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, [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.