A SELECT COLLECTION OF OLD ENGLISH PLAYS, VOL. IX
Originally published by Robert Dodsley in the Year 1744.
Now first chronologically arranged, revised and enlarged with the Notes of all the Commentators, and new Notes
W. CAREW HAZLITT.
How a Man May Choose a Good Wife from a Bad The Return from Parnassus Wily Beguiled Lingua The Miseries of Enforced Marriage
HOW A MAN MAY CHOOSE A GOOD WIFE FROM A BAD.
A Pleasant conceited Comedie, Wherein is shewed how a man may chuse a good Wife from a bad. As it hath bene sundry times Acted by the Earle of Worcesters Seruants. London Printed for Mathew Lawe, and are to be solde at his shop in Paules Church-yard, neare unto S. Augustines gate, at the signe of the Foxe_. 1602. 4to.
[There were editions in 1605, 1608, 1614, 1621, 1630, 1634, all in 4to.
It is not improbable that the author was Joshua Cooke, to whom, in an old hand on the title of edit. 1602 in the Museum, it is attributed.]
[PREFACE TO THE FORMER EDITION.]
This play agrees perfectly with the description given of it in the title; it is certainly a most pleasant conceited comedy, rich in humour, and written altogether in a right merry vein. The humour is broad and strongly marked, and at the same time of the most diverting kind; the characters are excellent, and admirably discriminated; the comic parts of the play are written with most exquisite drollery, and the serious with great truth and feeling. Of the present piece there were seven editions, within a short period, with all of which the present reprint has been carefully collated, and is now, for the first time, divided into acts and scenes.
OLD MASTER ARTHUR. OLD MASTER LUSAM. YOUNG MASTER ARTHUR. YOUNG MASTER LUSAM. MASTER ANSELM. MASTER FULLER. SIR AMINADAB, a Schoolmaster. JUSTICE REASON. BRABO. HUGH, Justice Reason's Servant. PIPKIN, Master Arthur's Servant. Boys, Officers, &c. MISTRESS ARTHUR. MISTRESS MARY. MISTRESS SPLAY. MAID.
A PLEASANT CONCEITED COMEDY; WHEREIN IS SHOWED
HOW A MAN MAY CHOOSE A GOOD WIFE FROM A BAD.
ACT I., SCENE I.
Enter YOUNG MASTER ARTHUR and YOUNG MASTER LUSAM.
Y. ART. I tell you true, sir; but to every man I would not be so lavish of my speech: Only to you, my dear and private friend, Although my wife in every eye be held Of beauty and of grace sufficient, Of honest birth and good behaviour, Able to win the strongest thoughts to her, Yet, in my mind, I hold her the most hated And loathed object, that the world can yield.
Y. LUS. O Master Arthur, bear a better thought Of your chaste wife, whose modesty hath won The good opinion and report of all: By heaven! you wrong her beauty; she is fair.
Y. ART. Not in mine eye.
Y. LUS. O, you are cloy'd with dainties, Master Arthur, And too much sweetness glutted hath your taste, And makes you loathe them: at the first You did admire her beauty, prais'd her face, Were proud to have her follow at your heels Through the broad streets, when all censuring tongues Found themselves busied, as she pass'd along, T'extol her in the hearing of you both. Tell me, I pray you, and dissemble not, Have you not, in the time of your first-love, Hugg'd such new popular and vulgar talk, And gloried still to see her bravely deck'd? But now a kind of loathing hath quite chang'd Your shape of love into a form of hate; But on what reason ground you this hate?
Y. ART. My reason is my mind, my ground my will; I will not love her: if you ask me why, I cannot love her. Let that answer you.
Y. LUS. Be judge, all eyes, her face deserves it not; Then on what root grows this high branch of hate? Is she not loyal, constant, loving, chaste: Obedient, apt to please, loath to displease: Careful to live, chary of her good name, And jealous of your reputation? Is she not virtuous, wise, religious? How should you wrong her to deny all this? Good Master Arthur, let me argue with you.
[They walk aside.
Enter MASTER ANSELM and MASTER FULLER.
FUL. O Master Anselm! grown a lover, fie! What might she be, on whom your hopes rely?
ANS. What fools they are that seem most wise in love, How wise they are that are but fools in love! Before I was a lover, I had reason To judge of matters, censure of all sorts, Nay, I had wit to call a lover fool, And look into his folly with bright eyes. But now intruding love dwells in my brain, And franticly hath shoulder'd reason thence: I am not old, and yet, alas! I doat; I have not lost my sight, and yet am blind; No bondman, yet have lost my liberty; No natural fool, and yet I want my wit. What am I, then? let me define myself: A dotard young, a blind man that can see, A witty fool, a bondman that is free.
FUL. Good aged youth, blind seer, and wise fool, Loose your free bonds, and set your thoughts to school.
Enter OLD MASTER ARTHUR and OLD MASTER LUSAM.
O. ART. 'Tis told me, Master Lusam, that my son And your chaste daughter, whom we match'd together, Wrangle and fall at odds, and brawl and chide.
O. LUS. Nay, I think so, I never look'd for better: This 'tis to marry children when they're young. I said as much at first, that such young brats Would 'gree together e'en like dogs and cats.
O. ART. Nay, pray you, Master Lusam, say not so; There was great hope, though they were match'd but young, Their virtues would have made them sympathise, And live together like two quiet saints.
O. LUS. You say true, there was great hope, indeed, They would have liv'd like saints; but where's the fault?
O. ART. If fame be true, the most fault's in my son.
O. LUS. You say true, Master Arthur, 'tis so indeed.
O. ART. Nay, sir, I do not altogether excuse Your daughter; many lay the blame on her.
O. LUS. Ah! say you so? by the mass, 'tis like enough, For from her childhood she hath been a shrew.
O. ART. A shrew? you wrong her; all the town admires her For mildness, chasteness, and humility.
O. LUS. 'Fore God, you say well, she is so indeed; The city doth admire her for these virtues.
O. ART. O, sir, you praise your child too palpably; She's mild and chaste, but not admir'd so much.
O. LUS. Ay, so I say—I did not mean admir'd.
O. ART. Yes, if a man do well consider her, Your daughter is the wonder of her sex.
O. LUS. Are you advis'd of that? I cannot tell, What 'tis you call the wonder of her sex, But she is—is she?—ay, indeed, she is.
O. ART. What is she?
O. LUS. Even what you will—you know best what she is.
ANS. Yon is her husband: let us leave this talk: How full are bad thoughts of suspicion; I love, but loathe myself for loving so, Yet cannot change my disposition.
FUL. Medice, cura teipsum.
ANS. Hei mihi! quod nullis amor est medicabilis herbis.
[Exeunt ANSELM and FULLER.
Y. ART. All your persuasions are to no effect, Never allege her virtues nor her beauty, My settled unkindness hath begot A resolution to be unkind still, My ranging pleasures love variety.
Y. LUS. O, too unkind unto so kind a wife, Too virtueless to one so virtuous, And too unchaste unto so chaste a matron.
Y. ART. But soft, sir, see where my two fathers are Busily talking; let us shrink aside, For if they see me, they are bent to chide.
[Exeunt Y. ARTHUR and Y. LUSAM.
O. ART. I think 'tis best to go straight to the house, And make them friends again; what think ye, sir?
O. LUS. I think so too.
O. ART. Now I remember, too, that's not so good: For divers reasons, I think best stay here, And leave them to their wrangling—what think you?
O. LUS. I think so too.
O. ART. Nay, we will go, that's certain.
O. LUS. Ay, 'tis best, 'tis best— In sooth, there's no way but to go.
O. ART. Yet if our going should breed more unrest, More discord, more dissension, more debate, More wrangling where there is enough already? 'Twere better stay than go.
O. LUS. 'Fore God, 'tis true; Our going may, perhaps, breed more debate, And then we may too late wish we had stay'd; And therefore, if you will be rul'd by me, We will not go, that's flat: nay, if we love Our credits or our quiets, let's not go.
O. ART. But if we love Their credits or their quiets, we must go, And reconcile them to their former love; Where there is strife betwixt a man and wife 'tis hell, And mutual love may be compared to heaven, For then their souls and spirits are at peace. Come, Master Lusam, now 'tis dinner-time; When we have dined, the first work we will make, Is to decide their jars for pity's sake.
O. LUS. Well fare a good heart! yet are you advis'd? Go, said you, Master Arthur? I will run To end these broils, that discord hath begun.
Young Arthur's House.
Enter MISTRESS ARTHUR and PIPKIN.
MRS ART. Come hither, Pipkin. How chance you tread so softly?
PIP. For fear of breaking, mistress.
MRS ART. Art thou afraid of breaking, how so?
PIP. Can you blame me, mistress? I am crack'd already.
MRS ART. Crack'd, Pipkin, how? hath any crack'd your crown?
PIP. No, mistress; I thank God, My crown is current, but—
MRS ART. But what?
PIP. The maid gave me not my supper yesternight, so that indeed my belly wambled, and standing near the great sea-coal fire in the hall, and not being full, on the sudden I crack'd, and you know, mistress, a pipkin is soon broken.
MRS ART. Sirrah, run to the Exchange, and if you there Can find my husband, pray him to come home; Tell him I will not eat a bit of bread Until I see him; prythee, Pipkin, run.
PIP. By'r Lady, mistress, if I should tell him so, it may be he would not come, were it for no other cause but to save charges; I'll rather tell him, if he come not quickly, you will eat up all the meat in the house, and then, if he be of my stomach, he will run every foot, and make the more haste to dinner.
MRS ART. Ay, thou may'st jest; my heart is not so light It can digest the least conceit of joy: Entreat him fairly, though I think he loves All places worse that he beholds me in. Wilt thou begone?
PIP. Whither, mistress? to the 'Change?
MRS ART. Ay, to the 'Change.
PIP. I will, mistress: hoping my master will go so oft to the 'Change, that at length he will change his mind, and use you more kindly. O, it were brave if my master could meet with a merchant of ill-ventures, to bargain with him for all his bad conditions, and he sell them outright! you should have a quieter heart, and we all a quieter house. But hoping, mistress, you will pass over all these jars and squabbles in good health, as my master was at the making thereof, I commit you.
MRS ART. Make haste again, I prythee. [Exit PIPKIN.] Till I see him, My heart will never be at rest within me: My husband hath of late so much estrang'd His words, his deeds, his heart from me, That I can seldom have his company; And even that seldom with such discontent, Such frowns, such chidings, such impatience, That did not truth and virtue arm my thoughts, They would confound me with despair and hate, And make me run into extremities. Had I deserv'd the least bad look from him, I should account myself too bad to live, But honouring him in love and chastity, All judgments censure freely of my wrongs. [Exit.
Enter YOUNG MASTER ARTHUR, YOUNG MASTER LUSAM, and PIPKIN.
Y. ART. Pipkin, what said she when she sent for me?
PIP. 'Faith, master, she said little, but she thought [The] more, for she was very melancholy.
Y. ART. Did I not tell you she was melancholy, For nothing else but that she sent for me, And fearing I would come to dine with her.
Y. LUS. O, you mistake her; even, upon my soul, I durst affirm you wrong her chastity. See where she doth attend your coming home.
Enter MISTRESS ARTHUR.
MRS ART. Come, Master Arthur, shall we in to dinner? Sirrah, begone, and see it served in.
Y. LUS. Will you not speak unto her?
Y. ART. No, not I; will you go in, sir.
MRS ART. Not speak to me! nor once look towards me! It is my duty to begin, I know, And I will break this ice of courtesy. You are welcome home, sir.
Y. ART. Hark, Master Lusam, if she mock me not! You are welcome home, sir. Am I welcome home? Good faith, I care not if I be or no.
Y. LUS. Thus you misconstrue all things, Master Arthur. Look, if her true love melt not into tears.
Y. ART. She weeps, but why? that I am come so soon, To hinder her of some appointed guests, That in my absence revel in my house: She weeps to see me in her company, And, were I absent, she would laugh with joy. She weeps to make me weary of the house, Knowing my heart cannot away with grief.
MRS ART. Knew I that mirth would make you love my bed, I would enforce my heart to be more merry.
Y. ART. Do you not hear? she would enforce her heart! All mirth is forc'd, that she can make with me.
Y. LUS. O misconceit, how bitter is thy taste! Sweet Master Arthur, Mistress Arthur too, Let me entreat you reconcile these jars, Odious to heaven, and most abhorr'd of men.
MRS ART. You are a stranger, sir; but by your words You do appear an honest gentleman. If you profess to be my husband's friend, Persist in these persuasions, and be judge With all indifference in these discontents. Sweet husband, if I be not fair enough To please your eye, range where you list abroad, Only, at coming home, speak me but fair: If you delight to change, change when you please, So that you will not change your love to me. If you delight to see me drudge and toil, I'll be your drudge, because 'tis your delight. Or if you think me unworthy of the name Of your chaste wife, I will become your maid, Your slave, your servant—anything you will, If for that name of servant and of slave You will but smile upon me now and then. Or if, as I well think, you cannot love me, Love where you list, only but say you love me: I'll feed on shadows, let the substance go. Will you deny me such a small request? What, will you neither love nor flatter me? O, then I see your hate here doth but wound me, And with that hate it is your frowns confound me.
Y. LUS. Wonder of women! why, hark you, Master Arthur! What is your wife, a woman or a saint? A wife or some bright angel come from heav'n? Are you not mov'd at this strange spectacle? This day I have beheld a miracle. When I attempt this sacred nuptial life, I beg of heaven to find me such a wife.
Y. ART. Ha, ha! a miracle, a prodigy! To see a woman weep is as much pity As to see foxes digg'd out of their holes. If thou wilt pleasure me, let me see thee less; Grieve much; they say grief often shortens life: Come not too near me, till I call thee, wife; And that will be but seldom. I will tell thee, How thou shalt win my heart—die suddenly, And I'll become a lusty widower: The longer thy life lasts, the more my hate And loathing still increaseth towards thee. When I come home and find thee cold as earth, Then will I love thee: thus thou know'st my mind. Come, Master Lusam, let us in to dine.
Y. LUS. O, sir, you too much affect this evil; Poor saint! why wert thou yok'd thus with a devil? [Aside.
[Exeunt Y. ART. and Y. LUS.
MRS ART. If thou wilt win my heart, die suddenly! But that my soul was bought at such a rate, At such a high price as my Saviour's blood, I would not stick to lose it with a stab; But, virtue, banish all such fantasies. He is my husband, and I love him well; Next to my own soul's health I tender him, And would give all the pleasures of the world To buy his love, if I might purchase it. I'll follow him, and like a servant wait, And strive by all means to prevent his hate. [Exit.
Enter OLD MASTER ARTHUR and OLD MASTER LUSAM.
O. ART. This is my son's house; were it best go in? How say you, Master Lusam?
O. LUS. How? Go in? How say you, sir?
O. ART. I say 'tis best.
O. LUS. Ay, sir, say you so? so say I too.
O. ART. Nay, nay, it is not best; I'll tell you why. Haply the fire of hate is quite extinct From the dead embers; now to rake them up, Should the least spark of discontent appear, To make the flame of hatred burn afresh, The heat of this dissension might scorch us; Which, in his own cold ashes smother'd up, May die in silence, and revive no more: And therefore tell me, is it best or no?
O. LUS. How say you, sir?
O. ART. I say it is not best.
O. LUS. Mass, you say well, sir, and so say I too.
O. ART. But shall we lose our labour to come hither, And, without sight of our two children, Go back again? nay, we will in, that's sure.
O. LUS. In, quotha! do you make a doubt of that; Shall we come thus far, and in such post-haste, And have our children here, and both within, And not behold them e'er our back-return? It were unfriendly and unfatherly. Come, Master Arthur, pray you follow me.
O. ART. Nay, but hark you, sir, will you not knock?
O. LUS. Is't best to knock?
O. ART. Ay, knock in any case.
O. LUS. 'Twas well you put it in my mind to knock, I had forgotten it else, I promise you.
O. ART. Tush, is't not my son's and your daughter's door, And shall we two stand knocking? Lead the way.
O. LUS. Knock at our children's doors! that were a jest. Are we such fools to make ourselves so strange, Where we should still be boldest? In, for shame! We will not stand upon such ceremonies.
Enter ANSELM and FULLER.
FUL. Speak: in what cue, sir, do you find your heart, Now thou hast slept a little on thy love?
ANS. Like one that strives to shun a little plash Of shallow water, and (avoiding it) Plunges into a river past his depth: Like one that from a small spark steps aside, And falls in headlong to a greater flame.
FUL. But in such fires scorch not thyself, for shame! If she be fire, thou art so far from burning, That thou hast scarce yet warm'd thee at her face; But list to me, I'll turn thy heart from love, And make thee loathe all of the feminine sex. They that have known me, knew me once of name To be a perfect wencher: I have tried All sorts, all sects, all states, and find them still Inconstant, fickle, always variable. Attend me, man! I will prescribe a method, How thou shalt win her without all peradventure.
ANS. That would I gladly hear.
FUL. I was once like thee, A sigher, melancholy humorist, Crosser of arms, a goer without garters, A hatband-hater, and a busk-point wearer, One that did use much bracelets made of hair, Rings on my fingers, jewels in mine ears, And now and then a wench's carcanet, Scarfs, garters, bands, wrought waistcoats, gold-stitch'd caps, A thousand of those female fooleries; but when I look'd into the glass of reason, straight I began to loathe that female bravery, And henceforth studied to cry Peccavi to the world.
ANS. I pray you, to your former argument: Prescribe a means to win my best-belov'd.
FUL. First, be not bashful, bar all blushing tricks: Be not too apish-female; do not come With foolish sonnets to present her with, With legs, with curtsies, congees, and such like: Nor with penn'd speeches, or too far-fetch'd sighs: I hate such antique, quaint formality.
ANS. O, but I cannot snatch occasion: She dashes every proffer with a frown.
FUL. A frown, a fool! art thou afraid of frowns? He that will leave occasion for a frown, Were I his judge (all you his case bemoan), His doom should be ever to lie alone.
ANS. I cannot choose but, when a wench says nay, To take her at her word, and leave my suit.
FUL. Continue that opinion, and be sure To die a virgin chaste, a maiden pure. It was my chance once, in my wanton days, To court a wench; hark, and I'll tell thee how: I came unto my love, and she look'd coy, I spake unto my love, she turn'd aside, I touch'd my love, and 'gan with her to toy, But she sat mute, for anger or for pride; I striv'd and kiss'd my love, she cry'd Away! Thou wouldst have left her thus—I made her stay. I catch'd my love, and wrung her by the hand: I took my love, and set her on my knee, And pull'd her to me; O, you spoil my band, You hurt me, sir; pray, let me go, quoth she. I'm glad, quoth I, that you have found your tongue, And still my love I by the finger wrung. I ask'd her if she lov'd me; she said, No. I bad her swear; she straight calls for a book; Nay then, thought I, 'tis time to let her go, I eas'd my knee, and from her cast a look. She leaves me wond'ring at these strange affairs, And like the wind she trips me up the stairs. I left the room below, and up I went, Finding her thrown upon her wanton bed: I ask'd the cause of her sad discontent; Further she lies, and, making room, she said, Now, sweeting, kiss me, having time and place; So clings me to her with a sweet embrace.
ANS. Is't possible? I had not thought till now, That women could dissemble. Master Fuller, Here dwells the sacred mistress of my heart; Before her door I'll frame a friv'lous walk, And, spying her, with her devise some talk.
Enter YOUNG MASTER ARTHUR, MISTRESS ARTHUR, OLD MASTER ARTHUR, OLD MASTER LUSAM, YOUNG MASTER LUSAM, and PIPKIN.
FUL. What stir is this? let's step but out the way, And hear the utmost what these people say.
O. ART. Thou art a knave, although thou be my son. Have I with care and trouble brought thee up, To be a staff and comfort to my age, A pillar to support me, and a crutch To lean on in my second infancy, And dost thou use me thus? Thou art a knave.
O. LUS. A knave, ay, marry, and an arrant knave; And, sirrah, by old Master Arthur's leave, Though I be weak and old, I'll prove thee one.
Y. ART. Sir, though it be my father's pleasure thus To wrong me with the scorned name of knave, I will not have you so familiar, Nor so presume upon my patience.
O LUS. Speak, Master Arthur, is he not a knave?
O. ART. I say he is a knave.
O. LUS. Then so say I.
Y. ART. My father may command my patience; But you, sir, that are but my father-in-law, Shall not so mock my reputation. Sir, you shall find I am an honest man.
O. LUS. An honest man!
Y. ART. Ay, sir, so I say.
O. LUS. Nay, if you say so, I'll not be against it: But, sir, you might have us'd my daughter better, Than to have beat her, spurn'd her, rail'd at her Before our faces.
O. ART. Ay, therein, son Arthur, Thou show'dst thyself no better than a knave.
O. LUS. Ay, marry, did he, I will stand to it: To use my honest daughter in such sort, He show'd himself no better than a knave.
Y. ART. I say, again, I am an honest man; He wrongs me that shall say the contrary.
O. LUS. I grant, sir, that you are an honest man, Nor will I say unto the contrary: But wherefore do you use my daughter thus? Can you accuse her of unchastity, of loose Demeanour, disobedience, or disloyalty? Speak, what canst thou object against my daughter?
O. ART. Accuse her! here she stands; spit in her face, If she be guilty in the least of these.
MRS ART. O father, be more patient; if you wrong My honest husband, all the blame be mine, Because you do it only for my sake. I am his handmaid; since it is his pleasure To use me thus, I am content therewith, And bear his checks and crosses patiently.
Y. ART. If in mine own house I can have no peace, I'll seek it elsewhere, and frequent it less. Father, I'm now past one and twenty years; I'm past my father's pamp'ring, I suck not, Nor am I dandled on my mother's knee: Then, if you were my father twenty times, You shall not choose, but let me be myself. Do I come home so seldom, and that seldom Am I thus baited? Wife, remember this! Father, farewell! and, father-in-law, adieu! Your son had rather fast than feast with you. [Exit.
O. ART. Well, go to, wild-oats! spendthrift! prodigal! I'll cross thy name quite from my reck'ning book: For these accounts, faith, it shall scathe thee somewhat, I will not say what somewhat it shall be.
O. LUS. And it shall scathe him somewhat of my purse: And, daughter, I will take thee home again, Since thus he hates thy fellowship; Be such an eyesore to his sight no more: I tell thee, thou no more shalt trouble him.
MRS ART. Will you divorce whom God hath tied together? Or break that knot the sacred hand of heaven Made fast betwixt us? Have you never read, What a great curse was laid upon his head That breaks the holy band of marriage, Divorcing husbands from their chosen wives? Father, I will not leave my Arthur so; Not all my friends can make me prove his foe.
O. ART. I could say somewhat in my son's reproof.
O. LUS. Faith, so could I.
O. ART. But, till I meet him, I will let it pass.
O. LUS. Faith, so will I.
O. ART. Daughter, farewell! with weeping eyes I part; Witness these tears, thy grief sits near my heart.
O. LUS. Weeps Master Arthur? nay, then, let me cry; His cheeks shall not be wet, and mine be dry.
MRS ART. Fathers, farewell! spend not a tear for me, But, for my husband's sake, let these woes be. For when I weep, 'tis not for my own care, But fear, lest folly bring him to despair.
[Exeunt O. ART. and O. LUS.
Y. LUS. Sweet saint! continue still this patience, For time will bring him to true penitence. Mirror of virtue! thanks for my good cheer— A thousand thanks.
MRS ART. It is so much too dear; But you are welcome for my husband's sake; His guests shall have best welcome I can make.
Y. LUS. Than marriage nothing in the world more common; Nothing more rare than such a virtuous woman. [Exit.
MRS ART. My husband in this humour, well I know, Plays but the unthrift; therefore it behoves me To be the better housewife here at home; To save and get, whilst he doth laugh and spend: Though for himself he riots it at large, My needle shall defray my household's charge. [She sits down to work in front of the house.
FUL. Now, Master Anselm, to her, step not back; Bustle yourself, see where she sits at work; Be not afraid, man; she's but a woman, And women the most cowards seldom fear: Think but upon my former principles, And twenty pound to a drachm, you speed.
ANS. Ay, say you so?
FUL. Beware of blushing, sirrah, Of fear and too much eloquence! Rail on her husband, his misusing her, And make that serve thee as an argument, That she may sooner yield to do him wrong. Were it my case, my love and I to plead, I have't at fingers' ends: who could miss the clout, Having so fair a white, such steady aim. This is the upshot: now bid for the game.
ANS. Fair mistress, God save you!
FUL. What a circumstance Doth he begin with; what an ass is he, To tell her at the first that she is fair; The only means to make her to be coy! He should have rather told her she was foul, And brought her out of love quite with herself; And, being so, she would the less have car'd, Upon whose secrets she had laid her love. He hath almost marr'd all with that word fair. [Aside.]
ANS. Mistress, God save you!
FUL. What a block is that, To say, God save you! is the fellow mad? Once to name God in his ungodly suit.
MRS ART. You are welcome, sir. Come you to speak with me Or with my husband? pray you, what's your will?
FUL. She answers to the purpose; what's your will? O zounds, that I were there to answer her.
ANS. Mistress, my will is not so soon express'd Without your special favour, and the promise Of love and pardon, if I speak amiss.
FUL. O ass! O dunce! O blockhead! that hath left The plain broad highway and the readiest path, To travel round about by circumstance: He might have told his meaning in a word, And now hath lost his opportunity. Never was such a truant in love's school; I am asham'd that e'er I was his tutor.
MRS ART. Sir, you may freely speak, whate'er it be, So that your speech suiteth with modesty.
FUL. To this now could I answer passing well.
ANS. Mistress, I, pitying that so fair a creature—
FUL. Still fair, and yet I warn'd the contrary.
ANS. Should by a villain be so foully us'd, As you have been—
FUL. As you have been—ay, that was well put in!
ANS. If time and place were both convenient— Have made this bold intrusion, to present My love and service to your sacred self.
FUL. Indifferent, that was not much amiss.
MRS ART. Sir, what you mean by service and by love, I will not know; but what you mean by villain, I fain would know.
ANS. That villain is your husband, Whose wrongs towards you are bruited through the land. O, can you suffer at a peasant's hands, Unworthy once to touch this silken skin, To be so rudely beat and buffeted? Can you endure from such infectious breath, Able to blast your beauty, to have names Of such impoison'd hate flung in your face?
FUL. O, that was good, nothing was good but that; That was the lesson that I taught him last.
ANS. O, can you hear your never-tainted fame Wounded with words of shame and infamy? O, can you see your pleasures dealt away, And you to be debarr'd all part of them, And bury it in deep oblivion? Shall your true right be still contributed 'Mongst hungry bawds, insatiate courtesans? And can you love that villain, by whose deed Your soul doth sigh, and your distress'd heart bleed?
FUL. All this as well as I could wish myself.
MRS ART. Sir, I have heard thus long with patience; If it be me you term a villain's wife, In sooth you have mistook me all this while, And neither know my husband nor myself; Or else you know not man and wife is one. If he be call'd a villain, what is she, Whose heart and love, and soul, is one with him? 'Tis pity that so fair a gentleman Should fall into such villains' company. O, sir, take heed, if you regard your life, Meddle not with a villain or his wife. [Exit.
FUL. O, that same word villain hath marr'd all.
ANS. Now where is your instruction? where's the wench? Where are my hopes? where your directions?
FUL. Why, man, in that word villain you marr'd all. To come unto an honest wife, and call Her husband villain! were he ne'er so bad, Thou might'st well think she would not brook that name For her own credit, though no love to him. But leave not thus, but try some other mean; Let not one way thy hopes make frustrate clean.
ANS. I must persist my love against my will; He that knows all things, knows I prove this will.
ACT II., SCENE I.
Enter AMINADAB, with a rod in his hand, and BOYS with their books.
AMIN. Come, boys, come, boys, rehearse your parts, And then, ad prandium; jam, jam, incipe!
1ST BOY. Forsooth, my lesson's torn out of my book.
AMIN. Quae caceris chartis deseruisse decet. Torn from your book! I'll tear it from your breech. How say you, Mistress Virga, will you suffer Hic puer bonae indolis to tear His lessons, leaves, and lectures from his book?
1ST BOY. Truly, forsooth, I laid it in my seat, While Robin Glade and I went into campis; And when I came again, my book was torn.
AMIN. O mus, a mouse; was ever heard the like?
1ST BOY. O domus, a house; master, I could not mend it.
2D BOY. O pediculus, a louse; I knew not how it came.
AMIN. All toward boys, good scholars of their times; The least of these is past his accidence, Some at qui mihi; here's not a boy But he can construe all the grammar rules. Sed ubi sunt sodales? not yet come? Those tarde venientes shall be whipp'd. Ubi est Pipkin? where's that lazy knave? He plays the truant every Saturday; But Mistress Virga, Lady Willow-by, Shall teach him that diluculo surgere Est saluberrimum: here comes the knave.
1ST BOY. Tarde, tarde, tarde.
2D. BOY. Tarde, tarde, tarde.
AMIN. Huc ades, Pipkin—reach a better rod— Cur tam tarde venis? speak, where have you been? Is this a time of day to come to school? Ubi fuisti? speak, where hast thou been?
PIP. Magister, quomodo vales?
AMIN. Is that responsio fitting my demand?
PIP. Etiam certe, you ask me where I have been, and I say quomodo vales, as much as to say, come out of the alehouse.
AMIN. Untruss, untruss! nay, help him, help him!
PIP. Quaeso, preceptor, quaeso, for God's sake do not whip me: Quid est grammatica?
AMIN. Not whip you, quid est grammatica, what's that?
PIP. Grammatica est, that, if I untruss'd, you must needs whip me upon them, quid est grammatica.
AMIN. Why, then, dic mihi, speak, where hast thou been?
PIP. Forsooth, my mistress sent me of an errand to fetch my master from the Exchange; we had strangers at home at dinner, and, but for them, I had not come tarde; quaeso, preceptor!
AMIN. Construe your lesson, parse it, ad unguem et condemnato to, I'll pardon thee.
PIP. That I will, master, an' if you'll give me leave.
AMIN. Propria quae maribus tribuuntur mascula, dicas; expone, expone.
PIP. Construe it, master, I will; dicas, they say—propria, the proper man—quae maribus, that loves marrow-bones—mascula, miscalled me.
AMIN. A pretty, quaint, and new construction.
PIP. I warrant you, master, if there be marrow-bones in my lesson, I am an old dog at them. How construe you this, master, rostra disertus amat?
AMIN. Disertus, a desert—amat, doth love—rostra, roast-meat.
PIP. A good construction on an empty stomach. Master, now I have construed my lesson, my mistress would pray you to let me come home to go of an errand.
AMIN. Your tres sequuntur, and away.
PIP. Canis a hog, rana a dog, porcus a frog, Abeundum est mihi. [Exit.
AMIN. Yours, sirrah, too, and then ad prandium.
1ST BOY. Apis a bed, genu a knee, Vulcanus, Doctor Dee: Viginti minus usus est mihi.
AMIN. By Juno's lip and Saturn's thumb It was bonus, bona, bonum.
2D BOY. Vitrum glass, spica grass, tu es asinus, you are an ass. Precor tibi felicem noctem.
AMIN. Claudite jam libros, pueri: sat, prata, bibistis, Look, when you come again, you tell me ubi fuistis. He that minds trish-trash, and will not have care of his rodix. Him I will be-lish-lash, and have a fling at his podix.
Enter YOUNG MASTER ARTHUR.
Y. ART. A pretty wench, a passing pretty wench. A sweeter duck all London cannot yield; She cast a glance on me as I pass'd by, Not Helen had so ravishing an eye. Here is the pedant Sir Aminadab; I will inquire of him if he can tell By any circumstance, whose wife she is: Such fellows commonly have intercourse Without suspicion, where we are debarr'd. God save you, gentle Sir Aminadab!
AMIN. Salve tu quoque! would you speak with me? You are, I take it, and let me not lie, For, as you know, mentiri non est meum, Young Master Arthur; quid vis—what will you?
Y. ART. You are a man I much rely upon; There is a pretty wench dwells in this street That keeps no shop, nor is not public known: At the two posts, next turning of the lane, I saw her from a window looking out; O, could you tell me how to come acquainted With that sweet lass, you should command me, sir, Even to the utmost of my life and power.
AMIN. Dii boni, boni! 'tis my love he means; But I will keep it from this gentleman, And so, I hope, make trial of my love. [Aside.]
Y. ART. If I obtain her, thou shalt win thereby More than at this time I will promise thee.
AMIN. Quando venis aput, I shall have two horns on my caput. [Aside.]
Y. ART. What, if her husband come and find one there?
AMIN. Nuncquam time, never fear, She is unmarried, I swear. But, if I help you to the deed, Tu vis narrare how you speed.
Y. ART. Tell how I speed? ay, sir, I will to you: Then presently about it. Many thanks For this great kindness, Sir Aminadab. [Exit.
AMIN. If my puella prove a drab, I'll be reveng'd on both: ambo shall die; Shall die! by what? for ego I Have never handled, I thank God, Other weapon than a rod; I dare not fight for all my speeches. Sed cave, if I take him thus, Ego sum expers at untruss.
A Room in Justice Reason's House.
Enter JUSTICE REASON, OLD MASTER ARTHUR, OLD MASTER LUSAM, MISTRESS ARTHUR, YOUNG MASTER LUSAM, and HUGH.
O. ART. We, Master Justice Reason, come about A serious matter that concerns us near.
O. LUS. Ay, marry, doth it, sir, concern us near; Would God, sir, you would take some order for it.
O. ART. Why, look ye, Master Lusam, you are such another, You will be talking what concerns us near, And know not why we come to Master Justice.
O. LUS. How? know not I?
O. ART. No, sir, not you.
O. LUS. Well, I know somewhat, though I know not that; Then on, I pray you.
JUS. Forward, I pray, [and] yet the case is plain.
O. ART. Why, sir, as yet you do not know the case.
O. LUS. Well, he knows somewhat; forward, Master Arthur.
O. ART. And, as I told you, my unruly son, Once having bid his wife home to my house, There took occasion to be much aggriev'd About some household matters of his own, And, in plain terms, they fell in controversy.
O. LUS. 'Tis true, sir, I was there the selfsame time, And I remember many of the words.
O. ART. Lord, what a man are you! you were not there That time; as I remember, you were rid Down to the North, to see some friends of yours.
O. LUS. Well, I was somewhere; forward, Master Arthur.
JUS. All this is well; no fault is to be found In either of the parties; pray, say on.
O. ART. Why, sir, I have not nam'd the parties yet, Nor touch'd the fault that is complain'd upon.
O. LUS. Well, you touch'd somewhat; forward, Master Arthur.
O. ART. And, as I said, they fell in controversy: My son, not like a husband, gave her words Of great reproof, despite, and contumely, Which she, poor soul, digested patiently; This was the first time of their falling out. As I remember, at the selfsame time One Thomas, the Earl of Surrey's gentleman, Din'd at my table.
O. LUS. I knew him well.
O. ART. You are the strangest man; this gentleman, That I speak of, I am sure you never saw; He came but lately from beyond the sea.
O. LUS. I am sure I know one Thomas;—forward, sir.
JUS. And is this all? Make me a mittimus, And send the offender straightways to the jail.
O. ART. First know the offender—now began the strife Betwixt this gentlewoman and my son— Since when, sir, he hath us'd her not like one That should partake his bed, but like a slave. My coming was that you, being in office And in authority, should call before you My unthrift son, to give him some advice, Which he will take better from you than me, That am his father. Here's the gentlewoman, Wife to my son, and daughter to this man, Whom I perforce compell'd to live with us.
JUS. All this is well; here is your son, you say, But she that is his wife you cannot find.
Y. LUS. You do mistake, sir, here's the gentlewoman; It is her husband that will not be found.
JUS. Well, all is one, for man and wife are one; But is this all?
Y. LUS. Ay, all that you can say, And much more than you can well put off.
JUS. Nay, if the case appear thus evident, Give me a cup of wine. What! man and wife To disagree! I prythee, fill my cup; I could say somewhat: tut, tut, by this wine, I promise you 'tis good canary sack.
MRS ART. Fathers, you do me open violence, To bring my name in question, and produce This gentleman and others here to witness My husband's shame in open audience. What may my husband think, when he shall know I went unto the Justice to complain? But Master Justice here, more wise than you, Says little to the matter, knowing well His office is no whit concern'd herein; Therefore with favour I will take my leave.
JUS. The woman saith but reason, Master Arthur, And therefore give her licence to depart.
O. LUS. Here is dry justice, not to bid us drink! Hark thee, my friend, I prythee lend thy cup; Now, Master Justice, hear me but one word; You think this woman hath had little wrong, But, by this wine which I intend to drink—
JUS. Nay, save your oath, I pray you do not swear; Or if you swear, take not too deep an oath.
O. LUS. Content you, I may take a lawful oath Before a Justice; therefore, by this wine—
Y. LUS. A profound oath, well-sworn, and deeply took; 'Tis better thus than swearing on a book.
O. LUS. My daughter hath been wronged exceedingly.
JUS. O, sir, I would have credited these words Without this oath: but bring your daughter hither, That I may give her counsel, ere you go.
O. LUS. Marry, God's blessing on your heart for that! Daughter, give ear to Justice Reason's words.
JUS. Good woman, or good wife, or mistress, if you have done amiss, it should seem you have done a fault; and making a fault, there's no question but you have done amiss: but if you walk uprightly, and neither lead to the right hand nor the left, no question but you have neither led to the right hand nor the left; but, as a man should say, walked uprightly; but it should appear by these plaintiffs that you have had some wrong: if you love your spouse entirely, it should seem you affect him fervently; and if he hate you monstrously, it should seem he loathes you most exceedingly, and there's the point at which I will leave, for the time passes away: therefore, to conclude, this is my best counsel: look that thy husband so fall in, that hereafter you never fall out.
O. LUS. Good counsel, passing good instruction; Follow it, daughter. Now, I promise you, I have not heard such an oration This many a day. What remains to do?
Y. LUS. Sir, I was call'd as witness to this matter, I may be gone for aught that I can see.
JUS. Nay, stay, my friend, we must examine you. What can you say concerning this debate Betwixt young Master Arthur and his wife?
Y. LUS. Faith, just as much, I think, as you can say, And that's just nothing.
JUS. How, nothing? Come, depose him; take his oath; Swear him, I say; take his confession.
O. ART. What can you say, sir, in this doubtful case?
Y. LUS. Why, nothing, sir.
JUS. We cannot take him in contrary tales, For he says nothing still, and that same nothing Is that which we have stood on all this while; He hath confess'd even all, for all is nothing. This is your witness, he hath witness'd nothing Since nothing, then, so plainly is confess'd, And we by cunning answers and by wit Have wrought him to confess nothing to us, Write his confession.
O. ART. Why, what should we write?
JUS. Why, nothing: heard you not as well as I What he confess'd? I say, write nothing down. Mistress, we have dismissed you; love your husband, Which, whilst you do, you shall not hate your husband. Bring him before me; I will urge him with This gentleman's express confession Against you; send him to me; I'll not fail To keep just nothing in my memory. And, sir, now that we have examin'd you, We likewise here discharge you with good leave. Now, Master Arthur and Master Lusam too, Come in with me; unless the man were here, Whom most especially the cause concerns, We cannot end this quarrel: but come near, And we will taste a glass of our March beer.
A Room in Mistress Mary's House.
Enter MISTRESS MARY, MISTRESS SPLAY, and BRABO.
MRS MA. I prythee, tell me, Brabo, what planet, think'st thou, governed at my conception, that I live thus openly to the world?
BRA. Two planets reign'd at once; Venus, that's you, And Mars, that's I, were in conjunction.
MRS SPLAY. Prythee, prythee, in faith, that conjunction copulative is that part of speech that I live by.
BRA. Ha, ha! to see the world! we swaggerers, That live by oaths and big-mouth'd menaces, Are now reputed for the tallest men: He that hath now a black moustachio, Reaching from ear to ear, or turning up, Puncto reverso, bristling towards the eye; He that can hang two handsome tools at his side, Go in disguis'd attire, wear iron enough, Is held a tall man and a soldier. He that with greatest grace can swear Gog's-zounds, Or in a tavern make a drunken fray, Can cheat at dice, swagger in bawdy-houses, Wear velvet on his face, and with a grace Can face it out with,—As I am a soldier! He that can clap his sword upon the board, He's a brave man—and such a man am I.
MRS MA. She that with kisses can both kill and cure, That lives by love, that swears by nothing else But by a kiss, which is no common oath; That lives by lying, and yet oft tells truth; That takes most pleasure when she takes most pains; She's a good wench, my boy, and so am I.
MRS SPLAY. She that is past it, and prays for them that may—
BRA. Is an old bawd, as you are, Mistress Splay.
MRS SPLAY. O, do not name that name; do you not know, That I could ne'er endure to hear that name? But, if your man would leave us, I would read The lesson that last night I promis'd you.
MRS MA. I prythee, leave us, we would be alone.
BRA. And will, and must: if you bid me begone, I will withdraw, and draw on any he, That in the world's wide round dare cope with me. Mistress, farewell! to none I never speak So kind a word. My salutations are, Farewell, and be hang'd! or, in the devil's name! What they have been, my many frays can tell; You cannot fight; therefore to you, farewell! [Exit.
MRS MA. O, this same swaggerer is The bulwark of my reputation; but, Mistress Splay, now to your lecture that you promised me.
MRS SPLAY. Daughter, attend, for I will tell thee now What, in my young days, I myself have tried; Be rul'd by me, and I will make thee rich. You, God be prais'd, are fair, and, as they say, Full of good parts; you have been often tried To be a woman of good carriage, Which, in my mind, is very commendable.
MRS MA. It is indeed; forward, good Mother Splay.
MRS SPLAY. And, as I told you, being fair, I wish, Sweet daughter, you were as fortunate. When any suitor comes to ask thy love, Look not into his words, but into his sleeve; If thou canst learn what language his purse speaks, Be ruled by that; that's golden eloquence. Money can make a slavering tongue speak plain. If he that loves thee be deform'd and rich, Accept his love: gold hides deformity. Gold can make limping Vulcan walk upright; Make squint eyes straight, a crabbed face look smooth, Gilds copper noses, makes them look like gold; Fills age's wrinkles up, and makes a face, As old as Nestor's, look as young as Cupid's. If thou wilt arm thyself against all shifts, Regard all men according to their gifts. This if thou practise, thou, when I am dead. Wilt say: Old Mother Splay, soft lie thy head.
Enter YOUNG MASTER ARTHUR.
MRS MA. Soft, who comes here? begone, good Mistress Splay; Of thy rule's practice this is my first day.
MRS SPLAY. God, for thy passion, what a beast am I To scare the bird, that to the net would fly! [Exit.
Y. ART. By your leave, mistress.
MRS MA. What to do, master?
Y. ART. To give me leave to love you.
MRS MA. I had rather afford you some love to leave me.
Y. ART. I would you would as soon love me, as I could leave you.
MRS MA. I pray you, what are you, sir?
Y. ART. A man, I'll assure you.
MRS MA. How should I know that?
Y. ART. Try me, by my word, for I say I am a man; Or by my deed I'll prove myself a man.
MRS MA. Are you not Master Arthur?
Y. ART. Not Master Arthur, but Arthur, and your servant, sweet Mistress Mary.
MRS MA. Not Mistress Mary, but Mary, and your handmaid, sweet Master Arthur.
Y. ART. That I love you, let my face tell you; that I love you more than ordinarily, let this kiss testify; and that I love you fervently and entirely, ask this gift, and see what it will answer you, myself, my purse, and all, being wholly at your service.
MRS MA. That I take your love in good part, my thanks shall speak for me; that I am pleased with your kiss, this interest of another shall certify you; and that I accept your gift, my prostrate service and myself shall witness with me. My love, my lips, and sweet self, are at your service: wilt please you to come near, sir?
Y. ART. O, that my wife were dead! here would I make My second choice: would she were buried! From out her grave this marrigold should grow, Which, in my nuptials, I would wear with pride. Die shall she, I have doom'd her destiny. [Aside.]
MRS MA. 'Tis news, Master Arthur, to see you in such a place: How doth your wife?
Y. ART. Faith, Mistress Mary, at the point of death, And long she cannot live; she shall not live To trouble me in this my second choice.
Enter AMINADAB with a bill and headpiece.
MRS MA. I pray forbear, sir, for here comes my love: Good sir, for this time leave me; by this kiss You cannot ask the question at my hands I will deny you: pray you, get you gone.
Y. ART. Farewell, sweet Mistress Mary! [Exit.
MRS MA. Sweet, adieu!
AMIN. Stand to me, bill! and, headpiece, sit thou close! I hear my love, my wench, my duck, my dear, Is sought by many suitors; but with this I'll keep the door, and enter he that dare! Virga, be gone, thy twigs I'll turn to steel; These fingers, that were expert in the jerk; Instead of lashing of the trembling podex, Must learn pash and knock, and beat and mall, Cleave pates and caputs; he that enters here, Comes on to his death! mors mortis he shall taste. [He hides himself.
MRS MA. Alas! poor fool, the pedant's mad for love! Thinks me more mad that I would marry him. He's come to watch me with a rusty bill, To keep my friends away by force of arms: I will not see him, but stand still aside, And here observe him what he means to do. [Retires.
AMIN. O utinam, that he that loves her best, Durst offer but to touch her in this place! Per Jovem et Junonem! hoc Shall pash his coxcomb such a knock, As that his soul his course shall take To Limbo and Avernus' lake. In vain I watch in this dark hole; Would any living durst my manhood try, And offer to come up the stairs this way!
MRS MA. O, We should see you make a goodly fray. [Aside.]
AMIN. The wench I here watch with my bill, Amo, amas, amavi still. Qui audet—let him come that dare! Death, hell, and limbo be his share!
Enter BRABO with his sword in his hand.
BRA. Where's Mistress Mary? never a post here, A bar of iron, 'gainst which to try my sword? Now, by my beard, a dainty piece of steel.
AMIN. O Jove, what a qualm is this I feel!
BRA. Come hither, Mall, is none here but we two? When didst thou see the starveling schoolmaster? That rat, that shrimp, that spindle-shank, That wren, that sheep-biter, that lean chitty-face, That famine, that lean envy, that all-bones, That bare anatomy, that Jack-a-Lent, That ghost, that shadow, that moon in the wane?
AMIN. I wail in woe, I plunge in pain. [Aside.]
BRA. When next I find him here, I'll hang him up, Like a dried sausage, in the chimney's top: That stock-fish, that poor John, that gut of men!
AMIN. O, that I were at home again! [Aside.]
BRA. When he comes next, turn him into the streets. Now, come, let's dance the shaking of the sheets.
[Exeunt MISTRESS MARY and BRABO.
AMIN. Qui, quae, quod! Hence, boist'rous bill! come, gentle rod! Had not grimalkin stamp'd and star'd, Aminadab had little car'd; Or if, instead of this brown bill, I had kept my Mistress Virga still, And he upon another's back, His points untruss'd, his breeches slack; My countenance he should not dash, For I am expert in the lash. But my sweet lass my love doth fly, Which shall make me by poison die. Per fidem, I will rid my life Either by poison, sword, or knife.
ACT III., SCENE I.
A Room in Young Arthur's House.
Enter MISTRESS ARTHUR and PIPKIN.
MRS ART. Sirrah! when saw you your master?
PIP. Faith, mistress, when I last look'd upon him.
MRS ART. And when was that?
PIP. When I beheld him.
MRS ART. And when was that?
PIP. Marry, when he was in my sight, and that was yesterday; since when I saw not my master, nor looked on my master, nor beheld my master, nor had any sight of my master.
MRS ART. Was he not at my father-in-law's?
PIP. Yes, marry, was he.
MRS ART. Didst thou not entreat him to come home?
PIP. How should I, mistress? he came not there to-day.
MRS ART. Didst thou not say he was there?
PIP. True, mistress, he was there? but I did not tell ye when; he hath been there divers times, but not of late.
MRS ART. About your business! here I'll sit and wait His coming home, though it be ne'er so late. Now once again go look him at the 'Change, Or at the church with Sir Aminadab. 'Tis told me they use often conference; When that is done, get you to school again.
PIP. I had rather play the truant at home, than go seek my master at school: let me see, what age am I? some four and twenty, and how have I profited? I was five years learning to crish cross from great A, and five years longer coming to F; there I stuck some three years, before I could come to Q; and so, in process of time, I came to e per se e, and com per se, and tittle; then I got to a, e, i, o, u; after, to Our Father; and, in the sixteenth year of my age, and the fifteenth of my going to school, I am in good time gotten to a noun, By the same token there my hose went down; Then I got to a verb, There I began first to have a beard; Then I came to iste, ista, istud, There my master whipped me till he fetched the blood, And so forth: so that now I am become the greatest scholar in the school, for I am bigger than two or three of them. But I am gone; farewell, mistress!
Enter ANSELM and FULLER.
FUL. Love none at all! They will forswear themselves, And when you urge them with it, their replies Are, that Jove laughs at lovers' perjuries.
ANS. You told me of a jest concerning that; I prythee, let me hear it.
FUL. That thou shalt. My mistress in a humour had protested, That above all the world she lov'd me best; Saying with suitors she was oft molested, And she had lodg'd her heart within my breast; And sware (but me), both by her mask and fan, She never would so much as name a man. Not name a man? quoth I; yet be advis'd; Not love a man but me! let it be so. You shall not think, quoth she, my thought's disguis'd In flattering language or dissembling show; I say again, and I know what I do, I will not name a man alive but you. Into her house I came at unaware, Her back was to me, and I was not seen; I stole behind her, till I had her fair, Then with my hands I closed both her een; She, blinded thus, beginneth to bethink her Which of her loves it was that did hoodwink her. First she begins to guess and name a man, That I well knew, but she had known far better; The next I never did suspect till then: Still of my name I could not hear a letter; Then mad, she did name Robin, and then James, Till she had reckon'd up some twenty names; At length, when she had counted up a score, As one among the rest, she hit on me; I ask'd her if she could not reckon more, And pluck'd away my hands to let her see; But, when she look'd back, and saw me behind her, She blush'd, and ask'd if it were I did blind her? And since I sware, both by her mask and fan, To trust no she-tongue, that can name a man.
ANS. Your great oath hath some exceptions: But to our former purpose; yon is Mistress Arthur; We will attempt another kind of wooing, And make her hate her husband, if we can.
FUL. But not a word of passion or of love; Have at her now to try her patience.
Enter MISTRESS ARTHUR.
God save you, mistress!
MRS ART. You are welcome, sir.
FUL. I pray you, where's your husband?
MRS ART. Not within.
ANS. Who, Master Arthur? him I saw even now At Mistress Mary's, the brave courtesan's.
MRS ART. Wrong not my husband's reputation so; I neither can nor will believe you, sir.
FUL. Poor gentlewoman! how much I pity you; Your husband is become her only guest: He lodges there, and daily diets there, He riots, revels, and doth all things; Nay, he is held the Master of Misrule 'Mongst a most loathed and abhorred crew: And can you, being a woman, suffer this?
MRS ART. Sir, sir! I understand you well enough: Admit, my husband doth frequent that house Of such dishonest usage; I suppose He doth it but in zeal to bring them home By his good counsel from that course of sin; And, like a Christian, seeing them astray In the broad path that to damnation leads, He useth thither to direct their feet Into the narrow way that guides to heaven.
ANS. Was ever woman gull'd so palpably! [Aside.] But, Mistress Arthur, think you as you say?
MRS ART. Sir, what I think, I think, and what I say, I would I could enjoin you to believe.
ANS. Faith, Mistress Arthur, I am sorry for you: And, in good sooth, I wish it lay in me To remedy the least part of these wrongs Your unkind husband daily proffers you.
MRS ART. You are deceived, he is not unkind: Although he bear an outward face of hate, His heart and soul are both assured mine.
ANS. Fie, Mistress Arthur! take a better spirit; Be not so timorous to rehearse your wrongs: I say, your husband haunts bad company, Swaggerers, cheaters, wanton courtesans; There he defiles his body, stains his soul, Consumes his wealth, undoes himself and you In danger of diseases, whose vile names Are not for any honest mouths to speak, Nor any chaste ears to receive and hear. O, he will bring that face, admir'd for beauty, To be more loathed than a lep'rous skin! Divorce yourself, now whilst the clouds grow black; Prepare yourself a shelter for the storm; Abandon his most loathed fellowship: You are young, mistress; will you lose your youth?
MRS ART. Tempt no more, devil! thy deformity Hath chang'd itself into an angel's shape, But yet I know thee by thy course of speech: Thou gett'st an apple to betray poor Eve, Whose outside bears a show of pleasant fruit; But the vile branch, on which this apple grew, Was that which drew poor Eve from paradise. Thy Syren's song could make me drown myself, But I am tied unto the mast of truth. Admit, my husband be inclin'd to vice, My virtues may in time recall him home; But, if we both should desp'rate run to sin, We should abide certain destruction. But he's like one, that over a sweet face Puts a deformed vizard; for his soul Is free from any such intents of ill: Only to try my patience he puts on An ugly shape of black intemperance; Therefore, this blot of shame which he now wears, I with my prayers will purge, wash with my tears. [Exit.
ANS. How lik'st thou this?
FUL. As school-boys jerks, apes whips, as lions cocks, As Furies do fasting-days, and devils crosses, As maids to have their marriage-days put off; I like it as the thing I most do loathe. What wilt thou do? for shame, persist no more In this extremity of frivolous love. I see, my doctrine moves no precise ears, But such as are profess'd inamoratos.
ANS. O, I shall die!
FUL. Tush! live to laugh a little: Here's the best subject that thy love affords; Listen awhile and hear this: ho, boy! speak.
AMIN. As in presenti, thou loath'st the gift I sent thee; Nolo plus tarry, but die for the beauteous Mary; Fain would I die by a sword, but what sword shall I die by? Or by a stone, what stone? nullus lapis jacet ibi. Knive I have none to sheathe in my breast, or empty my full veins: Here's no wall or post which I can soil with my bruis'd brains; First will I therefore say two or three creeds and Ave Marys, And after go buy a poison at the apothecary's.
FUL. I pry thee, Anselm, but observe this fellow; Doest not hear him? he would die for love; That misshap'd love thou wouldst condemn in him, I see in thee: I prythee, note him well.
ANS. Were I assur'd that I were such a lover I should be with myself quite out of love: I prythee, let's persuade him still to live.
FUL. That were a dangerous case, perhaps the fellow In desperation would, to soothe us up, Promise repentant recantation, And after fall into that desperate course, Both which I will prevent with policy.
AMIN. O death! come with thy dart! come, death, when I bid thee! Mors, veni: veni, mors! and from this misery rid me; She whom I lov'd—whom I lov'd, even she—my sweet pretty Mary, Doth but flout and mock, and jest and dissimulary.
FUL. I'll fit him finely; in this paper is The juice of mandrake, by a doctor made To cast a man, whose leg should be cut off, Into a deep, a cold, and senseless sleep; Of such approved operation That whoso takes it, is for twice twelve hours Breathless, and to all men's judgments past all sense; This will I give the pedant but in sport; For when 'tis known to take effect in him, The world will but esteem it as a jest; Besides, it may be a means to save his life, For being [not] perfect poison, as it seems His meaning is, some covetous slave for coin Will sell it him, though it be held by law To be no better than flat felony.
ANS. Uphold the jest—but he hath spied us; peace!
AMIN. Gentles, God save you! Here is a man I have noted oft, most learn'd in physic, One man he help'd of the cough, another he heal'd of the pthisic, And I will board him thus, salve, O salve, magister!
FUL. Gratus mihi advenis! quid mecum vis?
AMIN. Optatus venis; paucis te volo.
FUL. Si quid industria nostra tibi faciet, dic, quaeso.
AMIN. Attend me, sir;—I have a simple house, But, as the learned Diogenes saith In his epistle to Tertullian, It is extremely troubled with great rats; I have no mus puss, nor grey-ey'd cat, To hunt them out. O, could your learned art Show me a means how I might poison them, Tuus dum suus, Sir Aminadab.
FUL. With all my heart; I am no rat-catcher; But if you need a poison, here is that Will pepper both your dogs, and rats, and cats: Nay, spare your purse: I give this in good will; And, as it proves, I pray you send to me, And let me know. Would you aught else with me?
AMIN. Minime quidem; here's that you say will take them? A thousand thanks, sweet sir; I say to you, As Tully in his Aesop's Fables said Ago tibi gratias; so farewell, vale! [Exit.
FUL. Adieu! Come, let us go; I long to see, What the event of this new jest will be.
Enter YOUNG ARTHUR.
Y. ART. Good morrow, gentleman; saw you not this way, As you were walking, Sir Aminadab?
ANS. Master Arthur, as I take it?
Y. ART. Sir, the same.
ANS. Sir, I desire your more familiar love: Would I could bid myself unto your house, For I have wish'd for your acquaintance long.
Y. ART. Sweet Master Anselm, I desire yours too; Will you come dine with me at home to-morrow? You shall be welcome, I assure you, sir.
ANS. I fear, sir, I shall prove too bold a guest.
Y. ART. You shall be welcome, if you bring your friend.
FUL. O Lord, sir, we shall be too troublesome.
Y. ART. Nay, now I will enforce a promise from you: Shall I expect you?
FUL. Yes, with all my heart.
ANS. A thousand thanks. Yonder's the schoolmaster. So, till to-morrow, twenty times farewell.
Y. ART. I double all your farewells twenty-fold.
ANS. O, this acquaintance was well scrap'd of me; By this my love to-morrow I shall see.
[Exeunt ANSELM and FULLER.
AMIN. This poison shall by force expel Amorem, love, infernum, hell. Per hoc venenum, ego, I For my sweet lovely lass will die.
Y. ART. What do I hear of poison; which sweet means Must make me a brave frolic widower? It seems the doting fool, being forlorn, Hath got some compound mixture in despair, To end his desperate fortunes and his life; I'll get it from him, and with this make way To my wife's night and to my love's fair day.
AMIN. In nomine domini, friends, farewell! I know death comes, here's such a smell! Pater et mater, father and mother, Frater et soror, sister and brother, And my sweet Mary, not these drugs Do send me to the infernal bugs, But thy unkindness; so, adieu! Hob-goblins, now I come to you.
Y. ART. Hold, man, I say! what will the madman do? [Takes away the supposed poison. Ay, have I got thee? thou shalt go with me. [Aside. No more of that; fie, Sir Minadab! Destroy yourself! If I but hear hereafter You practise such revenge upon yourself, All your friends shall know that for a wench— A paltry wench—you would have kill'd yourself.
AMIN. O tace, quaeso; do not name This frantic deed of mine for shame. My sweet magister, not a word; I'll neither drown me in a ford, Nor give my neck such a scope, T'embrace it with a hempen rope; I'll die no way, till nature will me, And death come with his dart, and kill me, If what is pass'd you will conceal, And nothing to the world reveal; Nay, as Quintillian said of yore, I'll strive to kill myself no more.
Y. ART. On that condition I'll conceal this deed: To-morrow, pray, come and dine with me; For I have many strangers; 'mongst the rest, Some are desirous of your company. You will not fail me?
AMIN. No, in sooth; I'll try the sharpness of my tooth; Instead of poison, I will eat Rabbits, capons, and such meat; And so, as Pythagoras says, With wholesome fare prolong my days. But, sir, will Mistress Mall be there?
Y. ART. She shall, she shall; man, never fear.
AMIN. Then my spirit becomes stronger, And I will live and stretch longer; For Ovid said, and did not lie, That poison'd men do often die: But poison henceforth I'll not eat, Whilst I can other victuals get. To-morrow, if you make a feast, Be sure, sir, I will be your guest. But keep my counsel, vale tu! And, till to-morrow, sir, adieu! At your table I will prove, If I can eat away my love. [Exit.
Y. ART. O, I am glad I have thee; now devise A way how to bestow it cunningly; It shall be thus: to-morrow I'll pretend A reconcilement 'twixt my wife and me, And to that end I will invite thus many— First Justice Reason, as the chief man there; My father Arthur, old Lusam, young Lusam. Master Fuller and Master Anselm I have bid already; Then will I have my lovely Mary too, Be it but to spite my wife, before she die; For die she shall before to-morrow night. The operation of this poison is Not suddenly to kill; they that take it Fall in a sleep, and then 'tis past recure, And this will I put in her cup to-morrow.
Enter PIPKIN, running.
PIP. This 'tis to have such a master! I have sought him at the 'Change, at the school, at every place, but I cannot find him nowhere. [Sees M. ART.] O, cry mercy! my mistress would entreat you to come home.
Y. ART. I cannot come to-night; some urgent business Will all this night employ me otherwise.
PIP. I believe my mistress would con you as much thank to do that business at home as abroad.
Y. ART. Here, take my purse, and bid my wife provide Good cheer against to-morrow; there will be Two or three strangers of my late acquaintance. Sirrah, go you to Justice Reason's house; Invite him first with all solemnity; Go to my father's and my father-in-law's; Here, take this note— The rest that come I will invite myself: About it with what quick despatch thou can'st.
PIP. I warrant you, master, I'll despatch this business with more honesty than you'll despatch yours. But, master, will the gentlewoman be there?
Y. ART. What gentlewoman?
PIP. The gentlewoman of the old house, that is as well known by the colour she lays on her cheeks, as an alehouse by the painting is laid on his lattice; she that is, like homo, common to all men; she that is beholden to no trade, but lives of herself.
Y. ART. Sirrah, begone, or I will send you hence.
PIP. I'll go [aside]; but, by this hand, I'll tell my mistress as soon as I come home that mistress light-heels comes to dinner to-morrow. [Exit.
Y. ART. Sweet Mistress Mary, I'll invite myself: And there I'll frolic, sup, and spend the night. My plot is current; here 'tis in my hand Will make me happy in my second choice: And I may freely challenge as mine own, What I am now enforc'd to seek by stealth. Love is not much unlike ambition; For in them both all lets must be remov'd 'Twixt every crown and him that would aspire; And he that will attempt to win the same Must plunge up to the depth o'er head and ears, And hazard drowning in that purple sea: So he that loves must needs through blood and fire, And do all things to compass his desire.
A Room in Young Arthur's House.
Enter MISTRESS ARTHUR and her MAID.
MRS ART. Come, spread the table; is the hall well rubb'd? The cushions in the windows neatly laid? The cupboard of plate set out? the casements stuck With rosemary and flowers? the carpets brush'd?
MAID. Ay, forsooth, mistress.
MRS ART. Look to the kitchen-maid, and bid the cook take down the oven-stone, [lest] the pies be burned: here, take my keys, and give him out more spice.
MAID. Yes, forsooth, mistress.
MRS ART. Where's that knave Pipkin? bid him spread the cloth, Fetch the clean diaper napkins from my chest, Set out the gilded salt, and bid the fellow Make himself handsome, get him a clean band.
MAID. Indeed, forsooth, mistress, he is such a sloven, That nothing will sit handsome about him; He had a pound of soap to scour his face, And yet his brow looks like the chimney-stock.
MRS ART. He'll be a sloven still; maid, take this apron, And bring me one of linen: quickly, maid.
MAID. I go, forsooth.
MRS ART. There was a curtsy! let me see't again; Ay, that was well.—[Exit MAID.] I fear my guests will come Ere we be ready. What a spite is this.
MRS ART. What's the matter?
Within. Mistress, I pray, take Pipkin from the fire; We cannot keep his fingers from the roast.
MRS ART. Bid him come hither; what a knave is that! Fie, fie, never out of the kitchen! Still broiling by the fire!
PIP. I hope you will not take Pipkin from the fire, Till the broth be enough.
Enter MAID, with an apron.
MRS ART. Well, sirrah, get a napkin and a trencher, And wait to-day. So, let me see: my apron. [Puts it on.]
PIP. Mistress, I can tell ye one thing, my master's wench Will come home to-day to dinner.
Enter JUSTICE REASON, and his man HUGH.
MRS ART. She shall be welcome, if she be his guest. But here's some of our guests are come already: A chair for Justice Reason, sirrah!
JUS. Good morrow, Mistress Arthur! you are like a good housewife: At your request I am come home. What, a chair! Thus age seeks ease. Where is your husband, mistress? What, a cushion, too!
PIP. I pray you, ease your tail, sir.
JUS. Marry, and will, good fellow; twenty thanks.
[HUGH and PIPKIN converse apart.]
PIP. Master Hugh, as welcome as heart can tell, or tongue can think.
HUGH. I thank you, Master Pipkin; I have got many a good dish of broth by your means.
PIP. According to the ancient courtesy, you are welcome; according to the time and place, you are heartily welcome: when they are busied at the board, we will find ourselves busied in the buttery; and so, sweet Hugh, according to our scholars' phrase, gratulor adventum tuum.
HUGH. I will answer you with the like, sweet Pipkin, gratias.
PIP. As much grace as you will, but as little of it as you can, good Hugh. But here comes more guests.
Enter OLD MASTER ARTHUR and OLD MASTER LUSAM.
MRS ART. More stools and cushions for these gentlemen.
O. ART. What, Master Justice Reason, are you here? Who would have thought to have met you in this place?
O. LUS. What say mine eyes, is Justice Reason here? Mountains may meet, and so, I see, may we.
JUS. Well, when men meet, they meet, And when they part, they oft leave one another's company; So we, being met, are met.
O. LUS. Truly, you say true; And Master Justice Reason speaks but reason: To hear how wisely men of law will speak!
Enter ANSELM and FULLER.
ANS. Good morrow, gentlemen!
MRS ART. What? are you there?
ANS. Good morrow, mistress, and good morrow, all!
JUS. If I may be so bold in a strange place, I say, good morrow, and as much to you. I pray, gentlemen, will you sit down? We have been young, like you; and, if you live Unto our age, you will be old like us.
FUL. Be rul'd by reason; but who's here?
AMIN. Salvete, omnes! and good day To all at once, as I may say; First, Master Justice; next, Old Arthur, That gives me pension by the quarter; To my good mistress and the rest, That are the founders of this feast; In brief, I speak to omnes, all, That to their meat intend to fall.
JUS. Welcome, Sir Aminadab; O, my son Hath profited exceeding well with you: Sit down, sit down, by Mistress Arthur's leave.
Enter YOUNG MASTER ARTHUR, YOUNG MASTER LUSAM, and MISTRESS MARY.
Y. ART. Gentlemen, welcome all; whilst I deliver Their private welcomes, wife, be it your charge To give this gentlewoman entertainment.
MRS ART. Husband, I will. O, this is she usurps The precious interest of my husband's love; Though, as I am a woman, I could well Thrust such a lewd companion out of doors; Yet, as I am a true, obedient, wife, I'd kiss her feet to do my husband's will. [Aside. You are entirely welcome, gentlewoman; Indeed you are; pray, do not doubt of it.
MRS MA. I thank you, Mistress Arthur; now, by my little honesty, It much repents me to wrong so chaste a woman. [Aside.
Y. ART. Gentles, put o'er your legs; first, Master Justice, Here you shall sit.
JUS. And here shall Mistress Mary sit by me.
Y. ART. Pardon me, sir, she shall have my wife's place.
MRS ART. Indeed, you shall, for he will have it so.
MRS MA. If you will needs; but I shall do you wrong To take your place.
O. LUS. Ay, by my faith, you should.
MRS ART. That is no wrong, which we impute no wrong! I pray you, sit.
Y. ART. Gentlemen all, I pray you, seat yourselves: What, Sir Aminadab, I know where your heart is. [Aside. AMIN. Mum, not a word, pax vobis, peace: Come, gentles, I'll be of this mess.
Y. ART. So, who gives thanks?
AMIN. Sir, that will I.
Y. ART. I pray you to it by and by. Where's Pipkin? Wait at the board; let Master Season's man Be had into the buttery; but first give him A napkin and a trencher. Well-said. Hugh, Wait at your master's elbow: now say grace.
AMIN. Gloria Deo, sirs, proface; Attend me now, whilst I say grace. For bread and salt, for grapes and malt, For flesh and fish, and every dish; Mutton and beef, of all meats chief; For cow-heels, chitterlings, tripes and souse, And other meat that's in the house; For racks, for breasts, for legs, for loins, For pies with raisins and with proins, For fritters, pancakes, and for fries, For ven'son pasties and minc'd pies; Sheeps'-head and garlic, brawn and mustard, Wafers, spic'd cakes, tart, and custard; For capons, rabbits, pigs, and geese, For apples, caraways, and cheese; For all these and many mo: Benedicamus Domino!
JUS. I con you thanks; but, Sir Aminadab, Is that your scholar! now, I promise you, He is a toward stripling of his age.
PIP. Who? I, forsooth? yes, indeed, forsooth, I am his scholar. I would you should well think I have profited under him too; you shall hear, if he will pose me.
O. ART. I pray you, let's hear him.
AMIN. Huc ades, Pipkin.
AMIN. Quot casus sunt? how many cases are there?
PIP. Marry, a great many.
AMIN. Well-answer'd, a great many: there are six, Six, a great many; 'tis well-answer'd; And which be they?
PIP. A bow-case, a cap-case, a comb-case, a lute-case, a fiddle-case, and a candle-case.
JUS. I know them all; again, well-answer'd: Pray God, my youngest son profit no worse.
AMIN. How many parsons are there?
PIP. I'll tell you as many as I know, if you'll give me leave to reckon them.
ANS. I prythee, do.
PIP. The parson of Fenchurch, the parson of Pancras, and the parson of———
Y. ART. Well, sir, about your business:—now will I Temper the cup my loathed wife shall drink [Aside, and exit.
O. ART. Daughter, methinks you are exceeding sad.
O. LUS. Faith, daughter, so thou art exceeding sad.
MRS ART. 'Tis but my countenance, for my heart is merry: Mistress, were you as merry as you are welcome, You should not sit so sadly as you do.
MRS MA. 'Tis but because I am seated in your place, Which is frequented seldom with true mirth.
MRS ART. The fault is neither in the place nor me.
AMIN. How say you, lady? To him you last did lie by! All this is no more, praebibo tibi.
MRS MA. I thank you, sir. Mistress, this draught shall be To him that loves both you and me!
MRS ART. I know your meaning.
ANS. Now to me, If she have either love or charity.
MRS ART. Here, Master Justice, this to your grave years, A mournful draught, God wot: half-wine, half-tears. [Aside.
JUS. Let come, my wench; here, youngsters, to you all! You are silent: here's that will make you talk. Wenches, methink you sit like puritans: Never a jest abroad to make them laugh?
FUL. Sir, since you move speech of a puritan, If you will give me audience, I will tell ye As good a jest as ever you did hear.
O. ART. A jest? that's excellent!
JUS. Beforehand, let's prepare ourselves to laugh; A jest is nothing, if it be not grac'd. Now, now, I pray you, when begins this jest?
FUL. I came unto a puritan, to woo her, And roughly did salute her with a kiss: Away! quoth she, and rudely push'd me from her; Brother, by yea and nay, I like not this: And still with amorous talk she was saluted, My artless speech with Scripture was confuted.
O. LUS. Good, good, indeed; the best that e'er I heard.
O. ART. I promise you, it was exceeding good.
FUL. Oft I frequented her abode by night, And courted her, and spake her wond'rous fair; But ever somewhat did offend her sight, Either my double ruff or my long hair; My scarf was vain, my garments hung too low, My Spanish shoe was cut too broad at toe.
ALL. Ha, ha! the best that ever I heard!
FUL. I parted for that time, and came again, Seeming to be conform'd in look and speech; My shoes were sharp-toed, and my band was plain, Close to my thigh my metamorphos'd breech; My cloak was narrow-cap'd, my hair cut shorter; Off went my scarf, thus march'd I to the porter.
ALL. Ha, ha! was ever heard the like?
FUL. The porter, spying me, did lead me in, Where his fair mistress sat reading of a chapter; Peace to this house, quoth I, and those within, Which holy speech with admiration wrapp'd her; And ever as I spake, and came her nigh, Seeming divine, turn'd up the white of eye.
JUS. So, so, what then?
O. LUS. Forward, I pray, forward, sir.
FUL. I spake divinely, and I call'd her sister, And by this means we were acquainted well: By yea and nay, I will, quoth I, and kiss'd her. She blush'd, and said, that long-tongu'd men would tell; I swore to be as secret as the night, And said, on sooth, I would put out the light.
O. ART. In sooth he would! a passing-passing jest.
FUL. O, do not swear, quoth she, yet put it out, Because I would not have you break your oath. I felt a bed there, as I grop'd about; In troth, quoth I, here will we rest us both. Swear you, in troth, quoth she? had you not sworn, I had not done't, but took it in full scorn: Then you will come, quoth I? though I be loth, I'll come, quoth she, be't but to keep your oath.
JUS. 'Tis very pretty; but now, when's the jest?
O. ART. O, forward, to the jest in any case.
O. LUS. I would not, for an angel, lose the jest.
FUL. Here's right the dunghill cock that finds a pearl. To talk of wit to these, is as a man Should cast out jewels to a herd of swine—[aside.] Why, in the last words did consist the jest.
O. LUS. Ay, in the last words? ha, ha, ha! It was an excellent admired jest— To them that understood it.
Enter YOUNG MASTER ARTHUR, with two cups of wine.
JUS. It was, indeed; I must, for fashion's sake, Say as they say; but otherwise, O, God! [Aside. Good Master Arthur, thanks for our good cheer.
Y. ART. Gentlemen, welcome all; now hear me speak— One special cause that mov'd me lead you hither, Is for an ancient grudge that hath long since Continued 'twixt my modest wife and me: The wrongs that I have done her I recant. In either hand I hold a sev'ral cup, This in the right hand, wife, I drink to thee, This in the left hand, pledge me in this draught, Burying all former hatred; so, have to thee. [He drinks.
MRS ART. The welcom'st pledge that yet I ever took: Were this wine poison, or did taste like gall, The honey-sweet condition of your draught Would make it drink like nectar: I will pledge you, Were it the last that I should ever drink.
Y. ART. Make that account: thus, gentlemen, you see Our late discord brought to a unity.
AMIN. Ecce, quam bonum et quam jucundum Est habitare fratres in unum.
O. ART. My heart doth taste the sweetness of your pledge, And I am glad to see this sweet accord.
O. LUS. Glad, quotha? there's not one among'st us, But may be exceeding glad.
JUS. I am, ay, marry, am I, that I am.
Y. LUS. The best accord that could betide their loves.
ANS. The worst accord that could betide my love.
[All about to rise.
AMIN: What, rising, gentles? keep your place, I will close up your stomachs with a grace; O Domine et care Pater, That giv'st us wine instead of water; And from the pond and river clear Mak'st nappy ale and good March beer; That send'st us sundry sorts of meat, And everything we drink or eat; To maids, to wives, to boys, to men, Laus Deo Sancto, Amen.
Y. ART. So, much good do ye all, and, gentlemen, Accept your welcomes better than your cheer.
O. LUS. Nay, so we do, I'll give you thanks for all. Come, Master Justice, you do walk our way, And Master Arthur, and old Hugh your man; We'll be the first [that] will strain courtesy.
JUS. God be with you all!
[Exeunt O. ART., O. LUS., and JUS. REASON.
AMIN. Proximus ego sum, I'll be the next, And man you home; how say you, lady?
Y. ART. I pray you do, good Sir Aminadab.
MRS MA. Sir, if it be not too much trouble to you, Let me entreat that kindness at your hands.
AMIN. Entreat! fie! no, sweet lass, command; Sic, so, nunc, now, take the upper hand.
[Exit MRS MARY escorted by AMINADAB.
Y. ART. Come, wife, this meeting was all for our sakes: I long to see the force my poison takes. [Aside.
MRS ART. My dear-dear husband, in exchange of hate, My love and heart shall on your service wait.
[Exeunt Y. ART., MRS ART., and PIPKIN.
ANS. So doth my love on thee; but long no more; To her rich love thy service is too poor.
FUL. For shame, no more! you had best expostulate Your love with every stranger; leave these sighs, And change them to familiar conference.
Y. LUS. Trust me, the virtues of young Arthur's wife, Her constancy, modest humility, Her patience, and admired temperance, Have made me love all womankind the better.
PIP. O, my mistress! my mistress! she's dead! She's gone! she's dead! she's gone!
ANS. What's that he says?
PIP. Out of my way! stand back, I say! All joy from earth has fled! She is this day as cold as clay; My mistress she is dead! O Lord, my mistress! my mistress! [Exit.
ANS. What, Mistress Arthur dead? my soul is vanish'd, And the world's wonder from the world quite banish'd. O, I am sick, my pain grows worse and worse; I am quite struck through with this late discourse.
FUL. What! faint'st thou, man? I'll lead thee hence; for shame! Swoon at the tidings of a woman's death! Intolerable, and beyond all thought! Come, my love's fool, give me thy hand to lead; This day one body and two hearts are dead.
[Exeunt ANSELM and FULLER.
Y. LUS. But now she was as well as well might be, And on the sudden dead; joy in excess Hath overrun her poor disturbed soul. I'll after, and see how Master Arthur takes it; His former hate far more suspicious makes it. [Exit.
Enter HUGH, and after him, PIPKIN.
HUGH. My master hath left his gloves behind where he sat in his chair, and hath sent me to fetch them; it is such an old snudge, he'll not lose the droppings of his nose.
PIP. O mistress! O Hugh! O Hugh! O mistress! Hugh, I must needs beat thee; I am mad! I am lunatic! I must fall upon thee: my mistress is dead! [Beats HUGH.
HUGH. O Master Pipkin, what do you mean? what do you mean, Master Pipkin?
PIP. O Hugh! O mistress! O mistress! O Hugh!
HUGH. O Pipkin! O God! O God! O Pipkin!
Pip. O Hugh, I am mad! bear with me, I cannot choose: O death! O mistress! O mistress! O death! [Exit.
HUGH. Death, quotha? he hath almost made me dead with beating.
Re-enter JUSTICE REASON, OLD MASTER ARTHUR, and OLD MASTER LUSAM.
JUS. I wonder why the knave, my man, stays thus, And comes not back: see where the villain loiters.
PIP. O Master Justice! Master Arthur! Master Lusam! wonder not why I thus blow and bluster; my mistress is dead! dead is my mistress! and therefore hang yourselves. O, my mistress, my mistress! [Exit.
O. ART. My son's wife dead!
O. LUS. My daughter!
Enter YOUNG MASTER ARTHUR, mourning.
JUS. Mistress Arthur! Here comes her husband.
Y. ART. O, here the woful'st husband comes alive, No husband now; the wight, that did uphold That name of husband, is now quite o'erthrown, And I am left a hapless widower.
O. ART. Fain would I speak, if grief would suffer me.
O. LUS. As Master Arthur says, so say I; If grief would let me, I would weeping die. To be thus hapless in my aged years! O, I would speak; but my words melt to tears.
Y. ART. Go in, go in, and view the sweetest corpse That e'er was laid upon a mournful room; You cannot speak for weeping sorrow's doom: Bad news are rife, good tidings seldom come.
ACT IV., SCENE I.
ANS. What frantic humour doth thus haunt my sense, Striving to breed destruction in my spirit? When I would sleep, the ghost of my sweet love Appears unto me in an angel's shape: When I'm awake, my fantasy presents, As in a glass, the shadow of my love: When I would speak, her name intrudes itself Into the perfect echoes of my speech: And though my thought beget some other word, Yet will my tongue speak nothing but her name. If I do meditate, it is on her; If dream of her, or if discourse of her, I think her ghost doth haunt me, as in times Of former darkness old wives' tales report.
Here comes my better genius, whose advice Directs me still in all my actions. How now, from whence come you?
FUL. Faith, from the street, in which, as I pass'd by, I met the modest Mistress Arthur's corpse, And after her as mourners, first her husband, Next Justice Reason, then old Master Arthur, Old Master Lusam, and young Lusam too, With many other kinsfolks, neighbours, friends, And others, that lament her funeral: Her body is by this laid in the vault.
ANS. And in that vault my body I will lay! I prythee, leave me: thither is my way.
FUL. I am sure you jest, you mean not as you say.
ANS. No, no, I'll but go to the church, and pray.
FUL. Nay, then we shall be troubled with your humour.
ANS. As ever thou didst love me, or as ever Thou didst delight in my society, By all the rights of friendship and of love, Let me entreat thy absence but one hour, And at the hour's end I will come to thee.
FUL. Nay, if you will be foolish, and past reason, I'll wash my hands, like Pilate, from thy folly, And suffer thee in these extremities. [Exit.
ANS. Now it is night, and the bright lamps of heaven Are half-burn'd out: now bright Adelbora Welcomes the cheerful day-star to the east, And harmless stillness hath possess'd the world: This is the church,—this hollow is the vault, Where the dead body of my saint remains, And this the coffin that enshrines her body, For her bright soul is now in paradise. My coming is with no intent of sin, Or to defile the body of the dead; But rather take my last farewell of her, Or languishing and dying by her side, My airy soul post after hers to heaven. [Comes to MRS ARTHUR'S tomb. First, with this latest kiss I seal my love: Her lips are warm, and I am much deceiv'd, If that she stir not. O, this Golgotha, This place of dead men's bones is terrible, Presenting fearful apparitions! It is some spirit that in the coffin lies, And makes my hair start up on end with fear! Come to thyself, faint heart—she sits upright! O, I would hide me, but I know not where. Tush, if it be a spirit, 'tis a good spirit; For with her body living ill she knew not; And with her body dead ill cannot meddle.
MRS ART. Who am I? Or where am I?
ANS. O, she speaks, And by her language now I know she lives.
MRS ART. O, who can tell me where I am become? For in this darkness I have lost myself; I am not dead, for I have sense and life: How come I then in this coffin buried?
ANS. Anselm, be bold; she lives, and destiny Hath train'd thee hither to redeem her life.
MRS ART. Lives any 'mongst these dead? none but myself?
ANS. O yes, a man, whose heart till now was dead, Lives and survives at your return to life: Nay, start not; I am Anselm, one who long Hath doted on your fair perfection, And, loving you more than became me well, Was hither sent by some strange providence, To bring you from these hollow vaults below, To be a liver in the world again.
MRS ART. I understand you, and I thank the heavens, That sent you to revive me from this fear, And I embrace my safety with good-will.
Enter AMINADAB with two or three BOYS.
AMIN. Mane citus lectum fuge, mollem discute somnum, Templa petas supplex, et venerate deum. Shake off thy sleep, get up betimes, Go to the church and pray, And, never fear, God will thee hear, And keep thee all the day. Good counsel, boys; observe it, mark it well; This early rising, this diluculo Is good both for your bodies and your minds: 'Tis not yet day; give me my tinder-box; Meantime, unloose your satchels and your books: Draw, draw, and take you to your lessons, boys.
1ST BOY. O Lord, master, what's that in the white sheet?
AMIN. In the white sheet, my boy? Dic ubi, where?
1ST BOY. Vide, master, vide illic, there.
AMIN. O, Domine, Domine, keep us from evil, A charm from flesh, the world, and the devil!
MRS ART. O, tell me not my husband was ingrate, Or that he did attempt to poison me, Or that he laid me here, and I was dead; These are no means at all to win my love.
ANS. Sweet mistress, he bequeath'd you to the earth; You promis'd him to be his wife till death, And you have kept your promise: but now, since The world, your husband, and your friends suppose That you are dead, grant me but one request, And I will swear never to solicit more Your sacred thoughts to my dishonest love.
MRS ART. So your demand may be no prejudice To my chaste name, no wrong unto my husband, No suit that may concern my wedlock's breach, I yield unto it; but To pass the bounds of modesty and chastity, Sooner will I bequeath myself again Unto this grave, and never part from hence, Than taint my soul with black impurity.
ANS. Take here my hand and faithful heart to gage. That I will never tempt you more to sin: This my request is—since your husband dotes Upon a lewd, lascivious courtesan— Since he hath broke the bonds of your chaste bed, And, like a murd'rer, sent you to your grave, Do but go with me to my mother's house; There shall you live in secret for a space, Only to see the end of such lewd lust, And know the difference of a chaste wife's bed, And one whose life is in all looseness led.
MRS ART. Your mother is a virtuous matron held: Her counsel, conference, and company May much avail me; there a space I'll stay, Upon condition, as you said before, You never will move your unchaste suit more.
ANS. My faith is pawn'd. O, never had chaste wife A husband of so lewd and unchaste life!
A Room in Mistress Mary's House.
Enter MISTRESS MARY, MISTRESS SPLAY, and BRABO.
BRA. Mistress, I long have serv'd you, even since These bristled hairs upon my grave-like chin Were all unborn; when I first came to you, These infant feathers of these ravens' wings Were not once begun.
MRS SPLAY. No, indeed, they were not.
BRA. Now in my two moustachios for a need, (Wanting a rope) I well could hang myself; I prythee, mistress, for all my long service, For all the love that I have borne thee long, Do me this favour now, to marry me.
Enter YOUNG MASTER ARTHUR.
MRS MA. Marry, come up, you blockhead! you great ass! What! wouldst thou have me marry with a devil! But peace, no more; here comes the silly fool, That we so long have set our lime-twigs for; Begone, and leave me to entangle him.
[Exeunt MISTRESS SPLAY and BRABO.
Y. ART. What, Mistress Mary?
MRS MA. O good Master Arthur, Where have you been this week, this month, this year? This year, said I? where have you been this age? Unto a lover ev'ry minute seems Time out of mind: How should I think you love me, That can endure to stay so long from me?
Y. ART. I' faith, sweetheart, I saw thee yesternight.
MRS MA. Ay, true, you did, but since you saw me not; At twelve o'clock you parted from my house, And now 'tis morning, and new-strucken seven; Seven hours thou stay'd'st from me; why didst thou so? They are my seven years' 'prenticeship of woe.
Y. ART. I prythee, be patient; I had some occasion That did enforce me from thee yesternight.
MRS MA. Ay, you are soon enforc'd; fool that I am, To dote on one that nought respecteth me! 'Tis but my fortune, I am born to bear it, And ev'ry one shall have their destiny.
Y. ART. Nay, weep not, wench; thou wound'st me with thy tears.
MRS MA. I am a fool, and so you make me too; These tears were better kept than spent in waste On one that neither tenders them nor me. What remedy? but if I chance to die, Or to miscarry with that I go withal, I'll take my death that thou art cause thereof; You told me that, when your wife was dead, You would forsake all others, and take me.