Digital Renaissance Editions

Author: Thomas Dekker
Editor: Joost Daalder
Peer Reviewed

The Honest Whore, Part 2 (Modern)

Enter Orlando [as Pacheco, with Hippolito始s letter, purse, and diamond ring], and Infelice.
From whom, sayst thou?
From a poor gentlewoman, madam, whom I serve.
And what始s your business?
This, madam: my poor mistress has a waste piece of ground, which is her own by inheritance, and left to her by her mother. There始s a lord now that goes about, 1045not to take it clean from her, but to enclose it to himself, and to join it to a piece of his lordship始s.
What would she have me do in this?
No more, madam, but what one woman should do for another in such a case. My honourable lord your 1050husband would do anything in her behalf, but she had rather put herself into your hands, because you, a woman, may do more with the Duke your father.
Where lies this land?
Within a stone始s throw of this place. My mistress 1055would be content to let him enjoy it after her decease, if that would serve his turn, so my master would yield too; but she cannot abide to hear that the lord should meddle with it in her lifetime.
Is she, then, married? Why stirs not her husband 1060in it?
Her husband stirs in it underhand. But, because the other is a great rich man, my master is loath to be seen in it too much.
Let her in writing draw the cause at large,
1065And I will move the Duke.
[Holding up Hippolito始s letter] 始Tis set down, madam, here in black and white already. Work it so, madam, that she may keep her own without disturbance, grievance, molestation, or meddling of any other, and she bestows this purse of gold on your 1070ladyship.
[He holds up Hippolito始s purse.]
Old man, I始ll plead for her, but take no fees.
Give lawyers them; I swim not in that flood.
I始ll touch no gold till I have done her good.
I would all proctors始 clerks were of your mind; 1075I should law more amongst them than I do, then. Here, madam, is the survey, not only of the manor itself, but of the grange house, with every meadow, pasture, plough-land, cony-burrow, fish-pond, hedge, ditch, and bush that stands in it.
[He gives her the letter.]
[Reading the letter] My husband始s name and hand and seal at arms
To a love letter? Where hadst thou this writing?
From the foresaid party, madam, that would keep the foresaid land out of the foresaid lord始s fingers.
My lord turned ranger now?
You始re a good huntress, lady; you ha始 found your game already. Your lord would fain be a ranger, but my mistress requests you to let him run a course in your own park. If you始ll not do始t for love, then do始t for money. She has no white money, but there始s gold [Giving her the purse]; or else she prays you 1090to ring him by this token [Giving her the diamond ring], and so you shall be sure his nose will not be rooting other men始s pastures.
This very purse was woven with mine own hands;
This diamond on that very night when he
Untied my virgin girdle gave I him;
1095And must a common harlot share in mine?
Old man, to quit thy pains, take thou the gold.
Not I, madam; old servingmen want no money.
[Reading] Cupid himself was sure his secretary!
These lines are even the arrows Love lets fly;
1100The very ink dropped out of Venus始 eye.
I do not think, madam, but he fetched off some poet or other for those lines, for they are parlous hawks to fly at wenches.
Here始s honeyed poison! To me he ne始er thus writ;
1105But lust can set a double edge on wit.
Nay, that始s true, madam; a wench will whet anything, if it be not too dull.
Oaths, promises, preferments, jewels, gold –
What snares should break if all these cannot hold?
1110What creature is thy mistress?
One of those creatures that are contrary to man – a woman.
What manner of woman?
A little tiny woman, lower than your ladyship by 1115head and shoulders, but as mad a wench as ever unlaced a petticoat. These things should I indeed have delivered to my lord your husband.
They are delivered better. Why should she
Send back these things?
始Ware, 始ware, there始s knavery!
Strumpets, like cheating gamesters, will not win
At first; these are but baits to draw him in.
How might I learn his hunting hours?
The Irish footman can tell you all his hunting 1125hours, the park he hunts in, the doe he would strike. That Irish shackatory beats the bush for him, and knows all. He brought that letter and that ring; he is the carrier.
Knowst thou what other gifts have passed between them?
Little Saint Patrick knows all.
Him I始ll examine presently.
Not whilst I am here, sweet madam.
Begone then, and what lies in me command.
Exit Orlando.
Enter Brian.
Come hither, sirrah. How much cost those satins
And cloth of silver which my husband sent
By you to a low gentlewoman yonder?
Faat satins, faat silvers, faat low gentlefolks? Dow prat始st dow knowst not what, i始faat, la.
She there, to whom you carried letters.
By dis hand and bod dow sayst true, if I did so, O how? I know not a letter o始de book, i始faat, la.
Did your lord never send you with a ring, sir,
Set with a diamond?
Never, sa Crees sa始 me, never! He may run at a towsand rings, i始faat, and I never hold his stirrup till he leap into de saddle. By Saint Patrick, madam, I never touch my lord始s diamond, nor ever had to, i始faat, la, with any of his precious stones.
1150Enter Hippolito.
Are you so close, you bawd, you pand始ring slave?
[She strikes Brian.]
How now? Why, Infelice, what始s your quarrel?
[To Brian] Out of my sight, base varlet, get thee gone!
Away, you rogue!
Slawne loot, fare de well, fare de well. Ah marragh frofat boddah breen.
What, grown a fighter? Prithee, what始s the matter?
If you始ll needs know, it was about the clock.
How works the day, my lord, pray, by your watch?
Lest you cuff me, I始ll tell you presently.
[Consulting his watch] I am near two.
[Consulting her watch] How, two? I am scarce at one.
One of us then goes false.
Then sure 始tis you;
1165Mine goes by heaven始s dial, the sun, and it goes true.
I think indeed mine runs somewhat too fast.
Set it to mine, at one, then.
One? 始Tis past;
始Tis past one, by the sun.
Faith, then, belike
Neither your clock nor mine does truly strike;
And since it is uncertain which goes true,
Better be false at one than false at two.
You始re very pleasant, madam.
Yet not merry.
Why, Infelice, what should make you sad?
Nothing, my lord, but my false watch. Pray tell me:
You see my clock or yours is out of frame –
Must we upon the workman lay the blame,
1180Or on ourselves, that keep them?
Faith, on both.
He may by knavery spoil them, we by sloth.
But why talk you all riddle thus? I read
Strange comments in those margins of your looks;
1185Your cheeks of late are, like bad-printed books,
So dimly charactered I scarce can spell
One line of love in them. Sure all始s not well.
All is not well indeed, my dearest lord;
Lock up thy gates of hearing, that no sound
1190Of what I speak may enter –
What means this?
Or if my own tongue must myself betray,
Count it a dream, or turn thine eyes away,
And think me not thy wife.
She kneels.
Why do you kneel?
Earth is sin始s cushion; when the sick soul feels
Herself growing poor, then she turns beggar, cries
And kneels for help. Hippolito – for husband
I dare not call thee – I have stol始n that jewel
Of my chaste honour which 1200was only thine,
And given it to a slave.
On thy pillow
Adultery and lust have slept. Thy groom
Hath climbed the unlawful tree, and plucked the sweets;
A villain hath usurped a husband始s sheets.
始Sdeath! Who? – A cuckold! – Who?
This Irish footman.
Worse than damnation! A wild kern, a frog,
A dog, whom I始ll scarce spurn! Longed you for shamrock?
Were it my father始s father, heart, I始ll kill him,
Although I 1210take him on his deathbed gasping
始Twixt heaven and hell! A shag-haired cur!
[She clings to his garment.]
Bold strumpet,
Why hangst thou on me? Thinkst I始ll be a bawd
To a whore because she始s noble?
I beg but this:
Set not my shame out to the world始s broad eye,
1215Yet let thy vengeance, like my fault, soar high,
So it be in darkened clouds.
Darkened? My horns
Cannot be darkened, nor shall my revenge.
A harlot to my slave? The act is base –
1220Common, but foul; so shall not thy disgrace.
Could not I feed your appetite? – O women!
You were created angels, pure and fair;
But since the first fell, tempting devils you are.
You should be men始s bliss, but you prove their rods;
1225Were there no women, men might live like gods. –
You ha始 been too much down already. Rise,
Get from my sight, and henceforth shun my bed;
I始ll with no strumpet始s breath be poisonèd.
[She rises.]
As for your Irish lubrican, that spirit
1230Whom by prepost始rous charms thy lust hath raised
In a wrong circle, him I始ll damn more black
Then any tyrant始s soul.
Tell me, didst thou bait hooks to draw him to 1235thee,
Or did he bewitch thee?
The slave did woo me.
Tu-whoos in that screech-owls始s language?
O, who would trust your cork-heeled sex? I think,
To sate your lust, you would love a horse, a bear,
A croaking toad, 1240so your hot itching veins
Might have their bond. Then the wild Irish dart
Was thrown? Come, how? The manner of this fight?
始Twas thus: he gave me this battery first.
[She gives him the letter.]
O, I
Mistake – believe me, all this in beaten gold.
[She gives him the purse.]
1245Yet I held out, but at length by this was charmed.
[She gives him the diamond ring.]
What? Change your diamond-wench? The act is base –
Common, but foul; so shall not your disgrace.
Could not I feed your appetite? – O men!
You were created angels, pure and fair;
1250But since the first fell, worse than devils you are.
You should our shields be, but you prove our rods;
Were there no men, women might live like gods. –
Guilty, my lord?
[Laughing] Yes, guilty, my good lady.
Nay, you may laugh, but henceforth shun my bed;
With no whore始s leavings I始ll be poisonèd.
O始erreached so finely? 始Tis the very diamond
And letter which I sent. This villainy
Some spider closely weaves, whose poisoned bulk
1260I must let forth. [Calling out] Who始s there without?
(Within) My lord calls.
Send me the footman.
[Within] Call the footman to my lord. – Brian, Brian!
It can be no man else – that Irish Judas,
Bred in a country where no venom prospers
But in the nation始s blood, hath thus betrayed me.
Enter Brian.
Slave, get you from your service!
Faat meanst thou by this, now?
Question me not, nor tempt my fury, villain!
Couldst thou turn all the mountains in the land
To hills of gold to give me, here thou stayst not.
I始faat, I care not.
Prate not, but get thee gone; I shall send else.
Ay, do, pridee! I had rather have thee make a scabbard of my guts, and let out all de Irish puddings in my poor belly, den to be a false knave to dee, i始faat. I will never see dine own sweet face more. A mawhid deer a gra! Fare dee well, fare dee well! I will go steal cows again in Ireland.
He始s damned that raised this whirlwind, which hath blown
Into her eyes this jealousy. Yet I始ll on,
I始ll on, stood armèd devils staring in my face.
To be pursued in flight quickens the race.
1285Shall my bloodstreams by a wife始s lust be barred?
Fond woman, no. Iron grows by strokes more hard;
Lawless desires are seas scorning all bounds,
Or sulphur which, being rammed up, more confounds;
Struggling with madmen madness nothing tames;
1290Winds wrestling with great fires incense the flames.