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 [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.