Digital Renaissance Editions

About this text

  • Title: The Honest Whore, Part 2 (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.
    Author: Thomas Dekker
    Editor: Joost Daalder
    Peer Reviewed

    The Honest Whore, Part 2 (Modern)

    [Servants bring in dinner table etc. for a wedding feast.] Enter Candido, Lodovico, [Astolfo], and Carolo, [1 Guest wearing a very tall, pointed hat], other Guests [wearing citizens始 caps], and [the] Bride with [Luke and other] Prentices. [The Gentlemen stand while the Bride and the Guests sit.]
    O gentlemen, so late? You始re very welcome;
    Pray sit down.
    [The Gentlemen sit down.]
    Carolo, didst e始er see such a nest of caps?
    Methinks it始s a most civil and most comely sight.
    [Indicating 1 Guest] What does he i始th始 middle look like?
    Troth, like a spire steeple in a country village overpeering so many thatched houses.
    It始s, rather, a long pike-staff against so many bucklers without pikes; they sit for all the world like a pair of 475organs, and he始s the tall great roaring pipe i始th始 midst.
    Ha, ha, ha, ha!
    What始s that you laugh at, signors?
    Troth, shall I tell you, and aloud I始ll tell it:
    We laugh to see – yet laugh we not in scorn –
    480Amongst so many caps that long hat worn.
    1 Guest
    Mine is as tall a felt as any is this day in Milan; and therefore I love it, for the block was cleft out for my head, and fits me to a hair.
    [To the Gentlemen] Indeed, you are good observers; it shows strange.
    485But, gentlemen, I pray neither contemn
    Nor yet deride a civil ornament;
    I could build so much in the round cap始s praise
    That 始bove this high roof I this flat would raise.
    Prithee, sweet bridegroom, do始t.
    So all these guests will pardon me, I始ll do始t.
    With all our hearts.
    [Raising his cap] Thus, then, in the cap始s honour.
    To every sex and state both nature, time,
    The country始s laws, yea, and the very clime
    495Do allot distinct habits. The spruce courtier
    Jets up and down in silk; the warrior
    Marches in buff; the clown plods on in grey.
    But for these upper garments thus I say:
    The seaman has his cap, pared without brim;
    500The gallant始s head is feathered – that fits him;
    The soldier has his morion; women ha始 tires;
    Beasts have their head-pieces, and men ha始 theirs.
    Each degree has his fashion. It始s fit, then,
    505One should be laid by for the citizen,
    And that始s the cap which you see swells not high,
    For caps are emblems of humility.
    It is a citizen始s badge, and first was worn
    By th始Romans. For when any bondman始s turn
    510Came to be made a freeman, thus 始twas said,
    He to the cap was called – that is, was made
    Of Rome a freeman, but was first close shorn;
    And so a citizen始s hair is still short worn.
    That close shaving made barbers a company, 515and now every citizen uses it.
    Of geometric figures the most rare
    And perfect始st are the circle and the square.
    The city and the school much build upon
    These figures, for both love proportion.
    520The city-cap is round, the scholar始s square,
    To show that government and learning are
    The perfect始st limbs i始th始 body of a state,
    For without them all始s disproportionate.
    If the cap had no honour, this might rear it:
    525The reverend fathers of the law do wear it.
    It始s light for summer, and in cold it sits
    Close to the skull, a warm house for the wits.
    It shows the whole face boldly. 始Tis not made
    As if a man to look out were afraid,
    530Nor like a draper始s shop with broad, dark shed;
    For he始s no citizen that hides his head.
    Flat caps as proper are to city gowns
    As to armours helmets, or to kings their crowns.
    Let, then, the city-cap by none be scorned,
    535Since with it princes始 heads have been adorned.
    If more the round cap始s honour you would know,
    How would this long gown with this steeple show?
    [He lays down his cap, and puts on 1 Guest始s hat.]
    All [but Candido]
    Ha, ha, ha! Most vile, most ugly!
    [Returning the hat to 1 Guest]
    Pray, signor, pardon me; 始twas done in jest.
    [To Prentices] A cup of claret wine there!
    1 Servingman
    Wine? Yes, forsooth, wine for the bride!
    [He pours out a glass of red wine.]
    [To Candido] You ha始 well set out the cap, sir.
    Nay, that始s flat.
    1 Guest
    A health!
    Since his cap始s round, that shall go round. Be bare,
    For in the cap始s praise all of you have share.
    [They bare their heads. 1 Prentice offers] the Bride [sack in a cup. She] hits the Prentice on the lips.
    The bride始s at cuffs!
    O, peace, I pray thee. Though far off I stand,
    I spied the 550error of my servants;
    She called for claret, and [To 1 Prentice] you filled out sack.
    [Indicating the cup of sack] That cup give me: 始tis for an old man始s back,
    And not for hers. Indeed, 始twas but mistaken –
    Ask all these else.
    All [but 1 Prentice]
    No, faith, 始twas but mistaken.
    5551 Prentice
    Nay, she took it right enough.
    [To Luke] Good Luke, reach her that glass of claret.
    [Luke gives her the glass of red wine.]
    Here, Mistress Bride, pledge me there.
    Now I始ll none.
    [She breaks the glass and] exit.
    How now?
    [To 1 Prentice] Look what your mistress ails.
    1 Prentice
    Nothing, sir, but about filling a wrong glass – a scurvy trick.
    I pray you, hold your tongue. –
    My servant there [Indicating Luke] tells me she is not well.
    565All [but Candido]
    Step to her, step to her.
    [To Candido] A word with you – do ye hear? This wench, your new wife, will take you down in your wedding shoes, unless you hang her up in her wedding-garters.
    How, hang her in her garters?
    Will you be a tame pigeon still? Shall your back be like a tortoise-shell, to let carts go over it yet not to break? This she-cat will have more lives than your last puss had, and will scratch worse and mouse you worse; look to始t.
    What would you have me do, sir?
    What would I have you do? Swear, swagger, brawl, fling! For fighting it始s no matter; we ha始 had knocking pusses enough already. You know that a woman was made of the rib of a man, and that rib was crooked. The moral of 580which is that a man must from his beginning be crooked to his wife. Be you like an orange to her: let her cut you never so fair, be you sour as vinegar. Will you be ruled by me?
    In anything that始s civil, honest, and just.
    Have you ever a prentice始s suit will fit me?
    I have the very same which myself wore.
    I始ll send my man for始t within this half hour, and within this two hours I始ll be your prentice. The hen shall not overcrow the cock; I始ll sharpen your spurs.
    It will be but some jest, sir?
    Only a jest. Farewell. – Come, Carolo.
    Exeunt [Lodovico, Carolo, and Astolfo].
    Guests [other than Lodovico and his friends]
    We始ll take our leaves, sir, too.
    Pray conceit not ill
    Of my wife始s sudden rising. This young knight,
    Sir Lodovico, is deep seen in physic,
    And he tells me the disease called the mother
    Hangs on my 595wife. It is a vehement heaving
    And beating of the stomach, and that swelling
    Did with the pain thereof cramp up her arm;
    That hit his lips, and brake the glass. No harm;
    It was no harm!
    No, signor, none at all.
    The straightest arrow may fly wide by chance.
    But come, we始ll close this brawl up in some dance.