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  • 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.
    Enter Fustigo in some fantastic sea-suit at one door; a Porter meets him at another.
    How now, porter, will she come?
    If I may trust a woman, sir, she will come.
    [Giving money] There始s for thy pains. God-a-mercy, if I ever stand in need of a wench that will come with a wet finger, thou shalt earn my money before any clarissimo in Milan. Yet, so God sa始 me, she始s mine own sister, body and soul, as I am a Christian gentleman. Farewell. I始ll ponder till she come. Thou 170hast been no bawd in fetching this woman, I assure thee.
    No matter if I had, sir; better men than porters are bawds.
    O God, sir, many that have borne offices. But, porter, art sure thou wentst into a true house?
    I think so, for I met with no thieves.
    Nay, but art sure it was my sister Viola?
    I am sure by all superscriptions it was the party you ciphered.
    Not very tall.
    Not very low; a middling woman.
    始Twas she, faith, 始twas she. A pretty plump cheek like mine?
    At a blush, a little; very much like you.
    Godso, I would not for a ducat she had kicked up her heels, for I ha始 spent an abomination this voyage; marry, I did it amongst sailors and gentlemen. [Giving more money] There始s a little modicum 185more, porter, for making thee stay. Farewell, honest porter.
    I am in your debt, sir. God preserve you.
    Not so neither, good porter.
    Exit [Porter].
    Enter Viola, [Candido始s Wife].
    God始s lid, yonder she comes. – Sister Viola, I am glad to see you stirring. It始s news to have me 190here, is始t not, sister?
    Yes, trust me. I wondered who should be so bold to send for me. You are welcome to Milan, brother.
    Troth, sister, I heard you were married to a very rich chuff, and I was very sorry for it that I had no better clothes, 195and that made me send; for you know we Millaners love to strut upon Spanish leather. Ant how does all our friends?
    Very well. You ha始 travelled enough now, I trow, to sow your wild oats.
    A pox on 始em! Wild oats? I ha始 not an oat to throw 200at a horse. Troth, sister, I ha始 sowed my oats, and reaped two hundred ducats if I had 始em here. Marry, I must entreat you to lend me some thirty or forty till the ship come. By this hand, I始ll discharge at my day, by this hand.
    These are your old oaths.
    Why, sister, do you think I始ll forswear my hand?
    Well, well, you shall have them. Put yourself into better fashion, because I must employ you in a serious matter.
    I始ll sweat like a horse if I like the matter.
    You ha始 cast off all your old swaggering humours?
    I had not sailed a league in that great fishpond, the sea, but I cast up my very gall.
    I am the more sorry, for I must employ a true swaggerer.
    Nay, by this iron [Indicating his sword], sister, they shall find I am powder 215and touch-box, if they put fire once into me.
    Then lend me your ears.
    Mine ears are yours, dear sister.
    I am married to a man that has wealth enough, and wit enough.
    A linen-draper, I was told, sister.
    Very true, a grave citizen. I want nothing that a wife can wish from a husband. But here始s the spite: he has not all things belonging to a man.
    God始s my life, he始s a very mandrake, or else, God bless 225us, one o始these whiblins, and that始s worse, and then all the children that he gets lawfully of your body, sister, are bastards by a statute.
    O, you run over me too fast, brother! I have heard it often said that he who cannot be angry is no man. I am sure 230my husband is a man in print for all things else save only in this: no tempest can move him.
    始Slid, would he had been at sea with us. He should ha始 been moved and moved again, for I始ll be sworn, la, our drunken ship reeled like a Dutchman.
    No loss of goods can increase him a wrinkle, no crabbed language make his countenance sour, the stubbornness of no servant shake him. He has no more gall in him than a dove, no more sting than an ant. Musician will he never be, yet I find much music in him; but he loves no frets, and is 240so free from anger that many times I am ready to bite off my tongue, because it wants that virtue which all women始s tongues have, to anger their husbands. Brother, mine can by no thunder turn him into a sharpness.
    Belike his blood, sister, is well brewed, then.
    I protest to thee, Fustigo, I love him most affectionately, but I know not – I ha始 such a tickling within me, such a strange longing; nay, verily, I do long.
    Then you始re with child, sister, by all signs and 250tokens; nay, I am partly a physician, and partly something else. I ha始 read Albertus Magnus, and Aristotle始s Emblems.
    You始re wide o始th始 bow-hand still, brother. My longings are not wanton, but wayward: I long to have my patient 255husband eat up a whole porcupine to the intent the bristling quills may stick about his lips like a Flemish mustachio and be shot at me. I shall be leaner than the new moon unless I can make him horn-mad.
    始Sfoot, half a quarter of an hour does that: make him 260a cuckold.
    Pooh! He would count such a cut no unkindness.
    The honester citizen he. Then make him drunk, and cut off his beard.
    Fie, fie, idle, idle! He始s no Frenchman, to fret at the 265loss of a little scald hair. No, brother, thus it shall be – you must be secret.
    As your midwife, I protest, sister, or a barber-surgeon.
    Repair to the Tortoise here in Saint Christopher始s Street. I will send you money; turn yourself into a brave man. Instead 270of the arms of your mistress, let your sword and your military scarf hang about your neck.
    I must have a great horseman始s French feather too, sister.
    O, by any means, to show your light head; else your 275hat will sit like a coxcomb. To be brief, you must be in all points a most terrible, wide-mouthed swaggerer.
    Nay, for swaggering points let me alone.
    Resort then to our shop, and, in my husband始s presence, kiss me, snatch rings, jewels, or anything, so you give it back 280again, brother, in secret.
    By this hand, sister.
    Swear as if you came but new from knighting.
    Nay, I始ll swear after four hundred a year.
    Swagger worse than a lieutenant among fresh-water soldiers; call me your love, your ingle, your cousin, or so – but ‘sister始 at no hand.
    No, no, it shall be ‘cousin始, or rather ‘coz始 – that始s the gulling word between the citizens始 wives and their madcaps 290that man 始em to the garden. To call you one o始my naunts, sister, were as good as call you arrant whore. No, no, let me alone to ‘cousin始 you rarely.
    H始as heard I have a brother, but never saw him; therefore put on a good face.
    The best in Milan, I warrant.
    Take up wares, but pay nothing. Rifle my bosom, my pocket, my purse, the boxes for money to dice withal. But, brother, you must give all back again, in secret.
    By this welkin that here roars, I will, or else 300let me never know what a secret is. Why, sister, do you think I始ll cony-catch you, when you are my cousin? God始s my life, then I were a stark ass. If I fret not his guts, beg me for a fool.
    Be circumspect and do so, then. Farewell.
    The Tortoise, sister? I始ll stay there. – Forty ducats.
    Thither I始ll send.
    Exit [Fustigo].
    This law can none deny:
    Women must have their longings, or they die.
    [Enter] Gasparo the Duke, Doctor Benedict, [and] two Servants.
    [To the Servants, who proceed to act as instructed.]
    Give charge that none do enter; lock the doors.
    310And, fellows, what your eyes and ears receive,
    Upon your lives trust not the gadding air
    To carry the least part of it. [To the Doctor] The glass,
    The hour-glass.
    Here, my lord.
    [He produces an hour-glass.]
    Ah, 始tis near spent!
    315But, Doctor Benedict, does your art speak truth?
    Art sure the soporiferous stream will ebb,
    And leave the crystal banks of her white body
    Pure as they were at first, just at the hour?
    Just at the hour, my lord.
    [To Servants] Uncurtain her.
    [Servants draw curtains. Infelice discovered on a bed.]
    Softly! – See, doctor, what a coldish heat
    Spreads over all her body.
    Now it works:
    The vital spirits that by a sleepy charm
    325Were bound up fast, and threw an icy crust
    On her exterior parts, now 始gin to break.
    Trouble her not, my lord.
    [To Servants] Some stools.
    [Servants set stools.]
    You called
    For music, did you not? [Music plays.] Oho, it speaks,
    330It speaks! [To Servants] Watch, sirs, her waking: note those sands. –
    Doctor, sit down.
    [The Doctor and the Duke sit.]
    A dukedom that should weigh
    Mine own down twice, being put into one scale,
    And that fond desperate boy Hippolito
    Making the weight up, should not at my hands
    335Buy her i始th始 tother, were her state more light
    Than hers who makes a dowry up with alms.
    Doctor, I始ll starve her on the Apennine
    Ere he shall marry her. I must confess
    Hippolito is nobly born – a man,
    340Did not mine enemies始 blood boil in his veins,
    Whom I would court to be my son-in-law;
    But princes, whose high spleens for empery swell,
    Are not with easy art made parallel.
    2 Servants
    She wakes, my lord.
    Look, Doctor Benedict!
    345[To Servants] I charge you on your lives, maintain for truth
    Whate始er the doctor or myself aver,
    For you shall bear her hence to Bergamo.
    [Wakening] O God, what fearful dreams!
    Why, Infelice, how is始t now, ha? Speak.
    I始m well. – What makes this doctor here? – I始m well.
    Thou wert not so even now. Sickness始 pale hand
    Laid hold on thee even in the midst of feasting,
    355And when a cup crowned with thy lover始s health
    Had touched thy lips, a sensible cold dew
    Stood on thy cheeks, as if that death had wept
    To see such beauty alter.
    I remember
    360I sat at banquet, but felt no such change.
    Thou hast forgot, then, how a messenger
    Came wildly in, with this unsavoury news,
    That he was dead?
    What messenger? Who始s dead?
    Hippolito. Alack, wring not thy hands.
    I saw no messenger, heard no such news.
    Trust me, you did, sweet lady.
    La you now!
    2 Servants
    Yes indeed, madam.
    La you now.
    [Aside to Servants]
    始Tis well, good knaves.
    You ha始 slain him, and now you始ll murder me.
    Good Infelice, vex not thus thyself.
    Of this bad the report before did strike
    So coldly to thy heart that the swift currents
    Of life were all frozen up –
    It is untrue.
    始Tis most untrue, O most unnatural father!
    And we had much to do by art始s best cunning
    To fetch life back again.
    Most certain, lady.
    Why, la you now, you始ll not believe me! [To Servants] Friends,
    Sweat we not all? Had we not much to do?
    2 Servants
    Yes indeed, my lord, much.
    Death drew such fearful pictures in thy face
    That, were Hippolito alive again,
    385I始d kneel and woo the noble gentleman
    To be thy husband. Now I sore repent
    My sharpness to him and his family.
    Nay, do not weep for him; we all must die. –
    Doctor, this place where she so oft hath seen
    390His lively presence hurts her, does it not?
    Doubtless, my lord, it does.
    It does, it does.
    Therefore, sweet girl, thou shalt to Bergamo.
    Even where you will. In any place there始s woe.
    A coach is ready. Bergamo doth stand
    In a most wholesome air: sweet walks; there始s deer.
    Ay, thou shalt hunt and send us venison,
    Which like some goddess in the Cyprian groves
    Thine own fair hand shall strike. – Sirs, you shall teach her
    400To stand, and how to shoot; ay, she shall hunt. –
    Cast off this sorrow. In, girl, and prepare
    This night to ride away to Bergamo.
    O most unhappy maid!
    [To Servants] Follow her close.
    405No words that she was buried, on your lives,
    Or that her ghost walks now after she始s dead;
    I始ll hang you if you name a funeral.
    1 Servant
    I始ll speak Greek, my lord, ere I speak that deadly word.
    4102 Servant
    And I始ll speak Welsh, which is harder than Greek.
    Away, look to her.
    Exeunt [Servants].
    Doctor Benedict,
    Did you observe how her complexion altered
    Upon his name and death? O, would 始twere true!
    It may, my lord.
    May? How? I wish his death.
    And you may have your wish. Say but the word,
    And 始tis a strong spell to rip up his grave.
    I have good knowledge with Hippolito;
    He calls me friend. I始ll creep into his bosom,
    420And sting him there to death. Poison can do始t.
    Perform it; I始ll create thee half mine heir.
    It shall be done, although the fact be foul.
    Greatness hides sin. The guilt upon my soul!
    Enter Castruccio, Pioratto, and Fluello.
    Signor Pioratto, Signor Fluello, shall始s be merry? Shall始s play the wags now?
    Ay, anything that may beget the child of laughter.
    Truth, I have a pretty sportive conceit new crept into my brain will move excellent mirth.
    Let始s ha始t, let始s ha始t; and where shall the scene of mirth lie?
    At Signor Candido始s house, the patient man – nay, the monstrous patient man. They say his blood is immovable, that he has taken all patience from a man, and all constancy from a woman.
    That makes so many whores nowadays.
    Ay, and so many knaves too.
    Well, sir.
    To conclude, the report goes he始s so mild, so affable, so suffering, that nothing indeed can move him. Now, do 440but think what sport it will be to make this fellow, the mirror of patience, as angry, as vexed, and as mad as an English cuckold.
    O, 始twere admirable mirth, that! But how will始t be done, signor?
    Let me alone; I have a trick, a conceit, a thing, a device will sting him, i始faith, if he have but a thimbleful of blood in始s belly, or a spleen not so big as a tavern-token.
    Thou stir him? Thou move him? Thou anger him? Alas, I know his approved temper. Thou vex him? Why, he 450has a patience above man始s injuries. Thou mayst sooner raise a spleen in an angel than rough humour in him. Why, I始ll give you instance for it. This wonderfully tempered Signor Candido upon a time invited home to his house certain Neapolitan lords of curious taste and no mean palates, conjuring his wife, 455of all loves, to prepare cheer fitting for such honourable trencher-men. She – just of a woman始s nature, covetous to try the uttermost of vexation, and thinking at last to get the start of his humour – willingly neglected the preparation, and became unfurnished not only of dainty but of ordinary dishes. He, 460according to the mildness of his breast, entertained the lords and with courtly discourse beguiled the time, as much as a citizen might do. To conclude, they were hungry lords, for there came no meat in; their stomachs were plainly gulled and their teeth deluded, and, if anger could have seized a man, 465there was matter enough, i始faith, to vex any citizen in the world, if he were not too much made a fool by his wife.
    Ay, I始ll swear for始t. 始Sfoot, had it been my case, I should ha始 played mad tricks with my wife and family. First, I would ha始 spitted the men, stewed the maids, and baked the mistress, 470and so served them in.
    [To Castruccio] Why, 始twould ha始 tempted any blood but his;
    And thou to vex him? Thou to anger him
    With some poor shallow jest?
    始Sblood, Signor Pioratto, you that disparage my 475conceit, I始ll wage a hundred ducats upon the head on始t that it moves him, frets him, and galls him.
    Done, 始tis a lay. Join golls on始t. – Witness, Signor Fluello.
    Witness; 始tis done. [They shake hands on it.]
    Come, follow me. The house is not far off.
    480I始ll thrust him from his humour, vex his breast,
    And win a hundred ducats by one jest.
    Enter [Viola], Candido始s Wife, George, and two Prentices, in the shop.
    Come, you put up your wares in good order here, do 485you not, think you? One piece cast this way, another that way! You had need have a patient master, indeed.
    [Aside] Ay, I始ll be sworn, for we have a curst mistress.
    You mumble? Do you mumble? I would your master or I could be a note more angry, for two patient folks in a 490house spoil all the servants that ever shall come under them.
    1 Prentice
    [Aside] You patient! Ay, so is the devil when he is horn-mad.
    Enter Castruccio, Fluello, and Pioratto.
    George and the Prentices
    Gentlemen, what do you lack? What is始t you buy? 495See, fine hollands, fine cambrics, fine lawns.
    What is始t you lack?
    2 Prentice
    What is始t you buy?
    Where始s Signor Candido, thy master?
    Faith, signor, he始s a little negotiated. He始ll appear presently.
    [To George] Fellow, let始s see a lawn, a choice one, sirrah.
    The best in all Milan, gentlemen, and [Showing it] this is the piece. I can fit you gentlemen with fine calicoes too, for doublets, the only sweet fashion now, most delicate and courtly, a meek, gentle calico, cut upon two double affable taffetas – ah, 505most neat, feat, and unmatchable!
    [Aside to Pioratto] A notable, voluble-tongued villain.
    [Aside to Fluello] I warrant this fellow was never begot without much prating.
    [To George with his piece of lawn] What, and is this she, sayst thou?
    [He handles the cloth.]
    Ay, and the purest she that ever you fingered since you were a gentleman. Look how even she is, look how clean she is – ha, as even as the brow of Cynthia, and as clean as your sons and heirs when they ha始 spent all.
    Pooh, thou talkst – pox on始t, 始tis rough.
    How? Is she rough? But if you bid pox on始t sir, 始twill take away the roughness presently.
    [To Castruccio] Ha, signor! Has he fitted your French curse?
    [To Castruccio] Look you, gentleman, here始s another. [He displays another cloth.] Compare them, I pray: compara Virgilium cum Homero, compare virgins 520with harlots.
    Pooh, I ha始 seen better, and, as you term them, evener and cleaner.
    You may see further for your mind, but trust me, you shall not find better for your body.
    Enter Candido.
    [Aside to his companions] O, here he comes. Let始s make as though we pass.
    [Aloud] Come, come, we始ll try in some other shop.
    [The Gentlemen start to leave.]
    How now? What始s the matter?
    The gentlemen find fault with this lawn, fall out with it, and without a cause too.
    Without a cause?
    And that makes you to let 始em pass away? –
    Ah, may I crave a word with you gentlemen?
    [Aside to his companions] He calls us.
    [Aside to Fluello] Makes the better for the jest.
    I pray come near. You始re very welcome, gallants.
    Pray pardon my man始s rudeness, for I fear me
    H始as talked above a prentice with you. [To a Prentice] Lawns!
    [Showing the lawns] Look you, kind gentlemen. – This? No. – Ay, this;
    Take this, upon my honest-dealing faith,
    540To be a true weave, not too hard, nor slack,
    But e始en as far from falsehood as from black.
    Well, how do you rate it?
    Very conscionable, eighteen shillings a yard.
    That始s too dear. How many yards does the whole 545piece contain, think you?
    Why, some seventeen yards I think, or thereabouts. How much would serve your turn, I pray?
    Why, let me see. [He examines the cloth.] Would it were better, too.
    Truth, 始tis the best in Milan, at few words.
    Well, let me have, then – a whole pennyworth.
    Ha, ha! You始re a merry gentleman.
    A penn始orth, I say.
    Of lawn?
    Of lawn? Ay, of lawn, a penn始orth. 始Sblood, dost not 555hear? A whole penn始orth. Are you deaf?
    Deaf? No, sir, but I must tell you
    Our wares do seldom meet such customers.
    Nay, an you and your lawns be so squeamish, fare you well.
    [He makes as if to go.]
    Pray stay, a word. Pray, signor,
    For what purpose is it, I beseech you?
    始Sblood, what始s that to you? I始ll have a pennyworth.
    A pennyworth? Why, you shall. I始ll serve you presently.
    2 Prentice
    [Aside to Viola] 始Sfoot, a pennyworth, mistress!
    [To Candido] A pennyworth! Call you these gentlemen?
    [To Candido, as he starts to cut the cloth] No, no, not there.
    What then, kind gentleman? What, at this corner here?
    No, nor there neither.
    I始ll have it just in the middle, or else not.
    Just in the middle. Ha, you shall, too. What,
    Have you a single penny?
    [Producing a coin] Yes, here始s one.
    Lend it me, I pray.
    [Aside] An excellent-followed jest!
    What, will he spoil the lawn now?
    Patience, good wife.
    Ay, that patience makes a fool of you. – Gentlemen, you might ha始 found some other citizen to have made a kind gull on besides my husband.
    [As he proceeds to cut the cloth] Pray, gentlemen, take her to be a woman;
    580Do not regard her language. [To Viola] O kind soul,
    Such words will drive away my customers.
    ‘Customers始 with a murrain! Call you these customers?
    Patience, good wife.
    Pax o始your patience!
    始Sfoot, mistress, I warrant these are some cheating 585companions.
    Look you, gentleman, there始s your ware. I thank you;
    I have your money.
    [Handing over the piece of cloth]
    Here. Pray know my shop,
    Let me have your custom.
    ‘Custom始, quoth始a!
    Let me take more of your money.
    You had need so.
    [Aside to Castruccio] Hark in thine ear: th始ast lost a hundred ducats.
    [Aside in reply] Well, well, I know始t. Is始t possible that homo
    Should be nor man nor woman? Not once moved,
    No, not at such an injury, not at all!
    595Sure he始s a pigeon, for he has no gall.
    [To Candido] Come, come, you始re angry, though you smother it;
    You始re vexed, i始faith – confess.
    Why, gentlemen,
    Should you conceit me to be vexed or moved?
    He has my ware, I have his money for始t;
    600And that始s no argument I am angry. No,
    The best logician cannot prove me so.
    O, but the hateful name of a pennyworth of lawn,
    And then cut out i始th始 middle of the piece!
    Pah, I guess it by myself. 始Twould move a lamb,
    605Were he a linen-draper; 始twould, i始faith.
    Well, give me leave to answer you for that.
    We are set here to please all customers,
    Their humours and their fancies, offend none;
    We get by many if we leese by one.
    610Maybe his mind stood to no more than that.
    A penn始orth serves him; and 始mongst trades 始tis found,
    ‘Deny a penn始worth, it may cross a pound.始
    O, he that means to thrive with patient eye
    Must please the devil if he come to buy.
    O wondrous man, patient 始bove wrong or woe!
    How blest were men if women could be so.
    And to express how well my breast is pleased
    And satisfied in all, George, fill a beaker.
    Exit George.
    I始ll drink unto that gentleman who lately
    620Bestowed his money with me.
    God始s my life,
    We shall have all our gains drunk out in beakers
    To make amends for pennyworths of lawn!
    Enter George [with filled beaker].
    [Passing the beaker to Viola]
    Here, wife, begin you to the gentleman.
    I begin to him?
    [She deliberately spills the drink.]
    George, fill始t up again. –
    625始Twas my fault; my hand shook.
    Exit George [with beaker].
    [Aside to his friends] How strangely this doth show:
    A patient man linked with a waspish shrew!
    [Aside] A silver-and-gilt beaker! I have a trick
    To work upon that beaker. Sure 始twill fret him;
    630It cannot choose but vex him.
    [Aside to Castruccio] Signor Castruccio,
    In pity to thee I have a conceit
    Will save thy hundred ducats yet; 始twill do始t,
    And work him to impatience.
    [Aside to Fluello] Sweet Fluello,
    I should be bountiful to that conceit.
    Well, 始tis enough.
    Enter George [with filled beaker and jug].
    [To Castruccio, holding the beaker]
    Here, gentleman, to you.
    I wish your custom; you始re exceeding welcome.
    [He takes a sip and passes the beaker to Castruccio.]
    I pledge you, Signor Candido. [He drinks to Candido.]
    Here, to you, that must receive a hundred ducats.
    [He drinks to Pioratto, and passes the beaker to him.]
    I始ll pledge them deep, i始faith, Castruccio. [He drinks.]
    Signor Fluello.
    [He drinks to Fluello.]
    [To Pioratto] Come, play始t off – to me;
    I am your last man.
    [Pioratto empties out the beaker, as urged by Fluello, who is to drink next.]
    George, supply the cup.
    [George fills the beaker and pases it to Fluello.]
    So, so, good honest George.
    645Here, Signor Candido;
    [He drinks a little to Candido.]
    all this to you.
    [He passes the beaker to him.]
    O, you must pardon me. I use it not.
    Will you not pledge me, then?
    Yes, but not that;
    Great love is shown in little.
    Blurt on your sentences!
    始Sfoot, you shall pledge me all.
    Indeed I shall not.
    Not pledge me? 始Sblood, I始ll carry away the beaker then.
    The beaker? O, that at your pleasure, sir.
    Now, by this drink, I will.
    [To Candido] Pledge him; he始ll do始t else.
    [Candido does not move. Fluello drinks the contents of the beaker. He pours out the last drop on his thumbnail.]
    So. I ha始 done you right, on my thumbnail.
    What, will you pledge me now?
    You know me, sir,
    I am not of that sin.
    Why then, farewell.
    I始ll bear away the beaker, by this light.
    That始s as you please; 始tis very good.
    Nay, it doth please me, and as you say 始tis a very good one.
    665Farewell, Signor Candido.
    Farewell, Candido.
    You始re welcome, gentlemen.
    [Aside] Heart, not moved yet?
    [Aside to Fluello] I think his patience is above your wit.
    Exeunt [Castruccio, Pioratto, and Fluello with the beaker].
    I told you before, mistress, they were all cheaters.
    Why, fool; why, husband; why, madman! I hope you will not let 始em sneak away so, with a silver-and-gilt beaker, the best in the house, too. – Go, fellows, make hue and cry after them.
    Pray let your tongue lie still; all will be well. –
    Come hither, George. Hie to the constable,
    And in calm order wish him to attach them.
    Make no great stir, because they始re gentlemen;
    And a thing partly done in merriment,
    680始Tis but a size above a jest, thou knowst.
    Therefore pursue it mildly. Go, begone.
    The constable始s hard by, bring him along.
    Make haste again.
    Exit George.
    O, you始re a goodly patient woodcock, are you not now? 685See what your patience comes to: everyone saddles you and rides you, you始ll be shortly the common stone-horse of Milan. A woman始s well holped up with such a meacock; I had rather have a husband that would swaddle me thrice a day than such a one, that will be gulled twice in half an 690hour. O, I could burn all the wares in my shop for anger!
    Pray wear a peaceful temper, be my wife –
    That is, be patient; for a wife and husband
    Share but one soul between them. This being known,
    Why should not one soul then agree in one?
    Hang your agreements! But if my beaker be gone –
    Enter Castruccio, Fluello, Pioratto, and George.
    O, here they come.
    The constable, sir, let 始em come along with me, because there should be no wondering. He stays at door.
    Constable, Goodman Abram?
    Now, Signor Candido, 始sblood, why do you attach us?
    始Sheart! Attach us!
    Nay, swear not, gallants.
    Your oaths may move your souls, but not move me;
    705You have a silver beaker of my wife始s.
    You say not true, 始tis gilt.
    Then you say true.
    And being gilt, the guilt lies more on you.
    I hope you始re not angry, sir.
    Then you hope right,
    For I am not angry.
    No, but a little moved.
    I moved? 始Twas you were moved; you were brought hither.
    But you, out of your anger and impatience,
    Caused us to be attached.
    Nay, you misplace it.
    Out of my quiet sufferance I did that,
    And not of any wrath. Had I shown anger,
    I should have then pursued you with the law,
    And hunted you to shame, as many worldlings
    720Do build their anger upon feebler grounds –
    The more始s the pity. Many lose their lives
    For scarce so much coin as will hide their palm,
    Which is most cruel. Those have vexèd spirits
    That pursue lives. In this opinion rest:
    725The loss of millions could not move my breast.
    Thou art a blest man, and with peace dost deal;
    Such a meek spirit can bless a commonweal.
    Gentlemen, now 始tis upon eating-time,
    Pray part not hence, but dine with me today.
    I never heard a courtier yet say nay
    To such a motion. I始ll not be the first.
    Nor I.
    Nor I.
    The constable shall bear you company.
    735George, call him in. Let the world say what it can,
    Nothing can drive me from a patient man.
    Enter Roger with a stool, cushion, looking-glass, and chafing-dish. Those being set down, he pulls out of his pocket a vial with white colour in it, and two boxes, one with white, another red 740painting. He places all things in order, and a candle by them, singing with the ends of old ballads as he does it. At last Bellafront, as he rubs his cheek with the colours, whistles within.
    Anon, forsooth.
    [Within] What are you playing the rogue about?
    About you, forsooth; I始m drawing up a hole in your white silk stocking.
    Is my glass there? And my boxes of complexion?
    Yes, forsooth. Your boxes of complexion are 750here, I think. Yes, 始tis here; here始s your two complexions. [Aside] An if I had all the four complexions, I should ne始er set a good face upon始t. Some men, I see, are born under hard-favoured planets as well as women. Zounds, I look worse now than I did before; and it makes her face glister most 755damnably. There始s knavery in daubing, I hold my life; or else this is only female pomatum.
    Enter Bellafront not full ready, without a gown. She sits down, with her bodkin curls her hair, colours her lips [etc.].
    Where始s my ruff and poker, you blockhead?
    Your ruff and your poker are engendering together upon the cupboard of the court, or the court-cupboard.
    Fetch 始em! Is the pox in your hams, you can go no faster?
    [She throws something at him.]
    Would the pox were in your fingers, unless you could 765leave flinging. Catch!
    [He throws back the object.]
    I始ll catch you, you dog, by and by. Do you grumble?
    Exit [Roger].
    She sings:
    Cupid is a god
    As naked as my nail;
    I始ll whip him with a rod
    If he my true love fail.
    [Enter Roger with ruff and poker.]
    There始s your ruff. Shall I poke it?
    Yes, honest Roger – no, stay. Prithee, good boy, hold here.
    [Roger holds the looking-glass and candle for her. She sings:]
    Down, down, down, down; I fall down, and arise I never shall.
    Troth, mistress, then leave the trade, if you shall never rise.
    What trade, Goodman Abram?
    Why, that of down and arise, or the falling trade.
    I始ll fall with you, by and by.
    If you do, I know who shall smart for始t. Troth, mistress, what do I look like now?
    Like as you are: a panderly sixpenny rascal.
    I may thank you for that. No, faith, I look like an old proverb, ‘Hold the candle before the devil.始
    Ud始s life, I始ll stick my knife in your guts an you prate to me so! – What?
    She sings:
    Well met, pug, the pearl of beauty, umm, umm.
    785How now, Sir Knave, you forget your duty, umm, umm.
    Marry-muff, sir, are you grown so dainty? Fa, la, la, leera, la.
    Is it you, sir? The worst of twenty, fa, la, la, leera, la.
    Pox on you, how dost thou hold my glass?
    Why, as I hold your door: with my fingers.
    Nay, prithee, sweet honey Roger, hold up handsomely. (Sings ‘Pretty wantons, warble始, etc.) We shall ha始 guests today, I lay my little maidenhead, my nose itches so.
    I said so too, last night, when our fleas twinged me.
    [Completing her make-up] So. Poke my ruff now. My gown, my gown! Have I my fall? 795Where始s my fall, Roger?
    Your fall, forsooth, is behind.
    One knocks.
    God始s my pitikins! Some fool or other knocks.
    Shall I open to the fool, mistress?
    And all these baubles lying thus? Away with it 800quickly!
    [They tidy up. More knocking.]
    – Ay, ay, knock and be damned, whosoever you be. – So. Give the fresh salmon line now; let him come ashore. He shall serve for my breakfast, though he go against my stomach.
    Roger fetches in Fluello, Castruccio, and Pioratto.
    [He brings in some stools.]
    [To Bellafront] Morrow, coz.
    How does my sweet acquaintance?
    Save thee, little marmoset. How dost thou, good pretty rogue?
    Well, God-a-mercy, good pretty rascal.
    [Producing tobacco] Roger, some light, I prithee.
    You shall, signor; for we that live here in this vale of misery are as dark as hell.
    Exit for a candle.
    Good tobacco, Fluello?
    It may be tickling gear, for it plays with my nose already.
    Enter Roger [with candle].
    [To Fluello] Here始s another light angel, signor.
    [Fluello lights a pipe, which afterwards he passes to Castruccio.]
    What, you pied curtal? What始s that you are neighing?
    I say, ‘God send us the light of heaven, or some more angels始.
    Go fetch some wine; [Aside, to him]and drink half of it.
    I must fetch some wine, gentlemen, [Aside to her] and drink half of it.
    [Offering him money] Here, Roger.
    No, let me send, prithee.
    [To Roger] Hold, you cankerworm.
    You shall send both, if you please, signors. [Castruccio gives him money.]
    Stay, what始s best to drink a-mornings?
    Hippocras, sir, for my mistress, if I fetch it, is most dear to her.
    Hippocras? [Giving Roger more money] There, then; here始s a teston for you, you snake.
    Right, sir; here始s three shillings sixpence for a pottle and a manchet.
    [Smoking] Here始s most Herculean tobacco. [Offering the pipe to Bellafront] Ha始 some, acquaintance?
    Faugh, not I – makes your breath stink like the piss of a fox. Acquaintance, where supped you last night?
    At a place, sweet acquaintance, where your health danced the canaries, i始faith; you should ha始 been there.
    I there, among your punks? Marry faugh, hang 始em! 835Scorn始t. Will you never leave sucking of eggs in other folks始 hens始 nests?
    Why, in good troth, if you始ll trust me, acquaintance, there was not one hen at the board. Ask Fluello.
    No, faith, coz, none but cocks. Signor Malavolta 840drunk to thee.
    O, a pure beagle! That horseleech there?
    And the knight, Sir Oliver Lollio, swore he would bestow a taffeta petticoat on thee, but to break his fast with thee.
    With me? I始ll choke him then. Hang him, mole-catcher! It始s the dreamingest snotty-nose.
    Well, many took that Lollio for a fool; but he始s a subtle fool.
    Ay, and he has fellows; of all filthy, dry-fisted knights, I cannot abide that he should touch me.
    Why, wench, is he scabbed?
    Hang him! He始ll not live to be so honest, nor to the 850credit to have scabs about him; his betters have 始em. But I hate to wear out any of his coarse knighthood, because he始s made like an alderman始s nightgown, faced all with cony before, and within nothing but fox. This sweet Oliver will eat mutton till he be ready to burst, but the 855lean-jawed slave will not pay for the scraping of his trencher.
    Plague him; set him beneath the salt, and let him not touch a bit till everyone has had his full cut.
    Sordello, the gentleman-usher, came in to us too. Marry, 始twas in our cheese, for he had been to borrow money 860for his lord, of a citizen.
    What an ass is that lord, to borrow money of a citizen!
    Nay, God始s my pity, what an ass is that citizen to lend money to a lord!
    865Enter Mattheo and Hippolito, who, saluting the company as a stranger, walks off. Roger comes in sadly behind them, with a pottle pot, and stands aloof off.
    Save you, gallants. Signor Fluello, exceedingly well met, as I may say.
    Signor Mattheo, exceedingly well met too, as I may say.
    And how fares my little pretty mistress?
    E始en as my little pretty servant; sees three court dishes before her, and not one good bit in them. [To Roger] How now? 875Why the devil standst thou so? Art in a trance?
    Yes, forsooth.
    Why dost not fill out their wine?
    Forsooth, 始tis filled out already: all the wine that the signors has bestowed upon you is cast away. A porter ran a tilt at me, and so faced me down that I had not a drop.
    I始m accurst to let such a withered artichoke-faced rascal grow under my nose! Now you look like an old he-cat, going to the gallows. I始ll be hanged if he ha始 not put up the money to cony-catch us all.
    No, truly, forsooth, 始tis not put up [Aside to her] yet.
    How many gentlemen hast thou served thus?
    None [Aside] but five hundred, besides prentices and servingmen.
    Dost think I始ll pocket it up at thy hands?
    Yes, forsooth, [Aside to her] I fear you will pocket it up.
    [To Mattheo] Fie, fie, cut my lace, good servant; I shall ha始 the 890mother presently, I始m so vexed at this horse-plum!
    Plague, not for a scald pottle of wine!
    Nay, sweet Bellafront, for a little pig始s wash!
    Here, Roger, fetch more. [He gives him more money.] – A mischance, i始faith, acquaintance.
    [To Roger] Out of my sight, thou ungodly puritanical creature!
    For the tother pottle? Yes, forsooth.
    [Aside to him] Spill that too!
    Exit [Roger].
    [Observing Hippolito] What gentleman is that, servant? Your friend?
    Godso! A stool, a stool! If you love me, mistress, 900entertain this gentleman respectively, and bid him welcome.
    He始s very welcome. [To Hippolito] Pray, sir, sit.
    Thanks, lady.
    [Moving towards him] Count Hippolito, is始t not? Cry you mercy, signor; you walk here all this while, and we not heed you? Let me 905bestow a stool upon you, beseech you. You are a stranger here; we know the fashions o始th始 house.
    [He offers Hippolito a stool.]
    Please you be here, my lord. [He offers Hippolito] tobacco.
    [Declining the offer] No, good Castruccio.
    You have abandoned the court, I see, my lord, since 910the death of your mistress. Well, she was a delicate piece – [Aside to Bellafront] Beseech you, sweet, come, let us serve under the colours of your acquaintance still, for all that. [Aloud to Hippolito] Please you to meet here at the lodging of my coz; I shall bestow a banquet upon you.
    [Bellafront and Mattheo speak privately without hearing the others, who converse aloud with one another.]
    [To Fluello] I never can deserve this kindness, sir.
    915What may this lady be, whom you call coz?
    Faith, sir, a poor gentlewoman, of passing good carriage; one that has some suits in law, and lies here in an attorney始s house.
    Is she married?
    Ha, as all your punks are, a captain始s wife or so. Never saw her before, my lord?
    Never, trust me. A goodly creature.
    By gad, when you know her as we do, you始ll swear she is the prettiest, kindest, sweetest, most bewitching honest ape 925under the pole. A skin – your satin is not more soft, nor lawn whiter.
    Belike, then, she始s some sale courtesan.
    Troth, as all your best faces are; a good wench.
    Great pity that she始s a good wench. [They whisper.]
    [Aloud to Bellafront] Thou shalt have it i始faith, mistress. – How now, signors? What? Whispering? [Talking apart to Hippolito] Did not I lay a wager I should take you within seven days in a house of vanity?
    You did, and, I beshrew your heart, you have won.
    How do you like my mistress?
    Well, for such a mistress. Better, if your mistress be not your master. [Aloud] I must break manners, gentlemen; fare you well.
    始Sfoot, you shall not leave us.
    The gentleman likes not the taste of our company.
    940All Gentlemen
    Beseech you, stay.
    Trust me, my affairs beckon for me. Pardon me.
    Will you call for me half an hour hence here?
    Perhaps I shall.
    Perhaps? Faugh! I know you can; swear to me you will.
    Since you will press me, on my word I will.
    What sullen picture is this, servant?
    It始s Count Hippolito, the brave count.
    As gallant a spirit as any in Milan, you sweet Jew.
    O, he始s a most essential gentleman, coz.
    Did you never hear of Count Hippolito, acquaintance?
    Marry-muff o始your counts, an be no more life in 始em.
    He始s so malcontent! Sirrah Bellafront – [To the others] An you be honest gallants, let始s sup together, and have the count dine with us. [To her] 955Thou shalt sit at the upper end, punk.
    ‘Punk始, you soused gurnet?
    King始s truce! Come, I始ll bestow the supper to have him but laugh.
    He betrays his youth too grossly to that tyrant, melancholy.
    All this is for a woman.
    A woman? Some whore! What sweet jewel is始t?
    Would she heard you.
    Troth, so would I.
    And I, by heaven.
    Nay, good servant, what woman?
    Prithee, tell me; a buss, and tell me! I warrant he始s an honest fellow, if he take on thus for a wench. Good rogue, who?
    By th始Lord, I will not, must not, faith, mistress. – Is始t a match, sirs? This night, at th始Antelope; for there始s best wine, and good boys.
    970All Gentlemen
    It始s done; at th始Antelope.
    I cannot be there tonight.
    ‘Cannot始? By th始Lord, you shall.
    By the Lady, I will not. ‘Shall始!
    Why then, put it off till Friday. Wu始t come then, coz?
    Well –
    Enter Roger.
    You始re the waspishest ape. – Roger, put your mistress in mind, your scurvy mistress here, to sup with us on Friday next. [To her] You始re best come like a madwoman, without a band, in your waistcoat, and the linings of your kirtle outward, like 980every common hackney that steals out at the back gate of her sweet knight始s lodging.
    Go, go, hang yourself!
    It始s dinner-time, Mattheo; shall始s hence?
    All Gentlemen
    Yes, yes. – Farewell, wench.
    Farewell, boys.
    Exeunt [Fluello, Castruccio, Pioratto, and Mattheo].
    Roger, what wine sent they for?
    Bastard wine; for if it had been truly begotten, it would not ha始 been ashamed to come in. Here始s six shillings, to pay for nursing the bastard.
    A company of rooks! O good sweet Roger, run to the poulter始s and buy me some fine larks.
    No woodcocks?
    Yes, faith, a couple, if they be not dear.
    I始ll buy but one: there始s one already here.
    Enter Hippolito.
    Is the gentleman my friend departed, mistress?
    His back is but new turned, sir.
    [Going] Fare you well.
    I can direct you to him.
    Can you, pray?
    If you please, stay; he始ll not be absent long.
    I care not much.
    Pray sit, forsooth.
    [Putting down his rapier] I始m hot;
    If I may use your room, I始ll rather walk.
    At your best pleasure. Whew!
    [Offering towels] Some rubbers, there.
    Indeed, I始ll none – indeed, I will not. Thanks.
    Pretty fine lodging. I perceive my friend
    1005Is old in your acquaintance.
    Troth, sir, he comes
    As other gentlemen, to spend spare hours.
    If yourself like our roof, such as it is,
    Your own acquaintance may be as old as his.
    Say I did like, what welcome should I find?
    Such as my present fortunes can afford.
    But would you let me play Mattheo始s part?
    What part?
    Why, embrace you, dally with you, kiss.
    Faith, tell me: will you leave him, and love me?
    I am in bonds to no man, sir.
    Why then,
    You始re free for any man; if any, me.
    But I must tell you, lady, were you mine,
    You should be all mine. I could brook no sharers;
    I should be covetous, and sweep up all.
    1020I should be pleasure始s usurer; faith, I should.
    O fate!
    Why sigh you, lady? May I know?
    始T has never been my fortune yet to single
    Out that one man whose love could fellow mine,
    1025As I have ever wished it. O my stars!
    Had I but met with one kind gentleman
    That would have purchased sin alone, to himself,
    For his own private use, although scarce proper
    (Indifferent handsome, meetly legged and thighed),
    1030And my allowance reasonable (i始faith,
    According to my body), by my troth
    I would have been as true unto his pleasures
    Yea, and as loyal to his afternoons,
    As ever a poor gentlewoman could be.
    This were well now to one but newly fledged
    And scarce a day old in this subtle world;
    始Twere pretty art, good bird-lime, cunning net.
    But come, come, faith, confess: how many men
    Have drunk this self-same protestation
    1040From that red 始ticing lip?
    Indeed, not any.
    ‘Indeed始? And blush not?
    No, in truth, not any.
    ‘Indeed始! ‘In truth始! How warily you swear!
    1045始Tis well, if ill it be not. Yet had I
    The ruffian in me, and were drawn before you
    But in light colours, I do know indeed
    You would not swear ‘indeed始, but thunder oaths
    That should shake heaven, drown the harmonious spheres,
    1050And pierce a soul that loved her maker始s honour
    With horror and amazement.
    Shall I swear?
    Will you believe me then?
    Worst then of all;
    1055Our sins by custom seem at last but small.
    Were I but o始er your threshold, a next man,
    And after him a next, and then a fourth,
    Should have this golden hook and lascivious bait
    Thrown out to the full length. Why, let me tell you
    1060I ha始 seen letters, sent from that white hand,
    Tuning such music to Mattheo始s ear.
    Mattheo! That始s true. But if you始ll believe
    My honest tongue, my eyes no sooner met you
    But they conceived and led you to my heart.
    O, you cannot feign with me! Why, I know, lady,
    This is the common fashion of you all,
    To hook in a kind gentleman, and then
    Abuse his coin, conveying it to your lover;
    And in the end you show him a French trick,
    1070And so you leave him that a coach may run
    Between his legs for breadth.
    O, by my soul,
    Not I! Therein I始ll prove an honest whore –
    In being true to one and to no more.
    If any be disposed to trust your oath,
    Let him; I始ll not be he. I know you feign
    All that you speak, I; for a mingled harlot
    Is true in nothing but in being false.
    What, shall I teach you how to loathe yourself?
    1080And mildly too, not without sense or reason?
    I am content; I would fain loathe myself
    If you not love me.
    Then if your gracious blood
    Be not all wasted, I shall assay to do始t.
    1085Lend me your silence and attention.
    You have no soul; that makes you weigh so light.
    Heaven始s treasure bought it,
    And half a crown hath sold it. For your body,
    It始s like the common shore, that still receives
    All the town始s filth. The sin of many men
    1090Is within you; and thus much I suppose,
    That, if all your committers stood in rank,
    They始d make a lane, in which your shame might dwell,
    And with their spaces reach from hence to hell.
    Nay, shall I urge it more? There has been known
    1095As many by one harlot maimed and dismembered
    As would ha始 stuffed an hospital. This I might
    Apply to you, and perhaps do you right.
    O, you始re as base as any beast that bears;
    Your body is e始en hired, and so are theirs.
    1100For gold and sparkling jewels, if he can,
    You始ll let a Jew get you with Christian.
    Be he a Moor, a Tartar, though his face
    Look uglier than a dead man始s skull,
    Could the devil put on a human shape,
    1105If his purse shake out crowns, up then he gets;
    Whores will be rid to hell with golden bits.
    So that you始re crueller than Turks, for they
    Sell Christians only; you sell yourselves away.
    Why, those that love you, hate you, and will term you
    1110Lickerish damnation, wish themselves half sunk
    After the sin is laid out, and e始en curse
    Their fruitless riot. For what one begets,
    Another poisons. Lust and murder hit;
    A tree being often shook, what fruit can knit?
    O me unhappy!
    I can vex you more.
    A harlot is like Dunkirk, true to none;
    Swallows both English, Spanish, fulsome Dutch,
    Back-doored Italian, last of all the French.
    1120And he sticks to you, faith; gives you your diet,
    Brings you acquainted, first with Monsieur Doctor,
    And then you know what follows.
    Rank, stinking, and most loathsome misery.
    Methinks a toad is happier than a whore:
    That with one poison swells, with thousands more
    The other stocks her veins. Harlot? Fie, fie!
    You are the miserablest creatures breathing.
    The very slaves of nature. Mark me else:
    1130You put on rich attires, others始 eyes wear them;
    You eat but to supply your blood with sin.
    And this strange curse e始en haunts you to your graves:
    From fools you get, and spend it upon slaves.
    Like bears and apes, you始re baited and show tricks
    1135For money, but your bawd the sweetness licks.
    Indeed, you are their journey-women, and do
    All base and damned works they list set you to,
    So that you ne始er are rich. For do but show me,
    In present memory or in ages past,
    1140The fairest and most famous courtesan –
    Whose flesh was dear始st, that raised the price of sin,
    And held it up; to whose intemperate bosom
    Princes, earls, lords (the worst has been a knight,
    The mean始st a gentleman) have offered up
    1145Whole hecatombs of sighs, and rained in show始rs
    Handfuls of gold – yet, for all this, at last
    Diseases sucked her marrow; then grew so poor
    That she has begged, e始en at a beggar始s door.
    And – wherein heav始n has a finger – when this idol
    1150From coast to coast has lept on foreign shores,
    And had more worship than th始outlandish whores;
    When several nations have gone over her;
    When for each several city she has seen
    Her maidenhead has been new, and been sold dear;
    1155Did live well there, and might have died unknown
    And undefamed – back comes she to her own,
    And there both miserably lives and dies,
    Scorned even of those that once adored her eyes,
    As if her fatal-circled life thus ran
    1160Her pride should end there where it first began.
    [She weeps.]
    What, do you weep to hear your story read?
    Nay, if you spoil your cheeks, I始ll read no more.
    [Weeping] O yes, I pray, proceed.
    Indeed, 始twill do me good to weep, indeed.
    To give those tears a relish, this I add:
    You始re like the Jews, scattered, in no place certain.
    Your days are tedious, your hours burdensome;
    And were始t not for full suppers, midnight revels,
    Dancing, wine, riotous meetings, which do drown
    1170And bury quite in you all virtuous thoughts,
    And on your eyelids hang so heavily
    They have no power to look so high as heaven,
    You始d sit and muse on nothing but despair,
    Curse that devil Lust, that so burns up your blood,
    1175And in ten thousand shivers break your glass
    For his temptation. Say you taste delight
    To have a golden gull from rise to set,
    To mete you in his hot luxurious arms,
    Yet your nights pay for all: I know you dream
    1180Of warrants, whips, and beadles, and then start
    At a door始s windy creak, think every weasel
    To be a constable and every rat
    A long-tailed officer. Are you now not slaves?
    O, you have damnation without pleasure for it!
    1185Such is the state of harlots. To conclude,
    When you are old and can well paint no more,
    You turn bawd, and are then worse than before.
    Make use of this. Farewell.
    [He starts to go.]
    O, I pray, stay!
    I see Mattheo comes not. Time hath barred me.
    Would all the harlots in the town had heard me.
    [Calling after him] Stay yet a little longer! No? Quite gone!
    Curst be that minute – for it was no more,
    So soon a maid is changed into a whore –
    1195Wherein I first fell; be it for ever black!
    Yet why should sweet Hippolito shun mine eyes,
    For whose true love I would become pure-honest,
    Hate the world始s mixtures and the smiles of gold?
    Am I not fair? Why should he fly me, then?
    1200Fair creatures are desired, not scorned of men.
    How many gallants have drunk healths to me
    Out of their daggered arms, and thought them blest
    Enjoying but mine eyes at prodigal feasts?
    And does Hippolito detest my love?
    1205O, sure their heedless lusts but flattered me;
    I am not pleasing, beautiful, nor young.
    Hippolito has spied some ugly blemish,
    Eclipsing all my beauties. I am foul.
    Harlot! Ay, that始s the spot that taints thy soul.
    1210[Finding Hippolito始s rapier] His weapon left here? O, fit instrument
    To let forth all the poison of my flesh!
    Thy master hates me 始cause my blood hath ranged;
    But when 始tis forth, then he始ll believe I始m changed.
    [As she is about to stab herself], enter Hippolito.
    Mad woman, what art doing?
    Either love me,
    Or cleave my bosom on thy rapier始s point.
    Yet do not neither, for thou then destroyst
    That which I love thee for – thy virtues. Here, here!
    [She gives him his sword.]
    Thou始rt crueller, and killst me with disdain;
    1220To die so sheds no blood, yet 始tis worse pain.
    Exit Hippolito.
    Not speak to me! Not look! Not bid farewell!
    Hated! This must not be; some means I始ll try.
    Would all whores were as honest now as I.
    1225Enter Candido, [Viola] his Wife, George, and two Prentices, in the shop. Fustigo enters, walking by.
    See, gentlemen, what you lack; a fine holland, a fine cambric. See what you buy.
    1 Prentice
    Holland for shirts, cambric for bands; what is始t you lack?
    [Aside] 始Sfoot, I lack 始em all; nay more, I lack money to buy 始em. Let me see, let me look again. Mass, this is the shop! [To Viola] What, coz! Sweet coz! How dost, i始faith, since last night after candlelight? We had good sport, i始faith, had we not? And when shall始s laugh again?
    When you will, cousin.
    Spoke like a kind Lacedemonian. I see yonder始s thy husband.
    Ay, there始s the sweet youth, God bless him.
    And how is始t, cousin? And how, how is始t, thou squall?
    Well, cousin. How fare you?
    How fare I? Troth, for sixpence a meal, wench, as well as heart can wish, with calves始 chawdrons and chitterlings; besides, I have a punk after supper, as good as a roasted apple.
    [Approaching] Are you my wife始s cousin?
    I am, sir. What hast thou to do with that?
    O, nothing; but you始re welcome.
    The devil始s dung in thy teeth! I始ll be welcome whether thou wilt or no, I. [To Viola] What ring始s this, coz? Very pretty and fantastical, i始faith. Let始s see it.
    [He tries to remove it.]
    Pooh! Nay, you wrench my finger.
    I ha始 sworn I始ll ha始t, and I hope you will not let my oaths be cracked in the ring, will you? [He grabs the ring. To Candido] I hope, sir, you are not mallicolly at this, for all your great looks. Are you angry?
    Angry? Not I, sir; nay, if she can part
    So easily with her ring, 始tis with my heart.
    [To Candido] Suffer this, sir, and suffer all. A whoreson gull, to –
    Peace, George. When she has reaped what I have sown,
    She始ll say one grain tastes better of her own
    Than whole sheaves gathered from another始s land;
    Wit始s never good till bought at a dear hand.
    [Fustigo and Viola whisper, and kiss each other behind his back.]
    But in the meantime she makes an ass of somebody.
    2 Prentice
    See, see, see, sir; as you turn your back, they do nothing but kiss.
    No matter, let 始em. When I touch her lips,
    I shall not feel his kisses, no, nor miss
    1265Any of her lips; no harm in kissing is.
    Look to your business; pray make up your wares.
    [To Viola] Troth, coz, and well remembered. [To Candido] I would thou wouldst give me five yards of lawn, to make my punk some falling bands o始the fashion, three falling one upon 1270another ; for that始s the new edition now. She始s out of linen horribly, too. Troth, sh始as never a good smock to her back neither but one that has a great many patches in始t, and that I始m fain to wear myself for want of shift, too. Prithee, put me into wholesome napery, and bestow some clean commodities 1275upon us.
    [To George and the Prentices] Reach me those cambrics and the lawns hither.
    What to do, wife? To lavish out my goods upon a fool?
    Fool? 始Snails, eat the ‘fool始, or I始ll so batter your crown that it shall scarce go for five shillings.
    12802 Prentice
    [To Candido] Do you hear, sir? You始re best be quiet, and say a fool tells you so.
    Nails, I think so – [To 2 Prentice] for thou tellst me.
    Are you angry, sir, because I named thee fool?
    Trust me, you are not wise, in mine own house
    And to my face to play the antic thus.
    1285If you始ll needs play the madman, choose a stage
    Of lesser compass, where few eyes may note
    Your action始s error. But if still you miss,
    As here you do, for one clap ten will hiss.
    [To Viola] Zounds, cousin, he talks to me as if I were a 1290scurvy tragedian.
    [The Prentices and George talk apart.]
    2 Prentice
    Sirrah George, I ha始 thought upon a device how to break his pate, beat him soundly, and ship him away.
    2 Prentice
    I始ll go in, pass through the house, give some of our fellow prentices the watchword when 1295they shall enter, then come and fetch my master in by a while, and place one in the hall to hold him in conference, whilst we cudgel the gull out of his coxcomb.
    Do始t. Away, do始t.
    [To them] Must I call twice for these cambrics and lawns?
    Nay, see, you anger her, George; prithee, despatch.
    2 Prentice
    Two of the choicest pieces are in the warehouse, sir.
    Go fetch them presently.
    Ay, do, make haste, sirrah.
    Exit 2 Prentice.
    [To Fustigo] Why were you such a stranger all this while, 1305being my wife始s cousin?
    Stranger? No, sir, I始m a natural Milaner born.
    I perceive still it is your natural guise to mistake me. But you are welcome, sir; I much wish your acquaintance.
    My acquaintance? I scorn that, i始faith. I hope my 1310acquaintance goes in chains of gold three-and-fifty times double. – You know who I mean, coz; the posts of his gate are a-painting, too.
    Enter 2 Prentice [with pieces of cambric and lawn].
    2 Prentice
    [To Candido] Signor Pandulfo the merchant desires conference with you.
    Signor Pandulfo? I始ll be with him straight.
    1315Attend your mistress and the gentleman.
    [To 2 Prentice] When do you show those pieces?
    Ay, when do you show those pieces?
    George and the Prentices
    Presently, sir, presently; we are but charging them.
    [To George] Come, sirrah, you flat-cap; where be these whites?
    Flat-cap? [Aside to Fustigo] Hark in your ear, sir: you始re a flat fool, an 1320ass, a gull, and I始ll thrum you. Do you see this cambric, sir?
    [To Viola] 始Sfoot, coz, a good jest! Did you hear him? He told me in my ear I was ‘a flat fool, an ass, a gull, and I始ll thrum you. Do you see this cambric, sir?始
    [At some distance] What, not my men, I hope?
    No, not your men, but one of your men, i始faith.
    1 Prentice
    I pray, sir, come hither. [Indicating a piece of cambric] What say you to this? Here始s an excellent good one.
    Ay, marry, this likes me well; cut me off some half-score yards.
    2 Prentice
    [Aside to him] Let your whores cut. You始re an impudent coxcomb; 1330you get none, and yet I始ll thrum you. [Aloud] A very good cambric, sir.
    Again, again, as God judge me! 始Sfoot, coz, they stand thrumming here with me all day, and yet I get nothing.
    1 Prentice
    A word, I pray, sir. You must not be angry. Prentices 1335have hot bloods – young fellows. What say you to this piece? Look you, 始tis so delicate, so soft, so even, so fine a thread that a lady may wear it.
    始Sfoot, I think so. If a knight marry my punk, a lady shall wear it. Cut me off twenty yards, thou始rt an honest lad.
    13401 Prentice
    [Aside to him] Not without money, gull, and I始ll thrum you too.
    George and the Prentices
    [Aside to him] Gull, we始ll thrum you.
    O Lord, sister, did you not hear something cry ‘thump始? Zounds, your men here make a plain ass of me.
    What, to my face so impudent?
    Ay, in a cause so honest; we始ll not suffer
    Our master始s goods to vanish moneyless.
    You始ll not suffer them?
    2 Prentice
    No, and you may blush
    In going about to vex so mild a breast
    1350As is our master始s.
    [To Fustigo] Take away those pieces,
    Cousin; I give them freely.
    [Taking the pieces] Mass, and I始ll take 始em as freely.
    George and the Prentices
    We始ll make you lay 始em down again more freely.
    [Enter fellow Prentices; Fustigo is beaten with clubs.]
    Help, help! My brother will be murderèd.
    Enter Candido.
    How now, what coil is here? Forbear, I say.
    [Peace returns. Exeunt the fellow Prentices.]
    He calls us flat-caps, and abuses us.
    Why, sirs? Do such examples flow from me?
    They are of your keeping, sir. – Alas, poor brother.
    I始faith, they ha始 peppered me, sister. Look, does始t not 1360spin? Call you these prentices? I始ll ne始er play at cards more when clubs is trump. I have a goodly coxcomb, sister, have I not?
    ‘Sister始 and ‘brother始? Brother to my wife?
    If you have any skill in heraldry, you may soon know that. Break but her pate, and you shall see her blood 1365and mine is all one.
    [To 1 Prentice] A surgeon! Run; a surgeon!
    [Exit 1 Prentice.]
    [To Fustigo] Why, then, wore you that forged name of cousin?
    Because it始s a common thing to call coz and ningle nowadays, all the world over.
    ‘Cousin始! A name of much deceit, folly, and sin,
    For under that common abusèd word
    Many an honest-tempered citizen
    Is made a monster, and his wife trained out
    To foul adulterous action, full of fraud.
    1375I may well call that word a city始s bawd.
    Troth, brother, my sister would needs ha始 made me take upon me to gull your patience a little; but it has made double gules on my coxcomb.
    [To Fustigo] What, playing the woman? Blabbing now, you fool?
    O, my wife did but exercise a jest upon your wit.
    始Sfoot, my wit bleeds for始t, methinks.
    Then let this warning more of sense afford;
    The name of ‘cousin始 is a bloody word.
    I始ll ne始er call coz again whilst I live, to have such 1385a coil about it. This should be a coronation day, for my head runs claret lustily.
    [To 2 Prentice] Go, wish the surgeon to have great respect.
    [Exit 2 Prentice.]
    Enter an Officer.
    [To the Officer] How now, my friend; what, do they sit today?
    Yes, sir, they expect you at the Senate House.
    I thank your pains; I始ll not be last man there.
    Exit Officer.
    My gown, George; go, my gown.
    [Exit George.]
    A happy land,
    Where grave men meet, each cause to understand,
    Whose consciences are not cut out in bribes
    To gull the poor man始s right, but in even scales
    1395Peize rich and poor, without corruption始s vails.
    [Enter George.]
    [To him] Come, where始s the gown?
    I cannot find the key, sir.
    Request it of your mistress.
    Come not to me for any key;
    I始ll not be troubled to deliver it.
    Good wife, kind wife, it is a needful trouble,
    But for my gown.
    Moths swallow down your gown!
    You set my teeth on edge with talking on始t.
    Nay, prithee, sweet, I cannot meet without it;
    1405I should have a great fine set on my head.
    Set on your coxcomb! Tush, fine me no fines.
    Believe me, sweet, none greets the Senate House
    Without his robe of reverence – that始s his gown.
    Well, then you始re like to cross that custom once.
    1410You get nor key nor gown; and so depart.
    [Aside] This trick will vex him sure, and fret his heart.
    Stay, let me see; I must have some device.
    My cloak始s too short; fie, fie, no cloak will do始t.
    It must be something fashioned like a gown,
    1415With my arms out. O George, come hither, George;
    I prithee, lend me thine advice.
    Truth, sir, were it any but you, they would break open chest.
    O, no! Break open chest? That始s a thief始s office.
    Therein you counsel me against my blood;
    1420始Twould show impatience, that. Any meek means
    I would be glad to embrace. Mass, I have got it!
    Go, step up, fetch me down one of the carpets –
    The saddest-coloured carpet, honest George.
    Cut thou a hole i始th始 middle for my neck;
    1425Two for mine arms. Nay, prithee, look not strange.
    I hope you do not think, sir, as you mean.
    Prithee, about it quickly; the hour chides me.
    Warily, George, softly; take heed of eyes.
    Exit George.
    Out of two evils, he始s accounted wise
    1430That can pick out the least. The fine imposed
    For an ungownèd senator is about
    Forty crusadoes, the carpet not 始bove four.
    Thus have I chosen the lesser evil yet,
    Preserved my patience, foiled her desperate wit.
    Enter George [with carpet].
    Here, sir, here始s the carpet.
    O, well done, George; we始ll cut it just i始th始 midst.
    [They cut one hole into the carpet for Candido始s neck, and two for his arms.]
    始Tis very well; I thank thee. Help it on.
    It must come over your head, sir, like a wench始s petticoat.
    Thou始rt in the right, good George; it must indeed.
    1440Fetch me a nightcap, for I始ll gird it close,
    As if my health were queasy. 始Twill show well
    For a rude, careless nightgown; will始t not, thinkst?
    Indifferent well, sir, for a nightgown, being girt and pleated.
    Ay, and a nightcap on my head.
    That始s true, sir; I始ll run and fetch one, and a staff.
    Exit George.
    For thus they cannot choose but conster it:
    One that is out of health takes no delight,
    Wears his apparel without appetite,
    And puts on heedless raiment without form.
    Enter George [with nightcap and staff].
    [Candido puts on the nightcap and takes the staff.]
    So, so, kind George. Be secret now; and, prithee,
    Do not laugh at me till I始m out of sight.
    I laugh? Not I, sir.
    Now to the Senate House.
    Methinks I始d rather wear, without a frown,
    A patient carpet than an angry gown.
    Now looks my master just like one of our carpet-knights; only he始s somewhat the honester of the two.
    Enter [Viola], Candido始s Wife, [with a key].
    What, is your master gone?
    Yes, forsooth, his back is but new turned.
    And in his cloak? Did he not vex and swear?
    [Aside] No, but he始ll make you swear anon.
    [To her] No, indeed, he went away like a lamb.
    Key, sink to hell! Still patient, patient still?
    I am with child to vex him. Prithee, George,
    If e始er thou lookst for favour at my hands,
    1465Uphold one jest for me.
    Against my master?
    始Tis a mere jest, in faith. Say, wilt thou do始t?
    Well, what is始t?
    Here, take this key. Thou knowst where all things lie.
    Put on thy master始s best apparel – gown,
    1470Chain, cap, ruff, everything. Be like himself,
    And, 始gainst his coming home, walk in the shop;
    Feign the same carriage and his patient look.
    始Twill breed but a jest, thou knowst. Speak, wilt thou?
    始Twill wrong my master始s patience.
    Prithee, George.
    Well, if you始ll save me harmless, and put me under covert barn, I am content to please you, provided it may breed no wrong against him.
    No wrong at all.
    [Giving him the key]
    Here, take the key; begone.
    If any vex him, this; if not this, none.
    Enter a Bawd [Mistress Fingerlock], and Roger.
    O Roger, Roger, where始s your mistress, where始s your mistress? There始s the finest, neatest gentleman at my house, but newly come over. O, where is she, where 1485is she?
    My mistress is abroad, but not amongst 始em. My mistress is not the whore now that you take her for.
    How? Is she not a whore? Do you go about to take away her good name, Roger? You are a fine pander indeed!
    I tell you, Madonna Fingerlock, I am not sad for nothing. I ha始 not eaten one good meal this three-and-thirty days. I had wont to get sixteen pence by fetching a pottle of hippocras, but now those days are past. We had as good doings, Madonna Fingerlock, she within doors and 1495I without, as any poor young couple in Milan.
    God始s my life, and is she changed now?
    I ha始 lost by her squeamishness more than would have builded twelve bawdy-houses.
    And had she no time to turn honest but now? What a vile 1500woman is this! Twenty pound a night, I始ll be sworn, Roger, in good gold and no silver. Why, here was a time! If she should ha始 picked out a time, it could not be better. Gold enough stirring, choice of men, choice of hair, choice of beards, choice of legs, and choice of every, every, every 1505thing. It cannot sink into my head that she should be such an ass. Roger, I never believe it.
    Here she comes now.
    Enter Bellafront.
    O sweet madonna, on with your loose gown, your felt and your feather! There始s the sweetest, prop始rest, gallantest 1510gentleman at my house. He smells all of musk and ambergris, his pocket full of crowns, flame-coloured doublet, red satin hose, carnation silk stockings, and a leg and a body – O!
    Hence, thou our sex始s monster, poisonous bawd,
    1515Lust始s factor, and damnation始s orator!
    Gossip of hell! Were all the harlots始 sins
    Which the whole world contains numbered together,
    Thine far exceeds them all. Of all the creatures
    That ever were created, thou art basest;
    1520What serpent would beguile thee of thy office?
    It is detestable, for thou liv始st
    Upon the dregs of harlots, guardst the door,
    Whilst couples go to dancing. O coarse devil!
    Thou art the bastard始s curse, thou brandst his birth;
    1525The lecher始s French disease, for thou dry-suckst him;
    The harlot始s poison; and thine own confusion.
    Marry come up, with a pox! Have you nobody to rail against but your bawd now?
    [To Roger] And you, knave pander, kinsman to a bawd –
    [To Fingerlock] You and I, madonna, are cousins.
    Of the same blood and making, near allied;
    Thou, that slave to sixpence, base-metalled villain –
    Sixpence? Nay, that始s not so; I never took under two shillings four-pence. I hope I know my fee.
    I know not against which most to inveigh,
    For both of you are damned so equally.
    [To Roger] Thou never spar始st for oaths, swearst anything,
    As if thy soul were made of shoe-leather:
    ‘God damn me, gentleman, if she be within始 –
    1540When in the next room she始s found dallying.
    If it be my vocation to swear, every man in his vocation; I hope my betters swear and damn themselves, and why should not I?
    Roger, you cheat kind gentlemen!
    The more gulls they.
    Slave, I cashier thee.
    An you do cashier him, he shall be entertained.
    Shall I? [To Bellafront] Then blurt o始your service.
    [To Fingerlock] As hell would have it, entertained by you!
    I dare the devil himself to match those two.
    Marry gup, are you grown so holy, so pure, so honest, with a pox?
    Scurvy honest punk! But stay, madonna, how must our agreement be now? For, you know, I am to have all the comings-in at the hall door, and you at the chamber door.
    True, Roger, except my vails.
    Vails? What vails?
    Why, as thus: if a couple come in a coach and 始light to lie down a little, then, Roger, that始s my fee, and you may walk abroad; for the coachman himself is their pander.
    Is 始a so? In truth, I have almost forgot, for want of 1560exercise. But how if I fetch this citizen始s wife to that gull, and that madonna to that gallant? How then?
    Why then, Roger, you are to have sixpence a lane – so many lanes, so many sixpences.
    Is始t so? Then I see we two shall agree and live together.
    Ay, Roger, so long as there be any taverns and bawdy-houses in Milan.
    Enter Bellafront with a lute; pen, ink and paper being placed before her [on a table by Servants. She sings:]
    The courtier始s flatt始ring jewels,
    Temptation始s only fuels;
    The lawyer始s ill-got moneys,
    That suck up poor bees始 honeys;
    1575The citizen始s son始s riot;
    The gallant始s costly diet;
    Silks and velvets, pearls and ambers,
    Shall not draw me to their chambers.
    Silks and velvets, etc.
    She writes [but soon stops].
    1580O, 始tis in vain to write! It will not please.
    Ink on this paper would ha始 but presented
    The foul black spots that stick upon my soul,
    And rather made me loathsomer than wrought
    My love始s impression in Hippolito始s thought.
    1585No, I must turn the chaste leaves of my breast,
    And pick out some sweet means to breed my rest.
    Hippolito, believe me, I will be
    As true unto thy heart as thy heart to thee,
    And hate all men, their gifts, and company.
    1590Enter Mattheo, Castruccio, Fluello, and Pioratto.
    You, Goody Punk, subaudi Cockatrice! O, you始re a sweet whore of your promise, are you not, think you? How well you came to supper to us last night! Mew, a whore and break her word! Nay, you may blush and hold down your 1595head at it well enough. 始Sfoot, ask these gallants if we stayed not till we were as hungry as sergeants.
    Ay, and their yeomen too.
    Nay, faith, acquaintance, let me tell you you forgot yourself too much. We had excellent cheer, rare vintage, 1600and were drunk after supper.
    And when we were in our woodcocks, sweet rogue, a brace of gulls dwelling here in the city came in and paid all the shot.
    Pox on her! Let her alone.
    O, I pray do, if you be gentlemen;
    1605I pray depart the house. Beshrew the door
    For being so easily entreated! Faith,
    I lent but little ear unto your talk;
    My mind was busied otherwise, in troth,
    And so your words did unregarded pass.
    1610Let this suffice: I am not as I was.
    ‘I am not what I was始! No, I始ll be sworn thou art not. For thou wert honest at five, and now thou始rt a punk at fifteen; thou wert yesterday a simple whore, and now thou始rt a cunning cony-catching baggage today.
    I始ll say I始m worse; I pray forsake me then.
    I do desire you leave me, gentlemen.
    And leave yourselves. O, be not what you are,
    Spendthrifts of soul and body!
    Let me persuade you to forsake all harlots,
    1620Worse than the deadliest poisons; they are worse,
    For o始er their souls hangs an eternal curse.
    In being slaves to slaves, their labours perish;
    They始re seldom blest with fruit, for ere it blossoms
    Many a worm confounds it.
    1625They have no issue but foul ugly ones
    That run along with them e始en to their graves;
    For 始stead of children they breed rank diseases,
    And all you gallants can bestow on them
    Is that French infant which ne始er acts but speaks.
    1630What shallow son and heir, then, foolish gallant,
    Would waste all his inheritance to purchase
    A filthy, loathed disease, and pawn his body
    To a dry evil? That usury始s worst of all
    When th始interest will eat out the principal.
    [Aside] 始Sfoot, she gulls 始em the best! This is always her fashion, when she would be rid of any company that she cares not for, to enjoy mine alone.
    What始s here? Instructions, admonitions, and caveats? Come out, you scabbard of vengeance.
    [He grabs his scabbard.]
    Fluello, spurn your hounds when they fist; you shall not spurn my punk. I can tell you my blood is vexed.
    Pox o始your blood! Make it a quarrel.
    You始re a slave. Will that serve turn?
    [He draws; they fight.]
    All [but Fluello and Mattheo]
    始Sblood, hold, hold!
    Mattheo, Fluello, for shame, put up!
    [They sheathe their swords.]
    Spurn my sweet varlet!
    O how many, thus
    Moved with a little folly, have let out
    Their souls in brothel-houses, fell down and died
    1650Just at their harlot始s foot, as 始twere in pride!
    Mattheo, we shall meet.
    Ay, ay, anywhere, saving at church; pray take heed we meet not there.
    [To Bellafront] Adieu, damnation!
    Cockatrice, farewell!
    There始s more deceit in women than in hell.
    Exeunt [Castruccio, Fluello, and Pioratto].
    Ha, ha, thou dost gull 始em so rarely, so naturally! If I did not think thou hadst been in earnest! Thou art a sweet rogue for始t, i始faith.
    Why are not you gone too, Signor Mattheo?
    I pray depart my house. You may believe me,
    In troth I have no part of harlot in me.
    How始s this?
    Indeed I love you not, but hate you worse
    1665Than any man, because you were the first
    Gave money for my soul. You brake the ice
    Which after turned a puddle; I was led
    By your temptation to be miserable.
    I pray seek out some other that will fall;
    1670Or rather, I pray, seek out none at all.
    Is始t possible to be impossible, an honest whore? I have heard many honest wenches turn strumpets with a wet finger; but for a harlot to turn honest is one of Hercules始 labours. It was more easy for him in one night to 1675make fifty queans than to make one of them honest again in fifty years. Come, I hope thou dost but jest.
    始Tis time to leave off jesting; I had almost
    Jested away salvation. I shall love you
    If you will soon forsake me.
    God b始wi始 thee.
    O, tempt no more women! Shun their weighty curse!
    Women at best are bad; make them not worse.
    You gladly seek our sex始s overthrow,
    But not to raise our states. For all your wrongs
    1685Will you vouchsafe me but due recompense,
    To marry with me?
    How, marry with a punk, a cockatrice, a harlot? Marry faugh, I始ll be burnt through the nose first.
    Why, la, these are your oaths! You love to undo us,
    1690To put heaven from us, whilst our best hours waste;
    You love to make us lewd, but never chaste.
    I始ll hear no more of this, this ground upon:
    Thou始rt damned for alt始ring thy religion.
    Thy lust and sin speak so much. Go thou, my ruin,
    1695The first fall my soul took. By my example
    I hope few maidens now will put their heads
    Under men始s girdles. Who least trusts is most wise;
    Men始s oaths do cast a mist before our eyes.
    My best of wit be ready! Now I go
    1700By some device to greet Hippolito.
    Enter a Servant setting out a table, on which he places a skull, a picture [of Infelice], a book, and a taper.
    So. This is Monday morning, and now must I to my 1705huswifery. Would I had been created a shoemaker, for all the gentle craft are gentlemen every Monday by their copy, and scorn then to work one true stitch. My master means sure to turn me into a student, for here始s my book, here my desk, here my light, this my close chamber, and here 1710my punk. So that this dull, drowsy first day of the week makes me half a priest, half a chandler, half a painter, half a sexton, ay, and half a bawd; for all this day my office is to do nothing but keep the door. To prove it, look you, this good face and yonder gentleman, so soon as ever my 1715back始s turned, will be naught together.
    Enter Hippolito.
    Are all the windows shut?
    Close, sir, as the fist of a courtier that hath stood in three reigns.
    Thou art a faithful servant, and observ始st
    The calendar both of my solemn vows
    1720And ceremonious sorrow. Get thee gone;
    I charge thee, on thy life, let not the sound
    Of any woman始s voice pierce through that door.
    If they do, my lord, I始ll pierce some of them. What will your lordship have to breakfast?
    What to dinner?
    The one of them, my lord, will fill you too full of wind, the other wet you too much. What to supper?
    That which now thou canst not get me, the constancy of a woman.
    Indeed, that始s harder to come by than ever was Ostend.
    Prithee, away.
    I始ll make away myself presently, which few servants will do for their lords, but rather help to make 1735them away. [Aside] Now to my door-keeping; I hope to pick something out of it.
    [Taking the picture] My Infelice始s face: her brow, her eye,
    The dimple on her cheek; and such sweet skill
    Hath from the cunning workman始s pencil flown,
    1740These lips look fresh and lively as her own,
    Seeming to move and speak. 始Las, now I see
    The reason why fond women love to buy
    Adulterate complexion. Here 始tis read:
    False colours last after the true be dead.
    1745Of all the roses grafted on her cheeks,
    Of all the graces dancing in her eyes,
    Of all the music set upon her tongue,
    Of all that was past woman始s excellence
    In her white bosom – look, a painted board
    1750Circumscribes all. Earth can no bliss afford,
    Nothing of her, but this. This cannot speak;
    It has no lap for me to rest upon,
    No lip worth tasting. Here the worms will feed
    As in her coffin. Hence then, idle art!
    [He puts the picture aside.]
    1755True love始s best pictured in a true-love始s heart.
    Here art thou drawn, sweet maid, till this be dead,
    So that thou liv始st twice, twice art burièd.
    Thou, figure of my friend, lie there.
    [Taking the skull] What始s here?
    Perhaps this shrewd pate was mine enemy始s.
    1760始Las, say it were; I need not fear him now!
    For all his braves, his contumelious breath,
    His frowns (though dagger-pointed), all his plots
    (Though ne始er so mischievous), his Italian pills,
    His quarrels, and that common fence, his law –
    1765See, see, they始re all eaten out; here始s not left one.
    How clean they始re picked away, to the bare bone!
    How mad are mortals, then, to rear great names
    On tops of swelling houses! Or to wear out
    Their fingers始 ends in dirt, to scrape up gold!
    1770Not caring – so that sumpter-horse, the back,
    Be hung with gaudy trappings – with what coarse,
    Yea, rags most beggarly, they clothe the soul;
    Yet, after all, their gayness looks thus foul.
    What fools are men to build a garish tomb,
    1775Only to save the carcass whilst it rots,
    To maintain始t long in stinking, make good carrion,
    But leave no good deeds to preserve them sound!
    For good deeds keep men sweet long above ground.
    And must all come to this? Fools, wise, all hither?
    1780Must all heads thus at last be laid together?
    Draw me my picture then, thou grave, neat workman,
    After this fashion – not like this [Indicating the picture]; these colours
    In time, kissing but air, will be kissed off.
    But here始s a fellow; that which he lays on
    1785Till doomsday alters not complexion.
    Death始s the best painter, then. They that draw shapes
    And live by wicked faces are but God始s apes;
    They come but near the life, and there they stay.
    This fellow draws life too. His art is fuller;
    1790The pictures which he makes are without colour.
    Enter his Servant.
    Here始s a person would speak with you, sir.
    A parson, sir, would speak with you.
    Vicar? No, sir, h始as too good a face to be a vicar yet; a youth, a very youth.
    What youth? Of man or woman? Lock the doors.
    If it be a woman, marrowbones and potato-pies keep 1800me fro始 meddling with her, for the thing has got the breeches. 始Tis a male varlet, sure, my lord, for a woman始s tailor ne始er measured him.
    Let him give thee his message and be gone.
    He says he始s Signor Mattheo始s man, but I know he 1805lies.
    How dost thou know it?
    始Cause h始as ne始er a beard. 始Tis his boy, I think, sir, whosoe始er paid for his nursing.
    Send him, and keep the door.
    [Exit Servant.]
    Reads [aloud from his book]:
    1810Fata si liceat mihi
    Fingere arbitrio meo,
    Temperem Zephyro levi
    Vela –
    I始d sail, were I to choose, not in the ocean;
    Cedars are shaken, when shrubs do feel no bruise –
    1815Enter Bellafront, like a page, [and gives him a letter].
    [To her] How? From Mattheo?
    Yes, my lord.
    Art sick?
    Not all in health, my lord.
    Keep off.
    I do.
    [Aside] Hard fate, when women are compelled to woo.
    This paper does speak nothing.
    Yes, my lord,
    1825Matter of life it speaks, and therefore writ
    In hidden character. To me instruction
    My master gives, and – 始less you please to stay
    Till you both meet – I can the text display.
    Do so; read out.
    [Revealing herself] I am already out;
    Look on my face, and read the strangest story.
    [Calling out] What, villain, ho!
    Enter his Servant.
    Call you, my lord?
    Thou slave, thou hast let in the devil.
    Lord bless us, where? He始s not cloven, my lord, that I can see. Besides, the devil goes more like a gentleman than a page. Good my lord, buon coraggio!
    Thou hast let in a woman, in man始s shape;
    And thou art damned for始t.
    Not damned, I hope, for putting in a woman to a lord.
    Fetch me my rapier! – Do not: I shall kill thee.
    Purge this infected chamber of that plague
    That runs upon me thus; slave, thrust her hence.
    Alas, my lord, I shall never be able to thrust her hence 1845without help. – Come, mermaid, you must to sea again.
    Hear me but speak; my words shall be all music.
    Hear me but speak!
    [Knocking within.]
    [To the Servant] Another beats the door.
    T始other she-devil! Look!
    Why, then hell始s broke loose.
    Hence, guard the chamber. Let no more come on;
    One woman serves for man始s damnation.
    Exit [Servant].
    [To Bellafront] Beshrew thee, thou dost make me violate
    The chastest and most sanctimonious vow
    1855That e始er was entered in the court of heaven.
    I was on meditation始s spotless wings
    Upon my journey thither. Like a storm
    Thou beatst my ripened cogitations
    Flat to the ground, and like a thief dost stand
    1860To steal devotion from the holy land.
    If woman were thy mother, if thy heart
    Be not all marble (or if始t marble be
    Let my tears soften it, to pity me),
    I do beseech thee, do not thus with scorn
    1865Destroy a woman.
    Woman, I beseech thee,
    Get thee some other suit; this fits thee not.
    I would not grant it to a kneeling queen;
    I cannot love thee, nor I must not. [Indicating the picture] See
    1870The copy of that obligation
    Where my soul始s bound in heavy penalties.
    She始s dead, you told me. She始ll let fall her suit.
    My vows to her fled after her to heaven.
    Were thine eyes clear as mine, thou mightst behold her,
    1875Watching upon yon battlements of stars,
    How I observe them. Should I break my bond,
    This board would rive in twain, these wooden lips
    Call me most perjured villain. Let it suffice
    I ha始 set thee in the path; is始t not a sign
    1880I love thee, when with one so most, most dear
    I始ll have thee fellows? All are fellows there.
    Be greater than a king; save not a body,
    But from eternal shipwreck keep a soul.
    If not, and that again sin始s path I tread,
    1885The grief be mine, the guilt fall on thy head!
    Stay, and take physic for it. Read this book.
    Ask counsel of this head what始s to be done;
    He始ll strike it dead that 始tis damnation
    If you turn Turk again. O do it not!
    1890Though heaven cannot allure you to do well,
    From doing ill let hell fright you. And learn this:
    The soul whose bosom lust did never touch
    Is God始s fair bride, and maidens始 souls are such;
    The soul that, leaving chastity始s white shore,
    1895Swims in hot sensual streams, is the devil始s whore.
    Enter his Servant [with a letter].
    [To him] How now? Who comes?
    No more knaves, my lord, that wear smocks. Here始s a letter from Doctor Benedict. I would not enter his man, though he had hairs at his mouth, for fear he should be a woman, for 1900some women have beards; marry, they are half-witches. [To Bellafront] 始Slid, you are a sweet youth, to wear a codpiece and have no pins to stick upon始t.
    [To the Servant] I始ll meet the doctor, tell him. Yet tonight
    I cannot; but at morrow rising sun
    1905I will not fail. Go. – Woman, fare thee well.
    Exeunt [Hippolito and Servant, severally].
    The lowest fall can be but into hell.
    It does not move him. I must therefore fly
    From this undoing city, and with tears
    Wash off all anger from my father始s brow.
    1910He cannot sure but joy, seeing me new born.
    A woman honest first and then turn whore
    Is, as with me, common to thousands more;
    But from a strumpet to turn chaste, that sound
    Has oft been heard, that woman hardly found.
    Enter Fustigo [with bandaged head], Crambo, and Poh.
    Hold up your hands, gentlemen. [Giving money] Here始s one, two, three – nay, I warrant they are sound pistoles, and without flaws; I had them of my sister, and I know she uses to put up nothing that始s cracked – three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine; by 1920this hand, bring me but a piece of his blood, and you shall have nine more. I始ll lurk in a tavern not far off, and provide supper to close up the end of the tragedy. The linen-draper始s, remember. Stand to始t, I beseech you, and play your parts perfectly.
    Look you, signor, 始tis not your gold that we weigh.
    Nay, nay, weigh it and spare not. If it lack one grain of corn, I始ll give you a bushel of wheat to make it up.
    But by your favour, signor, which of the servants is it? Because we始ll punish justly.
    Marry, 始tis the head man. You shall taste him by his 1930tongue – a pretty, tall, prating fellow, with a Tuscalonian beard.
    Tuscalonian? Very good.
    Cod始s life, I was ne始er so thrummed since I was a gentleman. My coxcomb was dry-beaten as if my hair had been hemp.
    We始ll dry-beat some of them.
    Nay, it grew so high that my sister cried ‘Murder!始 out, very manfully. I have her consent, in a manner, to have him peppered; else I始d not do始t to win more than ten cheaters do at a rifling. Break but his pate or so, only his mazer, because I始ll have his head in a cloth as well as mine; he始s a linen-1940draper, and may take enough. I could enter mine action of battery against him, but we may 始haps be both dead and rotten before the lawyers would end it.
    No more to do but ensconce yourself i始th始 tavern. Provide no great cheer: a couple of capons, some pheasants, 1945plovers, an orangeado pie or so. But, how bloody soe始er the day be, sally you not forth.
    No, no; nay, if I stir, some body shall stink. I始ll not budge; I始ll lie like a dog in a manger.
    Well, well, to the tavern. Let not our supper be raw, 1950for you shall have blood enough, your bellyful.
    That始s all, so God sa始 me, I thirst after: blood for blood, bump for bump, nose for nose, head for head, plaster for plaster. And so farewell. What shall I call your names? Because I始ll leave word, if any such come to the bar.
    My name is Corporal Crambo.
    And mine Lieutenant Poh.
    Poh is as tall a man as ever opened oyster; I would not be the devil to meet Poh. Farewell.
    Nor I, by this light, if Poh be such a Poh.
    Enter [Viola], Candido始s Wife, in her shop, and the two Prentices.
    What始s o始clock now?
    2 Prentice
    始Tis almost twelve.
    That始s well.
    1965The Senate will leave wording presently.
    But is George ready?
    2 Prentice
    Yes, forsooth, he始s furbished.
    Now, as you ever hope to win my favour,
    Throw both your duties and respects on him
    1970With the like awe as if he were your master.
    Let not your looks betray it with a smile
    Or jeering glance to any customer;
    Keep a true settled countenance, and beware
    You laugh not, whatsoever you hear or see.
    19752 Prentice
    I warrant you, mistress, let us alone for keeping our countenance; for if I list, there始s never a fool in all Milan shall make me laugh, let him play the fool never so like an ass, whether it be the fat court fool or the lean city fool.
    Enough, then; call down George.
    19802 Prentice
    I hear him coming.
    Enter George [wearing Candido始s best apparel].
    [To the Prentices] Be ready with your legs, then; let me see
    How court始sy would become him. [The Prentices curtsy.] Gallantly!
    [Commenting on George] Beshrew my blood, a proper, seemly man,
    1985Of a choice carriage, walks with a good port.
    I thank you, mistress. My back始s broad enough, now my master始s gown始s on.
    Sure, I should think it were the least of sin
    To mistake the master, and to let him in.
    始Twere a good comedy of errors, that, i始faith.
    2 Prentice
    Whist, whist, my master!
    You all know your tasks.
    Enter Candido, [wearing the carpet as before. He stares at George], and exit presently.
    God始s my life, what始s that he has got upon始s back? Who can tell?
    [Aside] That can I, but I will not.
    Girt about him like a madman. What? Has he lost his cloak, too? This is the maddest fashion that e始er I saw. What said he, George, when he passed by thee?
    Troth, mistress, nothing: not so much as a bee, he did 2000not hum; not so much as a bawd, he did not hem; not so much as a cuckold, he did not ha. Neither hum, hem, nor ha – only stared me in the face, passed along, and made haste in, as if my looks had worked with him to give him a stool.
    Sure he始s vexed now; this trick has moved his spleen.
    2005He始s angered now, because he uttered nothing,
    And wordless wrath breaks out more violent.
    Maybe he始ll strive for place, when he comes down;
    But if thou lov始st me, George, afford him none.
    Nay, let me alone to play my master始s prize, as long as 2010my mistress warrants me. I始m sure I have his best clothes on, and I scorn to give place to any that is inferior in apparel to me. That始s an axiom, a principle, and is observed as much as the fashion. Let that persuade you, then, that I始ll shoulder with him for the upper hand in the shop, as long as this 2015chain will maintain it.
    Spoke with the spirit of a master, though with the tongue of a prentice.
    Enter Candido like a prentice.
    Why, how now, madman? What, in your tricksy coats?
    O peace, good mistress.
    Enter Crambo and Poh.
    [To them] See what you lack! What is始t you buy? Pure calicoes, fine hollands, choice cambrics, neat lawns. See what you buy. Pray come near. My master will use you well; he can 2025afford you a pennyworth.
    Ay, that he can – out of a whole piece of lawn, i始faith.
    Pray see your choice here, gentlemen.
    O fine fool! What, a madman? A patient madman? Who ever heard of the like? Well, sir, I始ll fit you and your 2030humour presently. What, cross-points? I始ll untie 始em all in a trice. I始ll vex you, faith! Boy, take your cloak; quick, come!
    Exit [with 1 Prentice].
    [George takes off his hat to Candido.]
    Be covered, George. This chain and welted gown
    Bare to this coat? Then the world始s upside-down.
    Umh, umh, hum.
    [Aside to Poh] That始s the shop, and there始s the fellow. [Indicating Candido in his prentice-coat.]
    Ay, but the master is walking in there.
    No matter; we始ll in.
    始Sblood, dost long to lie in limbo?
    An limbo be in hell, I care not.
    [To them] Look you, gentlemen, your choice. Cambrics?
    No, sir, some shirting.
    You shall.
    Have you none of this striped canvas for doublets?
    None striped, sir; but plain.
    20452 Prentice
    I think there be one piece striped within.
    Step, sirrah, and fetch it; hum, hum, hum.
    [Exit 2 Prentice, and returns presently with the piece.]
    Look you, gentlemen, I始ll make but one spreading. Here始s a piece of cloth, fine, yet shall wear like iron. 始Tis without fault. Take this; upon my word, 始tis without fault.
    Then 始tis better than you, sirrah.
    Ay, and a number more. O, that each soul
    Were but as spotless as this innocent white,
    And had as few breaks in it!
    始Twould have some, then,
    There was a fray here last 2055day in this shop.
    There was, indeed, a little flea-biting.
    A gentleman had his pate broke. Call you that but a flea-biting?
    He had so.
    Zounds, do you stand in始t? He strikes him.
    始Sfoot, clubs, clubs! Prentices, down with 始em! Ah, you rogues, strike a citizen in始s shop?
    [Enter several Prentices with clubs. They strike Crambo and Poh, and disarm them.]
    None of you stir, I pray. Forbear, good George.
    [To Candido] I beseech you, sir, we mistook our marks.
    Deliver 2065us our weapons.
    [To Candido] Your head bleeds, sir. Cry clubs.
    I say you shall not. Pray be patient;
    Give them their weapons. [George complies.]
    [To Crambo and Poh] Sirs, you始re best be gone.
    I tell you here are boys more tough than bears;
    2070Hence, lest more fists do walk about your ears.
    Crambo and Poh
    We thank you, sir.
    Exeunt [Crambo and Poh].
    [To George] You shall not follow them.
    Let them alone, pray. This did me no harm.
    Troth, I was cold, and the blow made me warm;
    2075I thank 始em for始t. Besides, I had decreed
    To have a vein pricked. I did mean to bleed,
    So that there始s money saved. They are honest men;
    Pray use 始em well when they appear again.
    Yes, sir, we始ll use 始em like honest men.
    Ay, well said, George, like honest men, though they be arrant knaves, for that始s the phrase of the city. Help to lay up these wares.
    Enter [Viola], Candido始s Wife, with Officers.
    [Indicating Candido] Yonder he stands.
    20851 Officer
    What, in a prentice-coat?
    Ay, ay, mad, mad. Pray take heed.
    [To George and the Prentices] How now? What news with them? What make they with my wife? Officers? Is she attached? Look to your wares.
    He talks to himself. O, he始s much gone indeed!
    20901 Officer
    Pray pluck up a good heart; be not so fearful. [To his men] Sirs, hark; we始ll gather to him by degrees.
    Ay, ay, by degrees, I pray. O me! What makes he with the lawn in his hand? He始ll tear all the ware in my shop.
    1 Officer
    Fear not; we始ll catch him on a sudden.
    O you had need do so; pray take heed of your warrant.
    1 Officer
    I warrant, mistress. – Now, Signor Candido?
    Now, sir, what news with you, sir?
    ‘What news with you?始 he says. O, he始s far gone!
    1 Officer
    [To her] I pray, fear nothing. Let始s alone with him. –
    2100Signor, you look not like yourself, methinks.
    [Aside to his men]
    Steal you o始t始 other side.
    [To Candido] You始re changed, you始re altered.
    Changed, sir? Why, true, sir. Is change strange? 始Tis not the fashion unless it alter: monarchs turn to beggars, beggars creep into the nests of princes, masters serve their 2105prentices, ladies their servingmen, men turn to women.
    1 Officer
    And women turn to men.
    Ay, and women turn to men. You say true, ha, ha! A mad world, a mad world.
    [Officers seize Candido]
    1 Officer
    Have we caught you, sir?
    Caught me? [Laughing] Well, well, you have caught me.
    [To 1 Officer] He laughs in your faces.
    A rescue, prentices! My master始s catchpoled.
    1 Officer
    I charge you, keep the peace or have your legs gartered with irons. We have from the Duke a warrant strong 2115enough for what we do.
    [To George and the Prentices] I pray, rest quiet; I desire no rescue.
    La, he desires no rescue. 始Las, poor heart,
    He talks against himself.
    [To 1 Officer] Well, what始s the matter?
    21201 Officer
    [To his men as they bind Candido] Look to that arm;
    Pray make sure work, double the cord.
    Why, why?
    Look how his head goes! Should he get but loose,
    O, 始twere as much as all our lives were worth.
    21251 Officer
    Fear not; we始ll make all sure, for our own safety.
    Are you at leisure now? Well, what始s the matter?
    Why do I enter into bonds thus, ha?
    1 Officer
    Because you始re mad, put fear upon your wife.
    O, ay, I went in danger of my life every minute.
    What? Am I mad, say you, and I not know it?
    1 Officer
    That proves you mad, because you know it not.
    Pray talk as little to him as you can:
    You see he始s too far spent.
    Bound with strong cord!
    2135A sisters thread, i始faith, had been enough
    To lead me anywhere. – Wife, do you long?
    You are mad too, or else you do me wrong.
    But are you mad indeed, master?
    My wife says so,
    2140And what she says, George, is all truth, you know.
    [To 1 Officer] And whither now? To Bethlem Monastery?
    Ha? Whither?
    1 Officer
    Faith, e始en to the madmen始s pound.
    O始God始s name! Still I feel my patience sound.
    Exeunt [Officers with Candido].
    [To Prentices] Come, we始ll see whither he goes. If the master be 2145mad, we are his servants, and must follow his steps; we始ll be madcaps too. – Farewell, mistress; you shall have us all in Bedlam.
    Exeunt [George and Prentices].
    I think I ha始 fitted now you and your clothes.
    If this moves not his patience, nothing can;
    2150I始ll swear then I have a saint, and not a man.
    Enter Duke, Doctor [Benedict], Fluello, Castruccio, [and] Pioratto.
    [To the Gentlemen] Give us a little leave.
    [Exeunt Fluello, Castruccio, and Pioratto.]
    Doctor, your news.
    I sent for him, my lord. At last he came,
    2155And did receive all speech that went from me
    As gilded pills made to prolong his health.
    My credit with him wrought it, for some men
    Swallow even empty hooks, like fools that fear
    No drowning where 始tis deepest, 始cause 始tis clear.
    2160In th始end we sat and ate. A health I drank
    To Infelice始s sweet departed soul.
    This train I knew would take.
    始Twas excellent.
    He fell with such devotion on his knees
    2165To pledge the same –
    Fond, superstitious fool!
    That had he been inflamed with zeal of prayer
    He could not pour始t out with more reverence.
    About my neck he hung, wept on my cheek,
    2170Kissed it, and swore he would adore my lips
    Because they brought forth Infelice始s name.
    Ha, ha! Alack, alack.
    The cup he lifts up high, and thus he said
    ‘Here, noble maid!始 – drinks, and was poisonèd.
    And died?
    And died, my lord.
    Thou in that word
    Hast pieced mine agèd hours out with more years
    Than thou hast taken from Hippolito.
    2180A noble youth he was, but lesser branches,
    Hind始ring the greater始s growth, must be lopped off
    And feed the fire. Doctor, we始re now all thine;
    And use us so. Be bold.
    Thanks, gracious lord.
    2185My honoured lord –
    I do beseech your Grace to bury deep
    This bloody act of mine.
    Nay, nay – for that,
    2190Doctor, look you to始t. Me it shall not move;
    They始re curst that ill do, not that ill do love.
    You throw an angry forehead on my face,
    But be you pleased backward thus far to look
    That for your good this evil I undertook –
    Ay, ay, we conster so.
    And only for your love.
    Confessed; 始tis true.
    Nor let it stand against me as a bar
    To thrust me from your presence; nor believe
    2200(As princes have quick thoughts) that now, my finger
    Being dipped in blood, I will not spare the hand,
    But that for gold (as what can gold not do?)
    I may be hired to work the like on you.
    Which to prevent –
    始Tis from my heart as far –
    No matter, doctor. 始Cause I始ll fearless sleep,
    And that you shall stand clear of that suspicion,
    I banish thee for ever from my court.
    This principle is old, but true as fate:
    2210Kings may love treason, but the traitor hate.
    Is始t so? Nay then, Duke, your stale principle
    With one as stale the doctor thus shall quit:
    He falls himself, that digs another始s pit.
    2215Enter the Doctor始s Man.
    How now? Where is he? Will he meet me?
    Doctor始s Man
    Meet you, sir? He might have met with three fencers in this time and have received less hurt than by meeting one doctor of physic. Why, sir, h始as walked under the old abbey wall yonder this hour till he始s more cold than a 2220citizen始s country house in January. You may smell him behind, sir. La you, yonder he comes.
    Leave me.
    Doctor始s Man
    [Aside] I始th始 lurch, if you will.
    Enter Hippolito [dressed in black].
    O my most noble friend!
    Few but yourself
    Could have enticed me thus, to trust the air
    With my close sighs. You sent for me; what news?
    Come, you must doff this black, dye that pale cheek
    Into his own colour. Go, attire yourself
    2230Fresh as a bridegroom when he meets his bride.
    The Duke has done much treason to thy love;
    始Tis now revealed, 始tis now to be revenged.
    Be merry, honoured friend: thy lady lives.
    What lady?
    Infelice. She始s revived.
    Revived? Alack, death never had the heart
    To take breath from her.
    Umh. I thank you, sir.
    Physic prolongs life when it cannot save.
    2240This helps not my hopes; mine are in their grave.
    You do some wrong to mock me.
    By that love
    Which I have ever borne you, what I speak
    Is truth. The maiden lives. That funeral,
    2245Duke始s tears, the mourning, was all counterfeit.
    A sleepy draught cozened the world and you.
    I was his minister, and then chambered up
    To stop discovery.
    O treacherous Duke!
    He cannot hope so certainly for bliss
    As he believes that I have poisoned you.
    He wooed me to始t; I yielded, and confirmed him
    In his most bloody thoughts.
    A very devil!
    Her did he closely coach to Bergamo,
    And thither –
    Will I ride. Stood Bergamo
    In the low countries of black hell, I始ll to her.
    You shall to her, but not to Bergamo.
    2260How passion makes you fly beyond yourself!
    Much of that weary journey I ha始 cut off,
    For she by letters hath intelligence
    Of your supposèd death, her own interment,
    And all those plots which that false Duke, her father,
    2265Has wrought against you. And she始ll meet you –
    O, when?
    Nay, see, how covetous are your desires!
    Early tomorrow morn.
    O, where, good father?
    At Bethlem Monastery. Are you pleased now?
    At Bethlem Monastery! The place well fits;
    It is the school where those that lose their wits
    Practise again to get them. I am sick
    Of that disease: all love is lunatic.
    We始ll steal away this night in some disguise.
    Father Anselmo, a most reverend friar,
    Expects our coming; before whom we始ll lay
    Reasons so strong that he shall yield in bands
    Of holy wedlock to tie both your hands.
    This is such happiness
    That to believe it 始tis impossible.
    Let all your joys then die in misbelief;
    I will reveal no more.
    O, yes, good father!
    2285I am so well acquainted with despair,
    I know not how to hope. I believe all.
    We始ll hence this night. Much must be done, much said.
    But if the doctor fail not in his charms
    Your lady shall ere morning fill these arms.
    Heavenly physician! Far thy fame shall spread,
    That mak始st two lovers speak when they be dead.
    [Enter Viola], Candido始s Wife, [with a paper], and George. Pioratto meets them.
    O, watch, good George, watch which way the Duke comes.
    Here comes one of the butterflies; ask him.
    [To Pioratto] Pray, sir, comes the Duke this way?
    He始s upon coming, mistress.
    I thank you, sir. – George, are there many mad folks 2300where thy master lies?
    O yes, of all countries some; but especially mad Greeks, they swarm. Troth, mistress, the world is altered with you; you had not wont to stand thus with a paper humbly complaining. But you始re well enough served; provender pricked 2305you, as it does many of our city wives besides.
    Dost think, George, we shall get him forth?
    Truly, mistress, I cannot tell; I think you始ll hardly get him forth. Why, 始tis strange. 始Sfoot, I have known many women that have had mad rascals to their husbands, whom they would 2310belabour by all means possible to keep 始em in their right wits. But of a woman to long to turn a tame man into a madman – why, the devil himself was never used so by his dam.
    How does he talk, George? Ha, good George, tell me!
    Why, you始re best go see.
    Alas, I am afraid.
    Afraid? You had more need be ashamed! He may rather be afraid of you.
    But, George, he始s not stark mad, is he? He does not rave; he始s not horn-mad, George, is he?
    Nay, I know not that; but he talks like a Justice of Peace, of a thousand matters, and to no purpose.
    I始ll to the monastery. I shall be mad till I enjoy him; I shall be sick till I see him; yet when I do see him I shall weep out mine eyes.
    Ay, I始d fain see a woman weep out her eyes. That始s as true as to say a man始s cloak burns when it hangs in the water. I know you始ll weep, mistress; but what says the painted cloth?
    Trust not a woman when she cries,
    For she始ll pump water from her eyes
    2330With a wet finger, and in faster showers
    Than April when he rains down flowers.
    Ay, but, George, that painted cloth is worthy to be hanged up for lying. All women have not tears at will unless they have good cause.
    Ay, but, mistress, how easily will they find a cause? And as one of our cheese-trenchers says very learnedly:
    As out of wormwood bees suck honey;
    As from poor clients lawyers firk money
    As parsley from a roasted cony:
    2340So, though the day be ne始er so sunny,
    If wives will have it rain, down then it drives;
    The calmest husbands make the stormiest wives –
    Tame, George; but I ha始 done storming now.
    Why, that始s well done. Good mistress, throw aside this 2345fashion of your humour; be not so fantastical in wearing it. Storm no more, long no more. This longing has made you come short of many a good thing that you might have had from my master. Here comes the Duke.
    Enter Duke, Fluello, Pioratto, [and] Sinezi.
    O, I beseech you, pardon my offence
    In that I durst abuse your Grace始s warrant!
    Deliver forth my husband, good my lord.
    Who is her husband?
    Candido, my lord.
    Where is he?
    He始s among the lunatics.
    He was a man made up without a gall;
    Nothing could move him, nothing could convert
    His meek blood into fury. Yet, like a monster,
    I often beat at the most constant rock
    2360Of his unshaken patience, and did long
    To vex him.
    Did you so?
    And for that purpose
    Had warrant from your Grace to carry him
    To Bethlem Monastery, whence they will not free him
    2365Without your Grace始s hand, that sent him in.
    You have longed fair. 始Tis you are mad, I fear;
    It始s fit to fetch him thence, and keep you there.
    If he be mad, why would you have him forth?
    An please your Grace, he始s not stark mad, but 2370only talks like a young gentleman – somewhat fantastically, that始s all. There始s a thousand about your court, city, and country madder than he.
    Provide a warrant; you shall have our hand.
    [Indicating Viola始s paper] Here始s a warrant ready drawn, my lord.
    Get pen and ink; get pen and ink.
    [Exit George.]
    Enter Castruccio.
    Where is my lord the Duke?
    How now? More madmen?
    I have strange news, my lord.
    Of what? Of whom?
    Of Infelice, and a marriage.
    Ha! Where? With whom?
    [Enter George with pen and ink.]
    [To the Duke] Here, my lord.
    Hence with that woman! Void the room!
    Away; the Duke始s vexed.
    [Aside to Viola] Whoop! Come, mistress – the Duke始s mad too.
    Exeunt [Viola and George].
    Who told me that Hippolito was dead?
    He that can make any man dead, the doctor. But, my lord, he始s as full of life as wildfire, and as quick. Hippolito, the doctor, and one more rid hence this evening. The 2390inn at which they 始light is Bethlem Monastery. Infelice comes from Bergamo and meets them there. Hippolito is mad, for he means this day to be married; the afternoon is the hour, and Friar Anselmo is the knitter.
    From Bergamo? Is始t possible? It cannot be,
    2395It cannot be.
    I will not swear, my lord,
    But this intelligence I took from one
    Whose brains works in the plot.
    What始s he?
    Mattheo knows all.
    He始s Hippolito始s bosom.
    How far stands Bethlem hence?
    Six or seven miles.
    Is始t even so?
    Not married till the afternoon, you say?
    Stay, stay; let始s work out some prevention. How?
    2405This is most strange. Can none but madmen serve
    To dress their wedding dinner? All of you,
    Get presently to horse. Disguise yourselves
    Like country gentlemen,
    Or riding citizens or so; and take
    2410Each man a several path, but let us meet
    At Bethlem Monastery, some space of time
    Being spent between the arrival each of other,
    As if we came to see the lunatics.
    To horse, away! Be secret, on your lives.
    2415Love must be punished that unjustly thrives.
    Exeunt [all but Fluello].
    ‘Be secret, on your lives始! Castruccio,
    You始re but a scurvy spaniel. Honest lord,
    Good lady! Zounds, their love is just, 始tis good;
    And I始ll prevent you, though I swim in blood.
    2420Enter Friar Anselmo, Hippolito, Mattheo, [and] Infelice.
    Nay, nay, resolve, good father, or deny.
    You press me to an act both full of danger
    And full of happiness, for I behold
    Your father始s frowns, his threats, nay perhaps death
    2425To him that dare do this. Yet, noble lord,
    Such comfortable beams break through these clouds
    By this blest marriage that – your honoured word
    Being pawned in my defence – I will tie fast
    The holy wedding-knot.
    Tush, fear not the Duke.
    O son,
    Wisely to fear is to be free from fear.
    You have our words, and you shall have our lives,
    To guard you safe from all ensuing danger.
    [To Anselmo] Ay, ay; chop 始em up, and away.
    Stay; when is始t fit for me, safest for you,
    2435To entertain this business?
    Not till the evening.
    Be始t so. There is a chapel stands hard by,
    Upon the west end of the abbey wall.
    Thither convey yourselves, and when the sun
    2440Hath turned his back upon this upper world,
    I始ll marry you. That done, no thund始ring voice
    Can break the sacred bond. Yet, lady, here
    You are most safe.
    Father, your love始s most dear.
    Ay, well said! Lock us into some little room by 2445ourselves, that we may be mad for an hour or two.
    O good Mattheo, no. Let始s make no noise.
    How? No noise? Do you know where you are? 始Sfoot, amongst all the madcaps in Milan, so that to throw the house out at window will be the better, and no man will suspect that 2450we lurk here to steal mutton; the more sober we are, the more scurvy 始tis. And though the friar tell us that here we are safest, I始m not of his mind; for if those lay here that had lost their money, none would ever look after them. But here are none but those that have lost their wits, so that if hue and cry 2455be made, hither they始ll come; and my reason is, because none goes to be married till he be stark mad.
    Muffle yourselves: yonder始s Fluello.
    Enter Fluello.
    [To Hippolito] O my lord, these cloaks are not for this rain; the 2460tempest is too great. I come sweating to tell you of it, that you may get out of it.
    Why, what始s the matter?
    ‘What始s the matter?始 You have ‘mattered始 it fair: the Duke始s at hand.
    All [but Fluello]
    The Duke?
    The very Duke.
    Then all our plots
    Are turned upon our heads, and we are blown up
    With our own underminings. 始Sfoot, how comes he?
    What villain durst betray our being here?
    Castruccio. Castruccio told the Duke, and Mattheo here told Castruccio.
    [To Mattheo] Would you betray me to Castruccio?
    始Sfoot, he damned himself to the pit of hell if he spake on始t again.
    So did you swear to me; so were you damned.
    Pox on 始em, and there be no faith in men, if a man shall not believe oaths. He took bread and salt, by this light, that he would never open his lips.
    O God, O God!
    Son, be not desperate.
    Have patience; you shall trip your enemy down
    2480By his own sleights. [To Fluello] How far is the Duke hence?
    He始s but new set out. Castruccio, Pioratto, and Sinezi come along with him. You have time enough yet to prevent them, if you have but courage.
    You shall steal secretly into the chapel
    2485And presently be married. If the Duke
    Abide here still, spite of ten thousand eyes
    You shall 始scape hence like friars.
    O blest disguise! O happy man!
    Talk not of happiness till your closed hand
    2490Have her by th始forehead, like the lock of Time.
    Be not too slow, nor hasty, now you climb
    Up to the tow始r of bliss. Only be wary
    And patient, that始s all. If you like my plot,
    Build and despatch. If not, farewell; then not.
    O, yes, we do applaud it. We始ll dispute
    No longer, but will hence and execute.
    Fluello, you始ll stay here. Let us be gone.
    The ground that frighted lovers tread upon
    Is stuck with thorns.
    Come then, away. 始Tis meet,
    To escape those thorns, to put on wingèd feet.
    Exeunt [Anselmo, Hippolito, and Infelice].
    No words, I pray, Fluello, for it stands us upon.
    O sir, let that be your lesson.
    [Exit Mattheo.]
    Alas, poor lovers! On what hopes and fears
    2505Men toss themselves for women! When she始s got,
    The best has in her that which pleaseth not.
    Enter, to Fluello, the Duke, Castruccio, Pioratto, and Sinezi from several doors, muffled.
    Who始s there?
    My lord –
    Peace! Send that ‘lord始 away!
    A lordship will spoil all; let始s be all fellows. –
    [Indicating Sinezi] What始s he?
    Fluello; or else Sinezi, by his little legs.
    All [but Duke]
    All friends, all friends.
    What, met upon the very point of time?
    2515Is this the place?
    This is the place, my lord.
    Dream you on lordships? Come, no more ‘lords始, pray!
    You have not seen these lovers yet?
    All [but Duke]
    Not yet.
    Castruccio, art thou sure this wedding feat
    Is not till afternoon?
    So 始tis given out, my lord.
    Nay, nay, 始tis like. Thieves must observe their hours;
    Lovers watch minutes like astronomers.
    How shall the interim hours by us be spent?
    Let始s all go see the madmen.
    2525All [but Duke]
    Mass, content.
    Enter a Sweeper.
    O, here comes one; question him, question him.
    How now, honest fellow, dost thou belong to the house?
    Yes, forsooth, I am one of the implements. I sweep the madmen始s rooms, and fetch straw for 始em, and buy chains 2530to tie 始em and rods to whip 始em. I was a mad wag myself here once, but I thank Father Anselm he lashed me into my right mind again.
    [Aside to the others] Anselmo is the friar must marry them.
    Question him where he is.
    And where is Father Anselmo now?
    Marry, he始s gone but e始en now.
    [To Castruccio] Ay, well done.
    [To the Sweeper] Tell me, whither is he gone?
    Why, to God a始mighty.
    [Laughing] Ha, ha, this fellow is a fool, talks idly.
    Sirrah, are all the mad folks in Milan brought hither?
    How, all? There始s a wise question indeed! Why, if all the mad folks in Milan should come hither, there would not be left ten men in the city.
    Few gentlemen or courtiers here, ha?
    O yes, abundance, abundance. Lands no sooner fall 2545into their hands but straight they run out o始their wits. Citizen始s sons and heirs are free of the house by their fathers始 copy. Farmers始 sons come hither like geese, in flocks; and when they ha始 sold all their cornfields, here they sit and pick the straws.
    Methinks you should have women here as well as men.
    O, ay. A plague on 始em; there始s no ho with them – they are madder than March hares.
    Are there no lawyers here amongst you?
    O, no, not one. Never any lawyer; we dare not let a lawyer come in, for he始ll make 始em mad faster than we can 2555recover em.
    And how long is始t ere you recover any of these?
    Why, according to the quantity of the moon that始s got into 始em. An alderman始s son will be mad a great while, a very great while, especially if his friends left him well. A 2560whore will hardly come to her wits again. A Puritan – there始s no hope of him, unless he may pull down the steeple and hang himself i始th始 bell-ropes.
    I perceive all sorts of fish come to your net.
    Yes, in truth, we have blocks for all heads; we have 2565good store of wild oats here. For the courtier is mad at the citizen, the citizen is mad at the countryman, the shoemaker is mad at the cobbler, the cobbler at the carman; the punk is mad that the merchant始s wife is no whore, the merchant始s wife is mad that the punk is so common a whore. 2570Godso, here始s Father Anselm; pray, say nothing that I tell tales out of the school.
    Enter Anselmo [with Servants].
    God bless you, father.
    Thank you, gentlemen.
    Pray, may we see some of those wretched souls
    2575That here are in your keeping?
    Yes, you shall.
    But, gentlemen, I must disarm you, then.
    There are of mad men, as there are of tame,
    All humoured not alike. We have here some
    So apish and fantastic, play with a feather;
    2580And though 始twould grieve a soul to see God始s image
    So blemished and defaced, yet do they act
    Such antic and such pretty lunacies
    That spite of sorrow they will make you smile.
    Others again we have like hungry lions,
    2585Fierce as wild bulls, untameable as flies,
    And these have oftentimes from strangers始 sides
    Snatched rapiers suddenly and done much harm;
    Whom if you始ll see, you must be weaponless.
    Castruccio, Fluello, Pioratto, and Sinezi
    With all our hearts.
    [They take off their weapons.]
    [To a Servant] Here, take these weapons in.
    [Exit Servant with weapons.]
    [To the Duke and Gentlemen] Stand off a little, pray. So, so, 始tis well.
    I始ll show you here a man that was sometimes
    A very grave and wealthy citizen,
    Has served a prenticeship to this misfortune,
    2595Been here seven years and dwelt in Bergamo.
    How fell he from himself?
    By loss at sea.
    I始ll stand aside; question him you alone,
    For if he spy me he始ll not speak a word
    2600Unless he始s throughly vexed.
    [He] discovers an old man, [1 Madman], wrapped in a net.
    Alas, poor soul!
    A very old man.
    [To 1 Madman] God speed, father.
    1 Madman
    God speed the plough! Thou shalt not speed me.
    We see you, old man, for all you dance in a net.
    26051 Madman
    True, but thou wilt dance in a halter, and I shall not see thee.
    [To the Gentlemen] O, do not vex him, pray.
    Are you a fisherman, father?
    1 Madman
    No, I始m neither fish nor flesh.
    What do you with that net, then?
    26101 Madman
    Dost not see, fool? There始s a fresh salmon in始t. If you step one foot further, you始ll be over shoes; for you see I始m over head and ear in the salt water, and if you fall into this whirlpool where I am, you始re drowned, you始re a drowned rat. I am fishing here for five ships, but I cannot have a good draught, 2615for my net breaks still, and breaks; but I始ll break some of your necks an I catch you in my clutches. Stay, stay, stay, stay, stay; where始s the wind, where始s the wind, where始s the wind, where始s the wind? Out, you gulls, you goose-caps, you gudgeon-eaters! Do you look for the wind in the heavens? [Laughing] 2620Ha, ha, ha, ha! No, no, look there, look there, look there: the wind is always at that door. Hark how it blows – pooff, pooff, pooff!
    All [but Anselmo]
    [Laughing] Ha, ha, ha!
    1 Madman
    Do you laugh at God始s creatures? Do you mock old age, you rogues? Is this grey beard and head counterfeit, that 2625you cry ‘ha, ha, ha始? [To Pioratto] Sirrah, art not thou my eldest son?
    Yes, indeed, father.
    1 Madman
    Then thou始rt a fool, for my eldest son had a polt-foot, crooked legs, a verjuice face, and a pear-coloured beard. I made him a scholar, and he made himself a fool. [To the Duke] Sirrah, 2630thou there, hold out thy hand.
    My hand? Well, here 始tis.
    1 Madman
    Look, look, look, look! Has he not long nails and short hair?
    Yes, monstrous short hair and abominable long nails.
    1 Madman
    Ten-penny nails, are they not?
    Yes, ten-penny nails.
    26351 Madman
    Such nails had my second boy. [To the Duke] Kneel down, thou varlet, and ask thy father blessing. – Such nails had my middlemost son, and I made him a promoter; and he scraped, and scraped, and scraped, till he got the devil and all. But he scraped thus, and thus, and thus, and it went under his legs, till at length 2640a company of kites, taking him for carrion, swept up all, all, all, all, all, all, all. If you love your lives, look to yourselves. See, see, see, see, the Turk始s galleys are fighting with my ships. ‘Bounce!始 go the guns. ‘Oooh!始 cry the men. ‘Rumble, rumble!始 go the waters. Alas, there, 始tis sunk, 始tis sunk! I am 2645undone, I am undone! You are the damned pirates have undone me. You are, by th始Lord, you are, you are! – Stop 始em! – You are!
    Why, how now, sirrah? Must I fall to tame you?
    1 Madman
    Tame me? No, I始ll be madder than a roasted cat. See, see, I am burnt with gunpowder; these are our close fights!
    I始ll whip you if you grow unruly thus.
    1 Madman
    Whip me? Out, you toad! Whip me? What justice is this, to whip me because I始m a beggar? Alas! I am a poor man, a very poor man. I am starved, and have had no meat, by this light, ever since the great flood. I am a poor 2655man.
    Well, well, be quiet, and you shall have meat.
    1 Madman
    Ay, ay, pray do. For look you, here be my guts, these are my ribs. You may look through my ribs; see how my guts come out. These are my red guts, my very guts, O, O!
    [To Servants] Take him in there.
    [Servants remove 1 Madman.]
    2660All [but Anselmo]
    A very piteous sight.
    Father, I see you have a busy charge.
    They must be used like children: pleased with toys,
    And anon whipped for their unruliness.
    I始ll show you now a pair quite different
    2665From him that始s gone. He was all words; and these,
    Unless you urge 始em, seldom spend their speech,
    But save their tongues.
    [Enter 2 and 3 Madmen.]
    [Indicating 3 Madman] La you, this hithermost
    Fell from the happy quietness of mind
    About a maiden that he loved, and died.
    2670He followed her to church, being full of tears,
    And as her body went into the ground
    He fell stark mad.
    [Indicating 2 Madman] That is a married man
    Was jealous of a fair but, as some say,
    A very virtuous wife, and that spoiled him.
    26752 Madman
    All these are whoremongers, and lay with my wife: whore, whore, whore, whore, whore!
    Observe him.
    2 Madman
    Gaffer shoemaker, you pulled on my wife始s pumps and then crept into her pantofles. Lie there, lie there. – This 2680was her tailor. You cut out her loose-bodied gown and put in a yard more than I allowed her. Lie there by the shoemaker. – O, Master Doctor, are you here? You gave me a purgation and then crept into my wife始s chamber to feel her pulses; and you said, and she said, and her maid said, that they went 2685pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat. Doctor, I始ll put you anon into my wife始s urinal. – Heigh, come aloft, Jack! This was her schoolmaster, and taught her to play upon the virginals, and still his jacks lept up, up. You pricked her out nothing but bawdy lessons, but I始ll prick you all – fiddler, doctor, tailor, 2690shoemaker; shoemaker, fiddler, doctor, tailor. So! Lie with my wife again now.
    [A Servant hands a meal to 3 Madman, who starts eating at once.]
    See how he notes the other, now he feeds.
    2 Madman
    Give me some porridge.
    3 Madman
    I始ll give thee none.
    26952 Madman
    Give me some porridge.
    3 Madman
    I始ll not give thee a bit.
    2 Madman
    Give me that flap-dragon.
    3 Madman
    I始ll not give thee a spoonful. Thou li始st; it始s no dragon. 始Tis a parrot that I bought for my sweetheart, and 2700I始ll keep it.
    2 Madman
    Here始s an almond for parrot.
    3 Madman
    Hang thyself.
    2 Madman
    Here始s a rope for parrot.
    3 Madman
    Eat it, for I始ll eat this.
    27052 Madman
    I始ll shoot at thee an thou始t give me none.
    3 Madman
    Wu始t thou?
    2 Madman
    I始ll run a tilt at thee an thou始t give me none.
    3 Madman
    Wu始t thou? Do, an thou dar始st.
    2 Madman
    Bounce! [He strikes him.]
    27103 Madman
    Ooh, I am slain! Murder, murder, murder! I am slain; my brains are beaten out!
    How now, you villains!
    [To Servants] Bring me whips.
    [To 2 and 3 Madmen] I始ll whip you.
    [Exeunt Servants for whips, and return presently.]
    3 Madman
    I am dead. I am slain. Ring out the bell, for I am dead.
    [To 2 Madman] How will you do now, sirrah? You ha始 killed him.
    27152 Madman
    I始ll answer始t at sessions. He was eating of almond-butter, and I longed for始t. The child had never been delivered out of my belly if I had not killed him. I始ll answer始t at sessions, so my wife may be burnt i始th始 hand, too.
    [To Servants] Take 始em in both.
    [Indicating 3 Madman] Bury him, for he始s dead.
    27203 Madman
    Ay, indeed, I am dead. Put me, I pray, into a good pit-hole.
    2 Madman
    I始ll answer始t at sessions.
    Exeunt [Servants with 2 and 3 Madmen].
    Enter Bellafront, [as though] mad.
    How now, huswife, whither gad you?
    A-nutting, forsooth. [To Castruccio, Fluello, and Pioratto] How do you, gaffer? How do 2725you, gaffer? There始s a French curtsy for you, too.
    [Aside] 始Tis Bellafront!
    [Aside] 始Tis the punk, by th始Lord!
    [To Anselmo] Father, what始s she, I pray?
    As yet I know not;
    2730She came but in this day, talks little idly,
    And therefore has the freedom of the house.
    [To Anselmo, Castruccio, Fluello, and Pioratto] Do not you know me? Nor you? Nor you? Nor you?
    All Four
    No, indeed.
    [To Castruccio, Fluello, and Pioratto] Then you are an ass, and you are an ass, and you 2735are an ass; for I know you.
    Why, what are they? Come, tell me, what are they?
    Three fishwives. Will you buy any gudgeons? God始s santy! Yonder come friars. I know them too.
    2740Enter Hippolito, Mattheo, and Infelice disguised in the habits of friars.
    [Seizing Mattheo] How do you, friar?
    [To Bellafront] Nay, nay, away; you must not trouble friars.
    [Aside to Hippolito] The Duke is here. Speak nothing.
    [To Mattheo] Nay indeed, you shall not go; we始ll run at barley-break 2745first, and you shall be in hell.
    [Aside] My punk turned mad whore, as all her fellows are?
    [Aside to Mattheo and Infelice] Speak nothing, but steal hence when you spy time.
    [To Bellafront] I始ll lock you up if you始re unruly; fie!
    Fie? Marry faugh! They shall not go, indeed, till I ha始 told 2750始em their fortunes.
    [To Anselmo] Good father, give her leave.
    Ay, pray, good father, and I始ll give you my blessing.
    Well then, be brief; but if you are thus unruly,
    I始ll have you locked up fast.
    [To Bellafront] Come, to their fortunes.
    Let me see. One, two, three, and four; I始ll begin with the little friar first. [Taking Infelice始s hand] Here始s a fine hand indeed; I never saw friar have such a dainty hand. Here始s a hand for a lady. You ha始 good fortune now.
    O see, see, what a thread here始s spun!
    2760You love a friar better than a nun,
    Yet long you始ll love no friar, nor no friar始s son.
    [She] bow[s] a little.
    The line of life is out. Yet I始m afraid,
    For all you始re holy, you始ll not die a maid.
    God give you joy. [To Mattheo] Now to you, Friar Tuck.
    [She takes his hand.]
    God send me good luck.
    You love one, and one loves you;
    You are a false knave, and she始s a Jew.
    Here is a dial that false ever goes.
    O, your wit drops!
    Troth, so does your nose.
    [To Hippolito] Nay, let始s shake hands with you too.
    Pray open. Here始s a fine hand.
    Ho, friar, ho! God be here!
    [Aside] So He had need. [Aloud to him] You始ll keep good cheer;
    Here始s a free table, but a frozen breast,
    2775For you始ll starve those that love you best.
    Yet you have good fortune; for if I am no liar,
    Then you are no friar, nor you, nor you no friar.
    [She] discovers them.
    [Laughing] Ha, ha, ha, ha!
    Are holy habits cloaks for villainy?
    2780[To his companions] Draw all your weapons!
    Do, draw all your weapons.
    Where are your weapons? Draw!
    Castruccio, Fluello, Pioratto, and Sinezi
    The friar has gulled us of 始em.
    O rare trick!
    2785You ha始 learnt one mad point of arithmetic.
    Why swells your spleen so high? Against what bosom
    Would you your weapons draw?
    [To the Duke] Hers? 始Tis your daughter始s.
    Mine? 始Tis your son始s.
    Son, by yonder sun.
    You cannot shed blood here but 始tis your own;
    To spill your own blood were damnation.
    Lay smooth that wrinkled brow, and I will throw
    Myself beneath your feet;
    2795Let it be rugged still and flinted o始er,
    What can come forth but sparkles, that will burn
    Yourself and us? She始s mine. My claim始s most good;
    She始s mine by marriage, though she始s yours by blood.
    [Kneeling] I have a hand, dear lord, deep in this act,
    2800For I foresaw this storm, yet willingly
    Put forth to meet it. Oft have I seen a father
    Washing the wounds of his dear son in tears,
    A son to curse the sword that struck his father,
    Both slain i始th始 quarrel of your families.
    2805Those scars are now ta始en off, and I beseech you
    To seal our pardon. All was to this end:
    To turn the ancient hates of your two houses
    To fresh green friendship, that your loves might look
    Like the spring始s forehead, comfortably sweet,
    2810And your vexed souls in peaceful union meet.
    Their blood will now be yours, yours will be theirs,
    And happiness shall crown your silver hairs.
    [To the Duke] You see, my lord, there始s now no remedy.
    All [but Duke]
    Beseech your lordship!
    You beseech fair; you have me in place fit
    To bridle me. – Rise, friar; you may be glad
    You can make madmen tame, and tame men mad.
    [The Friar rises.]
    Since fate hath conquered, I must rest content;
    To strive now would but add new punishment.
    2820[To Hippolito and Infelice] I yield unto your happiness. Be blest;
    Our families shall henceforth breathe in rest.
    O happy change!
    Yours now is my content;
    I throw upon your joys my full consent.
    [To the Duke] Am not I a fine fortune-teller? God始s me, you are a brave man! Will not you buy me some sugar-plums for telling how the friar was i始th始 well, will you not?
    Would thou hadst wit, thou pretty soul, to ask,
    As I have will to give!
    ‘Pretty soul始? A pretty soul is better than a pretty body. [To Mattheo] Do not you know my pretty soul?
    Look, fine man. Nay? I know you all by your noses; he was mad for me once, and I was mad for him once, and he 2835was mad for her once, and were you never mad? Yes, I warrant. Is not your name Mattheo?
    Yes, lamb.
    ‘Lamb始? Baa! Am I lamb? There you lie; I am mutton. [To the Duke] I had a fine jewel once, a very fine jewel, and that naughty man stole it away from me – fine jewel, a very fine jewel.
    What jewel, pretty maid?
    ‘Maid始? Nay, that始s a lie. O, 始twas a golden jewel! Hark, 始twas called a maidenhead. And that naughty man had it; had you not, leerer? [Seizing Mattheo.]
    Out, you mad ass, away!
    Had he thy maidenhead?
    He shall make thee 2845amends, and marry thee.
    Shall he? ‘O brave Arthur of Bradley始, then! Shall he?
    An if he bear the mind of a gentleman,
    I know he will.
    I think I rifled her of some such paltry jewel.
    Did you? Then marry her; you see the wrong
    Has led her spirits into a lunacy.
    How? Marry her, my lord? 始Sfoot, marry a madwoman? Let a man get the tamest wife he can come by, she始ll be mad enough afterward, do what he can.
    Father Anselmo here shall do his best
    To bring her to her wits. And will you then?
    I cannot tell – I may choose.
    Nay, then law shall compel. I tell you, sir,
    So much her hard fate moves me, you should not breathe
    2860Under this air, unless you married her.
    Well then, when her wits stand in their right place, I始ll marry her.
    I thank your Grace.
    [Revealing herself] Mattheo, thou art mine.
    I am not mad, but [Turning to Hippolito] put on this disguise
    Only for you, my lord, for you can tell
    2865Much wonder of me. But you are gone. Farewell! –
    Mattheo, thou first mad始st me black; now make me
    White as before. I vow to thee, I始m now
    As chaste as infancy, pure as Cynthia始s brow.
    I durst be sworn, Mattheo, she始s indeed.
    Cony-catched, gulled, must I sail in your fly-boat
    Because I helped to rear your mainmast first?
    Plague 始found you for始t! – 始Tis well.
    The cuckold始s stamp goes current in all nations.
    Some men have horns given them at their creations;
    2875If I be one of those, why, so. It始s better
    To take a common wench, and make her good,
    Than one that simpers and at first will scarce
    Be tempted forth over the threshold door,
    Yet in one se始nnight, zounds, turns arrant whore.
    2880Come, wench, thou shalt be mine. Give me thy golls.
    [They join hands.]
    We始ll talk of legs hereafter. [To the Duke] See, my lord!
    God give us joy.
    All [but Mattheo and Bellafront]
    God give you joy!
    Enter [Viola], Candido始s Wife, and George.
    Come, mistress, we are in Bedlam now. Mass, and see: we 2885come in pudding-time, for here始s the Duke.
    [To the Duke] My husband, good my lord!
    Have I thy husband?
    It始s Candido, my lord; he始s here among the lunatics. Father Anselmo, pray fetch him forth.
    [Exit Anselmo.]
    This madwoman is 2890his wife, and, though she were not with child, yet did she long most spitefully to have her husband, that was as patient as Job, to be more mad than ever was Orlando; and because she would be sure he should turn Jew, she placed him here in Bethlem. – Yonder he comes.
    2895Enter Candido with Anselmo.
    Come hither, signor. Are you mad?
    You are not mad.
    Why, I know that.
    Then may you know I am not mad, that know
    You are not mad, and that you are the Duke.
    2900None is mad here but one. – How do you, wife?
    What do you long for now? – Pardon, my lord.
    Why, signor, came you hither?
    O my good lord,
    She had lost her child始s nose else. I did cut out
    2905Pennyworths of lawn; the lawn was yet mine own.
    A carpet was my gown, yet 始twas mine own.
    I wore my man始s coat, yet the cloth mine own;
    Had a cracked crown, the crown was yet mine own.
    She says for this I始m mad. Were her words true,
    2910I should be mad indeed. O foolish skill!
    Is patience madness? I始ll be a madman still.
    [Kneeling] Forgive me, and I始ll vex your spirit no more.
    Come, come, we始ll have you friends; join hearts, join hands!
    [Joining hands with Viola] See, my lord, we are even.
    2915[To her] Nay, rise, for ill deeds kneel unto none but heaven.
    [She rises.]
    Signor, methinks patience has laid on you
    Such heavy weight that you should loathe it.
    Loathe it?
    For he whose breast is tender, blood so cool,
    2920That no wrongs heat it, is a patient fool.
    What comfort do you find in being so calm?
    That which green wounds receive from sovereign balm.
    Patience, my lord, why, 始tis the soul of peace;
    Of all the virtues 始tis near始st kin to heaven.
    2925It makes men look like gods. The best of men
    That e始er wore earth about him was a sufferer,
    A soft, meek, patient, humble, tranquil spirit,
    The first true gentle-man that ever breathed.
    The stock of patience, then, cannot be poor;
    2930All it desires it has. What monarch more?
    It is the greatest enemy to law
    That can be, for it doth embrace all wrongs,
    And so chains up lawyers始 and women始s tongues.
    始Tis the perpetual prisoner始s liberty,
    2935His walks and orchards. 始Tis the bondslave始s freedom,
    And makes him seem proud of each iron chain,
    As though he wore it more for state than pain.
    It is the beggars始 music, and thus sings –
    Although their bodies beg – their souls are kings.
    2940O my dread liege! It is the sap of bliss
    Rears us aloft, makes men and angels kiss;
    And, last of all, to end a household strife,
    It is the honey 始gainst a waspish wife.
    Thou giv始st it lively colours; who dare say
    2945He始s mad whose words march in so good array?
    始Twere sin all women should such husbands have,
    For every man must then be his wife始s slave.
    Come, therefore. You shall teach our court to shine;
    So calm a spirit is worth a golden mine.
    2950Wives with meek husbands that to vex them long,
    In Bedlam must they dwell, else dwell they wrong.