Digital Renaissance Editions

Authors: Thomas Dekker, Thomas Middleton
Editor: Joost Daalder
Peer Reviewed

The Honest Whore, Part 1 (Modern)

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.