Digital Renaissance Editions

About this text

  • Title: The Honest Whore, Part 1 (Quarto 2, 1604)
  • 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 (Quarto 2, 1604)

    SCENA 10.
    Enter a seruant setting out a Table, on which he places
    a scull, a picture, a booke and a Taper.
    Ser. So, this is Monday morning, and now must I to my
    1705huswifry: would I had bin created a Shoomaker; for all the
    gentle craft are gentlemen euery Monday by their Copy,
    & scorne (then) to worke one true stitch. My M. meanes
    sure to turne me into a student; for here's my booke, here
    my deske, here my light; this my close chamber, and heere
    1710my Punck: so that this dull drowzy first day of the weeke,
    makes me halfe a Priest, halfe a Chandler, halfe a paynter,
    halfe a Sexton, I & halfe a Bawd: for (all this day) my office
    is to do nothing but keep the dore. To proue it, looke you,
    this good-face & yonder gentleman (so soone as euer my
    1715back's turnd) wilbe naught together. Enter Hipolito.
    Hip. Are all the windowes shut? Ser. Close sir, as the fist
    of a Courtier that hath stood in three raignes.
    Hip. Thou art a faythfull seruant, and obseru'st
    The Calender, both of my solemne vowes,
    1720And ceremonious sorrow: Get thee gone,
    I charge thee on thy life, let not the sound
    Of any womans voyce pierce through that dore.
    Ser. If they do, my Lord, Ile pearce some of them.
    What will your Lordship haue to breakfast?
    1725Hip. Sighs. Ser. What to dinner? Hip. Teares.
    Ser. The one of them, my Lord, will fill you too full of
    wind, the other wet you too much. What to supper?
    Hip. That which (now) thou canst not get me, the con-
    stancy of a woman.
    1730Ser. Indeed thats harder to come by then euer was
    Hip. Prythee away.
    Ser. Ile make away my selfe presently, which few Ser-
    uants will doe for their Lords; but rather helpe to make
    1735them away: Now to my dore-keeping, I hope to picke
    something out of it. Exit.
    Hip. My Infelices face: her brow, her eye,
    The dimple on her cheeke: and such sweet skill,
    Hath from the cunning workemans pencill flowne,
    1740These lippes looke fresh and liuely as her owne
    Seeming to mooue and speake. Las! now I see,
    The reason why fond women loue to buy
    Adulterate complexion: here tis read,
    False coulours last after the true be dead.
    1745Of all the Roses grafted on her cheekes,
    Of all the graces dauncing in her eyes,
    Of all the Musick set vpon her tongue,
    Of all that was past womans excellence,
    In her white bosome, looke! a painted board,
    1750Circumscribes all: Earth can no blisse afford.
    Nothing of her, but this? this cannot speake,
    It has no lap for me to rest vpon,
    No lip worth tasting: here the wormes will feed,
    As in her coffin: hence then idle Art,
    1755True loue's best pictur'de in a true-loues heart.
    Here art thou drawne sweet maid, till this be dead,
    So that thou liu'st twice, twice art buried.
    Thou figure of my friend lye there. Whats here?
    Perhaps this shrewd pate was mine enimies:
    1760Las! say it were: I need not feare him now.
    For all his braues, his contumelious breath,
    His frownes (tho dagger-pointed) all his plots
    (Tho 'nere so mischieuous) his Italian pilles,
    His quarrels, and (that common fence) his law,
    1765See, see, they're all eaten out; here's not left one?
    How cleane they're pickt away! to the bare bone!
    How mad are mortals then to reare great names
    On tops of swelling houses? or to weare out
    Their fingers ends (in durt,) to scrape vp gould!
    1770Not caring so (that Sumpter-horse) the back
    Be hung with gawdy trappings, with what course:
    Yea rags most beggerly, they cloath the soule:
    Yet (after all) their Gay-nes lookes thus foule.
    What fooles are men to build a garish tombe,
    1775Onely to saue the carcasse whilst it rotes,
    To maintein't long in stincking, make good carion,
    G But
    But leaue no good deeds to preserue them sound,
    For good deedes keepe men sweet, long aboue ground,
    And must all come to this: fooles; wise, all hether,
    1780Must all heads thus at last be laid together:
    Draw me my picture then, thou graue neate workman,
    After this fashion, not like this: these coulours
    In time kissing but ayre, will be kist off,
    But heres a fellow; that which he layes on,
    1785Till doomes day alters not complexion.
    Death's the best Painter then: They that draw shapes,
    And liue by wicked faces, are but Gods Apes,
    They come but neere the life, and there they stay,
    This fellow drawes life to: his Art is fuller,
    1790The pictures which he makes are without coulour.
    Enter his seruant.
    Ser. Heres a person would speake with you sir.
    Hip. Hah!
    Ser. A parson sir would speake with you.
    1795Hip. Vicar?
    Ser. Vicar? no sir, has too good a face to be a Vicar yet, a
    youth, a very youth.
    Hip. What youth? of man or woman? lock the dores.
    Ser. If it be a woman, mary-bones and Potato pies keepe
    1800me for medling with her, for the thing has got the breeches,
    tis a male-varlet sure my Lord, for a womans tayler neare
    measurd him.
    Hip. Let him giue thee his message and be gone:
    Ser, He sayes hees signior Mathaeos man, but I know he
    Hip. How doest thou know it?
    Ser. Cause has nere a beard: tis his boy I thinke sir, who-
    soere paide for his nursing.
    Hip. Send him and keepe the doore. Reades.
    1810Fata si liceat mihi,
    Fingere arbitrio meo,
    Temperem Zephyro leuivela.
    Ide saile were I to choose, not in the Ocean,
    Cedars are shaken, when shrubs doe feele no bruize.
    1815Enter Bellafronte like a Page.
    How? from Mathaeo.
    Bell. Yes my Lord.
    Hip. Art sick?
    Bell. Not all in health my Lord.
    1820Hip. Keepe off.
    Bell. I do:
    Hard fate when women are compeld to wooe.
    Hip. This paper does speake nothing.
    Bell. Yes my Lord,
    1825Matter of life it speakes, and therefore writ
    In hidden Caracter; to me instruction
    My maister giues, And (lesse you please to stay
    Till you both meet) I can the text display.
    Hip. Doe so: read out.
    1830Bell. I am already out:
    Looke on my face, and read the strangest story!
    Hip. What villaine, ho? Enter his Seruant.
    Ser. Call you my Lord?
    Hip. Thou slaue, thou hast let in the diuell.
    1835Ser. Lord blesse vs, where? hees not clouen my Lord that
    I can see: besides the diuell goes more like a Gentleman
    than a Page: good my Lord Boon couragio.
    Hip. Thou hast let in a woman, in mans shape.
    And thou art dambd for't.
    1840Ser. Not dambd I hope for putting in a woman to a Lord.
    Hip. Fetch me my Rapier,--do not: I shall kill thee.
    Purge this infected chamber of that plague,
    That runnes vpon me thus: Slaue, thrust her hence.
    Ser. Alas my Lord, I shall neuer be able to thrust her hence
    1845without helpe: come Mermaid you must to Sea agen.
    Bell. Here me but speake, my words shall be all Musick:
    Here me but speake.
    Hip. Another beates the dore,
    T'other Shee-diuell, looke.
    1850Ser. Why then hell's broke loose.
    Hip. Hence, guard the chamber: let no more come on,
    G 2 One
    One woman serues for mans damnation,
    Beshrew thee, thou doost make me violate,
    The chastest and most sanctimonious vow,
    1855That ere was entred in the court of heauen:
    I was on meditations spottles wings,
    vpon my iourney thither; like a storme
    Thou beatst my ripened cogitations,
    flat to the ground: and like a theife doost stand,
    1860To steale deuotion from the holy land.
    Bell. If woman were thy mother; if thy hart,
    Bee not all Marble, (or ift Marble be)
    Let my teares soften it, to pitty me,
    I doe beseech thee doe not thus with scorne,
    1865Destroy a woman.
    Hip. Woman I beseech thee,
    Get thee some other suite, this fits thee not,
    I would not grant it to a kneeling Queene,
    I cannot loue thee, nor I must not: See,
    1870The copy of that obligation,
    Where my soul's bound in heauy penalties.
    Bell. She's dead you told me, shele let fal her suite.
    Hip. My vowes to her, fled after her to heauen,
    Were thine eyes cleere as mine, thou mightest behold her,
    1875Watching vpon yon battlements of starres,
    How I obserue them: should I breake my bond,
    This bord would riue in twaine, these wooden lippes
    Call me most periurde villaine let it suffice,
    I ha set thee in the path; Ist not a signe,
    1880I loue thee, when with one so most most deare,
    Ile haue thee fellowes? All are fellowes there.
    Bell. Be greater then a king, saue not a body,
    But from eternall shipwracke keepe a soule,
    If not, and that againe, sinnes path I tread,
    1885The griefe be mine, the guilt fall on thy head.
    Hip. Stay and take Phisicke for it, read this booke,
    Aske counsell of this head whats to be done,
    Hele strike it dead that tis damnation,
    If you turne turke againe, oh doe it not,
    1890The heauen cannot allure you to do well
    From doing ill let hell fright you: and learne this,
    The soule whose bosome lust did neuer touch,
    Is Gods faire bride, and maidens soules are such:
    The soule that leauing chastities white shore,
    1895Swims in hot sensuall streames, is the diuels whore,
    How now: who comes. Enter his seruant.
    Ser. No more knaues my Lord that weare smocks: heres
    a letter from doctor Benedict; I would not enter his man, tho
    he had haires at his mouth, for feare he should be a woman, for
    1900some women haue beardes, mary they are halfe witches,
    Slid you are a sweete youth to weare a codpeece, and haue no
    pinnes to stick vpont.
    Hip. Ile meete the doctor, tell him, yet too night
    I cannot: but at morrow rising Sunne
    1905I will not faile: goe woman fare thee well. Exeunt.
    Bel. The lowest fall can be but into hell,
    It does not moue him. I must therefore flie,
    From this vndoing Cittie, aud with teares,
    Wash off all anger from my fathers brow.
    1910He cannot sure but ioy seeing me new borne,
    A woman honest first and then turne whore,
    Is (as with me) common to thousands more,
    But from a strumpet to turne chast: that sonnd,
    Has oft bin heard, that woman hardly found. Exit.