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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)

    890.1[2.2]
    Enter Candido, Lodovico like a Prentice, [wearing false hair, and two Prentices, in the shop.]
    Lodovico
    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?
    895Candido
    Never, believe me, signor.
    Lodovico
    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?
    Candido
    Well; for she takes you for a very simple fellow.
    Lodovico
    And they that are taken for such are commonly the arrantest knaves. But to our comedy, come.
    905Candido
    I shall not act it. Chide, you say, and fret,
    And grow impatient? I shall never do’t.
    Lodovico
    ’Sblood, cannot you do as all the world does: counterfeit?
    Candido
    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.
    Lodovico
    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.
    915Candido
    Say I should turn to ice, and nip her love
    Now ’tis but in the bud?
    Lodovico
    Well, say she’s nipped.
    Candido
    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.
    Lodovico
    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?
    Candido
    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.
    Lodovico
    Come, come, I’ll prompt you.
    Candido
    I’ll call her forth now, shall I?
    Lodovico
    Do, do, bravely.
    Candido
    [Calling out] Luke, I pray, bid your mistress to come hither.
    935Lodovico
    [Calling out] Luke, I pray, bid your mistress to come hither.
    Candido
    [Calling out] Sirrah, bid my wife come to me. Why, when?
    (Within) Presently, sir. She comes.
    Lodovico
    La you, there’s the echo. She comes.
    Enter [the] Bride.
    Bride
    What is your pleasure with me?
    940Candido
    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.
    Lodovico
    Yes indeed, sir, I would deal in linen, if my 945mistress like me so well as I like her.
    Candido
    I hope to find him honest. Pray, good wife,
    Look that his bed and chamber be made ready.
    Bride
    You’re best to let him hire me for his maid.
    I look to his bed? Look to’t yourself.
    950Candido
    Even so?
    I swear to you a great oath –
    Lodovico
    [Aside to him] Swear, cry ‘zounds’!
    Candido
    I will not – go to, wife – I will not –
    Lodovico
    [Aside to him] That your great oath?
    955Candido
    – swallow these gudgeons!
    Lodovico
    [Aside to him] Well said.
    Bride
    Then fast; then you may choose.
    Candido
    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?
    Bride
    Even what you will.
    Lodovico
    [Aside to him] Call her arrant whore.
    Candido
    [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?
    Lodovico
    [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].
    Candido
    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.
    Bride
    You may, sir, if you can;
    But at a wrestling I have seen a fellow
    Limbed like an ox thrown by a little man.
    Candido
    And so you’ll throw me? [Calling out] Reach me, knaves, a yard.
    975Lodovico
    [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.
    Candido
    [To the Bride] I’ll teach you fencing tricks.
    Prentices
    Rare, rare! A prize!
    Lodovico
    What will you do, sir?
    980Candido
    Marry, my good prentice, nothing but breathe my wife.
    Bride
    Breathe me with your yard?
    Lodovico
    No, he’ll but measure you out, forsooth.
    Bride
    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.
    Lodovico
    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.
    990Candido
    [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.
    Lodovico
    ’Tis for the breeches, is’t not?
    995Candido
    For the breeches.
    Bride
    Husband, I am for you. I’ll not strike in jest.
    Candido
    Nor I.
    Bride
    But will you sign to one request?
    Candido
    What’s that?
    1000Bride
    Let me give the first blow.
    Candido
    The first blow, wife?
    [Aside to Lodovico] Shall I? Prompt.
    Lodovico
    [Aside to Candido] Let her ha’t;
    If she strike hard, in to her, and break her pate.
    Candido
    [Aloud to the Bride] A bargain. Strike.
    1005Bride
    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.
    Candido
    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.
    Bride
    Who, your man?
    Candido
    My man? My master, though his head be bare;
    But he’s so courteous, he’ll put off his hair.
    1025Lodovico
    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?
    Lodovico
    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.
    Candido
    Bear witness else.
    Lodovico
    My prenticeship then ends.
    Candido
    For the good service you to me have done
    I give you all your years.
    1035Lodovico
    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.