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About this text

  • Title: An Humorous Day's Mirth (Modern)
  • Editor: Eleanor Lowe
  • Coordinating editor: Brett Greatley-Hirsch
  • General textual editor: Helen Ostovich
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-513-1

    Copyright Digital Renaissance Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: George Chapman
    Editor: Eleanor Lowe
    Peer Reviewed

    An Humorous Day's Mirth (Modern)

    195.1[Scene 4]
    Enter [Florila] the Puritan.
    Florila What have I done? Put on too many clothes.
    The day is hot, and I am hotter clad
    Than might suffice health.
    My conscience tells me that I have offended,
    And I始ll put 200them off.
    That will ask time that might be better spent.
    One sin will draw another quickly so.
    See how the Devil tempts. But what始s here?
    [Picks up jewels] Jewels?
    How should these come here?
    Enter Labervele.
    Good morrow, lovely wife. What hast thou there?
    Jewels, my lord, which here I strangely found.
    That始s strange indeed. What, where none comes
    But when yourself is here? Surely the heavens
    Have rained thee jewels for thy holy life,
    And using thy old husband lovingly,
    Or else do fairies haunt this holy green,
    As evermore 210mine ancestors have thought.
    Fairies were but in times of ignorance,
    Not since the true pure light hath been revealed.
    And that they come from heaven I scarce believe.
    For jewels are vain things. Much gold is given
    For such fantastical and fruitless jewels,
    215And therefore heaven, I know, will not maintain
    The use of vanity. Surely I fear
    I have much sinned to stoop and take them up,
    Bowing my body to an idle work.
    The strength that I have had to this very deed
    Might have been used to take a poor soul up
    In the highway.
    You are too curious, wife. Behold your jewels.
    What, methinks there始s posies written on them.
    Then he reads.
    Despair not of children,
    Love with the longest;
    When man is at the weakest,
    God is at the strongest.
    Wonderful rare and witty, nay, divine.
    Why, this is heavenly comfort for thee, wife.
    What is this other?
    225God will reward her a thousandfold
    That takes what age can, and not what age would.
    The best that ever I heard. No mortal brain,
    I think, did ever utter such conceit
    For good plain matter and for honest rhyme.
    Vain poetry. I pray you burn them, sir.
    You are to blame, wife. Heaven hath sent you them
    To deck yourself withal, like to yourself,
    Not to go thus like a milkmaid.
    Why there is difference in all estates
    By all religion.
    There is no difference.
    I prithee, wife, be of another mind
    And wear these 235jewels and a velvet hood.
    A velvet hood! O vain devilish device!
    A toy made with a superfluous flap,
    Which being cut off, my head were still as warm.
    Diogenes did cast away his dish
    Because his hand would serve to help him drink.
    Surely these heathens 240shall rise up against us.
    Sure, wife, I think thy keeping always close,
    Making thee melancholy, is the cause
    We have no children, and therefore, if thou wilt,
    Be merry and keep company i始 God始s name.
    Sure, my lord, if I thought I should be rid
    Of this same banishment of barrenness,
    And use our marriage to the end it was made,
    Which was for procreation, I should sin,
    If by my keeping house I should neglect
    The lawful means to be a fruitful mother;
    And therefore if it please you I始ll use resort.
    [Aside] God始s my passion, what have I done? Who would have thought her pureness would yield so soon to courses of temptations? [Aloud] Nay, hark you, wife, I am not sure that going abroad will cause fruitfulness in you. That, you know, none knows but God himself.
    I know, my lord, 始tis true, but the lawful means must still be used.
    Yea, the lawful means indeed must still, but now I remember that lawful means is not abroad.
    Well, well, I始ll keep the house still.
    Nay, hark you, lady, I would not have you think — marry, I must tell you this, if you should change the manner of your life, the world would think you changed religion too.
    始Tis true, I will not go.
    Nay, if you have a fancy.
    Yea, a fancy, but that始s no matter.
    Indeed, fancies are not for judicial and religious women.
    Enter Catalian like a scholar.
    God save your lordship, and you, most religious lady.
    Sir, you may say God save us well indeed
    270That thus are thrust upon in private walks.
    A slender thrust, sir, where I touched you not.
    Well, sir, what is your business?
    Why, sir, I have a message to my lady from Monsieur du Barte.
    To ‘your lady始? Well, sir, speak your mind to ‘your lady始.
    You are very welcome, sir, and I pray how doth he?
    In health, madam, thanks be to God, commending his duty to your ladyship, and hath sent you a message which I would desire your honour to hear in private.
    ‘My ladyship始, and ‘my honor始! They be words which I must have you leave. They be idle words, and you shall answer for them truly. ‘My duty to you始, or ‘I desire you始, were a great deal better than ‘my ladyship始, or ‘my honour始.
    I thank you for your Christian admonition.
    Nay, thank God for me. Come, I will hear your message with all my heart, and you are very welcome, sir.
    [Aside] ‘With all my heart, and you are very welcome, sir始, and go and talk with a young lusty fellow able to make a man始s hair stand upright on his head! What purity is there in this, 290trow you? Ha, what wench of the faculty could have been more forward? Well, sir, I will know your message. [Aloud] You, sir, you, sir, what says the holy man, sir? Come, tell true, for by heaven or hell I will have it out.
    Why you shall, sir, if you be so desirous.
    Nay, sir, I am more than so desirous. Come, sir, study not for a new device now.
    Not I, my lord, this is both new and old. I am a scholar, and being spiritually inclined by your lady始s most godly life, I am to profess the ministry and to become her chaplain, 300 to which end Monsieur du Barte hath commended me.
    Her chaplain, in the Devil始s name, fit to be vicar of hell!
    My good head, what are you afraid of? He comes with a godly and neighbourly suit. What, think you his words or his 305looks can tempt me? Have you so little faith? If every word he spake were a serpent as subtle as that which tempted Eve, he cannot tempt me, I warrant you.
    Well answered for him, lady, by my faith. Well, hark you, I始ll keep your chaplain始s place yonder for a while, and at 310length put in one myself.
    Enter Lemot.
    What, more yet? God始s my passion, whom do I see? The very imp of desolation, the minion of our King, whom no man sees to enter his house but he locks up his wife, his children, and his maids, for where he goes he carries his house upon his head like a 315snail. Now, sir, I hope your business is to me.
    No, sir, I must crave a word with my lady.
    These words are intolerable, and she shall hear no more.
    She must hear me speak.
    Must she, sir? Have you brought the King始s warrant 320for it?
    I have brought that which is above kings.
    Why, every man for her sake is a Puritan. The Devil I think will shortly turn Puritan, or the Puritan will turn devil.
    What have you brought, sir?
    Marry this, madam. You know we ought to prove one another始s constancy, and I am come in all chaste and honourable sort to prove your constancy.
    You are very welcome, sir, and I will abide your 330proof. It is my duty to abide your proof.
    You始ll bide his proof? It is your duty to bide his proof! How the devil will you bide his proof?
    My good head, no otherwise than before your face in all honourable and religious sort. I tell you I am constant 335to you, and he comes to try whether I be so or no, which I must endure. Begin your proof, sir.
    Nay, madam, not in your husband始s hearing, though in his sight, for there is no woman will show she is tempted from her constancy, though she be a little. Withdraw yourself,340 sweet lady.
    [They withdraw.]
    [Aside] Well, I will see though I do not hear. Women may be courted without offence, so they resist the courtier.
    Dear and most beautiful lady, of all the sweet honest and honourable means to prove the purity of a lady始s 345constancy, kisses are the strongest. I will therefore be bold to begin my proof with a kiss.
    No, sir, no kissing.
    No kissing, madam? How shall I prove you then sufficiently not using the most sufficient proof? To flatter yourself 350by affection of spirit, when it is not perfectly tried, is sin.
    You say well, sir. That which is truth is truth.
    Then do you well, lady, and yield to the truth.
    By your leave, sir, my husband sees. Peradventure it may breed an offence to him.
    How can it breed an offence to your husband to see your constancy perfectly tried?
    You are an odd man, I see. But first, I pray, tell me how kissing is the best proof of chaste ladies.
    To give you a reason for that, you must give me 360leave to be obscure and philosophical.
    I pray you be. I love philosophy well.
    Then thus, madam: every kiss is made, as the voice is, by imagination and appetite, and as both those are presented to the ear in the voice, so are they to the silent 365spirits in our kisses.
    To what spirit mean you?
    To the spirits of our blood.
    What if it do?
    Why then, my imagination and mine appetite 370working upon your ears in my voice, and upon your spirits in my kisses, piercing therein the more deeply, they give the stronger assault against your constancy.
    Why then, to say, ‘prove my constancy始, is as much as to say, ‘kiss me始.
    Most true, rare lady.
    Then prove my constancy.
    Believe me, madam, you gather exceeding wittily upon it.
    [Kisses her]
    Oh my forehead, my very heart aches at a blow! [Aloud] 380What dost thou mean, wife? Thou wilt lose thy fame, discredit thy religion, and dishonour me forever.
    Away, sir, I will abide no more of your proof, nor endure any more of your trial.
    Oh, she dares not, she dares not. I am as glad I have 385tried your purity as may be. You, the most constant lady in France? I know an hundred ladies in this town that will dance, revel all night amongst gallants, and in the morning go to bed to her husband as clear a woman as if she were new christened, kiss him, embrace him, and say, ‘no, 390no, husband, thou art the man始, and he takes her for the woman.
    And all this can I do.
    Take heed of it, wife.
    Fear not, my good head, I warrant you, for 395him.
    Nay, madam, triumph not before the victory. How can you conquer that against which you never strive, or strive against that which never encounters you? To live idle in this walk, to enjoy this company, to wear 400this habit, and have no more delights than those will afford you, is to make Virtue an idle housewife, and to hide herself in slothful cobwebs that still should be adorned with actions of victory. No, madam, if you will unworthily prove your constancy to your husband, you must 405put on rich apparel, fare daintily, hear music, read sonnets, be continually courted, kiss, dance, feast, revel all night amongst gallants. Then if you come to bed to your husband with a clear mind and a clear body, then are your virtues ipsissima, then have you passed the full test 410of experiment, and you shall have an hundred gallants fight thus far in blood for the defence of your reputation.
    O vanity of vanities!
    Oh husband, this is perfect trial indeed.
    And you will try all this now, will you not?
    Yea, my good head, for it is written, we must pass to perfection through all temptation, Habbakuk the fourth.
    Habbakuk? Cuck me no cucks! In a始 doors, I say. Thieves, Puritans, murderers! In a始 doors, I 420say.
    Exit [with Florila].
    So now is he stark mad, i始faith. But, sirrah, as this is an old lord jealous of his young wife, so is ancient Countess Moren jealous of her young husband. We始ll thither to have some sport, i始faith.