Digital Renaissance Editions

About this text

  • 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)

    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.