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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)

    [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.