent than his vizard,
He harri'd[32] her amidst a throng of panders,
That live upon damnation of both kinds,
[Pg 28] And fed the ravenous vulture of his lust.
O death to think on't! She, her honour forc'd,
Deem'd it a nobler dowry for her name,
To die with poison, than to live with shame.
Hip. A wondrous lady! of rare fire compact;
Sh' has made her name an empress by that act.
Piero. My lord, what judgment follows the offender?
Ant. Faith, none, my lord; it cools, and is deferr'd.
Piero. Delay the doom for rape!
Ant. O, you must note who 'tis should die,
The duchess' son! she'll look to be a saver:
"Judgment, in this age, is near kin to favour."
Hip. Nay, then, step forth, thou bribeless officer:


I'll bind you all in steel, to bind you surely;
Here let your oaths meet, to be kept and paid,
Which else will stick like rust, and shame the blade;
Strengthen my vow that if, at the next sitting,
Judgment speak all in gold, and spare the blood
Of such a serpent e'en before their seats
To let his soul out, which long since was found
Guilty in heaven—
All. We swear it, and will act it.
Ant. Kind gentlemen, I thank you in mine heart.[33]
Hip. 'Twere pity
The ruins of so fair a monument
Should not be dipp'd in the defacer's blood.
Piero. Her funeral shall be wealthy; for her name
Merits a tomb of pearl. My Lord Antonio,
For this time wipe your lady from your eyes;
No doubt our grief and yours may one day court it,
When we are more familiar with revenge.
[Pg 29]
Ant. That is my comfort, gentlemen, and I joy
In this one happiness above the rest,
Which will be call'd a miracle at last
That, being an old man, I'd a wife so chaste. [Exeunt.


[7] ["There is some confusion in the arrangement of this scene. From the duke, &c., passing over the stage, it should be some open part of the duke's palace; but from the reflections on the skull, &c., it would appear to be Vendice's private study. But perhaps it was intended to represent two scenes, one above the other, as was frequently done at the period of this play."—MS. note in one of the former edits.]

[8] With a skull in his hand. That he has the skull of his mistress is evident from the whole of the scene. He makes use of it afterwards in act iii.—Collier.

[9] Luxury was the ancient appropriate term for incontinence. Hence this wanton old duke was called a luxur. See Mr Collins's note on "Troilus and Cressida," edit. 1778, ix. 166.—Steevens.

[10] [Old copy, palsy.]

[11] [Old copy, time.]

[12] This is not a name of the Lues Venerea, but a comparison only of it to a mole, on account of the effects it sometimes produces in occasioning the loss of hair.—Pegge.

[13] [Old copy, unnaturally—e'en.]

[14] A phrase in common use, signifying to accompany one.

[15] Hitherto [formerly] misprinted inscription: insculption is the word in the old quartos.—Collier.

[16] [Out of place in the mouth of housewives.—MS. note in one of the former edits.]

[17] The entrances and exits of the various characters are very defectively noticed in the old copies, and Mr Reed accurately supplied most of them.—Collier.

[18] Tourneur has urged this doctrine at greater length in the second act of his "Atheist's Tragedy," 1612.—Gilchrist.

[19] She means from the highest to the lowest of her sex. At this time women of the inferior order wore hats. See Hollar's "Ornatus Muliebris Anglicanus," 1640.

[20] [Old copy, honors.]

[21] "Set a beggar on horseback, and he'll ride a gallop. Asperius nihil est humili cum surgit in altum.—Claudian. Il n'est orgueil qui de pauvre enrichi.—Fr. There is no pride to the enriched beggar's. Il villan nobilitado non conosce il parentado.—Ital. The villain ennobled will not own his kindred or parentage."—[Hazlitt's "Proverbs," 1869, p. 331.]

[22] That part of a ring in which the stone is set.—Johnson's "Dictionary."

[23] [Old copy, met]

[24] i.e., Sand it, to prevent it from blotting, while the ink was wet.—Steevens.

[25] i.e., compress, embrace her. See Mr Steevens's note on "Macbeth," act v. sc. 5.

[26] That is, no degree of relationship is sufficient to restrain the appetite of lust, scarce that of sister; they even approach to the rim or verge of what is the most prohibited.

[27] The quarto reads, lowde.

[28] The quarto reads, is good.—Steevens.

[29] [Old copy, portion.]

[30] Upon their good is the misreading of one old copy.—Collier.

[31] [Old copy, wearing.]

[32] To harry, Mr Steevens observes, is to use roughly. See note to "Antony and Cleopatra," act iii. sc. 3. See also Fuller's "Church History," lib. x. p. 19.—Gilchrist.

[33] [Old copy, ire.]


Enter Castiza, the sister.

Cas. How hardly shall that maiden be beset,
Whose only fortunes are her constant thoughts!
That has no other child's part but her honour,
That keeps her low and empty in estate;
Maids and their honours are like poor beginners;
Were not sin rich, there would be fewer sinners;
Why had not virtue a revenue? Well,
I know the cause, 'twould have impoverish'd hell.

Enter Dondolo.

How now, Dondolo?

Don. Madonna, there is one as they say, a thing of flesh and blood—a man, I take him by his beard, that would very desirously mouth to mouth with you.

Cas. What's that?

Don. Show his teeth in your company.

Cas. I understand thee not.

Don. Why, speak with you, madonna.

Cas. Why, say so, madman, and cut off a great deal of dirty way; had it not been better spoke in ordinary words, that one would speak with me?

Don. Ha, ha! that's as ordinary as two shillings. I would strive a little to show myself in my place;[Pg 30] a gentleman-usher scorns to use the phrase and fancy of a serving-man.

Cas. Yours be your own, sir; go, direct him hither;

[Exit Dondolo.

I hope some happy tidings from my brother,
That lately travell'd, whom my soul affects.
Here he comes.

Enter Vendice, her brother, disguised.

Ven. Lady, the best of wishes to your sex.
Fair skins and new gowns.
Cas. O, they shall thank you, sir.
Whence this?
Ven. Mighty—O, from a dear and worthy friend;
Cas. From whom?
Ven. The duke's son!
Cas. Receive that.

[A box o' the ear to her brother.

I swore I would put anger in my hand,
And pass the virgin limits of my sex,[34]
To him that next appear'd in that base office,
To be his sin's attorney. Bear to him
That figure of my hate upon thy cheek,
Whilst 'tis yet hot, and I'll reward thee for't;
Tell him my honour shall have a rich name,
When several harlots shall share his with shame.
Farewell; commend me to him in my hate. [Exit.
Ven. It is the sweetest box,
That e'er my nose came nigh;
The finest drawn-work cuff that e'er was worn;
I'll love this blow for ever, and this cheek
Shall still henceforward take the wall of this.
O, I'm above my tongue: most constant sister,
In this thou hast right honourable shown;
Many are call'd their[35] honour, that have none;
[Pg 31] Thou art approv'd for ever in my thoughts.
It is not in the power of words to taint thee.
And yet for the salvation of my oath,
As my resolve in that point, I will lay
Hard siege unto my mother, though I know
A syren's tongue could not bewitch her so.
Mass, fitly here she comes! thanks, my disguise—
Madam, good afternoon.

Enter Gratiana.

Gra. Y' are welcome, sir.
Ven. The next[36] of Italy commends him to you,
Our mighty expectation, the duke's son.
Gra. I think myself much honour'd that he pleases
To rank me in his thoughts.
Ven. So may you, lady:
One that is like to be our sudden duke;
The crown gapes for him every tide, and then
Commander o'er us all; do but think on him.
How bless'd were they, now that could pleasure him—
E'en with anything almost?
Gra. Ay, save their honour.
Ven. Tut, one would let a little of that go too,
And ne'er be seen in't—ne'er be seen in't, mark you;
I'd wink, and let it go.
Gra. Marry, but I would not.
Ven. Marry, but I would, I hope; I know you would too,
If you'd that blood now, which you gave your daughter.
To her indeed 'tis this wheel[37] comes about;
That man that must be all this, perhaps ere morning,
[Pg 32] (For his white father does but mould away),
Has long desir'd your daughter.
Gra. Desir'd?
Ven. Nay, but hear me,
He desires now, that will command hereafter:
Therefore be wise. I speak as more a friend
To you than him: madam, I know you're poor,
And, 'lack the day!
There are too many poor ladies already;
Why should you wax the number? 'tis despis'd.
Live wealthy, rightly understand the world,
And chide away that foolish country girl
Keeps company with your daughter—Chastity.

Gra. O fie, fie! the riches of the world cannot hire a mother to such a most unnatural task.

Ven. No, but a thousand angels can.
[If] men have no power, angels must work you to't:
The world descends into such baseborn evils,
That forty angels can make fourscore devils.
There will be fools still, I perceive—still fools.[38]
Would I be poor, dejected, scorn'd of greatness,
Swept from the palace, and see others' daughters
Spring with the dew o' the court, having mine own
So much desir'd and lov'd by the duke's son?
No, I would raise my state upon her breast;
And call her eyes my tenants; I would count
My yearly maintenance upon her cheeks;
Take coach upon her lip; and all her parts
Should keep men after men, and I would ride
In pleasure upon pleasure.
You took great pains for her, once when it was;
Let her requite it now, though it be but some.
You brought her forth: she may well bring you home.
[Pg 33]
Gra. O heavens! this o'ercomes me!
Ven. Not, I hope, already? [Aside.
Gra. It is too strong for me; men know that know us,
We are so weak their words can overthrow us;
He touch'd me nearly, made my virtues bate,[39]
When his tongue struck upon my poor estate. [Aside.
Ven. I e'en quake to proceed, my spirit turns edge.
I fear me she's unmother'd; yet I'll venture.
"That woman is all male, whom none can enter."


What think you now, lady? speak, are you wiser?
What said advancement to you? thus it said:
The daughter's fall lifts up the mother's head.
Did it not, madam? but I'll swear it does
In many places: tut, this age fears no man.
"'Tis no shame to be bad, because 'tis common."
Gra. Ay, that's the comfort on't.
Ven. The comfort on't!
I keep the best for last—can these persuade you
To forget heaven—and—— [Gives her money.
Gra. Ay, these are they——
Ven. O!
Gra. That enchant our sex. These are
The means that govern our affections—that woman
Will not be troubled with the mother long,
That sees the comfortable shine of you:
I blush to think what for your sakes I'll do.
Ven. O sovereign[40] heaven, with thy invisible finger,
E'en at this instant turn the precious side
Of both mine eyeballs inward, not to see myself.


[Pg 34]

Gra. Look you, sir.
Ven. Hollo.
Gra. Let this thank your pains.
Ven. O, you're a kind madam.
Gra. I'll see how I can move.
Ven. Your words will sting.
Gra. If she be still chaste, I'll ne'er call her mine.
Ven. Spoke truer than you meant it.
Gra. Daughter Castiza.

Enter Castiza.

Cas. Madam.
Ven. O, she's yonder;
Meet her: troops of celestial soldiers guard her heart.
Yon dam has devils enough to take her part.
Cas. Madam, what makes yon evil-offic'd man
In presence of you?
Gra. Why?
Cas. He lately brought
Immodest writing sent from the duke's son,
To tempt me to dishonourable act.
Gra. Dishonourable act!—good honourable fool,
That wouldst be honest, 'cause thou wouldst be so,
Producing no one reason but thy will.
And't has a good report, prettily commended,
But pray, by whom? poor people, ignorant people;
The better sort, I'm sure, cannot abide it.
And by what rule should we square out our lives,
But by our betters' actions? O, if thou knew'st
What 'twere to lose it, thou would never keep it!
But there's a cold curse laid upon all maids,
[Pg 35] Whilst others clip the sun,[42] they clasp the shades.
Virginity is paradise lock'd up.
You cannot come by yourselves without fee;
And 'twas decreed, that man should keep the key!
Deny advancement! treasure! the duke's son!
Cas. I cry you mercy! lady, I mistook you!
Pray did you see my mother? which way went she?[43]
Pray God, I have not lost her.
Ven. Prettily put by! [Aside.
Gra. Are you as proud to me, as coy to him?
Do you not know me now?
Cas. Why, are you she?
The world's so chang'd one shape into another,
It is a wise child now that knows her mother.
Ven. Most right, i' faith. [Aside.
Gra. I owe your cheek my hand
For that presumption now; but I'll forget it.
Come, you shall leave those childish 'haviours,
And understand your time. Fortunes flow to you;
What, will you be a girl?
If all fear'd drowning that spy waves ashore,
Gold would grow rich, and all the merchants poor.
Cas. It is a pretty saying of a wicked one;
But methinks now it does not show so well
Out of your mouth—better in his!
Ven. Faith, bad enough in both,
Were I in earnest, as I'll seem no less. [Aside.
I wonder, lady, your own mother's words
Cannot be taken, nor stand in full force.
'Tis honesty you urge; what's honesty?
'Tis but heaven's beggar; and what woman is
[Pg 36] So foolish to keep honesty,
And be not able to keep herself? No,
Times are grown wiser, and will keep less charge.
A maid that has small portion now intends
To break up house, and live upon her friends;
How bless'd are you! you have happiness alone;
Others must fall to thousands, you to one,
Sufficient in himself to make your forehead
Dazzle the world with jewels, and petitionary people
Start at your presence.
Gra. O, if I were young, I should be ravish'd.
Cas. Ay, to lose your honour!
Ven. 'Slid, how can you lose your honour
To deal with my lord's grace?
He'll add more honour to it by his title;
Your mother will tell you how.
Gra. That I will.
Ven. O, think upon the pleasure of the palace!
Secured ease and state! the stirring meats,
Ready to move out of the dishes, that e'en now
Quicken when they are eaten!
Banquets abroad by torchlight! music! sports!
Bareheaded vassals, that had ne'er the fortune
To keep on their own hats, but let horns[44] wear 'em!
Nine coaches waiting—hurry, hurry, hurry——
Cas. Ay, to the devil.
Ven. Ay, to the devil! [Aside.] To the duke, by my faith.

Gra. Ay, to the duke: daughter, you'd scorn to think o' the devil, and you were there once.

Ven. True, for most there are as proud as he for his heart, i' faith. [Aside.

[Pg 37]

Who'd sit at home in a neglected room,
Dealing her short-liv'd beauty to the pictures,
That are as useless as old men, when those
Poorer in face and fortune than herself
Walk with a hundred acres on their backs,[45]
Fair meadows cut into green foreparts? O,
It was the greatest blessing ever happen'd to women:
When farmers' sons agreed to mete their gain,[46]
To wash their hands, and come up gentlemen!
The commonwealth has flourished ever since:
Lands that were mete[47] by the rod, that labour's spar'd:
Tailors ride down, and measure 'em by the yard.
Fair trees, those comely foretops of the field,
Are cut to maintain head-tires—much untold—
All thrives but chastity; she lies a-cold.
Nay, shall I come nearer to you? mark but this:

Why are there so few honest women, but because tis the poorer profession? that's accounted best that's best followed; least in trade, least in fashion; and that's not honesty, believe it; and do but note the love and dejected price of it—

Lose but a pearl, we search, and cannot brook it:
But that,[48] once gone, who is so mad to look it?
Gra. Troth, he says true.
[Pg 38]
Cas. False! I defy you both:
I have endur'd you with an ear of fire;
Your tongues have struck hot irons on my face.
Mother, come from that poisonous woman there.[49]
Gra. Where?
Cas. Do you not see her? she's too inward,[50] then:
Slave, perish in thy office! you heavens, please
Henceforth to make the mother a disease,
Which first begins with me: yet I've outgone you. [Exit.
Ven. O angels, clap your wings upon the skies,
And give this virgin crystal plaudites!
Gra. Peevish, coy, foolish!—but return this answer,
My lord shall be most welcome, when his pleasure
Conducts him this way. I will sway mine own:
Women with women can work best alone. [Exit.
Ven. Indeed, I'll tell him so.
O, more uncivil, more unnatural,
Than those base-titled creatures that look downward;
Why does not heaven turn black, or with a frown
Undo the world? Why does not earth start up,
And strike the sins that tread upon't? O,
Were't not for gold and women, there would be no damnation.
Hell would look like a lord's great kitchen without fire in't.
But 'twas decreed, before the world began,
That they should be the hooks to catch at man. [Exit.

[Pg 39]

Enter Lusurioso, with Hippolito.

Lus. I much applaud
Thy judgment; thou art well-read in thy fellows,[51]
And 'tis the deepest art to study man.
I know this, which I never learnt in schools,
The world's divided into knaves and fools.
Hip. Knave in your face—my lord behind your back. [Aside.
Lus. And I much thank thee, that thou hast preferr'd
A fellow of discourse, well-mingled,
And whose brain time hath season'd.
Hip. True, my lord,
We shall find season once, I hope. O villain!
To make such an unnatural slave of me—but——


Lus. Mass, here he comes.
Hip. And now shall I have free leave to depart.


Lus. Your absence, leave us.
Hip. Are not my thoughts true? [Aside.
I must remove; but, brother, you may stay.
Heart! we are both made bawds a new-found way! [Exit.

Enter Vendice.

Lus. Now we're an even number, a third man's dangerous,
Especially her brother;—say, be free,
Have I a pleasure toward———
Ven. O my lord!
Lus. Ravish me in thine answer; art thou rare?
Hast thou beguil'd her of salvation,
And rubb'd hell o'er with honey? Is she a woman?
[Pg 40]
Ven. In all but in desire.
Lus. Then she's in nothing—I bate[52] in courage now.
Ven. The words I brought
Might well have made indifferent honest naught.
A right good woman in these days is chang'd
Into white money with less labour far:
Many a maid has turn'd to Mahomet
With easier working: I durst undertake,
Upon the pawn and forfeit of my life,
With half those words to flat a Puritan's wife.
But she is close and good;—yet 'tis a doubt
By this time. O, the mother, the mother!
Lus. I never thought their sex had been a wonder,
Until this minute. What fruit from the mother?
Ven. Now must I blister my soul, be forsworn,
Or shame the woman that receiv'd me first.
I will be true: thou liv'st not to proclaim.
Spoke to a dying man, shame has no shame.


My lord.
Lus. Who's that?
Ven. Here's none but I, my lord.
Lus. What should thy haste utter?
Ven. Comfort.
Lus. Welcome.
Ven. The maid being dull, having no mind to travel
Into unknown lands, what did I[53] straight,
But set spurs to the mother; golden spurs
Will put her to a false gallop in a trice.
Lus. Is't possible that in this
The mother should be damn'd before the daughter?

[Pg 41]

Ven. O, that's good manners, my lord; the mother for her age must go foremost, you know.

Lus. Thou'st spoke that true! but where comes in this comfort?
Ven. In a fine place, my lord,—the unnatural mother
Did with her tongue so hard beset her honour,
That the poor fool was struck to silent wonder;
Yet still the maid, like an unlighted taper,
Was cold and chaste, save that her mother's breath
Did blow fire on her cheeks. The girl departed;
But the good ancient madam, half mad, threw me
These promising words, which I took deeply note of:
My lord shall be most welcome——
Lus. Faith, I thank her.
Ven. When his pleasure conducts him this way——
Lus. That shall be soon, i' faith.
Ven. I will sway mine own——
Lus. She does the wiser: I commend her for't.
Ven. Women with women can work best alone.

Lus. By this light, and so they can; give 'em their due, men are not comparable to 'em.

Ven. No, that's true; for you shall have one woman knit more in an hour, than any man can ravel again in seven-and-twenty years.

Lus. Now my desires are happy; I'll make 'em freemen now.
Thou art a precious fellow; faith, I love thee;
Be wise and make it thy revenue; beg, beg;
What office couldst thou be ambitious for?

Ven. Office, my lord! marry, if I might have my wish, I would have one that was never begged yet.

Lus. Nay, then, thou canst have none.

Ven. Yes, my lord, I could pick out another office yet; nay, and keep a horse and drab upon't.

Lus. Prythee, good bluntness, tell me.

[Pg 42]

Ven. Why, I would desire but this, my lord—to have all the fees behind the arras, and all the farthingales that fall plump about twelve o'clock at night upon the rushes.

Lus. Thou'rt a mad, apprehensive[54] knave; dost think to make any great purchase of that?

Ven. O, 'tis an unknown thing, my lord; I wonder 't has been missed so long.

Lus. Well, this night I'll visit her, and 'tis till then
A year in my desires—farewell, attend:
Trust me with thy preferment.
Ven. My lov'd lord!
O, shall I kill him o' th' wrong side now? no!
Sword, thou wast never a backbiter yet.
I'll pierce him to his face; he shall die looking upon me.
Thy veins are swell'd with lust, this shall unfill 'em.
Great men were gods, if beggars could not kill 'em.
Forgive me, heaven, to call my mother wicked!
O, lessen not my days upon the earth,[55]
I cannot honour her. By this, I fear me,
Her tongue has turn'd my sister into use.
I was a villain not to be forsworn
To this our lecherous hope, the duke's son;
For lawyers, merchants, some divines, and all,
Count beneficial perjury a sin small.
It shall go hard yet, but I'll guard her honour,
And keep the ports sure.

Enter Hippolito.

Hip. Brother, how goes the world? I would know news of you.
But I have news to tell you.
[Pg 43]
Ven. What, in the name of knavery?
Hip. Knavery, faith;
This vicious old duke's worthily abused,
The pen of his bastard writes him cuckold?
Ven. His bastard?
Hip. Pray, believe it; he and the duchess
By night meet in their linen;[56] they have been seen
By stair-foot panders.
Ven. O, sin foul and deep!
Great faults are wink'd at, when the duke's asleep.
See, see, here comes the Spurio.
Hip. Monstrous luxur!
Ven. Unbrac'd! two of his valiant bawds with him!
O, there's a wicked whisper; hell's in his ear.
Stay, let's observe his passage—

Enter Spurio and Servants.

Spu. O, but are you sure on't?
Ser. My lord, most sure on't; for 'twas spoke by one,
That is most inward with the duke's son's lust,
That he intends within this hour to steal
Unto Hippolito's sister, whose chaste life
The mother has corrupted for his use.
Spu. Sweet word! sweet occasion! faith, then, brother,
I'll disinherit you in as short time,
As I was when I was begot in haste.
I'll damn you at your pleasure: precious deed!
After your lust, O, 'twill be fine to bleed.
Come, let our passing out be soft and wary. [Exeunt.
Ven. Mark! there, there, that step! now to the duchess—
This their second meeting writes the duke cuckold
[Pg 44] With new additions—his horns newly reviv'd.
Night! thou that look'st like funeral heralds' fees,
Torn down betimes i' th' morning, thou hang'st fitly
To grace those sins that have no grace at all.
Now 'tis full sea abed over the world:
There's juggling of all sides; some that were maids
E'en at sunset, are now perhaps i' th' toll-book.[57]
This woman in immodest thin apparel
Lets in her friend by water; here a dame
Cunning nails leather hinges to a door,
To avoid proclamation,
Now cuckolds are coining, apace, apace, apace, apace!
And careful sisters spin that thread i' th' night,
That does maintain them and their bawds i' th' day.
Hip. You flow well, brother.
Ven. Pish![58] I'm shallow yet;
Too sparing and too modest; shall I tell thee?
If every trick were told that's dealt by night,
There are few here that would not blush outright.
Hip. I am of that belief too. Who's this comes?
Ven.[59] The duke's son up so late? Brother, fall back,
And you shall learn some mischief. My good lord!
[Pg 45]

Enter Lusurioso.

Lus. Piato! why, the man I wished for! Come,
I do embrace this season for the fittest
To taste of that young lady.
Ven. Heart and hell.
Hip. Damn'd villain! [Aside.
Ven. I have no way now to cross it, but to kill him. [Aside.
Lus. Come, only thou and I.
Ven. My lord! my lord!
Lus. Why dost thou start us?
Ven. I'd almost forgot—the bastard!
Lus. What of him?
Ven. This night, this hour, this minute, now——
Lus. What? what?
Ven. Shadows the duchess——
Lus. Horrible word!
Ven. And (like strong poison) eats
Into the duke your father's forehead.
Lus. O!
Ven. He makes horn-royal.
Lus. Most ignoble slave!
Ven. This is the fruit of two beds.
Lus. I am mad.
Ven. That passage he trod warily.
Lus. He did.
Ven. And hush'd his villains every step he took.
Lus. His villains? I'll confound them.
Ven. Take 'em finely—finely, now.
Lus. The duchess' chamber-door shall not control me. [Exeunt.
Hip. Good, happy, swift: there's gunpowder i' th' court,
[Pg 46] Wildfire at midnight. In this heedless fury
He may show violence to cross himself.
I'll follow the event.

Re-enter Lusurioso and Vendice.

Lus. Where is that villain?
Ven. Softly, my lord, and you may take 'em twisted.
Lus. I care not how.
Ven. O! 'twill be glorious
To kill 'em doubled, when they're heap'd. Be soft, my lord.
Lus. Away! my spleen is not so lazy: thus and thus
I'll shake their eyelids ope, and with my sword
Shut 'em again for ever. Villain! strumpet!
Duke. You upper guard, defend us!
Duch. Treason! treason!
Duke. O, take me not in sleep!
I have great sins; I must have days,
Nay, months, dear son, with penitential heaves
To lift 'em out, and not to die unclear.
O, thou wilt kill me both in heaven and here.
Lus. I am amaz'd to death.
Duke. Nay, villain, traitor,
Worse than the foulest epithet; now I'll gripe thee
E'en with the nerves of wrath, and throw thy head
Amongst the loyal[60] guard.

Enter Nobles and [Duchess's] Sons.

1st Noble. How comes the quiet of your grace disturb'd?
[Pg 47]
Duke. This boy, that should be myself after me,
Would be myself before me; and in heat
Of that ambition bloodily rush'd in,
Intending to depose me in my bed.
2d Noble. Duty and natural loyalty forfend!
Duch. He call'd his father villain, and me strumpet,
A word that I abhor to file[61] my lips with.
Amb. That was not so well-done, brother.
Lus. I am abus'd—I know there's no excuse can do me good. [Aside.
Ven. 'Tis now good policy to be from sight;
His vicious purpose to our sister's honour
I cross'd beyond our thought. [Aside.
Hip. You little dreamt his father slept here.
Ven. O, 'twas far beyond me:
But since it fell so—without frightful words,
Would he had kill'd him, 'twould have eas'd our swords.
Duke. Be comforted, our duchess, he shall die.

[Dissemble a fright.[62]

Lus. Where's this slave-pander now? out of mine eye,
Guilty of this abuse.

Enter Spurio with his villains.

Spu. Y' are villains, fablers![63]
You have knaves' chins and harlots' tongues; you lie;
And I will damn you with one meal a day.
1st Ser. O good my lord!
[Pg 48]
Spu. 'Sblood, you shall never sup.
2d Ser. O, I beseech you, sir!
Spu. To let my sword catch cold so long, and miss him!
1st Ser. Troth, my lord, 'twas his intent to meet there.
Spu. 'Heart! he's yonder.
Ha, what news here? is the day out o' th' socket,
That it is noon at midnight? the court up!
How comes the guard so saucy with his elbows?
Lus. The bastard here?
Nay, then the truth of my intent shall out;
My lord and father, hear me.
Duke. Bear him hence.
Lus. I can with loyalty excuse.
Duke. Excuse? to prison with the villain!
Death shall not long lag after him.
Spu. Good, i' faith: then 'tis not much amiss.
Lus. Brothers, my best release lies on your tongues;
I pray, persuade for me.
Amb. It is our duties; make yourself sure of us.
Sup. We'll sweat in pleading.
Lus. And I may live to thank you. [Exit.
Amb. No, thy death shall thank me better.
Spu. He's gone; I'll after him,
And know his trespass; seem to bear a part
In all his ills, but with a puritan heart. [Exit.
Amb. Now, brother, let our hate and love be woven
So subtlely together, that in speaking one word for his life,
We may make three for his death:
The craftiest pleader gets most gold for breath.
Sup. Set on, I'll not be far behind you, brother.

Duke. Is't possible a son should be disobedient as far as the sword? It is the highest: he can go no[Pg 49] farther.

Amb. My gracious lord, take pity—
Duke. Pity, boys!
Amb. Nay, we'd be loth to move your grace too much;
We know the trespass is unpardonable,
Black, wicked, and unnatural.
Sup. In a son? O, monstrous!
Amb. Yet, my lord,
A duke's soft hand strokes the rough head of law,
And makes it lie [more] smooth.
Duke. But my hand shall ne'er do't.
Amb. That, as you please, my lord.
Sup. We must needs confess.
Some fathers would have entered into hate
So deadly-pointed, that before his eyes
He would ha' seen the execution sound[64]
Without corrupted favour.
Amb. But, my lord,
Your grace may live the wonder of all times,
In pard'ning that offence, which never yet
Had face to beg a pardon.
Duke. How's this?
Amb. Forgive him, good my lord; he's your own son:
And I must needs say, 'twas the viler done.
Sup. He's the next heir: yet this true reason gathers,
None can possess that dispossess their fathers.
Be merciful!—
Duke. Here's no step-mother's wit;
I'll try them both upon their love and hate.


Amb. Be merciful—although—
Duke. You have prevailed.
My wrath, like flaming wax, hath spent itself;
I know 'twas but some peevish moon[65] in him;
[Pg 50] Go, let him be releas'd.
Sup. 'Sfoot, how now, brother?
Amb. Your grace doth please to speak beside your spleen;
I would it were so happy.
Duke. Why, go, release him.
Sup. O my good lord! I know the fault's too weighty
And full of general loathing: too inhuman,
Rather by all men's voices worthy death.
Duke. 'Tis true too, here, then, receive this signet.
Doom shall pass;
Direct it to the judges; he shall die
Ere many days. Make haste.
Amb. All speed that may be.
We could have wish'd his burden not so sore:
We knew your grace did but delay before. [Exeunt.
Duke. Here's envy[66] with a poor thin cover o'er't;
Like scarlet hid in lawn, easily spied through.
This their ambition by the mother's side
Is dangerous, and for safety must be purg'd,
I will prevent their envies; sure it was
But some mistaken fury in our son,
Which these aspiring boys would climb upon:
He shall be releas'd suddenly.

Enter Nobles.

1st Noble. Good morning to your grace.
Duke. Welcome, my lords.
[Pg 51]
2d Noble. Our knees shall take
Away the office of our feet for ever,
Unless your grace bestow a father's eye
Upon the clouded fortunes of your son,
And in compassionate virtue grant him that,
Which makes e'en mean men happy—liberty.
Duke. How seriously their loves and honours woo
For that which I am about to pray them do!
Arise,[67] my lords; your knees sign his release.
We freely pardon him.
1st Noble. We owe your grace much thanks, and he much duty.


Duke. It well becomes that judge to nod at crimes,
That does commit greater himself, and lives.
I may forgive a disobedient error,
That expect pardon for adultery,
And in my old days am a youth in lust.
Many a beauty have I turn'd to poison
In the denial, covetous of all.
Age hot is like a monster to be seen;
My hairs are white, and yet my sins are green.


[34] [Edits., myself. Gilchrist's correction.]

[35] [Old copy, by their.]

[36] [i.e., Next heir.]

[37] [Query, wheel of fortune. Perhaps we should read weal.]

[38] [Edits., fool.]

[39] See note on p. 40.

[40] [Old copy, suffering.]

[41] [A MS. note in one of the former edits., refers us to the closet scene in "Hamlet."]

[42] i.e., Embrace it. So again in this play—

"Here in this lodge they meet for damned clips."

i.e., cursed embraces.—Steevens.

[43] [Copies, you. This emendation was suggested by a MS. note in one of the former edits.]

[44] Alluding to the custom of hanging hats in ancient halls upon stags' horns.—Steevens.

[45] So in Lodge's "Wit's Miserie," p. 24: "What think you to a tender faire young, nay a weakling of womankind to wear whole Lordships and Manor-houses on her backe without sweating?" See also note to "The Miseries of Enforced Marriage," [ix. 490.]

[46] [Old copy, and met again. The word mete occurs again a little lower down. The meaning may be that they calculated their savings.]

[47] i.e., Measured. Petruchio, in "The Taming of the Shrew," calls the tailor's measuring-yard his mete-yard.—Steevens.

[48] i.e., Honesty.—Gilchrist.

[49] ["What splendid power of passion and imagery there is in this!"—MS. note in one of the former edits.]

[50] i.e., Intimate. See note to "The Spanish Tragedy," [v. 168]

[51] [Old copy, a fellow.]

[52] I decline, or lessen in courage. So Falstaff says: "Do I not bate? Do I not dwindle?" &c.

[53] [Edits., did me I.]

[54] i.e., Quick to understand. See Mr Steevens's note on "The Second Part of King Henry IV.," act iv. sc. 3.

[55] Alluding to the promise in the Fifth Commandment.

[56] [In their night-clothes.]

[57] Alluding to the custom of entering horses sold at fairs in a book called the "Toll-book." See note to "All's Well that Ends Well," edit. 1766, of Shakespeare, iv. 141.—Steevens.

[58] [Edits., Push.]

[59] Mr Reed assigned these two lines to Hippolito, a decided error, both by the sense and according to the old copy, which gives them to Vendice. He makes his brother stand back, while he addresses Lusurioso: My good lord; and Lusurioso naturally observes: Piato! why, the man I wished for, &c.—Collier.

[60] [Edits., lawyer's.]

[61] [Defile.] See note to "The Miseries of Enforced Marriage," [ix. 511.]

[62] The quarto reads, flight.

[63] [Liars.]

[64] [See at p. 53 the passage, our office shall be sound. In both places the word means, constant, true.]

[65] Some sudden fit of frenzy. Cotgrave translates "Avoir un quartier de la lune en la teste," to be half frantic, or have a spice of lunacy.

[66] [Hatred.]


Enter Ambitioso and Supervacuo.

Sup. Brother, let my opinion sway you once;
I speak it for the best, to have him die;
Surest and soonest, if the signet come
Unto the judge's hand, why then his doom
Will be deferr'd till sittings and court-days,
Juries, and farther. Faiths are bought and sold;
Oaths in these days are but the skin of gold.
[Pg 52]
Amb. In troth, 'tis true too,
Sup. Then let's set by the judges,
And fall to the officers; 'tis but mistaking
The duke our father's meaning; and where he nam'd
Ere many days—'tis but forgetting that,
And have him die i' th' morning.
Amb. Excellent!
Then am I heir! duke in a minute!
Sup. [Aside.] Nay,
And he were once puff'd out, here is a pin
Should quickly prick your bladder.
Amb. Bless'd occasion!
He being pack'd, we'll have some trick and wile
To wind our younger brother out of prison,
That lies in for the rape. The lady's dead,
And people's thoughts will soon be buried.
Sup. We may with safety do't, and live and feed:
The duchess' sons are too proud to bleed.
Amb. We are, i' faith, to say true—come let's not linger:
I'll to the officers; go you before,
And set an edge upon the executioner.
Sup. Let me alone to grind him. [Exit.
Amb. Farewell!
I am next now; I rise just in that place,
Where thou'rt out off; upon thy neck, kind brother;
The falling of one head lifts up another. [Exit.

Enter, with the Nobles, Lusurioso from prison.

Lus. My lords, I am so much indebted to your loves
For this, O, this delivery—

1st Noble. But our duties, my lord, unto the hopes that grow in you.

[Pg 53]

Lus. If e'er I live to be myself, I'll thank you.
O liberty, thou sweet and heavenly dame!
But hell for prison is too mild a name. [Exeunt.

Enter Ambitioso and Supervacuo, with Officers.

Amb. Officers, here's the duke's signet, your firm warrant,
Brings the command of present death along with it
Unto our brother, the duke's son; we are sorry
That we are so unnaturally employ'd
In such an unkind office, fitter far
For enemies than brothers.
Sup. But, you know,
The duke's command must be obey'd.
1st Officer. It must and shall, my lord. This morning, then—
So suddenly?
Amb. Ay, alas! poor, good soul!
He must breakfast betimes; the executioner
Stands ready to put forth his cowardly valour.
2d Officer. Already?
Sup. Already, i' faith. O sir, destruction hies,
And that is least imprudent,[68] soonest dies.
1st Officer. Troth, you say true. My lord, we take our leaves:
Our office shall be sound; we'll not delay
The third part of a minute.
Amb. Therein you show
Yourselves good men and upright officers.
Pray, let him die as private as he may;
Do him that favour; for the gaping people
Will but trouble him at his prayers,
And make him curse and swear, and so die black.
[Pg 54] Will you be so far kind?
1st Officer. It shall be done, my lord.
Amb. Why, we do thank you; if we live to be—
You shall have a better office.
2d Officer. Your good lordship—
Sup. Commend us to the scaffold in our tears.
1st Officer. We'll weep, and do your commendations. [Exeunt.
Amb. Fine fools in office!
Sup. Things fall out so fit!
Amb. So, happily come, brother! ere next clock,
His head will be made serve a bigger block.[69] [Exeunt.

Enter in prison Junior Brother and Keeper.

Jun. Keeper!
Keeper. My lord.
Jun. No news lately from our brothers?
Are they unmindful of us?
Keeper. My lord, a messenger came newly in,
And brought this from 'em.
Jun. Nothing but paper-comforts?
I look'd for my delivery before this,
Had they been worth their oaths.—Prythee, be from us.

[Exit Keeper.

Now what say you, forsooth? speak out, I pray.

[Reads the letter.] Brother, be of good cheer;

'Slud, it begins like a whore with good cheer.
Thou shalt not be long a prisoner.
Not five-and-thirty years, like a bankrupt—I think so.
We have thought upon a device to get thee out by a trick.
By a trick! pox o' your trick, an' it be so long a playing.
[Pg 55] And so rest comforted, be merry, and expect it suddenly!
Be merry! hang merry, draw and quarter merry;

I'll be mad. Is't not strange that a man should lie-in a whole month for a woman? Well, we shall see how sudden our brothers will be in their promise. I must expect still a trick: I shall not be long a prisoner. How now, what news?

Enter Keeper.

Keeper. Bad news, my lord; I am discharged of you.
Jun. Slave! call'st thou that bad news? I thank you, brothers.
Keeper. My lord, 'twill prove so. Here come the officers,
Into whose hands I must commit you.
Jun. Ha, officers! what? why?

Enter Officers.

1st Officer. You must pardon us, my lord:
Our office must be sound: here is our warrant,
The signet from the duke; you must straight suffer.
Jun. Suffer! I'll suffer you to begone; I'll suffer you
To come no more; what would you have me suffer?
2d Officer. My lord, those words were better chang'd to prayers.
The time's but brief with you: prepare to die.
Jun. Sure, 'tis not so!
3d Officer. It is too true, my lord.
Jun. I tell you 'tis not; for the duke my father
[Pg 56] Deferr'd me till next sitting; and I look,
E'en every minute, threescore times an hour,
For a release, a trick wrought by my brothers.
1st Officer. A trick, my lord! if you expect such comfort,
Your hope's as fruitless as a barren woman:
Your brothers were the unhappy messengers,
That brought this powerful token for your death.
Jun. My brothers? no, no.
2d Officer. 'Tis most true, my lord.
Jun. My brothers to bring a warrant for my death!
How strange this shows!
3d Officer. There's no delaying time.
Jun. Desire 'em hither: call 'em up—my brothers!
They shall deny it to your faces.
1st Officer. My lord,
They're far enough by this; at least at court;
And this most strict command they left behind 'em.
When grief swam in their eyes, they show'd like brothers,
Brimful of heavy sorrow—but the duke
Must have his pleasure.
Jun. His pleasure!
1st Officer. These were the last words, which my memory bears,
Commend us to the scaffold in our tears.
Jun. Pox dry their tears! what should I do with tears?
I hate 'em worse than any citizen's son
Can hate salt water. Here came a letter now,
New-bleeding from their pens, scarce stinted[70] yet:
Would I'd been torn in pieces when I tore it:
Look, you officious whoresons, words of comfort,
[Pg 57] Not long a prisoner.
1st Officer. It says true in that, sir; for you must suffer presently.
Jun. A villainous Duns upon the letter,[71] knavish exposition!
Look you then here, sir: we'll get thee out by a trick, says he.

2d Officer. That may hold too, sir; for you know a trick is commonly four cards, which was meant by us four officers.

Jun. Worse and worse dealing.
1st Officer. The hour beckons us.
The headsman waits: lift up your eyes to heaven.
Jun. I thank you, faith; good pretty wholesome counsel!
I should look up to heaven, as you said,
Whilst he behind me cosens me of my head.
Ay, that's the trick.
3d Officer. You delay too long, my lord.
Jun. Stay, good authority's bastards; since I must,
Through brothers' perjury, die, O, let me venom
Their souls with curses.
3d Officer. Come, 'tis no time to curse.
[Pg 58]
Jun. Must I bleed then without respect of sign? well—
My fault was sweet sport, which the world approves,
I die for that which every woman loves. [Exeunt.

Enter Vendice and Hippolito.[72]

Ven. O, sweet, delectable, rare, happy, ravishing!
Hip. Why, what's the matter, brother?
Ven. O, 'tis able to make a man spring up and knock his forehead
Against yon silver ceiling.
Hip. Prythee, tell me;
Why may not I partake with you? you vow'd once
To give me share to every tragic thought.[73]
Ven. By th' mass, I think I did too;
Then I'll divide it to thee. The old duke,
Thinking my outward shape and inward heart
Are cut out of one piece (for he that prates his secrets,
His heart stands o' th' outside), hires me by price
To greet him with a lady
In some fit place, veil'd from the eyes o' th' court,
Some darken'd, blushless angle,[74] that is guilty
Of his forefathers' lust and great folks' riots;
To which I easily (to maintain my shape)
Consented, and did wish his impudent grace
To meet her here in this unsunned lodge,
Wherein 'tis night at noon: and here the rather
[Pg 59] Because, unto the torturing of his soul,
The bastard and the duchess have appointed
Their meeting too in this luxurious circle;
Which most afflicting sight will kill his eyes,
Before we kill the rest of him.
Hip. 'Twill, i' faith! Most dreadfully digested!
I see not how you could have miss'd me, brother.
Ven. True; but the violence of my joy forgot it.
Hip. Ay, but where's that lady now?
Ven. O! at that word
I'm lost again; you cannot find me yet:
I'm in a throng of happy apprehensions.
He's suited for a lady; I have took care
For a delicious lip, a sparkling eye—
You shall be witness, brother:
Be ready; stand with your hat off. [Exit.
Hip. Troth, I wonder what lady it should be!
Yet 'tis no wonder, now I think again,
To have a lady stoop to a duke, that stoops unto his men.
'Tis common to be common through the world:
And there's more private common shadowing vices,
Than those who are known both by their names and prices.
'Tis part of my allegiance to stand bare
To the duke's concubine; and here she comes.

Enter Vendice, with the skull of his love dressed up in tires.

Ven. Madam, his grace will not be absent long.[75]
Secret! ne'er doubt us, madam; 'twill be worth
Three velvet gowns to your ladyship. Known!
Few ladies respect that disgrace: a poor thin shell!
'Tis the best grace you have to do it well.
[Pg 60] I'll save your hand that labour: I'll unmask you!
Hip. Why, brother, brother!
Ven. Art thou beguil'd now? tut, a lady can,
As thus all hid, beguile a wiser man.
Have I not fitted the old surfeiter
With a quaint piece of beauty? Age and bare bone
Are e'er allied in action. Here's an eye,
Able to tempt a great man—to serve God:
A pretty hanging lip, that has forgot now to dissemble.
Methinks this mouth should make a swearer tremble;
A drunkard clasp his teeth, and not undo 'em,
To suffer wet damnation to run through 'em.
Here's a cheek keeps her colour, let the wind go whistle:
Spout, rain, we fear thee not: be hot or cold,
All's one with us; and is not he absurd,
Whose fortunes are upon their faces set,
That fear no other god but wind and wet?
Hip. Brother, you've spoke that right:
Is this the form that (living) shone so bright?
Ven. The very same.
And now methinks I could e'en chide myself
For doating on her beauty, though her death
Shall be reveng'd after no common action.
Does the silkworm expend her yellow labours
For thee? For thee does she undo herself?
Are lordships sold to maintain ladyships,
For the poor benefit of a bewitching minute?
Why does yon fellow falsify highways,
And put his life between the judge's lips:
To refine such a thing, keeps horse and men
To beat their valours for her?
Surely we are all mad people, and they
Whom we think are, are not: we mistake those;
'Tis we are mad in sense, they but in clothes.
[Pg 61]
Hip. Faith, and in clothes too we, give us our due.
Ven. Does every proud and self-affecting dame
Camphire her face for this, and grieve her maker
In sinful baths of milk, when many an infant starves
For her superfluous outside—all for this?
Who now bids twenty pounds a night? prepares
Music, perfumes, and sweetmeats? All are hush'd.
Thou may'st lie chaste now! it were fine, methinks,
To have thee seen at revels, forgetful feasts,
And unclean brothels: sure, 'twould fright the sinner,
And make him a good coward: put a reveller
Out of his antic amble,
And cloy an epicure with empty dishes.
Here might a scornful and ambitious woman
Look through and through herself. See, ladies, with false forms
You deceive men, but cannot deceive worms.
Now to my tragic business. Look you, brother,
I have not fashion'd this only for show
And useless property; no, it shall bear a part
E'en in its own revenge. This very skull,
Whose mistress the duke poison'd with this drug,
The mortal curse of the earth shall be reveng'd
In the like strain, and kiss his lips to death.
As much as the dumb thing can, he shall feel:
What fails in poison, we'll supply in steel.
Hip. Brother, I do applaud thy constant vengeance—
The quaintness of thy malice—above thought.
Ven. So, 'tis laid on [He poisons the lips of the skull]: now come and welcome, duke,
I have her for thee. I protest it, brother,
Methinks she makes almost as fair a sin,[76]
[Pg 62] As some old gentlewoman in a periwig.
Hide thy face now for shame; thou hadst need have a mask now:
'Tis vain when beauty flows; but when it fleets,
This would become graves better than the streets.
Hip. You have my voice in that: hark, the duke's come.
Ven. Peace, let's observe what company he brings,
And how he does absent 'em; for you know
He'll wish all private. Brother, fall you back a little
With the bony lady.
Hip. That I will.
Ven. So, so; now nine years' vengeance crowd into a minute!

Enter Duke and Gentlemen.

Duke. You shall have leave to leave us, with this charge
Upon your lives, if we be missed by th' duchess
Or any of the nobles, to give out,
We're privately rid forth.
Ven. O happiness!
Duke. With some few honourable gentlemen, you may say—
You may name those that are away from court.
Gen. Your will and pleasure shall be done, my lord. [Exeunt.
Ven. Privately rid forth!
He strives to make sure work on't. Your good grace!
Duke. Piato, well-done, hast brought her! what lady is't?

Ven. Faith, my lord, a country lady, a little bashful at first, as most of them are; but after[Pg 63] the first kiss, my lord, the worst is past with them. Your grace knows now what you have to do; she has somewhat a grave look with her—but—

Duke. I love that best; conduct her.
Ven. Have at all. [Aside.
Duke. In gravest looks the greatest faults seem less.
Give me that sin that's rob'd in holiness.
Ven. Back with the torch! brother, raise the perfumes.
Duke. How sweet can a duke breathe! Age has no fault.
Pleasure should meet in a perfumed mist.
Lady, sweetly encountered: I came from court,
I must be bold with you. O, what's this? O!
Ven. Royal villain! white devil!
Duke. O!
Ven. Brother, place the torch here, that his affrighted eyeballs
May start into those hollows. Duke, dost know
Yon dreadful vizard? View it well; 'tis the skull
Of Gloriana, whom thou poisonedst last.
Duke. O! 't has poisoned me.
Ven. Didst not know that till now?
Duke. What are you two?
Ven. Villains all three! the very ragged bone
Has been sufficiently reveng'd.
Duke. O, Hippolito, call treason!
Hip. Yes, my lord; treason! treason! treason!

[Stamping on him.

Duke. Then I'm betray'd.
Ven. Alas! poor lecher: in the hands of kraves,
A slavish duke is baser than his slaves.
Duke. My teeth are eaten out.
Ven. Hadst any left?
Hip. I think but few.
Ven. Then those that did eat are eaten.
Duke. O my tongue!
[Pg 64]
Ven. Your tongue? 'twill teach yon to kiss closer,
Not like a slobbering Dutchman. You have eyes still:
Look, monster, what a lady hast thou made me!

[Discovers himself.

My once betrothed wife.
Duke. Is it thou, villain? nay, then—
Ven. Tis I, 'tis Vendice, 'tis I.
Hip. And let this comfort thee: our lord and father
Fell sick upon the infection of thy frowns,
And died in sadness: be that thy hope of life.
Duke. O!
Ven. He had his tongue, yet grief made him die speechless.
Puh! 'tis but early yet; now I'll begin
To stick thy soul with ulcers. I will make
Thy spirit grievous sore; it shall not rest,
But like some pestilent man toss in thy breast.
Mark me, duke:
Thou'rt a renowned, high and mighty cuckold.
Duke. O!
Ven. Thy bastard—thy bastard rides a-hunting in thy brow.
Duke. Millions of deaths!
Ven. Nay, to afflict thee more,
Here in this lodge they meet for damned clips.[77]
Those eyes shall see the incest of their lips.
Duke. Is there a hell besides this, villains?
Ven. Villain!
Nay, heaven is just; scorns are the hires of scorns:
I ne'er knew yet adulterer without horns.
Hip. Once, ere they die, 'tis quitted.
Ven. Hark! the music:
Their banquet is prepar'd, they're coming—
[Pg 65]
Duke. O, kill me not with that sight!
Ven. Thou shalt not lose that sight for all thy dukedom.
Duke. Traitors! murderers!
Ven. What! is not thy tongue eaten out yet?
Then we'll invent a silence. Brother, stifle the torch.
Duke. Treason! murder!
Ven. Nay, faith, we'll have you hush'd. Now with thy dagger
Nail down his tongue, and mine shall keep possession
About his heart; if he but gasp, he dies;
We dread not death to quittance injuries.
Brother, if he but wink, not brooking the foul object,
Let our two other hands tear up his lids,
And make his eyes like comets shine through blood
When the bad bleeds, then is the tragedy good.
Hip. Whist, brother! music's at our ear; they come.

Enter the Bastard, meeting the Duchess.

Spu. Had not that kiss a taste of sin, 'twere sweet.
Duch. Why, there's no pleasure sweet, but it is sinful.
Spu. True, such a bitter sweetness fate hath given;
Best side to us is the worst side to heaven.
Duch. Pish! come: 'tis the old duke, thy doubtful father:
The thought of him rubs heaven in thy way.
But I protest by yonder waxen fire,
Forget him, or I'll poison him.
Spu. Madam, you urge a thought which ne'er had life.
[Pg 66] So deadly do I loathe him for my birth,
That if he took me hasp'd within his bed,
I would add murder to adultery,
And with my sword give up his years to death.
Duch. Why, now thou'rt sociable; let's in and feast:
Loud'st music sound; pleasure is banquet's guest. [Exeunt.
Duke. I cannot brook—
Ven. The brook is turn'd to blood.
Hip. Thanks to loud music.
Ven. 'Twas our friend, indeed.
'Tis state in music for a duke to bleed.
The dukedom wants a head, though yet unknown;
As fast as they peep up, let's cut 'em down. [Exeunt.

Enter the Duchess's two sons, Ambitioso and Supervacuo.

Amb. Was not his execution rarely plotted?
We are the duke's sons now.
Sup. Ay, you may thank my policy for that.
Amb. Your policy for what?
Sup. Why, was't not my invention, brother,
To slip the judges? and in lesser compass
Did not I draw the model of his death;
Advising you to sudden officers
And e'en extemporal execution?
Amb. Heart! 'twas a thing I thought on too.
Sup. You thought on't too! 'sfoot, slander not your thoughts
With glorious untruth; I know 'twas from you.
Amb. Sir, I say, 'twas in my head.
Sup. Ay, like your brains then,
Ne'er to come out as long as you liv'd.
Amb. You'd have the honour on't, forsooth, that your wit
Led him to the scaffold.
[Pg 67]
Sup. Since it is my due,
I'll publish't, but I'll ha't in spite of you.
Amb. Methinks, y' are much too bold; you should a little
Remember us, brother, next to be honest duke.
Sup. Ay, it shall be as easy for you to be duke
As to be honest; and that's never, i' faith.
Amb. Well, cold he is by this time; and because
We're both ambitious, be it our amity,
And let the glory be shar'd equally.
Sup. I am content to that.
Amb. This night our younger brother shall out of prison:
I have a trick.
Sup. A trick! prythee, what is't?
Amb. We'll get him out by a wile.
Sup. Prythee, what wile?
Amb. No, sir; you shall not know it, till it be done;
For then you'd swear 'twere yours.

Enter an Officer.

Sup. How now, what's he?
Amb. One of the officers.
Sup. Desired news.
Amb. How now, my friend?
Officer. My lords, under your pardon, I am allotted
To that desertless office, to present you
With the yet bleeding head—
Sup. Ha, ha! excellent.
Amb. All's sure our own: brother, canst weep, think'st thou?
'Twould grace our flattery much; think of some dame:
'Twill teach thee to dissemble.
[Pg 68]
Sup. I have thought;—now for yourself.
Amb. Our sorrows are so fluent,
Our eyes o'erflow our tongues; words spoke in tears
Are like the murmurs of the waters—the sound
Is loudly heard, but cannot be distinguish'd.
Sup. How died he, pray?
Officer. O, full of rage and spleen.
Sup. He died most valiantly, then; we're glad to hear it.
Officer. We could not woo him once to pray.
Amb. He show'd himself a gentleman in that:
Give him his due.
Officer. But, in the stead of prayer,
He drew forth oaths.
Sup. Then did he pray, dear heart,
Although you understood him not?
Officer. My lords,
E'en at his last, with pardon be it spoke,
He curs'd you both.
Sup. He curs'd us? 'las, good soul!
Amb. It was not in our powers, but the duke's pleasure.
Finely dissembled a both sides, sweet fate;
O happy opportunity! [Aside.

Enter Lusurioso.

Lus. Now, my lords.
Both. O!———
Lus. Why do you shun me, brothers?
You may come nearer now;
The savour of the prison has forsook me.
I thank such kind lords as yourselves, I'm free.
Amb. Alive!
Sup. In health!
[Pg 69]
Amb. Releas'd!
We were both e'en amaz'd with joy to see it.[78]
Lus. I am much to thank to you.
Sup. Faith, we spar'd no tongue unto my lord the duke.
Amb. I know your delivery, brother,
Had not been half so sudden but for us.
Sup. O, how we pleaded!
Lus. Most deserving brothers!
In my best studies I will think of it. [Exit Lusurioso.
Amb. O death and vengeance!
Sup. Hell and torment!
Amb. Slave, cam'st thou to delude us?
Officer. Delude you, my lords?
Sup. Ay, villain, where's his head now?
Officer. Why here, my lord;
Just after his delivery, you both came
With warrant from the duke to behead your brother.
Amb. Ay, our brother, the duke's son.
Officer. The duke's son, my lord, had his release before you came.
Amb. Whose head's that, then?
Officer. His whom you left command for, your own brother's.
Amb. Our brother's? O furies!
Sup. Plagues!
Amb. Confusions!
Sup. Darkness!
Amb. Devils!
[Pg 70]
Sup. Fell it out so accursedly?
Amb. So damnedly?
Sup. Villain, I'll brain thee with it.
Officer. O my good lord!
Sup. The devil overtake thee!
Amb. O fatal!
Sup. O prodigious to our bloods!
Amb. Did we dissemble?
Sup. Did we make our tears women for thee?
Amb. Laugh and rejoice for thee?
Sup. Bring warrant for thy death.?
Amb. Mock off thy head?
Sup. You had a trick: you had a wile, forsooth.

Amb. A murrain meet 'em; there's none of these wiles that ever come to good: I see now, there's nothing sure in mortality, but mortality.

Well, no more words: shalt be revenged, i' faith.
Come, throw off clouds; now, brother, think of vengeance,
And deeper-settled hate; sirrah, sit fast,
We'll pull down all, but thou shalt down at last. [Exeunt.


[67] The 4o reads, Which arise, &c.—Collier.

[68] [Edits., impudent. The least imprudent is equivalent to the most farsighted or wary.]

[69] i.e., Hat.

[70] Stopped. See several instances of the use of this word in Mr Steevens's note on "Romeo and Juliet," act i. sc. 3.

[71] Alluding, I think, to Duns Scotus, who commented upon "The Master of the Sentences."—Pegge.

Duns Scotus was an English Franciscan Friar who, differing from Thomas Aquinas, occasioned a famous scholastic division, known by the titles of Thomists and Scotists. He died at Paris in 1308. Erasmus, who had a very low opinion of this writer, in his "Praise of Folie," 1549, sig. N 3, says: "Lykewise not longe agone I was present at the sermon of an other famous doctour being almost 80 yeres old, and thereto so doctour lyke, as if Duns were new arisen in him, who entending to disclose the mistery of the name of Jesu, with great subtiltie shewed, how evin in the verie letters was muche pithe included, and might be gathered thereof."

[72] ["A splendid scene."—MS. note.]

[73] ["This, I think, is very fine, where we ... words that precede it...."—MS, note (partly illegible) in one of the former edits.]

[74] It stood in the last edition [1780]: "Some darken'd blushless angel," &c., which renders the passage utter nonsense.—Collier.

[75] ["He imagines her speaking, and answers her."—MS. note in one of the former edits.]

[76] [Sinner.]

[77] See note at p. 35.

[78] This passage and the preceding exclamation have been restored from the old copy of 1607, having been omitted both by Dodsley and Reed.—Collier.


Enter Lusurioso, with Hippolito.

Lus. Hippolito!
Hip. My lord,
Has your good lordship aught to command me in?
Lus. I prythee, leave us.
Hip. How's this? come, and leave us!
Lus. Hippolito!
Hip. Your honour, I stand ready for any duteous employment.
[Pg 71]
Lus. Heart! what mak'st thou here?
Hip. A pretty lordly humour!
He bids me be present to depart; something
Has stung his honour.
Lus. Be nearer; draw nearer:
Ye're not so good, methinks; I'm angry with you.
Hip. With me, my lord? I'm angry with myself for't.
Lus. You did prefer a goodly fellow to me:
'Twas wittily elected; 'twas. I thought
H' had been a villain, and he proves a knave—
To me a knave.
Hip. I chose him for the best, my lord:
'Tis much my sorrow, if neglect in him
Breed discontent in you.
Lus. Neglect! 'twas will. Judge of it.
Firmly to tell of an incredible act,
Not to be thought, less to be spoken of,
'Twixt my step-mother and the bastard; of
Incestuous sweets between 'em.
Hip. Fie, my lord!
Lus. I, in kind loyalty to my father's forehead,
Made this a desperate arm; and in that fury
Committed treason on the lawful bed,
And with my sword e'en ras'd my father's bosom,
For which I was within a stroke of death.
Hip. Alack! I'm sorry. 'Sfoot, just upon the stroke,
Jars in my brother; 'twill be villainous music.

Enter Vendice.

Ven. My honour'd lord.
Lus. Away! prythee, forsake us: hereafter we'll not know thee.
Ven. Not know me, my lord! your lordship cannot choose.
[Pg 72]
Lus. Begone. I say: thou art a false knave.
Ven. Why, the easier to be known, my lord.
Lus. Pish! I shall prove too bitter, with a word
Make thee a perpetual prisoner,
And lay this iron age upon thee.
Ven. Mum!
For there's a doom would make a woman dumb.
Missing the bastard—next him—the wind's come about:
Now 'tis my brother's turn to stay, mine to go out. [Aside. Exit.
Lus. H' has greatly mov'd me.
Hip. Much to blame, i' faith.
Lus. But I'll recover, to his ruin. 'Twas told me lately,
I know not whether falsely, that you'd a brother.
Hip. Who, I? yes, my good lord, I have a brother.
Lus. How chance the court ne'er saw him? of what nature?
How does he apply his hours?
Hip. Faith, to curse fates
Who, as he thinks, ordain'd him to be poor—
Keeps at home, full of want and discontent.
Lus. There's hope in him; for discontent and want
Is the best clay to mould a villain of. [Aside.
Hippolito, wish him repair to us:
If there be aught in him to please our blood,
For thy sake we'll advance him, and build fair
His meanest fortunes; for it is in us
To rear up towers from cottages.
Hip. It is so, my lord: he will attend your honour;
But he's a man in whom much melancholy dwells.
Lus. Why, the better; bring him to court.
[Pg 73]
Hip. With willingness and speed:
Whom he cast off e'en now, must now succeed.
Brother, disguise must off;
In thine own shape now I'll prefer thee to him:
How strangely does himself work to undo him! [Aside. Exit.
Lus. This fellow will come fitly; he shall kill
That other slave, that did abuse my spleen,
And made it swell to treason. I have put
Much of my heart into him; he must die.
He that knows great men's secrets, and proves slight,[79]
That man ne'er lives to see his beard turn white.
Ay, he shall speed him: I'll employ the brother;
Slaves are but nails to drive out one another.
He being of black condition, suitable
To want and ill-content, hope of preferment
Will grind him to an edge.[80]

Enter Nobles.

1st Noble. Good days unto your honour.
Lus. My kind lords, I do return the like.
2d Noble. Saw you my lord the duke?
Lus. My lord and father! is he from court?
1st Noble. He's sure from court;
But where—which way his pleasure took, we know not,
Nor can we hear on't.
Lus. Here come those should tell.
Saw you my lord and father?
3d Noble. Not since two hours before noon my lord,
And then he privately rode forth.
Lus. O, he's rid forth.
[Pg 74]
1st Noble. 'Twas wondrous privately.
2d Noble. There's none i' th' court had any knowledge on't.
Lus. His grace is old and sudden: 'tis no treason
To say the duke, my father, has a humour,
Or such a toy about him; what in us
Would appear light, in him seems virtuous.
3d Noble. 'Tis oracle, my lord. [Exeunt.

Enter Vendice and Hippolito. Vendice out of his disguise.

Hip. So, so, all's as it should be, y' are yourself.
Ven. How that great villain puts me to my shifts!
Hip. He that did lately in disguise reject thee,
Shall, now thou art thyself, as much respect thee.
Ven. 'Twill be the quainter fallacy. But, brother,
'Sfoot, what use will he put me to now, think'st thou?
Hip. Nay, you must pardon me in that: I know not.
H' has some employment for you: but what 'tis,
He and his secretary (the devil) know best.
Ven. Well, I must suit my tongue to his desires,
What colour soe'er they be; hoping at last
To pile up all my wishes on his breast.
Hip. Faith, brother, he himself shows the way.
Ven. Now the duke is dead, the realm is clad in clay.
His death being not yet known, under his name
The people still are govern'd. Well, thou his son
Art not long-liv'd: thou shalt not joy his death;
To kill thee, then, I should most honour thee;
For 'twould stand firm in every man's belief,
[Pg 75] Thou'st a kind child, and only died'st with grief.
Hip. You fetch about well; but let's talk in present.
How will you appear in fashion different,
As well as in apparel, to make all things possible?
If you be but once tripp'd, we fall for ever.
It is not the least policy to be double;
You must change tongue: familiar was your first.
Ven. Why, I'll bear me in some strain of melancholy,
And string myself with heavy-sounding wire,
Like such an instrument, that speaks merry things sadly.
Hip. That is as I meant;
I gave you out at first in discontent.
Ven. I'll tune myself, and then———
Hip. 'Sfoot, here he comes. Hast thought upon't?
Ven. Salute him; fear not me.

Enter Lusurioso.

Lus. Hippolito!
Hip. Your lordship———
Lus. What's he yonder?
Hip. 'Tis Vendice, my discontented brother,
Whom, 'cording to your will, I've brought to court.
Lus. Is that thy brother? Beshrew me, a good presence;
I wonder h' has been from the court so long.
Come nearer.
Hip. Brother! Lord Lusurioso, the duke's son.
Lus. Be more to us; welcome; nearer yet.
Ven. How don you? gi'[81] you good den.

[Snatches off his hat, and makes legs to him.

Lus. We thank thee.
How strangely such a coarse homely salute
Shows in the palace, where we greet in fire—
[Pg 76] Nimble and desperate tongues: should we name
God in a salutation, 'twould ne'er be stood on,[82] heaven!
Tell me, what has made thee so melancholy?

Ven. Why, going to law.

Lus. Why, will that make a man melancholy?

Ven. Yes, to look long upon ink and black buckram. I went me to law in anno quadragesimo secundo, and I waded out of it in anno sexagesimo tertio.

Lus. What, three-and-twenty years in law?

Ven. I have known those that have been five-and-fifty, and all about pullen[83] and pigs.

Lus. May it be possible such men should breathe, To vex the terms so much?

Ven. Tis food to some, my lord. There are old men at the present, that are so poisoned with the affectation of law-words (having had many suits canvassed), that their common talk is nothing but Barbary Latin. They cannot so much as pray but in law, that their sins may be removed with a writ of error, and their souls fetched up to heaven with a sasarara.[84]

Hip.[85] It seems most strange to me;
Yet all the world meets round in the same bent:
Where the heart's set, there goes the tongue's consent.
How dost apply thy studies, fellow?

Ven. Study? why, to think how a great rich man lies a-dying, and a poor cobbler tolls the bell [Pg 77]for him. How he cannot depart the world, and see the great chest stand before him, when he lies speechless. How he will point you readily to all the boxes; and when he is past all memory, as the gossips guess, then thinks he of forfeitures and obligations; nay, when to all men's hearings he whurls and rattles in the throat, he's busy threatening his poor tenants. And this would last me now some seven years' thinking, or thereabouts. But I have a conceit a-coming in picture upon this; I draw it myself, which, i' faith, la, I'll present to your honour; you shall not choose but like it, for your honour shall give me nothing for it.

Lus. Nay, you mistake me, then,
For I am publish'd bountiful enough.
Let's taste of your conceit.
Ven. In picture, my lord?
Lus. Ay, in picture.

Ven. Marry, this it is—A usuring father to be boiling in hell, and his son and heir with a whore dancing over him.

Hip. H' has par'd him to the quick. [Aside.
Lus. The conceit's pretty, i' faith;
But, take't upon my life, 'twill ne'er be lik'd.
Ven. No? why I'm sure the whore will be lik'd well enough.
Hip. If she were out o' the picture, he'd like her then himself.


Ven. And as for the son and heir, he shall be an eyesore to no young revellers, for he shall be drawn in cloth-of-gold breeches.

Lus. And thou hast put my meaning in the pockets,
And canst not draw that out? My thought was this:
To see the picture of a usuring father
Boiling in hell—our rich men would never like it.
Ven. O, true, I cry you heartily mercy.
I know the reason, for some of them had rather
Be damned in deed than damned in colours.
Lus. A parlous melancholy! h' has wit enough
To murder any man, and I'll give him means.


[Pg 78] I think thou art ill-moneyed?
Ven. Money! ho, ho![86]
'T has been my want so long, 'tis now my scoff:
I've e'en forgot what colour silver's of.
Lus. It hits as I could wish. [Aside.
Ven. I get good clothes
Of those that dread my humour; and for table-room
I feed on those that cannot be rid of me.
Lus. Somewhat to set thee up withal.

[Gives him money.

Ven. O mine eyes!
Lus. How now, man?
Ven. Almost struck blind;
This bright unusual shine to me seems proud;
I dare not look till the sun be in a cloud.
Lus. I think I shall affect[87] his melancholy.
How are they now?[88]
Ven. The better for your asking.
Lus. You shall be better yet, if you but fasten
Truly on my intent. Now y' are both present,
I will unbrace such a close private villain
Unto your vengeful swords, the like ne'er heard of,
Who hath disgrac'd you much, and injur'd us.
Hip. Disgrac'd us, my lord?
Lus. Ay, Hippolito.
I kept it here till now, that both your angers
Might meet him at once.
[Pg 79]
Ven. I'm covetous
To know the villain.
Lus. You know him: that slave-pander
Piato, whom we threaten'd last
With irons in perpetual 'prisonment.
Ven. All this is I. [Aside.
Hip. Is't he, my lord?
Lus. I'll tell you, you first preferr'd him to me.
Ven. Did you, brother? [Aside.
Hip. I did indeed.
Lus. And the ungrateful villain,
To quit that kindness, strongly wrought with me—
Being, as you see, a likely man for pleasure—
With jewels to corrupt your virgin sister.
Hip. O villain!
Ven. He shall surely die that did it. [Aside.
Lus. I, far from thinking any virgin harm,
Especially knowing her to be as chaste
As that part which scarce suffers to be touch'd—
The eye—would not endure him.
Ven. Would you not, my lord?
'Twas wondrous honourably done.
Lus. But with some few[89] frowns kept him out.
Ven. Out, slave! [Aside.
Lus. What did me he, but in revenge of that,
Went of his own free will to make infirm
Your sister's honour (whom I honour with my soul
For chaste respect) and not prevailing there,
(As 'twas but desperate folly to attempt it)
In mere spleen, by the way, waylays your mother,
Whose honour being a coward as it seems,
Yielded by little force.
[Pg 80]
Ven. Coward indeed! [Aside.
Lus. He, proud of this advantage (as he thought),
Brought me this news for happy. But I, heaven forgive me for't!——
Ven. What did your honour?
Lus. In rage push'd him from me,
Trampled beneath his throat, spurn'd him, and bruis'd:
Indeed I was too truel, to say troth.
Hip. Most nobly manag'd!
Ven. Has not heaven an ear? is all the lightning wasted? [Aside.
Lus. If I now were so impatient in a modest cause,
What should you be?
Ven. Full mad: he shall not live
To see the moon change.
Lus. He's about the palace;
Hippolito, entice him this way, that thy brother
May take full mark of him.
Hip. Heart! that shall not need, my lord:
I can direct him so far.
Lus. Yet for my hate's sake,
Go, wind him this way. I'll see him bleed myself.
Hip. What now, brother? [Aside.
Ven. Nay, e'en what you will—y' are put to't, brother. [Aside.
Hip. An impossible task, I'll swear,
To bring him hither, that's already here. [Aside.

[Exit Hippolito.

Lus. Thy name? I have forgot it.
Ven. Vendice, my lord.
Lus. 'Tis a good name that.
Ven. Ay, a revenger. [Aside.
Lus. It does betoken courage; thou shouldst be valiant,
And kill thine enemies.
Ven. That's my hope, my lord.
Lus. This slave is one.
[Pg 81]
Ven. I'll doom him.
Lus. Then I'll praise thee.
Do thou observe me best, and I'll best raise thee.

Enter Hippolito.

Ven. Indeed, I thank you.
Lus. Now, Hippolito, where's the slave-pander?
Hip. Your good lordship
Would have a loathsome sight of him, much offensive.
He's not in case now to be seen, my lord.
The worst of all the deadly sins is in him—
That beggarly damnation, drunkenness.
Lus. Then he's a double slave.
Ven. 'Twas well convey'd upon a sudden wit.
Lus. What, are you both
Firmly resolv'd? I'll see him dead myself.
Ven. Or else let not us live.
Lus. You may direct your brother to take note of him.
Hip. I shall.
Lus. Rise but in this, and you shall never fall.
Ven. Your honour's vassals.
Lus. This was wisely carried. [Aside.
Deep policy in us makes fools of such:
Then must a slave die, when he knows too much. [Exit Lusurioso.
VEN. O thou almighty patience! 'tis my wonder
That such a fellow, impudent and wicked,
Should not be cloven as he stood;
Or with a secret wind burst open!
Is there no thunder left:[90] or is't kept up
In stock for heavier vengeance? there it goes!
[Pg 82]
Hip. Brother, we lose ourselves.
Ven. But I have found it;
'Twill hold, 'tis sure; thanks, thanks to any spirit,
That mingled it 'mongst my inventions.
Hip. What is't?
Ven. Tis sound and good; thou shalt partake it;
I'm hir'd to kill myself.
Hip. True.
Ven. Prythee, mark it;
And the old duke being dead, but not convey'd,
For he's already miss'd too, and you know,
Murder will peep out of the closest husk.
Hip. Most true.
Ven. What say you then to this device?
If we dress'd up the body of the duke?
Hip. In that disguise of yours?
Ven. Y' are quick, y' have reach'd it.
Hip. I like it wondrously.
Ven. And being in drink, as you have publish'd him.
To lean him on his elbow, as if sleep had caught him,
Which claims most interest in such sluggy men?
Hip. Good yet; but here's a doubt;
We, thought[91] by th' duke's son to kill that pander,
Shall, when he is known, be thought to kill the duke.
Ven. Neither; O thanks, it is substantial:
For that disguise being on him which I wore,

It will be thought I, which he calls the pander, did kill the duke, and fled away in his apparel, leaving him so disguised to avoid swift pursuit.

Hip. Firmer and firmer.
Ven. Nay, doubt not, 'tis in grain: I warrant it holds colour.
Hip. Let's about it.
Ven. By the way, too, now I think on't, brother,
Let's conjure that base devil out of our mother. [Exeunt.
[Pg 83]


[79] [Weak, treacherous.]

[80] The Nobles enter is printed in the 4o, as if it were a part of the speech of Lusurioso.—Collier.

[81] [Edits., god.]

[82] [Edits., on't.]

[83] Poultry.

[84] A vulgar corruption of certiorari.—Pegge.

[85] Mr Gilchrist would substitute Lusurioso for Hippolito here; but the change is not necessary to the sense, and is not supported by the quartos.—Collier.

[86] ["Mark the transition from prose to verse."—MS. note in former edit.]

[87] [Like.]

[88] How art thou now? the inquiry has stood in previous editions, but How are they now? is the correct reading restored from the old copy. The words have reference to Vendice's eyes.—Collier.

[89] [Edits., five.]

[90] The same thought occurs in "Othello," act v. sc. 2—

"Are there no stones in heaven.
But what serve for the thunder?"

[91] The 4o reads, methought.—Collier.

ACTUS V.[92]

Enter the Duchess, arm in arm with Spurio: he seemeth lasciviously to look on her. After them, enter Supervacuo running, with a rapier; Ambitioso stops him.

Spu. Madam, unlock yourself;
Should it be seen, your arm would be suspected.
Duch. Who is't that dares suspect or this or these?
May not we deal our favours where we please?
Spu. I'm confident you may. [Exeunt.
Amb. 'Sfoot, brother, hold.
Sup. Woult let the bastard shame us?
Amb. Hold, hold, brother! there's fitter time than now.
Sup. Now, when I see it!
Amb. 'Tis too much seen already.
Sup. Seen and known;
The nobler she's, the baser is she grown.
Amb. If she were bent lasciviously (the fault
Of mighty women, that sleep soft)—O death!
Must she needs choose such an unequal sinner,
To make all worse?—
[Pg 84]
Sup. A bastard! the duke's bastard! shame heap'd on shame!
Amb. O our disgrace!
Most women have small waists the world throughout;
But their desires are thousand miles about.
Sup. Come, stay not here, let's after, and prevent,
Or else they'll sin faster than we'll repent. [Exeunt.

Enter Vendice and Hippolito, bringing out their mother, one by one shoulder, and the other by the other, with daggers in their hands.

Ven. O thou, for whom no name is bad enough!
Gra. What mean my sons? what, will you murder me?
Ven. Wicked, unnatural parent!
Hip. Fiend of women!
Gra. O! are sons turn'd monsters? help!
Ven. In vain.
Gra. Are you so barbarous to set iron nipples
Upon the breast that gave you suck?
Ven. That breast
Is turn'd to quarled poison.[93]
Gra. Cut not your days for't! am not I your mother?[94]
Ven. Thou dost usurp that title now by fraud,
For in that shell of mother breeds a bawd.
Gra. A bawd! O name far loathsomer than hell!
Hip. It should be so, knew'st thou thy office well.
[Pg 85]
Gra. I hate it.
Ven. Ah! is't possible, you powers on high,
That women should dissemble when they die?
Gra. Dissemble!
Ven. Did not the duke's son direct
A fellow of the worst[95] condition hither,
That did corrupt all that was good in thee?
Made thee uncivilly forget thyself,
And work our sister to his lust?
Gra. Who, I?
That had been monstrous. I defy that man
For any such intent! none lives so pure,
But shall be soil'd with slander. Good son, believe it not.
Ven. O, I'm in doubt,
Whether I am myself, or no—— [Aside.
Stay, let me look again upon this face.
Who shall be sav'd, when mothers have no grace?
Hip. 'Twould make one half despair.
Ven. I was the man.
Defy me now; let's see, do't modestly.
Gra. O hell unto my soul!
Ven. In that disguise, I, sent from the duke's son,
Tried you, and found you base metal,
As any villain might have done.
Gra. O, no,
No tongue but yours could have bewitch'd me so.
Ven. O nimble in damnation, quick in ru'n![96]
There is no devil could strike fire so soon:
I am confuted in a word.
Gra. O sons, forgive me! to myself I'll prove more true;
You that should honour me, I kneel to you. [Kneels and weeps.
[Pg 86]
Ven. A mother to give aim to her own daughter![97]
Hip. True, brother; how far beyond nature 'tis,
Though many mothers do't!
Ven. Nay, and you draw tears once, go you to bed;
Wet will make iron blush and change to red.
Brother, it rains. 'Twill spoil your dagger: house it.
Hip. 'Tis done.
Ven. I'faith, 'tis a sweet shower, it does much good.
The fruitful grounds and meadows of her soul
Have been long dry: pour down, thou blessed dew!
Rise, mother; troth, this shower has made you higher!
Gra. O you heavens! take this infectious spot out of my soul,
I'll rinse it in seven waters of mine eyes!
Make my tears salt enough to taste of grace.
To weep is to our sex naturally given:
But to weep truly, that's a gift from heaven.
Ven. Nay, I'll kiss you now. Kiss her, brother:
Let's marry her to our souls, wherein's no lust,
And honourably love her.
Hip. Let it be.
Ven. For honest women are so seld[98] and rare,
'Tis good to cherish those poor few that are.
O you of easy wax! do but imagine
Now the disease has left you, how leprously
That office would have cling'd unto your forehead!
All mothers that had any graceful hue
Would have worn masks to hide their face at you:
It would have grown to this—at your foul name,
Green-colour'd maids would have turned red with shame.
[Pg 87]
Hip. And then our sister, full of hireling[99] baseness——
Ven. There had been boiling lead again,
The duke's son's great concubine!
A drab of state, a cloth-o'-silver slut,
To have her train borne up, and her soul trail i' th' dirt![100]
Hip. Great, to be miserably great; rich, to be eternally wretched.
Ven. O common madness!
Ask but the thrivingest harlot in cold blood,
She'd give the world to make her honour good.
Perhaps you'll say, but only to the duke's son
In private; why she first begins with one,
Who afterward to thousands proves a whore:
"Break ice in one place, it will crack in more."
Gra. Most certainly applied!
Hip. O brother, you forget our business.
Ven. And well-remember'd; joy's a subtle elf,
I think man's happiest when he forgets himself,
Farewell, once dry, now holy-water'd mead;
Our hearts wear feathers, that before wore lead.
Gra. I'll give you this—that one I never knew
Plead better for and 'gainst the devil than you.
Ven. You make me proud on't.
Hip. Commend us in all virtue to our sister.
Ven. Ay, for the love of heaven, to that true maid.
Gra. With my best words.
[Pg 88]
Ven. Why, that was motherly said.[101] [Exeunt.
Gra. I wonder now, what fury did transport me!
I feel good thoughts begin to settle in me.
O, with what forehead can I look on her,
Whose honour I've so impiously beset?
And here she comes—

Enter Castiza.

Cas. Now, mother, you have wrought with me so strongly,
That what for my advancement, as to calm
The trouble of your tongue, I am content.
Gra. Content, to what?
Cas. To do as you have wish'd me;
To prostitute my breast to the duke's son;
And put myself to common usury.
Gra. I hope you will not so!
Cas. Hope you I will not?
That's not the hope you look to be sav'd in.
Gra. Truth, but it is.
Cas. Do not deceive yourself,
I am as you, e'en out of marble wrought.
What would you now? are ye not pleas'd yet with me?
You shall not wish me to be more lascivious
Than I intend to be.
Gra. Strike not me cold.
Cas. How often have you charg'd me on your blessing
To be a cursed woman? When you knew
Your blessing had no force to make me lewd,
You laid your curse upon me; that did more,
The mother's curse is heavy; where that lights,
Suns set in storm, and daughters lose their rights.[102]
Gra. Good child, dear maid, if there be any spark
[Pg 89] Of heavenly intellectual fire within thee,
O, let my breath revive it to a flame!
Put not all out with woman's wilful follies.
I am recover'd of that foul disease,
That haunts too many mothers; kind, forgive me,
Make me not sick in health! If then
My words prevail'd, when they were wickedness,
How much more now, when they are just and good?
Cas. I wonder what you mean! are not you she,
For whose infect persuasions I could scarce
Kneel out my prayers, and had much ado
In three hours' reading to untwist so much
Of the black serpent as you wound about me?
Gra. 'Tis unfruitful, child,[103] [and] tedious to repeat
What's past; I'm now your present mother.
Cas. Pish! now 'tis too late.
Gra. Bethink again: thou know'st not what thou say'st.
Cas. No! deny advancement! treasure! the duke's son!
Gra. O, cease![104] I spoke those words, and now they poison me!
What will the deed do then?
Advancement? true; as high as shame can pitch!
For treasure! who e'er knew a harlot rich?
Or could build by the purchase of her sin
An hospital to keep her[105] bastards in?
The duke's son! O, when women are young courtiers,
They are sure to be old beggars;
To know the miseries most harlots taste,
Thou'dst wish thyself unborn, when thou art unchaste.
Cas. O mother, let me twine about your neck,
And kiss you, till my soul melt on your lips!
I did but this to try you.
Gra. O, speak truth!
[Pg 90]
Cas. Indeed I did but;[106] for no tongue has force
To alter me from honest.
If maidens would, men's words could have no power;
A virgin's honour is a crystal tower
Which (being weak) is guarded with good spirits;
Until she basely yields, no ill inherits.
Gra. O happy child! faith, and thy birth hath sav'd me.
'Mong thousand daughters, happiest of all others:
Be[107] thou a glass for maids, and I for mothers. [Exeunt.

Enter Vendice and Hippolito.

Ven. So, so, he leans well; take heed you wake him not, brother.

Hip. I warrant you my life for yours.

Ven. That's a good lay, for I must kill myself. Brother, that's I, that sits for me: do you mark it? And I must stand ready here to make away myself yonder. I must sit to be killed, and stand to kill myself. I could vary it not so little as thrice over again; 't has some eight returns, like Michaelmas term.[108]

Hip. That's enou', o' conscience.

Ven. But, sirrah, does the duke's son come single?

Hip. No; there's the hell on't: his faith's too feeble to go alone. He brings flesh-flies after him, that will buzz against supper-time, and hum for his coming out.

[Pg 91]

Ven. Ah, the fly-flap of vengeance beat 'em to pieces! Here was the sweetest occasion, the fittest hour, to have made my revenge familiar with him; show him the body of the duke his father, and how quaintly he died, like a politician, in hugger-mugger,[109] made no man acquainted with it; and in catastrophe slain him over his father's breast. O, I'm mad to lose such a sweet opportunity!

Hip. Nay, pish! prythee, be content! there's no remedy present; may not hereafter times open in as fair faces as this?

Ven. They may, if they can paint so well.

Hip. Come now: to avoid all suspicion, let's forsake this room, and be going to meet the duke's son.

Ven. Content: I'm for any weather. Heart! step close: here he comes.

Enter Lusurioso.

Hip. My honour'd lord!

Lus. O me! you both present?

Ven. E'en newly, my lord, just as your lordship entered now: about this place we had notice given he should be, but in some loathsome plight or other.

Hip. Came your honour private?

Lus. Private enough for this; only a few
Attend my coming out.
[Pg 92]
Hip. Death rot those few! [Aside.
Lus. Stay, yonder's the slave.
Ven. Mass, there's the slave indeed, my lord.
'Tis a good child: he calls his father slave! [Aside.
Lus. Ay, that's the villain, the damn'd villain.
Softly. Tread easy.
Ven. Puh! I warrant you, my lord, we'll stifle-in our breaths.
Lus. That will do well:
Base rogue, thou sleepest thy last; 'tis policy
To have him kill'd in's sleep; for, if he wak'd,
He would betray all to them.
Ven. But, my lord——
Lus. Ha, what say'st?
Ven. Shall we kill him now he's drunk?
Lus. Ay, best of all.
Ven. Why, then he will ne'er live to be sober.
Lus. No matter, let him reel to hell.

Ven. But being so full of liquor, I fear he will put out all the fire.

Lus. Thou art a mad beast.[110]

Ven. And leave none to warm your lordship's golls[111] withal; for he that dies drunk falls into hell-fire like a bucket of water—qush, qush!

Lus. Come, be ready: nake your swords:[112] think of your wrongs; this slave has injured you.

Ven. Troth, so he has, and he has paid well for't.
Lus. Meet with him now.
Ven. You'll bear us out, my lord?
Lus. Puh! am I a lord for nothing, think you? quickly now!
[Pg 93]
Ven. Sa, sa, sa, thump—there he lies.
Lus. Nimbly done.—Ha! O villains! murderers!
'Tis the old duke my father.
Ven. That's a jest.
Lus. What, stiff and cold already!
O, pardon me to call you from your names:
'Tis none of your deed: that villain Piato,
Whom you thought now to kill, has murdered
And left him thus disguis'd.
Hip. And not unlikely.
Ven. O rascal! was he not asham'd
To put the duke into a greasy doublet?
Lus. He has been cold and stiff—who knows how long?
Ven. Marry, that I do. [Aside.
Lus. No words, I pray, of anything intended.
Ven. O my lord.

Hip. I would fain have your lordship think that we have small reason to prate.

Lus. Faith, thou say'st true; I'll forthwith send to court
For all the nobles, bastard, duchess; tell,
How here by miracle we found him dead,
And in his raiment that foul villain fled.
Ven. That will be the best way, my lord,
To clear us all; let's cast about to be clear.
Lus. Ho! Nencio, Sordido, and the rest!

Enter All.

1st Noble. My lord.
2d Noble. My lord.
Lus. Be witnesses of a strange spectacle.
Choosing for private conference that sad room,
We found the duke my father geal'd in blood.
1st Noble. My lord the duke! run, hie thee, Nencio,
[Pg 94] Startle the court by signifying so much.
Ven. This much by wit a deep revenger can:
When murder's known, to be the clearest man.
We're farthest off, and with as bold an eye
Survey his body as the standers-by. [Aside.
Lus. My royal father, too basely let blood
By a malevolent slave!
Hip. Hark! he calls thee slave again. [Aside.
Ven. He has lost: he may. [Aside.
Lus. O sight! look hither, see, his lips are gnawn
With poison.
Ven. How! his lips? by the mass, they be.
O villain! O rogue! O slave! O rascal!
Hip. O good deceit! he quits him with like terms.
Amb. [Within.] Where?
Sup. [Within.] Which way?

Enter Ambitioso and Supervacuo.

Amb. Over what roof hangs this prodigious comet
In deadly fire?

Lus. Behold, behold, my lords, the duke my father's murdered by a vassal that owes this habit, and here left disguised.

Enter Duchess and Spurio.

Duch. My lord and husband?
2d Noble. Reverend majesty!
1st Noble. I have seen these clothes often attending on him.
Ven. That nobleman has been i' th' country, for he does not lie.


Sup. Learn of our mother; let's dissemble too:
I am glad he's vanish'd; so, I hope, are you.
[Pg 95]
Amb. Ay, you may take my word for't.
Spu. Old dad dead?
I, one of his cast sins, will send the Fates
Most hearty commendations by his own son;
I'll tug in the new stream, till strength be done.
Lus. Where be those two that did affirm to us,
My lord the duke was privately rid forth?
1st Noble. O, pardon us, my lords; he gave that charge—
Upon our lives, if he were miss'd at court,
To answer so; he rode not anywhere;
We left him private with that fellow here.
Ven. Confirmed. [Aside.
Lus. O heavens! that false charge was his death.
Impudent beggars! durst you to our face
Maintain such a false answer? Bear him straight
To execution.
1st Noble. My lord!
Lus. Urge me no more.
In this the excuse may be call'd half the murder.
Ven. You've sentenc'd well. [Aside.
Lus. Away; see it be done.
Ven. Could you not stick? See what confession doth!
Who would not lie, when men are hang'd for truth? [Aside.
Hip. Brother, how happy is our vengeance!


Ven. Why, it hits past the apprehension of
Indifferent wits. [Aside.
Lus. My lord, let post-horses be sent
Into all places to entrap the villain.
Ven. Post-horses, ha, ha! [Aside.
Noble. My lord, we're something bold to know our duty.
Your father's accidentally departed;
[Pg 96] The titles that were due to him meet you.
Lus. Meet me! I'm not at leisure, my good lord.
I've many griefs to despatch out o' th' way.
Welcome, sweet titles!— [Aside.
Talk to me, my lords,
Of sepulchres and mighty emperors' bones;
That's thought for me.
Ven. So one may see by this
How foreign markets go;
Courtiers have feet o' th' nines, and tongues o' th' twelves;
They flatter dukes, and dukes flatter themselves.


Noble. My lord, it is your shine must comfort us.
Lus. Alas! I shine in tears, like the sun in April.
Noble. You're now my lord's grace.
Lus. My lord's grace! I perceive you'll have it so.
Noble. 'Tis but your own.
Lus. Then, heavens, give me grace to be so!
Ven. He prays well for himself. [Aside.
Noble. Madam, all sorrows
Must run their circles into joys. No doubt but time
Will make the murderer bring forth himself.
Ven. He were an ass then, i' faith. [Aside.
Noble. In the mean season,
Let us bethink the latest funeral honours
Due to the duke's cold body. And withal,
Calling to memory our new happiness
Speed[113] in his royal son: lords, gentlemen,
Prepare for revels.
Ven. Revels. [Aside.
Noble. Time hath several falls.
Griefs lift up joys: feasts put down funerals.
Lus. Come then, my lords, my favour's to you all.
The duchess is suspected foully bent;
I'll begin dukedom with her banishment.

[Pg 97]

[Exeunt Duke, Nobles, and Duchess.

Hip. Revels!
Ven. Ay, that's the word: we are firm yet;
Strike one strain more, and then we crown our wit.

[Exeunt Hippolito and Vendice.

Spu. Well, have at the fairest mark[114]—so said the duke when he begot me;
And if I miss his heart, or near about,
Then have at any; a bastard scorns to be out.
Sup. Note'st thou that Spurio, brother?
Ant. Yes, I note him to our shame.

Sup. He shall not live: his hair shall not grow much longer. In this time of revels, tricks may be set afoot. See'st thou yon new moon? it shall outlive the new duke by much; this hand shall dispossess him. Then we're mighty.

A mask is treason's licence, that build upon:
'Tis murder's best face, when a vizard's on. [Exit.
Amb. Is't so? 'tis very good!
And do you think to be duke then, kind brother?
I'll see fair play; drop one, and there lies t'other.

[Aside. Exit.

Enter Vendice and Hippolito, with Piero and other Lords.

Ven. My lords, be all of music, strike old griefs into other countries
That flow in too much milk, and have faint livers,
Not daring to stab home their discontents.
Let our hid flames break out as fire, as lightning,
To blast this villainous dukedom, vex'd with sin;
Wind up your souls to their full height again.
[Pg 98]
Piero. How?
1st Lord. Which way?
3d Lord. Any way: our wrongs are such,
We cannot justly be reveng'd too much.
Ven. You shall have all enough. Revels are toward,
And those few nobles that have long suppress'd you,
Are busied to the furnishing of a masque,
And do affect to make a pleasant tale on't;
The masquing suits are fashioning: now comes in
That which must glad us all. We too take pattern
Of all those suits, the colour, trimming, fashion,
E'en to an undistinguish'd hair almost:
Then entering first, observing the true form,
Within a strain or two we shall find leisure
To steal our swords out handsomely;
And when they think their pleasure sweet and good,
In midst of all their joys they shall sigh blood.
Piero. Weightily, effectually!
Third. Before the t'other masquers come——
Ven. We're gone, all done and past.
Piero. But how for the duke's guard?
Ven. Let that alone,
By one and one their strengths shall be drunk down.
Hip. There are five hundred gentlemen in the action,
That will apply themselves, and not stand idle.
Piero. O, let us hug your bosoms!
Ven. Come, my lords,
Prepare for deeds: let other times have words.[115] [Exeunt.
[Pg 99]

In a dumb show, the procession[116] of the young duke, with all his nobles; then sounding music. A furnished table is brought forth; then enter the duke and his nobles to the banquet. A blazing star appeareth.

1st Noble. Many harmonious hours and choicest pleasures
Fill up the royal number of your years!
Lus. My lords, we're pleas'd to thank you, though we know
'Tis but your duty now to wish it so.
1st Noble. That shine makes us all happy.
3d Noble. His grace frowns.
2d Noble. Yet we must say he smiles.
1st Noble. I think we must.
Lus. That foul incontinent duchess we have banish'd;
The bastard shall not live. After these revels,
I'll begin strange ones: he and the step-sons
Shall pay their lives for the first subsidies;
We must not frown so soon, else't had been now.


1st Noble. My gracious lord, please you prepare for pleasure.
The masque is not far off.
Lus. We are for pleasure.
[Pg 100] Beshrew thee, what art thou'? [thou] mad'st me start!
Thou hast committed treason. A blazing star!
1st Noble. A blazing star! O, where, my lord?
Lus. Spy out.
2d Noble. See, see, my lords, a wondrous dreadful one!
Lus. I am not pleas'd at that ill-knotted fire,
That bushing, flaring star. Am not I duke?
It should not quake me now. Had it appear'd
Before, I might then have justly fear'd;
But yet they say, whom art and learning weds,
When stars wear locks, they threaten great men's heads:
Is it so? you are read, my lords.
1st Noble. May it please your grace,
It shows great anger.
Lus. That does not please our grace.
2d Noble. Yet here's the comfort, my lord: many times,
When it seems most near, it threatens farthest off.
Lus. Faith, and I think so too.
1st Noble. Beside, my lord,
You're gracefully establish'd with the loves
Of all your subjects; and for natural death,
I hope it will be threescore years a-coming.
Lus. Do you?[117] no more but threescore years?
1st Noble. Fourscore, I hope, my lord.
2d Noble. And fivescore, I.
3d Noble. But 'tis my hope, my lord, you shall ne'er die.
Lus. Give me thy hand; these others I rebuke:
He that hopes so is fittest for a duke:
Thou shalt sit next me; take your places, lords;
[Pg 101] We're ready now for sports; let 'em set on:
You thing! we shall forget you quite anon!
3d Noble. I hear 'em coming, my lord.

Enter the masque of Revengers, the two brothers, and two Lords more.

[The Revengers' dance: at the end steal out their
swords, and these four kill the four at the
table, in their chairs. It thunders.

Ven. Mark, thunder!
Dost know thy cue, thou big-voic'd crier?
Dukes' groans are thunder's watchwords.
Hip. So, my lords, you have enough.
Ven. Come, let's away, no lingering.
Hip. Follow! go! [Exeunt.
Ven. No power is angry when the lustful die;
When thunder claps, heaven likes the tragedy.

[Exit Vendice.

Lus. O, O!

Enter the other masque of intended murderers, step-sons, Bastard, and a fourth man, coming in dancing. The duke recovers a little in voice, and groans, calls, A guard! treason! at which they all start out of their measure, and, turning towards the table, they find them all to be murdered.

Spu. Whose groan was that?
Lus. Treason! a guard!
Amb. How now? all murder'd!
Sup. Murder'd!
4th Noble. And those his nobles?
Amb. Here's a labour sav'd;
I thought to have sped him. 'Sblood, how came this?
Spu. Then I proclaim myself; now I am duke.
[Pg 102]
Amb. Thou duke! brother, thou liest.
Spu. Slave! so dost thou.
4th Noble. Base villain! hast thou slain my lord and master?

Enter the first men.

Ven. Pistols! treason! murder! Help! guard my lord the duke!
Hip. Lay hold upon these traitors.
Lus. O!
Ven. Alas! the duke is murder'd.
Hip. And the nobles.
Ven. Surgeons! surgeons! Heart! does he breathe so long? [Aside.
Ant. A piteous tragedy! able to make[118]
An old man's eyes bloodshot.
Lus. O!
Ven. Look to my lord the duke. A vengeance throttle him! [Aside.
Confess, thou murd'rous and unhallow'd man,
Didst thou kill all these?
4th Noble. None but the bastard, I.
Ven. How came the duke slain, then?
4th Noble. We found him so.
Lus. O villain!
Ven. Hark!
Lus. Those in the masque did murder us.
Ven. La you now, sir—
O marble impudence! will you confess now?
4th Noble. 'Sblood, 'tis all false.
Ant. Away with that foul monster,
Dipp'd in a prince's blood.
4th Noble. Heart! 'tis a lie.
Ant. Let him have bitter execution.
[Pg 103]
Ven. New marrow! no, it cannot be express'd.[119]
How fares my lord the duke?
Lus. Farewell to all;
He that climbs highest has the greatest fall.
My tongue is out of office.
Ven. Air, gentlemen, air.
Now thou'lt not prate on't, 'twas Vendice murder'd thee.

[Whispers in his ear.

Lus. O!
Ven. Murder'd thy father. [Whispers.
Lus. O! [Dies.
Ven. And I am he: tell nobody—so, so, the duke's departed.
Ant. It was a deadly hand that wounded him.
The rest, ambitious who should rule and sway
After his death, were so made all away.
Ven. My lord was unlikely——
Hip. Now the hope
Of Italy lies in your reverend years.
Ven. Your hair will make the silver age again,
When there were fewer, but more honest men.
Ant. The burthen's weighty, and will press age down;
May I so rule, that heaven may keep the crown!
Ven. The rape of your good lady has been quitted
With death on death.
Ant. Just is the law above.
But of all things it put me most to wonder
How the old duke came murder'd!
Ven. O my lord!
Ant. It was the strangeliest carried: I not heard of the like.
Hip. 'Twas all done for the best, my lord.
Ven. All for your grace's good. We may be bold to speak it now,
[Pg 104] 'Twas somewhat witty carried, though we say it—
'Twas we two murder'd him.
Ant. You two?
Ven. None else, i' faith, my lord. Nay, 'twas well-manag'd.
Ant. Lay hands upon those villains!
Ven. How! on us?
Ant. Bear 'em to speedy execution.
Ven. Heart! was't not for your good, my lord?
Ant. My good! Away with 'em: such an old man as he!
You, that would murder him, would murder me.
Ven. Is't come about?
Hip. 'Sfoot, brother, you begun.
Ven. May not we set as well as the duke's son?[120]
Thou hast no conscience, are we not reveng'd?
Is there one enemy left alive amongst those?
'Tis time to die, when we ourselves our foes:[121]
When murderers shut deeds close, this curse does seal 'em:
If none disclose 'em, they themselves reveal 'em!
This murder might have slept in tongueless brass
But for ourselves, and the world died an ass.
Now I remember too, here was Piato
Brought forth a knavish sentence once;
No doubt (said he), but time
Will make the murderer bring forth himself.
'Tis well he died; he was a witch.
And now, my lord, since we are in for ever,
[Pg 105] This work was ours, which else might have been slipp'd!
And if we list, we could have nobles clipp'd,
And go for less than beggars; but we hate
To bleed so cowardly: we have enough,
I' faith, we're well, our mother turn'd, our sister true,
We die after a nest of dukes. Adieu. [Exeunt.
Ant. How subtlely was that murder clos'd![122] Bear up
Those tragic bodies: 'tis a heavy season;
Pray heaven their blood may wash away all treason! [Exit.
[Pg 106]
[Pg 107]



[92] In the 4o this play consists but of four acts. But as that division probably arose from the carelessness of the printer, I have made an alteration here, which appears to be a necessary one.

[93] Perhaps we should read quarell'd poison; i.e., such poison as arrows are imbued with. Quarels are square arrows. So in the "Romaunt of the Rose," v. 1823—

"Ground quarelis sharpe of steele."


[The two words are the same, quarled being a contracted form of quarell'd.]

[94] Alluding to the Fifth Commandment.—Gilchrist.

[95] [Edits., world's.]

[96] [Edits., tune.]

[97] i.e., incite, encourage her.

[98] Seldom to be met with. In Shakespeare's "Coriolanus" we have "seld seen flamens."—Steevens.

[99] [Old copy, hire and.]

[100] The word great is added in the 4o to this line, but it belongs to Hippolito, and what he says has been hitherto misprinted.—Collier.

[101] ["The reality and life of this dialogue passes any scenical illusion I ever felt. I never read it but my ears tingle, and I feel a hot flush spread my cheeks, as if I were presently about to 'proclaim' some such 'malefactions' of myself as the brothers here rebuke in this unnatural parent, in words more keen and dagger-like than those which Hamlet speaks to his mother. Such power has the passion of shame, truly personated, not only to 'strike guilty creatures unto the soul,' but to 'appal' even those that are 'free.'"—Lamb.]

[102] [Old copy, lights, and in the line before, Sons—fights.]

[103] [Edits., held.]

[104] [Edits., see.]

[105] [Edits., their.]

[106] [Edits., not.]

[107] The 4o reads, Buy.—Steevens.

[108] Michaelmas term now has but four returns. By the Statute 16 Car. I. c. vi. it was abridged of two; and again, by 24 Geo. II. c. xlviii. of the like number.

[109] In secret. This uncouth expression occurs in "Hamlet," act iv. sc. 5, which many modern editors have altered to the more modern phrase of in private; but as Dr Johnson observes, "if phraseology is to be changed as words grow uncouth by disuse, or gross by vulgarity, the history of every language will be lost; we shall no longer have the words of any author; and as these alterations will often be unskilfully made, we shall in time have very little of his meaning." Mr Steevens, by several instances, has shown that the terms were in common use, and conveyed no low or vulgar ideas, and several others might be added: as in Ascham's "Toxophilus," 1571: "If shootinge fault at anye time, it hydes it not, it lurkes not in corners and budder mother."

[110] The 4o reads breast.—Steevens.

[111] Hands.

[112] i.e., unsheathe them, let them be naked swords.—Steevens.

[113] [Edits., spread.]

[114] The 4o reads, Well, have the fairest mark.—Collier.

[115] [A MS. note in one of the former edits., suggests, to other times leave words].

[116] [Old copy, possessing.]

[117] [Old copy, True.]

[118] The 4o reads, wake.

[119] The 4o reads, I cannot be express'd.—Collier.

[120] [Edits., so.]

[121] ["Mark this—it was his intention from the first to die when his revenge had been consummated."—MS. note in former edition.]

[Pg 108]

[122] Clos'd for disclos'd.—Gilchrist.



The dumbe Knight. A historicall Comedy, acted sundry times by the children of his Maiesties Reuels. London, Printed by Nicholas Okes, for Iohn Bache, and are to be sold at his shop in Popes-head Palace, neere to the Royall Exchange. 1608. 4o.[123]

[Pg 109]

The Dumbe Knight. An Historicall Comedy, acted sundry times by the children of his Majesties Revells. London, Printed by A.M. for William Sheares, and are to be sold at his shoppe in Chancery Lane, near Seriants Inne. 1633. 4o.


Lewes Machin was assisted, as he states, in writing this play, by one "whose worth hath been often approved," and it is singular that until very recently the name of his coadjutor should have remained unknown, when in the Garrick Collection, always accessible in the British Museum, is a copy of "The Dumb Knight," edition of 1608, with the name of his "partner in the wrong" on the title-page, viz., Jervis or Gervase Markham. Another copy, with the same distinction, was sold in Mr Rhodes' collection. Why it was afterwards altered cannot now be ascertained; perhaps Markham wished to avoid the consequences of the "strange constructions" on the play to which Machin in his epistle refers, and therefore withdrew his name. [Pg 110]Nevertheless the address of Machin "to the understanding reader" is prefixed to the copies with and without the name of his assistant.

Although Markham was a voluminous writer, little or nothing is known regarding the events of his life. A curious anecdote of a Gervase Markham is quoted by Sir E. Brydges, in his edition of Phillips's "Theatrum Poetarum," p. 279; but in all probability it is not the same individual, as that person was high sheriff of Nottinghamshire in 1625, and was robbed of £5000. Gervase Markham the poet and book-maker never could have possessed any such sum. He is said to have been the son of Robert Markham of Cotham; but this is very questionable. When and where he was born, and died, yet remains to be discovered. He began his career of authorship late in the reign of Elizabeth, viz., in 159[3, when his "Thyrsis and Daphne," a piece no longer known, was revised for the press. In the same year he produced "A Discourse of Horsemanship;" and] in 1595 he published "The Most Honourable Tragedie of Sir Richard Grinvile (Grenville), Knight." By this work he seems to have acquired much reputation.[125] Though called a tragedy, it is only a narrative and elegiac poem in the octave rhyme.

[Pg 111]

Ritson also assigns to Markham a translation of Solomon's Song, in the same year, but it has only the initials L.M. on the title-page. In 1597, he printed a translation from the French, called "Devoreux, Vertues Tears for the Loss of the Most Christian King Henry III." In 1608 appeared a translation of Ariosto's "Satires," with his name on the title-page, but the work was subsequently claimed by Robert Tofte. The blame belonged, perhaps, to some knavish bookseller who, having obtained the MS., availed himself of Markham's popularity. [Barnaby Rich's "Alarm to England," was reprinted in 1625 under the title of "Vox Militis," with a poem by Markham prefixed, and without any mention of the true writer.] He continued to write various works, some on agriculture and farriery, [during the reign of James I.[126]] His only other dramatic performance was a tragedy called "Herod and Antipater," which was printed in 1622, and in the composition of which he was joined by W. Sampson.

Of Lewis Machin merely the name has come down to us in connection with Markham and William Barkstead. The latter in 1607 printed "Mirrha, the Mother of Adonis," and at the end of it were placed "three Eglogs" by Lewis Machin. The first of "Menalcas and Daphnis," and the two others of "Apollo and Hyacinth." It is impossible now to ascertain what share he had in "The Dumb Knight," which appears to have been a successful play, although its merits are by no means conspicuous. It is mentioned in the following [Pg 112]terms in Shirley's "Example," 1637, sig. A 4:—

"Vainman. You will give me leave to answer you,
If you should ask me anything?
"Jacintha. Not a syllable,
Though I desir'd to know what o'clock 'tis;
There's your obedience: at six months' end
I may reward your silence.
"Pumice-Stone. She'll make him the Dumb Knight.
"Jacintha. I will not engage you to be a mute so long."

"The Dumb Knight" was entered on the stationers' books on the 6th October 1608, in which year it was first printed. It was reprinted in 1633, perhaps on its revival at one of the theatres, which led Shirley to allude to it in 1637. The edition of 1633 is a copy of that of 1608, with all the original errors, and the addition of some others. It sometimes happens that an obscure reading is explained or a misprint corrected in later copies, even if the mistakes generally are multiplied; but this is not the case with "The Dumb Knight." Mr Reed seems to have used the edition of 1633, and therefore included most of the errors of both [Pg 113]of the old copies. He also introduced several conjectural alterations of his own, and in a manner not easily justified, since he gave no intimation of the liberty he had taken with the author. The play has now been carefully collated, and the more important variations pointed out in the notes.[127]


Rumour, that Hydra-headed monster, with more tongues than eyes, by help of his intelligencer Envy, hath made strange constructions on this Dumb Knight, which then could not answer for himself; but now this publication doth untie his tongue, to answer the objections of all sharp critical censures, which here-to-fore have undeservedly passed upon him. And for my part, I protest the wrongs I have received by some (whose worths I will not traduce), with a mild neglect I have laughed at their follies; for I think myself happy, because I have been envied, since the best now in grace have been subject to some slanderous tongues that want worth themselves, and think it great praise to them to detract praise from others that deserve it; yet having a partner in the wrong, whose worth hath been often approved, I count the wrong but half a wrong, because he knows best how to answer for[Pg 114] himself; but I now in his absence make this apology, both for him and me. Thus leaving you and the book together, I ever rest yours,

Lewis Machin.


[123] This edition had a different title-page to some of the copies, but in all other respects they were similar: it was as follows—

"The dumbe Knight. A pleasant Comedy, acted sundry times by the children of his Maiesties Reuels. Written by Iaruis Markham." [Imprint the same as above.]—Collier.

[124] [To the play, as printed in the last edition of Dodsley's "Old Plays."]

[125] Charles Fitzgeoffry, writing a similar poem on Sir Francis Drake, in 1596, thus mentions Markham's work—

"Well hath this poet royalis'd his facts
And curiouslie describ'd his tragedie;
Quaintlie he hath eternized his acts
In lasting characters of memorie,
Even co-eternal with eternitie:
So that the world envies his happie state,
That he should live when it is ruinate."

[126] A person of the name of Robert Markham wrote and printed in 1628 "A description of that ever-to-be-famed knight Sir John Burgh." Whether he was in any way related to Gervase Markham is not known.

[127] [Yet many errors and misprints remained in the former edition, of which some were readily set right, while others seem to bid defiance to a revising hand. It is not even easy, in every case, to detect where the corruption lies.]




Scene, Sicily.

[Pg 115]


ACTUS I, SCÆNA 1.[129]

Enter the King OF Cyprus, Philocles, Florio, and Attendants in arms. [Music.

Enough; these loud sounds deaf my passions:
How long shall love make me a slave to hope,
And mix my calm desires with tyranny?
O Philocles! this[130] heresy I hold,
Thought and affection cannot be controll'd.
[Pg 116]
Phil. Yet may't be bent and suppled with extremes,
Sith few foresee[131] the end of violence.
What makes the skilful leech[132] to use the fire,
Or war her engines, or states policy,
But to recover things most desperate?
Revolt is recreant, when pursuit is brave,
Never to faint doth purchase what we crave.
Cyp. True, my Philocles, yet my recreant soul,
Slav'd to her beauty, would renounce all war,
And yield her right to love, did not thy spirit,
Mix'd with my longing, fortify these arms.
But I am now resolv'd, and this sad hour
Shall give an end to my distemperature.
Summon a parley.

Enter aloft the Queen OF Sicily, Mariana,[133] the Duke OF Epire, Alphonso, and Attendants.

Queen. What says our tyrant suitor, our disease in love,
That makes our thoughts a slave unto his sword:
What says my lord?
Cyp. Madam, attend me, this is my latest summons:
The many suns my sorrows have beheld,
And my sad nights of longings, all through hope
T' enjoy the joy of earth (your own dear self),
Are grown so infinite in length and weight,
That like to wearied Atlas I enforce
These wars, as Hercules, to bear my load:
[Pg 117] Briefly, I must enjoy you, or else lose
The breath of life which to prevent, behold
My sword must be my Cupid, and with feather'd steel
Force pity from your breast. Your city's walls,
Chidden with my cannons, have set ope a path,
And boldly bid me enter: all your men of war,
Feebled with famine and a weary siege,
Take danger from mine actions: only yourself,
Strong in your will, oppose even destiny,
And like the giants' war offend the heavens.
Which to prevent, do but descend and give
Peace to my love-suit, and as o'ercome thereby
I'll yield myself your prisoner, and be drawn
A thrall in your triumphant victory.
If otherwise, behold these fatal swords
Shall ne'er be sheath'd till we be conquerors:
And, not respecting innocence nor sex,
The cries of infants, nor the prayers of age,
All things shall perish, till within my arms
I fold yourself, my thrall and conqueror.
Queen. Thou may'st be master of my body's tomb;
But for my soul and mind they are as free
As their creation, and with angel's wings
Can soar beyond thy reach: trust me, King of Cyprus,
Those coals the Roman Portia did devour
Are not burnt out, nor have th' Egyptian worms[134]
Yet lost their stings; steel holds his temper still,
And these are ransoms from captivity.
But art thou noble? hast thou one royal thought?
Cyp. Approve me by your question.
[Pg 118]
Queen. Then briefly thus:
To shun the great effusion of their bloods,
Who feel no touch in mine affections,
Dare you to single combat, two to two,
Refer your right in love?
Cyp. Who are your combatants? we love equality.
Queen. This is the first, the Epire duke, a man
Sprung from the line of famous Scanderbeg.
The next Alphonso, sprung from noble blood;
Who, laden with rich Lusitanian prize,
Hath rode through Syracuse twice in pomp.
Cyp. Their likings to the motion?
Epire. They are like wrath,
Never unarm'd to beat weak injury.
Alph. Nay more, we are the sons of destiny:
Virtue's our guide, our aim is dignity.
Phil. 'Sfoot, king, shalt not forsake 'em: this I see,
Love, fight, and death are rul'd by destiny.
Cyp. My spirit speaks thy motion,
Madam, although advantage might evade,
And give my love more hope, yet my bent will,
Bow'd to your pleasure, doth embrace your law.
We do accept the combat, and ourself
Will with that duke try fortunes; this my friend,
The more[135] part of myself, my dearest Philocles,
One of an angel's temper, shall with that lord
Try best and worst. The place? the time? the sword?
Epire. They are your rights, we claim as challengers.
Cyp. And we would lose that 'vantage; but since fame
[Pg 119] Makes virtue dullard,[136] we embrace our rights:
The place before these walls, the hour next sun,
The pole-axe and the hand-axe for the fight.
Queen. It is enough;
My hostage is my person and my love,
Cyp. And mine my hope, my faith, and royalty.
Epire. They are of poise sufficient, and one light
Shall at one instant give us day and night.

[Exeunt Queen, Mariana, Epire, Alphonso, &c.

Cyp. She's gone, my Philocles: and as she goes, even so
The sun forsakes the heavens to kiss the sea;
Day in her beauty leaves us, and me thinks
Her absence doth exile all happiness.
Tell me, my Philocles, nay, prythee,
Tell me true, even from that love
Which to us both should blend one sympathy,
Discharge an open breast: dost thou not think
She is the mirror of her beauteous sex,
Unparallel'd and uncompanioned?
Phil. Envy will say she's rare; then truth must vow
She is beyond compare, sith in her looks
Each motion hath a speaking majesty;
[Pg 120] She is herself compared with herself:
For, but herself, she hath no companion.[137]
But when I think of beauty, wit and grace,
The elements of native[138] delicacy,
Those all-eye-pleasing harmonies of sight,
Which do enchant men's fancies, and stir up
The life-blood of dull earth—O, then methinks
Fair Mariana hath an equal place,
And if not outshine, shows[139] more beautiful.
Cyp. More than my queen?
Phil. More in the gloss of beauty; less in worth,
In wisdom and great thoughts: the one I find
Was made for wonder, the other for admire.
Cyp. Thine equal praises make my fancies rich:
And I am pleas'd with thy comparisons;
Things of like nature live in best concent,
Beauty with subjects, majesty with kings.
Then let those two ideas lively move
Spirit beyond all spirit in our breasts,
That in the end of our great victory
We may attain both love and majesty.
Phil. Although my first creation and my birth,
My thoughts and other tempers of my soul,
Took all their noble beings from the sword,
And made me only for the use of wars;
Yet in this combat, something (methinks) appears,
Greater than the greatest glory, and doth raise
My mind beyond herself:
'Sfoot, methinks Cæsar's Pharsalia,
Nor Scipio's Carthage, nor Emilius' acts,
Were worthy chairs of triumph: they o'er men's
Poor mangled bodies, and fire-wasted climes,
Made their triumphant passage; but we two
Must conquer thoughts and love more than the gods can do.
[Pg 121]
Cyp. True, and therein
Consists the glorious garland of our praise—
But we neglect th' affairs of preparation.
Florio, be it your charge
To see th' erection of the squared lists,
Fit ground for either army, and what else
Belongs unto such royal eminence.
Flo. How near will your majesty have[140] the lists extend
Unto the city walls?
Cyp. So as the dullest eye
May see the heedfull'st passage in the fight.
Flo. What square or circuit?
Cyp. Threescore pace each way.
Flo. Your majesty shall have your will perform'd.
Phil. Do, and you do us grace. And now, thou sun,
That art the eye of heaven, whose pure sight
Shall be our guide and Jove's great chronicler,
Look from thy sphere!
No guilt of pride, of malice, or of blood,
Puts on our armour; only pure naked love
Tutors our hopes, and doth our actions move.
Cyp. Enough, my Philocles, thine orisons are heard.
Come, let's away. [Exeunt.

Enter Lollia, the wife of Prate the Orator.[141]

[Pg 122]

Lol. Now fie upon't, who would be an orator's wife, and not a gentlewoman, if she could choose? A lady is the most sweet lascivious life, congies and kisses—the tire, O the tire, made castle upon castle, jewel upon jewel, knot upon knot; crowns, garlands, gardings,[142] and what not? the hood, the rebato,[143] the French fall,[144] the loose-bodied gown, the pin in the hair; no clawing the pate, then picking the teeth, and every day change; when we poor souls must come and go for every man's pleasure: and what's a lady more than another body? we have legs and hands, and rolling eyes, hanging lips, sleek brows, cherry cheeks, and other things as ladies have—but the fashion carries it away.

Enter Mistress Collaquintida.

Col. Why how now, Mistress Prate? i' th' old disease still? will it never be better? cannot a woman find one kind man amongst twenty? O the days that I have seen, when the law of a woman's wit could have put her husband's purse to execution!

Lol. O Mistress Collaquintida, mine is even the unnaturallest man to his wife——

Col. Faith, for the most part, all scholars are so, for they take so upon them to know all things, that indeed they know nothing; and besides, they are with study and ease grown so unwieldy, that a woman shall ne'er want a sore stomach that's troubled with them.

Lol. And yet they must have the government of all.

Col. True, and great reason they have for it: but a wise man will put it in a woman's hand: what! she'll save what he spends.

[Pg 123]

Lol. You have a pretty ruff, how deep is it?

Col. Nay this is but shallow; marry, I have a ruff is a quarter deep, measured by the yard?

Lol. Indeed! by the yard?

Col. By the standard, I assure you: you have a pretty set too! how big is the steel you set with?

Lol. As big as is[145] reasonable sufficient:—pity of my life, I have forgot myself; if my husband should rise from his study, and miss me, we should have such a coil.

Col. A coil, why what coil? if he were my husband, and did but thwart me, I would ring him so many alarums, sound him so many brass trumpets, beat him so many drums to his confusion, and thunder him such a peal of great-shot, that I would turn his brain in the pan, and make him mad with an eternal silence.

Lol. O Mistress Collaquintida, but my husband's anger is the worst-favouredst, without all conscience, of any man's in all Sicily; he is even as peevish as a sick monkey, and as waspish as an ill-pleas'd bride the second morning.

Col. Let your wrath be reciprocal, and pay him at his own weapon—but to the purpose for which I came. The party you wot of commends him to you in this diamond; he that met the party you know, and said the party's party was a party of a partly pretty understanding.

Lol. O, the Lord Alphonso.

Col. The very same, believe it: he loves you, and swears he so loves you, that if you do not credit him, you are worse than an infidel.

Lol. Indeed, Mistress Collaquintida, he hath [Pg 124]the right garb for apparel, the true touch with the tongue in the kiss, and he dances well but falls heavily: but my husband, woman, my husband!—if we could put out his cat's eyes, there were something to be said; but they are ever peeping and prying, that they are able to pierce through a millstone: besides, I may say to you, he is a little jealous too; and see where he comes! We shall have a coil now.

Enter Prate the Orator.

Col. Begin you to pout first; for that's a woman's prevention.

Prate. What, Lollia, I say, where are you? my house looks you, my men lack you, I seek you, and a whole quest of inquiry cannot find you; fie, fie, fie! idleness is the whip of thrift: a good housewife should ever be occupied.

Lol. Indeed I have much joy to be occupied in anybody's company.

Prate. Why, what's the matter?

Lol. Why, orators' wives shortly will be known like images on water-stairs, ever in one weather-beaten suit, as if none wore hoods but monks and ladies: nor feathers, but fore-horses and waiting gentlewomen; nor chains, but prisoners and lords' officers; nor periwigs, but players and hot-brains—but the weakest must to the wall still.[146]

Prate. Go to, you shall have what you will.

[Pg 125]

Lol. Nay, nay, 'twas my hard fortune to be your wife; time was I might have done otherwise. But it matters not: you esteem me, as you do yourself, and think all things costly enough that cover shame, and that a pair of silken fore-sleeves to a satin breastplate is a garment good enough for a capitol; but is Master Wrangle, Master Tangle, or Master Trolbear, of that opinion? in faith, sir, no.

There's never a gallant in our state
That goes more rich in gaudy bravery:
And yet (I hope) for quality of speech,
Audacious words, or quirks or quiddities,
You are not held their much inferior.
Fie, fie! I am ashamed to see your baseness.

Col. Indeed, Master Prate, she tells you truly; I wonder that you, being a proper man and an orator, will not go brave,[147] according to the custom of the country.

Prate. Go to, neighbour; he that will rise to the top of a high ladder must go up, not leap up: but be patient, wench, and thou shalt shortly see me gallant it with the best, and for thyself, my Lollia—

Not Lollia Paulina, nor those blazing stars,
Which make the world the apes of Italy,
Shall match thyself in sun-bright splendency.

Lol. Nay, verily, for myself I care not, 'tis you that are my pride; if you would go like yourself, I were appeased.

Prate. Believe it, wench, so I will:—but to the purpose for which I came. The end of this great war is now brought to a combat, two to two, the Duke of Epire and Alphonso for our queen, against the king and Prince Philocles: now, wench, if thou wilt go see the fight, I will send and provide thee of a good standing.

Lol. Indeed, for you have ne'er a good one of your own. [Aside.

[Pg 126]

Prate. What! Precedent, I say!
Pre. [Within.] Anon, anon, sir.

Prate. Why, when, I say? the villain's belly is like a bottomless pit—ever filling, and yet empty; at your leisure, sir.

Enter Precedent, Prate's man, eating.

Pre. I can make no more haste than my teeth will give me leave.

Prate. Well, sir, get you without the town to the place of the combat, and provide me for my wife some good standing to see the conflict.

Pre. How, master, how! must I provide a good standing for you for my mistress? truly, master, I think a marrow-bone pie, candied eringoes, preserved dates, marmalade of cantharides, were much better harbingers; cock-sparrow stewed, doves' brains, or swans' pizzles, are very provocative; roasted potatoes[148] or boiled skirrets[149] are your only lofty dishes; methinks these should fit you better than I can do.

Prate. What's this, what's this? I say, provide me a standing for my wife upon a scaffold.

Pre. And truly, master, I think a private chamber were better.

Prate. I grant you—if there were a chamber convenient.

Pre. Willing minds will make shift in a simple [Pg 127]hole; close windows, strong locks, hard bed, and sure posts, are your only ornaments.

Prate. I think the knave be mad; sirrah, you chop-logic blockhead, you that have your brain-pan made of dry leather, and your wit ever wetshod, pack about your business, or I'll pack your pen and inkhorn about your ears.

Pre. Well, sir, I may go or so, but would my mistress take a standing of my preferment, I would so mount her, she should love strange things the better all her life after. [Aside.

Prate. Why, when, sir? [Exit Precedent.
And come, sweet wife; and, neighbour,
Let us have your company too. [Exeunt.

Enter at one door a Herald, and Florio, marshal for the King, with officers bearing the lists; at the other door a Herald, and Cælio, marshal for the Queen.

Cae. Holla! what are you?
Flo. High marshal for the king. Your character?
Cae. I likewise for the queen; where lies your equal ground?
Flo. Here underneath these walls, and there and there
Ground for the battles.
Cae. Place there the queen's seat,
And there and there chairs for the combatants.
Flo. Place here the lists; fix every joint as strong,
As 'twere a wall; for on this foot of earth
This day shall stand two famous monuments;
The one a throne of glory bright as gold,
Burnish'd with angels' lustre, and with stars
[Pg 128] Pluck'd from the crown of conquest, in which shall sit
Men made half-gods through famous victory:
The other a rich tomb of memorable fame,
Built by the curious thoughts of noble minds,
In which shall sleep these valiant souls in peace,
Whom fortune's hand shall only overthrow.
Heaven, in thy palm this day the balance hings,[150]
Which makes kings gods, or men more great than kings.
Cae. So, now let the heralds give the champions sign
Of ready preparations. [Exeunt Heralds.

The cornets sound; and enter at one end of the stage a Herald, two Pages, one with pole-axes, the other with hand-axes, the Duke OF Epire and Alphonso, like combatants; the Queen and Mariana; Prate, Lollia, Collaquintida, and Precedent aloft.

Flo. What are you that appear, and what devoir
Draws you within these lists?
Epire. I am the Duke of Epire, and the mine,[151]
Which doth attract my spirit to run this marshal[152] course
Is the fair guard of a distressed queen, would wed
To hate and inequality, and brutish force;
Which to withstand I boldly enter thus,
And will defail,[153] or else prove recreant.
Flo. And what are you, or your intendiments?
Alph. I am Alphonso, marshal of this realm,
Who of like-temper'd thoughts and like desires
Have grounded this my sanctimonious zeal,
And will approve the duke's assertions,
[Pg 129] Or in this field lie slain and recreant.
Flo. Enter and prosper, as your cause deserves.

The cornets sound; and enter at the other end of the stage a Herald, two Pages with [hand-]axes and pole-axes; then the King OF Cyprus and Philocles, like combatants, and their array.[154]

Cae. What are you that appear, and what devoir
Draws you within these lists?
Cyp. I am the King of Cyprus who, led on
By the divine instinct of heavenly love,
Come with my sword to beg that royal maid,
And to approve by gift of heaven and fate
She is alone to me appropriate:
Which to maintain, I challenge entrance here,
Where I will live a king or recreant.
Cae. And what are you or your intendiments?
Phil. I am less than my thoughts, more than myself,
Yet nothing but the creature of my fate;
By name my nature only is obscur'd,
And yet the world baptiz'd me Philocles;
My entrance here is proof of holy zeal,
And to maintain that, no severe disdain,
False shape of chastity, nor woman's will,
Neglective petulance or uncertain hope,
Foul-visor'd coyness, nor seducing fame,
Should rob the royal temper of true love
From the desired aim of his desires,
Which my best blood shall witness, or this field
Entomb my body, made a recreant.
Cae. Enter and prosper, as your cause deserves.

[Pg 130][Draws two swords.

Flo. Princes, lay your hands on these swords' points.
Here you shall swear[155] by hope, by heaven, by Jove,
And by the right you challenge in true fame,
That here you stand not arm'd with any guile,
Malignant hate, or usurpation
Of philters, charms, or night-spells; characters,
Or other black infernal vantages;
But even with thoughts as pure
As your pure valours or the sun's pure beams,
T' approve the right of your[156] affection;
And howsoe'er your fortunes rise or fall,
To break no faith in your conditions.
So help you Jove!
All. We swear!
Queen. How often do my maiden thoughts correct
And chide my froward will for this extreme
Pursuit of blood! believe me, fain I would
Recall mine oath's vow, did not my shame
Hold fast my cruelty, by which is taught
Those gems are prized best are dearest bought,
Sleep, my love's softness then, waken my flame,
Which guards a vestal sanctity! Princes, behold,
Upon those weapons sits my god of love,
And in their powers my love's security[157].
If them you conquer, we are all your slaves:
If they triumph, we'll mourn upon your graves.
[Pg 131]
Mar. Now, by my maiden modesty, I wish
Good fortune to that Philocles: my mind
Presages virtue in his eaglet's eyes.
'Sfoot, he looks like a sparrow-hawk or a wanton fire,
A flash of lightning or a glimpse of day:
His eye steals to my heart, and lets it see
More than it would: peace! blab no secrecy;
He must have blows.
Flo. Sound cornets, princes, respect your guards.

[Here they fight, and Philocles overthrows
Alphonso, and Epire overthrows Cyprus.

Phil. I crave the queen's conditions, or this blow
Sends this afflicted soul to heaven or hell.
Speak, madam, will you yield, or shall he die?
Epire. Neither, bold prince; if thou but touch a hair,
The king's breath shall redeem it: madam, your love
Is safe in angels' guarding; let no fear
Shake hands with doubtfulness: you are as safe
As in a tower of diamonds.
Phil. O, 'tis but glass,
And cannot bear this axe's massiness.
Duke, thy brave words, that second thy brave deeds,
Fill me with emulation: only we two
Stand equal victors; then if thou hast that tie
And bond of well-knit valour, which unites
Virtue and fame together, let us restore
Our captives unto freedom, and we two
In single combat try out the mastery.
Where whoso falls, each other shall subscribe
To every clause in each condition.
Epire. Thou art the index of mine ample thought,
[Pg 132] And I am pleas'd with thine election.
Speak, madam, if ever I deserved grace,
Grace me with your consent.
Queen. 'Tis all my will.
Thy noble hand erect and perfect me.
Phil. What says his majesty?
My stars are writ in heaven: nor death nor fate
Are slaves to fear, to hope, or human state.
Cyp. I neither fear thy fortune nor my ruin;
But hold them all beyond all prophecy.
Thou hast my free consent, and on thy power
Lies my life's date or my death's hour.
Epire. Then rise and live with safety.
Phil. Alphonso, here my hand,
Thy fortune lends thy peace no infamy.
And now, thou glorious issue of Jove's brain[158],
That burnt the Telamonian ravisher,
Look from thy sphere, and if my heart contain
An impure thought of lust, send thy monsters forth
And make me more than earthly miserable.

[Here the cornets sound, they fight, and Philocles
overcomes the Duke. The Queen

Phil. Yield, recreant[160], or die!
Epire. Thine axe hath not the power to wound my thought,
And yields a word my tongue could never sound.
I say thou'rt worthy, valiant, for my death:
Let the queen speak it—'tis an easy breath.
Queen. Not for the world's large circuit; hold, gentle prince,
Thus I do pay his ransom: low as the ground,
[Pg 133] I tender my unspotted virgin love
To thy great will's commandment: let not my care,
My woman tyranny, or too strict guard,
In bloody purchase take away those sweets
Till now have govern'd your amaz'd desires;
For trust me, king, I will redeem my blame
With as much love as Philocles hath fame.
Cyp. Thus comes a calm unto a sea-wreck'd soul,
Ease to the pained, food unto the starv'd,
As you to me, my best creation.
Trust me, my queen; my love's large chronicle
Thou never shalt o'erread, because each day
It shall beget new matter of amaze,
And live to do thee grace eternally.
Next whom my Philocles, my bounteous friend,
Author of life, and sovereign of my love,
My heart shall be thy throne, thy breast the shrine,
Where I will sit to study gratefulness.
To you, and you, my lords, my best of thoughts,
Whose loves have show'd a duteous carefulness;
To all, free thanks and graces. This unity
Of love and kingdoms is a glorious sight.
Mount up the royal champion, music and cornets sound:
Let shouts and cries make heaven and earth rebound. [Exeunt.
Epire. How like the sun's great bastard o'er the world
Rides this man-mounted engine, this proud prince,
And with his breath singes our continents.
Sit fast, proud Phaeton, or[161] by heaven I'll kick
And plunge thee in the sea; if thou'lt needs ride,
Thou shouldst have made thy seat upon a slave,
And not upon mine honour's firmament.
Thou hast not heard the god of wisdom's tale,
[Pg 134] Nor can thy youth curb greatness, till my hate
Confound thy life with villain policy.
I am resolv'd, since virtue hath disdain'd
To clothe me in her riches, henceforth to prove
A villain fatal, black and ominous.
Thy virtue is the ground of my dislike;
And my disgrace, the edge of envy's sword,
Which like a razor shall unplume thy crest,
And rob thee of thy native excellence.
When great thoughts give their homage to disgrace,
There's no respect of deeds, time, thoughts, or place.


[128] Langbaine observes that several incidents in this play are borrowed from novels, as the story of Mariana swearing Philocles to be dumb, from Bandello's Novels; Alfonso cuckolding Prate the orator, and the latter appearing before the council, from the same book. The English reader may see the same story in, "The Complaisant Companion," 8o, 1674.

[129] The word music is here inserted in the 4o, 1608, and is repeated at the commencement of each act.

[130] 'Tis heresy I hold—edit. of 1608.

[131] [Old copies, fare see.]

[132] An old word used by Chaucer, Spenser, Fairfax, and other writers, signifying a physician.

[133] The entrance of Mariana with the queen, &c., is not mentioned, though her exit is noticed: by the dialogue, which follows their departure from the walls, it is evident that she ought to be named, though hitherto omitted.—Collier.

[134] Dr Johnson observes that worm is the Teutonic word for serpent; and Dr Percy, that in the northern counties the same word is still used in that sense. See their several notes, and also Mr Tollet's to "Antony and Cleopatra," act v. sc. 2.

[135] [Greater, better.]

[136] [Former edits., dulat, which can surely have no meaning.]

[137] If Theobald had been as well read in our ancient dramatic writers as he pretended to be, he would have produced this passage in justification of the celebrated line in "The Double Falshood"—

"None but himself can be his parallel."

It is certain, if authorities would sanctify absurdity, he might have made a better defence against Mr Pope than that which he published. He might also have quoted the following line from Massinger's "Duke of Milan," act iv. sc. 3—

"And, but herself, admits no parallel."

[138] [Former edits., active.]

[139] [Former edits., it shows.]

[140] [Edits., Majesty's hand. The emendation was suggested by Collier.]

[141] There seems no reason for omitting these explanatory matters, which save a reference to the Dramatis Personæ.—Collier.

[142] [Former edits., gardens.]

[143] An ornament for the neck, a collar-band, or kind of ruff. Fr. Rabat.

[144] [Allusively to the enormously high headdress worn by ladies.]

[145] [Old copy, a.]

[146] This proverb is also quoted in "The Bloody Banquet," by T.D., 1639, which Mr Malone [wrongly] gives to R. Davenport—

Clown. O, always the weakest goes to the wall.

There was a play first printed in 1600, under the title of "The Weakest goeth to the Wall," the plot of which is taken with much servility from B. Rich's "Farewell to the Militarie Profession," 1581 and 1606, which book also furnished Shakespeare with the plot of his "Twelfth Night."—Collier.

[147] Fine.

[148] See Mr Collins's note to "Troilus and Cressida," [or Dyce's "Shakespeare Glossary," art. Potato.]

[149] "Skirret, Sisarum, quasi skirwort, i.e., sisar-wort. Tiberii Aug. deliciæ: credo potius a Belg. suycker-wortel, idem signante...."—Skinner. Compare Hofman and C. Plinii "Nat. Hist." lib. xix. c. 5.

[150] [An old form of] hangs. See the Glossary to Douglas's "Virgil," voce Hingare [or Halliwell's "Dict." in v.]

[151] The magnet, for in Kent they call the ironstone mine, quasi mineral.—Pegge.

[152] [Martial.]

[153] i.e., Prove defective, fail in my strength: defailler, Fr.—Steevens.

[154] [Edits., army; but the king would scarcely bring an army to such an encounter, even a stage-army.]

[155] When the combat was demanded and allowed, it was the custom for each party to take an oath to the following purport, viz., "that they had not brought into the lists other armour or weapon than was allowed, neither any engine, instrument, herbe, charm, or enchantment, and that neither of them should put affiance or trust in anything other than God and their own valours, as God and the holy Evangelists should help them."—Segar's "Honour Military, &c.," p. 134.

See also Mr Steevens's note on "Macbeth," act v. sc. 7.

[156] [Old copy, pure.]

[157] [Former edits., severity.]

[158] i.e., Minerva, who killed Ajax Oïleus with a thunderbolt for ravishing Cassandra in her temple.—Steevens.

[159] [Both the edits., defends.]

[160] [Edits., recant.]

[161] [Old copy, for.]


Enter Prate, Lollia, Collaquintida, and Precedent.

Prate. Come, wife, methought our party stood stifly to it.

Pre. Indeed they were stiff, whilst they stood; but when they were down, they were like men of a low world. A man might have wound their worst anger about his finger.

Lol. Go to, sirrah, you must have your fool's bolt in everybody's quiver.

Pre. Indeed, mistress, if my master should break his arrow with foul shooting or so, I would be glad if mine might supply the hole[162].

Prate. I find you kind, sir.

Pre. True, sir, according to my kind, and to pleasure my kind mistress.

Prate. Go to, sirrah, I will not have your kindness to intermeddle with her kind; she is meat for your master.

[Pg 135]

Pre. And your man, sir, may lick your foul trencher.

Col. Ay, but not eat of his mutton.

Pre. Yet I may dip my bread in the wool, Mistress Collaquintida.

Prate. Go to, sirrah, you will be obscene, and then I shall knock you. But to the combat. Methought our side were the most proper men.

Lol. True, and therefore they had the worse fortune: but see, here's the Lord Florio.

Enter Florio.

Flo. Master Orator, it is the king and queen's majesties' pleasure that you presently repair unto the court, touching the drawing out of certain articles for the benefit of both the kingdoms.

Prate. My lord, I will instantly attend their majesties.

Flo. Do, for they expect you seriously. [Exit Florio.

Prate. Wife, you can have my service no longer. Sirrah Precedent, attend you upon your mistress home; and, wife, I would have you to hold your journey directly homeward, and not to imitate princes in their progress; step not out of your way to visit a new gossip, to see a new garden-house, to smell the perfumes of court jerkins, or to handle other tools than may be fit for your modesty. I would not have you to step into the suburbs, and acquaint yourself either with monsters or motions[163], but holding your way directly homeward, show yourself still to be a rare housewife.

Lol. I' faith, i' faith, your black outside will have a yellow lining[164].

[Pg 136]

Prate. Content thee, wife, it is but my love that gives thee good counsel. But here comes one of my clients.

Enter Drap, a country gentleman.

Drap. Sir, master orator, I am bold to trouble you about my suit.

Prate. Sir, master country gentleman, I am now for present business of the king's.

Drap. You may the better remember me.

Prate. Heyday! I shall mix your business with the king's?

Drap. No, but you may let his majesty know my necessity.

Prate. Sir, sir, you must not confine me to your seasons. I tell you, I will select[165] mine own leisures.

Enter Velours, a citizen.

Vel. Master orator, is it your pleasure I attend you about my despatches?

Prate. Sir, it is my pleasure you despatch yourself from mine encumbrance; I tell you, I am for instant business of the king's.

Vel. Sir, I have borne my attendance long.

Prate. Bear it till your bones ache, I tell you; I cannot bear it now, I am for new business.

Drap and Vel. Yet the old should be despatched; it was first paid for.

Prate. If you be gentlemen, do not make me mad.

Drap and Vel. Sir, our suits are of great weight.

Prate. If you be Christians, do not make me an atheist. I shall profane if you vex me thus.

Enter the Lord Mechant.

[Pg 137]

What, more vexation? My lord, my lord, save your breath for your broth; I am not now at leisure to attend you.

Mech. A word, good master orator.

Prate. Not a word, I beseech your lordship. I am for the king's business; you must attend me at my chamber. [Exit Prate.

Mech., Drap, and Vel. And everywhere else: we will not leave you. [Exeunt.

Pre. Now (methinks) my master is like a horse-leech, and these suitors so many sick of the gout, that come to have him suck their blood. O, 'tis a mad world!

Lol. Go to, sirrah, you will never leave your crabtree similes; but, pity of me, whom have we here?

Enter Alphonso.

O, 'tis the Lord Alphonso.

Alph. Mistress, God save: nay, your lip, am I[166] a stranger, and how doth Mistress Collaquintida? O, you are an excellent seasoner of city stomachs.

Col. Faith, my lord, I have done my best to make somebody relish your sweetmeats. But harkee you, my lord, I have struck the stroke, I have done the deed; there wants nothing but time, place, and her consent.

Alph. Call you that nothing?

Col. A trifle, a trifle; upon her, my lord; she may seem a little rough at the first, but if you stand stiffly to her, she'll fall. A word with you, Master Precedent. [They whisper.

[Pg 138]

Alph. Mistress Prate, I am a soldier, and can better act my love than speak it. My suit you know by your neighbour, my love you shall prove by my merit; to both which my tokens have been petty witnesses; and my body shall seal and deliver upon thee such a brave confirmation, that not all the orators in Sicily shall be able to cancel the deed.

Lol. Truly, my lord, methinks you, being witty, should be honest.

Alph. Nay, wench, if I were a fool, there's no question but I would be honest; but to the purpose; say, wench, shall I enjoy, shall I possess?

Lol. To enjoy my love, is not to possess my body.

Alph. Tut, wench, they be words of one signification, and cannot be separated.

Lol. Nay, then, I should wrong my husband.

Alph. 'Sfoot, thou shouldst but do for him as he does for the whole world. Why, an orator were a needless name, if it were not to defend wrong; then, wench, do as he doth, write by a precedent.

Lol. O, my lord, I have a husband,
A man whose waking jealousy survives,
And like a lion, sleeps with open eyes;
That not a minute of mine hours are free
From the intelligence of his secret spies.
I am a very covert[167] Danae,
Thorough whose roof suspicion will not let
Gold showers have passage, nor can I deceive
His Argus eyes with any policy:
And yet I swear I love you.
[Pg 139]
Alph. Dearest[168] affection! if thou lov'st me, as thou say'st thou dost,
Thou canst invent some means for our delight.
The rather sith it ever hath been said
That walls of brass withstand not willing minds:
And women, when they're prone, make love admir'd
For quaint endeavours: come, instruct thy wit,
And find some scale to our high height of bliss.
Lol. Then briefly thus, my lord.
To-morrow doth the senate sit to judge
Causes both criminal and of the state;
Where of necessity my husband's place
Must be fill'd by himself, because his tongue
Must gild his clients' causes. Now if you please
All that self-hour, when he is turmoiled
About those serious trifles, to vouchsafe
To visit me, his absence and my care
Shall give us liberty of more delight.
You know my meaning, and I am asham'd
My love should thus betray my modesty;
But make the use according to your fancy.
Alph. What hour assures his absence?
Lol. Eight is the latest time.
Alph. This kiss [shall] leave[169] my faith with thee: farewell.
Thou hast given me double glory from thy breath,
Nothing shall lose me time but certain death.

[Exit Alphonso.

Pre. Truly, Mistress Collaquintida, you are an excellent piece of sweet gall.

Lol. Well, sir, will you lead the way homeward?

Pre. To your bed-chamber, mistress, or your privy lodging? [Exeunt.

Enter Philocles alone.

[Pg 140]

Phil. Night clad in black mourns for the loss of day,
And hides the silver spangles of the air,
That not a spark is left to light the world;
Whilst quiet sleep, the nourisher of life,
Takes full possession of mortality.
All creatures take their rest in soft repose,
Save malcontents and we accursed lovers,
Whose thoughts perturbed make us passion's slaves,
And rob us of the juice of happiness.
Dear Mariana, shap'd in an angel's mould,
Thou thrall'st my senses, and inflam'st my blood:
Love's power by wisdom cannot be withstood.
But see, the morning-star breaks from the east,
To tell the world her great eye[170] is awak'd,
To take his journey to the western vales:
And now the court begins to rise with him.

[Here pass over the stage a physician, a gentleman-usher, and a waiting-maid.

There goes the physician, the waiting-maid,
And a fine, straight-legg'd gentleman-usher.
The preface to a kirtle all puff-paste;
One that writes sonnets in his lady's praise,
And hides her crimes with flattering poesy.

Enter Mariana.

But peace! amazement! see the day of life,
Nature's best work, the world's chief paragon!
Madam, one word.
Mar. Ay; so now, farewell.
Phil. You do mistake me.
Mar. That yourself can tell.
You ask'd me one word, which I gave, said ay;
[Pg 141] A word of least use in a virgin's breath,[171]
Urge not my patience then with fond reply.
Phil. Dear lady, lend an ear unto my voice,
Since each were made for other's happiness:
My tongue's not oil'd with courtly flatterings,
Nor can I paint my passions to the life;
But by that power which shap'd this heavenly form,
I am your bondslave forc'd by love's command;
Then let soft pity with such beauty dwell,
Madam, I love you.
Mar. As I am a virgin, so do I.
Phil. But, madam, whom?
Mar. Myself no lady better.
Phil. But will you love me?
Mar. No, by my chastity.
Phil. I hope you do but jest.
Mar. Nay, I'll keep mine oath,
Men shall abandon pride and jealousy
Ere I'll be bound to their captivity:
They shall live continent, and leave to range,
But men (like to the moon) each month must change;
Yet we must seek that nought their sight displeases,
And mix our wedlock sweets with loath'd diseases;
When we consume ourselves and our best beauty,
All our reward is—why, 'twas but our duty.
Phil. Judge not so hard of all for some offenders;
For you are subject to the selfsame crimes,
Of men and women always have been had
Some good of each——
Mar. But for the most part bad:
[Pg 142] Therefore I'll have none at all, but die a perfect maid.
Phil. That humour like a flower soon will fade;
Once did mine own thoughts sing to that delight,
Till love and you reform'd my barbarousness:
Therefore, dear lady, pity my wounded heart.
Mar. A surgeon here for this love-wounded man!
How deep's your ulcer'd orifice, I pray you tell?
Phil. Quite thorough my heart.
Mar. 'Tis strange, and look so well!
Yet ladies' eyes have power to murder men,
And with one smile to make them whole again.
Achilles' lance to a hair; but do you love me, prince?
Phil. Dearer than my soul.
Mar. Would I could love you!
Phil. Madam, so you may.
Mar. As yet I cannot: therefore let me go.
Phil. O, do not leave me, grant me but one request,
And here I vow by that divinest power,
The salt-sea's glorious issue, whose bright sphere
Rules my sick heart, and knows my chaste intent,
That if you please to impose on me that task
Which neither man nor monster can achieve,
Which even angels have a dread to touch,
Deeds which outstretch all possibility,
'Sfoot, more than can be thought—and I'll effect,
Or else I'll perish in th' accomplishment.
Mar. Let your request fit virgin-modesty,
And you obey your vow, I am content
To give your thoughts contented happiness.
Phil. 'Tis but a kiss I ask, a minute's joy.
Mar. Now Cupid help thee; is thy grief for this?
Keep thy strong vow, and freely take a kiss. [He kisses her.
[Pg 143]
Phil. I have obtain'd my heaven, and in this touch
I feel the breath of all deliciousness:
Then freely give the sentence of my work,
Muster up all the engines of your wit,
Teach Juno rules beyond maliciousness;
Whate'er it be, I'll die but I'll perform it.
Mar. Thou shalt not kill thyself, nor fight with monsters,
Nor bring the great Turk's beard[172] to show thy zeal:
Thy life thou shalt not hazard for my love,
Nor will I tie thee to an endless task:
But even with ease and gentle-tangled knots,
Thou shalt entwine thy clue of miseries.
Phil. Let it have passage, madam: give me my doom.
Mar. Then, Philocles, knit silence to my words,
And mark thy doom; for thus my stricter will
Loads grief upon thy vainer levity.
Hence, for the space and compass of one year,
Thou shalt abjure the liberty of speech;
Thou shalt not speak for fully twelvemonth's space,
For friend nor foe, for danger nor for death;
But live, like air, with silent emptiness.
Break thou this vow, I'll hold thee for a villain:
And all the world shall know thy perjury.
Phil. Be heaven and earth a witness of my vow
And mine eternal silence!—I am dumb.
Mar. Why so, now shall I not be troubled with vain chat
Or idle prate of idle wantonness:
For love I cannot, therefore 'tis in vain;
Would all my suitors' tongues I thus could rein!
[Pg 144] Then should I live free from feign'd sighs and groans,
With, O, take pity, 'tis your servant moans,
And such harsh stuff, that frets me to the heart;
And sonnets made of Cupid's burning dart,
Of Venus' lip, and Juno's majesty;
Then were I freed from fools and foolery.
In May the cuckoo sings: then she'll come hither.
Her voice and yours will rarely tune together.

[Exit Mariana.

Enter Florio.

Flo. Prince Philocles, the king would speak with you.

[Speaks louder and louder.

Prince Philocles, the king would speak with you.
Prince Philocles, the king would speak with you.

[Philocles strikes Florio, and fells him.

Flo. The pox rot off your fingers for this blow!
It is coronation-day thorough all my skull,
There's such a fatal ringing in my brain:
H' has won the set, has laid five fingers on:
But 'twas a knavish part of him to play so.
Hear me, ye gods: for this my open wrong,
Make short his fingers, as you have his tongue.

[Exit Florio.

Enter Mechant alone.

Mech. 'Tis not man's fortune, envy, or neglect,
Which makes him miserable; but 'tis mean fate,
Even sole predestination, a firm gift
Fix'd to his birth, before the world was made.
For were it otherwise, then within our lives
We should find some distractions, various[173] change.
And other toys of much uncertainty:
But my mishaps are fix'd so to my blood,
[Pg 145] They have no sire but my creation:
The queen, out of suspicion that my love
First set an edge upon the king's desires,
And made him woo her with a victor's sword.
Cast me from favour, seizes all my lands,
And turns my naked fortunes to the cold.
The king, made proud with purchase of his wish,
Neglects my sufferance for him, and o'erlooks
The low tide of my fortunes; lest my woes
Should speak my wrongs to his ingratitude:
The whilst those lords, whose supple hams have bow'd
To do me formal reverence, now despise
And slight me in their meanest compliments.
O, 'tis a torment more than hell yet knows,
To be an honest flatterer, or to live
A saint in limbo, which that I may prevent,
I'll be nor best nor worst, but all indifferent,
But here comes a nobleman; I must turn petitioner.

Enter Florio.

My lord, may I not see the king?
Flo. You may not.
His majesty is now down-press'd with seriousness:
As for your suit, it is with Prate the orator,
I heard his highness give him a special charge
For your despatch with favour.
Mech. O, but he doth neglect,
And slights me like his weak orations:
And by your lordship's leave I do not think
His wisdom worthy of the conference.
Flo. Nay, if you will correct the king's coin, you are not for my conference, farewell.

[Exit Florio.

Mech. Why, and fare you well! sfoot, this is more than strange,
That, being griev'd, I may not say I'm pain'd.

[Pg 146]

Enter Alphonso.

But here comes another: mine honourable lord,
May I not have some conference with the king?
Alph. You may not; business of greater weight
Imports both him and us: nay, pray you cease;
As for your suit, 'tis with the orator.
Mech. Yet, methinks, 'twere meet———
Alph. That you would rather trouble him than me.
Mech. It's strange.
Alph. It's strange, indeed, to see you wrong your ease.
I am not now for idle conferences. Adieu.

[Exit Alphonso.

Mech. Why this is court-grace[174] to men in misery,
And thus these tail-less lions with their roar
Affright the simple herd: O, I could now
Turn rebel 'gainst their pride.

Enter Epire.

But here comes the duke:
My gracious lord, vouchsafe to hear my griefs.
Epire. For God's love, cease your trouble, we are all
Troubled with griefs of stranger qualities.
Mech. Words are no heavy burthen.
Epire. No, had I no other weight;
But we are all press'd down with other poise:
As for your suit, it is referr'd to Prate:
[Pg 147] And he must give you fair despatch with favour;
Which if he slight for envy or for bribe,
Repair to me, and I will not forget
To give you ease, and chide his negligence;
Mean space, I pray you leave me, for we all
Are troubled now with greatest miracles.[175]
Mech. Your grace doth do me comfort, and I will
Study with service to deserve your favours,
And so I take my leave. [Exit Mechant.

Enter two Doctors.

Epire. Your own contentments follow you.
Now, gentlemen,
What news within? can this dumb wonder speak?
Have you cut off those lets that tied his speech,
And made your fames to sound through Sicily?
1st Doc. All hopeful means that man or art can find
Have we made trial of, but 'tis in vain:
For still, my lord, the cure's invincible.
2d Doc. Those organs nature gave to move the tongue,
He fully doth possess as well as we:
Which makes us think his sudden apoplexy
Is either will, vow, or a miracle.
Epire. I should think strangely, had we not stranger things
On earth; but wonders[176] now are most familiar:
But here comes his majesty. Now we shall see
If this dumb beast can speak before the king.

Cornets, and enter Cyprus, Queen, Philocles, Mariana, and attendants.

[Pg 148]

Cyp. My best of friends, my dearest Philocles,
Thy griefs run in my spirit, make me sad,
And dull my sense with thine affliction.
My soul with thine doth sympathise in woe,
And passion governs him that should rule all,

[Philocles does not reply.

What say you, doctors, is there no hope of help?
1st Doc. No hope, my lord; the cure is desperate.
Cyp. Then I am king of grief; for in his words
Found I more music than in choirs of angels.
It was as silver, as the chime of spheres,
The breath of lutes, or love's deliciousness:
Next to my queen, he is my joy on earth:
Nor shall the world contain that happy good,
Which with my tears I will not woo for him.
My Lord of Epire, let it be straight proclaim'd
Through all the cities in our kingdom's verge,
That whoso will avow to cure this prince,
And bring his work to wish'd effectualness,
Shall have ten thousand crowns and our best love;
But if he fail in his great enterprise,
His daring is the loss of present life.
Since no man hitherto could do him good,
The next shall help him, or else lose his blood.
Epire. Your majesty shall have your will perform'd.
Mar. Not all so soon, dear brother; what, if a woman
Now should turn Æsculapius, and restore
This dumb Hippolitus? Nay, do not look strange,
I dare avow and undertake the cure.
Epire. You, sister! are you in your wits?
[Pg 149]
Mar. Faith, of the outside of them, brother; yet a woman's tongue,
Whose burthen still is superfluity,
May lend a man an age's complement.
Cyp. Madam, I would not have you, with the lark,
Play yourself into dare-net;[177] this great cure,
I fear, is far beyond your physic's help.
Mar. My lord, you know not how Apollo loves me;
I have been thought as fair as Oenon was,
And dare be bold to claim this miracle.
Cyp. Mariana, attend;
Glory and ruin compass thee about.
This hand shall raise thee to a golden throne,
And grace thee with all styles of dignity:
This cast thee down
Lower than life's misfortune, and overwhelm
Thy beauties with thy grave. Perform—be great:
Fail, and be worse than worst calamity.
Queen. Stay, gentle friend, my love doth bid thee stay;
Attempt not, and be safe from misery.
Epire. Sister, you shall not grasp with mischief thus;
My blood doth challenge interest in your ill,
And I conjure you from this desperateness.
Mar. Brother, content yourself, words but augment our strife;
I will perform, or else my pawn's my life.
Cyp. Proceed, fair virgin.
Mar. Vouchsafe me privacy: now Venus bespeed.

[She walks aside with Philocles.

Speak, gentle Philocles, thine oath's bond I untie,
[Pg 150] And give thy vows a free enfranchisement;
Thy well-kept league hath show'd thy strength of truth,
And doth confirm me in thy[178] virtuousness:
Thy martyrdom and sufferance is too long,
And I restore it to new liberty.
Then speak, my Philocles, speak, gentle prince,
To her whose love respects and honours thee.
Cyp. How now, what virtue from thy charms?
Mar. No hope is left!
Dear Philocles, regard my miseries,
Untie that wilful let which holds in speech,
And make me happy through thy noble pity.
I see the face of mine ill-shaped contempt,
Where like with like hath quit most injury:
Then speak, my lord: utter one angel breath
To give me joy, and save me from strange death.
What, not a word! hath this small silence brought
An utter detestation to thy speech?
Wilt thou not hear, nor speak, nor pity me?
The gentle gods move thee to more remorse.
Cyp. What, wilt not be?
Fond maid, thou hast drawn affliction on thy head,
And thrall'd thyself to worse calamity:
Till morrow's sun thy incantations use,
But, then effectless, all hope's desperate:
Wert thou my bosom-love, thou di'st the death;
Best ease for madness is the loss of breath.

[Exeunt all but Philocles and Mariana.

Mar. O Philocles, I am no court's disgrace,
No city's prostitution, country's shame,
Nor one shall bring Troy's fire unto thy house:
Turn not away, hard-hearted myrmidon.
See, on my knees I'll follow thee in court,
And make the world condemn thy cruelty.
Yet if my tears may mollify thy heart,
Receive them as the flood of strangest tides;
[Pg 151] Turn not thy face from her that doats on thee.
Love now hath made me subject to thy will,
And pale disdain hath ta'en revenge on me.
Behold, my knees[179] I'll wear upon this earth,
And fill this roof with lamentations.
What! dost thou smile I hath fury so much sway
As even to banish poor civility?
Then be thyself, and break thine itching spleen;
For I disdain thy ransom's victory.
Life, thou art weary brought: welcome my death,
Sweet, because wish'd-for, good, because my choice:]
Yet when I am dead, this of me shall be said,
A cruel prince murder'd a loving maid;
And after-ages to th' unborn shall tell
Thy hate, my love: thy envy and my hell.
Nay, do not speak, I charge thee: go, let nothing move thee,
Death is my glory, since thou wilt not love me. [Exeunt.


[162] [Edits., whole.]

[163] i.e., Puppet-shows.

[164] [Alluding to his jealousy.]

[165] [Old copy, collect.]

[166] [Edits., I am. He kisses her.]

[167] The edition of 1608 reads toward, which may be right. The edition of 1633 reads coward; but probably covert is the correct word.—Collier.

[168] [Edits., death of, which is assuredly nonsense.]

[169] The metre, and sense also, would be improved could any warrant be found for reading, This kiss shall leave, &c.—Collier.

[170] [The sun, the eye of the world.]

[171] [In reference to the saying that maidens always say nay.]

[172] Bird in the first edit., showing how the word was then pronounced.—Collier.

[173] [Edits., errors.]

[174] [A play on the double meaning of the word.]

[175] [The speaker refers, as we shall presently see, to the newly-feigned dumbness of Philocles.]

[176] [Edits. read—

"I should think strangely, had we strange things on earth.
But wonders now," &c.]

[177] The quartos, day-net, we should read dare net. Surrey, in "Henry VIII," act iii. sc. 3, says: "And dare us with his cap-like larks." See Blome's "Gentleman's Recreation."—Pegge. [See also Dyce's "Shakespeare Glossary," v. Dare.]

[178] [Edits., my.]

[179] [Edits., nerves.]


Enter the Duke OF Epire and Alphonso.

Epire. Grief, which controls the motions of our thoughts,
Reigns in my blood, and makes me passion's slave.
My sister's misery torments my soul,
And breaks my gall, when I but think of her:
She was bewitch'd with spells to her misfortune,
Or else born hapless under a low'ring star,
And 'tis her fate to be thus miserable.
O Philocles, hadst thou no other scale
To mount thy heaven but by our miseries?
Must all the noble fame of our great house
[Pg 152] Waste down her royal pillars, to make steps
For thee to climb to glory? Well, I see
Thou plott'st our shames in thy great dignity.
Alph. Patience, great lord; methinks these ill-rais'd
storms Have not more violence than may be borne:
Come, we will both go sue unto the king,
We there will kneel and pray eternally,
And never rise till he remit his doom.
It shall be so, I will unto the king,
To beg great favour for a small offence:
But if she die for this, then, king, take heed:
Thou[180] and thy fortunes by this hand shall bleed. [Exeunt.

Enter Chip, Shaving, and others with a scaffold.

Chip. Come, my hearts, let's make all things ready for the execution; here's a maidenhead must be cut off without a feather-bed.

Sha. It's a sign she deals with sharp tools and a cruel headsman.

Chip. If I had been her judge, she should have been tossed to death in a blanket.

Sha. No, I would have had her smothered in a feather-bed.

Chip. They say she would not plead at her trial.

Sha. No, that's true, for she had a great desire to be pressed.[181]

Chip. And I have known some of her sex have got that favour to be pressed for speaking.

Sha. Then she was unwise to hold her tongue, being a woman.

Chip. What is her crime, that she must lose her head?

Sha. Because she lived hones[Pg 153]t, contrary to the statute.

Chip. There is a great number of my neighbours will never suffer for that fault.

Sha. No, nor thou neither, if the truth were known; for my part I shun that danger.

Chip. I think we are all out of danger of the law for that crime.

Sha. I know I am free, for I am a knave, if I have not forgot what wench had my maidenhead.

Enter Florio.

Flo. Make room there: his majesty is coming to the execution.

Chip. Come, now all things are ready, let's away. [Exeunt.

Enter Epire and Alphonso.

Epire. Mercy is banish'd courts; the king, like flint,
Hardens his royal temper 'gainst our 'plaints,
And makes our woes most unavoidable.
What inauspicious star reign'd at her birth,
That heaven thus frowns upon her misery?
And, my good lord, now innocence must die,
As white as untrod snow or culver down.[182]
Kings' words are laws, and cannot be withstood;
Yet 'tis false greatness, which delights in blood.
Alph. Patience, my lord; I do not think this ill
Is yet so big, as [to be] unrecoverable.
The king doth hold you in most choice respect,
And whom kings love, they study to oblige;
Then call your reason home, make not this civil war,
[Pg 154] To suffer makes woes lesser than they are.
Epire. How well the sound can salve[183] the sick man's grief!
But O, how ill he can digest his pills![184]
O my good lord, you shall not lose a sister,
That is the joy and comfort of your breath;
Tis not your blood shall issue from her wound;
But mine that runs in rivers from her tears,
And drown my face in her calamity.
Well, let her perish, since her soul is clear,
And for her death I'll make a massacre.

Enter Cyprus, Queen, Philocles, Mariana bound, a guard of halberts, and an executioner.

Cyp. Your suits are bootless: for my vows have glued
And clos'd mine ears, that they retain no sound
Of your entreaties; and even now the time
Doth run upon his latest minutes, and
Save but by speech, there's no recovery.
Queen. Have mercy, good my lord: O, let my tears intrude
Betwixt your vows and her calamity:
In her you take from me my best of life,
[Pg 155] My joy, my comfort, and my playfellow.
Cyp. Content you, madam, for my vow is past,
And is like fate still unrevocable:
Ascend, poor model of calamity.
Mar. As lightly burden'd with the weight of crimes,
As spotless infants or poor harmless lambs,
Thus I ascend my heaven. This first step lower
Mounts to this next; this thus and thus[185] hath brought
My body's frame unto its highest throne:
Here doth her office end, and hence my soul
With golden wings of thought shall mount the sky,
And reach a palace[186] of pure sanctity.
Farewell, my sovereign! Madam, within your thoughts
Make me a tomb, and love my memory.
Brother, farewell; nay, do not mourn my death,
It is not I that die to spot our house,
Or make you live in after-obloquy.
Then weep no more, but take my last adieu:
My virtues, not my faults, preserve with you.
Lastly, to you that are my last of hope—
Nay, do not hide your eyes, I love them still,
To part friends now is greatest charity.
O, be thy days as fruitful in delights,
As Eden in choice flowers: thine honours such
As all the world may strive to imitate.
Be master of thy wishes: only this,
When the sad nurse, to still the wrangling babe,
Shall sing the careful story of my death,
Give me a sigh from thy heart's purest breath:
[Pg 156] And so farewell.
Exe. Madam, kneel here; forgive me for your death.
Mar. With all my heart, thou art but law's poor hand.
Thus to my death I bow, and yet arise;
Angels, protect my spirit in the skies. [He offers to strike.
Phil. Hold, or thine hand shall be thine own destruction!
Cyp. Never did music sound with better voice!
Unbind the lady.
Flo. The fear of death hath brought her to a swoon.
Cyp. Endeavour her recovery.
Epire. Sister, dear sister, call thy spirits back:
Sister, O sister! hearken to my woes,
Recover breath, and live with happiness.
Queen. She stirs; give way to air, that she may breathe:
Speak, Mariana, thy woes are cancelled.
Mar. You are not charitable unto my moans,
Thus to afflict me with a double punishment.
One death for one poor fault might well suffice:
They are most wretched who twice live and die.
Phil. Madam, to save your life, I kill my soul,
And speckle that which was immaculate.
Black perjury, that open-ey'd disease,
Which is the plague-sore of society,
Brands me with mischief, and protests I hold
Nothing within me but unworthiness:
And all these ills are your creation.
[Pg 157]
Mar. Which to wash off, lo, here I yield myself
An humble sacrifice to love and thee:
All my best hopes, my fortunes and my love,
My faith, my service, and my loyalty,
Shall as thy slaves attend on thy commands,
And make me famous in thy[187] suffrages.
Cyp. Receive her, Philocles, for it pleaseth us.
Phil. But not me, my thrice-royal sovereign;
I'd rather wed a sooty blackamore,
A leper, monster, incubus, or hag:
A wretch deform'd in nature, loath'd of men.
Than her that hath bemonster'd my pure soul.
Her scorn and pride had almost lost her life;
A maid so faulted seldom proves good wife.
Queen. What is the reason you not love her now,
And were so passionate in love before?
Phil. Not that I love her less, but rather more,
Run I this backward course; only my vow
Sith unperform'd craves satisfaction:
Which thus I reconcile: when this fair maid
Shall with as strong a love, as firm a zeal,
A faith as constant, and a shame as strong,
Requite my care, and show as ample proof
In mine extremes, as I have in her death,
Then will I love, enjoy, and honour her;
Till when I will not think a loving thought,
Or give the easy temper of my mind
To lovesick passion or deliciousness;
Only with those which do adore the sun,
I'll give her all respect and reverence.
Mar. I am well pleas'd, and with a doubtful foe
You have good reason thus to capitulate:
Then hang your colours forth, extend your thought.
Muster your strongest powers of strictest wit;
And when your reason's best artillery's bent,
Love not my love, if't be not excellent.
Cyp. I have not seen a war breed better wit.
Or passion draw on more delightfulness:
Proceed in your contention, for we boast,
[Pg 158] That love is best which is approved most.
But now to revels, since our tragic scene
Is turn'd to comic mirthful constancy;
Instead of mourning, we will dance and banquet,
And fill our empty veins with all delights:
For oft we find that storms and sorrows prove
The best forerunners of a happy love.

[Exeunt all but Epire.

Epire. He will, but he will not: loves, but cannot like.
Will and affection in this prince are like
Two buckets, which do never both ascend;
Or those star-twins which shine out in one sphere.
O Philocles, I see thy soul grows fat,
And feeds upon the glories of thy[188] fame;
But I'll forestall thine epileptic fits;
And by my plots breed thy destruction.
Revenge now rules as sovereign of my blood,
And others' ruins shall advance my good,
Which once attain'd to, I will prove ambitious,
Great men, like gods, are ne'er thought vicious.
Now, Philocles, stand fast; king, guard thy crown,
For by this brain you both shall tumble down. [Exit.

Enter Velours and Drap, Precedent sitting at his desk.

Vel. This is his chamber; let's enter, here's his clerk.
Pre. Fondling, said she, since I have hemm'd thee here,
Within the circuit of this ivory pale.[189]
[Pg 159]
Drap. I pray you, sir, help us to the speech of your master.
Pre. I'll be a park, and thou shalt be my deer:
He is very busy in his study.
Feed where thou wilt, in mountain or on dale:
Stay awhile, he will come out anon.
Graze on my lips, and when those mounts are dry,
Stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie.
Go thy way, thou best book in the world!

Vel. I pray you, sir, what book do you read?

Pre. A book that never an orator's clerk in this kingdom but is beholden unto; it is called "Maids' Philosophy, or Venus and Adonis." Look you, gentlemen, I have divers other pretty books.

Drap. You are very well-stored, sir; but I hope your master will not stay long.

Pre. No, he will come presently.

Enter Mechant.

Vel. Whom have we here? another client, sure.
Crows flock to carcases: O, 'tis the Lord Mechant.
Mech. Save you, gentlemen; sir, is your master at any leisure?
Pre. Here sit thee down, where never serpent hisses,
And being set, I'll smother thee with kisses.[190]
His businesses yet are many, you must needs attend awhile.
[Pg 160]
Mech. We must attend; umph! even snails keep state,
When with slow thrust their horns peep forth the gate.
We must attend! 'tis custom's fault, not mine,
To make men proud, on whom great favours shine:
Tis somewhat 'gainst my nature to attend,
But when we must, we must be patient;
A man may have admittance to the king
As soon as to these long-robes, and as cheap.
Come, gentlemen, shall we walk?
Thus are the pavement-stones before the doors
Of these great tongue-gilt orators worn smooth
With clients dancing 'fore[191] them.

Vel. It's strange to see how the world waits upon them: therein they are the only men now.

Mech. O, only; they of all men in request.
Your physician is the lawyer for your health,
And moderates unruly humours best.
Others are nobody compar'd with him:
For all men neglect their health in regard of their profit.
Drap. True, and that's it makes these men grow so fat—
Swell with rich purchases?
Mech. Yea, with golden fees
And golden titles too; they can work miracles,
And, like creators, even of empty nothing
Erect a world of goodly livings, fair demesnes
And gallant manors, heap'd one on another.
Vel. They gain indeed excessively, and are not like us citizens,
Expos'd to hazard of the seas and traffic.
Mech. Why, here's a fellow now, this orator,
Even Prate—you would little think it, his father was
[Pg 161] An honest proiner[192] of our country vines;
Yet he's shot to his foot-cloth[193].
Drap. O, he is! he proined him well, and brought him up to learning.
Mech. Faith, reasonable learning; a smattering in the Latin tongue.
A little rhetoric, with wrangling sophistry,
Were his preparatives unto his art.
Vel. After these preparatives (if you call them so)
The physic wrought well; for a few years' practice
Brought him in wondrous credit, and preferments
Came tumbling in: O, such a sudden rise
Hath Fortune for her minions! blame him not then,
Though he look high on't.
Mech. Nay, for his pride, of weaker souls term'd state,
It hurts none but himself.
Drap. Yet to my seeming it is very strange,
That from so base beginning men can breathe
Such soaring fames.
Mech. Strange! it's not strange a whit,
Dunghills and marish bogs dart store of vapours
And viscous exhalations against heaven,
Which borrowing lustre there (though basely bred)
Seem yet like glorious planets, fairest stars,
To the weak eyes of wond'ring ignorance,
When wise men know they are but meteors.
But here comes the orator.

Enter Prate.

Prate. What, Precedent, I say!
Come and attend me to the senate-house.
Pre. I am ready, sir; if you have copia verborum,
I have copia rerum, in a buckram bag here.
Prate. Your lordship's pleasure!
[Pg 162]
Mech. Master orator, 'tis not unknown—my suit—
Prate. Nay, your lordship must be brief, I'll not attend
The shallow sleight of words—your suit, your suit.
Mech. The restoration of my lands and honours.
Prate. They are confiscate.
Mech. My lands confiscate, and my body free?
Prate. My lord, my lord, the queen's more merciful.
Mech. Sir, you forget my place.
Prate. Sir, you forget your faith:
'Twas known unto the queen, the state, and us,
Your malcontented spirit, your disease in duty,
Your diligent perturbance of the peace!
Your passages, occurrences, and—
Mech. Sir!
Prate. Sir me no sirs,
Do not I know you were the chief of those,
Which rais'd the war in Sicil? and long since
Wrought in the king's laws[194] bloody business?
Did not you hold fair quarter and commerce
With all the spies of Cyprus? fie, I am asham'd
Blind impudence should make you be so bold,
To bear your face before authority.
Mech. But hear me.
Prate. I will hear no reply;
Go home, repent, pray, and die.
Come, gentlemen, what's your businesses?

Vel. Your confirmation to his highness' grant touching our trade with Spain, in which if it please you to assist us, we have a thousand crowns which shall attend you.

Prate. O, I have you in my memory: the suit is great, and I must squeeze forth more than a thousand crowns. [Aside.] Well, attend me to the senate; you shall have fair despatches.

[Pg 163]

[Exeunt all but Mechant.

Mech. I'll not attend the shallow sleight of words,
Go home, repent, pray, and die!
Excellent precepts for an orator's chamber.
Where speech must bathe a handful deep in gold,
Till, the poor giver's conduit being dry,
The wretch goes home, doth curse, repent, and die.
It is thy counsel, orator, thy stale[195] breath,
Good only but to season infamy,
But[196] this reproach, this uncaressing humour
Hath taught my soul a new philosophy.
I will go home, and there repent all good
Done to thy name or thy profession;
I will go home, and there new-frame myself
More thirstily pernicious to thy state
Than war or unabated mutiny.
As for my prayers, orator, they are for thee.
Thou hast a pretty, lovely, witty wife:
O, may'st thou live both to be known and know
Thyself the greatest cuckold in our land;
And yet not dare to amend or grieve at it!
May'st thou embrace thy shame with thankful arms,
Hug thy disgrace, make thy black poison wine,
And cap and crouch to thy dishonour!
May thy remembrance live, upon my knees I pray,
All night in bellmen's mouths, with Pasquil[197] in the day!


Enter Alphonso unbraced.

Alph. Day be my speed, night shall not cloak my sin,
If I have nought to do, it's by the sun,
[Pg 164] The light gives leave to all mine idleness.
Quick business and ope eyes seize on mine orator,
Whilst I create him horny precedents.

Enter Collaquintida.

But here's my bed-broker. Now, my great armful of good intelligence, where is my mistress?

Col. Fast locked in her bed, with a close ward to devour thee, my brave Paraquito:[198] but hush! no words; there is a calm before the tempest.

Alph. Tut, tell me of no storms; but direct me to her bed-chamber, my noble firelock of a flesh pistol.

Col. Follow thy colours, my brave worthy, mount up thy standard: so enter and prosper.

[She puts Alphonso into the orator's house.

Thou hast a rich room, safe locks, sweet sheets, a choice armful, with, O, the rare, rare thought of imagination.

Mech. What's this, what's this? Doth this Lord Alphonso turn the orator to an antelope? 'Tis more than excellent,

And from the juice of this despite I suck
Delight more great than all my miseries.
Observe, dear eyes, observe. [Aside.

Col. Nay, go thy way for a camel or a camelion; thou mayest compare with all Europe, Afric, and Asia; and one that will change tricks, though thou wert worthy to be schoolmaster either to Proteus or Aretine: what an excellent gift did God give unto man when he gave him woman; [Pg 165]but how much more when that woman was made fair! But O, the most of all when she had wit to use every member of her creation. Well, I'll stand to't, there's nothing but beauty, use, and old age that puts women of my rank out of request; and yet like old bucklers, though few of your gallant cavaliers will wear us, yet many of your stale ruffians will employ us, and that's our comfort still.

Mech. Was ever heard a bawd more damnable!
A very mountebank of wench-flesh, an empiric,
A dog-leech for the putrified sores
Of these lust-canker'd great ones. O, I could
Even mad myself with railing at their vices.

[Aside. Prate knocks at the door.

But hark! one knocks: O, for the orator!
Heavens, I beseech thee, O, for the orator!
Col. How now, who knocks so rudely at the door?
Prate. 'Tis I, I say: open the door: I am in haste.
Mech. 'Tis he, just heavens, 'tis he, 'fore God, the orator.


Col. Soul of my bawdy office; how are we betray'd!
Anon, anon, sir. What, Mistress Prate, I say;
Arise for shame, your husband's at the door,
I come, I come; Lord God, how dull you are
When danger's at your heels! rise quickly.
Prate. Open the door, or I will break it ope.
Col. I come, I come; I think he's mad with haste.
What, John; what, Thomas, Robert, where's these knaves?
What, Julian, Mary, Cicely, ne'er a maid within?
Lol. For God's love, stay; I'll find the key straightway.

[Pg 166]

Enter Lollia, and Alphonso in his shirt.

O Mistress Collaquintida, what shall become of us?
Col. Nay, I'm at my wit's end, and am made
Duller than any spur-gall'd, tired jade.
Alph. 'Sfoot, if he enter, I will break his neck.
Lol. Not for a world, dear love, step into my closet.
Alph. Did ever slave come thus unluckily?
Lol. Nay, now's no time for passion; good lord, in.

[Exit Alphonso.

Enter Prate.

Col. Fie! I have almost broke my heart with running.

Lol. How now, dear husband, what hath mov'd this haste?

Prate. I think I was not bless'd this morning when I rose; for through my forgetfulness I have left behind me in my study the breviates of all my causes, and now the senate is fain to dance attendance on my leisure; fie, fie, fie! [Exit Prate.

Lol. Nay, if he smell nothing but papers, I care not for his dry foot-hunting,[199] nor shall I need [Pg 167]to puff pepper in his nostrils; but see, he comes again.

Enter Prate, and, stumbling at his wife's bed, sees Alphonso's rich apparel lying thereon.

Prate. I think the devil hath laid his horns in my way.

Mech. Yes, and if you had wit, you might conjure him out of your wife's closet. [Aside.

Prate. Sancte Benedicite, what have we here?
Hath the golden snake cast his skin upon our bed?

Go to, wife; I smell, I smell! methinks your plain rug should not agree with this rich counter-point.

Lol. Husband, either I have fitted you now, or else I shall never fit you, whilst I breathe.
You oft have told me, that like those of your rank,
Who both adorn their credits and themselves,
Yea, even their causes with their costly clothes,
Yourself in like sort would strive to imitate;
And now my neighbour here hath brought this suit,
Which if you please to buy, 'tis better cheap
Than e'er 'twas made by full five thousand crowns.
Prate. Say'st thou me so, wench? a kiss for that, i' faith;
'Fore God, it is a delicate fine suit,
Rich stuff, rare work, and of the newest fashion:
Nay, if the senate's business were never so hasty,
I will stay to try it on; come, help;
Good wenches, help. So, there, there, there.

[The orator puts on Alphonso's apparel.

[Pg 168]

Mech. 'Sfoot, will the ox put on the lion's hide!
He will, he will, 'tis more than excellent;
So gild the tomb that holds but rottenness!
Laughter, I fear, will burst me; look how he struts.
O God, that ever man should look
Upon this maumet,[200] and not laugh at him!


Prate. Fit, fit, excellent fit, as though
The body it was made for wore my mould.
Wife, I will have it: we'll dispute no price.

Enter Velours.

Vel. Master orator, the senate are set, and can despatch no causes through your absence; therefore they earnestly entreat your presence.

Prate. I come, I come; good friend, go, say I come.
And, wife, see that
You pay for this suit, whatsoe'er it cost. [Exit Prate.
Mech. Not above making you cuckold: that's the most.
Lol. What, is he gone?
Col. He is.

Enter Alphonso in his shirt.

Lol. Why, then, come forth, poor naked lord.

Alph. What, is he gone? May the devil and his horns both follow him!

Lol. He is gone; but yet he hath discover'd your treason.

Alph. How?

Col. Yes, and in revenge thereof hath vowed that in this nake[Pg 169]d sort as you are you shall do penance through the city for your sin of unchastity.

Alph. I pray thee, leave thy woman's phrase, and speak, like a man, plainly, plainly.

Lol. Then plainly thus—he is gone, and hath taken away your apparel.

Alph. Upon what accident?

Lol. This: when your negligence had left your clothes upon my bed, he espied them, tasked me for the owner; I, in excuse, told him it was a suit brought by my gossip to be sold; he straight, like a child proud of a new coat, presently puts it on, presently is sent for to the senate, and at this present hath left you, that the world may behold your naked doings.

Alph. I would it were washed in the blood of a centaur,[201] that when he puts it off, his skin might follow it: but how shall I get to my chamber?

Lol. Truly, I know not, except you will wear a smock's upper coat.

Alph. What, a petticoat? you mad me with your mirth.

Lol. Then seriously thus: as he hath ta'en your clothes, you must take his; and let the world know you have had more than fiddler's fare, for you have meat, money, and cloth.

Alph. 'Sfoot, how shall I look in this devil's suit? sure, I shall grow sick to see my shape.

Lol. Well, extremity must then be your physic; but come, you shall attire yourself in my chamber.

[Exeunt Alphonso, Lollia, and Collaquintida.

Mech. Are these the winding turns of female shames,
Loose woman's gambols, and the tricks of sin?
And are we born to bear these suffrages?
[Pg 170] O, he that's tied unto a brothel bed
Feels his worst hell on earth, and may presume
There is no sickness like his pestilence.
Well, what the issue of this jest will prove,
My wit but yet conceives, and aftertime
Shall perfect it and give it liberty,
In such sort that, if it true fire strike,
A world of apes shall study for the like. [Exit.

Enter the Duke OF Epire alone.

Epire. My thoughts are troubled, joy forsakes me quite,
And all my meditations are revenge:
Ambition and fell murder join in one,
And aid each other to untwine a state,
And make whole millions prove unfortunate.
Now must I practise court-art, flattery,
And wisely temporise with blackest deeds:
I'll smile and stab: now weep, then laugh, then frown,
And with sly tricks of state kill all suspicion;
Devils must seem like angels, saith ambition.
The blackest thoughts I'll study to excel;
Crowns and revenge have made men dive to hell.
My plot is current, and it cannot miss,
Whilst wisdom winds me on the clue of bliss.
The king shall kill the queen; that acted right,
I soon will turn his brightest day to night.
He's simple, honest, and loves downy rest;
Then he must fall: 'tis policy in state
To hurl them down are bless'd with happy fate.
Thus each shall scourge himself with his own rod;
Who is all policy avows no God—
Who is within there, ho?

Enter Florio.

[Pg 171]

Flo. Did your grace call?
Epire. I did; where's the king?
Flo. He's in his privy chamber playing at chess.
Epire. Go straight, and tell him I must speak with him,
And say my business doth import great haste.
Flo. I go, my lord. [Exit.
Epire. Be a bless'd Mercury: now mount thee up, my spirit,
And show thyself a politician;
Let slander rule thy tongue, envy thy heart,
And let destruction be the[202] period
Of what thou speak'st; for this my maxim is:
But rule no heaven, and but revenge no bliss.

Enter Cyprus, Florio, and Attendants.

Here comes the king. My lord, we must be private[203].
Cyp. Remove your hearings from our conference.

[Exeunt Florio, &c.

Now speak, my lord, speak freely, as to heaven.
Epire. First with my knee I kiss this prostrate earth,
And humbly beg that which my tongue shall speak,
So it proceed from love and vassalage,
May bear a pardon or forgetfulness.
Cyp. You have it; rise, discharge an open breast.
[Pg 172]
Epire. O my dread liege, my speech will make you sad—
And kings do seldom relish their distastes—
And from that sadness such a storm will rise
As will even drown up all credulity.
O, that my loyal heart could cover sin,
Or that my tongue, inured unto grief,
Might lose its spleen, ere it distemper you!
But love and mine allegiance bid me speak.
Cyp. Then speak, and do not rack me with delay.
Epire. Women, why were you made for man's affliction?
The first that ever made us taste of grief,
And last of whom in torments we complain:
You devils shap'd like angels, through whose deeds
Our forked shames are made most visible!
No soul of sense would wrong bright majesty,
Nor stain their blood with such impurity.
Cyp. Nay, good lord, leave this allegoric speech,
And give me knowledge from a plainer phrase.
Epire. Then plainly thus: your bed is press'd with lust,
I know you do not credit—nay, what's more,
I know you hate me for my virtuousness:
Your queen behaves her like a courtesan:
I know you hold me for a vile impostor!
O foolish zeal, that makes me be so fond
To leave my faith unto black censuring.
O, she hath sinn'd, and done a double wrong
To you and to her[204] sacred chastity.
Cyp. Duke, thou art valiant, and with a valiant mind
Slander is worse than theft or sacrilege,
Nay more, than murder or the height of treason—
A step beyond the utmost plagues in hell.
Then thou, which in that nature wrong'st a queen,
Deserv'st a scourge beyond their punishments;
[Pg 173] Virtue should kill thee now.
Epire. Nay, do: my breast is bare unto thy steel.
Kill me, because I love thee and speak true.
Is this the merit of a Roman faith?
For this have I observ'd, pry'd in unto,
And search'd each secret shift of vanity?
Nay, pray you kill me; faith, I'll patient stand.
Live still a monster, hold shame in your hand.
Cyp. Speak a word more! a king shall be thy death.
Epire. Death is a slave to him that is resolv'd,
And my soul loathes this servile flattery,
Nor will I cover such intemperate sin,
But to the world make them and that transparent,
Unless yourself will seek to right yourself.
Cyp. Thou hast awak'd me, and thy piercing words
Have split my sense in sunder: yet what ground
Remains whereon to ground suspicion?
A cuckold, cuckold, ha!
Epire. Your absence is the bawd to her desires,
For their masques, dancings, gaming, banquetting,
Strange private meetings, and all toils in love,
As wanton speeches to stir appetite,
And all enchantments that inflame desire:
When you return, then all is hush'd and still,
And she demurely walks like virtue's ghost.
Before your face she's like a puritan:
Behind your back a blushless courtesan.
Cyp. O, I have drank in poison at mine ears,
Which makes my blood boil with unquenched flames.
But speak, who is it that dishonours me?
[Pg 174]
Epire. He that you prize a line before your life;
I know you will not credit—faith you will not.
Cyp. Nay, if thou cease to speak, thou hat'st my life;
Tak'st thou delight to kill me? then forbear:
'Sfoot, I am mortal man, kill me, do, do![205]
Epire. Your best of friends, your dearest Philocles,
Usurps your bed, and makes you a cornute.
A creature uncreate in paradise,
And one that's only of a woman's making.
Cyp. Is't possible! can I give faith to this?
Epire. Nay, be but patient, smooth your brow a little,
And you shall take them, as they clip each other,
Even in their height of sin[206], then damn them both,
And let them sink before they ask God pardon,
That your revenge may stretch unto their souls.
Cyp. To be a cuckold doth exceed all grief.
Epire. To have a pleasant scoff at majesty.
Cyp. To taste the fruit forbidden from my tree!
Epire. But he shall lose his paradise for that.
Cyp. The slave will make base songs in my disgrace.
Epire. And wound your reputation in strange lands.
Cyp. This injury sads all my joys on earth.
Epire. Horns are not shunn'd by wisdom, wealth, or birth.
Cyp. Watch their close meetings, and then give us notice;
Mean space, my love shall in thy bosom rest.
My grief is like my birth, great—great and high.
Give close intelligence: till then farewell.
Lust is the broadest path which leads to hell.

[Exit Cyprus.

[Pg 175]

Ire. He's gone with black suspicion in his heart:
And his soul made a slave to jealousy,
My plots shall drive him to his own destruction;
And I gain both revenge and dignity.
He shall no sooner put his queen to death,
But I'll proclaim her spotless innocence;
All men will hate him for so vile an act,
And mad with rage depose him from his crown.
Then I will be his death: his state doth give:
Kings once depos'd long after must not live.
For, like a phœnix rare in jealousy,
He shall consume himself in scorching flames,
Whilst from his ashes I a phœnix spring.
Many renounce their God to be a king,
And I'll be one to kill men with a frown,
None dare dispute the actions of a crown. [Exit.


[180] [Edits., thee.]

[181] Alluding to the old law for pressing prisoners who refused to plead.

[182] i.e., Dove's down.—Steevens.

[183] Another allusion to the book mentioned in "Eastward Hoe!" Since the note on that passage was written, I have discovered that there were two books with titles nearly similar: one of them, "The Seckman's Salve," by Thomas Becon, 8o, 1591: and the other: "The Salve of a Sickman; or, A treatise concerning the nature, difference, and kinds of death," by William Perking, 8o, 1595. [It does not appear at all necessary to conclude that any partcular look is referred to.]

[184] Mr Reed, without any authority from the old copies, and without the slightest notice, gave the lines that follow to Alphonso, and inserted his name accordingly: they are most clearly a continuation of Epire's speech: he draws the distinction between their situations.—Collier.

[185] The omission of this repetition of the words and thus, has hitherto spoiled the measure.—Collier.

[186] Reap a palace in both quartos.—Collier.

[187] [Edits., my.]

[188] [Edits., my.]

[189] These lines are the 39th stanza of "Venus and Adonis," by Shakespeare.

[190] Two lines from the third stanza of "Venus and Adonis."

[191] [Edits., for. Reed's emendation.]

[192] i.e., Pruner. Chaucer, in the "Merchant's Tale," says of Damian, that

"He kembeth him, he proineth him, and piketh."


[193] Horse with housings.—Steevens.

[194] [Edits., loves.]

[195] [Edits., tale.]

[196] [Old copy, From.]

[197] The name of an image on a post in Rome, to which defamatory libels are affixed.—Steevens.

[198] A parroquet, or small sort of parrot. See Altieri's "Italian Dictionary," in the English part. She gives him this name on account of his prating.—Pegge.

[199] To draw dry foot, as Dr Gray observes, is when the dog pursues the game by the scent of the foot, for which the bloodhound is famed. See Mr Steevens's note to the "Comedy of Errors," act iv. sc. 2.

[200] A puppet. Mr Tollet supposes it to be a corruption of Mahomet. See several instances of the use of this word in Mr Steevens's note on "The First Part of King Henry IV.," act ii. sc. 3.

Again, in Hall's "Chronicle," fol. 20, Henry IV.: "By the deviacion, and not devinacion of that mawmet Merlyn."

[201] Alluding to the poisoned garment given by Dejanira to Hercules. See Ovid's "Metamorphoses," b. ix.

[202] [Edits., thy.]

[203] In the quartos of 1608 and of 1633, this line is by mistake assigned to Cyprus. The exit of Florio, who obviously withdraws, is also not marked.—Collier.

[204] [Edits., you, to her, and.]

[205] [Edits., do, do, do.]

[206] This horrid sentiment is to be found in too many of our ancient poets. See [Ford's "Works," by Dyce, i. 143.]


Enter Florio and Mechant.

Flo. The queen is all for revels; her light heart,
Unladen from the heaviness of state,
Bestows itself upon delightfulness.
Mech. She follows her creation and her sex.
In my conceit it is as vile a thing
To see the worthy model of a woman,
Who had not been at all but to give life
And stirring spleen to man's alacrity,
To sit o'erwhelm'd with thought, with dark amuse,
And the sad sullenness of griev'd dislike;[207]
As to behold an old man in his furs,
Whose well-spent youth hath given his age full strength,
[Pg 176] To be his country's best physician,
To caper to his grave, and with vain gauds
Trick up his coffin, and upon his tomb
To leave no knowledge but his levity.
Flo. 'Tis true indeed, and Nature in herself
Doth give us still distaste in contraries.
And in my thoughts
It is as base to see a woman man,
As see a man a long-rob'd feminine.
Mech. Well, we forget ourselves, my lord;
What, is the music ready? I pray you,
Command the guard to take their halberts in their hands;
The ushers should have seen this room perfumed.
In faith, they are too negligent: here comes the queen.

Enter the Queen, Mariana, and waiting-women: Philocles, and other lords: the King disguised like one of the guard at the one end of the stage, and the duke so likewise disguised at the other end of the stage.

Queen. Loud music there, and let the god of harmony
Ravish our senses with delightful airs,
Tun'd to the music of the higher sphere;
And with that mortal sign most rarely show
The joys in Jove's high court, to feast the gods,
Making that place abound in happiness.
Come, noble Philocles, I seize you first—
Mariana, there are choice of other lords—
In gracing you, it is the king I grace.
Mar. Come, honest lord, 'tis you must stand to me,
The queen in mine doth challenge interest,
[Pg 177] And I must fly for shelter to my friends.
Mech. And I'll be glad to be your coverture.
Mar. O no, my lord, not till the weather change.
Mech. Well, when you please—meantime you do me grace.
Queen. Nay, my lord, there's a lady worth the handling:
Sound music then; fill earth with heaven's pleasure.
Cyp. My queen is out of time, though she keep measure.

[Here they dance the first strain.

Epire. Be lucky, villany: hit now the mark[208]
That mine ambition aims at; methinks I see
That lean Italian devil, jealousy,
Dance in his eyes. Possess him, spirit of rage:
Muffle his understanding with black thoughts,
Let passion govern reason, falsehood truth,
Oblivion hide his age, hate kill his youth.
Cyp. Thou dancest on my heart, lascivious queen,
Even as upon these rushes, which thou treadest:[209]
See how her motions wind about his eyes,
And doth present to him her passions:
Now doth her moistening palm glow in his hand,
And courts him unto dalliance. She dies: 'tis just.
She's slave to murder that is slave to lust.
Epire. Thou curse of greatness, waking-ey'd suspicion,
Now help thy poor friends, murder and ambition.

[The first strain ends.

Queen. This strain contain'd a pretty change.
Proceed unto the next. [They dance the second.
Cyp. Sin follows sin, and change on change doth wait;
Thy change doth change my love to cruel hate.

[Pg 178]

[In this strain Mariana came to Philocles.

Phil. Madam, methinks this chance is better than the first.
Mar. Ay, if the music would not alter it.
Queen. Methinks 'tis worse; come, we will have
Another strain. [They dance again.
Phil. I'm pleas'd;[210] let us proceed.
Cyp. Rivals in crowns and beds of kings must bleed.
Can that fair house contain so foul a guest
As lust, or cloak inordinate base desires,[211]
Under so fair a coverture? O yes,
Women can blind our sense when we see best,
And set fair landskips on inconstancy,
Making us blind with seeing. The dance ends:
Your sins are blackest, breach of love and friends.
Epire. Now to the king; blow, rage, till it flame hate;
A politician thrives the best in state.

[Exit Epire, and enters to the King again.

Queen. Come, sweet Prince Philocles,
Devise some new delights to shorten time;
This dulness hath no relish in my sense,
It hath no pith; and sloth in my conceit
Is but a type of pride in best constructions.[212]
Mar. Madam, I'll stand, that a fair woman
Must be proud, or else a fool.
[Pg 179]
Phil. I would fain hear that, i' faith.
Queen. Thy reason, wench, I pray thee: come, disburse.
Mar. A woman fair is like a full-blown rose.
Queen. Which holds the fair no longer than it grows.
Mar. A woman fair is like the finest gold.
Phil. Which kept from use is good, though ne'er so old.
Mar. Nay, good lord, leave a little:
She that is fair is wise, and ought to know it,
For to that end did nature first bestow it.
Now of this knowledge if we be not proud,
We wrong the author, and we are allow'd
To rank with senseless beasts, sith careless we
For want of pride detract our dignity.
Now knowing it, we know truth in the same,
Not to be proud of truth asks folly's name.
This lesson still is read in beauty's school:
She that is fair and humble is a fool.
For neither knows she how to hold her good,
Or to keep safe the treasure of her blood.
Queen. A notable declamation.
Mar. Nay, madam, by your leave,
Pride gives a lustre to a woman's fair,[213]
Things that are highest priz'd are ever dear.
Why is the diamond the sapphire's king,
[Pg 180] But for esteem and rareness? both which spring
From the stone's pride, which is so chaste and hard,
Nothing can pierce it, itself is itself's guard.
Now what is pride? self-love, our own esteem,
A strength to make us of ourselves well deem:
From whence this maxim I collect 'mongst other,
Who hates herself can never love another.
And, to conclude, man's appetite grows dull
To what it may have: empty hope's a fool.[214]
So[215] all our sex on earth, maid, widow, wife, and bride,
They happy live, when they live with chaste pride.
Cyp. [Aside.] My queen will speak as much for lust, as she
For pride, if the toy take her.
Mech. Your ladyship sows dangerous seed abroad.
Mar. But I hope, my lord, all grounds are not fruitful.
Queen. Well, wench, shalt be the proud woman's champion.
Mar. And I'll defend them against all men, as at single tongue.
Mech. I had rather fight with a giant than you at that weapon.
Cyp. [To Epire.] My lord, go forth, return in your own shape,
Say I am coming.
Epire. I go, my lord. [Exit Epire.
Cyp. [Aside.] I'll note their countenance when they hear of me:
Kings often see that which they would not see.
Queen. Dancing hath made me weary. What sport is next?
Phil. What your highness will command.
Cyp. [Aside.] She will command you, sir, to play with her.

Enter Epire.

Epire. Madam, his majesty is return'd to court.
Queen. Nay, then, away with revels and with sports;
[Pg 181] Lie hush'd and still this vainer idleness,
It now hath lost his spleen; come, lords, away,
My sun is risen brings a brighter day.

[Exeunt all but Cyprus and Epire.

Cyp. Darkness is thy delight, lascivious queen,
And thou wouldst have thy sun pent-up in clouds,
If I be he. O falseness, did I for this
In single opposition, hand to hand,
Hazard my royal blood for thee to be
My greatest shame, the scandal of my blood,
Whilst rumour crowns me king of infamy?
But I will be reveng'd. Watch, gentle lord
When next I see them, they shall taste of death,
Such power hath baseness over great defame,
That monarchs cannot cover their own shame.

[Exit Cyprus.

Epire. My plot yet holds a true proportion,
And I do see an even way to rule.
A crown, like a bold champion, bids me on,
And fame shall chronicle mine enterprise:
The queen being dead, I must oppose myself
Against her tyrant husband—that's my claim,—
And with strong courage stand the shock of war:
If of myself I can withstand the king,
Then all the land will flock unto mine aid; if not,
The king is God's anointed, my head fits the block,
And that's the worst: yet future times will tell,
I sunk not slightly; for a crown I fell. [Exit Epire.

Enter Mechant, and a guard of Watchmen.

Mech. Come on, my masters,
[Pg 182] You know the tenor of the king's command.
And what in this great business you must do,
Which is to keep him safe, and not vouchsafe
That any creature speak or visit him,
Till he be brought to th' presence of the king.
You must not start for bounty, nor for threats,
No, though he say he is a nobleman,
As it may be, he may prove mighty born,
Yet what for that? you must perform your office,
Or else expect to taste sharp punishment.

1st Watch. Tut, fear not, my lord, we that have had Cerberus' office so many years under a gate, are not to learn now to play either devils or tyrants; let us but see him, and then take no care for his safety.

2d Watch. Nay, he shall be put into safe keeping, for my wife shall take charge of him.

Enter Alphonso in the Orator's clothes.

Mech. 'Tis well-devis'd, see where he comes;
He may not see my presence; think upon't,

[To the Watch.

Your charge is trusty, and of mighty weight.
Farewell. [Exit Mechant.

1st Watch. Fear not; come, my hearts, compass him about, and seize on him all at once, like so many ravens on a dead horse.

Alph. Now an eternal sleep, an apoplex, a swoon,
Seize on their senses, who in this disguise
Shall view or note my vile deformity.
I was bewitch'd by spells to my misfortune,
Or else star-cross'd with some hag's hellishness.
Sure, I said my prayers, ris'd on my right side,
Wash'd hands and eyes, put on my girdle last.
Sure, I met no spay-footed baker:
No hare did cross me, nor no bearded witch,
Nor other ominous sign. O, then, why
Should I be thus damm'd in the devil's nets?
Is't possible this habit that I wear
Should become any man? now of my soul,
[Pg 183] I loathe to see myself, and willingly
I would even vomit at my countenance.
1st Watch. Stand, sir; we arrest you.
Alph. Arrest me! why,
I injure no man but myself.

2d Watch. You're the more unkind; he that wrongs himself will not stick to wrong the whole world also.

1st Watch. Nay, strive not, for we arrest you by virtue of the king's commission.

Alph. Well, my masters, be careful; you may mistake me.

2d Watch. Indeed it is no marvel, you are so like other men.

Alph. Indeed at this time I am hardly like one of God's making.

1st Watch. Faith, and I am sure you are no man of a good tailor's making, you are but pieced-work.

Alph. Well, yet I may hap to prove a nobleman.

2d Watch. A whoremaster or an unthrift! away with him, and let no man catechise him upon pain of my displeasure. [Exeunt.

Enter the Duke OF Epire alone.

Epire. Roll on, the chariot-wheels of my dear plots,
And bear mine ends to their desired marks.
As yet there's not a rub of wit, a gulf of thought,
No rocky misconstruction, thorny maze,
Or other let of any doubtfulness.
As yet thy way is smooth and plain,
Like the green ocean in a silent calm.
Blessed credulity, thou great God of error,
Thou art the strong foundation of huge wrongs,
[Pg 184] To thee give I my vows and sacrifice;
By thy great deity he doth believe
Falsehoods, that falsehood's self could not invent,
And from that misbelief doth draw a course
To overwhelm even virtue, truth, and sanctity.
Let him go on, bless'd stars, 'tis meet he fall,
Whose blindfold judgment hath no guide at all.
But O, these shadows have bewitched long:
To threat and not to do doth malice wrong.
And see, here comes the queen.

Enter the Queen, Mariana, and other ladies.

Queen. My lord the duke, your presence and my wish
Jump in an even line together: come,
We must to cards:
I have some crowns
I needs must lose to you.
Epire. I humbly beseech your highness pardon me:
I have important business of the king's,
Which doth command mine instant diligence.
Mar. Brother, indeed you shall attend the queen;
Another time will serve those state despatches.
Epire. Sister, content you, the affairs of state
Must give their best attendance on the times;
And great occurrents must not lose their minutes.

Mar. Now I'll stand to it, that to be a statesman or a lawyer is to be of the most thankless occupation that ever was derived from human invention.

Queen. Why, I pray thee, wench?

[Pg 185]

Mar. Because they bestow all the laborious toil of the mind until they be forty, that they may live imprisoned in a study-chamber till they be fourscore, only for this world's mammon, a great name and riches, which, like a string between a galley-slave's legs, is the only ease of their fetters.[216]

Queen. A notable construction of a noble labour: but shall we not have your company, my lord?

Epire. My service, madam, but my presence the king hath employed; only, if you please, I will send Prince Philocles to your majesty.

Queen. No creature better; for his skill in play
Is equal with our knowledge. Good my lord,
Send him to my privy-chamber presently.

[Exeunt Queen, Mariana, &c.

Enter Philocles.

Epire. I will, and send affliction after him;
And see where he comes. My lord, your presence hath
Saved me much labour and a little care,
I was in quest for your fair company:
The queen, my lord, entreats you earnestly
You will attend her in her privy-chamber.
Phil. Unto what end?
Epire. Only to waste some time at cards with her,
The lazy hours stick heavy on her thoughts,
Which she would lose with some forgetfulness.
Phil. Faith, and play ne'er relish'd worse
Within my thoughts.
I know not how, but leaden[217] heaviness
Draws me to be in love with melancholy.
Epire. The fitter for you with more light sports
To chase that blood-consumer from your breast,
Who with a honey-poison doth devour,
And kill the very life of livelihood.
Phil. 'Tis true, and therefore shall your counsel tutor me;
[Pg 186] Where is her majesty?
Epire. Gone
To her privy-chamber, where she doth expect you.
Phil. I will attend her presently.

[Exit Philocles.

Epire. Do, and I will attend thee to thy grave,
Poor shallow lord, by much too virtuous.
Ho! who's within there?

Enter Florio.

Flo. Your grace's pleasure?
Epire. Go tell his majesty that I must speak with him.
Flo. I go. [Exit.

Enter aloft to cards the Queen and Philocles.

Queen. Come, my lord, take your place, here are cards, and here are my crowns.

Phil. And here are mine; at what game will your majesty play?

Queen. At Mount-saint.[218]
Phil. A royal game, and worthy of the name,
And meetest even for saints to exercise.
Sure, it was of a woman's first invention.
Queen. It is not saint, but cent, taken from hundreds.
[Pg 187]
Phil. True, for 'mongst millions hardly is found one saint.
Queen. Indeed you may allow a double game;
But come, lift for the dealing; it is my chance to deal.
Phil. An action most-most proper to your sex.

Enter Cyprus.

Cyp. How now, my waking dragon, thou whose eyes
Do never fall or close through Lethean sleep:
What, is there a Hercules that dare to touch
Or enter the Hesperian rosaries?[219]
Epire. Speak softly, gentle lord; behold, behold,
The silly birds are tangled in your snare,
And have no way to 'scape your punishment.
See, how her eyes do court him, and his looks
Pay to her love a double interest.
Fie, fie! they are to blame.
Queen. What are you, my lord?
Phil. Your highness' servant, but misfortune's slave.
Queen. Your game, I mean.
Phil. Nothing in show, yet somewhat in account;
Madam, I am blank.

Queen. You are a double game, and I am no less; there's an hundred, and all cards made, but one knave.

Epire. Mark that! of my life, she means your majesty.
Cyp. True, I know she holds me as her varlet,
And that I am imperfect in her game;
But my revenge shall give me better place,
Beyond the hate of her foul impudence.
Epire. Nay, good my lord, observe: they will confirm you better.
Queen. What's your game now?
[Pg 188]
Phil. Four kings, as I imagine.
Queen. Nay, I have two, yet one doth me little good.
Phil. Indeed, mine are two queens, and one I'll throw away.
Epire. Doth your majesty mark that?
You are the king that she is weary of,
And my sister the queen that he will cast away.
Phil. Can you decard,[220] madam?
Queen. Hardly, but I must do hurt.[221]
Phil. But spare not any to confirm your game.
Epire. Would you have more plain proof of their foul treason?
They do not plot your highness' death alone.
Cyp. But others, which they think depend on me.
Epire. Myself, and those which do you services:
They are bloody-minded; yet for myself,
Were it not for your safety, I could wish
You would remit and blot these errors out,
In hope that time would bring them to more virtue.
Cyp. O, then thou didst not love me, nor thy faith
Took hold upon my scandals; fie, I'm mad,
Sham'd and disgrac'd, all wit-stung, wisdomless.
Within there, ho!

Enter Florio.

[Pg 189]

Flo. Did your majesty call?
Cyp. Go instantly—(nay,
Do not look sad or pale, neither dispute with me
Nor with thy thoughts; but as thou lov'st thy life,
Effect my will)—call all my guard.
Ascend the queen's privy-chamber, and in my name
Arrest her and Prince Philocles of treason.
Make no delay, but in thy diligence
Show how thou dost respect me. Arrested once,
Convey them unto straitest prison: away. [Exit Florio.
For you, my lord, go instantly prepare,
And summon all the princes of our land
Unto an instant parliament, where we
Will have them both condemn'd immediately,
Without their answers, plaints, or piteousness.
Since women's tears do blunt revenge's sword.
I will not see, nor hear them speak one word.

[Exeunt Cyprus and Epire.

Enter Florio, and a guard aloft, to the Queen and Philocles.

Flo. Madam and Prince Philocles, in the king's name I arrest you both of high treason.

Phil. He lies that saith I ever knew the word.
Queen. I pray thee, do not affright me, gentle lord,
Thy words do carry death even in their sound.
Flo. Madam, I am most sorry 'tis my fortune,
But what I do is by the king's commission.
Queen. Whence is that warrant grounded, or what's our treason?
Flo. I am his instrument, but not his councillor.
Phil. Madam, be patient; that we do not know,
We have no cause to grieve at. As for envy's toil,
Let her even break her own gall with desire,
Our innocence is our prevention.
Be cheerful, madam, 'tis but some villain's sound,
Made only to amaze, not to confound.
And what must we do, my lord?
Flo. To prison are the words of my commission.
Phil. Then lead the way; he hath of grief no sense,
Whose conscience doth not know of his offence.


[207] And the sad sullenness of a griev'd dislike is the reading of the 4o. The article was omitted by Mr Reed for the sake of the measure.—Collier.

[208] Be lucky villany is necessary for the measure, and is conformable to the old copies. Mr Reed permitted the misprint to stand, and did not regulate the verse as it required.—Collier.

[209] See the present vol., p. 213, and Mr Steevens's note on "Romeo and Juliet," act i. sc. 4.

[210] The 4o, 1608, has it, I pleas'd, and the reprint of 1633 implicitly follows all blunders, and adds others peculiar to itself.—Collier.

[211] Inordinate and base desires—both quartos.

[212] In the last edition it was printed—

"And sloth in my conceit
Is but a type or pride in best constitutions."

which is neither sense nor metre. The old copies are uniform for the restored reading.—Collier.

[213] [Fairness.]

[214] [Old copy, is full]

[215] [Edits., To.]

[216] In the two 4o copies of this play the latter part of the speech stands thus:—Only for this world's mammon, which is great name and riches, like a string between a galley-slave's legs, is the only ease of their fetters. Mr. Reed introduced the improvement.—Collier.

[217] [Old copies, loaden.]

[218] This game is often mentioned in our ancient writers, and what immediately follows sufficiently explains the nature of it.

[219] Pl[Pg 190]aces where roses grow in great abundance.

"Biferique rosaria Pæsti."—Virg.


[220] i.e., Throw away a card.—Steevens.

[221] [Without injuring my hand.]


Enter at one door Epire, at another Mariana.

Epire. How now, mad sister, your dear love is condemned?
A sweet adulterer!
Mar. How! condemn'd before their trial?
Epire. No, they were condemn'd by act of parliament.
Mar. I do not hold thee, brother, for a man,
For it is reasonless to mock calamity:
If he die innocent, thrice-happy soul;
If guilty, weep that man should so transgress:
Nature of reason thus much doth importune,
Man should partake in grief with man's misfortune.
Epire. For him, if e'er mine eyes weep, may they drop out,
And leave my body blinder than my sense:
Pity my foe, the ruin of my house,
[Pg 191] My valour's scandal, and mine honour's poison!
No, let him fall, for blood must still quench lust,
Law hath condemn'd him, then his death is just.
Mar. Spit out that monster envy, it corrupts you,
And mildly hear me answer for my love.
What did he 'gainst you was not honourable,
Which you 'gainst him would not have gladly done?
Will you hate him for acting your own thoughts?
Can it be ill in him, yet good in you?
Let reason weigh this difference, then you'll find
His honour poises down his infamy.
Epire. Canst thou love him that brought thee to thy death?
Mar. No, like a God he made me with his breath.
Epire. Did he not win thy love, and then reject thee?
Mar. His honour, not his love doth now neglect me.
Epire. Fond maid, thy foolish dotage doth mistake him.
Mar. Hell shall have mercy, ere I will forsake him.
Epire. Farewell then, sister, friend to my greatest foe:
Revenge strikes home, being ended with one blow.

[Exit Epire.

Mar. Prevention, thou best midwife to misfortune,
Unfold this ugly monster's treachery;
And let his birth be ominous—struck dead,
Ere it have being in this open world.
Love commands nature. Brother, pardon me:
Thine envy dies by my love's liberty.
Invention, heart of wit, possess my brain,
For treason is to treason her own bane.
And you, bright heav'ns, now aid me in my plots,
That truth may shine through falsehood's leprous spots;
My life I'll hazard to redeem my love,
[Pg 192] Firm constancy like rocks can never move.
Be bold then, maiden-heart, in his defence.
He saved thy life: thy life's his recompense:
My wit and hopes have furnish'd me with all
The helps of art to bring forth treason's fall.
Now to the means. Some say that gold hath power
To enter without force a gateless tower:
And I'll try that, which if it take fast hold,
I'll never blame them more that doat on gold.
Ho! who's within there?

Enter Jailer.

Jailer. Who calls, what would you have? I thought you were a woman, you were so hasty: O, madam, is it you? I cry you mercy.

Mar. My grief speaks loud, sir, and my swift desire
O'errules my tongue, makes it keep time with thought;
I long to see a prisoner in this ill-built house.

Jailer. What prisoner, madam?

Mar. The worthy prince, the famous Philocles.

Jailer. Madam, I dare not, without especial warrant.

Mar. I have my brother's strong commission; hold, there is gold.

Jailer. This golden calf is an excellent idol, and few of my profession but serve it: this dumb god gives tongue to all men, wit to all men, honour to any man, but honesty to no man: and therefore as for honesty, I mean not to deal with so dear a commodity, but leave it to my better. Madam, those stairs direct you to his lodging.

Mar. I thank you, sir. [Exit Mariana.

[Pg 193]

Jailer. This is a worthy lady, to give thus much for the bare sight of a man in affliction; if he were at liberty, it were nothing; but being as it is, it is most bountiful: but it may be it is for the past hours of former recreations: well, let it be what it shall be, I am sure it was not that I should hold this disputation: but see, here she comes again.

Enter Philocles in Mariana's attire, and Mariana in his.

Phil. Madam, my soul cannot consent to leave
Your life in this great hazard, nor can death
Carry such ugly shape, as doth the thought,
That you are left in this extremity:
Indeed, I will not leave you.
Mar. Will you grow mad? what, shall your nobler spirit,
Which is the school of wisdom, grow so fond[222]
As to revolt from all our happiness?
Our plots you know, and how to manage cares,
Whose true events have true proportions;
Then, dear lord, rest resolv'd—the jailer overhears—
Live you with safety. Most worthy maid, farewell.

Phil. Farewell, fair prince: thanks, master jailer, and a kind commend.

Jailer. As much unto your ladyship. So now I'll lock my doors.

[Exeunt Mariana, Philocles, and Jailer.

Enter Cyprus, Mechant, Florio, and Attendants.

Cyp. Is our commission, as we gave in charge,
Delivered o'er to the corregidors?
Mech. It is, and with such strictness and advice
For speedy execution of the same,
That by this time I know they are in the way
Unto their execution; for the hour
[Pg 194] Of death doth run upon his latest minutes.
Cyp. 'Tis well: for till their shameless lives have end,
There can no comfort creep into my thoughts,
Or aught save mischief keep me company.
Why was I born to this malignity
And lowness of base fortune, yet my place
Above the level of the vulgars' sight?
O, it is but to let me know thus much,
That those which lie within the richest graves
Were at the best but fortune's glorious slaves.
But see, here comes my shame.

Enter corregidors, Queen and Mariana disguised like Philocles, both bound, and a guard of halberts with the executioner.

Queen. My dearest lord.
Cyp. Pass, and respect me not, lascivious woman!
Thy tears are like the tears of crocodiles.[223]
See how I stop mine ears against thy plaints,
And glue mine understanding from thy charms.
Nay, call on him thou hast offended most;
Mercy from me were worse than cruelty.
Queen My dearest, dreadest, my best[224] sovereign,
Whom I have ne'er offended, but with zeal
And constant love, loyal and honourable,
Vouchsafe me, though a queen, a subject's right,
And let me know for what offence I perish.
Cyp. For thine adulterate and monstrous lust,
Shameful and gross, and most unsufferable.
[Pg 195]
Queen. Who doth accuse us?
Cyp. Ourself and our own soul, that have beheld
Your vile and most lascivious passages.[225]
Mar. O, that my tongue would not betray my knowledge!
Then would I amaze them all with mine assertions.
Madam, challenge the law. [Whispers.
Queen. My gracious lord, since no desert in me
Can merit your belief, nor that your eye
Can rightly judge my pure complexion:
Yet as your handmaid let me beg the right,
Due unto wretches from our country's laws.
Cyp. The tenor of the law you do demand?
Queen. That in the case of slander, where the proof
Proceeds as much from envy as from truth,
We are allow'd our champions to defend
Our innocence with a well-ordered sword.
Cyp. I look'd for this objection, and allow it;
Nor am I unprovided for your best
And strongest hope in any victory:
Lords, attend in my champion.

Here the noble-men go forth, and bring in the Duke of Epire like a combatant.

Queen. Will you, my lord, approve the king's assertion?
Epire. Madam, although against the nature of my spirit,
And my first duty bound to your allegiance,
Yet now compell'd by duty and by truth,
I must of force become your opposite.
Queen. Thou art no true Italian, nor true gentleman,
Thus to confound the glory of thy judgment.
Hath not that arm which now is arm'd against me—
[Pg 196] That valour, spirit, judgment, and that worth,
Which only makes you worthy—stood t' approve
More than myself will challenge to my virtues?
And are you now basely turn'd retrograde?
Well, I perceive there's nought in you but spleen
And time's observance, still to hold the best—
Still I demand the law.
Cyp. And you shall have it in the amplest manner.
Sound, cornets.

Here the cornets sound thrice, and at the third sound enters Philocles, disguised like a combatant.

Flo. There is a combatant on the defendant's part;
Your majesty's pleasure?
Cyp. Give him his oath according to the laws.
Flo. Are the fair ends of this your warlike posture
To prove the innocence of these two condemn'd?
So help you Jove!
Phil. They are.
Cyp. Then give the warlike signal to the fight.

Here the combat being fought, Philocles overcomes the Duke.

Phil. Thou art my slave, either confess or die.
Epire. Didst thou speak true, I would not sound a word
To save the world from cinders; yet that thou may'st
With more resolv'd fury murder me,
[Pg 197] This I confess: 'twas I that only stirr'd,
Out of strong falsehood's hate and jealousy,
The king's eternal wrath, and made him think
Untruths, that even untruth would not suggest:
And all my malice sprung from that Prince Philocles.
Phil. No, 'twas from me, that still am Philocles.
Cyp. My Philocles, my queen! O, double pardon me,
My jealousy, his envy, and your virtues,
Are sprung from such impatient contraries,
I cannot reconcile them; yet, O, pardon me:
My faith in life shall make you recompense.
For thee, rare Mariana, thou hast wrought
A work of noble constant magnitude.
As for this monster, this my tempting devil,
Whose forfeit life is witness to his shame,
I give his life and fortunes to the queen,
She, whom his malice would have brought to death,
Shall now be judge and juror of his breath.
Mar. In which commission, madam, let it be enroll'd,
He is my brother and my next[226] of blood.
Queen. And only that is charter for his life—
Live, envious lord, more envious than thou'rt great,
Live to lament thy worst of wretchedness,
Live to repent, since this I certain know,
Thine own gall'd conscience will be thy worst woe.

Enter a guard of Watchmen with Alphonso.

1st Watchman. Come, bring away, thrust him forward, though favour and a great purse were against him.

Cyp. How now, what tumult have we th[Pg 198]ere?

2d Watch. An't please your majesty, we have brought you here a slip,[227] a piece of false coin: one that is neither stamped with true coin for his excuse, nor with good clothes for his redemption.

Cyp. Alphonso! in the name of madness, how comes this metamorphosis? Nay, stand forth, discourse: if thou dost lie, thou art mine enemy.

Mech. Nay more, if thou stick in any bog, and by a trick seek to wind out, I will discover you.

Alph. This conjuration (believe it, my lord), shall make me leap out of all fetters, and briefly thus: I have long time loved the fair wife of the orator, and, having no opportunity but his absence at the senate, I took that season; he, out of negligence, omitting his papers, returned unseasonably, found me [clothed] insufficiently, and forced to take sanctuary strangely, which, however, I purchased; yet he found mine apparel, and mistaken in the tenure, reached it presently, put it on immediately; and now in the senate-house is pleading in it seriously.

Cyp. I cannot blame him, you having got so much within his inward garment.

Mech. Of all which, my lord, I being, in a strict conceit, a bawdy witness, and having, both from the orator's scorns and delays received many indignities, thought by this discovery to cry quittance with my proud enemy.

Cyp. And you have amply done it; yet this jest
So perfect doth deserve more memory.
Florio, go bid the orator attend us presently.

[Exit Florio.

And now to you, Drap and Velours, I did
Refer you long since to the orator.
Yet I note your attention: come, there is
Some too close-fisted hardness in your hearts:
You gripe too hard, your bribes will not disburse:
Come, tell me truly, as you look for heaven,
What must you pay for your despatches?
Drap and Vel. A thousand crowns we oft'er'd willingly.
[Pg 199]
Cyp. And will your suit avail with such disbursement?
Drap and Vel. It will, and we most richly satisfied.
Cyp. We'll see the business perfected.
Drap and Vel. With all our hearts, and be full-joy'd thereat;
Here are the crowns.
Cyp. You shall have your despatches.

Enter Prate and Florio.

See, here comes the orator. Prate, come hither;
These gentlemen, whom long since I referr'd
To your despatches, are yet unsatisfied.
Prate. Alas! my lord, the state——
Cyp. ——I know, employs you, yet there's many minutes
May give your best cares leisure; come, there is
Some odd disburse, some bribe, some gratulance,
Which makes you lock up leisure; come, tell true,
What bribe must they give, what is your utmost price?
Prate. But five hundred crowns, of my best conscience.
Cyp. Tut, it is nothing, hold, here's the coin,
And let them have their patents presently:
Or look to lose both place and sovereignty.
Prate. Legions of devils haunt their diligence!
[Pg 200]
Cyp. Fie! I would not have a man of your high place,
Or for respect of wealth or base observance,
In smallest things thus to neglect your credit,
Why, look you, my lords,
This orator is not like others of his rank,
Who from their garish[228] and fantastic humours
Go through the streets, spotted with peacock's plumes,
Wearing all colours, laces, broideries,
Satins and silks, so antic-garnished,
That when their gowns are off, you cannot find
In Italy a master shap'd more nice.
But this fellow Prate here's of another sort,
Cloth'd like himself, demure and soberly:
Nay, you shall see him for a precedent. [Ungowns the orator.
Passion of mine eyesight' who have we here?
This is Alphonso, there's the orator.
Prate. Heart of impatience, I am then a cuckold!
[Pg 201] A scorn, a byword, and a laughing-stock.
What, is my wife turn'd whore? and must her depth
Be sounded by the plumbs[229] of foreigners?
Well, the revenge that I will take for this my shame
Shall make all whores hereafter dread my name.
Cyp. Not for thy life, not for my love, I charge thee:
Thy wife is honest, chaste, and virtuous:
Only this wanton lord with lust and coin
Hath much attempted, but prevail'd in nought.
For proof, see here the crowns 'he would have given
To have purchas'd her bed's honour, but she would not;
Which I bestow on you for recompense.
Therefore, as thou dost hope my grace to find,
So to thy wife be loving, gentle, kind.
Prate. Your majesty may mould me to your pleasure.
Cyp. I thank you, and will quittance it.
Now, Mechant, we restore you to your lands,
Your honours and near places, next ourself:
To all that feel distaste in any sore,
We give to cure them all our grace and favour.
Thus storms bring gentle sunshine; and our hands
May, after shipwreck, bring us to safe lands.



[222] Foolish.

[223] Thy tears [Pg 202]are of the spears of crocodiles, are the words in both the quartos; probably the amendment of Mr Reed is correct.—Collier.

[224] [Old copies, My dearest dread, my best best.]

[225] i.e., What hath passed between you. See notes of Dr Johnson and Mr Steevens to "All's Well that Ends Well," act i. sc. 1.

[226] [Old copies, best.]

[227] Again, in Day's "Law Tricks," 1608, act iii.—

"A gilded slip carries as fair a show
As perfect gold, gilt honour may do so.
But put your slip to trial, the slight gold
Is soon rubb'd of."

[228] [Edits., gainish.]

[229] i.e., The plummets.—Steevens.



(1.) The Merry Deuill of Edmonton. As it hath beene sundry times Acted, by his Maiesties Seruants at the Globe on the banke-side. London Printed by Henry Ballard for Arthur Iohnson, dwelling at the signe of the White-horse in Paules Churchyard, ouer against the great North doore of Paules. 1608. 4o.

[Pg 203]

(2.) The Merry Devill of Edmonton. As it hath bene sundry times Acted by his Maiesties Seruants at the Globe on the Bancke side. London, Printed by Thomas Creede for Arthur Iohnson, dwelling &c. 1612. 4o.

(3.) The Merry Divel of Edmonton. As it hath beene sundry times acted by his Maiesties Seruants, at the Globe on the Banke-side. At London. Printed by G. Eld, for Arthur Iohnson, dwelling at the signe of the white-Horse in Paules Churchyard, ouer against the great North Doore of Paules. 1617. 4o.

(4.) The Merry Deuill of Edmonton. As it hath been sundry times Acted by his Maiesties Seruants, at the Globe, on the Banke-side. London printed by A.M. for Francis Falkner, and are to be sold at his Shoppe neere vnto S. Margarites-hill, in Southwarke. 1626. 4o.

(5.) The Merry Deuill of Edmonton. As it hath been sundry times Acted by his Maiesties Seruants, at the [Pg 204]Globe, on the Bancke-side. London. Printed by T.P. for Francis Falkner, and are to be sold at his Shoppe neere vnto S. Margarites-hill, in Southwarke. 1631. 4o.

(6.) The Merry Devil of Edmonton.... London. Printed for William Gilbertson, and are to be sold at his Shop, at the Sign of the Bible, in Giltspur-street, without Newgate, 1655. 4o.[230]


[This play is anonymous, although some of our earlier antiquaries, such as Coxeter and Oldys, have attribu[Pg 205]ted it to this or that author without the slightest authority. It was originally licensed by Sir George Buc to Joseph Hunt and Thomas Archer on the 22d October 1607. As neither of these stationers'[231] names is to the first edition, there was probably a transfer, or possibly an earlier impression than any now known. This drama was suggested by, rather than founded on, the traditional account handed down in print of Peter Fabel, popularly known as the "Merry Devil of Edmonton." In 1631 Thomas Brewer published a prose tract on the same subject.[232] "The Merry Devil of Edmonton" had been acted before 1608], being mentioned in the "Blacke Booke" by T.M., 1604. "Give him leave to see 'The Merry Devil of Edmunton, or A Woman kill'd with Kindness;'" and that it was a favourite performance, may be concluded from the following lines in Ben Jonson's Prologue to "The Devil is an Ass"—

"If you'll come
To see new plays, pray you afford us room,
And show this but the game face you have done
[Pg 206] Your dear delight, The Devil of Edmonton. "[233]

A MS. note in Sir W. Tite's catalogue may be copied here with advantage:—"This is a dear little drama In manner it is broad and real; in situation, full of interest. The action, which is very bustling, is propelled merrily on by characters which are varied without end, and touched, the most inconsiderable of them, by strong individuality. It has been ascribed to Shakespeare, and it reminds one constantly of the Merry Wives: it is decidedly in his manner, and though there is nothing that shows his greatest strength, there is certainly nothing unworthy of him. We read it with gratification, and we rise from it with feelings of kindness towards human nature. How delightful, after the filth and atrocity which form the groundwork of so many contemporary publications!"

Hazlitt also speaks very highly of this play,[234] which he describes as "perhaps the first example of sentimental comedy we have." He adds: "'The Merry Devil of Edmonton,' which has been sometimes attributed to Shakespeare, is assuredly not unworthy of him. It is more likely, however, both from the style and subject-matter, to have been Heywood's than any other person's.... Romantic, sweet, tender, it expresses the feelings of honour, of love, and friendship in their utmost delicacy, enthusiasm, and purity."


[230] [In the centre is a large woodcut of a man on horseback, with two others looking at him, alluding probably to the incident regarding the sign in the latter end of the play.—Collier.]

[231] According to the Stationer's Registers (as quoted in Chalmer's "Supp. Apol." 201), this play was licensed by Sir George Buc, Master of the Revels, on the 22d October 1607.—Gilchrist.

[232] [See Hazlitt's "Handbook," 1867, pp. 61, 191, 471. Also Warton's "History of Poetry," by Hazlitt, iv. 76, 77.]

[233] It went through various editions (the titles of which are inserted above) in 1608, [1612], 1617, 1626, 1631, and 1655. The first of these is the most rare, and was not long since sold by auction for eight guineas. Mr Reed states that, the last edition of 1655 is "unworthy of any notice from the number of errors it contains;" but these errors are chiefly literal, and some corrections of considerable importance are made in it, of which Mr Reed availed himself without acknowledgment.

It seems to have been revived before 1692, but at what precise date is not known. The following cast of parts is written on the back of a copy of the edition of 1655, in the Garrick Collection, in a hand no doubt of the time when it was again brought upon the stage:—

Sir Arthur ClareMr Sandford.
Sir R. MounchenseyMr Freeman.
Sir R. JerninghamMr Betterton.
Henry ClareMr Hudgson.
Raymond MounchenseyMr Mountfort.
Frank JerninghamMr Alexander.
Sir JohnMr Noakes.
BanksMr Bright.
SmugMr Underhill.
BilboMr Bower.
HostMr Leigh.
BrianMr Bowman.
FabelMr Kingston.
Lady ClareMrs Leigh.
MillicentMrs Bracegirdle.
AbbessMrs Cory.


[234] ["Dramatic Literature of the Age of Elizabeth," 1820, p.[Pg 207] 221.]


[Pg 208]



Your silence and attention, worthy friends,
That your free spirits may with more pleasing sense
Relish the life of this our active scene:
To which intent, to calm this murmuring breath,
We ring this round with our invoking spells;
If that your list'ning ears be yet prepar'd
To entertain the subject of our play,
Lend us your patience.
'Tis Peter Fabel,[235] a renowned scholar,
Whose fame hath still been hitherto forgot
By all the writers of this latter age.
In Middlesex his birth and his abode:
Not full seven miles from this great famous city;
That, for his fame in sleights and magic won,
Was call'd the merry fiend of Edmonton.
If any here make doubt of such a name,
In Edmonton yet fresh unto this day,
Fix'd in the wall of that old ancient church,
His monument remaineth to be seen:
His memory yet in the mouths of men,[236]
That whil'st he liv'd he could deceive the devil.
Imagine now, that whilst he is retir'd
From Cambridge back unto his native home,
Suppose the silent sable-visag'd night
Casts her black curtain over all the world;
And whilst he sleeps within his silent bed,
Toil'd with the studies of the passed day,
The very time and hour wherein that spirit,
[Pg 209] That many years attended his command,
And oftentimes 'twixt Cambridge and that town
Had in a minute borne him through the air,
By composition 'twixt the fiend and him,
Comes now to claim the scholar for his due. [Draws the curtain.
Behold him here laid on his restless couch!
His fatal chime prepared at his head,
His chamber guarded with these sable sleights,
And by him stands that necromantic chair,
In which he makes his direful invocations,
And binds the fiends that shall obey his will.
Sit with a pleased eye, until you know
The comic end of our sad tragic show.

The chime goes, in which time Fabel is oft seen to stare about him, and hold up his hands.

Fab. What means the tolling of this fatal chime?
O, what a trembling horror strikes my heart!
My stiffen'd hair stands upright on my head,
As do the bristles of a porcupine.[237]

Enter Coreb, a spirit.

Cor. Fabel, awake! for[238] I will bear thee hence
Headlong to hell.
[Pg 210]
Fab. Ha, ha! why dost thou wake me?
Coreb, is it thou?
Cor. Tis I.
Fab. I know thee well; I hear the watchful dogs
With hollow howling tell of thy approach:
The lights burn dim, affrighted with thy presence;
And this distemper'd and tempestuous night
Tells me the air is troubled with some devil.
Cor. Come, art thou ready?
Fab. Whither, or to what?
Cor. Why, scholar, this the hour my date expires:[239]
I must depart, and come to claim my due.
Fab. Ha! what is thy due?
Cor. Fabel, thyself.
Fab. O, let not darkness hear thee speak that word,
Lest that with force it hurry hence amain,
And leave the world to look upon my woe:
Yet overwhelm me with this globe of earth,
And let a little sparrow with her bill
Take but so much as she can bear away,
That, every day thus losing of my load,
I may again in time yet hope to rise.
Cor. Didst thou not write thy name with thine own blood?
And drew'st the formal deed 'twixt thee and me?
And is it not recorded now in hell?
Fab. Why com'st thou in this stern and horrid shape:
Not in familiar sort, as thou wast wont?
Cor. Because the date of thy command is out,
And I am master of thy skill and thee.
Fab. Coreb, thou angry and impatient spirit,
I have earnest business for a private friend:
Reserve me, spirit, until some farther time.
Cor. I will not for the mines of all the earth.
[Pg 211]
Fab. Then let me rise, and ere I leave the world,
Despatch[240] some business that I have to do;
And in meantime repose thee in that chair.
Cor. Fabel, I will.

[Sits down in the necromantic chair.

Fab. O, that this soul, that cost so dear a price
As the dear precious blood of her Redeemer,
Inspir'd with knowledge, should by that alone,
Which makes a man so mean unto the powers,
Ev'n lead him down into the depth of hell;
When men in their own pride strive to know more
Than man should know!
For this alone God cast the angels down.
The infinity of arts is like a sea,
Into which when man will take in hand to sail
Farther than reason (which should be his pilot)
Hath skill to guide him—losing once his compass,
He falleth to such deep and dangerous whirlpools,
As he doth lose the very sight of heaven:
The more he strives to come to quiet harbour,
The farther still he finds himself from land.
Man, striving still to find the depth of evil—
Seeking to be a god, becomes a devil.
Cor. Come, Fabel, hast thou done?
Fab. Yes, yes, come hither.
Cor. Fabel, I cannot.
Fab. Cannot! what ails your hollowness?
Cor. Good Fabel, help me.
Fab. Alas! where lies your grief?—Some aqua vitæ!
The devil's very sick, I fear he'll die;
For he looks very ill.
Cor. Dar'st thou deride the minister of darkness?
In Lucifer's great name, Coreb conjures thee
To set him free.
[Pg 212]
Fab. I will not for the mines of all the earth,
Unless thou give me liberty to see
Seven years more, before thou seize on me.
Cor. Fabel, I give it thee.
Fab. Swear, damned fiend.
Cor. Unbind me, and by hell I will not touch thee,
Till seven years from this hour be full expir'd.
Fab. Enough, come out.
Cor. A vengeance take thy art!
Live and convert all piety to evil:
Never did man thus overreach the devil.
No time on earth, like Phaetonic flames,
Can have perpetual being. I'll return
To my infernal mansion: but be sure,
Thy seven years done, no trick shall make me tarry;
But, Coreb, thou to hell shalt Fabel carry.
Fab. Then thus between us two this variance ends;
Thou to thy fellow-fiends, I to my friends. [Exeunt.

[Pg 213]

Enter Sir Arthur Clare, Dorcas his lady, Millicent his daughter, young Harry Clare; the men booted, the gentlewomen in cloaks and safeguards;[241] Blague, the merry host of the George, comes in with them.

Host. Welcome, good knight, to the George at Waltham: my freehold, my tenements, goods and chattels. Madam, here's a room is[242] the very Homer and Iliads of a lodging, it hath none of the four elements in it; I built it out of the centre, and I drink ne'er the less sack. Welcome, my little waste of maidenheads: what? I serve the good Duke of Norfolk.[243]

Clare. God-a-mercy, my good host Blague!
Thou hast a good seat here.

Host. 'Tis correspondent or so: there's not a Tartarian[244] nor a carrier shall breathe upon your geldings: they have villanous rank feet, the rogues, and they shall not sweat in my linen. Knights and lords, too, have been drunk in my [Pg 214]house, I thank the Destinies.

H. Clare. Prythee, good sinful innkeeper, will that corruption, thine ostler, to look well to my gelding. Ha! a pox of these rushes.[245]

Host. You, St Denis, your gelding shall walk without doors, and cool his feet for his master's sake. By the body of Saint George, I have an excellent intellect to go steal some venison: now, when wast thou in the forest?

H. Clare. Away, you stale mess of white broth! Come hither, sister, let me help you.

Clare. Mine host, is not Sir Richard Mounchensey come yet, according to our appointment, when we last dined here?

Host. The knight's not yet apparent. Marry, here's a forerunner that summons a parley, and, faith, he'll be here top and top-gallant presently.

Clare. 'Tis well; good mine host, go down and see breakfast be provided.

Host. Knight, thy breath hath the force of a woman, it takes me down; I am for the baser element of the kitchen: I retire like a valiant soldier, face point-blank to the foeman, or, like a courtier, that must not show his prince his posteriors: vanish to know my canvasadoes and my interrogatories, for I serve the good Duke of Norfolk. [Exit.

Clare. How doth my lady? are you not weary, madam?
Come hither, I must talk in private with you;
My daughter Millicent must not overhear. [Speaking low.
[Pg 215]
Mil. Ay, whispering? pray God it tend to my good!
Strange fear assails my heart, usurps my blood.


Clare. You know our meeting with the knight Mounchensey
Is to assure our daughter to his heir.
Dor. 'Tis without question. [Speaking low.
Clare. Two tedious winters have pass'd o'er, since first
These couple lov'd each other, and in passion
Glued first their naked hands with youthful moisture—
Just so long, on my knowledge.
Dor. And what of this?
Clare. This morning should my daughter lose her name,
And to Mounchensey's house convey our arms,
Quartered within his 'scutcheon: the affiance made
'Twixt him and her this morning should be seal'd.
[Pg 216]
Dor. I know it should.
Clare. But there are crosses,[246] wife; here's one in Waltham,
Another at the Abbey, and a third
At Cheston;[247] and it is ominous to pass
Any of these without a pater-noster.
Crosses of love still thwart this marriage,
Whilst that we two (like spirits) walk in night
About those stony and hard-hearted plots.
Mil. O God! what means my father? [Aside.
Clare. For look you, wife, the riotous old knight
Hath overrun his annual revenue,
In keeping jolly Christmas all the year:
The nostrils of his chimneys are still stuff'd
With smoke, more chargeable than cane-tobacco;
His hawks devour his fattest hogs,[248] whilst Simple,
His leanest cur, eats his hounds' carrion.
Besides, I heard of late his younger brother,
A Turkey merchant, hath sore[249] suck'd the knight,
By means of some great losses on the sea;
That (you conceive me), before God, all's naught,
His seat is weak: thus, each thing rightly scann'd,
You'll see a flight, wife, shortly of his land.
Mil. Treason to my heart's truest sovereign:
How soon is love smothered in foggy gain! [Aside.
Dor. But how shall we prevent this dangerous match?
Clare. I have a plot, a trick; and this it is.
Under this colour I'll break off the match—
I'll tell the knight, that now my mind is chang'd
For marrying of my daughter; for I intend
To send her unto Cheston nunnery.[250]
Mil. O me accurs'd! [Aside.
Clare. There to become a most religious nun.
Mil. I'll first be buried quick. [Aside.
Clare. To spend her beauty in most private prayers.
Mil. I'll sooner be a sinner in forsaking
Mother and father. [Aside.
Clare. How dost like my plot?
[Pg 217]
Dor. Exceeding well: but is it your intent
She shall continue there?
Clare. Continue there? ha, ha! that were a jest:
You know a virgin may continue there
A twelvemonth and a day on trial.
There shall my daughter sojourn some three months,
And in meantime I'll compass a fair match
'Twixt youthful Jerningham, the lusty heir
Of Sir Ralph Jerningham, dwelling in the forest.
I think they'll both come hither with Mounchensey.
Dor. Your care argues the love your bear our child;
I will subscribe to anything you'll have me.

[Exeunt Sir Arthur and Dorcas.[251]

Mil. You will subscribe to it?—good, good,[252] 'tis well;
Love hath two chairs of state, heaven and hell.
My dear Mounchensey, thou my death shalt rue,
Ere to thy heart Millicent prove untrue. [Exit.

[Pg 218]

Enter Blague.

Host. Ostlers, you knaves and commanders, take the horses of the knights and competitors: your honourable hulks have put into harbour, they'll take in fresh water here, and I have provided clean chamber-pots. Via![253] they come.

Enter Sir Richard Mounchensey, Sir Ralph Jerningham, young Frank Jerningham, Raymond Mounchensey, Peter Fabel, and Bilbo.

Host. The destinies be most neat chamberlains to these swaggering puritans, knights of the subsidy.

Sir Rich. God-a-mercy, good mine host.

Sir Ralph. Thanks, good host Blague.

Host. Room for my case of pistols, that have Greek and Latin bullets in them: let me cling to your flanks, my nimble giberalters, and blow wind in your calves to make them swell bigger. Ha! I'll caper in mine own fee-simple. Away with punctilios and orthography! I serve the good Duke of Norfolk.

Bil. Tityre, tu patulæ recubans sub tegmine fagi.[254] Truly, mine host, Bilbo, though he be somewhat out of fashion, will be your only blade[255] still; I [Pg 219]have a villainous sharp stomach to slice a breakfast.

Host. Thou shalt have it without any more discontinuance, release, or attournment. What! we know our terms of hunting and the sea-card.

Bil. And do you serve the good Duke of Norfolk still?

Host. Still and still, and still, my soldier of Saint Quintin's. Come follow me. I have Charles's-wain[256] below in a butt of sack: 'twill[257] glister like your crab-fish.

Bil. You have fine scholar-like terms: your Cooper's Dictionary[258] is your only book to study in a cellar, a man shall find very strange words in it. Come, my host, let's serve the good Duke of Norfolk.

Host. And still, and still, and still, my boy, I'll serve the good Duke of Norfolk.

Enter Sir Arthur Clare, Harry Clare, and Millicent.[259]

Sir Ralph. Good Sir Arthur Clare!
Clare. What gentleman is that? I know him not.
Sir Rich. 'Tis Master Fabel, sir, a Cambridge scholar,
My son's dear friend.
Clare. Sir, I entreat you know me.
Fab. Command me, sir, I am affected to you
For your Mounchensey's sake.
Clare. Alas! for him,
I not respect whether he sink or swim! [Aside.
A word in private, Sir Ralph Jerningham.
Ray. Methinks your father looketh strangely on me:
Say, love, why are you sad?
Mil. I am not, sweet;
Passion is strong, when woe with woe doth meet.
[Pg 220]
Clare. Shall's in to breakfast? After, we'll conclude
The cause of this our coming: in and feed,
And let that usher a more serious deed. [Exit.
Mil. Whilst you desire his grief, my heart shall bleed. [Exit.
Y. Clare. Raymond Mounchensey, come, be frolic, friend;
This is the day thou hast expected long.
Ray. Pray God, dear Harry Clare, it prove so happy!
Y. Clare. There's nought can alter it; be merry, lad.
Fab. There's nought shall alter it; be lively, Raymond:
Stand any opposition 'gainst thy hope,
Art shall confront it with her largest scope.

[Exeunt, save Fabel.

Peter Fabel solus.

Fab. Good old Mounchensey, is thy hap so ill,
That for thy bounty and thy royal parts
Thy kind alliance should be held in scorn,
And after all these promises, my[260] Clare,
Refuse to give his daughter to thy son,
Only because thy revenues cannot reach
To make her dowage of so rich a jointure
As can the heir of wealthy Jerningham?
[Pg 221] And therefore is the false fox now in hand
To strike a match betwixt her and the other;
And the old grey-beards now are close together,
Plotting it in the garden. Is't even so?
Raymond Mounchensey, boy, have thou and I
Thus long at Cambridge read the liberal arts,
The metaphysics, magic, and those parts
Of the most secret deep philosophy?
Have I so many melancholy nights
Watch'd on the top of Peter-house highest tower,
And come we back unto our native home,
For want of skill to lose the wench thou lov'st?
I'll first hang Enfield[261] in such rings of mist
As never rose from any dampish fen:
I'll make the brined sea to rise at Ware,
And drown the marshes unto Stratford Bridge:
I'll drive the deer from Waltham in their walks,
And scatter them (like sheep) in every field.
We may perhaps be cross'd; but, if we be,
He shall cross the devil, that but crosses me.

Enter Raymond and Young Jerningham.

But here comes Raymond, disconsolate and sad;
And here's the gallant that must have the wench.
Jer. I prythee, Raymond, leave these solemn dumps:
Revive thy spirits. Thou, that before hast been
More watchful than the day-proclaiming cock:
As sportive as a kid, as frank and merry
As mirth herself!
If aught in me may thy content procure,
It is thine own, thou mayst thyself assure.
Ray. Ha! Jerningham, if any but thyself
Had spoke that word, it would have come as cold
As the bleak northern winds upon the face
[Pg 222] Of winter. From thee they have some power
Upon my blood; yet being from thee,
Had but that hollow sound come from the lips
Of any living man, it might have won
The credit of mine ear; from thee it cannot.
Jer. If I understand thee, I am a villain:
What! dost thou speak in parables to thy friend?

Enter Young Clare.

Come, boy, and make me this same groaning love,
Troubled with stitches and the cough o' th' lungs,
That wept his eyes out, when he was a child,
And ever since hath shot at hoodman-blind:[262]
Make her leap, caper, jerk, and laugh, and sing,
And play me horse tricks.
Make Cupid wanton as his mother's dove;
But in this sort, boy, I would have thee love.
Fab. Why, how now, madcap? what, my lusty Frank,
So near a wife, and will not tell your friend?
But you will to this gear in hugger-mugger:[263]
Art thou turn'd miser, rascal, in thy loves?

Jer. Who, I? s'blood, what should all you see in me, that I should look like a married man, ha? [Pg 223]Am I bald? Are my legs too little for my hose? If I feel anything in my forehead, I am a villain. Do I wear a nightcap? do I bend in the hams? what dost thou see in me, that I should be towards marriage, ha?

Y. Clare. What, thou married? let me look upon thee; rogue, who has given this out of thee? how cam'st thou into this ill-name? what company hast thou been in, rascal?

Fab. You are the man, sir, must have Millicent,
The match is making in the garden now;
Her jointure is agreed on, and the old men,
Your fathers, mean to launch their busy bags;[264]
But in the meantime to thrust Mounchensey off.
For colour of this new-intended match,
Fair Millicent to Cheston must be sent,
To take the approbation for a nun.
Ne'er look upon me, lad: the match is done.
Jer. Raymond Mounchensey, now I touch thy grief
With the true feeling of a zealous friend.
And as for fair and beauteous Millicent,
With my vain breath I will not seek to slubber[265]
Her angel-like perfections: but thou know'st
That Essex hath the saint that I adore:
Where-e'er didst meet me, that we two were jovial,
But like a wag thou hast not laugh'd at me,
And with regardless jesting mock'd my love?
How[266] many a sad and weary summer night
My sighs have drunk the dew from off the earth,
And I have taught the nightingale to wake,
And from the meadows sprung the early lark
An hour before she should have list to sing:
I have loaded the poor minutes with my moans,
[Pg 224] That I have made the heavy slow-pac'd hours
To hang like heavy clogs upon the day.
But, dear Mouncheusey, had not my affection
Seiz'd on the beauty of another dame,
Before I'd wrong the chase, and leave the love
Of one so worthy and so true a friend,
I will abjure both beauty and her sight,
And will in love become a counterfeit.
Moun. Dear Jerningham, thou hast begot my life,
And from the mouth of hell, where now I sat,
I feel my spirit rebound against the stars,
Thou hast conquer'd me, dear friend, in my free soul,
There time nor death can by their power control.
Fab. Frank Jerningham, thou art a gallant boy;
And were he not my pupil, I would say
He were as fine a metall'd gentleman,
Of as free spirit and of as fine a temper,
As is in England; and he is a man
That very richly may deserve thy love.
But, noble Clare, this while of our discourse,
What may Mounchensey's honour to thyself
Exact upon the measure of thy grace?
Y. Clare. Raymond Mounchensey, I would have thee know,
He does not breathe this air, whose love I cherish,
And whose soul I love more than Mounchensey's:
Nor ever in my life did see the man
Whom, for his wit and many virtuous parts,
I think more worthy of my sister's love.
But since the matter grows unto this pass,
[Pg 225] I must not seem to cross my father's will;
But when thou list to visit her by night,
My horse is saddled, and the stable door
Stands ready for thee; use them at thy pleasure.
In honest marriage wed her frankly, boy,
And if thou gett'st her, lad, God give thee joy.
Moun. Then, care away! let fate my fall pretend,
Back'd with the favours of so true a friend!
Fab. Let us alone, to bustle for the set;
For age and craft with wit and art have met.
I'll make my spirits to dance such nightly jigs
Along the way 'twixt this and Tot'nam Cross,
The carriers' jades shall cast their heavy packs,
And the strong hedges scarce shall keep them in:
The milkmaids' cuts[267] shall turn the wenches off,
And lay their dossers[268] tumbling in the dust:
The frank and merry London 'prentices,
That come for cream and lusty country cheer,
Shall lose their way; and, scrambling in the ditches
All night shall whoop and hallo, cry and call,
Yet none to other find the way at all.
Moun. Pursue the project, scholar: what we can do
To help endeavour, join our lives thereto. [Exeunt.

Enter Banks, Sir John, and Smug.

[Pg 226]

Banks. Take me with you,[269] good Sir John:[270] a plague on thee, Smug, and thou touchest liquor, thou art foundered straight. What! are your brains always watermills? must they ever run round?

Smug. Banks, your ale is as a Philistine fox; nouns! there's fire i' th' tail on't; you are a rogue to charge us with mugs i' th' rearward; a plague of this wind! O, it tickles our catastrophe![271]

Sir John. Neighbour Banks of Waltham, and goodman Smug, the honest smith of Edmonton, as I dwell betwixt you both at Enfield, I know the taste of both your ale-houses; they are good both, smart both. Hem! grass and hay! we are all mortal; let's live till we die, and be merry; and there's an end.

Banks. Well said, Sir John, you are of the same humour still; and doth the water run the same way still, boy?

Smug. Vulcan was a rogue to him; Sir John, lock, lock, lock fast, Sir John; so, Sir John. I'll one' of these years, when it shall please the goddesses and the destinies, be drunk in your company; that's all now, and God send us health. Shall I swear I love you?

Sir John. No oaths, no oaths, good neighbour Smug. We'll wet our lips together, and hug; Carouse in private, and elevate the heart, and the liver, and the lights—and the lights, mark you me—within us: for, hem! grass and hay! we are all mortal; let's live till we die, and be merry; and there's an end.

Banks. But to our former motion about stealing some venison; whither go we?

Sir John. Into the forest, neighbour Banks: into Brian's walk, the mad-keeper.

Smug. Blood! I'll tickle your keeper.

Banks. I' faith, thou art always drunk when we [Pg 227]have need of thee.

Smug. Need of me! heart! you shall have need of me always, while there is iron in an anvil.

Banks. Master Parson, may the smith go (think you), being in this taking?

Smug. Go! I'll go, in spite of all the bells in Waltham.

Sir John. The question is good, neighbour Banks—let me see: the moon shines to-night,—there's not a narrow bridge betwixt this and the forest,—his brain may be settled ere night: he may go, he may go, neighbour Banks. Now we want none but the company of mine host Blague, of the George at Waltham: if he were here, our consort were full. Look where comes my good host, the Duke of Norfolk's man! And how? and how? Ahem! grass and hay! we are not yet mortal; let us live till we die, and be merry; and there's an end.

Enter Host.

Host. Ha! my Castilian dialogues; and art thou in breath still, boy? Miller, doth the match hold? Smith, I see by thy eyes thou hast been reading a little Geneva print: but wend[272] we merrily to the forest, to steal some of the king's deer? I'll meet you at the time appointed. Away, I have knights and colonels at my house, and must tend the Hungarians.[273] If we be scared in the forest, we'll meet in the church-porch at Enfield: is't correspondent?

Banks. 'Tis well; but how, if any of us should be taken?

[Pg 228]

Smug. He shall have ransom, by my sword.

Host. Tush, the knave keepers are my bona socias[274] and my pensioners. Nine o'clock! Be valiant, my little Gogmagogs; I'll fence with all the justices in Hertfordshire. I'll have a buck, till I die; I'll slay a doe, while I live. Hold your bow straight and steady: I serve the good Duke of Norfolk.

Smug. O rare! who-ho-ho, boy!

Sir John. Peace, neighbour Smug. You see this boor, a boor of the country, an illiterate boor, and yet the citizen of good-fellows. Come, let's provide: ahem! grass and hay! we are not yet all mortal; we'll live till we die, and be merry; and there's an end. Come, Smug.

Smug. Good night, Waltham—who-ho-ho, boy! [Exeunt.

Enter the Knights and Gentlemen from breakfast again.

O. Moun. Nor I for thee, Clare, not of this:
What! hast thou fed me all this while with shalls[275]
And com'st to tell me now, thou lik'st it not?
Clare. I do not hold thy offer competent:
[Pg 229] Nor do I like the assurance of thy land,
The title is so brangled with thy debts.
O. Moun. Too good for thee: and, knight, thou know'st it well,
I fawn'd not on thee for thy goods, not I,
'Twas thine own motion; that thy wife doth know.
L. Clare. Husband, it was so; he lies not in that.
Clare. Hold thy chat, quean.
O. Moun. To which I hearkened willingly, and the rather,
Because I was persuaded it proceeded
From love thou bor'st to me and to my boy;
And gav'st him free access unto thy house.
Where he hath not behav'd him to thy child,
But as befits a gentleman to do:
Nor is my poor distressed state so low,
That I'll shut up my doors, I warrant thee.
Clare. Let it suffice, Mounchensey. I mislike it;
Nor think thy son a match fit for my child.
O. Moun. I tell thee, Clare, his blood is good and clear,
As the best drop that panteth in thy veins:
But for this maid, thy fair and virtuous child,
She is no more disparag'd by thy baseness,
Than the most orient and most[276] precious jewel,
Which still retains his lustre and his beauty.
Although a slave were owner of the same.
Clare. She is the last is left me to bestow;
And her I mean to dedicate to God.
O. Moun. You do, sir?
Clare. Sir, sir, I do; she is mine own.
[Pg 230]
O. Moun. And pity she is so:
Damnation dog thee and thy wretched pelf! [Aside.
Clare. Not thou, Mounchensey, shalt bestow my child.
O. Moun. Neither shall'st[277] thou bestow her where thou meanest.
Clare. What wilt thou do?
O. Moun. No matter, let that be;
I will do that, perhaps, shall anger thee:
Thou hast wrong'd my love, and, by God's blessed angel,
Thou shalt well know it.
Clare. Tut, brave not me.
O. Moun. Brave thee, base churl! were't not for manhood sake—
I say no more, but that there be some by
Whose blood is hotter than ours is,
Which, being stirr'd might make us both repent
This foolish meeting. But, Harry Clare,
Although thy father hath abus'd my friendship,
Yet I love thee—I do, my noble boy,
I do, i' faith.

L. Clare. Ay, do, do: fill all the world with talk of us, man; man, I never looked for better at your hands.

Fab. I hop'd your great experience and your years
Would have prov'd patience rather to your soul,
Than with this frantic and untamed passion
To whet their skeins;[278] and, but for that
I hope their friendships are too well confirm'd.
And their minds temper'd with more kindly heat,
Than for their forward parent's frowardness,
That they should break forth into public brawls.
Howe'er the rough hand of the untoward world
[Pg 231] Hath moulded your proceedings in this matter,
Yet I am sure the first intent was love:
Then since the first spring was so sweet and warm,
Let it die gently: ne'er kill it with scorn.
Ray. O, thou base world! how leprous is that soul,
That is once lim'd in that polluted mud!
O Sir Arthur! you have startled his free active spirit
With a too sharp spur for his mind to bear.
Have patience, sir; the remedy to woe
Is to leave that of force we must forego.
Mil. And I must take a twelvemonth's approbation,
That in the meantime this sole and private life
At the year's end may fashion me a wife.
But, sweet Mounchensey, ere this year be done,
Thou'st be a friar, if that I be a nun.
And, father, ere young Jerningham's I'll be.
I will turn mad to spite both him and thee. [Aside.
Clare. Wife, come to horse; and, huswife, make you ready:
For if I live, I swear by this good light,
I'll see you lodg'd in Cheston House to-night. [Exeunt.
O. Moun. Raymond, away; thou see'st how matters fall.
Churl, hell consume thee, and thy pelf and all!
Fab. Now, Master Clare, you see how matters fadge;[279]
Your Millicent must needs be made a nun.
[Pg 232] Well, sir, we are the men must ply the match:
Hold you your peace, and be a looker-on:
And send her unto Cheston, when[280] he will,
I'll send me fellows of a handful high
Into the cloisters, where the nuns frequent,
Shall make them skip like does about the dale;
And make the lady prioress of the house
To play at leap-frog naked in her smock,[281]
Until the merry wenches at their mass
Cry teehee, weehee;
And tickling these mad lasses in their flanks,
Shall sprawl and squeak, and pinch their fellow-nuns.
Be lively, boys, before the wench we lose,
I'll make the abbess wear the canon's hose. [Exeunt.

Enter Harry Clare, Frank Jerningham. Peter Fabel, and Millicent.

H. Clare. Spite now hath done her worst; sister, be patient.
Jer. Forewarn'd poor Raymond's company! O heaven!
When the composure of weak frailty meet[s]
Upon this mart of dirt, O, then weak love
Must in her own unhappiness be silent,
And wink on all deformities.
Mil. 'Tis well:
Where's Raymond, brother? Where's my dear Mounchensey?
Would we might weep together, and then part,
One[282] sighing parley would much ease my heart.
Fab. Sweet beauty, fold your sorrows in the thought
Of future reconcilement: let your tears
Show you a woman, but no[283] farther spent
Than from the eyes: for sweet experience says
That love is firm, that's flatter'd with delays.
[Pg 233]
Mil. Alas! sir, think you I shall e'er be his?
Fab. As sure as parting smiles on future bliss.
Yond comes my friend; see, he hath doated
So long upon your beauty, that your want
Will with a pale retirement waste his blood:
For in true love music doth sweetly dwell:
Sever'd, these less worlds bear within them hell.

Enter Mounchensey.

Moun. Harry and Frank, you are enjoined to wean
Your friendship from me: we must part; the breath
Of ill[284] advis'd corruption, pardon me.
Faith, I must say so; you may think I love you,
I breathe not rougher spite to sever us;
We'll meet by stealth, sweet friend, by stealth you twain;
Kisses are sweetest got by struggling pain.
Jer. Our friendship dies not, Raymond.
Moun. Pardon me:
I am busied; I have lost my faculties,
And buried them in Millicent's clear eyes.
Mil. Alas! sweet love, what shall become of me?
I must to Cheston to the nunnery,
I shall ne'er see thee more.
Moun. How, sweet!
I'll be thy votary, we'll often meet:
This kiss divides us, and breathes soft adieu—
This be a double charm to keep both true.
Fab. Have done: your fathers may chance spy your parting.
Refuse not you by any means, good sweetness,
To go into the nunnery, for from hence
Must we beget your love's sweet happiness.
You shall not stay there long: your harder bed
Shall be more soft, when nun and maid are dead.

Enter Bilbo.

[Pg 234]

Moun. Now, sirrah, what's the matter?

Bil. Marry, you must to horse presently; that villanous old gouty churl, Sir Arthur Clare, longs till he be at the nunnery.

H. Clare. How, sir?

Bil.[285] O, I cry you mercy, he is your father, sir, indeed; but I am sure that there's less affinity betwixt your two natures than there is between a broker and a cutpurse.

Moun. Bring me my gelding, sirrah.

Bil. Well, nothing grieves me, but for the poor wench; she must now cry vale to lobster-pies, artichokes, and all such meats of mortality. Poor gentlewoman! the sign must not be in virgo any longer with her, and that me grieves: farewell.

Poor Millicent
Must pray and repent:
O fatal wonder!
She'll now be no fatter,
Love must not come at her,
Yet she shall be kept under. [Exit.
Jer. Farewell, dear Raymond.
H. Clare. Friend, adieu.
Mil. Dear sweet.
No joy enjoys my heart till we next meet. [Exeunt.
Fab. Well, Raymond, now the tide of discontent
Beats in thy face; but, ere't be long, the wind
Shall turn the flood. We must to Waltham Abbey.
And as fair Millicent in Cheston lives
A most unwilling nun, so thou shalt there
Become a beardless novice, to what end,
Let time and future accidents declare.
Taste thou my sleights: thy love I'll only share.
Moun. Turn friar? Come, my good counsellor, let's go,
Yet that disguise will hardly shroud my woe. [Exeunt.
[Pg 235]

Enter the Prioress of Cheston, with a nun or two, Sir Arthur Clare, Sir Ralph Jerningham, Henry and Frank, Lady Clare, Bilbo, with Millicent.

L. Clare. Madam,
The love unto this holy sisterhood
And our confirm'd opinion of your zeal
Hath truly won us to bestow our child
Rather on this than any neighbouring cell.
Pri. Jesus' daughter, Mary's child,
Holy matron, woman mild,
For thee a mass shall still be said,
Every sister drop a bead;
And those again succeeding them
For you shall sing a Requiem.

Frank. The wench is gone, Harry; she is no more a woman of this world. Mark her well, she looks like a nun already: what think'st on her?

Har. By my faith, her face comes handsomely to't.
But peace, let's hear the rest.
Sir Arth. Madam, for a twelvemonth's approbation,
We mean to make this trial of our child.
Your care and our dear blessing, in meantime,
We pray may prosper this intended work.
Pri. May your happy soul be blithe,
That so truly pay your tithe:
He that many children gave,
'Tis fit that he one child should have.
Then, fair virgin, hear my spell,
For I must your duty tell.
Mil. Good men and true, stand together,
And hear your charge. [Aside.
[Pg 236]
Pri. First, a-mornings take your book,
The glass wherein yourself must look;
Your young thoughts, so proud and jolly,
Must be turn'd to motions holy;
For your busk attires and toys,
Have your thoughts on heavenly joys:
And for all your follies past,
You must do penance, pray and fast.

Bil. Let her take heed of fasting; and if ever she hurt herself with praying, I'll ne'er trust beast.


Mil. This goes hard, by'r Lady!
Pri. You shall ring the sacring-bell,[286]
Keep your hours and toll[287] your knell,
Rise at midnight to your matins,
Read your psalter, sing your latins;
And when your blood shall kindle pleasure,
Scourge yourself in plenteous measure.
Mil. Worse and worse, by Saint Mary! [Aside.

Frank. Sirrah Hal, how does she hold her countenance? Well, go thy ways, if ever thou prove a nun, I'll build an abbey. [Aside.

Har. She may be a nun; but if ever she prove [Pg 237]an anchoress, I'll dig her grave with my nails.


Frank. To her again, mother. [Aside.
Har. Hold thine own, wench. [Aside.
Pri. You must read the morning mass,
You must creep unto the cross,[288]
Put cold ashes on your head,
Have a hair-cloth for your bed.
Bil. She had rather have a man in her bed.
Pri. Bind your beads, and tell your needs,
Your holy aves and your creeds:
Holy maid, this must be done,
If you mean to live a nun.
Mil. The holy maid will be no nun. [Aside.
Sir Arth. Madam, we have some business of import,
And must be gone;
Will't please you take my wife into your closet,
Who farther will acquaint you with my mind:
And so, good madam, for this time adieu.

[Exeunt women and Sir Arthur.

[Pg 238]

Sir Ralph. Well now, Frank Jerningham, how sayest thou?[289]
To be brief—
What wilt thou say for all this, if we two,
Her father and myself, can bring about,
That we convert this nun to be a wife,
And thou the husband to this pretty nun?
How then, my lad, ha? Frank, it may be done.
Har. Ay, now it works.
Frank. O God, sir! you amaze me at your words;
Think with yourself, sir, what a thing it were
To cause a recluse to remove her vow:
A sainted,[290] contrite, and repentant soul,
Ever mortified with fasting and with prayer,
Whose thoughts, even as her eyes, are fix'd on heaven.
To draw a virgin thus devout with zeal
Back to the world: O impious deed!
Nor by the canon-law can it be done
Without a dispensation from the church;
Besides, she is so prone unto this life,
As she'll even shriek to hear a husband nam'd.
Bil. Ay, a poor innocent, she! Well, here's no knavery;
He flouts the old fools to their teeth. [Aside.
Sir Ralph. Boy, I am glad to hear
Thou mak'st such scruple of thy[291] conscience;
And in a man so young as is yourself,
I promise you 'tis very seldom seen.
But, Frank, this is a trick, a mere device—
A sleight plotted betwixt her father and myself
To thrust Mounchensey's nose beside the cushion;[292]
That being thus debarr'd of all access.
Time yet may work him from her thoughts,
And give thee ample scope to thy desires.
Bil. A plague on you both for a couple of Jews.


Har. How now, Frank, what say you to that?
Frank. Let me alone, I warrant thee.
[Pg 239]

[To Harry.

Sir, assured that this motion doth proceed
From your most kind and fatherly affection.
I do dispose my liking to your pleasure:
But for it is a matter of such moment
As holy marriage, I must crave thus much,
To have some conference with my ghostly father,
Friar Hildersham hereby at Waltham Abbey,
To be absolv'd of things, that it is fit
None only but my confessor should know.
Sir Ralph. With all my heart. He is a reverend man.
And to-morrow morning we will meet all at the abbey,
Where by the opinion of that reverend man
We will proceed; I like it passing well.
Till then we part, boy. Ay, think of it; farewell.
A parent's care no mortal tongue can tell. [Exeunt.

Enter Sir Arthur Clare, and Raymond Mounchensey like a friar.

Sir Arth. Holy young novice, I have told you now
My full intent, and do refer the rest
To your professed secrecy and care:
And see,
Our serious speech hath stolen upon the way,
That we are come unto the abbey gate.
Because I know Mounchensey is a fox,
[Pg 240] That craftily doth overlook my doings,
I'll not be seen, not I; tush, I have done,
I had a daughter, but she's now a nun.
Farewell, dear son, farewell. [Exit.
Moun. Fare you well. Ay, you have done?
Your daughter, sir, shall not be long a nun.
O my rare tutor! never mortal brain
Plotted out such a mesh[293] of policy;
And my dear bosom is so great with laughter,
Begot by his simplicity and error,
My soul is fall'n in labour with her joy.
O my friends, Frank Jerningham and Clare!
Did you but know but how this jest takes fire—
That good Sir Arthur, thinking me a novice,
Hath even pour'd himself into my bosom,
O, you would vent your spleens with tickling mirth!
But, Raymond, peace, and have an eye about,
For fear perhaps some of the nuns look out.
Peace and charity within,
Never touch'd with deadly sin;
I cast holy water pure
On this wall and on this door,
That from evil shall defend,
And keep you from the ugly fiend:
Evil sprite, by night nor day,
Shall approach or come this way;
Elf nor fairy, by this grace,
Day nor night shall haunt this place.
Holy maidens—[294] [Knocks.
[Answer within.] Who's that which knocks? ha, who's there?
Moun. Gentle nun, here is a friar.

Enter Nun.

Nun. A friar without? now Christ us save!
Holy man, what wouldst thou have?
Moun. Holy maid, I hither come
From friar and father Hildersham,
[Pg 241] By the favour and the grace
Of the prioress of this place,
Amongst you all to visit one
That's come for approbation;
Before she was as now you are,
The daughter of Sir Arthur Clare,
But since she now became a nun,
Call'd Millicent of Edmonton.[295]
Nun. Holy man, repose you there;
This news I'll to our abbess bear,
To tell her what a man is sent,
And your message and intent.
Moun. Benedicite.
Nun. Benedicite. [Exit.
Moun. Do, my good plump wench; if all fall right,
I'll make your sisterhood one less by night.
Now, happy fortune, speed this merry drift,
I like a wench comes roundly to her shrift.

Enter Lady and Millicent.

Lady. Have friars recourse then to the house of nuns?
Mil. Madam, it is the order of this place,
When any virgin comes for approbation
(Lest that for fear or such sinister practice
She should be forc'd to undergo this veil,
Which should proceed from conscience and devotion),
A visitor is sent from Waltham House,
To take the true confession of the maid.
Lady. Is that the order? I commend it well:
You to your shrift, I'll back unto the cell. [Exit.
Moun. Life of my soul! bright angel!
Mil. What means the friar?
[Pg 242]
Moun. O Millicent, 'tis I.
Mil. My heart misgives me: I should know that voice.
You? who are you? the holy virgin bless me!
Tell me your name: you shall, ere you confess me.
Moun. Mounchensey, thy true friend.
Mil. My Raymond! my dear heart!
Sweet life, give leave to my distracted soul
To wake a little from this swoon of joy.
By what means cam'st thou to assume this shape?
Moun. By means of Peter Fabel, my kind tutor,
Who in the habit of friar Hildersham,
Frank Jerningham's old friend and confessor,
Plotted by Frank, by Fabel, and myself,
And so delivered to Sir Arthur Clare,
Who brought me here unto the abbey-gate,
To be his nun-made daughter's visitor.
Mil. You are all sweet traitors to my poor old father.
O my dear life! I was a-dreamed to-night
That, as I was praying in my psalter,
There came a spirit unto me as I kneel'd,
And by his strong persuasions tempted me
To leave this nunnery: and methought
He came in the most glorious angel-shape,
That mortal eye did ever look upon.
Ha! thou art sure that spirit, for there's no form
Is in mine eye so glorious as thine own.
Moun. O thou idolatress, that dost this worship
To him whose likeness is but praise of thee!
Thou bright unsetting star, which through this veil
For very envy mak'st the sun look pale.
Mil. Well, visitor, lest that perhaps my mother
Should think the friar too strict in his decrees,
I this confess to my sweet ghostly father;
If chaste pure love be sin, I must confess,
I have offended three years now with thee.
[Pg 243]
Moun. But do you yet repent you of the same?
Mil. I' faith, I cannot.
Moun. Nor will I absolve thee
Of that sweet sin, though it be venial:
Yet have the penance of a thousand kisses;
And I enjoin you to this pilgrimage:—
That in the evening you bestow yourself
Here in the walk near to the willow ground,
Where I'll be ready both with men and horse
To wait your coming, and convey you hence
Unto a lodge I have in Enfield Chase:
No more reply, if that you yield consent—
I see more eyes upon our stay are bent.
Mil. Sweet life, farewell, 'tis done, let that suffice;
What my tongue fails, I send thee by mine eyes. [Exit.

Enter Fabel,[296] Young Clare, and Jerningham.

Jer. Now, visitor, how does this new-made nun?
Y. Clare. Come, come, how does she, noble capuchin?
Moun. She may be poor in spirit, but for the flesh,
'Tis fat and plump, boys. Ah! rogues, there is
A company of girls would turn you all friars.
[Pg 244]
Fab. But how, Mounchensey, how, lad, for the wench?
Moun. Zounds, lads, i'faith I thank my holy habit—
I have confess'd her, and the lady prioress
Hath given me ghostly counsel with her blessing.
And how say ye, boys,
If I be chose the weekly visitor?

Y. Clare. Blood! she'll have ne'er a nun unbagg'd to sing mass then.

Jer. The Abbot of Waltham will have as many children to put to nurse as he has calves in the marsh.

Moun. Well, to be brief, the nun will soon at night turn tippet;[297] if I can but devise to quit her cleanly of the nunnery, she is mine own.

Fab. But, sirrah Raymond, what news of Peter Fabel at the house?

Moun. Tush, he is the only man, a necromancer and a conjuror, that works for young Mounchensey altogether; and if it be not for friar Benedic, that he can cross him by his learned skill, the wench is gone, Fabel will fetch her out by very magic.

Fab. Stands the wind there, boy? keep them in that key,
The wench is ours before to-morrow day.
Well, Harry[298] and Frank, as ye are gentlemen,
Stick to us close this once; you know your fathers
Have men and horse lie ready still at Cheston,
To watch the coast be clear, to scout about,
And have an eye unto Mounchensey's walks:
Therefore you two may hover thereabouts,
And no man will suspect you for the matter:
Be ready but to take her at our hands,
Leave us to scamble[299] for her getting out.

Jer. Blood! if all Hertfordshire were at our [Pg 245]heels, we'll carry her away in spite of them.

Y. Clare. But whither, Raymond?
Moun. To Brian's upper lodge in Enfield Chase;
He is mine honest friend, and a tall keeper;
I'll send my man unto him presently,
To acquaint him with your coming and intent.
Fab. Be brief and secret.
Moun. Soon at night remember
You bring your horses to the willow ground.
Jer. 'Tis done, no more.
Y. Clare. We will not fail the hour:
My life and fortune now lie in your power.
Fab. About our business! Raymond, let's away,
Think of your hour: it draws well off the day. [Exeunt.

Enter Blague, Banks, Smug, and Sir John.

Blague. Come, ye Hungarian[300] pilchers, we are once more come under the Zona Torrida of the forest; let's be resolute; let's fly to and again; and the devil come, we'll put him to his interrogatories, and not budge a foot. What! foot, I'll put fire into you, ye shall all three serve the good Duke of Norfolk.

Smug. Mine host, my bully, my precious consul, my noble Holofernes, I have been drunk in thy house twenty times and ten; all's one for that: I was last night in the third heaven, my brain was poor, it had yeast in't, but now I am a man of action; is't not so, lad?

[Pg 246]

Banks. Why, now, thou hast two of the liberal sciences about thee, wit and reason, thou mayest serve the Duke of Europe.

Smug. I will serve the Duke of Christendom, and do him more credit in his cellar than all the plate in his buttery; is't not so, lad?

Sir John. Mine host and Smug, stand there: Banks, you and your horse keep together, but lie close, show no tricks for fear of the keeper. If we be scared, we'll meet in the church-porch at Enfield.

Smug. Content, Sir John.

Banks. Smug, dost not thou remember the tree thou fellest out of last night?

Smug. Tush, and't had been as high as an abbey, I should ne'er have hurt myself; I have fallen into the river coming home from Waltham, and 'scaped drowning.

Sir John. Come, sever, fear no spirits, we'll have a buck presently; we have watched later than this for a doe, mine host.

Host. Thou speakest as true as velvet.

Sir John. Why then come, grass and hay! &c.[301] [Exeunt.

Enter Young Clare, Jerningham, and Millicent.

Y. Clare. Frank Jerningham!

Jer. Speak softly; rogue, how now?

Y. Clare. 'Sfoot, we shall lose our way, it's so dark: whereabouts are we?

Jer. Why, man, at Porter's gate, t[Pg 247]he way lies right: hark! the clock strikes at Enfield: what's the hour?

Y. Clare. Ten, the bell says.

Jer. A lie's in's throat, it was but eight when we set out of Cheston; Sir John and his sexton are at their ale to-night, the clock runs at random.

Y. Clare. Nay, as sure as thou liv'st, the villanous vicar is abroad in the chase this dark night: the stone priest steals more venison than half the country.

Jer. Millicent, now dost thou?
Mil. Sir, very well.
I would to God we were at Brian's lodge.
Y. Clare. We shall anon; nouns! hark!
What means this noise?
Jer. Stay, I hear horsemen.
Y. Clare. I hear footmen too.
Jer. Nay, then I have it: we have been discovered,
And we are followed by our fathers' men.
Mil. Brother and friend, alas! what shall we do?
Y. Clare. Sister, speak softly, or we are descried,
They are hard upon us, whatsoe'er they be;
Shadow yourself behind this brake of fern,
We'll get into the wood, and let them pass.

Enter Sir John, Blague, Smug, and Banks; one after another.

Sir John. Grass and hay! we are all mortal: the keeper's abroad, and there's an end.

Banks. Sir John!

Sir John. Neighbour Banks, what news?

Banks. Zounds, Sir John, the keepers are abroad; I was hard by 'em.

Sir John. Grass and hay! where's mine host Blague?

Blague. Here, metropolitan; the Philistines are upon us, be s[Pg 248]ilent: let us serve the good Duke of Norfolk. But where is Smug?

Smug. Here: a pox on you all, dogs; I have killed the greatest buck in Brian's walk: shift for yourselves, all the keepers are up; let's meet in Enfield church-porch. Away, we are all taken else. [Exeunt.

Enter Brian, with his man Ralph and his hound.

Brian. Ralph, hear'st thou any stirring?

Ralph. I heard one speak here hard by in the bottom. Peace, master, speak low; nouns! if I did not hear a bow go off and the buck bray, I never heard deer in my life.

Brian. When went your fellows into their walks?

Ralph. An hour ago.
Brian. Life! is there stealers abroad, and we cannot hear of them?
Where the devil are my men to-night?
Sirrah, go up and wind toward Buckley's lodge:
I'll cast about the bottom with my hound,
And I will meet thee under Cony-oak.
Ralph. I will, sir. [Exit.

Brian. How now! by the mass, my hound stays upon something; hark, hark, Bowman! hark, hark there!

Mil. Brother, Frank Jerningham, brother Clare!

Brian. Peace; that a woman's voice! Stand! who's there? Stand, or I'll shoot.

Mil. O lord! hold your hands, I mean no harm, sir.

Brian. Speak, who are you?

Mil. I am a maid, sir. Who? Master Brian?

Brian. The very same: sure, I should know her voice? Mistress Millicent!

Mil. Ay, it is I, sir.

Brian. God for his passion! what make yo[Pg 249]u here alone? I looked for you at my lodge an hour ago. What means your company to leave you thus? Who brought you hither?

Mil. My brother, sir, and Master Jerningham who, hearing folks about us in the Chase, feared it had been Sir Arthur my father, who had pursued us, and thus dispersed ourselves, till they were past us.

Brian. But where be they?

Mil. They be not far off—here about the grove.

Enter Young Clare and Jerningham.

Y. Clare. Be not afraid, man; I hear Brian's tongue, that's certain.

Jer. Call softly for your sister.

Y. Clare. Millicent!

Mil. Ay, brother, here.

Brian. Master Clare!

Y. Clare. I told you it was Brian.

Brian. Who is that, Master Jerningham? You are a couple of hot-shots: does a man commit his wench to you, to put her to grass at this time of night?

Jer. We heard a noise about us in the Chase,
And fearing that our fathers had pursu'd us,
Severed ourselves.
Y. Clare. Brian, how happedst thou on her?
Brian. Seeking for stealers that are abroad tonight,
My hound stay'd on her, and so found her out.
Y. Clare They were these stealers that affrighted us;
I was hard upon them when they hors'd their deer,
And I perceive they took me for a keeper.
Brian. Which way took they?
Jer. Towards Enfield.

[Pg 250]

Brian. A plague upon't, that's the damned priest and Blague of the George—he that serves the good Duke of Norfolk.

[A noise within.] Follow, follow, follow!

Y. Clare. Peace; that's my father's voice.

Brian. Nouns! you suspected them, and now they are here indeed.

Mil. Alas! what shall we do?

Brian. If you go to the lodge, you are surely taken:
Strike down the wood to Enfield presently,
And if Mounchensey come, I'll send him to you.
Let me alone to bustle with your fathers;
I warrant you that I will keep them play
Till you have quit the Chase; away, away. [Exeunt.
Who's there?

Enter the Knights.

Sir Ralph. In the king's name, pursue the ravisher.
Brian. Stand, or I'll shoot.
Sir Arth. Who's there?
Brian. I am the keeper, that do charge you stand;
You have stolen my deer.
Sir Arth. We stolen thy deer? we do pursue a thief.
Brian. You are arrant thieves, and ye have stolen my deer.

Sir Arth. We are knights; Sir Arthur Clare and Sir Ralph Jerningham.

Brian. The more your shame, that knights should bo such thieves.

Sir Arth. Who or what art thou?

Brian. My name is Brian, keeper of this walk.

Sir Arth. O Brian, a villain!
Thou hast receiv'd my daughter to thy lodge.

Brian. You have stolen the best deer in my walk to-night: my deer—

[Pg 251]

Sir Arth. My daughter—Stop not my way.

Brian. What make you in my walk? you have stolen the best buck in my walk to-night.

Sir Arth. My daughter—

Brian. My deer—

Sir Ralph. Where is Mounchensey?

Brian. Where is my buck?

Sir Arth. I will complain me of thee to the king.

Brian. I'll complain unto the king you spoil his game: 'tis strange that men of your account and calling will offer it. I tell you true, Sir Arthur and Sir Ralph, that none but you have only spoiled my game.

Sir Arth. I charge you stop us not.

Brian. I charge you both get out of my ground. Is this a time for such as you, men of place and of your gravity, to be abroad a-thieving? 'tis a shame; and afore God, if I had shot at you, I had served you well enough. [Exeunt.

Enter Banks the miller, wet on his legs.

Banks. Foot, here's a dark night indeed: I think I have been in fifteen ditches between this and the forest. Soft, here's Enfield church: I am so wet with climbing over into an orchard for to steal some filberts. Well, here I'll sit in the church-porch, and wait for the rest of my consorts.

[Pg 252]

Enter Sexton.

Sex. Here's a sky as black as Lucifer, God bless us! Here was goodman Theophilus buried: he was the best nut-cracker that ever dwelt in England. Well, 'tis nine o'clock, 'tis time to ring curfew.[302] Lord bless us, what a white thing is that in the church-porch![303] O lord, my legs are too weak for my body, my hair is too stiff for my nightcap, my heart fails; this is the ghost of Theophilus. O Lord, it follows me! I cannot say my prayers, and one would give me a thousand pound. Good spirit! I have bowled and drunk, and followed the hounds with you, a thousand times, though I have not the spirit now to deal with you. O Lord!

Enter Sir John.

Sir John. Grass and hay! we are all mortal; who's there?

Sex. We are grass and hay indeed: I know you to be master parson by your phrase.

Priest. Sexton!

Sex. Ay, sir.

Priest. For mortality's sake, what's the matter?

Sex. O Lord, I am a man of another element; Master Theophilus's ghost is in the church-porch. There was an hundred cats, all fire, dancing even now, and they are clomb up to the top of the steeple; I'll not into the belfry for a world.

Priest. O goodman Solomon, I have been about a deed of darkness to-night: O Lord! I saw fifteen spirits in the forest like white bulls; if I lie, I am an arrant thief: mortality haunts us—grass and hay! the devil's at our heels, and let's hence to the parsonage. [Exeunt.

[Pg 253]

The Miller comes out very softly.

Miller. What noise was that? 'tis the watch; sure, that villanous unlucky rogue Smug is ta'en; upon my life, and then all our knavery comes out! I heard one cry, sure.

Enter host Blague.

Host. If I go steal any more venison, I am a paradox: foot, I can scarce bear the sin of my flesh in the day, 'tis so heavy: if I turn not honest, and serve the good Duke of Norfolk as a true mareterraneum skinker[304] should do, let me never look higher than the element of a constable.

Miller. By the mass, there are some watchmen; I hear them name master constable: I would my mill were an eunuch, and wanted her stones, so I were hence.

Host. Who's there?

Miller. Tis the constable, by this light: I'll steal hence, and if I can meet mine host Blague, I'll tell him how Smug is ta'en, and will him to look to himself. [Exit.

Host. What the devil is that white thing? this same is a churchyard, and I have heard that ghosts and villanous goblins have been seen here.

Enter Sexton and Priest.

Priest. Grass and hay! O, that I could conjure! we saw a spirit here in the churchyard; and in the fallow field there's the devil with a man's body upon his back in a white sheet.

Sex. It may be a woman's body, Sir John.
[Pg 254]
Priest. If she be a woman, the sheets damn her.
Lord bless us, what a night of mortality is this!
Host. Priest!
Priest. Mine host!

Host. Did you not see a spirit all in white cross you at the stile?

Sex. O no, mine host; but there sat one in the porch: I have not breath enough left to bless me from the devil.

Host. Who's that?

Priest. The sexton, almost frightened out of his wits. Did you see Banks or Smug?

Host. No, they are gone to Waltham, sure. I would fain hence; come, let's to my house: I'll ne'er serve the Duke of Norfolk in this fashion again whilst I breathe. If the devil be among us, it's time to hoist sail, and cry roomer.[305] Keep together; sexton, thou art secret. What! let's be comfortable one to another.

Priest. We are all mortal, mine host.

Host. True; and I'll serve God in the night hereafter afore the Duke of Norfolk. [Exeunt.

Enter Sir Arthur Clare and Sir Ralph Jerningham,[306] [Pg 255]trussing their points, as newly up.

Sir Ralph. Good-morrow, gentle knight;
A happy day after your short night's rest.
Sir Arth. Ha, ha! Sir Ralph, stirring so soon indeed?
By'r Lady, sir, rest would have done right well:
Our riding late last night has made me drowsy.
Go to, go to, those days are gone with us.
Sir Ralph. Sir Arthur, Sir Arthur, care go with those days!
Let 'em even go together, let 'em go;
'Tis time, i' faith, that we were in our graves,
When children leave obedience to their parents
When there's no fear of God, no care, no duty.
Well, well—nay, it shall not do, it shall not:
No, Mounchensey, thou'lt hear on't, thou shalt,
Thou shalt, i' faith; I'll hang thy son,
If there be law in England. A man's child
Ravish'd from a nunnery! This is rare!
Well, there's one gone for friar Hildersham.

Sir Arth. Nay, gentle knight, do not vex thus, it will but hurt your heat. You cannot grieve more than I do; but to what end? But hark you, Sir Ralph, I was about to say something—it makes no matter. But hark you in your ear; the friar's a knave: but God forgive me, a man cannot tell, neither. 'Sfoot, I am so out of patience, I know not what to say.

Sir Ralph. There's one went for the friar an hour ago. Comes he not yet? 'Sfoot, if I do find knavery under's cowl, I'll tickle him, I'll ferk him. Here, here, he's here, he's here. Good-morrow, friar; good-morrow, gentle friar.

Enter Hildersham.

Sir Arth. Good-morrow, father Hildersham, good-morrow.
Hil. Good-morrow, reverend knights, unto you both.
[Pg 256]
Sir Arth. Father, how now? You hear how matters go;
I am undone, my child is cast away;
You did your best, at least I think the best:
But we are all cross'd; flatly, all is dash'd.
Hil. Alas! good knights, how might the matter be?
Let me understand your grief for charity.
Sir Arth. Who does not understand my grief?
Alas! alas!
And yet you do not: will the church permit
A nun in approbation of her habit
To be ravished?
Hil. A holy woman, benedicite!
Now God forfend,[307] that any should presume
To touch the sister of a holy house.
Sir Arth. Jesus deliver me!
Sir Ralph. Why, Millicent, the daughter of this knight,
Is out of Cheston taken this last night.
Hil. Was that fair maiden late become a nun?

Sir Ralph. Was she, quoth a? Knavery, knavery, knavery, knavery; I smell it, I smell it. I' faith, is the wind in that door? Is it even so? Dost thou ask me that now?

Hil. It is the first time that e'er I heard of it.

Sir Arth. That's very strange.

Sir Ralph. Why, tell me, friar, tell me: thou art counted a holy man? Do not play the hypocrite with me, nor[308] bear with me: I cannot dissemble. Did I aught but by thy own consent, by [Pg 257]thy allowance—nay, further, by thy warrant?

Hil. Why, reverend knight—

Sir Ralph. Unreverend friar—

Hil. Nay, then give me leave, sir, to depart in quiet:
I had hop'd you had sent for me to some other end.
Sir Arth. Nay, stay, good friar, if anything hath happ'd
About this matter in thy love to us,
That thy strict order cannot justify,
Admit it to be so, we will cover it;
Take no care, man:
Disclaim not yet my counsel and advice,
The wisest man that is may be o'erreach'd.

Hil. Sir Arthur, by my order and my faith, I know not what you mean.

Sir Ralph. By your order and by your faith? This is most strange of all. Why, tell me, friar, are not you confessor to my son Frank?

Hil. Yes, that I am.

Sir Ralph. And did not this good knight here and myself
Confess with you, being his ghostly father,
To deal with him about th' unbanded marriage
Betwixt him and that fair young Millicent?
Hil. I never heard of any match intended.
Sir Arth. Did not we break our minds that very time,
That our device in making her a nun
Was but a colour and a very plot
To put by young Mounchensey? Is't not true?
Hil. The more I strive to know what you should mean,
The less I understand you.
Sir Ralph. Did not you tell us still, how Peter Fabel
At length would cross us, if we took not heed?
Hil. I have heard of one that is a great magician;
But he's about the university.
[Pg 258]
Sir Ralph. Did not you send your novice Benedic
To persuade the girl to leave Mounchensey's love,
To cross that Peter Fabel in his art,
And to that purpose made him visitor?
Hil. I never sent my novice from my house,
Nor have we made our visitation yet.

Sir Arth. Never sent him! Nay, did he not go? and did not I direct him to the house, and confer with him by the way? and did not he tell me what charge he had received from you, word by word, as I requested at your hands?

Hil. That you shall know; he came along with me,
And stays without. Come hither, Benedic.

Enter Benedic.

Young Benedic, were you e'er sent by me
To Cheston nunnery for a visitor?
Ben. Never, sir, truly.
Sir Ralph. Stranger than all the rest!
Sir Arth. Did not I direct you to the house:
Confer with you from Waltham Abbey
Unto Cheston wall?
Ben. I never saw you, sir, before this hour.
Sir Ralph. The devil thou didst not! Ho, chamberlain!

Enter Chamberlain.

Cham. Anon, anon.

[Pg 259]

Sir Ralph. Call mine host Blague hither.

Cham. I will send one over, sir, to see if he be up. I think he be scarce stirring yet.

Sir Ralph. Why, knave, didst thou not tell me an hour ago mine host was up!

Cham. Ay, sir, my master's up.

Sir Ralph. You knave, is he up, and is he not up? Dost thou mock me?

Cham. Ay, sir, my master is up; but I think Master Blague indeed be not stirring.

Sir Ralph. Why, who's thy master? Is not the master of the house thy master?

Cham. Yes, sir; but Master Blague dwells over the way.

Sir Arth. Is not this the George? Before Jove, there's some villany in this.

Cham. Foot, our sign's removed; this is strange!

Enter Blague, trussing his points.

Host. Chamberlain, speed[309] up to the new lodgings;
[Pg 260] Bid Nell look well to the bak'd meat—
How now, my old jennet's back?[310] my house
[Is] my castle: lie in Waltham all night, and
Not under the canopy of your host Blague's house?

Sir Arth. Mine host, mine host, we lay all night at the George in Waltham; but whether the George be your fee-simple or no, 'tis a question. Look upon your sign.

Host. Body of St George, this is mine over-thwart neighbour hath done this to seduce my blind customers. I'll tickle his catastrophe for this; if I do not indict him at the next assizes for burglary, let me die of the yellows;[311] for I see it is no boot in these days to serve the good Duke of Norfolk. The villanous world is turned mangy;[312] one jade deceives another, and your ostler plays his part commonly for the fourth share. Have we comedies in hand, you whoreson, villanous male London lecher?

Sir Arth. Mine host, we have had the moilingest night of it that ever we had in our lives.

Host. Is it certain?

Sir Arth. We have been in the forest all night almost.

Host. Foot, how did I miss you? Heart! I was stealing of a buck there.

Sir Arth. A plague on you; we were stayed for you.

Host. Were you, my noble Romans? Why, you shall share; the venison is a-footing. Sine Cerere et Baccho friget Venus, that is, there is a good breakfast provided for a marriage that is in my house this morning.

Sir Arth. A marriage, mine host!

Host. A conjunction copulative; a gallant match between your daughter and Raymond Mounchensey, young juventus.

Sir Arth. How?
[Pg 261]
Host. Tis firm; 'tis done.
We'll show you a precedent in the civil law fort.
Sir Ralph. How! married?

Host. Leave tricks and admiration; there's a cleanly pair of sheets on the bed in the Orchard-chamber, and they shall lie there. What? I'll do it. I serve the good Duke of Norfolk.

Sir Arth. Thou shalt repent this, Blague.

Sir Ralph. If any law in England will make thee smart for this, expect it with all severity.

Host. I renounce your defiance; if you parley so roughly, I'll barricado my gates against you. Stand fair, bully; priest, come off from the rearward. What can you say now? 'Twas done in my house. I have shelter in the court for't. Do you see yon bay-window? I serve the good Duke of Norfolk, and 'tis his lodging. Storm, I care not, serving the good Duke of Norfolk. Thou art an actor in this, and thou shalt carry fire in thy face eternally.

Enter Smug, Mounchensey, Harry Clare, and Millicent.

Smug. Fire! nouns, there's no fire in England like your Trinidado sack.[313] Is any man here humorous?[314] We stole the venison, and we'll justify it: say you now?

Host. In good sooth, Smug, there's more sack on the fire, Smug.

Smug. I do not take any exceptions against your sack: but if you lend me a pike-staff, I'll cudgel them all hence, by this hand.

[Pg 262]

Host. I say thou shalt into the cellar.

Smug. 'Sfoot, mine host, shall's not grapple? Pray you, pray you; I could fight now for all the world like a cockatrice's egg. Shall's not serve the Duke of Norfolk? [Exit.

Host. In, skipper, in.

Sir Arth. Sirrah, hath young Mounchensey married your sister?

H. Clare. 'Tis certain, sir; here's the priest that coupled them, the parties joined, and the honest witness that cried amen.

Moun. Sir Arthur Clare, my new-created father, I beseech you hear me.

Sir Arth. Sir, sir, you are a foolish boy; you have done that you cannot answer; I dare be bold to seize her from you, for she's a professed nun.

Mil. With pardon, sir, that name is quite undone;
This true-love knot cancels both maid and nun.
When first you told me, I should act that part,
How cold and bloody it crept o'er my heart.
To Cheston with a smiling brow I went,
But yet, dear sir, it was to this intent,
That my sweet Raymond might find better means,
To steal me thence. In brief, disguis'd he came,
Like novice to old father Hildersham;
His tutor here did act that cunning part,
And in our love hath join'd much wit to art.
Sir Arth. Is it even so?
Mil. With pardon therefore we entreat your smiles!
Love (thwarted) turns itself to thousand wiles.
Sir Arth. Young Master Jerningham, were you an actor
[Pg 263] In your own love's abuse?
Jer. My thoughts, good sir,
Did labour seriously unto this end—
To wrong myself, ere I'd abuse my friend.

Host. He speaks like a bachelor of music; all in numbers. Knights, if I had known you would have let this covey of partridges sit thus long upon their knees under my signpost. I would have spread my door with coverlids.

Sir Arth. Well, sir, for this your sign was removed, was it?

Host. Faith, we followed the directions of the devil, Master Peter Fabel; and Smug (lord bless us!) could never stand upright since.

Sir Arth. You, sir—'twas you was his minister, that married them?

Sir John. Sir, to prove myself an honest man, being that I was last night in the forest stealing venison—now, sir, to have you stand my friend, if the matter should be called in question, I married your daughter to this worthy gentleman.

Sir Arth. I may chance to requite you, and make your neck crack for't.

Sir John. If you do, I am as resolute as my neighbour-vicar of Waltham Abbey; ahem! grass and hay! we are all mortal; let's live till we be hanged, mine host, and be merry; and there's an end.

Enter Fabel.[315]

[Pg 264]

Fab. Now, knights, I enter: now my part begins.
To end this difference, know, at first I knew
What you intended, ere your love took flight
From old Mounchensey: you, Sir Arthur Clare,
Were minded to have married this sweet beauty
To young Frank Jerningham: to cross this match,
I us'd some pretty sleights; but I protest
Such as but sat upon the skirts of art:
No conjurations, nor such weighty spells
As tie the soul to their performancy.
These for his love, who once was my dear pupil,
Have I effected. Now (methinks) 'tis strange
That you, being old in wisdom, should thus knit
Your forehead on this match; since reason fails,
No law can curb the lover's rash attempt;
Years, in resisting this, are sadly spent.
Smile then upon your daughter and kind son;
And let our toil to future ages prove,
The Devil of Edmonton did good in love.
Sir Arth. Well, 'tis in vain to cross thee, Providence:
Dear son, I take thee up into my heart;
Rise, daughter.
Mil. This is a kind father's part.
Host. Why, Sir John.[316] send for Spindle's noise[317] presently:
Ha! ere't be night, I'll serve the good Duke of Norfolk.

[Pg 265]

Sir John. Grass and hay! mine host, let's live till we die, and be merry; and there's an end.

[Pg 266]

Sir Arth. What, is breakfast ready, mine host?
Host. 'Tis, my little Hebrew.
Sir Arth. Sirrah! ride straight to Cheston nunnery,
Fetch thence my lady; the house, I know,
By this time misses their young votary.
Come, knights, let's in.

Bil. I will to horse presently, sir. A plague on my lady, I shall miss a good breakfast. Smug, how chance you cut so plaguely behind, Smug?

Smug. Stand away, I'll founder you else.

Bil. Farewell, Smug, thou art in another element.

Smug. I will be by and by; I will be Saint George again.

Sir Arth. Take heed the fellow do not hurt himself.

Sir Ralph. Did we not last night find two Saint Georges here?

Fab. Yes, knights, this martialist was one of them.

Clare. Then thus conclude your night o[Pg 267]f merriment.

[Exeunt omnes.




[Pg 268]

(1.) Ram-Alley: Or Merrie Trickes. A Comedy Divers times here-to-fore acted by the Children of the Kings Reuels. Written by Lo: Barrey. At London Printed by G. Eld, for Robert Wilson, and are to be sold at his shop in Holborne, at the new yate of Grayes-Inne. 1611. 4.

(2.) Ram-Alley; Or Merry-Trickes. A Comedy. Divers times here-to-fore acted by the Children of the Kings Revels. Written by Lo. Barrey. London. Printed by John Norton, for Robert Wilson. 1636. 4.


Lodowick Barry is said to have been a gentleman of Irish birth, and Anthony Wood is pleased to compliment him with the title of Lord, which is very probably a mistake. No circumstances concerning him remain, not even the times of his birth and death; though the latter was not unlikely to be soon after the publication of the following play, the only one which he wrote. The writer of his article in the "Biographia Dramatica" says that "the plot in this play of William Small-shanks decoying the Widow Taffata into marriage is the same with that in Kiligrew's 'Parson's Wedding,' and both taken from the 'English Rogue.'" The latter part of this assertion is entirely without foundation, and the least attention to dates would have prevented the writer's falling into so gross an error. Both plays were published before "The English Rogue" appeared; "Ram-Alley"[318] above fifty years; and "The Parson's Wedding" about ten or twelve.


[235] "Here (i.e., at Edmonton) lieth interred vnder a seemlie Tombe without Inscription, the Body of Peter Fabell (as the report goes) vpon whom this fable was fathered, that he by his wittie deuises beguiled the deuil: belike he was some ingenious conceited gentleman, who did vse some sleightie trickes for his owne disports. He liued and died in the raigne of Henry the Seuenth, saith the booke of his merry pranks."—Weever's "Funeral Monuments," fol. 1631, p. 534. Norden says: "There is a fable of one Peter Fabell that lyeth in the same church also, who is saide to have beguiled the Devill by pollicie for Money."—"Speculum Britanniæ" (Middlesex), p. 18.

[236] A monosyllable (perhaps is or lives) has dropt out here, and rendered the line imperfect.—Collier. [The metre is quite correct.]

[237] So in "Hamlet," act i. sc. 5.

"And each particular hair to stand on end
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine."

[238] [Old copies, or.]

[239] The measure was injured by the needless insertion of is in this line, not supported by any of the old copies.—Collier.

[240] The [later] quartos read, I'll despatch, &c.—Collier.

[241] Safeguards are outward petticoats, still worn by the wives of farmers, &c., who ride on horseback to market.—Steevens.

They are called so, says Minsheu, voce Saveguard, because they guard the other clothes from soiling. They are mentioned several times in "The Roaring Girl."

Again, in "Ram Alley," act i. sc. 1.

"On with your cloak and safeguard, you arrant drab."

[242] The quartos of 1626 and 1631 read, Here's a room in the very Homer and Illiads of a lodging, which may be right.—Collier. [Most probably not.]

[243] [Compare Chappell's "Pop. Music," 8o edit., p. 118.]

[244] Tartarian seems to have been a cant word for a thief. In "The Wandering Jew," 1640, p. 3, the Hangman says, "I pray (Mr Jew) bestow a cast of your office upon me (a poor member of the Law), by telling me my fortune, whether I shall die in my bed or no, or what else shall happen to me; and if any thieving Tartarian shall break in upon you, I will with both hands nimbly lend a cast of my office to him."

[245] Before the use of carpets was introduced into England, it was customary to strew the floors of rooms with rushes. This practice is often mentioned.

So in "Arden of Feversham," 1592—

Ales. In vaine we strive, for here his blood remains.
Mos. Why, strew rushes on it, can you not?

Again, in Ben Jonson's "Cynthia's Revels," act ii. sc. 5: "That all the ladies and gallants lye languishing upon the rushes, like so many pounded cattle i' the midst of harvest," &c.

And in Dekker's "Bel-man of London," sig. B 4: "The windowes were spread with hearbs, the chimney drest up with greene boughes, and the floore strewed with bulrushes, as if some lasse were that morning to be married."

See also Holinshed's "Chronicle," vol. ii. p. 1706, [and compare a passage at p. 177 of present vol.]

[246] So in "The Merchant of Venice" Stephano says of Portia—

"My mistress will before the break of day
Be here at Belmont: she doth stray about
By holy crosses, where she kneds and prays
For happy wedlock hours"

[247] In Hertfordshire, now called Cheshunt.

[248] [Old copies, dogs—simple, and in the next line, curs eat.]

[249] [Old copies, or—sure.]

[250] At Cheshunt there was a Benedictine nunnery dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It was founded before the year 1183, and augmented with lands and tenements of the Canons of Cathale, in the twenty-fourth year of King Henry the Third; but yet upon the general dissolution it was valued only at £14, 1s. per annum. See "England Illustrated," 1764, i. 318.

[251] The departure of Sir Arthur and his wife is not mentioned in the old copies.—Collier.

[252] The line was spoilt by the omission of the repetition of the word good by Mr Reed.—Collier.

[253] This cant phrase is common in the old plays. Mr Tollet supposes it taken from the Italian via, and to be used on occasions to quicken or pluck up courage. See note to the "Merry Wives of Windsor," act ii. sc. 2. It here [and elsewhere] signifies away! So, in "Edward the Third," act ii. sc. 2—

"Then via for the spacious bounds of France."

In Jonson's "Devil is an Ass," act ii. sc. 1—

"Let her go:
Via, pecunia."

Again, in "Eastward Hoe! "—

"Avaunt. dull flat-cap then!
Via, the curtain that shadowed Borgia!
There lie, thou husk of my envassall'd state."

And in Marston's "What you Will," act ii.—

"Come now, via, aloune to Celia."

See also "Mons. Thomas," act ii. sc. 2.

[254] The first line of Virgil's first "Eclogue."

[255] [A jeu d'esprit allusive to the old Bilboa sword-blades.]

[256] In astronomy, seven stars in the constellation Ursa Minor.

[257] [Old copies, I will.]

[258] A quibble alluding to Thomas Cooper's "Thesaurus Linguæ Latinæ," printed in 1548.

[259] Their entrance is not noticed in the quartos, and Mr Reed omitted Millicent.—Collier.

[260] [Old copies, by.]

[261] [Old copies, We'll—Envil.]

[262] That is, as Mr Steevens supposes, blind man's buff. See note on "Hamlet," act iii. sc. 4, edit. 1778.

[263] See note to "The Revenger's Tragedy," suprá, p. 90.

[264] So the quartos: Mr Dodsley read pursy.

[265] See note to "The First Part of Jeronimo," [iv. 374.]

[266] The quartos, without exception, erroneously read Now.—Collier.

[267] i.e., Horses.

[268] i.e., Panniers.

[269] Let me understand you. So Falstaff says, "I would your grace would take me with you; whom means your grace?"—"First Part of King Henry IV.," act ii. sc. 2, and Dr Johnson's and Dr Farmer's notes.

[270] This is one of the many instances which might be given where a parson is called Sir. "Upon which," says Sir John Hawkins, "it may be observed, that anciently it was the common designation both of one in holy orders and a knight." Fuller somewhere in his "Church History" says, that anciently there were in England more sirs than knights; and so lately as temp. William and Mary, in a deposition in the Exchequer, in a case of tithes, the witness, speaking of the curate, whom he remembers, styles him Sir Gyles. Vide Gibson's "View of the State of the Churches of Door, Home-Lacey," &c., p. 36. Note to "The Merry Wives of Windsor," act i. sc. 1, edit. 1778.

So in the "New Trick to Cheat the Devil," 1639: "Sir me no Sirs; I am no knight nor Churchman."—Collier.

[271] This expression is used by Falstaff, in the "Second Part of King Henry IV.," act ii. sc. 1.

[272] Go.

[273] The Host's conversation is wholly made up of puns and quibbles. He means here his hungry guests. [See p. 244.] His address to the smith before, on reading the little Geneva print, was [an equivoque on the redness of his eyes from having drunk too much, and the small type in which the Scriptures were printed in the common Genevan version.]

[274] The 4o of 1617 reads bosonians; that of 1631, bonasosis.

[275] [A play on shall and shale (or shell).] Churchyard, in his "Challenge," 1593, says—

"Thus all with shall; or shalles ye shal be fed."

The old editions spell it shales, and it is not a very forced construction to suppose that Mounchensey, complaining of Clare's want of faith, uses the word shalls in the sense of promises; and this seems to be the real meaning of the quotation from Churchyard.—Collier.

[276] [Old copies, the.]

[277] [Old copies, shouldst.]

[278] Knives or daggers. Skein is the [Erse or Highland] word for a knife.

[See a long note in Nares, edit. 1859, art. Skain.]

[279] i.e., Go, proceed, succeed. The word is used in Nash's "Lenten Stuff," 1599: "It would not fadge, for then the market was raised to three hundred."

Again, in "The Old Law," by Massiuger, &c., act iv. sc. 4—

"Now it begins to fadge."

And in the following quotation from Haughton's "Englishmen for my Money," 1616, sig. B—

"But, sirra Ned. what sayes Mathea to thee Wilt fadge? wilt fadge? what, will it be a match?"—Collier.

[280] Old copies, where.

[281] [Old copies, their smocks]

[282] [Old copies, Our.]

[283] [Old copies, be no.]

[284] [Old copies, all.]

[285] The older copies made this speech part of what was said by Harry Clare, and the edition of 1655 first introduced the correction.—Collier.

[286] "The little bell which is rung to give notice of the Host approaching, when it is carried in procession, as also in other offices of the Romish Church, is called the sacring or consecration bell, from the French word sacrer,"—Mr Theobald's note to "Henry VIII.," act iii. sc. 2.

[287] [Former eds., tell.]

[288] This Popish ceremony is particularly described in an ancient book of the "Ceremonial of the Kings of England," purchased by the Duchess of Northumberland, at the sale of the MSS. of Mr Anstis, Garter King-at-arms. It appears from this curious treatise that the Bishop and the Dean brought a crucifix out of the vestry, and placed it on a cushion before the altar. A carpet was then laid "for the Kinge to creepe to the crosse upon." See Dr Percy's note to the "Northumberland Household Book," p. 436.—Steevens.

Creeping to the Cross is mentioned in Warner's "Albion's England," 1602, p. 115—

"We offer tapers, pay our tythes and vowes; we pilgrims goe
To every sainct, at every shrine we offerings doe bestow;
We kiss the pix, we creepe the crosse, oar beades we over-runne,
The convent hath a legacie, who so is left undone."

[See also "Pop. Antiq. of Great Brit." i. 86.]

[289] The copies of 1626 and 1631 read, Well now, Frank Clare, how say'st thou? which is clearly wrong: the error was corrected in the reprint of 1655, to which Mr Reed was again indebted.—Collier.

[290] [Old copies, maimed.]

[291] [Old copies, that.]

[292] [A figure borrowed from archery.]

[293] [Edits., masse.]

[294] In all the copies Holy maidens is made, absurdly enough, part of the stage direction.—Collier.

[295] Monks and nuns always changed their names when they entered into the religious houses.—Pegge.

[296] Every copy mentions Fabel as entering at this time, and just afterwards he speaks; but Mr Reed by some accident omitted his name in the proper place.—Collier.

[297] Lippit. But see Nares, 1859, v. Tippet.

[298] Mr Reed was again indebted to the "unworthy" copy of 1655 for the introduction of the name of Harry instead of Ralph, as it is found in the previous editions.—Collier.

[299] Instances of this word, which means almost the same as scramble, are given in a note on Shakespeare's "King Henry V.," sc. 1, edit. 1778.—Steevens.

[300] Hungarian was a cant term then frequently in use. See Mr Steevens's note on "The Merry Wives of Windsor," act i. sc. 3. Mr Tollet ohserves that "the Hungarians, when infidels, overran Germany and France, and would have invaded England if they could have come to it. See Stowe in the year 930, and Holinshed's 'Invasions of Ireland,' p. 56. Hence their name might become a proverb of baseness." [Compare p. 227 ante.]

[301] The &c., means, of course, that Sir John repeats his old saying—"We are all mortal; we'll live till we die, and be merry, and there's an end."—Collier.

[302] Curfew is derived from two French words, couvrir, i.e., tegere, and feu, i.e., ignis. William the Conqueror, in the first year of his reign, commanded that in every town and village a bell should be rung every night at eight o'clock, and that all people should put out their fire and candle and go to bed. The ringing of a bell in the evening is in many places till called ringing the Curfew Bell.

[303] [Compare "Old English Jest Books," i. 31.]

[304] See note to "Grim the Collier of Croydon," [vii. 426.]

[305] [A nautical term for tacking about. See Halliwell's "Dict.," in v.]

[306] The edits., of 1617, 1626, 1631, call them Sir Ralph Clare and Sir Arthur Jerningham.—Collier.

[307] Forbid, prevent.

[308] Probably we ought to read, Now bear with me.—Collier. This is hardly satisfactory, yet the true reading is difficult to guess at.

[309] [Edits., speak.]

[310] [Edits., Jenert's bank, which Steevens defends and explains. Mine Host, it should be observed, talks much at random; but surely Jenert's bank is rank nonsense.]

"I once suspected this passage of corruption, but have found reason to change my opinion. The merry Host seems willing to assemble ideas expressive of trust and confidence. The old quartos begin the word jenert with a capital letter, and therefore we may suppose Jenert's bank to have been the shop of some banker, in whose possession money could be deposited with security. The Irish still say, as sure as Burton's Bank; and our own countrymen, as safe as the Bank of England. We might read my house, instead of my horse, as the former agrees better with castle. The services of a horse are of all things the most uncertain."—Steevens.

[311] i.e., Of a disease peculiar to horses. So in Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew"—

"His horse sped with spavins, rayed with the yellows."

Steevens. [See Dyce's Shakesp. Gloss. in v.]

[312] Edits., manger.

[313] [Tobacco.]

[314] See note to "The Spanish Tragedy," [v. 31].

[315] Misprinted Fabian in edits. 1626, 1631, but corrected in that of 1655.

[316] [Former edits., Sir George.]

[317] [A band of fiddlers.] See a long note to "The Ordinary," act iv., sc. 1 (vol. xii.)

[318] There are, as will be seen opposite, two editions of "Ram-Alley," the first in 1611, and the other in 1636; the latter printed from the former with a number of additional errors. From the more corrupt of the two copies this play has been, hitherto reprinted, without any comparison of the two; they have now for the first time been accurately collated, and in many instances the correct reading has been restored.—Collier. [A few trifling corrections were introduced by Mr Collier, but the most serious corruptions and errors were overlooked, and all the faulty pointing retained. Such is the case with all the plays.

"Ram-Alley" may be characterised as a strongly-written and well-constructed domestic drama, valuable as a social monument of the times, and interesting as the author's only known production. But it is full of gross passages, allusions, and innuendoes. In "The Return from Parnassus," 1606 (ix. 117), occurs the phrase "Ram-Alley meditations," [Pg 269]the saying having become proverbial, perhaps, for ruffianly language, as the locality was, no doubt, notorious for its bad characters.]

Actorum Nomina



[319] This character is sometimes called Captain Face and sometimes Captain Puff in the body of the play, and probably the former is according to the intention of the author, as it so stands in the Dramatis Personæ, and as he is spoken of by the widow Taffata as Captain Face. [Pg 270]Ben Jonson names the housekeeper in his Alchymist Face.—Collier.


[Pg 271]

Home-bred mirth our Muse doth sing;
The satyr's tooth and waspish sting,
Which most do hurt, when least suspected,
By this play are not affected.
But if conceit with quick-turn'd scenes,
Observing all those ancient streams,
Which from the Horse-foot fount do flow,[320]
As time, place, person: and to show
Things never done with that true life,
That thoughts and wits should stand at strife.
Whether the things now shown be true,
Or whether we ourselves now do
The tilings we but present: if these,
Free from the loathsome stage disease,
(So overworn, so tir'd and stale,
Not satirising but to rail)
May win your favours, and inherit
But calm acceptance for his merit:
He vows by Paper, Pen, and Ink,
And by the learned Sisters' drink,
To spend his time, his lamps, his oil,
And never cease his brain to toil,
Till from the silent hours of night
He doth produce for your delight
Conceits so new, so harmless free,
That Puritans themselves may see
A play, yet not in public preach,
That players such lewd doctrine teach,
That their pure joints do quake and tremble,
When they do see a man resemble
The picture of a villain: this,
As he a friend to Muses is,
To you by me he gives his word;
Is all his play doth now afford.


[320] [Hippocrene.]

[Pg 272]



Enter Constantia sola, with a letter in her hand.

Con. In this disguise, ere scarce my mourning robes
Could have a general note, I have forsook
My shape, my mother, and those rich demesnes,
Of which I am sole heir; and now resolve
In this disguise of page to follow him,
Whose love first caus'd me to assume this shape.
Lord, how my feminine blood stirs at the sight
Of these same breeches! methinks this codpiece[322]
Should betray me: well, I will try the worst.
Hither they say he usually doth come,
Whom I so much affect: what makes he here?
In the skirts of Holborn, so near the field,
And at a garden-house? he has some punk
Upon my life! No more: here he comes.

Enter Boutcher.

God save you, sir: your name, unless I err,
Is Master Thomas Boutcher.
Bout. 'Tis, sweet boy.
Con. I have a letter for you.

[Constantia delivers the letter; he reads it.

Bout. From whom is't?
Con. The inside, sir, will tell you; I shall see
[Pg 273] What love he bears me now. [Aside.
Bout. Th' art welcome, boy.
How does the fair Constantia Sommerfield,
Thy[323] noble mistress?
Con. I left her in health.
Bout. She gives thee here good words; and for her sake
Thou shalt not want a master: be mine for ever.
Con. I thank you, sir. Now shall I see the punk.

[He knocks.

Enter William Small-Shanks.

W. Small. Who knocks so fast? I thought 'twas you; what news?
Bout. You know my business well; I sing one song.
W. Small. 'Sfoot, what would you have me do? my land is gone,
My credit of less trust than courtiers' words
To men of judgment; and for my debts
I might deserve a knighthood:[324] what's to be done?
The knight my father will not once vouchsafe
To call me son: that little land he gave,
Throat the lawyer swallowed at one gob
For less than half the worth; and for the city
There be so many rascals and tall yeomen,
Would hang upon me for their maintenance,
Should I but peep or step within the gates,
That I am forc'd, only to ease my charge,
To live here in the suburbs; or in the town
To walk in tenebris. I tell you, sir,
[Pg 274] Your best retired life is an honest punk
In a thatch'd house with garlic: tell not me:
My punk's my punk, and noble lechery
Sticks by a man when all his friends forsake him.
Bout. The pox, it will: art thou so senseless grown,
So much endeared to thy bestial lust,
That thy original worth should lie extinct
And buried in thy shame? Far be such thoughts
From spirits free and noble! Begin to live:
Know thyself, and whence thou art deriv'd.
I know that competent state thy father gave
Cannot be yet consum'd.
W. Small. 'Tis gone, by heaven!
Not a denier is left.
Bout. 'Tis impossible.
W. Small. Impossible! s'heart! I have had two suckers
Able to spend the wealthy Crœsus' store.

Enter Frances.

Bout. What are they?
W. Small. Why, a lawyer and a whore:
See, here comes one. Dost think this petticoat,
[Pg 275] A perfum'd smock, and twice a week a bath,
Can be maintain'd with half a year's revenues?
No, by heaven! we annual younger brothers
Must go to't by wholesale; by wholesale, man,[325]
These creatures are maintained: her very face
Has cost a hundred pounds.
Fran. Sir, thank yourself. [Coming forward.
Con. They keep this whore betwixt them. [Aside.
Fran. You know, sir,
I did enjoy a quiet country life,
Spotless and free, till you corrupted me,
And brought me to the court. I never knew
What sleeking, glazing, or what pressing meant:
Till you preferr'd me to your aunt the lady.
I knew no ivory teeth, no caps of hair,
No Mercury water, fucus[326] or perfumes,
To help a lady's breath, until your aunt
Learnt me the common trick.
W. Small. The common trick,
Say you? a pox upon such common tricks!
They will undo us all.
Bout. And knowing this,
Art thou so wilful-blind still to persist
In ruin and defame?
W. Small. What should I do?
I've pass'd my word to keep this gentlewoman,
Till I can place her to her own content.
And what is a gentleman but his word?
Bout. Why, let her go to service.
W. Small. To service!
Why, so she does; she is my laundress,[327]
And by this light, no puisne Inn-a-Court
But keeps a laundress at his command
To do him service; and shall not I, ha?
[Pg 276]
Fran. Sir, you are his friend (I love him too);
Propound a course which may advantage him,
And you shall find such real worth in me,
That rather than I'll live his hindrance,
I will assume the most penurious state
The city yields, to give me means of life.
W. Small. Why, there's it: you hear her what she says;
Would not he be damn'd that should forsake her?
Says she not well? can you propound a course,
To get my forfeit land from yonder rogue:
Parcel-lawyer, parcel-devil, all knave,
Throat, Throat?
Bout. Not I.
W. Small. Why, so: I thought as much;
You are like our citizens to men in need,
Which cry, 'tis pity a proper gentleman
Should want money; yet not an usuring slave
Will lend him a denier to help his wants.
Will you lend me forty shillings?
Bout. I will.
W. Small. Why, God-a-mercy, there's some goodness in thee:
You'll not repent?
Bout. I will not.
W. Small. With that money
I will redeem my forfeit land, and wed
My cockatrice to a man of worship—
To a man of worship, by this light!
Bout. But how?
W. Small. Thus: in Ram-Alley lies a fellow, by name
[Pg 277] Throat: one that professeth law, but indeed
Has neither law nor conscience; a fellow
That never saw the bar, but when his life
Was call'd in question for a cosenage.
The rogue is rich; to him go you, tell him
That rich Sir John Sommerfield—
Con. How's that? [Aside.
W. Small. Is lately dead, and that my hopes stand fair
To get his only daughter. If I speed,[328]
And have but means to steal away the wench,
Tell him I reckon him my chiefest friend
To entertain us, till our nuptial rites
May be accomplish'd: and could you but procure
My elder brother meet me on the way,
And but associate me unto his house,
'Twere hit, i' faith; I'd give my cunning Throat
An honest slit for all his tricks in law.
Bout. Why this shall be perform'd; take; there's my store.
To friends all things are common.
W. Small. Then at the court
There are none foes, for all things there are common. [Aside.
Bout. I will as carefully perform thy wish,
As if my fortunes lay upon th' attempt.
W. Small. When shall I hear from you?
Bout. Within this hour.
W. Small. Let me alone for the rest: if I gull not
And go beyond my open-throated lawyer,
For all his book-cases of Tricesimo nono
And Quadragesima octavo, let me,
Like waiting gentlewomen, be ever bound
[Pg 278] To sit upon my heels, and pick rushes.
Will you about this gear?
Bout. With my best speed.
W. Small. Then fare you well; you'll meet me?
Bout. Without fail.

[Exeunt Boutcher and Page.[329]

W. Small. Adieu. Now, you pernicious cockatrice,[330]
You see how I must skelder for your good:
I'll bring you where you shall have means to cheat,
If you have grace enough to apprehend it.
Fran. Believe me, love, howe'er some stricter wits
Condemn all women which are prone to love,
And think that if their favour fall on any,
By consequence they must be naught with many,
And hold a false position: that a woman,
False to herself, can trusty be to no man—
Yet no, I say: howe'er my life hath, lost
The fame which my virginity aspir'd,
I will be true to thee: my deed shall move
To win from all men pity, if not love.
W. Small. Tut, I know thee a good rascal; lets in,
And on with all your neat and finest rags:
On with your cloak, and safeguard,[331] you arrant drab!
You must cheat without all conscience, filch for thee and me.
Do but thou act what I shall well contrive,
We'll teach my lawyer a new way to thrive. [Exeunt.

Enter Mistress Taffata and Adriana her maid, above.

Taf. Come, lov'd Adriana, here let us sit,
And mark who passes. Now, for a wager,
What colour'd beard comes next by the window?
Adri. A black, madam,[332] I think.
Taf. I think not so:
I think a red, for that is most in fashion.
Lord! how scarce is the world of proper men
And gallants! sure, we never more shall see
A good leg worn in a long silk stocking
With a long codpiece: of all fashions,
That carried it, i' faith. What's he goes by?

[Pg 279]

Enter a Citizen.

Adri. A snivelling citizen: he is carrying ware [Exit.
Unto some lady's chamber: but who's this?

Enter Thomas Small-Shanks reading a letter.

Taf. I know him not; he looks just like a fool.
Adri. He's very brave, he may be a courtier:
What's that he reads?
Taf. Ah! how light he treads,
For dirting his silk stockings! I'll tell thee what,
A witty woman may with ease distinguish
All men by their noses, as thus: your nose
Tuscan is lovely, large and broad,
Much like a goose: your valiant generous nose,
A crooked, smooth and a great puffing nose;
Your scholar's nose is very fresh and raw,
For want of fire in winter, and quickly smells
His chops of mutton in his dish of porridge;
Your puritan nose is very sharp and long
(Much like your widow's!)[333] and with ease can smell
An edifying capon some few[334] streets off.

[Pg 280]

Enter Boutcher and Constantia.

Adri.[335] O mistress! a very proper gentleman.
Taf. And trust me, so he is; I never saw
A man that sooner could captive my thoughts
(Since I writ widow) than this gentleman.
I would he would look up!
Adri. I'll laugh so loud,
That he may hear me.
Taf. That's not so good.
Bout. And spake you with Master Small-shanks?
Con. I did.
Bout. Will he meet his brother?
Con. He said he would,
And I believed him. I tell you, master,
I have done that for many of these gallants
That no man in this town would do but I.
Bout. What is that, boy?
Con. Why, trust them on their words?
But will you hear the news, which now supplies
The city with discourse?
Bout. What is it, wag?
[Pg 281]
Con. This, sir: they say some of our city dames
Were much desirous to see the baboons
Do their newest tricks: went, saw them, came home:
Went to bed, slept; next morning one of them,
Being to shift a smock, sends down her maid
To warm her one; meanwhile, she gins to think
On the baboons' tricks, and (naked in her bed)
Begins to practise some: at last she strove
To get her right leg over her head thus;
And by her activity she got it
'Cross her shoulder; but not with all her power
Could she reduce[336] it: at last [she, with] much struggling,
Tumbles quite from the bed upon the floor.
The maid by this return'd with the warm smock,
And seeing her mistress thrown on the ground,
Truss'd up like a football, exclaims, calls help,
Runs down amaz'd, swears that her mistress' neck
Is broke: up comes her husband and neighbours.
And finding her thus truss'd, some flatly said
She was bewitch'd—others she was possess'd:
A third said for her pride the devil had set
Her face where her rump should stand; but at last
Her valiant husband steps me boldly to her,
Helps her: she ashamed, her husband amazed,
The neighbours laughing, as none forbear,
She tells them of the fatal accident.
To which one answers that, if her husband
Would leave his trade, and carry his wife about
To do this trick in public, she'd get more gold
Than all the baboons, calves with two tails,
Or motions[337] whatsoever.
Bout. You are a wag.
Taf. [Above.] He will be gone if we neglect to stay him.
Adri. Shall I cough or sneeze?
Taf. No, I ha't; stand aside.
Ah me, my handkerchief! Adrian, Fabian!
Adri. Mistress!
Taf. Run, run, I have let my handkerchief fall.
Gentleman, shall I entreat a courtesy?
Bout. Within my power your beauty shall command.
[Pg 282] What courtesy is't?
Taf. To stoop, and take up
My handkerchief.
Bout. Your desire is performed.
Taf. Sir, most hearty thanks: please you come in,
Your welcome shall transcend your expectation.
Bout. I accept your courtesy: ha! what's this?
Assailed by fear and hope in a moment:
Boutcher, this womanish passion fits not men,
Who know the worth of freedom: shall smiles and eyes
With their lascivious glances conquer him,
Hath still been lord of his affections?
Shall simp'ring niceness, loadstones but to fools,
Attract a knowing spirit! it shall, it does.
Not Phœbus, rising from Aurora's lap,
Spreads his bright rays with more majestic grace
Than came the glances from her quick'ning eye.
And what of this?
Con. By my troth, I know not.
Bout. I will not enter: continued flames burn strong.
I yet am free, and reason keeps her seat
Above all fond affections—yet is she fair.

Enter Adriana [from above].

Adri. Sir, I bring you thanks for this great courtesy:
And if you please to enter, I dare presume
My mistress will afford you gracious welcome.
Bout. How do men call your mistress?
Con. The man's in love. [Aside.
Adri. Her name, sir, is Mistress Changeable, late wife
[Pg 283] To Master Taffata, mercer, deceas'd.
Bout. I have heard she is both rich and beautiful.
Adri. In th' eyes of such as love her; judge yourself;
Please you but prick forward, and enter. [Exit Boutcher.
Con. Now will I fall aboard the waiting-maid.
Adri. Fall aboard of me! dost take me for a ship?
Con. Ay, and will shoot you betwixt wind and water.
Adri. Blurt! master gunner, your linstock's[338] too short.
Con. Foot! how did she know that I dost hear, sweetheart,
Should not the page be doing with the maid,
Whilst the master is busy with the mistress?
Please you, prick forwards; thou art a wench
Likely to go the way of all flesh shortly.
Adri. Whose witty knave art thou?
Con. At your service.
Adri. At mine, faith! I should breech thee.
Con. How, breech me?
Adri. Ay, breech thee;[339] I have breech'd a taller man
Than you in my time: come in, and welcome. [Exit.
Con. Well, I see now a rich well-practis'd bawd
May purse more fees in a summer's progress
Than a well-traded lawyer in a whole term.
Pandarism! why, 'tis grown a liberal science,
Or a new sect, and the good professors
Will (like the Brownist) frequent gravel-pits shortly,
For they use woods and obscure holes already. [Exit.
[Pg 284]

Enter Taffata and Boutcher.

Taf. Not marry a widow?
Bout. No.
Taf. And why?
Belike, you think it base and servant-like
To feed upon reversion: you hold us widows,
But as a pie thrust to the lower end,
That hath had many fingers in't before,
And is reserv'd for gross and hungry stomachs.
Bout. You much mistake me.
Taf. Come, in faith, you do:
And let me tell you that's but ceremony;
For though the pie be broken up before,
Yet, says the proverb, the deeper is the sweeter.
And though a capon's wings and legs be carv'd,
The flesh left with the rump, I hope, is sweet.
I tell you, sir, I have been woo'd and sued to
By worthy knights of fair demesnes: nay, more,
They have been out of debt; yet till this hour
I neither could endure to be in love
Or be beloved; but proffer'd ware is cheap.
What's lawful, that is loath'd, and things denied
Are with more stronger appetite pursu'd.
[Pg 285] I am too yielding.
Bout. You mistake my thoughts.
But know, thou wonder of this continent,
By one more skill'd in unknown fate than was
The blind Achaian Prophet,[340] 'twas foretold,
A widow should endanger both my life,
My soul, my lands, and reputation.
This checks my thoughts, and cools th' essential fire
Of sacred love, more ardent in my breast
Than speech can utter.
Taf. A trivial idle jest!
Is't[341] for a man of your repute and note
To credit fortune-tellers? A petty rogue,
That never saw five shillings in a heap,
Will take upon him to divine men's fate,
Yet never knows himself shall die a beggar,
Or be hanged up for pilfering table-cloths,
Shirts and smocks, hang'd out to dry on hedges.
Tis merely[342] base to trust them: or if there be
A man in whom the Delphic god hath breath'd
His true divining fire, that can foretell
The fix'd decree of fate—he likewise knows
What is within the everlasting book
Of destiny decreed, cannot by wit
Or man's invention be dissolv'd or shunn'd.
Then give thy love free scope, embrace and kiss,
And to the distaff-sisters leave th' event.
Bout. How powerful are their words whom we affect!
Small force shall need to win the strongest fort,
If to his state the captain be perfidious.
I must entreat you license my depart
For some few hours.
Taf. Choose what you will of time:
There lies your way. [Moves away.
Bout. I will entreat her [aside.] Stay.
Taf. Did you call, sir?
Bout. No.
Taf. Then fare you well.
Bout. Who 'gins to love, needs not a second hell.

[Exit Boutcher.

Enter Adriana.

[Pg 286]

Taf. Adriana, makes he no stay?
Adri. Mistress?
Taf. I pray thee see if he have left the house.
Peep close; see, but be not seen: is he gone?
Adri. No; he has made a stand.
Taf. I prythee, keep close.
Adri. Nay, keep you close, y' had best.
Taf. What does he now?
Adri. Now he retires.[343]

Re-enter Boutcher [below].

Bout. O you much partial gods!
Why gave you men affections, and not[344] power
To govern them? what I by fate should shun,
I most affect—a widow, a widow.
Taf. Blows the wind there?
Adri. Ha, ha! he's in, i' faith:
Y' have drawn him now within your purlieus, mistress.
Bout. Tut, I will not love! my rational
And better parts shall conquer blind affections:
Let passion children or weak women sway.
My love shall to my judgment still obey. [Exit.
Taf. What does he now?
Adri. He's gone.
Taf. Gone! Adriana?
[Pg 287]
Adri. He went his way, and never look'd behind him.
Taf. Sure, he's taken?
Adri. A little sing'd or so:
Each thing must have beginning; men must prepare,
Before they can come on, and show their loves
In pleasing sorts: the man must do in time;
For love, good mistress, is much like to wax—
The more 'tis rubb'd, it sticks the faster to;
Or, like a bird in bird-lime or a pit-fall,
The more he labours, still the deeper in.
Taf. Come, thou must help me now; I have a trick
To second this beginning, and in the nick
To strike it dead, i' faith. Women must woo,
When men forget what nature leads them to. [Exeunt.

Enter Throat the lawyer from his study; books and bags of money on a table, a chair and cushion.

[Pg 288]

Throat. Chaste Phœbe, splende; there's that left yet,
Next to my book, claro micante auro.
Ay, that's the soul of law; that's it, that's it,
For which the buckram-bag must trudge all weathers,
Though scarcely fill'd with one poor replication.
How happy are we, that we joy the law
So freely as we do: not bought and sold,
But clearly given, without all base extorting:
Taking but bare ten angels for a fee,
Or upward. To this renown'd estate
Have I by indirect and cunning means
Enwoven myself, and now can scratch it out:
Thrust at a bar, and cry My lord as loud
As e'er a listed gownman of them all.
I never plead before the honour'd bench:
But bench right-worshipful of peaceful justices
And country gentlemen: and yet I've found
Good gettings, by the mass; besides odd cheats,
Will Small-shank's lands, and many garboils[345] more,

Enter Dash.

Dash. Sir.
Throat. Is that rejoinder done?
Dash. Done, sir.
Throat. Have you drawn't at length, have you dash'd it out—
According to your name?
Dash. Some sevenscore sheets.
Throat. Is the demurrer drawn 'twixt Snipe and Woodcock?
And what do you say to Peacock's pitiful bill?
Dash. I have drawn his answer negative to all.
Throat. Negative to all! The plaintiff says
[Pg 289] That William Goose was son to Thomas Goose;
And will he swear the general bill is false?
Dash. He will.
Throat. Then he forswears his father: 'tis well,
Some of our clients will go prig[346] to hell
Before ourselves. Has he paid all his fees?
Dash. He left them all with me.
Throat. Then truss my points:
And how think'st thou of law?
Dash. Most reverently,
Law is the world's great light: a second sun
To this terrestrial globe: by which all things
Have life and being, and without which
Confusion and disorder soon would seize
The general state of men: wars, outrages.
The ulcerous deeds of peace it curbs and cures;
It is the kingdom's eye, by which she sees
The acts and thoughts of men.
Throat. The kingdom's eye!
I tell thee, fool, it is the kingdom's nose,
By which she smells out all these rich transgressors:
Nor is't of flesh, but merely made of wax,
And 'tis within the power of us lawyers
To wrest this nose of wax which way we please:
Or it may be, as thou say'st, an eye indeed;
But if it be, 'tis (sure) a woman's eye, [Knock within.
That's ever rolling.
Dash. One knocks.
Throat. Go, see who 'tis—
Stay, my chair and gown; and then go see who knocks.
Thus must I seem a lawyer, which am indeed
But merely dregs and off scum of the law.

[Pg 290]

Enter Boutcher, Dash, and Constantia.

Ay, tricesimo primo Alberti Magni,
'Tis very clear.
Bout. God save you, sir.
Throat. The place is very pregnant. Master Boutcher,
Most hearty welcome, sir.
Bout. You ply this gear,
You are no truant in the law, I see?
Throat. Faith, some hundred books in folio I have
Turn'd over to better my own knowledge;
But that is nothing for a studient.[347]
Bout. Or a stationer—they turn them over too,
But not as you do, gentle Master Throat.
And what? the law speaks profit, does it not?
Throat. Faith, some bad angels haunt us now and then;
But what brought you hither?
Bout. Why, these small legs?
Throat. You are conceited, sir.
Bout. I am in law,
But let that go, and tell me how you do:
How does Will Small-shanks and his lovely bride?
Throat. In troth, you make me blush; I should have ask'd
His health of you; but 'tis not yet too late.
Bout. Nay, good Sir Throat,[348] forbear your quillets[349] now.
[Pg 291]
Throat. By heaven, I deal most plain! I saw him not,
Since last I took his mortgage.
Bout. Sir, be not nice—
Yet I must needs herein commend your love—
To let me see him; for (know) I know him wed,
And that he stole away Sommerfield's heir.
Therefore suspect me not: I am his friend.
Throat. How! wed to rich Sommerfield's only heir!
Is old Sommerfield dead?
Bout. Do you make it strange?
Throat. By heav'n, I know it not.
Bout. Then am I griev'd
I spake so much; but that I know you love him,
I should entreat your secrecy, sir; fare you well.
Throat. Nay, good sir, stay; if ought you can disclose
Of Master Small-shanks' good, let me partake,
And make me glad in knowing his good hap.
Bout. You much endear him, sir; and from your love
I dare presume you make yourself a fortune,
If his fair hopes proceed.
Throat. Say on, good sir.
Bout. You will be secret?
Throat. Or be my tongue torn out.
Bout. [Fair] measure for a lawyer. [Aside.] But to the point,
He has stole Sommerfield's heir, hither brings her,
As to a man on whom he may rely
His life and fortunes: you hath he named
Already for the steward of his lands:
To keep his courts, and to collect his rent;
To let out leases, and to raise his fines:
Nothing that may or love or profit bring,
But you are named the man.
[Pg 292]
Throat. I am his slave,
And bound unto his noble courtesy
Even with my life; I ever said he would thrive,
And I protest I kept his forfeit mortgage
To let him know what 'tis to live in want.
Bout. I think no less. One word more in private. [Walk aside.
Con. Good Master Dash, shall I put you now a case?
Dash. Speak on, good master page.
Con. Then thus it is:
Suppose I am a page, he is my master,
My master goes to bed, and cannot tell
What money's in his hose; I, ere next day,
Have filch'd out some, what action lies for this?
Dash. An action, boy, call'd firking the posteriors.
With us your action seldom comes in question;
For that 'tis known that most of your gallants
Are seldom so well-stor'd, that they forget
What money's in their hose; but if they have,
There is no other help than swear the page,
And put him to his oath.
Con. Then, firk o' law,[350]
Dost think, he that has conscience to steal,
Has not a conscience likewise to deny?
Then hang him up, i' faith?

[Boutcher and Throat come forward again.

Bout. I must meet him.
Throat. Commend me to them; come, when they will,
My doors stand open, and all within is theirs;
And though Ram-Alley stinks with cooks and ale,
Yet say there's many a worthy lawyer's chamber,
'Buts upon Ram-Alley. I have still an open throat,
If aught I have which may procure his good,
Bid him command—ay, though it be my blood. [Exeunt.


[321] Ram-Alley is one of the avenues into the Temple from Fleet Street. It formerly, among other places, claimed to be exempt from the process of the Courts of Law, a privilege which was taken from it by the Stat. of 9 & 10 William III. c. xxvii. s. 15.

[322] [Compare Dyce's Middleton, iii. 81.]

[323] [Old copies, my.]

[324] [A contemptuous allusion—one of many—to the profusion with which James I. created this dignity for the sake of raising money.]

[325] [Edits., wholesale-men.]

[326] A paint or composition used by the ladies to beautify the face and heighten the complexion. It is mentioned in Ben Jonson's "Sejanus," act ii. sc. 1—

"To-morrow morning
I'll send you a perfume, first to resolve
And procure sweat, and then prepare a bath
To cleanse and clear the cutis; against when
I'll have an excellent new fucus made,
Resistive 'gainst the sun, the rain, or wind,
Which you shall lay on with a breath or oil,
As you best like, and last some fourteen hours."

["Works," by Gifford, 1816, iii. 45, where breath seems to be an error—forsaw, brush.]

[327] A laundress is the name still preserved at the Inns of Court for the women, who attend to the men in chambers.

[328] The 4o of 1636 has it If I spend, which was followed by Mr Reed, but the first 4o of 1611 gives the true reading, If I speed.—Collier.

[329] Meaning Constantia, so disguised.—Collier.

[330] See note to "The Antiquary," act iv. sc. I (vol. 13.)

[331] See note at p. 277 suprá.

[332] [Old copies, man's.]

[333] [Edits., and much. This seems to have been introduced as a playful allusion by Widow Taffata to herself], unless these words should be given to Adriana.

[334] [Edits., five.]

[335] [This part of the dialogue is conducted by Adriana and Taffata above, while the other persons enter and converse below.]

[336] Bring it back.

[337] i.e., Puppet-shows. See note to "The Antiquary," act i. sc. I (vol. 13.)

[338] [Properly the stick to hold the gunner's match; but here the meaning is figurative.]

[339] i.e., Whip thee.

[340] Tiresias, the blind prophet of Thebes. Sec "The Œdipus" of Sophocles, and that of Dryden and Lee.

[341] [Edits., 'Tis.]

[342] Absolutely. So in "The Honest Man's Fortune," by Beaumont and Fletcher—

"I am as happy In my friend's good, as if 'twere merely mine."

[343] Perhaps we ought to read Now he returns, and not Now he retires; but both the old copies are uniform in favour of retires.—Collier. [Retire may be right, as it is justifiable to interpret it in its original sense of draw back, in which it is almost equivalent to return.]

[344] [Old copies, a power.]

[345] Barry uses this word garboils in a sense to which it was not usually applied. The Rev. Mr Todd, in his edition of Dr Johnson's Dictionary, says, "Bishop Hall has rendered Virgil's arma, i.e., battles, by the word garboil." This is a mistake, for Hall is laughing at Stanihurst for having so done in his attempted hexameter translation of the Æneid—

"Give me the number'd verse that Virgil sung,
And Virgil's self shall speak the English tongue;
Manhood and garboiles shall he chaunt with changed feet," &c.

—B. i. sat. 6.

But there are many authorities besides Shakespeare, in his "Antony and Cleopatra," for its employment. Gascoigne inserts it in the speech of Hercules in the "Princely Pleasures of Kenilworth": "A garboyel this in deede," ["Works" by Hazlitt, ii. 93]. Drayton also uses it in [his "Mortimeriados," 1596,] quoted in "England's Parnassus," p. 444—

"Such is the garboyle of this conflict then;
Brave Englishmen encountering Englishmen."

and T. Heywood, in his "Rape of Lucrece," 1608, talks of "the head of all these garboyles, the chief actor of that black sin," &c.—Collier.

[346] [Ride, perhaps a form of prick.]

[347] Formerly printed studient, and for the measure it must be read so.—Collier. [The form studient is legitimate, though uncommon, and has been restored.]

[348] [This form of address was borrowed from the university.]

[349] i.e., Subtleties. So in "Every Woman in her Humour," 1609, sig. H 4: "He has his pols and his œdypols, his times and his tricks, his quirks, and his quilits," &c.

Again, in Lyly's "Euphues," 1581, p. 56: "Not onl[Pg 293]y the, quirks and quiddities of the Logicians, but also," &c.

See also Mr Steevens's note on "Hamlet," act v. sc. I.

[350] [Edits., fecks-law, of which I fail to comprehend the meaning, if any. Tha phrase firk of law occurs again at p. 329, and in the sense of a trick or sleight.]


Enter Oliver Small-Shanks, Thomas Small-Shanks.

O. Small. Is this the place you were appointed to meet him?
T. Small. So Boutcher sent me word.
O. Small. I find it true,
That wine, good news, and a young wholesome wench
Cheer up an old man's blood. I tell thee, boy,
I am right hearty glad to hear thy brother
Hath got so great an heir: now were myself
So well bestow'd, I should rejoice, i' faith.
T. Small. I hope you shall do well.
O. Small. No doubt, no doubt;
Ah, sirrah! has a' borne the wench away!
My son, i' faith, my very son, i' faith!
When I was young, and had an able back,
And wore the bristle on my upper-lip,
In good decorum I had as good conveyance,
And could have ferk'd, and ferk'd y' away a wench,
As soon as e'er a man alive. Tut, boy,
I had my winks, my becks, treads on the toe,
Wrings by the fingers, smiles, and other quirks—
No courtier like me; your courtiers all are fools,
To that which I could do. I could have done it, boy,
Even to a hair, and that some ladies know.
[Pg 294]
T. Small. Sir, I am glad this match may reconcile
Your love unto my brother.
O. Small. O, 'tis more than so. [Yet]
I'll seem offended still, though I am glad [Aside.

Enter William Small-Shanks, Frances, Beard, booted.

H' has got rich Sommerfield's heir,
W. Small. Come, wench of gold!
For thou shalt get me gold, besides odd ends
Of silver: we'll purchase house and land
By thy bare gettings, wench, by thy bare gettings.
How say'st, Lieutenant Beard; does she not look
Like a wench newly stole from a window?
Beard. Exceeding well she carries it, by Jove;
And if she can forbear her rampant tricks,
And but hold close a while, 'twill take, by Mars.
Fran. How now, you slave? my rampant tricks, you rogue!
Nay, fear not me: my only fear is still,
Thy filthy face betrays us; for all men know,
Thy nose stands compass like a bow,
Which is three quarters drawn; thy head
Which is with greasy hair o'erspread,
And being uncurl'd and black as coal,
Doth show some scullion in a hole
Begot thee on a gipsy, or
Thy mother was some collier's whore:
My rampant tricks, you rogue! thou'lt be descried,
Before our plot be ended.
W. Small. What should descry him,
Unless it be his nose? and as for that,
[Pg 295] Thou may'st protest he was thy father's butler,
And for thy love is likewise run away.
Nay, sweet lieutenant, now forbear to puff,
And let the bristles of thy beard grow downward:
Reverence my punk, and pandarise a little,
There's many of thy rank that do profess it,
Yet hold it no disparagement.
Beard. I shall do
What fits an honest man.
W. Small. Why, that's enough:
'Foot, my father and the goose my brother:—
Back you two.—
Beard. Back.

[Enter William and Oliver Small-Shanks.]

W. Small. Retire, sweet lieutenant,
And come not on till I shall wave you on.
O. Small. Is not that he?
T. Small. 'Tis he.
O. Small. But where's the wench![351]
W. Small. It shall be so, I'll cheat him, that's flat.
O. Small. You are well met: know ye me, good sir?
Belike you think I have no eyes, no ears,
No nose to smell, and wind out all your tricks,
Y' have stole Sir Sommerfield's heir: nay, we can find
Your wildest parts, your turnings and returns,
Your traces, squats, the mussers, forms, and holes[352]
You young men use, if once our sagest wits
Be set a-hunting. Are you now crept forth?
Have you hid your head within a suburb-hole
[Pg 296] All this while, and are you now crept forth?
W. Small. 'Tis a stark lie.
O. Small. How?
W. Small. Who told you so did lie;
'Foot! a gentleman cannot leave the city,
And keep the suburbs to take a little physic,
But straight some slave will say he hides his head.
I hide my head within a suburb-hole!
I could have holes at court to hide my head,
Were I but so dispos'd.
O. Small. Thou varlet knave,
Th' hast stolen away Sir John Sommerfield's heir;
But never look for countenance from me,
Carry her whither thou wilt.
W. Small. Father, father,
Heart! will you undo your posterity?
Will you, sir, undo your posterity?
I can but kill my brother, then hang myself,
And where is then your house? Make me not despair,
'Foot, now I have got a wench, worth by the year
Two thousand pound and upwards, to cross my hopes!
Would e'er a clown in Christendom do't but you?
T. Small. Good father, let him leave this thundering,
And give him grace.
W. Small. Why, la, my brother knows
Reason, and what an honest man should do.
O. Small. Well, where's your wife?
W. Small. She's coming here behind.
O. Small. I'll give her somewhat, though I love not thee.
W. Small. My father, right: I knew you could not hold
Out long with a woman; but give something
Worthy your gift and her acceptance, father.
This chain were excellent, by this good light,
She shall give you as good, if once her lands

Enter Frances and Beard.

Come to my fingering.
O. Small. Peace, knave! what, 's she your wife?
W. Small. That shall be, sir.
O. Small. And what's he?
W. Small. My man.
[Pg 297]
O. Small. A ruffian knave he is.
W. Small. A ruffian, sir!
By heaven! as tall a man[353] as e'er drew sword,
Not being counted of the damned crew.
He was her father's butler, his name is Beard;
Off with your mask, now shall you find me true,
And that I am a son unto a knight:
This is my father. [To Frances.
O. Small. I am indeed, fair maid;
My style is knight: come, let me kiss your lips.
W. Small. That kiss shall cost your chain.


O. Small. It smacks, i' faith:
I must commend your choice.
Fran. Sir, I have given
A larger venture than true modesty
Will well allow, or your more graver wit Commend.
W. Small. I dare be sworn she has.
O. Small. Not so.
The foolish knave has been accounted wild,
And so have I; but I am now come home,
And so will he.
Fran. I must believe it now.
W. Small. Beg his chain, wench. [Aside.
Beard. Will you cheat your father?
W. Small. Ay, by this light, will I.
O. Small. Nay, sigh not;
For you shall find him loving and me thankful;
And were it not a scandal to my honour
To be consenting to my son's attempt,
You should unto my house: meanwhile, take this

[To Frances.

[Pg 298] As pledge and token of my after-love!

[Gives her a chain.

How long since died your father?
Fran. Some six weeks since———
W. Small. We cannot stay to talk, for slaves pursue.
I have a house shall lodge us, till the priest
May make us sure.
O. Small. Well, sirrah, love this woman,
And when you are man and wife, bring her to me:
She shall be welcome.
W. Small. I humbly thank you, sir.
O. Small. I must be gone; I must a-wooing too.
W. Small. Jove and Priapus speed you!
You'll return?
T. Small. Instantly.

[Exeunt Sir Oliver and Thomas Small-Shanks.

[Pg 299]

W. Small. Why, this came cleanly off,
Give me the chain, you little cockatrice;
Why, this was luck; 'foot! four hundred crowns
Got at a clap! hold still your own, you whore,
And we shall thrive.
Beard. 'Twas bravely fetch'd about.
W. Small. Ay, when will your nose and beard perform as much?
Fran. I am glad he is gone; he put me to the blush
When he did ask me of rich Sommerfield's death.
W. Small. And took not I my cue?[354] was't not good?
Did I not bring you off, you arrant drab,
Without a counter-buff?[355] look who comes here—
[Sings.] And three merry men, and three merry men,
And three merry men be we-a.[356]

Enter Boutcher and Constantia.

Bout. Still in this vein? I have done you service;
The lawyer's house will give you entertainment,
Bountiful and free.
W. Small. O my second self!
Come, let me buss thy beard, we are all made!
Why art so melancholy, dost want money?
Look, here's gold, and as we pass along,
I'll tell thee how I got it: not a word,
But that she's Sommerfield's heir; my brother
Swallows it with more ease than a Dutchman
Does flap-dragons: he comes; now to my lawyers.

Enter Thomas Small-Shanks.

Kiss my wife, good brother; she is a wench
[Pg 300] Was born to make us all.
T. Small. I hope no less,
You are welcome, sister, into these our parts,
As I may say.
Fran. Thanks, gentle brother.
W. Small. Come now to Ram Alley.
There shalt thou lie,
Till I provide a priest.
Bout. O villany!
I think he will gull his whole generation;
I must make one, since 'tis so well begun:
I'll not forsake him, till his hopes be won. [Exeunt.

Enter Throat and two Citizens.

Throat. Then y' are friends?
Both. We are, so please your worship.
Throat. 'Tis well, I am glad: keep your money, for law
Is like a butler's box:[357] while you two strive,
That picks up all your money. You are friends?
Both. We are, so please you, perfect friends.
Throat. Why so.
Now to the next tap-house; there drink down this,
And by the operation of the third pot
Quarrel again, and come to me for law: [Aside.
Fare you well.
Both. The gods conserve your wisdom. [Exeunt Citizens.
[Pg 301]
Throat. Why so: these are tricks[358] of the long fifteens:[359]
To give counsel, and to take fees on both sides;
To make 'em friends, and then to laugh at them!
Why, this thrives well, this is a common trick.
When men have spent a deal of money in law,
Then lawyers make them friends. I have a trick
To go beyond all these. If Small-shanks come,
And bring rich Somerfield's heir —— I say no more;
But 'tis within this sconce[360] to go beyond them.

Enter Dash.

Dash. Here are gentlemen in haste would speak with you.
Throat. What are they?
Dash. I cannot know them, sir,
They are so wrapp'd in cloaks.
Throat. Have they a woman?
Dash. Yes, sir; but she's mask'd, and in her riding suit.
Throat. Go, make haste, bring them up with reverence.
Who[361] are they, i' faith? h' has brought the wealthy heir?
These stools and cushions stand not handsomely.

Enter William Small-Shanks, Boutcher, Thomas Small-Shanks, Frances, and Beard.

W. Small. Bless thee, Throat.
Throat. Master Small-shanks, welcome.
W. Small. Welcome, love; kiss this gentle woman, Throat.
Throat. Your worship shall command me.
[Pg 302]
W. Small. Art not weary?
Bout. Can you blame her, since she has rid so hard?
Throat. You are welcome, gentlemen. Dash!
Dash. Sir.
Throat. A fire in the great chamber quickly.
W. Small. Ay, that's well-said; we are almost weary.
But, Master Throat, if any come to inquire
For me, my brother, or this gentlewoman,
We are not here, nor have you heard of us.
Throat. Not a word, sir; here you are as safe
As in your father's house.
T. Small. And he shall thank you.
W. Small. Th' art not merry, love? Good Master Throat,
Bid this gentlewoman welcome: she is one,
Of whom you may receive some courtesy
In time.
Throat. She is most hearty welcome.
Wilt please you walk into another room,
Where is both bed and fire?
W. Small. Ay, ay, that, that.
Good brother, lead her in: Master Throat and I
Will follow instantly. Now, Master Throat,

[Exeunt Thomas Small-Shanks, Frances, and Beard.

It rests within your power to pleasure me:
Know that this same is Sir John Sommerfield's heir;
Now if she chance to question what I am,
Say, son unto a lord: I pray thee, tell her
I have a world of land, and stand in hope
To be created baron; for I protest
I was constrain'd to swear it forty times,
[Pg 303] And yet she'll scarce believe me.
Throat. Pauca sapienti:
Let me alone to set you out in length
And breadth.
W. Small. I prythee, do't effectually;
Shalt have a quarter share, by this good light,
In all she has. I prythee, forget not
To tell her the Small-shanks have been dancers,
Tilters, and very ancient courtiers,
And in request at court since Sir John Short-hose
With his long silk stockings was beheaded.
Wilt thou do this?
Throat. Refer it to my care.
W. Small. Excellent! I'll but shift my boots, and then
Go seek a priest; this night I will be sure.
If we be sure, it cannot be undone;
Can it, Master Throat?
Throat. O, sir, not possible;
You have many precedents and book-cases for't,
Be you but sure, and then let me alone.
Vivat Rex, currat Lex; and I'll defend you.
W. Small. Nay, then, hang care: come, let's in.

[Exit William Small-Shanks.

Throat. Ha, ha!
Have you stole her? fallere fallentem non est fraus.
[Pg 304] It shall go hard but I will strip you, boy:
You stole the wench, but I must her enjoy. [Exit.

Enter Mistress Taffata and Adriana, below.

Taf. Come, Adriana, tell me what thou think'st.
I am tickled with conceit of marriage,
And whom think'st thou for me the fittest husband?
What say'st thou to young Boutcher?
Adri. A pretty fellow;
But that his back is weak.
Taf. What dost thou say
To Throat the lawyer?
Adri. I like that well,
Were the rogue a lawyer; but he is none.
He never was of any inn-of-court,
But [of an] inn-of-chancery, where a' was known
But only for a swaggering whiffler,
To keep out rogues and prentices: I saw him,
When he was stock'd for stealing the cook's fees.
A lawyer I could like, for 'tis a thing
Used by your citizens' wives. Your husband's dead:
To get French hoods you straight must lawyers wed.
Taf. What say'st thou then to nimble Sir
Oliver Small-shanks?
Adri. Faith, he must hit the hair; a fellow fit
To make a pretty cuckold. Take an old man:
'Tis now the newest fashion: better be
An old man's darling than a young man's warling.[362]
Take me the old brisk knight: the fool is rich,
And will be strong enough to father children,
Though not to get them.
[Pg 305]
Taf. 'Tis true: he is the man.
Yet will I bear some dozen more in hand,[363]
And make them all my gulls.
Adri. Mistress, stand aside.

Enter Boutcher and Constantia.

Young Boutcher comes: let me alone to touch him.
Bout. This is the house.
Con. And that's the chamber-maid.
Bout. Where's the widow, gentle Adriana?
Adri. The widow, sir, is not to be spoken to.
Bout. Not spoke to? I must speak with her.
Adri. Must you?
Come you with authority, or do you come
To sue her with a warrant, that you must speak with her?
Bout. I would entreat it.
Adri. O, you would entreat it?
May not I serve your turn? may not I unfold
Your secrets to my mistress? Love is your suit?
Bout. It is, fair creature.
Adri. And why did you fall off,
When you perceived my mistress was so coming?[364]
D' you think she is still the same?
Bout. I do.
Adri. Why so!
[Pg 306] I took you for a novice: and I must think
You know not yet the inwards of a woman.
Do you not know that women are like fish,
Which must be struck, when they are prone to bite,
Or all your labour's lost? But, sir, walk here;
And I'll inform my mistress your desires. [Exit.
Con. Master.
Bout. Boy.
Con. Come not you for love?
Bout. I do, boy.
Con. And you would have the widow?
Bout. I would.
Con. By Jove,
I never saw one go about his business
More untowardly: why, sir, do not you know,
That he which would be inward[365] with the mistress,
Must make a way first through the waiting-maid?
If you will know the widow's affections,
Feel first the waiting gentlewoman; do it, master:
Some half a dozen kisses were not lost
Upon this gentlewoman; for you must know,
These waiting-maids are to their mistresses,
Like porches unto doors; you pass the one,
Before you can have entrance at the other.
Or like your mustard to your piece of brawn,
If you'll have one taste well, you must not scorn
To be dipping in the other. I tell you, master.
'Tis not a few men's tales which they prefer
Unto their mistresses in compass of a year.
Be rul'd by me; untruss yourself to her,
Out with all your lovesick thoughts to her,
Kiss her, and give her an angel to buy pins,
And this shall sooner win her mistress' love,
Than all your protestations, sighs, and tears.

Enter Taffata and Adriana.

Here they come. To her boldly, master.
Do, but dally not; that's the widow's phrase.[366]
Bout. Most worthy fair, such is the power of love,
That now I come t'accept your proffer'd grace;
And with submissive thoughts t'entreat a pardon
For my so gross neglect.
Taf. There's no offence;
[Pg 307] My mind is changed.
Adri. I told you as much before.
Con. With a hey-pass—with a repass.[367] [Aside.
Bout. Dearest of women!
The constant virtue of your nobler mind
Speaks in your looks: nor can you entertain
Both love and hate at once.
Taf. 'Tis all in vain.
Adri. You strive against the stream.
Con. Fee the waiting-maid, master! [Whispers.
Bout. Stand thou propitious; endear me to my love.

[Boutcher gives Adriana his purse secretly.

Adri. Dear mistress, turn to this gentleman;
I protest
I have some feeling of his constant love.
Cast him not away; try his love.
Taf. Why, sir,
With what audacious front can you entreat
To enjoy my love, which yet not two hours since
You scornfully refus'd?
Con. Well fare the waiting-maid. [Aside.
Bout. My fate compell'd me; but now farewell, fond fear:
My soul, my life, my lands, and reputation—
I'll hazard all, and prize them all beneath thee.
Taf. Which I shall put to trial; lend me thy ear.

[They talk apart.

Adri. Can you love, boy?
Con. Yes.
Adri. What or whom?
Con. My victuals.
Adri. A pretty knave, i' faith! come home tonight,
Shalt have a posset and candied eringoes.
[Pg 308] A bed, if need be, too: I love, a' [my] life,
To play with such baboons as thou.
Con. Indeed!
But dost thou think the widow will have my master?
Adri. I'll tell thee then: wo't come?
Con. I will.
Adri. Remember!
Taf. Will you perform so much?
Bout. Or lose my blood.
Taf. Make him subscribe it; and then I vow,
By sacred Vesta's ever-hallowed fire,
To take thee to my bed.
Bout. Till then, farewell.
Taf. He's worthy love, whose virtues most excel.
Adri. Remember! [to Con.] What, is't a match betwixt you, mistress?

[Exit Boutcher and Constantia.

Taf. I have set the fool in hope: h' has undertook
To rid me of that fleshly Captain Face;
Which swears in taverns and all ordinaries
I am his lawful wife. He shall allay
The fury of the captain, and I (secure)
Will laugh at the disgrace they both endure. [Exeunt.

[Pg 309]

Enter Throat and Frances.

Throat. Open your case, and I shall soon resolve you.
Fran. But will you do it, truly?
Throat. As I am honest.
Fran. This gentleman, whom I so much affect,
I scarce yet do know; so blind is love
In things which most concerns it. As y' are honest,
Tell me his birth, his state, and farthest hopes.
Throat. He is my friend, and I will speak him truly.
He is by birth son to a foolish knight;
His present state, I think, will be the prison,
And farthest hope, to be bail'd out again
By sale of all your land.
Fran. O me accurs'd!
Has he no credit, lands, and manors?
Throat. That land he has lies in a fair churchyard;
And for his manners, they are so rude and vile,
That scarce an honest man will keep him company.
Fran. I am abus'd, cosen'd, and deceived.
Throat. Why, that's his occupation: he will cheat
In a cloak lin'd with velvet: he will prate
Faster than five barbers and a tailor;
Lie faster than ten city occupiers[368]
Or cunning tradesmen: goes a-trust
[Pg 310] In every tavern, where h' has spent a fagot;
Swears love to every whore, squires bawds,
And takes up houses for them as their husband:
He is a man I love, and have done much
To bring him to preferment.
Fran. Is there no trust, no honesty in men?
Throat. Faith, some there is,
And 'tis all in the hands of us lawyers
And women: and those women which have it,
Keep their honesty so close, that not one
Amongst a hundred is perceiv'd to have it.
Fran. Good sir, may I not by law forsake him,
And wed another, though my word be pass'd
To be his wife?
Throat. O, questionless, you may!
You have many precedents and bookcases for't:
Nay, though you were married by a bookcase
Of Millesimo sexcentessimo, &c.
You may forsake your husband, and wed another,
Provided that some fault be in the husband,
As none of them are clear.
Fran. I am resolv'd.
I will not wed him, though I beg my bread.
[Pg 311]
Throat. All that I have is yours; and were I worthy
To be your husband———
Fran. I thank you, sir;
I will rather wed a most perfidious Red-shanks
A noted Jew, or some mechanic slave,
Than let him joy my sheets.
Throat. He comes, he comes.

Enter W. Small-Shanks, Boutcher, T. Small-Shanks, Beard.

W. Small. Now, my virago, 'tis done: all's cock-sure.
I have a priest will mumble up a marriage
Without bell, book, or candle:[369] a nimble slave,
An honest Welshman, that was a tailor,
But now is made a curate.
Beard. Nay, y' are fitted.
Bout. Now, Master Throat.
T. Small. Where's your spirit, sister?
W. Small. What, all amort?[370] what's the matter? do you hear?
Bout. What's the reason of this melancholy?
Throat. By heaven, I know not?
W. Small. Has the gudgeon bit? [Aside.
Fran. He has been nibbling. [Aside.
W. Small. Hold him to it, wench,
And it will hit, by heaven. [Aside.] Why art so sad?
'Foot, wench, we will be married to-night,
We'll sup at th' Mitre, and from thence
My brother and we three will to the Savoy;
[Pg 312] Which done, I tell thee, girl, we'll, hand o'er head,
Go to it pell-mell for a maidenhead.
Come, you are lusty: you wenches are like bells,
You give no music till you feel the clapper.
Come, Throat: a torch. We must be gone. [Exit.
Fran. Servant.
Beard. Mistress.
Fran. We are undone.
Beard. Now Jove forfend![371]
Fran. This fellow has no land; and which is worse,
He has no credit.
Beard. How! are we outstripp'd?
Blown up by wit of man? Let us be gone
Home again, home again: our market now is done.
Fran. That were too great a scandal.
Throat. Most true!
Better to wed another, than to return
With scandal and defame: wed me a man,
Whose wealth may reconcile your mother's love.
And make the action lawful.
Beard. But where's the man?
I like your counsel, could you show the man.
Throat. Myself am he, might I but dare aspire
Unto so high a fortune.
[Pg 313]
Beard. Mistress, take the man:
Shall we be baffled with fair promises.
Or shall we trudge like beggars back again?
No, take this wise and virtuous man
Who, should he lose his legs, his arms, his ears,
His nose, and all his other members,
Yet if his tongue be left, 'twill get his living.
Take me this man.
Throat. Thanks, gentle Master Beard.
Fran. 'Tis impossible; this night he means to wed me.
Throat. If not by law, we will with pow'r prevent it,
So you but give consent.
Fran. Let's hear the means.
Throat. I'll muster up my friends, and thus I cast it:[372]
Whilst they are busy, you and I will hence
Directly to a chapel, where a priest
Shall knit the nuptial knot, ere they pursue us.
Beard. O rare invention! I will act my part;
He owes me thirteen pound, I say no more,
But there be catchpoles [Aside]; speak, is't a match?[373]
Fran. I give my liking.
Throat. Dash!
Dash. Sir.
Throat. Get your sword,

[Exeunt Frances and Beard.

And me my buckler: nay, you shall know
We are Tam Marti quam Mercurio.
Bring my cloak: you shall thither: I'll for friends.
Worship and wealth the lawyer's state attends.
Dash, we must bear some brain[374] to Saint John's Street,
Go, run, fly: and afar off inquire,
If that the Lady Sommerfield be there,
If there, know what news; and meet me straight
At the Mitre door,[375] in Fleet Street. Away!
"To get rich wives, men must not use delay."


[351] The edition of this play in 1636 omits the word wench, and therefore it was not found in the last reprint under the care of Mr Reed. It is now inserted from the copy of 1611.—Collier.

[352] Terms of the chase. Mussers are hiding-holes, or lurking-places; from the Fr. musser, to hide, conceal, &c.

[353] i.e., As brave a man.

[354] [Edits., Q, the letter having been written probably by the transcriber of the play for press to save trouble. A Q is a farthing in the old college books.]

[355] I imagine an allusion is here intended to the buff coats of the Serjeants belonging to the Counter. See p. 330.

[356] These lines are the conclusion of many old songs. Several instances are produced by Mr Steevens, Sir John Hawkins, and Mr Tyrwhit, in their notes on "Twelfth Night," act ii. sc. 3.

Again, in "Laugh and Lie Downe," 1605, sig. E 4: "He plaied such a song of the three merry men, that had the dittie beene in a strange language, I should have been puzzled in the musick."

[357] [This allusion occurs also in Wybarne's "New Age of Old Names," 1609, p. 12, and in "The Return from Parnassus," 1606, (ix. 103).]

[358] Another proof that the edit. of 1636 only was followed by Mr Reed. The first 4o has it—"Why so: these are tricks," &c., and not "there are tricks," as in the second 4o.—Collier.

[359] [See Dyce's Shakespeare, 1868, v. 178, and "Glossary," v. Fifteens. A fifteen was a levy made in subsidies, amounting to a fifteenth of the personalty; but here the phrase almost seems to be used loosely, in the sense of extortion.]

[360] i.e., Head.

[361] [Old copies, O.]

[362] This is proverbial. [See Hazlitt'e "Proverbs," 1869, p. 84], The Scots say, a young man's wonderling. See "Collection of Scots Proverbs," 8o, 1721, by James Kelly, who observes it is used as an argument to induce a young girl to marry an old man.

[363] To bear in hand was a common phrase, signifying to keep in expectation or dependence. In Dr Walter Pope's "Life of Bishop Seth Ward," 1697, p. 104, is the following passage: "My Lord, I might bear you in hand; a western phrase, signifying to delay or keep in expectation, and feed you with promises, or at least hopes, that I should cure you in some competent time," &c.

Again, in Fennor's "Compter's Commonwealth," p. 47: "I have seen divers gentlemen come into prison (after they have laine a fortnight or three weekes at some of their houses, at an excessive rate) without either cloake, sword, or hat, which the sergeants have got from them, onely bearing them in hand that they will get them baile."

And in Ben Jonson's "Volpone," act i. sc. 1—

"Still bearing them in hand,
Letting the cherry knock against their lips.
And draw it by their mouths and back again."

The phrase frequently occurs in Shakespeare.

[364] [So forward.]

[365] Intimate, on familiar terms. See note to "The Spanish Tragedy" [v. 168]

[366] An allusion, seemingly, to a popular saying. See Hazlitt's" Proverbs," p. 190.

[367] Terms of legerdemain.

[368] [Merchants.]

[369] These words, bell, book, and candle, refer to the mode of excommunication in the Romish Church. In "King John," act iii. sc. 3, the Bastard says—

"Bell, book, and candle shall not drive me back,
When gold and silver becks me to come on."

Dr Grey, in his "Notes on Shakespeare," i. 284, has given the ceremonial on pronouncing an excommunication, by which it appears that in the performance of this office three candles were to be extinguished in the different parts of it. In Archbishop Winchelsea's sentences of excommunication, anno 1298 (see Johnson's "Ecclesiastical Laws," vol. ii.), it is directed that the sentence against infringers of certain articles should be "throughout explained in order in English, with bells tolling and candles lighted, that it may cause the greater dread; for Laymen have greater regard to this solemnity than to the effect of such sentences."

[370] All amort here and in other places signifies melancholy. So in Greene's "History of Friar Bacon," 1594—

"Shall he thus all amort live malecontent."

Again, in "Wily Beguiled," 1606—

"Why, how now, Sophos, all amort? still languish in love?"

[ix. 305]. And in the "Contention between Liberality and Prodigality," 1602, the author makes an addition to this French expression not usually found in English—

"What, is there none that answers? Tout a-la-mort?"

[viii. 335.]—Collier.

[371] [Prevent. See note at p. 18 of vol. vii.]

[372] i.e., Contrive it. The word is still sometimes used in the same sense.

[373] All after the words O rare invention has been hitherto given to Throat without any notice, and although both the quartos assign it to Beard, who, as appears subsequently, had advanced the sum he mentions.—Collier.

[374] So in "The Country Captain," by the Duke of Newcastle, 1649, p. 51: "When these wordes of command are [Pg 314]rotten, we will sow some other military seedes; you beare a braine and memory."

Again, the Nurse, in "Romeo and Juliet," says—

"Well I do bear a brain."

See Mr Steevens's note on this last passage.


Enter Sir Oliver Small-Shanks, Justice Tutchin.

Jus. Tut. A-hunting, Sir Oliver, and dry-foot too!
O. Small. We old men have our crotchets, our conundrums.
Our figaries, quirks, and quibbles,
As well as youth. Justice Tutchin, I go
To hunt no buck, but prick a lusty doe.
I go, in truth, a-wooing.
Jus. Tut. Then ride with me,
I'll bring you to my sister Sommerfield.
O. Small. Justice, not so; by her there hangs a tale.
Jus. Tut. That's true indeed.
O. Small. She has a daughter.
Jus. Tut. And what of that?
O. Small. I likewise have a son,
A villanous boy, his father up and down;[376]
What should I say? these velvet-bearded boys
Will still be doing, say what we old men can.
Jus. Tut. And what of this, Sir Oliver? be plain.
O. Small. A nimble-spirited knave, the villain boy
Has one trick of his sire, has got the wench,
Stol'n your rich sister's heir.
[Pg 315]
Jus. Tut. Sommerfield's heir?
O. Small. Has done the deed, has pierc'd the vessel's head,
And knows by this the vintage.
Jus. Tut. When should this be?
O. Small. As I am by my counsel well-informed,
This very day.
Jus. Tut. Tut, it cannot be,
Some ten miles hence I saw the maid last night.
O. Small. Maids may be maids to-night, and not to-morrow.
Women are free, and sell their maidenheads,
As men sell cloth by yard and handful;
But if you chance to see your sister widow,
Comfort her tears, and say her daughter's match'd
With one that has a knocker to his father—
An honest, noble knight.
Jus. Tut. Stand close, knight, close,
And mark this captain's humour. His name is Puff.
He dreams as he walks, and thinks no woman

Enter Captain Puff.

Sees, him, but is in love with him.
Puff. 'Twere brave,
If some great lady through a window spied me,
And straight should love me. Say, she should send
Five thousand pound unto my lodging,
And crave my company! with that money
I would make three several cloaks, and line them
With black, crimson, and tawny three-pil'd velvet;
I would eat at Chare's ordinary, and dice
At Antony's: then would I keep my whore
In beaten velvet, and have two slaves to tend her.
O. Small. Ha, ha, ha!
Puff. What, my case of Justices?
What, are you eavesdropping? or do you think
[Pg 316] Your tawny coats with greasy facings here
Shall carry it? Sir Oliver Small-shanks,
Know my name is Puff, knight; thee have I sought
To fright thee from thy wits.
Jus. Tut. Nay, good Sir Puff,
We have too many madmen already.
Puff. How? I tell thee, Justice Tutchin, not all
Thy bailiffs, serjeants, busy constables,
Defeasants, warrants, or thy mittimuses,
Shall save his throat from cutting, if he presume
To woo the widow yclipped[377] Taffata:
She is my wife by oath. Therefore, take heed:
Let me not catch thee in the widow's house:
If I do, I'll pick thy head upon my sword,
And piss in thy very visnomy; beware, beware!
Come there no more; a captain's word
Flies not so fierce as doth his fatal sword. [Exit Puff.
[Pg 317]
O. Small. How like you this? shall we endure this thunder,
Or go no further?
Jus. Tut. We will on, Sir Oliver,
We will on; let me alone to touch him.
I wonder how my spirit did forbear
To strike him on the face: had this been spoke
Within my liberties, h' had died for it.

Re-enter Captain Puff.

O. Small. I was about to draw.
Puff. If you come there,
Thy beard shall serve to stuff those balls, by which
I get me heat at tennis.
Jus. Tut. Is he gone? [Exit Puff.
I would he durst ha' stood to this a while.
Well, I shall catch him in a narrow room,
Where neither of us can flinch: if I do,
I'll make him dance-a trenchmoor[378] to my sword.
Come, I'll along with you to the widow.
We will not be outbraved, take my word,
We'll not be wrong'd, while I can draw a sword. [Exeunt.

Enter Throat and two other Gentlemen.

Throat. Let the coach stay at Shoe Lane end; be ready.
[Pg 318] Let the boot stand open; and when she's in,
Hurry towards Saint Giles's in the Fields,
As if the devil himself were waggoner.
Now for an arm of oak and heart of steel,
To bear away the wench, to get a wife,
A gentlewoman, a maid—nay, which is more,
An honest maid and, which is most of all,
A rich and honest maid: O Jove! O Jove!
For a man to wed such a wife as this
Is to dwell in the suburbs of heaven.
1st Gent. Is she so exquisite?
Throat. Sir, she is rich,
And a great heir.
2d Gent. 'Tis the more dangerous.
Throat. Dangerous? Lord! where be those gallant spirits?
The time has been, when scarce an honest woman,
Much less a wench, could pass an inn-of-court,
But some of the fry would have been doing
With her. I knew the day, when Shreds, a tailor,
Coming once late by an inn-of-chancery,
Was laid along, and muffled in his cloak,
His wife took in, stitch'd-up, turn'd out again,
And he persuaded all was but in jest.
Tut, those brave boys are gone; these which are left
Are wary lads, live poring on their books,
And give their linen to their laundresses;
By tail they now can save their purses:[379]
I knew, when every gallant had his man,
But now a twelvepenny weekly laundress
Will serve the turn to half a dozen of them.

Enter Dash.

Here comes my man; what news?
Dash. As you would wish;
The Lady Sommerfield is come to town.
Her horses yet are walking, and her men say
Her only daughter is conveyed away—
No man knows how. Now to it, master!
You and your servant Dash are made for ever,
If you but stick to it now.
[Pg 319]
Throat. Gentlemen,
Now show yourselves at full, and not a man
But shares a fortune with me, if I speed.

Enter William Small-Shanks, Boutcher, Thomas Small-Shanks, Frances, and Beard with a torch.

1st Gent. Tut, fear not us; be sure you run away,
And we'll perform the quarrel.
Throat. Stand close: they come.
W. Small. Art sure he will be here?
Fran. Most sure.
W. Small. Beard.
Beard. Sir.
W. Small. Bear up the torch, and keep your way apace
Directly to the Savoy.
T. Small. Have you a licence?
Look to that, brother, before you marry,
For fear the parson lose his benefice.
W. Small. Tut, our curate craves no licence; he swears
His living came to him by a miracle.
Bout. How by [a] miracle?
W. Small. Why, he paid nothing for't:
He swears that few be free from simony,
But only Welshmen, and those he says, too,
Are but mountain priests.
Bout. But hang him, fool, he lies:
What's his reason?
W. Small. His reason is this;
That all their livings are so rude and bare,
That not a man will venture his damnation
By giving money for them: he does protest,
There is but two pair of hose and shoes
In all his parish.
1st Gent. Hold up your light, sir.
Beard. Shall I be taught how to advance my torch?
[Pg 320]
W. Small. What's the matter, lieutenant?
2d Gent. Your lieutenant's an ass.
Beard. How, an ass? die, men, like dogs?[380] [Draws.
W. Small. Hold, gentlemen.
Beard. An ass! an ass!
Throat. Hold, brother, hold! lieutenant.
Put up, as you are men; your wife is gone.
W. Small. Gone?
Bout. Gone.
W. Small. How? which way? this is some plot.
T. Small. Down toward Fleet Bridge.
All. Follow, follow, follow!
1st Gent. So has the wench; let us pursue aloof,[381]
And see the event. This will prove good mirth,
When things unshap'd shall have a perfect birth. [Exit.

Enter William Small-Shanks, Boutcher, Thomas Small-Shanks, and Beard, their swords drawn.

W. Small. 'Tis a thing impossible they should be gone
Thus far, and we not see them.
T. Small. Upon my life,
They went in by the Greyhound, and so struck
Into Bridewell.
Bout. What should she make there?
T. Small. Take water at the dock.
[Pg 321]
Beard. Water at dock!
A fico for her dock! you'll not be rul'd,
You'll still be obstinate, I'll pawn my fate,
She took along Shoe Lane, and so went home.
W. Small. Home?
Beard. Ay, home; how could she choose but go,
Seeing so many naked tools at once
Drawn in the street?
T. Small. What scurvy luck was this?
W. Small. Come, we will find her, or we'll fire the suburbs.
Put up your tools; let's first along Shoe Lane,
Then straight up Holborn; if we find her not,
We'll thence direct to Throat's; if she be lost,
I am undone, and all your hopes are cross'd. [Exeunt.

Enter Sir Oliver Small-Shanks, Justice Tutchin, Mistress Taffata, Adriana.

[Pg 322]

O. Small. Widow, I must be short.
Jus. Tut. Sir Oliver,
Will you shame yourself, ha? you must be short!
Why, what a word was that to tell a widow?
O. Small. I meant I must be brief.
Jus. Tut. Why say so, then,
Yet that's almost as ill; go to, speak on.
O. Small. Widow, I must be brief; what old men do,
They must do quickly.
Taf. Then, good sir, do it;
Widows are seldom slow to put men to it.
O. Small. And old men know their cues: my love, you know,
Has been protested long, and now I come
To make my latest tender; an old-grown oak
Can keep you from the rain, and stands as fair
And portly as the best.
Taf. Yet search him well,
And we shall find no pith or hearty timber
To underlay a building. [Aside.
Jus. Tut. I would that oak
Had been a-fire: forward, good Sir Oliver,
Your oak is nought: stick not too much to that.


O. Small. If you can like, you shall be ladyfied,
Live at the court, and soon be got with child.
[Pg 323] What, do you think we old men can do nothing?
Jus. Tut. This was somewhat like.
O. Small. You shall have jewels,
A baboon, parrot, and an Iceland[382] dog,
And I myself to bear you company.
Your jointure is five hundred pound by year,
Besides your plate, your chains, and household-stuff,
When envious fate shall change this mortal life.
Taf. But shall I not be overcloy'd with love?
Will you not be too busy? shall I keep
My chamber by the month, if I be pleas'd
To take physic, to send for visitants,
To have my maid read Amadis de Gaul
Or Donzel del Phœbo[383] to me I shall I have
A coach of the last edition—
The coachman's seat a good way from the coach,
That, if some other ladies and myself
Chance to talk bawdy, he may not o'erhear us?
O. Small. All this, and more.
Taf. Shall we have two chambers?
And will you not presume unto my bed,
[Pg 324] Till I shall call you by my waiting-maid?
O. Small. Not I, by heaven!
Taf. And when I send her,
Will you not entice her to your lust,
Nor tumble her, before you come to me?
Adri. Nay, let him do his worst, make your match sure,
And fear not me; I never yet did fear [Aside.
Anything my master could do to me. [Knock.
Taf. What noise is that? go, see, Adriana,
And bring me word: I am so haunted
With a swaggering captain, that swears, God bless us,

Enter Adriana.

Like a very termagant:[384]—a rascal knave,
That says he will kill all men which seek to wed me.
Adri. O mistress! Captain Puff, half-drunk, is now
Coming up-stairs.
O. Small. O God! have you no room
Beyond this chamber? h' has sworn to kill me,
And piss in my very visnomy.
Taf. What, are you afraid, Sir Oliver?
O. Small. Not afraid;
But of all men I love not to meddle with a drunkard:
Have you any room backwards?
Taf. None, sir.
[Pg 325]
Jus. Tut. Is there ne'er a trunk or cupboard for him?
Is there ne'er a hole backwards to hide him in?
Capt. Puff [without]. I must speak with her.
O. Small. O God! he comes!
Adri. Creep under my mistress's farthingale, knight.
That's the best and safest place in the chamber.
Jus. Tut. Ay, there, there—that lie will never mistrust.
Adri. Enter, knight, keep close; gather yourself
Round like a hedgehog; stir not, whate'er you hear
See, or smell, knight. God bless us! here he comes.

Enter Captain Puff.

Capt. Puff. Bless thee, widow and wife.
Taf. Sir, get you gone,
Leave my house, or I will have you conjur'd
With such a spell you never yet have heard of.
Have you no other place to vent your froth
But in my house? is this the fittest place
Your captainship can find to puff in, ha?
Capt. Puff. How? am I not thy spouse? didst thou not say
These arms should clip[385] thy naked body fast
Betwixt two linen sheets, and be sole lord
Of all thy pewter-work? Thy word is pass'd:
And know, that man is powder, dust and earth,
That shall once dare to think thee for his wife!
Taf. How now, you slave? One call the constable.
Capt. Puff. No constable with all his halberdiers
Dare once advance his head or peep up stairs,
If I cry but, keep down: have I not liv'd,
And march'd on sieged walls,
In thunder, lightning, rain, and snow,
And eke in shot of powdered balls,
[Pg 326] Whose costly marks are yet to show?
Taf. Captain Puff, for my last husband's sake,
With whom you were so familiarly acquainted,
I am content to wink at these rude tricks;
But hence! trouble me no more; if you do,
I shall lay you fast, where you shall see
No sun or moon.
Capt. Puff. Nor yet the northern pole!
A fico for the sun and moon: let me live in a hole,
So these two stars may shine.
Taf. Sir, get you gone,
You swaggering cheating Turnbull Street[386] rogue,
Or I will hale you to the common gaol,
Where lice shall eat you.
Capt. Puff. Go to, I shall spurn
And flesh[387] your petticoat.
Taf. Run to the Counter,
Fetch me a red-bearded Serjeant:[388] I'll make
You, captain, think the devil of hell is come
To fetch you, if he once fasten on you.
Capt. Puff. Damn thee and thy Serjeants, thou mercer's punk,
Thus will I kick thee and thy farthingales.

[Kicks at her petticoat.]

O. Small. Hold, captain!
Capt. Puff. What, do you cast your whelps?
What, have I found you, sir? have not I plac'd
My sakers, culverings, demi-culverings,
My cannons, demi-cannons, basilisks,
Upon her breach, and do I not stand
Ready with my pike to make my entry,
And are you come to man her?
O. Small. Good captain, hold.
Capt. Puff. Are not her bulwarks, parapets, trenches,
Scarps, counter-scarps,[389] fortifications,
Curtains, shadows, mines, counter-mines,
Rampiers,[390] forts, ditches, works, water-works,
And is not her half-moon mine? and do you bring
A rescue, goodman knight?
[Pg 327]
Taf. Call up my men.

Enter O. Small, and two or three others with clubs.

Where be these knaves? bare they no ears or hearts?
Bear hence this rascal; some other fetch a warrant:
I'll teach him to know himself.
Jus. Tut. Down with the slave.
O. Small. Tis not your beard shall carry it; down with the rogue.
Capt. Puff. Not Hercules 'gainst twenty.

[Exit Puff.

Jus. Tut. Ah, sirrah!
I knew[391] my hands no longer could forbear him:
Why did you not strike the knave, Sir Oliver?
O. Small. Why, so I did.
Jus. Tut. But then it was too late.
O. Small. What would you have me do, when I was down,
And he stood thundering with his weapon drawn,

Enter Adriana.

Ready to cut my throat?
Adri. The rogue is gone,
And here's one from the lady Sommerfield.
To intreat you come with all the speed you can
To Saint John's Street.
[Pg 328]
Jus. Tut. Which I will do.
Taf. Gentlemen,
I am sorry you should be thus disturb'd
Within my house; but now all fear is pass'd,
You are most welcome: supper ended,
I'll give a gracious answer to your suit;
Meanwhile, let nought dismay or keep you mute. [Exit.

Enter Throat, Frances, and Dash.

Throat. Pay the coachman, Dash, pay him well,
And thank him for his speed. Now Vivat Rex,
The knot is knit, which not the law itself,
With all his Hydra-heads and strongest nerves.
Is able to disjoin: now let him hang,
Fret out his guts, and swear the stars from heaven—
He never shall enjoy you; you shall be rich.
Your lady-mother this day came to town
In your pursuit: we will but shift some rags,
And straight go take her blessing.
Fran. That must not be;
Furnish me with jewels, and then myself,
Attended by your man and honest Beard,
Will thither first, and with my lady-mother
Crave a peace for you.
Throat. I like that well;
Her anger somewhat calm'd, I brisk and fine,
Some half hour after will present myself
As son-in-law unto her, which she must needs
Accept with gracious looks.
Fran. Ay, when she knows
[Pg 329] Before by me, from what an eminent plague
Your wisdom has preserv'd me.
Throat. Ay, that, that—
That will strike it dead. But here comes Beard.

Enter Beard.

Beard. What, are you sure I tied fast by heart and hand?
Throat. I now do call her wife, she now is mine,
Seal'd and deliver'd by an honest priest
At Saint Giles's in the Fields.
Beard. God give you joy, sir.
Throat. But where's mad Small-shanks?
Beard. O, hard at hand,
And almost mad with loss of his fair bride;
Let not my lovely mistress be seen;
And see, if you can draw him to compound
For all his title to her: I have serjeants,
Ready to do the feat, when time shall serve.
Throat. Stand you aside, dear love[392]; nay, I will firk
My silly novice, as he was never firk'd,
Since midwives bound his noddle: here they come.

Enter William Small-Shanks, Thomas Small-Shanks, and Boutcher.

W. Small. O Master Throat, unless you speak good news,
My hopes are cross'd, and I undone for ever!
[Pg 330]
Throat. I never thought you'd come to other end;
Your courses have been always so profane,
Extravagant and base.
W. Small. Nay, good sir, hear:
Did not my love return? came she not hither?
For Jove's love, speak.
Throat. Sir, will you get you gone,
And seek your love elsewhere? for know, my house
Is not to entertain such customers
As you and your comrades.
W. Small. Is the man mad
Or drunk? Why, Master Throat, know you to whom
You talk so saucily?
Throat. Why, unto you
And to your brother Small-shanks: will you be gone?
Bout. Nay, good sir, hold us not in this suspense;
Answer directly: came not the virgin hither?
Throat. Will you be gone directly? are you mad?
Come you to seek a virgin in Ram-Alley,
So near an inn-of-court, and amongst cooks,
Ale-men, and laundresses? why, are you fools?
W. Small. Sir, leave this firk of law, or, by this light,
I'll give your throat a slit. Came she not hither?
Answer to that point.
Throat. What, have you lost her?
Come, do not gull your friends.
W. Small. By heaven, she's gone,
Unless she be return'd since we last left you.
Throat. Nay, then, I cry you mercy; she came not hither,
As I am an honest man: is't possible,
A maid so lovely fair, so well-demean'd,
Should be took from you? what, you three—
So young, so brave, and valiant gentlemen—
Sure, it cannot be!
T. Small. Afore God, 'tis true.
[Pg 331]
W. Small. To our perpetual shame, 'tis now too true.
Throat. Is she not left behind you in the tavern?
Are you sure you brought her out? were you not drunk,
And so forgot her?
W. Small. A pox on all such luck!
I will find her, or, by this good light,
I'll fire all the city. Come, let's go:
Whoever has her shall not long enjoy her,
I'll prove a contract; let us walk the round.
I'll have her, if she keep above the ground. [Exit.
Throat. Ha, ha, ha! he makes me sport, i' faith.
The gull is mad, stark-mad. Dash, draw the bond,
And a release of all his interest
In this my loved wife.
Beard. Ay, be sure of that,
For I have certain goblins in buff jerkins[393]

Re-enter William Small-Shanks with the Serjeants.

Lie in ambuscado for him.
Officer. I arrest you, sir.
W. Small. Rescue! rescue!
Throat. O, he is caught.
W. Small. I'll give you bail:
Hang off, honest catchpoles. Master Throat, good, wise,
Learned and honest Master Throat, now, now—
Now or never, help me.
Throat. What's the matter?
W. Small. Here are two retainers, hangers-on, sir,
Which will consume more than ten liveries;
[Pg 332] If by your means they be not straight shook off—
I am arrested.
Throat. Arrested! what's the sum?
W. Small. But thirteen pounds, due to Beard the butler:
Do but bail me, and I will save you harmless.
Throat. Why, here's the end of it[394]: I know the law;
If you be bail'd by me, the debt is mine,
Which I will undertake—
W. Small. La[395] there, rogues:
Foot! I knew he would not let me want
For thirteen pounds.
Throat. Provided you seal a release
Of all your claim to Mistress Sommerfield.
W. Small. Serjeants, do your kind: hale me to the hole.
Seal a release? Serjeants, come: to prison!
Seal a release for Mistress Sommerfield?
First I will stink in jail, be eat with lice,
Endure an object worse than the devil himself,
And that's ten Serjeants peeping through the grates
Upon my lousy linen. Come to jail:
Foot, a release!
T. Small. There's no conscience in it.
Bout. 'Tis a demand uncharitable.
Throat. Nay, choose.

Enter Frances.

Fran. I can hold no longer; impudent man—
W. Small. My wife! foot! my wife! let me go, serjeants.
[Pg 333]
Fran. O thou perfidious man! dar'st thou presume
To call her wife, whom thou so much hast wrong'd?
What conquest hast thou got to wrong a maid,
A silly harmless maid? what glory is't,
That thou hast thus deceived a simple virgin,
And brought her from her friends? what honour was't
For thee to make the butler lose his office,
And run away with thee! Your tricks are known;
Didst thou not swear thou shouldst be baronis'd?
And hadst both lands and fortunes, both which thou want'st?
W. Small. Foot, that's not my fault: I would have lands,
If I could get 'em.
Fran. I know your tricks;
And know I now am wife unto this man.
Omnes. How?
Throat. I thank her, sir, she has now vouchsaf'd
To cast herself on me.
Fran. Therefore subscribe;
Take somewhat of him for a full release,
And pray to God to make you an honest man:
If not, I do protest by earth and heaven,
Although I starve, thou never shalt enjoy me.
Beard. Her vow is pass'd, nor will she break her word;
Look to it, micher.
Fran. I hope he will compound.
W. Small. Foot, shall I give two thousand pounds a year
For nothing?
T. Small. Brother, come: be rul'd by me.
Better to take a little than lose all.
Bout. You see she's resolute; y'had best compound.
W. Small. I'll first be damn'd, ere I will lose my right,
Unless he give me up my forfeit mortgage,
And bail me of this action.
Fran. Sir, you may choose:
What is the mortgage worth?
W. Small. Let's have no whispering.
Throat. Some forty pounds a year.
Fran. Do it, do it.
Come, you shall do it, we will be rid of him
At any rate.
Throat. Dash, go fetch his mortgage. [Exit Dash.
[Pg 334] So that your friends be bound, you shall not claim
Title, right, possession, in part or whole,
In time to come, in this my loved wife:
I will restore the mortgage, pay this debt,
And set you free.
W. Small. They shall not.
Bout. We will.
Come, draw the bonds, and we will soon subscribe them.

Enter Dash.

Throat. They're ready-drawn; here's his release:
Serjeants, let him go.
Dash. Here's the mortgage, sir.
W. Small. Was ever man thus cheated of a wife!
Is this my mortgage?
Throat. The very same, sir.
W. Small. Well, I will subscribe. God give you joy,
Although I have but little cause to wish it,
My heart will scarce consent unto my hand.
'Tis done.
Throat. You give this as your deed?
Omnes. We do.
Throat. Certify them, Dash.
W. Small. What! am I free?
Throat. You are: serjeants, I discharge you.
There's your fees.
Beard. Not so; I must have money.
Throat. I'll pass my word.
Beard. Foutre! words are wind:
I say, I must have money.
[Pg 335]
Throat. How much, sir?
Beard. Three pounds in hand, and all the rest to-morrow.
Throat. There's your sum. Now, officers, be gone,
Each take his way; I must to Saint John's Street,
And see my lady-mother: she's now in town,
And we to her shall straight present our duties.
T. Small. O Jove! shall we lose the wench thus?
W. Small. Even thus.
Throat, farewell: since 'tis thy luck to have her,
I still shall pray you long may live together.
Now each to his affairs.
Throat. Good night to all.

[Exeunt W.S., T.S., and Bout.

Dear wife, step in. Beard and Dash, come hither:
Here take this money: go borrow jewels
Of the next goldsmith: Beard, take thou these books,
Go both to the broker's in Fetter Lane,
Lay them in pawn for a velvet jerkin
And a double ruff: tell him, he shall have
As much for a loan to-night, as I do give
Usury for a whole circuit; which done,
You two shall man her to her mother's: go.

[Exeunt Beard and Dash.

My fate looks big! methinks I see already
Nineteen gold chains, seventeen great beards, and ten
Reverend bald heads, proclaim my way before me.
My coach shall now go prancing through Cheapside,
And not be forc'd to hurry through the streets
For fear of serjeants; nor shall I need to try,
Whether my well-grass'd tumbling foot-cloth nag
Be able to outrun a well-breath'd catch-pole.
I now in pomp will ride, for 'tis most fit,
He should have state, that riseth by his wit. [Exit.


[375] [The Mitre Tavern in Bread Street, Cheapside, was a celebrated tavern at this time. From the present passage we learn that there was a second house so called in Fleet Street thus early.]

[376] [The image of his father.]

[377] i.e., Called.

[378] Trenchmore was a dance, of which (says Sir John Hawkins, in his "History of Music," iv. 391) "frequent mention is made by our old dramatic writers. Thus, in the 'Island Princess' of Beaumont and Fletcher, act v., one of the Townsmen says—

'All the windows of the town dance a new trenchmore.'

In the 'Table Talk' of Selden, title King of England, is the following humorous passage:—'The Court of England is much altered. At a solemn dancing, first, you had the grave measures, then the corantoes and the galliards, and this is kept up with ceremony; at length to trenchmore and the cushion-dance: and then all the company dance, lord and groom, lady and kitchen-maid, no distinction. So in our Court ... in King Charles's time, there has been nothing but trenchmore and the cushion-dance, omnium gatherum, tolly polly, hoite cum toite.' And in the comedy of 'The Rehearsal,' the earth, sun, and moon are made to dance the hey to the tune of trenchmore. From all which it may be inferred that the trenchmore was a lively movement."

The trenchmore is also mentioned in Beaumont and Fletcher's "Pilgrim," act iv. sc. 3.

[379] [A double meaning is intended here, as the laundresses of the inns were not always very remarkable for chastity.]

[380] This expression is used by Pistol in the "Second Part of Henry IV.," act ii. sc. 4—

"Die men like dogs; give crowns like pins,
Have we not Hiren here?"

[381] [At a distance.]

[382] Or, as it was sometimes called, an Island, or Isling. So in "The Queen of Corinth," act iv. sc. 1—

"Hang, hair, like hemp, or like the Isling cur's."

Again, in Massinger's "Picture," act v. sc. 1—

"Would I might lie
Like a dog under her table, and serve for a footstool,
So I might have my belly full of that
Her Iceland cur refuses."

Abraham Fleming, in his tract "Of Englishe Dogges, the diversities, the names, the natures, and the properties," 1576, speaks of the introduction of Iceland dogs, and describes them. "Use and custome hath intertained other dogges of an outlandish kinde, but a few, and the same being of a pretty bygnesse, I meane Iseland dogges, curled and rough al over, which by reason of the length of their heare, make showe neither of face nor of body. And yet these curres, forsoothe, because they are so straunge, are greatly set by, esteemed, taken vp, and made of, many times in the roome of the Spaniell, gentle or comforter."—Collier. [Sig. F 4. Fleming's book is, however, only a translation from Caius, "De Canibus Britannicis."]

[383] Heroes of romance. [By "Donzel del Phœbo" the lady intends, I conclude, the "Knight of the Sun," or the "Mirror of Knighthood."

[384] Tarmagant or Termagant was, as Dr Percy observes, a Saracen deity, very clamorous and violent in the old moralities. He is frequently mentioned and alluded to in our ancient dramas and poems. Bishop Hall's "Satires" begin thus—

"Not Ladies' wanton love, nor wand'ring knight,
Legend I out in rhimes all richly dight;
Nor fright the reader with the Pagan vaunt
Of mightie Mahound and great Termagaunt."

Mr Tyrwhitt says, the character is to be met with in an old romance, MSS. Bod. 1624, where it is constantly spelt Tervagan. (See notes to Chaucer, v. 13,741.)

See also "King and no King," act iv., and "Rule a Wife and have a Wife," act v.

Again, Hamlet says, "I would have such a fellow whipt for o'erdoing Termagant."

See notes on this passage, edit. 1778; also Warton's Observations on Spenser, ii. 226; [Bishop Percy's folio MS., ii. 467; and Nares, 1859, arts. Termagant and Trivigant.]

[385] Embrace.

[386] [A locality notorious for bad characters.]

[387] [Pierce it with my sword. Edits., slash.]

[388] See note to "The Spanish Tragedy," [v. 121.]

[389] [Edits., scarfs, counter-scarfs.]

[390] [Ramparts. A common form.]

[Pg 336]

[391] Before printed know, adhering to the error of the edition of 1636.—Collier.

[392] To Frances, who probably places herself out of view, or perhaps makes her exit, which, however, is not marked.—Collier.

[393] The dress of the serjeants at that time.

[394] [Edits., riot.]

[395] [Edits., Law.]


Enter Sir Oliver, Justice Tutchin, Taffata, and Adriana.

Oliver. Good meat the belly fills, good wine the brain;
Women please men, men pleasure them again:
Ka me, ka thee: one thing must rub another:
English love Scots, Welshmen love each other.
Jus. Tut. You say very right, Sir Oliver, very right;
I have't in my noddle, i' faith. That's all the fault
Old justices have; when they are at feasts,
They will bib[396] hard; they will be fine sunburnt,
Sufficient fox'd or columber'd, now and then.
Now could I sit in my chair at home, and nod
A drunkard to the stocks by virtue of
The last statute rarely[397].
Taf. Sir, you are merry.
Jus. Tut. I am indeed.
Taf. Your supper, sir, was light;
But I hope you think you're welcome.
[Pg 337]
Jus. Tut. I do.
A light supper; quoth you? pray God it be,
Pray God I carry it cleanly, I am sure it lies
As heavy in my belly as molt lead;
Yet I'll go see my sister Sommerfield.
Oliver. So late, good Justice?
Jus. Tut. Aye, even so late.
Night is the mother of wit, as you may see
By poets or rather constables
In their examinations at midnight.
We'll lie together without marrying,
Save the curate's fees[398] and the parish a labour;
'Tis a thriving course.
Oliver. That may not be,
For excommunications then will flee.
Jus. Tut. That's true, they fly indeed like wild geese
In flocks, one in the breech of another;
[Pg 338] But the best is, a small matter stays them.
And so farewell.
Oliver. Farewell, good Justice Tutchin.

[Exit Justice Tutchin.

Alas, good gentleman, his brains are crazed,
But let that pass. Speak, widow, is't a match?
Shall we clap it up?
Adri. Nay, if't come to clapping,
Good night, i' faith. Mistress, look before you,
There's nothing more dangerous to maid or widow
Than sudden clappings-up; nothing hath spoiled
So many proper ladies as clappings-up.
Your shittle-cock, striding from tables to ground,
Only to try the strength of the back:
Your riding a hunting—ay, though they fall
With their heels upward, and lay as if
They were taking the height of some high star
With a cross-staff; no, nor your jumblings
In horselitters, coaches or carouches[399],
Have spoiled so many women as clappings-up.
Oliver. Why, then, we'll chop it up.
Taf. That's not allowed,
Unless you were son to a Welsh curate.
But faith, sir knight, I have a kind of itching
[Pg 339] To be a lady; that, I can tell you, wooes,
And can persuade with better rhetoric
Than oaths, wit, wealth, valour, lands, or person:
I have some debts at Court, and, marrying you,
I hope the courtiers will not stick to pay me.
Oliver. Never fear thy payment. This I will say
For courtiers, they'll be sure to pay each other,
Howe'er they deal with citizens.
Taf. Then here's my hand;
I am your wife, condition we be joined
Before to-morrow's sun.
Oliver. Nay, even to-night,
So you be pleas'd. With little warning, widow,
We old men can be ready, and thou shalt see,
Before the time that chanticleer
Shall call, and tell the day is near:
When wenches, lying on their backs,
Receive with joy their love-stol'n smacks;
When maids, awak'd from their first sleep,
Deceiv'd with dreams, begin to weep,
And think, if dreams such pleasure know,
What sport the substance them would show;
When a lady 'gins[400] white limbs to spread,
Her love but new-stol'n to her bed,
His cotton shoes yet scarce put off,
And dares not laugh, speak, sneeze, or cough;
When precise dames begin to think,
Why their gross louring[401] husbands stink;
What pleasure 'twere then to enjoy,
A nimble vicar or a boy;
Before this time thou shalt behold
Me quaffing out our bridal bowl[402].
Adri. Then, belike, before the morning sun
You will be coupled?
Taf. Yes, faith, Adriana.
Adri. Well, I will look you shall have a clean smock,
Provided that you pay the fee, Sir Oliver.
Since my mistress, sir, will be a lady,
I'll lose no fees due to the waiting-maid.
[Pg 340]
Oliver. Why, is there a fee belonging to it?
Adri. A knight, and never heard of smock-fees?
I would I had the monopoly of them,
So there were no impost set upon them.

Enter William Small-Shanks.

Oliver. Whom have we here? what, my mad-headed son;
What makes he here so late? Say I am gone;
And I the whilst will step behind the hangings.
W. Small. God bless thee, parcel of man's flesh.
Taf. How, sir?
W. Small. Why, parcel of man's flesh! art not a woman?
But, widow, where's the old stinkard my father?
They say, widow, you dance altogether
After his pipe.
Taf. What then?
W. Small. Th' art a fool,
I'll assure thee there's no music in it.
Taf. Can you play better?
W. Small. Better, widow?
Blood, dost think I have not learnt my prick-song?
What, not the court prick-song? One up and another down:
Why, I have't to a hair; by this light,
[Pg 341] I hope thou lovest him not.
Taf. I'll marry him, sir.
W. Small. How? marry him! foot, art mad, widow?
Woo't marry an old crazed man
With meagre looks, with visage wan,
With little legs and crinkled thighs,
With chap-fall'n gums and deep-sunk eyes?
Why, a dog, seiz'd on ten days by death,
Stinks not so loathsome as his breath;
Nor can a city common jakes,
Which all mens' breeches undertakes,
Yield fasting stomachs such a savour,
As doth his breath and ugly favour.
Oliver. Rogue! [Aside.
Adri. That's all one, sir; she means to be a lady.
W. Small. Does she so? and thou must be her waiting-woman?
Faith, thou wilt make a fine dainty creature,
To sit at a chamber-door, and look fleas
In my lady's dog, while she is shewing
Some slippery-breech'd courtier rare faces
In a bay[403]-window. Foot, widow,
Marry me—a young and complete gallant.
Taf. How a complete gallant? what? a fellow
With a hat tuck'd up behind, and, what we use
About our hips to keep our coats from dabbling,
He wears about his neck—a farthingale!
A standing collar to keep his neat band clean,
The whilst his shirt doth stink, and is more foul
Than an inn-of-chancery table-cloth:
His breeches must be plaited, as if he had
Some thirty pockets, when one poor half-penny purse
Will carry all his treasure; his knees all points,
As if his legs and hams were tied together;
[Pg 342] A fellow that has no inside, but prates
By rote, as players and parrots use to do,
And, to define a complete gallant right,
A mercer form'd him, a tailor makes him,
A player gives him spirit.
W. Small. Why, so in my conscience to be a countess
Thou wouldst marry a hedge-hog: I must confess,
'Tis state to have a coxcomb kiss your hands,
While yet the chamber-lie[404] is scarce wip'd off;
To have an upright usher march before you
Bare-headed in a tuftafata jerkin,
Made of your old cast gown, shows passing well,
But when you feel your husband's pulse, that's hell;
Then you fly out, and bid strait smocks farewell.
Taf. I hope, sir, whate'er our husbands be,
We may be honest.
W. Small. May be! may, y' are:
Women and honesty are so near allied,
As parsons' lives are to their doctrines—
One and the same. But, widow, now be rul'd;
I hope the heavens will give thee better grace
Than to accept the father, and I yet live
To be bestowed: if you wed the stinkard,
You shall find the tale of Tantalus
To be no fable, widow.
Oliver. How I sweat! [Aside.
I can hold no longer. [Comes out.] Degenerate bastard!
I here disclaim thee, cashier thee; nay, more,
I disinherit thee both of my love
And living: get thee a grey cloak and hat,
And walk in Paul's[405] among thy cashier'd mates
[Pg 343] As melancholy as the best.
Taf. Come not near me,
I forbid thee my house, my out-houses,
My garden, orchard, and my back-side[406];
Thou shalt not harbour near me.

[Exeunt Taffata and Adriana.

Oliver. Nay, to thy grief
Know, varlet, I will be wed this morning,
Thou shalt not be there, nor once be grac'd
With a piece of rosemary[407]. I[408] cashier thee.
Do not reply: I will not stay to hear thee.

[Exit Sir Oliver.

W. Small. Now may I go put me on a clean shirt,
And hang myself. Foot, who would have thought
The fox had earth'd so near me; what's to be done?
What miracle shall I now undertake
To win respective[409] grace with God and men?
What, if I turn'd courtier and liv'd honest?
Sure, that would do: I dare not walk the streets,
For I dwindle at a serjeant in buff
Almost as much as a new player does
At a plague-bill certified forty.[410]
Well, I like this widow: a lusty plump drab:
Has substance both in breech and purse,
And pity and sin it were she should be wed
To a furr'd cloak and a night-cap. I'll have her:
This widow I will have: her money
Shall pay my debts, and set me up again.
'Tis here, 'tis almost forg'd, which if it take,
The world shall praise my wit, admire my fate. [Exit.

Enter Beard, Dash, Frances, Serjeant, Drawer.

[Pg 344]

Beard. Serjeants, beware; be sure you not mistake,
For if you do—
Dash. She shall be quickly bail'd,
She shall corpus cum causa be remov'd;
Your action entered first below shall shrink,
And you shall find, sir serjeant, she has friends
Will stick to her in the common place.
Ser. Sir,
Will you procure her bail?
Beard. She shall be bail'd.
Drawer, bring up some wine, use her well,
Her husband is a gentleman of sort.
Ser. A gentleman of sort! why, what care I?
A woman of her fashion shall find
More kindness at a lusty serjeant's hand
Than ten of your gentlemen of sort.
Dash. Sir, use her well: she's wife to Master Throat.
Ser. I'll use her, sir, as if she were my wife:
Would you have any more?
Beard. Drink upon that,
Whilst we go fetch her bail. Dash, fellow Dash,
With all the speed thou hast, run for our master;
Make haste, lest he be gone, before thou comest,
To Lady Sommerfield's: I'll fetch another;
She shall have bail.
Dash. And a firking writ
Of false imprisonment; she shall be sure
Of twelvepence damage, and five-and-twenty pound
For suits in law: I'll go fetch my master.
[Pg 345]
Beard. And I another.

[Exeunt Beard and Dash.

Ser. Drawer, leave the room.
Here, mistress, a health!
Fran. Let it come, sweet rogue.

[The Drawer stands aside.

Drawer. Ay, say you so? then must I have an eye;
These serjeants feed on very good reversions,
On capons, teals, and sometimes on a woodcock,
Hot from the shrieve's own table[411]; the knaves feed well,
Which makes them horrid lechers.
Fran. This health is pledg'd;
And, honest serjeant, how does Master Gripe,
The keeper of the Counter? I do protest,
I found him always favourable to me,
He is an honest man; has often stood to me,
And been my friend; and let me go o' trust
For victual, when he has denied it knights. But come,
Let's pay, and then be gone: th' arrest, you know,
Was but a trick to get from nimble Dash,
My husband's man.
Ser. True: but I have an action
At suit of Mistress Smell-smock, your quondam bawd:
The sum is eight good pound for six weeks' board,
And five weeks' loan for a red taffata gown,
Bound with a silver lace.
Fran. I do protest,
By all the honesty 'twixt thee and me,
I got her in that gown in six weeks' space
[Pg 346] Four pound, and fourteen pence given by a clerk
Of an inn-of-chancery that night I came
Out of her house; and does the filthy jade
Send to me for money?[412] But, honest serjeant,
Let me go, and say thou didst not see me,
I'll do thee as great a pleasure shortly.
Ser. Shall we embrace to-night?
Fran. With all my heart.
Ser. Sit on my knee, and kiss.

Enter Beard.

Beard. What news, boy? why stand you sentinel?
Drawer. Do but conceal yourself, and we shall catch
My serjeant napping.
Beard. Shall maids be here deflowered?
Ser. Now kiss again.
Drawer. Now, now.

Enter Captain, and seeing the hurly-burly, runs away.

Beard. Deflower virgins! rogue I avaunt, ye slave,
Are maids fit subjects for a serjeant's mace?
So now are we once more free: there's for the wine.

[Exit Serjeant.

Now to our rendezvous: three pounds in gold
These slops[413] contain; we'll quaff in Venice glasses[414],
[Pg 347] And swear some lawyers are but silly asses.

[Exeunt Beard and Frances.

Enter Captain Face.

Capt. Face. Is the coast clear? Are these combustions ceas'd?
And may we drink canary sack in peace?
Shall we have no attendance here, you rogues?
Where be these rascals that skip up and down
Faster than virginal jacks?[415] Drawers!
Drawer. Sir!
Capt. Face. On whom wait you, sir rogue?
Drawer. Faith, captain,
I attend a conventicle of players.
Capt. Face. How, players? what is there e'er a cuckold among them?
Drawer. Jove defend else; it stands with policy,
That one should be a notorious cuckold,
If it be but for the better keeping
The rest of his company together.
Capt. Face. When did you see Sir Theophrastus Slop,
The city dog-master?
Drawer. Not to-day, sir.
Capt. Face. What have you for my supper?
[Pg 348]
Drawer. Nothing ready,
Unless you please to stay the dressing, captain.
Capt. Face. Zounds! stay the dressing! you damned rogue,
What, shall I wait upon your greasy cook,
And wait his leisure? go down stairs, rogue;
Now all her other customers be serv'd,
Ask, if your mistress have a snip of mutton
Yet left for me.
Drawer. Yes, sir.
Capt. Face. And, good-man rogue,
See what good thing your kitchen-maid has left
For me to work upon; my barrow-guttlings grumble
And would have food: [Exit Drawer.] Say now, the vintner's wife
Should bring me up a pheasant, partridge, quail;
A pleasant banquet, and extremely love me,
Desire me to eat, kiss, and protest,
I should pay nothing for it; say she should drink
Herself three-quarters drunk to win my love,
Then give me a chain worth some three score pounds;
Say 'twere worth but forty—say, but twenty,
For citizens do seldom in their wooing
Give above twenty pounds—say then, 'tis twenty,
I'll go sell some fifteen pounds' worth of the chain
[Pg 349] To buy some clothes, and shift my lousy linen.
And wear the rest as a perpetual favour
About my arm in fashion of a bracelet.
Say then her husband should grow jealous,
I'd make him drunk, and then I'll cuckold him.
But then a vintner's wife, some rogue will say,
Which sits at bar for the receipt of custom,
That smells of chippings and of broken fish,
Is love to Captain Face; which to prevent,
I'll never come but when her best-stitch'd hat,
Her bugle-gown, and best-wrought smock is on;
Then does she neither smell of bread, of meat,
Or droppings of the tap; it shall be so.

Enter Boutcher, William Small-Shanks, and Constantia.

Bout. Now leave us, boy; bless you, Captain Face.
Capt. Face. I'll have no music[416].
W. Small. Foot, dost take us for fiddlers?
Capt. Face. Then turn straight. Drawer, run down the stairs,
And thank the gods a gave me that great patience
Not to strike you.
Bout. Your patience, sir, is great:
For you dare seldom strike. Sirrah, they say,
You needs will wed the widow Taffata,
Nolens volens?
Capt. Face. Do not urge my patience,
Awake not fury new-rak'd up in embers!
I give you leave to live.
W. Small. Men say y'have tricks,
Y'are an admirable ape, and you can do
More feats than three baboons: we must have some.
[Pg 350]
Capt. Face. My patience yet is great; I say, begone,
My tricks are dangerous.
Bout. That's nothing,
I have brought you furniture. Come, get up
Upon this table: do your feats,
Or I will whip you to them; do not I know
You are a lousy knave?
Capt. Face. How! lousy knave;
Are we not English bred?
Bout. Y'are a coward rogue,
That dares not look a kitling in the face,
If she but stare or mew.
Capt. Face. My patience yet is great:
Do you bandy tropes? by Dis, I will be knight,
Wear a blue coat on great Saint George's day,[417]
And with my fellows drive you all from Paul's
For this attempt.
Bout. Will you yet get up?
I must lash you to it.
Capt. Face. By Pluto, gentlemen,
To do you pleasure, and to make you sport,
I'll do't.
W. Small. Come, get up then quick.
Bout. I'll dress you, sir.
Capt. Face. By Jove, 'tis not for fear,
But for a love I bear unto these tricks,
That I perform it.
Bout. Hold up your snout, sir:
Sit handsomely; by heaven, sir, you must do it.
Come, boy.
W. Small. No, by this good light, I'll play
[Pg 351] Him that goes with the motions.
Drawer. Where's the captain, gentlemen?
W. Small. Stand back, boy, and be a spectator.
You shall see the strange nature of an outlandish beast,