The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Works of John Marston, by John Marston

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Title: The Works of John Marston
       Volume 2

Author: John Marston

Editor: A. H. Bullen

Release Date: July 17, 2014 [EBook #46311]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by David Clarke, Carol Brown, and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
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The English Dramatists

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Two hundred copies of this Edition on Laid paper, medium 8vo, have been printed, viz., 120 for the English Market and 80 for America. Each copy numbered as issued.

No. 30


Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V


The Dutch Courtezan. As it was playd in the Blacke-Friars, by the Children of her Maiesties Reuels. Written By Iohn Marston. At London, Printed by T. P. for Iohn Hodgets, and are to be sould at his shop in Paules Church-yard. 1605. 4to.


Young Freevill, being about to marry Beatrice, daughter to Sir Hubert Subboys, determines to break his connection with Franceschina, the Dutch Courtezan. He introduces to Franceschina his friend Malheureux. This gentleman, who had hitherto led a strict life, is violently inflamed with passion at first sight of Franceschina. She promises to gratify his passion on one condition,—that he kills Freevill. As proof that the deed has been accomplished, he is to bring her a ring that had been presented to Freevill by Beatrice. Malheureux discloses the plot to Freevill, who undertakes to help him out of his difficulty. At a masque given in honour of the approaching marriage, Malheureux pretends to pick a quarrel with Freevill, and retires with him as though to fight a duel. Freevill is to lie hid at the house of a jeweller, while Malheureux posts with the ring to Franceschina. She hastens to communicate the news to Freevill’s father and Beatrice, Freevill accompanying her in the disguise of a pander. Thereupon old Freevill and Sir Hubert Subboys, attended by officers, proceed to Franceschina’s lodging, conceal themselves behind the curtain, and await the arrival of Malheureux, who comes at the hour appointed by Franceschina. They hear from his own lips a confession of the murder, arrest him, and lead him away to prison. Malheureux protests his innocence, but, as Freevill has not been near the jeweller’s house, his protestations are disregarded and the day for his execution is fixed. At the last moment Freevill presents himself and begs forgiveness for the device that he had adopted in order to cure his friend’s passion. Franceschina is condemned to “the whip and jail;” and all ends happily.

The play is enlivened by an underplot, which deals with the various tricks played by a clever knave called Cocledemoy on a vintner of Cheap, Master Mulligrub.


Slight hasty labours in this easy play
Present not what you would, but what we may:
For this vouchsafe to know,—the only end
Of our now study is, not to offend.
Yet think not but, like others, rail we could
(Best art presents not what it can but should);
And if our pen in this seem over-slight,
We strive not to instruct, but to delight.
As for some few, we know of purpose here
To tax and scout, know firm art cannot fear    10
Vain rage; only the highest grace we pray
Is, you’ll not tax until you judge our play.
Think, and then speak: ’tis rashness, and not wit,
To speak what is in passion, and not judgment fit.
Sit then with fair expectance, and survey
Nothing but passionate man in his slight play,
Who hath this only ill, to some deem’d worst—
A modest diffidence, and self-mistrust.

Fabulæ Argumentum.

The difference betwixt the love of a courtezan and a wife is the full scope of the play, which, intermixed with the deceits of a witty city jester, fills up the comedy.


Sir Lionel Freevill, and
Sir Hubert Subboys, two old knights.
Young Freevill, Sir Lionel’s son.
Malheureux, Young Freevill’s unhappy friend.
Tysefew, a blunt gallant.
Caqueteur, a prattling gull.
Cocledemoy, a knavishly witty City Companion.
Master Mulligrub, a vintner.
Master Burnish, a goldsmith.
Lionel, his man.
Holifernes Reinscure, a barbers boy.

Beatrice, and
Crispinella, Sir Hubert’s daughters.
Putifer, their nurse.
Mistress Mulligrub.
Franceschina, a Dutch Courtezan.
Mary Faugh, an old woman.
Three Watchmen; Pages; Officers.





A Street.

Enter three Pages, with lights. Mulligrub, Freevill, Malheureux, Tysefew, and Caqueteur.

Free. Nay, comfort, my good host Shark; my good Mulligrub.

Mal. Advance thy snout; do not suffer thy sorrowful nose to drop on thy Spanish[2] leather jerkin, most hardly-honest Mulligrub.

Free. What, cogging Cocledemoy is run away with a neast[3] of goblets? True, what then? they will be hammered out well enough, I warrant you.

Mul. Sure, some wise man would find them out presently.    10

Free. Yes, sure, if we could find out some wise man presently.

Mal. How was the plate lost? how did it vanish?

Free. In most sincere prose, thus: that man of much money, some wit, but less honesty, cogging Cocledemoy, comes this night late into mine hostess Mulligrub’s tavern here; calls for a room; the house being full, Cocledemoy consorted with his movable chattel, his instrument of fornication, the bawd Mrs. Mary Faugh, are imparlour’d next the street; good poultry was their food, blackbird, lark, woodcock; and mine host here comes in, cries “God bless you!” and departs. A blind harper enters, craves audience, uncaseth, plays; the drawer, for female privateness’ sake, is nodded out, who knowing that whosoever will hit the mark of profit must, like those that shoot in stone-bows,[4] wink with one eye, grows blind o’ the right side, and departs.    27

Caq. He shall answer for that winking with one eye at the last day.

Mal. Let him have day[5] till then, and he will wink with both his eyes.

Free. Cocledemoy, perceiving none in the room but the blind harper (whose eyes Heaven had shut up from beholding wickedness), unclasps a casement to the street very patiently, pockets up three bowls unnaturally, thrusts his wench forth the window, and himself most preposterously, with his heels forward, follows: the unseeing harper plays on, bids the empty dishes and the treacherous candles much good do them. The drawer returns, but, out alas! not only the birds, but also the neast of goblets, were flown away. Laments are raised——    42

Tys. Which did not pierce the heavens.

Free. The drawers moan, mine host doth cry, the bowls are gone.

Mul. Hic finis Priami!

Mal. Nay, be not jaw-fall’n, my most sharking Mulligrub.

Free. ’Tis your just affliction; remember the sins of the cellar, and repent, repent!    50

Mul. I am not jaw-fall’n, but I will hang the coney-catching Cocledemoy; and there’s an end of’t.


Caq. Is it a right stone? it shows well by candle-light.

Free. So do many things that are counterfeit, but I assure you this is a right diamond.

Caq. Might I borrow it of you? it will not a little grace my finger in visitation of my mistress.

Free. Why, use it, most sweet Caqueteur, use it.

Caq. Thanks, good sir; ’tis grown high night: gentles, rest to you.


Tys. A torch! Sound wench, soft sleep, and sanguine dreams to you both. On, boy!    62

Free. Let me bid you good rest.

Mal. Not so, trust me, I must bring my friend home: I dare not give you up to your own company; I fear the warmth of wine and youth will draw you to some common house of lascivious entertainment.

Free. Most necessary buildings, Malheureux; ever since my intention of marriage, I do pray for their continuance.    70

Mal. Loved sir, your reason?

Free. Marry, lest my house should be made one. I would have married men love the stews as Englishmen loved the Low Countries: wish war should be maintain’d there, lest it should come home to their own doors. What, [not] suffer a man to have a hole to put his head in, though he go to the pillory for it! Youth and appetite are above the club of Hercules.

Mal. This lust is a most deadly sin, sure.

Free. Nay, ’tis a most lively sin, sure.    80

Mal. Well, I am sure, ’tis one of the head sins.

Free. Nay, I am sure it is one of the middle sins.

Mal. Pity ’tis grown a most daily vice.

Free. But a more nightly vice, I assure you.

Mal. Well, ’tis a sin.

Free. Ay, or else few men would wish to go to heaven: and, not to disguise with my friend, I am now going the way of all flesh.

Mal. Not to a courtezan?

Free. A courteous one.    90

Mal. What, to a sinner?

Free. A very publican.

Mal. Dear, my loved friend, let me be full with you:
Know, sir, the strongest argument that speaks
Against the soul’s eternity is lust,
That wise man’s folly, and the fool’s wisdom:
But to grow wild in loose lasciviousness,
Given up to heat and sensual appetite,
Nay, to expose your health and strength and name,
Your precious time, and with that time the hope    100
Of due preferment, advantageous means,
Of any worthy end, to the stale use,
The common bosom of a money creature,
One that sells human flesh—a mangonist!

Free. Alas, good creatures! what would you have them do? Would you have them get their living by the curse of man, the sweat of their brows? So they do: every man must follow his trade, and every woman her occupation. A poor decayed mechanical man’s wife, her husband is laid up, may not she lawfully be laid down, when her husband’s only rising is by his wife’s falling? A captain’s wife wants means; her commander lies in open fields abroad, may not she lie in civil arms at home? A waiting gentlewoman, that had wont to take say[6] to her lady, miscarries or so; the court misfortune throws her down; may not the city courtesy take her up? Do you know no alderman would pity such a woman’s case?[7] Why, is charity grown a sin, or relieving the poor and impotent an offence? You will say beasts take no money for their fleshly entertainment: true, because they are beasts, therefore beastly;[8] only men give to loose, because they are men, therefore manly: and indeed, wherein should they bestow their money better? In land, the title may be crack’d; in houses, they may be burnt; in apparel, ’twill wear; in wine, alas for our pity! our throat is but short: but employ your[9] money upon women, and a thousand to nothing, some one of them will bestow that on you which shall stick by you as long as you live; they are no ungrateful persons, they will give quid [10] for quo: do ye protest, they’ll swear; do you rise, they’ll fall; do you fall, they’ll rise; do you give them the French crown, they’ll give you the French—O justus justa justum! They sell their bodies: do not better persons sell their souls? nay, since all things have been sold, honour, justice, faith, nay, even God Himself,    136
Aye me, what base ignobleness is it
To sell the pleasure of a wanton bed!
Why do men scrape, why heap to full heaps join?
But for his mistress, who would care for coin?
For this I hold to be denied of no man,
All things are made for man, and man for woman.
Give me my fee.

Mal. Of ill you merit well. My heart’s good friend,
Leave yet at length, at length; for know this ever,
’Tis no such sin to err, but to persever.

Free. Beauty is woman’s virtue, love the life’s music, and woman the dainties, or second course of heaven’s curious workmanship. Since then beauty, love, and woman are good, how can the love of woman’s beauty be bad? and, Bonum, quo communius, eo melius: wilt then go with me?    152

Mal. Whither?

Free. To a house of salvation.

Mal. Salvation?

Free. Yes, ’twill make thee repent. Wilt go to the family of love?[11] I will show thee my creature; a pretty nimble-ey’d Dutch tanakin;[12] an honest soft-hearted impropriation; a soft, plump, round-cheek’d froe,[13] that has beauty enough for her virtue, virtue enough for a woman, and woman enough for any reasonable man in my knowledge. Wilt pass along with me?    162

Mal. What, to a brothel?—to behold an impudent prostitution;[14] fie on’t, I shall hate the whole sex to see her. The most odious spectacle the earth can present is an immodest vulgar woman.

Free. Good still; my brain shall keep’t. You must go as you love me.

Mal. Well, I’ll go to make her loath the shame she’s in; The sight of vice augments the hate of sin.    170

Free. The sight of vice augments the hate of sin! Very fine, perdy!


[1] In the old eds., opposite the title, is written, “Turpe est difficiles habere nugas.” The quotation is from Martial, ii. 86.

[2] Spanish leather was held in great esteem.—See Middleton, viii. 70.

[3] The word “nest” was frequently written “neast.” (Cotgrave has—“Nicher. To neastle, build or make a neast in;” “Nid: neast.”) A “nest of goblets” was a large goblet containing several others of gradually diminishing size.

[4] A cross-bow for shooting stones or bullets. (“Arbaleste à boulet.” A stone-bow.—Cotgrave.)

[5] A debtor was said to have day (or longer day) when his creditors allowed him to defer payment.

[6] “Take say” is used here with a double meaning. “Say” was a sort of delicate serge; but the waiting-woman takes say (i.e., assay) because she tastes before her mistress (and is suitably rewarded for her lickorousness).

[7] A play on words: (1) case; (2) kaze (= pudendum muliebre).

[8] Compare the witticism of Julia, daughter of Augustus, in Macrobius (Saturn., ii. 5).

[9] Ed. 2. “you.”

[10] Old eds. “quite” and “quit.”

[11] For an account of the religious sect called The Family of Love, see Middleton, iii. 3-5.

[12] Halliwell (Dict. of Arch. and Prov. Words) quotes from Armin’s Nest of Ninnies:—“Out she would, tucks up her trinkets, like a Dutch tannikin sliding to market on the ice, and away she flings.”

[13] Woman (Dutch).

[14] Whore. (The word brothel was so used).—Cf. Middleton, i. 269: “I may grace her with the name of a courtezan, a backslider, a prostitution,” &c.


A Brothel.

Enter Cocledemoy and Mary Faugh.

Coc. Mary, Mary Faugh.

Mar. Hem.[15]

Coc. Come, my worshipful rotten rough-bellied bawd! ha! my blue-tooth’d patroness of natural wickedness, give me the goblets.

Mar. By yea and by nay, Master Cocledemoy, I fear you’ll play the knave, and restore them.

Coc. No, by the lord, aunt,[16] restitution is catholic, and thou know’st we love——

Mar. What?    10

Coc. Oracles are ceased: tempus præteritum, doest hear, my worshipful glysterpipe, thou ungodly fire that burnt Diana’s temple?—doest hear, bawd?

Mar. In very good truthness, you are the foulest-mouth’d, profane, railing brother, call a woman the most ungodly names: I must confess, we all eat of the forbidden fruit, and for mine own part, though I am one of the family of love, and, as they say, a bawd that covers the multitude of sins, yet I trust I am none of the wicked that eat fish o’ Fridays.    20

Coc. Hang toasts! I rail at thee, my worshipful organ-bellows that fills the pipes, my fine rattling fleamy cough o’ the lungs, and cold with a pox? I rail at thee? what, my right precious pandress, supportress of barber-surgeons, and enhanceress[17] of lotium[18] and diet-drink?[19] I rail at thee, necessary damnation? I’ll make an oration, I, in praise of thy most courtly in-fashion and most pleasureable function, I.

Mar. Ay, prithee do, I love to hear myself praised, as well as any old lady, I.    30

Coc. List then:—a bawd; first for her profession or vocation, it is most worshipful of all the twelve companies; for, as that trade is most honourable that sells the best commodities—as the draper is more worshipful than the pointmaker, the silkman more worshipful than the draper, and the goldsmith more honourable than both, little Mary, so the bawd above all: her shop has the best ware; for where these sell but cloth, satins, and jewels, she sells divine virtues, as virginity, modesty, and such rare gems; and those not like a petty chapman, by retail, but like a great merchant, by wholesale; wa, ha, ho! And who are her customers? Not base corn-cutters or sowgelders, but most rare wealthy knights, and most rare bountiful lords, are her customers. Again, whereas no trade or vocation profiteth but by the loss and displeasure of another—as the merchant thrives not but by the licentiousness of giddy[20] and unsettled youth; the lawyer, but by the vexation of his client; the physician, but by the maladies of his patient—only my smooth-gumm’d bawd lives by others’ pleasure, and only grows rich by others’ rising. O merciful gain, O righteous in-come! So much for her vocation, trade, and life. As for their death, how can it be bad, since their wickedness is always before their eyes, and a death’s[21] head most commonly on their middle-finger? To conclude, ’tis most certain they must needs both live well and die well, since most commonly they live in Clerkenwell,[22] and die in Bride-well. Dixi, Mary.    158

Enter Freevill and Malheureux.

Free. Come along, yonder’s the preface or exordium to my wench, the bawd. Fetch, fetch! What! Mr. Cocledemoy, is your knaveship yet stirring? Look to it, Mulligrub lies[23] for you.

Enter Cocledemoy.

Coc. The more fool he; I can lie for myself, worshipful friend. Hang toasts! I vanish. Ha! my fine boy, thou art a scholar, and hast read Tully’s Offices, my fine knave. Hang toasts!

Free. The vintner will toast you, and he catch you.

Coc. I will draw the vintner to the stoop, and when he runs low, tilt him. Ha! my fine knave, art going to thy recreation?    170

Free. Yes, my capricious rascal.

Coc. Thou wilt look like a fool then, by and by.

Free. Look like a fool, why?

Coc. Why, according to the old saying: a beggar when he is lousing of himself, looks like a philosopher; a hard-bound philosopher, when he is on the stool, looks like a tyrant; and a wise man, when he is in his belly act, looks like a fool. God give your worship good rest! grace and mercy keep your syringe straight, and your lotium unspilt.    180

Enter Franceschina.

Free. See, sir, this is she.

Mal. This?

Free. This.

Mal. A courtezan?—Now, cold blood defend me! What a propension[24] afflicts me!

O, mine aderliver[25] love, vat sall me do to requit dis your mush affection?

Free. Marry, salute my friend, clip his neck, and kiss him welcome.

A’ mine art, sir, you bin very velcome.    190

Free. Kiss her, man, with a more familiar affection, so. Come, what entertainment? go to your lute.

[Exit Franceschina.

And how dost approve my sometimes elected? She’s none of your ramping cannibals that devour man’s flesh, nor any of your Curtian gulfs that will never be satisfied until the best thing a man has be thrown into them. I loved her with my heart, until my soul showed me the imperfection of my body, and placed my affection on a lawful love, my modest Beatrice, which if this shortheels knew, there were no being for me with eyes before her face. But, faith, dost thou not somewhat excuse my sometimes incontinency, with her enforcive beauties? Speak.    203

Mal. Hah! she is a whore, is she not?

Free. Whore? fie, whore! you may call her a courtezan, a cockatrice,[26] or (as that worthy spirit of an eternal happiness said) a suppository. But whore! fie, ’tis not in fashion to call things by their right names. Is a great merchant a cuckold, you must say he is one of the livery. Is a great lord a fool, you must say he is weak. Is a gallant pocky, you must say he has the court scab. Come, she’s your mistress or so.    212

Enter Franceschina, with her lute.

Come, siren, your voice.

Fra. Vill not you stay in mine bosom to-night, love?

Free. By no means, sweet breast; this gentleman has vow’d to see me chastely laid.

Fra. He shall have a bed too, if dat it please him.

Free. Peace, you tender him offence; he is one of a professed abstinence. Siren, your voice and away.

She sings to her Lute.


The dark is my delight,    220
So ’tis the nightingale’s;
My music’s in the night,
So is the nightingale’s;
My body is but little,
So is the nightingale’s;
I love to sleep ’gainst prickle,
So doth the nightingale.

Thanks; buss; so. The night grows old; good rest.

Fra. Rest to mine dear love; rest, and no long absence.    230

Free. Believe me, not long.

Fra. Sall ick not believe you long?

[Exit Franceschina.

Free. O yes, come, via![27]—away, boy—on!

[Exit, his Page lighting him.

Re-enter Freevill, and seems to overhear Malheureux.

Mal. Is she unchaste—can such a one be damn’d?
O love and beauty! ye two eldest seeds
Of the vast chaos, what strong right you have
Even in things divine—our very souls!

Free. [aside.] Wha, ha, ho! come, bird, come. Stand, peace!

Mal. Are strumpets then such things so delicate?
Can custom spoil what nature made so good?    240
Or is their custom bad? Beauty’s for use—
I never saw a sweet face vicious!
It might be proud, inconstant, wanton, nice,
But never tainted with unnatural vice.
Their worst is, their best art is love to win—
O that to love should be or shame, or sin!

Free. [aside.] By the Lord! he’s caught! Laughter eternal!

Mal. Soul, I must love her! Destiny is weak
To my affection.—A common love!—
Blush not, faint breast!    250
That which is ever loved of most is best.
Let colder eld the strong’st objections move,
No love’s without some lust, no life without some love.

Free. Nay, come on, good sir; what, though the most odious spectacle the world can present be an immodest vulgar woman? yet, sir, for my sake——

Mal. Well, sir, for your sake, I’ll think better of them.

Free. Do, good sir; and pardon me that have brought you in:
You know the sight of vice augments the hate of sin.

Mal. Hah! will you go home, sir; ’tis high bedtime?    260

Free. With all my heart, sir; only do not chide me.
I must confess——

Mal. A wanton lover you have been.

Free. O that to love should be or shame or sin!

Mal. Say ye?

Free. Let colder eld the strongest objections move!

Mal. How’s this?

Free. No love’s without some lust, no life without some love.

Go your ways for an apostata! I believe my cast garment must be let out in the seams for you when all is done.    270

Of all the fools that would all man out-thrust,
He that ’gainst Nature would seem wise is worst.


[15] Cf. Middleton, iv. 246.

[16] Cant term for a bawd.

[17]Encherisseur. A high bidder or out-bidder of others; a raiser or enhancer of the price of things,” &c.—Cotgrave.

[18] Old eds. “lotinus.”

[19] “Diet-drink”—medicine prescribed for a patient who was taking diet (i.e., being treated for the pox).

[20] Ed. 2. “giddy youth, and unsetled.”

[21] It appears from many passages in old writers that bawds were accustomed to wear rings with death’s heads on them. Cf. Dekker and Webster’s Northward Ho, iv. 1:—“And as if I were a bawd no ring pleases me but a death’s head.”

[22] Turnmill Street, the headquarters of Elizabethan whores, was situated in Clerkenwell.

[23] i.e., is in ambush.

[24] Old eds. “proportion.”

[25] A corruption of Dutch “alderliefster.”

[26] A term for a courtezan; particularly applied to a captain’s mistress.

[27] “Via”—away, on!



Outside Sir Hubert Subboy’s house, under Beatrice’s window.

Enter Freevill, Pages with torches and Gentlemen with music.

Free. The morn is yet but young. Here, gentlemen,
This is my Beatrice’ window—this the chamber
Of my betrothèd dearest, whose chaste eyes,
Full of loved sweetness and clear cheerfulness,
Have gaged my soul to her enjoyings;
Shredding away all those weak under-branches
Of base affections and unfruitful heats.
Here bestow your music to my voice.

[A song.

Enter Beatrice above.

Always a virtuous name to my chaste love!

Bea. Loved sir,    10
The honour of your wish return to you.
I cannot with a mistress’ compliment,
Forcèd discourses, or nice art of wit,
Give entertain to your dear-wishèd presence:
But safely thus,—what hearty gratefulness,
Unsullen silence, unaffected modesty,
And an unignorant shamefastness can express,
Receive as your protested due. ’Faith, my heart,
I am your servant.
O let not my secure simplicity    20
Breed your mislike, as one quite void of skill;
’Tis grace enough in us not to be ill.
I can some good, and, faith, I mean no hurt;
Do not then, sweet, wrong sober ignorance.
I judge you all of virtue, and our vows
Should kill all fears that base distrust can move.
My soul, what say you—still you love?

Free. Still!
My vow is up above me, and, like time,
Irrevocable: I am sworn all yours.
No beauty shall untwine our arms, no face    30
In my eyes can or shall seem fair;
And would to God only to me you might
Seem only fair! Let others disesteem
Your matchless graces, so might I safer seem;
Envy I covet not. Far, far be all ostent—
Vain boasts of beauties, soft joys, and the rest:
He that is wise pants on a private breast.
So could I live in desert most unknown,
Yourself to me enough were populous;[28]
Your eyes shall be my joys, my wine that still    40
Shall drown my often cares; your only voice
Shall cast a slumber on my list’ning sense;
You, with soft lip, shall only ope mine eyes
And suck their lids asunder; only you
Shall make me wish to live, and not fear death,
So on your cheeks I might yield latest breath.
O he that thus may live and thus shall die,
May well be envied of a deity.[29]

Bea. Dear, my loved heart, be not so passionate;
Nothing extreme lives long.    50

Free. But not to be extreme[30]—nothing in love’s extreme—
My love receives no mean.

Bea. I give you faith; and, prithee, since, poor soul!
I am so easy to believe thee, make it much more pity to deceive me!
Wear this slight favour in my remembrance.

[Throweth down a ring to him.

Free. Which, when I part from,
Hope, the best of life, ever part from me.

Bea. I take you and your word, which may ever live your servant. See, day is quite broke up—the best of hours.    61

Free. Good morrow, graceful mistress: our nuptial day holds.

Bea. With happy constancy a wishèd day.


Free. Myself and all content rest with you.

Enter Malheureux.

Mal. The studious morn, with paler cheek, draws on
The day’s bold light. Hark how the free-born birds
Carol their unaffected passions!

[The nightingales sing.

Now sing they sonnets—thus they cry, We love!
O breath of heaven! thus they, harmless souls,    70
Give entertain to mutual affects.
They have no bawds, no mercenary beds,
No polite restraints, no artificial heats,
No faint dissemblings; no custom makes them blush,
No shame afflicts their name. O you happy beasts!
In whom an inborn heat is not held sin,
How far transcend you wretched, wretched man,
Whom national custom, tyrannous respects
Of slavish order, fetters, lames his power,
Calling that sin in us which in all things else    80
Is Nature’s highest virtue.
O miseri quorum gaudia crimen habent!
Sure Nature against virtue cross doth fall,
Or virtue’s self is oft unnatural.
That I should love a strumpet! I, a man of snow!
Now, shame forsake me—whither am I fallen!
A creature of a public use! my friend’s love, too!
To live to be a talk to men—a shame
To my professed virtue! O accursed reason,
How many eyes hast thou to see thy shame,    90
And yet how blind once to prevent defame!

Free. Diaboli virtus in lumbis est! Morrow, my friend. Come, I could make a tedious scene of this now; but what——Pah! thou art in love with a courtezan! Why, sir, should we loathe all strumpets, some men should hate their own mothers or sisters: a sin against kind, I can tell you.

Mal. May it beseem a wise man to be in love?

Free. Let wise men alone, ’twill beseem thee and me well enough.    100

Mal. Shall I not offend the vowe[d] band of our friendship?

Free. What, to affect that which thy friend affected? By Heaven, I resign her freely; the creature and I must grow off; by this time she has assure[d]ly heard of my resolved marriage, and no question swears “God’s sacrament, ten towsand divells.” I’ll resign, i’faith.

Mal. I would but embrace her, hear her speak, and at the most, but kiss her.

Free. O friend, he that could live with the smoke of roast-meat might live at a cheap rate!    111

Mal. I shall ne’er prove heartily received;
A kind of flat ungracious modesty,
An insufficient dulness stains my ’haviour.

Free. No matter, sir; insufficiency and sottishness are much commendable in a most discommendable action: now could I swallow thee, thou hadst wont to be so harsh and cold: I’ll tell thee,—hell and the prodigies of angry Jove are not so fearful to a thinking mind as a man without affection. Why, friend, philosophy and nature are all one; love is the centre in which all lines close, the common bond of being.    122

Mal. O but a chaste reservèd privateness,
A modest continence!

Free. I’ll tell thee what, take this as firmest sense:—
Incontinence will force a continence;
Heat wasteth heat, light defaceth light,
Nothing is spoiled but by his proper might.
This is something too weighty for thy floor.

Mal. But howsoe’er you shade it, the world’s eye    130
Shines hot and open on’t;
Lying, malice, envy, are held but slidings,
Errors of rage, when custom and the world
Calls lust a crime spotted with blackest terrors.

Free. Where errors are held crimes, crimes are but errors.

Along, sir, to her; she’s an arrant strumpet; and a strumpet is a sarpego, venom’d gonorrhy to man—things actually possessed [Offers to go out, and suddenly draws back]—yet since thou art in love,—and again, as good make use of a statue—a body without a soul, a carcass three months dead—yet since thou art in love——

Mal. Death, man! my destiny I cannot choose.    142

Free. Nay, I hope so. Again, they sell but only flesh,
No jot affection; so that even in the enjoying,

Absentem marmoreamque putes.[31] Yet since you needs must love——

Mal. Unavoidable, though folly—worse than madness!

Free. It’s true; but since you needs must love, you must know this,—
He that must love, a fool and he must kiss.

Enter Cocledemoy.

Master Cocledemoy, ut vales, Domine!    150

Coc. Ago tibi gratias, my worshipful friend, how does your friend?

Free. Out, you rascal!

Coc. Hang toasts, you are an ass; much o’ your worship’s brain lies in your calves; bread o’ god, boy, I was at supper last night with a new-wean’d bulchin; bread o’ god, drunk, horribly drunk—horribly drunk! there was a wench, one Frank Frailty, a punk, an honest polecat, of a clean instep, sound leg, smooth thigh, and the nimble devil in her buttock. Ah, feast o’ grace! when saw you, Tysefew, or Master Caqueteur, that prattling gallant of a good draught, common customs, fortunate impudence, and sound fart?    163

Free. Away, rogue!

Coc. Hang toasts, my fine boy, my companion as worshipful.

Mal. Yes, I hear you are taken up with scholars and churchmen.

Enter Holifernes the barber.

Coc. Quanquam[32] te, Marce, fili, my fine boy.

Hol. Does[33] your worship want a barber-surgeon?    170

Free. Farewell, knave; beware the Mulligrubs.

[Exeunt Freevill and Malhereux.

Coc. Let the Mulligrubs beware the knave. What, a barber-surgeon, my delicate boy?

Hol. Yes, sir, an apprentice to surgery.

Coc.[34] ’Tis, my fine boy. To what bawdy-house doth your master belong? What’s thy name?

Hol. Holifernes Reinscure.

Coc. Reinscure! Good Master Holifernes, I desire your further acquaintance; nay, pray ye be covered, my fine boy: kill thy itch, and heal thy scabs. Is thy master rotten?    181

Hol. My father, forsooth, is dead——

Coc. And laid in his grave.
Alas! what comfort shall Peggy then have!

Hol. None but me, sir; that’s my mother’s son, I assure you.

Coc. Mother’s son? A good witty boy, would live to read an homily well: and to whom are you going now?

Hol. Marry, forsooth, to trim Master Mulligrub the vintner.    190

Coc. Do you know Master Mulligrub?

Hol. My godfather, sir.

Coc. Good boy: hold up thy chops. I pray thee do one thing for me: my name is Gudgeon.

Hol. Good Master Gudgeon.

Coc. Lend me thy basin, razor, and apron.

Hol. O Lord, sir![36]

Coc. Well spoken; good English. But what’s thy furniture worth?

Hol. O Lord, sir, I know not.    200

Coc. Well spoken; a boy of a good wit: hold this pawn; where dost dwell?

Hol. At the sign of the Three Razors, sir.

Coc. A sign of good shaving, my catastrophonical fine boy. I have an odd jest to trim Master Mulligrub, for a wager; a jest, boy; a humour. I’ll return thy things presently. Hold!

Hol. What mean you, good Master Gudgeon?

Coc. Nothing, faith, but a jest, boy: drink that; I’ll recoil presently.    210

Hol. You’ll not stay long.

Coc. As I am an honest man. The Three Razors?

Hol. Ay, sir.

[Exit Holifernes.

Coc. Good; and if I shave not Master Mulligrub, my wit has no edge, and I may[37] go cack in my pewter. Let me see,—a barber: my scurvy tongue will discover me: must dissemble, must disguise; for my beard, my false hair; for my tongue—Spanish, Dutch or Welsh—no, a Northern barber; very good. Widow Reinscure’s man, well; newly entertain’d, right; so, hang toasts! all cards have white backs, and all knaves would seem to have white breasts: so proceed now, worshipful Cocledemoy.

[Exit Cocledemoy, in his barber’s furniture.

[28] “It is impossible to resist the idea that Marston was here thinking of Shakespeare: ‘Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company. For you, in my respect, are all the world.’”—Halliwell.

[29] Ed. 1. “dietie,”—a recognised form of the word deity. See the index to Old Plays, ed. Bullen, sub Diety.

[30] I suggest the following arrangement:—

Free. Be not extreme!
Nothing in love’s extreme, my love receives
No mean.
Bea. I give you faith, and prithee since,
Poor soul! I am so easy to believe thee,
Make it much more [a] pity to deceive me.”

[31] Martial, xi. 60.

[32] The opening words of Cicero’s De Officiis.

[33] “Does ... surgeon” given to Cocledemoy in the old eds.

[34] Not marked in old eds.

[35] On 26th September 1588 “A ballad intytuled Peggies Complaint for the Death of her Willye” was entered in the Stationers’ Registers: I suppose that Cocledemoy is quoting from this ballad. In The Three Lords and Three Ladies of London, 1590 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, vi. 393), the ballad of “Peggy and Willy” is mentioned.

[36] See note 2, vol. i. p. 32.

[37] Omitted in ed. 2.


Franceschina’s lodging.

Enter Mary Faugh, and Franceschina with her hair loose, chafing.

Mar. Nay, good sweet daughter, do not swagger so; you hear your love is to be married, true; he does cast you off, right; he will leave you to the world,—what then? though blue and white, black and green, leave you, may not red and yellow entertain you? is there but one colour in the rainbow?

Fra. Grand grincome[38] on your sentences! God’s sacrament, ten towsand divels take you!—you ha’ brought mine love, mine honour, mine body, all to noting!    10

Mar. To nothing! I’ll be sworn I have brought them to all the things I could; I ha’ made as much o’ your maidenhead—and you had been mine own daughter, I could not ha’ sold your maidenhead oft’ner than I ha’ done. I ha’ sworn for you, God forgive me! I have made you acquainted with the Spaniard, Don Skirtoll,—with the Italian, Messer Beieroane,—with the Irish lord, S. Patrick,—with the Dutch merchant, Haunce Herkin Glukin Skellam Flapdragon,—and specially with the greatest French, and now lastly with this English, yet, in my conscience, an honest gentleman. And am I now grown one of the accursed with you for my labour? Is this my reward? Am I call’d bawd? Well, Mary Faugh, go thy ways, Mary Faugh; thy kind heart will bring thee to the hospital.    25

Fra. Nay, good naunt, you’ll help me to an oder love, vil you not?

Mar. Out, thou naughty belly! wouldst thou make me thy bawd?—thou’st best make me thy bawd. I ha’ kept counsel for thee: who paid the apothecary,—was’t not honest Mary Faugh? who redeem’d thy petticoat and mantle,—was’t not honest Mary Faugh? who helped thee to thy custom,—not swaggering Ireland captains, nor of two-shilling inns-o’-court men,—but with honest flat-caps,[39] wealthy flat-caps, that pay for their pleasure the best of any men in Europe, nay, which is more, in London? And dost thou defy me, vile creature?    37

Fra. Foutra[40] pon you,—vitch, bawd, polecat,—paugh! Did not you praise Freevill to mine love?

Mar. I did praise, I confess, I did praise him; I said he was a fool, an unthrift, a true whoremaster, I confess; a constant drab-keeper, I confess: but what, the wind is turn’d!

Fra. It is, it is, vile woman!—reprobate woman!—naughty woman! it is: vat sall become of mine poor flesh now? mine body must turn Turk for twopence. O Divela, life o’ mine art! ick sall be reveng’d!—do ten thousand hell damn me, ick sall have the rogue trote cut! and his love, and his friend, and all his affinity, sall smart! sall dye! sall hang! Now legion of devil seize him!—de gran pest, St. Anthony’s fire, and de hot Neapolitan poc, rot him!    52

Enter Freevill and Malheureux.

Free. Franceschina!

Fra. O mine seet, dear’st, kindest, mine loving! O mine towsand, ten towsand, delicated, petty[41] seet art!

[Cantat Gallicè.

A[h] mine, a[h] dear leevest affection!

Free. Why, monkey, no fashion in you! Give entertain to my friend.

Fra. Ick sall make de most of you dat courtesy may. Aunt Mary, Mettre Faugh, stools, stools, for des gallants! Mine mettre sing non oder song,[42]—frolic, frolic, sir!—    61
but still complain me do her wrong. Lighten your heart, sir; for me did but kiss her,—for me did but kiss her—and so let go. Your friend is very heavy; ick sall ne’er like such sad company.

Free. No, thou delightest only in light company.

Fra. By mine trot, he been very sad; vat ail you, sir?

Mal. A tooth-ache, lady, a paltry rheum.

Fra. De diet is very goot for de rheum.

Free. How far off dwells the house-surgeon, Mary Faugh?    71

Mar. You are a profane fellow, i’faith; I little thought to hear such ungodly terms come from your lips.

Fra. Pre de now, ’tis but a toy, a very trifle.

Free. I care not for the value, Frank, but i’faith——

Fra. I’fait, me must needs have it (dis is Beatrice’ ring, oh could I get it!); seet, pre de now, as ever you have embraced me with a hearty arm, a warm thought, or a pleasing touch, as ever you will profess to love me, as ever you do wish me life, give me dis ring, dis little ring.    81

Free. Prithee be not uncivilly importunate; sha’ not ha’t; faith, I care not for thee, nor thy jealousy; sha’ not ha’t, i’faith.

Fra. You do not love me. I hear of Sir Hubert Subboys’ daughter, Mistress Beatrice. God’s sacrament, ick could scratch out her eyes, and suck the holes!

Free. Go; y’ are grown a punk rampant!

So, get thee gone; ne’er more behold min eyes, by thee made wretched!    90

Free. Mary Faugh, farewell!—farewell, Frank!

Fra. Sall I not ha’ de ring?

Free. No, by the Lord!

Fra. By te Lord?

Free. By the Lord!

Fra. Go to your new blouze,—your unproved sluttery,—your modest mettre, forsooth!

Free. Marry, will I, forsooth!

Fra. Will you marry, forsooth?

Free. Do not turn witch before thy time.—    100
With all my heart, sir, you will stay.

Mal. I am no whit myself. Video meliora proboque,
But raging lust my fate all strong doth move;
The gods themselves cannot be wise and love.

Free. Your wishes to you!

[Exit Freevill.

Mal. Beauty entirely choice—

Fra. Pray ye prove a man of fashion, and neglect the neglected.

Mal. Can such a rarity be neglected?—can there be measure or sin in loving such a creature?

Fra. O min poor forsaken heart!    110

Mal. I cannot contain,—he saw thee not that left thee.
If there be wisdom, reason, honour, grace,
Of any foolishly-esteemèd virtue,
In giving o’er possession of such beauty,
Let me be vicious, so I may be loved.
Passion, I am thy slave; sweet, it shall be my grace,
That I account thy love my only virtue:
Shall I swear I am thy most vowèd servant?

Fra. Mine vowed? Go! go! go! I cannot more of love. No! no! no! You bin all unconstant. O unfaithful men—tyrants—betrayers—de very enjoying us loseth us; and when you only ha’ made us hateful, you only hate us. O mine forsaken heart!    123

Mal. I must not rave. Silence and modesty two customary virtues. Will you be my mistress?

Fra. Mettres? Ha! ha! ha!

Mal. Will you lie with me?

Fra. Lie with you? O no; you men will out-lie any woman; fait, me no more can love.

Mal. No matter, let me enjoy your bed.    130

Fra. O! vile man, vat do you tinck on me? Do you take me to be a beast—a creature that for sense only will entertain love, and not only for love—love? O! brutish abomination!

Mal. Why, then I pray thee love, and with thy love enjoy me——

Fra. Give me reason to affect you. Will you swear you love me?

Mal. So seriously, that I protest no office so dangerous—no deed so unreasonable—no cost so heavy, but I vow to the utmost tentation of my best being to effect it.    141

Fra. Sall I, or can I trust again? O fool!
How natural ’tis for us to be abused!
Sall ick be sure that no satiety,
No enjoying,
Not time shall languish your affection?

Mal. If there be ought in brain, heart, or hand,
Can make you doubtless, I am your vow’d servant.

Fra. Will you do one ting for me?

Mal. Can I do it?    150

Fra. Yes, yes; but ick do not love dis same Freevill.

Mal. Well?

Fra. Nay, I do hate him.

Mal. So.

Fra. By this kiss I hate him.

Mal. I love to feel such oaths; swear again.

Fra. No, no. Did you ever hear of any that loved at the first sight?

Mal. A thing most proper.

Fra. Now fait, I judge it all incredible until this hour I saw you: pretty fair-eyed yout, would you enjoy me?    162

Mal. Rather than my breath, even as my being.

Fra. Vel! had ick not made a vow——

Mal. What vow?

Fra. O let me forget it; it makes us both despair!

Mal. Dear soul, what vow?

Fra. Ha, good morrow, gentle sir; endeavour to forget me, as I must be enforced to forget all men. Sweet mind rest in you.    170

Mal. Stay, let not thy desire burst me. O my impatient heat endures no resistance—no protraction! there is no being for me but your sudden enjoying.

Fra. I do not love Freevill.

Mal. But what vow? what vow?

Fra. So long as Freevill lives, I must not love.

Mal. Then he—

Fra. Must—

Mal. Die!

Fra. I [k]no[w] there is no such vehemence in your affects.    180
Would I were anything, so he were not!

Mal. Will you be mine when he is not?

Fra. Will I? Dear, dear breast, by this most zealous kiss! but I will not persuade you; but if you hate him that I loathe most deadly; yet as you please—I’ll persuade noting.

Mal. Will you be only mine?

Fra. Vill I? How hard ’tis for true love to dissemble.
I am only yours.

Mal. ’Tis as irrevocable as breath: he dies.    190
Your love!

Fra. My vow,—not until he be dead;
Which that I may be sure not to infringe,
Dis token of his death sall satisfy:
He has a ring, as dear as the air to him,
His new love’s gift; tat got and brought to me,
I shall assurèd your professèd rest.

Mal. To kill a man?

Fra. O! done safely; a quarrel sudden pick’d,
With an advantage strike—then bribe—a little coin,
All’s safe, dear soul; but I’ll not set you on.    200

Mal. Nay, he is gone—the ring! Well, come, little more liberal of thy love.

Fra. Not yet; my vow.

Mal. O Heaven! there is no hell but love’s prolongings.
Dear, farewell.

Fra. Farewell.
Now does my heart swell high, for my revenge
Has birth and form; first friend sall kill his friend.
He dat survives I’ll hang; besides de chaste
Beatrice I’ll vex. Only de ring;    210
Dat got, the world sall know the worst of evils:
Woman corrupted is the worst of devils.

[Exit Franceschina.

Mal. To kill my friend! O ’tis to kill myself!
Yet man’s but man’s excrement—man breeding man
As he does worms; or this, to spoil this nothing.

[He spits.

The body of a man is of the self-same mould[43]
As ox or horse; no murder to kill these.
As for that only part which makes us man,
Murder wants power to touch’t. O wit, how vile!
How hellish art thou, when thou raisest nature    220
’Gainst sacred faith! Think more: to kill a friend
To gain a woman! to lose a virtuous self
For appetite and sensual end, whose very having
Loseth all appetite, and gives satiety!
That corporal end, remorse and inward blushings,
Forcing us loathe the steam of our own heats;
Whilst friendship closed in virtue, being spiritual,
Tastes no such languishings, and moments’ pleasure
With much repentance; but like rivers flow,
And further that they run they bigger grow.    230
Lord, how was I misgone! how easy ’tis to err,
When passion will not give us leave to think!
A learn’d, that is an honest man, may fear,
And lust, and rage, and malice,[44] and anything,
When he is taken uncollected suddenly:
’Tis sin of cold blood, mischief with waked eyes,
That is the damnèd and the truly[45] vice;
Not he that’s passionless, but he ’bove passion’s wise.
My friend shall know it all.


[38] “Grand grincome”—the pox.

[39] A nickname for citizens. (Ed. 1. “atte-cappes;” ed. 2. “art-caps.”)

[40] A contemptuous exclamation.

[41] So ed. 1.—Ed. 2. “pretty.”

[42] From a song in Robert Jones’s First Book of Songs and Airs [1601]:

“My mistress sings no other song
But still complains I did her wrong:
Believe her not, it is not so,
I did but kiss her and let her go,” &c.

[43] Old eds. “soule.”

[44] The verb malice is not uncommon. It is used by Spenser, Marlowe, Ben Jonson, &c.

[45] So ed. 1.—Ed. 2. “truest.”


A Tavern.

Enter Master Mulligrub and Mistress Mulligrub, she with a bag of money.

Mistress Mul. It is right, I assure you, just fifteen pounds.

Mul. Well, Cocledemoy, ’tis thou putt’st me to this charge; but, and I catch thee, I’ll charge thee with as many irons. Well, is the barber come? I’ll be trimm’d, and then to Cheapside to buy a fair piece of plate, to furnish the loss. Is the barber come?

Mistress Mul. Truth, husband, surely heaven is not pleased with our vocation. We do wink at the sins of our people. Our wines are protestants; and I speak it to my grief, and to the burthen of my conscience, we fry our fish with salt butter.    12

Mul. Go, look to your business; mend the matter, and score false with a vengeance.

[Exit Mistress Mulligrub.

Enter Cocledemoy like a barber..

Welcome, friend, whose man?

Coc. Widow Reinscure’s man; and shall please your good worship, my name’s Andrew Shark.

Mul. How does my godson, good Andrew?

Coc. Very well, he’s gone to trim Master Quicquid, our parson. Hold up your head.    20

Mul. How long have you been a barber, Andrew?

Coc. Not long, sir; this two year.

Mul. What! and a good workman already. I dare scarce trust my head to thee.

Coc. O, fear not; we ha’ poll’d better men than you; we learn the trade very quickly. Will your good worship be shaven or cut?

Mul. As you will. What trade didst live by before thou turnedst barber, Andrew?

Coc. I was a pedlar in Germany; but my countrymen thrive better by this trade.    31

Mul. What’s the news, barber? thou art sometimes at court.

Coc. Sometimes poll a page or so, sir.

Mul. And what’s the news? How do all my good lords and all my good ladies, and all the rest of my acquaintance?

Coc. What an arrogant knave’s this! I’ll acquaintance ye! ’Tis cash!—[He spieth the bag.]—Say ye, sir?

Mul. And what news—what news, good Andrew?    40

Coc. Marry, sir, you know the Conduit at Greenwich, and the under-holes that spouts up water?

Mul. Very well; I was wash’d there one day, and so was my wife—you might have wrung her smock, i’faith! But what o’ those holes?

Coc. Thus, sir. Out of those little holes, in the midst of the night, crawl’d out twenty-four huge, horrible, monstrous, fearful, devouring——

Mul. Bless us!    49

Coc. Serpents, which no sooner were beheld, but they turn’d to mastiffs, which howl’d; those mastiffs instantly turn’d to cocks, which crowed; those cocks, in a moment, were changed to bears, which roar’d; which bears are at this hour to be yet seen in Paris Garden, living upon nothing but toasted cheese and green onions.

Mul. By the Lord! and this may be, my wife and I will go see them. This portends something.

Coc. [aside.] Yes, worshipful fist,[46] thou’st feel what portends by and by.    59

Mul. And what more news? You shave the world—especially you barber-surgeons—you know the ground of many things. You are cunning privy searchers: by the mass, you scour all. What more news?

Coc. They say, sir, that twenty-five couple of Spanish jennets are to be seen, hand in hand, dance the old measures,[47] whilst six goodly Flaunders mares play to them on a noise[48] of flutes.

Mul. O monstrous! this is a lie o’ my word. Nay, and this be not a lie—I am no fool, I warrant—nay, make an ass of me once?    70

Coc. Shut your eyes close—wink; sure, sir, this ball will make you smart.

Mul. I do wink.

Coc. Your head will take cold;

[Cocledemoy puts on a coxcomb on Mulligrub’s head.]

I will put on your good worship’s nightcap whilst I shave you. So, mum, hang toasts! Faugh, via![49] sparrows must peck and Cocledemoy munch.    77

Mul. Ha, ha, ha! Twenty-five couple of Spanish jennets to dance the old measures. Andrew makes my worship laugh, i’faith. Dost take me for an ass, Andrew?—dost know one Cocledemoy in town? He made me an ass last night, but I’ll ass him! Art thou free, Andrew? Shave me well—I shall be one of the common council shortly—and then, Andrew—why, Andrew, Andrew, dost leave me in the suds?


Why, Andrew, I shall be blind with winking. Ha! Andrew—wife—Andrew, what means this? Wife!—my money, wife!    88

Enter Mistress Mulligrub.

Mistress Mul. What’s the noise with you? What ail you?

Mul. Where’s the barber?

Mistress Mul. Gone. I saw him depart long since. Why, are not you trimm’d?

Mul. Trimm’d! O wife! I am shaved. Did you take hence the money?

Mistress Mul. I touch’d it not, as I am religious.

Mul. O Lord! I have wink’d fair.

Enter Holifernes.

Hol. I pray, godfather, give me your blessing.

Mul. O Holifernes—O where’s thy mother’s Andrew?    100

Hol. Blessing, godfather!

Mul. The devil choke thee! where’s Andrew, thy mother’s man?

Hol. My mother hath none such, forsooth.

Mul. My money—fifteen pounds—plague of all Andrews! who was’t trimm’d me?

Hol. I know not, godfather; only one met me, as I was coming to you, and borrowed my furniture, as he said, for a jest’ sake.

Mul. What kind of fellow?    110

Hol. A thick, elderly, stub-bearded fellow.

Mul. Cocledemoy, Cocledemoy! Raise all the wise men in the street! I’ll hang him with mine own hands! O wife! some rosa solis.[50]

Mistress Mul. Good husband, take comfort in the Lord; I’ll play the devil, but I’ll recover it. Have a good conscience, ’tis but a week’s cutting[51] in the term!

Mul. O, wife! O, wife! O, Jack! how does thy mother? Is there any fiddlers in the house?

Mistress Mul. Yes, Master Creak’s[52] noise?    120

Mul. Bid ’em play, laugh, make merry; cast up my accounts, for I’ll go hang myself presently. I will not curse, but a pox on Cocledemoy; he has poll’d and shaved me, he has trimm’d me!


[46] Old eds. “fiest.” Fist is a term of contempt (= fister, stinkard). “Vessifier, to breed a fyste, to make breake wind or let a fyste.”—Cotgrave.

[47] A grave stately dance.

[48] Noise in old writers usually means a company of musicians.

[49] See note, p. 20.

[50] A cordial.

[51] Mistress Mulligrub consoles her husband with the thought that in one week of term-time the fifteen pounds may be recovered by help of a little sharping (in the way of adulterating the liquors, frothing the cans, &c.).

[52] So in 2 Henry IV. we have a mention of “Sneak’s noise.”



Room in Sir Hubert Subboys’ house.

Enter Beatrice, Crispinella and Nurse Putifer.

Put. Nay, good child o’ love, once more Master Freevill’s sonnet o’ the kiss you gave him.

Bea. Sha’t, good nurse:


Purest lips, soft banks of blisses,
Self alone deserving kisses;
O give me leave to
, &c.

Cri. Pish! sister Beatrice, prithee read no more; my stomach o’ late stands against kissing extremely.

Bea. Why, good Crispinella?    9

Cri. By the faith and trust I bear to my face, ’tis grown one of the most unsavoury ceremonies: body o’ beauty! ’tis one of the most unpleasing injurious customs to ladies: any fellow that has but one nose on his face, and standing collar and skirts also lined with taffety sarcenet, must salute us on the lips as familiarly—Soft skins save us! there was a stub-bearded John-a-Stile with a ployden’s face saluted me last day and struck his bristles through my lips; I ha’ spent ten shillings in pomatum since to skin them again. Marry, if a nobleman or a knight with one lock visit us, though his unclean goose-turd-green[53] teeth ha’ the palsy, his nostrils smell worse than a putrified marrowbone, and his loose beard drops into our bosom, yet we must kiss him with a cursy, a curse! for my part, I had as lieve they would break wind in my lips.    25

Bea. Fie, Crispinella, you speak too broad.

Cri. No jot, sister; let’s ne’er be ashamed to speak what we be not ashamed to think: I dare as boldly speak venery as think venery.

Bea. Faith, sister! I’ll begone if you speak so broad.

Cri. Will you so? Now bashfulness seize you, we pronounce boldly, robbery, murder, treason, which deeds must needs be far more loathsome than an act which is so natural, just, and necessary, as that of procreation; you shall have an hypocritical vestal virgin speak that with close teeth publicly, which she will receive with open mouth privately; for my own part, I consider nature without apparel; without disguising of custom or compliment, I give thoughts words, and words truth, and truth boldness; she whose honest freeness makes it her virtue to speak what she thinks will make it her necessity to think what is good. I love no prohibited things, and yet I would have nothing prohibited by policy, but by virtue; for as in the fashion of time those books that are call’d in are most in sale and request,[54] so in nature those actions that are most prohibited are most desired.    47

Bea. Good quick sister, stay your pace; we are private, but the world would censure you, for truly severe modesty is women’s virtue.

Cri. Fie, fie! virtue is a free, pleasant, buxom quality. I love a constant countenance well; but this froward ignorant coyness, sour austere lumpish uncivil privateness, that promises nothing but rough skins and hard stools; ha! fie on’t, good for nothing but for nothing. Well, nurse, and what do you conceive of all this?    57

Put. Nay, faith, my conceiving days be done. Marry for kissing, I’ll defend that; that’s within my compass; but for my own part, here’s Mistress Beatrice is to be married with the grace of God; a fine gentleman he is shall have her, and I warrant a strong; he has a leg like a post, a nose like a lion, a brow like a bull, and a beard of most fair expectation: this week you must marry him, and I now will read a lecture to you both, how you shall behave yourselves to your husbands the first month of your nuptial; I ha’ broke my skull about it, I can tell you, and there is much brain in it.

Cri. Read it to my sister, good nurse, for I assure you I’ll ne’er marry.    70

Put. Marry, God forfend, what will you do then?

Cri. Faith, strive against the flesh. Marry! no, faith, husbands are like lots in the lottery: you may draw forty blanks before you find one that has any prize in him. A husband generally is a careless, domineering thing, that grows like coral, which as long as it is under water is soft and tender, but as soon as it has got his branch above the waves is presently hard, stiff, not to be bowed but burst; so when your husband is a suitor and under your choice, Lord how supple he is, how obsequious, how at your service, sweet lady! Once married, got up his head above, a stiff, crooked, nobby, inflexible tyrannous creature he grows; then they turn like water, more you would embrace the less you hold. I’ll live my own woman, and if the worst come to the worst, I had rather prove a wag than a fool.    86

Bea. O, but a virtuous marriage.

Cri. Virtuous marriage! there is no more affinity betwixt virtue and marriage than betwixt a man and his horse; indeed virtue gets up upon marriage sometimes, and manageth it in the right way; but marriage is of another piece, for as a horse may be without a man, and a man without a horse, so marriage, you know, is often without virtue, and virtue, I am sure, more oft without marriage. But thy match, sister—by my troth I think ’twill do well; he’s a well-shaped, clean-lipp’d gentleman, of a handsome, but not affected, fineness, a good faithful eye, and a well-humour’d cheek; would he did not stoop in the shoulders, for thy sake. See, here he is.

Enter Freevill and Tysefew.

Free. Good day, sweet!    100

Cri. Good morrow, brother! nay, you shall have my lip. Good morrow, servant!

Tyse. Good morrow, sweet life!

Cri. Life! dost call thy mistress life?

Tyse. Life! yes, why not life?

Cri. How many mistresses hast thou?

Tyse. Some nine.

Cri. Why then thou hast nine lives, like a cat.

Tyse. Mew, you would be taken up for that.    109

Cri. Nay, good, let me still sit; we low statures love still to sit, lest when we stand we may be supposed to sit.

Tyse. Dost not wear high cork shoes—chopines?[55]

Cri. Monstrous ones: I am, as many other are, pieced above and pieced beneath.

Tyse. Still the best part in the——

Cri. And yet all will scarce make me so high as one of the giants’[56] stilts that stalks before my Lord Mayor’s pageant:

Tyse. By the Lord, so I thought ’twas for something Mistress Joyce jested at thy high insteps.    121

Cri. She might well enough, and long enough, before I would be ashamed of my shortness: what I made or can mend myself I may blush at; but what nature put upon me, let her be ashamed for me, I ha’ nothing to do with it. I forget my beauty.

Tyse. Faith, Joyce is a foolish bitter creature.

Cri. A pretty mildewed wench she is.

Tyse. And fair——

Cri. As myself!    130

Tyse. O you forget your beauty now.

Cri. Troth, I never remember my beauty, but as some men do religion,—for controversy’s sake.

Bea. A motion,[57] sister.

Cri. Nineveh,[58] Julius Cæsar, Jonas, or the destruction of Jerusalem.

Bea. My love, hear.

Cri. Prithee call him not love, ’tis the drab’s phrase: nor sweet honey, nor my coney, nor dear duckling, they[59] are citizen terms, but call him——    140

Bea. What?

Cri. Anything.—What’s the motion?

Bea. You know this night our parents have intended solemnly to contract us, and my love, to grace the feast, hath promised a masque.

Free. You’ll make one, Tysefew, and Caqueteur shall fill up a room.

Tyse. ’Fore heaven, well-remember’d; he borrowed a diamond of me last night to grace his finger in your visitation. The lying creature will swear some strange thing on it now.    151

Enter Caqueteur.

Cri. Peace, he’s here; stand close, lurk.

Caq. Good morrow, most dear, and worthy to be most wise. How does my mistress?

Cri. Morrow, sweet servant; you glister,—prithee, let’s see that stone.

Caq. A toy, lady, I bought to please my finger.

Cri. Why, I am more precious to you than your finger.

Caq. Yes, or than all my body, I swear.    160

Cri. Why, then let it be bought to please me; come, I am no professed beggar.

Caq. Troth, mistress! Zoons! Forsooth, I protest!

Cri. Nay, if you turn Protestant for such a toy.

Caq. In good deed, la; another time I’ll give you a——

Cri. Is this yours to give?

Caq. O God! forsooth mine, quoth you; nay, as for that——    170

Cri. Now I remember, I ha’ seen this on my servant Tysefew’s finger.

Caq. Such another.

Cri. Nay, I am sure this is it.

Caq. Troth, ’tis forsooth. The poor fellow wanted money to pay for supper last night, and so pawn’d it to me; ’tis a pawn, i’faith, or else you should have it.

Tyse. Hark ye, thou base lying—How dares thy impudence hope to prosper? Were’t not for the privilege of this respected company, I would so bang thee.    180

Cri. Come hither, servant. What’s the matter betwixt you two?

Caq. Nothing; but hark you, he did me some uncivil discourtesies last night; for which, because I should not call him to account, he desires to make me any satisfaction. The coward trembles at my very presence; but I ha’ him on the hip; I’ll take the forfeit on his ring.

Tyse. What’s that you whisper to her?    189

Caq. Nothing, sir; but satisfy her that the ring was not pawn’d, but only lent by you to grace my finger; and so told her I craved pardon for being too familiar, or indeed over-bold with your reputation.

Cri. Yes, indeed, he did. He said you desired to make him any satisfaction for an uncivil discourtesy you did him last night; but he said he had you o’ the hip, and would take the forfeit of your ring.

Tyse. How now, ye base poltroon.

Caq. Hold! hold! my mistress speaks by contraries.

Tyse. Contraries!    200

Caq. She jests—faith, only jests.

Cri. Sir, I’ll no more o’ your service—you are a child—I’ll give you to my nurse.

Put. And he come to me, I can tell you, as old as I am, what to do with him.

Caq. I offer my service, forsooth.

Tyse. Why, so: now, every dog has his bone to gnaw on.

Free. The masque holds, Master Caqueteur.

Caq. I am ready, sir. Mistress, I’ll dance with you, ne’er fear—I’ll grace you.    211

Put. I tell you, I can my singles and my doubles, and my trick o’ twenty[60]—my carantapace—my traverse forward—and my falling back, yet, i’faith.

Bea. Mine! The provision for the night is ours. Much must be our care; till night we leave you; I am your servant, be not tyrannous. Your virtue won me; faith, my love’s not lust; Good, wrong me not; my most fault is much trust.

Free. Until night only, my heart be with you. Farewell, sister.    221

Cri. Adieu, brother. Come on, sister, for these sweetmeats.

Free. Let’s meet and practise presently.

Tyse. Content; we’ll but fit our pumps. Come, ye pernicious vermin.

[Exeunt all but Freevill.

Enter Malheureux.

Free. My friend, wished hours! What news from Babylon?
How does the woman of sin and natural concupiscence?

Mal. The eldest child of nature ne’er beheld
So damn’d a creature.    230

Free. What! In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas?
Which way bears the tide?

Mal. Dear loved sir, I find a mind courageously vicious may be put on a desperate security; but can never be blessed with a firm enjoying and self-satisfaction.

Free. What passion is this, my dear Lindabrides?[61]

Mal. ’Tis well; we both may jest; I ha’ been tempted to your death.

Free. What, is the rampant cocatrice grown mad for the loss of her men?    241

Mal. Devilishly mad.

Free. As most assured of my second love?

Mal. Right.

Free. She would have had this ring.

Mal. Ay, and this heart; and in true proof you were slain, I should bring her this ring, from which she was assured
You would not part until from life you parted;
For which deed, and only for which deed, I should possess her sweetness.    251

Free. O! bloody villains! Nothing is defamed but by his proper self. Physicians abuse remedies; lawyers spoil the law; and women only shame women. You ha’ vow’d my death?

Mal. My lust, not I, before my reason would; yet I must use her. That I, a man of sense, should conceive endless pleasure in a body whose soul I know to be so hideously black!    259

Free. That a man at twenty-three should cry, O sweet pleasure! and at forty-three should sigh, O sharp pox! But consider man furnished with omnipotence, and you overthrow him; thou must cool thy impatient appetite. ’Tis fate, ’tis fate!

Mal. I do malign my creation that I am subject to passion. I must enjoy her.

Free. I have it, mark. I give a masque to-night
To my love’s kindred; in that thou shalt go.
In that we two make show of falling out.
Give seeming challenge—instantly depart,    270
With some suspicion to present fight.
We will be seen as going to our swords;
And after meeting, this ring only lent,
I’ll lurk in some obscure place, till rumour
(The common bawd to loose suspicions)
Have feign’d me slain, which (in respect myself
Will not be found, and our late seeming quarrel)
Will quickly sound to all as earnest truth.
Then to thy wench; protest me surely dead;
Show her this ring, enjoy her, and, blood cold,    280
We’ll laugh at folly.

Mal. O but think of it!

Free. Think of it! come away; virtue, let sleep thy passions;
What old times held as crimes, are now but fashions.


[53] Old eds. “goose-turnd-greene.”—“Merde oye. A Goose-turd-greene.”—Cotgrave.

[54] Tacitus has the same sensible observation about prohibited books:—“Convictum Veientonem Italia depulit [Nero] et libros exuri jussit, conquisitos lectitatosque, donec cum periculo parabantur: mox licentia habendi oblivionem attulit.”—Ann., xiv. 50. But in these days of “anthropological” research a public censor of morals might to the advantage of the community be allowed to exercise authority. Discretion, of course, would have to be used; otherwise this edition of Marston might be called in; absit omen!

[55] See Dyce’s Shakesp. Glossary.

[56] For information about the city-giants see Fairholt’s excellent History of Lord Mayors’ Pageants, p. 76 (Percy Society).

[57] Proposal, scheme.

[58] Nineveh was one of the most famous of the motions (i.e., puppet-shows); Julius Cæsar was also a favourite (see Middleton, viii. 95-6). Ben Jonson alludes to the motion of “Jonas and the Whale” in Every Man out of his Humour. In Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair, v. 1, there is a mention of the motion of Jerusalem:—“O the motions that I, Lanthorn Leatherhead, have given light to, in my time, since my master Pod died! Jerusalem was a stately thing, and so was Nineveh,” &c.

[59] So ed. 2.—Ed. 1. “’tis the.”

[60] See note, vol. i. p. 276.

[61] A character in the romance of The Mirror of Chivalry (see note, vol. i. p. 30).


House of Master Burnish, the jeweller.

Enter Master Burnish[62] and Lionel. Master Mulligrub, with a standing cup in his hand, and an obligation[63] in the other. Cocledemoy stands at the other door, disguised like a French pedlar, and overhears them.

Mul. I am not at this time furnish’d; but there’s my bond for your plate.

Bur. Your bill had been sufficient: y’are a good[64] man. A standing cup parcel-gilt[65] of thirty-two ounces, eleven pounds seven shillings, the first of July. Good plate—good man—good day—good all.

Mul. ’Tis my hard fortune; I will hang the knave. No, first he shall half rot in fetters in the dungeon—his conscience made despairful. I’ll hire a knave o’ purpose—shall assure him he is damn’d; and after see him with mine own eyes, hang’d without singing any psalm. Lord, that he has but one neck!    12

Bur. You are too tyrannous;—you’ll use me no further?

Mul. No, sir; lend me your servant, only to carry the plate home. I have occasion of an hour’s absence.

Bur. With easy consent, sir.—Haste and be careful.

[Exit Burnish.

Mul. Be very careful, I pray thee,—to my wife’s own hands.

Lio. Secure yourself, sir.    20

Mul. To her own hand!

Lio. Fear not, I have delivered greater things than this to a woman’s own hand.

Coc. Mounsier, please you to buy a fine delicate ball, sweet ball—a camphor ball?

Mul. Prithee, away!

[Exit Lionel.

Coc. Wun’[66] a ball to scour—a scouring ball—a ball to be shaved!

Mul. For the love of God! talk not of shaving. I have been shaved—mischief and a thousand devils seize him!—I have been shaved!    31

[Exit Mulligrub.

Coc. The fox grows fat when he is cursed—I’ll shave ye smoother yet. Turd on a tile stone! my lips have a kind of rheum at this bole. I’ll have’t—I’ll gargalise my throat with this vintner, and when I have done with him, spit him out. I’ll shark! Conscience does not repine. Were I to bite an honest gentleman, a poor grogaran poet, or a penurious parson that had but ten pigs’ tails in a twelvemonth, and, for want of learning, had but one good stool in a fortnight, I were damn’d beyond the works of supererogation; but to wring the withers of my gouty-barm’d spiggod-frigging jumbler of elements, Mulligrub, I hold it as lawful as sheep-shearing, taking eggs from hens, caudles from asses, or butter’d shrimps from horses—they make no use of them, were not provided for them. And, therefore, worshipful Cocledemoy, hang toasts! On, in grace and virtue to proceed, only beware, beware degrees. There be rounds in a ladder, and knots in a halter; ware carts, hang toasts, the common council has decreed it! I must draw a lot for the great goblet.

[Exit.    51

[62] Old eds. “Garnish.”

[63] Bond.

[64] Mulligrub is good as Antonio was good in Shylock’s eyes:—“My meaning in saying he is a good man is to have you understand that he is sufficient.”

[65] Partly gilt,—with part of the work gilt and part left ungilded.

[66] i.e., want.—Old eds. “One.”


A Tavern.

Enter Mistress Mulligrub, and Lionel with a goblet.

Mistress Mul. Nay, I pray you, stay and drink; and how does your mistress? I know her very well—I have been inward with her, and so has many more. She was ever a good, patient creature, i’faith! With all my heart, I’ll remember your master, an honest man. He knew me before I was married! An honest man he is, and a crafty. He comes forward in the world well, I warrant him; and his wife is a proper woman, that she is. Well, she has been as proper a woman as any in Cheap. She paints now, and yet she keeps her husband’s old customers to him still. In troth, a fine-faced wife, in a wainscot-carved seat,[67] is a worthy ornament to a tradesman’s shop, and an attractive, I warrant; her husband shall find it in the custom of his ware, I’ll assure him. God be with you, good youth; I acknowledge the receipt. [Exit Lionel.] I acknowledge all the receipt—sure, ’tis very well spoken—I acknowledge the receipt. Thus ’tis to have good education, and to be brought up in a tavern. I do keep as gallant and as good company, though I say it, as any she in London. Squires, gentlemen, and knights diet at my table, and I do lend some of them money; and full many fine men go upon my score, as simple as I stand here, and I trust them; and truly they very knightly and courtly promise fair, give me very good words, and a piece of flesh when time of year serves. Nay, though my husband be a citizen, and’s cap’s made of wool,[68] yet I ha’ wit, and can see my good as soon as another, for I have all the thanks; my silly husband, alas! he knows nothing of it; ’tis I that bear—’tis I that must bear a brain[69] for all.

Enter Cocledemoy.

Coc. Fair hour to you, mistress!    31

Mistress Mul. Fair hour!—fine term!—faith, I’ll score it up anon.—A beautiful thought to you, sir.

Coc. Your husband, and my master, Mr. Burnish,[70] has sent you a jole of fresh salmon, and they both will come to dinner to season your new cup with the best wine, which cup your husband entreats you to send back by me, that his arms may be graved a’ the side, which he forgot before it was sent.

Mistress Mul. By what token are you sent?—by no token? Nay, I have wit.    41

Coc. He sent me by the same token, that he was dry shaved this morning.

Mistress Mul. A sad token, but true. Here, sir, I pray you commend me to your master, but especially to your mistress. Tell them they shall be most sincerely welcome.


Coc. Shall be most sincerely welcome! Worshipful Cocledemoy, lurk close. Hang toasts! Be not ashamed of thy quality! Every man’s turd smells well in’s own nose. Vanish, foyst!    51


Re-enter Mistress Mulligrub, with servants and furniture for the table.

Mistress Mul. Come, spread these table diaper napkins, and—do you hear—perfume this parlour; does so smell of profane tobacco. I could never endure this ungodly tobacco, since one of our elders assured me, upon his knowledge, tobacco was not used in the congregation of the family of love. Spread, spread handsomely—Lord? these boys do things arsy-versy—you show your bringing up. I was a gentlewoman by my sister’s side—I can tell ye so methodically. Methodically! I wonder where I got that word? O! Sir Aminadab Ruth bad me kiss him methodically!—I had it somewhere, and I had it indeed.    63

Enter Master Mulligrub.

Mul. Mind, be not desperate; I’ll recover all.
All things with me shall seem honest that can be profitable,
He must ne’er winch, that would or thrive or save,
To be call’d niggard, cuckold, cut-throat, knave!

Mistress Mul. Are they come, husband?

Mul. Who?—what?—how now? What feast towards in my private parlour?    70

Mistress Mul. Pray leave your foolery! What, are they come?

Mul. Come—who come?

Mistress Mul. You need not make’t so strange!

Mul. Strange?

Mistress Mul. Ay, strange. You know no man that sent me word that he and his wife would come to dinner to me, and sent this jole of fresh salmon beforehand?

Mul. Peace—not I—peace! The messenger hath mistaken the house; let’s eat it up quickly before it be inquired for. Sit to it—some vinegar—quick! Some good luck yet. Faith, I never tasted salmon relish better! Oh! when a man feeds at other men’s cost!    83

Mistress Mul. Other men’s cost! Why, did not you send this jole of salmon?

Mul. No.

Mistress Mul. By Master Burnish’[71] man?

Mul. No.

Mistress Mul. Sending me word that he and his wife would come to dinner to me?    90

Mul. No, no.

Mistress Mul. To season my new bowl?

Mul. Bowl!

Mistress Mul. And withal will’d me to send the bowl back.

Mul. Back!

Mistress Mul. That you might have your arms graved on the side?

Mul. Ha!

Mistress Mul. By the same token you were dry-shaven this morning before you went forth.    101

Mul. Pah! how this salmon stinks!

Mistress Mul. And thereupon sent the bowl back, prepar’d dinner—nay, and I bear not a brain.

Mul. Wife, do not vex me! Is the bowl gone?—is it deliver’d?

Mistress Mul. Deliver’d! Yes, sure, ’tis deliver’d.

Mul. I will never more say my prayers. Do not make me mad; ’tis common. Let me not cry like a woman. Is it gone?    110

Mistress Mul. Gone? God is my witness, I deliver’d it with no more intention to be cozen’d on’t than the child new born; and yet——

Mul. Look to my house! I am haunted with evil spirits! Hear me; do hear me! If I have not my goblet again, heaven! I’ll to the devil,—I’ll to a conjurer. Look to my house! I’ll raise all the wise men i’ the street.


Mistress Mul. Deliver us! What words are these? I trust in God he is but drunk, sure.    120

Re-enter Cocledemoy.

Coc. I must have the salmon too; worship[ful] Cocledemoy, now for the masterpiece. God bless thy neckpiece, and foutra!—Fair mistress, my master——

Mistress Mul. Have I caught you?—what, Roger?

Coc. Peace, good mistress. I’ll tell you all. A jest; a very mere jest: your husband only took sport to fright you:—the bowl’s at my master’s; and there is your husband, who sent me in all haste lest you should be over-frighted with his feigning, to come to dinner to him.    130

Mistress Mul. Praise heaven it is no worse.

Coc. And desired me to desire you to send the jole of salmon before, and yourself to come after to them; my mistress would be right glad to see you.

Mistress Mul. I pray carry it. Now thank them entirely. Bless me, I was never so out of my skin in my life! pray thank your mistress most entirely.

Coc. So now, figo! worshipful Mall Faugh and I will munch; cheaters and bawds go together like washing and wringing.    140


Mistress Mul. Beshrew his heart for his labour, how everything about[72] me quivers. What, Christian! my hat and aporn:[73] here, take my sleeves. And how I tremble! so I’ll gossip it now for’t, that’s certain; here has been revolutions and false fires indeed.

Enter Mulligrub.

Mul. Whither now?—what’s the matter with you now?—whither are you a-gadding?

Mistress Mul. Come, come, play the fool no more. Will you go?

Mul. Whither, in the rank name of madness—whither?

Mistress Mul. Whither?—why to Master Burnish,[74] to eat the jole of salmon. Lord, how strange you make it!    153

Mul. Why so?—why so?

Mistress Mul. Why so? Why, did not you send the self-same fellow for the jole of salmon that had the cup?

Mul. ’Tis well,—’tis very well.

Mistress Mul. And will’d me to come and eat it with you at the goldsmith’s?

Mul. O, ay, ay, ay,—art in thy right wits?    160

Mistress Mul. Do you hear?—make a fool of somebody else; and you make an ass of me, I’ll make an ox of you,—do ye see?

Mul. Nay, wife, be patient; for, look you, I may be mad, or drunk, or so; for my own part, though you can bear more than I, yet I can do well. I will not curse nor cry,[75] but Heaven knows what I think. Come, let’s go hear some music; I will never more say my prayers. Let’s go hear some doleful music. Nay, if Heaven forget to prosper knaves, I’ll go no more to the synagogue. Now I am discontented, I’ll turn sectary; that is fashion.


[67] Tradesmen were frequently accused of using their wives as lures to attract customers. We shall hear more of this subject when we reach the satires.

[68] For the benefit of cappers an act was passed in 1571 that caps of wool (“statute-caps”) should be worn by citizens on the Sabbath and on holidays.

[69] “Bear a brain”—keep a shrewd memory.

[70] Old eds. “Garnish.”

[71] Old eds. “Garnish.”

[72] Ed. 1. “about, abour.”

[73] Old form of “apron,” (which is the reading of ed. 2).

[74] Old eds. “Garnish.”

[75] Ed. 1. “cary.”—Ed. 2. “care I.”



Room in Sir Hubert Subboys’ house.

Enter Sir Hubert Subboys, Sir Lionel Freevill, Crispinella; servants with lights.

Sir Hub. More lights! Welcome, Sir Lionel Freevill! brother Freevill, shortly. Look to your lights!

Serv. The masquers are at hand.

Sir Lio. Call down our daughter. Hark! they are at hand: rank handsomely.

Enter the Masquers; they dance. Enter Beatrice, Freevill, and Malheureux. Malheureux takes Beatrice from Freevill: they draw.

Free. Know, sir, I have the advantage of the place;
You are not safe: I would deal even with you.

Mal. So.

[They exchange gloves as pledges.

Free. So.

Bea. I do beseech you, sweet, do not for me provoke your fortune.    11

Sir Lio. What sudden flaw is risen?

Sir Hub. From whence comes this?

Free. An ulcer, long time lurking, now is burst.

Sir Hub. Good sir, the time and your designs are soft.

Bea. Ay, dear sir, counsel him, advise him; ’twill relish well
From your carving. Good my sweet, rest safe.

Free. All’s well! all’s well!—this shall be ended straight.

Sir Hub. The banquet stays;—there we’ll discourse more large.

Free. Marriage must not make men cowards.

Sir Lio. Nor rage fools.    19

Sir Hub. ’Tis valour not where heat but reason rules.

[Exeunt; only Tysefew and Crispinella stay.

Tyse. But do you hear, lady?—you proud ape, you! What was the jest you brake of me even now?

Cris. Nothing. I only said you were all mettle;—that you had a brazen face, a leaden brain, and a copper beard.

Tyse. Quicksilver,—thou little more than a dwarf, and something less than a woman.

Cris. A wisp! a wisp! a wisp!—will you go to the banquet?

Tyse. By the Lord, I think thou wilt marry shortly too; thou growest somewhat foolish already.    31

Cris. O, i’faith, ’tis a fair thing to be married, and a necessary. To hear this word must! If our husbands be proud, we must bear his contempt; if noisome, we must bear with the goat under his armholes; if a fool, we must bear his bable;[76] and, which is worse, if a loose liver, we must live upon unwholesome reversions; where, on the contrary side, our husbands—because they may, and we must—care not for us. Things hoped with fear, and got with strugglings, are men’s high pleasures, when duty palls and flats their appetite.    41

Tyse. What a tart monkey is this! By heaven! if thou hadst not so much wit, I could find in my heart to marry thee. Faith, bear with me for all this!

Cris. Bear with thee? I wonder how thy mother could bear thee ten months in her belly, when I cannot endure thee two hours in mine eye.

Tyse. Alas, for your sweet soul! By the Lord, you are grown a proud, scurvy, apish, idle, disdainful, scoffing—God’s foot! because you have read Euphues and his England,[77] Palmerin de Oliva,[78] and the Legend of Lies![79]    52

Cris. Why, i’faith, yet, servant, you of all others should bear with my known unmalicious humours: I have always in my heart given you your due respect. And Heaven may be sworn, I have privately given fair speech of you, and protested——

Tyse. Nay, look you; for my own part, if I have not as religiously vow’d my heart to you,—been drunk to your health, swallowed flap-dragons,[80] ate glasses, drunk urine,[81] stabb’d arms,[82] and done all the offices of protested gallantry for your sake; and yet you tell me I have a brazen face, a leaden brain, and a copper beard! Come, yet, and it please you.    64

Cris. No, no;—you do not love me.

Tyse. By —— but I do now; and whosoever dares say that I do not love you, nay, honour you, and if you would vouchsafe to marry——

Cris. Nay, as for that, think on’t as you will, but God’s my record,—and my sister knows I have taken drink and slept upon’t,—that if ever I marry, it shall be you; and I will marry, and yet I hope I do not say it shall be you neither.    73

Tyse. By Heaven, I shall be as soon weary of health as of your enjoying!—Will you cast a smooth cheek upon me?

Cris. I cannot tell. I have no crump’d shoulders, my back needs no mantle, and yet marriage is honourable. Do you think ye shall prove a cuckold?

Tyse. No, by the Lord, not I!    80

Cris. Why, I thank you, i’faith. Heigho! I slept on my back this morning, and dreamt the strangest dreams. Good Lord! How things will come to pass! Will you go to the banquet?

Tyse. If you will be mine, you shall be your own:—my purse, my body, my heart, is yours,—only be silent in my house, modest at my table, and wanton in my bed;—and the Empress of Europe cannot content, and shall not be contented, better.    89

Cris. Can any kind heart speak more discreetly affectionately? My father’s consent; and as for mine——

Tyse. Then thus, and thus, so Hymen should begin; Sometimes a falling out proves falling in.


[76] The word is used in the double sense of (1) babble, (2) bauble (which was frequently written bable).

[77] Euphues and his England is the title of the second part (first published in 1580) of John Lyly’s famous and tedious romance.

[78] One of the romances published in the series that bears the general title of The Mirrour of Knighthood.

[79] The Legend of Lies is, of course, a fictitious book.

[80] Candle-ends floating in lighted brandy.

[81] This nasty feat of gallantry is mentioned by Middleton, ii. 351.

[82] It appears (from passages in Ben Jonson, Middleton, &c.) that gallants were accustomed to puncture their arms, and letting the blood drip into the wine, drink off the mixture to their mistress’ health.


Near Sir Hubert Subboys’ house.

Enter Freevill, speaking to some within; Malheureux at the other door.

Free. As you respect my virtue, give me leave
To satisfy my reason, though not blood.—
So all runs right; our feignèd rage hath ta’en
To fullest life: they are much possess’d
Of force most, most all quarrel. Now, my right friend,
Resolve me with open breast, free and true heart;
Cannot thy virtue, having space to think
And fortify her weakened powers with reason,
Discourses, meditations, discipline,
Divine ejaculatories, and all those aids against devils,—
Cannot all these curb thy low appetite    11
And sensual fury?

Mal. There is no God in blood, no reason in desire.
Shall I but live? Shall I not be forced to act
Some deed whose very name is hideous?

Free. No.

Mal. Then I must enjoy Franceschina.

Free. You shall.
I’ll lend this ring: show it to that fair devil:
It will resolve me dead;
Which rumour, with my artificial absence,
Will make most firm: enjoy her suddenly.    20

Mal. But if report go strong that you are slain,
And that by me,—whereon I may be seized,—
Where shall I find your being?

Free. At Master Shatewe’s the jeweller’s, to whose breast
I’ll trust our secret purpose.

Mal. Ay, rest yourself;
Each man hath follies.

Free. But those worst of all,
Who, with a willing eye, do seeing fall.

Mal. ’Tis true, but truth seems folly in madness’ spectacles. I am not now myself, no man: farewell.

Free. Farewell.    30

Mal. When woman’s in the heart, in the soul hell.

[Exit Malheureux.

Free. Now, repentance, the fool’s whip, seize thee;
Nay, if there be no means I’ll be thy friend,
But not thy vices’; and with greatest sense
I’ll force thee feel thy errors to the worst;
The wildest of dangers thou shalt sink into.
No jeweller shall see me; I will lurk
Where none shall know or think; close I’ll withdraw,
And leave thee with two friends—a whore and knave;
But is this virtue in me? No, not pure,    40
Nothing extremely best with us endures;
No use in simple purities; the elements
Are mix’d for use; silver without allay[83]
Is all too eager[84] to be wrought for use:
Nor precise virtues, ever purely good,
Holds useful size with temper of weak blood.
Then let my course be borne, though with side-wind;
The end being good, the means are well assign’d.


[83] Old form of alloy.

[84] Brittle (Fr. aigre).—“Aigre, eagre, sharpe, tart, biting, sower also brittle, or easily broken with a hammer.”—Cotgrave.


Franceschina’s lodging.

Enter Franceschina melancholy, Cocledemoy leading her.

Coc. Come, catafugo, Frank o’ Frank-hall! who, who ho! Excellent! Ha, here’s a plump-rump’d wench, with a breast softer than a courtier’s tongue, an old lady’s gums, or an old man’s mentula. My fine rogue——

Fra. Pah, you poltroon!

Coc. Goody fist,[85] flumpum pumpum; ah, my fine wag-tail, thou art as false, as prostituted, and adulterate as some translated manuscript. Buss, fair whore, buss!

Fra. God’s sacrament, pox!    10

Coc. Hadamoy key, dost thou frown, medianthon teukey? Nay, look here. Numeron key, silver blithefor cany, os cany goblet: us key ne moy blegefoy oteeston pox, on you gosling!

Fra. By me fait, dis bin very fine langage; ick sall bush ye now; ha, be garzon, vare had you dat plate?

Coc. Hedemoy key, get you gone, punk rampant, key, common up-tail!

Enter Mary Faugh in haste.

Mar. O daughter, cousin, niece, servant, mistress!

Coc. Humpum, plumpum squat, I am gone.    20

[Exit Cocledemoy.

Mar. There is one Master Malheureux at the door desires to see you. He says he must not be denied, for he hath sent this ring; and withal says ’tis done.

Fra. Vat sall me do now, God’s sacrament! Tell him two hours hence he sall be most affectionately velcome; tell him (vat sall me do?), tel him ick am bin in my bate, and ick sall perfume my feets, mak a mine body so delicate for his arm, two hours hence.

Mar. I shall satisfy him: two hours hence, well.    29

[Exit Mary.

Fra. Now ick sall revange; hay, begar, me sal tartar de whole generation! Mine brain vork it. Freevill is dead, Malheureux sall hang; and mine rival, Beatrice, ick sall make run mad.

Enter Mary Faugh.

Mar. He’s gone, forsooth, to eat a caudle of cock-stones, and will return within this two hours.

Fra. Verie vel, give monies to some fellow to squire me; ick sal go abroad.

Mar. There’s a lusty bravo beneath, a stranger, but a good stale[86] rascal. He swears valiantly, kicks a bawd right virtuously, and protests with an empty pocket right desperately. He’ll squire you.    41

Fra. Very velcom; mine fan; ick sall retorn presantly. Now sal me be revange; ten tousant devla! der sall be no got in me but passion, no tought but rage, no mercy but bloud, no spirit but divla in me. Dere sal noting tought good for me, but dat is mischievous for others.


[85] Ed. 2. “fiest.”—See note, p. 42.

[86] Quy. “tall”?


Room in Sir Hubert Subboys’ house.

Enter Sir Hubert, Sir Lionel, Beatrice, Crispinella, and Nurse, Tysefew following.

Sir Lio. Did no one see him since?—pray God!—nay, all is well.
A little heat; what? he is but withdrawn;
And yet I would to God!—but fear you nothing.

Bea. Pray God that all be well, or would I were not!

Tyse. He’s not to be found, sir, anywhere.

Sir Lio. You must not make a heavy face presage an ill event. I like your sister well, she’s quick and lively: would she would marry, faith.

Cri. Marry, nay and I would marry, methinks an old man’s a quiet thing.    10

Sir Lio. Ha, mass! and so he is.

Cri. You are a widower?

Sir Lio. That I am, i’faith, fair Crisp; and I can tell you, would you affect me, I have it in me yet, i’faith.

Cri. Troth I am in love; let me see your hand: would you cast yourself away upon me willingly?

Sir Lio. Will I? Ay, by the——

Cri. Would you be a cuckold willingly? By my troth ’tis a comely, fine, and handsome sight, for one of my years to marry an old man; truth, ’tis restorative; what a comfortable thing it is to think of her husband, to hear his venerable cough o’ the everlastings, to feel his rough skin, his summer hands and winter legs, his almost no eyes, and assuredly no teeth; and then to think what she must dream of, when she considers others’ happiness and her own want! ’tis a worthy and notorious comfortable match.    27

Sir Lio. Pish, pish! will you have me?

Cri. Will you assure me——

Sir Lio. Five hundred pound jointure?

Cri. That you will die within this fortnight?

Sir Lio. No, by my faith, Cris.

Cri. Then Crisp by her faith assures you she’ll have none of you.

Enter Young Freevill disguised like a pander, and Franceschina.

Free. By’r leave, gentles and men of nightcaps, I would speak, but that here stands one is able to express her own tale best.

Fra. Sir, mine speech is to you; you had a son, matre Freevill?

Sir Lio. Had, ha! and have.    40

Fra. No point,[87] me am come to assure you dat one mestre Malheureux hath killed him.

Bea. O me! wretched, wretched!

Sir Hub. Look to our daughter.

Sir Lio. How art thou inform’d?

Fra. If dat it please you to go vid me, ick sall bring you where you sall hear Malheureux vid his own lips confess it, and dare ye may apprehend him, and revenge your and mine love’s blood.

Sir Hub. Your love’s blood! mistress, was he your love?    51

Fra. He was so, sir; let your daughter hear it: do not veep, lady; de young man dat be slain did not love you, for he still lovit me ten tousant tousant times more dearly.

Bea. O my heart, I will love you the better; I cannot hate what he affected. O passion, O my grief! which way wilt break, think, and consume!

Cri. Peace!

Bea. Dear woes cannot speak.    60

Fra. For look you, lady, dis your ring he gave me, vid most bitter jests at your scorn’d kindness.

Bea. He did not ill not to love me, but sure he did not well to mock me: gentle minds will pity, though they cannot love; yet peace and my love sleep with him. Unlace, good nurse; alas! I was not so ambitious of so supreme an happiness, that he should only love me; ’twas joy enough for me, poor soul, that I only might only love him.

Fra. O but to be abused, scorn’d, scoff’d at! O ten tousand divla, by such a one, and unto such a one!    71

Bea. I think you say not true, sister; shall we know one another in the other world?

Cri. What means my sister?

Bea. I would fain see him again! O my tortured mind!
Freevill is more than dead, he is unkind!

[Exeunt Beatrice, Crispinella, and Nurse.

Sir Hub. Convey her in, and so, sir, as you said, Set a strong watch.

Sir Lio. Ay, sir, and so pass along with this same common woman; you must make it good.    80

Fra. Ick sall, or let me pay for his mine bloud.

Sir Hub. Come, then, along all, with quiet speed.

Sir Lio. O fate!

Tyse. O sir, be wisely sorry, but not passionate.

[Exeunt all but Young Freevill.

Free. I will go and reveal myself! stay, no, no;
Grief endears love. Heaven! to have such a wife
Is happiness to breed pale envy in the saints.
Thou worthy dove-like virgin without gall,
Cannot (that woman’s evil) jealousy,
Despite disgrace, nay, which is worse, contempt,    90
Once stir thy faith? O truth, how few sisters hast thou!
Dear memory!
With what a suffering sweetness, quiet modesty,
Yet deep affection, she received my death!
And then with what a patient, yet oppressed kindness,
She took my lewdly intimated wrongs!
O the dearest of heaven! were there but three
Such women in the world, two might be saved.
Well, I am great
With expectation to what devilish end    100
This woman of foul soul will drive her plots;
But Providence all wicked art o’ertops;
And impudence must know (tho’ stiff as ice),
That fortune doth not always dote on vice.


[87] “No point”—not at all (Fr. non point). See Dyce’s Shakesp. Glossary.


A Street.

Enter Sir Hubert, Sir Lionel, Tysefew, Franceschina, and three with halberds.

Sir Hub. Plant a watch there! be very careful, sirs; the rest with us.

Tyse. The heavy night grows to her depth of quiet;
’Tis about mid-darkness.

Fra. Mine shambre is hard by; ick sall bring you to it presantment.

Sir Lio. Deep silence! On!


Coc. (within). Wa, ha, ho!

Enter Mulligrub.

Mul. It was his voice, ’tis he: he sups with his cupping-glasses. ’Tis late; he must pass this way: I’ll ha’ him—I’ll ha’ my fine boy, my worshipful Cocledemoy; I’ll moy him; he shall be hang’d in lousy linen; I’ll hire some sectary to make him an heretic before he die; and when he is dead I’ll piss on his grave.    15

Enter Cocledemoy.

Coc. Ah, my fine punks, good night, Frank Frailty, Frail o’ Frail-hall! Bonus noches, my ubiquitari.

Mul. Ware polling and shaving, sir.

Coc. A wolf, a wolf, a wolf!

[Exit Cocledemoy, leaving his cloak behind him.

Mul. Here’s something yet, a cloak, a cloak! Yet I’ll after; he cannot ’scape the watch; I’ll hang him if I have any mercy. I’ll slice him.


Enter three Constables; to them Cocledemoy.

1st Con. Who goes there? Come before the constable.    24

Coc. Bread o’ God! constable, you are a watch for the devil. Honest men are robb’d under your nose; there’s a false knave in the habit of a vintner set upon me; he would have had my purse, but I took me to my heels: yet he got my cloak, a plain stuff cloak, poor, yet ’twill serve to hang him. ’Tis my loss, poor man that I am!    31


Enter Mulligrub running with Cocledemoy’s cloak.

2d Con. Masters, we must watch better; is’t not strange that knaves, drunkards, and thieves should be abroad, and yet we of the watch, scriveners, smiths, and tailors, never stir?

1st Con. Hark, who goes there?

Mul. An honest man and a citizen.

2d Con. Appear, appear; what are you?

Mul. A simple vintner.

1st Con. A vintner ha! and simple; draw nearer, nearer; here’s the cloak.    41

2d Con. Ay, Master Vintner, we know you: a plain stuff cloak; ’tis it.

1st Con. Right, come! O thou varlet, dost not thou know that the wicked cannot ’scape the eyes of the constable?

Mul. What means this violence? As I am an honest man I took the cloak——

1st Con. As you are a knave, you took the cloak, we are your witnesses for that.    50

Mul. But, hear me, hear me! I’ll tell you what I am.

2d Con. A thief you are.

Mul. I tell you my name is Mulligrub.

1st Con. I will grub you. In with him to the stocks; there let him sit till to-morrow morning, that Justice Quodlibet may examine him.

Mul. Why, but I tell thee——

2d Con. Why, but I tell thee, we’ll tell thee now.

Mul. Am I not mad? am I not an ass? Why, scabs, God’s-foot! let me out.    60

2d Con. Ay, ay, let him prate; he shall find matter in us scabs, I warrant: God’s-so, what good members of the commonwealth do we prove!

1st Con. Prithee, peace; let’s remember our duties, and let’s[88] go sleep, in the fear of God.

[Exeunt, having left Mulligrub in the stocks.

Mul. Who goes there? Illo, ho, ho: zounds, shall I run mad—lose my wits! Shall I be hang’d? Hark; who goes there? Do not fear to be poor, Mulligrub; thou hast a sure stock now.

Re-enter Cocledemoy like a bellman.

Coc. The night grows old,    70
And many a cuckold
Is now—Wha, ha, ha, ho!
Maids on their backs
Dream of sweet smacks,
And warm—Wo, ho, ho, ho!

I must go comfort my venerable Mulligrub, I must fiddle him till he fist.[89] Fough!

Maids in your night-rails,
Look well to your light—
Keep close your locks,    80
And down your smocks;
Keep a broad eye,
And a close thigh.

Excellent, excellent! Who’s there? Now, Lord, Lord—Master Mulligrub—deliver us! what does your worship in the stocks? I pray come out, sir.

Mul. Zounds, man, I tell thee I am lock’d!

Coc. Lock’d! O world! O men! O time! O night! that canst not discern virtue and wisdom, and one of the common council! What is your worship in for?    90

Mul. For (a plague on’t) suspicion of felony.

Coc. Nay, and it be such a trifle, Lord, I could weep, to see your good worship in this taking. Your worship has been a good friend to me, and tho’ you have forgot me, yet I knew your wife before she was married, and since I have found your worship’s door open, and I have knock’d, and God knows what I have saved: and do I live to see your worship stocked?

Mul. Honest bellman, I perceive
Thou knowest me: I prithee call the watch.    100
Inform the constable of my reputation,
That I may no longer abide in this shameful habitation,
And hold thee all I have about me.

[Gives him his purse.

Coc. ’Tis more than I deserve, sir: let me alone for your delivery.

Mul. Do, and then let me alone with Cocledemoy. I’ll moy him!

Re-enter the Constables.

Coc. Maids in your——
Master Constable, whose that ith’ stocks?

1st Con. One for a robbery: one Mulligrub, he calls himself. Mulligrub? Bellman, knowest thou him?    111

Coc. Know him! O, Master Constable, what good service have you done! Know him? He’s a strong thief; his house has been suspected for a bawdy tavern a great while, and a receipt for cut-purses, ’tis most certain. He has been long in the black book, and is he ta’en now?

2d Con. By’r lady, my masters, we’ll not trust the stocks with him, we’ll have him to the justices, get a mittimus to Newgate presently. Come, sir, come on, sir.    121

Mul. Ha! does your rascalship yet know my worship in the end?

1st Con. Ay, the end of your worship we know.

Mul. Ha! goodman constable, here’s an honest fellow can tell you what I am?

2d Con. ’Tis true, sir; y’are a strong thief, he says, on his own knowledge. Bind fast, bind fast! we know you. We’ll trust no stocks with you. Away with him to the jail instantly.    130

Mul. Why, but dost hear? Bellman, rogue, rascal! God’s—why, but—

[The Constables drag away Mulligrub.

Coc. Why, but! wha, ha, ha! excellent, excellent! ha, my fine Cocledemoy, my vintner fists. I’ll make him fart crackers before I ha’ done with him; to-morrow is the day of judgment. Afore the Lord God, my knavery grows unperegall;[90] ’tis time to take a nap, until half an hour hence. God give your worship music, content, and rest.


[88] So ed. 2.—Ed. 1. “let.”

[89] See note, p. 42.

[90] Unequalled.



Franceschina’s lodging.

Enter Franceschina, Sir Lionel, Tysefew, with Officers.

Fra. You bin very velcom to mine shambra.

Sir Lio. But, how know ye, how are ye assured,
Both of the deed, and of his sure return?

Fra. O min-here, ick sall tell you. Metre Malheureux came all bretless running a my shambra, his sword all bloudy: he tel a me he had kil Freevill, and pred a me to conceal him. Ick flatter him, bid bring monies, he should live and lie vid me. He went, whilst ick (me hope vidout sins), out of mine mush love to Freevill, betray him.    10

Sir Lio. Fear not, ’tis well: good works get grace for sin.

[She conceals them behind the curtain.

Fra. Dere, peace, rest dere; so, softly, all go in.—
De net is lay, now sal ick be revenge.
If dat me knew a dog dat Freevill love,
Me would puisson him; for know de deepest hell
As a revenging woman’s naught so fell.

Enter Mary Faugh.

Mar. Ho! Cousin Frank, the party you wot of, Master Malheureux—

Fra. Bid him come up, I prede.

[Cantat saltatque cum cithara.

Enter Malheureux.

Fra. O min-here man, a dere liver love,    20
Mine ten tousant times velcom love!
Ha! by mine trat, you bin de just—vat sall me say?
Vat seet honie name sall I call you?

Mal. Any from you
Is pleasure. Come, my loving prettiness,
Where’s thy chamber? I long to touch your sheets.

Fra. No, no, not yet, mine seetest soft-lipp’d love,
You sall not gulp down all delights at once.

Be min trat, dis all-fles-lovers, dis ravenous wenchers[91] dat sallow all down hole, vill have all at one bit; fie, fie, fie! be min fait, dey do eat comfets vid spoons.    31

No, no, I’ll make you chew your pleasure vit love;
De more degrees and steps, de more delight,
De more endearèd is de pleasure height.

Mal. What, you’re a learn’d wanton, and proceed by art?

Fra. Go, little vag, pleasure should have a crane’s long neck, to relish de ambrosia of delight. And ick pre de tell me, for me loves to hear of manhood very mush, i’fait: ick prede—vat vas me a saying? Oh, ick prede tell a me how did you killa Metre Freevill?    40

Mal. Why, quarrelled o’ set purpose, drew him out,
Singled him, and, having the advantage
Of my sword and might, ran him through and through.

Fra. Vat did you vid him van he was sticken?

Mal. I dragg’d him by the heels to the next wharf,
And spurn’d him in the river.

[Those in ambush rusheth forth and take him.

Sir Lio. Seize, seize him!
O monstrous! O ruthless villain!

Mal. What mean you, gentlemen? By heaven——

Tyse. Speak not of anything that’s good.    49

Mal. Your errors gives you passion: Freevill lives.

Sir Lio. Thy own lips say thou liest.

Mal. Let me die, if at Shatewe’s the jeweller he lives not safe untouch’d.

Tyse. Meantime to strictest guard, to sharpest prison.

Mal. No rudeness, gentlemen: I’ll go undragg’d.
O, wicked, wicked devil!


Sir Lio. Sir, the day of trial is this morn; let’s prosecute
The sharpest rigour and severest end:
Good men are cruel when they’re vice’s friend.

Sir Hub. Woman, we thank thee with no empty hand;
Strumpets are fit[92] for something. Farewell.    61

[All save Young Freevill depart.

Free. Ay, for hell!
O, thou unreprievable, beyond all
Measure of grace damn’d irremediably![93]
That things of beauty created for sweet use,
Soft comfort, as[94] the very music of life,
Custom should make so unutterably[95] hellish!
O, heaven!
What difference is in women and their life!
What man, but worthy name of man, would leave    70
The modest pleasures of a lawful bed—
The holy union of two equal hearts
Mutually holding either dear as health—
Th’ undoubted issues, joys of chaste sheets,
Th’ unfeign’d embrace of sober ignorance—
To twine th’ unhealthful loins of common loves,
The prostituted impudence of things,
Senseless like those by cataracts of Nile,
Their use so vile takes away sense! How vile
To love a creature made of blood and hell,    80
Whose use makes weak, whose company doth shame,
Whose bed doth beggar, issue doth defame!

Re-enter Franceschina.

Fra. Metre Freevill live? ha, ha, live at Mestre Shatewe’s! Mush[96] at Metre Shatewe’s! Freevill is dead, Malheureux sall hang: and, sweet divel, dat Beatrice would but run mad, dat she would but run mad! den me would dance and sing. Metre Don Dubon, me pre ye now go to Mestres Beatrice. Tell her Freevill is sure dead, and dat he curse herself especially, for dat he was sticked in her quarrel, swearing in his last gasp, dat if it had bin in mine quarrels ’twould never have grieved him.

Free. I will.    92

Fra. Prede do, and say any ting dat vil vex her.

Free. Let me alone to vex her.

Fra. Vil you, vil you mak a her run mad? Here, take dis ring, see me scorn to wear anyting dat was hers or his. I prede torment her, ick cannot love her; she honest and virtuous, forsooth!

Free. Is she so? O vile creature! then let me alone with her.    100

Fra. Vat, vil you mak a her mad? seet, by min trat, be pretta servan; bush,[97] ick sall go to bet now.


Free. Mischief, whither wilt thou? O thou tearless woman!
How monstrous is thy devil,
The end of hell as thee!
How miserable were it to be virtuous,
If thou couldst prosper!
I’ll to my love, the faithful Beatrice;
She has wept enough, and faith, dear soul, too much.
But yet how sweet is it to think how dear    110
One’s life was to his love: how mourn’d his death!
’Tis joy not to be express’d with breath:
But O let him that would such passion drink,
Be quiet of his speech, and only think!


[91] Old eds. “wenches.”

[92] Ed. 1. “fit, fit.”

[93] Old eds. “immediatlie.”

[94] Ed. 1. “and as.”

[95] Ed. 2. “vnutterable.”

[96] Ironical exclamation.

[97] i.e., buss (kiss).


Beatrice’s chamber.

Enter Beatrice and Crispinella.

Bea. Sister, cannot a woman kill herself? is it not lawful to die when we should not live?

Cri. O sister, ’tis a question not for us; we must do what God will.

Bea. What God will? Alas, can torment be His glory, or our grief His pleasure! Does not the nurse’s nipple, juiced over with wormwood, bid the child it should not suck? And does not Heaven, when it hath made our breath bitter unto us, say we should not live?
O my best sister,    10
To suffer wounds when one may ’scape this rod
Is against nature, that is against God!

Cri. Good sister,
Do not make me weep; sure Freevill was not false.
I’ll gage my life that strumpet, out of craft
And some close second end, hath maliced[98] him.

Bea. O sister! if he were not false, whom have I lost?
If he were, what grief to such unkindness!
From head to foot I am all misery;
Only in this, some justice I have found—    20
My grief is like my love, beyond all bound.

Enter Nurse.

Nur. My servant, Master Caqueteur, desires to visit you.

Cri. For grief’s sake keep him out; his discourse is like the long word Honorificabilitudinitatibus,[99] a great deal of sound and no sense: his company is like a parenthesis to a discourse,—you may admit it, or leave it out, it makes no matter.

Enter Freevill in his disguise.

Free. By your leave, sweet creatures.

Cri. Sir, all I can yet say of you is, you are uncivil.

Free. You must deny it. By your sorrow’s leave,    31
I bring some music to make sweet your grief.

Bea. Whate’er you please. O break my heart!
Canst thou yet pant? O dost thou yet survive?
Thou didst not love him if thou now canst live!

Freevill sings.[100]

O Love, how strangely sweet
Are thy weak passions!
That love and joy should meet
In self-same fashions!
O who can tell    40
The cause why this should move?
But only this,—
No reason ask of Love!

[Beatrice swounds.[101]

Cri. Hold, peace!—the gentlest soul is sownd. O my best sister!

Free. Ha, get you gone, close the doors! My Beatrice!

[Discovers himself.

Cursed be my indiscreet trials! O my immeasurably loving—

Cri. She stirs, give air, she breathes!

Bea. Where am I? Ha! how have I slipp’d off life?
Am I in heaven? O my lord, though not loving,    51
By our eternal being, yet give me leave
To rest by thy dear[102] side! Am I not in heaven?

Free. O eternally much loved,[103] recollect your spirits!

Bea. Ha, you do speak! I do see you, I do live!
I would not die now: let me not burst with wonder.

Free. Call up your blood; I live to honour you
As the admired glory of your sex.
Nor ever hath my love been false to you;
Only I presum’d to try your faith too much,    60
For which I most am grieved.

Cri. Brother, I must be plain with you, you have wrong’d us.

Free. I am not so covetous to deny it;
But yet, when my discourse hath stay’d your quaking,
You will be smoother lipp’d; and the delight
And satisfaction which we all have got,
Under these strange disguisings, when you know,
You will be mild and quiet, forget at last:
It is much joy to think on sorrows past.

Bea. Do you then live? and are you not untrue?    70
Let me not die with joy; pleasure’s more extreme
Than grief; there’s nothing sweet to man but mean.

Free. Heaven cannot be too gracious to such goodness.
I shall discourse to you the several chances;
But hark, I must yet rest disguis’d;
The sudden close of many drifts now meet:
Where pleasure hath some profit, art is sweet.

Enter Tysefew.

Tyse. News, news, news, news!

Cri. Oysters, oysters, oysters, oysters!    79

Tyse. Why, is not this well now? Is not this better than louring and pouting and puling, which is hateful to the living and vain to the dead? Come, come, you must live by the quick, when all is done; and for my own part, let my wife laugh at me when I am dead, so she’ll smile upon me whilst I live: but to see a woman whine, and yet keep her eyes dry: mourn, and yet keep her cheeks fat: nay, to see a woman claw her husband by the feet when he is dead, that would have scratched him by the face when he was living—this now is somewhat ridiculous.    90

Cri. Lord, how you prate.

Tyse. And yet I was afraid, i’faith, that I should ha’ seen a garland on this beauty’s hearse; but time, truth, experience, and variety, are great doers with women.

Cri. But what’s the news?—the news, I pray you?

Tyse. I pray you? ne’er pray me: for by your leave you may command me. This ’tis:
The public sessions, which this day is past,
Hath doom’d to death ill-fortuned Malheureux.

Cri. But, sir, we heard he offer’d to make good,    100
That Freevill lived at Shatewe’s the jeweller’s——

Bea. And that ’twas but a plot betwixt them two.

Tyse. O, ay, ay, he gaged his life with it; but know,
When all approach’d the test, Shatewe[104] denied
He saw or heard of any such complot,
Or of Freevill; so that his own defence
Appeared so false, that, like a madman’s sword,
He stroke his own heart; he hath the course of law,
And instantly must suffer. But the jest
(If hanging be a jest, as many make it)    110
Is to take notice of one Mulligrub,
A sharking vintner.

Free. What of him, sir?

Tyse. Nothing but hanging: the whoreson slave is mad before he hath lost his senses.

Free. Was his fact[105] clear and made apparent, sir?

Tyse. No, faith, suspicious; for ’twas thus protested:
A cloak was stol’n; that cloak he had; he had it,
Himself confess’d, by force; the rest of his defence
The choler of a justice wronged in wine,    120
Join’d with malignance of some hasty jurors,
Whose wit was lighted by the justice’ nose;
The knave was cast.
But, Lord, to hear his moan, his prayers, his wishes,
His zeal ill-timèd, and his words unpitied,
Would make a dead man rise and smile,
Whilst he observed how fear can make men vile.

Cri. Shall we go meet the execution?

Bea. I shall be ruled by you.

Tyse. By my troth, a rare motion;[106] you must haste,
For malefactors goes like the world, upon wheels.    130

Bea. Will you man us? You shall be our guide.

[To[107] Freevill.

Free. I am your servant.

Tyse. Ha, servant? Zounds, I am no companion for panders! you’re best make him your love.

Bea. So will I, sir; we must live by the quick, you say.

Tyse. ’Sdeath o’ virtue! what a damn’d thing’s this!
Who’ll trust fair faces, tears, and vows? ’Sdeath! not I.
She is a woman,—that is,—she can lie.

Cri. Come, come, turn not a man of time,[108] to make all ill
Whose goodness you conceive not, since the worst of chance    140
Is to crave grace for heedless ignorance.


[98] See note 1, p. 40.

[99] This word, which occurs in Love’s Labour Lost (and in several old plays), was invented long before Shakespeare’s time. See Dyce’s Shakesp. Glossary.

[100] So ed. 2.—Ed. 1. “He sings, she sounds.

[101] Swoons. (The stage direction is from ed. 2.)

[102] So ed. 1.—Ed. 2. “dead.”

[103] Ed. 1. “laved.”

[104] Ed. 1. “Shatews.”

[105] Guilt.

[106] Proposal.

[107] The stage direction is printed as part of the text in old eds.

[108] The text seems to be corrupt.


A Public Place.

Enter Cocledemoy, like a sergeant.

Coc. So, I ha’ lost my sergeant in an ecliptic mist, drunk! horrible drunk! he is fine. So now will I fit myself; I hope this habit will do me no harm; I am an honest man already. Fit, fit, fit, as a punk’s tail, that serves everybody. By this time my vintner thinks of nothing but hell and sulphur; he farts fire and brimstone already. Hang toasts! the execution approacheth.

Enter Sir Lionel, Sir Hubert; Malheureux, pinioned; Tysefew, Beatrice, Freevill, Crispinella, Franceschina, and halberds.

Mal. I do not blush, although condemned by laws;
No kind of death is shameful but the cause,
Which I do know is none; and yet my lust    10
Hath made the one (although not cause) most just.
May I not be reprieved? Freevill is but mislodg’d;
Some lethargy hath seiz’d him—no, much malice;
Do not lay blood upon your souls with good intents;
Men may do ill, and law sometime repents.

[Cocledemoy picks Malheureux’ pocket of his purse.

Sir Lio. Sir, sir, prepare; vain is all lewd defence.

Mal. Conscience was law, but now law’s conscience.
My endless peace is made; and to the poor,—
My purse, my purse!

Coc. Ay, sir; and it shall please you, the poor has your purse already.    21

Mal. You[109] are a wily[110] man.
—But now, thou source of devils, oh, how I loathe
The very memory of that I adored!
He that’s of fair blood, well mien’d, of good breeding,
Best famed, of sweet acquaintance, and true friends,
And would with desperate impudence lose all these,
And hazard landing at this fatal shore,—
Let him ne’er kill, nor steal, but love a whore.

Fra. De man does rave; tinck a got, tinck a got, and bid de flesh, de world, and the dible, farewell.    31

Mal. Farewell!

Free. Farewell!

[Freevill discovers himself.

Fra. Vat ist you see?—Hah!

Free. Sir, your pardon, with my this defence:
Do not forget protested violence
Of your low affections: no requests,
No arguments of reason, no known danger,
No assured wicked bloodiness,
Could draw your heart from this damnation.    40

Mal. Why, stay!

Fra. Unprosperous devil, vat sall me do now?

Free. Therefore, to force you from the truer danger,
I wrought the feignèd; suffering this fair devil
In shape of woman to make good her plot:
And, knowing that the hook was deeply fast,
I gave her line at will, till, with her own vain strivings,
See here she’s tired. O thou comely damnation!
Dost think that vice is not to be withstood?
O what is woman, merely made of blood!    50

Sir Lio. You maze us all; let us not be lost in darkness!

Free. All shall be lighted; but this time and place
Forbids longer speech; only what you can think
Has been extremely ill, is only hers.

Sir Lio. To severest prison with her! With what heart canst live—
What eyes behold a face?

Fra. Ick vil not speak; torture, torture your fill,
For me am worse than hang’d; me ha’ lost my will.

[Exit Franceschina with the guard.

Sir Lio. To the extremest whip and jail.

Free. Frolic, how is it, sirs?    60

Mal. I am myself. How long was’t ere I could
Persuade my passion to grow calm to you!
Rich sense makes good bad language, and a friend
Should weigh no action, but the action’s end.
I am now worthy yours; when before
The beast of man, loose blood, distemper’d us:
He that lust rules cannot be virtuous.

Enter Mulligrub, Mistress Mulligrub, and Officers.

Off. On afore there! room for the prisoners!

Mul. I pray you do not lead me to execution through Cheapside. I owe Master Burnish, the goldsmith, money, and I fear he’ll set a sergeant on my back for it.

Coc. Trouble not your sconce, my Christian brothers, but have an eye unto the main chance. I will warrant your shoulders; as for your neck, Plinius Secundus, or Marcus Tullius Cicero, or somebody it is, says that a threefold cord is hardly broken.    75

Mul. Well, I am not the first honest man that hath been cast away; and I hope shall not be the last.

Coc. O, sir, have a good stomach and maws; you shall have a joyful supper.

Mul. In troth I have no stomach to it; and it please you, take my trencher; I use to fast at nights.    81

Mistress Mul. O husband! I little thought you should have come to think on God thus soon;[111] nay, and you had been hang’d deservedly it would never have grieved me; I have known of many honest innocent men have been hang’d deservedly: but to be cast away for nothing!

Coc. Good woman, hold your peace, your prittles and your prattles, your bibbles and your babbles; for I pray you hear me in private: I am a widower, and you are almost a widow; shall I be welcome to your houses, to your tables, and your other things?    92

Mistress Mul. I have a piece of mutton and a featherbed for you at all times; I pray make haste.

Mul. I do here make my confession: if I owe any man anything, I do heartily forgive him; if any man owe me anything, let him pay my wife.

Coc. I will look to your wife’s payment, I warrant you.

Mul. And now, good yoke-fellow, leave thy poor Mulligrub.    101

Mistress Mul. Nay, then I were unkind; i’faith I will not leave you until I have seen you hang.

Coc. But brother,[112] brother, you must think of your sins and iniquities; you have been a broacher of profane vessels; you have made us drink of the juice of the whore of Babylon: for whereas good ale, perrys, bragots,[113] cyders, and metheglins, was the true ancient British and Troyan drinks, you ha’ brought in Popish wines, Spanish wines, French wines, tam Marti quam Mercurio, both muscadine and malmsey, to the subversion, staggering, and sometimes overthrow of many a good Christian. You ha’ been a great jumbler; O remember the sins of your nights! for your night works ha’ been unsavoury in the taste of your customers.    115

Mul. I confess, I confess; and I forgive as I would be forgiven. Do you know one Cocledemoy?

Coc. O very well. Know him!—an honest man he is, and a comely; an upright dealer with his neighbours, and their wives speak good things of him.    120

Mul. Well, wheresoe’er he is, or whatsoe’er he is, I’ll take it on my death he’s the cause of my hanging. I heartily forgive him, and if he would come forth he might save me; for he only knows the why and the wherefore.

Coc. You do, from your hearts and midrifs and entrails, forgive him then? you will not let him rot in rusty irons, procure him to be hang’d in lousy linen without a song, and after he is dead piss on his grave?

Mul. That hard heart of mine has procured all this; but I forgive as I would be forgiven.    131

Coc. [Discovering himself] Hang toasts, my worshipful Mulligrub. Behold thy Cocledemoy, my fine vintner; my castrophomical fine boy; behold and see!

Tyse. Bliss o’ the blessed, who would but look for two knaves here?

Coc. No knave, worshipful friend, no knave; for observe, honest Cocledemoy restores whatsoever he has got, to make you know that whatsoever he has done, has been only euphoniæ gratia—for wit’s sake. I acquit this vintner, as he has acquitted me; all has been done for emphasis of wit, my fine boy, my worshipful friends.

Tyse. Go, you are a flatt’ring knave.    143

Coc. I am so; ’tis a good thriving trade; it comes forward better than the seven liberal sciences, or the nine cardinal virtues; which may well appear in this, you shall never have flattering knave turn courtier. And yet I have read of many courtiers that have turned flattering knaves.

Sir Hub. Was’t even but so? why, then all’s well.    150

Mul. I could even weep for joy.

Mistress Mul. I could weep too, but God knows for what!

Tyse. Here’s another tack to be given—your son and daughter.

Sir Hub. Is’t possible? heart, ay, all my heart; will you be joined here?

Tyse. Yes, faith, father; marriage and hanging are spun both in one hour.

Coc. Why, then, my worshipful good friends, I bid myself most heartily welcome to your merry nuptials and wanton jigga-joggies.—And now, my very fine Heliconian gallants, and you, my worshipful friends in the middle region,    164
If with content our hurtless mirth hath been,
Let your pleased minds at our much care be seen;[114]
For he shall find, that slights such trivial wit,
’Tis easier to reprove than better it.
We scorn to fear, and yet we fear to swell;
We do not hope ’tis best,—’tis all, if well.

[Exeunt.    170

[109] Ed. 1. “Thou art.”

[110] Old eds. “Welyman” and “wely-man.”

[111] The reader will be reminded of Mistress Quickly’s description of Falstaff’s last moments:—“‘How now, Sir John,’ quoth I, ‘what, man! be o’ good cheer.’ So a’ cried out ‘God, God, God!’ three or four times. Now I to comfort him, bid him a’ should not think of God; I hoped there was no need to trouble himself with any such thoughts yet.”

[112] Old eds. “brothers, brothers.”

[113] Bragot was the name of a sort of mead, once popular in Wales and in the West of England. See Nares’ Glossary, s. Bragget.

[114] Ed. 1. “as our much care hath bin.” Ed. 2. “as our much care be seene.”


Parasitaster, Or The Fawne, As It Hath Bene Divers times presented at the blacke Friars, by the Children of the Queenes Maiesties Reuels. Written by Iohn Marston. At London Printed by T. P. for W. C. 1606. 4to.

Parasitaster, Or The Fawne, As It Hath Bene Divers Times Presented at the blacke Friars, by the Children of the Queenes Maiesties Reuels, and since at Powles. Written by Iohn Marston. And now corrected of many faults, which by reason of the Author’s absence, were let slip in the first edition. At London Printed by T. P. for W. C. 1606. 4to.


Hercules, the widowed Duke of Ferrara, is anxious that his son Tiberio should marry Dulcimel, daughter of Gonzago, Duke of Urbin; but, finding that he cannot persuade his son to marriage, he declares that he will himself marry Dulcimel. Tiberio is sent to the Court of Urbin to negotiate on his father’s behalf. Hercules follows in disguise to watch the issue, and attaches himself (under the name of Faunus) to Tiberio’s train at Urbin, where by adroit flattery he quickly gains the favour of Gonzago and the confidence of the courtiers. Dulcimel falls in love with Tiberio, and determines to make him her husband. She imposes on her father, Gonzago, a weak-minded lord with a boundless belief in his own wisdom, by a pretended discovery of Tiberio’s love to her; and Gonzago, acting throughout under the impression that he is foiling Tiberio, becomes in the hands of his witty daughter the instrument by which her project is accomplished. Taxed by Gonzago with having made love to Dulcimel, Tiberio warmly denies the charge, but at length he perceives that the lady is making amorous advances, and his blood is fired. In the courtyard of the palace grew a plane-tree by which it was possible to ascend to the window of Dulcimel’s bedchamber. Dulcimel informs her father that Tiberio intended to climb the plane-tree at night and enter her chamber, and that he had asked her to have a priest to be in readiness to conduct the marriage service. Gonzago upbraids Tiberio with his perfidy, and commands him to leave the court before the next morning. Tiberio asks for an explanation, and Gonzago then repeats what his daughter had said. Tiberio is not slow to avail himself of Dulcimel’s invitation; he mounts the plane-tree, the priest is ready, and the marriage is consummated. Gonzago’s chagrin is changed to satisfaction when Hercules, putting off his disguise, expresses his approval of the match.

Much of the play is devoted to an exposure of the faults and follies of Gonzago’s courtiers. At the close of the fifth act there is holden a court of Cupid, at which the delinquents are arraigned.


I have ever more endeavoured to know myself, than to be known of others; and rather to be unpartially beloved of all, than factiously to be admired of a few; yet so powerfully have I been enticed with the delights of poetry, and (I must ingeniously[115] confess) above better desert so fortunate in the stage-pleasings, that (let my resolutions be never so fixed to call mine eyes into myself) I much fear that most lamentable death of him,

“Qui nimis notus omnibus,
Ignotus moritur sibi.”—Seneca.[116]

But since the over-vehement pursuit of these delights hath been the sickness of my youth, and now is grown to be the vice of my firmer age—since to satisfy others, I neglect myself—let it be the courtesy of my peruser rather to pity my self-hindering labours than to malice[117] me; and let him be pleased to be my reader, and not my interpreter, since I would fain reserve that office in my own hands, it being my daily prayer:—“Absit[118] a jocorum nostrorum simplicitate malignus interpres.”—Martial.

If any shall wonder why I print a comedy, whose life rests much in the actor’s voice, let such know that it cannot avoid publishing; let it therefore stand with good excuse that I have been my own setter out.

If any desire to understand the scope of my comedy, know it hath the same limits which Juvenal gives to his Satires:—

“Quicquid agunt homines, votum, timor, ira, voluptas,
Gaudia, discursus, nostri farrago libelli est.”—Juvenal.

As for the factious malice and studied detractions of some few that tread in the same path with me, let all know I most easily neglect them, and (carelessly slumbering to their vicious endeavours) smile heartily at their self-hurting baseness. My bosom friend, good Epictetus, makes me easily to contemn all such men’s malice: since other men’s tongues are not within my teeth, why should I hope to govern them? For mine own interest for once, let this be printed,—that of men of my own addiction I love most, pity some, hate none; for let me truly say it, I once only loved myself, for loving them, and surely I shall ever rest so constant to my first affection, that let their ungentle combinings, discourteous whisperings, never so treacherously labour to undermine my unfenced reputation, I shall (as long as I have being) love the least of their graces, and only pity the greatest of their vices.

And now, to kill envy, know you, that affect to be the only minions of Phœbus, I am not so blushlessly ambitious as to hope to gain any the least supreme eminency among you; I affect not only the “‘Euge’ tuum et ‘Belle!’”[119]—’tis not my fashion to think no writer virtuously confident that is not swellingly impudent; nor do I labour to be held the only spirit whose poems may be thought worthy to be kept in cedar[120] chests:—

“Heliconidasque pallidamque Pyrenen
Illis relinquo quorum imagines lambunt
Hederæ sequaces....”—Persius.

He that pursues fame shall, for me, without any rival, have breath enough. I esteem felicity to be a more solid contentment; only let it be lawful for me, with unaffected modesty and full thought, to end boldly with that of Persius:—

“Ipse semipaganus
Ad sacra vatum carmen affero nostrum.”—Persius.


[115] Ed. 3 (i.e., the 8vo of 1633) “ingenuously.” I have retained the reading of the earlier eds., as ingenious was commonly used in the sense of ingenuous (Middleton, iv. 14, &c.)

[116] Thyestes, 402-3.

[117] See note, p. 40.

[118] From the prose preface to Martial’s epigrams.

[119] Persius, Sat. i. l. 49.

[120]Cedro digna locutus.”—Persius, Sat. i. l. 42.


Reader, know I have perused this copy, to make some satisfaction for the first faulty impression; yet so urgent hath been my business that some errors have still passed, which thy discretion may amend. Comedies are writ to be spoken, not read; remember the life of these things consists in action; and for such courteous survey of my pen, I will present a tragedy[122] to you, which shall boldly abide the most curious perusal.

[121] This note is from the second 4to.

[122] “Sophonisba.”—Marginal note in the second 4to.


Let those once know that here with malice lurk,
’Tis base to be too wise in others’ work;
The rest sit thus saluted:—
Spectators, know you may, with freest faces,
Behold this scene; for here no rude disgraces
Shall taint a public or a private name;
This pen at viler rate doth value fame,
Than at the price of others’ infamy
To purchase it. Let others dare the rope,
Your modest pleasure is our author’s scope.    10
The hurdle and the rack to them he leaves
That have naught left to be accompted any,
But by not being; nor doth he hope to win
Your louder hand with that most common sin
Of vulgar pens, rank bawdry, that smells
Even through your masks, usque ad nauseam.
The Venus of this scene doth loathe to wear
So vile, so common, so immodest clothings;
But if the nimble form of comedy,
Mere spectacle of life and public manners,    20
May gracefully arrive to your pleased ears,
We boldly dare the utmost death of fears;
For we do know that this most fair-fill’d room
Is loaden with most attic judgments, ablest spirits,
Than whom there are none more exact, full, strong,
Yet none more soft, benign in censuring.
I know there’s not one ass in all this presence—
Not one calumnious rascal, or base villain
Of emptiest merit—that would tax and slander,
If innocency herself should write, not one we know’t.    30
O you are all the very breath of Phœbus;
In your pleas’d gracings all the true lifeblood
Of our poor author lives,—you are his very grace.
Now if that any wonder why he’s drawn
To such base soothings, know his play’s—The Fawn.[123]

[123] Fawner, sycophant.—A word coined by Marston.


Hercules, Duke of Ferrara, disguised as Faunus.
Gonzago, Duke of Urbin, a weak lord of a self-admiring wisdom.
Tiberio, son to Hercules.
Granuffo, a silent lord.
Don Zuccone, a causelessly jealous lord.
Sir Amoroso Debile-Dosso, a sickly knight.
Herod Frappatore, brother to Sir Amoroso.
Nymphadoro, a young courtier and a common lover.
Dondolo, a bald fool.
Renaldo, brother to Hercules.

Dulcimel, daughter to Gonzago.
Philocalia, an honourable learned lady, companion to the Princess Dulcimel.
Donna Zoya, a virtuous, fair, witty lady, wife to Don Zuccone.
Donna Garbetza, wife to Sir Amoroso.
Poveia, and
Donnetta, two ladies, attendants on Dulcimel.
Puttotta, a poor laundress of the court that washeth and diets footmen.



ACT I.[124]


Neighbourhood of Urbin.

Enter Hercules[125] and Renaldo.

Herc. See, yonder’s Urbin! Those far-appearing spires rise from the city. You shall conduct me no further: return to Ferrara: my dukedom, by your care in my absence, shall rest constantly united, and most religiously loyal.

Ren. My prince and brother, let my blood and love Challenge the freedom of one question.

Herc. You have’t.

Ren. Why, in your steadier age, in strength of life
And firmest wit of time, will you break forth    10
Those stricter limits of regardful state
(Which with severe distinction you still kept),
And now to unknown dangers you’ll give up
Yourself, Ferrara’s duke, and in yourself
The state and us? O, my loved brother!
Honour avoids not only just defame,
But flies all means that may ill voice his name.    17

Herc. Busy yourself with no fears, for I shall rest most wary of our safety; only some glimpses I will give you for your satisfaction why I leave Ferrara. I have vowed to visit the court of Urbin in some disguise, as thus: my son, as you can well witness with me, could I never persuade to marriage, although myself was then an ever-resolved widower, and tho’ I proposed to him this very lady, to whom he is gone in my right to negotiate; now, how[126] cooler blood will behave itself in this business, would I have an only testimony; other contents shall I give myself, as not to take love by attorney, or make my election out of tongues; other sufficings there are which my regard would fain make sound to me: something of much you know; that, and what else you must not know, bids you excuse this kind of my departure.    33

Ren. I commend all to your wisdom, and yours to the Wisest.

Herc. Think not but I shall approve that more than folly which even now appears in a most ridiculous expectation: be in this assured,—The bottom of gravity is nothing like the top. Once more, fare you well.

[Exit Renaldo.

And now, thou ceremonious sovereignty—    40
Ye proud, severer, stateful compliments,
The secret arts of rule—I put you off;
Nor ever shall those manacles of form
Once more lock up the appetite of blood.
’Tis now an age of man whilst we, all strict,
Have lived in awe of carriage regular,
Apted unto my place; nor hath my life
Once tasted of exorbitant affects,
Wild longings, or the least of disrank’d shapes.
But we must once be wild; ’tis ancient truth,—    50
O fortunate, whose madness falls in youth!
Well, this is text, who ever keeps his place
In servile station, is all low and base.
Shall I, because some few may cry, “Light! vain!”
Beat down affection from desirèd rule?
He that doth strive to please the world’s a fool.
To have that fellow cry, “O mark him, grave,
See how austerely he doth give example
Of repressed heat and steady life!”
Whilst my forced life against the stream of blood    60
Is tugg’d[127] along, and all to keep the god
Of fools and women, nice Opinion,
Whose strict preserving makes oft great men fools,
And fools oft[128] great men. No, thou world, know thus,
There’s nothing free but it is generous.


[124] In the margin of old eds. is the motto “Dat veniam corvis, vexat censura columbas” (Juvenal, Sat. ii. 63).

[125] “Ercole, Duke of Ferrara, is thus noticed in Thomas’s ‘Historye of Italye,’ ed. 1561, fol. 212:—‘He is a goodly man of personage, hyghe of stature, strong and well proporcyonate in all his members, bald on the crowne of the head, and amiable enough of countenance. He hath a good witte, and is somewhat learned, and indifferent in the administracyon of justice. And one thyng special I remember of him, worthy to be recited. The emperour, at his being in Italy, borowed money of all handes, and demaundyng amongst the rest a hundred thousand crownes in lone of this duke, he brought him a bagge of fifty thousand crownes, excusyng himself that to lend a hundred thousand crownes he was not hable, but to geve his majestee those fifty thousand he could be contented with all his hert; and, by this shift, kept the other fifty thousand crownes in hys purse. Finally of the religion he is no more earnest than most prynces are, and in his life he foloweth the court of love, to lose no time of pleasure. He is frendly to faire women, and cherisheth change. By his fathers daies, he maried Madame Renea, daughter unto Lewys the xii. French kinge.’ The names of his two sons, here given, are Alfonso and Luigi.”—Halliwell.

[126] Eds. 1. and 3. “how his cooler.”

[127] Eds. 1. and 3. “lugg’d.”

[128] Eds. 1. and 3. “of.”


Palace of the Duke of Urbin.

Enter Nymphadoro, Herod, and Page.

Herod. How now, my little more than nothing, what news is stirring?

Page. All the city’s a-fire!

Nym. On fire?

Page. With joy of the Princess Dulcimel’s birthday: there’s show upon show; sport upon sport.

Herod. What sport? what sport?

Page. Marry, sir, to solemnise the princess’ birthday. There’s first, crackers, which run into the air, and when they are at the top, like some ambitious strange heretic, keep a cracking and a cracking, and then break, and down they come.    12

Herod. A pretty crab; he would yield tart juice and he were squeez’d.

Nym. What sport else?

Page. Other fireworks.

Herod. Spirit of wine, I cannot tell how these fireworks should be good at the solemnising the birth of men or women. I am sure they are dangerous at their begetting. What, more fireworks, sir?    20

Page. There be squibs, sir; which squibs, running upon lines,[129] like some of our gaudy gallants, sir, keep a smother, sir, with flishing and flashing, and, in the end, sir, they do, sir——

Nym. What, sir?

Page. Stink, sir.

Herod. ’Fore Heaven, a most sweet youth!

Enter Dondolo.

Don. News! news! news! news!

Herod. What, in the name of prophecy?

Nym. Art thou grown wise?    30

Herod. Doth the duke want no money?

Nym. Is there a maid found at twenty-four?

Herod. Speak, thou three-legg’d tripos, is thy ship of fools,[130] afloat yet?

Don. I ha’ many things in my head to tell you.

Herod. Ay, thy head is always working; it rolls, and it roils, Dondolo, but it gathers no moss, Dondolo.

Don. Tiberio, the Duke of Ferrara’s son, excellently horsed, all upon Flanders mares, is arrived at the court this very day, somewhat late in the night-time.    40

Herod. An excellent nuntius.

Don. Why, my gallants, I have had a good wit.

Herod. Yes, troth, but now ’tis grown like an almanac for the last year—past date; the mark’s out of thy mouth, Dondolo.

Nym. And what’s the prince’s ambassage? Thou art private with the duke; thou belongest to his close-stool.

Don. Why, every fool knows that; I know it myself, man, as well as the best man: he is come to solicit a marriage betwixt his father, the Duke of Ferrara, and our Duke of Urbin’s daughter, Dulcimel.    51

Nym. Pity of my passions! Nymphadoro shall lose one of his mistresses.

Herod. Nay, if thou hast more than one, the loss can ne’er be grievous, since ’tis certain he that loves many formally, never loves any violently.

Nym. Most trusted Frappatore, is my hand the weaker because it is divided into many fingers? No, ’tis the more strongly nimble. I do now love threescore and nine ladies, all of them most extremely well, but I do love the princess most extremely best; but, in very sighing sadness, I ha’ lost all hope, and with that hope a lady that is most rare, most fair, most wise, most sweet, most——    64

Herod. Anything; true, but remember, still this fair, this wise, this sweet, this all-of-excellency, has in the tail of all—a woman.

Nym. Peace! the presence fills against the prince approacheth. Mark who enters.

Herc. My brother, Sir Amoroso Debile-Dosso.    70

Nym. Not he.

Herc. No, not he?

Nym. How, is he changed?

Herc. Why, grown the very dregs of the drabs’ cup.

Nym. O Babylon, thy walls are fallen! Is he married?

Herc. Yes; yet still the ladies’ common—or the common ladies’—servant.

Nym. How does his own lady bear with him?

Herc. Faith, like the Roman Milo, bore with him when he was a calf, and now carries him when he’s grown an ox.    81

Nym. Peace! the duke’s at hand.

Cornets. Enter Gonzago, Granuffo, Dulcimel, Philocalia, Zoya.

Gon. Daughter, for that our last speech leaves the firmest print, be thus advised. When young Tiberio negotiates his father’s love, hold heedy guard over thy passions, and still keep this full thought firm in thy reason: ’tis his old father’s love the young man moves (is’t not well thought, my lord, we must bear brain[131]), and when thou shalt behold Tiberio’s lifeful eyes and well-fill’d veins, complexion firm, and hairs that curls with strength of lusty moisture (I think we yet can speak, we ha’ been eloquent), thou must shape thy thoughts to apprehend his father well in years—    93
A grave wise prince, whose beauty is his honour,
And well-pass’d life; and do not give thy thoughts
Least liberty to shape a diverse scope
(My Lord Granuffo, pray ye note my phrase):
So shalt thou not abuse thy younger hope,
Nor afflict us, who only joy in life,
To see thee his.

Dul. Gracious my father, fear not;    100
I rest most duteous to your dispose.

[Consort of music.

Gon. Set on then; for the music gives us notice
The prince is hard at hand.

Tiberio with his train, with Hercules disguised.

Dul. You are most welcome to our long-desiring father. To us you are come——

Tib. From our long-desiring father.

Dul. Is this your father’s true proportion?

[Shows a picture.

Tib. No, lady; but the perfect counterfeit.

Dul. And the best graced——

Tib. The painter’s art could yield.

Dul. I wonder he would send a counterfeit
To move our love!    110

Gon. Hear, that’s my wit, when I was eighteen old—such a pretty toying wit had I; but age hath made us wise. Hast not, my lord?

Tib. Why, fairest princess, if your eye dislike
That deader piece, behold me his true form
And livelier image. Such my father hath been.

Dul. My lord, please you to scent this flower.

Tib. ’Tis withered, lady—the flower’s scent is gone.

Dul. This hath been such as you are—hath been, sir.
They say, in England, that a far-famed[132] friar    120
Had girt the island round with a brass wall,
If[133] they could ha’ catched Time is: but Time is past
Left it still[134] clipt with agèd Neptune’s arm.

Tib. Aurora yet keeps chaste old Tithon’s bed.

Dul. Yet blushes at it when she rises.

Gon. Pretty, pretty—just like my younger wit—you know it, my lord.

Dul. But is your father’s age thus fresh—hath yet his head so many hairs?

Tib. More, more, by many a one.    130

Dul. More, say you?

Tib. More.

Dul. Right, sir, for this hath none. Is his eye so quick as this same piece makes him show?

Tib. The courtesy of art hath given more life to that part than the sad cares of state would grant my father.

Dul. This model speaks about forty.

Tib. Then doth it somewhat flatter, for our father hath seen more years, and is a little shrunk from the full strength of time.    140

Gon. Somewhat coldly praised.

Dul. Your father hath a fair solicitor,
And be it spoke with virgin modesty,
I would he were no elder; not that I do fly
His side for years, or other hopes of youth,
But in regard the malice of lewd tongues,
Quick to deprave[135] on possibilities
(Almost impossibilities), will spread
Rumours to honour dangerous.

[Dulcimel and Tiberio confer privately.

Gon. What? whisper? Ay, my Lord Granuffo, ’twere fit    150
To part their lips. Men of discerning wit
That have read Pliny can discourse or so;
But give me practice: well experienced age
Is the true Delphos. I am no oracle,
But yet I’ll prophesy. Well, my Lord Granuffo,
’Tis fit to interrupt their privacy,
Is’t not, my lord? Now, sure, thou art a man
Of a most learned silence, and one whose words
Have been most precious to me. Right, I know thy heart;
’Tis true, thy legs discourse with right and grace,    160
And thy tongue is constant.—Fair my lord,
Forbear all[136] private closer conference;
What from your father comes, comes openly,
And so must speak: for you must know my age
Hath seen the beings and the quid of things:
I know the dimensions and the termini
Of all existence. Sir, I know what shapes
Appetite forms; but policy and states
Have more elected ends: your father’s suit
Is with all public grace received, and private love    170
Embraced. As for our daughter’s bent of mind,
She must seem somewhat nice; ’tis virgins’ kind
To hold long out; if yet she chance deny,
Ascribe it to her decent modesty.
We have been a philosopher and spoke
With much applause; but now age makes us wise,
And draws our eyes to search the heart of things
And leave vain seemings; therefore you must know
I would be loath the gaudy shape of youth
Should once[137] provoke a[138] not-allow’d-of heat,    180
Or hinder, or——for, sir, I know; and so,
Therefore, before us time and place affords
Free speech, else not. Wise heads use but few words:
In short breath, know the Court of Urbin holds
Your presence and your embassage so dear,
That we want means once to express[139] our heart
But with our heart. Plain meaning shunneth art;
You are most welcome (Lord Granuffo, a trick,
A figure, note); we use no rhetoric.

[Exeunt all but Hercules, Nymphadoro, and Herod.

Herod. Did not Tiberio call his father fool?    190

Nym. No; he said years had weakened his youthful quickness.

Herod. He swore he was bald?

Nym. No; but not thick-hair’d.

Herod. By this light, I’ll swear he said his father had the hipgout, the strangury, the fistula in ano, and a most unabideable breath, no teeth, less eyes, great fingers, little legs, an eternal flux, and an everlasting cough of the lungs.

Nym. Fie, fie! by this light he did not.    200

Herod. By this light he should ha’ done then. Horn on him, threescore and five, to have and to hold a lady of fifteen. O Mezentius! a tyranny equal if not above thy torturing; thou didst bind the living and the dead bodies together, and forced them so to pine and rot; but this cruelty binds breast to breast not only different bodies, but, if it were possible, most unequal minds together, with an enforcement even scandalous to Nature. Now the jail deliver me an intelligencer! be good to me, ye cloisters of bondage! Of whence art thou?    210

Herc. Of Ferrara.

Herod. A Ferrarese! what to me? Camest thou in with the Prince Tiberio?

Herc. With the Prince Tiberio. What o’[140] that? You will not rail at me, will you?

Herod. Who, I? I rail at one of Ferrara—a Ferrarese?[141] No. Didst thou ride?

Herc. No.

Herod. Hast thou worn socks?

Herc. No.    220

Herod. Then blessed be the most happy gravel betwixt thy toes! I do prophesy thy tyrannising itch shall be honourable, and thy right worshipful louse shall appear in full presence. Art thou an officer to the prince?[142]

Herc. I am; what o’ that?

Herod. My cap! what officer?

Herc. Yeoman of his bottles. What to that?

Herod. My lip! thy name, good yeoman of the bottles?    230

Herc. Faunus.

Nym. Faunus? an old courtier? I wonder thou art in no better clothes and place, Faunus!

Herc. I may be in better place, sir, and with them[143] of more regard, if this match of our duke’s intermarriage with the heir of Urbin proceed, the Duke of Urbin dying, and our lord coming in his lady’s right of title to your dukedom.    238

Herod. Why then shalt thou, O yeoman of the bottles, become a maker of magnificoes. Thou shalt beg some odd suit, and change thy old shirt,[144] pare thy beard, cleanse thy teeth, and eat apricocks,[145] marry a rich widow, or a crack’d lady, whose case thou shalt make good. Then, my Pythagoras, shall thou and I make a transmigration of souls: thou shalt marry my daughter, or my wife shall be thy gracious mistress. Seventeen punks shall be thy proportion. Thou shalt beg to thy comfort of clean linen, eat no more fresh beef at supper, or save[146] the broth for next day’s porridge; but the fleshpots of Egypt shall fatten thee, and the grasshopper shall flourish in thy summer.    251

Nym. And what dost thou think of the duke’s overture of marriage?

Herod. What do you think?

Herc. May I speak boldly as at Aleppo?

Nym. Speak till thy lungs ache, talk out thy teeth; here are none of those cankers, these mischiefs of society, intelligencers, or informers, that will cast rumour into the teeth of some Lælius Balbus,[147] a man cruelly eloquent and bloodily learned. No; what sayest thou, Faunus?    261

Herc. With an undoubted breast thus:—I may speak boldly?

Herod. By this night,[148] I’ll speak broadly first, and thou wilt, man. Our Duke of Urbin is a man very happily mad, for he thinks himself right perfectly wise, and most demonstratively learned—nay, more——

Herc. No more—I’ll on. Methinks the young lord our Prince of Ferrara so bounteously adorned with all of grace, feature, and best shaped proportion, fair use of speech, full opportunity, and that which makes the sympathy of all, equality of heat, of years, of blood; methinks these loadstones should attract the metal of the young princess rather to the son than to the noisome, cold, and most weak side of his half-rotten father.    276

Herod. Tha’rt ours—tha’rt ours. Now dare we speak as boldly as if Adam had not fallen, and made us all slaves. Hark ye, the duke is an arrant doting ass—an ass—and in the knowledge of my very sense, will turn a foolish animal; for his son will prove like one of Baal’s priests, have all the flesh presented to the idol his father, but he in the night will feed on’t—will devour it.[149] He will, yeoman of the bottles, he will.    285

Herc. Now, gentlemen, I am sure the lust of speech hath equally drenched us all; know I am no servant to this Prince Tiberio.

Herod. Not?

Herc. Not, but one to him out of some private urging most vowed—one that pursues him but for opportunity of safe[150] satisfaction. Now, if ye can prefer my service to him, I shall rest yours wholly.    293

Herod. Just in the devil’s mouth! thou shalt have place! Fawn, thou shalt! Behold this generous Nymphadoro, a gallant of clean boot, straight back, and beard[151] of a most hopeful expectation. He is a servant of fair Dulcimel’s, her very creature, born to the princess’ sole adoration; a man so spent in time to her, that pity (if no more of grace) must follow[152] him when we have gained the room. Second his suit, Faunus;[153] I’ll be your intelligencer.    302

Herc. Our very heart, and, if need be, work[154] to most desperate ends.

Herod. Well urged.

Herc. Words fit acquaintance, but full actions friends.

Nym. Thou shalt not want, Faunus.

Herc. You promise well.

Herod. Be thou but firm, that old doting iniquity of age—that horny-eyed[155] lecherous duke, thy lord—shall be baffled to extremest derision; his son prove his fool father’s own issue.    312

Nym. And we, and thou with us, blessed and enriched past all misery of possible contempt, and above the hopes of greatest conjectures.

Herc. Nay, as for wealth, vilia miretur vulgus.[156] I know by his physiognomy, for wealth he is of my addiction, and bids a fico[157] for’t.

Nym. Why, thou art but a younger brother: but poor Baldazozo.    320

Herod. Faith, to speak truth, my means are written in the book of fate, as yet unknown: and yet[158] I am at my fool, and my hunting gelding. Come, Via,[159] to this feastful entertainment.

[Exeunt. Remanet Hercules.

Herc. I never knew till now how old I was.
By Him by whom we are, I think a prince,
Whose tender sufferance never felt a gust
Of bolder breathings, but still lived gently fann’d
With the soft gales of his own flatterers’ lips,
Shall never know his own complexion.    330
Dear sleep and lust, I thank you; but for you,
Mortal till now I scarce had known myself.
Thou grateful poison, sleek mischief, flattery,
Thou dreamful slumber (that doth fall on kings
As soft and soon[160] as their first holy oil),
Be thou for ever damn’d; I now repent
Severe indictions to some sharp styles;
Freeness, so’t grow not to licentiousness,
Is grateful to just states. Most spotless kingdom,
And men, O happy born under good stars,    340
Where what is honest you may freely think,
Speak what you think, and write what you do speak,
Not bound to servile soothings! But since our rank
Hath ever been afflicted with these flies
(That blow corruption on the sweetest virtues),
I will revenge us all upon you all
With the same stratagem we still are caught,
Flattery itself; and sure all know the sharpness
Of reprehensive language is even blunted
To full contempt. Since vice is now term’d fashion,    350
And most are grown to ill, even with defence
I vow to waste this most prodigious heat,
That falls into my age like scorching flames
In depth of numb’d December, in flattering all
In all of their extremest viciousness,
Till in their own lov’d race they fall most lame,
And meet full butt the close of Vice’s shame.


[129] Cf. Dekker and Webster’s Northward Ho (1606), iv. 3:—

Bell. But what say you to such gentlemen as these are?

Bawd. Foh! they, as soon as they come to their lands, get up to London and like squibs that run upon lines, they keep a spitting of fire and cracking till they ha’ spent all; and when my squib is out what says his punk? foh, he stinks!”

[130] “Ship of Fools”—an allusion to Sebastian Brandt’s famous work, translated by Alexander Barclay.

[131] “Bear brain” = be shrewd, wary.

[132] Eds. 1. and 3. “farre found.”

[133] Old eds. “If that they could have,” &c. (The speech is printed as prose in old eds.) The “far-famed friar” is of course Friar Bacon. See the extract from The Famous History of Fryer Bacon appended to Dyce’s edition of Robert Greene’s Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay.

[134] Ed. 2. “hill.”

[135] Defame. “Mesdire. To deprave, reproach, revile, rayle on,” &c.—Cotgrave.

[136] Ed. 2. “all, all.”

[137] Old eds. “one.”

[138] Old eds. “and.”

[139] Ed. 2. “oppresse.”

[140] Ed. 2. “to.”

[141] Old eds. “Ferazees.”

[142] So ed. 2.—Ed. 1. “princes;” ed. 3. “princesse.”

[143] Ed. 2. “you.”

[144] Eds. 1. and 3. “sute.”

[145]Abricot, the abricot or apricocke plum.”—Cotgrave.

[146] Eds. 1. and 3. “have thy broth.”

[147] Old eds. “Baldus.”—Lælius Balbus was a noted informer in the days of Tiberius. When he was banished (A.D. 37) there was great rejoicing because “truci eloquentia habebatur, promptus adversum insontes” (Tacitus, Ann. vi. 48).

[148] Quy. “light”?

[149] “The allusion is to the story of Bel and the Dragon in the Apocrypha.”—Dilke.

[150] Eds. 1. and 3. “false.”

[151] Eds. 1. and 3. “head.”

[152] Eds. 1. and 3. “follow him second.... Serv’d his,” &c.

[153] Old eds. “Hercules.”

[154] Eds. 1. and 3. “workes.”

[155] Old eds. “only eyed.”

[156] Ovid, Amores, xv. 36.

[157] See Dyce’s Shakesp. Glossary.

[158] The meaning is—“And yet I contrive to keep my fool,” &c.

[159] See note, p. 20.

[160] So the old eds.; but quy. “soote” (sweet)?



A banqueting-hall.

Herod and Nymphadoro with napkins in their hands, followed by Pages with stools and meat.

Herod. Come, sir; a stool, boy! these court-feasts are to us servitors court-fasts—such scambling, such shift for to eat, and where to eat. Here a squire of low degree hath got the carcass of a plover, there pages of the chamber divide the spoils of a tatter’d pheasant; here the sewer[161] has friended a country gentleman with a sweet green goose, and there a young fellow that late has bought his office, has caught a woodcock by the nose, with cups full ever-flowing.[162]    9

Nym. But is not Faunus preferr’d with a right hand?

Herod. Did you ever see a fellow so spurted up in a moment? He has got the right ear of the duke, the prince, princess, most of the lords, but all the ladies; why, he is become their only minion, usher, and supporter.

Nym. He hath gotten more lov’d reputation of virtue, of learning, of all graces, in one hour, than all your snarling reformers have in——

Herod. Nay, that’s unquestionable; and, indeed, what a fruitless labour, what a filling of Danae’s[163] tub, is it become to inveigh against folly! Community takes away the sense, and example the shame. No,    22
Praise me these fellows, hang on their chariot wheel,
And mount with them whom Fortune heaves, nay, drives;
A stoical sour virtue seldom thrives.
Oppose such fortune, and then burst with those are pitied.
The[164] hill of Chance is paved with poor men’s bones,
And bulks of luckless souls, over whose eyes
Their chariot wheels must ruthless grate that rise.

Enter Hercules, freshly suited.

Nym. Behold that thing of most fortunate, most prosperous impudence,[165] Don Faunus himself.    31

Herod. Blessed and long-lasting be thy carnation ribbon, O man of more than wit, much more than virtue—of fortune! Faunus,[166] wilt eat any of a young spring sallet?

Herc. Where did the herbs grow, my gallant, where did they grow?

Herod. Hard by in the city here.

Herc. No, I’ll none—I’ll eat no city herbs, no city roots; for here in the city a man shall have his excrements in his teeth again within four and twenty hours. I love no city sallets. Hast any canary?    42

Nym. How the poor snake wriggles with his sudden warmth!

Herod. Here, Faunus, a health as deep as a female.

[Herod drinks.

Herc. ’Fore Jove! we must be more endear’d.

Nym. How dost thou feel thyself now, Fawn?

Herc. Very womanly, with my fingers. I protest I think I shall love you. Are you married? I am truly taken with your virtues. Are you married?    50

Herod. Yes.

Herc. Why, I like you well for it.

Herod. No, troth, Fawn, I am not married.

Herc. Why, I like you better for it; ’fore heaven, I must love you!

Herod. Why, Fawn, why?

Herc. ’Fore heaven! you are blest with three rare graces—fine linen, clean linings, a sanguine complexion, and I am sure, an excellent wit, for you are a gentleman born.    60

Herod. Thank thee, sweet Fawn; but why is clean linen such a grace, I prithee?

Herc. O, my excellent and inward dearly-approved friend! What’s your name, sir? Clean linen is the first our life craves, and the last our death enjoys.

Herod. But what hope rests for Nymphadoro? Thou art now within the buttons of the prince. Shall the duke his father marry the lady?

Herc. ’Tis to be hoped not.

Nym. That’s some relief as long as there’s hope.    70

Herc. But sure, sir, ’tis almost undoubted the lady will carry him.

Nym. O pestilent air! is there no plot so cunning, no surmise so false, no way of avoidance?

Herc. Hast thou any pity either of his passion or the lady’s years—a gentleman in the summer and hunting season of his youth, the lady met in the same warmth. Were’t not to be wept that such a sapless chafing-dish-using old dotard as the Duke of Ferrara, with his withered hand, should pluck such a bud, such a—oh, the life of sense!    81

Nym. Thou art now a perfect courtier of just fashion; good grace, canst not relieve us?

Herc. Ha’ ye any money?

Nym. Pish, Fawn, we are young gallants!

Herc. The liker to have no money. But, my young gallants, to speak like myself, I must hug your humour. Why, look you, there is fate, destiny, constellations, and planets (which, though they are under nature, yet they are above women). Who hath read the book of chance? No, cherish your hope, sweeten your imaginations with thoughts of—ah! why, women are the most giddy, uncertain motions under heaven. ’Tis neither proportion of body, virtue of mind, amplitude of fortune, greatness of blood, but only mere chanceful appetite, sways them; which makes some one like a man, be it but for the paring of his nails. Via! as for inequality, art not a gentleman?    98

Nym. That I am; and my beneficence shall show it.

Herc. I know you are, by that only word beneficence, which only speaks of the future tense (shall know it); but may I breathe in your bosoms? I only fear Tiberio will abuse his father’s trust, and so make your hopes desperate.

Nym. How?—the prince? Would he only stood cross to my wishes, he should find me an Italian.

Herc. How an Italian?    107

Herod. By thy aid an Italian; dear Faunus, thou art now wriggled into the prince’s bosom, and thy sweet hand should minister that nectar to him should make him immortal. Nymphadoro, in direct phrase, thou shouldst murder the prince, so revenge thine own wrongs, and be rewarded for that revenge.

Herc. Afore the light of my eyes, I think I shall admire, wonder at you. What! ha’ ye plots, projects, correspondences, and stratagems? Why are not you in better place?    117

Enter Sir Amoroso.

Who’s this?

Herod. My eldest brother, Sir Amoroso Debile-Dosso.

Herc. O, I know him! God bless thine eyes, sweet Sir Amoroso! A rouse—a vin de monte[167] to the health of thy chine,[168] my dear sweet signior!

Sir Amor. Pardon me, sir; I drink no wine this spring.

Herod. O no, sir; he takes the diet this spring always. Boy, my brother’s bottle.

Sir Amor. ’Faith, Fawn, an odd unwholesome cold makes me still hoarse and rheumatic.    127

Herod. Yes, in troth, a paltry murr.[169] Last morning, he blew nine bones out of his nose with an odd unwholesome murr. How does my sister, your lady? What, does she breed?

Herc. I perceive, knight, you have children. O! ’tis a blessed assurance of Heaven’s favour, and long-lasting name, to have many children.

Sir Amor. But I ha’ none, Fawn, now.    135

Herc. O that’s most excellent—a right special happiness. He shall not be a drudge to his cradle, a slave to his child; he shall be sure not to cherish another’s blood, nor toil to advance, peradventure, some rascal’s lust. Without children, a man is unclogg’d, his wife almost a maid. Messallina, thou criedst out, O blessed barrenness! Why, once with child, the very Venus of a lady’s entertainment hath lost all pleasure.

Sir Amor. By this ring, Faunus, I do hug thee with most passionate affection, and shall make my wife thank thee.    146

Herod. Nay, my brother grudgeth not at my probable inheritance. He means once to give a younger brother hope to see fortune.

Nym. And yet I hear, Sir Amoroso, you cherish your loins with high art, the only engrosser of eringoes; prepared cantharides, cullisses[170] made of dissolved pearl and bruised amber; the pith of parkets,[171] and candied lamb-stones are his perpetual meats; beds made of the down under pigeons’ wings and goose-necks, fomentations, baths, electuaries, frictions, and all the nurses of most forcible excited concupiscence, he useth with most nice and tender industry.    158

Herc. Pish, Zoccoli! No, Nymphadoro, if Sir Amoroso would ha’ children, let him lie on a mattress, plow or thresh, eat onions, garlic, and leek porridge. Pharaoh and his council were mistaken; and their device to hinder the increase of procreation in the Israelites with enforcing them to much labour of body, and to feed hard, with beets, garlic, and onions (meat that make the original of man most sharp and taking), was absurd. No, he should have given barley bread, lettuce, melons, cucumbers, huge store of veal and fresh beef, blown up their flesh, held them from exercise, rolled them in feathers, and most surely seen them drunk once a day; then would they at their best have begotten but wenches, and in short their generation enfeebled to nothing.    172

Sir Amor. O, divine Faunus, where might a man take up forty pound in a commodity of garlic and onions? Nymphadoro, thine ear.

Herc. Come, what are you fleering at? There’s some weakness in your brother you wrinkle at thus; come, prithee, impart; what? we are mutually incorporated, turn’d one into another, brued [sic] together. Come, I believe you are familiar with your sister, and it were known.

Herod. Witch, Faunus, witch! Why, how dost dream I live? Is’t four score a year, think’st thou, maintains my geldings, my pages, foot-cloths, my best feeding, high play, and excellent company? No, ’tis from hence, from hence, I mint some four hundred pound a year.    185

Herc. Dost thou live like a porter, by the[172] back, boy?

Herod. As for my weak-rein’d brother, hang him! He has sore shins. Damn him, heteroclite! his brain’s perished! His youth spent his fodder so fast on others’ cattle, that he now wants for his own winter. I am fain to supply, Fawn, for which I am supplied.

Herc. Dost thou branch him, boy?

Herod. What else, Fawn?    193

Herc. What else? Nay, ’tis enough. Why, many men corrupt other men’s wives, some their maids, others their neighbours’ daughters; but to lie with one’s brother’s wedlock,[173] O, my dear Herod, ’tis vile[174] and uncommon lust.

Herod. ’Fore Heaven, I love thee to the heart! Well, I may praise God for my brother’s weakness, for I assure thee the land shall descend to me, my little Fawn.    201

Herc. To thee, my little Herod? O, my rare rascal, I do find more and more in thee to wonder at, for thou art, indeed—if I prosper, thou shalt know what. Who’s this?[175]

Enter Don Zuccone.

Herod. What! know you not Don Zuccone, the only desperately railing lord[176] at’s lady that ever was confidently melancholy—that egregious idiot, that husband of the most witty, fair (and be it spoken with many men’s true grief), most chaste Lady Zoya! But we have entered into a confederacy of afflicting him.    211

Herc. Plots ha’ you laid, inductions dangerous?[177]

Nym. A quiet bosom to my sweet Don. Are you going to visit your lady?

Zuc. What o’clock is’t? Is it past three?

Herod. Past four, I assure you, sweet Don.

Zuc. O, then, I may be admitted. Her afternoon’s private nap is taken. I shall take her napping. I hear there’s one jealous that I lie with my own wife, and begins to withdraw his hand. I protest, I vow,—and you will, on my knees I’ll take my sacrament on it,—I lay not with her this four years—this four years; let her not be turn’d upon me, I beseech you.    223

Herc. My dear Don!

Zuc. O, Faunus, do’st know our lady?

Herc. Your lady?

Zuc. No, our lady. For the love of charity, incorporate with her; I would have all nations and degrees, all ages, know our lady; for I covet only to be undoubtedly notorious.    230

Herc. For indeed, sir, a repressed fame mounts like camomile[178]—the more trod down, the more it grows. Things known common and undoubted, lose rumour.

Nym. I hope yet your conjectures may err. Your lady keeps full face, unbated roundness, cheerful aspect. Were she so infamously prostitute, her cheek would fall, her colour fade, the spirit of her eye would die.

Zuc. O, young man, such women are like Danaus’ tub; and, indeed, all women are like Achelous,[179] with whom Hercules wrestling, he was no sooner hurl’d to the earth, but he rose up with double vigour. Their fall strengthened them.    242

Enter Dondolo.

Don. News, news, news, news! O, my dear Don, be raised—be jovial[180]—be triumphant! Ah, my dear Don!

Nym. To me first, in private, thy news, I prithee.

Don. Will you be secret?

Nym. O’ my life.

Don. As you are generous?

Nym. As I am generous.    250

Don. Don Zuccone’s lady’s with child.

Herc. Nymph, Nymph, what is’t?—what’s the news?

Nym. You will be secret?

Herod. Silence itself.

Nym. Don Zuccone’s lady’s with child apparently.

Herc. Herod, Herod, what’s the matter, prithee? the news?

Herod. You must tell nobody?

Herc. As I am generous——

Herod. Don Zuccone’s lady’s with child apparently.

Zuc. Fawn, what’s the whisper?—what’s the fool’s secret news?    262

Herc. Truth, my lord, a thing that—that—well, i’faith, it is not fit you know it: now[181]—now—now—

Zuc. Not fit I know it? As thou art baptized, tell me—tell me.

Herc. Will you plight your patience to it?

Zuc. Speak, I am a very block. I will not be moved—I am a very block.

Herc. But if you should grow disquiet (as, I protest, it would make a saint blaspheme), I should be unwilling to procure your impatience.    272

Zuc. Yes,[182] do! Burst me! burst me! burst me with longing!

Herc. Nay, faith, ’tis no great matter! Hark ye, you’ll tell nobody?

Zuc. Not.

Herc. As you are noble?

Zuc. As I am honest.

Herc. Your lady-wife is[183] apparently with child.    280

Zuc. With child?

Herc. With child.

Zuc. Fool!

Herc. My Don.

Zuc. With child!—by the pleasure of generation, I proclaim I lay not with her this——Give us patience!—give us patience!

Herc. Why? my lord, ’tis nothing to wear a forker.[184]

Zuc. Heaven and earth!

Herc. All things under the moon are subject to their mistress’ grace. Horns! Lend me your ring, my Don—I’ll put it on my finger. Now ’tis on yours again. Why is the gold now e’er the worse in lustre or fitness?    293

Zuc. Am I used thus?

Herc. Ay, my lord, true. Nay, to be—(look ye, mark ye)—to be used like a dead ox—to have your own hide pluck’d on—to be drawn on with your own horn,—to have the lordship of your father, the honour of your ancestors, maugre your beard, to descend to the base lust of some groom of your stable, or the page of your chamber!    301

Zuc. O, Phalaris! thy bull!

Sir Amor. Good Don, ha’ patience! you are not the only cuckold! I would now be separated.

Zuc. ’Las! that’s but the least drop of the storm of my revenge! I will unlegitimate[185] the issue! What I will do shall be horrible but to think.

Herc. But, sir——

Zuc. But, sir, I will do what a man of my form may do; and laugh on, laugh on, do Sir Amorous—you have a lady, too.    311

Herod. But, my sweet lord——

Zuc. Do not anger me, lest I most dreadfully curse thee, and wish thee married! O, Zuccone, spit white, spit thy gall out. The only boon I crave of Heaven is——But to have my honours inherited by a bastard! I will be most tyrannous—bloodily tyrannous in my revenge, and most terrible in my curses! Live to grow blind with lust, senseless with use, loathed after, flattered before, hated always, trusted never, abhorred ever! and last, may she live to wear a most foul smock seven weeks together, Heaven, I beseech thee!    322


Enter Zoya and Poveia.

Zoy. Is he gone?—is he blown off? Now; out upon him, insufferably jealous fool.

Don. Lady!

Zoy. Didst thou give him the famed report? Does he believe I am with child? Does he give faith?

Don. In most sincerity, most sincerely.

Zoy. Nay, ’tis a pure fool! I can tell ye he was bred up in Germany.    330

Nym. But the laughter rises, that he vows he lay not in your bed this four year, with such exquisite protestations.

Zoy. That’s most full truth. He hath most unjustly severed his sheets ever since the old Duke Pietro (Heaven rest his soul!)——

Don. Fie! You may not pray for the dead; ’tis indifferent to them what you say.

Nym. Well said, fool.

Zoy. Ever since the old Duke Pietro, the great devil of hell torture his soul——    341

Don. O, lady! yet charity!

Zoy. Why? ’tis indifferent to them what you say, fool. But does my lord ravel out? does he fret? For pity of an afflicted lady, load him soundly; let him not go[186] clear from vexation: he has the most dishonourably, with the most sinful, most vicious obstinacy, persevered to wrong me, that, were I not of a male constitution, ’twere impossible for me to survive it; but in madness’ name, let him on. I ha’ not the weak sense[187] of some of your soft-eyed whimpering ladies, who, if they were used like me, would gall their fingers with wringing their hands, look like bleeding Lucreces, and shed salt water enough to powder all the beef in the duke’s larder. No, I am resolute Donna Zoya. Ha! that wives were of my metal! I would make these ridiculously jealous fools howl like a starved dog before he got a bit. I was created to be the affliction of such an unsanctified member, and will boil him in his own syrup.    359

Enter Zuccone, listening.

Herc. Peace! the wolf’s ear takes the wind of us.

Herod. The enemy is in ambush.

Zoy. If any man ha’ the wit, now let him talk wantonly but not bawdily. Come, gallants, who’ll be my servants? I am now very open-hearted and full of entertainment.

Herc. Grace me to call you mistress?

Nym. Or me?

Herod. Or me?

Sir Amor. Or me?    368

Zoy. Or all! I am taken with you all—with you all.

Herc. As, indeed, why should any woman only love any[188] one man, since it is reasonable women should affect all perfection,[189] but all perfection never rests in one man. Many men have many virtues, but ladies should love many virtues, therefore ladies should love many men; for as in women, so in men; some women hath only a good eye,—one can discourse beautifully, if she do not laugh,—one’s well-favoured to her nose,—another hath only a good brow,—t’other a plump lip,—a third only holds beauty to the teeth, and there the soil alters; some, peradventure, hold good to the breast, and then downward turn like the dreamt-of image,[190] whose head was gold, breast silver, thighs iron, and all beneath clay and earth; one only winks eloquently,—another only kisses well,—t’other only talks well,—a fourth only lies well; so, in men, one gallant has only a good face,—another has only a grave methodical beard, and is a notable wise fellow until he speaks,—a third only makes water well, and that’s a good provoking quality,—one only swears well,—another only speaks well,—a third only does well. All in their kind good: goodness is to be best affected, therefore they; it is a base thing, and indeed an impossible, for a worthy mind to be contented with the whole world, but most vile and abject to be satisfied with one point or prick[191] of the world.    394

Zoy. Excellent Faunus! I kiss thee for this, by this hand.

Sir Amor. I thought as well: kiss me too, dear mistress.

Zoy. No, good Sir Amoroso;[192] your teeth hath taken rust, your breath wants airing, and indeed I love sound kissing. Come, gallants, who’ll run a caranto, or leap a levalto?    401

Herc. Take heed, lady, from offending or bruising the hope of your womb.

Zoy. No matter; now I ha’ the sleight, or rather the fashion of it, I fear no barrenness.

Herc. O, but you know not your husband’s aptness.

Zoy. Husband! husband! as if women could have no children without husbands.

Nym. Ay, but then they will not be so like your husband.    410

Zoy. No matter, they’ll be like their father; ’tis honour enough to my husband that they vouchsafe to call him father, and that his land shall descend to them. (Does he not gnash his very teeth in anguish?) Like our husband? I had rather they were ungroan’d for. Like our husband?—prove such a melancholy jealous ass as he is? (Does he not stamp?)

Nym. But troth, your husband has a good face.

Zoy. Faith, good enough face for a husband. Come, gallants, I’ll dance to mine own whistle: I am as light now as——Ah! [she sings and dances]. A kiss to you, to my sweet free servants. Dream on me, and adieu.

[Exit Zoya.

Zuccone discovers himself.

Zuc. I shall lose my wits.    423

Herc. Be comforted, dear Don, you ha’ none to leese.

Zuc. My wife is grown like a Dutch crest, always rampant, rampant: ’fore I will endure this affliction, I will live by raking cockles out of kennels; nay, I will run my country,—forsake my religion,—go weave fustians,—or roll the wheel-barrow at Rotterdam.

Herc. I would be divorced, despite her friends, or the oath of her chamber-maid.    431

Zuc. Nay, I will be divorced, in despite of ’em all; I’ll go to law with her.

Herc. That’s excellent; nay, I would go to law.

Zuc. Nay, I will go to law.

Herc. Why, that’s sport alone; what though it be most exacting? wherefore is money?

Zuc. True, wherefore is money?    438

Herc. What, though you shall pay for every quill, each drop of ink, each minim, letter, tittle, comma, prick, each breath, nay, not only for thine own orator’s prating, but for some other orator’s silence,—though thou must buy silence with a full hand,—’tis well known Demosthenes[193] took above two thousand pound once only to hold his peace,—though thou a man of noble gentry, yet you must wait, and besiege his study door, which will prove more hard to be entered than old Troy, for that was gotten into by a wooden horse; but the entrance of this may chance cost thee a whole stock of cattle, oves et boves, et cœtera pecora campi;—though then thou must sit there, thrust and contemned, bare-headed to a grograine scribe, ready to start up at the door creaking, press’d to get in, “with your leave, sir,” to some surly groom, the third son of a rope-maker:[194]—what of all this?    454

Zuc. To a resolute mind these torments are not felt.

Herc. A very arrant ass, when he is hungry, will feed on, though he be whipt to the bones, and shall a very arrant ass, Zuccone, be more virtuously patient than a noble——

Don. No, Fawn, the world shall know I have more virtue than so——    461

Herc. Do so, and be wise.

Zuc. I will, I warrant thee: so I may be revenged, what care I what I do?

Herc. Call a dog worshipful?

Zuc. Nay, I will embrace,—nay, I will embrace a jakes-farmer, after eleven o’clock at night,—I will stand bare, and give wall to a bellows-mender,—pawn my lordship,—sell my foot-cloth,[195]—but I will be revenged. Does she think she has married an ass?    470

Herc. A fool?

Zuc. A coxcomb?

Herc. A ninny-hammer?

Zuc. A woodcock?

Herc. A calf?

Zuc. No, she shall find that I ha’ eyes.

Herc. And brain.

Zuc. And nose.

Herc. And forehead.

Zuc. She shall, i’faith, Fawn; she shall, she shall, sweet Fawn; she shall, i’faith, old boy; it joys my blood to think on’t; she shall, i’faith. Farewell, loved Fawn; sweet Fawn, farewell: she shall, i’faith, boy.    483

[Exit Zuccone.

Enter Gongazo and Granuffo with Dulcimel.

Gon. We would be private, only Faunus stay; He is a wise fellow, daughter, a very wise fellow, for he is still just of my opinion. My Lord Granuffo, you may likewise stay, for I know you’ll say nothing. Say on, daughter.

[Exeunt all but Gonzago, Granuffo, Hercules and Dulcimel.

Dul. And as I told you, sir, Tiberio being sent,
Graced in high trust, as to negotiate    490
His royal father’s love, if he neglect
The honour of this faith, just care of state,
And every fortune that gives likelihood
To his best hopes, to draw our weaker heart
To his own love (as I protest he does)——

Gon. I’ll rate[196] the prince with such a heat of breath,
His ears shall glow; nay, I discover’d him;
I read his eyes, as I can read any[197] eye—
Tho’ it speak in darkest characters, I can;
Can we not, Fawn?—can we not, my lord?    500
Why, I conceive you now; I understand you both.
You both admire; yes, say is ’t not hit?
Though we are old, or so, yet we ha’ wit.

Dul. And you may say (if so[198] your wisdom please,
As you are truly wise), how weak a creature
Soft woman is to bear the siege and strength
Of so prevailing feature and fair language,
As that of his is ever: you may add
(If so your wisdom please, as you are wise)——

Gon. As mortal man may be.

Dul. I am of years    510
Apt for his love; and if he should proceed
In private urgent suit, how easy ’twere
To win my love: for you may say (if so
Your wisdom please) you find in me
A very forward passion to enjoy him,
And therefore you beseech him seriously
Straight to forbear, with such close-cunning art
To urge his too well gracèd suit: for you
(If so your lordship please) may say I told you all.

Gon. Go to, go to; what I will say, or so,    520
Until I say, none but myself shall know.
But I will say—Go to; does not my colour rise?
It shall rise; for I can force my blood
To come and go, as men of wit and state
Must sometimes feign their love, sometimes their hate.
That’s policy now; but come with this free heat,
Or this same Estro[199] or Enthusiasm
(For these are phrases both poetical);
Will we go rate the prince, and make him see
Himself in us; that is, our grace and wits    530
Shall show his shapeless folly,—vice kneels while virtue sits.

Enter Tiberio.

But see, we are prevented: daughter, in!
It is not fit thyself should hear what I
Must speak of thy most modest, wise, wise mind;
For th’art careful, sober, in all most wise,
And indeed our daughter. [Exit Dulcimel.] My Lord Tiberio,
A horse but yet a colt may leave his trot,
A man but yet a boy may well be broke
From vain addictions; the head of rivers stopp’d,
The channel dries; he that doth dread a fire,    540
Must put out sparks; and he who fears a bull,
Must cut his horns off when he is a calf.
Principiis obsta,[200] saith a learned man,
Who, though he was no duke, yet he was wise,
And had some sense or so.

Tib. What means my lord?

Gon.[201] La, sir! thus men of brain can speak in clouds,
Which weak eyes cannot pierce; but, my fair lord,
In direct phrase thus, my daughter tells me plain,
You go about with most direct entreats
To gain her love, and to abuse her father.    550
O, my fair lord, will you, a youth so blest
With rarest gifts of fortune and sweet graces,
Offer to love a young and tender lady;
Will you, I say, abuse your most wise father,
Who, tho’ he freeze in August, and his calves
Are sunk into his toes, yet may well wed our daughter,
As old as he in wit? Will you, I say
(For by my troth, my lord, I must be plain)?
My daughter is but young, and apt to love
So fit a person as your proper self,    560
And so she pray’d me tell you. Will you now
Entice her easy breast to abuse your trust,
Her proper honour, and your father’s hopes?
I speak no figures, but I charge you check
Your appetite and passions to our daughter,
Before it head, nor offer conference,
Or seek access, but by and before us.
What, judge you us as weak or as unwise?
No, you shall find that Venice duke has eyes;
And so think on’t.

[Exeunt Gonzago and Granuffo.

Tib. Astonishment and wonder! what means this?
Is the duke sober?

Herc. Why, ha’ not you endeavour’d    572
Courses that only[202] seconded appetite,
And not your honour, or your trust of place?
Do you not court the lady for yourself?

Tib. Fawn, thou dost love me. If I ha’ done so,
’Tis past my knowledge; and I prithee, Fawn,
If thou observ’st I do I know not what,
Make me to know it; for by the dear light,
I ha’ not found a thought that way. I apt for love?
Let lazy idleness, fill’d full of wine,    581
Heated with meats, high fed, with lustful ease,
Go dote on colour. As for me, why, death[203] o’ sense!
I court the lady? I was not born in Cyprus.
I love! when?—how?—whom? Think, let us yet keep
Our reason sound. I’ll think, and think, and sleep.


Herc. Amazed! even lost in wond’ring! I rest full
Of covetous expectation. I am left
As on a rock, from whence I may discern
The giddy sea of humour flow beneath,    590
Upon whose back the vainer bubbles float,
And forthwith break. O mighty flattery!
Thou easiest, common’st, and most grateful venom,
That poisons courts and all societies,
How grateful dost thou make me? Should one rail,
And come to fear[204] a vice, beware leg-rings
And the turn’d key on thee, when, if softer hand
Suppling a sore that itches (which should smart)—
Free speech gains foes, base fawnings steal the heart.
Swell, you imposthum’d members, till you burst,    600
Since ’tis in vain to hinder, on I’ll thrust;
And when in shame you fall, I’ll laugh from hence,
And cry, “So end all desperate impudence!”
Another’s court shall show me where and how
Vice may be cured, for now beside myself,
Possess’d with almost frenzy, from strong fervour
I know I shall produce things mere divine:
Without immoderate heat, no virtues shine.
For I speak strong, tho’ strange,—the dews that steep
Our souls in deepest thoughts are fury and sleep.    610


[161] The officer who set on the dishes and removed them at a banquet.

[162] Ed. 3. “overflowing.” The italicised words seem to be a quotation.

[163] So the old eds.; but probably “Danae’s” is a misprint for “the Danaides’.” Later we have “Danau’s tubbe.”

[164] “The hill ... that rise” (ll. 27-29). These lines are found only in the second 4to.

[165] “Impudence”—omitted in eds. 1. and 3.

[166] “Faunus”—omitted in eds. 1. and 3.

[167] Possibly a corrupt abbreviation of Ital. Vino di Montepulciano.

[168] So ed. 2.—Eds. 1. and 3. “to health [and to’th health] of thy chin.”

[169] See note, vol. i. p. 153.

[170] Rich broths.—Cf. Middleton, iii. 285:—“Let gold, amber, and dissolved pearl be common ingrediences, and that you cannot compose a cullice without ’em.”

[171] i.e., parroquets?—Cf. The Fox, iii. 6:

“The heads of parrots, tongues of nightingales,
The brains of peacocks and of estriches,
Shall be our food.”

[172] Eds. 1. and 3. “thy.”

[173] Wife.—See Middleton, iv. 62, vii. 212.

[174] This must be a misprint.—Should we read “royal”?

[175] “Who’s this?”—omitted in eds. 1. and 3.

[176] “Lord”—omitted in eds. 1. and 3.

[177] Richard III., i. 1. l. 32: “Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous.”

[178] Cf. 1 Henry IV., ii. 4:—“For though the camomile the more it is trodden on the faster it grows, yet youth the more it is wasted the sooner it wears.” The comparison was very common.

[179] See Ovid’s Metamorphoses, lib. ix.

[180] So ed. 3.—Eds. 1. and 2. “Iouiald.”

[181] “Now—now—now”—omitted in ed. 2.

[182] Eds. 1. and 3. “Ye.”

[183] Omitted in ed. 2.

[184] Eds. 1. and 3. “forke.”

[185] Ed. 1. “vnlegittimall.”

[186] Eds. 1. and 3. “worke.”

[187] Old eds. “fence.”

[188] “Any one man.”—So ed. 2.; eds. 1. and 3. “such an one.”

[189] Eds. 1. and 3. proceed thus:—“yea, all should court many vertues, therefore ladies should court many men; for as in women, so in men, some woman hath,” &c.

[190] See the second chapter of The Book of Daniel.

[191] “Or prick”—omitted in ed. 2.

[192] Eds. 1. and 3. “Amorous.”

[193] Plutarch tells the story in his account of Demosthenes (Orat. Vit.):—“Πώλου δέ ποτε τοῦ ὑποκριτοῦ πρὸς αὐτὸν εἰπόντος, ὅτι δυσὶν ἡμέραις ἀγωνισάμενος τάλαντον λάβοι μισθὸν, Ἐγὼ δὲ, εἶπε, τέντε τάλαντα, μίαν ἡμέραν σιωπήσας.”

[194] Nashe persistently twitted Gabriel Harvey with being the son of a ropemaker.

[195] The housings of a horse.

[196] Ed. 1. “hate.”

[197] Eds. 1. and 3. “an.”

[198] “So”—omitted in eds. 1. and 3.

[199] “The œstrum or gadfly is here meant, which extremely torments cattle in the summer. It is metaphorically used for inspired fury of any kind.”—Dilke.

[200] Ovid, Remed. Am., l. 91.

[201] Not marked in eds. 1. and 3.

[202] Eds. 1. and 3. “that have seconded.”

[203] Eds. 1. and 3. “earth.” (“Death o’ sense” is a sort of meaningless oath. Cf. p. 138, l. 81. “Oh, the life of sense!” Later we have “Death o’ man! is she delivered?” iv. 1.)

[204] i.e., frighten.



Palace of the Duke of Urbin.

Enter Faunus and Nymphadoro.

Nym. Faith, Fawn, ’tis my humour, the natural sin of my sanguine complexion. I am most enforcedly in love with all women, almost affecting them all with an equal flame.

Herc. An excellent justice of an upright virtue: you love all God’s creatures with an unpartial affection.

Nym. Right; neither am I inconstant to any one in particular.

Herc. Tho’ you love all in general, true; for when you vow a most devoted love to one, you swear not to tender a most devoted love to another; and indeed why should any man over-love anything? ’Tis judgment for a man to love everything proportionably to his virtue: I love a dog with a hunting pleasure, as he is pleasurable in hunting; my horse, after a journeying easiness, as he is easy in journeying; my hawk, to the goodness of his wing; and my wench——    17

Nym. How, sweet Fawn, how?

Herc. Why, according to her creation. Nature made them pretty, toying, idle, fantastic, imperfect creatures; even so I would in justice affect them, with a pretty, toying, idle, fantastic, imperfect affection; and as indeed they are only created for show and pleasure, so would I only love them for show and pleasure.

Nym. Why, that’s my humour to the very thread; thou dost speak my proper thoughts.

Herc. But, sir, with what possibility can your constitution be so boundlessly amorous as to affect all women, of what degree, form, or complexion soever?    29

Nym. I’ll tell thee: for mine own part I am a perfect Ovidian, and can with him affect all. If[205] she be a virgin, of a modest eye, shamefaced, temperate aspect, her very modesty inflames me, her sober blushes fires me; if I behold a wanton, pretty, courtly, petulant ape, I am extremely in love with her, because she is not clownishly rude, and that she assures her lover of no ignorant, dull, unmoving[206] Venus; be she sourly severe, I think she wittily counterfeits, and I love her for her wit; if she be learned, and censures poets, I love her soul, and for her soul her body; be she a lady of profess’d ignorance, oh, I am infinitely taken with her simplicity, as one assured to find no sophistication about her; be she slender and lean, she’s the Greek’s delight; be she thick and plump, she’s the Italian’s pleasure; if she be tall, she’s of a goodly form, and will print a fair proportion in a large bed; if she be short and low, she’s nimbly delightful, and ordinarily quick-witted; be she young, she’s for mine eye; be she old, she’s for my discourse, as one well knowing there’s much amiableness in a grave matron; but be she young or old, lean, fat, short, tall, white, red, brown, nay, even black, my discourse shall find reason to love her, if my means may procure opportunity to enjoy her.    53

Herc. Excellent, sir: nay, if a man were of competent means, were’t not a notable delight for a man to have for every month in that year?

Nym. Nay, for every week of the month?

Herc. Nay, for every day of the week?

Nym. Nay, for every hour of that day?

Herc. Nay, for every humour of a man in that hour, to have a several mistress to entertain him; as if he were saturnine, or melancholy, to have a black-haired, pale-faced, sallow, thinking mistress to clip him; if jovial and merry, a sanguine, light-tripping, singing,—indeed a mistress that would dance a[207] caranto as she goes to embrace him; if choleric, impatient, or ireful, to have a mistress with red hair, little ferret eyes, a lean cheek, and a sharp nose, to entertain him. And so of the rest.    68

Enter Donnetta.

Nym. O, sir, this were too great ambition! Well, I love and am beloved of a great many; for I court all in the way of honour, in the trade of marriage, Fawn; but above all, I affect the princess,—she’s my utmost end. O, I love a lady whose beauty is joined with fortune, beyond all! yet one of beauty without fortune, for some uses; nay, one of fortune without beauty, for some ends; but never any that has neither fortune nor beauty, but for necessity; such a one as this is Donna Donnetta: here’s one has loved all the court just once over.

Herc. O, this is the fair lady with the foul teeth! Nature’s hand shook when she was in making, for the red that should have spread her cheeks, Nature let fall upon her nose; the white of her chin slipp’d into her eyes; and the gray of her eyes leapt before his time into her hair; and the yellowness of her hair fell without providence into her teeth.    85

Nym. By the vow of my heart, you are my most only elected; and I speak by way of protestation, I shall no longer wish to be than that your only affection shall rest in me, and mine only in you.

Don. But if you shall love any other?    90

Nym. Any other? Can any man love any other that knows you,—the only perfection of your sex, and astonishment of mankind?

Don. Fie! ye flatter me. Go, wear and understand my favour: this snail[’s] slow, but sure.

Nym. This kiss!

Don. Farewell!

Nym. The integrity and only vow of my faith to you; ever urge your well-deserved requital to me.

[Exit Donnetta.

Enter Garbetza.

Herc. Excellent!    100

Nym. See, here’s another of——

Herc. Of your most only elected.

Nym. Right, Donna Garbetza.

Herc. O, I will acknowledge this is the lady made of cutwork, and all her body like a sand-box, full of holes, and contains nothing but dust. She chooseth her servants as men choose dogs, by the mouth; if they open well and full, their cry is pleasing. She may be chaste, for she has a bad face; and yet, questionless, she may be made a strumpet, for she is covetous.    110

Nym. By the vow of my heart, you are my most only elected (and I speak it by way of protestation), I shall no longer wish to be than all your affections shall only rest in me, and all mine only in you.

Herc. Excellent! this piece of stuff is good on both sides; he is so constant, he will not change his phrase.

Gar. But shall I give faith? may you not love another?

Nym. Another? Can any man love another that knows you,—the only perfection of your sex, and admiration of mankind?    120

Gar. Your speech flies too high for your meaning to follow, yet my mistrust shall not precede my experience: I wrought this favour for you.

Nym. The integrity and only vow of my faith to you; ever urge your well-deserved requital to me.

[Exit Garbetza.

Herc. Why, this is pure wit, nay, judgment.

Nym. Why, look thee, Fawn, observe me.

Herc. I do, sir.

Nym. I do love at this instant some nineteen ladies, all in the trade of marriage. Now, sir, whose father dies first, or whose portion appeareth most, or whose fortunes betters soonest, her with quiet liberty at my leisure will I elect; for[208] that’s my humour.    133

Enter Dulcimel and Philocalia.

Herc. You profess a most excellent mystery, sir.

Nym. ’Fore Heaven! see the princess—she that is——

Herc. Your most only elected, too?

Nym. Oh! ay—oh! ay—but my hope’s faint yet.—By the vow of my heart, you are my most only elected and——

Dul. There’s a ship of fools going out! Shall I prefer thee, Nymphadoro? Thou mayst be master’s mate. My father hath made Dondolo captain, else thou shouldest have his place.    143

Nym. By Jove, Fawn, she speaks as sharply, and looks as sourly, as if she had been new squeezed out of a crab orange.

Herc. How term you that lady with whom she holds discourse?

Nym. O, Fawn, ’tis a lady even above ambition; and like the vertical sun, that neither forceth others to cast shadows, nor can others force or shade her. Her style is Donna Philocalia.    152

Herc. Philocalia! What! that renowmed[209] lady, whose ample report hath struck wonder into remotest strangers? and yet her worth above that wonder? She, whose noble industries hath made her breast rich in true glories and undying habilities? she, that whilst other ladies spend the life of earth, Time, in reading their glass, their jewels, and (the shame of poesy) lustful sonnets, gives her soul meditations—those meditations wings that cleave the air, fan bright celestial fires, whose true reflection makes her see herself and them? she whose pity is ever above her envy, loving nothing less than insolent prosperity, and pitying nothing more than virtue destitute of fortune?    164

Nym. There were a lady for Ferrara’s duke!—one of great blood, firm age, undoubted honour, above her sex, most modestly artful, tho’ naturally modest; too excellent to be left unmatch’d, tho’ few worthy to match with her.

Herc. I cannot tell—my thoughts grow busy.    169

Phi. The princess would be private. Void the presence!


Dul. May I rest sure thou wilt conceal a secret?

Phi. Yes, madam.

Dul. How may I rest assured?

Phi. Truly thus—do not tell it me.

Dul. Why, canst thou not conceal a secret?

Phi. Yes, as long as it is a secret, but when two know it, how can it be a secret? and, indeed, with what justice can you expect secrecy in me that cannot be private to yourself?    179

Dul. Faith, Philocalia, I must of force trust thy silence; for my breast breaks if I confer not my thoughts upon thee.

Phi. You may trust my silence; I can command that; but if I chance to be questioned I must speak truth: I can conceal, but not deny my knowledge. That must command me.

Dul. Fie on these philosophical discoursing women! Prithee confer with me like a creature made of flesh and blood, and tell me if it be not a scandal to the soul of all being, proportion, that I, a female of fifteen,[210] of a lightsome and civil discretion—healthy, lusty, vigorous, full, and idle—should for ever be shackled to the crampy shins of a wayward, dull, sour, austere, rough, rheumy threescore and four?    194

Phi. Nay, threescore and ten at the least.

Dul. Now, Heaven bless me! as it is pity that every knave is not a fool, so it is shame that every old man is not, and resteth not, a widower. They say in China, when women are past child-bearing, they are all burnt to make gunpowder. I wonder what men should be done withal when they are past child-getting. Yet, upon my love, Philocalia (which with ladies is often above their honour), I do even dote upon the best part of the duke.

Phi. What’s that?    204

Dul. His son; yes, sooth, and so love him, that I must marry him.

Phi. And wherefore love him so, to marry him?

Dul. Because I love him; and because he is virtuous I love to marry.

Phi. His virtues!    210

Dul. Ay, with him, his virtues.

Phi. Ay, with him! alas, sweet princess, love or virtue are not of the essence of marriage!

Dul. A jest[211] upon your understanding! I’ll maintain that wisdom in a woman is most foolish quality. A lady of a good complexion, naturally well witted, perfectly bred, and well exercised in discourse of the best men, shall make fools of a thousand of these book-thinking creatures. I speak it by way of justification, I tell thee (look that nobody eavesdrop us),—I tell thee, I am truly learned, for I protest ignorance;[212] and wise, for I love myself; and virtuous enough for a lady of fifteen.    223

Phi. How virtuous?

Dul. Shall I speak like a creature of a good healthful blood, and not like one of these weak, green sickness, lean, phthisic starvelings? First, for the virtue of magnanimity, I am very valiant, for there is no heroic action so particularly noble and glorious to our sex, as not to fall to action; the greatest deed we can do is not to do (look that nobody listen). Then am I full of patience, and can bear more than a sumpter-horse; for (to speak sensibly), what burthen is there so heavy to a porter’s back as virginity to a well-complexioned young lady’s thoughts? (Look no body hearken.) By this hand the noblest vow is that of virginity, because the hardest. I will have the prince.    237

Phi. But by what means, sweet madam?

Dul. O Philocalia, in heavy sadness and unwanton phrase, there lies all the brain-work. By what means! I could fall into a miserable blank verse presently!

Phi. But, dear madam, your reason of loving him?

Dul. Faith, only a woman’s reason, because I was expressly forbidden to love him. At the first view I liked him; and no sooner had my father’s wisdom mistrusted my liking, but I grew loth his judgment should err; I pitied he should prove a fool in his old age, and without cause mistrust me.    248

Phi. But, when you saw no means of manifesting your affection to him, why did not your hopes perish?

Dul. O Philocalia! that difficulty only enflames me: when the enterprise is easy, the victory is inglorious. No, let my wise, aged, learned, intelligent father,—that can interpret eyes, understand the language of birds, interpret the grumbling of dogs and the conference of cats,—that can read even silence,—let him forbid all interviews, all speeches, all tokens, all messages, all (as he thinks) human means,—I will speak to the prince, court the prince, that he shall understand me;—nay, I will so stalk on the blind side of my all-knowing father’s wit, that, do what his wisdom can, he shall be my only mediator, my only messenger, my only honourable spokesman;—he shall carry my favours, he shall amplify my affection;—nay, he shall direct the prince the means, the very way to my bed;—he, and only he, when he only can do this, and only would not do this, he only shall do this.    267

Phi. Only you shall then deserve such a husband. O love, how violent are thy passages!

Dul. Pish, Philocalia! ’tis against the nature of love not to be violent.

Phi. And against the condition of violence to be constant.

Dul. Constancy?—constancy and patience are virtues in no living creatures but centinels and anglers. Here’s our father!

Enter Gonzago, Hercules, and Granuffo.

Gon. What, did he think to walk invisibly before our eyes? And he had Gyges’ ring I would find him.

Herc. ’Fore Jove, you rated him with emphasis.

Gon. Did we not shake the prince with energy?    280

Herc. With Ciceronian elocution?

Gon. And most pathetic, piercing oratory?

Herc. If he have any wit in him, he will make sweet use of it.

Gon. Nay, he shall make sweet use of it ere I have done. Lord, what overweening fools these young men be, that think us old men sots!

Herc. Arrant asses.

Gon. Doting idiots, when we, God wot—ha, ha! ’las, silly souls!    290

Herc. Poor weak creatures, to men of approved reach.

Gon. Full years.

Herc. Of wise experience.

Gon. And approved wit.

Herc. Nay, as for your wit——

Gon. Count Granuffo, as I live, this Faunus is a rare understander of men—is a’ not? Faunus, this Granuffo is a right wise good lord, a man of excellent discourse and never speaks his signs to me, and men of profound reach instruct abundantly; he begs suits with signs, gives thanks with signs, puts off his hat leisurely, maintains his beard learnedly, keeps his lust privately, makes a nodding leg courtly, and lives happily.    303

Herc. Silence is an excellent modest grace, but especially before so instructing a wisdom as that of your excellency’s. As for his advancement, you gave it most royally, because he deserves it least duly, since to give to virtuous desert is rather a due requital than a princely magnificence, when to undeservingness it is merely all bounty and free grace.    310

Gon. Well spoke, ’tis enough. Don Granuffo, this Faunus is a very worthy fellow, and an excellent courtier, and beloved of most of the princes of Christendom, I can tell you; for howsoever some severer dissembler grace him not when he affronts him in the full face, yet, if he comes behind or on the one side, he’ll leer and put back his head upon him. Be sure, be you two precious to each other.

Herc. Sir, myself, my family, my fortunes, are all devoted, I protest, most religiously to your service. I vow my whole self only proud in being acknowledged by you, but as your creature; and my only utmost ambition is by my sword or soul to testify how sincerely I am consecrated to your adoration.    324

Gon. ’Tis enough; art a gentleman, Fawn?

Herc. Not uneminently[213] descended; for were the pedigrees of some fortunately mounted, searched, they would be secretly found to be of the blood of the poor Fawn.    329

Gon. ’Tis enough; you two I love heartily; for thy silence never displeaseth me, nor thy speech ever offend me. See, our daughter attends us.—My fair, my wise, my chaste, my duteous, and indeed, in all, my daughter (for such a pretty soul for all the world have I been), what! I think we have made the prince to feel his error.
What! did he think he had weak fools in hand?
No, he shall find, as wisely said Lucullus,
Young men are fools that go about to gull us.    338

Dul. But sooth, my wisest father, the young prince is yet forgetful, and resteth resolute in his much-unadvised love.

Gon. Is’t possible?

Dul. Nay, I protest, what ere he feign to you (as he can feign most deeply)——

Gon. Right, we know it; for if you mark’d, he would not once take sense of any such intent from him. O impudence, what mercy canst thou look for!

Dul. And as I said, royally wise and wisely royal father——

Gon. I think that eloquence is hereditary.    350

Dul. Tho’ he can feign, yet I presume your sense is quick enough to find him.

Gon. Quick, is’t not, Granuffo?[214] Is’t not, Fawn? Why, I did know you feigned, nay, I do know (by the just sequence of such impudence) that he hath laid some second siege unto thy bosom, with most miraculous conveyances of some rich present on thee.

Dul. O bounteous Heaven, how liberal are your graces to my Nestor-like father!

Gon. Is’t not so, say?    360

Dul. ’Tis so, oraculous father; he hath now more than courted with bare phrases.
See, father, see, the very bane of honour,
Corruption of justice and virginity:
Gifts hath he left with me. O view this scarf;
This, as he call’d it, most envièd silk,
That should embrace an arm, or waist, or side,
Which he much fear’d should never—this he left,
Despite my much resistance.    369

Gon. Did he so? Give’t me. I’ll give’t him. I’ll regive his token with so sharp advantage.

Dul. Nay, my worthy father, read but these cunning letters.

Gon. Letters—where?


Prove you but justly loving, and conceive me,
Till justice leave the gods, I’ll never leave thee.
For tho’ the duke seem wise, he’ll find this strain,
Where two hearts yield consent, all thwarting’s vain.
And darest thou then aver this wicked writ?
O world of wenching wiles, where is thy wit?    380

Enter Tiberio.

Dul. But other talk for us were far more fit, For, see, here comes the Prince Tiberio.

Gon. Daughter, upon thy obedience, instantly take thy chamber.

Dul. Dear father, in all duty, let me beseech your leave, that I may but——

Gon. Go to, go to! you are a simple fool, a very simple animal.

Dul. Yet[215] let me (the loyal servant of simplicity)——

Gon. What would you do? What! are you wiser than your father?—will you direct me?    391

Dul. Heavens forbid such insolence! Yet let me denounce my hearty hatred.

Gon. To what end?

Dul. Tho’t be but in the prince’s ear (since fits not maiden’s blush to rail aloud).

Gon. Go to, go to!

Dul. Let me but check his heat.

Gon. Well, well.

Dul. And take him down, dear father, from his full pride of hopes.    401

Gon. So, so, I say once more, go in.

[Exeunt Dulcimel and Philocalia.

I will not lose the glory of reproof.
Is this the office of ambassadors,
My Lord Tiberio?
Nay, duty of a son; nay, piety of a man?—
(A figure call’d in art gradatio:
With some learned, Climax)—to court a royal lady
For’s master, father, or perchance his friend,
And yet intend the purchase of his beauty    410
To his own use?

Tib. Your grace doth much amaze me.

Gon. Ay, feign dissemble; ’las! we are now grown old, weak-sighted; alas! any one fools us.

Tib. I deeply vow, my lord——

Gon. Peace, be not damn’d, have pity on your soul.
I confess, sweet prince, for you to love my daughter,
Young and witty,
Of equal mixture both of mind and body,
Is neither wondrous nor unnatural;
Yet to forswear and vow against one’s heart,    420
Is full of base, ignoble cowardice,
Since ’tis most plain, such speeches do contemn
Heaven and fear men (that’s sententious[216] now).

Tib. My gracious lord, if I unknowingly have err’d.

Gon. Unknowingly! can you blush, my lord?
Unknowingly! why, can you write these lines,
Present this scarf, unknowingly, my lord,
To my dear daughter? Um, unknowingly?
Can you urge your suit, prefer your gentlest love,
In your own right, to her too easy breast,    430
That, God knows, takes too much compassion on ye?
(And so she pray’d me say) unknowingly?
My lord, if you can act these things unknowingly,
Know we can know your actions so unknown;
For we are old, I will not say in wit
(For even[217] just worth must not approve itself);
But take your scarf, for she vows she’ll not wear it.

Tib. Nay, but my lord——

Gon. Nay, but my lord, my lord,
You must take it, wear it, keep it,
For by the honour of our house and blood,    440
I will deal wisely, and be provident;
Your father shall not say I pandarised,
Or fondly wink’d at your affection;
No, we’ll be wise. This night our daughter yields
Your father’s answer; this night we invite
Your presence therefore to a feastful waking;
To-morrow to Ferrara you return,
With wishèd answer to your royal father;
Meantime, as you respect our best relation
Of your fair bearing (Granuffo, is’t not good?)—    450
Of your fair bearing, rest more anxious—
(No, anxious is not a good word)—rest more vigilant
Over your passion, both forbear and bear,
Anechou e apechou[218] (that’s Greek to you now),
Else your youth shall find
Our nose not stuff’d, but we can take the wind
And smell you out—I say no more but thus—
And smell you out. What! ha’ we not our eyes,
Our nose and ears? What! are these hairs unwise?
Look to’t, quos ego,[219]    460
(A figure called Aposiopesis or Increpatio).

[Exeunt Gonzago and Granuffo.

Tib. [reads the embroidered scarfs] Prove you but justly loving and conceive me,
Justice shall leave the gods before I leave thee:
Imagination prove as true as thou art sweet!
And tho’ the duke seem wise, he’ll find this strain,
When two hearts yield consent, all thwarting’s vain.
O quick, deviceful, strong-brain’d Dulcimel!
Thou art too full of wit to be a wife.
Why dost thou love? or what strong heat gave life
To such faint hopes? O woman! thou art made    470
Most only of, and for, deceit; thy form
Is nothing but delusion of our eyes,
Our ears, our hearts, and sometimes of our hands;
Hypocrisy and vanity brought forth,
Without male heat, thy most, most monstrous being.
Shall I abuse my royal father’s trust,
And make myself a scorn—the very food
Of rumour infamous? Shall I, that ever loath’d
A thought of woman, now begin to love
My worthy father’s right?—break faith to him    480
That got me, to get a faithless woman?

Herc. True,
My worthy lord, your grace is verè pius.

Tib. To take from my good father
The pleasure of his eyes and of his hands,
Imaginary solace of his fading life!

Herc. His life, that only lives to your sole good!

Tib. And myself good—his life’s most only end.

Herc. Which, O! may never end!

Tib. Yes, Fawn, in time. We must not prescribe to nature everything. There’s some end in everything.    490

Herc. But in a woman. Yet, as she is a wife, she is oftentimes the end of her husband.

Tib. Shall I, I say——

Herc. Shall you, I say, confound your own fair hopes,
Cross all your course of life, make your self vain
To your once steady graveness, and all to second
The ambitious quickness of a monstrous love,
That’s only out of difficulty born,
And followed only for the miracle
In the obtaining? I would ha’ ye now    500
Tell her father all.

Tib. Uncompassionate vild man!
Shall I not pity if I cannot love?
Or rather, shall I not for pity love
So wondrous wit in so most wondrous beauty,
That with such rarest art and cunning means
Entreats[220] what I (thing valueless) am not
Worthy to grant, my admiration?
Are fathers to be thought on in our loves?

Herc. True, right, sir;
Fathers or friends, a crown and love hath none,    510
But are allied to themselves alone.
Your father, I may boldly say, he’s an ass
To hope that you’ll forbear to swallow
What he cannot chew; nay, ’tis injustice, truly,
For him to judge it fit that you should starve
For that which only he can feast his eye withal,
And not disgest.[221]

Tib. O! Fawn, what man of so cold earth
But must love such a wit in such a body!
Thou last and only rareness of Heaven’s works,
From best of man made model of the gods!    520
Divinest woman, thou perfection
Of all proportion’s beauty, made when Jove was blithe—
Well filled with nectar, and full friends with man—
Thou dear as air, necessary as sleep
To careful man! Woman! O who can sin so deeply
As to be curs’d from knowing of the pleasures
Thy soft society, modest amorousness,
Yields to our tedious life!
Fawn, the duke shall not know this.

Herc. Unless you tell him. But what hope can live in you,    530
When your short stay and your most shorten’d conference,
Not only actions, but even looks observ’d,
Cut off all possibilities of obtaining?

Tib. Tush, Fawn,
To violence of women, love, and wit,
Nothing but not obtaining is impossible!
Notumque furens quid fœmina possit.

Herc. But then, how rest you to your father true?

Tib. To him that only can give dues, she rests most due.


Herc. Even so. He that with safety would well lurk in courts    540
To best-elected ends, of force is wrung
To keep broad eyes, soft feet, long ears, and most short tongue;
For ’tis of knowing creatures the main art
To use quick hams, wide arms, and most close heart.

[205] Compare with this speech the fourth elegy of Book II. of Ovid’s Amores.

[206] Eds. 1. and 3. “moving.”

[207] Eds. 1. and 3. “and.”

[208] So ed. 2.—Eds. 1. and 3. “for if my humour love.”

[209] So ed. 1.—Eds. 2. and 3. “renowned.” (For the form “renowmed” cf. Marlowe, i. 24, &c.)

[210] Eds. 1. and 3. “13.”

[211] So ed. 2.—Ed. 1. “I iest;” ed. 3. “I rest.”

[212] Eds. 1. and 3. “protest ignorant.”—Ed. 2. “prote ignorance.”

[213] So eds. 1. and 3.—Ed. 2. “Not one eminently.”

[214] Old eds. give:— Gon. Quicke, ist not?
Gra. Ist not Fawne Why,” &c.

[215] Eds. 1. and 3. “Yet let me be the loyal,” &c.

[216] Ed. 2. “sentious.”

[217] Ed. 3. “every.”

[218] Eds. 1. and 2. “anexou e ampexou.”—Ed. 3. “anechon, eapechon.” The reference is to the maxim of Epictetus (reported by Aulus Gellius, xvii. 19)—Ἀνέχου καὶ Ἀπέχου.

[219] Virg., Æn. i. 135.

[220] Eds. 1. and 2. read:—“Entreates? What (I thing valules) am not, Worthie but to graunt,” &c. Ed. 3. and some copies of ed. 1. give:—“Entreates? What I thinke valulesse and not Worthy but to graunt,” &c.

[221] Old form of “digest.”



Palace of the Duke of Urbin.

Enter Hercules and Garbetza.

Herc. Why, ’tis a most well-in-fashion affection, Donna Garbetza. Your knight, Sir Amorous, is a man of a most unfortunate back, spits white, has an ill breath; at three, after dinner, goes to the bath, takes the diet, nay, which is more, takes tobacco; therefore, with great authority, you may cuckold him.

Gar. I hope so; but would that friend my brother discover me—would he wrong himself to prejudice me—

Herc. No prejudice, dear Garbetza: his brother your husband, right; he cuckold his eldest brother, true; he gets her with child, just.    11

Gar. Sure there’s no wrong in right, true, and just?

Herc. And, indeed, since the virtue of procreation growed hopeless in your husband, to whom should you rather commit your love and honour to, than him that is most like and near your husband, his brother? But are you assured your friend and brother rests entirely constant solely to you?

Gar. To me? O Fawn, let me sigh it with joy into thy bosom, my brother has been wooed by this and that and t’other lady, to entertain them (for I ha’ seen their letters); but his vow to me, O Fawn! is most immutable, unfeigning, peculiar, and indeed deserved.    23

Enter Puttotta and a Page. Puttotta with a letter in her hand.

Put. Never entreat me—never beseech me to have pity, forsooth, on your master, M.[222] Herod. Let him never be so daringly ambitious as to hope, with all his vows and protestations, to gain my affection! God’s my discretion! Has my sutlery, tapstry, laundry, made me be ta’en up at the court—preferr’d me to a husband; and have I advanced my husband, with the labour of mine own body, from the black-guard[223] to be one of the duke’s drummers, to make him one of the court forkers? Shall I, that purify many lords and some ladies, can tell who wears perfumes, who plasters, and for why, know who’s a gallant of a chaste shirt and[224] who not, shall I become—or dares your master think I will become—or if I would[225] become, presumes your master to hope I would become one of his common feminines? No, let M. Herod brag of his brother’s wife. I scorn his letters and her leavings at my heel—i’faith, and so tell him.    41

Pag. Nay, softly,[226] dear Puttotta—Mistress Puttotta—Madam Puttotta! O be merciful to my languishing master! He may in time grow great and well-graced courtier, for he wears yellow already! Mix, therefore, your loves. As for Madam Garbetza, his brother’s wife, you see what he writes there.

Put. I must confess he says she is a spiny, green creature, of an unwholesome barren blood and cold embrace—a bony thing, of most unequal hips, uneven eyes, ill-rank’d teeth, and indeed one, but that she hires him, he endures not; yet, for all this does he hope to dishonest me? I am for his betters, I would he should well know it; for more by many than my husband know I am a woman of a known sound and upright carriage; and so he shall find if he deal with me; and so tell him, I pray you. What! does he hope to make me one of his gills, his punks, polecats, flirts, and feminines?    58

[Exit. As Putotta goes out, she flings away the letter. The Page puts it up, and, as he is talking, Hercules steals it out of his pocket.

Pag. Alas! my miserable master, what suds art thou wash’d into! Thou art born to be scorn’d of every carted community, and yet he’ll out-crack a German when he is drunk, or a Spaniard after he hath eaten a fumatho,[227] that he has lien with that and that and t’other lady; that he lay last night in such a madonna’s[228] chamber, t’other night he lay[229] in such a countess’s couch, to-night he lies in such a lady’s closet; when poor I know all this while he only[230] lied in his throat.


Herc. Madam, let me sigh it in your bosom, how immutable and unfainting, and, indeed——

Gar. Fawn, I will undo that rascal! He shall starve for any further maintenance.    71

Herc. You may make him come to the covering and recovering of his old doublets.

Gar. He was in fair hope of proving heir to his elder brother, but he has gotten me with child.

Herc. So, you withdrawing your favour, his present means fail him; and by getting you with child, his future means for ever rest despairful to him.

Gar. O Heaven! that I could curse him beneath damnation! Impudent varlet! By my reputation, Fawn, I only loved him because I thought I only did not love him. He vowed infinite beauties doted on him! Alas! I was a simple country lady, wore gold buttons, trunk[231] sleeves, and flaggon bracelets. In this state of innocency was I brought up to the court.    85

Herc. And now, instead of country innocency, have you got court honesty? Well, madam, leave your brother to my placing; he shall have a special cabin in the ship of fools.

Gar. Right. Remember he got his elder brother’s wife with child, and so deprived himself of th’ inheritance.

Herc. That will stow[232] him under hatches, I warrant you.

Gar. And so deprived himself of inheritance! Dear Fawn, be my champion!    95

Herc. The very scourge of your most basely offending brother.

Gar. Ignoble villain! that I might but see thee wretched without pity and recovery! Well!

Enter Herod and Nymphadoro.

Herc. Stand, Herod; you are full met, sir.    100

Herod. But not met full, sir. I am as gaunt as a hunting gelding after three train’d scents! ’Fore Venus, Fawn, I have been shaling[233] of peascods. Upon[234] four great madonnas have I this afternoon grafted the forked tree!

Herc. Is’t possible?

Herod. Possible! Fie on this satiety!—’tis a dull, blunt, weary, and drowsy passion. Who would be a proper fellow to be thus greedily devoured and swallowed among ladies? Faith, ’tis my torment—my very rack!    111

Herc. Right, Herod, true; for imagine all a man possess’d with[235] a perpetual pleasure, like that of generation, even in the highest lusciousness, he straight sinks as unable to bear so continual, so pure, so universal a sensuality.

Herod. By even truth, ’tis very right; and, for my part, would I were eunuch’d rather than thus suck’d away with kisses, enfeebling dalliance; and O the falling sickness on them all! why did reasonable nature give so strange, so rebellious, so tyrannous, so insatiate parts of appetite to so weak a governess—a[236] woman?    122

Herc. Or why, O custom! didst thou oblige them to modesty, such cold temperance, that they must be wooed by men—courted by men? Why, all know they are more full of strong desires—those desires most impatient of delay or hindrance, they have more unruly passions than men, and weaker reason to temper those passions than men.

Nym. Why, then, hath not the discretion of Nature thought it just that customary coyness, old fashions, terms of honour and of modesty, forsooth, all laid aside, they court not us, beseech not us rather, for sweets of love than we them? Why, by Janus! women are but men turn’d the wrong side outward.    135

Herc. O, sir, Nature is a wise workman. She knows right well that if women should woo us to the act of love, we should all be utterly shamed. How often should they take us unprovided, when they are always ready!    140

Herod. Ay, sir, right, sir; to some few such unfortunate handsome fellows as myself am; to my grief, I know it.

Herc. Why, here are two perfect creatures—the one, Nymphadoro, loves all, and my Herod here enjoys all.

Herod. ’Faith, some score or two of ladies or so ravish me among them, divide my presents, and would indeed engross me, were I indeed such an ass as to be made a monopoly of. Look, sirrah, what a vild hand one of them writes. Who would ever take this for a d.—dearest, or read this for only—only dearest?    152

Herc. Here’s a lie indeed.

Herod. True, but here’s another much more legibly, a good secretary,—My most affected Herod, the utmost ambition of my hopes and only——

Herc. There is one lie better shaped by odds!

Herod. Right; but here’s a lady’s Roman hand to me is beyond all. Look ye,—To her most elected servant and worthy friend, Herod Baldonzozo, Esquire. I believe thou knowest what countess’s hand this is. I’ll show thee another.    162

Herc. No, good Herod; I’ll show thee one now.—To his most elected mistress and worthy laundress, divine Mistress Puttotta, at her tent in the wood-yard, or elsewhere, give these——

Herod. Prithee, ha’ silence! What’s that?

Herc. If my tears or vows, my faithfulst[237] protestations on my knees——

Herod. Good, hold!    170

Herc. Fair and only-loved laundress!

Herod. Forbear, I beseech thee!

Herc. Might move thy stony heart to take pity on my sighs——

Herod. Do not shame me to the day of judgment!

Herc. Alas! I write it in passion!—alas! thou knowest besides my loathed sister, thou art——

Herod. For the Lord’s sake!

Herc. The only hope of my pleasure, the only pleasure of my hopes! Be pleased, therefore, to——    180

Herod. Cease, I beseech thee!

Herc. Pish! ne’er blush, man; ’tis an uncourtly quality! As for thy lying, as long as there’s policy in’t, it is very passable! Wherefore has Heaven given man tongue but to speak to a man’s own glory? He that cannot swell bigger than his natural skin, nor seem to be in more grace than he is, has not learn’d the very rudiments or A B C of courtship.

Herod. Upon my heart, Fawn, thou pleasest me to the soul; why, look you, for mine own part, I must confess——

Enter Dondolo.

See, here’s the duke’s fool!

Don. Aboard! aboard! aboard! all manner of fools, of court, city, or country, of what degree, sex, or nature!

Herod. Fool!

Don. Herod!

Herc. What, are ye full freighted? Is your ship well fool’d?

Don. O, ’twas excellently thronged full: a justice of peace, tho’ he had been one of the most illiterate asses in a country, could hardly ha’ got a hanging cabin. O, we had first some long fortunate great politicians, that were so sottishly paradised as to think, when popular hate seconded princes’ displeasure to them, any unmerited violence could seem to the world injustice; some purple fellows, whom chance reared, and their own deficiencies of spirit hurled down. We had some courtiers that o’er-bought their offices, and yet durst fall in love; priests that forsook their functions to avoid a thwart stroke with a wet finger.[238] But now, alas, Fawn! there’s space[239] and place.

Herc. Why, how gat all these forth? Was not the warrant strong?

Don. Yes, yes; but they got a supersedeas: all of them proved themselves either knaves or madmen, and so were all let go; there’s none left now in our ship, but a few citizens, that let their wives keep their shop-books, some philosophers, and a few critics; one of which critics has lost his flesh with fishing at the measure of Plautus’ verses; another has vow’d to get the consumption of the lungs, or to leave to posterity the true orthography and pronunciation of laughing;[240] a third hath melted a great deal o’ suet, worn out his thumbs with turning, read out his eyes, and studied his face out of a sanguine into a meagre, spawling, fleamy loathsomeness,—and all to find but why mentula should be the feminine gender, since the rule is Propria quæ maribus tribuuntur mascula dicas. These philosophers, critics, and all the maids we could find at sixteen, are all our fraught now.    230

Herc. O, then, your ship of fools is full.

Nym. True, the maids at seventeen fill it.

Don. Fill it, quoth you; alas! we have very few, and these we were fain to take up in the country too.

Herc. But what philosophers ha’ ye?

Don. O, very strange fellows: one knows nothing; dares not aver he lives, goes, sees, feels.

Nym. A most insensible philosopher.

Don. Another, that there is no present time, and that one man to-day and to-morrow is not the same man; so that he that yesterday owed money, to-day owes none, because he is not the same man.    242

Herod. Would that philosophy[241] would hold good in law!

Herc. But why has the duke thus labour’d to have all the fools shipp’d out of his dominions?

Don. Marry, because he would play the fool himself alone, without any rival.

Herc. Ware your breech, fool.

Don. I warrant thee, old lad, ’tis the privilege of poor fools to talk before an intelligencer; marry, if I could fool myself into a lordship, as I know some ha’ fool’d[242] themselves out of a lordship,—were I grown some huge fellow, and got the leer of the people upon me, if the fates had so decreed it,—I should talk treason, tho’ I ne’er open’d my lips.    256

Herc. Indeed![243] fatis agimur, cedite fatis! But how runs rumour?—what breath’s strongest in the palace, now? I think you know all.

Don. Yes, we fools think we know all. The prince hath audience to-night,—is feasted, and after supper is entertain’d with no comedy, masque, or barriers; but with——

Nym. What, I prithee?

Herod. What, I prithee?

Don. With a most new and special shape of delight.

Nym. What, for Jove’s sake?    267

Don. Marry, gallants, a session, a general council of love, summon’d in the name of Don Cupid, to which, upon pain of their mistress’ displeasure, shall appear,—all favour-wearers, sonnet-mongers, health-drinkers, and neat enrichers[244] of barbers and perfumers; and to conclude, all that can wyhee or wag the tail, are, upon grievous pains of their back, summon’d to be assistant in that session of love.

Herc. Hold! hold! Do not pall the delight before it come to our palate; and what other rumour keeps air in[245] men’s lungs?

Don. O, the egregiousness of folly! Ha’ you not heard of Don Zuccone?    280

Nym. What of him, good fool?

Don. He is separated.

Nym. Divorced?

Don. That salt,—that criticism,—that very all epigram of a woman,—that analysis,—that compendium of wittiness!

Nym. Now, Jesu, what words the fool has!

Don. We ha’ still such words, but I will not unshale the jest before it be ripe, and therefore, kissing your worship’s fingers, in most sweet terms, without any sense, and with most fair looks, without any good meaning, I most courtlike take my leave, basilus[246] manus de vostro signioria.    293

Herod. Stay, fool, we’ll follow thee: for, ’fore Heaven, we must prepare ourselves for this session.


Enter Zuccone, pursued by Zoya, on her knees attended by Ladies.

Zuc. I will have no mercy, I will not relent;—Justice’ beard is shaven, and it shall give thee no hold. I am separated, and I will be separated.

Zoy. Dear my lord, husband!

Zuc. Hence, creature! I am none of thy husband, or father of thy bastard. No, I will be tyrannous, and a most deep revenger: the order shall stand. Ha, thou quean, I ha’ no wife now!    303

Zoy. Sweet my lord!

Zuc. Hence! avaunt! I will marry a woman with no womb,—a creature with two noses,—a wench with no hair,—rather than remarry thee! Nay, I will first marry,—mark me, I will first marry,—observe me, I will rather marry a woman that with thirst drinks the blood of man! nay, heed me, a woman that will thrust in crowds,—a lady, that, being with child, ventures the hope of her womb,—nay, gives two crowns for a room to behold a goodly man[247] three parts alive quartered, his privities hackled off, his belly lanch’d[248] up! Nay, I’ll rather marry a woman to whom these smoking, hideous, bloodful, horrid, tho’ most just spectacles, are very lust, rather than reaccept thee. Was I not a handsome fellow, from my foot to my feather? Had I not wit?—nay, which is more, was I not a Don, and didst thou Acteon me? Did I not make thee a lady?    320

Herc. And did she not make you a more worshipful thing,—a cuckold!

Zuc. I married thee in hope of children.

Herc. And has not she showed herself fruitful that was got with child without help of her husband?

Zuc. Ha, thou ungrateful, immodest, unwise, and one[249] that, God’s my witness, I ha’ lov’d! But, go thy ways; twist with whom thou wilt: for my part, tha’st spun a fair thread;—who’ll kiss thee now,—who’ll court thee now,—who’ll ha’ thee now?    330

Zoy. Pity the frailty of my sex, sweet lord.

Zuc. No; pity is a fool, and I will not wear his[250] coxcomb. I have vowed to loathe thee. The Irishman shall hate aqua vitae,—the Welshman cheese,—the Dutchman shall loath salt butter,—before I relove thee. Does the babe pule? Thou shouldst ha’ cried before, ’tis too late now. No, the trees in autumn shall sooner call back the spring with shedding of their leaves, than thou reverse my just, irrevocable hatred with thy tears. Away! go! vaunt!    340

[Exeunt Zoya and the Ladies.

Herc. Nay, but most of this is your fault, that for many years, only upon mere mistrust, sever’d your body from your lady, and in that time gave opportunity, turn’d a jealous ass, and hired[251] some to try and tempt your lady’s honour, whilst she, with all possible industry of apparent merit, diverting your unfortunate suspicion——

Zuc. I know’t; I confess, all this I did, and I do glory in’t. Why? cannot a young lady for many months keep honest? No, I misthought it. My wife had wit, beauty, health, good birth, fair clothes, and a passing body; a lady of rare discourse, quick eye, sweet language, alluring behaviour, and exquisite entertainment. I misthought it, I fear’d, I doubted, and at the last I found it out. I praise my wit: I knew I was a cuckold.

Herc. An excellent wit.    355

Zuc. True, Fawn; you shall read of some lords that have had such a wit, I can tell you; and I found it out that I was a cuckold!

Herc. Which now you have found, you will not be such an ass as Cæsar, great Pompey, Lucullus, Anthony, or Cato, and divers other Romans,—cuckolds, who all knew it, and yet were ne’er divorced upon’t:—or, like that smith-god, Vulcan, who, having taken his wife taking, yet was presently appeased, and entreated to make an armour for a bastard of hers, Æneas.[252]    365

Zuc. No, the Romans were asses, and thought that a woman might mix her thigh with a stranger wantonly, and yet still love her husband matrimonially.

Herc. As indeed they say a many married men lie sometime with strange women, whom, but for the instant use, they abhor.

Zuc. And as for Vulcan, ’twas humanity more than human; such excess of goodness, for my part, only belong to the gods.

Herc. Ass for you!

Zuc. As for me, my Fawn, I am a bachelor now.

Herc. But you are a cuckold still, and one that knows himself to be a cuckold.

Zuc. Right, that’s it; and I knew it not, ’twere nothing; and if I had not pursued it too, it had lyen in oblivion, and shadowed in doubt, but now I ha’ blazed it.    381

Herc. The world shall know what you are.

Zuc. True; I’ll pocket up no horns; but my revenge shall speak in thunder.

Herc. Indeed, I must confess I know twenty are cuckolds,[253] honestly and decently enough: a worthy gallant spirit (whose virtue suppresseth his mishap) is lamented but not disesteem’d by it; yet the world shall know——

Zuc. I am none of those silent coxcombs—it shall out.

Herc. And although it be no great part of injustice for him to be struck with the scabbard that has struck with the blade (for there is few of us but hath made some one cuckold or other)—    393

Zuc. True, I ha’ done’t myself.

Herc. Yet——

Zuc. Yet I hope a man of wit may prevent his own mishap, or if he can prevent it——

Herc. Yet——

Zuc. Yet make it known yet, and so known that the world may tremble with only thinking of it. Well, Fawn, whom shall I marry now? O Heaven! that God made for a man no other means of procreation and maintaining the world peopled but by women! O![254] that we could increase like roses, by being slipp’d one from another,[255]—or like flies, procreate with blowing, or any other way than by a woman,—by women, who have no reason in their love or mercy in their hate, no rule in their pity, no pity in their revenge, no judgment to speak, and yet no patience to hold their tongues;
Man’s opposite, the more held down, they swell;    410
Above them naught but will, beneath them naught but hell.

Herc. Or, that since Heaven hath given us no other means to allay our furious appetite, no other way of increasing our progeny,—since we must entreat and beg for assuagement of our passions, and entertainment of our affections,—why did not Heaven make us a nobler creature than women, to show unto?—some admirable deity, of an uncorruptible beauty, that might[256] be worth our knees, the expense of our heat, and the crinkling of our hams.[257]    420

Zuc. But that we must court, sonnet, flatter, bribe, kneel, sue to so feeble and imperfect, inconstant, idle, vain, hollow bubble, as woman is! O, my Fawn![258]

Herc. O, my lord, look who here comes!

Enter Zoya, supported by a Gentleman Usher, followed by Herod and Nymphadoro, with much state; soft music playing.

Zuc. Death o’ man! is she delivered?

Herc. Delivered! Yes, O my Don, delivered! Yes, Donna Zoya,—the grace of society,—the music of sweetly agreeing perfection,—more clearly chaste than ice or frozen rain,—that glory of her sex,—that wonder of wit,—that beauty more fresh’d than any cool and trembling wind,—that now only wish of a man,—is delivered!—is delivered!    432

Zuc. How?

Herc. From Don Zuccone, that dry scaliness,—that sarpego,—that barren drouth, and shame of all humanity!

Zoy. What fellow’s that?

Nym. Don Zuccone, your sometime husband.

Enter Philocalia.

Zoy. Alas! poor creature.

Phil. The princess prays your company.

Zoy. I wait upon her pleasure.    440

[All but Hercules, Zuccone, Herod, and Nymphadoro, depart.

Zuc. Gentleman, why hazard you your reputation in shameful company with such a branded creature?

Herod. Miserable man! whose fortune were beyond tears to be pitied, but that thou art the ridiculous author of thine own laugh’d-at mischief.

Zuc. Without paraphrase, your meaning?

Nym. Why, thou woman’s fool?

Zuc. Good gentlemen, let one die but once.

Herod. Was not thou most curstfully mad to sever thyself from such an unequall’d rarity?    450

Zuc. Is she not a strumpet? Is she not with child?

Nym. Yes, with feathers.

Herc. Why, weakness of reason, couldst not perceive all was feign’d to be rid of thee?

Zuc. Of me?

Nym. She with child? Untrodden snow is not so spotless!

Herod. Chaste as the first voice of a new-born infant!

Herc. Know, she grew loathing of thy jealousy!

Nym. Thy most pernicious curiosity.    460

Herc. Whose suspicions made her inimitable graces motive of thy base jealousy.

Herod. Why, beast of man!

Nym. Wretched above expression! that snored’st over a beauty which thousands desired!—neglectedst[259] her bed, for whose enjoying a very saint would have sued!

Herc. Defamed her!

Herod. Suggested privily against her!

Nym. Gave foul language publicly of her!    469

Herc. And now, lastly, done that for her which she only pray’d for, and wish’d as wholesome air for, namely, to be rid from such an unworthy—

Herod. Senseless—

Nym. Injurious—

Herc. Malicious—

Herod. Suspicious—

Nym. Misshaped—

Herc. Ill-languaged—

Herod. Unworthy—

Nym. Ridiculous    480

Herc. Jealous—

Herod. Arch coxcomb as thou art!

[Exeunt Nymphadoro and Herod.

Zuc. O I am sick!—my blood has the cramp! my stomach o’erturns!—O I am very sick!

Herc. Why, my sweet Don, you are no cuckold!

Zuc.[260] That’s the grief on’t.

Herc. That’s——

Zuc. That I ha’ wrong’d so sweet (and now, in my knowledge), so delicate a creature! O methinks I embrace her yet!    490

Herc. Alas! my lord, you have done her no wrong—no wrong in the world; you have done her a pleasure—a great pleasure! A thousand gentlemen—nay, dukes—will be proud to accept your leavings—your leavings! Now is she courted! This heir sends her jewels, that lord proffers her jointures, t’other knight proclaims challenges to maintain her the only not beautiful, but very beauty of women.

Zuc. But I shall never embrace her more!    499

Herc. Nay, that’s true—that’s most true. I would not afflict you, only think how unrelentless you were to her but supposed fault.

Zuc. O! ’tis true—too true!

Herc. Think how you scorn’d her tears!

Zuc. Most right!

Herc. Tears that were only shed (I would not vex you) in very grief to see you covet your own shame!

Zuc. Too true—too true!

Herc. For, indeed, she is the sweetest modest soul, the fullest of pity!    510

Zuc. O[261] ay! O ay!

Herc. The softness and very courtesy of her sex, as one that never lov’d any——

Zuc. But me!

Herc. So much that he might hope to dishonour her, nor any so little that he might fear she disdain’d[262] him. O! the graces made her a soul as soft as spotless down upon the swan’s fair breast that drew bright Cytherea’s chariot. Yet think (I would not vex you), yet think how cruel[263] you were to her.    520

Zuc. As a tiger—as a very tiger!

Herc. And never hope to be reconciled, never dream to be reconciled—never!

Zuc. Never! Alas! good Fawn, what wouldst wish me to do now?

Herc. Faith, go hang yourself, my Don; that’s best, sure.

Zuc. Nay, that’s too good; for I’ll do worse than that—I’ll marry again. Where canst pick out a morsel for me, Fawn?    530

Herc. There is a modest, matron-like creature——

Zuc. What years, Fawn?

Herc. Some fourscore, wanting one.

Zuc. A good sober age! Is she wealthy?

Herc. Very wealthy.

Zuc. Excellent!

Herc. She has three hairs on her scalp and four teeth in her head; a brow wrinkled and pucker’d like old parchment half burnt. She has had eyes. No woman’s jawbones are more apparent; her sometimes envious lips now shrink in, and give her nose and her chin leave to kiss each other very moistly. As for her reverend mouth, it seldom opens, but the very breath that flies out of it infects the fowls of the air, and makes them drop down dead. Her breasts hang like cobwebs; her flesh will never make you cuckold; her bones may.    547

Zuc. But is she wealthy?

Herc. Very wealthy.

Zuc. And will she ha’ me, art sure?

Herc. No, sure, she will not have you. Why, do you think that a waiting-woman of three bastards, a strumpet nine times carted, or a hag whose eyes shoot poison—that has been an old witch, and is now turning into a gib-cat,[264]—what![265] will ha’ you? Marry Don Zuccone, the contempt of women and the shame of men, that has afflicted, contemn’d so choice a perfection as Donna Zoya’s!    557

Zuc. Alas! Fawn, I confess. What wouldst ha’ me do?

Herc. Hang yourself! You shall not marry—you cannot. I’ll tell ye what ye shall do: there is a ship of fools setting forth; if you make[266] good means, and intreat hard, you may obtain a passage, man—be master’s mate, I warrant you.

Zuc. Fawn, thou art a scurvy bitter knave, and dost flout Dons to their faces; ’twas thou flattered’st me to this, and now thou laugh’st at me, dost? though indeed I had a certain proclivity, but thou madest me resolute: dost grin and gern?[267] O you comforters of life, helps in sickness, joys in death, and preservers of us, in our children, after death, women, have mercy on me!    570

Herc. O my Don, that God made no other means of procreation but by these women! I speak it not to vex you.

Zuc. O Fawn, thou hast no mercy in thee: dost thou leer on me? Well, I’ll creep upon my knees to my wife: dost laugh at me? dost gern at me? dost smile? dost leer on me, dost thou? O I am an ass; true, I am a coxcomb; well, I am mad; good: a mischief on your cogging tongue, your soothing throat, your oily jaws, your supple hams,[268] your dissembling smiles, and O the grand devil on you all! When mischief favours our fortunes, and we are miserably,[269] tho’ justly wretched,    582
More pity, comfort, and more help we have
In foes profess’d, than in a flattering knave.


Herc. Thus few strike sail until they run on shelf;
The eye sees all things but his proper self;
In all things curiosity hath been
Vicious at least, but herein most pernicious.
What madness is’t to search and find a wound
For which there is no cure, and which unfound    590
Ne’er rankles, whose finding only wounds?
But he that upon vain surmise forsakes
His bed thus long, only to search his shame;
Gives to his wife youth, opportunity,
Keeps her in idleful deliciousness,
Heats and inflames imagination,
Provokes her to revenge with churlish wrongs,—
What should he hope but this? Why should it lie in women,
Or even in chastity itself (since chastity’s a female),
T’ avoid desires so ripened, such sweets so candied?    600
But she that hath out-born such mass of wrongs,
Out-dured all persecutions, all contempts,
Suspects, disgrace, all wants, and all the mischief,
The baseness of a canker’d churl could cast upon her,
With constant virtue, best feign’d[270] chastity,
And in the end turns all his jealousies
To his own scorn, that lady, I implore,
It may be lawful not to praise, but even adore.

Enter Gonzago, Granuffo, with full state. Enter the Cornets sounding.

Gon. Are our sports ready? is the prince at hand?

Herc. The prince is now arrived at the court gate.    610

Gon. What means our daughter’s breathless haste?

Enter Dulcimel in haste.

Dul. O my princely father, now or never let your princely wisdom appear!

Gon. Fear not, our daughter, if it rest within human reason, I warrant thee; no, I warrant thee, Granuffo, if it rest in man’s capacity. Speak, dear daughter.

Dul. My lord, the prince——

Gon. The prince, what of him, dear daughter?

Dul. O Lord, what wisdom our good parents need to shield their chickens from deceits and wiles of kite-like youth!    621

Gon. Her very phrase displays whose child she is.

Dul. Alas! had not your grace been provident,
A very Nestor in advice and knowledge,
Ha! where had you, poor Dulcimel, been now?
What vainness had not I been drawn into!

Gon. ’Fore God! she speaks very passionately. Alas! daughter, Heaven gives every man his talent; indeed, virtue and wisdom are not fortune’s gifts, therefore those that fortune cannot make virtuous, she commonly makes rich; for our own part, we acknowledge Heaven’s goodness; and, if it were possible to be as wise again as we are, we would ne’er impute it to ourselves: for, as we be flesh and blood, alas! we are fools; but as we are princes, scholars, and have read Cicero de Oratore, I must confess there is another matter in’t. What of the prince, dear daughter?    637

Dul. Father, do you see that tree, that leans just on my chamber window?

Gon. What of that tree?

Enter Tiberio with his train.

Dul. O, sir, but note the policy of youth;
Mark but the stratagems of working love.
The prince salutes me, and thus greets my ear.

Gon. Speak softly; he is enter’d.

Dul. Although he knew I yet stood wavering what to elect, because, though I affected, yet destitute of means to enjoy each other, impossibility of having might kill our hope and with our hope desires to enjoy, therefore, to avoid all faint excuses and vain fears, thus he devised
—To Dulcimel’s chamber-window    650
A well-grown plane tree spreads his happy arms
By that, in depth of night, one may ascend
(Despite all father’s jealousies and fears)
Into her bed.

Gon. Speak low; the prince both marks and listens.

Dul. You shall provide a priest (quoth he). In truth I promised, and so you well may tell him; for I temporised, and only held him off——

Gon. Politely; our daughter to a hair.

Dul. With full intention to disclose it all to your preventing wisdom.

Gon. Ay, let me alone for that; but when intends he this invasion?—when will this squirrel climb?    663

Dul. O, sir, in that is all:—when but this night?

Gon. This night?

Dul. This very night, when the court revels had o’erwaked your spirits, and made them full of sleep, then——

Gon. Then, verbum sat sapienti! Go, take your chamber, down upon your knees; thank God your father is no foolish sot, but one that can foresee and see.    671

[Exit Dulcimel.

My lord, we discharge your presence from our court.

Tib. What means the duke?

Gon. And if to-morrow past you rest in Urbin,
The privilege of an ambassador
Is taken from you.

Tib. Good, your grace: some reason?

Gon. What! twice admonish’d, twice again offending,
And, now grown blushless? You promis’d to get into
Her chamber, she to get a priest:
Indeed she wish’d me tell you she confess’d it:    680
And there, despite all father’s jealous fears,
To consummate full joys. Know, sir, our daughter
Is our daughter, and has wit at will
To gull a thousand easy things like you.
But, sir, depart: the parliament prepar’d,
Shall on without you: all the court this night
Shall triumph that our daughter has escaped
Her honour’s blowing up: your end you see
We speak but short but full, Socratice.

[Exeunt all but Hercules and Tiberio.

Tib. What should I think, what hope, what but imagine    690
We speak but short but full, Socratice.
Of these enigmas?[271]

Herc. Sure, sir, the lady loves you
With violent passion, and this night prepares
A priest with nuptial rites, to entertain you
In her most private chamber.

Tib. This I know,
With too much torture, since means are all unknown
To come unto these ends. Where’s this her chamber?
Then what means shall without suspicion
Convey me to her chamber? O these doubts
End in despair——

Enter Gonzago hastily.

Gon. Sir, sir, this plane-tree was not planted here    700
To get into my daughter’s chamber, and so she pray’d me tell you.
What though the main arms spread into her window,
And easy labour climbs it, sir, know
She has a voice to speak, and bid you welcome
With so full breast that both your ears shall hear on’t,
And so she pray’d me tell you. Ha’ we no brain!
Youth thinks that age, age knows that youth is vain.


Tib. Why, now I have it, Fawn,—the way, the means, and meaning. Good duke, and ’twere not for pity, I could laugh at thee. Dulcimel, I am thine most miraculously; I will now begin to sigh, read poets, look pale, go neatly, and be most apparently in love; as for——    713

Herc. As for your old father——

Tib. Alas! he and all know, this an old saw hath bin,
Faith’s breach for love and kingdoms is no sin.


Herc. Where are we now, Cyllenian Mercury?
And thou, quick issue[272] of Jove’s broken pate,
Aid and direct us; you better stars to knowledge,
Sweet constellations, that affect[273] pure oil,    720
And holy vigil of the pale-cheek’d muses,
Give your best influence, that with able spright
We may correct and please, giving full light
To every angle of this various sense:
Works of strong birth end better than commence.


[222] As I am not sure whether we should read “Master” or “Messer,” (Ital.), I follow the old copies.

[223] “Black-guard”—the kitchen-drudges.

[224] “And who not, shall”—omitted in ed. 3. and some copies of ed. 1.

[225] “Would”—omitted in ed. 3. and some copies of ed. 1.

[226] So Dilke.—Old eds. “costly.”

[227] Pilchard.—“If Cornish pilchards, otherwise called fumadoes, be so saleable as they are in France, Spain, and Italy,” &c.—Nash’s Lenten Stuff.

[228] Ed. 3. and some copies of ed. 1. “maidens.”

[229] Ed. 1. “laide.”—Ed. 3. “layd.”

[230] Omitted in ed. 3.

[231] Large sleeves, stuffed with wool, hair, &c.

[232] Ed. 3. and some copies of ed. 1. “follow.”

[233] Shelling.

[234] Ed. 3. “upon fair Madonna.”

[235] Ed. 3. “were.”

[236] Ed. 3. and some copies of ed. 1. “as.”

[237] Ed. 3. and some copies of ed. 1. “doubtlest.”

[238] “With a wet finger”—nimbly, easily.

[239] Eds. 1. and 3. “place and place.”

[240] Probably a hit at Ben Jonson, who in Volpone (acted in 1605) makes laughter rhyme with slaughter:—

“E’en his face begetteth laughter,
And he speaks truth free from slaughter” (i. 1).

[241] Eds. 1. and 2. “philosopher.”

[242] So ed. 3.—Eds. 1. and 2. “foole.”

[243] Eds. 1. and 3. omit “Indeed,” and read “In fatis agimur.”

[244] So ed. 2.—Eds. 1. and 3. “in riches.”

[245] Ed. 1. “on.”

[246]Basilus manus”—corrupt Spanish (for besár los manos). Cf. Dyce’s Beaumont and Fletcher, viii. 77; Old Plays, ed. Bullen, ii. 114, iv. 316, &c.

[247] Possibly there is an allusion to the execution of Sir Everard Digby, who, for his share in the Gunpowder Plot, was drawn, hanged, and quartered on 30th January 1606. Cf. Middleton, i. 255.

[248] Lanch was an old form of lance. Cf. 1 Tamburlaine, i. 2:—

“And either lanch his greedy thirsting throat,
Or take him prisoner.”

[249] Omitted in eds. 1. and 3.

[250] Ed. 2. “hir.”

[251] Ed. 1. “heard some so try.”

[252] Omitted in eds. 1. and 3.

[253] Eds. 1. and 3. “cuckolds, and decently and stately enough.”

[254] I have followed the reading of ed. 2. Eds. 1. and 3. read:—“O that we could get one another with child, Fawn, or like flies,” &c.

[255] The reader will recall a famous passage of Sir Thomas Browne’s Religio Medici:—“I could be content that we might procreate like trees, without conjunction, or that there were any way to perpetuate the world without this trivial and vulgar way of union: it is the foolishest act a wise man commits in all his life.” Montaigne has some reflections of a similar kind. See also the complaint in Euripides’ Hippolytus, ll. 616-24.

[256] “Might”—omitted in ed. 1.

[257] “Hams”—omitted in eds. 1. and 3.

[258] Ed. 1. “face.”—Ed. 3. “fate.”

[259] So ed. 3.—Eds. 1. and 2. “neglecst.”

[260] Eds. 1. and 3. read:—“Thats the griefe on’t Herc. [Hercules, ed. 3.] thats the griefe ont that I,” &c.

[261] Ed. 2. “O yes! O yes!”

[262] Eds. 1. and 3. “disclaim’d.”

[263] Ed. 1. “ciuill.”

[264] A spayed cat.—“Why witches are turned into cats, he [Bodin] alledgeth no reason, and therefore (to help him forth with that paraphrase) I say that witches are curst queans, and many times scratch one another or their neighbours by the faces; and therefore perchance are turned into cats. But I have put twenty of these witchmongers to silence with one question: to wit—whether a witch that can turn a woman into cat can also turn a cat into a woman.”—Scot’s Discovery of Witchcraft, book v., chap. 1.

[265] Omitted in ed. 2.

[266] So ed. 2.—Eds. 1. and 3. “see” and “seek.”

[267] “Gern” = snarl.

[268] Eds. 1. and 3. “thumbes.”

[269] Eds. 1. and 3. “miserable.”

[270] Quy. “’fined” (= refined)?

[271] Eds. 1. and 3. “engines.”

[272] Eds. 1. and 3. “messenger.”

[273] Eds. 1. and 3. “effect.”



Courtyard of the Palace.

Whilst the Act is a-playing, Hercules and Tiberio Enters; Tiberio climbs the tree, and is received above by Dulcimel, Philocalia, and a Priest: Hercules stays beneath.

Herc. Thou mother of chaste dew, night’s modest lamp,
Thou by whose faint shine the blushing lovers
Join glowing cheeks, and mix their trembling lips
In vows well kiss’d, rise all as full of splendour
As my breast is of joy! You genital,
You fruitful well-mix’d heats, O, bless the sheets
Of yonder chamber, that Ferrara’s dukedom,
The race of princely issue, be not curs’d,
And ended in abhorrèd barrenness!
At length kill all my fears, nor let it rest    10
Once more my tremblings that my too cold son
(That ever-scorner of humaner loves)
Will still contemn the sweets of marriage,
Still kill[274] our hope of name in his dull coldness.
Let it be lawful to make use, ye powers,[275]
Of human weakness, that pursueth still
What is inhibited, and most affects
What is most difficult to be obtain’d:
So we may learn, that nicer love’s a shade—
It follows fled, pursued flies as afraid:    20
And in the end close all the various errors
Of passages most truly comical
In moral learning with like confidence
Of him that vow’d good fortune of the scene
Shall neither make him fat, or bad make lean.

Enter Dondolo laughing.

Don. Ha, ha, ha!

Herc. Why dost laugh, fool, here’s nobody with thee?

Don. Why, therefore do I laugh, because there’s nobody with me. Would I were a fool alone! I’faith, I am come to attend—let me go,—I am sent to the princess, to come and attend her father to the end of Cupid’s Parliament.    32

Herc. Why, ha’ they sat already upon any statutes?

Don. Sat? ay, all’s agreed in the nether house!

Herc. Why, are they divided?

Don. O ay, in Cupid’s Parliament all the young gallants are o’ the nether house, and all the old signiors that can but only kiss are of the upper house. Is the princess above?

Herc. No, sure; I think the princess is beneath, man. Ha’ they supp’d, fool?    41

Don. O yes, the confusion of tongues at the large table is broke up, for see the presence fills. A fool, a fool, a fool, my coxcomb for a fool!

Enter Sir Amorous, Herod, Nymphadoro, Garbetza, Donnetta, and Poveia.

Herod. Stop, ass; what’s matter, idiot?

Don. O gallants, my fools that were appointed to wait on Don Cupid have launch’d out their ship to purge their stomachs on the water, and before Jupiter, I fear they will prove defective in their attendance.    49

Herod. Pish, fool, they’ll float in with the next tide.

Don. Ay, but when’s that? Let’s see mine almanack or prognostication.

Sir Amor. What, is this for this year?

Don. In true wisdom, sir, it is. Let me see the moon, ’fore pity ’tis in the wayne. What grief is this, that so great a planet should ever decline or lose splendour! Full sea at——

Sir Amor. Where’s the sign now, fool?

Don. In Capricorn, Sir Amoroso.

Gar. What strange thing does this almanack speak of, fool?    61

Don. Is this your lady, Sir Amorous?

Sir Amor. It is; kiss her, fool.

Herod. You may kiss her now, she is married.

Sir Amor. So he might ha’ done before.

Don. In sober modesty, sir, I do not use to do it behind.

Herod. Good fool, be acquainted with this lady too; she’s of a very honest nature, I assure thee.

Don. I easily believe you, sir, for she hath a very vile[276] face, I assure you.    70

Gar. But what strange things does thy almanack speak of, good fool?

Don. That this year no child shall be begotten but shall have a true father.

Sir Amor. That’s good news, i’faith. I am glad I got my wife with child this year.

Herc. Why, Sir Amorous, this may be, and yet you not the true father—may it not, Herod?

Gar. But what more says it, good Fawn?    79

Herod. Faith, lady, very strange things! It says that some ladies of your hair shall have feeble hams, short memories, and very weak eyesight, so that they shall mistake their own page, or even brother-in-law, sometimes for their husbands.

Sir Amor. Is that all, Fawn?

Herc. No, Sir Amorous; here’s likewise prophesied a great scarcity of gentry to ensue, so that some bores shall be dubbed Sir Amoroso. A great scarcity of lawyers is likewise this year to ensue, so that some one of them shall be entreated to take fees o’ both sides.    90

Enter Don Zuccone, following Donna Zoya on his knees.

Zuc. Most dear, dear lady! Wife, lady, wife! O do not but look on me, and ha’ some mercy!

Zoy. I will ha’ no mercy!—I will not relent!

Zuc. Sweet lady!

Zoy. The order shall stand; I am separated, and I will be separated!

Zuc. Dear! my love! wife!

Zoy. Hence, fellow! I am none of thy wife! No, I will be tyrannous and a most deep revenger. The order shall stand! I will marry a fellow that keeps a fox in his bosom, a goat under his armholes, and a polecat in his mouth, rather than reaccept thee.    102

Zuc. Alas! by the Lord, lady, what should I say? As Heaven shall bless me—what should I say?

Herod. Kneel and cry, man!

Zoy. Was I not handsome, generous, honest enough from my foot to my feather, for such a fellow as thou art?

Zuc. Alas! I confess—I confess!

Zoy. But go thy ways, and wive with whom thou wilt, for my part. Thou hast spun a fair thread. Who’ll kiss thee now? who’ll court thee now? who’ll ha’ thee now?    113

Zuc. Yet be a woman; and, for God’s sake, help me!

Herod. And do not stand too stiffly.

Zuc. And do not stand too stiffly! Do you make an ass of me? But let these rascals laugh at me. Alas! what[277] could I do withal? ’twas my destiny that I should abuse you!    120

Zoy. So it is your destiny that I should thus revenge your abuse. No, the Irishman shall hate aqua vitæ, the Welshman cheese, and the Dutchman salt butter, before I’ll love or receive thee. Does he cry? does the babe pule? ’Tis too late now—thou shouldst ha’ cried before—’tis too late now. Go, bury thy head in silence; and let oblivion be thy utmost hope.

[The Courtiers address themselves to dancing, whilst the Duke enters with Granuffo, and takes his state.[278]

Herc. Gallants, to dancing. Loud music, the duke’s upon entrance!

Gon. Are the sports ready?    130

Herc. Ready.

Gon. ’Tis enough. Of whose invention is this parliament?

Herc. Ours.

Gon. ’Tis enough.
This night we will exult! O let this night
Be ever memorised with prouder triumphs—
Let it be writ in lasting character
That this night our great wisdom did discover
So close a practice—that this night, I say,    140
Our policy found out, nay, dash’d the drifts
Of the young prince, and put him to his shifts,
Nay, past his shifts (’fore Jove! we could make a good poet).—
Delight us. On! we deign our princely ear—
We are well pleased to grace you;[279] then scorn fear.

[Cornets playing. Drunkenness, Sloth, Pride, and Plenty lead Cupid to his state, who is followed by Folly, War, Beggary, and Slaughter.[280]

Stand, ’tis wisdom to acknowledge ignorance
Of what we know not; we would not now prove foolish.
Expound the meaning of your show.

Herc. Triumphant Cupid, that sleeps on the soft cheek
Of rarest beauty, whose throne’s in ladies’ eyes;—    150
Who[281] forced writhed lightning from Jove’s shaking hand,
Forced strong Alcides to resign his club,
Pluck’d Neptune’s trident from his mighty arm,
Unhelmèd Mars;—he (with those trophies borne,
Led in by Sloth, Pride, Plenty, Drunkenness,
Follow’d by Folly, War, Slaughter,[282] Beggary)
Takes his fair throne. Sit pleased; for now we move,
And speak not for our glory but for love.

[Hercules takes a bowl of wine.

Gon. A pretty figure.
What, begins this session with ceremony?    160

Herc. With a full health to our great mistress, Venus,
Let every state of Cupid’s parliament
Begin the session, et quod bonum faustumque sit precor.

[Hercules drinks a health.

Gon. Give’t us; we’ll pledge: nor shall a man that lives,
In charity refuse it. I will not be so old
As not be graced to honour Cupid. Give’t us full.
When we were young we could ha’ troll’d it off,
Drunk down a Dutchman.

Herc. ’Tis lamentable; pity your grace has forgot it. Drunkenness! O ’tis a most fluent and swelling virtue; sure the most just of all virtues: ’tis justice itself; for, if it chance to oppress and take too much, it presently restores it again. It makes the king and the peasant equal; for, if they are both drunk alike, they are both beasts alike. As for that most precious light of heaven—Truth—if Time be the father of her, I am sure Drunkenness is oftentimes the mother of her, and brings her forth. Drunkenness brings all out, for it brings all the drink out of the pot, all the wit out of the pate, and all the money out of the purse.    180

Gon. My Lord Granuffo, this Fawn is an excellent fellow.

Don. Silence.

Gon. I warrant you for my lord here.

Cup. Since multitude of laws are signs either of much tyranny in the prince or much rebellious disobedience in the subject, we rather think it fit to study how to have our old laws thoroughly executed, than to have new statutes cumbrously invented.

Gon. Afore Jove, he speaks very well.    190

Herc. O, sir, Love is very eloquent, makes all men good orators: himself then must needs be eloquent.

Cup. Let it therefore be the main of our assembly to survey our old laws, and punish their transgressions; for that continually the complaints of lovers ascend up to our deity, that love is abused, and basely bought and sold, beauty[’s] corrupted, affection feign’d, and pleasure herself sophisticated; that young gallants are proud in appetite and weak in performance; that young ladies are phantastically inconstant,—old ladies impudently unsatiate,—wives complain of unmarried women, that they steal the dues belonging to their sheets,—and maids exclaim upon wives, that they unjustly engross all into their own hands, as not content with their own husbands, but also purloining that which should be their comfort. Let us therefore be severe in our justice; and if any, of what degree soever, have approvedly offended, let him be instantly unpartially arrested and punished. Read our statutes.    209

Herc. A statute made in the five thousand four hundred threescore and three year of the easeful reign of the mighty potent Don Cupid, emperor[283] of sighs and protestations, great king of kisses, archduke of dalliance, and sole loved of her,[284] for the maintaining and relieving of his old soldiers, maim’d or dismember’d in love.

Don. Those that are lightly hurt, shame to complain; those that are deeply struck are past recovery.

Cup. On to the next.

Herc. An act against the plurality of mistresses.

Cup. Read.    220

Herc. Whereas some over amorous and unconscionable covetous young gallants, without all grace of Venus, or the fear of Cupid in their minds, have at one time engrossed the care or cures of divers mistresses, with the charge of ladies, into their own tenure or occupation,[285] whereby their mistresses must of necessity be very ill and insufficiently served, and likewise many able portly gallants live unfurnished of competent entertainment, to the merit of their bodies; and whereas likewise some other greedy strangers have taken in the purlieus, outset land, and the ancient commons of our sovereign liege Don Cupid, taking in his very highways, and enclosing them, and annexing them to their own lordships, to the much impoverishing and putting of divers of Cupid’s true hearts and loyal subjects to base and abhominable[286] shifts: Be it therefore enacted, by the sovereign authority and erected ensign of Don Cupid, with the assent of some of the lords, most of the ladies, and all the commons, that what person or persons soever shall, in the trade of honour, presume to wear at one time two ladies’ favours, or at one time shall earnestly court two women in the way of marriage, or if any under the degree of a duke shall keep above twenty women of pleasure, a duke’s brother fifteen, a lord ten, a knight or a pensioner or both four, a gentleman two, shall ipso facto be arrested by folly’s mace, and instantly committed to the ship of fools, without either bail or main prize, Millesimo centesimo quingentesimo quadragesimo nono Cupidinis semper unius.—Nymphadoro, to the bar!    248

Nym. Shame o’ folly, will Fawn now turn an informer? Does he laugh at me?

Herc. Domina Garbetza, did he not ever protest you were his most only elected mistress?

Gar. He did.

Herc. Domina Donetta, did he not ever protest, you were his most only elected mistress?

Don. He did.

Herc. Domina Poveia, did he not ever protest, that you were his most only elected mistress?

Pov. He did.

Nym. Mercy!    260

Cup. Our mercy is nothing, unless some lady will beg thee.

Ladies. Out upon him, dissembling, perfidious liar!

Herc. Indeed ’tis no reason ladies should beg liars.

Nym. Thus he that loveth many, if once known,
Is justly plagued to be belov’d of none.


Herc. An act against counterfeiting of Cupid’s royal coin, and abusing his subjects with false money.—To the bar, Sir Amorous!—In most lamentable form complaineth to your blind celsitude your distressed orators, the women of the world, that in respect that many spendthrifts, who having exhausted and wasted their substance, and in stranger parts have with empty shows, treasonably purchased ladies’ affections, without being of ability to pay them for it with current money, and therefore have deceitfully sought to satisfy them with counterfeit metal, to the great displeasure and no small loss of your humblest subjects: may it therefore with your pitiful assent be enacted, that what lord, knight, or gentleman soever, knowing himself insufficient, bankrout, exhausted, and wasted, shall traitorously dare to entertain any lady, as wife or mistress, ipso facto to be severed from all commercement with women, his wife or mistress in that state offending to be forgiven with a pardon of course, and himself instantly to be pressed to sail in the ship of fools, without either bail or main-prize.—Sir Amorous is arrested.    286

Sir Amor.[287] Judgment of the court.

Herc. I take my oath upon thy brother’s body, ’tis none of thine.

Sir Amor. By the heart of dissemblance, this Fawn has wrought with us as strange tailors work in corporate cities, where they are not free; all inward, inward he lurk’d in the bosom of us, and yet we know not his profession. Sir, let me have counsel?

Herc. ’Tis[288] in great Cupid’s case; you may have no counsel.    296

Sir Amor. Death[289] o’ justice! are we in Normandy? What is my lady’s doom then?

Cup. Acquitted by the express parole of the statute. Hence, and in thy ignorance be quietly happy. Away with him—on!

Herc. An act against forgers of love-letters, false braggarts of ladies’ favours, and vain boasters of counterfeit tokens.

Herod. ’Tis I, ’tis I! I confess guilty, guilty!    305

Herc. I will be most humane and right courteously languaged in thy correction, and only say, thy vice, from apparent here, has made thee an apparent beggar, and now of a false knave hath made thee a true fool. Folly to the ship with him, and twice a day let him be duck’d at the main-yard.

Cup. Proceed!    312

Herc. An act against slanderers of Cupid’s liege ladies’ names, and lewd defamers of their honours.

Zuc. ’Tis I, ’tis I! I weep and cry out, I have been a most contumelious offender. My only cry is Miserere!

Cup. If your relenting lady will have pity on you,
The fault against our deity be pardoned.

Zuc. Madam, if ever I have found favour in your eyes, if ever you have thought me a reasonable handsome fellow, as I am sure before I had a beard you might, O be merciful!    322

Zoy. Well, upon your apparent repentance, that all modest spectators may witness I have for a short time only thus feignedly hated you that you might ever after truly love me, upon these cautions I reaccept you; first you shall vow——

Zuc. I do vow, as Heaven bless me, I will do!

Zoy. What?

Zuc. Whate’er it be; say on, I beseech you.    330

Zoy. You shall vow——

Zuc. Yes.

Zoy. That you shall never——

Zuc. Never——

Zoy. Feign love to my waiting-woman or chamber-maid.

Zuc. No.

Zoy. Never promise them such a farm to their marriage——

Zuc. No.

Zoy. If she’ll discover but whom I affect.    340

Zuc. Never.

Zoy. Or if they know none, that they’ll but take a false oath I do, only to be rid of me.

Zuc. I swear I will not; I will not only not counterfeitly love your women, but I will truly hate them; an’t be possible, so far from maintaining them, that I will beggar them. I will never pick their trunks for letters, search their pockets, ruffle their bosoms, or tear their foul smocks;—never! never!

Zoy. That if I chance to have a humour to be in a masque, you shall not grow jealous.    351

Zuc. Never.

Zoy. Or grudge at the expense.

Zuc. Never! I will eat mine own arms first.

Zoy. That you shall not search, if my chamber-door hinges be oil’d to avoid creaking.

Zuc. As I am a sensible creature.

Zoy. Nor ever suspect the reason why my bedchamber floor is double-matted.

Zuc. Not, as I have blood in me.    360

Zoy. You shall vow to wear clean linen, and feed wholesomely.

Zuc. Ay, and highly. I will take no more tobacco, or come to your sheets drunk, or get wenches. I will ever feed on fried frogs, broil’d[290] snails, and boil’d lamb-stones;—I will adore thee more than a mortal,—observe and serve you as more than a mistress,—do all duties of a husband,—all offices of a man,—all services of thy creature,—and ever live in thy pleasure, or die in thy service.    370

Zoy. Then here my quarrel ends; thus cease all strife.

Zuc. Until they lose, men know not what’s a wife.
We slight and dully view the lamp of heaven,
Because we daily see’t, which but bereaved,
And held one little week from darken’d eyes,
With greedy wonder we should all admire;
Opinion[291] of command puts out love’s fire.

Herc. An act against mummers, false seemers, that abuse ladies with counterfeit faces, courting only by signs, and seeming wise only by silence.    380

Cup. The penalty?

Herc. To be urged to speak, and then, if inward ability answer not outward seeming, to be committed instantly to the ship of fools during great Cupid’s pleasure.—My Lord Granuffo, to the bar! Speak, speak; is not this law just?

Gra. Just, sure; for in good truth or in good sooth,
When wise men speak, they still must open their mouth.

Herc. The brazen head has spoken.

Don. Thou art arrested.

Gra. Me?

Herc. And judg’d: away!

[Exit Granuffo.

Gon. Thus silence, with grave looks, with hums and haws,    391
Makes many worshipp’d, when if tried they’re daws;
That’s the morality or l’envoy of it—
L’envoy of it. On.

Herc. An act against privy conspiracies, by which, if any with ambitions wisdom shall hope and strive to outstrip Love, to cross his words, and make frustrate his sweet pleasure,—if such a presumptuous wisdom fall to nothing, and die in laughter, the wizard so transgressing is ipso facto adjudged to offend in most deep treason, to forfeit all his wit at the will of the lord, and be instantly committed to the ship of fools for ever.    401

Gon. Ay, marry, sir! O might Œdipus riddle me out such a fellow! Of all creatures breathing, I do hate those things that struggle to seem wise, and yet are indeed very fools. I remember, when I was a young man, in my father’s days, there were four gallant spirits, for resolution, as proper for body, as witty in discourse, as any were in Europe, nay, Europe had not such; I was one of them. We four did all love one lady,—a modest, chaste virgin she was; we all enjoy’d her, I well remember, and so enjoy’d her that, despite the strictest guard was set upon her, we had her at our pleasure: I speak it for her honour and my credit. Where shall you find such witty fellows nowadays? Alas! how easy it is, in these weaker times, to cross love-tricks. Ha! ha! ha! Alas! I smile to think I must confess, with some glory[292] to mine own wisdom, to think how I found out, and crossed, and curb’d, and jerk’d, and firk’d, and in the end made desperate Tiberio’s hope. Alas! good silly youth, that dares to cope with age and such a beard. I speak it without glory.    421

Herc. But what yet might your well-known wisdom think,
If such a one, as being most severe,
A most protested opposite to the match
Of two young lovers,—who having barr’d them speech,
All interviews, all messages, all means,
To plot their wishèd ends,—even he himself
Was, by their cunning, made the go-between,
The only messenger, the token-carrier,
Told them the times when they might fitly meet,    430
Nay, show’d the way to one another’s bed?

Gon. May one have the sight of such a fellow for nothing?
Doth there breathe such an egregious ass?
Is there such a foolish animal in rerum natura?

How is it possible such simplicity can exist? Let us not lose our laughing at him, for God’s sake! Let Folly’s sceptre light upon him, and to the ship of fools with him instantly!

Don. Of all these follies I arrest your grace.

Gon. Me? ha! me? me, varlet? me, fool? Ha! to th’ jail with him! What, varlet? call me ass?—me?

Herc. What! grave Urbin’s duke?    441
Dares Folly’s sceptre touch his prudent shoulders?
Is he a coxcomb? No, my lord is wise;
For we all know that Urbin’s duke has eyes.

Gon. God ha’ mercy, Fawn! Hold fast, varlet!
Hold thee, good Fawn!—railing reprobate!

Herc. Indeed, I must confess your grace did tell
And first did intimate your daughter’s love
To otherwise most cold Tiberio;
After convey’d her private favour to him,    450
A curious scarf, wherein her needle wrought
Her private love to him.

Gon. What! I do this? Ha!

Herc. And last, by her persuasion, show’d the youth
The very way and best-elected time
To come unto her chamber.

Gon. Thus did I, sir?

Herc. Thus did you, sir; but I must confess
You meant not to do this, but were rankly gull’d—
Made a plain natural. This sure, sir, you did.
And in assurance, Prince Tiberio,
Renowned, witted Dulcimel, appear!    460
The acts of constant honour cannot fear.

[Exit Hercules.

Tiberio and Dulcimel above, are discovered hand in hand.

Dul. Royally wise and wisely royal father——

Don. That’s sententious now—a figure call’d in art Ironia.

Dul. I humbly thank your worthy piety
That through your only means I have obtained
So fit, [so] loving, and desired a husband.

Gon. Death o’ discretion! if I should prove a fool now. Am not I an ass, think you, ha? I will have them both bound together, and sent to the Duke of Ferrara presently.    471

Tib. I am sure, good father, we are both bound together as fast as the priest can make us already. I thank you for it, kind father; I thank you only for’t.

Hercules Enters in his own shape.

Herc. And as for sending them to the Duke of Ferrara, see, my good lord, Ferrara’s o’erjoy’d prince meets thee in fullest wish.

Gon. By the Lord! I am ashamed of myself, that’s the plain troth; but I know now wherefore this parliament[293] was. What a slumber have I been in!    480

Herc. Never grieve nor wonder—all things sweetly fit.

Gon. There is no folly to protested wit.

Herc. What still in wond’ring ignorance doth rest,
In private conference your dear-lov’d breast
Shall fully take.—But now we change our face.

[274] Ed. 1. “till.”

[275] Ed. 1. “sowers.”

[276] Eds. 1. and 3. “good.”

[277] “What could I do withal?” = how could I help it?

[278] Throne, chair of state.

[279] Eds. 1. and 3. “him.”

[280] Ed. 2. “Laughter.”

[281] Old eds. “Whose force writh’d.”

[282] Old eds. “Laughter.”

[283] Compare Biron’s famous soliloquy in Love’s Labour Lost, iii. 1.

[284] Ed. 2. “him.”—Neither reading is intelligible.

[285] See Dyce’s Shakesp. Gloss., s. Occupy.

[286] The old form of spelling (ridiculed in Love’s Labour Lost) from the erroneous derivation ab homine.

[287] Eds. 1. and 3. “Don. Amor. Sir Judgement of the countrie.”

[288] Ed. 1. “’Tis in great case.”—Ed. 3. “’Tis in a great case.”

[289] Eds. 1. and 3. “Sir death,” &c.

[290] Eds. 1. and 3. “wild.”

[291] Ed. 1. “And prowde hayht.”—Ed. 3. “And proud height.”

[292] Boasting.

[293] Omitted in eds. 1. and 3.


And thus, in bold yet modest phrase we end.
He whose Thalia with swiftest hand hath penn’d
This lighter subject, and hath boldly torn
Fresh bays from Daphne’s arm, doth only scorn
Malicious censures of some envious few,    490
Who think they lose if others have their due:
But let such adders hiss; know, all the sting,
All the vain foam of all those snakes that ring
Minerva’s glassful shield, can never taint,
Poison, or pierce; firm art disdains to faint:—
But yet of you that with impartial faces,
With no preparèd malice, but with graces
Of sober knowledge, have survey’d the frame
Of his slight scene, if you shall judge his flame
Distemperately weak, as faulty much    500
In style, in plot, in spirit; lo! if such,
He deigns, in self-accusing phrase, to crave
Not[294] praise, but pardon, which he hopes to have;
Since he protests he ever hath aspired
To be belovèd rather than admired.

[Exeunt omnes.

[294] Old eds. “For praise.”





The Wonder of Women Or The Tragedie of Sophonisba, as it hath beene sundry times Acted at the Blacke Friers. Written by Iohn Marston. London. Printed by Iohn Windet and are to be sold neere Ludgate. 1606. 4to.


Syphax and Massinissa, princes of Libya, are rivals for the hand of Sophonisba, daughter of Asdrubal, a powerful Carthaginian nobleman. Massinissa’s suit is accepted; whereupon Syphax enters into a league with Scipio, who is advancing against Carthage. On Sophonisba’s marriage-night news is brought that the Carthaginian forces stationed at Utica have been defeated by the united armies of Scipio and Syphax. Massinissa is ordered by the senate to march without delay against the enemy; he loyally obeys the command, and takes leave of his virgin-wife. While he is serving Carthage in the field, the Carthaginian senators at home proceed to plot against his life. They determine to gain Syphax to their side by giving him Sophonisba to wife; and Gisco, a physician and skilful empoisoner, is sent to the Carthaginian camp to despatch Massinissa. Among the senators there is an honest old man, Gelosso, who disguises himself, follows Gisco to the camp, and hands Massinissa a letter containing a disclosure of the plot. Massinissa has no sooner dismissed the empoisoner (whom he scorns to punish) than Jugurth, Massinissa’s nephew, enters, to announce that Syphax has been seen riding in the direction of Cirta, and that his horsemen are coming at a leisurely pace towards the camp as if to fraternise with Massinissa’s forces. By advice of Gelosso, who lays aside his disguise, Massinissa scatters the horsemen by a sudden onslaught, and hastens to make a league with Scipio. Meanwhile Sophonisba has been sent by the Carthaginian senators to the palace of Syphax at Cirta. She escapes by a subterranean passage that led from the palace to a forest, but through the treachery of her attendant, Zanthia, falls again into the hands of Syphax. In despair of effecting his purpose by persuasion, Syphax applies for help to a powerful enchantress, Erictho, who engages to force Sophonisba by magic to his arms, on condition that he shall speak no word, and have no lights burning, while he embraces her. On the appointed night Syphax discovers to his horror that his embraces have been given to Erictho. While he is cursing his fortunes, a messenger arrives to announce that Scipio and Massinissa are advancing against Cirta. He marches out to meet them; the troops on either side withdraw, while Syphax and Massinissa engage in single combat; Massinissa vanquishes his opponent, but spares his life on receiving assurance that Sophonisba has not suffered outrage. Leaving his prisoner in Scipio’s hands, Massinissa hastens to Cirta. He enters the palace with his beaver down, unrecognised by Sophonisba, who throws herself at his feet, and implores him to save her from falling into the hands of the Romans, or grant her instant death. Pledging his oath that he will protect her, he doffs his helmet. The joyful reunion is presently interrupted by the entrance of the Roman general, Lælius, who orders Massinissa to deliver Sophonisba into Scipio’s custody (Syphax having represented to Scipio that Sophonisba would quickly induce Massinissa to revolt from Rome). Lælius departs with Massinissa’s assurance that the command shall be obeyed. Massinissa is distracted; he must either break the oath that he had pledged to Sophonisba, or he must be faithless in the allegiance that he had sworn to Rome. Sophonisba’s heroism rescues him from his dilemma. She declares her willingness to die; he infuses poison in a bowl of wine, and the dauntless woman drinks, speaking words of comfort to her husband as the poison courses through her veins. The lifeless body, laid on a bier, is presented to Scipio by Massinissa.


Know that I have not laboured in this poem to tie myself to relate anything as an historian, but to enlarge everything as a poet. To transcribe authors, quote authorities, and translate Latin prose orations into English blank verse, hath, in this subject, been the least aim of my studies.[295] Then (equal reader) peruse me with no prepared dislike; and, if ought shall displease thee, thank thyself; if ought shall please thee, thank not me: for I confess in this it was not my only end.


A grateful heart’s just height; ingratitude,
And vow’s base breach with worthy shame pursued;
A woman’s constant love, as firm as fate;
A blameless counsellor well born for state;
The folly to enforce free love: these, know,
This subject with full light doth amply show.

[295] Marston is evidently glancing at Ben Jonson’s Sejanus, which had been published in the previous year (1605).


Massinissa, and
Syphax, Kings of Libya, rivals for Sophonisba.
Asdrubal, father to Sophonisba.
Gelosso, a senator of Carthage.
Bytheas, a senator of Carthage.
Hanno Magnus, Captain of Carthage.
Jugurth, Massinissa’s nephew.
Scipio, and
Lælius, Generals of Rome.
Vangue, an Æthiopian slave.
Carthalon, a senator of Carthage.
Gisco, a surgeon of Carthage.

Sophonisba, daughter to Asdrubal of Carthage.
Zanthia, her maid.
Erictho, an enchantress.
Arcathia, and
Nycea, waiting-women to Sophonisba.

SceneCirta, Carthage, &c.


Cornets sounding a march.

Enter at one door the Prologue, two Pages with torches, Asdrubal and Jugurth, two Pages with lights, Massinissa leading Sophonisba, Zanthia bearing Sophonisba’s train, Arcathia and Nycea, Hanno and Bytheas: at the other door two Pages with targets and javelins, two Pages with lights, Syphax arm’d from top to toe, followed by Vangue.

These, thus enter’d, stand still, whilst the Prologue, resting between both troops, speaks.

The scene is Libya, and the subject thus:
Whilst Carthage stood the only awe of Rome,
As most imperial seat of Libya,
Govern’d by statesmen, each as great as kings
(For seventeen kings were Carthage feodars);
Whilst thus she flourish’d, whilst her Hannibal
Made Rome to tremble, and the walls yet pale:
Then in this Carthage Sophonisba lived,
The far-famed daughter of great Asdrubal:
For whom (’mongst others) potent Syphax sues,    10
And well-graced Massinissa rivals him,
Both princes of proud sceptres: but the lot
Of doubtful favour Massinissa graced,
At which Syphax grows black: for now the night
Yields loud resoundings of the nuptial pomp:
Apollo strikes his harp, Hymen his torch;
Whilst louring Juno, with ill-boding eye,
Sits envious at too forward Venus. Lo,
The instant night: and now ye worthier minds,
To whom we shall present a female glory    20
(The wonder of a constancy so fix’d,
That fate itself might well grow envious):
Be pleased to sit,[296] such as may merit oil,
And holy dew, still’d from diviner heat.
For rest thus knowing: what of this you hear,
The author lowly hopes, but must not fear:
For just worth never rests on popular frown,
 To have done well is fair deeds’ only crown.

Nec se quæsiverit extra.

Cornets sound a march.

The Prologue leads Massinissa’s troops over the stage, and departs: Syphax’ troops only stay.

[296] Quy. “see’t.”




The palace of Syphax at Cirta.

Syphax and Vangue.

Sy. Syphax, Syphax! why wast thou cursed a king?
What angry god made thee so great, so vile?
Contemn’d, disgracèd! think, wert thou a slave,
Though Sophonisba did reject thy love,
Thy low neglected head, unpointed at,
Thy shame unrumour’d, and thy suit unscoff’d,
Might yet rest quiet. Reputation,
Thou awe of fools and great men; thou that chok’st
Freest addictions, and makest mortals sweat
Blood and cold drops in fear to lose, or hope    10
To gain, thy never-certain seldom-worthy gracings;
Were’t not for thee, Syphax could bear this scorn,
Not spouting up his gall among his blood
In black vexations: Massinissa might
Enjoy the sweets of his preferrèd graces
Without my dangerous envy or revenge;
Were’t not for thy affliction, all might sleep
In sweet oblivion: but (O greatness’ scourge!)
We cannot without envy keep high name,    20
Nor yet disgraced can have a quiet shame.

Van. Scipio——

Sy. Some light in depth of hell. Vangue, what hope?

Van. I have received assured intelligence,
That Scipio, Rome’s sole hope, hath raised up men,
Drawn troops together for invasion——

Sy. Of this same Carthage?

Van. With this policy,
To force wild Hannibal from Italy——

Sy. And draw the war to Afric?

Van. Right.

Sy. And strike
This secure country with unthought of arms?    30

Van. My letters bear he is departed Rome,
Directly setting course and sailing up——

Sy. To Carthage, Carthage! O thou eternal youth,
Man of large fame, great and abounding glory,
Renownful Scipio, spread thy two-necked eagles,
Fill full thy sails with a revenging wind,
Strike through obedient Neptune, till thy prows[297]
Dash up our Libyan ooze,[298] and thy just arms
Shine with amazeful terror on these walls!
O now record thy father’s[299] honour’d blood    40
Which Carthage drunk; thy uncle Publius’[300] blood
Which Carthage drunk; thirty thousand souls
Of choice Italians Carthage set on wing:
Remember Hannibal, yet Hannibal,
The consul-queller: O then enlarge thy heart,
Be thousand souls in one! let all the breath,
The spirit of thy name and nation, be mix’d strong
In thy great heart! O fall like thunder-shaft,
The wingèd vengeance of incensèd Jove,
Upon this Carthage! for Syphax here flies off    50
From all allegiance, from all love or service,
His (now free’d) sceptre once did yield this city.
Ye universal gods, light, heat, and air,
Prove all unblessing Syphax, if his hands
Once rear themselves for Carthage but to curse it!
It had been better they had changed their faith,
Denied their gods, than slighted Syphax’ love;
So fearfully will I take vengeance.
I’ll interleague with Scipio.—Vangue,
Dear Ethiopian negro, go wing a vessel,    60
And fly to Scipio: say his confederate,
Vow’d and confirm’d, is Syphax: bid him haste
To mix our palms and arms; will him make up,
Whilst we are in the strength of discontent,
Our unsuspected forces well in arms;
For Sophonisba, Carthage, Asdrubal,
Shall feel their weakness in preferring weakness,
And one less great than we. To our dear wishes,
Haste, gentle negro, that this heap may know
Me and their wrong.    70

Van. Wrong?

Sy. Ay, tho’ ’twere not; yet know, while kings are strong,
What they’ll but think, and not what is, is wrong.
I am disgraced in and by that which hath
No reason,—love, and woman; my revenge
Shall therefore bear no argument of right;
Passion is reason when it speaks from might.
I tell thee, man, nor kings nor gods exempt,
But they grow pale if once they find contempt.
Haste!    80


[297] So ed. 1.—Ed. 2. (i.e. 8vo of 1633) “powers.”

[298] Ed. 1. reads “ouse,” which becomes “house” in ed. 2.

[299] Cn. Scipio, who fell fighting in Spain, B.C. 212. See Livy, xxv. 36.

[300] See Livy, xxv. 34.


Sophonisba’s bedchamber.

Enter Arcathia; Nycea, with tapers; Sophonisba, in her night attire, followed by Zanthia.

So. Watch at the doors: and till we be reposed
Let no one enter. Zanthia, undo me.

Zan. With this motto under your girdle:
You had been undone if you had not been undone.
Humblest service!

So. I wonder, Zanthia, why the custom is,
To use such ceremony, such strict shape,
About us women: forsooth the bride must steal
Before her lord to bed; and then delays,
Long expectations, all against known wishes.    10
I hate these figures in locution,
These about phases forced by ceremony;
We must still seem to fly what we most seek,
And hide ourselves from what we fain would find.
Let those that think and speak and do just acts,
Know form can give no virtue to their acts,
Nor detract vice.

Zan. Alas, fair princess! those that are strongly form’d
And truly shap’d, may naked walk; but we,
We things call’d women, only made for show    20
And pleasure, created to bear children
And play at shuttlecock; we imperfect mixtures,
Without respective ceremony used,
And ever compliment, alas! what are we?
Take from us formal custom and the courtesies
Which civil fashion hath still used to us,
We fall to all contempt. O women, how much,
How much are you beholding to ceremony!

So. You are familiar. Zanthia, my shoe.

Zan. ’Tis wonder, madam, you tread not awry.    30

So. Your reason, Zanthia.

Zan. You go very high.

So. Hark! music! music!

The Ladies lay the Princess in a fair bed, and close the curtains, whilst Massinissa Enters.

Ny. The bridegroom!

Arca. The bridegroom!

So. Haste, good Zanthia: help! keep yet the doors!

Zan. Fair fall you, lady; so, admit, admit.

Enter four Boys, anticly attired, with bows and quivers, dancing to the cornets a fantastic measure; Massinissa in his nightgown, led by Asdrubal and Hanno, followed by Bytheas and Jugurth. The Boys draw the curtains, discovering Sophonisba, to whom Massinissa speaks.

Mass. You powers of joy, gods of a happy bed,
Show you are pleased; sister and wife of Jove,
High-fronted Juno, and thou Carthage patron,
Smooth-chinn’d Apollo, both give modest heat
And temperate graces!

[Massinissa draws a white ribbon forth[301] of the bed, as from the waist of Sophonisba.

Lo, I unloose thy waist!
She that is just in love is god-like chaste.    40
Io to Hymen!

Chorus, with cornets, organ and voices. Io to Hymen!

So. A modest silence, though’t be thought
A virgin’s beauty and her highest honour;
Though bashful feignings nicely wrought,
Grace her that virtue takes not in, but on her;
What I dare think I boldly speak:
After my word my well-bold action rusheth.
In open flame then passion break!
Where virtue prompts, thought, word, act never blusheth.
Revenging gods, whose marble hands    50
Crush faithless men with a confounding terror,
Give me no mercy if these bands
I covet not with an unfeignèd fervour;
Which zealous vow when ought can force me t’lame,[302]
Load with that plague Atlas would groan at, shame.
Io to Hymen!

Chorus. Io to Hymen!

Asdru. Live both high parents of so happy birth,
Your stems may touch the skies and shadow earth;
Most great in fame, more great in virtue shining.
Prosper, O powers! a just, a strong divining.    60
Io to Hymen!

Chorus. Io to Hymen!

Enter Carthalon, his sword drawn, his body wounded, his shield struck full of darts; Massinissa being ready for bed.

Car. To bold hearts Fortune! be not you amazed,
Carthage! O Carthage! be not you amazed.

Mass. Jove made us not to fear; resolve, speak out;
The highest misery of man is doubt.
Speak, Carthalon!

Car. The stooping sun, like to some weaker prince,
Let his shades spread to an unnatural hugeness,
When we, the camp that lay at Utica,
From Carthage distant but five easy leagues,    70
Descried from off the watch three hundred sail,
Upon whose tops the Roman eagles stretch’d
Their large spread wings, which fann’d the evening air,
To us cold breath; for well we might discern
Rome swam to Carthage.

Asd. Hannibal, our rancour[303] is come back; thy slight,
Thy stratagem, to lead war unto Rome,
To quite ourselves, hath now taught desperate Rome
T’assail our Carthage: now the war is here.

Mass. He is nor blest, nor honest, that can fear.    80

Han. Ay, but to cast the worst of our distress——

Mass. To doubt of what shall be, is wretchedness:
Desire, fear, and hope, receive no bond
By whom, we in ourselves are never but beyond.

Car. Th’ alarum beats necessity of fight;
Th’ unsober evening draws out reeling forces,
Soldiers, half men, who to their colours troop
With fury, not with valour: whilst our ships
Unrigg’d, unus’d, fitter for fire than water,    90
We save in our barr’d haven from surprise.
By this our army marcheth toward the shore,
Undisciplin’d young men, most bold to do,
If they knew how, or what; when we descry
A mighty dust, beat up with horses’ hooves:
Straight Roman ensigns glitter; Scipio——

Asd. Scipio!

Car. Scipio, advancèd like the god of blood,
Leads up grim war, that father of foul wounds,
Whose sinewy feet are steep’d in gore, whose hideous voice    100
Makes turrets tremble and whole cities shake;
Before whose brows flight and disorder hurry;
With whom march burnings, murder, wrong, waste, rapes;
Behind whom a sad train is seen, woe, fears,
Tortures, lean need, famine, and helpless tears.
Now make we equal stand in mutual view:
We judg’d the Romans eighteen thousand foot,
Five thousand horse; we almost doubled them
In number, not in virtue;[304] yet in heat
Of youth and wine, jolly, and full of blood,    110
We gave the sign of battle: shouts are raised
That shook the heavens; pell-mell our armies join;
Horse, targets, pikes, all against each opposed,[305]
They give fierce shock, arms thunder’d as they clos’d:
Men cover earth, which straight are coverèd
With men and earth; yet doubtful stood the fight,
More fair to Carthage, when lo, as oft we see,
In mines of gold, when labouring slaves delve out
The richest ore, being in sudden hope
With some unlook’d-for vein to fill their buckets,    120
And send huge treasure up, a sudden damp
Stifles them all, their hands yet stuff’d with gold,—
So fell our fortunes; for look, as we stood proud,
Like hopeful victors, thinking to return
With spoils worth triumph, wrathful Syphax lands
With full ten thousand strong Numidian horse,
And joins to Scipio. Then lo, we[306] all were damp’d;
We fall[307] in clusters, and our wearied troops
Quit all. Slaughter ran through us straight; we fly,
Romans pursue, but Scipio sounds retreat,    130
As fearing trains and night: we make amain
For Carthage most, and some for Utica,
All for our lives.—New force, fresh arms with speed!

Han.[308] You have said truth of all; no more: I bleed.
O[309] wretched fortune!

[Tearing his hair.

Mass. Old lord, spare thy hairs:
What, dost thou think baldness will cure thy grief?
What decree the Senate?

Enter Gelosso with commissions in his hand, sealed.

Gelo. Ask old Gelosso, who returns from them,
Inform’d with fullest charge. Strong Asdrubal,
Great Massinissa, Carthage general,    140
So speaks the Senate: counsel for this war
In Hanno Magnus, Bytheas, Carthalon,
And us Gelosso, rests. Embrace this charge,
You never yet dishonour’d Asdrubal,
High Massinissa! by your vows to Carthage,
By th’ god of great men,—glory,—fight for Carthage!
Ten thousand strong Massulians, ready troop’d,
Expect their king; double that number waits
The leading of loved Asdrubal: beat loud
Our Afric drums! and, whilst our o’er-toil’d foe    150
Snores on his unlacked casque, all faint, though proud,
Through his successful fight, strike fresh alarms.
Gods are not if they grace not bold, just arms.

Mass. Carthage, thou straight shalt know
Thy favours have been done unto a king.

[Exit with Asdrubal and the Page.

So. My lords, ’tis most unusual such sad haps
Of sudden horror should intrude ’mong beds
Of soft and private loves; but strange events
Excuse strange forms. O you that know our blood,
Revenge if I do feign. I here protest,    160
Though my lord leave his wife a very maid,
Even this night, instead of my soft arms
Clasping his well-strung limbs with glossful steel,
What’s safe to Carthage shall be sweet to me.
I must not, nor am I once ignorant
My choice of love hath given this sudden danger
To yet strong Carthage: ’twas I lost the fight;
My choice vex’d Syphax, enraged Syphax struck
Arms’ fate;[310] yet Sophonisba not repents:
O we were gods if that we knew events.    170
But let my[311] lord leave Carthage, quit his virtue,
I will not love him; yet must honour him,
As still good subjects must bad princes. Lords,
From the most ill-graced hymeneal bed
That ever Juno frown’d at, I entreat
That you’ll collect from our loose-formèd speech
This firm resolve: that no low appetite
Of my sex’ weakness can or shall o’ercome
Due grateful[312] service unto you or virtue.
Witness, ye gods, I never until now    180
Repined at my creation: now I wish
I were no woman, that my arms might speak
My heart to Carthage. But in vain: my tongue
Swears I am woman still, I talk too[313] long.

Cornets, a march. Enter two Pages with targets and javelins; two Pages with torches. Massinissa armed cap-à-pie; Asdrubal armed.

Mass. Ye Carthage lords, know Massinissa knows
Not only terms of honour, but his actions;
Nor must I now enlarge how much my cause
Hath danger’d Carthage, but how I may show
Myself most prest[314] to satisfaction.
The loathsome stain of kings’ ingratitude    190
From me O much be far! And since this torrent,
War’s rage, admits no anchor—since the billow
Is risen so high we may not hull,[315] but yield
This ample state to stroke of speedy swords;
What you with sober haste have well decreed,
We’ll put to sudden arms; no, not this night,
These dainties, these firstfruits of nuptials,
That well might give excuse for feeble lingerings,
Shall hinder Massinissa. Appetite,
Kisses, loves, dalliance, and what softer joys    200
The Venus of the pleasing’st ease can minister,
I quit you all. Virtue perforce is vice;
But he that may, yet holds, is manly wise.
Lo then, ye lords of Carthage, to your trust
I leave all Massinissa’s treasure: by the oath
Of right good men stand to my fortune just:
Most hard it is for great hearts to mistrust.

Car. We vow by all high powers.

Mass. No, do not swear;
I was not born so small to doubt or fear.

So. Worthy, my lord——

Mass. Peace, my ears are steel;    210
I must not hear thy much-enticing voice.

So. My Massinissa, Sophonisba speaks
Worthy thy wife: go with as high a hand
As worth can rear. I will not stay my lord.
Fight for our country; vent thy youthful heat
In field, not beds: the fruit of honour, Fame,
Be rather gotten than the oft disgrace
Of hapless parents, children. Go, best man,
And make me proud to be a soldier’s wife,
That values his renown above faint pleasures:    220
Think every honour that doth grace thy sword
Trebles my love. By thee I have no lust
But of thy glory. Best lights of heaven with thee!
Like wonder, stand or fall; so, though thou die,
My fortunes may be wretched, but not I.

Mass. Wondrous creature! even fit for gods, not men:
Nature made all the rest of thy fair sex
As weak essays, to make thee a pattern
Of what can be in woman! Long farewell!
He’s sure unconquer’d in whom thou dost dwell,    230
Carthage Palladium.[316] See that glorious lamp—
Whose lifeful[317] presence giveth sudden flight
To fancies, fogs, fears, sleep, and slothful night—
Spreads day upon the world: march swift amain;—
Fame got with loss of breath is god-like gain!

[The Ladies draw the curtains about Sophonisba; the rest accompany Massinissa forth: the cornets and organs playing loud full music for the Act.

[301] The maiden-girdle worn by unmarried women. It was loosed by the bridegroom on the marriage night.

[302] So ed. 1.—Ed. 2. (8vo of 1633) “claime.”

[303] Old eds. “ancor”—an obvious misprint. The meaning is “our rancorous hatred of the Romans has recoiled on our own heads.”

[304] Valour (Lat. virtus).

[305] Ed. 1. “apposd.”

[306] Ed. 1. “yee.”

[307] Ed. 2. “fell.”

[308] Not marked in ed. 1.

[309] The words “O wretched fortune!” are given to Bytheas in ed. 1.

[310] Quy. “Arm’d hate”?

[311] Ed. 1. “me.”

[312] Ed. 2. “gracefull.”

[313] Ed. 2. “so.”

[314] Ready, forward.

[315] See note 2, vol. i. p. 87.

[316] The image of Pallas at Troy. The safety of the city depended on its possession.

[317] Ed. 2. “lightfull.”



The Senate-house at Carthage.

Whilst the music for the first Act sounds, Hanno, Carthalon, Bytheas, Gelosso, Enter: they place themselves to counsel, Gisco, the impoisoner, waiting on them; Hanno, Carthalon, and Bytheas setting their hands to a writing, which being offered to Gelosso, he denies his hand, and, as much offended, impatiently starts up and speaks.

Enter Gelosso, Hanno, Bytheas, Carthalon.

Gel. My hand? my hand? rot first; wither in aged shame.

Han. Will you be so unseasonably wood?[318]

By. Hold such preposterous zeal as stand[319] against
The full decree of Senate, all think fit?

Car. Nay, most inevitable[320] necessary
For Carthage’ safety, and the now sole good
Of present state, that we must break all faith
With Massinissa. Whilst he fights abroad,
Let’s gain back Syphax, making him our own,
By giving Sophonisba to his bed.    10

Han. Syphax is Massinissa’s greater, and his force
Shall give more side to Carthage: as for’s queen,
And her wise father, they love Carthage fate;
Profit and honesty are not one in state.

Gel. And what decrees our very virtuous Senate
Of worthy Massinissa, that now fights,
And (leaving wife and bed) bleeds in good arms
For right old Carthage?

Car. Thus ’tis thought fit:
Her father, Asdrubal, on sudden shall take in
Revolted Syphax; so with doubled strength,    20
Before that Massinissa shall suspect,
Slaughter both Massinissa and his troops,
And likewise strike with his deep stratagem
A sudden weakness into Scipio’s arms,
By drawing such a limb from the main body
Of his yet powerful army: which being done,
Dead Massinissa’s kingdom we decree
To Sophonisba and great Asdrubal
For their consent; so this swift plot shall bring
Two crowns to her, make Asdrubal a king.    30

Gel. So, first faith’s breach, murder, adultery, theft!

Car. What else?

Gel. Nay, all is done, no mischief left.

Car. Pish!
Prosperous success gives blackest actions glory;
The means are unremember’d in most story.

Gel. Let me not say gods are not.

Car. This is fit:
Conquest by blood is not so sweet as wit:
For howsoe’er nice virtue censures[321] it,
He hath the grace of war that hath war’s profit.
But Carthage, well advised that states come on    40
With slow advice, quick execution,
Have here an engineer long bred for plots,
Call’d an impois’ner, who knows this sound excuse:
Th’ only dew that makes men sprout in court is use.
Be’t well or ill, his thrift is to be mute;
Such slaves must act commands, and not dispute.
Knowing foul deeds with danger do begin,
But with rewards do end: sin is no sin,
But in respects——

Gel. Politic lord, speak low: though Heaven bears
A face far from us, gods have most long ears;    51
Jove has a hundred marble marble hands.

Car. O ay, in poetry or tragic scene!

Gel. I fear gods only know what poets mean.

Car. Yet hear me, I will speak close truth and cease:
Nothing in Nature is unserviceable,
No, not even inutility itself.
Is then for nought dishonesty in being?
And if it be sometimes of forcèd use,
Wherein more urgent than in saving nations?    60
State shapes are solder’d up with base, nay faulty,
Yet necessary functions: some must lie,
Some must betray, some murder, and some all;
Each hath strong use, as poison in all purges:
Yet when some violent chance shall force a state
To break given faith, or plot some stratagems,
Princes ascribe that vile necessity
Unto Heaven’s wrath. And sure, though’t be no vice,
Yet ’tis bad chance: states must not stick too nice,
For Massinissa’s death sense bids forgive:    70
Beware t’offend great men, and let them live;
For ’tis of empire’s body the main arm,—
He that will do no good shall do no harm.
You have my mind.

Gel. Although a stage-like passion, and weak heat,
Full of an empty wording, might suit age,
Know I’ll speak strongly truth. Lords, ne’er mistrust,
That he who’ll not betray a private man
For his country, will ne’er betray his country
For private men; then give Gelosso faith.    80
If treachery in state be serviceable,
Let hangmen do it. I am bound to lose
My life, but not mine honour, for my country.
Our vows, our faith, our oaths, why they’re ourselves,
And he that’s faithless to his proper self
May be excus’d if he break faith with princes.
The gods assist just hearts, and states that trust
Plots before Providence are toss’d like dust.
For Massinissa (O, let me slack a little
Austere discourse and feel humanity!)    90
Methinks I hear him cry, “O fight for Carthage!
Charge home! wounds smart not for that so just, so great,
So good a city.” Methinks I see him yet
Leave his fair bride, even on his nuptial night,
To buckle on his arms for Carthage. Hark!
Yet, yet, I hear him cry,—“Ingratitude,
Vile stain of man, O ever be most far
From Massinissa’s breast! Up, march amain;
Fame got by loss of breath is god-like gain!”
And see, by this he bleeds in doubtful[322] fight,    100
And cries “For Carthage!” whilst Carthage—Memory,
Forsake Gelosso! would I could not think,
Nor hear, nor be, when Carthage is
So infinitely vile! See, see! look here!

Cornets. Enter two Ushers; Sophonisba, Zanthia, and Arcathia; Hanno, Bytheas, and Carthalon present Sophonisba with a paper, which she having perused, after a short silence, speaks.

So. Who speaks? What, mute? Fair plot! What? blush to break it?
How lewd to act when so shamed but to speak it.
Is this the Senate’s firm decree?[323]

Car. It is.

So. Is this the Senate’s firm decree?

Car. It is.

So. Hath Syphax entertained the stratagem?

Car. No doubt he hath or will.

So. My answer’s thus,    110
What’s safe to Carthage shall be sweet to us.[324]

Car. Right worthy.

Han. Royalest.

Gel. O very woman!

So. But ’tis not safe for Carthage to destroy.
Be most unjust, cunningly politic,
Your head’s still under heaven. O trust to Fate:
Gods prosper more a just than crafty state;
’Tis less disgrace to have a pitied loss,
Than shameful victory.

Gel. O very angel!

So. We all have sworn good Massinissa faith;
Speech makes us men, and there’s no other bond    120
’Twixt man and man but words. O equal gods!
Make us once know the consequence of vows—

Gel. And we shall hate faith-breakers worse than man-eaters.

So. Ha, good Gelosso, is thy breath not here?

Gel. You do me wrong: as long as I can die,
Doubt you that old Gelosso can be vile?
States may afflict, tax, torture, but our minds
Are only sworn to Jove. I grieve, and yet am proud
That I alone am honest: high powers, ye know
Virtue is seldom seen with troops to go.    130

So. Excellent man! Carthage and Rome shall fall
Before thy fame.—Our lords, know I the worst?

Car. The gods foresaw, ’tis fate we thus are forc’d.

So. Gods naught foresee, but see, for to their eyes
Naught is to come or past; nor are you vile
Because the gods foresee; for gods, not[325] we,
See as things are; things are not as[326] we see.
But since affected wisdom in us women
Is our sex’ highest folly, I am silent;
I cannot speak less well, unless I were    140
More void of goodness. Lords of Carthage, thus:
The air and earth of Carthage owes[327] my body;
It is their servant; what decree they of it?

Car. That you remove to Cirta, to the palace
Of well-form’d Syphax, who with longing eyes
Meets you: he that gives way to Fate is wise.

So. I go: what power can make me wretched? what evil
Is there in life to him that knows life’s loss
To be no evil? show, show thy ugliest brow,
O most black chance; make me a wretched story:    150
Without misfortune virtue hath no glory;
Opposèd trees makes tempests show their power,
And waves forced back by rocks makes Neptune tower,—
Tearless O see a miracle of life,
A maid, a widow, yet a hapless wife!

[Cornets. Sophonisba, accompanied with the Senators, departs; only Gelosso stays.

Gel. A prodigy! let Nature run cross-legg’d,
Ops go upon his head, let Neptune burn,
Cold Saturn crack with heat, for now the world
Hath seen a woman!
Leap nimble lightning from Jove’s ample shield,    160
And make at length an end! The proud hot breath
Of thee-contemning greatness; the huge drought
Of sole self-loving vast ambition;
Th’ unnatural scorching heat of all those lamps
Thou rear’dst to yield a temperate fruitful heat;
Relentless rage, whose heart hath no one drop
Of human pity;—all, all loudly cry,
Thy brand, O Jove, for now[328] the world is dry!
O let a general end save Carthage fame!
When worlds do burn, unseen’s a city’s flame.    170
Phœbus in me is great; Carthage must fall;
Jove hates all vice, but vows’ breach worst of all.


[318] Distracted, mad.

[319] Ed. 2. “stands.”

[320] So ed. 2.—Ed. 1. “vnevitable.”

[321] Judges.

[322] So ed. 1.—Ed. 2. “double.”

[323] Ed. 1. “decrees.”

[324] Ed. 1. “me.”

[325] Ed. 1. “and.”

[326] Ed. 1. “for.”

[327] Own.

[328] Old eds. “know.”


Near Cirta.

Cornets sound a charge. Enter Massinissa in his gorget[329] and shirt, shield, sword; his arm transfix’d with a dart. Jugurth follows, with his cuirass and casque.

Mass. Mount us again; give us another horse!

Jug. Uncle, your blood flows fast: pray ye withdraw.

Mass. O Jugurth, I cannot bleed too fast, too much,
For that so great, so just, so royal Carthage!
My wound smarts not, blood’s loss makes me not faint,
For that loved city. O nephew, let me tell thee,
How good that Carthage is: it nourish’d me,
And when full time gave me fit strength for love,
The most adorèd creature of the city,
To us before great Syphax did they yield,—    10
Fair, noble, modest, and ’bove all, my [own],
My Sophonisba! O Jugurth, my strength doubles:
I know not how to turn a coward,—drop
In feeble baseness I cannot. Give me horse!
Know I’m Carthage’ very creature, and am grac’d
That I may bleed for them. Give me fresh horse!

Jug. He that doth public good for multitude,
Finds few are truly grateful.

Mass. O Jugurth! fie! you must not say so. Jugurth,
Some[330] common-weals may let a noble heart    20
Even bleed to death abroad, and not bemoan’d,
Neither revenged, at home. But, Carthage, fie!
It cannot be ungrate, faithless through fear:
It cannot, Jugurth: Sophonisba’s there.
Beat a fresh charge!

Enter Asdrubal, his sword drawn, reading a letter; Gisco follows him.

Asd. Sound the retreat; respect your health, brave prince;
The waste of blood throws paleness on your face.

Mass. By light, my heart’s not pale: O my loved father,
We bleed for Carthage; balsam to my wounds,
We bleed for Carthage; shall’s restore the fight?    30
My squadron of Massulians yet stands firm.

Asd. The day looks off from Carthage; cease alarms!
A modest temperance is the life of arms.
Take our best surgeon Gisco; he is sent
From Carthage to attend your chance of war.

Gis. We promise sudden ease.

Mass. Thy comfort’s good.

Asd. —That nothing can secure us but thy blood!
Infuse it in his wound, ’twill work amain.

Gis. —O Jove!

Asd. —What Jove? thy god must be thy gain,—
And as for me——Apollo Pythian,    40
Thou know’st a statist[331] must not be a man.

[Exit Asdrubal.

Enter Gelosso disguised like an old soldier, delivering to Massinissa (as he is preparing to be dressed by Gisco) a letter, which Massinissa reading, starts, and speaks to Gisco.

Mass. Forbear; how art thou call’d?

Gis. Gisco, my lord.

Mass. Um, Gisco. Ha! touch not my arm.—[To Gelosso.] Most only man!—
[To Gisco.] Sirra, sirra, art poor?

Gis. Not poor.

Mass. Nephew, command

[Massinissa begins to draw.

Our troops of horse make indisgraced retreat;
Trot easy off.—Not poor!—Jugurth, give charge
My soldiers stand in square battalia,

[Exit Jugurth.

Entirely of themselves.—Gisco, th’ art old;
’Tis time to leave off murder; thy faint breath
Scarce heaves thy ribs, thy gummy blood-shut eyes    50
Are sunk a great way in thee, thy lank skin
Slides from thy fleshless veins: be good to men.
Judge him, ye gods: I had not life to kill
So base a creature. Hold, Gisco, live;
The god-like part of kings is to forgive.

Gis. Command astonish’d Gisco.

Mass. No, return.
Haste unto Carthage, quit thy abject fears,
Massinissa knows no use of murderers.

[Exit Gisco.

Enter Jugurth, amazed, his sword drawn.

Speak, speak! let terror strike slaves mute,
Much danger makes great hearts most resolute.    60

Jug. Uncle, I fear foul arms; myself beheld
Syphax on high speed run his well-breath’d horse
Direct to Cirta, that most beauteous city
Of all his kingdom; whilst his troops of horse,
With careless trot, pace gently toward our camp,
As friends to Carthage. Stand on guard, dear uncle;
For Asdrubal, with yet his well-rank’d army,
Bends a deep threat’ning brow to us, as if
He waited but to join with Syphax’ horse,
And hew us all to pieces. O my king,    70
My uncle, father, captain, O over all!
Stand like thyself, or like thyself now fall!
Thy troops yet hold good ground. Unworthy wounds,
Betray not Massinissa!

Mass. Jugurth, pluck,
Pluck! so, good coz.

Jug. O God! Do you not feel?

Mass. Not, Jugurth, no; now all my flesh is steel.

Gel. Off base disguise! high lights scorn not to view
A true old man. Up, Massinissa! throw
The lot of battle upon Syphax’ troops,
Before he join with Carthage; then amain    80
Make through to Scipio; he yields safe abodes:
Spare treachery, and strike the very gods.

Mass. Why wast thou born at Carthage! O my fate!
Divinest Sophonisba! I am full
Of much complaint, and many passions,
The least of which express’d would sad the gods,
And strike compassion in most[332] ruthless hell.
Up, unmaim’d heart, spend all thy grief and rage
Upon thy foe! the field’s a soldier’s stage,
On which his action shows. If you are just,    90
And hate those that contemn you, O you gods,
Revenge worthy your anger, your anger! O,
Down man, up heart! stoop Jove, and bend thy chin
To thy large breast; give sign th’art pleased, and just;
Swear good men’s foreheads must not print the dust.


[329] Armour for the throat.

[330] I follow the reading of ed. 2.—Ed. 1. gives:—

“Some common weales melt at a noble hart,
Too forward bleeds abrode and bleed bemond,
But not revengd at home.”

[331] Statesman.—The word is used by Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, &c.

[332] So ed. 1.—Ed. 2. “into ruthlesse hell.”



Enter Asdrubal, Hanno, Bytheas.

Asd. What Carthage hath decreed, Hanno, is done;
Advanced and born was Asdrubal for state;
Only with it, his faith, his love, his hate,
Are of one piece. Were it my daughter’s life
That, fate hath sung, to Carthage safety brings,
What deed so red but hath been done by kings?
Iphigenia—He that’s a man for men,
Ambitious as a god, must, like a god,
Live free from passions; his full aim’d at end,
Immense to others, sole self to comprehend,    10
Round in’s own globe; not to be clasp’d, but holds
Within him all; his heart being of more folds
Than shield of Telamon, not to be pierc’d, though struck:
The god of wise men is themselves, not luck.

Enter Gisco.

See him by whom now Massinissa is not.
Gisco, is’t done?

Gis. Your pardon, worthy lord,
It is not done, my heart sunk in my breast,
His virtue mazed me, faintness seized me all:
Some god’s in kings, that will not let them fall.    19

Asd. His virtue mazed thee! (umh) why now I see
Th’art that just man that hath true touch of blood,
Of pity, and soft piety. Forgive?
Yes, honour thee; we did it but to try
What sense thou hadst of blood. Go, Bytheas,
Take him into our private treasury—
[Aside to Bytheas] And cut his throat; the slave hath all betray’d.

By. —Are you assured?

Asd. —Afear’d, for this I know,
Who thinketh to buy villainy with gold,
Shall ever find such faith so bought, so sold.—
Reward him thoroughly.

[A shout; the cornets giving a flourish.

Han. What means this shout?    30

Asd. Hanno, ’tis done. Syphax’ revolt by this
Hath secured Carthage; and now his force come in,
And join’d with us, give Massinissa charge,
And assured slaughter. O ye powers! forgive,
Through rotten’st dung best plants both sprout and live;
By blood[333] vines grow.

Han. But yet think, Asdrubal,
’Tis fit at least you bear grief’s outward show;
It is your kinsman bleeds. What need men know
Your hand is in his wounds? ’Tis well in state
To do close ill, but ’void a public hate.    40

Asd. Tush, Hanno! let me prosper, let routs prate;
My power shall force their silence or my hate.
I scorn their idle malice: men of weight
Know, he that fears envy let him cease to reign;
The people’s hate to some hath been their gain.
For howsoe’er a monarch feigns his parts,
Steal anything from kings but subjects’ hearts.

Enter Carthalon leading in bound Gelosso.

Car. Guard, guard the camp!—make to the trench!—stand firm!

Asd. The gods of boldness with us!—how runs chance?

Car. Think, think how wretched thou canst be, thou art;    50
Short words shall speak long woes.

Gel. Mark, Asdrubal.

Car. Our bloody plot to Massinissa’s ear
Untimely by this lord was all betrayed.

Gel. By me it was; by me, vile Asdrubal;
I joy to speak’t.

Asd. Down, slave!

Gel. I cannot fall.

Car. Our train’s disclosed, straight to his well-used arms
He took himself, rose up with all his force
On Syphax’ careless troops, Syphax being hurried
Before to Cirta, fearless of success,
Impatient Sophonisba to enjoy;    60
Gelosso rides to head of all our squadrons,
Commands make stand in thy name, Asdrubal,
In mine, in his, in all: they all obey;
Whilst Massinissa, now with more than fury,
Chargeth the loose and much-amazèd ranks
Of absent Syphax, who with broken shout
(In vain expecting Carthage secondings)
Give faint repulse. A second charge is given:
Then look, as when a falcon towers aloft,
Whole shoals of fowl and flocks of lesser birds    70
Crouch fearfully, and dive; some among sedge,
Some creep in brakes: so Massinissa’s sword,
Brandish’d aloft, toss’d ’bout his shining casque,
Made stoop whole squadrons; quick as thought he strikes,
Here hurls he darts, and there his rage-strong arm
Fights foot to foot; here cries he “strike! they sink!”
And then grim slaughter follows; for by this,
As men betray’d, they curse us, die, or fly, or both;
Six thousand fell at once. Now was I come,
And straight perceived all bled by his vile plot.    80

Gel. Vile! Good plot! my good plot, Asdrubal!

Car. I forced our army beat a running march;
But Massinissa struck his spurs apace
Upon his speedy horse, leaves slaughtering;
All fly to Scipio, who with open ranks
In view receives them: all I could effect
Was but to gain him.

Asd. Die!

Gel. Do what thou can,
Thou canst but kill a weak old honest man.

[Gelosso departs, guarded.

Car. Scipio and Massinissa by this strike
Their claspèd palms, then vow an endless love;    90
Straight a joint shout they raise, then turn they breasts
Direct on us, march strongly toward our camp,
As if they dared us fight. O Asdrubal,
I fear they’ll force our camp.

Asd. Break up and fly.—
This was your plot.

Han. But ’twas thy shame to choose it.

Car. He that forbids not offence, he does it.

Asd. The curse of women’s words go with you.—Fly!—
You are no villains!—Gods and men, which way?—
Advise vile things!

Han. Vile?

Asd. Ay!

Car. Not?

By. You did all.

Asd. Did you not plot?

Car. Yielded not Asdrubal?    100

Asd. But you enticed me.

Han. How?

Asd. With hope of place.

Car. He that for wealth leaves faith, is abject.

Han. Base.

Asd. Do not provoke my sword; I live.

Car. More shame,
T’ outlive thy virtue and thy once great name.

Asd. Upbraid ye me?

Han. Hold!

Car. Know that only thou
Art treacherous: thou shouldst have had a crown.

Han. Thou didst all, all; he for whom mischief’s done,
He does it.

Asd. Brook[334] open scorn, faint powers!—
Make good the camp!—No, fly!—yes, what?—wild rage!—    110
To be a prosperous villain! yet some heat, some hold;
But to burn temples, and yet freeze, O cold!
Give me some health; now your blood sinks: thus deeds
Ill nourish’d rot; without Jove nought succeeds.


[333] Marston may here be alluding to a passage in Plutarch’s De Iside et Osiride:—“ἢρξαντο δὲ πίνειν ἀπὸ Ψαμμητίχου, πρότερον δ᾽ οὐκ ἔπινον οἶνον, οὐδὲ ἔσπενδον, ὡς φίλιον θεοῖς, ἀλλ᾽ ὡς αἷμα τῶν πολεμησάντων ποτὲ τοῖς θεοῖς, ἑξ ὧν οἴονται πεσόντων καὶ τῇ γῇ συμμιγέντων ἀμτέλους γενέσθαι· διὸ καὶ τὸ μεθύειν ἔκφρονας ποιεῖ καὶ παραπλῆγας ἅτε δη τῶν προγόνων τοῦ αἵματος ἐμπιπλαμένους.”

[334] So ed. 2.—Ed. 1. “Brode skorne oppen faind powers.”

ACT III.[335]


The Palace of Syphax at Cirta.

Syphax, with his dagger twon[336] about her hair, drags in Sophonisba in her nightgown and petticoat; Zanthia and Vangue following.

Sy. Must we entreat? sue to such squeamish ears?
Know, Syphax has no knees, his eyes no tears;
Enragèd love is senseless of remorse.
Thou shalt, thou must: kings’ glory is their force.
Thou art in Cirta, in my palace, fool:
Dost think he pitieth tears that knows to rule?
For all thy scornful eyes, thy proud disdain,
And late contempt of us, now we’ll revenge,
Break stubborn silence. Look, I’ll tack thy head
To the low earth, whilst strength of two black knaves    10
Thy limbs all wide shall strain. Prayer fitteth slaves,
Our courtship be our force: rest calm as sleep,
Else at this quake; hark, hark, we cannot weep.

So. Can Sophonisba be enforc’d?

Sy. Can? see.

So. Thou mayest enforce my body, but not me.

Sy. Not?

So. No.

Sy. No?

So. No: off with thy loathèd arms,
That lie more heavy on me than the chains
That wear deep wrinkles in the captive’s limbs!
I do beseech thee.

Sy. What?

So. Be but a beast,
Be but a beast.

Sy. Do not offend a power    20
Can make thee more than wretched: yield to him
To whom fate yields. Know, Massinissa’s dead.

So. Dead!

Sy. Dead.

So. To gods’ and[337] good men’s shame.

Sy. Help, Vangue, my strong blood boils.

So. O[338] yet save thine own fame.

Sy. All appetite is deaf; I will, I must.
Achilles’ armour could not bar[339] out lust.

So. Hold thy strong arm, and hear me. Syphax, know
I am thy servant now: I needs must love thee,
For (O, my sex, forgive!) I must confess
We not affect protesting feebleness,    30
Entreats, faint blushings, timorous modesty;
We think our lover is but little man,
Who is so full of woman. Know, fair Prince,
Love’s strongest arm’s not rude; for we still prove,
Without some fury there’s no ardent love.
We love our love’s impatience of delay;
Our noble[340] sex was only born t’obey,
To him that dares command.

Sy. Why, this is well;
Th’ excuse is good: wipe thy fair eyes, our Queen,
Make proud thy head; now feel more friendly strength
Of thy lord’s arm: come, touch my rougher skin    41
With thy soft lip. Zanthia, dress our bed.
Forget old loves, and clip him that through blood
And hell acquires his wish; think not but kiss,
The flourish fore love’s fight and[341] Venus’ bliss.

So. Great dreadful lord, by thy affection,
Grant me one boon. Know I have made a vow—

Sy. Vow! what vow? speak.

So. Nay, if you take offence,
Let my soul suffer first, and yet——

Sy. Offence?
Not, Sophonisba; hold, thy vow is free    50
As——come, thy lips!

So. Alas, cross misery!
As I do wish to live, I long t’enjoy
Your warm embrace; but, oh my vow, ’tis thus:
If ever my lord died, I vow’d to him
A most, most private sacrifice, before
I touch’d a second spouse. All I implore,
Is but this liberty.

Sy. This? go, obtain.
What time?

So. One hour.

Sy. Sweet, good speed, speed, adieu!—
Yet, Syphax, trust no more than thou may’st view.—
Vangue shall stay.

So. He stays.

Enter a Page, delivering a letter to Sophonisba, which she privately reads.

Sy. Zanthia, Zanthia!    60
Thou art not foul, go to; some lords are oft
So much in love with their known ladies’ bodies,
That they oft love their—Vails:[342] hold, hold, thou’st find
To faithful care kings’ bounty hath no shore.

Zan. You may do much.

Sy. But let my gold do more.

Zan. I am your creature.

Sy. Be yet;[343] ’tis no stain;
The god of service is however gain.


So. Zanthia, where are we now? speak worth my service;
Ha’ we done well?

Zan. Nay, in height of best
I fear’d a superstitious virtue would spoil all,    70
But now I find you above women rare.
She that can time her goodness hath true care
Of her best good. Nature at home begins;
She, whose integrity herself hurts, sins.
For Massinissa, he was good, and so;
But he is dead, or worse, distress’d, or more
Than dead, or much distress’d. O sad, poor,—
Who ever held such friends? no, let him go;
Such faith is praised, then laugh’d at; for still know
Those are the living women that reduce    80
All that they touch unto their ease and use,
Knowing that wedlock, virtue, or good names,
Are courses and varieties of reason,
To use or leave, as they advantage them,
And absolute within themselves reposed,
Only to greatness ope, to all else closed.
Weak sanguine fools are to their own good nice;
Before I held you virtuous, but now wise.

So. Zanthia, victorious Massinissa lives,
My Massinissa lives. O steady powers,    90
Keep him as safe as heaven keeps the earth,
Which looks upon it with a thousand eyes!
That honest valiant man! and Zanthia,
Do but record the justice of his love,
And my for ever vows, for ever vows!

Zan. Ay, true madam; nay, think of his great mind,
His most just heart, his all of excellence,
And such a virtue as the gods might envy.
Against this, Syphax, is but——and you know,
Fame lost, what can be got that’s good for——

So. Hence!    100
Take, nay, with one hand.

Zan. My service.

So. Prepare
Our sacrifice.

Zan. But yield you, ay or no?

So. When thou dost know.

Zan. What then?

So. Then thou wilt know.

[Exit Zanthia.

Let him that would have counsel ’void th’ advice
Of friends, made his with weighty benefits,
Whose much dependence only strives to fit
Humour, not reason, and so still devise
In any thought to make their friend seem wise.
But above all, O fear a servant’s tongue,
Like such as only for their gain do[344] serve.    110
Within the vast capacity of space,[345]
I know no vileness so most truly base.
Their lord’s their gain; and he that most will give,
With him (they will not die, but) they will live.
Traitors and these are one; such slaves once trust,
Whet swords to make thine own blood lick the dust.

Cornets and organs playing full music, enter under the conduct of Zanthia and Vangue, the solemnity of a sacrifice; which being entered, whilst the attendants furnish the altar, Sophonisba sings a song; which done, she speaks.

Withdraw, withdraw; all but Zanthia and Vangue depart.—

[Exeunt attendants.

I not invoke thy arm, thou god of sound,—
Nor thine, nor thine,—although in all abound
High powers immense. But jovial Mercury,    120
And thou, O brightest female of the sky,
Thrice-modest Phœbe, you that jointly fit
A worthy chastity and a most chaste wit,
To you corruptless honey and pure dew
Upbreathes our holy fire; words just and few,
O deign to hear! if in poor wretches’ cries
You glory not; if drops of withered eyes
Be not your sport, be just; all that I crave
Is but chaste life, or an untainted grave.
I can no more; yet hath my constant tongue    130
Let fall no weakness, tho’ my heart were wrung
With pangs worth hell; whilst great thoughts stop our tears,
Sorrow unseen, unpitied, inward wears:
You see now where I rest, come is my end.
Cannot Heaven virtue ’gainst weak chance defend?
When weakness hath out-borne what weakness can,—
What should I say?—’tis Jove’s, not sin of man.
—Some stratagem now! let wit’s God be shown,
Celestial powers by miracles are known.
I have’t; ’tis done.—Zanthia, prepare our bed.    140

Van. Your servant.

So. Vangue, we have perform’d
Due rites unto the dead.

[Sophonisba presents a carouse to Vangue.

Now to thy lord, great Syphax, healthful cups,
Which done, the king is right much welcome.

Van. Were it as deep as thought, off it should thus.

[He drinks.

So. My safety with that draught.

Van. Close the vault’s mouth lest we do slip in drink.

So. To what use, gentle negro, serves this cave,
Whose mouth thus opens so familiarly,
Even in the king’s bedchamber?

Van. O, my queen,    150
This vault with hideous darkness, and much length,
Stretcheth beneath the earth into a grove,
One league from Cirta (I am very sleepy);
Through this, when Cirta hath been strong begirt,
With hostile siege the king hath safely ’scaped
To, to——

So. The wine is strong.

Van. Strong?

So. Zanthia!

Zan. What means my princess?

So. Zanthia, rest firm
And silent. Help us; nay, do not dare refuse.

Zan. The negro’s dead!

So. No, drunk.

Zan. Alas!

So. Too late!
Her hand is fearful whose mind’s desperate.    160
It is but sleepy opium he hath drunk.
Help, Zanthia!

[They lay Vangue in Syphax’ bed and draw the curtains.

There lie Syphax’ bride; a naked man is soon undress’d;
There bide dishonoured passion.

[They knock within, forthwith Syphax comes.

Sy. Way for the king!

So. Straight for the king. I fly
Where misery shall see nought but itself.
Dear Zanthia, close the vault when I am sunk,
And whilst he slips to bed, escape; be true;
I can no more; come to me. Hark, gods, my breath
Scorns to crave life, grant but a well-famed death.    170

[She descends.

Enter Syphax, ready for bed, with attendants.

Sy. Each man withdraw, let not a creature stay
Within large distance.

Zan. Sir!

Sy. Hence, Zanthia!
Not thou shalt hear; all stand without ear-reach
Of the soft cries nice shrinking brides do yield,

Zan. But, sir——

Sy. Hence!—stay, take thy delight by steps,
Think of thy joys, and make long thy pleasures.
O silence, thou dost swallow pleasure right;
Words take away some sense from our delight.
Music!    180
Be proud, my Venus; Mercury, thy tongue;
Cupid, thy flame; ’bove all, O Hercules,
Let not thy back be wanting; for now I leap
To catch the fruit none but the gods should reap.

[Offering to leap into bed, he discovers Vangue.

Hah! can any woman turn to such a devil?
Or—or—Vangue, Vangue——

Van. Yes, yes.

Sy. Speak, slave!
How camest thou here?

Van. Here?

Sy. Zanthia, Zanthia!
Where’s Sophonisba? speak at full—at full.
Give me particular faith, or know thou art not——

Zan. Your pardon, just-moved prince, and private ear.    190

Sy. Ill actions have some grace, that they can fear.

Van. How came I laid? which way was I made drunk?
Where am I? think I, or is my state advanced?
O Jove, how pleasant is it but to sleep,
In a king’s bed!

Sy. Sleep there thy lasting sleep,
Improvident, base, o’er-thirsty slave.

[Syphax kills Vangue.

Die pleased, a king’s couch is thy too-proud grave.—
Through this vault say’st thou?

Zan. As you give me grace
To live, ’tis true.

Sy. We will be good to Zanthia;
Go, cheer thy lady, and be private to us.    200

Zan. As to my life.

[She descends after Sophonisba.

Sy. I’ll use this Zanthia,
And trust her as our dogs drink dangerous Nile[346]
(Only for thirst), that[347] fly the crocodile.
Wise Sophonisba knows love’s tricks of art:
Without much hindrance pleasure hath no heart.
Despite all virtue or weak plots I must:
Seven-wallèd Babel cannot bar[348] out lust.

[Descends through the vault.

[335] In the old eds. is the direction—“Organ mixt with recorders for this Act.”

[336] So ed. 1.—Ed. 2. “twound.”

[337] Ed. 1. “of good men shame.”

[338] Ed. 1. “O save thine owne (yet) fame.”

[339] Old eds. “beare.”

[340] Quy. “feeble”?

[341] Ed. 1. “is.”

[342] Old eds. “That they oft love their vailes; hold,” &c.—If the text is not corrupt, we must suppose that a sentence breaks off at the word “their.” Marston is fond of employing the horrid figure aposiopesis. “Vails” is intelligible on the supposition that Syphax is feeing the waiting-woman.

[343] Old eds. “get.”

[344] Old eds. “to.”

[345] Old eds. “place.”

[346] Dogs on the banks of the Nile were supposed to drink by snatches, running, from fear of the crocodiles.—(Aelian, Var. Hist. i. 4.)

[347] Old eds. “Only for thirst; the Flie,” &c.

[348] Old eds. “bear” and “beare.”


Neighbourhood of Utica.

Enter Scipio and Lælius, with the complements of Roman Generals before them. At the other door, Massinissa and Jugurth. Cornets sound marches.

Mass. Let not the virtue of the world suspect
Sad Massinissa’s faith; nor once condemn
Our just revolt. Carthage first gave me life;
Her ground gave food, her air first lent me breath:
The earth was made for men, not men for earth.
Scipio, I do not thank the gods for life,
Much less vile men, or earth; know, best of lords,
It is a happy being, breath well famed,
For which Jove sees these thus.[349] Men, be not fool’d
With piety to place, tradition’s fear;    10
A just man’s country Jove makes everywhere.

Sci. Well urgeth Massinissa; but to leave
A city so ingrate, so faithless, so more vile
Than civil speech can name, fear not; such vice
To scourge is Heaven’s grateful sacrifice.
Thus all confess, first they have broke a faith
To the[e] most due, so just to be observed,
That barbarousness itself may well blush at them:
Where is thy passion? They have shared thy crown,
The proper right of birth, contrived thy death:    20
Where is thy passion? Given thy beauteous spouse
To thy most hated rival. Statue, not man!
And last, thy friend Gelosso (man worth gods)
With tortures have they rent to death.

Mass. O Gelosso!
For thee full eyes——

Sci. No passion for the rest?

Mass. O Scipio,
My grief for him may be expressed by tears,
But for the rest, silence, and secret anguish
Shall waste—shall waste! Scipio, he that can weep,
Grieves not, like me, private deep inward drops    30
Of blood. My heart! for god’s right give me leave
To be a short time man.

Sci. Stay, prince.

Mass. I cease;
Forgive if I forget thy presence. Scipio,
Thy face makes Massinissa more than man,
And here before your steady power a vow
As firm as fate I make: when I desist
To be commanded by thy virtue, Scipio,
Or fall from friend of Rome,[350] revenging gods
Afflict me with[351] your torture. I have given
Of passion and of faith, my heart.

Sci. To counsel then;    40
Grief fits weak hearts, revenging virtue men.
Thus I think fit, before that Syphax know
How deeply Carthage sinks, let’s beat swift march
Up even to Cirta, and whilst Syphax snores
With his, late thine——

Mass. With mine! no, Scipio;
Libya hath poison, asps, knives, and too much earth
To make one grave. With mine! Not; she can die.
Scipio, with mine! Jove, say it, thou dost lie.

Sci. Temperance be Scipio’s honour.

Læ. Cease your strife,
She is a woman.

Mass. But she is my wife.    50

Læ. And yet she is no god.

Mass. And yet she’s more:
I do not praise gods’ goodness, but adore;
Gods cannot fall, and for their constant goodness
(Which is necessited) they have a crown
Of never-ending pleasures; but faint man
(Framed to have his weakness made the heavens’ glory),
If he with steady virtue holds all siege
That power, that speech, that pleasure, that full sweets,
A world of greatness can assail him with,
Having no pay but self-wept misery,    60
A[352] beggar’s treasure-heap,—that man I’ll praise
Above the gods.

Sci. The Libyan speaks bold sense.

Mass. By that by which all is, proportion,
I speak with thought.

Sci. No more.

Mass. Forgive my admiration:
You touch’d a string to which my sense was quick.
Can you but think? Do, do; my grief—my grief—
Would make a saint blaspheme! Give some relief;
As thou art Scipio, forgive that I forget
I am a soldier. Such woes Jove’s ribs would burst:
Few speak less ill that feel so much of worst.—    70
My ear attends.

Sci. Before then Syphax join,
With new-strength’d Carthage, or can once unwind
His tangled sense from out so wild[353] amaze,
Fall we like sudden lightning ’fore his eyes:
Boldness and speed are all of victories.

Mass. Scipio, let Massinissa clip thy knees!
May once these eyes view Syphax? shall this arm
Once make him feel his sin? O ye gods!
My cause, my cause! Justice is so huge odds,
That he who with it fears, heaven must renounce    80
In his creation.

Sci. Beat then a close quick march!
Before the morn shall shake cold dews through skies,
Syphax shall tremble at Rome’s thick alarms.

Mass. Ye powers, I challenge conquest to just arms.

[With a full flourish of cornets, they depart.

[349] The text is corrupt.—“Sees me thus” (i.e., see me grateful), “sees the thus” (i.e., incense), and “sees this use” (i.e., interest of thanks) are alike unsatisfactory.

[350] Old eds. “Romes.”

[351] Old eds. “worth.”

[352] Old eds. “And beggars treasure heapt.”

[353] Ed. 2. “vilde.”

ACT IV.[354]


Near Cirta.

Enter Sophonisba and Zanthia, as out of a cave’s mouth.

So. Where are we, Zanthia?

Zan. Vangue said the cave
Opened in Belos’ forest.

So. Lord, how sweet
I scent the air! The huge long vault’s close vein,
What damps[355] it breath’d! In Belos’ forest, say’st?
Be valiant, Zanthia; how far’s Utica
From these most heavy shades?

Zan. Ten easy leagues.

So. There’s Massinissa: my true Zanthia,
Shall’s venture nobly to escape, and touch
My lord’s just arms? Love’s wings so nimbly[356] heave
The body up, that, as our toes shall trip    10
Over the tender and obedient grass,
Scarce any drop of dew is dash’d to ground.
And see the willing shade of friendly night
Makes safe our instant haste! Boldness and speed
Make actions most impossible succeed.

Zan. But, madam, know the forest hath no way
But one to pass, the which holds strictest guard.

So. Do not betray me, Zanthia.

Zan. I, madam?

So. No,
I not mistrust thee, yet—but——

Zan. Here you may    20
Delay your time.

So. Ay, Zanthia, delay,
By which we may yet hope—yet hope—alas!
How all benumb’d’s my sense! Chance hath so often struck
I scarce can feel. I should now curse the gods,
Call on the furies, stamp the patient earth.
Cleave my stretch’d cheeks with sound, speak from all sense,
But loud and full of players’ eloquence.
No, no; what shall we eat?

Zan. Madam, I’ll search
For some ripe nuts which autumn hath shook down
From the unleaved hazel, then some cooler air    30
Shall lead me to a spring. Or I will try
The courteous pale[357] of some poor foresters
For milk.

So. Do, Zanthia. O happiness

[Exit Zanthia.

Of those that know not pride or lust of city!
There’s no man bless’d but those that most men pity.
O fortunate poor maids, that are not forced
To wed for state, nor are for state divorced!
Whom policy of kingdoms doth not marry,
But pure affection makes to love or vary;
You feel no love which you dare not to show,    40
Nor show a love which doth not truly grow!
O you are surely blessèd of the sky!
You live, that know not death before you die.

[Through the vaut’s[358] mouth, in his nightgown, torch in his hand, Syphax Enters just behind Sophonisba.

You are——

Sy. In Syphax’ arms. Thing of false lip,
What god shall now release thee?

So. Art a man?

Sy. Thy limbs shall feel. Despite thy virtue, know
I’ll thread thy richest pearl. This forest’s deaf
As is my lust. Night and the god of silence
Swells my full pleasures; no more shalt thou delude
My easy credence. Virgin of fair brow,    50
Well-featured creature, and our utmost wonder,
Queen of our youthful bed, be proud.

[Syphax setteth away his light, and prepareth to embrace Sophonisba.

I’ll use thee.

[Sophonisba snatcheth out her knife.

So. Look thee—view this—show but one strain of force,
Bow but to seize this arm, and by myself,
Or more, by Massinissa, this good steel
Shall set my soul on wing. Thus, form’d gods, see,
And, men with gods’ worth, envy nought but me!

Sy. Do, strike thy breast; know, being dead, I’ll use,
With highest lust of sense, thy senseless flesh,
And even then thy vexèd soul shall see,    60
Without resistance, thy trunk prostitute
Unto our appetite.

So. I shame to make thee know
How vile thou speakest; corruption then as much
As thou shalt do; but frame unto thy lusts
Imagination’s utmost sin: Syphax,
I speak all frightless, know I live or die
To Massinissa; nor the force of fate
Shall make me leave his love, or slake thy hate.
I will speak no more.

Sy. Thou hast amazed us: woman’s forcèd use,    70
Like unripe fruits, no sooner got but waste;
They have proportion, colour, but no taste.—
[aside.] Think, Syphax.—Sophonisba, rest thine own.
Our guard!

Enter a guard.

Creature of most astonishing virtue,
If with fair usage, love, and passionate courtings,
We may obtain the heaven of thy bed,
We cease no suit; from other force be free:
We dote not on thy body, but love thee.

So. Wilt thou keep faith?

Sy. By thee, and by that power    80
By which thou art thus glorious, trust my vow.
Our guard convey the royal’st excellence
That ever was call’d woman to our palace:
Observe her with strict care.

So. Dread Syphax, speak!
As thou art worthy, is not Zanthia false?

Sy. To thee she is.

So. As thou art then thyself,
Let her not be.

Sy. She is not!

[The guard seizeth Zanthia.

Za. Thus most speed:
When two foes are grown friends, partakers bleed.

Sy. When plants must flourish, their manure must rot.

So. Syphax, be recompensed, I hate thee not.    90

[Exeunt Sophonisba, Zanthia, and guard.

Sy. A wasting flame feeds on my amorous blood,
Which we must cool, or die. What way all power,
All speech, full opportunity, can make,
We have made fruitless trial. Infernal Jove,
You resolute angels that delight in flames,
To you, all-wonder-working spirits, I fly!
Since heaven helps not, deepest hell we’ll try
Here in this desert, the great soul of charms,
Dreadful Erictho lives, whose dismal brow
Contemns all roofs or civil coverture.    100
Forsaken graves and tombs, the ghosts forced out,
She joys to inhabit.
A loathsome yellow leanness spreads her face,
A heavy hell-like paleness loads her cheeks,
Unknown to a clear heaven; but if dark winds
Or thick black clouds drive back the blinded stars,
When her deep magic makes forced heaven quake
And thunder spite of Jove,—Erictho then
From naked graves stalks out, heaves proud her head
With long unkemb’d hair loaden, and strives to snatch    110
The night’s quick sulphur; then she bursts up tombs,
From half-rot sear-cloths then she scrapes dry gums
For her black rites; but when she finds a corpse
But[359] newly graved, whose entrails are not turn’d
To slimy filth, with greedy havock then
She makes fierce spoil, and swells with wicked triumph
To bury her lean knuckles in his eyes;
Then doth she gnaw the pale and o’ergrown nails
From his dry hand; but if she find some life
Yet lurking close, she bites his gelid[360] lips,    120
And, sticking her black tongue in his dry throat,
She breathes dire murmurs, which enforce him bear
Her baneful secrets to the spirits of horror.
To her first sound the gods yield any harm,
As trembling once to hear a second charm:
She is——

Infernal music plays softly whilst Erictho enters, and, when she speaks, ceaseth.

Eri. Here, Syphax, here; quake not, for know
I know thy thoughts: thou wouldst entreat our power
Nice Sophonisba’s passion to enforce
To thy affection, be all full of Jove.[361]
’Tis done, ’tis done; to us heaven, earth, sea, air,    130
And Fate itself obeys; the beasts[362] of death,
And all the terrors angry gods invented
(T’afflict the ignorance of patient man),
Tremble at us; the roll’d-up snake uncurls[363]
His twisted knots at our affrighting voice.
Are we incensed? the king of flames[364] grows pale,
Lest he be chok’d with black and earthy fumes,
Which our charms raise. Be joy’d, make proud thy lust:
I do not pray you, gods; my breath’s, “You must.”

Sy. Deep knowing spirit, mother of all high    140
Mysterious science, what may Syphax yield
Worthy thy art, by which my soul’s thus eased?
The gods first made me live, but thou live pleased.

Eri. Know then, our love, hard by the reverent[365] ruins
Of a once glorious temple rear’d to Jove,
Whose very rubbish (like the pitied fall
Of virtue most unfortunate) yet bears
A deathless majesty, though now quite rased,
Hurl’d down by wrath and lust of impious kings,
So that, where holy flamens wont to sing    150
Sweet hymns to heaven, there the daw and crow,
The ill-voiced raven, and still-chattering pie,
Send out ungrateful sounds and loathsome filth;
Where statues and Jove’s acts were vively limn’d[366]
Boys with black coals draw the veil’d parts of nature,
And lecherous actions of imagin’d lust;
Where tombs and beauteous urns of well-dead men
Stood in assurèd rest, the shepherd now
Unloads his belly, corruption most abhorr’d
Mingling itself with their renownèd ashes:    160
Ourself quakes at it!
There once a charnel-house, now a vast cave,
Over whose brow a pale and untrod grove
Throws out her heavy shade, the mouth thick arms
Of darksome yew (sun-proof) for ever choke;
Within rests barren darkness; fruitless drought
Pines in eternal night; the steam of hell
Yields not so lazy air: there, that’s my cell;
From thence a charm, which Jove dare not hear twice,
Shall force her to thy bed. But, Syphax, know,    170
Love is the highest rebel to our art:
Therefore I charge thee, by the fear of all
Which thou know’st dreadful, or more, by ourself,
As with swift haste she passeth to thy bed,
And easy to thy wishes yields, speak not one word,
Nor dare, as thou dost fear thy loss of joys,
T’admit one light, one light.

Sy. As to my fate
I yield my guidance.

Eri. Then, when I shall force
The air to music, and the shades of night
To form sweet sounds, make proud thy raised delight:
Meantime, behold, I go a charm to rear,    181
Whose potent sound will force ourself to fear.

Sy. Whither is Syphax heaved? at length shall’s joy
Hopes more desired than heaven? Sweet labouring earth,
Let heaven be unform’d with mighty charms;
Let Sophonisba only fill these arms,
Jove we’ll not envy thee. Blood’s appetite
Is Syphax’ god; my wisdom is my sense,
Without[367] a man I hold no excellence.
Give me long breath, young beds, and sickness’ ease;
For we hold firm, that’s lawful which doth please.    191

Infernal music, softly.

Hark! hark! now rise infernal tones,
The deep-fetch’d groans
Of labouring spirits that attend


Now crack the trembling earth, and send
Shrieks that portend
Affrightment to the gods which hear


A treble viol, a base lute, &c., play softly within the canopy.

Hark! hark! now softer melody strikes mute
Disquiet Nature. O thou power of sound,
How thou dost melt me! Hark! now even heaven
Gives up his soul amongst us. Now’s the time
When greedy expectation strains mine eyes
For their loved object; now Erictho will’d
Prepare my appetite for love’s strict gripes.
O you dear founts of pleasure, blood, and beauty,
Raise active Venus worth fruition    210
Of such provoking sweetness. Hark, she comes!

A short song to soft music above.

Now nuptial hymns enforcèd spirits sing.
Hark, Syphax, hark! Now hell and heaven rings.


With music spite of Phœbus. Peace! She comes!

Enter Erictho in the shape of Sophonisba, her face veiled, and hasteth in the bed of Syphax.

Fury of blood’s impatient! Erictho,
’Bove thunder sit: to thee, egregious soul,
Let all flesh bend. Sophonisba, thy flame
But equal mine, and we’ll joy such delight,
That gods shall not admire, but even spite!

[Syphax hasteneth within the canopy, as to Sophonisba’s bed.

[354] In old eds. is the direction—“Organs, Viols, and Voices play for this Act.

[355] Old eds. “dumps.”

[356] So ed. 1.—Ed. 2. “justly.”

[357] Enclosure.

[358] Old form of “vault.”

[359] So ed. 2.—Ed. 1. “New graud whose entrailes yet not turne.”

[360] Ed. 1. “gelled;” ed. 2. “gellid.”—Gelid is here preferable to the form jellied that I adopted in vol. i. p. 114.

[361] So ed. 1.—Ed. 2. “love.” (Persons born under the planet Jupiter were supposed to be of a jovial disposition.)

[362] Ed. 1. “heastes.”

[363] Ed. 1. “vncurlde.”

[364] So Chapman in a magnificent passage of Bussy D’Ambois:
  “Terror of darkness, O thou king of flames,” &c.

[365] A recognised old form of reverend. It occurs so frequently in this sense that it cannot be regarded as a misprint.

[366] “Vively limn’d,”—drawn to the life.

[367] “Without a man”—outside of man’s senses.

ACT V.[368]


Bed-chamber in the palace of Syphax.

Syphax draws the curtains, and discovers Erictho lying with him.

Eri. Ha! ha! ha!

Sy. Light, light!

Eri. Ha! ha!

Sy. Thou rotten scum of hell!
O my abhorrèd heat! O loath’d delusion!

[They leap out of the bed; Syphax takes him to his sword.

Eri. Why! fool of kings, could thy weak soul imagine
That ’tis within the grasp of heaven or hell
To enforce love? Why, know love dotes the fates,
Jove groans beneath his weight: mere[369] ignorant thing,
Know we, Erictho, with a thirsty womb,    10
Have coveted full threescore suns for blood of kings.
We that can make enraged Neptune toss
His huge curl’d locks without one breath of wind;
We that can make heaven slide from Atlas’ shoulder;
We, in the pride and height of covetous lust,
Have wish’d with woman’s greediness to fill
Our longing arms with Syphax’ well-strung limbs:
And dost thou think, if philters or hell-charms
Could have enforced thy use, we would have deigned[370]
Brain sleights? No, no. Now are we full    20
Of our dear wishes. Thy proud heat, well wasted,
Hath made our limbs grow young! Our love, farewell!
Know he that would force love, thus seeks his hell.

[Erictho slips into the ground, as Syphax offers his sword to her.

Sy. Can we yet breathe? Is any plagued like me?
Are we—let’s think—O now contempt, my hate
To thee, thy thunder, sulphur, and scorn’d name!
He whose life’s loath’d, and he who breathes to curse
His very being,[371] let him thus with me

[Syphax kneels at the altar.

Fall ’fore an altar, sacred to black powers,
And thus dare heavens! O thou whose blasting flames
Hurl barren droughts upon the patient earth,    31
And thou, gay god of riddles and strange tales,
Hot-brainèd Phœbus, all add if you can
Something unto my misery! if aught
Of plagues lurk in your deep-trench’d brows,
Which yet I know not,—let them fall like bolts,
Which wrathful Jove drives strong into my bosom!
If any chance of war, or news ill-voiced,
Mischief unthought of lurk, come, give’t us all,
Heap curse on curse, we can no lower fall!    40

[Out of the altar the ghost of Asdrubal ariseth.

Asd. Lower—lower!

Sy. What damn’d air is form’d
Into that shape? Speak, speak, we cannot quake!
Our flesh knows not ignoble tremblings. Speak!
We dare thy terror. Methinks hell and fate
Should dread a soul with woes made desperate.

Asd. Know me the spirit of great Asdrubal,
Father to Sophonisba, whose bad heart
Made justly most unfortunate; for know,
I turn’d unfaithful, after that[372] the field
Chanced to our loss, when of thy men there fell    50
Six thousand souls, next fight of Libyans ten.
After which loss we unto Carthage flying,
Th’ enragèd people cried their army fell
Through my base treason. Straight my revengeful Furies[373]
Makes them pursue me; I with resolute haste
Made to the grave of all our ancestors,
Where poisoned, hoped my bones should have long rest:
But see, the violent multitude arrives,
Tear down our monument, and me now dead
Deny a grave; hurl us among the rocks    60
To staunch beasts’ hunger; therefore thus ungraved
I seek slow rest. Now dost thou know more woes,
And more must feel. Mortals, O fear to slight
Your gods and vows. Jove’s arm is of dread might.

Sy. Yet speak: shall I o’ercome approaching foes?

Asd. Spirits of wrath know nothing but their woes.


Enter Nuntius.

Nun. My liege, my liege,
The scouts of Cirta bring intelligence
Of sudden danger; full ten thousand horse,
Fresh and well-rid, strong Massinissa leads,    70
As wings to Roman legions that march swift,
Led by that man of conquest, Scipio.

Sy. Scipio?

Nun. Direct to Cirta.

[A march far off is heard.

Hark! their march is heard even to the city.

Sy. Help! our guard! my arms!
Bid all our leaders march! beat thick alarms!
I have seen things which thou wouldst quake to hear.
Boldness and strength! the shame of slaves be fear.
Up, heart, hold sword! though waves roll thee on shelf,
Though fortune leave thee, leave not thou thyself!    81

[Exit, arming.

[368] In old eds. is the direction—“A Base Lute and a Treble Violl play for the Act.”

[369] “Mere ignorant”—utterly ignorant. Old eds.more ignorant.”

[370] Old eds. “dam’d.”

[371] Old eds. “beings.”

[372] Old eds. “which.”

[373] Old eds. “fury.”


Neighbourhood of Cirta.

Enter two Pages, with targets and javelins; Lælius and Jugurth, with halberds; Scipio and Massinissa armed; cornets sounding a march.

Sci. Stand!

Mass. Give the word—Stand!

Sci. Part the file!

Mass. Give way!
Scipio, by thy great name, but greater virtue,—
By our eternal love, give me the chance
Of this day’s battle! Let not thy envied fame
Vouchsafe t’oppose[374] the Roman legions
Against one weakened Prince of Libya.
This quarrel’s mine—mine be the stroke of fight!
Let us and Syphax hurl out well-forced darts
Each unto other’s breast. O (what should I say?)
Thou beyond epithet, thou whom proud lords of fortune
May even envy,—alas! my joy’s so vast    11
Makes me seem lost,—let us thunder and lightning
Strike from our brave arms! Look, look, seize that hill!
Hark! he comes near. From thence discern us strike
Fire worth Jove; mount up, and not repute
Me very proud, though wondrous resolute.
My cause, my cause is my bold heart’ning odds,
That sevenfold shield; just arms should fright the gods.

Sci. Thy words are full of honour; take thy fate.

Mass. Which we do scorn to fear, to Scipio state    20
Worthy his heart. Now let the forcèd brass
Sound on!

Cornets sound a march. Scipio leads his train up to the mount.

Jugurth, clasp sure our casque,
Arm us with care; and Jugurth, if I fall
Through this day’s malice or our fathers’ sins,
If it in thy sword lie, break up my breast,
And save my heart that never fell nor sued[375]
To aught but Jove and Sophonisba. Sound,
Stern heart’ners unto wounds and blood—sound loud,
For we have namèd Sophonisba!

[Cornets, a flourish.


[Cornets, a march far off.

Hark, hark, he comes! stand blood! Now multiply    31
Force more than fury. Sound high, sound high, we strike
For Sophonisba!

Enter Syphax, arm’d, his Pages with shields and darts before; cornets sounding marches.

Sy. For Sophonisba!

Mass. Syphax!

Sy. Massinissa!

Mass. Betwixt us two,
Let single fight try all.

Sy. Well urged.

Mass. Well granted.
Of you, my stars, as I am worthy you,
I implore aid; and O, if angels wait
Upon good hearts, my genius be as strong
As I am just.

Sy. Kings’ glory is their wrong.    40
He that may only do just acts ’s a slave.
My god’s my arm;[376] my life my heaven; my grave
To me all end.

Mass. Give day, gods,—life, not death,—
To him that only fears blaspheming breath.
For Sophonisba!

Sy. For Sophonisba!

Cornets sound a charge. Massinissa and Syphax combat. Syphax falls. Massinissa unclasps Syphax’ casque, and is[377] about to kill him when Syphax speaks.

Sy. Unto thy fortune, not to thee, we yield.

Mass. Lives Sophonisba yet unstain’d, speak just—
Yet ours unforced?

Sy. Let my heart fall more low
Than is my body, if only to thy glory    50
She lives not yet all thine.

Mass. Rise, rise! Cease strife!
Hear a most deep revenge—from us take life!

Cornets sound a march. Scipio and Lælius Enter. Scipio passeth to his throne. Massinissa presents Syphax to Scipio’s feet, cornets sounding a flourish.

To you all power of strength; and next to thee,
Thou spirit of triumph, born for victory,
I heave these hands. March we to Cirta straight,
My Sophonisba with swift haste to win,
In honour and in love all mean is sin.

[Exeunt Massinissa and Jugurth.

Sci. As we are Rome’s great general, thus we press
Thy captive neck. But as still Scipio,
And sensible of just humanity,    60
We weep thy bondage. Speak, thou ill-chanced man,
What spirit took thee when thou wert our friend
(Thy right hand given both to gods and us,
With such most passionate vows and solemn faith),
Thou fled’st with such most foul disloyalty
To now weak Carthage? strengthening their bad arms,
Who lately scorn’d thee with all loath’d abuse,
Who never entertain for love but use?

Sy. Scipio, my fortune is captived, not I,
Therefore I’ll speak bold truth; nor once mistrust    70
What I shall say, for now, being wholly yours,
I must not feign. Sophonisba, ’twas she,
’Twas Sophonisba that solicited
My forced revolt; ’twas her resistless suit,
Her love to her dear Carthage, ’ticed me break
All faith with men; ’twas she made Syphax false;
She that loves Carthage with such violence,
And hath such moving graces to allure,
That she will turn a man that once hath sworn
Himself on’s father’s bones her Carthage foe,    80
To be that city’s champion and high friend.
Her hymeneal torch burnt down my house;
Then was I captived, when her wanton arms
Threw[378] moving clasps about my neck. O charms,
Able to turn even Fate! But this, in my true grief,
Is some just joy, that my love-sotted foe
Shall seize that plague; that Massinissa’s breast
Her hands shall arm, and that ere long you’ll try
She can force him your foe as well as I.

Sci. Lælius, Lælius, take a choice troop of horse,    90
And spur to Cirta. To Massinissa thus:
Syphax’ palace, crown’s spoil, city’s sack,
Be free to him. But if our new-leagued[379] friend
Possess that woman of so moving art,
Charge him with no less weight than his dear vow,
Our love, all faith, that he resign her thee;
As he shall answer Rome, will him[380] give up
A Roman prisoner to the Senate’s doom:
She is a Carthaginian. Now our law’s[381]
Wise men prevent not actions, but ever cause.    100

Sy. Good Malice, so, as liberty so dear,
Prove my revenge. What I cannot possess
Another shall not—that’s some happiness.

[Exeunt, cornets flourishing.

[374] Ed. 1. “t’appose.”

[375] Ed. 1. “that neuer fell nor’s adue.”

[376] So Mezentius in the Æneid, x. 772:—“Dextra mihi deus.

[377] Old eds.and as ready to kill him, speaks Syphax.”

[378] Ed. 1. “Threw mouing claspt.”—Ed. 2. “There mouing claspt.”

[379] Old eds. “new laugh’d.”

[380] “Will him,” &c.,—order him to give up. Ed. 2. “will give him up.”

[381] Perhaps we should read—
   “She is a Carthaginian, ’neath our laws.
   Wise men,” &c.



Cornets afar off sounding a charge. A soldier wounded at one door. Enter at the other Sophonisba, two Pages before her with lights, two women bearing up her train.

Sol. Princess, O fly! Syphax hath lost the day,
And captived lies. The Roman legions
Have seiz’d the town, and with inveterate hate
Make slaves, or murder all. Fire and steel,
Fury and night, hold all. Fair Queen, O fly!
We bleed for Carthage, all for[382] Carthage die!


Cornets sounding a march. Enter Pages with javelins and targets. Massinissa and Jugurth; Massinissa’s beaver shut.

Mass. March to the palace.

So. Whate’er man thou art,
Of Libya thy fair arms speak, give heart
To amazed weakness; hear her, that for long time
Hath seen no wishèd light. Sophonisba,    10
A name for misery much known, ’tis she
Entreats of thy graced sword this only boon:—
Let me not kneel to Rome; for though no cause
Of mine deserves their hate, though Massinissa
Be ours to heart, yet Roman generals
Make proud their triumphs with whatever captives.
O ’tis a nation which from soul I fear,
As one well knowing the much-grounded hate
They bear to Asdrubal and Carthage blood;
Therefore with tears that wash thy feet, with hands    20
Unused to beg, I clasp thy manly knees:
O save me from their fetters and contempt,
Their proud insults and more than insolence!
Or, if it rest not in thy grace of breath
To grant such freedom, give me long-wish’d death;
For ’tis not now loath’d life that we do crave,—
Only an unshamed death and silent grave,
We will now deign to bend for.

Mass. Rarity!

[Massinissa disarms his head.

By thee and this right hand, thou shalt live free!

So. We cannot now be wretched.

Mass. Stay the sword!    30
Let slaughter cease; sounds soft as Leda’s breast

[Soft music.

Slide through all ears. This night be love’s high feast.

So. O’erwhelm me not with sweets; let me not drink
Till my breast burst, O Jove, thy nectar-skink.[383]

[She sinks into Massinissa’s arms.

Mass. She is o’ercome with joy!

So. Help—help to bar[384]
Some happiness, ye powers! I have joy to spare,
Enough to make a god! O Massinissa!

Mass. Peace!
A silent thinking makes full joys increase!

Enter Lælius.

Læ. Massinissa!

Mass. Lælius!

Læ. Thine ear.

Mass. Stand off.

Læ. From Scipio thus: by thy late vow of faith,    40
And mutual league of endless amity,
As thou respects his virtue, or Rome’s force,
Deliver Sophonisba to our hand.

Mass. Sophonisba?

Læ. Sophonisba.

So. My lord
Looks pale, and from his half-burst eyes a flame
Of deep disquiet breaks. The gods turn false
My sad presage!

Mass. Sophonisba?

Læ. Even she.

Mass. She kill’d not Scipio’s father, nor his uncle,
Great Cneius.

Læ. Carthage did!

Mass. To her what’s Carthage?

Læ. Know ’twas her father Asdrubal strook[385] off    50
His father’s head. Give place to faith and fate!

Mass. ’Tis cross to honour.

Læ. But ’tis just to state.
So speaketh Scipio. Do not thou detain
A Roman prisoner, due to this great triumph,
As thou shalt answer Rome and him.

Mass. Lælius,
We now are in Rome’s power. Lælius,
View Massinissa do a loathèd act,
Most sinking from that state his heart did keep.
Look, Lælius, look, see Massinissa weep!
Know I have made a vow, more dear to me    60
Than my soul’s endless being, she shall rest
Free from Rome’s bondage!

Læ. But dost thou forget
Thy vow, yet fresh, thus breath’d: When I desist
To be commanded by thy virtue, Scipio,
Or fall from friend of Rome, revenging gods,
Afflict me with your torture!

Mass. Lælius, enough.

Læ. Salute the Roman, tell him we will act
What shall amaze him.

Læ. Wilt thou yield her then?

Mass. She shall arrive there straight.

Læ. Best fate of men
To thee.

Mass. And Scipio.—Have I lived, O heavens,    70

[Exit Lælius with pages.

To be enforcedly perfidious?

So. What unjust grief afflicts my worthy lord?

Mass. Thank me, ye gods, with much beholdingness;
For mark, I do not curse you.

So. Tell me, sweet,
The cause of thy much anguish.

Mass. Ha, the cause?
Let’s see: wreathe back thine arms, bend down thy neck,
Practise base prayers, make fit thyself for bondage.

So. Bondage!

Mass. Bondage—Roman bondage!

So. No, no!

Mass. How then have I vow’d well to Scipio?

So. How then to Sophonisba?

Mass. Right, which way?    80
Run mad!—impossible!—distraction!

So. Dear lord, thy patience; let it maze all power,
And list to her in whose sole heart it rests
To keep thy faith upright.

Mass. Wilt thou be slaved?

So. No, free.

Mass. How then keep I my faith?

So. My death
Gives help to all. From Rome so rest we free;
So brought to Scipio, faith is kept in thee.

Mass. Thou darest not die—some wine!—thou darest not die!

Enter a Page with a bowl of wine.

So. How near was I unto the curse of man. Joy!
How like was I yet once to have been glad!    90
He that ne’er laugh’d may with a constant face
Contemn Jove’s frown: happiness makes us base.

[She takes the bowl, into which Massinissa puts poison.

Behold me, Massinissa, like thyself,
A king and soldier; and I prithee keep
My last command.

Mass. Speak, sweet.

So. Dear, do not weep.
And now with undismay’d resolve behold,
To save you—you (for honour and just faith
Are most true gods, which we should much adore),
With even disdainful vigour I give up
An abhorr’d life. You have been good to me,    100

[She drinks.

And I do thank thee, heaven! O my stars,
I bless your goodness, that with breast unstain’d,
Faith pure, a virgin wife, tried to my glory,
I die, of female faith the long-lived story;
Secure from bondage and all servile harms,
But more—most happy in my husband’s arms.

[She sinks.

Ju. Massinissa, Massinissa!

Mass. Covetous,
Fame-greedy lady, could no scope of glory,
No reasonable proportion of goodness,
Fill thy great breast, but thou must prove immense    110
Incomprehence in virtue! What, wouldst thou
Not only be admired, but even adored?
O glory ripe for heaven! Sirs, help, help, help!
Let us to Scipio with what speed you can;
For piety make haste, whilst yet we are man.

[Exeunt, bearing Sophonisba in a chair.

[382] Ed. 1. “of.”

[383] So ed. 2.—Ed. 1. “O Ioue thy Nectar, thinke.” (“Nectar-skink”—draught of nectar.)

[384] Old eds. “beare,” but the sense clearly requires “bar” (pronounced “bear” to rhyme with “spare”). We have twice had the word “bar” spelt “beare” earlier in the present play.

[385] Ed. 2. “struck.”


Neighbourhood of Cirta.

Cornets a march. Enter Scipio in full state, triumphal ornaments carried before him, and Syphax bound; at the other door, Lælius.

Sci. What answers Massinissa? Will he send
That Sophonisba of so moving tongue?[386]

Læ. Full of dismay’d unsteadiness he stood,
His right hand lock’d in hers, which hand he gave
As pledge for Rome she[387] ever should live free.
But when I enter’d and well urged this vow
And thy command, his great heart sunk with shame,
His eyes lost spirit, and his heat of life
Sank from his face, as one that stood benumb’d,
All mazed, t’effect impossibilities;    10
For either unto her or Scipio
He must break vow. Long time he toss’d his thoughts;
And as you see a snow-ball being roll’d,
At first a handful, yet, long bowl’d about,
Insensibly acquires a mighty globe,—
So his cold grief through agitation grows,
And more he thinks, the more of grief he knows.
At last he seem’d to yield her.

Sy. Mark, Scipio!
Trust him that breaks a vow?

Sci. How then trust thee?    19

Sy. O, misdoubt him not, when he’s thy slave like me.

Enter Massinissa, all in black.

Mass. Scipio!

Sci. Massinissa!

Mass. General!

Sci. King!

Mass. Lives there no mercy for one soul of Carthage,
But must see baseness?

Sci. Wouldst thou joy thy peace,
Deliver Sophonisba straight and cease;
Do not grasp that which is too hot to hold.
We grace thy grief, and hold it with soft sense;
Enjoy good courage, but ’void insolence.
I tell thee Rome and Scipio deign to bear
So low a breast as for her say—we fear.

Mass. Do not, do not; let not the fright of nations    30
Know so vile terms. She rests at thy dispose.

Sy. To my soul[’s] joy. Shall Sophonisba then
With me go bound, and wait on Scipio’s wheel?
When th’ whole world’s giddy, one man cannot reel.

Mass. Starve thy lean hopes; and, Romans, now behold
A sight would sad the gods, make Phœbus cold.

Organ and recorders play to a single voice. Enter in the meantime the mournful solemnity of Massinissa’s presenting Sophonisba’s body.

Look, Scipio, see what hard shift we make
To keep our vows. Here, take, I yield her thee;
And Sophonisba, I keep vow, thou’rt still free.

Sy. Burst, my vex’d heart: the torture that most racks    40
An enemy is his foe’s royal acts.

Sci. The glory of thy virtue live for ever;
Brave hearts may be obscured, but extinct never.

[Scipio adorns Massinissa.

Take from the general of Rome this crown,
This robe of triumph, and this conquest’s wreath,
This sceptre and this hand; for ever breathe
Rome’s very minion. Live worth thy fame,
As far from faintings as from now base name.

Mass. Thou whom, like sparkling steel, the strokes of chance
Made hard and firm, and, like[388] wild-fire turn’d,    50
The more cold fate, the more thy virtue burn’d,
And in whole seas of miseries didst flame;
On thee, loved creature of a deathless fame,

[Massinissa adorns Sophonisba.

Rest all my honour! O thou for whom I drink
So deep of grief, that he must only think,
Not dare to speak, that would express my woe;
Small rivers murmur, deep gulfs silent flow.
My grief is here,[389] not here: heave gently then,
Women’s right wonder, and just shame of men.

[Exeunt all but Massinissa.

Cornets a short flourish.

[386] Ed. 2. “tongues.”

[387] Ed. 1. “he.”

[388] Ed. 2. “like to wild fire.” (As the line stands, “firm” is equivalent to a dissyllable.)

[389] i.e., in my heart, not my eyes.


Mass. And[390] now
With lighter passion, though with most just fear,
I change my person, and do hither bear
Another’s voice, who with a phrase as weak
As his deserts, now will’d me (thus form’d[391]) speak:
If words well sensed, best suiting subject grave,
Noble true story, may once boldly crave
Acceptance gracious; if he whose fires
Envy not others, nor himself admires;
If scenes exempt from ribaldry or rage    10
Of taxings indiscreet, may please the stage;—
If such may hope applause, he not commands,
Yet craves as due the justice of your hands.
But freely he protests, howe’er it is—
Or well, or ill, or much, not much amiss—
With constant modesty he does submit
To all, save those that have more tongue than wit.[392]

[390] “And now ... fear.” Printed as one line in ed. 1. Ed. 2. reads, “And now with lighter passion, though just feare.”

[391] So ed. 1.—Ed. 2. “will’d me for him speake.”

[392] In ed. 1. is added the following note:—“After all, let me intreat my Reader not to taxe me for the fashion of the Entrances and Musique of this tragedy, for know it is printed only as it was presented by youths, and after the fashion of the private stage. Nor let some easily amended errors in the Printing afflict thee, since thy owne discourse will easily set vpright any such vneuennes.”


What Yov Will. By Iohn Marston. Imprinted at London by G. Eld, for Thomas Thorppe. 1607. 4to.


Albano, a rich Venetian merchant, is reported to have been drowned at sea; whereupon his wife, Celia, is beset with suitors, and her choice falls upon a French knight, Laverdure. Jacomo, a disappointed suitor, plots with Albano’s brothers, Andrea and Randolfo, to disturb the match, and for this purpose they disguise Francisco, a perfumer, in the habiliments of Albano; but the plot is detected by Laverdure’s page, Bidet, who communicates the discovery to his master. The true Albano now arrives upon the scene, and encountering Laverdure, is accosted as Francisco, and is told that the plot has been discovered. Laverdure leaves him in a distraction of rage and amazement, which is not lessened when Jacomo and his own brothers approach and congratulate him on his powers of deception. A meeting between Albano and the disguised Francisco presently ensues. While Celia is entertaining her friends, Albano and Francisco clamour for admittance. Laverdure had told Celia (and the news had been spread abroad) that he intended to disguise a fiddler in the likeness of Albano as a foil to the disguised perfumer. When Albano and Francisco appear, Celia imagines that one is the fiddler and the other the perfumer. The true Albano and the counterfeit Albano, after engaging in a lively skirmish, declare that they will appeal to the Duke. When they retire Laverdure protests that he knows nothing of the new claimant, but his words are disregarded. The rivals appeal to the Duke, and the mystery is quickly solved when Albano, taking Celia aside, shows her a secret mark on his person, and reminds her of words that he had spoken on a certain memorable occasion.


Before the music sounds for the Act, enter Atticus, Doricus, and Philomuse; they sit a good while on the stage before the candles are lighted, talking together, and on sudden Doricus speaks.

Enter Tireman with lights.

Dor. O fie, some lights! Sirs, fie! let there be no deeds of darkness done among us. Ay,—so, so, prithee, Tireman, set Signior Snuff a-fire: he’s a choleric gentleman; he will take pepper in the nose[393] instantly; fear not. ’Fore heaven, I wonder they tolerate him so near the stage.

Phi. Faith, Doricus, thy brain boils; keel[394] it, keel it, or all the fat’s in the fire; in the name of Phœbus, what merry genius haunts thee to-day? Thy lips play with feathers.    10

Dor. Troth, they should pick straws before they should be idle.

Atti. But why—but why dost thou wonder they dare suffer Snuff so near the stage?

Dor. O, well recall’d; marry, Sir Signior Snuff, Monsieur Mew, and Cavaliero Blirt, are three of the most-to-be-fear’d auditors that ever——

Phi. Pish! for shame! stint thy idle chat.

Dor. Nay, dream whatsoe’er your fantasy swims on, Philomuse; I protest, in the love you have procured me to bear your friend the author, I am vehemently fearful this threefold halter of contempt that chokes the breath of wit, these aforesaid tria sunt omnia, knights of the mew,[395] will sit heavy on the skirts of his scenes, if——    24

Phi. If what? Believe it, Doricus, his spirit
Is higher blooded than to quake and pant
At the report of Scoff’s artillery.
Shall he be crest-fall’n, if some looser brain,
In flux of wit uncivilly befilth
His slight composures? Shall his bosom faint,    30
If drunken Censure belch out sour breath
From Hatred’s surfeit on his labour’s front?
Nay, say some half a dozen rancorous breasts
Should plant themselves on purpose to discharge
Imposthum’d malice on his latest scene,
Shall his resolve be struck through with the blirt
Of a goose-breath? What imperfect-born,
What short-liv’d meteor, what cold-hearted snow
Would melt in dolour, cloud his mudded eyes,
Sink down his jaws, if that some juiceless husk,    40
Some boundless ignorance, should on sudden shoot
His gross-knobb’d burbolt[396] with—“That’s not so good;
Mew, blirt, ha, ha, light chaffy stuff!”
Why, gentle spirits, what loose-waving vane,
What anything, would thus be screw’d about
With each slight touch of odd phantasmatas?
No, let the feeble palsey’d lamer joints
Lean on opinion’s crutches; let the——

Dor. Nay, nay, nay.
Heaven’s my hope, I cannot smooth this strain;    50
Wit’s death, I cannot. What a leprous humour
Breaks from rank swelling of these bubbling wits?
Now out upon’t, I wonder what tight brain,
Wrung in this custom to maintain contempt
’Gainst common censure;[397] to give stiff counter-buffs,
To crack rude scorn even on the very face
Of better audience. Slight, is’t not odious?
Why, hark you, honest, honest Philomuse
(You that endeavour to endear our thoughts
To the composer’s spirit), hold this firm:    60
Music and poetry were first approved
By common sense; and that which pleasèd most,
Held most allowèd pass: know,[398] rules of art
Were shaped to pleasure, not pleasure to your rules;
Think you, if that his scenes took stamp in mint
Of three or four deem’d most judicious,
It must enforce the world to current them,
That you must spit defiance on dislike?
Now, as I love the light, were I to pass
Through public verdict, I should fear my form,    70
Lest ought I offer’d were unsquared or warp’d.
The more we know, the more we want:
What Bayard[399] bolder than the ignorant?
Believe me, Philomuse, i’faith thou must,
The best, best seal of wit is wit’s distrust.

Phi. Nay, gentle Doricus.

Dor. I’ll hear no more of him; nay, and your friend the author, the composer, the What You Will, seems so fair in his own glass, so straight in his own measure, that he talks once of squinting critics, drunken censure, splay-footed opinion, juiceless husks, I ha’ done with him, I ha’ done with him.    82

Phi. Pew, nay then——

Dor. As if any such unsanctified stuff could find a being ’mong these ingenuous breasts.

Atti. Come, let pass, let pass; let’s see what stuff must clothe our ears. What’s the play’s name?

Phi. What You Will.

Dor. Is’t comedy, tragedy, pastoral, moral, nocturnal, or history?    90

Phi. Faith, perfectly neither, but even What You Will,—a slight toy, lightly composed, too swiftly finish’d, ill plotted, worse written, I fear me worst acted, and indeed What You Will.

Dor. Why, I like this vein well now.

Atti. Come, we strain the spectators’ patience in delaying their expected delights. Let’s place ourselves within the curtains, for good faith the stage is so very little, we shall wrong the general eye else very much.

Phi. If you’ll stay but a little, I’ll accompany you; I have engaged myself to the author to give a kind of inductive speech to his comedy.    102

Atti. Away! you neglect yourself, a gentleman——

Phi. Tut, I have vow’d it; I am double charged; go off as ’twill, I’ll set fire to it.

Dor. I’ll not stand it; may chance recoil, and be not stuffed with saltpetre: well, mark the report; mark the report.

Phi. Nay, prithee stay; ’slid the female presence, the Genteletza, the women will put me out.    110

Dor. And they strive to put thee out, do thou endeavour to put them.

Atti. In good faith, if they put thee out of countenance, put them out of patience, and hew their ears with hacking imperfect utterance.

Dor. Go, stand to it; show thyself a tall man of thy tongue; make an honest leg; put off thy cap with discreet carriage: and so we leave thee to the kind gentlemen and most respected auditors.

[Exeunt, all but Philomuse.

[393]Se courroucer. To fret, fume, chafe, be angrie, take pet, or pepper in the nose.”—Cotgrave.

[394] See note, vol. i. p. 77.

[395] Cat-calls.—See Middleton, iv. 9.

[396] A short blunt arrow, for killing birds without piercing them.

[397] Judgment.—Marston is here plainly referring to the truculent attitude assumed by Ben Jonson towards the audience.

[398] Old eds. “not.”

[399] “As bold as blind bayard” was a proverb (as old as Chaucer) applied to those who do not look before they leap. In R. B.’s Appius and Virginia, 1575, we have:—“As bold as blind bayard, as wise as a woodcock.” Bayard was the name for a bay-horse.


Nor labours he the favour of the rude,
Nor offers sops unto the Stygian dog,
To force a silence in his viperous tongues;
Nor cares he to insinuate the grace
Of loath’d detraction, nor pursues the love
Of the nice critics of this squeamish age;
Nor strives he to bear up with every sail
Of floating censure; nor once dreads or cares
What envious hand his guiltless muse hath struck;
Sweet breath from tainted stomachs who can suck?
But to the fair proportion’d loves of wit,    11
To the just scale of even, paizèd[400] thoughts;
To those that know the pangs of bringing forth
A perfect feature; to their gentle minds,
That can as soon slight of as find a blemish;
To those, as humbly low as to their feet,
I am obliged to bend—to those his muse
Makes solemn honour for their wish’d delight.
He vows industrious sweat shall pale his cheek,
But he’ll gloss up sleek objects for their eyes;    20
For those he is asham’d his best’s too bad.
A silly subject, too too[401] simply clad,
Is all his present, all his ready pay
For many debts. Give further day.[402]
I’ll give a proverb,—Sufferance giveth ease:
So you may once be paid, we once may please.


[400] Balanced.—Perhaps we should read “even-paizèd.”

[401] Sometimes written “too-too” (a strengthened form of too), but quite as often printed as two separate words. I have followed the old copies.

[402] “Give further day” = allow the day of payment to be deferred. Cf. Middleton, ii. 337.


Duke of Venice.
Albano, a merchant.
Jacomo, in love with Celia.
Andrea, and
Randolfo, brothers to Albano.
Laverdure, a Frenchman.
Lampatho Doria.
Simplicius Faber.
Francisco, a perfumer.
Philus, page to Jacomo.
Bidet, page to Laverdure.
Slip, page to Albano.
Holofernes Pippo, page to Simplicius.
A Schoolmaster.
Battus, Nous, Nathaniel, and Slip, schoolboys.
Noose, Trip, and Doit, pages.

Celia, wife to Albano.
Maletza, sister to Celia.
Lucia, waiting-woman to Celia.

The Scene—Venice.




A Street.

Enter Quadratus, Philus following him with a lute; a Page going before Quadratus with a torch.

Phi. O, I beseech you, sir, reclaim his wits;
My master’s mad, stark mad, alas! for love.

Qua. For love? Nay, and he be not mad for hate,
’Tis amiable fortune. I tell thee, youth,
Right rare and geason.[403] Strange? Mad for love!
O show me him; I’ll give him reasons straight—
So forcible, so all invincible,
That it shall drag love out. Run mad for love?
What mortally exists, on which our hearts
Should be enamoured with such passion?    10
For love! Come, Philus; come, I’ll change his fate;
Instead of love, I’ll make him mad for hate.
But, troth, say what strain’s his madness of?

Phi. Fantastical.

Qua. Immure him; sconce him; barricado him in’t,
Fantastical mad! thrice blessèd heart!
Why hark, good Philus (O that thy narrow sense
Could but contain me now!), all that exists,
Takes valuation from opinion,
A giddy minion now. Pish! thy taste is dull,    20
And canst not relish me. Come; where’s Jacomo?

Enter Jacomo, unbraced, and careless dressed.

Phi. Look, where he comes. O map of boundless woe!

Jaco. Yon gleam is day; darkness, sleep, and fear,
Dreams, and the ugly visions of the night,
Are beat to hell by the bright palm of light;
Now roams the swain, and whistles up the morn:
Deep silence breaks; all things start up with light,
Only my heart, that endless night and day,
Lies bed-rid, crippled by coy Celia.[404]

Qua. There’s a strain, law.    30
Nay, now I see he’s mad most palpable;
He speaks like a player: ha! poetical.

Jaco. The wanton spring lies dallying with the earth,
And pours fresh blood in her decayèd veins;
Look how the new-sapp’d branches are in child
With tender infants! how the sun draws out,
And shapes their moisture into thousand forms
Of sprouting buds! all things that show or breathe
Are now instaur’d,[405] saving my wretched breast,
That is eternally congeal’d with ice    40
Of frozed despair. O Celia! coy, too nice!

Qua. Still, sans question, mad?

Jaco. O where doth piety and pity rest?

Qua. Fetch cords; he’s irrecoverable; mad, rank mad.
He calls for strange chimeras, fictions,
That have no being since the curse of death
Was thrown on man. Pity and piety,
Who’ll deign converse with them? Alas! vain head,
Pity and piety are long since dead.

Jaco. Ruin to chance, and all that strive to stand    50
Like swoll’n Colossus on her tottering base!
Fortune is blind

Qua. You lie! you lie!
None but a madman would term fortune blind.
How can she see to wound desert so right,
Just in the speeding-place?[406] to girt lewd brows
With honor’d wreath? Ha! Fortune blind? Away!
How can she, hood-wink’d, then so rightly see
To starve rich worth and glut iniquity?

Jaco. O love!

Qua. Love! Hang love.
It is the abject outcast of the world.    60
Hate all things; hate the world, thyself, all men;
Hate knowledge; strive not to be over-wise:
It drew destruction into Paradise.
Hate honor, virtue; they are baits
That ’tice men’s hopes to sadder fates.
Hate beauty: every ballad-monger
Can cry his idle foppish humour.
Hate riches: wealth’s a flattering Jack;
Adores to face, mews ’hind thy back.
He that is poor is firmly sped;    70
He never shall be flatterèd.
All things are error, dirt and nothing,
Or pant with want, or gorged to loathing.
Love only hate, affect no higher
Than praise of Heaven, wine, a fire.
Suck up thy days in silent breath,
When their snuff’s out, come Signior Death.
Now, sir, adieu, run mad and wilt;[407]
The worst is this, my rhyme’s but spilt.

Jaco. Thy rhymes are spilt! who would not run rank mad,    80
To see a wandering Frenchman rival, nay,
Outstrip my suit? He kiss’d my Celia’s cheek.

Qua. Why, man, I saw my dog even kiss thy Celia’s lips.

Jaco. To-morrow morn they go to wed.

Qua. Well then I know
Whither to-morrow night they go.

Jaco. Say quick.

Qua. To bed.

Jaco. I will invoke the Triple Hecate,
Make charms as potent as the breath of fate,    90
But I’ll confound the match!

Qua. Nay, then, good day;
And you be conjuring once, I’ll slink away.

[Exit Quadratus.

Jaco. Boy, could not Orpheus make the stones to dance?

Phi. Yes, sir.

Jaco. By’r Lady, a sweet touch. Did he not bring Eurydice out of hell with his lute?

Phi. So they say, sir.

Jaco. And thou canst bring Celia’s head out of the window with thy lute. Well, hazard thy breath. Look, sir, here’s a ditty.    100
’Tis foully writ, slight wit, cross’d here and there,
But where thou find’st a blot, there fall a tear.

The Song.

Fie! peace, peace, peace! it hath no passion in’t.
O melt thy breath in fluent softer tunes,
That every note may seem to trickle down
Like sad distilling tears, and make—O God!
That I were but a poet, now t’ express my thoughts,
Or a musician but to sing my thoughts,
Or anything but what I am.—Sing’t o’er once more,
My grief’s a boundless sea that hath no shore.    110

[He sings, and is answered; from above a willow[408] garland is flung down, and the song ceaseth.

Is this my favour? Am I crown’d with scorn?
Then thus I manumit my slaved condition.
Celia, but hear me execrate thy love.
By Heaven, that once was conscious of my love;
By all that is, that knows my all was thine,
I will pursue with detestation;
Thwart with outstretchèd[409] vehemence of hate,
Thy wishèd Hymen! I will craze my brain,
But I’ll[410] dissever all. Thy hopes unite:
What rage so violent as love turn’d spite!    120

Enter Randolfo and Andrea, with a supplication, reading.

Ran. Humbly complaining, kissing the hands of your excellence, your poor orators Randolfo and Andrea beseecheth, forbidding of the dishonour’d match of their niece Celia, widow, to their brother——

O ’twill do; ’twill do; it cannot choose but do.

And. What should one say?—what should one do now? Umph!
If she do match with yon same wand’ring knight,
She’s but undone; her estimation, wealth——

Jaco. Nay, sir, her estimation’s mounted up.
She shall be ladied and sweet-madam’d now.    130

Ran. Be ladied? Ha! ha! O, could she but recall
The honour’d port of her deceasèd love!
But think whose wife she was! God wot no knight’s,
But one (that title off) was even a prince,
A Sultan Solyman. Thrice was he made,
In dangerous arms, Venice providetore.

And. He was a merchant; but so bounteous,
Valiant, wise, learned, all so absolute,
That naught was valued praiseful excellent,
But in it was he most praiseful excellent.    140

Jaco. O, I shall ne’er forget how he went clothed.
He would maintain ’t a base ill-usèd fashion
To bind a merchant to the sullen habit
Of precise black; chiefly in Venice state,
Where merchants gilt the top;
And therefore should you have him pass the bridge
Up the Rialto like a soldier
(As still he stood a potestate at sea).

Ran. In a black beaver felt, ash-colour plain,
A Florentine cloth-of-silver jerkin, sleeves    150
White satin cut on tinsel, then long stock.[411]

Jaco. French panes[412] embroider’d, goldsmith’s work, O God!
Methinks I see him now how he would walk;
With what a jolly presence he would pace
Round the Rialto.[413] Well, he’s soon forgot;
A straggling sir in his rich bed must sleep,
Which if I cannot cross I’ll curse and weep.
Shall I be plain as truth? I love your sister:
My education, birth, and wealth deserves her.
I have no cross, no rub to stop my suit;    160
But Laverdure’s a knight: that strikes all mute.

And. Ay, there’s the devil, she must be ladied now.

Jaco. O ill-nursed custom!
No sooner is the wealthy merchant dead,
His wife left great in fair possessions,
But giddy rumour grasps it ’twixt his teeth,
And shakes it ’bout our ears. Then thither flock
A rout of crazèd fortunes, whose crack’d states
Gape to be solder’d up by the rich mass
Of the deceased labours; and now and then    170
The troop of “I beseech,” and “I protest,”
And “Believe it, sweet,” is mix’d with two or three
Hopeful, well-stock’d, neat clothèd citizens.

Ran. But as we see the son of a divine
Seldom proves preacher, or a lawyer’s son
Rarely a pleader (for they strive to run
A various fortune from their ancestors),
So ’tis right geason[414] for the merchant’s widow
To be the citizen’s loved second spouse.

Jaco. Variety of objects please us still;    180
One dish, though ne’er so cook’d, doth quickly fill,
When diverse cates the palate’s sense delight,
And with fresh taste creates new appetite;
Therefore my widow she cashiers the blacks,[415]
Forswears, turns off the furr’d-gowns, and surveys
The beadroll of her suitors, thinks and thinks,
And straight her questing thoughts springs up a knight;
Have after then amain, the game’s a-foot,
The match clapp’d up; tut, ’tis the knight must do’t!

Ran. Then must my pretty peat[416] be fann’d and coach’d?    190

Jaco. Muff’d, mask’d, and ladied, with “my more than most sweet madam!”
But how long doth this perfume of sweet madam last?
Faith, ’tis but a wash scent. My riotous sir
Begins to crack jests on his lady’s front,
Touches her new-stamp’d gentry, takes a glut,
Keeps out, abandons home, and spends and spends,
Till stock be melted; then, sir, takes up[417] here,
Takes up there, till nowhere ought is left.
Then for the Low Countries, hey for the French!
And so (to make up rhyme) good night, sweet wench.

Ran. By blessedness we’ll stop this fatal lot.    201

Jaco. But how? But how?

Ran. Why, stay, let’s think a plot.

And. Was not Albano Beletzo honourable-rich?

Ran. Not peer’d in Venice, for birth, fortune, love.

And. Tis scarce three months since fortune gave him dead.

Ran. In the black fight in the Venetian gulf.

And. You hold a truth.

Ran. Now what a giglet[418] is this Celia?

And. To match so sudden, so unworthily?

Ran. Why, she might have——

And. Who might not Celia have?    210
The passionate enamour’d Jacomo.

Jaco. The passionate enamour’d Jacomo!

And. Of honour’d lineage, and not meanly rich.

Ran. The sprightful Piso; the great Florentine,
Aurelius Tuber.

And. And to leave these all,
And wed a wand’ring knight, Sir Laverdure,
A God knows what!

Ran. Brother, she shall not. Shall our blood be mongrell’d
With the corruption of a straggling French?

And. Saint Mark, she shall not.    220
She[419] shall not, brother, by our father’s soul.

Ran. Good day.

Jaco. Wish me good day? It stands in idle stead;
My Celia’s lost! all my good days are dead!

[The cornets sound a flourish.

Hark: Lorenzo Celso, the loose Venice Duke
Is going to bed; ’tis now a forward morn,
For he take rest. O strange transformèd sight,
When princes make night day, the day their night!

And. Come, we’ll petition him.

Jaco. Away! Away!
He scorns all plaints; makes jest of serious suit.    230

Ran. Fall out as ’twill, I am resolved to do’t.

[The cornets sound.

Enter the Duke coupled with a Lady; two couples more with them, the men having tobacco-pipes in their hands, the women sit; they dance a round. The petition is delivered up by Randolfo; the Duke lights his tobacco-pipe with it, and goes out dancing.

Ran. Saint Mark! Saint Mark!

Jaco. Did not I tell you? lose no more rich time;
What can one get but mire from a swine?

And. Let’s work a cross; we’ll fame it all about
The Frenchman’s gelded.

Ran. O that’s absolute.

Jaco. Fie on’t! Away! She knows too well ’tis false.
I fear it too well. No, no, I have’t will strongly do’t.
Who knows Francisco Soranza?

Ran. Pish! pish! Why, what of him?    240

Jaco. Is he not wondrous like your deceased kinsman, Albano?

And. Exceedingly; the strangest, nearly like
In voice, in gesture, face, in——

Ran. Nay, he hath Albano’s imperfection too,
And stuts[420] when he is vehemently moved.

Jaco. Observe me, then; him would I have disguised,
Most perfect, like Albano; giving out,
Albano saved by swimming (as in faith
’Tis known he swome most strangely): rumour him    250
This morn arrived in Venice, here to lurk,
As having heard the forward nuptials;
T’ observe his wife’s most infamous lewd haste,
And to revenge——

Ran. I have’t, I have’t, I have’t; ’twill be invincible.

Jaco. By this means now some little time we catch
For better hopes, at least disturb the match.

And. I’ll to Francisco.

Ran. Brother Adrian,
You have our brother’s picture; shape him to it.    259

And. Precise in each point:[421] tush, tush! fear it not.

Ran. Saint Mark then prosper once our hopeful plot!

Jaco. Good souls, good day; I have not slept last night;
I’ll take a nap: then pell-mell broach all spite.


[403] “Rare.—Rare, seld, unusuall, geason.”—Cotgrave. (Spenser has the word more than once. The derivation is uncertain.)

[404] Old eds. “Lucea.”

[405] Repaired, renovated.

[406]Id est, in the place where a wound is fatal. Tharsalio, in the Widow’s Tears of Chapman, says:—’I have given’t him i’ th’ speeding-place for all his confidence.’”—Dilke.

[407] Old eds. “’twilt.”

[408] The appropriate garland for forsaken lovers.

[409] Old eds. “thwart without stretched.”

[410] Old eds. “all.”

[411] Stockings drawn above the knee.

[412] Squares of coloured silk or velvet inserted in a garment.

[413] “To judge of the liberality of these notions of dress, we must advert to the days of Gresham and the consternation which a Phenomenon habited like a merchant here described would have excited among the flat round caps, and cloth stockings, upon Change, when those ‘original arguments or tokens of a citizen’s vocation were in fashion, not more for thrift and usefulness than for distinction and grace.’ The blank uniformity to which all professional distinctions in apparel have been long hastening is one instance of the Decay of Symbols among us, which, whether it has contributed or not to make us a more intellectual, has certainly made us a less imaginative people. Shakespeare knew the force of signs:—‘a malignant and a turban’d Turk.’ ‘This meal-cap miller,’ says the author of God’s Revenge against Murder, to express his indignation at the atrocious outrage committed by the miller Pierot upon the person of the fair Marieta.”—Charles Lamb.

[414] See note, p. 331.

[415] Mourning robes.

[416] Pet. (“A pretty peat.”—Taming of the Shrew, i. 1.)

[417] Takes up commodities,— gets goods on credit.

[418] Wanton.

[419] Old eds. give this line to Jacomo and read:—“She shall not, fathers, by our brother souls.”

[420] Stutters.

[421] The old editions read:—“Precise in each but Tassell, feare it not.”



Laverdure’s lodging.

One knocks: Laverdure draws the curtains, sitting on his bed, apparelling himself; his trunk of apparel standing by him.

Lav. Ho! Bidet, lackey.

Enter Bidet, with water and a towel.

Bid. Signior.

Lav. See who knocks. Look, you boy; peruse their habits; return perfect notice. La la, ly ro!

[Exit Bidet, and returns presently.

Bid. Quadratus.

Lav. Quadratus, mon Dieu, ma vie! I lay not at my lodging to-night. I’ll not see him now, on my soul: he’s in his old perpetuana[422] suit. I am not within.

Bid. He is fair, gallant, rich, neat as a bridegroom, fresh as a new-minted sixpence; with him Lampatho Doria, Simplicius Faber.    11

Lav. And in good clothes?

Bid. Accoutred worthy a presence.

Lav. Uds so: my gold-wrought waistcoat and nightcap! Open my trunk: lay my richest suit on the top, my velvet slippers, cloth-of-gold gamashes:[423] where are my cloth-of-silver hose? lay them——

Bid. At pawn, sir.

Lav. No, sir; I do not bid you lay them at pawn, sir.

Bid. No, sir, you need not, for they are there already.

Lav. Mor du, garzone! Set my richest gloves, garters, hats, just in the way of their eyes. So let them in; observe me with all duteous respect: let them in.    23

Enter Quadratus, Lampatho Doria, and Simplicius Faber.

Qua. Phœbus, Phœbe, sun, moon, and seven stars, make thee the dilling[424] of fortune, my sweet Laverdure, my rich French blood. Ha, ye dear rogue, hast any pudding[425] tobacco?

Lam. Good morrow, signor.

Sim. Monsieur Laverdure, do you see that gentleman? He goes but in black satin, as you see, but, by Helicon! he hath a cloth of tissue wit. He breaks a jest; ha, he’ll rail against the court till the gallants—O God! he is very nectar; if you but sip of his love, you were immortal. I must needs make you known to him; I’ll induce your love with dear regard. Signior Lampatho, here is a French gentleman, Monsieur Laverdure, a traveller, a beloved of Heaven, courts your acquaintance.

Lam. Sir, I protest[426] I not only take distinct notice of your dear rarities of exterior presence, but also I protest I am most vehemently enamour’d, and very passionately dote on your inward adornments and liabilities of spirit! I protest I shall be proud to do you most obsequious vassalage.    43

Qua. [Aside.] Is not this rare, now? Now, by Gorgon’s head,
I gape, and am struck stiff in wonderment
At sight of these strange beasts. Yon[427] chamlet[428] youth,
Simplicius Faber, that hermaphrodite,
Party[429] per pale, that bastard mongrel soul,
Is nought but admiration and applause
Of yon[430] Lampatho Doria, a fusty cask,    50
Devote to mouldy customs of hoary eld;
Doth he but speak, “O tones of heaven itself!”
Doth he once write, “O Jesu admirable!”
Cries out Simplicius. Then Lampatho spits,
And says, “faith ’tis good.” But, O, to mark yon thing
Sweat to unite acquaintance to his friend,
Labour his praises, and endear his worth
With titles all as formally trick’d forth
As the cap of a dedicatory epistle.
Then, sir, to view Lampatho: he protests,    60
Protests and vows such sudden heat of love,
That O ’twere warmth enough of mirth to dry
The stintless tears[431] of old Heraclitus,—
Make Niobe to laugh!

Lam. I protest I shall be proud to give you proof I hold a most religious affiance with your love.

Lav. Nay, gentle signior.

Lam. Let me not live else. I protest I will strain my utmost sinews in strengthening your precious estimate; I protest I will do all rights in all good offices that friendship can touch, or amplest virtue deserve.    71

Qua. I protest, believe him not; I’ll beg thee, Laverdure,
For a conceal’d idiot,[432] if thou credit him;
He’s a hyena,[433] and with civet scent
Of perfumed words, draws to make a prey
For laughter of thy credit. O this hot crackling love,
That blazeth on an instant, flames me out
On the least puff of kindness, with “protest, protest!”
Catzo, I dread these hot protests, that press,
Come on so fast. No, no! away, away!    80
You are a common friend, or will betray.
Let me clip amity that’s got with suit;
I hate this whorish love that’s prostitute.

Lav. Horn on my tailor! could he not bring home
My satin taffeta or tissue suit,
But I must needs be cloth’d in woollen thus?
Bidet, what says he for my silver hose,
And primrose satin doublet? God’s my life!
Gives he no more observance to my body?

Lam. O, in that last suit, gentle Laverdure,    90
Visit my lodging. By Apollo’s front,
Do but inquire my name. O straight they’ll say,
Lampatho suits himself in such a hose.

Sim. Mark that, Quadratus.

Lam. Consorts himself with such a doublet.

Sim. Good, good, good! O Jesu! admirable.

Lav. La la, ly ro, sir!

Lam. O Pallas! Quadratus, hark! hark! A most complete phantasma, a most ridiculous humour; prithee shoot him through and through with a jest; make him lie by the lee, thou basilisco[434] of wit.    101

Sim. O Jesu! admirably well spoken; angelical tongue!

Qua. Gnathonical coxcomb!

Lam. Nay, prithee, fut, fear not, he’s no edge-tool; you may jest with him.

Sim. No edge-tool. Oh!

Qua. Tones of heaven itself.

Sim. Tones of heaven itself.

Qua. By blessedness, I thought so.

Lam. Nay, when?[435] when?    110

Qua. Why, thou pole-head![436] thou Janus! thou poltroon! thou protest! thou earwig that wrigglest into men’s brains! thou dirty cur, that bemirest with thy fawning! thou——

Lam. Obscure me! or——

Qua. Signior Laverdure, by the heart of an honest man, this Jebusite—this, confusion to him! this worse than I dare to name—abuseth thee most incomprehensibly. Is this your protest of most obsequious vassalage? Protest to strain your utmost sum, your most——    120

Lam. So Phœbus warm my brain, I’ll rhyme thee dead.
Look for the satire: if all the sour juice
Of a tart brain can souse thy estimate,
I’ll pickle thee.

Qua. Ha! he mount Chirall[437] on the wings of fame!
A horse! a horse! My kingdom for a horse![438]
Look thee, I speak play-scraps. Bidet, I’ll down,
Sing, sing, or stay, we’ll quaff, or anything.
Rivo,[439] Saint Mark, let’s talk as loose as air;
Unwind youth’s colours, display ourselves,    130
So that yon envy-starvèd cur may yelp
And spend his chaps at our fantasticness.

Sim. O Lord, Quadratus!

Qua. Away, idolater! Why, you Don Kynsader![440]
Thou canker-eaten rusty cur! thou snaffle
To freer spirits!
Think’st thou, a libertine, an ungyved breast,
Scorns not the shackles of thy envious clogs?
You will traduce us unto public scorn?

Lam. By this hand I will.    140

Qua. A foutra for thy hand, thy heart, thy brain!
Thy hate, thy malice, envy, grinning spite!
Shall a free-born, that holds antipathy——

Lam. Antipathy!

Qua. Ay, antipathy, a native hate
Unto the curse of man, bare-pated servitude,
Quake at the frowns of a ragg’d satirist—
A scrubbing railer, whose coarse, harden’d fortune,
Grating his hide, galling his starvèd ribs,
Sits howling at desert’s more battle fate[441]
Who out of dungeon of his black despairs,    150
Scowls at the fortune of the fairer merit.

Lav. Tut, via! Let all run glib and square.

Qua. Uds fut! He coggs and cheats your simpler thoughts,
My spleen’s a-fire in the heat of hate;
I bear these gnats that hum about our ears,
And blister[442] our credits in obscured shades.

Lav. Pewte bougra! La, la, la! Tit! Shaugh!
Shall I forbear to caper, sing, or vault?
To wear fresh clothes, or wear perfumèd sweets?
To trick my face, or glory in my fate?    160
T’ abandon natural propensitudes?
My fancy’s humour?—for a stiff jointed,
Tatter’d, nasty, taber-fac’d —— Puh, la, la, ly ro!

Qua. Now, by thy lady’s cheek, I honour thee,
My rich free blood. O my dear libertine!
I could suck the juice, the sirrup of thy lip,
For thy most generous thought!—my Elysium!

Lam. O, sir, you are so square, you scorn reproof.

Qua. No, sir; should discreet Mastigophoros,
Or the dear spirit acute Canaidus    170
(That Aretine, that most of me beloved,
Who in the rich esteem I prize his soul,
I term myself); should these once menace me,
Or curb my humours with well-govern’d check,
I should with most industrious regard,
Observe, abstain, and curb my skipping lightness;
But when an arrogant, odd, impudent,
A blushless forehead, only out of sense
Of his own wants, bawls in malignant questing
At others’ means of waving gallantry,—    180
Pight foutra!

Lam. I rail at none, you well-squared signior.

Qua. I cannot tell; ’tis now grown fashion,
What’s out of railing’s out of fashion.
A man can scarce put on a tuck’d-up cap,
A button’d frizado suit, scarce eat good meat,
Anchovies, caviare, but he’s satired
And term’d fantastical by the muddy spawn
Of slimy newts, when, troth, fantasticness—
That which the natural sophisters term    190
Phantasia incomplexa—is a function
Even of the bright immortal part of man.
It is the common pass, the sacred door,
Unto the privy chamber of the soul;
That barr’d, nought passeth past the baser court
Of outward sense; by it th’ inamorate
Most lively thinks he sees the absent beauties
Of his loved mistress;
By it we shape a new creation
Of things as yet unborn; by it we feed    200
Our ravenous memory, our intention feast:
’Slid he that’s not fantastical’s a beast.

Lam. Most fantastical protection of fantasticness.

Lav. Faith, ’tis good.

Qua. So’t be fantastical ’tis wit’s lifeblood.

Lav. Come, signior, my legs are girt.

Qua. Fantastically?

Lav. After a special humour, a new cut.

Qua. Why, then, ’tis rare, ’tis excellent. Uds fut!
And I were to be hanged I would be choked
Fantastically. He can scarce be saved    210
That’s not fantastical: I stand firm to it.

Lav. Nay, then, sweet sir, give reason. Come on: when?[443]

Qua. ’Tis hell to run in common base of men.

Lav. Has not run thyself out of breath, bully?[444]

Qua. And I have not jaded thy ears more than I have tired my tongue, I could run discourse, put him out of his full pace.
I could pour speech till thou criedst ho! but troth,
I dread a glut; and I confess much love
To freer gentry, whose pert agile spirits    220
Is too much frost-bit, numb’d with ill-strain’d snibs,[445]
Hath tenter-reach’d[446] my speech. By Brutus’ blood,
He is a turf that will be slave to man;
But he’s a beast that dreads his mistress’ fan.

Lav. Come, all mirth and solace, capers, healths, and whiffs;[447]
To-morrow are my nuptials celebrate.
All friends, all friends!

Lam. I protest——

Qua. Nay, leave protests; pluck out your snarling fangs. When thou hast means, be fantastical and sociable. Go to: here’s my hand; and you want forty shillings, I am your Mecænas, though not atavis edite regibus.    233

Lam. Why, content, and I protest——

Qua. I’ll no protest!

Lam. Well, and I do not leave these fopperies, do not lend me forty shillings, and there’s my hand: I embrace you—love you—nay, adore thee; for by the juice of wormwood, thou hast a bitter brain!

Qua. You, Simplicius, wolt leave that staring fellow, Admiration, and adoration of thy acquaintance, wilt? A scorn! out; ’tis odious. Too eager a defence argues a strong opposition; and too vehement a praise draws a suspicion of others’ worthy disparagement.    245
Set[448] tapers to bright day, it ill befits;
Good wines can vent themselves, and not good wits?

Sim. Good truth, I love you; and with the grace of Heaven, I’ll be very civil and——

Qua. Fantastical.    250

Sim. I’ll be something; I have a conceal’d humour in me; and ’twere broach’d ’twould spurt i’faith.

Qua. Come then, Saint Mark, let’s be as light as air,
As fresh and jocund as the breast of May.
I prithee, good French knight, good plump-cheek’d chub,
Run some French passage. Come, let’s see thy vein—
Dances, scenes, and songs, royal entertain.

Lav. Petit lacque, page, page, Bidet, sing!
Give it the French jerk—quick, spart, lightly—ha!
Ha, here’s a turn unto my Celia![449]    260

Qua. Stand stiff! ho, stand! take footing firm! stand sure!
For if thou fall before thy mistress
Thy manhood’s damn’d. Stand firm! Ho! good! so, so!

The Dance and Song.

Lav. Come, now, via, aloune,[450] to Celia.

Qua. Stay, take an old rhyme first; though dry and lean,
’Twill serve to close the stomach of the scene.

Lav. This is thy humour to berhyme us still;
Never so slightly pleased, but out they fly.

Qua. They are mine own, no gleanèd poetry;
My fashion’s known. Out, rhyme; take’t as you list:    270
A fico[451] for the sour-brow’d Zoilist!

Music, tobacco, sack, and sleep,
The tide of sorrow backward keep.
If thou art sad at others’ fate,
Rivo,[452] drink deep, give care the mate.
On us the end of time is come,
Fond fear of that we cannot shun;
Whilst quickest sense doth freshly last,
Clip time about, hug pleasure fast.
The sisters ravel out our twine,    280
He that knows little ’s most divine.
Error deludes; who’ll beat this hence,—
Naught’s known but by exterior sense?
Let glory blazon others’ deed,
My blood than breath craves better meed.
Let twattling fame cheat others’ rest,
I am no dish for rumour’s feast.
Let honour others’ hope abuse,
I’ll nothing have, so nought will lose.
I’ll strive to be nor great nor small,    290
To live nor die; fate helmeth[453] all.
When I can breathe no longer, then
Heaven take all: there put Amen.

How is’t? how is’t?

Lav. Faith, so, so; tellement, quellement;
As ’t please opinion to current it.

Qua. Why, then, via! let’s walk.

Lav. I must give notice to an odd pedant, as we pass, of my nuptials: I use him, for he is obscure, and shall marry us in private. I have many enemies, but secresy is the best evasion from envy.    300

Qua. Holds it to-morrow?

Lav. Ay firm, absolute.

Lam. I’ll say amen if the priest be mute.

Qua. Epithalamiums will I sing, my chuck.
Go on—spend freely—out on dross, ’tis muck.


[422] A sort of coarse cloth.—“By this heaven I wonder at nothing more than our gentlemen ushers, that will suffer a piece of serge or perpetuana to come into the presence.”—Cynthia’s Revels, iii. 2.

[423] “A kind of loose drawers or stockings worn outside the legs over the other clothing.”—Halliwell.

[424] “Mignon.—A minion, favourite wanton, dilling, darling.”—Cotgrave.

[425] Pudding tobacco is frequently mentioned by the dramatists. Cf. Cynthia’s Revels, ii. 1:—“Never kneels but to pledge healths, nor prays but for a pipe of pudding-tobacco.” Probably it was tobacco compressed into a solid shape.

[426] From numerous passages it appears that it was regarded as a piece of affectation to use the word protest. See Dyce’s Shakesp. Glossary.

[427] Ed. 1. “You.”

[428] Chamlet (or camlet) was a mixed stuff of wool and silk.

[429] “‘Party per pale’ is a term in heraldry denoting that the field or ground on which the figures that make up a coat of arms are represented, is divided into two equal parts by a perpendicular line; and Quadratus means that the external appearances of the two sexes are, in Simplicius, divided with equal exactness.”—Dilke.

[430] Old eds. “you.”

[431] I beseech the reader to make “tears” equivalent to a dissyllable and not pronounce “Heraclītus” as “Heraclĭtus.”

[432] Formerly it was in the sovereign’s power to grant to any petitioner the care of the person and estates of a subject who had been legally proved to be an idiot.

[433] Marston has made a slip here: he has confused the hyena with the panther. “The panther or pardal,” says Topsel, “smelleth most sweetly, which savour he hath received from a divine gift, and doth not only feel the benefit of it himself, but also bewray it unto other beasts; for when he feeleth himself to be hungry and stand in need of meat, then doth he get up into some rough tree, and by his savour or sweet smell, draweth unto him an innumerable company of wild goats, harts, roes, and hinds, and such other beasts, and so upon a sudden leapeth down upon them when he espieth his convenient time. And Solinus saith that the sweetness of his savour worketh the same effect upon them in the open fields, for they are so mightily delighted with his spotted skin and fragrant smell that they always come running unto him from all parts, striving who shall come nearest to him to be satisfied with the sight; but when once they look upon his fierce and grim face they all are terrified and turn away” (History of Four-footed Beasts, ed. 1658, p. 451).

[434] The name of a piece of ordnance.

[435] An exclamation of impatience.

[436] Tadpole.—“Cavesot. A pole-head or bull-head; the little black vermine whereof toads and frogs do come.”—Cotgrave.

[437] Dilke reads “cheval,” and Mr. J. R. Lowell (in My Study Windows) approves of the emendation. I suspect that “Chirall” is a corruption of the name of some horse famous in one of the old romances.—Curtal (= docked horse) would be preferable to cheval.

[438] We have had in Parasitaster (p. 212) a travesty of this line of Richard III. So in the Scourge of Villainy:—
  “A man! a man! a kingdom for a man!”
Again in Eastward Ho:—
  “A boat! a boat! a full hundred marks for a boat!”

[439] A bacchanalian exclamation of uncertain origin.

[440] Kinsader was the pseudonym under which Marston published his Scourge of Villainy.

[441] If the text is not corrupt, “more battle fate” must mean “more prosperous fortune.” Battle and batful, applied to land, had the meaning—fertile, fruitful.

[442] Old eds. “and sting-blister.”—I suspect that Marston first wrote “stinge,” and afterwards corrected it into “blister,”—the printer keeping both words.

[443] See note 2, p. 348.

[444] A familiar form of address.

[445] Snubs.

[446] Ed. 1. “tender-reach’d.”

[447] A particular manner of smoking tobacco. In the Character of the Persons prefixed to Every Man out of his Humour it is said of Cavaliero Shift—“His chief exercises are taking the whiff, squiring a cockatrice, &c.” We learn from the Gull’s Horn-book (Dekker’s Works, ed. Grosart, ii. 242) that it was part of a gallant’s education to be skilled in taking the whiff.

[448] “With taper light
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.”—King John, iv. 2.

[449] Old eds. “Lucea.”

[450] A corruption of Fr. allons. Cf. Nashe’s Have with you to Saffron—“Alloune, alloune, let us march!” (Works, ed. Grosart, iii. 163.)

[451] See Dyce’s Shakesp. Glossary.

[452] A bacchanalian exclamation.

[453] Ed. 2. “helpeth.”


A School-room.

Enter a schoolmaster, draws the curtains behind, with Battus, Nous, Slip, Nathaniel, and Holofernes Pippo, schoolboys, sitting, with books in their hands.

All. Salve, magister!

Ped.[454] Salvete pueri, estote salvi, vos salvere exopto vobis salutem, Batte, mi fili, mi Batte!

Bat. Quid vis?

Ped. Stand forth: repeat your lesson without book.

Bat. A noun is the name of a thing that may be seen, felt, heard, or understood.

Ped. Good boy: on, on.

Bat. Of nouns some be substantives and some be substantives.    10

Ped. Adjectives.

Bat. Adjectives. A noun substantive either is proper to the thing that it betokeneth

Ped. Well, to numbers.

Bat. In nouns be two numbers, the singular and the plural: the singular number speaketh of one, as lapis, a stone; the plural speaketh of more than one, as lapides, stones.

Ped. Good child. Now thou art past lapides, stones, proceed to the cases. Nous, say you next, Nous. Where’s your lesson, Nous?    21

Nous. I am in a verb, forsooth.

Ped. Say on, forsooth: say, say.

Nous. A verb is a part of speech declined with mood and tense, and betokeneth doing, as amo, I love.

Ped. How many kind of verbs are there?

Nous. Two; personal and impersonal.

Ped. Of verbs personals, how many kinds?

Nous. Five; active, passive, neuter, deponent, and common. A verb active endeth in o, and betokeneth to do, as amo, I love; and by putting to r, it may be a passive, as amor, I am loved.    32

Ped. Very good, child. Now learn to know the deponent and common. Say you, Slip.

Slip. Cedant[455] arma togæ, concedat laurea linguæ.

Ped. What part of speech is lingua: inflecte, inflecte.

Slip. Singulariter, nominativo hæc lingua.

Ped. Why is lingua the feminine gender?

Slip. Forsooth because it is the feminine gender.    39

Ped. Ha, thou ass! thou dolt! idem per idem, mark it: lingua is declined with hæc, the feminine, because it is a household stuff, particularly belonging and most commonly resident under the roof of women’s mouths. Come on, you Nathaniel, say you, say you next; not too fast; say tretably:[456] say.

Nath. Mascula dicuntur monosyllaba nomina quædam.

Ped. Faster! faster!

Nath. Ut sal, sol, ren et splen: car, ser, vir, vas, vadis, as, mas,
Bes, cres, pres et pes, glis, glirens [sic] habens genetivo,
Mos, flos, ros et tros, muns [sic], dens, mons, pons    50

Ped. Rup, tup, snup, slup, bor, hor, cor, mor. Holla! holla! holla! you Holofernes Pippo, put him down. Wipe your nose: fie, on your sleeve! where’s your muckender[457] your grandmother gave you? Well, say on; say on.

Hol. Pree,[458] master, what word’s this?

Ped. Ass! ass!

Hol. As in presenti perfectum format in, in, in

Ped. In what, sir?

Hol. Perfectum format. In what, sir?    60

Ped. In what, sir?—in avi.

Hol. In what, sir?—in avi.
Ut no, nas, navi, vocito, vocitas, voci, voci, voci

Ped. What’s next?

Hol. Voci—what’s next?

Ped. Why, thou ungracious child! thou simple animal! thou barnacle! Nous,—snare him; take him up: and you were my father, you should up.    68

Hol. Indeed I am not your father. O Lord! now, for God sake, let me go out. My mother told a thing: I shall bewray[459] all else. Hark, you, master: my grandmother entreats you to come to dinner to-morrow morning.

Ped. I say, untruss—take him up. Nous, despatch! what, not perfect in an as in presenti?

Hol. In truth I’ll be as perfect an as in presenti as any of this company, with the grace of God, law: this once—this once—and I do so any more——

Ped. I say, hold him up!    79

Hol. Ha, let me say my prayers first. You know not what you ha’ done now; all the syrup of my brain is run into my buttocks, and ye spill the juice of my wit well. Ha, sweet! ha, sweet! honey, Barbary sugar,[460] sweet master.

Ped. Sans tricks, trifles, delays, demurrers, procrastinations, or retardations, mount him, mount him.

Enter Quadratus, Lampatho, Laverdure, and Simplicius.

Qua. Be merciful, my gentle signior.

Lav. We’ll sue his pardon out.

Ped. He is reprieved: and now, Apollo bless your brains; facundius, and elaborate elegance make your presence gracious in the eyes of your mistress.    91

Lav. You must along with us; lend private ear.

Sim. What is your name?

Hol. Holofernes Pippo.

Sim. Who gave you that name? Nay, let me alone for sposing [sic] of a scholar.

Hol. My godfathers and godmothers in my baptism.

Sim. Truly, gallants, I am enamoured on thee, boy; wilt thou serve me?

Hol. Yes, and please my grandmother, when I come to years of discretion.    101

Ped. And you have a propensitude to him, he shall be for you. I was solicited to grant him leave to play the lady in comedies presented by children; but I knew his voice was too small,[461] and his stature too low. Sing, sing a treble, Holofernes: sing.

The Song.

A very small sweet voice, I’ll assure you.

Qua. ’Tis smally sweet indeed.

Sim. A very pretty child. Hold up thy head. There; buy thee some plums.    110

Qua. Nay, they must play; you go along with us.

Ped. Ludendi venia est petita et concessa.

All. Gratias.

Sim. Pippo’s my page. How like you him? Ha! has he not a good face, ha?

Lav. Exceedingly amiable. Come away;
I long to see my love, my Celia.

Sim. Carry my rapier; hold up so; good child: stay, gallants. Umph! a sweet face.

[Exeunt[462] all but Lampatho and Quadratus.

Lam. I relish not this mirth; my spirit is untwist;
My heart is ravell’d out in discontents.    121
I am deep-thoughtful, and I shoot my soul
Through all creation of omnipotence.

Qua. What, art melancholy, Lamp? I’ll feed thy humour:
I’ll give thee reason strait to hang thyself.
Mark’t, mark’t: in Heaven’s handiwork there’s naught—
Believe it.

Lam. In Heaven’s handiwork there’s naught,
None more vile, accursed, reprobate to bliss,
Than man; and[463] ’mong men a scholar most.    130
Things only fleshly sensitive, an ox or horse,
They live and eat, and sleep, and drink, and die,
And are not touched with recollections
Of things o’er-past, or stagger’d infant doubts
Of things succeeding; but leave the manly beasts,
And give but pence apiece to have a sight
Of beastly man now——

Sim. [from within]. What so, Lampatho! Good truth, I will not pay your ordinary if you come not.

Lam. Dost thou hear that voice? I’ll make a parrot now    140
As good a man as he in fourteen nights.
I never heard him vent a syllable
Of his own creating since I knew the use
Of eyes and ears. Well, he’s perfect blest,
Because a perfect beast. I’ll gage my heart
He knows no difference essential
’Twixt my dog and him. The whoreson sot is blest,
Is rich in ignorance, makes fair usance on’t,
And every day augments his barbarism.
So love me calmness, I do envy him for’t.    150
I was a scholar: seven useful springs
Did I deflower in quotations
Of cross’d opinions ’bout the soul of man.
The more I learnt the more I learnt to doubt:
Knowledge and wit, faith’s foes, turn faith about.

Sim. [from within]. Nay, come, good signior. I stay all the gentlemen here. I would fain give my pretty page a pudding-pie.

Lam. Honest epicure.—Nay, mark, list. Delight,
Delight, my spaniel slept, whilst I baus’d leaves,    160
Toss’d o’er the dunces, pored on the old print
Of titled words, and still my spaniel slept.
Whilst I wasted lamp-oil, bated my flesh,
Shrunk up my veins; and still my spaniel slept.
And still I held converse with Zabarell,[464]
Aquinas, Scotus, and the musty saw
Of antic Donate; still my spaniel slept
Still went on went I; first an sit anima,
Then, and it were mortal. O hold, hold! at that
They’re at brain-buffets, fell by the ears amain    170
Pell-mell together; still my spaniel slept.
Then whether ’twere corporeal, local, fix’d,
Extraduce; but whether ’t had free will
Or no, ho philosophers
Stood banding factions all so strongly propp’d,
I stagger’d, knew not which was firmer part;
But thought, quoted,[465] read, observ’d, and pried,
Stuff’d noting-books; and still my spaniel slept.
At length he waked and yawn’d and by yon sky,
For aught I know he knew as much as I.    180

Sim. [from within]. Delicate good Lampatho, come away. I assure you I’ll give but twopence more.

Lam. How ’twas created, how the soul exists:
One talks of motes, the soul was made of motes;
Another fire, t’other light, a third
A spark of star-like nature;
Hippo water, Anaximenes air,
Aristoxenus music; Critias, I know not what.
A company of odd phrenetici!
Did eat my youth; and when I crept abroad,    190
Finding my numbness in this nimble age,
I fell a-railing; but now, soft and slow,
I know I know naught but I naught do know.
What shall I do—what plot, what course pursue?

Qua. Why, turn a temporist, row with the tide,
Pursue the cut, the fashion of the age.
Well, here’s my scholar’s course: first get a school,
And then a ten-pound cure; keep both. Then buy
(Stay, marry, ay, marry) then a farm, or so:
Serve God and mammon—to the devil go.    200
Affect some sect—ay, ’tis the sect is it,
So thou canst seem, ’tis held the precious wit.
And O, if thou canst get some higher seat,
Where thou mayest sell your holy portion
(Which charitable Providence ordained,
In sacred bounty, for a blessèd use),
Alien the glebe, entail it to thy loins,
Entomb it in thy grave,
Past resurrection to his native use!
Now, if there be a hell, and such swine saved,
Heaven take all—that’s all my hopes have craved.    210

Enter Pippo.

Pip. My Simplicias master

Lam. Your master Simplicius.

Pip. Has come to you to sent

Lam. Has sent to me to come.

Pip. Ha! ha! has bought me a fine dagger, and a hat and a feather! I can say As in presenti now!

Company of Boys within. Quadratus, Quadratus, away! away!

Quad.[466] We come, sweet gallants; and grumbling hate lie still,
And turn fantastic! He that climbs a hill    220
Must wheel about; the ladder to account
Is sly dissemblance: he that means to mount
Must lie all level in the prospective
Of eager-sighted greatness. Thou wouldst thrive:
The Venice state is young, loose, and unknit,
Can relish naught but luscious vanities.
Go, fit his tooth. O glavering flattery!
How potent art thou! Front, look brisk and sleek.—
That such base dirt as you should dare to reek
In princes’ nostrils!—Well, my scene is long.    230

All within. Quadratus!

Qua. I come, hot bloods. Those that their state would swell,
Must bear a counter-face. The devil and hell
Confound them all! That’s all my prayers exact:
So ends our chat;—sound music for the act!


[454] i.e., Pedant.—See p. 373.

[455] Cicero, Off. i. 22, 77.

[456] Chaucer has tretable in the sense of tractable, well-disposed; but that sense does not suit the present passage.

[457] Handkerchief.

[458] Shortened form of “prithee.”

[459] See note, vol. i. p. 114.

[460] Dilke refers to Fletcher’s Beggars’ Bush, iv. 3:—
Fourth Merchant. Or if you want fine sugar, ’tis but sending.
Goswin. No, I can send to Barbary.”

[461] “She has brown hair, and speaks small like a woman.”—Merry Wives, i. 1.

[462] Not marked in old eds.

[463] Omitted in ed. 2.

[464] Giacomo Zabarella (1533-1589), the Aristotelian commentator, professor of logic and philosophy at Padua.

[465] Made notes.

[466] Old eds. give this speech to Lampatho.



Francisco’s house.

Enter Francisco, half-dressed, in his black doublet and round cap, the rest rich; Jacomo bearing his hat and feather; Andrea his doublet and band; Randolfo his cloak and staff. They clothe Francisco whilst Bidet creeps in and observes them. Much of this done whilst the Act is playing.

Fra. For God’s sake, remember to take special marks of me, or you will ne’er be able to know me.

And. Why, man?

Fra. Why, good faith, I scarce know myself; already me thinks I should remember to forget myself; now I am so shining brave. Indeed Francisco was always a sweet youth, for I am a perfumer; but thus brave! I am an alien to it. Would you make me like the drown’d Albano? Must I bear’t mainly up? Must I be he?

Ran. What else, man? O, what else?    10

Jaco. I warrant you, give him but fair rich clothes,
He can be ta’en, reputed anything.
Apparel’s grown a god, and goes[467] more neat;
Makes men of rags, which straight he bears aloft,
Like patch’d-up scarecrows to affright the rout
Of the idolatrous vulgar that worship images,
Stand awed and bare-scalp’d at the gloss of silks,
Which, like the glorious A-jax[468] of Lincoln’s-Inn
(Survey’d with wonder by me when I lay
Factor in London), laps up naught but filth    20
And excrements, that bear the shape of men,
Whose inside every daw[469] would peck and tear,
But that vain scarecrow clothes entreats forbear.

Fra. You would have me take upon me, Albano,
A valiant gallant Venetian burgomasco.
Well my beard, my feather, short sword, and my oath,
Shall do’t, fear not. What! I know a number,
By the sole warrant of a lappy beard,
A rain-beat plume, and a good chop-filling oath,
With an odd French shrug, and “by the Lord,” or so,    30
Ha’ leapt into sweet captain with such ease
As you would—Fear’t not. I’ll gage my heart I’ll do’t.
How sits my hat? Ha! Jack, doth my feather wag?

Jaco. Methinks now, in the common sense of fashion,
Thou shouldst grow proud, and like a fore-horse view,
None but beforehand gallants; as for sides,
Study a faint salute, give a strange eye;
And those that rank in equal file with thee,
But as to those in rearward, O be blind!
The world wants eyes—it[470] cannot see behind.    40

Fra. Where is the strumpet? Where’s the hot-vein’d French?
Lives not Albano? Hath Celia so forgot
Albano’s love, that she must forthwith wed
A runabout, a skipping Frenchman?

Jaco. Now you must grow in heat, and stut.

Fra. An odd phantasma—a beggar—a sir—a who, who, who—What You Will—a straggling go-go-go-gunds—f-f-f-f-fut——

And. Passing like him—passing like him. O ’twill strike all dead!    50

Ran. I am ravished! ’Twill be peerless exquisite
Let him go out instantly!

Jaco. O, not till twilight; meantime I’ll prop up
The tottering rumour of Albano’s scape,
And safe arrival; it begins to spread.
If this plot live, Frenchman, thy hopes are dead.


Bid. And if it live, strike off this little head.


[467] Ed. 1. “does.”

[468] A jakes. The joke (originated by Sir John Harrington) is very common. Concerning the jakes of Lincoln’s Inn, see the droll, though not very delicate, story in Gayton’s Festivous Notes on Don Quixote, 1654, p. 74.

[469] Old eds. “day” (which Dilke retains!).

[470] Ed. 2. “and.”


A Public Place.

Enter Albano with Slip, his Page.

Alb. Can it be? Is’t possible? Is’t within the bounds of faith? O villainy!

Slip. The clapper of rumour strikes on both sides, ringing out the French knight is in firm possession of my mistress, your wife.

Alb. Is’t possible I should be dead so soon In her affects? How long is’t since our shipwrack?

Slip. Faith, I have little arithmetic in me, yet I remember the storm made me cast up perfectly the whole sum of all I had receiv’d; three days before I was liquor’d soundly; my guts were rinced ’fore the heavens. I look as pale ever since, as if I had ta’en the diet[471] this spring.    13

Alb. But how long is’t since our shipwrack?

Slip. Marry, since we were hung by the heels on the batch of Sicily, to make a jail-delivery of the sea in our maws, ’tis just three months. Shall I speak like a poet?—thrice hath the horned moon——

Alb. Talk not of horns. O Celia! How oft,
When thou hast laid thy cheek upon my breast,    20
And with lascivious petulancy sued
For hymeneal dalliance, marriage-rites;—
O then, how oft, with passionate protests
And zealous vows, hast thou obliged thy love,
In dateless bands, unto Albano’s breast!
Then, did I but mention second marriage,
With what a bitter hate would she inveigh
’Gainst retail’d wedlocks! “O!” would she lisp,
“If you should die,”—then would she slide a tear,
And with a wanton languishment intwist    30
Her hands,—“O God, and you should die! Marry?
Could I love life, my dear Albano dead?
Should any prince possess his widow’s bed?”
And now, see, see, I am but rumour’d drown’d.

Slip. She’ll make you prince;—your worship must be crown’d.
O master, you know the woman is the weaker creature!
She must have a prop. The maid is the brittle metal;
Her head is quickly crack’d. The wife is queasy-stomach’d,
She must be fed with novelties. But, then, what’s your widow?
Custom is a second nature;—I say no more, but think you the rest.    40

Alb. If love be holy; if that mystery
Of co-united hearts be sacrament;
If the unbounded goodness have infused
A sacred ardour, if a mutual love,
Into our species, of those amorous joys,
Those sweets of life, those comforts even in death,
Spring from a cause above our reason’s reach;—
If that clear flame deduce his heat from heaven;—
’Tis like his cause,[472] eternal, always One,
As is th’ instiller of divinest love,    50
Unchanged by time, immortal maugre death!
But O, ’tis grown a figment, love a jest,
A comic poesy! The soul of man is rotten,
Even to the core;—no sound affection.
Our love is hollow-vaulted—stands on props
Of circumstance, profit, or ambitious hopes!
The other tissue gown, or chain of pearl,
Makes my coy minx to nuzzel[473] ’twixt the breasts
Of her lull’d husband; t’other carkanet
Deflowers that lady’s bed. One hundred more    60
Marries that loathèd blowze;—one ten-pound odds,
In promised jointure, makes the hard-palm’d sire
Enforce his daughter’s tender lips to start
At the sharp touch of some loath’d stubbèd beard;
The first pure time, the golden age, is fled.
Heaven knows I lie,—’tis now the age of gold,—
For it all marreth, and even virtue’s sold!

Slip. Master, will you trust me, and I’ll——

Alb. Yes, boy, I’ll trust thee. Babes and fools I’ll trust;
But servants’ faith, wives’ love, or female’s lust,—    70
A usurer and the devil sooner. Now, were I dead,
Methinks I see a huff-cap swaggering sir
Pawning my plate, my jewels mortgage; nay,
Selling outright[474] the purchase of my brows,
Whilst my poor fatherless, lean, totter’d[475] son—
My gentry’s relics, my house’s only prop—
Is saw’d asunder, lies forlorn, all bleak
Unto the griefs of sharp necessities,
Whilst his father-in-law, his father-in-devil, or d-d-d-d-devil-f-f-f-father,
Or who, who, who, who,—What You Will!—    80
When is the marriage morn?

Slip. Even next rising sun.

Alb. Good, good, good! Go to my brother Andrea:[476]
Tell him I’ll lurk; stay, tell him I’ll lurk: stay.—
Now is Albano’s marriage-bed new hung
With fresh rich curtains! Now are my valence up,
Emboss’d with orient pearl, my grandsire’s gift!
Now are the lawn sheets fumed with violets,[477]
To fresh the pall’d lascivious appetite!
Now work the cooks, the pastry sweats with slaves;
The march-panes[478] glitter: now, now, the musicians    90
Hover with nimble sticks o’er squeaking crowds,[479]
Tickling the dried guts of a mewing cat.

The tailors, starchers, sempsters, butchers, poulterers, mercers,—all, all, all,—now, now, now,—none think o’ me,—the f-f-f-French is te f-f-f-fine man, de p-p-p-pock man, de——

Slip. Peace, peace! stand conceal’d. Yonder, by all descriptions, is he would be husband of my mistress;—your wife! hah, meat, hah!

Alb. Uds so, so, so soul! that’s my velvet cloak!    100

Slip. O peace! observe him: ha!

Enter Laverdure and Bidet, talking; Quadratus, Lampatho, Simplicius, Pedant, and Holofernes Pippo.

Bid. ’Tis most true, sir. I heard all; I saw all; I tell all, and I hope you believe all. The sweet Francisco Soranza, the perfumer, is by your rival Jacomo, and your two brothers that must be, when you have married your wife that shall be

Ped. With the grace of Heaven.    107

Bid. Disguised so like the drowned Albano, to cross your suit, that by my little honesty ’twas great consolation to me to observe them. “Passion of joy, of hope! O excellent!” cried Andrea. “Passingly!” cried Randolfo. “Unparallel’d!” lisps Jacomo. “Good, good, good!” says Andrea. “Now stut,” says Jacomo. “Now stut,” says Randolfo; whilst the ravish’d perfumer had like to have water’d the seams of his breeches for extreme pride of their applause.

Lav. Sest,[480] I’ll to Celia, and, maugre the nose of her friends, wed her, bed her; my first son shall be a captain, and his name shall be what it please his godfathers; the second, if he have a face bad enough, a lawyer; the third, a merchant; and the fourth, if he be maim’d, dull-brain’d, or hard-shaped, a scholar; for that’s your fashion.    123

Qua. Get them; get them, man, first. Now by the wantonness of the night, and I were a wench, I would not ha’ thee, wert thou an heir, nay (which is more) a fool.

Lav. Why, I can rise high: a straight leg, a plump thigh, a full vein, a round cheek; and, when it pleaseth the fertility of my chin to be delivered of a beard, ’twill not wrong my kissing, for my lips are rebels, and stand out.    131

Qua. Ho! but there’s an old fusty proverb, these great talkers are never good doers.

Lam. Why, what a babel arrogance is this!
Men will put by the very stock of fate;
They’ll thwart the destiny of marriage,
Strive to disturb the sway of Providence:
They’ll do it!

Qua. Come, you’ll be snarling now.

Lam. As if we had free-will in supernatural
Effects, and that our love or hate    140
Depended not on causes ’bove the reach
Of human stature.

Qua. I think I shall not lend you forty shillings now.

Lam. Dirt upon dirt, fear is beneath my shoe.
Dreadless of racks, strappadoes, or the sword—
Maugre informer and sly intelligence,—
I’ll stand as confident as Hercules,
And, with a frightless resolution,
Rip up and lance our time’s impieties.

Sim. Uds so, peace.    150

Lam. Open a bounteous ear, for I’ll be free:
Ample as Heaven, give my speech more room;
Let me unbrace my breasts, strip up my sleeves,
Stand like an executioner to vice,
To strike his head off with the keener edge
Of my sharp spirit.

Lav. Room and good licence: come on! when, when?

Lam. Now is my fury mounted. Fix your eyes;
Intend your senses; bend your list’ning up;
For I’ll make greatness quake; I’ll taw[481] the hide    160
Of thick-skinn’d Hugeness.

Lav. ’Tis most gracious; we’ll observe thee calmly.

Qua. Hang on thy tongue’s end. Come on! prithee do.

Lam. I’ll see you hanged first I thank you, sir, I’ll none.
This is the strain that chokes the theatres;
That makes them crack with full-stuff’d audience;
This is your humour only in request,
Forsooth to rail; this brings your ears to bed;
This people gape for; for this some do stare.
This some would hear, to crack the author’s neck;    170
This admiration and applause pursues;
Who cannot rail? my humour’s changed, ’tis clear:
Pardon, I’ll none; I prize my joints more dear.

Bid. Master, master, I ha’ descried the Perfumer in Albano’s disguise. Look you! look you! Rare sport! rare sport!    176

Alb. I can contain my impatience no longer. You, Monsieur Cavalier, Saint Dennis,—you, capricious sir, Signior Caranto French Brawl,[482]—you, that must marry Celia Galanto,—is Albano drown’d now? Go wander, avaunt, knight-errant! Celia shall be no cuck-quean,[483]—my heir no beggar,—my plate no pawn,—my land no mortgage,—my wealth no food for thy luxuries,—my house no harbour for thy comrades,—my bed no booty for thy lusts! My anything shall be thy nothing. Go hence! pack, pack! avaunt! caper, caper! aloun, aloun! pass by, pass by! cloak your nose! away! vanish! wander! depart! slink by! away!    188

Lav. Hark you, Perfumer. Tell Jacomo, Randolfo, and Andrea,[484] ’twill not do;—look you, say no more, but—’twill not do.

Alb. What Perfumer? what Jacomo?

Qua. Nay, assure thee, honest Perfumer, good Francisco, we know all, man. Go home to thy civet box; look to the profit, commodity, or emolument of thy musk-cat’s tail: go, clap on your round cap—my “what do you lack,” sir,—for i’faith, good rogue, all’s descried!

Alb. What Perfumer? what musk-cat? what Francisco? What do you lack? Is’t not enough that you kiss’d my wife?    200

Lav. Enough.

Alb. Ay, enough! and may be, I fear me, too much; but you must flout me,—deride me,—scoff me,—keep out,—touch not my porch;—as for my wife!——

Lav. Stir to the door: dare to disturb the match, And by the——

Alb. My sword! menace Albano ’fore his own doors!

Lav. No, not Albano, but Francisco: thus, Perfumer, I’ll make you stink if you stir a——For the rest: well, via, via!

[Exeunt all but Albano, Slip, Simplicius, and Holofernes.

Alb. Jesu, Jesu! what intends this? ha!    211

Sim. O God, sir! you lie as open to my understanding as a courtezan. I know you as well——

Alb. Somebody knows me yet: praise Heaven, somebody knows me yet!

Sim. Why, look you, sir: I ha’ paid for[485] my knowing of men and women too, in my days: I know you are Francisco Soranza, the perfumer; ay, maugre Signor Satin, ay——

Alb. Do not tempt my patience. Go to; do not——

Sim. I know you dwell in Saint Mark’s Lane, at the sign of the Musk Cat, as well——    222

Alb. Fool, or mad, or drunk, no more!

Sim. I know where you were dressed, where you were——

Alb. Nay, then, take all!—take all! take all!——

[He bastinadoes Simplicius.

Sim. And I tell not my father; if I make you not lose your office of gutter-master-ship; and you be scavenger next year, well! Come, Holofernes; come, good Holofernes; come, servant.    230

[Exeunt Simplicius and Holofernes.

Enter Jacomo.

Alb. Francisco Soranza, and perfumer, and musk-cat, and gutter-master, hay, hay, hay!—go, go, go!—f-f-f-fut!—I’ll to the Duke; and I’ll so ti-ti-ti-tickle them!

Jaco. Precious! what means he to go out so soon,
Before the dusk of twilight might deceive
The doubtful priers? What, holla!

Alb. Whop! what devil now?

Jaco. I’ll feign I know him not.—
What business ’fore those doors?

Alb. What’s that to thee?

Jaco. You come to wrong my friend Sir Laverdure.    240
Confess, or——

Alb. My sword, boy!—s-s-s-s-soul, my sword!

Jaco. O, my dear rogue, thou art a rare dissembler!

Alb. See, see!

Enter Andrea[486] and Randolfo.

Jaco. Francisco, did I not help to clothe thee even now? I would ha’ sworn thee, Albano, my good sweet slave.

[Exit Jacomo.

Alb. See, see! Jesu, Jesu! Impostors! Coney-catchers! Sancta Maria!    249

Ran. Look you. He walks; he feigns most excellent.

And.[487] Accost him first as if you were ignorant
Of the deceit.

Ran. O, dear Albano! now thrice happy eyes,
To view the hopeless presence of my brother!

Alb. Most lovèd kinsman, praise to Heaven, yet
You know Albano. But for yonder slaves—well——

And.[487] Success could not come on more gracious.

Alb. Had not you come, dear brother Andrea,[488]
I think not one would know me. Ulysses’ dog
Had quicker sense than my dull countrymen;    260
Why, none had known me.

Ran. Doubt you of that? Would I might die,
Had I not known the guile, I would ha’ sworn
Thou hadst been Albano, my nimble, coz’ning knave.

Alb. Whip, whip! Heaven preserve all! Saint
Mark, Saint Mark!
Brother Andrea,[488] be frantic, prithee be;
Say I am a perfumer—Francisco. Hay, hay!
Is’t not some feast-day? You are all rank drunk!
Rats, ra-ra-ra-rats, knights of the be-be-be-bell! be-be-bell!

And.[487] Go, go! proceed: thou dost it rare. Farewell.

[Exeunt Andrea[488] and Randolfo.

Alb. Farewell? Ha! Is’t even so? Boy, who am I?

Slip. My Lord Albano!

Alb. By this breast you lie.    272
The Samian[489] faith is true, true! I was drown’d;
And now my soul is skipp’d into a perfumer,
A gutter-master.

Slip. Believe me, sir——

Alb. No, no!
I’ll believe nothing! no!
The disadvantage of all honest hearts
Is quick credulity. Perfect state-policy
Can cross-bite[490] even sense. The world’s turn’d juggler!
Casts mists before our eyes. Hey-pass re-pass![491]    280
I’ll credit nothing.

Slip. Good sir!

Alb. Hence, ass!
Doth not opinion stamp the current pass
Of each man’s value, virtue, quality?
Had I engross’d the choice commodities
Of Heaven’s traffic, yet reputed vile,
I am a rascal! O, dear unbelief!
How wealthy dost thou make thy owner’s wit!
Thou train of knowledge! what a privilege
Thou givest to thy possessor! anchor’st him
From floating with the tide of vulgar faith;    290
From being damn’d with multitude’s dear unbelief!
I am a perfumer: ay, think’st thou, my blood,
My brothers know not right Albano yet?
Away! ’tis faithless![492] If Albano’s name
Were liable to sense, that I could taste, or touch,
Or see, or feel it, it might ’tice belief;
But since ’tis voice, and air—Come to the Muskcat, boy;
Francisco, that’s my name; ’tis right: ay, ay,
What do you lack? what is’t you lack? right; that’s my cry.


[471] i.e., as if I had been treated for the pox.

[472] Ed. 2. “cause’s.”

[473] Cf. Prologue to Second Part of Antonio and Mellida:
  “And nuzzled ’twixt the breasts of happiness.”

[474] Ed. 2. “our right.”

[475] i.e., tatter’d.

[476] Old eds. “Adrian.”

[477] Spenser, in his Epithalamion, alludes to the practice of sprinkling the bridal-bed with violets:—
“Now day is doen and night is nighing fast,
Now bring the Bryde into the brydall bowres:
The night is come, now soone her disaray,
And in her bed her lay;
Lay her in lilies and in violets,
And silken courteins over her display.”

[478] A composition of almonds, sugar, &c.

[479] Fiddles.

[480] Probably a corruption of Fr. cessez. Cf. Shakespeare’s perplexing sessa.—We have the expression again on p. 402.

[481] Dress leather with alum.

[482] The name of a dance.

[483] She-cuckold.

[484] Old eds. “Adrian.”

[485] Ed. 2. “for knowing men.”

[486] Old eds. “Adrian.”

[487] Old eds. “Adri.”

[488] Old eds. “Adrian.”

[489] Pythagoras was of Samos.

[490] Cheat.—Marlowe, i. 89.

[491] “Hey-pass re-pass”—a juggler’s term.

[492] Ed. 1. “faites.”


A Tavern.

Enter Slip and Noose; Trip, with the truncheon of a staff torch, and Doit with a pantofle;[493] Bidet, Holofernes following. The cornets sound.

Bid. Proclaim our titles!

Do. Bosphoros Cormelydon Honorificacuminos Bidet!

Hol. I think your majesty’s a Welshman; you have a horrible long name.

Bid. Death or silence! Proceed!

Do. Honorificacuminos Bidet, Emperor of Cracks,[494] Prince of Pages, Marquess of Mumchance,[495] and sole Regent over a Bale[496] of False Dice: to all his under-ministers health, crowns, sack, tobacco, and stockings uncrack’d above the shoe.    10

Bid. Ourself will give them their charge. Now let me stroke my beard, and I had it, and speak wisely, if I knew how. Most unconscionable, honest little, or little honest, good subjects, inform our person of your several qualities, and of the prejudice that is foisted upon you, that ourself may preview, prevent, and preoccupy the pestilent[497] dangers incident to all your cases.

Do. Here is a petition exhibited of the particular grievances of each sort of pages.    19

Bid. We will vouchsafe, in this our public session, to peruse them. Pleaseth your excellent wagship to be informed that the division of pages is tripartite (tripartite), or threefold: of pages, some be court-pages, others ordinary gallant pages, and the third apple-squires,[498] basket-bearers, or pages of the placket: with the last we will proceed first. Stand forth, page of the placket,[499] what is your mistress?

Slip. A kind of puritan.[500]

Bid. How live you?    29

Slip. Miserably, complaining to your crack-ship: though we have light mistresses, we are made the children and servants of darkness. What profane use we are put to, all these gallants more feelingly know than we can lively express; it is to be commiserated, and by your royal insight only to be prevented, that a male monkey and the diminutive of a man should be synonima, and no sense. Though we are the dross of your subjects, yet being a kind of page, let us find your celsitude kind and respective of our time-fortunes and birth’s abuse: and so, in the name of our whole tribe of empty basket-bearers, I kiss your little hands.    41

Bid. Your case is dangerous, and almost desperate. Stand forth, ordinary gallant’s page: what is the nature of your master?

No. He eats well and right slovenly; and when the dice favour him, goes in good clothes, and scours his pink colour silk stockings; when he hath any money, he bears his crowns; when he hath none, I carry his purse. He cheats well, swears better, but swaggers in a wanton’s chamber admirably; he loves his boy and the rump of a cramm’d capon; and this summer hath a passing thrifty humour to bottle ale; as contemptuous as Lucifer, as arrogant as ignorance can make him, as libidinous as Priapus. He keeps me as his adamant, to draw metal after to his lodging: I curl his perriwig, paint his cheeks, perfume his breath; I am his froterer[501] or rubber in a hot-house, the prop of his lies, the bearer of his false dice; and yet for all this, like the Persian louse, that eats biting, and biting eats, so I say sighing,[502] and sighing say, my end is to paste up a si quis.[503] My master’s fortunes are forced to cashier me, and so six to one I fall to be a pippin-squire. Hic finis Priami!—this is the end of pickpockets.    63

Bid. Stand forth, court-page: thou lookest pale and wan.

Trip. Most ridiculous Emperor.

Bid. O, say no more. I know thy miseries;—what betwixt thy lady, her gentlewoman, and thy master’s late gaming, thou mayest look pale. I know thy miseries, and I condole thy calamities. Thou art born well, bred ill, but diest worst of all: thy blood most commonly gentle, thy youth ordinarily idle, and thy age too often miserable. When thy first suit is fresh, thy cheeks clear of court-soils, and thy lord fall’n out with his lady, so long may be he’ll chuck thee under the chin, call thee good pretty ape, and give thee a scrap from his own trencher; but after, he never beholds thee but when thou squirest him with a torch to a wanton’s sheets, or lights his tobacco-pipe; never useth thee but as his pander; never regardeth thee but as an idle burr that stick’st upon the nap of his fortune; and so, naked thou camest into the world, and naked thou must return.—Whom serve you?    81

Hol. A fool!

Bid. Thou art my happiest subject: the service of a fool is the only blessed’st slavery that ever put on a chain and a blue coat; they know not what nor for what they give, but so they give ’tis good, so it be good they give; fortunes are ordain’d for fools, as fools are for fortune, to play withal, not to use: hath he taken an oath of allegiance—is he of our brotherhood yet?

Hol. Not yet, right venerable Honorificac-cac-cac-cacu-minos Bidet! but as little an infant as I am I will, and with the grace of wit I will deserve it.    92

Bid. You must perform a valorous, virtuous, and religious exploit first, in desert of your order.

Hol. What is’t?

Bid. Cozen thy master; he is a fool, and was created for men of wit, such as thyself, to make use of.

Hol. Such as myself? Nay, faith, for wit, I think, for my age, or so—But on, sir.    99

Bid. That thou mayst the easier purge him of superfluous blood, I will describe thy master’s constitution. He loves and is beloved of himself, and one more, his dog. There is a company of unbraced, untruss’d rutters[504] in the town, that crinkle in the hams, swearing their flesh is their only living, and when they have any crowns, cry “God a mercy, Mol!” and shrugging, “let the cock-holds[505] pay for’t;” intimating that their maintenance flows from the wantonness of merchants’ wives, when in troth the plain troth is, the plain and the stand, or the plain stand and deliver, delivers them all their living. These comrades have persuaded thy master that there’s no way to redeem his peach-colour satin suit from pawn but by the love of a citizen’s wife; he believes it: they flout him, he feeds them; and now ’tis our honest and religious meditation that he feed us, Holofernes Puppi.    115

Hol. Pippo, and shall please you.

Bid. Pippo, ’tis our will and pleasure thou suit thyself like a merchant’s wife; leave the managing of the sequence unto our prudence.

Hol. Or unto our Prudence; truly she is a very witty wench, and hath a stammel[506] petticoat with three guards[507] for the nonce; but for your merchant’s wife, alas! I am too little, speak too small, go too gingerly: by my troth I fear I shall look too fair.    124

Bid. Our majesty dismounteth, and we put off our greatness; and now, my little knaves, I am plain Crack. As I am Bosphoros Carmelydon Honorificacuminos Bidet, I am imperious, honour sparkles in mine eyes; but as I am Crack, I will convey,[508] crossbite,[509] and cheat upon Simplicius. I will feed, satiate, and fill your paunches; replenish, stuff, or furnish your purses: we will laugh when others weep—sing when others sigh—feed when others starve—and be drunk when others are sober. This is my charge at the loose.[510] As you love our brotherhood, avoid true speech, square dice, small liquor, and above all, those two ungentlemanlike protestations of indeed and verily. And so,    137

Gentle Apollo, touch thy nimble string;
Our scene is done; yet ’fore we cease, we sing.

[The Song, and exeunt.

[493] Slipper.—It was part of a page’s duty to carry the pantofles of his master or mistress. On entering service he was said to be “sworn to the pantofle.”

[494] Crack was a common term for a pert boy.

[495] A game at cards.

[496] Pair of dice.—It would seem that to cog a die was a favourite form of roguery among pages. Nashe, in an address to “the dapper messieurs pages of the court,” prefixed to The Unfortunate Traveller (1594), says:—“Thirdly, it shall be lawful for any whatsoever to play with false dice in a corner.”

[497] So ed. 2.—Ed. 1. “pustulent.”

[498] Attendant on a lady of pleasure.

[499] Petticoat.

[500] Cant term for a whore.

[501] Cf. Every Man out of His Humour, iv. 4:—“Let a man sweat once a week in a hot-house, and be well rubb’d and froted with a good plump juicy wench and sweet linen, he shall ne’er ha’ the pox.”

[502] Old eds. “sithing and sithing.”

[503] i.e., an advertisement for a situation: see Nares’ Glossary. The middle aisle of Paul’s was the favourite place for the display of such advertisements.

[504] Properly a German trooper (reiter or reuter); but the term was also applied to a roistering gallant.

[505] So ed. 1.—Ed. 2. “cuckolds.”

[506] Red.

[507] Facings, trimmings.

[508] Pilfer.

[509] Cozen.

[510] “At the loose“—at my dismissal of you. Loose was a term in archery for the discharging of an arrow.



Albano’s house.

Enter Celia, Meletza, Lyzabetta, and Lucia.

Cel. Faith, sister, I long to play with a feather! Prithee, Lucia, bring the shuttlecock.

Mel. Out on him, light-pated fantastic! He’s like one of our gallants at——

Lyz. I wonder who thou speak’st well of.

Mel. Why, of myself; for, by my troth, I know none else will.

Cel. Sweet sister Meletza, let’s sit in judgment a little, faith, of my servant, Monsieur[511] Laverdure.

Mel. Troth well, for a servant,[512] but for a husband [sighs] I——[513]    11

Lyz. Why, why?

Mel. Why, he is not a plain fool, nor fair, nor fat, nor rich, rich fool. But he is a knight; his honour will give the passado in the presence to-morrow night; I hope he will deserve. All I can say is as, as the common fiddlers will say[514] in their “God send you well to do.”

Lyz. How think’st thou of the amorous Jacomo?

Mel. Jacomo? why, on my bare troth——

Cel. Why bare troth?    20

Mel. Because my troth is like his chin, t’hath no hair on’t. God’s me! his face looks like the head of a tabour; but trust me he hath a good wit.

Lyz. Who told you so?

Mel. One that knows; one that can tell.

Cel. Who’s that?

Mel. Himself.

Lyz. Well, wench; thou hadst a servant, one Fabius; what hast thou done with him?    29

Mel. I done with him? Out of him, puppy! By this feather, his beard is directly brick-colour, and perfectly fashion’d like the husk of a chestnut; he kisses with the driest lip. Fie on him!

Cel. O, but your servant Quadratus, the absolute courtier!

Mel. Fie, fie! Speak no more of him: he lives by begging. He is a fine courtier, flatters admirable, kisses “fair madam,” smells surpassing sweet; wears and holds up the arras, supports the tapestry, when I pass into the presence, very gracefully; and I assure you——    40

Luc. Madam, here is your shuttlecock.

Mel. Sister, is not your waiting-wench rich?

Cel. Why, sister, why?

Mel. Because she can flatter. Prithee call her not: she has twenty-four hours to madam[515] yet. Come, you; you prate: i’faith, I’ll toss you from post to pillar!

Cel. You post and I pillar.

Mel. No, no, you are the only post; you must support, prove a wench, and bear; or else all the building of your delight will fall——    50

Cel. Down.

Lyz. What, must I stand out?

Mel. Ay, by my faith, till you be married.

Lyz. Why do you toss then?

Mel. Why, I am wed, wench.

Cel. Prithee to whom?

Mel. To the true husband, right head of a woman—my will, which vows never to marry till I mean to be a fool, a slave, starch cambric ruffs, and make candles; (pur!)—’tis down, serve again, good wench.    60

Luc. By your pleasing cheek, you play well.

Mel. Nay, good creature, prithee do not flatter me. I thought ’twas for something you go cased in your velvet scabbard; I warrant these laces were ne’er stitch’d on with true stitch. I have a plain waiting-wench; she speaks plain, and, faith, she goes plain; she is virtuous, and because she should go like virtue, by the consent of my bounty, she shall never have above two smocks to her back, for that’s the fortune of desert, and the main in fashion or reward of merit; (pur)!—just thus do I use my servants. I strive to catch them in my racket, and no sooner caught, but I toss them away: if he fly well and have good feathers, I play with him[516] till he be down, and then my maid serves him to me again: if a slug, and weak-wing’d, if he be down, there let him lie.    75

Cel. Good Mell, I wonder how many servants thou hast.

Mel. Troth, so do I; let me see—Dupatzo.

Lyz. Dupatzo, which Dupatzo?

Mel. Dupatzo, the elder brother, the fool; he that bought the halfpenny riband, wearing it in his ear,[517] swearing ’twas the Duchess of Milan’s favour; he into whose head a man may travel ten leagues before he can meet with his eyes. Then there’s my chub, my epicure, Quadratus, that rubs his guts, claps his paunch, and cries Rivo! entertaining my ears perpetually with a most strong discourse of the praise of bottle-ale and red herrings. Then there’s Simplicius Faber.    87

Lyz. Why, he is a fool!

Mel. True, or else he would ne’er be my servant. Then there’s the cape-cloak’d courtier, Baltazar; he wears a double, treble, quadruple ruff, ay, in the summertime. Faith, I ha’ servants enow, and I doubt not but by my ordinary pride and extraordinary cunning to get more.—Monsieur Laverdure, with a troop of gallants, is ent’ring.

Lyz. He capers the lascivious blood about Within heart-pants, nor leaps the eye nor lips: Prepare yourselves to kiss, for you must be kiss’d.    98

Mel. By my troth, ’tis a pretty thing to be towards marriage; a pretty loving—— Look, where he comes. Ha! ha!

Enter[518] Laverdure, Quadratus, Lampatho, and Simplicius.

Lav. Good day, sweet love.

Mel. Wish her good night, man.

Lav. Good morrow, sister.

Mel. A curtsey to your[519] caper: to-morrow morn I’ll call you brother.

Lav. But much much falls betwixt the cup and lip.

Mel. Be not too confident, the knot may slip.

Qua. Bounty, blessedness, and the spirit of wine attend my mistress.    110

Mel. Thanks, good chub.

Sim. God[520] ye good morrow heartily, mistress; and how do you since last I saw you?

Qua. God’s me, you must not enquire how she does; that’s privy counsel. Fie! there’s manners indeed!

Sim. Pray you, pardon my incivility. I was somewhat bold with you, but believe me I’ll never be so saucy to ask you how do you again as long as I live. La!

Mel. Square chub, what sullen black is that?    119

Qua. A tassel that hangs at my purse-strings. He dogs me, and I give him scraps, and pay for his ordinary, feed him; he liquors himself in the juice of my bounty; and when he hath suck’d up strength of spirit he squeezeth it in my own face; when I have refined and sharp’d his wits with good food, he cuts my fingers, and breaks jests upon me. I bear them, and beat him; but by this light the dull-ey’d thinks he does well, does very well; and but that he and I are of two faiths—I fill my belly, and [he] feeds his brain—I could find in my heart to hug him—to hug him.    130

Mel. Prithee, persuade him to assume spirit, and salute us.

Qua. Lampatho, Lampatho, art out of countenance? For wit’s sake, salute these beauties. How doest like them?

Lam. Uds fut! I can liken them to nothing but great men’s great horse upon great days, whose tails are truss’d up in silk and silver.

Qua. To them, man; salute them.

Lam. Bless you, fair ladies! God make you all his servants!    141

Mel. God make you all his servants!

Qua. He is holpen well had need of you; for be it spoken without profanism, he hath more in this train. I fear me you ha’ more servants than he: I am sure the devil is an angel of darkness.

Lam. Ay, but those are angels of light.

Qua. Light angels; prithee leave them; withdraw a little, and hear a sonnet; prithee hear a sonnet.

Lam. Made of Albano’s widow that was, and Monsieur Laverdure’s wife that must be.    151

Qua. Come, leave his lips, and command some liquor; if you have no bottle-ale, command some claret wine and borage,[521] for that’s my predominate humour; sleek-bellied Bacchus, let’s fill thy guts.

Lam. Nay, hear it, and relish it judiciously.

Qua. I do relish it most judicially.

[Quadratus drinks.

Lam. Adored excellence! delicious, sweet!

Qua. Delicious, sweet! good, very good!

Lam. If thou canst taste the purer juice of love.    160

Qua. If thou canst taste the purer juice; good still, good still. I do relish it; it tastes sweet.

Lam. Is not the metaphor good? Is’t not well followed?

Qua. Passing good, very pleasing.

Lam. Is’t not sweet?

Qua. Let me see’t; I’ll make it sweet;
I’ll soak it in the juice of Helicon.
By’r Lady, passing sweet; good, passing sweet.

Lam. You wrong my muse.

Qua. The Irish flux upon thy muse, thy whorish muse.
Here is no place for her loose brothelry.    170
We will not deal with her. Go! away, away!

Lam. I’ll be revenged.

Qua. How, prithee? in a play? Come, come, be sociable.
In private severance from society;
Here leaps a vein of blood inflamed with love,
Mounting to pleasure, all addict to mirth;
Thou’lt read a satire or a sonnet now,
Clagging their airy humour with——

Lam. Lamp-oil, watch-candles, rug-gowns,[522] and small juice,
Thin commons, four o’clock rising,—I renounce you all.    180
Now may I ’ternally abandon meat,
Rust, fusty, you which most embraced disuse,
You ha’ made me an ass; thus shaped my lot,
I am a mere scholar, that is a mere sot.

Qua. Come, then, Lamp, I’ll pour fresh oil into thee;
Apply thy spirit, that it may nimbly turn
Unto the habit, fashion of the age.
I’ll make thee man the scholar, enable thy behaviour
Apt for the entertain of any presence.    189
I’ll turn thee gallant: first thou shalt have a mistress:
How is thy spirit raised to yonder beauty?—
She with the sanguine cheek, the[523] dimpled chin;
The pretty amorous smile, that clips her lips
And dallies ’bout her cheek; she with the speaking eye,
That casts out beams as ardent as those flakes
Which singed the world by rash-brain’d Phaethon;
She with the lip;—O lips!—she, for whose sake
A man could find in his heart to inhell himself!
There’s more philosophy, more theorems,
More demonstrations, all invincible,    200
More clear divinity drawn on her cheek,
Than in all volumes’ tedious paraphrase
Of musty eld. O, who would staggering doubt
The soul’s eternity, seeing it hath
Of heavenly beauty but to case it up!
Who would distrust a supreme existence,
Able to confound, when it can create
Such heaven on earth able to entrance,
Amaze! O, ’tis Providence, not chance!

Lam. Now, by the front of Jove, methinks her eye
Shoots more spirit in me. O beauty feminine;    211
How powerful art thou! What deep magic lies
Within the circle of thy speaking eyes!

Qua. Why, now could I eat thee; thou doest please mine appetite. I can digest[524] thee. God make[525] thee a good fool, and happy, and ignorant, and amorous, and rich, and frail, and a satirist, and an essayist, and sleepy, and proud, and indeed a fool, and then thou shalt be sure of all these. Do but scorn her, she is thine own; accost her carelessly, and her eye promiseth she will be bound to the good abearing.    221

Cel. Now, sister Meletza, doest mark their craft; some straggling thoughts transport thy attentiveness from his discourse. Was’t Jacomo’s or our brother’s plot?

Lav. Both, both, sweet lady; my page heard all: we met the rogue; so like Albano, I beat the rogue.

Sim. Ay, but when you were gone the rogue beat me.

Lav. Now, take my counsel: listen.    229

Mel. A pretty youth; a pretty well-shaped youth: a good leg, a very good eye, a sweet ingenious[526] face, and I warrant a good wit; nay, which is more, if he be poor, I assure my soul he is chaste and honest; good faith, I fancy I fancy him: ay, and I may chance;—well, I’ll think the rest.

Qua. I say, be careless still: court her without compliment; take spirit.

Lav. Were’ not a pleasing jest for me to clothe
Another rascal like Albano, say,
And rumour him return’d, without all deceit?    240
Would not beget errors most ridiculous?

Qua. Meletza, bella, bellezza! Madonna, bella, bella, gentelezza! prithee kiss this initiated gallant.

Mel. How would it please you I should respect ye?

Lam. As anything, What You Will, as nothing.

Mel. As nothing! How will you value my love?

Lam. Why, just as you respect me—as nothing; for out of nothing, nothing is bred: so nothing shall not beget anything, anything bring nothing, nothing bring anything, anything and nothing shall be What You Will; my speech mounting to the value of myself, which is——    252

Mel. What, sweet——

Lam. Your nothing, light as yourself, senseless as your sex, and just as you would ha’ me—nothing.

Mel. Your wit skips a morisco; but, by the brightest spangle of my tire, I vouchsafe you entire unaffected favour.
Wear this, gentle spirit, be not proud;
Believe it, youth, slow speech swift love doth often shroud.    260

Lam. My soul’s entranced; your favour doth transport
My sense past sense, by your adorèd graces;
I doat, am rapt!

Mel. Nay, if you fall to passion and past sense,
My breast’s no harbour for your love. Go, pack! hence!

Qua. Uds fut! thou gull! thou inky scholar! Ha, thou whoreson fop!
Wilt not thou clap into our fashion’d gallantry?
Couldst not be proud and scornful, loose and vain?
God’s my heart’s object! what a plague is this?
My soul’s entranced! Fut! couldst not clip and kiss?
My soul’s entranced! ten thousand crowns at least    271
Lost, lost. My soul’s entranced! Love’s life, O beast!

Alb. [without]. Celia, open; open, Celia: I would enter: open, Celia!

Fran. [without]. Celia, open; open, Celia: I would enter: open, Celia!

Alb. [without]. What, Celia, let in thy husband, Albano: what, Celia!

Fran. [without]. What, Celia, let in thy husband, Albano: what, Celia!    280

Alb. [without]. Uds f-f-f-fut! let Albano enter.

Fran. [without]. Uds f-f-f-fut! let Albano enter.

Cel. Sweet breast, you ha’ play’d the wag, i’faith!

Lav.[527] Believe it, sweet, not I.

Mel. Come, you have attired some fiddler like Albano, to fright the perfumer; there’s the jest.

Enter[528] Randolfo, Andrea, and Jacomo.

Ran. Good fortunes to our sister.

Mel. And a speedy marriage.

And.[529] Then we must wish her no good fortunes.

Jaco. For shame! for shame! Straight dear your house; sweep out this dust; fling out this trash; return to modesty. Your husband! I say, your husband Albano, that was supposed drown’d, is return’d,—ay, and at the door!    293

Cel. Ha, ha! My husband! Ha, ha!

And.[530] Laugh you? Shameless! Laugh you?

Cel. Come, come, your plot’s discover’d. Good faith, kinsmen, I am no scold. To shape a perfumer like my husband! O sweet jest!

Jaco. Lost[531] hopes! all known.

Cel. For penance of your fault, will you maintain a jest now? My love hath tired some fiddler like Albano, like the Perfumer.    302

Lav. Not I: by blessedness, not I.

Mel. Come, ’tis true. Do but support the jest, and you shall surfeit with laughter.

Jaco. Faith, we condescend; ’twill not be cross’d, I see.
Marriage and hanging go by destiny.

Alb. [without]. B-b-b-bar out Albano! O adulterous, impudent!

Fran. [without]. B-b-b-bar out Albano! O thou matchless g-g-g-giglet![532]    311

Qua. Let them in! Let them in! Now, now, now! Observe, observe! Look, look, look!

Enter Albano and Francisco.

Jaco. That same’s a fiddler, shaped like thee. Fear nought; be confident: thou shalt know the jest hereafter: be confident; fear nought; blush not; stand firm.    317

Alb. Now, brothers; now, gallants; now, sisters; now call [me] a perfumer, a gutter-master. Bar me my house; beat me,—baffle[533] me,—scoff me,—deride me! Ha, that I were a young man again! By the mass, I would ha’ you all by the ears, by the mass, law! I am Francisco Soranza! am I not, giglet, strumpet, cutters,[534] swaggerers, brothel-haunters? I am Francisco! O God! O slaves! O dogs, dogs, curs!

Jaco. No, sir; pray you, pardon us; we confess you are not Francisco, nor a perfumer, but even——    327

Alb. But even Albano.

Jaco. But even a fiddler,—a minikin-tickler,[535]—a pumpum!

Fran. A scraper, scraper!
Art not asham’d, before Albano’s face,
To clip his spouse? O shameless, impudent!

Jaco. Well said, perfumer.

Alb. A fiddler,—a scraper,—a minikin-tickler,—a pum, a pum!—even now a perfumer,—now a fiddler!—I will be even What You Will. Do, do, do, k-k-k-kiss my wife be-be-be-be-fore——

Qua. Why, wouldst have him kiss her behind?

Alb. Before my own f-f-f-face!    340

Jaco. Well done, fiddler!

Alb. I’ll f-f-fiddle ye!

Fran. Dost f-f-flout me?

Alb. Dost m-m-m-mock me?

Fran. I’ll to the duke. I’ll p-p-p-paste up infamies on every post.

Jaco. ’Twas rarely, rarely done. Away, away!    347

[Exit Francisco.

Alb. I’ll f-f-follow, though I st-st-st-stut; I’ll stumble to the duke: in p-p-plain language, I pray you use my wife well. Good faith, she was a kind soul, and an honest woman once: I was her husband, and was called Albano, before I was drown’d; but now, after my resurrection, I am I know not what; indeed, brothers, and indeed, sisters, and indeed, wife, I am What You Will. Doest thou laugh? dost thou ge-ge-ge-gern?[536] A p-p-p-perfumer,—a fiddler, a—Diabolo, matre de Dios,—I’ll f-f-f-firk you, by the Lord, now,[537] now I will!

[Exit Albano.

Qua. Ha, ha! ’tis a good rogue, a good rogue!

Lav. A good rogue! Ha! I know him not.

Cel. No, good sweet love. Come, come, dissemble not.    360

Lav. Nay, if you dread nothing, happy be my lot.
Come, via, sest;[538] come, fair cheeks; come, let’s dance:
The sweets of love is amorous dalliance.

Cel. All friends, all happy friends, my veins are light.

Lyz. Thy prayers are now, God send it quickly night!

Mel. And then come morning.

Lyz. Ay, that’s the hopeful day.

Mel. Ay, there thou hitt’st it.

Qua. Pray God he hit it.

Lav. Play!

The Dance.

Jaco. They say there’s revels and a play at court.

Lav. A play to-night?

Qua. Ay, ’tis this gallant’s wit.

Jaco. Is’t good? Is’t good?

Lam. I fear ’twill hardly hit.    370