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 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.