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  • Title: The Honest Whore, Part 2 (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.
    Author: Thomas Dekker
    Editor: Joost Daalder
    Peer Reviewed

    The Honest Whore, Part 2 (Modern)

    The Honest Whore, [Part Two]
    Enter at one door Beraldo, Carolo, Fontinell, [and] Astolfo, with Servingmen or Pages attending on them. At another door, enter Lodovico, meeting them.
    Good day, gallants.
    Other Gentlemen
    Good morrow, sweet Lodovico.
    How dost thou, Carolo?
    Faith, as physicians do 10in a plague: see the world sick, and am well myself.
    Here’s a sweet morning, gentlemen.
    O, a morning to tempt Jove from his ningle Ganymede, which is but to give dairy-wenches green gowns as 15they are going a-milking. [To Astolfo] What, is thy lord stirring yet?
    Yes; he will not be horsed this hour, sure.
    My lady swears he shall, for she longs to be at court.
    O, we shall ride switch and spur. Would we 20were there once!
    Enter Brian, the [Irish] footman.
    [To Brian] How now, is thy lord ready?
    No, so Crees sa’ me; my lady will have some little ting in her pelly first.
    O, then they’ll to breakfast.
    Footman, does my lord ride i’th’ coach with my lady, or on horseback?
    No, foot, la; my lady will have me lord sheet wid her. My lord will sheet in de one side, and my lady sheet 30in de toder side.
    ‘My lady sheet in de toder side’! Did you ever hear a rascal talk so like a pagan? Is’t not strange that a fellow of his star should be seen here so long in Italy, yet speak so from a Christian?
    35Enter Antonio Giorgio, a poor scholar. [He stands apart.]
    An Irishman in Italy! That so strange? Why, the nation have running heads.
    Exchange walk.
    Nay, Carolo, this is more strange: I ha’ been in France – there’s few of them. Marry, England they count a warm 40chimney-corner, and there they swarm like crickets to the crevice of a brew-house. But, sir, in England I have noted one thing.
    Other Gentlemen
    What’s that? What’s that of England?
    Marry, this, sir – [Indicating Antonio] What’s he yonder?
    A poor fellow would speak with my lord.
    In England, sir – troth, I ever laugh when I think on’t: to see a whole nation should be marked i’th’ forehead, as a man may say, with one iron – why, sir, there all costermongers are Irishmen.
    O, that’s to show their antiquity, as coming from Eve who was an apple-wife; and they take after the mother.
    Other Gentlemen
    [Laughing] Good, good! Ha, ha!
    Why, then, should all your chimney-sweepers 55likewise be Irishmen? Answer that, now; come, your wit!
    Faith, that’s soon answered; for Saint Patrick, you know, keeps purgatory. He makes the fire, and his countrymen could do nothing if they cannot sweep the chimneys.
    60Other Gentlemen
    Good again!
    Then, sir, you have many of them, like this fellow (especially those of his hair), footmen to noblemen and others. And the knaves are very faithful where they love, by my faith – very proper men, many of them, and as active as 65the clouds: whirr, ha!
    Other Gentlemen
    Are they so?
    And stout! Exceeding stout. Why, I warrant this precious wild villain, if he were put to’t, would fight more desperately than sixteen Dunkirks.
    The women, they say, are very fair.
    No, no, our country buona-robas – O! – are the sugarest delicious rogues.
    O, look, he has a feeling of them!
    Not I, I protest. There’s a saying when they 75commend nations. It goes: the Irishman for his hand, the Welshman for a leg, the Englishman for a face, and Dutchman for a beard –
    I’faith, they may make swabbers of them.
    The Spaniard – let me see – for a little foot, I take it; the 80Frenchman – what a-pox hath he? And so the rest. Are they at breakfast yet? Come, walk.
    [Talking apart to his companions] This Lodovico is a notable-tongued fellow.
    Discourses well.
    And a very honest gentleman.
    O, he’s well valued by my lord.
    Enter Bellafront with a petition.
    [To his companions] How now, how now, what’s she?
    Let’s make towards her.
    [To Astolfo] Will it be long, sir, ere my lord come forth?
    [To her] Would you speak with my lord?
    [To her, indicating the petition] How now, what’s this? A nurse’s bill? Hath any here got thee with child, and now will not keep it?
    No, sir, my business is unto my lord.
    He’s about his own wife’s now; he’ll hardly 95despatch two causes in a morning.
    No matter what he says, fair lady, he’s a knight; there’s no hold to be taken at his words.
    My lord will pass this way presently.
    [Bellafront stands aside.]
    [Talking apart to the other Gentlemen] A pretty, plump rogue.
    A good lusty, bouncing baggage.
    [To Lodovico] Do you know her?
    A pox on her! I was sure her name was in my table-book once. I know not of what cut her die is now, but she has been more common than tobacco. This is she that had 105the name of ‘The Honest Whore’.
    Other Gentlemen
    Is this she?
    This is the blackamoor that by washing was turned white; this is the birding-piece new scoured; this is she that – if any of her religion can be saved – was saved by my 110lord Hippolito.
    She has been a goodly creature.
    ‘She has been’! That’s the epitaph of all whores. I’m well acquainted with the poor gentleman her husband. Lord, what fortunes that man has overreached! She knows 115not me, yet I have been in her company; I scarce know her, for the beauty of her cheek hath, like the moon, suffered strange eclipses since I beheld it. But women are like medlars – no sooner ripe but rotten.
    A woman last was made, but is spent first;
    120Yet man is oft proved in performance worst.
    Other Gentlemen
    My lord is come.
    Enter Hippolito, Infelice, and two Waiting-women. [Lodovico greets Hippolito.]
    We ha’ wasted half this morning! – Morrow, Lodovico.
    [To Infelice] Morrow, madam.
    Let’s away to horse.
    Other Gentlemen
    Ay, ay, to horse, to horse.
    [Approaching Hippolito] I do beseech your lordship, let your eye
    Read o’re this wretched paper.
    [She gives him the petition.]
    I’m in haste;
    Pray thee, good woman, take some apter time.
    Good woman, do.
    O, ’las! It does concern
    A poor man’s life.
    Life? [To Infelice] Sweetheart, seat yourself;
    I’ll but read this and come.
    [He reads the petition.]
    [Aside to Infelice] What stockings have you put on this morning, 135madam? If they be not yellow, change them; that paper is a letter from some wench to your husband.
    O sir, that cannot make me jealous.
    Exeunt [all but Hippolito, Bellafront, and Antonio].
    [To Antonio] Your business, sir? To me?
    Yes, my good lord.
    Presently, sir. [To Bellafront] Are you Mattheo’s wife?
    That most unfortunate woman.
    I’m sorry
    These storms are fallen on him. I love Mattheo,
    And any good shall do him. He and I
    Have sealed two bonds of friendship, which are strong
    145In me, however fortune does him wrong.
    He speaks here he’s condemned. Is’t so?
    Too true.
    What was he whom he killed? O, his name’s here:
    Old Giacomo, son to the Florentine
    Giacomo – a dog that to 150meet profit
    Would to the very eyelids wade in blood
    Of his own children!
    Tell Mattheo the Duke my father hardly shall
    Deny his signèd pardon. ’Twas fair fight, yes,
    If rumour’s tongue go true; so writes he here.
    Tomorrow morning I return from court;
    155Pray be you here then. [To Antonio] I’ll have done, sir, straight. –
    But in troth, say, are you Mattheo’s wife?
    You have forgot me.
    No, my lord.
    Your turner,
    160That made you smooth to run an even bias.
    You know I loved you when your very soul
    Was full of discord. Art not a good wench still?
    Umph! When I had lost my way to heaven, you showed it;
    I was newborn that day.
    Enter Lodovico.
    ’Sfoot, my lord, your lady asks if you have not left your wench yet. When you get in once, you never have done. Come, come, come, pay your old score and send her packing. Come.
    Ride softly on before; I’ll o’ertake you.
    Your lady swears she’ll have no riding on before without ye.
    Prithee, good Lodovico –
    My lord, pray hasten.
    I come.
    [Exit Lodovico.]
    [To Bellafront] Tomorrow let me see you. Fare you well.
    175Commend me to Mattheo. – Pray, one word more:
    Does not your father live about the court?
    I think he does; but such rude spots of shame
    Stick on my cheek that he scarce knows my name.
    Orlando Frescobaldo, is’t not?
    Yes, my lord.
    What does he for you?
    All he should; when children
    From duty start, parents from love may swerve.
    He nothing does, for nothing I deserve.
    Shall I join him unto you, and restore you
    To wonted grace?
    It is impossible.
    It shall be put to trial. Fare you well.
    Exit Bellafront.
    [Aside] The face I would not look on! Sure then ’twas rare,
    190When in despite of grief ’tis still thus fair.
    [To Antonio] Now, sir, your business with me?
    I am bold
    To express my love and duty to your lordship
    In these few leaves.
    [He shows Hippolito a book.]
    A book!
    Yes, my good lord.
    Are you a scholar?
    Yes, my lord, a poor one.
    Sir you honour me.
    Kings may be scholars’ patrons, but, faith, tell me:
    200To how many hands besides hath this bird flown?
    How many partners share with me?
    Not one,
    In troth, not one; your name I held more dear.
    I’m not, my lord, of that low character.
    Your name, I pray?
    Antonio Giorgio.
    Of Milan?
    Yes, my lord.
    I’ll borrow leave
    To read you o’er, and then we’ll talk. Till then
    [Giving him money]
    210Drink up this gold. Good wits should love good wine;
    This of your loves, the earnest that of mine.
    Enter Brian.
    [To Brian] How now, sir, where’s your lady? Not gone yet?
    I fart dy Lady is run away from dee, a mighty 215deal of ground. She sent me back for dine own sweet face. I pray dee come, my lord, away; wu’t tow go now?
    Is the coach gone? Saddle my horse, the sorrel.
    A pox o’de horse’s nose! He is a lousy, rascally 220fellow. When I came to gird his belly, his scurvy guts rumbled; dy horse farted in my face, and dow knowst an Irishman cannot abide a fart. But I have saddled de hobby-horse; dy fine hobby is ready. I pray dee, my good sweet lord, wi’t tow go now, and I will run to de devil before dee?
    Well, sir. [To Antonio] I pray let’s see you, Master Scholar.
    Come, I pray dee; wu’t come, sweet face? Go.
    Enter Lodovico, Carolo, Astolfo, [and] Beraldo.
    Godso, gentlemen, what do we forget?
    Other Gentlemen
    Are not we all enjoined as this day – Thursday, is’t not? – ay, as that day to be at the linen-draper’s house at dinner?
    Signor Candido, the patient man.
    Afore Jove, true; upon this day he’s married.
    I wonder that, being so stung with a wasp before, he dares venture again to come about the eaves amongst bees.
    O, ’tis rare sucking a sweet honey-comb. Pray heaven his old wife be buried deep enough that she rise 240not up to call for her dance. The poor fiddlers’ instruments would crack for it; she’d tickle them. At any hand, let’s try what mettle is in his new bride; if there be none, we’ll put in some. Troth, it’s a very noble citizen – I pity he should marry again. I’ll walk along, for it is a good old fellow.
    I warrant the wives of Milan would give any fellow twenty thousand ducats that could but have the face to beg of the Duke that all the citizens in Milan might be bound to the peace of patience, as the linen-draper is.
    O, fie upon’t! ’Twould undo all us that are courtiers; we should have no ho with the wenches, then.
    Enter Hippolito.
    Other Gentlemen
    My lord’s come.
    How now, what news?
    255Other Gentlemen
    Your lady is with the Duke her father.
    And we’ll to them both presently.
    Enter Orlando Frescobaldo.
    Who’s that?
    Other Gentlemen
    Signior Frescobaldo.
    Frescobaldo? O, pray call him, and leave me; we two have business.
    Ho, signor! Signor Frescobaldo! –
    The lord Hippolito.
    Exeunt [all but Hippolito and Orlando].
    My noble lord, my lord Hippolito! The Duke’s 265son! His brave daughter’s brave husband! How does your honoured lordship? Does your nobility remember so poor a gentleman as Signor Orlando Frescobaldo? Old, mad Orlando?
    O sir, our friends – they ought to be unto us as our 270jewels, as dearly valued being locked up and unseen as when we wear them in our hands. I see, Frescobaldo, age hath not command of your blood; for all Time’s sickle has gone over you, you are Orlando still.
    Why, my lord, are not the fields mown and cut 275down and stripped bare, and yet wear they not pied coats again? Though my head be like a leek, white, may not my heart be like the blade, green?
    Scarce can I read stories on your brow
    Which age hath writ there; you look youthful still.
    I eat snakes, my lord, I eat snakes. My heart shall never have a wrinkle in it so long as I can cry ‘hem’ with a clear voice.
    You are the happier man, sir.
    Happy man? I’ll give you, my lord, the true picture 285of a happy man. I was turning leaves over this morning, and found it. An excellent Italian painter drew it. If I have it in the right colours, I’ll bestow it on your lordship.
    I’ll stay for it.
    ‘He that makes gold his wife, but not his whore,
    290He that at noonday walks by a prison door,
    He that i’th’ sun is neither beam nor mote,
    He that’s not mad after a petticoat,
    He for whom poor men’s curses dig no grave,
    He that is neither lords’ nor lawyers’ slave,
    295He that makes this his sea and that his shore,
    He that in’s coffin is richer than before,
    He that counts youth his sword and age his staff,
    He whose right hand carves his own epitaph,
    He that upon his deathbed is a swan
    300And dead no crow, he is a happy man.’
    It’s very well. I thank you for this picture.
    After this picture, my lord, do I strive to have my face drawn. For I am not covetous, 305am not in debt, sit neither at the Duke’s side, nor lie at his feet. Wenching and I have done. No man I wrong; no man I fear; no man I fee. 310I take heed how far I walk, because I know yonder’s my home. I would not die like a rich man, to carry nothing away save a winding-sheet, but like a good man, to leave Orlando behind me. 315I sowed leaves in my youth, and I reap now books in my age. I fill this hand, and empty this; and when the bell shall toll for me, if I prove a swan and go singing to my nest, why, so. If a crow, throw me out for carrion and pick out mine eyes. 320May not old Frescobaldo, my lord, be merry now? Ha?
    You may. Would I were partner in your mirth.
    I have a little, have all things. I have nothing – I have no wife, I have no child, have no 325chick. And why should not I be in my jocundary?
    Is your wife, then, departed?
    She’s an old dweller in those high countries, yet not from me – [Pointing at his heart] here, she’s here – but before me; when a knave and a quean 330are married, they commonly walk like sergeants together, but a good couple are seldom parted.
    You had a daughter too, sir, had you not?
    O, my lord! This old tree had one branch, and but one branch, growing out of it. It was young, it was 335fair, it was straight. I pruned it daily, dressed it carefully, kept it from the wind, helped it to the sun. Yet, for all my skill in planting, it grew crooked; it bore crabs. I hewed it down. What’s become of it I neither know nor care.
    Then can I tell you what’s become of it:
    That branch is withered.
    So ’twas long ago.
    Her name, I think, was Bellafront. She’s dead.
    Ha? Dead?
    Yes. What of her was left, not worth the keeping,
    Even in my sight was thrown into a grave.
    Dead! My last and best peace go with her! I see Death’s a good trencher-man: he can eat coarse, homely meat as well as the daintiest.
    Why, Frescobaldo, was she homely?
    O, my lord! A strumpet is one of the devil’s vines; all the sins, like so many poles, are stuck upright out of hell to be her props, that she may spread upon them. And when she’s ripe, every slave has a pull at her; then must she 355be pressed. The young, beautiful grape sets the teeth of lust on edge; yet to taste that lickerish wine is to drink a man’s own damnation. Is she dead?
    She’s turned to earth.
    Would she were turned to heaven! Umnh, is she dead? 360I am glad the world has lost one of his idols; no whoremonger will at midnight beat at the doors. In her grave sleep all my shame and her own, and all my sorrows and all her sins.
    [He weeps.]
    I’m glad you are wax, not marble. You are made
    365Of man’s best temper. There are now good hopes
    That all those heaps of ice about your heart
    By which a father’s love was frozen up
    Are thawed in these sweet show’rs fetched from your eyes;
    370We are ne’er like angels till our passion dies.
    She is not dead, but lives under worse fate:
    I think she’s poor, and, more to clip her wings,
    Her husband at this hour lies in the jail
    For killing of a man. To save his blood,
    375Join all your force with mine. Mine shall be shown;
    The getting of his life preserves your own.
    In my daughter, you will say. Does she live, then? I am sorry I wasted tears upon a harlot. But the best is I have a handkercher to drink them up; soap can wash them 380all out again. Is she poor?
    Trust me, I think she is.
    Then she’s a right strumpet. I ne’er knew any of their trade rich two years together. Sieves can hold no 385water, nor harlots hoard up money. They have many vents, too many sluices to let it out; taverns, tailors, bawds, panders, fiddlers, swaggerers, fools, and knaves do all wait upon a common harlot’s trencher. She is the gallipot to which these drones fly – not for love to the pot, but 390for the sweet sucket within in, her money, her money.
    I almost dare pawn my word her bosom gives warmth to no such snakes. When did you see her?
    Not seventeen summers.
    Is your hate so old?
    Older. It has a white head and shall never die till she be buried; her wrongs shall be my bedfellow.
    Work yet his life, since in it lives her fame.
    No, let him hang, and half her infamy departs out 400of the world. I hate him for her; he taught her first to taste poison. I hate her for herself, because she refused my physic.
    Nay, but, Frescobaldo –
    I detest her, I defy both; she’s not mine, she’s –
    Hear her but speak.
    I love no mermaids; I’ll not be caught with a quail-pipe!
    You’re now beyond all reason.
    I am, then, a beast. Sir, I had rather be a beast and not 410dishonour my creation than be a doting father and, like Time, be the destruction of mine own brood.
    Is’t dotage to relieve your child being poor?
    Is’t fit for an old man to keep a whore?
    ’Tis charity too.
    ’Tis foolery. Relieve her!
    Were her cold limbs stretched out upon a bier
    I would not sell this dirt under my nails
    To buy her an hour’s breath, nor give this hair
    Unless it were to choke her.
    Fare you well, for I’ll trouble you no more.
    And fare you well, sir.
    Exit [Hippolito].
    Go thy ways; we have few lords of thy making, that love wenches for their honesty. – ’Las, my girl! Art thou poor? Poverty dwells next door to despair; there’s but a wall between them. Despair is 425one of hell’s catchpoles, and lest that devil arrest her I’ll to her. Yet she shall not know me. She shall drink of my wealth as beggars do of running water, freely, yet never know from what fountain’s head it flows. Shall a silly bird pick her own breast to nourish her young ones, and 430can a father see his child starve? That were hard. The pelican does it, and shall not I? Yes, I will victual the camp for her, but it shall be by some stratagem. That knave there, her husband, will be hanged, I fear. I’ll keep his neck out of the noose if I can; he shall not know how.
    435Enter two Servingmen.
    How now, knaves, whither wander you?
    1 Servingman
    To seek your worship.
    Stay, which of you has my purse? What money have you about you?
    4402 Servingman
    Some fifteen or sixteen pounds, sir.
    Give it me. I think I have some gold about me. Yes, it’s well. [Exchanging money] Leave my lodging at court, and get you home. [To 1 Servingman] Come, sir, though I never turned any man out of doors, yet I’ll be so bold as to pull your coat over your ears.
    [He pulls off 1 Servingman’s coat.]
    4451 Servingman
    What do you mean to do, sir?
    Hold thy tongue, knave; [Exchanging garments] take thou my cloak. I hope I play not the paltry merchant in this bartering. Bid the steward of my house sleep with open eyes in my absence, and to look to all things. Whatsoever I command by letters 450to be done by you, see it done. So, does it sit well?
    2 Servingman
    As if it were made for your worship.
    You proud varlets, you need not be ashamed to wear blue, when your master is one of your fellows. Away! Do not see me.
    This is excellent.
    Exeunt [Servingmen].
    I should put on a worse suit, too; perhaps I will. My vizard is on; now to this masque. [Touching his beard] Say I should shave off this honour of an old man, or tie it up shorter? Well, I will spoil a good face for once. My beard being off, how should 460I look? Even like
    A winter cuckoo, or unfeathered owl!
    Yet better lose this hair than lose her soul.
    [Servants bring in dinner table etc. for a wedding feast.] Enter Candido, Lodovico, [Astolfo], and Carolo, [1 Guest wearing a very tall, pointed hat], other Guests [wearing citizens’ caps], and [the] Bride with [Luke and other] Prentices. [The Gentlemen stand while the Bride and the Guests sit.]
    O gentlemen, so late? You’re very welcome;
    Pray sit down.
    [The Gentlemen sit down.]
    Carolo, didst e’er see such a nest of caps?
    Methinks it’s a most civil and most comely sight.
    [Indicating 1 Guest] What does he i’th’ middle look like?
    Troth, like a spire steeple in a country village overpeering so many thatched houses.
    It’s, rather, a long pike-staff against so many bucklers without pikes; they sit for all the world like a pair of 475organs, and he’s the tall great roaring pipe i’th’ midst.
    Ha, ha, ha, ha!
    What’s that you laugh at, signors?
    Troth, shall I tell you, and aloud I’ll tell it:
    We laugh to see – yet laugh we not in scorn –
    480Amongst so many caps that long hat worn.
    1 Guest
    Mine is as tall a felt as any is this day in Milan; and therefore I love it, for the block was cleft out for my head, and fits me to a hair.
    [To the Gentlemen] Indeed, you are good observers; it shows strange.
    485But, gentlemen, I pray neither contemn
    Nor yet deride a civil ornament;
    I could build so much in the round cap’s praise
    That ’bove this high roof I this flat would raise.
    Prithee, sweet bridegroom, do’t.
    So all these guests will pardon me, I’ll do’t.
    With all our hearts.
    [Raising his cap] Thus, then, in the cap’s honour.
    To every sex and state both nature, time,
    The country’s laws, yea, and the very clime
    495Do allot distinct habits. The spruce courtier
    Jets up and down in silk; the warrior
    Marches in buff; the clown plods on in grey.
    But for these upper garments thus I say:
    The seaman has his cap, pared without brim;
    500The gallant’s head is feathered – that fits him;
    The soldier has his morion; women ha’ tires;
    Beasts have their head-pieces, and men ha’ theirs.
    Each degree has his fashion. It’s fit, then,
    505One should be laid by for the citizen,
    And that’s the cap which you see swells not high,
    For caps are emblems of humility.
    It is a citizen’s badge, and first was worn
    By th’Romans. For when any bondman’s turn
    510Came to be made a freeman, thus ’twas said,
    He to the cap was called – that is, was made
    Of Rome a freeman, but was first close shorn;
    And so a citizen’s hair is still short worn.
    That close shaving made barbers a company, 515and now every citizen uses it.
    Of geometric figures the most rare
    And perfect’st are the circle and the square.
    The city and the school much build upon
    These figures, for both love proportion.
    520The city-cap is round, the scholar’s square,
    To show that government and learning are
    The perfect’st limbs i’th’ body of a state,
    For without them all’s disproportionate.
    If the cap had no honour, this might rear it:
    525The reverend fathers of the law do wear it.
    It’s light for summer, and in cold it sits
    Close to the skull, a warm house for the wits.
    It shows the whole face boldly. ’Tis not made
    As if a man to look out were afraid,
    530Nor like a draper’s shop with broad, dark shed;
    For he’s no citizen that hides his head.
    Flat caps as proper are to city gowns
    As to armours helmets, or to kings their crowns.
    Let, then, the city-cap by none be scorned,
    535Since with it princes’ heads have been adorned.
    If more the round cap’s honour you would know,
    How would this long gown with this steeple show?
    [He lays down his cap, and puts on 1 Guest’s hat.]
    All [but Candido]
    Ha, ha, ha! Most vile, most ugly!
    [Returning the hat to 1 Guest]
    Pray, signor, pardon me; ’twas done in jest.
    [To Prentices] A cup of claret wine there!
    1 Servingman
    Wine? Yes, forsooth, wine for the bride!
    [He pours out a glass of red wine.]
    [To Candido] You ha’ well set out the cap, sir.
    Nay, that’s flat.
    1 Guest
    A health!
    Since his cap’s round, that shall go round. Be bare,
    For in the cap’s praise all of you have share.
    [They bare their heads. 1 Prentice offers] the Bride [sack in a cup. She] hits the Prentice on the lips.
    The bride’s at cuffs!
    O, peace, I pray thee. Though far off I stand,
    I spied the 550error of my servants;
    She called for claret, and [To 1 Prentice] you filled out sack.
    [Indicating the cup of sack] That cup give me: ’tis for an old man’s back,
    And not for hers. Indeed, ’twas but mistaken –
    Ask all these else.
    All [but 1 Prentice]
    No, faith, ’twas but mistaken.
    5551 Prentice
    Nay, she took it right enough.
    [To Luke] Good Luke, reach her that glass of claret.
    [Luke gives her the glass of red wine.]
    Here, Mistress Bride, pledge me there.
    Now I’ll none.
    [She breaks the glass and] exit.
    How now?
    [To 1 Prentice] Look what your mistress ails.
    1 Prentice
    Nothing, sir, but about filling a wrong glass – a scurvy trick.
    I pray you, hold your tongue. –
    My servant there [Indicating Luke] tells me she is not well.
    565All [but Candido]
    Step to her, step to her.
    [To Candido] A word with you – do ye hear? This wench, your new wife, will take you down in your wedding shoes, unless you hang her up in her wedding-garters.
    How, hang her in her garters?
    Will you be a tame pigeon still? Shall your back be like a tortoise-shell, to let carts go over it yet not to break? This she-cat will have more lives than your last puss had, and will scratch worse and mouse you worse; look to’t.
    What would you have me do, sir?
    What would I have you do? Swear, swagger, brawl, fling! For fighting it’s no matter; we ha’ had knocking pusses enough already. You know that a woman was made of the rib of a man, and that rib was crooked. The moral of 580which is that a man must from his beginning be crooked to his wife. Be you like an orange to her: let her cut you never so fair, be you sour as vinegar. Will you be ruled by me?
    In anything that’s civil, honest, and just.
    Have you ever a prentice’s suit will fit me?
    I have the very same which myself wore.
    I’ll send my man for’t within this half hour, and within this two hours I’ll be your prentice. The hen shall not overcrow the cock; I’ll sharpen your spurs.
    It will be but some jest, sir?
    Only a jest. Farewell. – Come, Carolo.
    Exeunt [Lodovico, Carolo, and Astolfo].
    Guests [other than Lodovico and his friends]
    We’ll take our leaves, sir, too.
    Pray conceit not ill
    Of my wife’s sudden rising. This young knight,
    Sir Lodovico, is deep seen in physic,
    And he tells me the disease called the mother
    Hangs on my 595wife. It is a vehement heaving
    And beating of the stomach, and that swelling
    Did with the pain thereof cramp up her arm;
    That hit his lips, and brake the glass. No harm;
    It was no harm!
    No, signor, none at all.
    The straightest arrow may fly wide by chance.
    But come, we’ll close this brawl up in some dance.
    Enter Bellafront and Mattheo.
    O my sweet husband, wert thou in thy grave
    And art alive again? O, welcome, welcome!
    Dost know me? [Giving her his cloak] My cloak, prithee, lay’t up. Yes, faith, my winding-sheet was taken out of lavender, to be stuck with rosemary. I lacked but the knot here or here. Yet if I had had it, I should ha’ made a wry mouth at the world like a plaice. But, sweetest villain, I am here now, and 610I will talk with thee soon.
    And glad am I thou’rt here.
    Did these heels caper in shackles? Ah, my little plump rogue, I’ll bear up for all this, and fly high. Catso, catso!
    Mattheo –
    What sayst, what sayst? O brave fresh air! A pox on these grates, and jingling of keys, and rattling of iron. I’ll bear up, I’ll fly high, wench. Hang? Toss!
    Mattheo, prithee make thy prison thy glass,
    620And in it view the wrinkles and the scars
    By which thou wert disfigured. Viewing them, mend them.
    I’ll go visit all the mad rogues now, and the good roaring boys.
    Thou dost not hear me?
    Yes, faith, do I.
    Thou hast been in the hands of misery,
    And ta’en strong physic. Prithee, now be sound.
    Yes. ’Sfoot, I wonder how the inside of a tavern looks now. O, when shall I bezzle, bezzle?
    Nay, see, thou’rt thirsty still for poison! Come,
    I will not have thee swagger.
    Honest ape’s face!
    ’Tis that sharpened an axe to cut thy throat.
    Good love, I would not have thee sell thy substance
    635And time, worth all, in those damned shops of hell,
    Those dicing-houses, that stand never well
    But when they stand most ill; that four-squared sin
    Has almost lodged us in the beggar’s inn.
    Besides – to speak which even my soul does grieve –
    640A sort of ravens have hung upon thy sleeve
    And fed upon thee. Good Mat, if you please,
    Scorn to spread wing amongst so base as these;
    By them thy fame is speckled, yet it shows
    Clear amongst them. So crows are fair with crows.
    645Custom in sin gives sin a lovely dye;
    Blackness in Moors is no deformity.
    Bellafront, Bellafront, I protest to thee, I swear, as I hope for my soul, I will turn over a new leaf. The prison, I confess, has bit me; the best man that sails in such a ship 650may be lousy.
    [Knocking within.]
    One knocks at door.
    I’ll be the porter. They shall see a jail cannot hold a brave spirit – I’ll fly high!
    How wild is his behaviour! O, I fear
    655He’s spoiled by prison; he’s half damned comes there.
    But I must sit all storms. When a full sail
    His fortunes spread, he loved me; being now poor,
    I’ll beg for him. And no wife can do more.
    Enter Matteo, and Orlando like a Servingman.
    Come in, pray. Would you speak with me, sir?
    Is your name Signor Mattheo?
    My name is Signor Mattheo.
    Is this gentlewoman your wife, sir?
    This gentlewoman is my wife, sir.
    The destinies spin a strong and even thread of both your loves! [Aside] The mother’s own face; I ha’ not forgot that. [He weeps.] I’m an old man, sir, and am troubled with a whoreson salt rheum, that I cannot hold my water. – Gentlewoman, the last man I served was your father.
    My father? Any tongue that sounds his name
    Speaks music to me. Welcome, good old man.
    How does my father? Lives he? Has he health?
    How does my father? I so much do shame him,
    So much do wound him, that I scarce dare name him.
    [Weeping.] I can speak no more.
    How now, old lad? What, dost cry?
    The rheum still, sir, nothing else. I should be well seasoned, for mine eyes lie in brine. Look you, sir, I have a suit to you.
    What is’t, my little white pate?
    Troth, sir, I have a mind to serve your worship.
    To serve me? Troth, my friend, my fortunes are, as a man may say –
    Nay, look you, sir. I know when all sins are old 685in us, and go upon crutches, that covetousness does but then lie in her cradle. ’Tis not so with me. Lechery loves to dwell in the fairest lodging, and covetousness in the oldest buildings, that are ready to fall; but my white head, sir, is no inn for such a gossip. If a servingman at my years 690be not stored with with biscuit enough, that has sailed about the world, to serve him the voyage out of his life, and to bring him east home, ill pity but all his days should be fasting days. I care not so much for wages, for I have scraped a handful of gold together. I have a little money, sir, which 695I would put into your worship’s hands, not so much to make it more –
    No, no, you say well, thou sayst well. But I must tell you – how much is the money, sayst thou?
    About twenty pound, sir.
    Twenty pound? Let me see; that shall bring thee in, after ten per centum per annum
    No, no, no, sir, no; I cannot abide to have money engender. Fie upon this silver lechery, fie! If I may have meat to my mouth, and rags to my back, and a flock-bed 705to snort upon, when I die the longer liver take all.
    A good old boy, i’faith! If thou serv’st me, thou shalt eat as I eat, drink as I drink, lie as I lie, and ride as I ride.
    [Aside] That’s if you have money to hire horses.
    Front, what dost thou think on’t? This good old 710lad here shall serve me.
    Alas, Mattheo, wilt thou load a back
    That is already broke?
    [Aside to her] Peace, pox on you, peace! There’s a trick in’t. I fly high. It shall be so, Front, as I tell you. [Aloud to Orlando] Give me thy hand; 715thou shalt serve me, i’faith. Welcome. As for your money –
    Nay, look you, sir, I have it here.
    Pish, keep it thyself, man, and then thou’rt sure ’tis safe.
    Safe? An ’twere ten thousand ducats your worship 720should be my cash-keeper. I have heard what your worship is – [Aside] An excellent dunghill cock, to scatter all abroad! – But I’ll venture twenty pounds on’s head.
    [Gives him the money.]
    And didst thou serve my worshipful father-in-law, Signor Orlando Frescobaldo, that madman, once?
    I served him so long till he turned me out of doors.
    It’s a notable chuff; I ha’ not seen him many a day.
    No matter an you ne’er see him; it’s an arrant grandee, a churl, and as damned a cut-throat –
    Thou villain, curb thy tongue! Thou art a Judas,
    730To sell thy master’s name to slander thus.
    [To her] Away, ass! He speaks but truth. Thy father is a –
    And an old knave. There’s more deceit in him than in sixteen ’pothecaries. It’s a devil! Thou mayst beg, starve, 735hang, damn – does he send thee so much as a cheese?
    Or so much as a gammon of bacon? He’ll give it his dogs first.
    A javel, a javel.
    A Jew, a Jew, sir.
    A dog.
    An English mastiff, sir.
    Pox rot out his old stinking garbage!
    [To him] Art not ashamed to strike an absent man thus?
    Art not ashamed to let this vild dog bark,
    745And bite my father thus? I’ll not endure it.
    [To Orland] Out of my doors, base slave!
    Your doors? A vengeance! I shall live to cut that old rogue’s throat, for all you take his part thus.
    [Aside] He shall live to see thee hanged first.
    750Enter Hippolito.
    Godso, my lord, your lordship is most welcome.
    I’m proud of this, my lord.
    Was bold to see you.
    Is that your wife?
    Yes, sir.
    I’ll borrow her lip.
    With all my heart, my lord.
    [Hippolito kisses Bellafront and takes her aside.]
    Who’s this, I pray, sir?
    My lord Hippolito. What’s thy name?
    Pacheco? Fine name! Thou seest, Pacheco, I keep company with no scoundrels, nor base fellows.
    [Aside to Bellafront] Came not my footman to you?
    Yes, my Lord.
    I sent by him a diamond and a letter;
    Did you receive them?
    Yes my lord, I did.
    Read you the letter?
    O’er and o’er ’tis read.
    And, faith, your answer?
    Now the time’s not fit;
    You see my husband’s here.
    I’ll now then leave you,
    And choose mine hour. But ere I part away,
    775Hark you, remember I must have no nay.
    [Aloud] Mattheo, I will leave you.
    A glass of wine?
    Not now, I’ll visit you at other times.
    You’re come off well, then?
    Excellent well, I thank your lordship. I owe you my life, my lord, and will pay my best blood in any service of yours.
    I’ll take no such dear payment. Hark you, Mattheo, I know the prison is a gulf. If money run low with you, 785my purse is yours; call for it.
    Faith, my lord, I thank my stars they send me down some. I cannot sink so long as these bladders hold.
    I will not see your fortunes ebb. Pray try;
    To starve in full barns were fond modesty.
    [To Orlando] Open the door, sirrah.
    [Aside to Orlando at the door] Drink this [Giving him money]; and anon I pray thee give thy mistress this [Giving him a purse].
    [Aside] O noble spirit! If no worse guests here dwell,
    My blue coat sits on my old shoulders well.
    The only royal fellow! He’s bounteous as the Indies. What’s that he said to thee, Bellafront?
    I prithee, good girl –
    Why, I tell you – nothing.
    Nothing? It’s well. Tricks! That I must be beholden to a scald, hot-livered, goatish gallant to stand with my cap in my hand, and vail bonnet, when I ha’ spread as lofty sails as himself! Would I had been hanged. Nothing? – Pacheco, brush my cloak.
    Where is’t, sir?
    Come, we’ll fly high.
    [To Bellafront] Nothing? There is a whore still in thine eye.
    [Aside] My twenty pounds fly high! O wretched woman,
    This varlet’s able to make Lucrece common.
    810[Aloud] How now, mistress? Has my master dyed you into this sad colour?
    Fellow, begone, I pray thee. If thy tongue
    Itch after talk so much, seek out thy master;
    Thou’rt a fit instrument for him.
    Zounds, I hope he will not play upon me.
    Play on thee? No, you two will fly together,
    Because you are roving arrows of one feather.
    Would thou wouldst leave my house! Thou ne’er shalt please me;
    Weave thy nets ne’er so high,
    820Thou shalt be but a spider in mine eye.
    Thou’rt rank with poison. Poison tempered well
    Is food for health; but thy black tongue doth swell
    With venom, to hurt him that gave thee bread.
    To wrong men absent is to spurn the dead;
    825And so didst thou thy master and my father.
    You have small reason to take his part, for I have heard him say five hundred times you were as arrant a whore as ever stiffened tiffany neckcloths in water-starch upon a Saturday i’th’ afternoon.
    Let him say worse! When, for the earth’s offence,
    Hot vengeance through the marble clouds is driven,
    Is’t fit earth shoot again those darts at heaven?
    And so, if your father call you whore, you’ll not call him old knave. [Aside] Frescobaldo, she carries thy mind up and 835down; she’s thine own flesh, blood, and bone. [Aloud] Troth, mistress, to tell you true, the fireworks that ran from me upon lines against my good old master, your father, were but to try how my young master, your husband, loved such squibs. But it’s well known I love your father as myself. I’ll ride 840for him at midnight, run for you by owl-light; I’ll die for him, drudge for you; I’ll fly low, and I’ll fly high (as my master says), to do you good, if you’ll forgive me.
    I am not made of marble; I forgive thee.
    Nay, if you were made of marble, a good 845stone-cutter might cut you. I hope the twenty pound I delivered to my master is in a sure hand.
    In a sure hand, I warrant thee, for spending.
    I see my young master is a madcap and a bonus socius. I love him well, mistress. Yet, as well as I love him, I’ll not 850play the knave with you. Look you, I could cheat you of this purse full of money; but I am an old lad, and I scorn to cony-catch. Yet I ha’ been dog at a cony in my time.
    [He gives her the purse.]
    A purse! Where hadst it?
    The gentleman that went away whispered in mine 855ear and charged me to give it you.
    The lord Hippolito?
    Yes, if he be a lord; he gave it me.
    ’Tis all gold.
    ’Tis like so. It may be he thinks you want money, 860and therefore bestows his alms bravely, like a lord.
    He thinks a silver net can catch the poor;
    Here’s bait to choke a nun and turn her whore.
    Wilt thou be honest to me?
    As your nails to your fingers, which I think 865never deceived you.
    Thou to this lord shalt go. Commend me to him,
    And tell him this: the town has held out long
    Because within ’twas rather true than strong.
    To sell it now were base; say ’tis no hold
    870Built of weak stuff, to be blown up with gold.
    He shall believe thee by this token, or this;
    If not, by this.
    [She gives him Hippolito’s purse, diamond ring, and letter.]
    Is this all?
    This is all.
    [Aside] Mine own girl still!
    A star may shoot, not fall.
    Exit Bellafront.
    A star? Nay, thou art more than the moon, for thou hast neither changing quarters nor a man standing in thy circle with a bush of thorns. Is’t possible the lord Hippolito, whose face is as civil as the outside of a 880dedicatory book, should be a mutton-monger? A poor man has but one ewe, and this grandee sheep-biter leaves whole flocks of fat wethers whom he may knock down, to devour this! I’ll trust neither lord nor butcher with quick flesh for this trick. The cuckoo, I see now, sings all 885the year, though every man cannot hear him. But I’ll spoil his notes. Can neither love-letters nor the devil’s common picklocks, gold nor precious stones, make my girl draw up her portcullis? Hold out still, wench!
    All are not bawds, I see now, that keep doors,
    890Nor all good wenches that are marked for whores.
    Enter Candido, Lodovico like a Prentice, [wearing false hair, and two Prentices, in the shop.]
    Come, come, come, what do ye lack, sir? What do ye lack, sir? What is’t ye lack, sir? Is not my worship well suited? Did you ever see a gentleman better disguised?
    Never, believe me, signor.
    Yes – but when he has been drunk. There be prentices would make mad gallants, for they would spend all, and drink, and whore, and so forth; and I see we gallants could make mad prentices. How does thy wife like me? Nay, I 900must not be so saucy; then I spoil all. Pray you, how does my mistress like me?
    Well; for she takes you for a very simple fellow.
    And they that are taken for such are commonly the arrantest knaves. But to our comedy, come.
    I shall not act it. Chide, you say, and fret,
    And grow impatient? I shall never do’t.
    ’Sblood, cannot you do as all the world does: counterfeit?
    Were I a painter, that should live by drawing
    910Nothing but pictures of an angry man,
    I should not earn my colours; I cannot do’t.
    Remember you’re a linen-draper, and that if you give your wife a yard, she’ll take an ell. Give her not, therefore, a quarter of your yard, not a nail.
    Say I should turn to ice, and nip her love
    Now ’tis but in the bud?
    Well, say she’s nipped.
    It will so overcharge her heart with grief
    That, like a cannon, when her sighs go off
    920She in her duty either will recoil
    Or break in pieces, and so die. Her death
    By my unkindness might be counted murder.
    Die? Never, never! I do not bid you beat her, nor give her black eyes, nor pinch her sides; but cross her 925humours. Are not bakers’ arms the scales of justice, yet is not their bread light? And may not you, I pray, bridle her with a sharp bit, yet ride her gently?
    Well, I will try your pills.
    Do you your faithful service, and be ready
    Still at a pinch to help me in this 930part,
    Or else I shall be out clean.
    Come, come, I’ll prompt you.
    I’ll call her forth now, shall I?
    Do, do, bravely.
    [Calling out] Luke, I pray, bid your mistress to come hither.
    [Calling out] Luke, I pray, bid your mistress to come hither.
    [Calling out] Sirrah, bid my wife come to me. Why, when?
    (Within) Presently, sir. She comes.
    La you, there’s the echo. She comes.
    Enter [the] Bride.
    What is your pleasure with me?
    Marry, wife,
    I have intent, and you see this stripling here:
    He bears good will and liking to my trade,
    And means to deal in linen.
    Yes indeed, sir, I would deal in linen, if my 945mistress like me so well as I like her.
    I hope to find him honest. Pray, good wife,
    Look that his bed and chamber be made ready.
    You’re best to let him hire me for his maid.
    I look to his bed? Look to’t yourself.
    Even so?
    I swear to you a great oath –
    [Aside to him] Swear, cry ‘zounds’!
    I will not – go to, wife – I will not –
    [Aside to him] That your great oath?
    – swallow these gudgeons!
    [Aside to him] Well said.
    Then fast; then you may choose.
    You know at table
    What tricks you played – swaggered, broke glasses. Fie,
    960Fie, fie, fie! And now, before my prentice here,
    You make an ass of me, thou – what shall I call thee?
    Even what you will.
    [Aside to him] Call her arrant whore.
    [Aside to Lodovico] O fie, by no means! Then she’ll call me cuckold.
    965[Aloud to him] Sirrah, go look to th’shop.
    [Aside to him] How does this show?
    [Aside to him] Excellent well. [Aloud] I’ll go look to the shop, sir. – Fine cambrics, lawns! What do you lack?
    Exit Lodovico [into the shop].
    A curst cow’s milk I ha’ drunk once before,
    And ’twas so rank in taste I’ll drink no more;
    970Wife, I’ll tame you.
    You may, sir, if you can;
    But at a wrestling I have seen a fellow
    Limbed like an ox thrown by a little man.
    And so you’ll throw me? [Calling out] Reach me, knaves, a yard.
    [Calling out] A yard for my master.
    Lodovico returns with a yardstick from the shop, followed by the two Prentices.
    1 Prentice
    My master is grown valiant.
    [To the Bride] I’ll teach you fencing tricks.
    Rare, rare! A prize!
    What will you do, sir?
    Marry, my good prentice, nothing but breathe my wife.
    Breathe me with your yard?
    No, he’ll but measure you out, forsooth.
    Since you‘ll needs fence, handle your weapon well,
    For if you take a yard, I’ll take an ell.
    985[To Lodovico] Reach me an ell.
    An ell for my mistress.
    [He fetches an ell-wand from the shop.]
    [Aside to Candido] Keep the laws of the noble science, sir, and measure weapons with her. Your yard is a plain heathenish weapon. ’Tis too short. She may give you a handful, and yet you’ll not reach her.
    [Aside to him] Yet I ha’ the longer arm.
    [Aloud to the Bride] Come, fall to’t roundly,
    And spare not me, wife, for I’ll lay’t on soundly.
    If o’er husbands their wives will needs be masters,
    We men will have a law to win’t at wasters.
    ’Tis for the breeches, is’t not?
    For the breeches.
    Husband, I am for you. I’ll not strike in jest.
    Nor I.
    But will you sign to one request?
    What’s that?
    Let me give the first blow.
    The first blow, wife?
    [Aside to Lodovico] Shall I? Prompt.
    [Aside to Candido] Let her ha’t;
    If she strike hard, in to her, and break her pate.
    [Aloud to the Bride] A bargain. Strike.
    Then guard from you this blow;
    For I play all at legs, but ’tis thus low. She kneels.
    Behold, I am such a cunning fencer grown
    I keep my ground, yet down I will be thrown
    With the least blow you give me; I disdain
    1010The wife that is her husband’s sovereign.
    She that upon your pillow first did rest,
    They say, the breeches wore; which I detest.
    The tax which she imposed upon you I abate you;
    If me you make your master, I shall hate you.
    1015The world shall judge who offers fairest play;
    You win the breeches, but I win the day.
    Thou winst the day indeed. Give me thy hand.
    [He takes her by the hand and raises her.]
    I’ll challenge thee no more. My patient breast
    Played thus the rebel only for a jest.
    1020[Indicating Lodovico] Here’s the rank rider that breaks colts; ’tis he
    Can tame the mad folks and curst wives.
    Who, your man?
    My man? My master, though his head be bare;
    But he’s so courteous, he’ll put off his hair.
    Nay, if your service be so hot a man cannot keep his hair on, I’ll serve you no longer.
    [He takes off his false hair.]
    Is this your schoolmaster?
    Yes, faith, wench; I taught him to take thee down. I hope thou canst take him down without teaching. You 1030ha’ got the conquest, and you both are friends.
    Bear witness else.
    My prenticeship then ends.
    For the good service you to me have done
    I give you all your years.
    I thank you, master.
    I’ll kiss my mistress now, that she may say:
    ‘My man was bound and free all in one day.’
    [Kisses her.] Exeunt.
    Enter Orlando [as Pacheco, with Hippolito’s letter, purse, and diamond ring], and Infelice.
    From whom, sayst thou?
    From a poor gentlewoman, madam, whom I serve.
    And what’s your business?
    This, madam: my poor mistress has a waste piece of ground, which is her own by inheritance, and left to her by her mother. There’s a lord now that goes about, 1045not to take it clean from her, but to enclose it to himself, and to join it to a piece of his lordship’s.
    What would she have me do in this?
    No more, madam, but what one woman should do for another in such a case. My honourable lord your 1050husband would do anything in her behalf, but she had rather put herself into your hands, because you, a woman, may do more with the Duke your father.
    Where lies this land?
    Within a stone’s throw of this place. My mistress 1055would be content to let him enjoy it after her decease, if that would serve his turn, so my master would yield too; but she cannot abide to hear that the lord should meddle with it in her lifetime.
    Is she, then, married? Why stirs not her husband 1060in it?
    Her husband stirs in it underhand. But, because the other is a great rich man, my master is loath to be seen in it too much.
    Let her in writing draw the cause at large,
    1065And I will move the Duke.
    [Holding up Hippolito’s letter] ’Tis set down, madam, here in black and white already. Work it so, madam, that she may keep her own without disturbance, grievance, molestation, or meddling of any other, and she bestows this purse of gold on your 1070ladyship.
    [He holds up Hippolito’s purse.]
    Old man, I’ll plead for her, but take no fees.
    Give lawyers them; I swim not in that flood.
    I’ll touch no gold till I have done her good.
    I would all proctors’ clerks were of your mind; 1075I should law more amongst them than I do, then. Here, madam, is the survey, not only of the manor itself, but of the grange house, with every meadow, pasture, plough-land, cony-burrow, fish-pond, hedge, ditch, and bush that stands in it.
    [He gives her the letter.]
    [Reading the letter] My husband’s name and hand and seal at arms
    To a love letter? Where hadst thou this writing?
    From the foresaid party, madam, that would keep the foresaid land out of the foresaid lord’s fingers.
    My lord turned ranger now?
    You’re a good huntress, lady; you ha’ found your game already. Your lord would fain be a ranger, but my mistress requests you to let him run a course in your own park. If you’ll not do’t for love, then do’t for money. She has no white money, but there’s gold [Giving her the purse]; or else she prays you 1090to ring him by this token [Giving her the diamond ring], and so you shall be sure his nose will not be rooting other men’s pastures.
    This very purse was woven with mine own hands;
    This diamond on that very night when he
    Untied my virgin girdle gave I him;
    1095And must a common harlot share in mine?
    Old man, to quit thy pains, take thou the gold.
    Not I, madam; old servingmen want no money.
    [Reading] Cupid himself was sure his secretary!
    These lines are even the arrows Love lets fly;
    1100The very ink dropped out of Venus’ eye.
    I do not think, madam, but he fetched off some poet or other for those lines, for they are parlous hawks to fly at wenches.
    Here’s honeyed poison! To me he ne’er thus writ;
    1105But lust can set a double edge on wit.
    Nay, that’s true, madam; a wench will whet anything, if it be not too dull.
    Oaths, promises, preferments, jewels, gold –
    What snares should break if all these cannot hold?
    1110What creature is thy mistress?
    One of those creatures that are contrary to man – a woman.
    What manner of woman?
    A little tiny woman, lower than your ladyship by 1115head and shoulders, but as mad a wench as ever unlaced a petticoat. These things should I indeed have delivered to my lord your husband.
    They are delivered better. Why should she
    Send back these things?
    ’Ware, ’ware, there’s knavery!
    Strumpets, like cheating gamesters, will not win
    At first; these are but baits to draw him in.
    How might I learn his hunting hours?
    The Irish footman can tell you all his hunting 1125hours, the park he hunts in, the doe he would strike. That Irish shackatory beats the bush for him, and knows all. He brought that letter and that ring; he is the carrier.
    Knowst thou what other gifts have passed between them?
    Little Saint Patrick knows all.
    Him I’ll examine presently.
    Not whilst I am here, sweet madam.
    Begone then, and what lies in me command.
    Exit Orlando.
    Enter Brian.
    Come hither, sirrah. How much cost those satins
    And cloth of silver which my husband sent
    By you to a low gentlewoman yonder?
    Faat satins, faat silvers, faat low gentlefolks? Dow prat’st dow knowst not what, i’faat, la.
    She there, to whom you carried letters.
    By dis hand and bod dow sayst true, if I did so, O how? I know not a letter o’de book, i’faat, la.
    Did your lord never send you with a ring, sir,
    Set with a diamond?
    Never, sa Crees sa’ me, never! He may run at a towsand rings, i’faat, and I never hold his stirrup till he leap into de saddle. By Saint Patrick, madam, I never touch my lord’s diamond, nor ever had to, i’faat, la, with any of his precious stones.
    1150Enter Hippolito.
    Are you so close, you bawd, you pand’ring slave?
    [She strikes Brian.]
    How now? Why, Infelice, what’s your quarrel?
    [To Brian] Out of my sight, base varlet, get thee gone!
    Away, you rogue!
    Slawne loot, fare de well, fare de well. Ah marragh frofat boddah breen.
    What, grown a fighter? Prithee, what’s the matter?
    If you’ll needs know, it was about the clock.
    How works the day, my lord, pray, by your watch?
    Lest you cuff me, I’ll tell you presently.
    [Consulting his watch] I am near two.
    [Consulting her watch] How, two? I am scarce at one.
    One of us then goes false.
    Then sure ’tis you;
    1165Mine goes by heaven’s dial, the sun, and it goes true.
    I think indeed mine runs somewhat too fast.
    Set it to mine, at one, then.
    One? ’Tis past;
    ’Tis past one, by the sun.
    Faith, then, belike
    Neither your clock nor mine does truly strike;
    And since it is uncertain which goes true,
    Better be false at one than false at two.
    You’re very pleasant, madam.
    Yet not merry.
    Why, Infelice, what should make you sad?
    Nothing, my lord, but my false watch. Pray tell me:
    You see my clock or yours is out of frame –
    Must we upon the workman lay the blame,
    1180Or on ourselves, that keep them?
    Faith, on both.
    He may by knavery spoil them, we by sloth.
    But why talk you all riddle thus? I read
    Strange comments in those margins of your looks;
    1185Your cheeks of late are, like bad-printed books,
    So dimly charactered I scarce can spell
    One line of love in them. Sure all’s not well.
    All is not well indeed, my dearest lord;
    Lock up thy gates of hearing, that no sound
    1190Of what I speak may enter –
    What means this?
    Or if my own tongue must myself betray,
    Count it a dream, or turn thine eyes away,
    And think me not thy wife.
    She kneels.
    Why do you kneel?
    Earth is sin’s cushion; when the sick soul feels
    Herself growing poor, then she turns beggar, cries
    And kneels for help. Hippolito – for husband
    I dare not call thee – I have stol’n that jewel
    Of my chaste honour which 1200was only thine,
    And given it to a slave.
    On thy pillow
    Adultery and lust have slept. Thy groom
    Hath climbed the unlawful tree, and plucked the sweets;
    A villain hath usurped a husband’s sheets.
    ’Sdeath! Who? – A cuckold! – Who?
    This Irish footman.
    Worse than damnation! A wild kern, a frog,
    A dog, whom I’ll scarce spurn! Longed you for shamrock?
    Were it my father’s father, heart, I’ll kill him,
    Although I 1210take him on his deathbed gasping
    ’Twixt heaven and hell! A shag-haired cur!
    [She clings to his garment.]
    Bold strumpet,
    Why hangst thou on me? Thinkst I’ll be a bawd
    To a whore because she’s noble?
    I beg but this:
    Set not my shame out to the world’s broad eye,
    1215Yet let thy vengeance, like my fault, soar high,
    So it be in darkened clouds.
    Darkened? My horns
    Cannot be darkened, nor shall my revenge.
    A harlot to my slave? The act is base –
    1220Common, but foul; so shall not thy disgrace.
    Could not I feed your appetite? – O women!
    You were created angels, pure and fair;
    But since the first fell, tempting devils you are.
    You should be men’s bliss, but you prove their rods;
    1225Were there no women, men might live like gods. –
    You ha’ been too much down already. Rise,
    Get from my sight, and henceforth shun my bed;
    I’ll with no strumpet’s breath be poisonèd.
    [She rises.]
    As for your Irish lubrican, that spirit
    1230Whom by prepost’rous charms thy lust hath raised
    In a wrong circle, him I’ll damn more black
    Then any tyrant’s soul.
    Tell me, didst thou bait hooks to draw him to 1235thee,
    Or did he bewitch thee?
    The slave did woo me.
    Tu-whoos in that screech-owls’s language?
    O, who would trust your cork-heeled sex? I think,
    To sate your lust, you would love a horse, a bear,
    A croaking toad, 1240so your hot itching veins
    Might have their bond. Then the wild Irish dart
    Was thrown? Come, how? The manner of this fight?
    ’Twas thus: he gave me this battery first.
    [She gives him the letter.]
    O, I
    Mistake – believe me, all this in beaten gold.
    [She gives him the purse.]
    1245Yet I held out, but at length by this was charmed.
    [She gives him the diamond ring.]
    What? Change your diamond-wench? The act is base –
    Common, but foul; so shall not your disgrace.
    Could not I feed your appetite? – O men!
    You were created angels, pure and fair;
    1250But since the first fell, worse than devils you are.
    You should our shields be, but you prove our rods;
    Were there no men, women might live like gods. –
    Guilty, my lord?
    [Laughing] Yes, guilty, my good lady.
    Nay, you may laugh, but henceforth shun my bed;
    With no whore’s leavings I’ll be poisonèd.
    O’erreached so finely? ’Tis the very diamond
    And letter which I sent. This villainy
    Some spider closely weaves, whose poisoned bulk
    1260I must let forth. [Calling out] Who’s there without?
    (Within) My lord calls.
    Send me the footman.
    [Within] Call the footman to my lord. – Brian, Brian!
    It can be no man else – that Irish Judas,
    Bred in a country where no venom prospers
    But in the nation’s blood, hath thus betrayed me.
    Enter Brian.
    Slave, get you from your service!
    Faat meanst thou by this, now?
    Question me not, nor tempt my fury, villain!
    Couldst thou turn all the mountains in the land
    To hills of gold to give me, here thou stayst not.
    I’faat, I care not.
    Prate not, but get thee gone; I shall send else.
    Ay, do, pridee! I had rather have thee make a scabbard of my guts, and let out all de Irish puddings in my poor belly, den to be a false knave to dee, i’faat. I will never see dine own sweet face more. A mawhid deer a gra! Fare dee well, fare dee well! I will go steal cows again in Ireland.
    He’s damned that raised this whirlwind, which hath blown
    Into her eyes this jealousy. Yet I’ll on,
    I’ll on, stood armèd devils staring in my face.
    To be pursued in flight quickens the race.
    1285Shall my bloodstreams by a wife’s lust be barred?
    Fond woman, no. Iron grows by strokes more hard;
    Lawless desires are seas scorning all bounds,
    Or sulphur which, being rammed up, more confounds;
    Struggling with madmen madness nothing tames;
    1290Winds wrestling with great fires incense the flames.
    Enter Mattheo, [who stands aside], Bellafront, and Orlando [as Pacheco].
    How now, what ails your master?
    H’as taken a younger brother’s purge, forsooth, and that works with him.
    Where is his cloak and rapier?
    He has given up his cloak, and his rapier is bound to the peace. If you look a little higher, you may see that another hath entered into hatband for him too. Six and four have put him into this sweat.
    Where’s all his money?
    ’Tis put over by exchange. His doublet was going to be translated, but for me. If any man would ha’ lent but half a ducat on his beard, the hair of it had stuffed a pair of breeches by this time. I had but one poor penny, and 1305that I was glad to niggle out and buy a holly-wand to grace him through the street. As hap was, his boots were on, and them I dustied, to make people think he had been riding and I had run by him.
    O me! [To Mattheo] How does my sweet Mattheo?
    O rogue, of what devilish stuff are these dice made of? Of the parings of the devil’s corns of his toes, that they run thus damnably?
    I prithee, vex not.
    If any handicraftsman was ever suffered to keep 1315shop in hell, it will be a dice-maker. He’s able to undo more souls than the devil; I played with mine own dice, yet lost. Ha’ you any money?
    ’Las, I ha’ none.
    Must have money, must have some, must have a 1320cloak and rapier and things. Will you go set your lime-twigs and get me some birds, some money?
    What lime-twigs should I set?
    You will not, then? Must have cash and pictures. Do ye hear, frailty? Shall I walk in a Plymouth cloak, 1325that’s to say like a rogue, in my hose and doublet, and a crab-tree cudgel in my hand, and you swim in your satins? Must have money, come!
    [Taking off her gown.]
    Is’t bedtime, master, that you undo my mistress?
    Undo me? Yes, yes, at these riflings 1330I
    Have been too often.
    Help to flay, Pacheco.
    Flaying call you it?
    [To Bellafront] I’ll pawn you, by th’Lord, to your very eyebrows.
    With all my heart; since heaven will have me poor,
    1335As good be drowned at sea as drowned at shore.
    Why, hear you, sir? I’faith, do not make away her gown.
    O, it’s summer, it’s summer; your only fashion for a woman now is to be light, to be light.
    Why, pray, sir, employ some of that money you have of mine.
    Thine? I’ll starve first, I’ll beg first; when I touch a penny of that, let these fingers’ ends rot.
    [Aside] So they may, for that’s past touching. I saw my 1345twenty pounds fly high.
    Knowst thou never a damned broker about the city?
    Damned broker? Yes – five hundred.
    The gown stood me in above twenty ducats; 1350borrow ten of it. Cannot live without silver.
    I’ll make what I can of it, sir; I’ll be your broker.
    [Aside] But not your damned broker. O, thou scurvy knave!
    What makes a wife turn whore but such a slave?
    Exit [with Bellafront’s gown. She weeps.]
    How now, little chick? What ailst? Weeping 1355for a handful of tailor’s shreds? Pox on them! Are there not silks enough at mercer’s?
    I care not for gay feathers, I.
    What dost care for, then? Why dost grieve?
    Why do I grieve? A thousand sorrows strike
    1360At one poor heart, and yet it lives. Mattheo,
    Thou art a gamester; prithee throw at all,
    Set all upon one cast. We kneel and pray,
    And struggle for life, yet must be cast away.
    Meet misery quickly then, split all, sell all,
    1365And when thou hast sold all, spend it. But, I beseech thee,
    Build not thy mind on me to coin thee more.
    To get it wouldst thou have me play the whore?
    ’Twas your profession before I married you.
    Umh! It was, indeed: if all men should be branded
    1370For sins long since laid up, who could be saved?
    The quarter-day’s at hand; how will you do
    To pay the rent, Mattheo?
    Why, do as all of your occupation do against quarter-days: break up house, remove, shift your 1375lodgings. Pox o’your quarters!
    Enter Lodovico.
    Where’s this gallant?
    Signor Lodovico! How does my little Mirror of Knighthood? This is kindly done, i’faith. Welcome, by my 1380troth.
    And how dost, frolic? – Save you, fair lady. – Thou lookst smug and bravely, noble Mat.
    Drink and feed, laugh and lie warm.
    Is this thy wife?
    A poor gentlewoman, sir, whom I make use of a-nights.
    Pay custom to your lips, sweet lady.
    [He kisses her.]
    [Aside to her] Borrow some shells of him. [Aloud] Some wine, sweetheart.
    I’ll send for’t then, i’faith.
    You send for’t? [To Bellafront] Some wine, I prithee.
    [Aside to him] I ha’ no money.
    [Aside to her] ’Sblood, nor I. [Aloud] What wine love you, signor?
    [Giving money to Bellafront]
    Here; or I’ll not stay, I protest. Trouble the 1395gentlewoman too much?
    Exit Bellafront.
    And what news flies abroad, Mattheo?
    Troth, none. O, signor, we ha’ been merry in our days!
    And no doubt shall again. 1400The divine powers
    Never shoot darts at mortal men to kill them.
    You say true.
    Why should we grieve at want? Say the world made thee
    Her minion, that 1405thy head lay in her lap,
    And that she danced thee on her wanton knee,
    She could but give thee a whole world. That’s all,
    And that all’s nothing; the world’s greatest part
    Cannot fill up one corner of thy heart.
    Say the three corners were all filled; alas,
    1410Of what art thou possessed? A thin-blown glass
    Such as by boys is puffed into the air.
    Were twenty kingdoms thine, thou’dst live in care:
    Thou couldst not sleep the better nor live longer,
    Nor merrier be, nor healthfuller, nor stronger.
    1415If, then, thou wantst, thus make that want thy pleasure;
    No man wants all things, nor has all in measure.
    I am the most wretched fellow; sure some left-handed priest christened me, I am so unlucky. I am never out of one puddle or another, still falling.
    1420Enter Bellafront [with wine], and Orlando.
    [To her] Fill out wine to my little finger. [To Lodovico] With my heart, i’faith.
    [He drinks.]
    Thanks, good Mattheo. To your own sweet self. [He drinks.]
    [Aside to Mattheo] All the brokers’ hearts, sir, are made of flint. I can with all my knocking strike but six sparks of fire out of them. Here’s six ducats, if you’ll take them.
    [Aside to him] Give me them. [Taking money] An evil conscience gnaw them all! Moths and plagues hang upon their lousy wardrobes!
    Is this your man, Mattheo? An old servingman?
    You may give me t’other half too, sir – that’s the beggar.
    [To Mattheo] What hast there? Gold?
    A sort of rascals are in my debt God knows 1435what, and they feed me with bits, with crumbs. A pox choke them!
    A word, Mattheo. Be not angry with me.
    Believe it that I know the touch of time
    And can part copper, though it be gilded o’er,
    1440From the true gold. The sails which thou dost spread
    Would show well if they were not borrowèd.
    The sound of thy low fortunes drew me hither;
    I give myself unto thee – prithee use me.
    I will bestow on you a suit of satin
    1445And all things else to fit a gentleman,
    Because I love you.
    Thanks, good, noble knight.
    Call on me when you please. Till then, farewell.
    [To Bellafront] Hast angled? Hast cut up this fresh salmon?
    Wouldst have me be so base?
    It’s base to steal, it’s base to be a whore.
    Thou’t be more base: I’ll make thee keep a door.
    I hope he will not sneak away with all the money, 1455will he?
    Thou seest he does.
    Nay, then, it’s well I set my brains upon an upright last. Though my wits be old, yet they are like a withered pippin, wholesome. Look you, mistress, I told him I had but six 1460ducats of the knave broker, but I had eight, and kept these two for you.
    [He gives her money.]
    Thou shouldst have given him all.
    What, to fly high?
    Like waves, my misery drives on misery.
    Sell his wife’s clothes from her back? Does any poulterer’s wife pull chickens alive? He riots all abroad, wants all at home; he dices, whores, swaggers, swears, cheats, borrows, pawns. I’ll give him hook and line a little more for all this;
    1470Yet sure i’th’ end he’ll delude all my hopes,
    And show me a French trick danced on the ropes.
    Enter at one door Lodovico and Carolo; at another Bots and Mistress Horseleech. Candido and his Bride appear in the shop.
    Hist, hist, Lieutenant Bots, how dost, man?
    Whither are you ambling, Madam Horseleech?
    About worldly profit, sir. How do your worships?
    We want tools, gentlemen, to furnish the trade. They wear out day and night; they wear out till no mettle 1480be left in their back. We hear of two or three new wenches are come up with a carrier, and your old goshawk here [Indicating Horseleech] is flying at them.
    [To Horseleech] And, faith, what flesh have you at home?
    Ordinary dishes. By my troth, sweet men, there’s 1485few good i’th’ city. I am as well furnished as any, and, though I say it, as well customed.
    We have meats of all sorts of dressing. We have stewed meat for your Frenchman, pretty light picking meat for your Italian, and that which is rotten roasted for Don 1490Spaniardo.
    A pox on’t!
    We have poulterer’s ware for your sweet bloods, as dove, chicken, duck, teal, woodcock, and so forth; and butcher’s meat for the citizen. Yet muttons fall very bad 1495this year.
    [Observing Candido and his Bride in the shop] Stay – is not that my patient linen-draper yonder, and my fine young smug mistress, his wife?
    [To Horseleech] Sirrah grannam, I’ll give thee for thy feet twenty crowns, if thou canst but procure me the wearing of yon 1500velvet cap.
    You’d wear another thing besides the cap. You’re a wag.
    [To her] Twenty crowns? We’ll share, and I’ll be your pulley to draw her on.
    Do’t presently; we’ll ha’ some sport.
    [To Lodovico and Carolo] Wheel you about, sweet men. Do you see? I’ll cheapen wares of the man, whilst Bots is doing with his wife.
    To’t. If we come into the shop to do you grace, we’ll call you madam.
    [Aside to Horseleech as they approach the shop] Pox o’your old face! Give it the badge of all scurvy faces, a mask.
    [She puts on a mask.]
    What is’t you lack, gentlewoman? Cambric or lawns, or fine hollands? Pray draw near; I can sell you a pennyworth.
    Some cambric for my old lady.
    Cambric? You shall; the purest thread in Milan.
    Lodovico and Carolo
    [Approaching] Save you, Signor Candido.
    How does my noble master? How my fair mistress?
    [Showing cambric to Bots]
    My worshipful good servant, view it well,
    For ’tis 1520both fine and even.
    [To Horseleech] Cry you mercy, madam; though masked, I thought it should be you by your man. [To Candido] Pray, signor, show her the best, for she commonly deals for good ware.
    Then this shall fit her. – This is for your ladyship.
    [He and Horseleech talk together.]
    [Talking apart to the Bride] A word, I pray. There is a waiting gentlewoman of my lady’s. Her name is Ruina; say’s she’s your kinswoman, and that you should be one of her aunts.
    One of her aunts? Troth, sir, I know her not.
    If it please you to bestow the poor labour of your 1530legs at any time, I will be your convoy thither.
    I am a snail, sir; seldom leave my house. If’t please her to visit me, she shall be welcome.
    Do you hear? The naked truth is my lady hath a young knight, her son, who loves you. You’re made, if you 1535lay hold upon’t. This jewel he sends you.
    [He offers a jewel and takes her by the hand.]
    Sir, I return his love and jewel with scorn. Let go my hand, or I shall call my husband. You are an arrant knave.
    [To Bots] What, will she do?
    Do? They shall all do, if Bots sets upon them once. She was as if she had professed the trade, squeamish at first. At last I showed her this jewel; said a knight sent it her.
    Is’t gold, and right stones?
    Copper, copper; I go a-fishing with these baits. 1545She nibbled, but would not swallow the hook, because the conger-head her husband was by. But she bids the gentleman name any afternoon, and she’ll meet him at her garden house, which I know.
    Is this no lie, now?
    Damn me if –
    O prithee, stay there.
    The twenty crowns, sir.
    Before he [Indicating Carolo] has his work done? But on my knightly word, he shall pay’t thee.
    1555Enter Astolfo, Beraldo, Fontinell, and [Brian], the Irish footman.
    [To Brian] I thought thou hadst been gone into thine own country.
    No, faat, la; I cannot go dis four or tree days.
    Look thee, yonder’s the shop, and that’s the man 1560himself.
    Thou shalt but cheapen, and do as we told thee, to put a jest upon him to abuse his patience.
    I’faat, I doubt my pate shall be knocked. But, sa Crees sa’ me, for your shakes I will run to any linen-draper in 1565hell. Come, predee.
    Astolfo, Beraldo, and Fontinell
    Save you, gallants.
    Lodovico and Carolo
    O, well met!
    [To Horseleech] You’ll give no more, you say? I cannot take it.
    Truly, I’ll give no more.
    It must not fetch it.
    [To Astolfo, Bernardo, and Fontinell]
    What would you have, sweet gentlemen?
    [Indicating Brian] Nay, here’s the customer.
    Exeunt Bots and Horseleech.
    [Aside] The garden house, you say? We’ll bolt out your roguery.
    [To Astolfo, Bernardo, and Fontinell]
    I will but lay these parcels by; my men
    Are all at Custom-House unloading wares.
    If cambric you would deal in, there’s the best;
    All Milan cannot sample it.
    [He displays cambric.]
    [To him] Do you hear? One, two, three – ’sfoot, there came in four gallants! Sure your wife is slipped up, and the fourth man, I hold 1580my life, is grafting your warden tree.
    Ha, ha, ha! You gentlemen are full of jest.
    If she be up, she’s gone some wares to show;
    I have above as good wares as below.
    Have you so? Nay, then –
    [To Astolfo, Bernardo, and Fontinell]
    Now, gentlemen, is’t cambrics?
    I predee, now, let me have de best wares.
    What’s that he says, pray, gentlemen?
    Marry, he says we are like to have the best wars.
    The best wars? All are bad. Yet wars do good.
    1590And, like to surgeons, let sick kingdoms blood.
    Faat a devil prat’st tou so? A pox on dee! I predee, let me see some hollen, to make linen shirts, for fear my body be lousy.
    Indeed, I understand no word he speaks.
    Marry, he says that at the siege in Holland there was much bawdry used among the soldiers, though they were lousy.
    It may be so; that’s likely – true, indeed.
    In every garden, sir, does grow that weed.
    Pox on de gardens, and de weeds, and de fool’s cap dere, and de clouts, hear? Dost make a hobby-horse of me?
    [He tears the cambric.]
    All Gentlemen
    O fie, he has torn the cambric!
    ’Tis no matter.
    It frets me to the soul.
    So does’t not me.
    My customers do oft for remnants call;
    These are two remnants now, no loss at all.
    But let me tell you, were my servants here,
    1610It would ha’ cost more. – Thank you, gentlemen.
    I use you well; pray know my shop again.
    All Gentlemen
    Ha, ha, ha! Come, come; let’s go, let’s go.
    Enter Mattheo, brave, and Bellafront.
    How am I suited, Front? Am I not gallant, ha?
    Yes, sir, you are suited well.
    Exceeding, passing well, and to the time.
    The tailor has played his part with you.
    And I have played a gentleman’s part with my tailor, for I owe him for the making of it.
    And why did you so, sir?
    To keep the fashion. It’s your only fashion now of your best rank of gallants to make their tailors wait for their money. Neither were it wisdom, indeed, to pay them upon the first edition of a new suit, for commonly 1625the suit is owing for when the linings are worn out, and there’s no reason then that the tailor should be paid before the mercer.
    Is this the suit the knight bestowed upon you?
    This is the suit, and I need not shame to wear it, 1630for better men than I would be glad to have suits bestowed on them. It’s a generous fellow, but – pox on him – we whose pericranions are the very limbecks and stillatories of good wit, and fly high, must drive liquor out of stale gaping oysters. Shallow knight, poor squire Tinacceo! I’ll 1635make a wild Cathaian of forty such. Hang him, he’s an ass – he’s always sober.
    This is your fault, to wound your friends still.
    No, faith, Front; Lodovico is a noble Slavonian. It’s more rare to see him in a woman’s company than for a 1640Spaniard to go into England and to challenge the English fencers there. [Knocking within.] One knocks – see.
    [Exit Bellafront.]
    [Sings.] La, fa, sol, la, fa, la.Rustle in silks and satins! There’s music in this, and a taffeta petticoat; it makes both fly high. Catso!
    Enter Bellafront; after her Orlando, like himself, with 1645four Men after him.
    Mattheo, ’tis my father!
    Ha? Father? It’s no matter; he finds no tattered prodigals here.
    [To the Men] Is not the door good enough to hold your blue 1650coats? Away, knaves!
    [Exeunt four Men.]
    Wear not your clothes threadbare at knees for me; beg heaven’s blessing, not mine. [To Mattheo] O, cry your worship mercy, sir! Was somewhat bold to talk to this gentlewoman your wife here.
    [Baring his head] A poor gentlewoman, sir.
    Stand not, sir, bare to me. I ha’ read oft
    That serpents who creep low belch ranker poison
    Than wingèd dragons do that fly aloft.
    If it offend you, sir, ’tis for my pleasure.
    Your pleasure be’t, sir. [To both] Umh, is this your palace?
    Yes, and our kingdom, for ’tis our content.
    It’s a very poor kingdom, then. What, are all your subjects gone a-sheepshearing? Not a maid? Not a man? Not so much as a cat? You keep a good house, belike, just like one of your profession: every room with bare walls, 1665and a half-headed bed to vault upon, as all your bawdy-houses are. Pray, who are your upholsters? O, the spiders, I see; they bestow hangings upon you.
    Bawdy-house? Zounds, sir –
    O sweet Mattheo, peace.
    [To Orlando, kneeling]
    Upon my knees
    1670I do beseech you, sir, not to arraign me
    For sins which heaven, I hope, long since hath pardoned.
    Those flames, like lightning flashes, are so spent
    The heat no more remains than, where ships went
    Or where birds cut the air, the print remains.
    Pox on him! Kneel to a dog?
    She that’s a whore
    Lives gallant, fares well, is not, like me, poor.
    I ha’ now as small acquaintance with that sin
    As if I had never known it, that never been.
    No acquaintance with it? What maintains thee, then? How dost live, then? Has thy husband any lands, any rents coming in, any stock going, any ploughs jogging, any ships sailing? Hast thou any wares to turn, so much as to get a single penny by?
    Yes, thou hast ware to sell;
    1685Knaves are thy chapmen, and thy shop is hell.
    Do you hear, sir? –
    So, sir, I do hear, sir, more of you than you dream I do.
    You fly a little too high, sir.
    Why, sir, too high?
    I ha’ suffered your tongue, like a barred cater-trey, to run all this while, and ha’ not stopped it.
    Well, sir, you talk like a gamester.
    If you come to bark at her because she’s a poor rogue, look you, here’s a fine path, sir, and there, there, the 1695door.
    Your blue-coats stay for you, sir. I love a good honest roaring boy, and so –
    That’s the devil.
    Sir, sir, I’ll ha’ no Joves in my house to thunder avaunt. She shall live and be maintained when you, like a keg of musty sturgeon, shall stink. Where? In your coffin. How? Be a musty fellow, and lousy.
    I know she shall be maintained, but how? She’s like a 1705quean, thou like a knave. She like a whore, thou like a thief.
    Thief? Zounds! Thief?
    Good, dearest Mat! – Father!
    Pox on you both! I’ll not be braved. New satin 1710scorns to be put down with bare bawdy velvet. Thief!
    Ay, thief. Thou’rt a murderer, a cheater, a whoremonger, a pot-hunter, a borrower, a beggar –
    Dear father –
    An old ass, a dog, a churl, a chuff, an usurer, a 1715villain, a moth, a mangy mule with an old velvet foot-cloth on his back, sir.
    O me!
    Varlet, for this I’ll hang thee.
    Ha, ha! Alas!
    Thou keepst a man of mine here, under my nose.
    Under thy beard.
    As arrant a smell-smock, for an old mutton-monger, as thyself.
    No, as yourself.
    As arrant a purse-taker as ever cried ‘Stand!’, yet a good fellow, I confess, and valiant. But he’ll bring thee to th’gallows; you both have robbed of late two poor country pedlars.
    How’s this? How’s this? Dost thou fly high? Rob 1730pedlars? – Bear witness, Front! – Rob pedlars? My man and I a thief?
    [To Orlando] O sir, no more!
    Ay, knave, two pedlars. Hue and cry is up, warrants are out, and I shall see thee climb a ladder.
    And come down again as well as a bricklayer or a tiler. [Aside] How the vengeance knows he this? [Aloud] If I be hanged, I’ll tell the people I married old Frescobaldo’s daughter. I’ll frisco you, and your old carcass.
    Tell what thou canst. If I stay here longer I shall be 1740hanged too, for being in thy company. [To both] Therefore, as I found you I leave you –
    [Aside to Bellafront] Kneel, and get money of him.
    A knave and a quean, a thief and a strumpet, a couple of beggars, a brace of baggages.
    [Aside to Bellafront] Hang upon him. [Aloud] Ay, ay, sir, fare you well. We are so. [Aside to Bellafront] Follow close. [Aloud] We are beggars – [Aside] in satin. [Aside to Bellafront] To him!
    [To Orlando, hanging upon him]
    Is this your comfort, when so many years
    You ha’ left me frozen to death?
    Freeze still, starve still!
    Yes, so I shall. I must. I must and will.
    If, as you say, I’m poor, relieve me then;
    Let me not sell my body to base men.
    You call me strumpet. Heaven knows I am none;
    Your cruelty may drive me to be one.
    1755Let not that sin be yours, let not the shame
    Of ‘common whore’ live longer than my name.
    That cunning bawd, Necessity, night and day
    Plots to undo me; drive that hag away,
    Lest being at lowest ebb, as now I am,
    1760I sink for ever.
    Lowest ebb? What ebb?
    So poor that, though to tell it be my shame,
    I am not worth a dish to hold my meat.
    I am yet poorer: I want bread to eat.
    It’s not seen by your cheeks.
    [Aside] I think she has read an homily to tickle to the old
    Want bread? There’s satin; bake that.
    ’Sblood, make pasties of my clothes?
    A fair new cloak, stew that; an excellent gilt rapier –
    Will you eat that, sir?
    I could feast ten good fellows with those hangers.
    The pox, you shall!
    [To Bellafront] I shall not, till thou begst, think thou art poor;
    And when thou begst I’ll feed thee at my door,
    As I feed dogs, with bones. Till then beg, borrow,
    Pawn, steal, and hang. Turn bawd, when thou’rt no whore.
    [Aside] My heart-strings sure 1780would crack, were they strained more.
    This is your father, your damned – confusion light upon all the generation of you! He can come bragging hither with four white herrings at’s tail in blue coats without roes in their bellies, but I may starve ere he 1785give me so much as a cob.
    What tell you me of this? Alas!
    Go, trot after your dad. Do you capitulate; I’ll pawn not for you, I’ll not steal to be hanged for such an hypocritical, close, common harlot. Away, you dog! 1790Brave, i’faith! Ud’s foot, give me some meat.
    Yes, sir.
    Goodman Slave, my man, too, is galloped to the devil o’the tother side. Pacheco, I’ll ‘checo’ you. – Is this your dad’s day? England, they say, is the only hell for horses, and 1795only paradise for women. Pray, get you to that paradise, because you’re called an Honest Whore. There, they live none but honest whores – with a pox. Marry, here in our city, all your sex are but foot-cloth nags; the master no sooner lights but the man leaps into the saddle.
    1800Enter Bellafront [with meat and wine].
    Will you sit down, I pray, sir?
    [Sits down on a stool and eats]
    I could tear, by th’Lord, his flesh, and eat his midriff in salt, as I eat this. [To her] Must I choke? – My father Frescobaldo! I shall make a pitiful hog-louse of you, 1805Orlando, if you fall once into my fingers. – Here’s the savourest meat; I ha’ got a stomach with chafing. What rogue should tell him of those two pedlars? A plague choke him, and gnaw him to the bare bones! Come, fill.
    [She fills up his glass.]
    Thou sweatst with very anger. Good sweet, vex not; 1810’Las, ’tis no fault of mine.
    Where didst buy this mutton? I never felt better ribs.
    A neighbour sent it me.
    Enter Orlando [as Pacheco].
    Ha, neighbour? Faugh! My mouth stinks. You whore, do you beg victuals for me? Is this satin doublet to be bombasted with broken meat?
    [He] takes up the stool.
    What will you do, sir?
    Beat out the brains of a beggarly –
    Beat out an ass’s head of your own. – Away, mistress!
    Exit Bellafront.
    Zounds, do but touch one hair of her, and I’ll so quilt your cap with old iron that your coxcomb shall ache the worse these seven years for’t. Does she look like a roasted rabbit, that you must have the head for the brains?
    Ha, ha! Go out of my doors, you rogue. Away, four marks; trudge.
    Four marks? No, sir! My twenty pound that you ha’ made fly high, and I am gone.
    Must I be fed with chippings? You’re best get a 1830clapdish, and say you’re proctor to some spital-house. – Where hast thou been, Pacheco? Come hither, my little turkey-cock.
    I cannot abide, sir, to see a woman wronged, not I.
    Sirrah, here was my father-in-law today.
    Pish, then you’re full of crowns.
    Hang him! He would ha’ thrust crowns upon me to have fallen in again, but I scorn cast clothes, or any man’s gold.
    [Aside] But mine. [Aloud] How did he brook that, sir?
    O, swore like a dozen of drunken tinkers. At last, growing foul in words, he and four of his men drew upon me, sir.
    In your house? Would I had been by.
    I made no more ado, but fell to my old lock, and 1845so thrashed my blue-coats, and old crab-tree-face my father-in-law; and then walked like a lion in my grate.
    O noble master!
    Sirrah, he could tell me of the robbing the two pedlars, and that warrants are out for us both.
    Good sir, I like not those crackers.
    Crackhalter, wu’t set thy foot to mine?
    How, sir? At drinking?
    We’ll pull that old crow my father, rob thy master. I know the house, thou the servants. The purchase is 1855rich; the plot to get it easy; the dog will not part from a bone.
    Pluck’t out of his throat, then. I’ll snarl for one, if this [Indicating his sword] can bite.
    Say no more, say no more, old cole. Meet me anon at 1860the sign of the Shipwreck.
    Yes, sir.
    And dost hear, man? The Shipwreck.
    Thou’rt at the shipwreck now, and like a swimmer
    Bold but unexpert with those waves dost play
    1865Whose dalliance, whorelike, is to cast thee away.
    Enter Hippolito and Bellafront.
    [Aside] And here’s another vessel, better fraught,
    But as ill-manned. Her sinking will be wrought
    If rescue come not. Like a man-of-war
    1870I’ll therefore bravely out. Somewhat I’ll do,
    And either save them both or perish too.
    It is my fate to be bewitchèd by those eyes.
    Fate? Your folly.
    Why should my face thus mad you? ’Las, those colours
    1875Are wound up long ago which beauty spread;
    The flow’rs that once grew here are witherèd,
    You turned my black soul white, made it look new;
    And, should I sin, it ne’er should be with you.
    Your hand; I’ll offer you fair play. When first
    1880We met i’th’ lists together, you remember,
    You were a common rebel. With one parley
    I won you to come in.
    You did.
    I’ll try
    1885If now I can beat down this chastity
    With the same ordnance. Will you yield this fort
    If with the power of argument now, as then,
    I get of you the conquest? As before
    I turned you honest, now to turn you whore,
    1890By force of strong persuasion?
    If you can,
    I yield.
    The alarm’s struck up; I’m your man.
    A woman gives defiance.
    ’Tis a brave battle to encounter sin.
    You men that are to fight in the same war
    To which I’m pressed, and plead at the same bar
    1900To win a woman, if you would have me speed,
    Send all your wishes.
    No doubt you’re heard. Proceed.
    To be a harlot, that you stand upon,
    The very name’s a charm to make you one.
    1905Harlot was a dame of so divine
    And ravishing touch that she was concubine
    To an English king. Her sweet bewitching eye
    Did the king’s heart-strings in such love-knots tie
    That even the coyest was proud when she could hear
    1910Men say ‘Behold, another Harlot there’;
    And after her all women that were fair
    Were Harlots called, as to this day some are.
    Besides, her dalliance she so well does mix
    That she’s in Latin called the meretrix.
    1915Thus for the name. For the profession, this:
    Who lives in bondage, lives laced. The chief bliss
    This world below can yield is liberty,
    And who than whores with looser wings dare fly?
    As Juno’s proud bird spreads the fairest tail,
    1920So does a strumpet hoist the loftiest sail.
    She’s no man’s slave; men are her slaves. Her eye
    Moves not on wheels screwed up with jealousy.
    She, horsed or coached, does merry journeys make,
    Free as the sun in his gilt zodiac;
    1925As bravely does she shine, as fast she’s driven,
    But stays not long in any house of heaven,
    But shifts from sign to sign, her amorous prizes
    More rich being when she’s down than when she rises.
    In brief, gentlemen haunt them, soldiers fight for them;
    1930Few men but know them, few or none abhor them.
    Thus for sport’s sake speak I as to a woman
    Whom, as the worst ground, I would turn to common;
    But you I would enclose for mine own bed.
    So should a husband be dishonourèd.
    Dishonoured? Not a whit. To fall to one,
    Besides your husband, is to fall to none,
    For one no number is.
    Faith, should you take
    One in your bed, would you that reckoning make?
    1940’Tis time you sound retreat.
    Say, have I won?
    Is the day ours?
    The battle’s but half done.
    None but yourself have yet sounded alarms;
    1945Let us strike too, else you dishonour arms.
    If you can win the day, the glory’s yours.
    To prove a woman should not be a whore,
    When she was made she had one man and no more.
    1950Yet she was tied to laws then, for even then,
    ’Tis said, she was not made for men, but man.
    Anon, t’increase earth’s brood, the law was varied:
    Men should take many wives; and though they married
    According to that act, yet ’tis not known
    1955But that those wives were only tied to one.
    New parliaments were since; for now one woman
    Is shared between three hundred. Nay, she’s common,
    Common as spotted leopards, whom for sport
    Men hunt to get the flesh, but care not for’t.
    1960So spread they nets of gold, and tune their calls,
    To enchant silly women to take falls,
    Swearing they are angels, which that they may win
    They’ll hire the devil to come with false dice in.
    O Sirens’ subtle tunes! Yourselves you flatter
    1965And our weak sex betray. So men love water;
    It serves to wash their hands, but being once foul
    The water down is poured, cast out of doors.
    And even of such base use do men make whores.
    A harlot, like a hen, more sweetness reaps
    1970To pick men one by one up than in heaps;
    Yet all feeds but confounding. Say you should taste me:
    I serve but for the time, and when the day
    Of war is done, am cashiered out of pay.
    If like lame soldiers I could beg, that’s all,
    1975And there’s lust’s rendezvous – an hospital.
    Who then would be a man’s slave, a man’s woman?
    She’s half starved the first day that feeds in common.
    You should not feed so, but with me alone.
    If I drink poison by stealth, is’t not all one?
    1980Is’t not rank poison still? With you alone!
    Nay, say you spied a courtesan whose soft side
    To touch you’d sell your birthright, for one kiss
    Be racked. She’s won, you’re sated. What follows this?
    O, then you curse that bawd that tolled you in,
    1985The night; you curse your lust, you loathe the sin,
    You loathe her very sight; and ere the day
    Arise you rise, glad when you’re stol’n away.
    Even then when you are drunk with all her sweets
    There’s no true pleasure in a strumpet’s sheets.
    1990Women whom lust so prostitutes to sale,
    Like dancers upon ropes, once seen, are stale.
    If all the threads of harlots’ lives are spun
    So coarse as you would make them, tell me why
    You so long loved the trade.
    If all the threads
    Of harlots’ lives be fine as you would make them,
    Why do not you persuade your wife turn whore,
    And all dames else to fall before that sin?
    Like an ill husband, though I knew the same
    2000To be my undoing, followed I that game.
    O, when the work of lust had earned my bread,
    To taste it how I trembled, lest each bit
    Ere it went down should choke me chewing it!
    My bed seemed like a cabin hung in hell,
    2005The bawd hell’s porter, and the lickerish wine
    The pander fetched was like an easy fine,
    For which, methought, I leased away my soul;
    And oftentimes, even in my quaffing bowl,
    Thus said I to myself: ‘I am a whore,
    2010And have drunk down thus much confusion more.’
    It is a common rule, and ’tis most true,
    Two of one trade never love; no more do you.
    Why are you sharp ’gainst that you once professed?
    Why dote you on that which you did once detest?
    2015I cannot, seeing she’s woven of such bad stuff,
    Set colours on a harlot base enough.
    Nothing did make me, when I loved them best,
    To loathe them more than this: when in the street
    A fair young modest damsel I did meet,
    2020She seemed to all a dove when I passed by,
    And I to all a raven. Every eye
    That followed her went with a bashful glance;
    At me each bold and jeering countenance
    Darted forth scorn. To her as if she had been
    2025Some tower unvanquished would they vail;
    ’Gainst me swol’n rumour hoisted every sail.
    She, crowned with reverend praises, passed by them;
    I, though with face masked, could not ’scape the ‘hem’.
    For – as if heaven had set strange marks on whores
    2030Because they should be pointing-stocks to men –
    Dress up in civilest shape a courtesan,
    Let her walk saint-like, noteless, and unknown,
    Yet she’s betrayed by some trick of her own.
    Were harlots therefore wise, they’d be sold dear,
    2035For men account them good but for one year,
    And then like almanacs whose dates are gone
    They are thrown by and no more looked upon.
    Who’ll therefore backward fall, who will launch forth
    In seas so foul, for ventures no more worth?
    2040Lust’s voyage hath, if not this course, this cross:
    Buy ne’er so cheap, your ware comes home with loss.
    What, shall I sound retreat? The battle’s done;
    Let the world judge which of us two have won.
    You? Nay, then, as cowards do in fight,
    What by blows cannot, shall be saved by flight.
    Fly to earth’s fixèd centre, to the caves
    Of everlasting horror, I’ll pursue thee,
    Though loaden with sins, even to hell’s brazen doors.
    2050Thus wisest men turn fools, doting on whores.
    Enter the Duke, Lodovico, and Orlando [as Pacheco]; after them Infelice, Carolo, Astolfo, Beraldo, [and] Fontinell.
    I beseech your Grace, though your eye be so piercing as under a poor blue coat to cull out an honest father from 2055an old servingman, yet, good my lord, discover not the plot to any but only this gentleman that is now to be an actor in our ensuing comedy.
    Thou hast thy wish, Orlando. Pass unknown;
    Sforza shall only go along with thee,
    2060To see that warrant served upon thy son.
    To attach him upon felony for two pedlars, is’t not so?
    Right, my noble knight. Those pedlars were two knaves of mine; he fleeced the men before, and now he purposes to flay the master. He will rob me; his teeth water to 2065be nibbling at my gold. But this shall hang him by th’gills, till I pull him on shore.
    Away; ply you the business.
    Thanks to your Grace. But, my good lord, for my daughter –
    You know what I have said.
    And remember what I have sworn. She’s more honest, on my soul, than one of the Turk’s wenches watched by a hundred eunuchs.
    So she had need, for the Turks make them whores.
    He’s a Turk that makes any woman a whore; he’s no true Christian, I’m sure. I commit your Grace.
    Here, sir.
    [The Duke and Infelice step aside.]
    Signor Frescobaldo –
    Frisking again? Pacheco!
    Uds-so, Pacheco! We’ll have some sport with this warrant; ’tis to apprehend all suspected persons in the house. Besides, there’s one Bots, a pander, and one Madam Horseleech, a bawd, that have abused my friend; those two 2085conies will we ferret into the purse-net.
    Let me alone for dabbing them o’th’ neck. Come, come.
    Do ye hear, gallants? Meet me anon at Mattheo’s.
    Carolo, Astolfo, Beraldo, and Fontinell
    Exeunt Lodovido and Orlando.
    [Speaking aside to Infelice]
    Th’old fellow sings that note thou didst before,
    Only his tunes are that she is no whore,
    But that she sent his letters and his gifts
    Out of a noble triumph o’er his lust,
    To show she trampled his assaults in dust.
    ’Tis a good, honest servant, that old man.
    I doubt no less.
    And it may be my husband,
    Because when once this woman was unmasked
    He levelled all her thoughts and made them fit,
    2100Now he’d mar all again to try his wit.
    It may be so, too, for to turn a harlot
    Honest it must be by strong antidotes:
    ’Tis rare, as to see panthers change their spots.
    And when she’s once a star fixed and shines bright,
    2105Though ’twere impiety then to dim her light,
    Because we see such tapers seldom burn,
    Yet ’tis the pride and glory of some men
    To change her to a blazing star again;
    And it may be Hippolito does no more.
    2110[Aloud to the Gentlemen] It cannot be but you’re acquainted all
    With that same madness of our son-in-law,
    That dotes so on a courtesan.
    Carolo, Astolfo, Beraldo, and Fontinell
    Yes, my lord.
    All the city thinks he’s a whoremonger.
    Yet I warrant he’ll swear no man marks him.
    ’Tis like so, for when a man goes a-wenching is as if he had a strong stinking breath; everyone smells him out, yet he feels it not, though it be ranker than the sweat of sixteen bearwarders.
    I doubt, then, you have all those stinking breaths;
    You might be all smelt out.
    Troth, my lord, I think we are all as you ha’ been in your youth when you went a-maying; we all love to hear the cuckoo sing upon other men’s trees.
    It’s well yet you confess.
    [To Infelice] But, girl, thy bed
    Shall not be parted with a courtesan. –
    ’Tis strange!
    No frown of mine, no frown of the poor lady –
    My abused child, his wife – no care of fame,
    Of honour, heaven or hell, no not that name
    2130Of common strumpet, can affright or woo
    Him to abandon her. The harlot does undo him;
    She has bewitched him, robbed him of his shape,
    Turned him into a beast. His reason’s lost.
    You see he looks wild, does he not?
    I ha’ noted
    New moons in’s face, my lord, all full of change.
    He’s no more like unto Hippolito
    Than dead men are to living – never sleeps,
    Or if he do, it’s dreams; and in those dreams
    2140His arms work, and then cries ‘Sweet –’ What’s her name?
    [To Astolfo] What’s the drab’s name?
    In troth, my lord, I know not;
    I know no drabs, not I.
    O, Bellafront!
    2145And catching her fast cries ‘My Bellafront!’
    A drench that’s able to kill a horse cannot kill this disease of smock-smelling, my lord, if it have once eaten deep.
    I’ll try all physic, and this med’cine first:
    2150I have directed warrants strong and peremptory –
    To purge our city Milan, and to cure
    The outward parts, the suburbs – for the attaching
    Of all those women who, like gold, want weight.
    Cities, like ships, should have no idle freight.
    No, my lord, and light wenches are no idle freight. But what’s your Grace’s reach in this?
    This, Carolo: if she whom my son dotes on
    Be in that muster-book enrolled, he’ll shame
    Ever t’approach one of such noted name.
    But say she be not?
    Yet on harlots’ heads
    New laws shall fall so heavy, and such blows
    Shall give to those that haunt them, that Hippolito,
    If not for fear of law, for love to her,
    2165If he love truly, shall her bed forbear.
    Attach all the light heels i’th’ city and clap ’em up? Why, my lord, you dive into a well unsearchable. All the whores within the walls, and without the walls? I would not be he should meddle with them for ten such dukedoms; 2170the army that you speak on is able to fill all the prisons within this city, and to leave not a drinking-room in any tavern besides.
    They only shall be caught that are of note;
    Harlots in each street flow.
    2175The fish being thus i’th’ net, ourself will sit,
    And with eye most severe dispose of it. –
    Come, girl.
    [Exeunt Duke and Infelice.]
    Arraign the poor whore!
    I’ll not miss that sessions.
    Nor I.
    Nor I, though I hold up my hand there myself.
    Enter Mattheo, Orlando [as Pacheco], and Lodovico.
    Let who will come, my noble chevalier; I can but play the kind host and bid ’em welcome.
    We’ll trouble your house, Mattheo, but as Dutchmen do in taverns: drink, be merry, and be gone.
    [Aside] Indeed, if you be right Dutchmen, if you fall to drinking, you must be gone.
    The worst is, my wife is not at home. But we’ll fly 2190high, my generous knight, for all that. There’s no music when a woman is in the consort.
    [Aside] No, for she’s like a pair of virginals,
    Always with jacks at her tail.
    Enter Astolfo, Carolo, Beraldo, [and] Fontinell.
    See, the covey is sprung.
    Astolfo, Carolo, Beraldo, and Fontinell
    Save you, gallants.
    Happily encountered, sweet bloods.
    Gentlemen, you all know Signor Candido, the linen-draper, he that’s more patient than a brown baker upon 2200the day when he heats his oven and has forty scolds about him.
    Astolfo, Carolo, Beraldo, and Fontinell
    Yes, we know him all. What of him?
    Would it not be a good fit of mirth to make a piece of English cloth of him, and to stretch him on the tenters 2205till the threads of his own natural humour crack, by making him drink healths, tobacco, dance, sing bawdy songs, or to run any bias according as we think good to cast him?
    ’Twere a morris dance worth the seeing.
    But the old fox is so crafy we shall hardly hunt him out 2210of his den.
    To that train I ha’ given fire already, and the hook to draw him hither is to see certain pieces of lawn which I told him I have to sell, and indeed have such. – Fetch them down, Pacheco.
    Yes, sir; I’m your water-spaniel, and will fetch anything. [Aside] But I’ll fetch one dish of meat anon shall turn your stomach, and that’s a constable.
    Enter Bots, ushering Mistress Horseleech.
    Astolfo, Carolo, Beraldo, and Fontinell
    How now, how now?
    What galley-foist is this?
    Peace! Two dishes of stewed prunes: a bawd and a pander. – My worthy Lieutenant Bots! Why, now I see thou’rt a man of thy word. Welcome. – Welcome, Mistress Horseleech. – Pray, gentlemen, salute this reverend matron.
    [They kiss her.]
    Thanks to all your worships.
    I bade a drawer send in wine, too. Did none come along with thee, grannam, but the lieutenant?
    None came along with me but Bots, if it like you worship.
    Who the pox should come along with you but Bots?
    Enter two Vintners [with four pottles of wine].
    Astolfo, Carolo, Beraldo, and Fontinell
    O, brave! March fair!
    Are you come? That’s well.
    Here’s ordnance able to sack a city.
    Come, repeat, read this inventory.
    1 Vintner
    Imprimis, a pottle of Greek wine, a pottle of Peter-sameene, a pottle of Charneco, and a pottle of Leatica.
    You’re paid?
    22402 Vintner
    Yes, sir.
    Exeunt Vintners.
    So shall some of us be anon, I fear.
    Here’s a hot day towards. But zounds, this is the life out of which a soldier sucks sweetness. When this artillery goes off roundly, some must drop to the ground [Pointing at each of the pottles in turn]: 2245cannon, demi-cannon, saker, and basilisk.
    Give fire, lieutenant.
    [Pouring out wine] So, so. Must I venture first upon the breach? To you all, gallants; Bots sets upon you all.
    [He drinks.]
    All Gentlemen
    It’s hard, Bots, if we pepper not you as well as 2250you pepper us.
    [They drink.]
    Enter Candido.
    My noble linen-draper! – Some wine! – Welcome, old lad.
    You’re welcome, signor.
    [To him] These lawns, sir?
    Presently. My man is gone for them. [Indicating the wine] We ha’ rigged a fleet, you see here, to sail about the world.
    A dangerous voyage, sailing in such ships.
    There’s no casting overboard yet.
    [To Horseleech] Because you are an old lady, I will have you be acquainted with this grave citizen. Pray bestow your lips upon him, and bid him welcome.
    Any citizen shall be most welcome to me. [She kisses Candido and addresses him.] I have used to buy ware at your shop.
    It may be so, good madam.
    Your prentices know my dealings well. I trust your good wife be in good case. If it please you, bear her a token from my lips, by word of mouth.
    [She kisses him.]
    I pray, no more! Forsooth, ’tis very well;
    Indeed, I 2270love no sweetmeats. [Aside] Sh’as a breath
    Stinks worse than fifty polecats.
    [Talking apart to Lodovico] Sir, a word –
    Is she a lady?
    A woman of good house, and an ancient. She’s a bawd.
    A bawd?
    [To Mattheo] Sir, I’ll steal hence, and see your 2275lawns
    Some other time.
    Steal out of such company? Pacheco, my man, is but gone for ’em. – Lieutenant Bots, drink to this worthy old fellow, and teach him to fly high.
    All Gentlemen
    Swagger! And make him do’t on his knees.
    How, Bots? Now bless me, what do I with Bots?
    [Bots pours out wine.]
    No wine in sooth, no wine, good Master Bots.
    Greybeard, goat’s pizzle, ’tis a health. Heave this [Indicating the wine] in your guts, or this [Showing a dagger] there. I will sing a bawdy song, sir, because your verjuice face is melancholy, to make liquor go 2285down glib. Will you fall on your marrowbones, and pledge this health? ’Tis to my mistress, a whore.
    Here’s ratsbane upon ratsbane, Master Bots.
    I pray, sir, pardon me. You are a soldier;
    Press me not to this service. I am old,
    And shoot not in such pot-guns.
    Cap, I’ll teach you.
    To drink healths is to drink sickness. – Gentlemen,
    Pray rescue me.
    Zounds, who dare?
    [No one moves.]
    All Gentlemen
    We shall ha’ stabbing then?
    I ha’ reckonings to cast up, good Master Bots.
    [Giving him wine] This will make you cast ’em up better.
    [To Candido] Why does your hand shake so?
    The palsy, signors, danceth in my blood.
    Pipe, with a pox, sir, then! Or I’ll make your blood 2300dance –
    [Touching his dagger]
    Hold, hold, good Master Bots, I drink.
    [He kneels.]
    All Gentlemen
    To whom?
    To the old countess there.
    [He drinks.]
    To me, old boy? This is he that never drunk wine!
    2305Once again, to’t.
    [Candido slowly finishes the wine.]
    [Aside] With much ado the poison is got down,
    Though I can scarce get up. Never before
    Drank I a whore’s health, nor will never more.
    [He rises.]
    Enter Orlando [as Pacheco] with lawns.
    Hast been at gallows?
    Yes, sir, for I make account to suffer today.
    [To Candido] Look, signor, here’s the commodity.
    Your price?
    [Using his fingers] Thus.
    No, too dear. [Using his fingers] Thus.
    No. O, fie, you must fly higher! Yet take ’em home. Trifles shall not make us quarrel. We’ll agree; you shall have them, and a pennyworth. I’ll fetch money at your shop.
    Be it so, good signor; send me going.
    Going? [To Orlando] A deep bowl of wine for Signor Candido.
    He would be going.
    I’ll rather stay than go so. Stop your bowl.
    Enter Constable and Billmen.
    How now?
    Is’t Shrove Tuesday, that these ghosts walk?
    What’s your business, sir?
    From the Duke. You are the man we look for, signor. I have warrant here from the Duke to apprehend you upon felony for robbing two pedlars. I charge you 2330i’th’ Duke’s name, go quickly.
    Is the wind turned? Well, this is that old wolf my father-in-law. [To Orlando] Seek out your mistress, sirrah.
    Yes, sir. [Aside] As shafts by piecing are made strong,
    So shall thy life be straightened by this wrong.
    2335All Gentlemen
    In troth, we are sorry.
    Brave men must be crossed. Pish, it’s but Fortune’s dice roving against me. [To the Constable] Come, sir, pray use me like a gentleman; let me not be carried through the streets like a pageant.
    If these gentlemen please, you shall go along with them.
    All Gentlemen
    Be’t so; come.
    [To Bots] What are you, sir?
    I, sir? Sometimes a figure, sometimes a cipher, as the 2345state has occasion to cast up her accounts. I’m a soldier.
    Your name is Bots, is’t not?
    Bots is my name; Bots is known to this company.
    I know you are, sir. [Indicating Horseleech] What’s she?
    A gentlewoman, my mother.
    [To Billmen] Take ’em both along.
    Me, sirrr?
    Ay, sirrr.
    If he swagger, raise the street.
    Gentlemen, Gentlemen, whither will you drag us?
    To the garden house. Bots, are we even with you?
    To Bridewell with ’em!
    You will answer this.
    Better than a challenge. I have warrant for my work, sir.
    Exeunt [Billmen with Bots and Mistress Horseleech].
    We’ll go before.
    Pray do. –
    Exeunt [all but Constable and Candido].
    Who? Signor Candido? A citizen
    Of your degree consorted thus, and revelling
    In such a house?
    Why, sir? What house, I pray?
    Lewd and defamed.
    Is’t so? Thanks, sir; I’m gone.
    What have you there?
    Lawns which I bought, sir, of the gentleman
    That keeps the house.
    And I have warrant here
    To search for such stol’n ware. These lawns are stol’n.
    So he’s the thief, you the receiver.
    I’m sorry for this chance; I must commit you.
    Me, sir? For what?
    These goods are found upon you,
    And you must answer’t.
    Must I so?
    Most certain.
    I’ll send for bail.
    I dare not. Yet, because
    You are a citizen of worth, you shall not
    Be made a pointing-stock, but without guard
    Pass only with myself.
    To Bridewell too?
    No remedy.
    Yes, patience. Being not mad,
    They had me once to Bedlam. Now I’m drawn
    To Bridewell loving no whores.
    You will buy lawn!
    Enter at one door Hippolito; at another Lodovico, Astolfo, 2390Carolo, Beraldo, [and] Fontinell.
    [To his companions] Yonder’s the lord Hippolito. By any means leave him and me together. Now will I turn him to a madman.
    Astolfo, Carolo, Beraldo, and Fontinell
    Save you, my lord.
    Exeunt [all but Lodovico and Hippolito].
    I ha’ strange news to tell you.
    What are they?
    Your mare’s i’th’ pound.
    How’s this?
    Your nightingale is in a lime-bush.
    Your puritanical Honest Whore sits in a blue gown.
    Blue gown?
    She’ll chalk out your way to her now; she beats chalk.
    Where? Who dares –
    Do you know the brick house of castigation, by the river side that runs by Milan – the school where they pronounce no letter well but O?
    I know it not.
    Any man that has borne office of constable, or any 2410woman that has fallen from a horse-load to a cart-load, or like an old hen that has had none but rotten eggs in her nest, can direct you to her.
    There you shall see your punk amongst her backfriends.
    There you may have her at your will,
    For there she beats chalk or grinds in the mill,
    With 2415a whip deedle, deedle, deedle, deedle;
    Ah, little monkey!
    What rogue durst serve that warrant, knowing I loved her?
    Some worshipful rascal, I lay my life.
    I’ll beat the lodgings down about their ears
    2420That are her keepers.
    So you may bring an old house over her head.
    I’ll to her –
    I’ll to her, stood armèd fiends to guard the doors!
    O me! What monsters are men made by whores? 2425If this false fire do kindle him, there’s one faggot more to the bonfire. Now to my Bridewell birds. What song will they sing?
    Enter Duke, Carolo, Astolfo, Beraldo, Fontinell, three or four Masters of Bridewell, [and] Infelice.
    [To the Masters] Your Bridewell? That the name? For beauty, strength,
    Capacity, and form of ancient building,
    Besides the river’s neighbourhood, few houses
    Wherein we keep our court can better it.
    1 Master
    Hither from foreign courts have princes come,
    2435And with our duke did acts of state commence.
    Here that great cardinal had first audience,
    The grave Campayne; that duke dead, his son,
    That famous prince, gave free possession
    Of this his palace to the citizens
    2440To be the poor man’s warehouse, and endowed it
    With lands to th’value of seven hundred mark,
    With all the bedding and the furniture once proper,
    As the lands then were, to an hospital
    Belonging to a Duke of Savoy. Thus
    2445Fortune can toss the world; a prince’s court
    Is thus a prison now.
    ’Tis Fortune’s sport.
    These changes common are; the wheel of fate
    Turns kingdoms up till they fall desolate.
    2450But how are these seven hundred marks by th’year
    Employed in this your workhouse?
    1 Master
    War and peace
    Feed both upon those lands. When the iron doors
    Of wars burst open, from this house are sent
    2455Men furnished in all martial complement.
    The moon hath through her bow scarce drawn to th’head,
    Like to twelve silver arrows, all the months,
    Since sixteen hundred soldiers went aboard.
    Here providence and charity play such parts
    2460The house is like a very school of arts;
    For when our soldiers, like ships driven from sea,
    With ribs all broken and with tattered sides,
    Cast anchor here again, their raggèd backs
    How often do we cover, that like men
    2465They may be sent to their own homes again?
    All here are but one swarm of bees, and strive
    To bring with wearied thighs honey to the hive.
    The sturdy beggar and the lazy loon
    Gets here hard hands or laced correction.
    2470The vagabond grows staid and learns t’obey;
    The drone is beaten well and sent away.
    As other prisons are, some for the thief,
    Some by which undone credit gets relief
    From bridled debtors, others for the poor,
    2475So this is for the bawd, the rogue, and whore.
    An excellent team of horse!
    1 Master
    Nor is it seen
    That the whip draws blood here to cool the spleen
    2480Of any rugged bencher, nor does offence
    Feel smart on spiteful or rash evidence,
    But pregnant testimony forth must stand
    Ere justice leave them in the beadle’s hand.
    As iron on the anvil are they laid
    2485Not to take blows alone, but to be made
    And fashioned to some charitable use.
    Thus wholsom’st laws spring from the worst abuse.
    Enter Orlando [as Pacheco], before Bellafront.
    Let mercy touch your heart-strings, gracious lord,
    That it may sound like music in the ear
    Of a man desperate, being i’th’ hands of law.
    His name?
    For a robbery?
    Where is he?
    In this house.
    Fetch you him hither.
    Exit Bellafront and one of the Masters of Bridewell.
    [To Orlando] Is this the party?
    This is the hen, my lord, that the cock with the 2500lordly comb, your son-in-law, would crow over and tread.
    Are your two servants ready?
    My two pedlars are packed together, my good lord.
    ’Tis well. This day in judgement shall be spent;
    2505Vice, like a wound lanced, mends by punishment.
    Let me be gone, my lord, or stand unseen;
    ’Tis rare when a judge strikes and that none die,
    And ’tis unfit then women should be by.
    1 Master
    We’ll place you, lady, in some private room.
    Pray do so.
    Exit [with a Master].
    [Aside] Thus nice dames swear it is unfit their eyes
    Should view men carved up for anatomies;
    Yet they’ll see all, so they may stand unseen.
    Many women sure will sin behind a screen.
    2515Enter Lodovico.
    [To the Duke] Your son the lord Hippolito is entered.
    Tell him we wish his presence. – A word, Sforza:
    On what wings flew he hither?
    These – I told him his lark whom he loved was 2520a Bridewell bird; he’s mad that this cage should hold her, and is come to let her out.
    ’Tis excellent. Away, go call him hither.
    Exit Lodovico.
    Enter one of the Masters of the house; Bellafront after him with Mattheo; after him the Constable. Enter at another 2525door Lodovico and Hippolito. Orlando steps forth and brings in two [Servants disguised as] Pedlars.
    [To Hippolito] You are to us a stranger, worthy lord;
    ’Tis strange to see you here.
    It is most fit
    2530That where the sun goes atomies follow it.
    Atomies neither shape nor honour bear;
    Be you yourself, a sunbeam to shine clear.
    [Indicating Mattheo] Is this the gentleman? Stand forth and hear
    Your accusation.
    I’ll hear none; I fly high in that. Rather than kites 2535shall seize upon me and pick out mine eyes to my face, I’ll strike my talons through mine own heart first, and spit my blood in theirs. I am here for shriving those two fools of their sinful pack. When those jackdaws have cawed over me, then must I cry guilty or not guilty. The law has 2540work enough already, and therefore I’ll put no work of mine into his hands. The hangman shall ha’t first. I did pluck those ganders, did rob them.
    ’Tis well done to confess.
    Confess and be hanged, and then I fly high, is’t not 2545so? That for that! A gallows is the worst rub that a good bowler can meet with. I stumbled against such a post. Else this night I had played the part of a true son in these days, undone my father-in-law. With him would I ha’ run at leap-frog, and come over his gold, though I had broke his neck 2550for’t; but the poor salmon-trout is now in the net.
    And now the law must teach you to fly high.
    Right, my lord, and then may you fly low. No more words – a mouse; mum; you are stopped.
    Be good to my poor husband, dear my lords.
    Why shouldst thou pray them to be good to me,
    When no man here is good to one another?
    Did any hand work in this theft but yours?
    O yes, my lord, yes. The hangman has never one son at a birth; his children always come by couples. 2560Though I cannot give the old dog my father a bone to gnaw, the daughter shall be sure of a choke-pear. Yes, my lord, there was one more that fiddled my fine pedlars, and that was my wife.
    Alas! I?
    [Aside] O everlasting, supernatural, superlative villain!
    All Others
    Your wife, Mattheo?
    Sure it cannot be!
    O sir, you love no quarters of mutton that hang up; you love none but whole mutton. She set the roberry, I 2570performed it. She spurred me on, I galloped away.
    My lords –
    My lords – fellow, give me speech – if my poor life
    May ransom thine [To Mattheo], I yield it to the law.
    Thou hurtst thy soul, yet wip’st off no offence,
    2575By casting blots upon my innocence.
    Let not these spare me, but tell truth – no, see
    Who slips his neck out of the misery
    Though not out of the mischief. Let thy servant,
    That shared in this base act, accuse me here.
    2580Why should my husband perish, he go clear?
    [Aside] A good child! Hang thine own father!
    [To Orlando] Old fellow, was thy hand in too?
    My hand was in the pie, my lord, I confess it. My mistress, I see, will bring me to the gallows, and so leave me. 2585But I’ll not leave her so. I had rather hang in a woman’s company than in a man’s; because, if we should go to hell together, I should scarce be letten in, for all the devils are afraid to have any women come amongst them. As I am true thief, she neither consented to this felony nor knew of it.
    [To Mattheo] What fury prompts thee on to kill thy wife?
    It’s my humour, sir; ’tis a foolish bagpipe that I make myself merry with. Why should I eat hempseed at the hangman’s thirteenpence-halfpenny ordinary, and have this whore laugh at me as I swing, as I totter?
    Is she a whore?
    A sixpenny mutton pasty, for any to cut up.
    [Aside] Ah, toad, toad, toad!
    A barber’s cittern for every servingman to play upon. That lord your son knows it.
    I, sir? Am I her bawd, then?
    No, sir, but she’s your whore, then.
    [Aside] Yea, spider, dost catch at great flies?
    My whore?
    I cannot talk, sir, and tell of your rems and your 2605rees and your whirligigs and devices. [To the Duke] But, my lord, I found ’em like sparrows in one nest, billing together and bulling of me. I took ’em in bed, was ready to kill him was up to stab her –
    Close thy rank jaws!
    [To the Duke] Pardon me, I am vexed.
    2610[To Mattheo] Thou art a villain, a malicious devil;
    Deep as the place where thou art lost thou li’st!
    Since I am thus far got into this storm
    I’ll through, and thou shalt see I’ll through untouched,
    When thou shalt perish in it.
    2615Enter Infelice.
    ’Tis my cue
    To enter now. – Room! Let my prize be played.
    I ha’ lurked in clouds, yet heard what all have said.
    What jury more can prove she has wronged my bed
    2620Than her own husband? She must be punishèd.
    [To the Duke] I challenge law, my lord; letters and gold
    And jewels from my lord that woman took!
    Against that black-mouthed devil, against letters and gold,
    2625And against a jealous wife I do uphold
    Thus far her reputation: I could sooner
    Shake the Apennine and crumble rocks to dust
    Than, though Jove’s show’r rained down, tempt her to lust.
    What shall I say?
    2630[Orlando] discovers himself.
    Say thou art not a whore, and that’s more than fifteen women amongst five hundred dare swear without lying. This shalt thou say – no, let me say’t for thee: thy husband’s a knave, this lord’s an honest man, thou art no 2635punk, this lady’s a right lady. Pacheco is a thief as his master is, but old Orlando is as true a man as thy father is. [To Mattheo] I ha’ seen you fly high, sir, and I ha’ seen you fly low, sir; and to keep you from the gallows, sir, a blue coat have I worn, and a thief did I turn. Mine own men are the pedlars. My 2640twenty pound did fly high, sir. Your wife’s gown did fly low, sir. Whither fly you now, sir? You ha’ scaped the gallows; to the devil you fly next, sir. – Am I right, my liege?
    [To Mattheo] Your father has the true physician played.
    And I am now his patient.
    And be so still;
    ’Tis a good sign when our cheeks blush at ill.
    The linen-draper, Signor Candido,
    He whom the city terms the patient man,
    Is likewise here for buying of those lawns
    2650The pedlars lost.
    Alas, good Candido!
    Fetch him.
    Exit Constable.
    And when these payments up are cast,
    Weigh out your light gold, but let’s have them last.
    Enter Candido and Constable [who soon goes out].
    In Bridewell, Candido?
    Yes, my good lord.
    What make you here?
    My lord, what make you here?
    I’m here to save right, and to drive wrong hence.
    And I to bear wrong here with patience.
    You ha’ bought stol’n goods.
    So they do say, my lord;
    Yet bought I them upon a gentleman’s word.
    And I imagine now, as I thought then,
    2665That there be thieves, but no thieves gentlemen.
    Your credit’s cracked, being here.
    No more than gold
    Being cracked which does his estimation hold.
    I was in Bedlam once, but was I mad?
    2670They made me pledge whores’ healths, but am I bad
    Because I’m with bad people?
    Well, stand by;
    If you take wrong, we’ll cure the injury.
    Enter Constable; after him Bots; after them two Beadles, one 2675with hemp, the other with a beetle.
    Stay, stay; [Indicating Bots] what’s he? A prisoner?
    Yes, my lord.
    He seems a soldier.
    I am what I seem, sir, one of Fortune’s bastards, a 2680soldier and a gentleman; and am brought in here with Master Constable’s band of billmen because they face me down that I live, like those that keep bowling-alleys, by the sins of the people, in being a squire of the body.
    O, an apple-squire!
    Yes, sir, that degree of scurvy squires; and that I am maintained by the best part that is commonly in a woman, by the worst players of those parts. But I am known to all this company.
    [To the Duke] My lord, ’tis true. We all know him; ’tis Lieutenant 2690Bots.
    Bots? – And where ha’ you served, Bots?
    In most of your hottest services in the Low Countries. At the Groyne I was wounded in this thigh, and halted upon’t, but ’tis now sound. In Cleveland I missed but little, 2695having the bridge of my nose broken down with two great stones as I was scaling a fort. I ha’ been tried, sir, too, in Gelderland, and scaped hardly there from being blown up at a breach: I was fired, and lay i’th’ surgeon’s hands for’t till the fall of the leaf following.
    All this may be, and yet you no soldier.
    No soldier, sir? I hope these are services that your proudest commanders do venture upon and never come off sometimes.
    Well, sir, because you say you are a soldier,
    2705I’ll use you like a gentleman.
    [To the Gentlemen] Make room there;
    Plant him amongst you. [To Bots] We shall have anon
    Strange hawks fly here before us. If none light
    On you, you shall with freedom take your flight;
    But if you prove a bird of baser wing,
    2710We’ll use you like such birds: here you shall sing.
    I wish to be tried at no other weapon.
    Why is he furnished with those implements?
    1 Master
    The pander is more dangerous to a state
    Than is the common thief; and though our laws
    2715Lie heavier on the thief, yet that the pander
    May know the hangman’s ruff should fit him, too,
    Therefore he’s set to beat hemp.
    This does savour
    Of justice: basest slaves to basest labour.
    2720Now, pray, set open hell, and let us see
    The she-devils that are here.
    Methinks this place
    Should make even Lais honest.
    1 Master
    Some it turns good,
    2725But, as some men whose hands are once in blood
    Do in a pride spill more, so some going hence
    Are by being here lost in more impudence.
    Let it not to them, when they come, appear
    That anyone does as their judge sit here,
    2730But that as gentlemen you come to see,
    And then perhaps their tongues will walk more free.
    Let them be marshalled in.
    [Exeunt Masters, Constable, and Beadles.]
    Be covered all,
    Fellows, now, to make the scene more comical.
    [The Gentlemen and Bots cover their faces.]
    [Aside to Bots] Will not you be smelt out, Bots?
    [Aside to Carolo] No, your bravest whores have the worst noses.
    Enter two of the Masters; a Constable after them; then Dorothea Target, brave; after her two Beadles, th’one with a wheel, the other with a blue gown.
    [To Dorothea] Are not you a bride, forsooth?
    Say ye?
    He would know if these be not your bridemen.
    Uuh! Yes, sir! And look ye – do you see the bride-laces that I give at my wedding will serve to tie rosemary to both your coffins when you come from hanging, scab?
    Fie, punk! Fie, fie, fie!
    Out, you stale, stinking head of garlic! Faugh, at my heels!
    [She beats him.]
    My head’s cloven.
    O, let the gentlewoman alone; she’s going to shrift.
    Nay, to do penance.
    Ay, ay, go, punk; go to the cross and be whipped.
    Marry mew! Marry-muff! Marry hang you, Goodman Dog! Whipped? Do ye take me for a base spital whore? – In troth, gentlemen, you wear the clothes of gentlemen, but 2755you carry not the minds of gentlemen, to abuse a gentlewoman of my fashion.
    Fashion? Pox o’your fashions! Art not a whore?
    Goodman Slave!
    [To the Gentlemen] O fie, abuse her not. Let us two talk.
    2760[To Dorothea] What mought I call your name, pray?
    I’m not ashamed of my name, sir. My name is Mistress Doll Target, a Western gentlewoman.
    Her target against any pike in Milan.
    Why is this wheel borne after her?
    27651 Master
    She must spin.
    A coarse thread it shall be, as all threads are.
    If you spin, then you’ll earn money here, too.
    I had rather get half a crown abroad than ten crowns here.
    Abroad? I think so.
    Dost thou not weep now thou art here?
    Say ye? Weep? Yes, forsooth, as you did when you lost your maidenhead. Do you not hear how I weep?
    [She] sings.
    Farewell, Doll.
    Farewell, Dog.
    Exit [with 2 Master and Beadles].
    Past shame, past penitence.
    [To 1 Master] Why is that blue gown?
    1 Master
    Being stripped out of her wanton loose attire,
    That garment she puts on, base to the eye,
    2780Only to clothe her in humility.
    Are all the rest like this?
    1 Master
    No, my good lord.
    You see, this drab swells with a wanton rein;
    The next that enters has a different strain.
    Variety is good; let’s see the rest.
    Exit [1] Master [and the Constable].
    You Grace sees I’m sound yet, and no bullets hit me.
    Come off so, and ’tis well.
    All Gentlemen
    Here’s the second mess.
    Enter the two Masters; after them the Constable; after him 2790Penelope Whorehound like a citizen’s wife; after her two Beadles, one with a blue gown, another with chalk and a mallet.
    I ha’ worn many a costly gown, but I was never thus guarded with blue coats and beadles and constables 2795and –
    [She weeps.]
    Alas, fair mistress, spoil not thus your eyes.
    O sweet sir, I fear the spoiling of other places about me that are dearer than my eyes. If you be gentlemen, if you be men, or ever came of a woman, pity my case! [To Orlando, clinging to him] Stand 2800to me, stick to me, good sir; you are an old man.
    Hang not on me, I prithee; old trees bear no such fruit.
    Will you bail me, gentlemen?
    Bail thee? Art in for debt?
    No; God is my judge, sir, I am in for no debts. I paid my tailor for this gown the last five shillings a week that was behind, yesterday.
    What is your name, I pray?
    Penelope Whorehound. I come of the Whorehounds. [To Bots] 2810How does Lieutenant Bots?
    All Gentlemen
    Aha, Bots!
    A very honest woman, as I’m a soldier. [Aside to her] A pox bots ye!
    I was never in this pickle before – and yet if I go amongst citizens’ wives they jeer at me; if I go among 2815the loose-bodied gowns, they cry a pox on me because I go civilly attired, and swear their trade was a good trade till such as I am took it out of their hands. Good Lieutenant Bots, speak to these captains to bail me.
    1 Master
    Begging for bail still? You are a trim gossip. [To Beadles] Go, 2820give her the blue gown, set her to her chare. – Work, huswife, for your bread. Away!
    Out, you dog! – A pox on you all! – Women are born to curse thee! But I shall live to see twenty such flat-caps shaking dice for a pennyworth of pippins. Out, you blue-eyed 2825rogue!
    Exit [with Beadles].
    All Gentlemen
    Ha, ha, ha!
    Even now she wept and prayed; now does she curse?
    1 Master
    Seeing me. If still she had stayed, this had been worse.
    Was she ever here before?
    1 Master
    Five times at least;
    And thus, if men come to her, have her eyes
    Wrung and wept out her bail.
    All Gentlemen
    Bots, you know her!
    Is there any gentleman here that knows not a whore? And is he a hair the worse for that?
    [To 1 Master] Is she a city dame, she’s so attired?
    1 Master
    No, my good lord, that’s only but the veil
    To her loose body. I have seen her here
    2840In gayer masking suits. As several sauces
    Give one dish several tastes, so change of habits
    In whores is a bewitching art. Today
    She’s all in colours to besot gallants;
    Then in modest black, to catch the citizen,
    And this from their examination’s 2845drawn.
    Now shall you see a monster both in shape
    And nature quite from these, that sheds no tear,
    Nor yet is nice. ’Tis a plain ramping bear;
    Many such whales are cast upon this shore.
    All Gentlemen
    Let’s see her.
    28501 Master
    Then behold a swaggering whore.
    Exit [with 2 Master and Constable].
    Keep your ground, Bots.
    I do but traverse to spy advantage how to arm myself.
    Enter the two Masters first; after them the Constable; after them a 2855Beadle beating a basin; then Catherina Bountinall with Mistress Horseleech; after them another Beadle, with a blue head guarded with yellow.
    [To the Constable] Sirrah, when I cry ‘Hold your hands!’, hold, you rogue-catcher, hold! – Bawd, are the French chilblains in your 2860heels, that you can come no faster? Are not you, bawd, a whore’s ancient, and must not I follow my colours?
    O Mistress Catherine, you do me wrong to accuse me here as you do, before the right worshipful. I am known for a motherly, honest woman, and no bawd.
    Marry, faugh! Honest? Burnt at fourteen, seven times whipped, six times carted, nine times ducked, searched by some hundred and fifty constables, and yet you are honest? ‘Honest’ Mistress Horseleech, is this world a world to keep bawds and whores honest? How many times hast thou 2870given gentlemen a quart of wine in a gallon pot? How many twelvepenny fees, nay two-shillings fees, nay, when any ambassadors ha’ been here, how many half-crown fees hast thou taken? How many carriers hast thou bribed for country wenches? How often have I rinsed your lungs 2875in aqua-vitae? And yet you are honest?
    [To Catherina] And what were you the whilst?
    Marry hang you, Master Slave! Who made you an examiner?
    Well said! Belike this devil spares no man.
    [To Bots] What art thou, prithee?
    Nay, what art thou, prithee?
    A whore. Art thou a thief?
    A thief? No. I defy the calling; I am a soldier, have borne arms in the field, been in many a hot 2885skirmish, yet come off sound.
    Sound with a pox to ye, ye abominable rogue! You a soldier? You in skirmishes? Where? Amongst pottle-pots in a bawdy house? [To Horseleech] Look, look here, you Madam Worm-eaten, do not you know him?
    Lieutenant Bots! Where have ye been this many a day?
    [Aside to Horseleech] Old bawd, do not discredit me, seem not to know me.
    Not to know ye, Master Bots? As long as I have 2895breath, I cannot forget thy sweet face.
    Why, do you know him? He says he is a soldier.
    He a soldier? A pander, a dog that will lick up sixpence. Do ye hear, you Master Swine’s-snout, how long is’t 2900since you held the door for me, and cried ‘To’t again, nobody comes’, ye rogue, you?
    All Gentlemen
    Ha, ha, ha! You’re smelt out again, Bots.
    Pox ruin her nose for’t! An I be not revenged for this – umm, ye bitch!
    D’ye hear ye, madam? Why does your ladyship swagger thus? You’re very brave, methinks.
    Not at your cost, Master Cod’s-head;
    Is any man here blear-eyed to see me brave?
    Yes, I am, 2910because good clothes upon a whore’s back is like fair painting upon a rotten wall.
    Marry-muff, Master Whoremaster, you come upon me with sentences.
    By this light, h’as small sense for’t.
    O fie, fie, do not vex her. And yet methinks a creature of more scurvy conditions should not know what a good petticoat were.
    Marry come out! You’re so busy about my petticoat you’ll creep up to my 2920placket, an ye could but attain the honour. But an the outsides offend your rogueships, look o’the lining – ’tis silk.
    Is’t silk ’tis lined with, then?
    Silk? Ay, silk, Master Slave. You would be glad to 2925wipe your nose with the skirt on’t. This ’tis to come among a company of cod’s-heads that know not how to use a gentlewoman.
    [To 1 Master] Tell her the Duke is here.
    1 Master
    Be modest, Kate, the Duke is here.
    If the devil were here, I care not. – Set forward, ye rogues, and give attendance according to your places. Let bawds and whores be sad, for I’ll sing an the devil were a-dying.
    Exeunt [Catherina, Horseleech and Beadles, one of whom follows the women while the other goes before, beating his basin.]
    [To 1 Master] Why before her does the basin ring?
    29351 Master
    It is an emblem of their revelling.
    The whips we use lets forth their wanton blood,
    Making them calm; and, more to calm their pride,
    Instead of coaches they in carts do ride.
    Will your Grace see more of this bad ware?
    No, shut up shop. We’ll now break up the fair.
    Yet ere we part – [To Bots] you, sir, that take upon ye
    The name of soldier, that true name of worth,
    Which action, not vain boasting, best sets forth,
    To let you know how far a soldier’s name
    2945Stands from your title, and to let you see
    Soldiers must not be wronged where princes be,
    This be your sentence: –
    All Gentlemen
    Defend yourself, Bots!
    First, all the private sufferance that the house
    2950Inflicts upon offenders, you, as the basest,
    Shall undergo it double; after which
    You shall be whipped, sir, round about the city,
    Then banished from the land.
    Beseech your Grace!
    Away with him, see it done.
    [Exit Bots with Constable.]
    Panders and whores
    Are city plagues, which being kept alive
    Nothing that looks like goodness e’er can thrive. –
    Now good Orlando, what say you to your bad son-in-law?
    Marry, this, my lord: he is my son-in-law, and in 2960law will I be his father. For if law can pepper him, he shall be so parboiled that he shall stink no more i’th’ nose of the commonwealth.
    Be yet more kind and merciful, good father.
    Dost thou beg for him, thou precious man’s meat, 2965thou? Has he not beaten thee, kicked thee, trod on thee, and dost thou fawn on him like his spaniel? Has he not pawned thee to thy petticoat, sold thee to thy smock, made thee leap at a crust, yet wouldst have me save him?
    O, yes, good sir. Women shall learn of me
    2970To love their husbands in greatest misery.
    Then show him pity, or you wreck myself.
    Have ye eaten pigeons, that you’re so kindhearted to your mate? Nay, you’re a couple of wild bears; I’ll have ye both baited at one stake. – But as for this knave [Addressing Mattheo]: the 2975gallows is thy due, and the gallows thou shalt have. I’ll have justice of the Duke; the law shall have thy life. [To Bellafront] What, dost thou hold him? Let go his hand. If thou dost not forsake him, a father’s everlasting blessing fall upon both your heads! Away, go, kiss out of my sight! Play thou the 2980whore no more, nor thou the thief again.
    My house shall be thine,
    My meat shall be thine,
    And so shall my wine,
    But my money shall be mine;
    And yet when I die,
    So thou dost not fly high,
    Take all. Yet, good Mattheo, mend.
    Thus for joy weeps Orlando, and doth end.
    Then hear, Mattheo. All your woes are stayed
    By your good father-in-law; all your ills
    Are clear purged from you by his working pills. –
    Come, Signor Candido, these green young wits
    We see by circumstance, this plot hath laid
    2990Still to provoke thy patience, which they find
    A wall of brass; no armour’s like the mind.
    Thou hast taught the city patience; now our court
    Shall be thy sphere, where from thy good report
    Rumours this truth unto the world shall sing:
    2995A patient man’s a pattern for a king.