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 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.