Digital Renaissance Editions

About this text

  • Title: The Honest Whore, Part 1 (Modern)
  • Editor: Joost Daalder
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-490-5

    Copyright Digital Renaissance Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Authors: Thomas Dekker, Thomas Middleton
    Editor: Joost Daalder
    Peer Reviewed

    The Honest Whore, Part 1 (Modern)

    0.1The Honest Whore, [Part One]
    Enter at one door a funeral (a coronet lying on the hearse, scutcheons and garlands hanging on the sides) attended by Gasparo Trebazzi, Duke of Milan, Castruccio, Sinezi, Pioratto, 5Fluello, and others, [including Attendants]. At another door, enter Hippolito in discontented appearance, [and] Mattheo, a gentleman, his friend, labouring to hold him back.
    Behold, yon comet shows his head again!
    10Twice hath he thus at cross-turns thrown on us
    Prodigious looks; twice hath he troubled
    The waters of our eyes. See, he始s turned wild. –
    Go on, in God始s name.
    [To Attendants] On afore there, ho!
    Kinsmen and friends, take from your manly sides
    Your weapons to keep back the desp始rate boy
    From doing violence to the innocent dead.
    [The Gentlemen draw; Mattheo continues to struggle with Hippolito.]
    I prithee, dear Mattheo –
    Come, you始re mad.
    [To the Duke] I do arrest thee, murderer.
    [To Attendants] Set down,
    Villains, set down that sorrow; 始tis all mine.
    [To the Gentlemen] I do beseech you all, for my blood始s sake
    Send hence your milder spirits, and let wrath
    Join in confederacy with your weapons始 points;
    25If he proceed to vex us, let your swords
    Seek out his bowels. Funeral grief loathes words.
    [To Attendants] Set on.
    [To Attendants] Set down the body.
    O my lord,
    30You始re wrong! I始th始 open street? You see she始s dead.
    I know she is not dead.
    Frantic young man,
    Wilt thou believe these gentlemen? Pray speak.
    Thou dost abuse my child, and mockst the tears
    35That here are shed for her. If to behold
    Those roses withered that set out her cheeks,
    That pair of stars that gave her body light
    Darkened and dim for ever, all those rivers
    That fed her veins with warm and crimson streams
    40Frozen and dried up – if these be signs of death,
    Then is she dead. Thou unreligious youth,
    Art not ashamed to empty all these eyes
    Of funeral tears, a debt due to the dead
    As mirth is to the living? Sham始st thou not
    45To have them stare on thee? Hark, thou art curst
    Even to thy face by those that scarce can speak.
    My lord –
    What wouldst thou have? Is she not dead?
    O, you ha始 killed her by your cruelty!
    Admit I had, thou killst her now again,
    And art more savage than a barbarous Moor.
    Let me but kiss her pale and bloodless lip.
    O fie, fie, fie!
    Or if not touch her, let me look on her.
    As you regard your honour –
    Honour? Smoke!
    Or if you loved her living, spare her now.
    Ay, well done, sir; you play the gentleman.
    [Aside to Attendants] Steal hence. 始Tis nobly done. Away.
    [To Mattheo] I始ll join
    60My force to yours, to stop this violent torrent.
    [To Attendants] Pass on.
    Exeunt with funeral [all but the Duke, Hippolito, and Mattheo].
    Mattheo, thou dost wound me more.
    I give you physic, noble friend, not wounds.
    O, well said, well done; a true gentleman!
    65Alack, I know the sea of lovers始 rage
    Comes rushing with so strong a tide it beats
    And bears down all respects of life, of honour,
    Of friends, of foes. [To Hippolito] Forget her, gallant youth.
    Forget her?
    Nay, nay, be but patient,
    Forwhy death始s hand hath sued a strict divorce
    始Twixt her and thee. What始s beauty but a corse?
    What but fair sand-dust are earth始s purest forms?
    Queens始 bodies are but trunks to put in worms.
    [Aside to Duke] Speak no more sentences, my good lord, but slip hence. You see they are but fits; I始ll rule him, I warrant ye. Ay, so, tread gingerly; your Grace is here somewhat too long already.
    [Exit Duke.]
    [Aside] 始Sblood, the jest were now, if having ta始en some knocks o始th始 pate already, he should get loose again, and, like a mad 80ox, toss my new black cloaks into the kennel. I must humour his lordship. [To Hippolito] My lord Hippolito, is it in your stomach to go to dinner?
    Where is the body?
    The body, as the Duke spake very wisely, is gone 85to be wormed.
    I cannot rest. I始ll meet it at next turn.
    I始ll see how my love looks.
    Mattheo holds him in始s arms.
    How your love looks? Worse than a scarecrow. Wrestle not with me; the great fellow gives the fall for a ducat.
    I shall forget myself!
    Pray do so; leave yourself behind yourself, and go whither you will. 始Sfoot, do you long to have base rogues, that maintain a Saint Anthony始s fire in their noses by nothing but twopenny ale, make ballads of you? If the Duke had but so 95much mettle in him as is in a cobbler始s awl, he would ha始 been a vexed thing; he and his train had blown you up but that their powder has taken the wet of cowards. You始ll bleed three pottles of Alicant, by this light, if you follow 始em, and then we shall have a hole made in a wrong place, to have surgeons roll 100thee up like a baby in swaddling clouts.
    What day is today, Mattheo?
    Yea, marry, this is an easy question. Why, today is – let me see – Thursday.
    O, Thursday.
    Here始s a coil for a dead commodity! 始Sfoot, women 105when they are alive are but dead commodities, for you shall have one woman lie upon many men始s hands.
    She died on Monday, then.
    And that始s the most villainous day of all the week to die in; and she was well, and ate a mess of water-gruel on 110Monday morning.
    Ay, it cannot be
    Such a bright taper should burn out so soon.
    O yes, my lord, so soon. Why, I ha始 known them that at dinner have been as well, and had so much health, that they 115were glad to pledge it, yet before three o始clock have been found dead drunk.
    On Thursday buried, and on Monday died!
    Quick haste, by始r Lady; sure her winding sheet
    Was laid out 始fore her body, and the worms
    120That now must feast with her were even bespoke,
    And solemnly invited like strange guests.
    Strange feeders they are indeed, my lord, and, like your jester or young courtier, will enter upon any man始s trencher without bidding.
    Curst be that day for ever that robbed her
    Of breath, and me of bliss! Henceforth let it stand
    Within the wizard始s book, the calendar,
    Marked with a marginal finger, to be chosen
    By thieves, by villains, and black murderers
    130As the best day for them to labour in.
    If henceforth this adulterous, bawdy world
    Be got with child with treason, sacrilege,
    Atheism, rapes, treacherous friendship, perjury,
    Slander (the beggar始s sin), lies (sin of fools),
    135Or any other damned impieties,
    On Monday let 始em be deliverèd!
    I swear to thee, Mattheo, by my soul,
    Hereafter weekly on that day I始ll glue
    Mine eyelids down, because they shall not gaze
    140On any female cheek. And being locked up
    In my close chamber, there I始ll meditate
    On nothing but my Infelice始s end,
    Or on a dead man始s skull draw out mine own.
    You始ll do all these good works now every Monday, 145because it is so bad; but I hope upon Tuesday morning I shall take you with a wench.
    If ever, whilst frail blood through my veins run,
    On woman始s beams I throw affection
    Save her that始s dead, or that I loosely fly
    150To th始shore of any other wafting eye,
    Let me not prosper, heaven! I will be true,
    Even to her dust and ashes. Could her tomb
    Stand, whilst I lived, so long that it might rot,
    That should fall down, but she be ne始er forgot.
    If you have this strange monster, Honesty, in your belly, why, so: jig-makers and chroniclers shall pick something out of you. But, an I smell not you and a bawdy-house out within these ten days, let my nose be as big as an English bag-pudding. I始ll follow your lordship, though it be to 160the place aforenamed.