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  • Title: The Honest Whore, Part 1 (Modern)
  • Editor: Joost Daalder
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-490-5

    Copyright Digital Renaissance Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Authors: Thomas Dekker, Thomas Middleton
    Editor: Joost Daalder
    Peer Reviewed

    The Honest Whore, Part 1 (Modern)

    0.1The Honest Whore, [Part One]
    Enter at one door a funeral (a coronet lying on the hearse, scutcheons and garlands hanging on the sides) attended by Gasparo Trebazzi, Duke of Milan, Castruccio, Sinezi, Pioratto, 5Fluello, and others, [including Attendants]. At another door, enter Hippolito in discontented appearance, [and] Mattheo, a gentleman, his friend, labouring to hold him back.
    Behold, yon comet shows his head again!
    10Twice hath he thus at cross-turns thrown on us
    Prodigious looks; twice hath he troubled
    The waters of our eyes. See, he’s turned wild. –
    Go on, in God’s name.
    [To Attendants] On afore there, ho!
    Kinsmen and friends, take from your manly sides
    Your weapons to keep back the desp’rate boy
    From doing violence to the innocent dead.
    [The Gentlemen draw; Mattheo continues to struggle with Hippolito.]
    I prithee, dear Mattheo –
    Come, you’re mad.
    [To the Duke] I do arrest thee, murderer.
    [To Attendants] Set down,
    Villains, set down that sorrow; ’tis all mine.
    [To the Gentlemen] I do beseech you all, for my blood’s sake
    Send hence your milder spirits, and let wrath
    Join in confederacy with your weapons’ points;
    25If he proceed to vex us, let your swords
    Seek out his bowels. Funeral grief loathes words.
    [To Attendants] Set on.
    [To Attendants] Set down the body.
    O my lord,
    30You’re wrong! I’th’ open street? You see she’s dead.
    I know she is not dead.
    Frantic young man,
    Wilt thou believe these gentlemen? Pray speak.
    Thou dost abuse my child, and mockst the tears
    35That here are shed for her. If to behold
    Those roses withered that set out her cheeks,
    That pair of stars that gave her body light
    Darkened and dim for ever, all those rivers
    That fed her veins with warm and crimson streams
    40Frozen and dried up – if these be signs of death,
    Then is she dead. Thou unreligious youth,
    Art not ashamed to empty all these eyes
    Of funeral tears, a debt due to the dead
    As mirth is to the living? Sham’st thou not
    45To have them stare on thee? Hark, thou art curst
    Even to thy face by those that scarce can speak.
    My lord –
    What wouldst thou have? Is she not dead?
    O, you ha’ killed her by your cruelty!
    Admit I had, thou killst her now again,
    And art more savage than a barbarous Moor.
    Let me but kiss her pale and bloodless lip.
    O fie, fie, fie!
    Or if not touch her, let me look on her.
    As you regard your honour –
    Honour? Smoke!
    Or if you loved her living, spare her now.
    Ay, well done, sir; you play the gentleman.
    [Aside to Attendants] Steal hence. ’Tis nobly done. Away.
    [To Mattheo] I’ll join
    60My force to yours, to stop this violent torrent.
    [To Attendants] Pass on.
    Exeunt with funeral [all but the Duke, Hippolito, and Mattheo].
    Mattheo, thou dost wound me more.
    I give you physic, noble friend, not wounds.
    O, well said, well done; a true gentleman!
    65Alack, I know the sea of lovers’ rage
    Comes rushing with so strong a tide it beats
    And bears down all respects of life, of honour,
    Of friends, of foes. [To Hippolito] Forget her, gallant youth.
    Forget her?
    Nay, nay, be but patient,
    Forwhy death’s hand hath sued a strict divorce
    ’Twixt her and thee. What’s beauty but a corse?
    What but fair sand-dust are earth’s purest forms?
    Queens’ bodies are but trunks to put in worms.
    [Aside to Duke] Speak no more sentences, my good lord, but slip hence. You see they are but fits; I’ll rule him, I warrant ye. Ay, so, tread gingerly; your Grace is here somewhat too long already.
    [Exit Duke.]
    [Aside] ’Sblood, the jest were now, if having ta’en some knocks o’th’ pate already, he should get loose again, and, like a mad 80ox, toss my new black cloaks into the kennel. I must humour his lordship. [To Hippolito] My lord Hippolito, is it in your stomach to go to dinner?
    Where is the body?
    The body, as the Duke spake very wisely, is gone 85to be wormed.
    I cannot rest. I’ll meet it at next turn.
    I’ll see how my love looks.
    Mattheo holds him in’s arms.
    How your love looks? Worse than a scarecrow. Wrestle not with me; the great fellow gives the fall for a ducat.
    I shall forget myself!
    Pray do so; leave yourself behind yourself, and go whither you will. ’Sfoot, do you long to have base rogues, that maintain a Saint Anthony’s fire in their noses by nothing but twopenny ale, make ballads of you? If the Duke had but so 95much mettle in him as is in a cobbler’s awl, he would ha’ been a vexed thing; he and his train had blown you up but that their powder has taken the wet of cowards. You’ll bleed three pottles of Alicant, by this light, if you follow ’em, and then we shall have a hole made in a wrong place, to have surgeons roll 100thee up like a baby in swaddling clouts.
    What day is today, Mattheo?
    Yea, marry, this is an easy question. Why, today is – let me see – Thursday.
    O, Thursday.
    Here’s a coil for a dead commodity! ’Sfoot, women 105when they are alive are but dead commodities, for you shall have one woman lie upon many men’s hands.
    She died on Monday, then.
    And that’s the most villainous day of all the week to die in; and she was well, and ate a mess of water-gruel on 110Monday morning.
    Ay, it cannot be
    Such a bright taper should burn out so soon.
    O yes, my lord, so soon. Why, I ha’ known them that at dinner have been as well, and had so much health, that they 115were glad to pledge it, yet before three o’clock have been found dead drunk.
    On Thursday buried, and on Monday died!
    Quick haste, by’r Lady; sure her winding sheet
    Was laid out ’fore her body, and the worms
    120That now must feast with her were even bespoke,
    And solemnly invited like strange guests.
    Strange feeders they are indeed, my lord, and, like your jester or young courtier, will enter upon any man’s trencher without bidding.
    Curst be that day for ever that robbed her
    Of breath, and me of bliss! Henceforth let it stand
    Within the wizard’s book, the calendar,
    Marked with a marginal finger, to be chosen
    By thieves, by villains, and black murderers
    130As the best day for them to labour in.
    If henceforth this adulterous, bawdy world
    Be got with child with treason, sacrilege,
    Atheism, rapes, treacherous friendship, perjury,
    Slander (the beggar’s sin), lies (sin of fools),
    135Or any other damned impieties,
    On Monday let ’em be deliverèd!
    I swear to thee, Mattheo, by my soul,
    Hereafter weekly on that day I’ll glue
    Mine eyelids down, because they shall not gaze
    140On any female cheek. And being locked up
    In my close chamber, there I’ll meditate
    On nothing but my Infelice’s end,
    Or on a dead man’s skull draw out mine own.
    You’ll do all these good works now every Monday, 145because it is so bad; but I hope upon Tuesday morning I shall take you with a wench.
    If ever, whilst frail blood through my veins run,
    On woman’s beams I throw affection
    Save her that’s dead, or that I loosely fly
    150To th’shore of any other wafting eye,
    Let me not prosper, heaven! I will be true,
    Even to her dust and ashes. Could her tomb
    Stand, whilst I lived, so long that it might rot,
    That should fall down, but she be ne’er forgot.
    If you have this strange monster, Honesty, in your belly, why, so: jig-makers and chroniclers shall pick something out of you. But, an I smell not you and a bawdy-house out within these ten days, let my nose be as big as an English bag-pudding. I’ll follow your lordship, though it be to 160the place aforenamed.
    Enter Fustigo in some fantastic sea-suit at one door; a Porter meets him at another.
    How now, porter, will she come?
    If I may trust a woman, sir, she will come.
    [Giving money] There’s for thy pains. God-a-mercy, if I ever stand in need of a wench that will come with a wet finger, thou shalt earn my money before any clarissimo in Milan. Yet, so God sa’ me, she’s mine own sister, body and soul, as I am a Christian gentleman. Farewell. I’ll ponder till she come. Thou 170hast been no bawd in fetching this woman, I assure thee.
    No matter if I had, sir; better men than porters are bawds.
    O God, sir, many that have borne offices. But, porter, art sure thou wentst into a true house?
    I think so, for I met with no thieves.
    Nay, but art sure it was my sister Viola?
    I am sure by all superscriptions it was the party you ciphered.
    Not very tall.
    Not very low; a middling woman.
    ’Twas she, faith, ’twas she. A pretty plump cheek like mine?
    At a blush, a little; very much like you.
    Godso, I would not for a ducat she had kicked up her heels, for I ha’ spent an abomination this voyage; marry, I did it amongst sailors and gentlemen. [Giving more money] There’s a little modicum 185more, porter, for making thee stay. Farewell, honest porter.
    I am in your debt, sir. God preserve you.
    Not so neither, good porter.
    Exit [Porter].
    Enter Viola, [Candido’s Wife].
    God’s lid, yonder she comes. – Sister Viola, I am glad to see you stirring. It’s news to have me 190here, is’t not, sister?
    Yes, trust me. I wondered who should be so bold to send for me. You are welcome to Milan, brother.
    Troth, sister, I heard you were married to a very rich chuff, and I was very sorry for it that I had no better clothes, 195and that made me send; for you know we Millaners love to strut upon Spanish leather. Ant how does all our friends?
    Very well. You ha’ travelled enough now, I trow, to sow your wild oats.
    A pox on ’em! Wild oats? I ha’ not an oat to throw 200at a horse. Troth, sister, I ha’ sowed my oats, and reaped two hundred ducats if I had ’em here. Marry, I must entreat you to lend me some thirty or forty till the ship come. By this hand, I’ll discharge at my day, by this hand.
    These are your old oaths.
    Why, sister, do you think I’ll forswear my hand?
    Well, well, you shall have them. Put yourself into better fashion, because I must employ you in a serious matter.
    I’ll sweat like a horse if I like the matter.
    You ha’ cast off all your old swaggering humours?
    I had not sailed a league in that great fishpond, the sea, but I cast up my very gall.
    I am the more sorry, for I must employ a true swaggerer.
    Nay, by this iron [Indicating his sword], sister, they shall find I am powder 215and touch-box, if they put fire once into me.
    Then lend me your ears.
    Mine ears are yours, dear sister.
    I am married to a man that has wealth enough, and wit enough.
    A linen-draper, I was told, sister.
    Very true, a grave citizen. I want nothing that a wife can wish from a husband. But here’s the spite: he has not all things belonging to a man.
    God’s my life, he’s a very mandrake, or else, God bless 225us, one o’these whiblins, and that’s worse, and then all the children that he gets lawfully of your body, sister, are bastards by a statute.
    O, you run over me too fast, brother! I have heard it often said that he who cannot be angry is no man. I am sure 230my husband is a man in print for all things else save only in this: no tempest can move him.
    ’Slid, would he had been at sea with us. He should ha’ been moved and moved again, for I’ll be sworn, la, our drunken ship reeled like a Dutchman.
    No loss of goods can increase him a wrinkle, no crabbed language make his countenance sour, the stubbornness of no servant shake him. He has no more gall in him than a dove, no more sting than an ant. Musician will he never be, yet I find much music in him; but he loves no frets, and is 240so free from anger that many times I am ready to bite off my tongue, because it wants that virtue which all women’s tongues have, to anger their husbands. Brother, mine can by no thunder turn him into a sharpness.
    Belike his blood, sister, is well brewed, then.
    I protest to thee, Fustigo, I love him most affectionately, but I know not – I ha’ such a tickling within me, such a strange longing; nay, verily, I do long.
    Then you’re with child, sister, by all signs and 250tokens; nay, I am partly a physician, and partly something else. I ha’ read Albertus Magnus, and Aristotle’s Emblems.
    You’re wide o’th’ bow-hand still, brother. My longings are not wanton, but wayward: I long to have my patient 255husband eat up a whole porcupine to the intent the bristling quills may stick about his lips like a Flemish mustachio and be shot at me. I shall be leaner than the new moon unless I can make him horn-mad.
    ’Sfoot, half a quarter of an hour does that: make him 260a cuckold.
    Pooh! He would count such a cut no unkindness.
    The honester citizen he. Then make him drunk, and cut off his beard.
    Fie, fie, idle, idle! He’s no Frenchman, to fret at the 265loss of a little scald hair. No, brother, thus it shall be – you must be secret.
    As your midwife, I protest, sister, or a barber-surgeon.
    Repair to the Tortoise here in Saint Christopher’s Street. I will send you money; turn yourself into a brave man. Instead 270of the arms of your mistress, let your sword and your military scarf hang about your neck.
    I must have a great horseman’s French feather too, sister.
    O, by any means, to show your light head; else your 275hat will sit like a coxcomb. To be brief, you must be in all points a most terrible, wide-mouthed swaggerer.
    Nay, for swaggering points let me alone.
    Resort then to our shop, and, in my husband’s presence, kiss me, snatch rings, jewels, or anything, so you give it back 280again, brother, in secret.
    By this hand, sister.
    Swear as if you came but new from knighting.
    Nay, I’ll swear after four hundred a year.
    Swagger worse than a lieutenant among fresh-water soldiers; call me your love, your ingle, your cousin, or so – but ‘sister’ at no hand.
    No, no, it shall be ‘cousin’, or rather ‘coz’ – that’s the gulling word between the citizens’ wives and their madcaps 290that man ’em to the garden. To call you one o’my naunts, sister, were as good as call you arrant whore. No, no, let me alone to ‘cousin’ you rarely.
    H’as heard I have a brother, but never saw him; therefore put on a good face.
    The best in Milan, I warrant.
    Take up wares, but pay nothing. Rifle my bosom, my pocket, my purse, the boxes for money to dice withal. But, brother, you must give all back again, in secret.
    By this welkin that here roars, I will, or else 300let me never know what a secret is. Why, sister, do you think I’ll cony-catch you, when you are my cousin? God’s my life, then I were a stark ass. If I fret not his guts, beg me for a fool.
    Be circumspect and do so, then. Farewell.
    The Tortoise, sister? I’ll stay there. – Forty ducats.
    Thither I’ll send.
    Exit [Fustigo].
    This law can none deny:
    Women must have their longings, or they die.
    [Enter] Gasparo the Duke, Doctor Benedict, [and] two Servants.
    [To the Servants, who proceed to act as instructed.]
    Give charge that none do enter; lock the doors.
    310And, fellows, what your eyes and ears receive,
    Upon your lives trust not the gadding air
    To carry the least part of it. [To the Doctor] The glass,
    The hour-glass.
    Here, my lord.
    [He produces an hour-glass.]
    Ah, ’tis near spent!
    315But, Doctor Benedict, does your art speak truth?
    Art sure the soporiferous stream will ebb,
    And leave the crystal banks of her white body
    Pure as they were at first, just at the hour?
    Just at the hour, my lord.
    [To Servants] Uncurtain her.
    [Servants draw curtains. Infelice discovered on a bed.]
    Softly! – See, doctor, what a coldish heat
    Spreads over all her body.
    Now it works:
    The vital spirits that by a sleepy charm
    325Were bound up fast, and threw an icy crust
    On her exterior parts, now ’gin to break.
    Trouble her not, my lord.
    [To Servants] Some stools.
    [Servants set stools.]
    You called
    For music, did you not? [Music plays.] Oho, it speaks,
    330It speaks! [To Servants] Watch, sirs, her waking: note those sands. –
    Doctor, sit down.
    [The Doctor and the Duke sit.]
    A dukedom that should weigh
    Mine own down twice, being put into one scale,
    And that fond desperate boy Hippolito
    Making the weight up, should not at my hands
    335Buy her i’th’ tother, were her state more light
    Than hers who makes a dowry up with alms.
    Doctor, I’ll starve her on the Apennine
    Ere he shall marry her. I must confess
    Hippolito is nobly born – a man,
    340Did not mine enemies’ blood boil in his veins,
    Whom I would court to be my son-in-law;
    But princes, whose high spleens for empery swell,
    Are not with easy art made parallel.
    2 Servants
    She wakes, my lord.
    Look, Doctor Benedict!
    345[To Servants] I charge you on your lives, maintain for truth
    Whate’er the doctor or myself aver,
    For you shall bear her hence to Bergamo.
    [Wakening] O God, what fearful dreams!
    Why, Infelice, how is’t now, ha? Speak.
    I’m well. – What makes this doctor here? – I’m well.
    Thou wert not so even now. Sickness’ pale hand
    Laid hold on thee even in the midst of feasting,
    355And when a cup crowned with thy lover’s health
    Had touched thy lips, a sensible cold dew
    Stood on thy cheeks, as if that death had wept
    To see such beauty alter.
    I remember
    360I sat at banquet, but felt no such change.
    Thou hast forgot, then, how a messenger
    Came wildly in, with this unsavoury news,
    That he was dead?
    What messenger? Who’s dead?
    Hippolito. Alack, wring not thy hands.
    I saw no messenger, heard no such news.
    Trust me, you did, sweet lady.
    La you now!
    2 Servants
    Yes indeed, madam.
    La you now.
    [Aside to Servants]
    ’Tis well, good knaves.
    You ha’ slain him, and now you’ll murder me.
    Good Infelice, vex not thus thyself.
    Of this bad the report before did strike
    So coldly to thy heart that the swift currents
    Of life were all frozen up –
    It is untrue.
    ’Tis most untrue, O most unnatural father!
    And we had much to do by art’s best cunning
    To fetch life back again.
    Most certain, lady.
    Why, la you now, you’ll not believe me! [To Servants] Friends,
    Sweat we not all? Had we not much to do?
    2 Servants
    Yes indeed, my lord, much.
    Death drew such fearful pictures in thy face
    That, were Hippolito alive again,
    385I’d kneel and woo the noble gentleman
    To be thy husband. Now I sore repent
    My sharpness to him and his family.
    Nay, do not weep for him; we all must die. –
    Doctor, this place where she so oft hath seen
    390His lively presence hurts her, does it not?
    Doubtless, my lord, it does.
    It does, it does.
    Therefore, sweet girl, thou shalt to Bergamo.
    Even where you will. In any place there’s woe.
    A coach is ready. Bergamo doth stand
    In a most wholesome air: sweet walks; there’s deer.
    Ay, thou shalt hunt and send us venison,
    Which like some goddess in the Cyprian groves
    Thine own fair hand shall strike. – Sirs, you shall teach her
    400To stand, and how to shoot; ay, she shall hunt. –
    Cast off this sorrow. In, girl, and prepare
    This night to ride away to Bergamo.
    O most unhappy maid!
    [To Servants] Follow her close.
    405No words that she was buried, on your lives,
    Or that her ghost walks now after she’s dead;
    I’ll hang you if you name a funeral.
    1 Servant
    I’ll speak Greek, my lord, ere I speak that deadly word.
    4102 Servant
    And I’ll speak Welsh, which is harder than Greek.
    Away, look to her.
    Exeunt [Servants].
    Doctor Benedict,
    Did you observe how her complexion altered
    Upon his name and death? O, would ’twere true!
    It may, my lord.
    May? How? I wish his death.
    And you may have your wish. Say but the word,
    And ’tis a strong spell to rip up his grave.
    I have good knowledge with Hippolito;
    He calls me friend. I’ll creep into his bosom,
    420And sting him there to death. Poison can do’t.
    Perform it; I’ll create thee half mine heir.
    It shall be done, although the fact be foul.
    Greatness hides sin. The guilt upon my soul!
    Enter Castruccio, Pioratto, and Fluello.
    Signor Pioratto, Signor Fluello, shall’s be merry? Shall’s play the wags now?
    Ay, anything that may beget the child of laughter.
    Truth, I have a pretty sportive conceit new crept into my brain will move excellent mirth.
    Let’s ha’t, let’s ha’t; and where shall the scene of mirth lie?
    At Signor Candido’s house, the patient man – nay, the monstrous patient man. They say his blood is immovable, that he has taken all patience from a man, and all constancy from a woman.
    That makes so many whores nowadays.
    Ay, and so many knaves too.
    Well, sir.
    To conclude, the report goes he’s so mild, so affable, so suffering, that nothing indeed can move him. Now, do 440but think what sport it will be to make this fellow, the mirror of patience, as angry, as vexed, and as mad as an English cuckold.
    O, ’twere admirable mirth, that! But how will’t be done, signor?
    Let me alone; I have a trick, a conceit, a thing, a device will sting him, i’faith, if he have but a thimbleful of blood in’s belly, or a spleen not so big as a tavern-token.
    Thou stir him? Thou move him? Thou anger him? Alas, I know his approved temper. Thou vex him? Why, he 450has a patience above man’s injuries. Thou mayst sooner raise a spleen in an angel than rough humour in him. Why, I’ll give you instance for it. This wonderfully tempered Signor Candido upon a time invited home to his house certain Neapolitan lords of curious taste and no mean palates, conjuring his wife, 455of all loves, to prepare cheer fitting for such honourable trencher-men. She – just of a woman’s nature, covetous to try the uttermost of vexation, and thinking at last to get the start of his humour – willingly neglected the preparation, and became unfurnished not only of dainty but of ordinary dishes. He, 460according to the mildness of his breast, entertained the lords and with courtly discourse beguiled the time, as much as a citizen might do. To conclude, they were hungry lords, for there came no meat in; their stomachs were plainly gulled and their teeth deluded, and, if anger could have seized a man, 465there was matter enough, i’faith, to vex any citizen in the world, if he were not too much made a fool by his wife.
    Ay, I’ll swear for’t. ’Sfoot, had it been my case, I should ha’ played mad tricks with my wife and family. First, I would ha’ spitted the men, stewed the maids, and baked the mistress, 470and so served them in.
    [To Castruccio] Why, ’twould ha’ tempted any blood but his;
    And thou to vex him? Thou to anger him
    With some poor shallow jest?
    ’Sblood, Signor Pioratto, you that disparage my 475conceit, I’ll wage a hundred ducats upon the head on’t that it moves him, frets him, and galls him.
    Done, ’tis a lay. Join golls on’t. – Witness, Signor Fluello.
    Witness; ’tis done. [They shake hands on it.]
    Come, follow me. The house is not far off.
    480I’ll thrust him from his humour, vex his breast,
    And win a hundred ducats by one jest.
    Enter [Viola], Candido’s Wife, George, and two Prentices, in the shop.
    Come, you put up your wares in good order here, do 485you not, think you? One piece cast this way, another that way! You had need have a patient master, indeed.
    [Aside] Ay, I’ll be sworn, for we have a curst mistress.
    You mumble? Do you mumble? I would your master or I could be a note more angry, for two patient folks in a 490house spoil all the servants that ever shall come under them.
    1 Prentice
    [Aside] You patient! Ay, so is the devil when he is horn-mad.
    Enter Castruccio, Fluello, and Pioratto.
    George and the Prentices
    Gentlemen, what do you lack? What is’t you buy? 495See, fine hollands, fine cambrics, fine lawns.
    What is’t you lack?
    2 Prentice
    What is’t you buy?
    Where’s Signor Candido, thy master?
    Faith, signor, he’s a little negotiated. He’ll appear presently.
    [To George] Fellow, let’s see a lawn, a choice one, sirrah.
    The best in all Milan, gentlemen, and [Showing it] this is the piece. I can fit you gentlemen with fine calicoes too, for doublets, the only sweet fashion now, most delicate and courtly, a meek, gentle calico, cut upon two double affable taffetas – ah, 505most neat, feat, and unmatchable!
    [Aside to Pioratto] A notable, voluble-tongued villain.
    [Aside to Fluello] I warrant this fellow was never begot without much prating.
    [To George with his piece of lawn] What, and is this she, sayst thou?
    [He handles the cloth.]
    Ay, and the purest she that ever you fingered since you were a gentleman. Look how even she is, look how clean she is – ha, as even as the brow of Cynthia, and as clean as your sons and heirs when they ha’ spent all.
    Pooh, thou talkst – pox on’t, ’tis rough.
    How? Is she rough? But if you bid pox on’t sir, ’twill take away the roughness presently.
    [To Castruccio] Ha, signor! Has he fitted your French curse?
    [To Castruccio] Look you, gentleman, here’s another. [He displays another cloth.] Compare them, I pray: compara Virgilium cum Homero, compare virgins 520with harlots.
    Pooh, I ha’ seen better, and, as you term them, evener and cleaner.
    You may see further for your mind, but trust me, you shall not find better for your body.
    Enter Candido.
    [Aside to his companions] O, here he comes. Let’s make as though we pass.
    [Aloud] Come, come, we’ll try in some other shop.
    [The Gentlemen start to leave.]
    How now? What’s the matter?
    The gentlemen find fault with this lawn, fall out with it, and without a cause too.
    Without a cause?
    And that makes you to let ’em pass away? –
    Ah, may I crave a word with you gentlemen?
    [Aside to his companions] He calls us.
    [Aside to Fluello] Makes the better for the jest.
    I pray come near. You’re very welcome, gallants.
    Pray pardon my man’s rudeness, for I fear me
    H’as talked above a prentice with you. [To a Prentice] Lawns!
    [Showing the lawns] Look you, kind gentlemen. – This? No. – Ay, this;
    Take this, upon my honest-dealing faith,
    540To be a true weave, not too hard, nor slack,
    But e’en as far from falsehood as from black.
    Well, how do you rate it?
    Very conscionable, eighteen shillings a yard.
    That’s too dear. How many yards does the whole 545piece contain, think you?
    Why, some seventeen yards I think, or thereabouts. How much would serve your turn, I pray?
    Why, let me see. [He examines the cloth.] Would it were better, too.
    Truth, ’tis the best in Milan, at few words.
    Well, let me have, then – a whole pennyworth.
    Ha, ha! You’re a merry gentleman.
    A penn’orth, I say.
    Of lawn?
    Of lawn? Ay, of lawn, a penn’orth. ’Sblood, dost not 555hear? A whole penn’orth. Are you deaf?
    Deaf? No, sir, but I must tell you
    Our wares do seldom meet such customers.
    Nay, an you and your lawns be so squeamish, fare you well.
    [He makes as if to go.]
    Pray stay, a word. Pray, signor,
    For what purpose is it, I beseech you?
    ’Sblood, what’s that to you? I’ll have a pennyworth.
    A pennyworth? Why, you shall. I’ll serve you presently.
    2 Prentice
    [Aside to Viola] ’Sfoot, a pennyworth, mistress!
    [To Candido] A pennyworth! Call you these gentlemen?
    [To Candido, as he starts to cut the cloth] No, no, not there.
    What then, kind gentleman? What, at this corner here?
    No, nor there neither.
    I’ll have it just in the middle, or else not.
    Just in the middle. Ha, you shall, too. What,
    Have you a single penny?
    [Producing a coin] Yes, here’s one.
    Lend it me, I pray.
    [Aside] An excellent-followed jest!
    What, will he spoil the lawn now?
    Patience, good wife.
    Ay, that patience makes a fool of you. – Gentlemen, you might ha’ found some other citizen to have made a kind gull on besides my husband.
    [As he proceeds to cut the cloth] Pray, gentlemen, take her to be a woman;
    580Do not regard her language. [To Viola] O kind soul,
    Such words will drive away my customers.
    ‘Customers’ with a murrain! Call you these customers?
    Patience, good wife.
    Pax o’your patience!
    ’Sfoot, mistress, I warrant these are some cheating 585companions.
    Look you, gentleman, there’s your ware. I thank you;
    I have your money.
    [Handing over the piece of cloth]
    Here. Pray know my shop,
    Let me have your custom.
    ‘Custom’, quoth’a!
    Let me take more of your money.
    You had need so.
    [Aside to Castruccio] Hark in thine ear: th’ast lost a hundred ducats.
    [Aside in reply] Well, well, I know’t. Is’t possible that homo
    Should be nor man nor woman? Not once moved,
    No, not at such an injury, not at all!
    595Sure he’s a pigeon, for he has no gall.
    [To Candido] Come, come, you’re angry, though you smother it;
    You’re vexed, i’faith – confess.
    Why, gentlemen,
    Should you conceit me to be vexed or moved?
    He has my ware, I have his money for’t;
    600And that’s no argument I am angry. No,
    The best logician cannot prove me so.
    O, but the hateful name of a pennyworth of lawn,
    And then cut out i’th’ middle of the piece!
    Pah, I guess it by myself. ’Twould move a lamb,
    605Were he a linen-draper; ’twould, i’faith.
    Well, give me leave to answer you for that.
    We are set here to please all customers,
    Their humours and their fancies, offend none;
    We get by many if we leese by one.
    610Maybe his mind stood to no more than that.
    A penn’orth serves him; and ’mongst trades ’tis found,
    ‘Deny a penn’worth, it may cross a pound.’
    O, he that means to thrive with patient eye
    Must please the devil if he come to buy.
    O wondrous man, patient ’bove wrong or woe!
    How blest were men if women could be so.
    And to express how well my breast is pleased
    And satisfied in all, George, fill a beaker.
    Exit George.
    I’ll drink unto that gentleman who lately
    620Bestowed his money with me.
    God’s my life,
    We shall have all our gains drunk out in beakers
    To make amends for pennyworths of lawn!
    Enter George [with filled beaker].
    [Passing the beaker to Viola]
    Here, wife, begin you to the gentleman.
    I begin to him?
    [She deliberately spills the drink.]
    George, fill’t up again. –
    625’Twas my fault; my hand shook.
    Exit George [with beaker].
    [Aside to his friends] How strangely this doth show:
    A patient man linked with a waspish shrew!
    [Aside] A silver-and-gilt beaker! I have a trick
    To work upon that beaker. Sure ’twill fret him;
    630It cannot choose but vex him.
    [Aside to Castruccio] Signor Castruccio,
    In pity to thee I have a conceit
    Will save thy hundred ducats yet; ’twill do’t,
    And work him to impatience.
    [Aside to Fluello] Sweet Fluello,
    I should be bountiful to that conceit.
    Well, ’tis enough.
    Enter George [with filled beaker and jug].
    [To Castruccio, holding the beaker]
    Here, gentleman, to you.
    I wish your custom; you’re exceeding welcome.
    [He takes a sip and passes the beaker to Castruccio.]
    I pledge you, Signor Candido. [He drinks to Candido.]
    Here, to you, that must receive a hundred ducats.
    [He drinks to Pioratto, and passes the beaker to him.]
    I’ll pledge them deep, i’faith, Castruccio. [He drinks.]
    Signor Fluello.
    [He drinks to Fluello.]
    [To Pioratto] Come, play’t off – to me;
    I am your last man.
    [Pioratto empties out the beaker, as urged by Fluello, who is to drink next.]
    George, supply the cup.
    [George fills the beaker and pases it to Fluello.]
    So, so, good honest George.
    645Here, Signor Candido;
    [He drinks a little to Candido.]
    all this to you.
    [He passes the beaker to him.]
    O, you must pardon me. I use it not.
    Will you not pledge me, then?
    Yes, but not that;
    Great love is shown in little.
    Blurt on your sentences!
    ’Sfoot, you shall pledge me all.
    Indeed I shall not.
    Not pledge me? ’Sblood, I’ll carry away the beaker then.
    The beaker? O, that at your pleasure, sir.
    Now, by this drink, I will.
    [To Candido] Pledge him; he’ll do’t else.
    [Candido does not move. Fluello drinks the contents of the beaker. He pours out the last drop on his thumbnail.]
    So. I ha’ done you right, on my thumbnail.
    What, will you pledge me now?
    You know me, sir,
    I am not of that sin.
    Why then, farewell.
    I’ll bear away the beaker, by this light.
    That’s as you please; ’tis very good.
    Nay, it doth please me, and as you say ’tis a very good one.
    665Farewell, Signor Candido.
    Farewell, Candido.
    You’re welcome, gentlemen.
    [Aside] Heart, not moved yet?
    [Aside to Fluello] I think his patience is above your wit.
    Exeunt [Castruccio, Pioratto, and Fluello with the beaker].
    I told you before, mistress, they were all cheaters.
    Why, fool; why, husband; why, madman! I hope you will not let ’em sneak away so, with a silver-and-gilt beaker, the best in the house, too. – Go, fellows, make hue and cry after them.
    Pray let your tongue lie still; all will be well. –
    Come hither, George. Hie to the constable,
    And in calm order wish him to attach them.
    Make no great stir, because they’re gentlemen;
    And a thing partly done in merriment,
    680’Tis but a size above a jest, thou knowst.
    Therefore pursue it mildly. Go, begone.
    The constable’s hard by, bring him along.
    Make haste again.
    Exit George.
    O, you’re a goodly patient woodcock, are you not now? 685See what your patience comes to: everyone saddles you and rides you, you’ll be shortly the common stone-horse of Milan. A woman’s well holped up with such a meacock; I had rather have a husband that would swaddle me thrice a day than such a one, that will be gulled twice in half an 690hour. O, I could burn all the wares in my shop for anger!
    Pray wear a peaceful temper, be my wife –
    That is, be patient; for a wife and husband
    Share but one soul between them. This being known,
    Why should not one soul then agree in one?
    Hang your agreements! But if my beaker be gone –
    Enter Castruccio, Fluello, Pioratto, and George.
    O, here they come.
    The constable, sir, let ’em come along with me, because there should be no wondering. He stays at door.
    Constable, Goodman Abram?
    Now, Signor Candido, ’sblood, why do you attach us?
    ’Sheart! Attach us!
    Nay, swear not, gallants.
    Your oaths may move your souls, but not move me;
    705You have a silver beaker of my wife’s.
    You say not true, ’tis gilt.
    Then you say true.
    And being gilt, the guilt lies more on you.
    I hope you’re not angry, sir.
    Then you hope right,
    For I am not angry.
    No, but a little moved.
    I moved? ’Twas you were moved; you were brought hither.
    But you, out of your anger and impatience,
    Caused us to be attached.
    Nay, you misplace it.
    Out of my quiet sufferance I did that,
    And not of any wrath. Had I shown anger,
    I should have then pursued you with the law,
    And hunted you to shame, as many worldlings
    720Do build their anger upon feebler grounds –
    The more’s the pity. Many lose their lives
    For scarce so much coin as will hide their palm,
    Which is most cruel. Those have vexèd spirits
    That pursue lives. In this opinion rest:
    725The loss of millions could not move my breast.
    Thou art a blest man, and with peace dost deal;
    Such a meek spirit can bless a commonweal.
    Gentlemen, now ’tis upon eating-time,
    Pray part not hence, but dine with me today.
    I never heard a courtier yet say nay
    To such a motion. I’ll not be the first.
    Nor I.
    Nor I.
    The constable shall bear you company.
    735George, call him in. Let the world say what it can,
    Nothing can drive me from a patient man.
    Enter Roger with a stool, cushion, looking-glass, and chafing-dish. Those being set down, he pulls out of his pocket a vial with white colour in it, and two boxes, one with white, another red 740painting. He places all things in order, and a candle by them, singing with the ends of old ballads as he does it. At last Bellafront, as he rubs his cheek with the colours, whistles within.
    Anon, forsooth.
    [Within] What are you playing the rogue about?
    About you, forsooth; I’m drawing up a hole in your white silk stocking.
    Is my glass there? And my boxes of complexion?
    Yes, forsooth. Your boxes of complexion are 750here, I think. Yes, ’tis here; here’s your two complexions. [Aside] An if I had all the four complexions, I should ne’er set a good face upon’t. Some men, I see, are born under hard-favoured planets as well as women. Zounds, I look worse now than I did before; and it makes her face glister most 755damnably. There’s knavery in daubing, I hold my life; or else this is only female pomatum.
    Enter Bellafront not full ready, without a gown. She sits down, with her bodkin curls her hair, colours her lips [etc.].
    Where’s my ruff and poker, you blockhead?
    Your ruff and your poker are engendering together upon the cupboard of the court, or the court-cupboard.
    Fetch ’em! Is the pox in your hams, you can go no faster?
    [She throws something at him.]
    Would the pox were in your fingers, unless you could 765leave flinging. Catch!
    [He throws back the object.]
    I’ll catch you, you dog, by and by. Do you grumble?
    Exit [Roger].
    She sings:
    Cupid is a god
    As naked as my nail;
    I’ll whip him with a rod
    If he my true love fail.
    [Enter Roger with ruff and poker.]
    There’s your ruff. Shall I poke it?
    Yes, honest Roger – no, stay. Prithee, good boy, hold here.
    [Roger holds the looking-glass and candle for her. She sings:]
    Down, down, down, down; I fall down, and arise I never shall.
    Troth, mistress, then leave the trade, if you shall never rise.
    What trade, Goodman Abram?
    Why, that of down and arise, or the falling trade.
    I’ll fall with you, by and by.
    If you do, I know who shall smart for’t. Troth, mistress, what do I look like now?
    Like as you are: a panderly sixpenny rascal.
    I may thank you for that. No, faith, I look like an old proverb, ‘Hold the candle before the devil.’
    Ud’s life, I’ll stick my knife in your guts an you prate to me so! – What?
    She sings:
    Well met, pug, the pearl of beauty, umm, umm.
    785How now, Sir Knave, you forget your duty, umm, umm.
    Marry-muff, sir, are you grown so dainty? Fa, la, la, leera, la.
    Is it you, sir? The worst of twenty, fa, la, la, leera, la.
    Pox on you, how dost thou hold my glass?
    Why, as I hold your door: with my fingers.
    Nay, prithee, sweet honey Roger, hold up handsomely. (Sings ‘Pretty wantons, warble’, etc.) We shall ha’ guests today, I lay my little maidenhead, my nose itches so.
    I said so too, last night, when our fleas twinged me.
    [Completing her make-up] So. Poke my ruff now. My gown, my gown! Have I my fall? 795Where’s my fall, Roger?
    Your fall, forsooth, is behind.
    One knocks.
    God’s my pitikins! Some fool or other knocks.
    Shall I open to the fool, mistress?
    And all these baubles lying thus? Away with it 800quickly!
    [They tidy up. More knocking.]
    – Ay, ay, knock and be damned, whosoever you be. – So. Give the fresh salmon line now; let him come ashore. He shall serve for my breakfast, though he go against my stomach.
    Roger fetches in Fluello, Castruccio, and Pioratto.
    [He brings in some stools.]
    [To Bellafront] Morrow, coz.
    How does my sweet acquaintance?
    Save thee, little marmoset. How dost thou, good pretty rogue?
    Well, God-a-mercy, good pretty rascal.
    [Producing tobacco] Roger, some light, I prithee.
    You shall, signor; for we that live here in this vale of misery are as dark as hell.
    Exit for a candle.
    Good tobacco, Fluello?
    It may be tickling gear, for it plays with my nose already.
    Enter Roger [with candle].
    [To Fluello] Here’s another light angel, signor.
    [Fluello lights a pipe, which afterwards he passes to Castruccio.]
    What, you pied curtal? What’s that you are neighing?
    I say, ‘God send us the light of heaven, or some more angels’.
    Go fetch some wine; [Aside, to him]and drink half of it.
    I must fetch some wine, gentlemen, [Aside to her] and drink half of it.
    [Offering him money] Here, Roger.
    No, let me send, prithee.
    [To Roger] Hold, you cankerworm.
    You shall send both, if you please, signors. [Castruccio gives him money.]
    Stay, what’s best to drink a-mornings?
    Hippocras, sir, for my mistress, if I fetch it, is most dear to her.
    Hippocras? [Giving Roger more money] There, then; here’s a teston for you, you snake.
    Right, sir; here’s three shillings sixpence for a pottle and a manchet.
    [Smoking] Here’s most Herculean tobacco. [Offering the pipe to Bellafront] Ha’ some, acquaintance?
    Faugh, not I – makes your breath stink like the piss of a fox. Acquaintance, where supped you last night?
    At a place, sweet acquaintance, where your health danced the canaries, i’faith; you should ha’ been there.
    I there, among your punks? Marry faugh, hang ’em! 835Scorn’t. Will you never leave sucking of eggs in other folks’ hens’ nests?
    Why, in good troth, if you’ll trust me, acquaintance, there was not one hen at the board. Ask Fluello.
    No, faith, coz, none but cocks. Signor Malavolta 840drunk to thee.
    O, a pure beagle! That horseleech there?
    And the knight, Sir Oliver Lollio, swore he would bestow a taffeta petticoat on thee, but to break his fast with thee.
    With me? I’ll choke him then. Hang him, mole-catcher! It’s the dreamingest snotty-nose.
    Well, many took that Lollio for a fool; but he’s a subtle fool.
    Ay, and he has fellows; of all filthy, dry-fisted knights, I cannot abide that he should touch me.
    Why, wench, is he scabbed?
    Hang him! He’ll not live to be so honest, nor to the 850credit to have scabs about him; his betters have ’em. But I hate to wear out any of his coarse knighthood, because he’s made like an alderman’s nightgown, faced all with cony before, and within nothing but fox. This sweet Oliver will eat mutton till he be ready to burst, but the 855lean-jawed slave will not pay for the scraping of his trencher.
    Plague him; set him beneath the salt, and let him not touch a bit till everyone has had his full cut.
    Sordello, the gentleman-usher, came in to us too. Marry, ’twas in our cheese, for he had been to borrow money 860for his lord, of a citizen.
    What an ass is that lord, to borrow money of a citizen!
    Nay, God’s my pity, what an ass is that citizen to lend money to a lord!
    865Enter Mattheo and Hippolito, who, saluting the company as a stranger, walks off. Roger comes in sadly behind them, with a pottle pot, and stands aloof off.
    Save you, gallants. Signor Fluello, exceedingly well met, as I may say.
    Signor Mattheo, exceedingly well met too, as I may say.
    And how fares my little pretty mistress?
    E’en as my little pretty servant; sees three court dishes before her, and not one good bit in them. [To Roger] How now? 875Why the devil standst thou so? Art in a trance?
    Yes, forsooth.
    Why dost not fill out their wine?
    Forsooth, ’tis filled out already: all the wine that the signors has bestowed upon you is cast away. A porter ran a tilt at me, and so faced me down that I had not a drop.
    I’m accurst to let such a withered artichoke-faced rascal grow under my nose! Now you look like an old he-cat, going to the gallows. I’ll be hanged if he ha’ not put up the money to cony-catch us all.
    No, truly, forsooth, ’tis not put up [Aside to her] yet.
    How many gentlemen hast thou served thus?
    None [Aside] but five hundred, besides prentices and servingmen.
    Dost think I’ll pocket it up at thy hands?
    Yes, forsooth, [Aside to her] I fear you will pocket it up.
    [To Mattheo] Fie, fie, cut my lace, good servant; I shall ha’ the 890mother presently, I’m so vexed at this horse-plum!
    Plague, not for a scald pottle of wine!
    Nay, sweet Bellafront, for a little pig’s wash!
    Here, Roger, fetch more. [He gives him more money.] – A mischance, i’faith, acquaintance.
    [To Roger] Out of my sight, thou ungodly puritanical creature!
    For the tother pottle? Yes, forsooth.
    [Aside to him] Spill that too!
    Exit [Roger].
    [Observing Hippolito] What gentleman is that, servant? Your friend?
    Godso! A stool, a stool! If you love me, mistress, 900entertain this gentleman respectively, and bid him welcome.
    He’s very welcome. [To Hippolito] Pray, sir, sit.
    Thanks, lady.
    [Moving towards him] Count Hippolito, is’t not? Cry you mercy, signor; you walk here all this while, and we not heed you? Let me 905bestow a stool upon you, beseech you. You are a stranger here; we know the fashions o’th’ house.
    [He offers Hippolito a stool.]
    Please you be here, my lord. [He offers Hippolito] tobacco.
    [Declining the offer] No, good Castruccio.
    You have abandoned the court, I see, my lord, since 910the death of your mistress. Well, she was a delicate piece – [Aside to Bellafront] Beseech you, sweet, come, let us serve under the colours of your acquaintance still, for all that. [Aloud to Hippolito] Please you to meet here at the lodging of my coz; I shall bestow a banquet upon you.
    [Bellafront and Mattheo speak privately without hearing the others, who converse aloud with one another.]
    [To Fluello] I never can deserve this kindness, sir.
    915What may this lady be, whom you call coz?
    Faith, sir, a poor gentlewoman, of passing good carriage; one that has some suits in law, and lies here in an attorney’s house.
    Is she married?
    Ha, as all your punks are, a captain’s wife or so. Never saw her before, my lord?
    Never, trust me. A goodly creature.
    By gad, when you know her as we do, you’ll swear she is the prettiest, kindest, sweetest, most bewitching honest ape 925under the pole. A skin – your satin is not more soft, nor lawn whiter.
    Belike, then, she’s some sale courtesan.
    Troth, as all your best faces are; a good wench.
    Great pity that she’s a good wench. [They whisper.]
    [Aloud to Bellafront] Thou shalt have it i’faith, mistress. – How now, signors? What? Whispering? [Talking apart to Hippolito] Did not I lay a wager I should take you within seven days in a house of vanity?
    You did, and, I beshrew your heart, you have won.
    How do you like my mistress?
    Well, for such a mistress. Better, if your mistress be not your master. [Aloud] I must break manners, gentlemen; fare you well.
    ’Sfoot, you shall not leave us.
    The gentleman likes not the taste of our company.
    940All Gentlemen
    Beseech you, stay.
    Trust me, my affairs beckon for me. Pardon me.
    Will you call for me half an hour hence here?
    Perhaps I shall.
    Perhaps? Faugh! I know you can; swear to me you will.
    Since you will press me, on my word I will.
    What sullen picture is this, servant?
    It’s Count Hippolito, the brave count.
    As gallant a spirit as any in Milan, you sweet Jew.
    O, he’s a most essential gentleman, coz.
    Did you never hear of Count Hippolito, acquaintance?
    Marry-muff o’your counts, an be no more life in ’em.
    He’s so malcontent! Sirrah Bellafront – [To the others] An you be honest gallants, let’s sup together, and have the count dine with us. [To her] 955Thou shalt sit at the upper end, punk.
    ‘Punk’, you soused gurnet?
    King’s truce! Come, I’ll bestow the supper to have him but laugh.
    He betrays his youth too grossly to that tyrant, melancholy.
    All this is for a woman.
    A woman? Some whore! What sweet jewel is’t?
    Would she heard you.
    Troth, so would I.
    And I, by heaven.
    Nay, good servant, what woman?
    Prithee, tell me; a buss, and tell me! I warrant he’s an honest fellow, if he take on thus for a wench. Good rogue, who?
    By th’Lord, I will not, must not, faith, mistress. – Is’t a match, sirs? This night, at th’Antelope; for there’s best wine, and good boys.
    970All Gentlemen
    It’s done; at th’Antelope.
    I cannot be there tonight.
    ‘Cannot’? By th’Lord, you shall.
    By the Lady, I will not. ‘Shall’!
    Why then, put it off till Friday. Wu’t come then, coz?
    Well –
    Enter Roger.
    You’re the waspishest ape. – Roger, put your mistress in mind, your scurvy mistress here, to sup with us on Friday next. [To her] You’re best come like a madwoman, without a band, in your waistcoat, and the linings of your kirtle outward, like 980every common hackney that steals out at the back gate of her sweet knight’s lodging.
    Go, go, hang yourself!
    It’s dinner-time, Mattheo; shall’s hence?
    All Gentlemen
    Yes, yes. – Farewell, wench.
    Farewell, boys.
    Exeunt [Fluello, Castruccio, Pioratto, and Mattheo].
    Roger, what wine sent they for?
    Bastard wine; for if it had been truly begotten, it would not ha’ been ashamed to come in. Here’s six shillings, to pay for nursing the bastard.
    A company of rooks! O good sweet Roger, run to the poulter’s and buy me some fine larks.
    No woodcocks?
    Yes, faith, a couple, if they be not dear.
    I’ll buy but one: there’s one already here.
    Enter Hippolito.
    Is the gentleman my friend departed, mistress?
    His back is but new turned, sir.
    [Going] Fare you well.
    I can direct you to him.
    Can you, pray?
    If you please, stay; he’ll not be absent long.
    I care not much.
    Pray sit, forsooth.
    [Putting down his rapier] I’m hot;
    If I may use your room, I’ll rather walk.
    At your best pleasure. Whew!
    [Offering towels] Some rubbers, there.
    Indeed, I’ll none – indeed, I will not. Thanks.
    Pretty fine lodging. I perceive my friend
    1005Is old in your acquaintance.
    Troth, sir, he comes
    As other gentlemen, to spend spare hours.
    If yourself like our roof, such as it is,
    Your own acquaintance may be as old as his.
    Say I did like, what welcome should I find?
    Such as my present fortunes can afford.
    But would you let me play Mattheo’s part?
    What part?
    Why, embrace you, dally with you, kiss.
    Faith, tell me: will you leave him, and love me?
    I am in bonds to no man, sir.
    Why then,
    You’re free for any man; if any, me.
    But I must tell you, lady, were you mine,
    You should be all mine. I could brook no sharers;
    I should be covetous, and sweep up all.
    1020I should be pleasure’s usurer; faith, I should.
    O fate!
    Why sigh you, lady? May I know?
    ’T has never been my fortune yet to single
    Out that one man whose love could fellow mine,
    1025As I have ever wished it. O my stars!
    Had I but met with one kind gentleman
    That would have purchased sin alone, to himself,
    For his own private use, although scarce proper
    (Indifferent handsome, meetly legged and thighed),
    1030And my allowance reasonable (i’faith,
    According to my body), by my troth
    I would have been as true unto his pleasures
    Yea, and as loyal to his afternoons,
    As ever a poor gentlewoman could be.
    This were well now to one but newly fledged
    And scarce a day old in this subtle world;
    ’Twere pretty art, good bird-lime, cunning net.
    But come, come, faith, confess: how many men
    Have drunk this self-same protestation
    1040From that red ’ticing lip?
    Indeed, not any.
    ‘Indeed’? And blush not?
    No, in truth, not any.
    ‘Indeed’! ‘In truth’! How warily you swear!
    1045’Tis well, if ill it be not. Yet had I
    The ruffian in me, and were drawn before you
    But in light colours, I do know indeed
    You would not swear ‘indeed’, but thunder oaths
    That should shake heaven, drown the harmonious spheres,
    1050And pierce a soul that loved her maker’s honour
    With horror and amazement.
    Shall I swear?
    Will you believe me then?
    Worst then of all;
    1055Our sins by custom seem at last but small.
    Were I but o’er your threshold, a next man,
    And after him a next, and then a fourth,
    Should have this golden hook and lascivious bait
    Thrown out to the full length. Why, let me tell you
    1060I ha’ seen letters, sent from that white hand,
    Tuning such music to Mattheo’s ear.
    Mattheo! That’s true. But if you’ll believe
    My honest tongue, my eyes no sooner met you
    But they conceived and led you to my heart.
    O, you cannot feign with me! Why, I know, lady,
    This is the common fashion of you all,
    To hook in a kind gentleman, and then
    Abuse his coin, conveying it to your lover;
    And in the end you show him a French trick,
    1070And so you leave him that a coach may run
    Between his legs for breadth.
    O, by my soul,
    Not I! Therein I’ll prove an honest whore –
    In being true to one and to no more.
    If any be disposed to trust your oath,
    Let him; I’ll not be he. I know you feign
    All that you speak, I; for a mingled harlot
    Is true in nothing but in being false.
    What, shall I teach you how to loathe yourself?
    1080And mildly too, not without sense or reason?
    I am content; I would fain loathe myself
    If you not love me.
    Then if your gracious blood
    Be not all wasted, I shall assay to do’t.
    1085Lend me your silence and attention.
    You have no soul; that makes you weigh so light.
    Heaven’s treasure bought it,
    And half a crown hath sold it. For your body,
    It’s like the common shore, that still receives
    All the town’s filth. The sin of many men
    1090Is within you; and thus much I suppose,
    That, if all your committers stood in rank,
    They’d make a lane, in which your shame might dwell,
    And with their spaces reach from hence to hell.
    Nay, shall I urge it more? There has been known
    1095As many by one harlot maimed and dismembered
    As would ha’ stuffed an hospital. This I might
    Apply to you, and perhaps do you right.
    O, you’re as base as any beast that bears;
    Your body is e’en hired, and so are theirs.
    1100For gold and sparkling jewels, if he can,
    You’ll let a Jew get you with Christian.
    Be he a Moor, a Tartar, though his face
    Look uglier than a dead man’s skull,
    Could the devil put on a human shape,
    1105If his purse shake out crowns, up then he gets;
    Whores will be rid to hell with golden bits.
    So that you’re crueller than Turks, for they
    Sell Christians only; you sell yourselves away.
    Why, those that love you, hate you, and will term you
    1110Lickerish damnation, wish themselves half sunk
    After the sin is laid out, and e’en curse
    Their fruitless riot. For what one begets,
    Another poisons. Lust and murder hit;
    A tree being often shook, what fruit can knit?
    O me unhappy!
    I can vex you more.
    A harlot is like Dunkirk, true to none;
    Swallows both English, Spanish, fulsome Dutch,
    Back-doored Italian, last of all the French.
    1120And he sticks to you, faith; gives you your diet,
    Brings you acquainted, first with Monsieur Doctor,
    And then you know what follows.
    Rank, stinking, and most loathsome misery.
    Methinks a toad is happier than a whore:
    That with one poison swells, with thousands more
    The other stocks her veins. Harlot? Fie, fie!
    You are the miserablest creatures breathing.
    The very slaves of nature. Mark me else:
    1130You put on rich attires, others’ eyes wear them;
    You eat but to supply your blood with sin.
    And this strange curse e’en haunts you to your graves:
    From fools you get, and spend it upon slaves.
    Like bears and apes, you’re baited and show tricks
    1135For money, but your bawd the sweetness licks.
    Indeed, you are their journey-women, and do
    All base and damned works they list set you to,
    So that you ne’er are rich. For do but show me,
    In present memory or in ages past,
    1140The fairest and most famous courtesan –
    Whose flesh was dear’st, that raised the price of sin,
    And held it up; to whose intemperate bosom
    Princes, earls, lords (the worst has been a knight,
    The mean’st a gentleman) have offered up
    1145Whole hecatombs of sighs, and rained in show’rs
    Handfuls of gold – yet, for all this, at last
    Diseases sucked her marrow; then grew so poor
    That she has begged, e’en at a beggar’s door.
    And – wherein heav’n has a finger – when this idol
    1150From coast to coast has lept on foreign shores,
    And had more worship than th’outlandish whores;
    When several nations have gone over her;
    When for each several city she has seen
    Her maidenhead has been new, and been sold dear;
    1155Did live well there, and might have died unknown
    And undefamed – back comes she to her own,
    And there both miserably lives and dies,
    Scorned even of those that once adored her eyes,
    As if her fatal-circled life thus ran
    1160Her pride should end there where it first began.
    [She weeps.]
    What, do you weep to hear your story read?
    Nay, if you spoil your cheeks, I’ll read no more.
    [Weeping] O yes, I pray, proceed.
    Indeed, ’twill do me good to weep, indeed.
    To give those tears a relish, this I add:
    You’re like the Jews, scattered, in no place certain.
    Your days are tedious, your hours burdensome;
    And were’t not for full suppers, midnight revels,
    Dancing, wine, riotous meetings, which do drown
    1170And bury quite in you all virtuous thoughts,
    And on your eyelids hang so heavily
    They have no power to look so high as heaven,
    You’d sit and muse on nothing but despair,
    Curse that devil Lust, that so burns up your blood,
    1175And in ten thousand shivers break your glass
    For his temptation. Say you taste delight
    To have a golden gull from rise to set,
    To mete you in his hot luxurious arms,
    Yet your nights pay for all: I know you dream
    1180Of warrants, whips, and beadles, and then start
    At a door’s windy creak, think every weasel
    To be a constable and every rat
    A long-tailed officer. Are you now not slaves?
    O, you have damnation without pleasure for it!
    1185Such is the state of harlots. To conclude,
    When you are old and can well paint no more,
    You turn bawd, and are then worse than before.
    Make use of this. Farewell.
    [He starts to go.]
    O, I pray, stay!
    I see Mattheo comes not. Time hath barred me.
    Would all the harlots in the town had heard me.
    [Calling after him] Stay yet a little longer! No? Quite gone!
    Curst be that minute – for it was no more,
    So soon a maid is changed into a whore –
    1195Wherein I first fell; be it for ever black!
    Yet why should sweet Hippolito shun mine eyes,
    For whose true love I would become pure-honest,
    Hate the world’s mixtures and the smiles of gold?
    Am I not fair? Why should he fly me, then?
    1200Fair creatures are desired, not scorned of men.
    How many gallants have drunk healths to me
    Out of their daggered arms, and thought them blest
    Enjoying but mine eyes at prodigal feasts?
    And does Hippolito detest my love?
    1205O, sure their heedless lusts but flattered me;
    I am not pleasing, beautiful, nor young.
    Hippolito has spied some ugly blemish,
    Eclipsing all my beauties. I am foul.
    Harlot! Ay, that’s the spot that taints thy soul.
    1210[Finding Hippolito’s rapier] His weapon left here? O, fit instrument
    To let forth all the poison of my flesh!
    Thy master hates me ’cause my blood hath ranged;
    But when ’tis forth, then he’ll believe I’m changed.
    [As she is about to stab herself], enter Hippolito.
    Mad woman, what art doing?
    Either love me,
    Or cleave my bosom on thy rapier’s point.
    Yet do not neither, for thou then destroyst
    That which I love thee for – thy virtues. Here, here!
    [She gives him his sword.]
    Thou’rt crueller, and killst me with disdain;
    1220To die so sheds no blood, yet ’tis worse pain.
    Exit Hippolito.
    Not speak to me! Not look! Not bid farewell!
    Hated! This must not be; some means I’ll try.
    Would all whores were as honest now as I.
    1225Enter Candido, [Viola] his Wife, George, and two Prentices, in the shop. Fustigo enters, walking by.
    See, gentlemen, what you lack; a fine holland, a fine cambric. See what you buy.
    1 Prentice
    Holland for shirts, cambric for bands; what is’t you lack?
    [Aside] ’Sfoot, I lack ’em all; nay more, I lack money to buy ’em. Let me see, let me look again. Mass, this is the shop! [To Viola] What, coz! Sweet coz! How dost, i’faith, since last night after candlelight? We had good sport, i’faith, had we not? And when shall’s laugh again?
    When you will, cousin.
    Spoke like a kind Lacedemonian. I see yonder’s thy husband.
    Ay, there’s the sweet youth, God bless him.
    And how is’t, cousin? And how, how is’t, thou squall?
    Well, cousin. How fare you?
    How fare I? Troth, for sixpence a meal, wench, as well as heart can wish, with calves’ chawdrons and chitterlings; besides, I have a punk after supper, as good as a roasted apple.
    [Approaching] Are you my wife’s cousin?
    I am, sir. What hast thou to do with that?
    O, nothing; but you’re welcome.
    The devil’s dung in thy teeth! I’ll be welcome whether thou wilt or no, I. [To Viola] What ring’s this, coz? Very pretty and fantastical, i’faith. Let’s see it.
    [He tries to remove it.]
    Pooh! Nay, you wrench my finger.
    I ha’ sworn I’ll ha’t, and I hope you will not let my oaths be cracked in the ring, will you? [He grabs the ring. To Candido] I hope, sir, you are not mallicolly at this, for all your great looks. Are you angry?
    Angry? Not I, sir; nay, if she can part
    So easily with her ring, ’tis with my heart.
    [To Candido] Suffer this, sir, and suffer all. A whoreson gull, to –
    Peace, George. When she has reaped what I have sown,
    She’ll say one grain tastes better of her own
    Than whole sheaves gathered from another’s land;
    Wit’s never good till bought at a dear hand.
    [Fustigo and Viola whisper, and kiss each other behind his back.]
    But in the meantime she makes an ass of somebody.
    2 Prentice
    See, see, see, sir; as you turn your back, they do nothing but kiss.
    No matter, let ’em. When I touch her lips,
    I shall not feel his kisses, no, nor miss
    1265Any of her lips; no harm in kissing is.
    Look to your business; pray make up your wares.
    [To Viola] Troth, coz, and well remembered. [To Candido] I would thou wouldst give me five yards of lawn, to make my punk some falling bands o’the fashion, three falling one upon 1270another ; for that’s the new edition now. She’s out of linen horribly, too. Troth, sh’as never a good smock to her back neither but one that has a great many patches in’t, and that I’m fain to wear myself for want of shift, too. Prithee, put me into wholesome napery, and bestow some clean commodities 1275upon us.
    [To George and the Prentices] Reach me those cambrics and the lawns hither.
    What to do, wife? To lavish out my goods upon a fool?
    Fool? ’Snails, eat the ‘fool’, or I’ll so batter your crown that it shall scarce go for five shillings.
    12802 Prentice
    [To Candido] Do you hear, sir? You’re best be quiet, and say a fool tells you so.
    Nails, I think so – [To 2 Prentice] for thou tellst me.
    Are you angry, sir, because I named thee fool?
    Trust me, you are not wise, in mine own house
    And to my face to play the antic thus.
    1285If you’ll needs play the madman, choose a stage
    Of lesser compass, where few eyes may note
    Your action’s error. But if still you miss,
    As here you do, for one clap ten will hiss.
    [To Viola] Zounds, cousin, he talks to me as if I were a 1290scurvy tragedian.
    [The Prentices and George talk apart.]
    2 Prentice
    Sirrah George, I ha’ thought upon a device how to break his pate, beat him soundly, and ship him away.
    2 Prentice
    I’ll go in, pass through the house, give some of our fellow prentices the watchword when 1295they shall enter, then come and fetch my master in by a while, and place one in the hall to hold him in conference, whilst we cudgel the gull out of his coxcomb.
    Do’t. Away, do’t.
    [To them] Must I call twice for these cambrics and lawns?
    Nay, see, you anger her, George; prithee, despatch.
    2 Prentice
    Two of the choicest pieces are in the warehouse, sir.
    Go fetch them presently.
    Ay, do, make haste, sirrah.
    Exit 2 Prentice.
    [To Fustigo] Why were you such a stranger all this while, 1305being my wife’s cousin?
    Stranger? No, sir, I’m a natural Milaner born.
    I perceive still it is your natural guise to mistake me. But you are welcome, sir; I much wish your acquaintance.
    My acquaintance? I scorn that, i’faith. I hope my 1310acquaintance goes in chains of gold three-and-fifty times double. – You know who I mean, coz; the posts of his gate are a-painting, too.
    Enter 2 Prentice [with pieces of cambric and lawn].
    2 Prentice
    [To Candido] Signor Pandulfo the merchant desires conference with you.
    Signor Pandulfo? I’ll be with him straight.
    1315Attend your mistress and the gentleman.
    [To 2 Prentice] When do you show those pieces?
    Ay, when do you show those pieces?
    George and the Prentices
    Presently, sir, presently; we are but charging them.
    [To George] Come, sirrah, you flat-cap; where be these whites?
    Flat-cap? [Aside to Fustigo] Hark in your ear, sir: you’re a flat fool, an 1320ass, a gull, and I’ll thrum you. Do you see this cambric, sir?
    [To Viola] ’Sfoot, coz, a good jest! Did you hear him? He told me in my ear I was ‘a flat fool, an ass, a gull, and I’ll thrum you. Do you see this cambric, sir?’
    [At some distance] What, not my men, I hope?
    No, not your men, but one of your men, i’faith.
    1 Prentice
    I pray, sir, come hither. [Indicating a piece of cambric] What say you to this? Here’s an excellent good one.
    Ay, marry, this likes me well; cut me off some half-score yards.
    2 Prentice
    [Aside to him] Let your whores cut. You’re an impudent coxcomb; 1330you get none, and yet I’ll thrum you. [Aloud] A very good cambric, sir.
    Again, again, as God judge me! ’Sfoot, coz, they stand thrumming here with me all day, and yet I get nothing.
    1 Prentice
    A word, I pray, sir. You must not be angry. Prentices 1335have hot bloods – young fellows. What say you to this piece? Look you, ’tis so delicate, so soft, so even, so fine a thread that a lady may wear it.
    ’Sfoot, I think so. If a knight marry my punk, a lady shall wear it. Cut me off twenty yards, thou’rt an honest lad.
    13401 Prentice
    [Aside to him] Not without money, gull, and I’ll thrum you too.
    George and the Prentices
    [Aside to him] Gull, we’ll thrum you.
    O Lord, sister, did you not hear something cry ‘thump’? Zounds, your men here make a plain ass of me.
    What, to my face so impudent?
    Ay, in a cause so honest; we’ll not suffer
    Our master’s goods to vanish moneyless.
    You’ll not suffer them?
    2 Prentice
    No, and you may blush
    In going about to vex so mild a breast
    1350As is our master’s.
    [To Fustigo] Take away those pieces,
    Cousin; I give them freely.
    [Taking the pieces] Mass, and I’ll take ’em as freely.
    George and the Prentices
    We’ll make you lay ’em down again more freely.
    [Enter fellow Prentices; Fustigo is beaten with clubs.]
    Help, help! My brother will be murderèd.
    Enter Candido.
    How now, what coil is here? Forbear, I say.
    [Peace returns. Exeunt the fellow Prentices.]
    He calls us flat-caps, and abuses us.
    Why, sirs? Do such examples flow from me?
    They are of your keeping, sir. – Alas, poor brother.
    I’faith, they ha’ peppered me, sister. Look, does’t not 1360spin? Call you these prentices? I’ll ne’er play at cards more when clubs is trump. I have a goodly coxcomb, sister, have I not?
    ‘Sister’ and ‘brother’? Brother to my wife?
    If you have any skill in heraldry, you may soon know that. Break but her pate, and you shall see her blood 1365and mine is all one.
    [To 1 Prentice] A surgeon! Run; a surgeon!
    [Exit 1 Prentice.]
    [To Fustigo] Why, then, wore you that forged name of cousin?
    Because it’s a common thing to call coz and ningle nowadays, all the world over.
    ‘Cousin’! A name of much deceit, folly, and sin,
    For under that common abusèd word
    Many an honest-tempered citizen
    Is made a monster, and his wife trained out
    To foul adulterous action, full of fraud.
    1375I may well call that word a city’s bawd.
    Troth, brother, my sister would needs ha’ made me take upon me to gull your patience a little; but it has made double gules on my coxcomb.
    [To Fustigo] What, playing the woman? Blabbing now, you fool?
    O, my wife did but exercise a jest upon your wit.
    ’Sfoot, my wit bleeds for’t, methinks.
    Then let this warning more of sense afford;
    The name of ‘cousin’ is a bloody word.
    I’ll ne’er call coz again whilst I live, to have such 1385a coil about it. This should be a coronation day, for my head runs claret lustily.
    [To 2 Prentice] Go, wish the surgeon to have great respect.
    [Exit 2 Prentice.]
    Enter an Officer.
    [To the Officer] How now, my friend; what, do they sit today?
    Yes, sir, they expect you at the Senate House.
    I thank your pains; I’ll not be last man there.
    Exit Officer.
    My gown, George; go, my gown.
    [Exit George.]
    A happy land,
    Where grave men meet, each cause to understand,
    Whose consciences are not cut out in bribes
    To gull the poor man’s right, but in even scales
    1395Peize rich and poor, without corruption’s vails.
    [Enter George.]
    [To him] Come, where’s the gown?
    I cannot find the key, sir.
    Request it of your mistress.
    Come not to me for any key;
    I’ll not be troubled to deliver it.
    Good wife, kind wife, it is a needful trouble,
    But for my gown.
    Moths swallow down your gown!
    You set my teeth on edge with talking on’t.
    Nay, prithee, sweet, I cannot meet without it;
    1405I should have a great fine set on my head.
    Set on your coxcomb! Tush, fine me no fines.
    Believe me, sweet, none greets the Senate House
    Without his robe of reverence – that’s his gown.
    Well, then you’re like to cross that custom once.
    1410You get nor key nor gown; and so depart.
    [Aside] This trick will vex him sure, and fret his heart.
    Stay, let me see; I must have some device.
    My cloak’s too short; fie, fie, no cloak will do’t.
    It must be something fashioned like a gown,
    1415With my arms out. O George, come hither, George;
    I prithee, lend me thine advice.
    Truth, sir, were it any but you, they would break open chest.
    O, no! Break open chest? That’s a thief’s office.
    Therein you counsel me against my blood;
    1420’Twould show impatience, that. Any meek means
    I would be glad to embrace. Mass, I have got it!
    Go, step up, fetch me down one of the carpets –
    The saddest-coloured carpet, honest George.
    Cut thou a hole i’th’ middle for my neck;
    1425Two for mine arms. Nay, prithee, look not strange.
    I hope you do not think, sir, as you mean.
    Prithee, about it quickly; the hour chides me.
    Warily, George, softly; take heed of eyes.
    Exit George.
    Out of two evils, he’s accounted wise
    1430That can pick out the least. The fine imposed
    For an ungownèd senator is about
    Forty crusadoes, the carpet not ’bove four.
    Thus have I chosen the lesser evil yet,
    Preserved my patience, foiled her desperate wit.
    Enter George [with carpet].
    Here, sir, here’s the carpet.
    O, well done, George; we’ll cut it just i’th’ midst.
    [They cut one hole into the carpet for Candido’s neck, and two for his arms.]
    ’Tis very well; I thank thee. Help it on.
    It must come over your head, sir, like a wench’s petticoat.
    Thou’rt in the right, good George; it must indeed.
    1440Fetch me a nightcap, for I’ll gird it close,
    As if my health were queasy. ’Twill show well
    For a rude, careless nightgown; will’t not, thinkst?
    Indifferent well, sir, for a nightgown, being girt and pleated.
    Ay, and a nightcap on my head.
    That’s true, sir; I’ll run and fetch one, and a staff.
    Exit George.
    For thus they cannot choose but conster it:
    One that is out of health takes no delight,
    Wears his apparel without appetite,
    And puts on heedless raiment without form.
    Enter George [with nightcap and staff].
    [Candido puts on the nightcap and takes the staff.]
    So, so, kind George. Be secret now; and, prithee,
    Do not laugh at me till I’m out of sight.
    I laugh? Not I, sir.
    Now to the Senate House.
    Methinks I’d rather wear, without a frown,
    A patient carpet than an angry gown.
    Now looks my master just like one of our carpet-knights; only he’s somewhat the honester of the two.
    Enter [Viola], Candido’s Wife, [with a key].
    What, is your master gone?
    Yes, forsooth, his back is but new turned.
    And in his cloak? Did he not vex and swear?
    [Aside] No, but he’ll make you swear anon.
    [To her] No, indeed, he went away like a lamb.
    Key, sink to hell! Still patient, patient still?
    I am with child to vex him. Prithee, George,
    If e’er thou lookst for favour at my hands,
    1465Uphold one jest for me.
    Against my master?
    ’Tis a mere jest, in faith. Say, wilt thou do’t?
    Well, what is’t?
    Here, take this key. Thou knowst where all things lie.
    Put on thy master’s best apparel – gown,
    1470Chain, cap, ruff, everything. Be like himself,
    And, ’gainst his coming home, walk in the shop;
    Feign the same carriage and his patient look.
    ’Twill breed but a jest, thou knowst. Speak, wilt thou?
    ’Twill wrong my master’s patience.
    Prithee, George.
    Well, if you’ll save me harmless, and put me under covert barn, I am content to please you, provided it may breed no wrong against him.
    No wrong at all.
    [Giving him the key]
    Here, take the key; begone.
    If any vex him, this; if not this, none.
    Enter a Bawd [Mistress Fingerlock], and Roger.
    O Roger, Roger, where’s your mistress, where’s your mistress? There’s the finest, neatest gentleman at my house, but newly come over. O, where is she, where 1485is she?
    My mistress is abroad, but not amongst ’em. My mistress is not the whore now that you take her for.
    How? Is she not a whore? Do you go about to take away her good name, Roger? You are a fine pander indeed!
    I tell you, Madonna Fingerlock, I am not sad for nothing. I ha’ not eaten one good meal this three-and-thirty days. I had wont to get sixteen pence by fetching a pottle of hippocras, but now those days are past. We had as good doings, Madonna Fingerlock, she within doors and 1495I without, as any poor young couple in Milan.
    God’s my life, and is she changed now?
    I ha’ lost by her squeamishness more than would have builded twelve bawdy-houses.
    And had she no time to turn honest but now? What a vile 1500woman is this! Twenty pound a night, I’ll be sworn, Roger, in good gold and no silver. Why, here was a time! If she should ha’ picked out a time, it could not be better. Gold enough stirring, choice of men, choice of hair, choice of beards, choice of legs, and choice of every, every, every 1505thing. It cannot sink into my head that she should be such an ass. Roger, I never believe it.
    Here she comes now.
    Enter Bellafront.
    O sweet madonna, on with your loose gown, your felt and your feather! There’s the sweetest, prop’rest, gallantest 1510gentleman at my house. He smells all of musk and ambergris, his pocket full of crowns, flame-coloured doublet, red satin hose, carnation silk stockings, and a leg and a body – O!
    Hence, thou our sex’s monster, poisonous bawd,
    1515Lust’s factor, and damnation’s orator!
    Gossip of hell! Were all the harlots’ sins
    Which the whole world contains numbered together,
    Thine far exceeds them all. Of all the creatures
    That ever were created, thou art basest;
    1520What serpent would beguile thee of thy office?
    It is detestable, for thou liv’st
    Upon the dregs of harlots, guardst the door,
    Whilst couples go to dancing. O coarse devil!
    Thou art the bastard’s curse, thou brandst his birth;
    1525The lecher’s French disease, for thou dry-suckst him;
    The harlot’s poison; and thine own confusion.
    Marry come up, with a pox! Have you nobody to rail against but your bawd now?
    [To Roger] And you, knave pander, kinsman to a bawd –
    [To Fingerlock] You and I, madonna, are cousins.
    Of the same blood and making, near allied;
    Thou, that slave to sixpence, base-metalled villain –
    Sixpence? Nay, that’s not so; I never took under two shillings four-pence. I hope I know my fee.
    I know not against which most to inveigh,
    For both of you are damned so equally.
    [To Roger] Thou never spar’st for oaths, swearst anything,
    As if thy soul were made of shoe-leather:
    ‘God damn me, gentleman, if she be within’ –
    1540When in the next room she’s found dallying.
    If it be my vocation to swear, every man in his vocation; I hope my betters swear and damn themselves, and why should not I?
    Roger, you cheat kind gentlemen!
    The more gulls they.
    Slave, I cashier thee.
    An you do cashier him, he shall be entertained.
    Shall I? [To Bellafront] Then blurt o’your service.
    [To Fingerlock] As hell would have it, entertained by you!
    I dare the devil himself to match those two.
    Marry gup, are you grown so holy, so pure, so honest, with a pox?
    Scurvy honest punk! But stay, madonna, how must our agreement be now? For, you know, I am to have all the comings-in at the hall door, and you at the chamber door.
    True, Roger, except my vails.
    Vails? What vails?
    Why, as thus: if a couple come in a coach and ’light to lie down a little, then, Roger, that’s my fee, and you may walk abroad; for the coachman himself is their pander.
    Is ’a so? In truth, I have almost forgot, for want of 1560exercise. But how if I fetch this citizen’s wife to that gull, and that madonna to that gallant? How then?
    Why then, Roger, you are to have sixpence a lane – so many lanes, so many sixpences.
    Is’t so? Then I see we two shall agree and live together.
    Ay, Roger, so long as there be any taverns and bawdy-houses in Milan.
    Enter Bellafront with a lute; pen, ink and paper being placed before her [on a table by Servants. She sings:]
    The courtier’s flatt’ring jewels,
    Temptation’s only fuels;
    The lawyer’s ill-got moneys,
    That suck up poor bees’ honeys;
    1575The citizen’s son’s riot;
    The gallant’s costly diet;
    Silks and velvets, pearls and ambers,
    Shall not draw me to their chambers.
    Silks and velvets, etc.
    She writes [but soon stops].
    1580O, ’tis in vain to write! It will not please.
    Ink on this paper would ha’ but presented
    The foul black spots that stick upon my soul,
    And rather made me loathsomer than wrought
    My love’s impression in Hippolito’s thought.
    1585No, I must turn the chaste leaves of my breast,
    And pick out some sweet means to breed my rest.
    Hippolito, believe me, I will be
    As true unto thy heart as thy heart to thee,
    And hate all men, their gifts, and company.
    1590Enter Mattheo, Castruccio, Fluello, and Pioratto.
    You, Goody Punk, subaudi Cockatrice! O, you’re a sweet whore of your promise, are you not, think you? How well you came to supper to us last night! Mew, a whore and break her word! Nay, you may blush and hold down your 1595head at it well enough. ’Sfoot, ask these gallants if we stayed not till we were as hungry as sergeants.
    Ay, and their yeomen too.
    Nay, faith, acquaintance, let me tell you you forgot yourself too much. We had excellent cheer, rare vintage, 1600and were drunk after supper.
    And when we were in our woodcocks, sweet rogue, a brace of gulls dwelling here in the city came in and paid all the shot.
    Pox on her! Let her alone.
    O, I pray do, if you be gentlemen;
    1605I pray depart the house. Beshrew the door
    For being so easily entreated! Faith,
    I lent but little ear unto your talk;
    My mind was busied otherwise, in troth,
    And so your words did unregarded pass.
    1610Let this suffice: I am not as I was.
    ‘I am not what I was’! No, I’ll be sworn thou art not. For thou wert honest at five, and now thou’rt a punk at fifteen; thou wert yesterday a simple whore, and now thou’rt a cunning cony-catching baggage today.
    I’ll say I’m worse; I pray forsake me then.
    I do desire you leave me, gentlemen.
    And leave yourselves. O, be not what you are,
    Spendthrifts of soul and body!
    Let me persuade you to forsake all harlots,
    1620Worse than the deadliest poisons; they are worse,
    For o’er their souls hangs an eternal curse.
    In being slaves to slaves, their labours perish;
    They’re seldom blest with fruit, for ere it blossoms
    Many a worm confounds it.
    1625They have no issue but foul ugly ones
    That run along with them e’en to their graves;
    For ’stead of children they breed rank diseases,
    And all you gallants can bestow on them
    Is that French infant which ne’er acts but speaks.
    1630What shallow son and heir, then, foolish gallant,
    Would waste all his inheritance to purchase
    A filthy, loathed disease, and pawn his body
    To a dry evil? That usury’s worst of all
    When th’interest will eat out the principal.
    [Aside] ’Sfoot, she gulls ’em the best! This is always her fashion, when she would be rid of any company that she cares not for, to enjoy mine alone.
    What’s here? Instructions, admonitions, and caveats? Come out, you scabbard of vengeance.
    [He grabs his scabbard.]
    Fluello, spurn your hounds when they fist; you shall not spurn my punk. I can tell you my blood is vexed.
    Pox o’your blood! Make it a quarrel.
    You’re a slave. Will that serve turn?
    [He draws; they fight.]
    All [but Fluello and Mattheo]
    ’Sblood, hold, hold!
    Mattheo, Fluello, for shame, put up!
    [They sheathe their swords.]
    Spurn my sweet varlet!
    O how many, thus
    Moved with a little folly, have let out
    Their souls in brothel-houses, fell down and died
    1650Just at their harlot’s foot, as ’twere in pride!
    Mattheo, we shall meet.
    Ay, ay, anywhere, saving at church; pray take heed we meet not there.
    [To Bellafront] Adieu, damnation!
    Cockatrice, farewell!
    There’s more deceit in women than in hell.
    Exeunt [Castruccio, Fluello, and Pioratto].
    Ha, ha, thou dost gull ’em so rarely, so naturally! If I did not think thou hadst been in earnest! Thou art a sweet rogue for’t, i’faith.
    Why are not you gone too, Signor Mattheo?
    I pray depart my house. You may believe me,
    In troth I have no part of harlot in me.
    How’s this?
    Indeed I love you not, but hate you worse
    1665Than any man, because you were the first
    Gave money for my soul. You brake the ice
    Which after turned a puddle; I was led
    By your temptation to be miserable.
    I pray seek out some other that will fall;
    1670Or rather, I pray, seek out none at all.
    Is’t possible to be impossible, an honest whore? I have heard many honest wenches turn strumpets with a wet finger; but for a harlot to turn honest is one of Hercules’ labours. It was more easy for him in one night to 1675make fifty queans than to make one of them honest again in fifty years. Come, I hope thou dost but jest.
    ’Tis time to leave off jesting; I had almost
    Jested away salvation. I shall love you
    If you will soon forsake me.
    God b’wi’ thee.
    O, tempt no more women! Shun their weighty curse!
    Women at best are bad; make them not worse.
    You gladly seek our sex’s overthrow,
    But not to raise our states. For all your wrongs
    1685Will you vouchsafe me but due recompense,
    To marry with me?
    How, marry with a punk, a cockatrice, a harlot? Marry faugh, I’ll be burnt through the nose first.
    Why, la, these are your oaths! You love to undo us,
    1690To put heaven from us, whilst our best hours waste;
    You love to make us lewd, but never chaste.
    I’ll hear no more of this, this ground upon:
    Thou’rt damned for alt’ring thy religion.
    Thy lust and sin speak so much. Go thou, my ruin,
    1695The first fall my soul took. By my example
    I hope few maidens now will put their heads
    Under men’s girdles. Who least trusts is most wise;
    Men’s oaths do cast a mist before our eyes.
    My best of wit be ready! Now I go
    1700By some device to greet Hippolito.
    Enter a Servant setting out a table, on which he places a skull, a picture [of Infelice], a book, and a taper.
    So. This is Monday morning, and now must I to my 1705huswifery. Would I had been created a shoemaker, for all the gentle craft are gentlemen every Monday by their copy, and scorn then to work one true stitch. My master means sure to turn me into a student, for here’s my book, here my desk, here my light, this my close chamber, and here 1710my punk. So that this dull, drowsy first day of the week makes me half a priest, half a chandler, half a painter, half a sexton, ay, and half a bawd; for all this day my office is to do nothing but keep the door. To prove it, look you, this good face and yonder gentleman, so soon as ever my 1715back’s turned, will be naught together.
    Enter Hippolito.
    Are all the windows shut?
    Close, sir, as the fist of a courtier that hath stood in three reigns.
    Thou art a faithful servant, and observ’st
    The calendar both of my solemn vows
    1720And ceremonious sorrow. Get thee gone;
    I charge thee, on thy life, let not the sound
    Of any woman’s voice pierce through that door.
    If they do, my lord, I’ll pierce some of them. What will your lordship have to breakfast?
    What to dinner?
    The one of them, my lord, will fill you too full of wind, the other wet you too much. What to supper?
    That which now thou canst not get me, the constancy of a woman.
    Indeed, that’s harder to come by than ever was Ostend.
    Prithee, away.
    I’ll make away myself presently, which few servants will do for their lords, but rather help to make 1735them away. [Aside] Now to my door-keeping; I hope to pick something out of it.
    [Taking the picture] My Infelice’s face: her brow, her eye,
    The dimple on her cheek; and such sweet skill
    Hath from the cunning workman’s pencil flown,
    1740These lips look fresh and lively as her own,
    Seeming to move and speak. ’Las, now I see
    The reason why fond women love to buy
    Adulterate complexion. Here ’tis read:
    False colours last after the true be dead.
    1745Of all the roses grafted on her cheeks,
    Of all the graces dancing in her eyes,
    Of all the music set upon her tongue,
    Of all that was past woman’s excellence
    In her white bosom – look, a painted board
    1750Circumscribes all. Earth can no bliss afford,
    Nothing of her, but this. This cannot speak;
    It has no lap for me to rest upon,
    No lip worth tasting. Here the worms will feed
    As in her coffin. Hence then, idle art!
    [He puts the picture aside.]
    1755True love’s best pictured in a true-love’s heart.
    Here art thou drawn, sweet maid, till this be dead,
    So that thou liv’st twice, twice art burièd.
    Thou, figure of my friend, lie there.
    [Taking the skull] What’s here?
    Perhaps this shrewd pate was mine enemy’s.
    1760’Las, say it were; I need not fear him now!
    For all his braves, his contumelious breath,
    His frowns (though dagger-pointed), all his plots
    (Though ne’er so mischievous), his Italian pills,
    His quarrels, and that common fence, his law –
    1765See, see, they’re all eaten out; here’s not left one.
    How clean they’re picked away, to the bare bone!
    How mad are mortals, then, to rear great names
    On tops of swelling houses! Or to wear out
    Their fingers’ ends in dirt, to scrape up gold!
    1770Not caring – so that sumpter-horse, the back,
    Be hung with gaudy trappings – with what coarse,
    Yea, rags most beggarly, they clothe the soul;
    Yet, after all, their gayness looks thus foul.
    What fools are men to build a garish tomb,
    1775Only to save the carcass whilst it rots,
    To maintain’t long in stinking, make good carrion,
    But leave no good deeds to preserve them sound!
    For good deeds keep men sweet long above ground.
    And must all come to this? Fools, wise, all hither?
    1780Must all heads thus at last be laid together?
    Draw me my picture then, thou grave, neat workman,
    After this fashion – not like this [Indicating the picture]; these colours
    In time, kissing but air, will be kissed off.
    But here’s a fellow; that which he lays on
    1785Till doomsday alters not complexion.
    Death’s the best painter, then. They that draw shapes
    And live by wicked faces are but God’s apes;
    They come but near the life, and there they stay.
    This fellow draws life too. His art is fuller;
    1790The pictures which he makes are without colour.
    Enter his Servant.
    Here’s a person would speak with you, sir.
    A parson, sir, would speak with you.
    Vicar? No, sir, h’as too good a face to be a vicar yet; a youth, a very youth.
    What youth? Of man or woman? Lock the doors.
    If it be a woman, marrowbones and potato-pies keep 1800me fro’ meddling with her, for the thing has got the breeches. ’Tis a male varlet, sure, my lord, for a woman’s tailor ne’er measured him.
    Let him give thee his message and be gone.
    He says he’s Signor Mattheo’s man, but I know he 1805lies.
    How dost thou know it?
    ’Cause h’as ne’er a beard. ’Tis his boy, I think, sir, whosoe’er paid for his nursing.
    Send him, and keep the door.
    [Exit Servant.]
    Reads [aloud from his book]:
    1810Fata si liceat mihi
    Fingere arbitrio meo,
    Temperem Zephyro levi
    Vela –
    I’d sail, were I to choose, not in the ocean;
    Cedars are shaken, when shrubs do feel no bruise –
    1815Enter Bellafront, like a page, [and gives him a letter].
    [To her] How? From Mattheo?
    Yes, my lord.
    Art sick?
    Not all in health, my lord.
    Keep off.
    I do.
    [Aside] Hard fate, when women are compelled to woo.
    This paper does speak nothing.
    Yes, my lord,
    1825Matter of life it speaks, and therefore writ
    In hidden character. To me instruction
    My master gives, and – ’less you please to stay
    Till you both meet – I can the text display.
    Do so; read out.
    [Revealing herself] I am already out;
    Look on my face, and read the strangest story.
    [Calling out] What, villain, ho!
    Enter his Servant.
    Call you, my lord?
    Thou slave, thou hast let in the devil.
    Lord bless us, where? He’s not cloven, my lord, that I can see. Besides, the devil goes more like a gentleman than a page. Good my lord, buon coraggio!
    Thou hast let in a woman, in man’s shape;
    And thou art damned for’t.
    Not damned, I hope, for putting in a woman to a lord.
    Fetch me my rapier! – Do not: I shall kill thee.
    Purge this infected chamber of that plague
    That runs upon me thus; slave, thrust her hence.
    Alas, my lord, I shall never be able to thrust her hence 1845without help. – Come, mermaid, you must to sea again.
    Hear me but speak; my words shall be all music.
    Hear me but speak!
    [Knocking within.]
    [To the Servant] Another beats the door.
    T’other she-devil! Look!
    Why, then hell’s broke loose.
    Hence, guard the chamber. Let no more come on;
    One woman serves for man’s damnation.
    Exit [Servant].
    [To Bellafront] Beshrew thee, thou dost make me violate
    The chastest and most sanctimonious vow
    1855That e’er was entered in the court of heaven.
    I was on meditation’s spotless wings
    Upon my journey thither. Like a storm
    Thou beatst my ripened cogitations
    Flat to the ground, and like a thief dost stand
    1860To steal devotion from the holy land.
    If woman were thy mother, if thy heart
    Be not all marble (or if’t marble be
    Let my tears soften it, to pity me),
    I do beseech thee, do not thus with scorn
    1865Destroy a woman.
    Woman, I beseech thee,
    Get thee some other suit; this fits thee not.
    I would not grant it to a kneeling queen;
    I cannot love thee, nor I must not. [Indicating the picture] See
    1870The copy of that obligation
    Where my soul’s bound in heavy penalties.
    She’s dead, you told me. She’ll let fall her suit.
    My vows to her fled after her to heaven.
    Were thine eyes clear as mine, thou mightst behold her,
    1875Watching upon yon battlements of stars,
    How I observe them. Should I break my bond,
    This board would rive in twain, these wooden lips
    Call me most perjured villain. Let it suffice
    I ha’ set thee in the path; is’t not a sign
    1880I love thee, when with one so most, most dear
    I’ll have thee fellows? All are fellows there.
    Be greater than a king; save not a body,
    But from eternal shipwreck keep a soul.
    If not, and that again sin’s path I tread,
    1885The grief be mine, the guilt fall on thy head!
    Stay, and take physic for it. Read this book.
    Ask counsel of this head what’s to be done;
    He’ll strike it dead that ’tis damnation
    If you turn Turk again. O do it not!
    1890Though heaven cannot allure you to do well,
    From doing ill let hell fright you. And learn this:
    The soul whose bosom lust did never touch
    Is God’s fair bride, and maidens’ souls are such;
    The soul that, leaving chastity’s white shore,
    1895Swims in hot sensual streams, is the devil’s whore.
    Enter his Servant [with a letter].
    [To him] How now? Who comes?
    No more knaves, my lord, that wear smocks. Here’s a letter from Doctor Benedict. I would not enter his man, though he had hairs at his mouth, for fear he should be a woman, for 1900some women have beards; marry, they are half-witches. [To Bellafront] ’Slid, you are a sweet youth, to wear a codpiece and have no pins to stick upon’t.
    [To the Servant] I’ll meet the doctor, tell him. Yet tonight
    I cannot; but at morrow rising sun
    1905I will not fail. Go. – Woman, fare thee well.
    Exeunt [Hippolito and Servant, severally].
    The lowest fall can be but into hell.
    It does not move him. I must therefore fly
    From this undoing city, and with tears
    Wash off all anger from my father’s brow.
    1910He cannot sure but joy, seeing me new born.
    A woman honest first and then turn whore
    Is, as with me, common to thousands more;
    But from a strumpet to turn chaste, that sound
    Has oft been heard, that woman hardly found.
    Enter Fustigo [with bandaged head], Crambo, and Poh.
    Hold up your hands, gentlemen. [Giving money] Here’s one, two, three – nay, I warrant they are sound pistoles, and without flaws; I had them of my sister, and I know she uses to put up nothing that’s cracked – three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine; by 1920this hand, bring me but a piece of his blood, and you shall have nine more. I’ll lurk in a tavern not far off, and provide supper to close up the end of the tragedy. The linen-draper’s, remember. Stand to’t, I beseech you, and play your parts perfectly.
    Look you, signor, ’tis not your gold that we weigh.
    Nay, nay, weigh it and spare not. If it lack one grain of corn, I’ll give you a bushel of wheat to make it up.
    But by your favour, signor, which of the servants is it? Because we’ll punish justly.
    Marry, ’tis the head man. You shall taste him by his 1930tongue – a pretty, tall, prating fellow, with a Tuscalonian beard.
    Tuscalonian? Very good.
    Cod’s life, I was ne’er so thrummed since I was a gentleman. My coxcomb was dry-beaten as if my hair had been hemp.
    We’ll dry-beat some of them.
    Nay, it grew so high that my sister cried ‘Murder!’ out, very manfully. I have her consent, in a manner, to have him peppered; else I’d not do’t to win more than ten cheaters do at a rifling. Break but his pate or so, only his mazer, because I’ll have his head in a cloth as well as mine; he’s a linen-1940draper, and may take enough. I could enter mine action of battery against him, but we may ’haps be both dead and rotten before the lawyers would end it.
    No more to do but ensconce yourself i’th’ tavern. Provide no great cheer: a couple of capons, some pheasants, 1945plovers, an orangeado pie or so. But, how bloody soe’er the day be, sally you not forth.
    No, no; nay, if I stir, some body shall stink. I’ll not budge; I’ll lie like a dog in a manger.
    Well, well, to the tavern. Let not our supper be raw, 1950for you shall have blood enough, your bellyful.
    That’s all, so God sa’ me, I thirst after: blood for blood, bump for bump, nose for nose, head for head, plaster for plaster. And so farewell. What shall I call your names? Because I’ll leave word, if any such come to the bar.
    My name is Corporal Crambo.
    And mine Lieutenant Poh.
    Poh is as tall a man as ever opened oyster; I would not be the devil to meet Poh. Farewell.
    Nor I, by this light, if Poh be such a Poh.
    Enter [Viola], Candido’s Wife, in her shop, and the two Prentices.
    What’s o’clock now?
    2 Prentice
    ’Tis almost twelve.
    That’s well.
    1965The Senate will leave wording presently.
    But is George ready?
    2 Prentice
    Yes, forsooth, he’s furbished.
    Now, as you ever hope to win my favour,
    Throw both your duties and respects on him
    1970With the like awe as if he were your master.
    Let not your looks betray it with a smile
    Or jeering glance to any customer;
    Keep a true settled countenance, and beware
    You laugh not, whatsoever you hear or see.
    19752 Prentice
    I warrant you, mistress, let us alone for keeping our countenance; for if I list, there’s never a fool in all Milan shall make me laugh, let him play the fool never so like an ass, whether it be the fat court fool or the lean city fool.
    Enough, then; call down George.
    19802 Prentice
    I hear him coming.
    Enter George [wearing Candido’s best apparel].
    [To the Prentices] Be ready with your legs, then; let me see
    How court’sy would become him. [The Prentices curtsy.] Gallantly!
    [Commenting on George] Beshrew my blood, a proper, seemly man,
    1985Of a choice carriage, walks with a good port.
    I thank you, mistress. My back’s broad enough, now my master’s gown’s on.
    Sure, I should think it were the least of sin
    To mistake the master, and to let him in.
    ’Twere a good comedy of errors, that, i’faith.
    2 Prentice
    Whist, whist, my master!
    You all know your tasks.
    Enter Candido, [wearing the carpet as before. He stares at George], and exit presently.
    God’s my life, what’s that he has got upon’s back? Who can tell?
    [Aside] That can I, but I will not.
    Girt about him like a madman. What? Has he lost his cloak, too? This is the maddest fashion that e’er I saw. What said he, George, when he passed by thee?
    Troth, mistress, nothing: not so much as a bee, he did 2000not hum; not so much as a bawd, he did not hem; not so much as a cuckold, he did not ha. Neither hum, hem, nor ha – only stared me in the face, passed along, and made haste in, as if my looks had worked with him to give him a stool.
    Sure he’s vexed now; this trick has moved his spleen.
    2005He’s angered now, because he uttered nothing,
    And wordless wrath breaks out more violent.
    Maybe he’ll strive for place, when he comes down;
    But if thou lov’st me, George, afford him none.
    Nay, let me alone to play my master’s prize, as long as 2010my mistress warrants me. I’m sure I have his best clothes on, and I scorn to give place to any that is inferior in apparel to me. That’s an axiom, a principle, and is observed as much as the fashion. Let that persuade you, then, that I’ll shoulder with him for the upper hand in the shop, as long as this 2015chain will maintain it.
    Spoke with the spirit of a master, though with the tongue of a prentice.
    Enter Candido like a prentice.
    Why, how now, madman? What, in your tricksy coats?
    O peace, good mistress.
    Enter Crambo and Poh.
    [To them] See what you lack! What is’t you buy? Pure calicoes, fine hollands, choice cambrics, neat lawns. See what you buy. Pray come near. My master will use you well; he can 2025afford you a pennyworth.
    Ay, that he can – out of a whole piece of lawn, i’faith.
    Pray see your choice here, gentlemen.
    O fine fool! What, a madman? A patient madman? Who ever heard of the like? Well, sir, I’ll fit you and your 2030humour presently. What, cross-points? I’ll untie ’em all in a trice. I’ll vex you, faith! Boy, take your cloak; quick, come!
    Exit [with 1 Prentice].
    [George takes off his hat to Candido.]
    Be covered, George. This chain and welted gown
    Bare to this coat? Then the world’s upside-down.
    Umh, umh, hum.
    [Aside to Poh] That’s the shop, and there’s the fellow. [Indicating Candido in his prentice-coat.]
    Ay, but the master is walking in there.
    No matter; we’ll in.
    ’Sblood, dost long to lie in limbo?
    An limbo be in hell, I care not.
    [To them] Look you, gentlemen, your choice. Cambrics?
    No, sir, some shirting.
    You shall.
    Have you none of this striped canvas for doublets?
    None striped, sir; but plain.
    20452 Prentice
    I think there be one piece striped within.
    Step, sirrah, and fetch it; hum, hum, hum.
    [Exit 2 Prentice, and returns presently with the piece.]
    Look you, gentlemen, I’ll make but one spreading. Here’s a piece of cloth, fine, yet shall wear like iron. ’Tis without fault. Take this; upon my word, ’tis without fault.
    Then ’tis better than you, sirrah.
    Ay, and a number more. O, that each soul
    Were but as spotless as this innocent white,
    And had as few breaks in it!
    ’Twould have some, then,
    There was a fray here last 2055day in this shop.
    There was, indeed, a little flea-biting.
    A gentleman had his pate broke. Call you that but a flea-biting?
    He had so.
    Zounds, do you stand in’t? He strikes him.
    ’Sfoot, clubs, clubs! Prentices, down with ’em! Ah, you rogues, strike a citizen in’s shop?
    [Enter several Prentices with clubs. They strike Crambo and Poh, and disarm them.]
    None of you stir, I pray. Forbear, good George.
    [To Candido] I beseech you, sir, we mistook our marks.
    Deliver 2065us our weapons.
    [To Candido] Your head bleeds, sir. Cry clubs.
    I say you shall not. Pray be patient;
    Give them their weapons. [George complies.]
    [To Crambo and Poh] Sirs, you’re best be gone.
    I tell you here are boys more tough than bears;
    2070Hence, lest more fists do walk about your ears.
    Crambo and Poh
    We thank you, sir.
    Exeunt [Crambo and Poh].
    [To George] You shall not follow them.
    Let them alone, pray. This did me no harm.
    Troth, I was cold, and the blow made me warm;
    2075I thank ’em for’t. Besides, I had decreed
    To have a vein pricked. I did mean to bleed,
    So that there’s money saved. They are honest men;
    Pray use ’em well when they appear again.
    Yes, sir, we’ll use ’em like honest men.
    Ay, well said, George, like honest men, though they be arrant knaves, for that’s the phrase of the city. Help to lay up these wares.
    Enter [Viola], Candido’s Wife, with Officers.
    [Indicating Candido] Yonder he stands.
    20851 Officer
    What, in a prentice-coat?
    Ay, ay, mad, mad. Pray take heed.
    [To George and the Prentices] How now? What news with them? What make they with my wife? Officers? Is she attached? Look to your wares.
    He talks to himself. O, he’s much gone indeed!
    20901 Officer
    Pray pluck up a good heart; be not so fearful. [To his men] Sirs, hark; we’ll gather to him by degrees.
    Ay, ay, by degrees, I pray. O me! What makes he with the lawn in his hand? He’ll tear all the ware in my shop.
    1 Officer
    Fear not; we’ll catch him on a sudden.
    O you had need do so; pray take heed of your warrant.
    1 Officer
    I warrant, mistress. – Now, Signor Candido?
    Now, sir, what news with you, sir?
    ‘What news with you?’ he says. O, he’s far gone!
    1 Officer
    [To her] I pray, fear nothing. Let’s alone with him. –
    2100Signor, you look not like yourself, methinks.
    [Aside to his men]
    Steal you o’t’ other side.
    [To Candido] You’re changed, you’re altered.
    Changed, sir? Why, true, sir. Is change strange? ’Tis not the fashion unless it alter: monarchs turn to beggars, beggars creep into the nests of princes, masters serve their 2105prentices, ladies their servingmen, men turn to women.
    1 Officer
    And women turn to men.
    Ay, and women turn to men. You say true, ha, ha! A mad world, a mad world.
    [Officers seize Candido]
    1 Officer
    Have we caught you, sir?
    Caught me? [Laughing] Well, well, you have caught me.
    [To 1 Officer] He laughs in your faces.
    A rescue, prentices! My master’s catchpoled.
    1 Officer
    I charge you, keep the peace or have your legs gartered with irons. We have from the Duke a warrant strong 2115enough for what we do.
    [To George and the Prentices] I pray, rest quiet; I desire no rescue.
    La, he desires no rescue. ’Las, poor heart,
    He talks against himself.
    [To 1 Officer] Well, what’s the matter?
    21201 Officer
    [To his men as they bind Candido] Look to that arm;
    Pray make sure work, double the cord.
    Why, why?
    Look how his head goes! Should he get but loose,
    O, ’twere as much as all our lives were worth.
    21251 Officer
    Fear not; we’ll make all sure, for our own safety.
    Are you at leisure now? Well, what’s the matter?
    Why do I enter into bonds thus, ha?
    1 Officer
    Because you’re mad, put fear upon your wife.
    O, ay, I went in danger of my life every minute.
    What? Am I mad, say you, and I not know it?
    1 Officer
    That proves you mad, because you know it not.
    Pray talk as little to him as you can:
    You see he’s too far spent.
    Bound with strong cord!
    2135A sisters thread, i’faith, had been enough
    To lead me anywhere. – Wife, do you long?
    You are mad too, or else you do me wrong.
    But are you mad indeed, master?
    My wife says so,
    2140And what she says, George, is all truth, you know.
    [To 1 Officer] And whither now? To Bethlem Monastery?
    Ha? Whither?
    1 Officer
    Faith, e’en to the madmen’s pound.
    O’God’s name! Still I feel my patience sound.
    Exeunt [Officers with Candido].
    [To Prentices] Come, we’ll see whither he goes. If the master be 2145mad, we are his servants, and must follow his steps; we’ll be madcaps too. – Farewell, mistress; you shall have us all in Bedlam.
    Exeunt [George and Prentices].
    I think I ha’ fitted now you and your clothes.
    If this moves not his patience, nothing can;
    2150I’ll swear then I have a saint, and not a man.
    Enter Duke, Doctor [Benedict], Fluello, Castruccio, [and] Pioratto.
    [To the Gentlemen] Give us a little leave.
    [Exeunt Fluello, Castruccio, and Pioratto.]
    Doctor, your news.
    I sent for him, my lord. At last he came,
    2155And did receive all speech that went from me
    As gilded pills made to prolong his health.
    My credit with him wrought it, for some men
    Swallow even empty hooks, like fools that fear
    No drowning where ’tis deepest, ’cause ’tis clear.
    2160In th’end we sat and ate. A health I drank
    To Infelice’s sweet departed soul.
    This train I knew would take.
    ’Twas excellent.
    He fell with such devotion on his knees
    2165To pledge the same –
    Fond, superstitious fool!
    That had he been inflamed with zeal of prayer
    He could not pour’t out with more reverence.
    About my neck he hung, wept on my cheek,
    2170Kissed it, and swore he would adore my lips
    Because they brought forth Infelice’s name.
    Ha, ha! Alack, alack.
    The cup he lifts up high, and thus he said
    ‘Here, noble maid!’ – drinks, and was poisonèd.
    And died?
    And died, my lord.
    Thou in that word
    Hast pieced mine agèd hours out with more years
    Than thou hast taken from Hippolito.
    2180A noble youth he was, but lesser branches,
    Hind’ring the greater’s growth, must be lopped off
    And feed the fire. Doctor, we’re now all thine;
    And use us so. Be bold.
    Thanks, gracious lord.
    2185My honoured lord –
    I do beseech your Grace to bury deep
    This bloody act of mine.
    Nay, nay – for that,
    2190Doctor, look you to’t. Me it shall not move;
    They’re curst that ill do, not that ill do love.
    You throw an angry forehead on my face,
    But be you pleased backward thus far to look
    That for your good this evil I undertook –
    Ay, ay, we conster so.
    And only for your love.
    Confessed; ’tis true.
    Nor let it stand against me as a bar
    To thrust me from your presence; nor believe
    2200(As princes have quick thoughts) that now, my finger
    Being dipped in blood, I will not spare the hand,
    But that for gold (as what can gold not do?)
    I may be hired to work the like on you.
    Which to prevent –
    ’Tis from my heart as far –
    No matter, doctor. ’Cause I’ll fearless sleep,
    And that you shall stand clear of that suspicion,
    I banish thee for ever from my court.
    This principle is old, but true as fate:
    2210Kings may love treason, but the traitor hate.
    Is’t so? Nay then, Duke, your stale principle
    With one as stale the doctor thus shall quit:
    He falls himself, that digs another’s pit.
    2215Enter the Doctor’s Man.
    How now? Where is he? Will he meet me?
    Doctor’s Man
    Meet you, sir? He might have met with three fencers in this time and have received less hurt than by meeting one doctor of physic. Why, sir, h’as walked under the old abbey wall yonder this hour till he’s more cold than a 2220citizen’s country house in January. You may smell him behind, sir. La you, yonder he comes.
    Leave me.
    Doctor’s Man
    [Aside] I’th’ lurch, if you will.
    Enter Hippolito [dressed in black].
    O my most noble friend!
    Few but yourself
    Could have enticed me thus, to trust the air
    With my close sighs. You sent for me; what news?
    Come, you must doff this black, dye that pale cheek
    Into his own colour. Go, attire yourself
    2230Fresh as a bridegroom when he meets his bride.
    The Duke has done much treason to thy love;
    ’Tis now revealed, ’tis now to be revenged.
    Be merry, honoured friend: thy lady lives.
    What lady?
    Infelice. She’s revived.
    Revived? Alack, death never had the heart
    To take breath from her.
    Umh. I thank you, sir.
    Physic prolongs life when it cannot save.
    2240This helps not my hopes; mine are in their grave.
    You do some wrong to mock me.
    By that love
    Which I have ever borne you, what I speak
    Is truth. The maiden lives. That funeral,
    2245Duke’s tears, the mourning, was all counterfeit.
    A sleepy draught cozened the world and you.
    I was his minister, and then chambered up
    To stop discovery.
    O treacherous Duke!
    He cannot hope so certainly for bliss
    As he believes that I have poisoned you.
    He wooed me to’t; I yielded, and confirmed him
    In his most bloody thoughts.
    A very devil!
    Her did he closely coach to Bergamo,
    And thither –
    Will I ride. Stood Bergamo
    In the low countries of black hell, I’ll to her.
    You shall to her, but not to Bergamo.
    2260How passion makes you fly beyond yourself!
    Much of that weary journey I ha’ cut off,
    For she by letters hath intelligence
    Of your supposèd death, her own interment,
    And all those plots which that false Duke, her father,
    2265Has wrought against you. And she’ll meet you –
    O, when?
    Nay, see, how covetous are your desires!
    Early tomorrow morn.
    O, where, good father?
    At Bethlem Monastery. Are you pleased now?
    At Bethlem Monastery! The place well fits;
    It is the school where those that lose their wits
    Practise again to get them. I am sick
    Of that disease: all love is lunatic.
    We’ll steal away this night in some disguise.
    Father Anselmo, a most reverend friar,
    Expects our coming; before whom we’ll lay
    Reasons so strong that he shall yield in bands
    Of holy wedlock to tie both your hands.
    This is such happiness
    That to believe it ’tis impossible.
    Let all your joys then die in misbelief;
    I will reveal no more.
    O, yes, good father!
    2285I am so well acquainted with despair,
    I know not how to hope. I believe all.
    We’ll hence this night. Much must be done, much said.
    But if the doctor fail not in his charms
    Your lady shall ere morning fill these arms.
    Heavenly physician! Far thy fame shall spread,
    That mak’st two lovers speak when they be dead.
    [Enter Viola], Candido’s Wife, [with a paper], and George. Pioratto meets them.
    O, watch, good George, watch which way the Duke comes.
    Here comes one of the butterflies; ask him.
    [To Pioratto] Pray, sir, comes the Duke this way?
    He’s upon coming, mistress.
    I thank you, sir. – George, are there many mad folks 2300where thy master lies?
    O yes, of all countries some; but especially mad Greeks, they swarm. Troth, mistress, the world is altered with you; you had not wont to stand thus with a paper humbly complaining. But you’re well enough served; provender pricked 2305you, as it does many of our city wives besides.
    Dost think, George, we shall get him forth?
    Truly, mistress, I cannot tell; I think you’ll hardly get him forth. Why, ’tis strange. ’Sfoot, I have known many women that have had mad rascals to their husbands, whom they would 2310belabour by all means possible to keep ’em in their right wits. But of a woman to long to turn a tame man into a madman – why, the devil himself was never used so by his dam.
    How does he talk, George? Ha, good George, tell me!
    Why, you’re best go see.
    Alas, I am afraid.
    Afraid? You had more need be ashamed! He may rather be afraid of you.
    But, George, he’s not stark mad, is he? He does not rave; he’s not horn-mad, George, is he?
    Nay, I know not that; but he talks like a Justice of Peace, of a thousand matters, and to no purpose.
    I’ll to the monastery. I shall be mad till I enjoy him; I shall be sick till I see him; yet when I do see him I shall weep out mine eyes.
    Ay, I’d fain see a woman weep out her eyes. That’s as true as to say a man’s cloak burns when it hangs in the water. I know you’ll weep, mistress; but what says the painted cloth?
    Trust not a woman when she cries,
    For she’ll pump water from her eyes
    2330With a wet finger, and in faster showers
    Than April when he rains down flowers.
    Ay, but, George, that painted cloth is worthy to be hanged up for lying. All women have not tears at will unless they have good cause.
    Ay, but, mistress, how easily will they find a cause? And as one of our cheese-trenchers says very learnedly:
    As out of wormwood bees suck honey;
    As from poor clients lawyers firk money
    As parsley from a roasted cony:
    2340So, though the day be ne’er so sunny,
    If wives will have it rain, down then it drives;
    The calmest husbands make the stormiest wives –
    Tame, George; but I ha’ done storming now.
    Why, that’s well done. Good mistress, throw aside this 2345fashion of your humour; be not so fantastical in wearing it. Storm no more, long no more. This longing has made you come short of many a good thing that you might have had from my master. Here comes the Duke.
    Enter Duke, Fluello, Pioratto, [and] Sinezi.
    O, I beseech you, pardon my offence
    In that I durst abuse your Grace’s warrant!
    Deliver forth my husband, good my lord.
    Who is her husband?
    Candido, my lord.
    Where is he?
    He’s among the lunatics.
    He was a man made up without a gall;
    Nothing could move him, nothing could convert
    His meek blood into fury. Yet, like a monster,
    I often beat at the most constant rock
    2360Of his unshaken patience, and did long
    To vex him.
    Did you so?
    And for that purpose
    Had warrant from your Grace to carry him
    To Bethlem Monastery, whence they will not free him
    2365Without your Grace’s hand, that sent him in.
    You have longed fair. ’Tis you are mad, I fear;
    It’s fit to fetch him thence, and keep you there.
    If he be mad, why would you have him forth?
    An please your Grace, he’s not stark mad, but 2370only talks like a young gentleman – somewhat fantastically, that’s all. There’s a thousand about your court, city, and country madder than he.
    Provide a warrant; you shall have our hand.
    [Indicating Viola’s paper] Here’s a warrant ready drawn, my lord.
    Get pen and ink; get pen and ink.
    [Exit George.]
    Enter Castruccio.
    Where is my lord the Duke?
    How now? More madmen?
    I have strange news, my lord.
    Of what? Of whom?
    Of Infelice, and a marriage.
    Ha! Where? With whom?
    [Enter George with pen and ink.]
    [To the Duke] Here, my lord.
    Hence with that woman! Void the room!
    Away; the Duke’s vexed.
    [Aside to Viola] Whoop! Come, mistress – the Duke’s mad too.
    Exeunt [Viola and George].
    Who told me that Hippolito was dead?
    He that can make any man dead, the doctor. But, my lord, he’s as full of life as wildfire, and as quick. Hippolito, the doctor, and one more rid hence this evening. The 2390inn at which they ’light is Bethlem Monastery. Infelice comes from Bergamo and meets them there. Hippolito is mad, for he means this day to be married; the afternoon is the hour, and Friar Anselmo is the knitter.
    From Bergamo? Is’t possible? It cannot be,
    2395It cannot be.
    I will not swear, my lord,
    But this intelligence I took from one
    Whose brains works in the plot.
    What’s he?
    Mattheo knows all.
    He’s Hippolito’s bosom.
    How far stands Bethlem hence?
    Six or seven miles.
    Is’t even so?
    Not married till the afternoon, you say?
    Stay, stay; let’s work out some prevention. How?
    2405This is most strange. Can none but madmen serve
    To dress their wedding dinner? All of you,
    Get presently to horse. Disguise yourselves
    Like country gentlemen,
    Or riding citizens or so; and take
    2410Each man a several path, but let us meet
    At Bethlem Monastery, some space of time
    Being spent between the arrival each of other,
    As if we came to see the lunatics.
    To horse, away! Be secret, on your lives.
    2415Love must be punished that unjustly thrives.
    Exeunt [all but Fluello].
    ‘Be secret, on your lives’! Castruccio,
    You’re but a scurvy spaniel. Honest lord,
    Good lady! Zounds, their love is just, ’tis good;
    And I’ll prevent you, though I swim in blood.
    2420Enter Friar Anselmo, Hippolito, Mattheo, [and] Infelice.
    Nay, nay, resolve, good father, or deny.
    You press me to an act both full of danger
    And full of happiness, for I behold
    Your father’s frowns, his threats, nay perhaps death
    2425To him that dare do this. Yet, noble lord,
    Such comfortable beams break through these clouds
    By this blest marriage that – your honoured word
    Being pawned in my defence – I will tie fast
    The holy wedding-knot.
    Tush, fear not the Duke.
    O son,
    Wisely to fear is to be free from fear.
    You have our words, and you shall have our lives,
    To guard you safe from all ensuing danger.
    [To Anselmo] Ay, ay; chop ’em up, and away.
    Stay; when is’t fit for me, safest for you,
    2435To entertain this business?
    Not till the evening.
    Be’t so. There is a chapel stands hard by,
    Upon the west end of the abbey wall.
    Thither convey yourselves, and when the sun
    2440Hath turned his back upon this upper world,
    I’ll marry you. That done, no thund’ring voice
    Can break the sacred bond. Yet, lady, here
    You are most safe.
    Father, your love’s most dear.
    Ay, well said! Lock us into some little room by 2445ourselves, that we may be mad for an hour or two.
    O good Mattheo, no. Let’s make no noise.
    How? No noise? Do you know where you are? ’Sfoot, amongst all the madcaps in Milan, so that to throw the house out at window will be the better, and no man will suspect that 2450we lurk here to steal mutton; the more sober we are, the more scurvy ’tis. And though the friar tell us that here we are safest, I’m not of his mind; for if those lay here that had lost their money, none would ever look after them. But here are none but those that have lost their wits, so that if hue and cry 2455be made, hither they’ll come; and my reason is, because none goes to be married till he be stark mad.
    Muffle yourselves: yonder’s Fluello.
    Enter Fluello.
    [To Hippolito] O my lord, these cloaks are not for this rain; the 2460tempest is too great. I come sweating to tell you of it, that you may get out of it.
    Why, what’s the matter?
    ‘What’s the matter?’ You have ‘mattered’ it fair: the Duke’s at hand.
    All [but Fluello]
    The Duke?
    The very Duke.
    Then all our plots
    Are turned upon our heads, and we are blown up
    With our own underminings. ’Sfoot, how comes he?
    What villain durst betray our being here?
    Castruccio. Castruccio told the Duke, and Mattheo here told Castruccio.
    [To Mattheo] Would you betray me to Castruccio?
    ’Sfoot, he damned himself to the pit of hell if he spake on’t again.
    So did you swear to me; so were you damned.
    Pox on ’em, and there be no faith in men, if a man shall not believe oaths. He took bread and salt, by this light, that he would never open his lips.
    O God, O God!
    Son, be not desperate.
    Have patience; you shall trip your enemy down
    2480By his own sleights. [To Fluello] How far is the Duke hence?
    He’s but new set out. Castruccio, Pioratto, and Sinezi come along with him. You have time enough yet to prevent them, if you have but courage.
    You shall steal secretly into the chapel
    2485And presently be married. If the Duke
    Abide here still, spite of ten thousand eyes
    You shall ’scape hence like friars.
    O blest disguise! O happy man!
    Talk not of happiness till your closed hand
    2490Have her by th’forehead, like the lock of Time.
    Be not too slow, nor hasty, now you climb
    Up to the tow’r of bliss. Only be wary
    And patient, that’s all. If you like my plot,
    Build and despatch. If not, farewell; then not.
    O, yes, we do applaud it. We’ll dispute
    No longer, but will hence and execute.
    Fluello, you’ll stay here. Let us be gone.
    The ground that frighted lovers tread upon
    Is stuck with thorns.
    Come then, away. ’Tis meet,
    To escape those thorns, to put on wingèd feet.
    Exeunt [Anselmo, Hippolito, and Infelice].
    No words, I pray, Fluello, for it stands us upon.
    O sir, let that be your lesson.
    [Exit Mattheo.]
    Alas, poor lovers! On what hopes and fears
    2505Men toss themselves for women! When she’s got,
    The best has in her that which pleaseth not.
    Enter, to Fluello, the Duke, Castruccio, Pioratto, and Sinezi from several doors, muffled.
    Who’s there?
    My lord –
    Peace! Send that ‘lord’ away!
    A lordship will spoil all; let’s be all fellows. –
    [Indicating Sinezi] What’s he?
    Fluello; or else Sinezi, by his little legs.
    All [but Duke]
    All friends, all friends.
    What, met upon the very point of time?
    2515Is this the place?
    This is the place, my lord.
    Dream you on lordships? Come, no more ‘lords’, pray!
    You have not seen these lovers yet?
    All [but Duke]
    Not yet.
    Castruccio, art thou sure this wedding feat
    Is not till afternoon?
    So ’tis given out, my lord.
    Nay, nay, ’tis like. Thieves must observe their hours;
    Lovers watch minutes like astronomers.
    How shall the interim hours by us be spent?
    Let’s all go see the madmen.
    2525All [but Duke]
    Mass, content.
    Enter a Sweeper.
    O, here comes one; question him, question him.
    How now, honest fellow, dost thou belong to the house?
    Yes, forsooth, I am one of the implements. I sweep the madmen’s rooms, and fetch straw for ’em, and buy chains 2530to tie ’em and rods to whip ’em. I was a mad wag myself here once, but I thank Father Anselm he lashed me into my right mind again.
    [Aside to the others] Anselmo is the friar must marry them.
    Question him where he is.
    And where is Father Anselmo now?
    Marry, he’s gone but e’en now.
    [To Castruccio] Ay, well done.
    [To the Sweeper] Tell me, whither is he gone?
    Why, to God a’mighty.
    [Laughing] Ha, ha, this fellow is a fool, talks idly.
    Sirrah, are all the mad folks in Milan brought hither?
    How, all? There’s a wise question indeed! Why, if all the mad folks in Milan should come hither, there would not be left ten men in the city.
    Few gentlemen or courtiers here, ha?
    O yes, abundance, abundance. Lands no sooner fall 2545into their hands but straight they run out o’their wits. Citizen’s sons and heirs are free of the house by their fathers’ copy. Farmers’ sons come hither like geese, in flocks; and when they ha’ sold all their cornfields, here they sit and pick the straws.
    Methinks you should have women here as well as men.
    O, ay. A plague on ’em; there’s no ho with them – they are madder than March hares.
    Are there no lawyers here amongst you?
    O, no, not one. Never any lawyer; we dare not let a lawyer come in, for he’ll make ’em mad faster than we can 2555recover em.
    And how long is’t ere you recover any of these?
    Why, according to the quantity of the moon that’s got into ’em. An alderman’s son will be mad a great while, a very great while, especially if his friends left him well. A 2560whore will hardly come to her wits again. A Puritan – there’s no hope of him, unless he may pull down the steeple and hang himself i’th’ bell-ropes.
    I perceive all sorts of fish come to your net.
    Yes, in truth, we have blocks for all heads; we have 2565good store of wild oats here. For the courtier is mad at the citizen, the citizen is mad at the countryman, the shoemaker is mad at the cobbler, the cobbler at the carman; the punk is mad that the merchant’s wife is no whore, the merchant’s wife is mad that the punk is so common a whore. 2570Godso, here’s Father Anselm; pray, say nothing that I tell tales out of the school.
    Enter Anselmo [with Servants].
    God bless you, father.
    Thank you, gentlemen.
    Pray, may we see some of those wretched souls
    2575That here are in your keeping?
    Yes, you shall.
    But, gentlemen, I must disarm you, then.
    There are of mad men, as there are of tame,
    All humoured not alike. We have here some
    So apish and fantastic, play with a feather;
    2580And though ’twould grieve a soul to see God’s image
    So blemished and defaced, yet do they act
    Such antic and such pretty lunacies
    That spite of sorrow they will make you smile.
    Others again we have like hungry lions,
    2585Fierce as wild bulls, untameable as flies,
    And these have oftentimes from strangers’ sides
    Snatched rapiers suddenly and done much harm;
    Whom if you’ll see, you must be weaponless.
    Castruccio, Fluello, Pioratto, and Sinezi
    With all our hearts.
    [They take off their weapons.]
    [To a Servant] Here, take these weapons in.
    [Exit Servant with weapons.]
    [To the Duke and Gentlemen] Stand off a little, pray. So, so, ’tis well.
    I’ll show you here a man that was sometimes
    A very grave and wealthy citizen,
    Has served a prenticeship to this misfortune,
    2595Been here seven years and dwelt in Bergamo.
    How fell he from himself?
    By loss at sea.
    I’ll stand aside; question him you alone,
    For if he spy me he’ll not speak a word
    2600Unless he’s throughly vexed.
    [He] discovers an old man, [1 Madman], wrapped in a net.
    Alas, poor soul!
    A very old man.
    [To 1 Madman] God speed, father.
    1 Madman
    God speed the plough! Thou shalt not speed me.
    We see you, old man, for all you dance in a net.
    26051 Madman
    True, but thou wilt dance in a halter, and I shall not see thee.
    [To the Gentlemen] O, do not vex him, pray.
    Are you a fisherman, father?
    1 Madman
    No, I’m neither fish nor flesh.
    What do you with that net, then?
    26101 Madman
    Dost not see, fool? There’s a fresh salmon in’t. If you step one foot further, you’ll be over shoes; for you see I’m over head and ear in the salt water, and if you fall into this whirlpool where I am, you’re drowned, you’re a drowned rat. I am fishing here for five ships, but I cannot have a good draught, 2615for my net breaks still, and breaks; but I’ll break some of your necks an I catch you in my clutches. Stay, stay, stay, stay, stay; where’s the wind, where’s the wind, where’s the wind, where’s the wind? Out, you gulls, you goose-caps, you gudgeon-eaters! Do you look for the wind in the heavens? [Laughing] 2620Ha, ha, ha, ha! No, no, look there, look there, look there: the wind is always at that door. Hark how it blows – pooff, pooff, pooff!
    All [but Anselmo]
    [Laughing] Ha, ha, ha!
    1 Madman
    Do you laugh at God’s creatures? Do you mock old age, you rogues? Is this grey beard and head counterfeit, that 2625you cry ‘ha, ha, ha’? [To Pioratto] Sirrah, art not thou my eldest son?
    Yes, indeed, father.
    1 Madman
    Then thou’rt a fool, for my eldest son had a polt-foot, crooked legs, a verjuice face, and a pear-coloured beard. I made him a scholar, and he made himself a fool. [To the Duke] Sirrah, 2630thou there, hold out thy hand.
    My hand? Well, here ’tis.
    1 Madman
    Look, look, look, look! Has he not long nails and short hair?
    Yes, monstrous short hair and abominable long nails.
    1 Madman
    Ten-penny nails, are they not?
    Yes, ten-penny nails.
    26351 Madman
    Such nails had my second boy. [To the Duke] Kneel down, thou varlet, and ask thy father blessing. – Such nails had my middlemost son, and I made him a promoter; and he scraped, and scraped, and scraped, till he got the devil and all. But he scraped thus, and thus, and thus, and it went under his legs, till at length 2640a company of kites, taking him for carrion, swept up all, all, all, all, all, all, all. If you love your lives, look to yourselves. See, see, see, see, the Turk’s galleys are fighting with my ships. ‘Bounce!’ go the guns. ‘Oooh!’ cry the men. ‘Rumble, rumble!’ go the waters. Alas, there, ’tis sunk, ’tis sunk! I am 2645undone, I am undone! You are the damned pirates have undone me. You are, by th’Lord, you are, you are! – Stop ’em! – You are!
    Why, how now, sirrah? Must I fall to tame you?
    1 Madman
    Tame me? No, I’ll be madder than a roasted cat. See, see, I am burnt with gunpowder; these are our close fights!
    I’ll whip you if you grow unruly thus.
    1 Madman
    Whip me? Out, you toad! Whip me? What justice is this, to whip me because I’m a beggar? Alas! I am a poor man, a very poor man. I am starved, and have had no meat, by this light, ever since the great flood. I am a poor 2655man.
    Well, well, be quiet, and you shall have meat.
    1 Madman
    Ay, ay, pray do. For look you, here be my guts, these are my ribs. You may look through my ribs; see how my guts come out. These are my red guts, my very guts, O, O!
    [To Servants] Take him in there.
    [Servants remove 1 Madman.]
    2660All [but Anselmo]
    A very piteous sight.
    Father, I see you have a busy charge.
    They must be used like children: pleased with toys,
    And anon whipped for their unruliness.
    I’ll show you now a pair quite different
    2665From him that’s gone. He was all words; and these,
    Unless you urge ’em, seldom spend their speech,
    But save their tongues.
    [Enter 2 and 3 Madmen.]
    [Indicating 3 Madman] La you, this hithermost
    Fell from the happy quietness of mind
    About a maiden that he loved, and died.
    2670He followed her to church, being full of tears,
    And as her body went into the ground
    He fell stark mad.
    [Indicating 2 Madman] That is a married man
    Was jealous of a fair but, as some say,
    A very virtuous wife, and that spoiled him.
    26752 Madman
    All these are whoremongers, and lay with my wife: whore, whore, whore, whore, whore!
    Observe him.
    2 Madman
    Gaffer shoemaker, you pulled on my wife’s pumps and then crept into her pantofles. Lie there, lie there. – This 2680was her tailor. You cut out her loose-bodied gown and put in a yard more than I allowed her. Lie there by the shoemaker. – O, Master Doctor, are you here? You gave me a purgation and then crept into my wife’s chamber to feel her pulses; and you said, and she said, and her maid said, that they went 2685pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat. Doctor, I’ll put you anon into my wife’s urinal. – Heigh, come aloft, Jack! This was her schoolmaster, and taught her to play upon the virginals, and still his jacks lept up, up. You pricked her out nothing but bawdy lessons, but I’ll prick you all – fiddler, doctor, tailor, 2690shoemaker; shoemaker, fiddler, doctor, tailor. So! Lie with my wife again now.
    [A Servant hands a meal to 3 Madman, who starts eating at once.]
    See how he notes the other, now he feeds.
    2 Madman
    Give me some porridge.
    3 Madman
    I’ll give thee none.
    26952 Madman
    Give me some porridge.
    3 Madman
    I’ll not give thee a bit.
    2 Madman
    Give me that flap-dragon.
    3 Madman
    I’ll not give thee a spoonful. Thou li’st; it’s no dragon. ’Tis a parrot that I bought for my sweetheart, and 2700I’ll keep it.
    2 Madman
    Here’s an almond for parrot.
    3 Madman
    Hang thyself.
    2 Madman
    Here’s a rope for parrot.
    3 Madman
    Eat it, for I’ll eat this.
    27052 Madman
    I’ll shoot at thee an thou’t give me none.
    3 Madman
    Wu’t thou?
    2 Madman
    I’ll run a tilt at thee an thou’t give me none.
    3 Madman
    Wu’t thou? Do, an thou dar’st.
    2 Madman
    Bounce! [He strikes him.]
    27103 Madman
    Ooh, I am slain! Murder, murder, murder! I am slain; my brains are beaten out!
    How now, you villains!
    [To Servants] Bring me whips.
    [To 2 and 3 Madmen] I’ll whip you.
    [Exeunt Servants for whips, and return presently.]
    3 Madman
    I am dead. I am slain. Ring out the bell, for I am dead.
    [To 2 Madman] How will you do now, sirrah? You ha’ killed him.
    27152 Madman
    I’ll answer’t at sessions. He was eating of almond-butter, and I longed for’t. The child had never been delivered out of my belly if I had not killed him. I’ll answer’t at sessions, so my wife may be burnt i’th’ hand, too.
    [To Servants] Take ’em in both.
    [Indicating 3 Madman] Bury him, for he’s dead.
    27203 Madman
    Ay, indeed, I am dead. Put me, I pray, into a good pit-hole.
    2 Madman
    I’ll answer’t at sessions.
    Exeunt [Servants with 2 and 3 Madmen].
    Enter Bellafront, [as though] mad.
    How now, huswife, whither gad you?
    A-nutting, forsooth. [To Castruccio, Fluello, and Pioratto] How do you, gaffer? How do 2725you, gaffer? There’s a French curtsy for you, too.
    [Aside] ’Tis Bellafront!
    [Aside] ’Tis the punk, by th’Lord!
    [To Anselmo] Father, what’s she, I pray?
    As yet I know not;
    2730She came but in this day, talks little idly,
    And therefore has the freedom of the house.
    [To Anselmo, Castruccio, Fluello, and Pioratto] Do not you know me? Nor you? Nor you? Nor you?
    All Four
    No, indeed.
    [To Castruccio, Fluello, and Pioratto] Then you are an ass, and you are an ass, and you 2735are an ass; for I know you.
    Why, what are they? Come, tell me, what are they?
    Three fishwives. Will you buy any gudgeons? God’s santy! Yonder come friars. I know them too.
    2740Enter Hippolito, Mattheo, and Infelice disguised in the habits of friars.
    [Seizing Mattheo] How do you, friar?
    [To Bellafront] Nay, nay, away; you must not trouble friars.
    [Aside to Hippolito] The Duke is here. Speak nothing.
    [To Mattheo] Nay indeed, you shall not go; we’ll run at barley-break 2745first, and you shall be in hell.
    [Aside] My punk turned mad whore, as all her fellows are?
    [Aside to Mattheo and Infelice] Speak nothing, but steal hence when you spy time.
    [To Bellafront] I’ll lock you up if you’re unruly; fie!
    Fie? Marry faugh! They shall not go, indeed, till I ha’ told 2750’em their fortunes.
    [To Anselmo] Good father, give her leave.
    Ay, pray, good father, and I’ll give you my blessing.
    Well then, be brief; but if you are thus unruly,
    I’ll have you locked up fast.
    [To Bellafront] Come, to their fortunes.
    Let me see. One, two, three, and four; I’ll begin with the little friar first. [Taking Infelice’s hand] Here’s a fine hand indeed; I never saw friar have such a dainty hand. Here’s a hand for a lady. You ha’ good fortune now.
    O see, see, what a thread here’s spun!
    2760You love a friar better than a nun,
    Yet long you’ll love no friar, nor no friar’s son.
    [She] bow[s] a little.
    The line of life is out. Yet I’m afraid,
    For all you’re holy, you’ll not die a maid.
    God give you joy. [To Mattheo] Now to you, Friar Tuck.
    [She takes his hand.]
    God send me good luck.
    You love one, and one loves you;
    You are a false knave, and she’s a Jew.
    Here is a dial that false ever goes.
    O, your wit drops!
    Troth, so does your nose.
    [To Hippolito] Nay, let’s shake hands with you too.
    Pray open. Here’s a fine hand.
    Ho, friar, ho! God be here!
    [Aside] So He had need. [Aloud to him] You’ll keep good cheer;
    Here’s a free table, but a frozen breast,
    2775For you’ll starve those that love you best.
    Yet you have good fortune; for if I am no liar,
    Then you are no friar, nor you, nor you no friar.
    [She] discovers them.
    [Laughing] Ha, ha, ha, ha!
    Are holy habits cloaks for villainy?
    2780[To his companions] Draw all your weapons!
    Do, draw all your weapons.
    Where are your weapons? Draw!
    Castruccio, Fluello, Pioratto, and Sinezi
    The friar has gulled us of ’em.
    O rare trick!
    2785You ha’ learnt one mad point of arithmetic.
    Why swells your spleen so high? Against what bosom
    Would you your weapons draw?
    [To the Duke] Hers? ’Tis your daughter’s.
    Mine? ’Tis your son’s.
    Son, by yonder sun.
    You cannot shed blood here but ’tis your own;
    To spill your own blood were damnation.
    Lay smooth that wrinkled brow, and I will throw
    Myself beneath your feet;
    2795Let it be rugged still and flinted o’er,
    What can come forth but sparkles, that will burn
    Yourself and us? She’s mine. My claim’s most good;
    She’s mine by marriage, though she’s yours by blood.
    [Kneeling] I have a hand, dear lord, deep in this act,
    2800For I foresaw this storm, yet willingly
    Put forth to meet it. Oft have I seen a father
    Washing the wounds of his dear son in tears,
    A son to curse the sword that struck his father,
    Both slain i’th’ quarrel of your families.
    2805Those scars are now ta’en off, and I beseech you
    To seal our pardon. All was to this end:
    To turn the ancient hates of your two houses
    To fresh green friendship, that your loves might look
    Like the spring’s forehead, comfortably sweet,
    2810And your vexed souls in peaceful union meet.
    Their blood will now be yours, yours will be theirs,
    And happiness shall crown your silver hairs.
    [To the Duke] You see, my lord, there’s now no remedy.
    All [but Duke]
    Beseech your lordship!
    You beseech fair; you have me in place fit
    To bridle me. – Rise, friar; you may be glad
    You can make madmen tame, and tame men mad.
    [The Friar rises.]
    Since fate hath conquered, I must rest content;
    To strive now would but add new punishment.
    2820[To Hippolito and Infelice] I yield unto your happiness. Be blest;
    Our families shall henceforth breathe in rest.
    O happy change!
    Yours now is my content;
    I throw upon your joys my full consent.
    [To the Duke] Am not I a fine fortune-teller? God’s me, you are a brave man! Will not you buy me some sugar-plums for telling how the friar was i’th’ well, will you not?
    Would thou hadst wit, thou pretty soul, to ask,
    As I have will to give!
    ‘Pretty soul’? A pretty soul is better than a pretty body. [To Mattheo] Do not you know my pretty soul?
    Look, fine man. Nay? I know you all by your noses; he was mad for me once, and I was mad for him once, and he 2835was mad for her once, and were you never mad? Yes, I warrant. Is not your name Mattheo?
    Yes, lamb.
    ‘Lamb’? Baa! Am I lamb? There you lie; I am mutton. [To the Duke] I had a fine jewel once, a very fine jewel, and that naughty man stole it away from me – fine jewel, a very fine jewel.
    What jewel, pretty maid?
    ‘Maid’? Nay, that’s a lie. O, ’twas a golden jewel! Hark, ’twas called a maidenhead. And that naughty man had it; had you not, leerer? [Seizing Mattheo.]
    Out, you mad ass, away!
    Had he thy maidenhead?
    He shall make thee 2845amends, and marry thee.
    Shall he? ‘O brave Arthur of Bradley’, then! Shall he?
    An if he bear the mind of a gentleman,
    I know he will.
    I think I rifled her of some such paltry jewel.
    Did you? Then marry her; you see the wrong
    Has led her spirits into a lunacy.
    How? Marry her, my lord? ’Sfoot, marry a madwoman? Let a man get the tamest wife he can come by, she’ll be mad enough afterward, do what he can.
    Father Anselmo here shall do his best
    To bring her to her wits. And will you then?
    I cannot tell – I may choose.
    Nay, then law shall compel. I tell you, sir,
    So much her hard fate moves me, you should not breathe
    2860Under this air, unless you married her.
    Well then, when her wits stand in their right place, I’ll marry her.
    I thank your Grace.
    [Revealing herself] Mattheo, thou art mine.
    I am not mad, but [Turning to Hippolito] put on this disguise
    Only for you, my lord, for you can tell
    2865Much wonder of me. But you are gone. Farewell! –
    Mattheo, thou first mad’st me black; now make me
    White as before. I vow to thee, I’m now
    As chaste as infancy, pure as Cynthia’s brow.
    I durst be sworn, Mattheo, she’s indeed.
    Cony-catched, gulled, must I sail in your fly-boat
    Because I helped to rear your mainmast first?
    Plague ’found you for’t! – ’Tis well.
    The cuckold’s stamp goes current in all nations.
    Some men have horns given them at their creations;
    2875If I be one of those, why, so. It’s better
    To take a common wench, and make her good,
    Than one that simpers and at first will scarce
    Be tempted forth over the threshold door,
    Yet in one se’nnight, zounds, turns arrant whore.
    2880Come, wench, thou shalt be mine. Give me thy golls.
    [They join hands.]
    We’ll talk of legs hereafter. [To the Duke] See, my lord!
    God give us joy.
    All [but Mattheo and Bellafront]
    God give you joy!
    Enter [Viola], Candido’s Wife, and George.
    Come, mistress, we are in Bedlam now. Mass, and see: we 2885come in pudding-time, for here’s the Duke.
    [To the Duke] My husband, good my lord!
    Have I thy husband?
    It’s Candido, my lord; he’s here among the lunatics. Father Anselmo, pray fetch him forth.
    [Exit Anselmo.]
    This madwoman is 2890his wife, and, though she were not with child, yet did she long most spitefully to have her husband, that was as patient as Job, to be more mad than ever was Orlando; and because she would be sure he should turn Jew, she placed him here in Bethlem. – Yonder he comes.
    2895Enter Candido with Anselmo.
    Come hither, signor. Are you mad?
    You are not mad.
    Why, I know that.
    Then may you know I am not mad, that know
    You are not mad, and that you are the Duke.
    2900None is mad here but one. – How do you, wife?
    What do you long for now? – Pardon, my lord.
    Why, signor, came you hither?
    O my good lord,
    She had lost her child’s nose else. I did cut out
    2905Pennyworths of lawn; the lawn was yet mine own.
    A carpet was my gown, yet ’twas mine own.
    I wore my man’s coat, yet the cloth mine own;
    Had a cracked crown, the crown was yet mine own.
    She says for this I’m mad. Were her words true,
    2910I should be mad indeed. O foolish skill!
    Is patience madness? I’ll be a madman still.
    [Kneeling] Forgive me, and I’ll vex your spirit no more.
    Come, come, we’ll have you friends; join hearts, join hands!
    [Joining hands with Viola] See, my lord, we are even.
    2915[To her] Nay, rise, for ill deeds kneel unto none but heaven.
    [She rises.]
    Signor, methinks patience has laid on you
    Such heavy weight that you should loathe it.
    Loathe it?
    For he whose breast is tender, blood so cool,
    2920That no wrongs heat it, is a patient fool.
    What comfort do you find in being so calm?
    That which green wounds receive from sovereign balm.
    Patience, my lord, why, ’tis the soul of peace;
    Of all the virtues ’tis near’st kin to heaven.
    2925It makes men look like gods. The best of men
    That e’er wore earth about him was a sufferer,
    A soft, meek, patient, humble, tranquil spirit,
    The first true gentle-man that ever breathed.
    The stock of patience, then, cannot be poor;
    2930All it desires it has. What monarch more?
    It is the greatest enemy to law
    That can be, for it doth embrace all wrongs,
    And so chains up lawyers’ and women’s tongues.
    ’Tis the perpetual prisoner’s liberty,
    2935His walks and orchards. ’Tis the bondslave’s freedom,
    And makes him seem proud of each iron chain,
    As though he wore it more for state than pain.
    It is the beggars’ music, and thus sings –
    Although their bodies beg – their souls are kings.
    2940O my dread liege! It is the sap of bliss
    Rears us aloft, makes men and angels kiss;
    And, last of all, to end a household strife,
    It is the honey ’gainst a waspish wife.
    Thou giv’st it lively colours; who dare say
    2945He’s mad whose words march in so good array?
    ’Twere sin all women should such husbands have,
    For every man must then be his wife’s slave.
    Come, therefore. You shall teach our court to shine;
    So calm a spirit is worth a golden mine.
    2950Wives with meek husbands that to vex them long,
    In Bedlam must they dwell, else dwell they wrong.