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 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.