Digital Renaissance Editions

About this text

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

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

    The Honest Whore, Part 1 (Modern)

    [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!