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Title: The Works of John Marston
       Volume 3

Author: John Marston

Editor: A. H. Bullen

Release Date: July 17, 2014 [EBook #46312]

Language: English

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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


Eastward Hoe. As It was playd in the Black-friers. By The Children of her Maiesties Reuels. Made by Geo: Chapman. Ben: Jonson. Ioh: Marston. At London Printed for William Aspley. 1605. 4to.


Master Touchstone, an honest goldsmith, has two daughters and two apprentices. The elder daughter, Gertrude, is proud, extravagant, and wanton; the younger, Mildred, is simple, thrifty, and modest. So with the apprentices: Quicksilver is a graceless unthrift, but Golding is a model of industry and sobriety. A needy knight, Sir Petronel Flash, who represents himself to be the owner of a castle, marries Gertrude; and Golding, released from his apprenticeship, marries Mildred. Sir Petronel’s aim is to acquire some land of which Gertrude is possessed, turn it into ready money, and take ship with some adventurous spirits for Virginia, leaving his wife to find her way to the imaginary castle. Quicksilver, who has been dismissed from Touchstone’s service for riotous living, introduces Sir Petronel to an old usurer, Security; and Gertrude signs a deed, by which her estate is conveyed into Security’s hands. The knight is in love with Security’s wife, Winifred, and is anxious to have her society on the voyage. He tells Security that he intends to run away with the wife of one Bramble, a lawyer, and Security enters heartily into the scheme. It is contrived by Sir Petronel and Quicksilver that on the eve of the voyage Security brings Winifred in disguise (imagining her to be Bramble’s wife) to a river-side tavern, where are gathered Sir Petronel, Quicksilver, Seagull (the captain of the ship which is to sail for Virginia), Bramble, and the knight’s fellow-passengers, Scapethrift and Spendall. After drinking heavily at the tavern, the company rises to take boat for Blackwall, where Sir Petronel’s ship lies. As there is a stormy wind blowing and the tide is against them, the watermen urge that it would be unsafe to venture; but the company insists in starting, and the result is that the boats—one driven one way, another another—are capsized, and the drunken occupants are soused in the Thames. Security swims ashore at Cuckold’s Haven; Winifred is rescued at St. Katherine’s; Quicksilver finds himself by the gallows at Wapping; Sir Petronel and Seagull are cast-up on the Isle of Dogs, which the cupshot knight takes to be a spot on the French coast. Quicksilver falls in with Sir Petronel and the two repair to London, where they are arrested at the suit of Touchstone and, after being examined before Golding (who has been appointed deputy to the alderman of his ward), are committed to the Counter. Here, having leisure to review their conduct, they become deeply penitent, and set a wholesome example to the rest of the prisoners. By Golding’s kind offices they are released from the Counter and are taken into the good graces of Touchstone, who has had convincing proof of their reformation. Gertrude, though she has been slower to express contrition, finally humbles her pride and is received back into favour. Quicksilver marries his cast mistress, Sindefy, and lives cleanly; Security takes back Winifred.


Not out of envy, for there’s no effect
Where there’s no cause; nor out of imitation,
For we have evermore been imitated;[1]
Nor out of our contention to do better
Than that[2] which is opposed to ours in title,
For that was good; and better cannot be:
And for the title, if it seem affected,
We might as well have call’d it, “God[3] you good even:”
Only that eastward westwards still exceeds,
Honour the sun’s fair rising, not his setting.    10
Nor is our title utterly enforced,
As by the points we touch at you shall see.
Bear with our willing pains, if dull or witty,
We only dedicate it to the City.

[1] This tone of arrogant assumption is very characteristic of Ben Jonson, who probably contributed the prologue. Cf. Prologue to Cynthia’s Revels:

“In this alone his Muse her sweetness hath;
She shuns the print of any beaten path,
And proves new ways to come to learned ears,” &c.

[2] The comedy of Westward Ho, by Webster and Dekker; it was not published until 1607.—Eastward Ho and Westward Ho were the cries of the watermen who plied on the Thames.

[3] A shortened form of “God give you good even.”


Touchstone, a goldsmith.
Quicksilver, and Golding, apprentices to Touchstone.
Sir Petronel Flash, a shifty knight.
Security, an old usurer.
Bramble, a lawyer.
Seagull, a sea-captain.
Scapethrift, and Spendall, adventurers bound for Virginia.
Slitgut, a butcher’s apprentice.
Poldavy, a tailor.
Holdfast, and Wolf, officers of the Counter.
Hamlet, a footman.
Potkin, a tankard-bearer.

Mistress Touchstone.
Gertrude, and Mildred, her daughters.
Winifred, wife to Security.
Sindefy, mistress to Quicksilver.
Bettrice, a waiting-woman.
Mrs. Ford, Mrs. Gazer, Coachman, Page, Constables, Prisoners, &c.

Scene—London and Thames-side.

[4] Not marked in old ed.




Goldsmiths’ Row.

Enter Master Touchstone and Quicksilver at several doors; Quicksilver with his hat, pumps, short sword and dagger, and a racket trussed up under his cloak. At the middle door, enter Golding, discovering a goldsmith’s shop, and walking short turns before it.

To. And whither with you now? what loose action are you bound for? Come, what comrades are you to meet withal? where’s the supper? where’s the rendezvous?

Qu. Indeed, and in very good sober truth, sir—

To. Indeed, and in very good sober truth, sir! Behind my back thou wilt swear faster than a French foot-boy, and talk more bawdily than a common midwife; and now “indeed and in very good sober truth, sir!” but if a privy search should be made, with what furniture are you rigged now? Sirrah, I tell thee, I am thy master, William Touchstone, goldsmith; and thou my prentice, Francis Quicksilver, and I will see whither you are running. Work upon that now.    14

Qu. Why, sir, I hope a man may use his recreation with his master’s profit.

To. Prentices’ recreations are seldom with their master’s profit. Work upon that now. You shall give up your cloak, though you be no alderman. Heyday! ruffians’-hall sword, pumps, here’s a racket indeed!

[Touchstone uncloaks Quicksilver.

Qu. Work upon that now.

To. Thou shameless varlet! dost thou jest at thy lawful master, contrary to thy indentures?    23

Qu. Why ’sblood, sir, my mother’s a gentlewoman, and my father a justice of peace and of Quorum; and though I am a younger brother and a prentice, yet I hope I am my father’s son; and by God’s lid, ’tis for your worship and for your commodity that I keep company. I am entertained among gallants, true;[5] they call me cousin Frank, right; I lend them moneys, good; they spend it, well. But when they are spent, must not they strive to get more, must not their land fly? and to whom? Shall not your worship ha’ the refusal? Well, I am a good member of the city, if I were well considered. How would merchants thrive, if gentlemen would not be unthrifts? How could gentlemen be unthrifts if their humours were not fed? How should their humours be fed but by white meat, and cunning secondings? Well, the city might consider us. I am going to an ordinary now: the gallants fall to play; I carry light gold with me; the gallants call, “Cousin Frank, some gold for silver;” I change, gain by it; the gallants lose the gold, and then call, “Cousin Frank, lend me some silver.” Why——    43

To. Why? I cannot tell. Seven-score pound art thou out in the cash; but look to it, I will not be gallanted out of my moneys. And as for my rising by other men’s fall, God shield me! did I gain my wealth by ordinaries? no: by exchanging of gold? no: by keeping of gallants’ company? no. I hired me a little shop, fought low, took small gain, kept no debt-book, garnished my shop, for want of plate, with good wholesome thrifty sentences; as, “Touchstone, keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee;” “Light gains makes heavy purses;” “’Tis good to be merry and wise.” And when I was wived, having something to stick to, I had the horn of suretyship ever before my eyes. You all know the device of the horn, where the young fellow slips in at the butt-end, and comes squeezed out at the buckall: and I grew up, and I praise providence, I bear my brows now as high as the best of my neighbours: but thou——well, look to the accounts; your father’s bond lies for you: seven-score pound is yet in the rear.    62

Qu. Why ’slid, sir, I have as good, as proper gallants’ words for it as any are in London—gentlemen of good phrase, perfect language, passingly behaved; gallants that wear socks and clean linen, and call me “kind cousin Frank,” “good cousin Frank,” for they know my father: and by God’s lid shall I not trust ’hem?—not trust?

Enter a Page as inquiring for Touchstone’s shop.

Go. What do ye lack, sir? What is’t you’ll buy, sir?

To. Ay, marry sir; there’s a youth of another piece. There’s thy fellow-prentice, as good a gentleman born as thou art: nay, and better meaned. But does he pump it, or racket it? Well, if he thrive not, if he outlast not a hundred such crackling bavins as thou art, God and men neglect industry.    75

Go. It is his shop, and here my master walks.

[To the Page.

To. With me, boy?

Pa. My master, Sir Petronel Flash, recommends his love to you, and will instantly visit you.

To. To make up the match with my eldest daughter, my wife’s dilling,[6] whom she longs to call madam. He shall find me unwillingly ready, boy. [Exit Page.] There’s another affliction too. As I have two prentices, the one of a boundless prodigality, the other of a most hopeful industry—so have I only two daughters: the eldest, of a proud ambition and nice wantonness; the other of a modest humility and comely soberness. The one must be ladified, forsooth, and be attired just to the court-cut and long tail.[7] So far is she ill-natured to the place and means of my preferment and fortune, that she throws all the contempt and despite hatred itself can cast upon it. Well, a piece of land she has; ’twas her grandmother’s gift; let her, and her Sir Petronel, flash out that; but as for my substance, she that scorns me, as I am a citizen and tradesman, shall never pamper her pride with my industry; shall never use me as men do foxes, keep themselves warm in the skin, and throw the body that bare it to the dunghill. I must go entertain this Sir Petronel. Golding, my utmost care’s for thee, and only trust in thee; look to the shop. As for you, Master Quicksilver, think of husks, for thy course is running directly to the prodigal’s hog’s-trough; husks, sirrah! Work upon that now.

[Exit Touchstone.

Qu. Marry faugh,[8] goodman flat-cap![9] ’sfoot! though I am a prentice I can give arms;[10] and my father’s a justice-a-peace by descent, and ’sblood——    106

Go. Fie, how you swear!

Qu. ’Sfoot, man, I am a gentleman, and may swear by my pedigree. God’s my life! Sirrah Golding, wilt be ruled by a fool? Turn good fellow, turn swaggering gallant, and let the welkin roar, and Erebus also.[11] Look not westward to the fall of Dan Phœbus, but to the east—Eastward-ho!

Where radiant beams of lusty Sol appear,
And bright Eous makes the welkin clear.

We are both gentlemen, and therefore should be no coxcombs: let’s be no longer fools to this flat-cap, Touchstone. Eastward, bully, this satin belly, and canvas-backed Touchstone: ’slife! man, his father was a maltman, and his mother sold gingerbread in Christchurch.[12]    121

Go. What would you ha’ me to do?

Qu. Why, do nothing, be like a gentleman, be idle; the curse of man is labour. Wipe thy bum with testones, and make ducks and drakes with shillings. What, Eastward-ho! Wilt thou cry, “what is’t ye lack?” stand with a bare pate, and a dropping nose, under a wooden pent-house, and art a gentleman? Wilt thou bear tankards, and mayst bear arms? Be ruled; turn gallant; Eastward-ho! ta, lirra, lirra, ro! “Who[13] calls Jeronimo? Speak, here I am.” God’s so! how like a sheep thou look’st: o’ my conscience, some cowherd begot thee, thou Golding of Golding-hall! Ha, boy?    133

Go. Go, ye are a prodigal coxcomb! I a cowherd’s son, because I turn not a drunken whore-hunting rake-hell like thyself!

Qu. Rake-hell! rake-hell!

[Offers to draw, and Golding trips up his heels and holds him.

Go. Pish, in soft terms, ye are a cowardly bragging boy. I’ll ha’ you whipt.

Qu. Whipt?—that’s good, i’faith! untruss me?    140

Go. No, thou wilt undo thyself. Alas! I behold thee with pity, not with anger: thou common shot-clog,[14] gull of all companies; methinks I see thee already walk-in Moorfields[15] without a cloak, with half a hat, without a band, a doublet with three buttons, without a girdle, a hose with one point, and no garter, with a cudgel under thine arm, borrowing and begging threepence.

Qu. Nay, ’slife! take this and take all; as I am a gentleman born, I’ll be drunk, grow valiant, and beat thee.


Go. Go, thou most madly vain, whom nothing can recover but that which reclaims atheists, and makes great persons sometimes religious—calamity. As for my place and life, thus I have read:—    154

Whate’er some vainer youth may term disgrace,
The gain of honest pains is never base;
From trades, from arts, from valour, honour springs,
These three are founts of gentry, yea, of kings.

Enter Gertrude, Mildred, Bettrice, and Poldavy, a tailor; Poldavy with a fair gown, Scotch farthingale and French-fall in his arms; Gertrude in a French head-attire, and citizen’s gown; Mildred sewing and Bettrice leading a monkey after her.[16]

Ge. For the passion of patience, look if Sir Petronel approach—that sweet, that fine, that delicate, that—for love’s sake tell me if he come. O sister Mill, though my father be a low-capped tradesman, yet I must be a lady; and I praise God my mother must call me madam. Does he come? Off with this gown, for shame’s sake, off with this gown: let not my knight take me in the city-cut in any hand: tear’t, pax on’t (does he come?) tear’t off. “Thus whilst she sleeps, I sorrow for her sake,” &c.[17]    167

Mi. Lord, sister, with what an immodest impatiency and disgraceful scorn do you put off your city ’tire; I am sorry to think you imagine to right yourself in wronging that which hath made both you and us.

Ge. I tell you I cannot endure it, I must be a lady: do you wear your coif with a London licket,[18] your stammel[19] petticoat with two guards,[20] the buffin[21] gown with the tuff-taffety cape, and the velvet lace. I must be a lady, and I will be a lady. I like some humours of the city-dames well: to eat cherries[22] only at an angel a pound, good; to dye rich scarlet, black, pretty; to line a grogram gown clean thorough with velvet, tolerable; their pure linen, their smocks of three pounds a smock, are to be borne withal. But your mincing niceries, taffeta pipkins, durance[23] petticoats, and silver bodkins—God’s my life, as I shall be a lady, I cannot endure it! Is he come yet? Lord, what a long knight ’tis! “And ever she cried, Shoot[24] home!” and yet I knew one longer; “And ever she cried, Shoot[24] home,” fa, la, ly, re, lo, la!

Mi. Well, sister, those that scorn their nest, oft fly with a sick wing.    188

Ge. Bow-bell!

Mi. Where titles presume to thrust before fit means to second them, wealth and respect often grow sullen, and will not follow. For sure in this, I would for your sake I spake not truth: Where ambition of place goes before fitness of birth, contempt and disgrace follow. I heard a scholar once say, that Ulysses, when he counterfeited himself mad, yoked cats[25] and foxes and dogs together to draw his plough, whiles he followed and sowed salt; but sure I judge them truly mad, that yoke citizens and courtiers, tradesmen and soldiers, a goldsmith’s daughter and a knight. Well, sister, pray God my father sow not salt too.    201

Ge. Alas! poor Mildred, when I am a lady, I’ll pray for thee yet, i’faith: nay, and I’ll vouchsafe to call thee sister Mill still; for though thou art not like to be a lady as I am, yet sure thou art a creature of God’s making; and mayest peradventure to be saved as soon as I (does he come?). “And ever and anon she doubled in her song.” Now, lady’s my comfort, what profane ape’s here? Tailor, Poldavy, prithee, fit it, fit it: is this a right Scot?[26] Does it clip close, and bear up round?    210

Po. Fine and stiffly, i’faith; ’twill keep your thighs so cool, and make your waist so small; here was a fault in your body, but I have supplied the defect, with the effect of my steel instrument, which, though it have but one eye, can see to rectify the imperfection of the proportion.

Ge. Most edifying tailor! I protest you tailors are most sanctified members, and make many crooked things go upright. How must I bear my hands? Light? light?    219

Po. O ay, now you are in the lady-fashion, you must do all things light. Tread light, light. Ay, and fall so: that’s the Court-amble.

[She trips about the stage.

Ge. Has the Court ne’er a trot?

Po. No, but a false gallop, lady.

Ge. And if she will not go to bed


Be. The knight’s come, forsooth.

Enter Sir Petronel, Master Touchstone, and Mistress Touchstone.

Ge. Is my knight come? O the Lord, my band! Sister, do my cheeks look well? Give me a little box o’ the ear, that I may seem to blush; now, now! So, there, there, there! here he is: O my dearest delight! Lord, Lord! and how does my knight?    231

To. Fie! with more modesty.

Ge. Modesty! why, I am no citizen now—modesty! Am I not to be married? y’are best to keep me modest, now I am to be a lady.

Sir Pe. Boldness is good fashion and courtlike.

Ge. Ay, in a country lady I hope it is, as I shall be. And how chance ye came no sooner, knight?

Sir Pe. ’Faith, I was so entertained in the progress with one Count Epernoum, a Welsh knight; we had a match at balloon[27] too with my Lord Whachum, for four crowns.    242

Ge. At baboon? Jesu! you and I will play at baboon in the country, knight.

Sir Pe. O, sweet lady! ’tis a strong play with the arm.

Ge. With arm or leg, or any other member, if it be a Court-sport. And when shall’s be married, my knight?

Sir Pe. I come now to consummate it, and your father may call a poor knight son-in-law.    250

M. To. Sir, ye are come; what is not mine to keep I must not be sorry to forego. A 100 li. land her grandmother left her, ’tis yours; herself (as her mother’s gift) is yours. But if you expect aught from me, know, my hand and mine eyes open together; I do not give blindly. Work upon that now.

Sir Pe. Sir, you mistrust not my means? I am a knight.

To. Sir, sir, what I know not, you will give me leave to say I am ignorant of.    260

Mist. To. Yes, that he is a knight; I know where he had money to pay the gentlemen-ushers and heralds their fees. Ay, that he is a knight, and so might you have been too, if you had been aught else than an ass, as well as some of your neighbours. And I thought you would not ha’ been knighted, as I am an honest woman, I would ha’ dubbed you myself. I praise God I have wherewithal. But as for your daughter—

Ge. Ay, mother, I must be a lady to-morrow; and by your leave, mother (I speak it not without my duty, but only in the right of my husband), I must take place of you, mother.    272

Mist. To. That you shall, lady-daughter, and have a coach as well as I too.

Ge. Yes, mother. But by your leave, mother (I speak it not without my duty, but only in my husband’s right), my coach-horses must take the wall of your coach-horses.

To. Come, come, the day grows low; ’tis supper-time; use my house; the wedding solemnity is at my wife’s cost; thank me for nothing but my [un]willing blessing; for I cannot feign, my hopes are faint. And, sir, respect my daughter; she has refused for you wealthy and honest matches, known good men, well-moneyed, better traded, best reputed.    284

Ge. Body-o’-truth! chittizens,[28] chittizens! Sweet knight, as soon as ever we are married, take me to thy mercy out of this miserable chitty; presently carry me out of the scent of Newcastle coal, and the hearing of Bow-bell; I beseech thee down with me, for God sake!

To. Well, daughter, I have read that old wit sings:

The greatest rivers flow from little springs:
Though thou art full, scorn not thy means at first,
He that’s most drunk may soonest be athirst.

Work upon that now.    294

[All but Touchstone, Mildred, and Golding depart.

No, no! yond’ stand my hopes—Mildred, come hither, daughter. And how approve you your sister’s fashion? how do you fancy her choice? what dost thou think?

Mi. I hope as a sister, well.

To. Nay but, nay but, how dost thou like her behaviour and humour? Speak freely.    300

Mi. I am loth to speak ill; and yet I am sorry of this, I cannot speak well.

To. Well; very good, as I would wish; a modest answer. Golding, come hither; hither, Golding. How dost thou like the knight, Sir Flash? does he not look big? how likest thou the elephant? he says he has a castle in the country.

Go. Pray heaven, the elephant carry not his castle on his back.[29]    309

To. ’Fore heaven, very well! but seriously, how dost repute him?

Go. The best I can say of him is, I know him not.

To. Ha, Golding! I commend thee, I approve thee, and will make it appear my affection is strong to thee. My wife has her humour, and I will ha’ mine. Dost thou see my daughter here? She is not fair, well-favoured or so indifferent, which modest measure of beauty shall not make it thy only work to watch her, nor sufficient mischance to suspect her. Thou art towardly, she is modest; thou art provident, she is careful. She’s now mine; give me thy hand, she’s now thine. Work upon that now.    322

Go. Sir, as your son, I honour you; and as your servant, obey you.

To. Sayest thou so? Come hither, Mildred. Do you see yond’ fellow? he is a gentleman, though my prentice, and has somewhat to take too; a youth of good hope; well friended, well parted.[30] Are you mine? you are his. Work upon that now.    329

Mi. Sir, I am all yours; your body gave me life; your care and love, happiness of life; let your virtue still direct it, for to your wisdom I wholly dispose myself.

To. Say’st thou so? Be you two better acquainted. Lip her, lip her, knave. So, shut up shop; in. We must make holiday.

[Exeunt Golding and Mildred.

This match shall on, for I intend to prove
Which thrives the best, the mean or lofty love.
Whether fit wedlock vow’d ’twixt like and like,
Or prouder hopes, which daringly o’erstrike    340
Their place and means. ’Tis honest time’s expense,
When seeming lightness bears a moral sense.
Work upon that now.


[5] Compare the turn of this sentence with a passage of The Fawn (vol. ii. p. 181):—“His brother your husband, right; he cuckold his eldest brother, true; he get her with child, just.”

[6] Darling.

[7] An allusion to the proverbial expression, “cut and long tail” (i.e., dogs of every kind).

[8] “Marry, faugh”—a common expression of disgust.

[9] A nickname for a citizen.

[10] “Give arms”—show armorial bearings.

[11] Scraps of Pistol’s rant.—“To the infernal deep with Erebus and tortures vile also,” &c.

[12] The parishes of St. Ewin, St. Nicholas, and part of St. Sepulchre’s were amalgamated into one large parish and called Christ Church. It has been suggested that the reference is to Christ Church in Hampshire!

[13] “Who calls, &c.”—a line from The Spanish Tragedy (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, v. 54).

[14] One who paid the reckoning for the whole company at a tavern. Cf. Jonson, Poetaster, i. 1:—“What shall I have my son ... a gull, a rook, a shot-clog, to make suppers and be laugh’d at?”

[15] A favourite spot for sturdy beggars.—“I took him begging o’ the way this morning as I came over Moorfields.”—Every Man in his Humour, iv. 4.

[16] Bettrice is not introduced elsewhere in the play. I presume she is a waiting-woman in attendance upon Gertrude, and that it is part of her duty to look after her mistress’s monkey. Formerly ladies kept monkeys for pets,—a custom to which the dramatists constantly allude.

[17] A line from a song in John Dowland’s First Book of Songs or Airs, 1597. The song begins—“Sleep, wayward thoughts, and rest you with my love.”

[18] “I have a notion,” says Nares in his Glossary, “of having seen a London licket somewhere else, but cannot recall the place.” I regret to say that I am in the same difficulty. Possibly we were both thinking of London lickpenny.—“Licket” may be another form of “tippet.”

[19] Red.

[20] Facing, trimmings.

[21] A sort of coarse cloth.

[22] Cf. Middleton, i. 65.—Dekker, in the Bachelors Banquet (1603), describing “The humour of a woman lying in child-bed,” says:—“She must have cherries, though for a pound he pay ten shillings, or green peacods at four nobles a peck.”

[23] Durance was the name of a sort of strong buff-coloured stuff.

[24] Old ed. “shoute.” I have not been able to discover the song (if discoverable it is) from which Gertrude is quoting; there is something similar in one of the Roxburghe Ballads (vol. ii. p. 207) entitled “Have at a venture,” but the passage is hardly quotable.

[25] It was a horse (or an ass) and an ox that Ulysses yoked together, according to the ordinary account. See Hyginus Fab. xcv., and the notes of the commentators thereon.

[26] The Scotch farthingale is mentioned in Dekker and Webster’s Westward Ho, i. 1.

[27] A game in which a large inflated ball of leather was driven to and fro by a flat piece of wood attached to the arm.

[28] This affected pronunciation of the word citizens occurs frequently in Middleton’s Blurt, Master Constable.

[29] “’Tis an ordinary thing,” says Burton (Anat. of Mel., ed. 1660, p. 476), “to put a thousand oaks and an hundred oxen into a suit of apparel, to wear a whole manor on his back.” Cf. Henry VIII., i. 1, 30-35, &c.

[30] “Well parted” = of good abilities. The expression is Jonsonian. Macilente in “The Character of the Persons” prefixed to Every Man out of his Humour is described as “A man well parted, a sufficient scholar,” &c.



Goldsmiths’ Row.

Touchstone, Quicksilver, Golding, and Mildred, sitting on either side of the stall.

To. Quicksilver, Master Francis Quicksilver, Master Quicksilver!

Enter Quicksilver.

Qu. Here, sir (ump).

To. So, sir; nothing but flat Master Quicksilver (without any familiar addition) will fetch you; will you truss my points, sir?

Qu. Ay, forsooth (ump).

To. How now, sir? the drunken hiccup so soon this morning?

Qu. ’Tis but the coldness of my stomach, forsooth.    10

To. What? have you the cause natural for it? y’are a very learned drunkard: I believe I shall miss some of my silver spoons with your learning. The nuptial night will not moisten your throat sufficiently, but the morning likewise must rain her dews into your gluttonous weasand.

Qu. An’t please you, sir, we did but drink (ump) to the coming off of the knightly bridegroom.

To. To the coming off an’ him?    19

Qu. Ay, forsooth, we drunk to his coming on (ump) when we went to bed; and now we are up, we must drink to his coming off: for that’s the chief honour of a soldier, sir; and therefore we must drink so much the more to it, forsooth (ump).

To. A very capital reason! So that you go to bed late, and rise early to commit drunkenness; you fulfil the scripture very sufficient wickedly, forsooth.

Qu. The knight’s men, forsooth, be still o’ their knees at it (ump), and because ’tis for your credit, sir, I would be loth to flinch.    30

To. I pray, sir, e’en to ’hem again then; y’are one of the separated crew, one of my wife’s faction, and my young lady’s, with whom, and with their great match, I will have nothing to do.

Qu. So, sir, now I will go keep my (ump) credit with ’hem, an’t please you, sir.

To. In any case, sir, lay one cup of sack more o’ your cold stomach, I beseech you.    38

Qu. Yes, forsooth.

[Exit Quicksilver.

To. This is for my credit! servants ever maintain drunkenness in their master’s house for their master’s credit; a good idle serving-man’s reason. I thank time the night is past; I ne’er waked to such cost; I think we have stowed more sorts of flesh in our bellies than ever Noah’s ark received; and for wine, why my house turns giddy with it, and more noise in it than at a conduit. Ay me! even beasts condemn our gluttony. Well, ’tis our city’s fault, which, because we commit seldom, we commit the more sinfully; we lose no time in our sensuality, but we make amends for it. O that we would do so in virtue, and religious negligences! But see here are all the sober parcels my house can show; I’ll eavesdrop, hear what thoughts they utter this morning.    54

Enter Golding and Mildred.

Go. But is it possible that you, seeing your sister preferred to the bed of a knight, should contain your affections in the arms of a prentice?

Mi. I had rather make up the garment of my affections in some of the same piece, than, like a fool, wear gowns of two colours, or mix sackcloth with satin.

Go. And do the costly garments—the title and fame of a lady, the fashion, observation, and reverence proper to such preferment—no more inflame you than such convenience as my poor means and industry can offer to your virtues?    65

Mi. I have observed that the bridle given to those violent flatteries of fortune is seldom recovered; they bear one headlong in desire from one novelty to another, and where those ranging appetites reign, there is ever more passion than reason: no stay, and so no happiness. These hasty advancements are not natural. Nature hath given us legs to go to our objects; not wings to fly to them.    73

Go. How dear an object you are to my desires I cannot express; whose fruition would my master’s absolute consent and yours vouchsafe me, I should be absolutely happy. And though it were a grace so far beyond my merit, that I should blush with unworthiness to receive it, yet thus far both my love and my means shall assure your requital: you shall want nothing fit for your birth and education; what increase of wealth and advancement the honest and orderly industry and skill of our trade will afford in any, I doubt not will be aspired by me; I will ever make your contentment the end of my endeavours; I will love you above all; and only your grief shall be my misery, and your delight my felicity.    87

To. Work upon that now. By my hopes, he wooes honestly and orderly; he shall be anchor of my hopes! Look, see the ill-yoked monster, his fellow!

Enter Quicksilver unlaced, a towel about his neck, in his flat-cap, drunk.

Qu. Eastward-ho! Holla, ye pampered jades of Asia![31]

To. Drunk now downright, o’ my fidelity!

Qu. (Ump).[32] Pull eo, pullo! showse, quoth the caliver.    95

Go. Fie, fellow Quicksilver, what a pickle are you in!

Qu. Pickle? pickle in thy throat; zounds, pickle! Wa, ha, ho! good-morrow, knight Petronel: morrow, lady goldsmith; come off, knight, with a counterbuff, for the honour of knighthood.

Go. Why, how now, sir? do ye know where you are?    102

Qu. Where I am? why, ’sblood! you jolthead, where I am!

Go. Go to, go to, for shame; go to bed and sleep out this immodesty: thou shamest both my master and his house.

Qu. Shame? what shame? I thought thou wouldst show thy bringing-up; and thou wert a gentleman as I am, thou wouldst think it no shame to be drunk. Lend me some money, save my credit; I must dine with the serving-men and their wives—and their wives, sirrah!    112

Go. E’en who you will; I’ll not lend thee threepence.

Qu. ’Sfoot; lend me some money; hast thou not Hiren here?[33]

To. Why, how now, sirrah? what vein’s this, ha?

Qu. Who cries on murther? Lady, was it you?[34] how does our master? pray thee cry Eastward-ho!

To. Sirrah, sirrah, y’are past your hiccup now; I see y’are drunk.    121

Qu. ’Tis for your credit, master.

To. And hear you keep a whore in town.

Qu. ’Tis for your credit, master.

To. And what you are out in cash, I know.

Qu. So do I; my father’s a gentleman. Work upon that now. Eastward-ho!

To. Sir, Eastward-ho will make you go Westward-ho:[35] I will no longer dishonest my house, nor endanger my stock, with your licence. There, sir, there’s your indenture; all your apparel (that I must know) is on your back, and from this time my door is shut to you: from me be free; but for other freedom, and the moneys you have wasted, Eastward-ho shall not serve you.    134

Qu. Am I free o’ my fetters? Rent, fly with a duck in thy mouth, and now I tell thee, Touchstone—

To. Good sir—

Qu. When[36] this eternal substance of my soul

To. Well said; change your gold-ends[37] for your play-ends.    140

Qu. Did live imprison’d in my wanton flesh

To. What then, sir?

Qu. I was a courtier in the Spanish Court, and Don Andrea was my name.

To. Good master Don Andrea, will you march?

Qu. Sweet Touchstone, will you lend me two shillings?

To. Not a penny.

Qu. Not a penny? I have friends, and I have acquaintance; I will piss at thy shop-posts, and throw rotten eggs at thy sign. Work upon that now.    150

[Exit staggering.

To. Now, sirrah, you! hear you? you shall serve me no more neither—not an hour longer.

Go. What mean you, sir?

To. I mean to give thee thy freedom, and with thy freedom my daughter, and with my daughter a father’s love. And with all these such a portion as shall make Knight Petronel himself envy thee! Y’are both agreed, are ye not?

Am. With all submission, both of thanks and duty.

To. Well then, the great Power of heaven bless and confirm you. And, Golding, that my love to thee may not show less than my wife’s love to my eldest daughter, thy marriage feast shall equal the knight’s and hers.    163

Go. Let me beseech you, no, sir; the superfluity and cold meat left at their nuptials will with bounty furnish ours. The grossest prodigality is superfluous cost of the belly; nor would I wish any invitement of states or friends, only your reverent[38] presence and witness shall sufficiently grace and confirm us.    169

To. Son to my own bosom, take her and my blessing. The nice fondling, my lady, sir-reverence, that I must not now presume to call daughter, is so ravished with desire to hansell her new coach, and see her knight’s Eastward Castle, that the next morning will sweat with her busy setting forth. Away will she and her mother, and while their preparation is making, ourselves, with some two or three other friends, will consummate the humble match we have in God’s name concluded. ’Tis to my wish, for I have often read,
Fit birth, fit age, keeps long a quiet bed.    180
’Tis to my wish; for tradesmen, well ’tis known,
Get with more ease than gentry keeps his own.


[31] A hackneyed quotation from Tamburlaine.

[32] Old ed. “Am pum pull eo,” &c.

[33] A favourite quotation of Pistol’s (“Have we not Hiren here?”). It is supposed to come from Peele’s lost play The Turkish Mahomet and Hyren the Fair Greek.

[34] This line would seem to belong to the Spanish Tragedy, but it is not in the text that has come down. When Horatio is stabbed by the assassins, Bellimperia cries:—“Murder! murder! Help, Hieronimo, help!” She is forced off the stage, and then Hieronimo enters, exclaiming, “What outcries pluck me from my naked bed!” (a much-ridiculed line). But in a passage of Jonson’s Poetaster (iii. 1), where there is clearly an allusion to Jeronimo, we find the line (slightly altered) that Quicksilver quotes:

2d Pyr. Ay, but somebody must cry Murder! then in a small voice.
Tuc. Your fellow-sharer there shall do’t: cry, sirrah, cry!
1st Pyr. Murder, murder!
2d Pyr. Who calls out murder? lady, was it you?

[35]I.e., will make you go to Tyburn. So in Greene’s Second Part of the Art of Conny Catching, sig. 2:—‘And yet at last so long the pitcher goeth to the brooke that it cometh broken home: and so long the foists put their villainie in practice that Westward they goe, and there solemnly make a rehearsal sermon at tiborne.’ Again in the third part, sig. C, ‘the end of such (though they scape a while) will be sailing Westward in a carte to Tiborn.’”—Reed.

[36] “When this eternal substance of my soul
Did live imprison’d in my wanton flesh,
Each in their function serving other’s need,
I was a courtier in the Spanish court:
My name was Don Andrea.”
—Opening lines of the Spanish Tragedy.

[37] Broken pieces of gold.

[38] Frequently used for reverend.


Room in Security’s house.

Security solus.

Sec. My privy guest, lusty Quicksilver, has drunk too deep of the bride-bowl; but with a little sleep, he is much recovered; and, I think, is making himself ready to be drunk in a gallanter likeness. My house is as ’twere the cave where the young outlaw hoards the stolen vails of his occupation; and here, when he will revel it in his prodigal similitude, he retires to his trunks, and (I may say softly) his punks; he dares trust me with the keeping of both; for I am Security itself; my name is Security, the famous usurer.



Room in Security’s house.

Enter Quicksilver in his prentice’s coat and cap, his gallant breeches and stockings, gartering himself, Security following.

Qu. Come, old Security, thou father of destruction! th’ indented sheepskin is burned wherein I was wrapt; and I am now loose, to get more children of perdition into thy usurous bonds. Thou feed’st my lechery, and I thy covetousness; thou art pander to me for my wench, and I to thee for thy cozenages. Ka me, ka thee,[39] runs through court and country.

Sec. Well said, my subtle Quicksilver! These ka’s ope the doors to all this world’s felicity: the dullest forehead sees it. Let not master courtier think he carries all the knavery on his shoulders: I have known poor Hob, in the country, that has worn hob-nails on’s hoes, have as much villainy in’s head as he that wears gold buttons in’s cap.    14

Qu. Why, man, ’tis the London highway to thrift; if virtue be used, ’tis but as a scape to the net of villainy. They that use it simply, thrive simply, I warrant. Weight and fashion makes goldsmiths cuckolds.

Enter Sindefy, with Quicksilver’s doublet, cloak, rapier, and dagger.

Si. Here, sir, put off the other half of your prenticeship.

Qu. Well said, sweet Sin! Bring forth my bravery.
Now let my trunks shoot[40] forth their silks conceal’d.    22
I now am free, and now will justify
My trunks and punks. Avaunt, dull flatcap, then!
Via the curtain that shadow’d Borgia![41]
There lie, thou husk of my envassail’d state,
I, Sampson, now have burst the Philistines’ bands,
And in thy lap, my lovely Dalila,
I’ll lie, and snore out my enfranchised state.

When[42] Sampson was a tall young man,    30
His power and strength increased than;
He sold no more nor cup nor can;
But did them all despise.
Old Touchstone, now write to thy friends
For one to sell thy base gold-ends;
Quicksilver now no more attends
Thee, Touchstone.

But, dad, hast thou seen my running gelding dressed to-day?

Sec. That I have, Frank. The ostler a’th’ Cock dressed him for a breakfast.    41

Qu. What! did he eat him?

Sec. No, but he eat his breakfast for dressing him; and so dressed him for breakfast.

Qu. O witty age! where age is young in wit,
And all youths’ words have gray-beards full of it!

Sec. But alas, Frank! how will all this be maintained now? Your place maintained it before.    48

Qu. Why, and I maintained my place. I’ll to the court: another manner of place for maintenance, I hope, than the silly City! I heard my father say, I heard my mother sing an old song and a true: Thou art a she-fool, and know’st not what belongs to our male wisdom. I shall be a merchant, forsooth! trust my estate in a wooden trough as he does! What are these ships but tennis-balls for the winds to play withal? tossed from one wave to another; now under line, now over the house; sometimes brick-walled against a rock, so that the guts fly out again; sometimes strook under the wide hazard, and farewell, master merchant!    60

Si. Well, Frank, well: the seas you say, are uncertain: but he that sails in your Court seas shall find ’hem ten times fuller of hazard; wherein to see what is to be seen is torment more than a free spirit can endure; but when you come to suffer, how many injuries swallow you! What care and devotion must you use to humour an imperious lord, proportion your looks to his looks, smiles to his smiles; fit your sails to the winds of his breath!

Qu. Tush! he’s no journeyman in his craft that cannot do that.    71

Si. But he’s worse than a prentice that does it; not only humouring the lord, but every trencher-bearer, every groom, that by indulgence and intelligence crept into his favour, and by panderism into his chamber; he rules the roast; and when my honourable lord says it shall be thus, my worshipful rascal, the groom of his close stool, says it shall not be thus, claps the door after him, and who dares enter? A prentice, quoth you? ’Tis but to learn to live; and does that disgrace a man? He that rises hardly stands firmly; but he that rises with ease, alas! falls as easily.    82

Qu. A pox on you! who taught you this morality?

Sec. ’Tis ’long of this witty age, Master Francis. But, indeed, Mistress Sindefy, all trades complain of inconvenience, and therefore ’tis best to have none. The merchant, he complains and says, traffic is subject to much uncertainty and loss; let ’hem keep their goods on dry land, with a vengeance, and not expose other men’s substances to the mercy of the winds, under protection of a wooden wall (as Master Francis says); and all for greedy desire to enrich themselves with unconscionable gain, two for one, or so; where I, and such other honest men as live by lending money, are content with moderate profit; thirty or forty i’ th’ hundred, so we may have it with quietness, and out of peril of wind and weather, rather than run those dangerous courses of trading, as they do.    98

[Exit[43] Sindefy.

Qu. Ay, dad, thou may’st well be called Security, for thou takest the safest course.

Sec. ’Faith, the quieter, and the more contented, and, out of doubt, the more godly; for merchants, in their courses, are never pleased, but ever repining against heaven: one prays for a westerly wind, to carry his ship forth; another for an easterly, to bring his ship home, and at every shaking of a leaf[44] he falls into an agony, to think what danger his ship is in on such a coast, and so forth. The farmer, he is ever at odds with the weather: sometimes the clouds have been too barren; sometimes the heavens forget themselves; their harvests answer not their hopes; sometimes the season falls out too fruitful, corn will bear no price, and so forth. The artificer, he’s all for a stirring world: if his trade be too full, and fall short of his expectation, then falls he out of joint. Where we that trade nothing but money are free from all this; we are pleased with all weathers, let it rain or hold up, be calm or windy; let the season be whatsoever, let trade go how it will, we take all in good part, e’en what please the heavens to send us, so the sun stand not still, and the moon keep her usual returns, and make up days, months, and years.    121

Qu. And you have good security?

Sec. Ay, marry, Frank, that’s the special point.

Qu. And yet, forsooth, we must have trades to live withal; for we cannot stand without legs, nor fly without wings, and a number of such scurvy phrases. No, I say still, he that has wit, let him live by his wit; he that has none, let him be a tradesman.

Sec. Witty Master Francis! ’tis pity any trade should dull that quick brain of yours. Do but bring Knight Petronel into my parchment toils once, and you shall never need to toil in any trade, o’ my credit. You know his wife’s land?    133

Qu. Even to a foot, sir; I have been often there; a pretty fine seat, good land, all entire within itself.

Sec. Well wooded?

Qu. Two hundred pounds’ worth of wood ready to fell, and a fine sweet house, that stands just in the midst on’t, like a prick in the midst of a circle; would I were your farmer, for a hundred pound a year!

Sec. Excellent Master Francis! how I do long to do thee good! How I do hunger and thirst to have the honour to enrich thee! ay, even to die, that thou mightest inherit my living! even hunger and thirst! for o’ my religion, Master Francis, and so tell Knight Petronel, I do it to do him a pleasure.    146

Qu. Marry, dad! his horses are now coming up to bear down his lady; wilt thou lend him thy stable to set ’hem in?

Sec. ’Faith, Master Francis, I would be loth to lend my stable out of doors; in a greater matter I will pleasure him, but not in this.

Qu. A pox of your hunger and thirst! Well, dad, let him have money; all he could any way get is bestowed on a ship now bound for Virginia; the frame of which voyage is so closely conveyed that his new lady nor any of her friends know it. Notwithstanding, as soon as his lady’s hand is gotten to the sale of her inheritance, and you have furnished him with money, he will instantly hoist sail and away.    160

Sec. Now, a frank gale of wind go with him, Master Frank! we have too few such knight adventurers; who would not sell away competent certainties to purchase, with any danger, excellent uncertainties? your true knight venturer ever does. Let his wife seal to-day; he shall have his money to-day.

Qu. To-morrow she shall, dad, before she goes into the country; to work her to which action with the more engines, I purpose presently to prefer my sweet Sin here to the place of her gentlewoman; whom you (for the more credit) shall present as your friend’s daughter, a gentlewoman of the country, new come up with a will for awhile to learn fashions forsooth, and be toward some lady; and she shall buzz pretty devices into her lady’s ear; feeding her humours so serviceably (as the manner of such as she is, you know).    176

Sec. True, good Master Francis.

Re-enter Sindefy.

Qu. That she shall keep her port open to anything she commends to her.

Sec. O’ my religion, a most fashionable project; as good she spoil the lady, as the lady spoil her; for ’tis three to one of one side. Sweet Mistress Sin, how are you bound to Master Francis! I do not doubt to see you shortly wed one of the head-men[45] of our city.

Si. But, sweet Frank, when shall my father Security present me?    186

Qu. With all festination; I have broken the ice to it already; and will presently to the knight’s house, whither, my good old dad, let me pray thee, with all formality to man her.

Sec. Command me, Master Francis, I do hunger and thirst to do thee service. Come, sweet Mistress Sin, take leave of my Winifred, and we will instantly meet Frank, Master Francis, at your lady’s.

Enter Winifred above.

Wi. Where is my Cu there? Cu?

Sec. Ay, Winnie.    196

Wi. Wilt thou come in, sweet Cu?

Sec. Ay, Winnie, presently.

[Exeunt Security and Sindefy.

Qu. Ay, Winnie, quod he, that’s all he can do, poor man, he may well cut off her name at Winnie. O, ’tis an egregious pander! What will not an usurous knave be, so he may be rich? O, ’tis a notable Jew’s trump! I hope to live to see dogs’ meat made of the old usurer’s flesh, dice of his bones, and indentures of his skin; and yet his skin is too thick to make parchment, ’twould make good boots for a peter-man[46] to catch salmon in. Your only smooth skin to make fine vellum is your Puritan’s skin; they be the smoothest and slickest knaves in a country.    209

Enter Sir Petronel in boots, with a riding-wand.[47]

Pe. I’ll out of this wicked town as fast as my horse can trot! Here’s now no good action for a man to spend his time in. Taverns grow dead; ordinaries are blown up; plays are at a stand; houses of hospitality at a fall; not a feather waving, nor a spur jingling anywhere. I’ll away instantly.

Qu. Y’ad best take some crowns in your purse, knight, or else your Eastward Castle will smoke but miserably.

Pe. O, Frank! my castle? Alas! all the castles I have are built with air, thou know’st.    219

Qu. I know it, knight, and therefore wonder whither your lady is going.

Pe. ’Faith, to seek her fortune, I think. I said I had a castle and land eastward, and eastward she will, without contradiction; her coach and the coach of the sun must meet full butt. And the sun being outshined with her ladyship’s glory, she fears he goes westward to hang himself.

Qu. And I fear, when her enchanted castle becomes invisible, her ladyship will return and follow his example.

Pe. Oh, that she would have the grace! for I shall never be able to pacify her, when she sees herself deceived so.    232

Qu. As easily as can be. Tell her she mistook your directions, and that shortly yourself will down with her to approve it; and then clothe but her crouper in a new gown, and you may drive her any way you list. For these women, sir, are like Essex calves, you must wriggle ’hem on by the tail still, or they will never drive orderly.

Pe. But, alas! sweet Frank, thou knowest my ability will not furnish her blood with those costly humours.

Qu. Cast that cost on me, sir. I have spoken to my old pander, Security, for money or commodity; and commodity (if you will) I know he will procure you.    243

Pe. Commodity! Alas! what commodity?

Qu. Why, sir! what say you to figs and raisins?

Pe. A plague of figs and raisins, and all such frail[48] commodities! We shall make nothing of ’hem.

Qu. Why then, sir, what say you to forty pound in roasted beef?[49]

Pe. Out upon’t, I have less stomach to that than to the figs and raisins; I’ll out of town, though I sojourn with a friend of mine, for stay here I must not; my creditors have laid to arrest me, and I have no friend under heaven but my sword to bail me.    254

Qu. God’s me, knight, put ’hem in sufficient sureties, rather than let your sword bail you! Let ’hem take their choice, either the King’s Bench or the Fleet, or which of the two Counters they like best, for, by the Lord, I like none of ’hem.

Pe. Well, Frank, there is no jesting with my earnest necessity; thou know’st if I make not present money to further my voyage begun, all’s lost, and all I have laid out about it.    263

Qu. Why, then, sir, in earnest, if you can get your wise lady to set her hand to the sale of her inheritance, the bloodhound, Security, will smell out ready money for you instantly.

Pe. There spake an angel: to bring her to which conformity, I must feign myself extremely amorous; and alleging urgent excuses for my stay behind, part with her as passionately as she would from her foisting hound.[50]    272

Qu. You have the sow by the right ear, sir. I warrant there was never child longed more to ride a cock-horse or wear his new coat, than she longs to ride in her new coach. She would long for everything when she was a maid, and now she will run mad for ’hem. I lay my life, she will have every year four children; and what charge and change of humour you must endure while she is with child, and how she will tie you to your tackling till she be with child, a dog would not endure. Nay, there is no turnspit dog bound to his wheel[51] more servilely than you shall be to her wheel; for, as that dog can never climb the top of his wheel but when the top comes under him, so shall you never climb the top of her contentment but when she is under you.    286

Pe. ’Slight, how thou terrifiest me!

Qu. Nay, hark you, sir; what nurses, what midwives, what fools, what physicians, what cunning women must be sought for (fearing sometimes she is bewitched, sometimes in a consumption), to tell her tales, to talk bawdy to her, to make her laugh, to give her glisters, to let her blood under the tongue and betwixt the toes; how she will revile and kiss you, spit in your face, and lick it off again; how she will vaunt you are her creature; she made you of nothing; how she could have had thousand mark jointures; she could have been made a lady by a Scotch knight, and never ha’ married him; she could have had ponados[52] in her bed every morning; how she set you up, and how she will pull you down: you’ll never be able to stand of your legs to endure it.    301

Pe. Out of my fortune, what a death is my life bound face to face to! The best is, a large time-fitted conscience is bound to nothing: marriage is but a form in the school of policy, to which scholars sit fastened only with painted chains. Old Security’s young wife is ne’er the further off with me.

Qu. Thereby lies a tale, sir. The old usurer will be here instantly, with my punk Sindefy, whom you know your lady has promised me to entertain for her gentlewoman; and he (with a purpose to feed on you) invites you most solemnly by me to supper.    312

Pe. It falls out excellently fitly: I see desire of gain makes jealousy venturous.

Enter Gertrude.

See, Frank, here comes my lady. Lord! how she views thee! she knows thee not, I think, in this bravery.

Ge. How now? who be you, I pray?

Qu. One Master Francis Quicksilver, an’t please your ladyship.

Ge. God’s my dignity! as I am a lady, if he did not make me blush so that mine eyes stood a-water. Would I were unmarried again!    322

Enter Security and Sindefy.

Where’s my woman, I pray?

Qu. See, madam, she now comes to attend you.

Sec. God save my honourable knight and his worshipful lady.

Ge. Y’are very welcome; you must not put on your hat yet.

Sec. No, madam; till I know your ladyship’s further pleasure, I will not presume.

Ge. And is this a gentleman’s daughter new come out of the country?    332

Sec. She is, madam; and one that her father hath a special care to bestow in some honourable lady’s service, to put her out of her honest humours, forsooth; for she had a great desire to be a nun, an’t please you.

Ge. A nun? what nun? a nun substantive? or a nun adjective?

Sec. A nun substantive, madam, I hope, if a nun be a noun. But I mean, lady, a vowed maid of that order.

Ge. I’ll teach her to be a maid of the order, I warrant you. And can you do any work belongs to a lady’s chamber?    343

Si. What I cannot do, madam, I would be glad to learn.

Ge. Well said; hold up, then; hold up your head, I say; come hither a little.

Si. I thank your ladyship.

Ge. And hark you, good man, you may put on your hat now; I do not look on you. I must have you of my faction now; not of my knight’s, maid.    351

Si. No, forsooth, madam, of yours.

Ge. And draw all my servants in my bow, and keep my counsel, and tell me tales, and put me riddles, and read on a book sometimes when I am busy, and laugh at country gentlewomen, and command anything in the house for my retainers; and care not what you spend, for it is all mine; and in any case be still a maid, whatsoever you do, or whatsoever any man can do unto you.

Sec. I warrant your ladyship for that.    360

Ge. Very well; you shall ride in my coach with me into the country, to-morrow morning. Come, knight, pray thee let’s make a short supper, and to bed presently.

Sec. Nay, good madam, this night I have a short supper at home waits on his worship’s acceptation.

Ge. By my faith, but he shall not go, sir; I shall swoon and he sup from me.

Pe. Pray thee, forbear; shall he lose his provision?

Ge. Ay, by-lady, sir, rather than I lose my longing. Come in, I say; as I am a lady, you shall not go.    370

Qu. I told him what a burr he had gotten.

Sec. If you will not sup from your knight, madam, let me entreat your ladyship to sup at my house with him.

Ge. No, by my faith, sir; then we cannot be abed soon enough after supper.

Pe. What a medicine is this! Well, Master Security, you are new married as well as I; I hope you are bound as well. We must honour our young wives, you know.

Qu. In policy, dad, till to-morrow she has sealed.

Sec. I hope in the morning yet your knighthood will breakfast with me?    381

Pe. As early as you will, sir.

Sec. I thank your good worship; I do hunger and thirst to do you good, sir.

Ge. Come, sweet knight, come; I do hunger and thirst to be abed with thee.


[39] “Ka me, ka thee”—one good turn deserves another. See Nares’ Glossary.

[40] Trunk was a term for a pea-shooter.

[41] “This alludes to a scene in the tragedy of Mulleasses the Turke, 1610, by Mason, where Borgias appears as a ghost, and is addressed by Mulleasses in these words:

‘Illusive ayre, false shape of Borgias,
Could thy vaine shadow worke a feare in him
That like an Atlas under went the earth,
When with a prim and constant eye he saw
Hell’s fifty-headed porter; thus I’d prove
Thy apparition idle.  [Runnes at Borgias.
Borg. Treason! I live.’”—Reed.

[42] A parody of an old ballad. See Evans’ Old Ballads, i. 283 (1810); Chappell’s Popular Music of the Olden Time, i. 241.

[43] Not marked in old ed.—She leaves the stage while Security and Quicksilver are conversing; and presently (p. 37) returns.

[44] Cf. Merchant of Venice, i. 1:

“My wind, cooling my broth,
Would blow me to an ague, when I thought
What harm a wind too great at sea might do.”

[45] A jocular term for cuckolds.

[46] Nickname for a fisherman (one who followed the occupation of the apostle Peter).

[47] “A hollie wand or riding wand. Houssine.”—Cotgrave.

[48] Used with a quibble. Frail was a basket for figs, raisins, &c.

[49] In Lanthorn and Candlelight (1609) Dekker mentions this extraordinary commodity:—“After a revelling, when younger brothers have spent all, or in gaming have lost all, they sit plotting in their chambers with necessity how to be furnished presently with a new supply of money. They would take up any commodity whatsoever, but their names stand in too many texted letters in mercers’ and scriveners’ books. Upon a hundred pounds’ worth of roasted beef they could find in their hearts to venture, for that would away in turning of a hand; but where shall they find a butcher or a cook that will let any man run so much upon the score for flesh only?” (Works, ed. Grosart, iii. 231.)

[50] “Foisting hound” = a dog with an evil smell.

[51] “There is comprehended under the curs of the coarsest kind a certain dog in kitchen service excellent. For when any meat is to be roasted they go into a wheel, which they turning round about with the weight of their bodies so diligently look to their business that no drudger nor scullion can do the feat more cunningly: whom the popular sort hereupon call turnspits.”—Topsel’s History of Four-footed Beasts, ed. 1658 (p. 139).

[52] The old ed. gives “poynados” (= poniards), which modern editors strangely retain. Ponado (panado) was a caudle made of bread, currants, sack, eggs, &c.



Security’s house.

Enter Sir Petronel, Quicksilver, Security, Bramble, and Winifred.

Pe. Thanks for your feast-like breakfast, good Master Security; I am sorry (by reason of my instant haste to so long a voyage as Virginia) I am without means by any kind amends to show how affectionately I take your kindness, and to confirm by some worthy ceremony a perpetual league of friendship betwixt us.

Sec. Excellent knight! let this be a token betwixt us of inviolable friendship. I am new married to this fair gentlewoman, you know; and by my hope to make her fruitful, though I be something in years, I vow faithfully unto you to make you godfather, though in your absence, to the first child I am blest withal; and henceforth call me gossip, I beseech you, if you please to accept it.    13

Pe. In the highest degree of gratitude, my most worthy gossip; for confirmation of which friendly title, let me entreat my fair gossip, your wife here, to accept this diamond, and keep it as my gift to her first child, wheresoever my fortune, in event of my voyage, shall bestow me.

Sec. How now, my coy wedlock;[53] I make you strange of so noble a favour? Take it, I charge you, with all affection, and, by way of taking your leave, present boldly your lips to our honourable gossip.    23

Qu. How venturous he is to him, and how jealous to others!

Pe. Long may this kind touch of our lips print in our hearts all the forms of affection. And now, my good gossip, if the writings be ready to which my wife should seal, let them be brought this morning before she takes coach into the country, and my kindness shall work her to despatch it.    31

Sec. The writings are ready, sir. My learned counsel here, Master Bramble the lawyer, hath perused them; and within this hour I will bring the scrivener with them to your worshipful lady.

Pe. Good Master Bramble, I will here take my leave of you then. God send you fortunate pleas, sir, and contentious clients!

Br. And you foreright winds, sir, and a fortunate voyage.


Enter a Messenger.

Me. Sir Petronel, here are three or four gentlemen desire to speak with you.    42

Pe. What are they?

Qu. They are your followers in this voyage, knight: Captain Seagull and his associates; I met them this morning, and told them you would be here.

Pe. Let them enter, I pray you; I know they long to be gone, for their stay is dangerous.

Enter Seagull, Scapethrift, and Spendall.

Sea. God save my honourable colonel!    49

Pe. Welcome, good Captain Seagull, and worthy gentlemen. If you will meet my friend Frank here, and me, at the Blue Anchor Tavern by Billingsgate this evening, we will there drink to our happy voyage, be merry, and take boat to our ship with all expedition.

Sp. Defer it no longer, I beseech you, sir; but as your voyage is hitherto carried closely, and in another knight’s name, so for your own safety and ours, let it be continued: our meeting and speedy purpose of departing known to as few as is possible, lest your ship and goods be attached.    60

Qu. Well advised, captain; our colonel shall have money this morning to despatch all our departures; bring those gentlemen at night to the place appointed, and, with our skins full of vintage, we’ll take occasion by the vantage,[54] and away.

Sp. We will not fail, but be there, sir.

Pe. Good morrow, good captain, and my worthy associates. Health and all sovereignty to my beautiful gossip; for you, sir, we shall see you presently with the writings.    70

Sec. With writings and crowns to my honourable gossip. I do hunger and thirst to do you good, sir.


[53] Wife.

[54] Collier compares Nashe’s Summer’s Last Will, &c.:—“Our vintage was a vintage, for it did not work upon the advantage.”


An inn-yard.

Enter a Coachman in haste, in his frock, feeding.

Co. Here’s a stir when citizens ride out of town, indeed as if all the house were a-fire! ’Slight! they will not give a man leave to eat’s breakfast afore he rises.

Enter Hamlet, a footman, in haste.

Ha. What, coachman—my lady’s coach! for shame! her ladyship’s ready to come down.

Enter Potkin, a tankard-bearer.

Po. ’Sfoot! Hamlet, are you mad?[55] Whither run you now? you should brush up my old mistress!

Enter Sindefy.

Si. What, Potkin?—you must put off your tankard and put on your blue coat,[56] and wait upon Mistress Touchstone into the country.


Po. I will, forsooth, presently.


Enter Mistress Fond and Mistress Gazer.

Fo. Come, sweet Mistress Gazer, let’s watch here, and see my Lady Flash take coach.    13

Ga. O’ my word here’s a most fine place to stand in; did you see the new ship launched last day, Mistress Fond?

Fo. O God! and we citizens should lose such a sight!

Ga. I warrant here will be double as many people to see her take coach as there were to see it take water.

Fo. O she’s married to a most fine castle i’ th’ country, they say.    21

Ga. But there are no giants in the castle, are there?

Fo. O no: they say her knight killed ’hem all, and therefore he was knighted.

Ga. Would to God her ladyship would come away!

Enter Gertrude, Mistress Touchstone, Sindefy, Hamlet, Potkin.

Fo. She comes, she comes, she comes!

Ga. and Fo. Pray heaven bless your ladyship!

Ge. Thank you, good people. My coach, for the love of heaven, my coach! In good truth I shall swoon else.

Ha. Coach, coach, my lady’s coach!


Ge. As I am a lady, I think I am with child already, I long for a coach so. May one be with child afore they are married, mother?    33

Mist. T. Ay, by’r lady, madam; a little thing does that; I have seen a little prick no bigger than a pin’s head swell bigger and bigger, till it has come to an ancome;[57] and e’en so ’tis in these cases.

Enter Hamlet.

Ha. Your coach is coming, madam.

Ge. That’s well said. Now, heaven! methinks I am e’en up to the knees in preferment.    40

But a little higher, but a little higher, but a little higher,
There, there, there lies Cupid’s fire!

Mist. T. But must this young man, an’t please you, madam, run by your coach all the way a-foot?

Ge. Ay, by my faith, I warrant him; he gives no other milk, as I have another servant does.

Mist. T. Alas! ’tis e’en pity, methinks; for God’s sake, madam, buy him but a hobby-horse; let the poor youth have something betwixt his legs to ease ’hem. Alas! we must do as we would be done to.    50

Ge. Go to, hold your peace, dame; you talk like an old fool, I tell you!

Enter Sir Petronel and Quicksilver.

Pe. Wilt thou be gone, sweet honey-suckle, before I can go with thee?

Ge. I pray thee, sweet knight, let me; I do so long to dress up thy castle afore thou comest. But I marle how my modest sister occupies herself this morning, that she cannot wait on me to my coach, as well as her mother.

Qu. Marry, madam, she’s married by this time to prentice Golding. Your father, and some one more, stole to church with ’hem in all the haste, that the cold meat left at your wedding might serve to furnish their nuptial table.    63

Ge. There’s no base fellow, my father, now; but he’s e’en fit to father such a daughter: he must call me daughter no more now: but “madam,” and “please you, madam;” and “please your worship, madam,” indeed. Out upon him! marry his daughter to a base prentice!

Mist. T. What should one do? Is there no law for one that marries a woman’s daughter against her will? How shall we punish him, madam?    71

Ge. As I am a lady, an’t would snow, we’d so pebble ’hem with snow-balls as they come from church; but, sirrah Frank Quicksilver.

Qu. Ay, madam.

Ge. Dost remember since thou and I clapt what-d’ye-call’ts in the garret?

Qu. I know not what you mean, madam.

Ge. His[58] head as white as milk, all flaxen was his hair;
But now he is dead, and laid in his bed,    80
And never will come again.
God be at your labour!

Enter Touchstone, Golding, Mildred, with rosemary.[59]

Pe. Was there ever such a lady?

Qu. See, madam, the bride and bridegroom!

Ge. God’s my precious! God give you joy, mistress. What lack you? Now out upon thee, baggage! My sister married in a taffeta hat! Marry, hang you! Westward with a wanion[60] t’ye! Nay, I have done wi’ ye, minion, then, i’faith; never look to have my countenance any more, nor anything I can do for thee. Thou ride in my coach, or come down to my castle! fie upon thee! I charge thee in my ladyship’s name, call me sister no more.    93

To. An’t please your worship, this is not your sister: this is my daughter, and she calls me father, and so does not your ladyship, an’t please your worship, madam.

Mist. T. No, nor she must not call thee father by heraldry, because thou makest thy prentice thy son as well as she. Ah! thou misproud prentice, darest thou presume to marry a lady’s sister?    100

Go. It pleased my master, forsooth, to embolden me with his favour; and though I confess myself far unworthy so worthy a wife (being in part her servant, as I am your prentice) yet (since I may say it without boasting) I am born a gentleman, and by the trade I have learned of my master (which I trust taints not my blood), able, with mine own industry and portion, to maintain your daughter, my hope is, heaven will so bless our humble beginning, that in the end I shall be no disgrace to the grace with which my master has bound me his double prentice.    111

To. Master me no more, son, if thou think’st me worthy to be thy father.

Ge. Son! Now, good Lord, how he shines! and you mark him, he’s a gentleman!

Go. Ay, indeed, madam, a gentleman born.

Pe. Never stand o’ your gentry, Master Bridegroom; if your legs be no better than your arms, you’ll be able to stand upright on neither shortly.    119

To. An’t please your good worship, sir, there are two sorts of gentlemen.

Pe. What mean you, sir?

To. Bold to put off my hat to your worship—

Pe. Nay, pray forbear, sir, and then forth with your two sorts of gentlemen.

To. If your worship will have it so, I say there are two sorts of gentlemen. There is a gentleman artificial, and a gentleman natural. Now though your worship be a gentleman natural: work upon that now.    129

Qu. Well said, old Touchstone; I am proud to hear thee enter a set speech, i’faith; forth, I beseech thee.

To. Cry your mercy, sir, your worship’s a gentleman I do not know. If you be one of my acquaintance, y’are very much disguised, sir.

Qu. Go to, old quipper; forth with thy speech, I say.    137

To. What, sir, my speeches were ever in vain to your gracious worship; and therefore, till I speak to you gallantry indeed, I will save my breath for my broth anon. Come, my poor son and daughter, let us hide ourselves in our poor humility, and live safe. Ambition consumes itself with the very show. Work upon that now.

Ge. Let him go, let him go, for God’s sake! let him make his prentice his son, for God’s sake! give away his daughter, for God’s sake! and when they come a-begging to us for God’s sake, let’s laugh at their good husbandry for God’s sake. Farewell, sweet knight, pray thee make haste after.    149

Pe. What shall I say?—I would not have thee go.

Now,[61] O now, I must depart,
Parting though it absence move.

This ditty, knight, do I see in thy looks in capital letters.

What a grief ’tis to depart, and leave the flower that has my heart!
My sweet lady, and alack for woe, why, should we part so?

Tell truth, knight, and shame all dissembling lovers; does not your pain lie on that side?    158

Pe. If it do, canst thou tell me how I may cure it?

Qu. Excellent easily. Divide yourself in two halves, just by the girdlestead; send one half with your lady, and keep t’other yourself; or else do as all true lovers do—part with your heart, and leave your body behind. I have seen’t done a hundred times: ’tis as easy a matter for a lover to part without a heart from his sweetheart, and he ne’er the worse, as for a mouse to get from a trap and leave her [sic] tail behind him. See, here comes the writings.    168

Enter Security with a Scrivener.

Sec. Good morrow to my worshipful lady. I present your ladyship with this writing, to which if you please to set your hand with your knight’s, a velvet gown shall attend your journey, o’ my credit.

Ge. What writing is it, knight?

Pe. The sale, sweetheart, of the poor tenement I told thee of, only to make a little money to send thee down furniture for my castle, to which my hand shall lead thee.

Ge. Very well. Now give me your pen, I pray.

Qu. It goes down without chewing, i’faith.

Scr. Your worships deliver this as your deed?    180

Ambo. We do.

Ge. So now, knight, farewell till I see thee.

Pe. All farewell to my sweetheart!

Mist. T. God-b’w’y’, son knight.

Pe. Farewell, my good mother.

Ge. Farewell, Frank; I would fain take thee down if I could.

Qu. I thank your good ladyship; farewell, Mistress Sindefy.


Pe. O tedious voyage, whereof there is no end! What will they think of me?    191

Qu. Think what they list. They longed for a vagary into the country, and now they are fitted. So a woman marry to ride in a coach, she cares not if she ride to her ruin. ’Tis the great end of many of their marriages. This is not the first time a lady has rid a false journey in her coach, I hope.

Pe. Nay, ’tis no matter, I care little what they think; he that weighs men’s thoughts has his hands full of nothing. A man, in the course of this world, should be like a surgeon’s instrument—work in the wounds of others, and feel nothing himself. The sharper and subtler, the better.    203

Qu. As it falls out now, knight, you shall not need to devise excuses, or endure her outcries, when she returns; we shall now begone before, where they cannot reach us.

Pe. Well, my kind compeer, you have now the assurance we both can make you; let me now entreat you, the money we agreed on may be brought to the Blue Anchor, near to Billingsgate, by six o’clock; where I and my chief friends, bound for this voyage, will with feasts attend you.    213

Sec. The money, my most honourable compeer, shall without fail observe your appointed hour.

Pe. Thanks, my dear gossip. I must now impart
To your approved love, a loving secret;
As one on whom my life doth more rely
In friendly trust than any man alive.
Nor shall you be the chosen secretary    220
Of my affections for affection only:
For I protest (if God bless my return)
To make you partner in my actions’ gain
As deeply as if you had ventured with me
Half my expenses. Know then, honest gossip,
I have enjoy’d with such divine contentment
A gentlewoman’s bed whom you well know,
That I shall ne’er enjoy this tedious voyage,
Nor live the least part of the time it asketh,
Without her presence; so I thirst and hunger    230
To taste the dear feast of her company.
And if the hunger and the thirst you vow
As my sworn gossip, to my wishèd good
Be, as I know it is, unfeign’d and firm,
Do me an easy favour in your power.

Sec. Be sure, brave gossip, all that I can do,
To my best nerve, is wholly at your service:
Who is the woman, first, that is your friend?

Pe. The woman is your learned counsel’s wife,
The lawyer, Master Bramble; whom would you    240
Bring out this even in honest neighbourhood,
To take his leave with you, of me your gossip,
I, in the meantime, will send this my friend
Home to his house, to bring his wife disguised,
Before his face, into our company;
For love hath made her look for such a wile,
To free her from his tyrannous jealousy.
And I would take this course before another,
In stealing her away to make us sport,
And gull his circumspection the more grossly;    250
And I am sure that no man like yourself
Hath credit with him to entice his jealousy
To so long stay abroad as may give time
To her enlargement, in such safe disguise.

Sec. A pretty, pithy, and most pleasant project!
Who would not strain a point of neighbourhood
For such a point device? that as the ship[62]
Of famous Draco went about the world,
Will wind about the lawyer, compassing
The world himself; he hath it in his arms,    260
And that’s enough for him, without his wife.
A lawyer is ambitious, and his head
Cannot be praised nor raised too high,
With any fork of highest knavery.
I’ll go fetch her straight.

[Exit Security.

Pe. So, so. Now, Frank, go thou home to his house,
’Stead of his lawyer’s, and bring his wife hither,
Who, just like to the lawyer’s wife, is prison’d
With his[63] stern usurous jealousy, which could never
Be over-reach’d thus but with over-reaching.    270

Re-enter Security.

Sec. And, Master Francis, watch you th’ instant time
To enter with his exit: ’twill be rare,
Two fine horn’d beasts!—a camel and a lawyer!

Qu. How the old villain joys in villainy!

Sec. And hark you, gossip, when you have her here,
Have your boat ready, ship her to your ship
With utmost haste, lest Master Bramble stay you.
To o’er-reach that head that out-reacheth all heads,
’Tis a trick rampant!—’tis a very quiblin![64]
I hope this harvest to pitch cart with lawyers,    280
Their heads will be so forked. This sly touch
Will get apes to invent a number such.


Qu. Was ever rascal honey’d so with poison?
He that delights in slavish avarice,
Is apt to joy in every sort of vice.
Well, I’ll go fetch his wife, whilst he the lawyer’s.

Pe. But stay, Frank, let’s think how we may disguise her upon this sudden.    288

Qu. God’s me! there’s the mischief! But hark you, here’s an excellent device: ’fore God, a rare one! I will carry her a sailor’s gown and cap, and cover her, and a player’s beard.

Pe. And what upon her head?

Qu. I tell you, a sailor’s cap! ’Slight, God forgive me! what kind of figent[65] memory have you?

Pe. Nay, then, what kind of figent wit hast thou?
A sailor’s cap?—how shall she put it off
When thou present’st her to our company?

Qu. Tush, man, for that, make her a saucy sailor.    299

Pe. Tush, tush! ’tis no fit sauce for such sweet mutton,
I know not what t’ advise.

Re-enter Security with his wife’s gown.

Sec. Knight, knight, a rare device!

Pe. ’Swounds, yet again!

Qu. What stratagem have you now?

Sec. The best that ever. You talk of disguising?

Pe. Ay, marry, gossip, that’s our present care.

Sec. Cast care away then; here’s the best device
For plain Security (for I am no better)
I think, that ever lived: here’s my wife’s gown,
Which you may put upon the lawyer’s wife,    310
And which I brought you, sir, for two great reasons;
One is, that Master Bramble may take hold
Of some suspicion that it is my wife,
And gird me so perhaps with his law-wit;
The other (which is policy indeed)
Is, that my wife may now be tied at home,
Having no more but her old gown abroad,
And not show me a quirk, while I firk others.
Is not this rare?

Ambo. The best that ever was.

Sec. Am I not born to furnish gentlemen?    320

Pe. O my dear gossip!

Sec. Well hold, Master Francis; watch when the lawyer’s out, and put it in. And now I will go fetch him.


Qu. O my dad! he goes as ’twere the devil to fetch the lawyer; and devil shall he be, if horns will make him.

Pe. Why, how now, gossip? why stay you there musing?

Sec. A toy, a toy runs in my head, i’faith.    330

Qu. A pox of that head! is there more toys yet?

Pe. What is it, pray thee, gossip?

Sec. Why, sir, what if you should slip away now with my wife’s best gown, I having no security for it?

Qu. For that I hope, dad, you will take our words.

Sec. Ay, by th’ mass, your word—that’s a proper staff
For wise Security to lean upon!
But ’tis no matter, once I’ll trust my name
On your crack’d credits; let it take no shame.
Fetch the wench, Frank.


Qu. I’ll wait upon you, sir,    340
And fetch you over, you were ne’er so fetch’d.
Go to the tavern, knight; your followers
Dare not be drunk, I think, before their captain.


Pe. Would I might lead them to no hotter service
Till our Virginian gold were in our purses!


[55] One of many allusions that show the early popularity of Shakespeare’s play.

[56] “Blue coat”—the livery of a serving-man.

[57] Ulcerous swelling.

[58] A variation of the snatch sung by Ophelia.

[59] The herb of remembrance, used at weddings and funerals.

[60] “With a wanion,”—with a plague!

[61] A misquotation from a song in John Dowland’s First Book of Songs or Airs (1597):—
“Now, O now, I needs must part,
Parting though I absent mourn,” &c.

[62] Sir Francis Drake’s ship, in which he sailed round the world. By order of Queen Elizabeth it was laid up at Deptford, whither it attracted many sightseers. See Nares’ Glossary.

[63] “Both the quartos [there is only one] have it ‘With eyes stern usurous jealousy,’ which may be right, though the sense is rather forced.”—Collier. The copy that lies before me gives, “With his sterne vsurous Ielosie.”

[64] Device, trick.—In The Insatiate Countess, ii. 3, we have the word “whiblin” used in the same sense.

[65] Fidgetty, volatile.


The Blue Anchor, Billingsgate.

Enter Seagull, Spendall, and Scapethrift, in the Tavern, with a Drawer.

Sea. Come, drawer, pierce your neatest hogsheads, and let’s have cheer—not fit for your Billingsgate tavern, but for our Virginian colonel; he will be here instantly.

Dr. You shall have all things fit, sir; please you have any more wine?

Sp. More wine, slave! whether we drink it or no, spill it, and draw more.

Sea. Fill all the pots in your house with all sorts of liquor, and let ’hem wait on us here like soldiers in their pewter coats; and though we do not employ them now, yet we will maintain ’hem till we do.    12

Dr. Said like an honourable captain; you shall have all you can command, sir.

[Exit Drawer.

Sea. Come, boys, Virginia longs till we share the rest of her maidenhead.

Sp. Why, is she inhabited already with any English?

Sea. A whole country of English is there, man, bred of those that were left there in ’79;[66] they have married with the Indians, and make ’hem bring forth as beautiful faces as any we have in England; and therefore the Indians are so in love with ’hem, that all the treasure they have they lay at their feet.    23

Sca. But is there such treasure there, captain, as I have heard?

Sea. I tell thee, gold is more plentiful there than copper is with us; and for as much red copper as I can bring, I’ll have thrice the weight in gold. Why, man, all their dripping-pans and their chamber-pots are pure gold; and all the chains with which they chain up their streets are massy gold; all the prisoners they take are fettered in gold; and for rubies and diamonds, they go forth on holidays and gather ’hem by the seashore, to hang on their children’s coats, and stick in their caps, as commonly as our children wear saffron-gilt brooches and groats with holes in ’hem.    36

Sca. And is it a pleasant country withal?

Sea. As ever the sun shined on; temperate and full of all sorts of excellent viands: wild boar is as common there as our tamest bacon is here; venison as mutton. And then you shall live freely there, without sergeants, or courtiers, or lawyers, or intelligencers, only[67] a few industrious Scots, perhaps, who indeed are dispersed over the face of the whole earth. But as for them, there are no greater friends to Englishmen and England, when they are out on’t, in the world, than they are. And for my part, I would a hundred thousand of ’hem were there, for we are all one countrymen now, ye know, and we should find ten times more comfort of them there than we do here. Then for your means to advancement, there it is simple, and not preposterously mixed. You may be an alderman there, and never be scavenger: you may be a nobleman, and never be a slave. You may come to preferment enough, and never be a pander; to riches and fortune enough, and have never the more villainy nor the less wit. Besides,[68] there we shall have no more law than conscience, and not too much of either; serve God enough, eat and drink enough, and enough is as good as a feast.    59

Sp. God’s me! and how far is it thither?

Sea. Some six weeks’ sail, no more, with any indifferent good wind. And if I get to any part of the coast of Africa, I’ll sail thither with any wind; or when I come to Cape Finisterre, there’s a foreright wind continually wafts us till we come at Virginia. See, our colonel’s come.    66

Enter Sir Petronel with his followers.

Pe. Well met, good Captain Seagull, and my noble gentlemen! Now the sweet hour of our freedom is at hand. Come, drawer, fill us some carouses, and prepare us for the mirth that will be occasioned presently. Here will be a pretty wench, gentlemen, that will bear us company all our voyage.

Sea. Whatsoever she be, here’s to her health, noble colonel, both with cap and knee.

Pe. Thanks, kind Captain Seagull, she’s one I love dearly, and must not be known till we be free from all that know us. And so, gentlemen, here’s to her health.    78

Ambo. Let it come, worthy colonel; we do hunger and thirst for it.

Pe. Afore heaven! you have hit the phrase of one that her presence will touch from the foot to the forehead, if ye knew it.

Sp. Why, then, we will join his forehead with her health, sir; and Captain Scapethrift, here’s to ’hem both.

Enter Security and Bramble.

Sec. See, see, Master Bramble, ’fore heaven! their voyage cannot but prosper; they are o’ their knees for success to it!

Br. And they pray to god Bacchus.    90

Sec. God save my brave colonel, with all his tall captains and corporals. See, sir, my worshipful learned counsel, Master Bramble, is come to take his leave of you.

Pe. Worshipful Master Bramble, how far do you draw us into the sweet-briar of your kindness! Come, Captain Seagull, another health to this rare Bramble, that hath never a prick about him.

Sea. I pledge his most smooth disposition, sir. Come, Master Security, bend your supporters, and pledge this notorious health here.    101

Sec. Bend you yours likewise, Master Bramble; for it is you shall pledge me.

Sea. Not so, Master Security; he must not pledge his own health.

Sec. No, Master Captain?

Enter Quicksilver with Winny disguised.

Why, then, here’s one is fitly come to do him that honour.

Qu. Here’s the gentlewoman your cousin, sir, whom, with much entreaty, I have brought to take her leave of you in a tavern; ashamed whereof, you must pardon her if she put not off her mask.    112

Pe. Pardon me, sweet cousin; my kind desire to see you before I went, made me so importunate to entreat your presence here.

Sec. How now, Master Francis? have you honoured this presence with a fair gentlewoman?

Qu. Pray, sir, take you no notice of her, for she will not be known to you.

Sec. But my learned counsel, Master Bramble here, I hope he may know her.    121

Qu. No more than you, sir, at this time; his learning must pardon her.

Sec. Well, God pardon her for my part, and I do, I’ll be sworn; and so, Master Francis, here’s to all that are going eastward to-night towards Cuckold’s Haven;[69] and so to the health of Master Bramble.

Qu. I pledge it, sir. Hath it gone round, Captain?

Sea. It has, sweet Frank; and the round closes with thee.    130

Qu. Well, sir, here’s to all eastward and toward cuckolds, and so to famous Cuckold’s Haven, so fatally remembered.


Pe. Nay, pray thee, coz, weep not; gossip Security.

Sec. Ay, my brave gossip.

Pe. A word, I beseech you, sir. Our friend, Mistress Bramble here, is so dissolved in tears, that she drowns the whole mirth of our meeting. Sweet gossip, take her aside and comfort her.    139

Sec. Pity of all true love, Mistress Bramble; what, weep you to enjoy your love? What’s the cause, lady? Is’t because your husband is so near, and your heart yearns to have a little abused him? Alas, alas! the offence is too common to be respected. So great a grace hath seldom chanced to so unthankful a woman, to be rid of an old jealous dotard, to enjoy the arms of a loving young knight, that when your prickless Bramble is withered with grief of your loss, will make you flourish afresh in the bed of a lady.    149

Enter Drawer.

Dr. Sir Petronel, here’s one of your watermen come to tell you it will be flood these three hours; and that ’twill be dangerous going against the tide, for the sky is overcast, and there was a porcpisce[70] even now seen at London Bridge, which is always the messenger of tempests, he says.

Pe. A porcpisce!—what’s that to th’ purpose? Charge him, if he love his life, to attend us; can we not reach Blackwall (where my ship lies) against the tide, and in spite of tempests? Captains and gentlemen, we’ll begin a new ceremony at the beginning of our voyage, which I believe will be followed of all future adventurers.    161

Sea. What’s that, good colonel?

Pe. This, Captain Seagull. We’ll have our provided supper brought aboard Sir Francis Drake’s ship,[71] that hath compassed the world; where, with full cups and banquets, we will do sacrifice for a prosperous voyage. My mind gives me that some good spirits of the waters should haunt the desert ribs of her, and be auspicious to all that honour her memory, and will with like orgies enter their voyages.    170

Sea. Rarely conceited! One health more to this motion, and aboard to perform it. He that will not this night be drunk, may he never be sober.

[They compass in Winifred, dance the drunken round, and drink carouses.

Br. Sir Petronel and his honourable captains, in these young services we old servitors may be spared. We only came to take our leaves, and with one health to you all, I’ll be bold to do so. Here, neighbour Security, to the health of Sir Petronel, and all his captains.

Sec. You must bend then, Master Bramble; so now I am for you. I have one corner of my brain, I hope, fit to bear one carouse more. Here, lady, to you that are encompassed there, and are ashamed of our company. Ha, ha, ha! by my troth, my learned counsel, Master Bramble, my mind runs so of Cuckold’s Haven to-night, that my head runs over with admiration.    186

Br. But is not that your wife, neighbour?

Sec. No, by my troth, Master Bramble. Ha, ha, ha! A pox of all Cuckold’s Havens, I say!

Br. O’ my faith, her garments are exceeding like your wife’s.

Sec. Cucullus non facit monachum, my learned counsel; all are not cuckolds that seem so, nor all seem not that are so. Give me your hand, my learned counsel; you and I will sup somewhere else than at Sir Francis Drake’s ship to-night. Adieu, my noble gossip.

Br. Good fortune, brave captains; fair skies God send ye!

Omnes. Farewell, my hearts, farewell!    199

Pe. Gossip, laugh no more at Cuckold’s Haven, gossip.

Sec. I have done, I have done, sir; will you lead, Master Bramble? Ha, ha, ha!

Pe. Captain Seagull, charge a boat.

Omnes. A boat, a boat, a boat!

[Exeunt all but Drawer.

Dr. Y’are in a proper taking indeed, to take a boat, especially at this time of night, and against tide and tempest. They say yet, “drunken men never take harm.” This night will try the truth of that proverb.    208


[66] This date is too early. The first colony was established (by Sir Richard Grenville) in 1585; see Hakluyt’s Voyages (ed. 1600), iii. 254. These colonists stayed only a year in Virginia. A second batch was sent out in 1587.

[67] “Only a few ... than we do here.”—This is one of the passages that gave offence and procured the author’s imprisonment. It is found only in a few copies. Englishmen were disgusted at the favours lavished by James on the needy Scots who swarmed southwards “with pride and hungry hopes completely arm’d.” See Jesse’s Court of England under the Stuarts, ed. 1855, i. 52-3.

[68] “Besides ... good as a feast.”—This passage is omitted in the copies that contain the cancelled passage about the Scots.

[69] A spot on the Thames below Rotherhithe.

[70] Old form of porpoise: it occurs in Jonson’s Silent Woman, &c. The gambolling of porpoises was supposed to portend a storm.

[71] See note 1, p. 59.


Outside Security’s house.

Enter Security.

Sec. What, Winny!—wife, I say! out of doors at this time! where should I seek the gad-fly? Billingsgate, Billingsgate, Billingsgate! She’s gone with the knight, she’s gone with the knight; woe be to thee, Billingsgate! A boat, a boat, a boat! a full hundred marks for a boat![72]


[72] See note 2, vol. ii. p. 349.



Cuckold’s Haven.

Enter Slitgut with a pair of ox-horns, discovering Cuckold’s Haven above.

Sl. All hail, fair haven of married men only! for there are none but married men cuckolds. For my part, I presume not to arrive here, but in my masters behalf (a poor butcher of East-cheap), who sends me to set up (in honour of Saint Luke) these necessary ensigns of his homage.[73] And up I got this morning, thus early, to get up to the top of this famous tree, that is all fruit and no leaves, to advance this crest of my master’s occupation. Up then; heaven and Saint Luke bless me, that I be not blown into the Thames as I climb, with this furious tempest. ’Slight! I think the devil be abroad, in likeness of a storm, to rob me of my horns! Hark how he roars! Lord! what a coil the Thames keeps! she bears some unjust burthen, I believe, that she kicks and curvets thus to cast it. Heaven bless all honest passengers that are upon her back now; for the bit is out of her mouth, I see, and she will run away with ’hem! So, so, I think I have made it look the right way; it runs against London Bridge, as it were, even full butt. And now let me discover from this lofty prospect, what pranks the rude Thames plays in her desperate lunacy. O me! here’s a boat has been cast away hard by. Alas, alas! see one of her passengers labouring for his life to land at this haven here! pray heaven he may recover it! His next land is even just under me; hold out yet a little, whatsoever thou art; pray, and take a good heart to thee. ’Tis a man; take a man’s heart to thee; yet a little further, get up a’ thy legs, man; now ’tis shallow enough. So, so, so! Alas! he’s down again. Hold thy wind, father: ’tis a man in a nightcap. So! now he’s got up again; now he’s past the worst: yet, thanks be to heaven, he comes towards me pretty and strongly.    33

Enter Security without his hat, in a nightcap, wet band, &c.

Sec. Heaven, I beseech thee, how have I offended thee! where am I cast ashore now, that I may go a righter way home by land? Let me see; O I am scarce able to look about me: where is there any seamark that I am acquainted withal?

Sl. Look up, father; are you acquainted with this mark?    40

Sec. What! landed at Cuckold’s Haven! Hell and damnation! I will run back and drown myself.

[He falls down.

Sl. Poor man, how weak he is! the weak water has washed away his strength.

Sec. Landed at Cuckold’s Haven! If it had not been to die twenty times alive, I should never have ’scaped death! I will never arise more; I will grovel here and eat dirt till I be choked; I will make the gentle earth do that, which the cruel water has denied me.    49

Sl. Alas! good father, be not so desperate! Rise, man; if you will I’ll come presently and lead you home.

Sec. Home! shall I make any know my home, that has known me thus abroad? How low shall I crouch away, that no eye may see me? I will creep on the earth while I live, and never look heaven in the face more.

[Exit creeping.

Sl. What young planet reigns now, trow,[74] that old men are so foolish? What desperate young swaggerer would have been abroad such a weather as this, upon the water? Ay me! see another remnant of this unfortunate shipwreck, or some other. A woman, i’faith, a woman; though it be almost at St. Katherine’s, I discern it to be a woman, for all her body is above the water, and her clothes swim about her most handsomely. O, they bear her up most bravely! has not a woman reason to love the taking up of her clothes the better while she lives, for this? Alas! how busy the rude Thames is about her! a pox o’ that wave! it will drown her, i’faith, ’twill drown her! Cry God mercy, she has ’scaped it—I thank heaven she has ’scaped it! O how she swims like a mermaid! some vigilant body look out and save her. That’s well said; just where the priest fell in, there’s one sets down a ladder, and goes to take her up. God’s blessing o’ thy heart, boy! Now take her up in thy arms and to bed with her; she’s up, she’s up! She’s a beautiful woman, I warrant her; the billows durst not devour her.    77

Enter the Drawer of the Blue Anchor,[75] with Winifred.

Dr. How fare you now, lady?

Wi. Much better, my good friend, than I wish; as one desperate of her fame, now my life is preserved.

Dr. Comfort yourself: that power that preserved you from death can likewise defend you from infamy, howsoever you deserve it. Were not you one that took boat late this night, with a knight and other gentlemen at Billingsgate?

Wi. Unhappy that I am, I was.    86

Dr. I am glad it was my good hap to come down thus far after you, to a house of my friend’s here in St. Katherine’s, since I am now happily made a mean to your rescue from the ruthless tempest, which (when you took boat) was so extreme, and the gentleman that brought you forth so desperate and unsober, that I feared long ere this I should hear of your shipwreck, and therefore (with little other reason) made thus far this way. And this I must tell you, since perhaps you may make use of it, there was left behind you at our tavern, brought by a porter (hired by the young gentleman that brought you), a gentlewoman’s gown, hat, stockings, and shoes; which if they be yours, and you please to shift you, taking a hard bed here in this house of my friend, I will presently go fetch you.    101

Wi. Thanks, my good friend, for your more than good news. The gown with all things bound with it are mine; which if you please to fetch as you have promised, I will boldly receive the kind favour you have offered till your return; entreating you, by all the good you have done in preserving me hitherto, to let none take knowledge of what favour you do me, or where such a one as I am bestowed, lest you incur me much more damage in my fame than you have done me pleasure in preserving my life. 110

Dr. Come in, lady, and shift yourself; resolve that nothing but your own pleasure shall be used in your discovery.

Wi. Thank you, good friend; the time may come, I shall requite you.


Slit. See, see, see! I hold my life, there’s some other a taking up at Wapping now! Look, what a sort of people cluster about the gallows there! in good troth it is so. O me! a fine young gentleman! What, and taken up at the gallows! Heaven grant he be not one day taken down there! O’ my life, it is ominous! Well, he is delivered for the time. I see the people have all left him; yet will I keep my prospect awhile, to see if any more have been shipwracked.    124

Enter Quicksilver, bareheaded.

Qu. Accursed that ever I was saved or born!
How fatal is my sad arrival here!
As if the stars and providence spake to me,
And said, “The drift of all unlawful courses
(Whatever end they dare propose themselves,
In frame of their licentious policies),    130
In the firm order of just destiny,
They are the ready highways to our ruins.”
I know not what to do; my wicked hopes
Are, with this tempest, torn up by the roots.
O! which way shall I bend my desperate steps,
In which unsufferable shame and misery
Will not attend them? I will walk this bank,
And see if I can meet the other relics
Of our poor shipwreck’d crew, or hear of them.
The knight, alas! was so far gone with wine,    140
And th’ other three, that I refused their boat,
And took the hapless woman in another,
Who cannot but be sunk, whatever fortune
Hath wrought upon the others’ desperate lives.


Enter Sir Petronel and Seagull, bareheaded.

Pe. Zounds! captain, I will tell thee, we are cast up o’ the coast of France. ’Sfoot! I am not drunk still, I hope. Dost remember where we were last night?

Sea. No, by my troth, knight, not I; but methinks we have been a horrible while upon the water and in the water.    150

Pe. Ay me! we are undone for ever! Hast any money about thee?

Sea. Not a penny, by Heaven!

Pe. Not a penny betwixt us, and cast ashore in France!

Sea. ’Faith, I cannot tell that; my brains nor mine eyes are not mine own yet.    157

Enter two Gentlemen.

Pe. ’Sfoot! wilt not believe me? I know’t by th’ elevation of the pole, and by the altitude and latitude of the climate. See, here comes a couple of French gentlemen; I knew we were in France; dost thou think our Englishmen are so Frenchified, that a man knows not whether he be in France or in England, when he sees ’hem? What shall we do? We must e’en to ’hem, and entreat some relief of ’hem. Life is sweet, and we have no other means to relieve our lives now but their charities.

Sea. Pray you, do you beg on ’hem then; you can speak French.    168

Pe. Monsieur, plaist il d’avoir pitie de nostre grande infortune. Je suis un poure chevalier d’Angleterre qui a souffri l’infortune de naufrage.

1st Gent. Un poure chevalier d’Angleterre?

Pe. Oui, monsieur, il est trop vray; mais vous sçaves bien nous sommes toutes subject à fortune.

2nd Gent. A poor knight of England?—a poor knight of Windsor, are you not? Why speak you this broken French when y’are a whole Englishman? On what coast are you, think you?

Pe. On the coast of France, sir.    179

1st Gent. On the coast of Dogs, sir; y’are i’th’ Isle o’ Dogs, I tell you, I see y’ave been washed in the Thames here, and I believe ye were drowned in a tavern before, or else you would never have took boat in such a dawning as this was. Farewell, farewell; we will not know you for shaming of you. I ken the man weel; he’s one of my thirty pound knights.[76]

2nd Gent. No, no, this is he that stole his knighthood o’ the grand day for four pound given to a page; all the money in’s purse, I wot well.


Sea. Death! colonel, I knew you were over-shot.    190

Pe. Sure I think now, indeed, Captain Seagull, we were something over-shot.

Enter Quicksilver.

What! my sweet Frank Quicksilver! dost thou survive to rejoice me? But what! nobody at thy heels, Frank? Ay me! what is become of poor Mistress Security?

Qu. ’Faith, gone quite from her name, as she is from her fame, I think; I left her to the mercy of the water.

Sea. Let her go, let her go! Let us go to our ship at Blackwall, and shift us.    199

Pe. Nay, by my troth, let our clothes rot upon us, and let us rot in them; twenty to one our ship is attached by this time! If we set her not under sail this last tide, I never looked for any other. Woe, woe is me! what shall become of us? The last money we could make, the greedy Thames has devoured; and if our ship be attached, there is no hope can relieve us.

Qu. ’Sfoot! knight, what an unknightly faintness transports thee! Let our ship sink, and all the world that’s without us be taken from us, I hope I have some tricks in this brain of mine shall not let us perish.    210

Sea. Well said, Frank, i’faith. O, my nimble-spirited Quicksilver! ’Fore God! would thou hadst been our colonel!

Pe. I like his spirit rarely; but I see no means he has to support that spirit.

Qu. Go to, knight! I have more means than thou art aware of. I have not lived amongst goldsmiths and goldmakers all this while, but I have learned something worthy of my time with ’hem. And not to let thee stink where thou stand’st, knight, I’ll let thee know some of my skill presently.    221

Sea. Do, good Frank, I beseech thee.

Qu. I will blanch copper so cunningly that it shall endure all proofs but the test: it shall endure malleation, it shall have the ponderosity of Luna, and the tenacity of Luna—by no means friable.

Pe. ’Slight! where learn’st thou these terms, trow?

Qu. Tush, knight! the terms of this art every ignorant quacksalver is perfect in; but I’ll tell you how yourself shall blanch copper thus cunningly. Take arsenic, otherwise called realga (which indeed is plain ratsbane); sublime ’hem three or four times, then take the sublimate of this realga, and put ’hem into a glass, into chymia, and let them have a convenient decoction natural, four-and-twenty hours, and he will become perfectly fixed; then take this fixed powder, and project him upon well-purged copper, et habebis magisterium.    237

Ambo. Excellent Frank, let us hug thee!

Qu. Nay, this I will do besides. I’ll take you off twelvepence from every angel, with a kind of aquafortis, and never deface any part of the image.

Pe. But then it will want weight?

Qu. You shall restore that thus: Take your sal achime prepared, and your distilled urine, and let your angels lie in it but four-and-twenty hours, and they shall have their perfect weight again. Come on, now; I hold this is enough to put some spirit into the livers of you; I’ll infuse more another time. We have saluted the proud air long enough with our bare sconces. Now will I have you to a wench’s house of mine at London, there make shift to shift us, and after, take such fortunes as the stars shall assign us.    252

Ambo. Notable Frank, we will ever adore thee!


Enter Drawer, with Winifred new-attired.

Wi. Now, sweet friend, you have brought me near enough your tavern, which I desired I might with some colour be seen near, inquiring for my husband, who, I must tell you, stole[77] thither the last night with my wet gown we have left at your friend’s, which, to continue your former honest kindness, let me pray you to keep close from the knowledge of any: and so, with all vow of your requital, let me now entreat you to leave me to my woman’s wit and fortune.    262

Dr. All shall be done you desire; and so all the fortune you can wish for attend you.

[Exit Drawer.

Enter Security.

Sec. I will once more to this unhappy tavern before I shift one rag of me more; that I may there know what is left behind, and what news of their passengers. I have bought me a hat and band with the little money I had about me, and made the streets a little leave staring at my nightcap.

Wi. O, my dear husband! where have you been to-night? All night abroad at taverns! Rob me of my garments! and fare as one run away from me! Alas! is this seemly for a man of your credit, of your age, and affection to your wife?    275

Sec. What should I say?—how miraculously sorts this!—was not I at home, and called thee last night?

Wi. Yes, sir, the harmless sleep you broke; and my answer to you would have witnessed it, if you had had the patience to have stayed and answered me; but your so sudden retreat made me imagine you were gone to Master Bramble’s, and so rested patient and hopeful of your coming again, till this your unbelieved absence brought me abroad with no less than wonder, to seek you where the false knight had carried you.    285

Sec. Villain and monster that I was! how have I abused thee! I was suddenly gone indeed; for my sudden jealousy transferred me. I will say no more but this: dear wife, I suspected thee.

Wi. Did you suspect me?    290

Sec. Talk not of it, I beseech thee; I am ashamed to imagine it. I will home, I will home; and every morning on my knees ask thee heartily forgiveness.


[Slit.] Now will I descend my honourable prospect; the farthest seeing sea-mark of the world; no marvel, then, if I could see two miles about me. I hope the red tempest’s anger be now over-blown, which sure, I think, Heaven sent as a punishment for profaning holy Saint Luke’s memory[78] with so ridiculous a custom. Thou dishonest satire! farewell to honest married men, farewell to all sorts and degrees of thee! Farewell, thou horn of hunger, that call’st the inns o’ court to their manger! Farewell, thou horn of abundance, that adornest the headsmen of the commonwealth! Farewell, thou horn of direction, that is the city lanthorn! Farewell, thou horn of pleasure, the ensign of the huntsman! Farewell, thou horn of destiny, th’ ensign of the married man! Farewell, thou horn tree, that bearest nothing but stone-fruit!    309


[73] Horn-fair was held at Charlton on St. Luke’s Day, 18th October.—The tradition was that King John cuckolded a miller who lived near Charlton, and compensated him by giving him all the land that he could see from his house, looking down the river; the condition being that the miller should walk round the estate annually on St. Luke’s Day with a pair of buck’s horns fastened on his head.

[74] I.e., think you?

[75] Old ed.Enter the Drawer in the tavern before.”

[76] A sneer at those who purchased the honour of knighthood from King James. As he spoke the words the actor mimick’d James’ Scotch accent.

[77] Old ed. “stale.”

[78] See note, p. 72.


Goldsmiths’ Row.

Enter Touchstone.

To. Ha, sirrah! thinks my knight adventurer we can no point of our compass? Do we not know nor-north-east, north-east-and-by-east, east-and-by-north? nor plain eastward? Ha! have we never heard of Virginia? nor the Cavallaria? nor the Colonoria? Can we discover no discoveries? Well, mine errant Sir Flash, and my runagate Quicksilver, you may drink drunk,[79] crack cans, hurl away a brown dozen of Monmouth caps[80] or so, in sea ceremony to your bon voyage; but for reaching any coast, save the coast of Kent or Essex, with this tide, or with this fleet, I’ll be your warrant for a Gravesend toast. There’s that gone afore will stay your admiral,[81] and vice-admiral and rear-admiral, were they all (as they are) but one pinnace, and under sail, as well as a remora,[82] doubt it not; and from this sconce,[83] without either powder or shot. Work upon that now. Nay, and you’ll show tricks, we’ll vie[84] with you a little. My daughter, his lady, was sent eastward by land, to a castle of his, i’ the air (in what region I know not), and, as I hear, was glad to take up her lodging in her coach, she and her two waiting-women, her maid, and her mother, like three snails in a shell, and the coachman a-top on ’hem, I think. Since they have all found the way back again by Weeping Cross;[85] but I’ll not see ’hem. And for two on ’hem, madam and her malkin, they are like to bite o’ the bridle for William, as the poor horses have done all this while that hurried ’hem, or else go graze o’ the common. So should my Dame Touchstone too; but she has been my cross these thirty years, and I’ll now keep her to fright away sprites, i’faith. I wonder I hear no news of my son Golding. He was sent for to the Guildhall this morning betimes, and I marvel at the matter; if I had not laid up comfort and hope in him, I should grow desperate of all. See! he is come i’ my thought. How now, son? What news at the Court of Aldermen?    35

Enter Golding.

Go. Troth, sir, an accident somewhat strange, else it hath little in it worth the reporting.

To. What? it is not borrowing of money, then?

Go. No, sir; it hath pleased the worshipful commoners of the city to take me one i’ their number at presentation of the inquest—

To. Ha!

Go. And the alderman of the ward wherein I dwell to appoint me his deputy—

To. How?    45

Go. In which place I have had an oath administered me, since I went.

To. Now, my dear and happy son, let me kiss thy new worship, and a little boast mine own happiness in thee. What a fortune was it (or rather my judgment, indeed) for me, first to see that in his disposition which a whole city so conspires to second! Ta’en into the livery of his company the first day of his freedom! Now (not a week married) chosen commoner and alderman’s deputy in a day! Note but the reward of a thrifty course. The wonder of his time! Well, I will honour Master Alderman for this act (as becomes me), and shall think the better of the Common Council’s wisdom and worship while I live, for thus meeting, or but coming after me, in the opinion of his desert. Forward, my sufficient son! and as this is the first, so esteem it the least step to that high and prime honour that expects thee.

Go. Sir, as I was not ambitious of this, so I covet no higher place; it hath dignity enough, if it will but save me from contempt; and I had rather my bearing in this or any other office should add worth to it, than the place give the least opinion to me.    67

To. Excellently spoken! This modest answer of thine blushes, as if it said, I will wear scarlet shortly. Worshipful son! I cannot contain myself, I must tell thee; I hope to see thee one o’ the monuments of our city, and reckoned among her worthies to be remembered the same day with the Lady Ramsey[86] and grave Gresham, when the famous fable of Whittington and his puss shall be forgotten, and thou and thy acts become the posies for hospitals; when thy name shall be written upon conduits, and thy deeds, played i’ thy lifetime, by the best companies of actors,[87] and be called their get-penny.[88] This I divine. This I prophesy.    79

Go. Sir, engage not your expectation farther than my abilities will answer; I, that know mine own strengths, fear ’hem; and there is so seldom a loss in promising the least, that commonly it brings with it a welcome deceit. I have other news for you, sir.

To. None more welcome, I am sure?

Go. They have their degree of welcome, I dare affirm. The colonel and all his company, this morning putting forth drunk from Billingsgate, had like to have been cast away o’ this side Greenwich; and (as I have intelligence by a false brother) are come dropping to town like so many masterless men, i’ their doublets and hose, without hat, or cloak, or any other——    92

To. A miracle! the justice of Heaven! Where are they? let’s go presently and lay[89] for ’hem.

Go. I have done that already, sir, both by constables and other officers, who shall take ’hem at their old Anchor, and with less tumult or suspicion than if yourself were seen in’t—and under colour of a great press that is now abroad, and they shall here be brought afore me.    100

To. Prudent and politic son! Disgrace ’hem all that ever thou canst; their ship I have already arrested. How to my wish it falls out, that thou hast the place of a justicer upon ’hem! I am partly glad of the injury done to me, that thou may’st punish it. Be severe i’ thy place, like a new officer o’ the first quarter, unreflected. You hear how our lady is come back with her train, from the invisible castle?

Go. No; where is she?    109

To. Within; but I ha’ not seen her yet, nor her mother, who now begins to wish her daughter undubbed, they say, and that she had walked a foot-pace with her sister. Here they come; stand back.

Enter Mistress Touchstone, Gertrude, Mildred, and Sindefy.

God save your ladyship—save your good ladyship! Your ladyship is welcome from your enchanted castle, so are your beauteous retinue. I hear your knight errant is travelled on strange adventures. Surely, in my mind, your ladyship hath fished fair, and caught a frog, as the saying is.

Mist. T. Speak to your father, madam, and kneel down.    121

Ge. Kneel? I hope I am not brought so low yet; though my knight be run away, and has sold my land, I am a lady still.

To. Your ladyship says true, madam; and it is fitter and a greater decorum, that I should curtsey to you that are a knight’s wife, and a lady, than you be brought o’ your knees to me, who am a poor cullion[90] and your father.

Ge. Law!—my father knows his duty.    130

Mist. T. O child!

To. And therefore I do desire your ladyship, my good Lady Flash, in all humility, to depart my obscure cottage, and return in quest of your bright and most transparent castle, however presently concealed to mortal eyes. And as for one poor woman of your train here, I will take that order, she shall no longer be a charge unto you, nor help to spend your ladyship; she shall stay at home with me, and not go abroad, nor put you to the pawning of an odd coach-horse or three wheels, but take part with the Touchstone. If we lack, we will not complain to your ladyship. And so, good madam, with your damosel here, please you to let us see your straight backs in equipage; for truly here is no roost for such chickens as you are, or birds o’ your feather, if it like your ladyship.    146

Ge. Marry, fist[91] o’ your kindness! I thought as much. Come away, Sin, we shall as soon get a fart from a dead man,[92] as a farthing of courtesy here.

Mi. O, good sister!

Ge. Sister, sir reverence! Come away, I say, hunger drops out at his nose.

Go. O, madam, fair words never hurt the tongue.

Ge. How say you by that? You come out with your gold-ends now!

Mist. T. Stay, lady-daughter; good husband!    156

To. Wife, no man loves his fetters, be they made of gold. I list not ha’ my head fastened under my child’s girdle; as she has brewed, so let her drink, o’ God’s name. She went witless to wedding, now she may go wisely a-begging. It’s but honeymoon yet with her ladyship; she has coach-horses, apparel, jewels, yet left; she needs care for no friends, nor take knowledge of father, mother, brother, sister, or anybody. When those are pawned or spent, perhaps we shall return into the list of her acquaintance.    166

Ge. I scorn it, i’faith. Come, Sin.

Mist. T. O madam, why do you provoke your father thus?

[Exeunt Gertrude and Sindefy.

To. Nay, nay; e’en let pride go afore, shame will follow after, I warrant you. Come, why dost thou weep now? Thou art not the first good cow hast had an ill calf, I trust.

Enter Constable.

What’s the news with that fellow?

Go. Sir, the knight and your man Quicksilver are without; will you ha’ ’hem brought in?

To. O, by any means. [Exit Constable.] And, son, here’s a chair; appear terrible unto ’hem on the first interview. Let them behold the melancholy of a magistrate, and taste the fury of a citizen in office.    180

Go. Why, sir, I can do nothing to ’hem, except you charge ’hem with somewhat.

To. I will charge ’hem and recharge ’hem, rather than authority should want foil to set it off.

Go. No, good sir, I will not.

To. Son, it is your place; by any means—

Go. Believe it, I will not, sir.

Enter Sir Petronel, Quicksilver, Constable, Officers.

Pe. How misfortune pursues us still in our misery!

Qu. Would it had been my fortune to have been trussed up at Wapping[93] rather than ever ha’ come here!

Pe. Or mine, to have famished in the island!    191

Qu. Must Golding sit upon us?

Co. You might carry an M. under your girdle[94] to Master Deputy’s worship.

Go. What are those, Master Constable?

Co. An’t please your worship, a couple of masterless men I pressed for the Low Countries, sir.

Go. Why do you not carry ’hem to Bridewell, according to your order, they may be shipped away?

Co. An’t please your worship, one of ’hem says he is a knight; and we thought good to show him to your worship, for our discharge.    202

Go. Which is he?

Co. This, sir.

Go. And what’s the other?

Co. A knight’s fellow, sir, an’t please you.

Go. What! a knight and his fellow thus accoutred? Where are their hats and feathers, their rapiers and their cloaks?

Qu. O, they mock us.    210

Co. Nay, truly, sir, they had cast both their feathers and hats too, before we see ’hem. Here’s all their furniture, an’t please you, that we found. They say knights are now to be known without feathers, like cockerels by their spurs, sir.

Go. What are their names, say they?

To. Very well this. He should not take knowledge of ’hem in his place, indeed.

Co. This is Sir Petronel Flash.

To. How!    220

Co. And this, Francis Quicksilver.

To. Is’t possible? I thought your worship had been gone for Virginia, sir; you are welcome home, sir. Your worship has made a quick return, it seems, and no doubt a good voyage. Nay, pray you be covered, sir. How did your biscuit hold out, sir? Methought I had seen this gentleman afore—good Master Quicksilver! How a degree to the southward has changed you!

Go. Do you know ’hem, father? Forbear your offers a little, you shall be heard anon.    230

To. Yes, Master Deputy; I had a small venture with them in the voyage—a thing called a son-in-law, or so. Officers, you may let ’hem stand alone, they will not run away; I’ll give my word for them. A couple of very honest gentlemen. One of ’hem was my prentice, Master Quicksilver here; and when he had two year to serve, kept his whore and his hunting nag, would play his hundred pound at gresco,[95] or primero, as familiarly (and all o’ my purse) as any bright piece of crimson on ’hem all; had his changeable trunks of apparel standing at livery with his mare, his chest of perfumed linen, and his bathing-tubs, which when I told him of, why he!—he was a gentleman, and I a poor Cheapside groom. The remedy was, we must part. Since when, he hath had the gift of gathering up some small parcels of mine, to[96] the value of five hundred pound, dispersed among my customers, to furnish this his Virginia venture; wherein this knight was the chief, Sir Flash—one that married a daughter of mine, ladyfied her, turned two thousand pounds’ worth of good land of hers into cash within the first week, bought her a new gown and a coach; sent her to seek her fortune by land, whilst himself prepared for his fortune by sea; took in fresh flesh at Billingsgate, for his own diet, to serve him the whole voyage—the wife of a certain usurer called Security, who hath been the broker for ’hem in all this business. Please, Master Deputy, work upon that now.    257

Go. If my worshipful father have ended—

To. I have, it shall please Master Deputy.

Go. Well then, under correction—

To. Now, son, come over ’hem with some fine gird, as thus, “Knight, you shall be encountered,” that is, had to the Counter; or, “Quicksilver, I will put you into a crucible,” or so.

Go. Sir Petronel Flash, I am sorry to see such flashes as these proceed from a gentleman of your quality and rank; for mine own part, I could wish I could say I could not see them; but such is the misery of magistrates and men in place, that they must not wink at offenders. Take him aside; I will hear you anon, sir.    270

To. I like this well, yet; there’s some grace i’ the knight left—he cries.

Go. Francis Quicksilver, would God thou hadst turned quacksalver, rather than run into these dissolute and lewd courses! It is great pity; thou art a proper young man, of an honest and clean face, somewhat near a good one; God hath done his part in thee; but thou hast made too much, and been too proud of that face, with the rest of thy body; for maintenance of which in neat and garish attire, only to be looked upon by some light housewives, thou hast prodigally consumed much of thy master’s estate; and being by him gently admonished at several times, hast returned thyself haughty and rebellious in thine answers, thundering out uncivil comparisons, requiting all his kindness with a coarse and harsh behaviour; never returning thanks for any one benefit, but receiving all as if they had been debts to thee, and no courtesies. I must tell thee, Francis, these are manifest signs of an ill-nature; and God doth often punish such pride and outrecuidance[97] with scorn and infamy, which is the worst of misfortune. My worshipful father, what do you please to charge them withal? From the press I will free ’hem, Master Constable.    293

Co. Then I’ll leave your worship, sir.

Go. No, you may stay; there will be other matters against ’hem.

To. Sir, I do charge this gallant, Master Quicksilver, on suspicion of felony; and the knight as being accessary in the receipt of my goods.

Qu. O God, sir!    300

To. Hold thy peace, impudent varlet, hold thy peace! With what forehead or face dost thou offer to chop logic with me, having run such a race of riot as thou hast done? Does not the sight of this worshipful man’s fortune and temper confound thee, that was thy younger fellow in household, and now come to have the place of a judge upon thee? Dost not observe this? Which of all thy gallants and gamesters, thy swearers and thy swaggerers, will come now to moan thy misfortune, or pity thy penury? They’ll look out at a window, as thou ridest in triumph to Tyburn, and cry, “Yonder goes honest Frank, mad Quicksilver!” “He was a free boon companion, when he had money,” says one; “Hang him, fool!” says another; “he could not keep it when he had it!” “A pox o’ th’ cullion, his master,” says a third, “he has brought him to this;” when their pox of pleasure, and their piles of perdition, would have been better bestowed upon thee, that hast ventured for ’hem with the best, and by the clue of thy knavery brought thyself weeping to the cart of calamity.    320

Qu. Worshipful master!

To. Offer not to speak, crocodile; I will not hear a sound come from thee. Thou hast learnt to whine at the play yonder. Master Deputy, pray you commit ’hem both to safe custody, till I be able farther to charge ’hem.

Qu. O me! what an infortunate thing am I!

Pe. Will you not take security, sir?

To. Yes, marry, will I, Sir Flash, if I can find him, and charge him as deep as the best on you. He has been the plotter of all this; he is your enginer,[98] I hear. Master Deputy, you’ll dispose of these. In the meantime, I’ll to my lord mayor, and get his warrant to seize that serpent Security into my hands, and seal up both house and goods to the king’s use or my satisfaction.    335

Go. Officers, take ’hem to the Counter.

Qu. and Pe. O God!

To. Nay, on, on! you see the issue of your sloth. Of sloth cometh pleasure, of pleasure cometh riot, of riot comes whoring, of whoring comes spending, of spending comes want, of want comes theft, of theft comes hanging; and there is my Quicksilver fixed.


[79] “’Slid now, I’m quite altered! ... sit up late till it be early; drink drunk till I am sober.”—Middleton, iii. 254.

[80] “Monmouth caps” were caps worn by sailors. (See “The Ballad of the Caps” in Fairholt’s Satirical Songs and Poems on Costume, p. 115.)

[81] The chief ship of a fleet.

[82] A barnacle.—It was supposed to be able to stop a ship’s course by adhering to the rudder.

[83] “Sconce” = (1) head, (2) fort.

[84] Vie was a term in card-playing; it meant to back one’s cards against an opponent’s.

[85] A proverbial saying. See Nares’ Glossary.

[86] Lady Mary Ramsey, second wife of Sir Thomas Ramsey (who was lord mayor in 1577). She was a benefactress of Christ’s Hospital and other institutions: she died in 1596. See Stow’s Annales, ed. 1720, i. 278.

[87] There is an allusion to Heywood’s play, If you know not me you know nobody. The First Part was printed in 1605; the Second Part in 1606. In the prologue to the First Part Heywood mentions that the play had enjoyed extraordinary popularity; and from the same source we gather that it had been written some considerable time before the date of publication. The Second Part is largely taken up with the building of Gresham’s Royal Exchange. Lady Ramsey is one of the characters.

[88] A theatrical term for a profitable performance. See Middleton, iii. 134.

[89] I.e., set officers in ambush to arrest them.

[90] Mean rascal.

[91] An indelicate observation.—“Vessifier. To breed a fyste, to make breake wind, or let a fyste.”—Cotgrave.

[92] A proverbial expression.—“J’aymeroy autant tirer un pet d’un asne mort, que, &c.—I would as soone undertake to get a fart of a dead man, as, &c.”—Cotgrave.

[93] Where pirates were hanged.

[94] “You might carry an M. under your girdle” = you might have the civility to use the term Master. Cf. Heywood’s A Maidenhead well Lost, iii. 2:—
Wife. Sirrah.
Clown. Madam.
Lan. Why dost view me thus?
Clown. To see if the tailor that made your gown hath put ne’er an M. under your girdle: there belongs more to beaten satin than sirrah.”

[95] A game at cards.

[96] Old ed. “so.”

[97] Presumption, arrogance.—Ben. Jonson has this French word in Cynthia’s Revels, v. 2. Nares quotes an instance from Chapman’s Monsieur d’Olive.

[98] Schemer.



Gertrude’s lodging.

Enter Gertrude and Sindefy.

Ge. Ah, Sin! hast thou ever read i’ the chronicle of any lady and her waiting-woman driven to that extremity that we are, Sin?

Si. Not I, truly, madam; and if I had, it were but cold comfort should come out of books now.

Ge. Why, good faith, Sin, I could dine with a lamentable story, now. O[99] hone, hone, o no nera! &c. Canst thou tell ne’er a one, Sin?

Si. None but mine own, madam, which is lamentable enough: first to be stolen from my friends, which were worshipful and of good accompt, by a prentice, in the habit and disguise of a gentleman, and here brought up to London, and promised marriage, and now likely to be forsaken, for he is in possibility to be hanged!    14

Ge. Nay, weep not, good Sin; my Petronel is in as good possibility as he. Thy miseries are nothing to mine, Sin; I was more than promised marriage, Sin; I had it, Sin; and was made a lady; and by a knight, Sin; which is now as good as no knight, Sin. And I was born in London, which is more than brought up, Sin; and already forsaken, which is past likelihood, Sin; and instead of land i’ the country, all my knight’s living lies i’ the Counter, Sin; there’s his castle now!    24

Si. Which he cannot be forced out of, madam.

Ge. Yes, if he would live hungry a week or two. “Hunger,” they say, “breaks stone walls.” But he is e’en well enough served, Sin, that so soon as ever he had got my hand to the sale of my inheritance, run away from me, and I had been his punk, God bless us! Would the Knight o’ the Sun,[100] or Palmerin of England, have used their ladies so, Sin? or Sir Lancelot? or Sir Tristram?

Si. I do not know, madam.    34

Ge. Then thou know’st nothing, Sin. Thou art a fool, Sin. The knighthood nowadays are nothing like the knighthood of old time. They rid a-horseback; ours go a-foot. They were attended by their squires; ours by their lackeys. They went buckled in their armour; ours muffled in their cloaks. They travelled wildernesses and deserts; ours dare scarce walk the streets. They were still pressed to engage their honour; ours still ready to pawn their clothes. They would gallop on at sight of a monster; ours run away at sight of a sergeant. They would help poor ladies; ours make poor ladies.

Si. Ay, madam, they were knights of the Round Table at Winchester, that sought adventures; but these of the Square Table at ordinaries, that sit at hazard.[101]    48

Ge. True,[102] Sin, let him vanish. And tell me, what shall we pawn next?

Si. Ay, marry, madam, a timely consideration; for our hostess (profane woman!) has sworn by bread and salt she will not trust us another meal.

Ge. Let it stink in her hand then. I’ll not be beholding to her. Let me see, my jewels be gone, and my gowns, and my red velvet petticoat that I was married in, and my wedding silk stockings, and all thy best apparel, poor Sin! Good faith, rather than thou shouldst pawn a rag more, I’d lay my ladyship in lavender[103]—if I knew where.    60

Si. Alas, madam, your ladyship!

Ge. Ay,—why?—you do not scorn my ladyship, though it is in a waistcoat? God’s my life! you are a peat[104] indeed! Do I offer to mortgage my ladyship for you and for your avail, and do you turn the lip and the alas to my ladyship?

Si. No, madam; but I make question who will lend anything upon it?    68

Ge. Who?—marry, enow, I warrant you, if you’ll seek ’hem out. I’m sure I remember the time when I would ha’ given one thousand pounds (if I had had it) to have been a lady; and I hope I was not bred and born with that appetite alone: some other gentle-born o’ the city have the same longing, I trust. And for my part, I would afford ’hem a penn’orth; my ladyship is little the worse for the wearing, and yet I would bate a good deal of the sum. I would lend it (let me see) for forty pound in hand, Sin; that would apparel us; and ten pound a year, that would keep me and you, Sin (with our needles); and we should never need to be beholding to our scurvy parents. Good Lord! that there are no fairies nowadays, Sin!    82

Si. Why, madam?

Ge. To do miracles, and bring ladies money. Sure, if we lay in a cleanly house, they would haunt it, Sin. I’ll try. I’ll sweep the chamber soon at night, and set a dish of water o’ the hearth. A fairy may come, and bring a pearl or a diamond. We do not know, Sin. Or, there may be a pot of gold hid o’ the backside,[105] if we had tools to dig for’t? Why may not we two rise early i’ the morning, Sin, afore anybody is up, and find a jewel i’ the streets worth a hundred pound? May not some great court-lady, as she comes from revels at midnight, look out of her coach as ’tis running, and lose such a jewel, and we find it? Ha?    95

Si. They are pretty waking dreams, these.

Ge. Or may not some old usurer be drunk overnight, with a bag of money, and leave it behind him on a stall? For God’s sake, Sin, let’s rise to-morrow by break of day, and see. I protest, law, if I had as much money as an alderman, I would scatter some on’t i’ th’ streets for poor ladies to find, when their knights were laid up. And, now I remember my song o’ the Golden Shower, why may not I have such a fortune? I’ll sing it, and try what luck I shall have after it.    105

“Fond fables tell of old,
How Jove in Danäe’s lap
Fell in a shower of gold,
By which she caught a clap;
O had it been my hap    110
(How ere the blow doth threaten),
So well I like the play,
That I could wish all day
And night to be so beaten.”

Enter Mistress Touchstone.

O here’s my mother! good luck, I hope. Ha’ you brought any money, mother? Pray you, mother, your blessing. Nay, sweet mother, do not weep.

Mist. T. God bless you! I would I were in my grave!    119

Ge. Nay, dear mother, can you steal no more money from my father? Dry your eyes, and comfort me. Alas! it is my knight’s fault, and not mine, that I am in a waistcoat, and attired thus simply.

Mist. T. Simply, ’tis better than thou deservest. Never whimper for the matter. Thou shouldst have looked before thou hadst leapt. Thou wert afire to be a lady, and now your ladyship and you may both blow at the coal, for aught I know. Self do, self have. The hasty person never wants woe, they say.    129

Ge. Nay, then, mother, you should ha’ looked to it. A body would think you were the older; I did but my kind, I. He was a knight, and I was fit to be a lady. ’Tis not lack of liking, but lack of living, that severs us. And you talk like yourself and a cittiner in this, i’faith. You show what husband you come on, I wis. You smell the Touchstone—he that will do more for his daughter, that he has married [to] a scurvy gold-end man[106] and his prentice, than he will for his t’other daughter, that has wedded a knight and his customer. By this light, I think he is not my legitimate father.    140

Si. O, good madam, do not take up your mother so!

Mist. T. Nay, nay, let her e’en alone. Let her ladyship grieve me still, with her bitter taunts and terms. I have not dole enough to see her in this miserable case, I—without her velvet gowns, without ribands, without jewels, without French-wires, or cheat-bread,[107] or quails, or a little dog, or a gentleman-usher, or anything, indeed, that’s fit for a lady—

Si. Except her tongue.    149

Mist. T. And I not able to relieve her, neither, being kept so short by my husband. Well, God knows my heart; I did little think that ever she should have had need of her sister Golding.

Ge. Why, mother, I ha’ not yet. Alas! good mother, be not intoxicate for me; I am well enough; I would not change husbands with my sister, I. The[108] leg of a lark is better than the body of a kite.

Mist. T. I know that: but—

Ge. What, sweet mother, what?

Mist. T. It’s but ill food when nothing’s left but the claw.    161

Ge. That’s true, mother. Ay me!

Mist. T. Nay, sweet lady-bird,[109] sigh not. Child, madam—why do you weep thus? Be of good cheer; I shall die if you cry, and mar your complexion thus.

Ge. Alas, mother, what should I do?

Mist. T. Go to thy sister’s, child; she’ll be proud thy ladyship will come under her roof. She’ll win thy father to release thy knight, and redeem thy gowns, and thy coach and thy horses, and set thee up again.    170

Ge. But will she get him to set my knight up too?

Mist. T. That she will, or anything else thou’lt ask her.

Ge. I will begin to love her if I thought she would do this.

Mist. T. Try her, good chuck,[110] I warrant thee.

Ge. Dost thou think she’ll do’t?

Si. Ay, madam, and be glad you will receive it.

Mist. T. That’s a good maiden; she tells you true. Come, I’ll take order for your debts i’ the alehouse.    180

Ge. Go, Sin, and pray for thy Frank, as I will for my Pet.


[99] See Chappell’s Popular Music of the Olden Time, i. 369.

[100] See note, vol. i. p. 30.

[101] Hazard was the name of a game at dice. Cotton in the Complete Gamester, 1674 (pp. 67-72), devotes a chapter to it. He remarks:—“Certainly Hazard is the most bewitching game that is played on the dice, for when a man begins to play he knows not when to leave off; and having once accustomed himself to play at Hazard, he hardly ever after minds anything else.”

[102] Old ed. “Trie.”

[103] “Lay in lavender” = pawn.

[104] A spoilt, self-willed girl.

[105] “Backside”—the yard at the back of a house.

[106] “Gold-end man”—one who buys ends (i.e., broken pieces) of gold. See Gifford’s Jonson, ed. 1875, iv. 76.

[107] Fine wheaten bread.

[108] An old proverb: it is among John Heywood’s Proverbs.

[109] This term of endearment is applied by the Nurse to Juliet (Rom. and Jul., 1. iii.)

[110] A favourite word with Marston.


Goldsmiths’ Row.

Enter Touchstone, Golding, Wolf.

To. I will receive no letters, Master Wolf; you shall pardon me.

Go. Good father, let me entreat you.

To. Son Golding, I will not be tempted; I find mine own easy nature, and I know not what a well-penned subtle letter may work upon it; there may be tricks, packing, do you see? Return with your packet, sir.

Wo. Believe it, sir, you need fear no packing here; these are but letters of submission all.

To. Sir, I do look for no submission. I will bear myself in this like blind Justice. Work upon that now. When the sessions come they shall hear from me.    12

Go. From whom come your letters, Master Wolf?

Wo. And’t please you, sir, one from Sir Petronel, another from Francis Quicksilver, and a third from old Security, who is almost mad in prison. There are two to your worship; one from Master Francis, sir, another from the knight.

To. I do wonder, Master Wolf, why you should travail thus, in a business so contrary to kind, or the nature o’ your place: that you, being the keeper of a prison, should labour the release of your prisoners; whereas, methinks, it were far more natural and kindly in you to be ranging about for more, and not let these ’scape you have already under the tooth. But they say you Wolves, when you ha’ sucked the blood, once that they are dry, you ha’ done.    27

Wo. Sir, your worship may descant as you please o’ my name; but I protest I was never so mortified with any men’s discourse or behaviour in prison; yet I have had of all sorts of men i’ the kingdom under my keys; and almost of all religions i’ the land, as Papist, Protestant, Puritan, Brownist, Anabaptist, Millenary, Family-o’-Love, Jew, Turk, Infidel, Atheist, Good-Fellow, &c.

Go. And which of all these, thinks Master Wolf, was the best religion?    37

Wo. Troth, Master Deputy, they that pay fees best: we never examine their consciences farther.

Go. I believe you, Master Wolf. Good faith, sir, here’s a great deal of humility i’ these letters.

Wo. Humility, sir? Ay, were your worship an eyewitness of it you would say so. The knight will i’ the Knight’s Ward,[111] do what we can, sir; and Master Quicksilver would be i’ the Hole if we would let him. I never knew or saw prisoners more penitent, or more devout. They will sit you up all night singing of psalms and edifying the whole prison; only Security sings a note too high sometimes, because he lies i’ the Twopenny Ward, far off, and cannot take his tune. The neighbours cannot rest for him, but come every morning to ask what godly prisoners we have.    52

To. Which on ’hem is’t is so devout—the knight or the t’other?

Wo. Both, sir; but the young man especially. I never heard his like. He has cut his hair too. He is so well given, and has such good gifts, he can tell you almost all the stories of the Book of Martyrs, and speak you all the Sick Man’s Salve[112] without book.

To. Ay, if he had had grace—he was brought up where it grew, I wis. On, Master Wolf.    61

Wo. And he has converted one Fangs, a sergeant, a fellow could neither write nor read; he was called the Bandog o’ the Counter; and he has brought him already to pare his nails and say his prayers; and ’tis hoped he will sell his place shortly, and become an intelligencer.

To. No more; I am coming already. If I should give any farther care I were taken. Adieu, good Master Wolf. Son, I do feel mine own weaknesses; do not importune me. Pity is a rheum that I am subject to; but I will resist it. Master Wolf, fish is cast away that is cast in dry pools. Tell hypocrisy it will not do; I have touched and tried too often; I am yet proof, and I will remain so; when the sessions come they shall hear from me. In the meantime, to all suits, to all entreaties, to all letters, to all tricks, I will be deaf as an adder, and blind as a beetle, lay mine ear to the ground, and lock mine eyes i’ my hand, against all temptations.    78


Go. You see, Master Wolf, how inexorable he is. There is no hope to recover him. Pray you commend me to my brother knight, and to my fellow Francis; present ’hem with this small token of my love; tell ’hem, I wish I could do ’hem any worthier office; but in this, ’tis desperate: yet I will not fail to try the uttermost of my power for ’hem. And, sir, as far as I have any credit with you, pray you let ’hem want nothing; though I am not ambitious they should know so much.    87

Wo. Sir, both your actions and words speak you to be a true gentleman. They shall know only what is fit, and no more.


[111] The Knight’s Ward, the Twopenny Ward, and the Hole were different divisions of a prison: see Fenner’s Compter’s Commonwealth, 1617. Sir Petronel showed his humility by choosing the inferior accommodation of the Knight’s Ward when it was open to him to lie of the Master’s side. Cf. Westward Ho, iii. 2:—
 “Monopoly. Which is the dearest ward in prison, Sergeant? the Knight’s Ward?
Ambush. No, sir, the Master’s side.”

[112] A treatise by Thomas Becon, originally published in 1561. It was very popular, and is frequently mentioned by the dramatists.


The Compter.

Enter Holdfast and Bramble.

Ho. Who would you speak with, sir?

Br. I would speak with one Security, that is prisoner here.

Ho. Y’are welcome, sir. Stay there, I’ll call him to you. Master Security!

Enter Security.

Sec. Who calls?

Ho. Here’s a gentleman would speak with you.

Sec. What is he? Is’t one that grafts my forehead now I am in prison, and comes to see how the horns shoot up and prosper?    10

Ho. You must pardon him, sir; the old man is a little crazed with his imprisonment.

Sec. What say you to me, sir? Look you here.—My learned counsel, Master Bramble! cry you mercy, sir! When saw you my wife?

Br. She is now at my house, sir; and desired me that I would come to visit you, and inquire of you your case, that we might work some means to get you forth.    18

Sec. My case,[113] Master Bramble, is stone walls and iron grates; you see it, this is the weakest part on’t. And for getting me forth, no means but hang myself, and so to be carried forth, from which they have here bound me in intolerable bands.

Br. Why, but what is’t you are in for, sir?

Sec. For my sins, for my sins, sir, whereof marriage is the greatest. O, had I never married, I had never known this purgatory, to which hell is a kind of cool bath in respect; my wife’s confederacy, sir, with old Touchstone, that she might keep her jubilee and the feast of her new moon. Do you understand me, sir?    30

Enter Quicksilver.

Qu. Good sir, go in and talk with him. The light does him harm, and his example will be hurtful to the weak prisoners. Fie! father Security, that you’ll be still so profane! Will nothing humble you?

[Exeunt Security, Bramble, and Holdfast.[114]

Enter two Prisoners, with a Friend.

Fr. What’s he?

1st Pr. O, he is a rare young man! Do you not know him?

Fr. Not I. I never saw him, I can remember.

2nd Pr. Why, it is he that was the gallant prentice of London—Master Touchstone’s man.    40

Fr. Who?—Quicksilver?

1st Pr. Ay, this is he.

Fr. Is this he? They say he has been a gallant indeed.

1st Pr. O, the royallest fellow that ever was bred up i’ the city! He would play you his thousand pound a-night at dice; keep knights’ and lords’ company; go with them to bawdy-houses; had his six men in a livery; kept a stable of hunting-horses, and his wench in her velvet gown and her cloth of silver. Here’s one knight with him here in prison.    51

Fr. And how miserably he is changed!

1st Pr. O, that’s voluntary in him: he gave away all his rich clothes as soon as ever he came in here among the prisoners; and will eat o’ the basket,[115] for humility.

Fr. Why will he do so?

1st Pr. Alas, he has no hope of life! He mortifies himself. He does but linger on till the sessions.

2nd Pr. O, he has penned the best thing, that he calls his Repentance or his Last Farewell, that ever you heard. He is a pretty poet; and for prose—you would wonder how many prisoners he has helped out, with penning petitions for ’hem, and not take a penny. Look! this is the knight in the rug gown. Stand by.    64

Enter[116] Sir Petronel and Bramble.

Br. Sir, for Security’s case, I have told him. Say he should be condemned to be carted or whipt for a bawd, or so, why, I’ll lay an execution on him o’ two hundred pound; let him acknowledge a judgment, he shall do it in half an hour; they shall not at all fetch him out without paying the execution, o’ my word.    70

Pe. But can we not be bailed, Master Bramble?

Br. Hardly; there are none of the judges in town, else you should remove yourself (in spite of him) with a habeas corpus. But if you have a friend to deliver your tale sensibly to some justice o’ the town, that he may have feeling of it (do you see), you may be bailed; for as I understand the case, ’tis only done in terrorem; and you shall have an action of false imprisonment against him when you come out, and perhaps a thousand pound costs.    80

Enter Master Wolf.

Qu. How now, Master Wolf?—what news?—what return?

Wo. ’Faith, bad all: yonder will be no letters received. He says the sessions shall determine it. Only, Master Deputy Golding commends him to you, and with this token wishes he could do you other good.

Qu. I thank him. Good Master Bramble, trouble our quiet no more; do not molest us in prison thus, with your winding devices; pray you depart. For my part, I commit my cause to Him that can succour me; let God work His will. Master Wolf, I pray you let this be distributed among the prisoners, and desire ’hem to pray for us.    93

Wo. It shall be done, Master Francis.

1st Pr. An excellent temper!

2nd Pr. Now God send him good luck!

[Exeunt[117] two Prisoners and Friend.

Pe. But what said my father-in-law, Master Wolf?

Enter Holdfast.

Ho. Here’s one would speak with you, sir.

Wo. I’ll tell you anon, Sir Petronel; who is’t?

Ho. A gentleman, sir, that will not be seen.    100

Enter Golding.

Wo. Where is he? Master Deputy! your worship is welcome—

Go. Peace!

Wo. Away, sirrah!

[Exit[118] Bramble.

Go. Good faith, Master Wolf, the estate of these gentlemen, for whom you were so late and willing a suitor, doth much affect me; and because I am desirous to do them some fair office, and find there is no means to make my father relent so likely as to bring him to be a spectator of their miseries, I have ventured on a device, which is, to make myself your prisoner: entreating you will presently go report it to my father, and (feigning an action at suit of some third person) pray him by this token, that he will presently, and with all secrecy, come hither for my bail; which train, if any, I know will bring him abroad; and then, having him here, I doubt not but we shall be all fortunate in the event.    117

Wo. Sir, I will put on my best speed to effect it. Please you come in.

Go. Yes; and let me rest concealed, I pray you.

Wo. See here a benefit truly done, when it is done timely, freely, and to no ambition.


[113] Covering.

[114] Here and elsewhere there is no stage-direction in the old ed.

[115] The basket containing the broken victuals collected for the poor prisoners.

[116] Old ed.Enter Sir Petronel, Bramble, Quicksilver, Wolf.”

[117] The stage-direction in old ed. is simply “Exeunt.”

[118] I give this stage-direction at a venture.


Goldsmiths’ Row.

Enter Touchstone, Mistress Touchstone, Gertrude, Mildred, Sindefy, and Winifred.

To. I will sail by you, and not hear you, like the wise Ulysses.

Mi. Dear father!

Mist. T. Husband!

Ge. Father!

Wi. and Si. Master Touchstone!

To. Away, sirens! I will immure myself against your cries, and lock myself up to your lamentations.

Mist. T. Gentle husband, hear me!

Ge. Father, it is I, father; my Lady Flash. My sister and I am friends.    11

Mi. Good father!

Wi. Be not hardened, good Master Touchstone!

Si. I pray you, sir, be merciful!

To. I am deaf; I do not hear you; I have stopped mine ears with shoemakers’ wax, and drunk Lethe and mandragora[119] to forget you. All you speak to me I commit to the air.

Enter Wolf.

Mi. How now, Master Wolf?

Wo. Where’s Master Touchstone? I must speak with him presently; I have lost my breath for haste.    21

Mi. What is the matter, sir? Pray all be well!

Wo. Master Deputy Golding is arrested upon an execution, and desires him presently to come to him, forthwith.

Mi. Ay me! do you hear, father?

To. Tricks, tricks, confederacy, tricks! I have ’hem in my nose—I scent ’hem!

Wo. Who’s that? Master Touchstone?

Mist. T. Why, it is Master Wolf himself, husband.    30

Mi. Father!

To. I am deaf still, I say. I will neither yield to the song of the siren nor the voice of the hyena,[120] the tears of the crocodile nor the howling o’ the Wolf. Avoid my habitation, monsters!

Wo. Why, you are not mad, sir? I pray you look forth, and see the token I have brought you, sir.

To. Ha! what token is it?

Wo. Do you know it, sir?

To. My son Golding’s ring! Are you in earnest, Master Wolf?    41

Wo. Ay, by my faith, sir. He is in prison, and required me to use all speed and secrecy to you.

To. My cloak, there (pray you be patient). I am plagued for my austerity. My cloak! At whose suit, Master Wolf?

Wo. I’ll tell you as we go, sir.


[119] A powerful soporific.

[120] See Topsel’s History of Fourfooted Beasts, ed. 1658, p. 341.


The Compter.

Enter two Prisoners and Friend.

Fr. Why, but is his offence such as he cannot hope of life?

1st Pr. Troth, it should seem so; and ’tis great pity, for he is exceeding penitent.

Fr. They say he is charged but on suspicion of felony yet.

2nd Pr. Ay, but his master is a shrewd fellow; he’ll prove great matter against him.

Fr. I’d as lieve as anything I could see his Farewell.

1st Pr. O, ’tis rarely written; why, Toby may get him to sing it to you; he’s not curious to anybody.    11

2nd Pr. O no! He would that all the world should take knowledge of his repentance, and thinks he merits in’t the more shame he suffers.

1st Pr. Pray thee, try what thou canst do.

2nd Pr. I warrant you he will not deny it, if he be not hoarse with the often repeating of it.


1st Pr. You never saw a more courteous creature than he is, and the knight too: the poorest prisoner of the house may command ’hem. You shall hear a thing admirably penned.    21

Fr. Is the knight any scholar too?

1st Pr. No, but he will speak very well, and discourse admirably of running horses and White-Friars, and against bawds; and of cocks; and talk as loud as a hunter, but is none.

Enter Wolf and Touchstone.

Wo. Please you, stay here; I’ll call his worship down to you.    28

[Exit Wolf.

Re-enter[121] Wolf with Golding, Quicksilver,
Sir Petronel, and Security.

1st Pr. See, he has brought him, and the knight too; salute him, I pray. Sir, this gentleman, upon our report, is very desirous to hear some piece of your Repentance.

Qu. Sir, with all my heart; and, as I told Master Toby, I shall be glad to have any man a witness of it. And the more openly I profess it, I hope it will appear the heartier, and the more unfeigned.

To. Who is this?—my man Francis, and my son-in-law?

Qu. Sir, it is all the testimony I shall leave behind me to the world, and my master that I have so offended.

Fr. Good, sir!    40

Qu. I writ it when my spirits were oppressed.

Pe. Ay, I’ll be sworn for you, Francis.

Qu. It is in imitation of Mannington’s,[122] he that was hanged at Cambridge, that cut off the horse’s head at a blow.

Fr. So, sir!

Qu. To the tune of “I wail in woe, I plunge in pain.”

Pe. An excellent ditty it is, and worthy of a new tune.

Qu. In Cheapside, famous for gold and plate,
Quicksilver I did dwell of late;    50
I had a master good and kind,
That would have wrought me to his mind.
He bade me still, Work upon that,
But, alas! I wrought I knew not what.
He was a Touchstone black, but true,
And told me still what would ensue;
Yet woe is me! I would not learn;
I saw, alas! but could not discern!

Fr. Excellent, excellent well!

Go. O let him alone: he is taken already.    60

Qu. I cast my coat and cap away,
I went in silks and satins gay;
False metal of good manners I
Did daily coin unlawfully.
I scorn’d my master, being drunk;
I kept my gelding and my punk;
And with a knight, Sir Flash by name,
Who now is sorry for the same,—

Pe. I thank you, Francis.

[Qu.] I thought by sea to run away,    70
But Thames and tempest did me stay.

To. This cannot be feigned, sure. Heaven pardon my severity! The ragged colt may prove a good horse.

Go. How he listens, and is transported! He has forgot me.

Qu. Still Eastward-ho was all my word:
But westward I had no regard,
Nor never thought what would come after,
As did, alas! his youngest daughter.
At last the black ox trod o’ my foot,[123]    80
And I saw then what long’d unto ’t;
Now cry I, “Touchstone, touch me still,
And make me current by thy skill.”

To. And I will do it, Francis.

Wo. Stay him, Master Deputy; now is the time: we shall lose the song else.

Fr. I protest it is the best that ever I heard.

Qu. How like you it, gentlemen?

All. O admirable, sir!

Qu. This stanze now following, alludes to the story of Mannington, from whence I took my project for my invention.    92

Fr. Pray you go on, sir.

Qu. O Mannington, thy stories show,
Thou cutt’st a horse-head off at a blow!
But I confess, I have not the force
For to cut off the head of a horse;
Yet I desire this grace to win,
That I may cut off the horse-head of Sin,
And leave his body in the dust    100
Of sin’s highway and bogs of lust,
Whereby I may take Virtue’s purse,
And live with her for better, for worse.

Fr. Admirable, sir, and excellently conceited!

Qu. Alas, sir!

To. Son Golding and Master Wolf, I thank you: the deceit is welcome, especially from thee, whose charitable soul in this hath shown a high point of wisdom and honesty. Listen, I am ravished with his repentance, and could stand here a whole prenticeship to hear him.    111

Fr. Forth, good sir.

Qu. This is the last, and the Farewell.—
Farewell, Cheapside, farewell, sweet trade
Of Goldsmiths all, that never shall fade;
Farewell, dear fellow prentices all,
And be you warnèd by my fall:
Shun usurers, bawds, and dice, and drabs,
Avoid them as you would French scabs.
Seek not to go beyond your tether,    120
But cut your thongs unto your leather:
So shall you thrive by little and little,
’Scape Tyburn, Counters, and the Spital!

To. And ’scape them shalt thou, my penitent and dear Francis!

Qu. Master!

Pe. Father!

To. I can no longer forbear to do your humility right. Arise, and let me honour your repentance with the hearty and joyful embraces of a father and friend’s love. Quicksilver, thou hast eat into my breast, Quicksilver, with the drops of thy sorrow, and killed the desperate opinion I had of thy reclaim.    133

Qu. O, sir, I am not worthy to see your worshipful face!

Pe. Forgive me, father.

To. Speak no more; all former passages are forgotten; and here my word shall release you. Thank this worthy brother, and kind friend, Francis.—Master Wolf, I am their bail.

[A shout in the prison.

Sec. Master Touchstone! Master Touchstone!

To. Who’s that?

Wo. Security, sir.

Sec. Pray you, sir, if you’ll be won with a song, hear my lamentable tune too!    144


O Master Touchstone,
My heart is full of woe;
Alas, I am a cuckold!
And why should it be so?
Because I was a usurer
And bawd, as all you know,    150
For which, again I tell you,
My heart is full of woe.

To. Bring him forth, Master Wolf, and release his bands. This day shall be sacred to mercy and the mirth of this encounter in the Counter. See, we are encountered with more suitors!

Enter Mistress Touchstone, Gertrude, Mildred,
Sindefy, Winifred, &c.

Save your breath, save your breath! All things have succeeded to your wishes: and we are heartily satisfied in their events.

Ge. Ah, runaway, runaway! have I caught you? And how has my poor knight done all this while?    161

Pe. Dear lady-wife, forgive me!

Ge. As heartily as I would be forgiven, knight. Dear father, give me your blessing, and forgive me too; I ha’ been proud and lascivious, father; and a fool, father; and being raised to the state of a wanton coy thing, called a lady, father; have scorned you, father, and my sister, and my sister’s velvet cap too; and would make a mouth at the city as I rid through it; and stop mine ears at Bow-bell. I have said your beard was a base one, father; and that you looked like Twierpipe the taberer; and that my mother was but my midwife.    172

Mist. T. Now, God forgi’ you, child madam!

To. No more repetitions. What else is wanting to make our harmony full?

Go. Only this, sir, that my fellow Francis make amends to Mistress Sindefy with marriage.

Qu. With all my heart.

Go. And Security give her a dower, which shall be all the restitution he shall make of that huge mass he hath so unlawfully gotten.    181

To. Excellently devised! a good motion![124] What says Master Security?

Sec. I say anything, sir, what you’ll ha’ me say. Would I were no cuckold!

Wi. Cuckold, husband? Why, I think this wearing of yellow[125] has infected you.    187

To. Why, Master Security, that should rather be a comfort to you than a corasive. If you be a cuckold, it’s an argument you have a beautiful woman to your wife; then you shall be much made of; you shall have store of friends, never want money; you shall be eased of much o’ your wedlock pain, others will take it for you. Besides, you being a usurer (and likely to go to hell), the devils will never torment you: they’ll take you for one o’ their own race. Again, if you be a cuckold, and know it not, you are an innocent; if you know it and endure it, a true martyr.    198

Sec. I am resolved, sir. Come hither, Winny.

To. Well, then, all are pleased, or shall be anon. Master Wolf, you look hungry, methinks; have you no apparel to lend Francis to shift him?

Qu. No, sir, nor I desire none; but here make it my suit, that I may go home through the streets in these, as a spectacle, or rather an example to the children of Cheapside.

To. Thou hast thy wish. Now, London, look about,
And in this moral see thy glass run out:
Behold the careful father, thrifty son,
The solemn deeds which each of us have done;    210
The usurer punish’d, and from fall so steep
The prodigal child reclaim’d, and the lost sheep.

[121] Old ed.Enter Quicksilver, Sir Petronel, &c.

[122] There was entered in the Stationers’ Books, on 7th November 1576, “A woeful Ballad made by Mr. George Mannynton, an houre before he suffered at Cambridge-castell.” The ballad is printed in Ritson’s Ancient Songs and Ballads (ed. 1877), pp. 188-191. It begins:—
“I wayle in woe, I plundge in payne,
With sorrowing sobbes I do complayne,
With wallowing waves I wishe to dye,
I languish sore here as I lye,” &c.

[123] “The black ox trod o’ my foot”—a proverbial expression, meaning “trouble came upon me.”

[124] Proposition.

[125] The colour of (1) jealousy, (2) Security’s prison-dress.


[Qu.] Stay, sir, I perceive the multitude are gather’d together to view our coming out at the Counter. See if the streets and the Fronts of the Houses be not thick with people, and the windows fill’d with ladies as on the solemn day of the pageant!
O may you find in this our pageant here
The same contentment which you came to seek,
And as that show but draws you once a year    220
May this attract you hither once a week.

[Exeunt omnes.


The Insatiate Countesse. A Tragedie: Acted at White-Fryers. Written By Iohn Marston. London: Printed by T. S. for Thomas Archer, and are to be sold at his Shop in Popes-head-Pallace, neere the Royall-Exchange. 1613. 4to.

The Insatiate Countesse. A Tragedie: Acted at White-Fryers. Written By Iohn Marston. London, Printed by I. N. for Hugh Perrie, and are to be sould at his shop, at the signe of the Harrow in Brittaines-burse. 1631. 4to.


Isabella, Countess of Suevia, being left a widow, proceeds with indecent haste to take a second husband, Roberto, Count of Cyprus. At a masqued dance given by the bridegroom’s friends on the day of the wedding, Isabella falls in love with one of the masquers, whom she discovers to be the Count of Massino [Messina?]. She sends him a letter in which she proffers her love and summons him to her presence. With her paramour she flies to Pavia, where she meets Massino’s friend Gniaca, Count of Gaza or Gazia [Gaeta?]. The Insatiate Countess immediately falls in love with Gniaca, who—though at first unwilling to wrong his friend—quickly yields to her blandishments. Returning from a hunting expedition Massino is denied admittance by Isabella. He gives vent to his indignation by penning bitter satirical verses, in which he proclaims to the world her inordinate lust. Enraged at this exposure, Isabella incites Gniaca to slay Massino. An encounter ensues between Gniaca and Massino, but after a few passes the combatants put up their weapons, hold a friendly colloquy, and part in peace. Isabella is furious and resolves to destroy both Gniaca and Massino. She employs the services of a Spanish colonel, Don Sago, who at first sight of her has been violently inflamed with passion. The colonel shoots Massino dead, is arrested, and, being brought before the Duke of Medina, makes full confession. Isabella is condemned to be beheaded. At the place of execution a strange friar requests that he may have private speech with her. The friar is Count Roberto, who has come to pronounce forgiveness, and bid a last farewell, to his erring wife.

There is also an underplot to the play. Rogero and Claridiana, between whom an hereditary feud exists, celebrate their marriage on the same day. As they return from the church an altercation arises between the bridegrooms, but by the intervention of friends they are at length induced to declare that they will lay aside their hatred. These professions are marked with little sincerity, for the new-made friends are intent upon cornuting one another. The wives, who are excellent friends, take counsel together and devise a scheme by which the husbands, while taking their lawful pleasure, imagine that they are tasting the sweets of adultery. Claridiana, announcing that he has gone to his farm in the country, repairs by appointment to the house of Rogero, where, under the impression that he is enjoying Rogero’s wife Thais, he lies with his own wife Abigail; and Rogero, under Claridiana’s roof lies with Thais in the belief that he is clipping Abigail. While these night-sports are in progress, Mendoza, nephew of the Duke Amago, holds a clandestine interview with the widowed Lady Lentulus. As he is mounting to her chamber, the rope-ladder breaks. Injured by the fall, he drags himself some distance from the house to a spot where he is discovered by the watch. It is supposed that he has met with foul play; a search is instituted; Rogero is discovered by the watch in the house of Claridiana, and Claridiana in the house of Rogero. Charged before the Duke Amago with the murder of Mendoza they declare themselves guilty—preferring to be hanged as murderers rather than to be derided as cuckolds. Mendoza, recovering from the effects of his fall, asserts (in order to save the honour of the Lady Lentulus) that he met his injuries in trying to steal some jewels from her house. The Duke, who is in a maze of wonder at the strange statements and confessions, condemns the three prisoners to be executed, hoping by this means to extort from them the truth. On the day fixed for the execution Thais and Abigail make an explanation to the Duke; and their husbands—finding that they have not been cuckolded—are glad to spare the hangman his labour. How Mendoza fares is not stated.


Amago, Duke of Venice.
Duke of Medina.
Roberto, Count of Cyprus.
Count Massino.
Guido, Count of Arsena.
Gniaca, Count of Gazia.
Mendoza Foscari, nephew to Amago.
Signior Mizaldus.
Don Sago, a Spanish Colonel.

Isabella, the Insatiate Countess.
Lady Lentulus, a widow.
Abigail, wife to Claridiana.
Thais, wife to Rogero.
Anna, waiting-woman to Isabella.
Senators, captain, lieutenant, soldiers, messenger, executioner, &c.

Scene—Venice and Pavia.

[126] There is no list of characters in the old editions.




Venice.—Room in Isabella’s house.

Isabella, Countess of Suevia, discovered sitting at a table covered with black, on which stands two black tapers lighted, she in mourning.

Enter Roberto Count of Cyprus, Guido Count of Arsena, and Signior Mizaldus.

Miz. What should we do in this countess’s dark hole?
She’s sullenly retirèd as the turtle.
Every day has been
A black day with her since her husband died;
And what should we unruly members make[127] here?

Gui. As melancholy night masks up heaven’s face,
So doth the evening star present herself
Unto the careful shepherd’s gladsome eyes,
By which unto the fold he leads his flock.    9

Miz. Zounds! what a sheepish beginning is here? ’Tis said true love is simple; and it may well hold; and thou art a simple lover.

Rob. See how yond star, like beauty in a cloud,
Illumines darkness, and beguiles the moon
Of all her glory in the firmament!

Miz. Well said, man i’ the moon. Was ever such astronomers? Marry, I fear none of these will fall into the right ditch.

Rob. Madam.

Isa. Ha, Anna! what, are my doors unbarr’d?    20

Miz. I’ll assure you the way into your ladyship is open.

Rob. And God defend that any profane hand
Should offer sacrilege to such a saint!
Lovely Isabella, by this duteous kiss,
That draws part of my soul along with it,
Had I but thought my rude intrusion
Had waked the dove-like spleen harbour’d within you,
Life and my first-born should not satisfy
Such a transgression, worthy of a check;    30
But that immortals wink at my offence,
Makes me presume more boldly. I am come
To raise you from this so infernal sadness.

Isa. My lord of Cyprus, do not mock my grief.
Tears are as due a[128] tribute to the dead,
As fear to God, and duty unto kings,
Love to the just, or hate unto the wicked.

Rob. Surcease;
Believe it is a wrong unto the gods.[129]
They sail against the wind that wail the dead:    40
And since his heart hath wrestled with death’s pangs,
From whose stern cave none tracts a backward path,[130]
Leave to lament this necessary change,
And thank the gods, for they can give us good.

Isa. I wail his loss! Sink him ten cubits deeper,
I may not fear his resurrection.
I will be sworn upon the Holy Writ
I mourn thus fervent ’cause he died no sooner:
He buried me alive,
And mewed me up like Cretan Dædalus,    50
And with wall-ey’d[131] jealousy kept me from hope
Of any waxen wings to fly to pleasure;
But now his soul her Argus’ eyes hath closed,
And I am free as air. You of my sex,
In the first flow of youth, use you the sweets
Due to your proper beauties, ere the ebb
And long wane of unwelcome change shall come.
Fair women, play; she’s chaste whom none will have.
Here is a man of a most mild aspect,
Temperate, effeminate, and worthy love;    60
One that with burning ardor hath pursued me.
A donative he hath of every god:
Apollo gave him locks; Jove his high front;[132]
The god of eloquence his flowing speech;
The feminine deities strew’d all their bounties
And beauty on his face; that eye was Juno’s;
Those lips were hers[133] that won the golden ball;
That virgin-blush, Diana’s. Here they meet,
As in a sacred synod. My lords, I must intreat
A while your wish’d forbearance.

Gui.[134] and Miz. We obey you, lady.    70

[Exeunt Guido and Mizaldus.

Isa. My lord, with you I have some conference.
I pray, my lord, do you woo every lady
In this phrase you do me?

Rob. Fairest, till now
Love was an infant in my oratory.

Isa. And kiss thus too?

[Kisses him.

Rob. I never[135] was so kiss’d; leave thus to please;
Flames into flames, seas thou pour’st into seas!

Isa. Pray frown, my lord: let me see how many wives You’ll have.[136] Heigh ho! you’ll bury me, I see—

Rob. In the swan’s down, and tomb thee in mine arms!    80

Isa. Then folks shall pray in vain to send me rest.
Away, you’re such another meddling lord!

Rob. By heaven! my love’s as chaste as thou art fair,
And both exceed comparison. By this kiss,
That crowns me monarch of another world
Superior to the first, fair, thou shalt see
As unto heaven my love, so unto thee!

Isa. Alas!
Poor creatures, when we are once o’ the falling hand,
A man may easily come over us.    90
It is as hard for us to hide our love
As to shut sin from the Creator’s eyes.
I’faith, my lord, I had a month’s mind[137] unto you,
As tedious as a full-riped[138] maiden-head;
And, Count of Cyprus, think my love as pure
As the first opening of the blooms in May:
(You’re virtuous, man;[139] nay, let me not blush to say so:)
And see for your sake thus I leave to sorrow.
Begin this subtile conjuration with me,
And as this taper, due unto the dead,    100
I here extinguish, so my late-dead lord
I put out ever from my memory,
That his remembrance may not wrong our love,

[Puts out the taper.

As bold-faced women, when they wed another,
Banquet their husbands with their dead loves’ heads.

Rob. And as I sacrifice this to his ghost,
With this expire all corrupt thoughts of youth,
That fame-insatiate devil jealousy,
And all the sparks that may bring unto flame,
Hate betwixt man and wife, or breed defame.    110

[Puts out the other taper.

Re-enter[140] Mizaldus and Guido.

Miz.[141] Marry, amen. I say; madam, are you that were in for all day, now come to be in for all night? How now, Count Arsena?

Gui.[142] Faith, signior, not unlike the condemn’d malefactor,
That hears his judgment openly pronounced;
But I ascribe to fate. Joy swell your love;
Cypress and willow grace my drooping crest.

Rob. We do intend our hymeneal rites
With the next rising sun. Count Arsena,[143]
Next to our bride, the welcom’st to our feast.    120

[Exeunt Isabella and Roberto.

Gui. Sancta Maria! what think’st thou of this change?
A player’s passion I’ll believe hereafter,
And in a tragic scene weep for old Priam,[144]
When fell-revenging Pyrrhus with supposed
And artificial wounds mangles his breast,
And think it a more worthy act to me,
Than trust a female mourning o’er her love.
Naught that is done of woman shall me please,
Nature’s step-children, rather her disease.[145]

Miz. Learn of a well-composèd epigram    130
A woman’s love, and thus ’twas sung unto us;

The[146] tapers that stood on her husband’s hearse,
Isabel advances to a second bed:
Is it not wondrous strange for to rehearse
She should so soon forget her husband, dead
One hour? for if the husband’s life once fade,
Both love and husband in one grave are laid.

But we forget ourselves: I am for the marriage
Of Signior Claridiana and the fine Mistress Abigail.    139

Gui. I for his arch-foe’s wedding, Signior Rogero, and the spruce Mistress Thais: but see, the solemn rites are ended, and from their several temples they are come.

Miz. A quarrel, on my life!

Enter at one door Signior Claridiana, Abigail his wife, and the Lady Lentulus, with rosemary,[147] as from church; at the other door Signior Rogero, Thais his wife, and Mendoza Foscari, nephew to the Duke, from the bridal; they see one another, and draw; Guido and others step between them.

Clar. Good, my lord, detain me not; I will tilt at him.

Miz.[148] Remember, sir, this is your wedding-day,
And that triumph belongs only to your wife.

Rog. If you be noble, let me cut off his head.

Gui.[149] Remember, o’ the other side, you have a maiden-head of your own to cut off.    150

Rog. I’ll make my marriage-day like to the bloody bridal
Alcides by the fiery Centaurs had!

Tha. Husband, dear husband!

Rog. Away with these catterwallers!
Come on, sir.

Clar. Thou son of a Jew!

Gui. Alas, poor wench, thy husband’s circumcised!

Clar. Begot when thy father’s face was toward th’ east,
To show that thou would’st prove a caterpiller.
His Messias shall not save thee from me;    160
I’ll send thee to him in collops!

Gui. O fry not in choler so, sir!

Rog. Mountebank, with thy pedantical action—
Rimatrix, Bugloss,[150] Rhinoceros!

Men. Gentlemen, I conjure you
By the virtues of men!

Rog. Shall any broken quacksalver’s bastard oppose him to me in my nuptials? No; but I’ll show him better metal than e’er the gallemawfrey[151] his father used. Thou scum of his melting-pots, that wert christen’d in a crusoile[152] with Mercury’s water to[153] show thou wouldest prove a stinging aspis! for all thou spitt’st is aqua fortis, and thy breath is a compound of poison’s stillatory: if I get within thee, hadst thou the scaly hide of a crocodile, as thou art partly of his nature, I would leave thee as bare as an anatomy[154] at the second viewing.    176

Clar. Thou Jew of the tribe of Gad that, I were[155] sure, were there none here but thou and I, wouldst teach me the art of breathing; thou wouldst run like a dromedary!

Rog. Thou that art the tall’st man of Christendom when thou art alone; if thou dost maintain this to my face, I’ll make thee skip like an ounce.[156]

Men. Nay, good sir, be you still.

Rog. Let the quacksalver’s son be still:
His father was still, and still, and still again!    185

Clar. By the Almighty, I’ll study negromancy but I’ll be reveng’d!

Gui. Gentlemen, leave these dissensions;
Signior Rogero, you are a man of worth.

Clar. True, all the city points at him for a knave.    190

Gui. You are of like reputation, Signior Claridiana.
The hatred ’twixt your grandsires first began;
Impute it to the folly of that age:
These your dissensions may erect a faction
Like to the Capulets and the Montagues.[157]

Men. Put it to equal arbitration, choose your friends;
The senators will think ’em happy in ’t.

Rog.[158] I’ll ne’er embrace the smoke of a furnace, the quintessence of mineral or simples, or, as I may say more learnedly, nor the spirit of quicksilver.    200

Clar. Nor I, such a Centaur,—half a man, half an ass, and all a Jew!

Gui. Nay, then, we will be constables, and force a quiet. Gentlemen, keep ’em asunder, and help to persuade ’em.

[Exeunt[159] at one door Mizaldus and Claridiana; at another Guido and Rogero.

Men. Well, ladies, your husbands behave ’em as lustily on their wedding-days as e’er I heard any. Nay, lady-widow, you and I must have a falling; you’re of Signior Mizaldus’ faction, and I am your vowed enemy, from the bodkin to the pincase. Hark in your ear.    210

Abi. Well, Thais. O you’re a cunning carver;[160] we two, that any time these fourteen years have called sisters, brought and bred up together, that have told one another all our wanton dreams, talk’d all night long of young men, and spent many an idle hour; fasted upon the stones on St. Agnes’[161] night together, practised all the petulant amorousness that delights young maids, yet have you conceal’d not only the marriage, but the man: and well you might deceive me, for I’ll be sworn you never dream’d of him, and it stands against all reason you should enjoy him you never dream’d of.    221

Tha. Is not all this the same in you? Did you ever manifest your sweetheart’s nose, that I might nose him by’t? commended his calf or his nether lip? apparent signs that you were not in love, or wisely covered it. Have you ever said, such a man goes upright, or has a better gait than any of the rest, as indeed, since he is proved a magnifico, I thought thou would’st have put it into my hands whate’er ’t had been.    229

Abi. Well, wench, we have cross fates; our husbands such inveterate foes, and we such entire friends; but the best is we are neighbours, and our back arbors may afford visitation freely. Prithee, let us maintain our familiarity still, whatsoever thy husband do unto thee, as I am afraid he will cross it i’ the nick.

Tha. Faith, you little one, if I please him in one thing, he shall please me in all, that’s certain. Who shall I have to keep my counsel if I miss thee? who shall teach me to use the bridle when the reins are in mine own hand? what to long for? when to take physic? where to be melancholy? Why, we two are one another’s grounds,[162] without which would be no music.    242

Abi. Well said, wench; and the prick-song we use shall be our husbands.

Tha. I will long for swine’s-flesh o’ the first child.

Abi. Wilt ’ou, little Jew? And I to kiss thy husband upon the least belly-ache. This will mad ’em.

Tha. I kiss thee, wench, for that, and with it confirm our friendship.

Men. By these sweet lips, widow!    250

Lady Lent. Good my lord, learn to swear by rote;
Your birth and fortune makes my brain suppose
That, like a man heated with wines and lust,
She that is next your object is your mate,
Till the foul water have quench’d out the fire.
You, the duke’s kinsman, tell me I am young,
Fair, rich, and virtuous. I myself will flatter
Myself, till you are gone that are more fair,
More rich, more virtuous, and more debonair:
All which are ladders to an higher reach.    260
Who drinks a puddle that may taste a spring?
Who kiss a subject that may hug a king?

Men. Yes, the camel always drinks in puddle-water;
And as for huggings, read antiquities.
Faith, madam, I’ll board thee one of these days.

Lady Lent. Ay, but ne’er bed me, my lord. My vow is firm,
Since God hath called me to this noble state,
Much to my grief, of virtuous widow-hood,
No man shall ever come within my gates.

Men. Wilt thou ram up thy porch-hold? O widow, I perceive    270
You’re ignorant of the lover’s legerdemain!
There is a fellow that by magic will assist
To murder princes invisible; I can command his spirit.
Or what say you to a fine scaling-ladder of ropes?
I can tell you I am a mad wag-halter;
But by the virtue I see seated in you,
And by the worthy fame is blazon’d of you;
By little Cupid, that is mighty nam’d,
And can command my looser follies down,
I love, and must enjoy, yet with such limits    280
As one that knows enforcèd marriage
To be the Furies’ sister. Think of me.

Abig. and Tha. Ha, ha, ha!

Men. How now, lady? does the toy take you, as they say?

Abi. No, my lord; nor do we take your toy, as they say.
This is a child’s birth that must not be delivered before a man,
Though your lordship might be a midwife for your chin.

Men. Some bawdy riddle, is ’t not? You long till ’t be night.    290

Tha. No, my lord, women’s longing comes after their marriage night. Sister, see you be constant now.

Abi. Why, dost think I’ll make my husband a cuckold?
O here they come!

Enter at several doors Mizaldus[163] with Claridiana; Guido, with Rogero, at another door; Mendoza meets them.

Men. Signior Rogero, are you yet qualified?

Rog. Yes; does any man think I’ll go like a sheep to the slaughter? Hands off, my lord; your lordship may chance come under my hands. If you do, I shall show myself a citizen, and revenge basely.    299

Clar. I think, if I were receiving the Holy Sacrament,
His sight would make me gnash my teeth terribly.
But there’s the beauty without parallel,[164]
In whom the Graces and the Virtues meet!
In her aspect mild Honour sits and smiles;
And who looks there, were it the savage bear
But would derive new nature from her eyes?
But to be reconciled simply for him,
Were mankind to be lost again, I’d let it,
And a new heap of stones should stock the world.
In heaven and earth this power beauty hath—    310
It inflames temperance and temp’rates wrath.
Whate’er thou art, mine art thou, wise or chaste;
I shall set hard upon thy marriage-vow,
And write revenge high in thy husband’s brow
In a strange character.—You may begin, sir.

Men. Signior Claridiana, I hope Signior Rogero thus employed me about a good office: ’twere worthy Cicero’s tongue, a famous oration now; but friendship, that is mutually embraced of the gods,
And is Jove’s usher to each sacred synod,    320
Without the which he could not reign in heaven,—
That over-goes my admiration, shall not
Under-go my censure!
These hot flames of rage, that else will be
As fire midst your nuptial jollity,
Burning the edge off from[165] the present joy,
And keep you wake to terror.

Clar. I have not yet swallowed the rhimatrix nor the onocentaur—the rhinoceros[166] was monstrous!

Gui. Sir, be you of the more flexible nature, and confess an error.    331

Clar. I must; the gods of love command,
And that bright star her eye, that guides my fate.—
Signior Rogero, joy, then, Signior Rogero!

Rog. Signior, sir? O devil!

Tha. Good husband, show yourself a temperate man!
Your mother was a woman, I dare swear—
No tiger got you, nor no bear was rival
In your conception—you seem like the issue
The painters limn leaping from Envy’s mouth,    340
That devours all he meets.

Rog. Had the last, or the least syllable
Of this more than immortal eloquence
Commenced to me when rage had been so high
Within my blood that it o’er-topt my soul,
Like to the lion when he hears the sound
Of Dian’s bowstring in some shady wood,
I should have couch’d my lowly limb on earth
And held my silence a proud sacrifice.

Clar. Slave, I will fight with thee at any odds;    350
Or name an instrument fit for destruction,
That e’er[167] was made to make away a man,
I’ll meet thee on the ridges of the Alps,[168]
Or some inhospitable wilderness,
Stark-naked, at push of pike, or keen curtle-axe,
At Turkish sickle, Babylonian saw,
The ancient hooks of great Cadwallader,
Or any other heathen invention!

Tha. O God bless the man!

Lady Len. Counsel him, good my lord!    360

Men. Our tongues are weary, and he desperate.
He does refuse to hear. What shall we do?

Clar. I am not mad—I can hear, I can see, I can feel!
But a wise rage in man, wrong’d[169] past compare,
Should be well nourish’d, as his virtues are.
I’d have it known unto each valiant sprite,[170]
He wrongs no man that to himself does right.
Catzo,[171] I ha’ done; Signior Rogero, I ha’ done!

Gui. By heaven!
This voluntary reconciliation, made    370
Freely and of itself, argues unfeign’d
And virtuous knot of love. So, sirs, embrace!

Rog. Sir, by the conscience of a Catholic man,
And by our mother Church, that binds
And doth atone in amity with God
The souls of men, that they with men be one,
I tread into the centre all the thoughts
Of ill in me toward you, and memory
Of what from you might aught disparage me;
Wishing unfeignedly it may sink low,    380
And, as untimely births, want power to grow.

Men. Christianly said! Signior, what would you have more?

Clar. And so I swear. You’re honest, onocentaur!

Gui. Nay, see now! Fie upon your turbulent spirit!
Did he doo ’t in this form?

Clar. If you think not this sufficient, you shall command me to be reconciled in another form—as a rhimatrix or a rhinoceros.[172]

Men. ’Sblood! what will you do?    389

Clar. Well, give me your hands first: I am friends with you, i’faith. Thereupon I embrace you, kiss your wife, and God give us joy!

[To Thais.

Tha. You mean me and my husband?

Clar. You take the meaning better than the speech, lady.

Rog. The like wish I, but ne’er can be the like,
And therefore wish I thee.

Clar. By this bright light, that is deriv’d from thee—

Tha. So, sir, you make me a very light creature!

Clar. But that thou art a blessèd angel, sent
Down from the gods t’ atone mortal men,    400
I would have thought deeds beyond all men’s thoughts,
And executed more upon his corps.
O let him thank the beauty of this eye,
And not his resolute swords or destiny.

Gui. What say’st thou, Mizaldus? Come, applaud this jubilee,
A day these hundred years before not truly known
To these divided factions.

Clar. No, nor this day had it been falsely born,
But that I mean to sound it with his horn.    409

Miz. I liked the former jar better. Then they show’d like men and soldiers, now like cowards and lechers.

Gui. Well said, Mizaldus; thou art like the bass viol in a consort,—let the other instruments[173] wish and delight in your highest sense, thou art still grumbling.

Clar. Nay, sweet, receive it [gives a letter to Thais[174]], and in it my heart:
And when thou read’st a moving syllable,
Think that my soul was secretary to ’t.
It is your love, and not the odious wish
Of my revenge in styling him a cuckold,
Makes me presume thus far. Then read it, fair,    420
My passion’s ample, as your[175] beauties are.

Tha.[176] Well, sir, we will not stick with you.

Gui. And, gentlemen, since it hath hapt so fortunately,
I do entreat we may all meet to-morrow
In some heroic masque, to grace the nuptials
Of the most noble Count of Cyprus.[177]

Men. Who does the young count marry?

Gui. O, sir,
Who but the very heir of all her sex,
That bears the palm of beauty from ’em all?
Others, compared to her, show like faint stars    430
To the full moon of wonder in her face:—
The Lady Isabella, the late widow
To the deceased and noble Viscount Hermus.

Men. Law you there, widow, there’s one of the last edition,
Whose husband yet retains in his cold trunk
Some little airing of his noble guest;[178]
Yet she a fresh bride as the month of May.

Lady Len. Well, my lord, I am none of these
That have my second husband bespoke;
My door shall be a testimony of it;    440
And but these noble marriages incite me,
My much abstracted presence should have show’d it.
If you come to me, hark in your ear, my lord,
Look your ladder of ropes be strong,
For I shall tie you to your tackling.

Gui. Gentlemen, your answer to the masque.

Omnes. Your honour leads: we’ll follow.

Rog. Signior Claridiana.

Clar. I attend you, sir.

Tha.[179] You’ll be constant?    450

[Exeunt all but Claridiana.

Clar. Above the adamant; the goat’s blood[180] shall not break me.
Yet shallow fools and plainer moral men,
That understand not what they undertake,
Fall in their own snares or come short of vengeance.
No; let the sun view with an open face,
And afterward shrink in his blushing cheeks,
Ashamed and cursing of the fix’d decree,
That makes his light bawd to the crimes of men.
When I have ended what I now devise,
Apollo’s oracle shall swear me wise.    460
Strumpet his wife! branch my false-seeming friend!
And make him foster what my hate begot,
A bastard, that, when age and sickness seize him,
Shall be a corsive[181] to his griping heart.
I’ll write to her; for what her modesty
Will not permit, nor my adulterate forcing,
That blushless herald shall not fear to tell.
Rogero shall know yet that his foe’s a man,
And, what is more, a true Italian!


[127] “What should we make here?” = What business have we here? See Middleton, i. 202.

[128] So ed. 1613.—Ed. 1631 “as.”

[129] Cf. Hamlet, i. 2:—
“Fie, ’tis a fault to heaven,
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,” &c.

[130] Cf. Hamlet, iii. 1:—
“The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns.”

[131] “Wall-ey’d”—having eyes in which the proportion of white is too large; fierce-eyed. “Œil de chevre. A whall, or over-white eye; an eye full of white spots, or whose apple seems divided by a streake of white.”—Cotgrave.

[132] Cf. Hamlet, iii. 4:—
“See what a grace was seated on this brow
Hyperion’s curls; the front of Jove himself,” &c.

[133] Old eds. “his.”

[134] Old eds.Omnes.

[135] Old eds. “ne’er.”

[136] “It is a vulgar belief that a man is destined to have as many wives as there appear wrinkles in his forehead when he frowns.”—Ed. of 1820.

[137] “Month’s mind” = a strong desire. See Dyce’s Shakesp. Gloss.

[138] So ed. 1613.—Ed. 1631 “full-ri’dd.”

[139] Ed. 1613 gives “Your vertues man.”—Ed. 1631 “Your vertues may.”

[140] Old eds.Enter Mizaldus and Mendosa.”

[141] Old eds.Guid.

[142] Old eds.Miz.

[143] Old eds. “Cypres.”

[144] This play bears many traces of the study of Hamlet. The present passage was clearly suggested by the player’s speech, “The rugged Pyrrhus,” &c., and Hamlet’s comments thereon.

[145] Old eds. “desire.”

[146] Cf. Hamlet, i. 2:—
“The funeral baked meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage-tables.”

[147] Branches of rosemary were formerly used at weddings. See note on Middleton, i. 9, 10.

[148] Old eds.Rogero.

[149] Old eds.Clarid.

[150] Old eds. “Buglors, Rhimocers.”—The herb bugloss was much used for medicinal purposes. The same virtues were attributed to the rhinoceros’ horn as to the unicorn’s horn: see Topsel’s Hist. of Four-footed Beasts.

[151] Hotchpotch, farrago; a contemptuous term for an apothecary.

[152] Crucible.

[153] Ed. 1631 “O.”

[154] Subject for dissection.

[155] “I were”—omitted in ed. 1613.

[156] Ed. 1631 “skip on ounce.”

[157] If Romeo and Juliet had not been a highly popular play the allusion to the Montagues and Capulets could hardly have been generally intelligible.

[158] Old eds.Miz.

[159] Not marked in old eds.

[160] i.e., you are a clever schemer.

[161] Girls who fasted on St. Agnes’ night (January 21) dreamed of their future husbands.—“They’ll give anything to know when they shall be married, how many husbands they shall have by Cromnyomantia, a kind of divination with onions laid on the altar on Christmas eve, or by fasting on St. Agnes’ eve or night to know who shall be their first husband.” Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy, ed. 1660, p. 538. See the sixth stanza of Keats’ Eve of St. Agnes.

[162] See note, vol. i. p. 37.

[163] Old eds.Count Ars.

[164] In old eds. is the stage-direction “To Abigall.”—Claridiana is of course glancing at Thais.

[165] Ed. 1631 “to.”

[166] So ed. 1631.—Ed. I, “rimocheros.”

[167] Old eds. “ne’er” and “ne’re.”

[168] An echo from Richard II. (i. 1):—
“Which to maintain I would allow him odds
And meet him, were I tied to run a-foot
Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps,
Or any other ground inhabitable.”

[169] Old eds. “wrongs.”

[170] Ed. 1613 “sp’rit.”—Ed. 1631 “spirit.”

[171] A vulgar oath.

[172] Ed. 1613 “rimocheros.”

[173] Ed. 1613 “instrument.”

[174] Old eds.Abigall” and “Abigail.”

[175] Old eds. “our.”

[176] Old eds.Abig.

[177] Ed. 1631 “Countesse of Sweuia.”

[178] Cf. vol. 1, p. 62.

[179] Old eds.Abigall” and “Abig.

[180] In Vulgar Errors, ii. 5, Sir Thomas Browne discusses the question whether “a diamond, which is the hardest of stones, not yielding unto steel, emery, or anything but its own powder, is yet made soft or broke by the blood of a goat.”

[181] Contracted form (found in Spenser, Jonson, &c.) for corrosive.



Venice.—Hall in Roberto’s house.

Enter Roberto, Lord Cardinal, Isabella, Lady Lentulus, Abigail, and Thais. Lights.

Rob. My grave Lord Cardinal, we congratulate,
And zealously do entertain your love,
That from your high and divine contemplation
You have vouchsafed to consummate a day
Due to our nuptials. O may this knot you knit—
This individual Gordian grasp of hands,
In sight of God so fairly intermixt—
Never be sever’d, as Heaven smiles at it,
By all the darts shot by infernal Jove!
Angels of grace, Amen, Amen, say to ’t!    10
Fair lady-widow, and my worthy mistress,
Do you keep silence for a wager?

Tha. Do you ask a woman that question, my lord, when she enforcedly pursues what she’s forbidden? I think, if I had been tied to silence, I should have been worthy the cucking-stool ere this time.

Rob. You shall not be my orator, lady, that pleads thus for your self.

Enter a Servant.[182]

Ser. My lord, the masquers are at hand.

Rob. Give them kind entertainment.—Some worthy friends of mine, my lord, unknown to me, too lavish of their loves, bring their own welcome in a solemn masque.    23

Abi. I am glad there’s noblemen in the masque, with our husbands to overrule them; they had shamed us all[183] else.

Tha. Why? for why, I pray?

Abi. Why?—marry, they had come in with some city show else; hired a few tinsel coats, at the vizard-makers, which would ha’ made them look for all the world like bakers in their linen bases[184] and mealy vizards, new come from boulting. I saw a show once at the marriage of Magnificero’s daughter, presented by Time, which Time was an old bald thing, a servant: ’twas the best man; he was a dyer, and came in likeness of the rainbow, in all manner of colours, to show his art; but the rainbow smelt of urine so we were all afraid the property was changed, and look’d for a shower. Then came in after him, one that, it seem’d, feared no colours[185]—a grocer that had trimm’d up himself handsomely: he was justice, and show’d reasons[186] why. And I think this grocer—I mean this justice—had borrowed a weather-beaten balance from some justice of a conduit, both which scales were replenish’d with the choice of his ware. And the more liberally to show his nature, he gave every woman in the room her handful.    46

Tha. O great act of justice! Well, and my husband come cleanly off with this, he shall ne’er betray his weakness more, but confess himself a citizen hereafter, and acknowledge their wit, for alas! they come short.

Enter in the Masque, the Count of Massino,[187] Mendoza, Claridiana, and Torch-bearers. They deliver their shields to their several mistresses—that is to say, Mendoza to the Lady Lentulus; Claridiana to Thais;[188] to Isabella, Massino; to Abigail, Rogero.

Isa. Good my lord, be my expositor.

[To the Cardinal.

Car. The sun setting, a man pointing at it:
The motto, Senso tamen ipse calorem.
Fair bride, some servant of yours, that here imitates
To have felt the heat of love bred in your brightness,
But setting thus from him by marriage;
He only here acknowledgeth your power,
And must[189] expect beams of a morrow-sun.

Lady Len. Lord Bridegroom, will you interpret me?

Rob. A sable shield: the word,[190] Vidua spes.    60
What—the forlorn hope, in black, despairing?
Lady Lentulus, is this the badge of all your suitors?

Lady Len. Ay, by my troth, my lord, if they come to me.

Rob. I could give it another interpretation. Methinks this lover has learn’d of women to deal by contraries; if so, then here he says, the widow is his only hope.

Lady Len. No; good my lord, let the first stand.

Rob. Inquire of him, and he’ll resolve the doubt.

Abi. What’s here?—a ship sailing nigh her haven?
With good ware belike: ’tis well ballast.    70

Tha. O this your device smells of the merchant. What’s your ship’s name, I pray? The Forlorn Hope?

Abi. No; The Merchant Royal.

Tha. And why not Adventurer?

Abi. You see no likelihood of that: would it not fain be in the haven? The word, Ut tangerem portum. Marry, for aught I know; God grant it. What’s there?

Tha. Mine’s an azure shield: marry, what else? I should tell thee more than I understand; but the word is, Aut pretio, aut precibus.    80

Abi. Ay, ay, some common-council device.

[They take the women, and dance the first change.

Men. Fair widow, how like you this change?

Lady Len. I chang’d too lately to like any.

Men. O your husband! you wear his memory like a death’s-head.
For Heaven’s love, think of me as of the man
Whose dancing days you see are not yet done.

Lady Len. Yet you sink a-pace,[191] sir.

Men. The fault’s in my upholsterer, lady.

Rog. Thou shalt as soon find Truth telling a lie,    90
Virtue a bawd, Honesty a courtier,
As me turn’d recreant to thy least design.
Love makes me speak, and he makes love divine.

Abi.[192] Would Love could make you so! but ’tis his guise
To let us surfeit ere he ope our eyes.

Tha.[193] You grasp my hand too hard, i’faith, fair sir.

[Claridiana holds her by the hand.

Clar. Not as you grasp my heart, unwilling wanton.
Were but my breast bare and anatomised,
Thou shouldst behold there how thou torturest it;
And as Apelles limn’d the Queen of Love,    100
In her right hand grasping a heart in flames,
So may I thee, fairer, but crueller.

Tha.[193] Well, sir, your vizor gives you colour for what you say.

Clar. Grace me to wear this favour; ’tis a gem
That vails to your eyes, though not to the eagle’s,
And in exchange give me one word of comfort.

Tha.[193] Ay, marry: I like this wooer well:
He’ll win’s pleasure out o’ the stones.

[The second change, Isabella falls in love with Massino;[194] when[195] they change she speaks.

Isa. Change is no robbery; yet in this change    110
Thou robb’st me of my heart. Sure Cupid’s here,
Disguisèd like a pretty torch-bearer,
And makes his brand a torch, that with more sleight
He may entrap weak women. Here the sparks
Fly, as in Ætna from his father’s anvil.
O powerful boy!
My heart’s on fire, and unto mine eyes
The raging flames ascend like to two beacons,
Summoning my strongest powers; but all too late;
The conqueror already opes the gate.    120
I will not ask his name.

Abi. You dare put it into my hands.

Rog.[196] Zounds,[197] do you think I will not?

Abi. Then thus: to-morrow (you’ll be secret, servant)

Rog. All that I do, I’ll do in secret.

Abi. My husband goes to Maurano[198] to renew the farm he has.

Rog. Well, what time goes the jakes-farmer?

Abi. He shall not be long out, but you shall put in, I warrant you. Have a care that you stand just i’ the nick about six o’clock in the evening; my maid shall conduct you up. To save mine honour, you must come up darkling, and to avoid suspicion.    133

Rog. Zounds! hoodwink’d! and if you’ll open all, sweet lady—

Abi. But if you fail to do ’t—

Rog. The sun shall fail the day first.

Abi. Tie this ring fast, you may be sure to know.
You’ll brag of this, now you have brought me to the bay.

Rog. Pox o’ this masque! would ’twere done! I might
To my apothecary’s for some stirring meats!    141

Tha. Methinks, sir, you should blush e’en through your vizor.
I have scarce patience to dance out the rest.

Clar.[199] The worse my fate, that ploughs a marble quarry:
Pygmalion, yet thy image was more kind,
Although thy love[200] not half so true as mine.
Dance they that list, I sail against the wind.

Tha. Nay, sir, betray not your infirmities,
You’ll make my husband jealous by and by.
We will think of you, and that presently.    150

Mass.[201] The spheres ne’er danced unto a better tune.
Sound music there!

[The third change ended, ladies fall off.

Isa. ’Twas music that he spake.

Rob. Gallants, I thank you, and begin a health
To your mistresses!

Three or four. Fair thanks, Sir Bridegroom.

Isa. [Aside.] He speaks not to this pledge; has he no mistress?
Would I might choose one for him! but ’t may be
He doth adore a brighter star than we.

Rob. Sit, ladies, sit; you have had standing long.

[Massino[202] dances a Levalto or a Galliard, and in the midst of it falleth into the Bride’s lap, but straight leaps up and danceth it out.

Men. Bless the man! sprightly and nobly done!

Tha. What, is your ladyship hurt?

Isa. O no, an easy fall.    160
[Aside.] Was I not deep enough, thou god of lust,
But I must further wade! I am his now,
As sure as Juno’s Jove’s! Hymen, take flight,
And see not me, ’tis not my wedding night.

[Exit Isabella.

Car. The bride’s departed, discontent it[203] seems.

Rob. We’ll after her. Gallants, unmasque I pray,
And taste a homely banquet, we entreat.

[Exeunt Roberto, Cardinal, and lights.

Clar. Candied[204] eringoes, I beseech thee.

Men. Come, widow, I’ll be bold to put you in.
My lord, will you have a sociate?    170

[Exeunt Thais, Lady Lentulus, Abigail, and Mendoza.

Mass.[205] Good gentlemen, if I have any interest in you,
Let me depart unknown; ’tis a disgrace
Of an eternal memory.

Rog.[206] What, the fall, my lord?—as common a thing as can be. The stiffest man in Italy may fall between a woman’s legs.

Clar. Would I had changed places with you, my lord—would it had been my hap!

Mass. What cuckold laid his horns in my way?
Signior Claridiana, you were by the lady when I fell:
Do you think I hurt her?    181

Clar. You could not hurt her, my lord, between the legs.

Mass. What was ’t I fell withal?

Rog. A cross-point, my lord.

Mass. Cross-point, indeed.
Well, if you love me, let me hence unknown;
The silence yours, the disgrace mine own.

[Exeunt Claridiana and Rogero.[207]

Enter Isabella with a gilt goblet, and meets Massino.[208]

Isa. Sir, if wine were nectar, I’d[209] begin a health
To her that were most gracious in your eye:    190
Yet deign, as simply ’tis the gift of Bacchus,
To give her pledge that drinks. This god of wine
Cannot inflame me more to appetite,
Though he be co-supreme[210] with mighty Love,
Than thy fair shape.

Mass. Zounds! she comes to deride me.

Isa. That kiss shall serve
To be a pledge, although my lips should starve.—
[Aside.] No trick to get that vizor from his face?

Mass. I will steal hence, and so conceal disgrace.

Isa. Sir, have you left naught behind?    200

Mass. Yes, Lady,[211] but the fates will not permit
(As gems once lost are seldom or never found)
I should convey it with me. Sweet, good-night!
[Aside.] She bends to me: there’s my fall again.


Isa. He’s gone! That lightning that a while doth strike
Our eyes with amaz’d brightness, and on a sudden
Leaves us in prison’d darkness! Lust, thou art high;
My similes[212] may well come from the sky.
Anna, Anna!

Enter Anna.

Anna. Madam, did you call?    209

Isa. Follow yond stranger; prithee learn his name.
We may hereafter thank him. [Exit Anna.] How I dote!
Is he not a god
That can command what other men would win
With the hard’st advantage? I must have him,
Or, shadow-like, follow his fleeting steps.
Were I as Daphne, and he followed chase,
(Though I rejected young Apollo’s love,
And like a dream beguile his wand’ring steps;)
Should he pursue me through the neighbouring grove,
Each cowslip-stalk should trip a willing fall,    220
Till he were mine, who till then am his thrall.
Nor will I blush, since worthy is my chance:[213]
’Tis said that Venus with a satyr slept;
And how much short came she of my fair aim!
Then, Queen of Love, a precedent I’ll be,
To teach fair women learn to love of me.
Speak, music: what’s his name?

Enter Anna.

Anna. Madam, it was the worthy Count Massino.

Isa. Blest be thy tongue! The worthy count indeed,
The worthiest of the worthies. Trusty Anna,    230
Hast thou pack’d up those monies, plate, and jewels
I gave direction for?

Anna. Yes, madam; I have truss’d up them, that many a proper man has been truss’d up for.

Isa. I thank thee. Take the wings of night,
Beloved secretary, and post with them to Pavia;[214]
There furnish up some stately palace
Worthy to entertain the king of love:
Prepare it for my coming and my love’s.
Ere Phœbus’ steeds once more unharness’d be,    240
Or ere he sport with his belovèd Thetis,
The silver-footed goddess of the sea,
We will set forward. Fly like the northern wind,
Or swifter, Anna,—fleet like to my mind.

Anna. I am just of your mind, madam. I am gone.

[Exit Anna.

Isa. So to the house of death the mourner goes,
That is bereft of what his soul desired,
As I to bed—I to my nuptial bed,
The heaven on earth: so to thought-slaughters went
The pale Andromeda, bedew’d with tears.    250
When every minute she expected gripes
Of a fell monster, and in vain bewail’d
The act of her creation. Sullen Night,
That look’st with sunk eyes on my nuptial bed,
With ne’er a star that smiles upon the end,
Mend thy slack pace, and lend the malcontent,
The hoping lover, and the wishing bride,
Beams that too long thou shadowest: or, if not,
In spite of thy fix’d front, when my loath’d mate
Shall struggle in due pleasure for his right,    260
I’ll think ’t my love, and die in that delight!


[182] Not marked in old eds.

[183] Omitted in ed. 1631.

[184] Seemingly, here, a sort of apron.—The word is used in a variety of senses: see Nares’ Glossary.

[185] Properly a military expression, meaning—fear no enemy.

[186] Used with a quibble: (1) reason, (2) raisin.

[187] Old eds. “Count of Arsena;” and so below “to Isabella, Gvido Count of Arsena.”—It was Guido who prepared the masque (see p. 149), and he ought certainly to be one of the masquers; but if we suppose that he is the masquer with whom Isabella falls in love, we are involved at once in wild confusion. Throughout this scene the prefixes are constantly wrong. The masquer who is now called Guido is frequently transformed into Rogero: see p. 157, “The second change, Isabella fals in loue with Rogero” and what follows. Later in the scene Isabella sends her waiting-woman Anna to discover the unknown masquer’s name; and Anna returns with the announcement, “Madam, it was the worthy Count Massino.” In the third scene she sends her page to summon the stranger to her presence. When the page returns with him, the stage-direction is “Enter Count Arsena and a Page.” She flies with her paramour, and the first man to proffer his advice to Roberto is this same Guido, Count of Arsena, who—according to the old copies—is flying with the Countess to Pavia! In iii. 11 the stage-direction is “Enter Count Guido, Isabella,” &c., and presently Isabella addresses her paramour as Rogero. Isabella pretends that she is sick and Guido goes to fetch a doctor: when he returns the stage direction is “Enter Rogero, Anna, and Doctor.” So the changes are rung through several scenes. In iv. 3 Isabella speaks of—
“False Count Guido, treacherous Gniaca,
Counties of Gazia and of rich Massino.”

Gniaca is the Count of Gazia [Gaeta?], and it follows that Guido would be the name of the Count of Massino [Messina?]. But Guido is the Count of Arsena; and it will be intolerable to have another Guido. Throughout I shall give the name Massino to the paramour who elopes with the Countess, and shall prefix “Mass.” to his speeches. Count Arsena will have to be excluded from the masque. It is no fault of mine; the author (or authors) and the old printer must bear the blame.

[188] Old eds.Claridiana, to Abigal; to Isabella, Gvido Count of Arsena; to Thais, Rogero.”

[189] Ed. 1631 “I must.”

[190] i.e., motto.

[191] Shakespeare has a more elaborate quibble:—“And then comes repentance, and with his bad legs falls into the cinque-pace faster and faster till he sink into his grave.”—Much Ado, ii. 1. Cinque-pace was the name of a lively dance.

[192] Old eds.Thais.”

[193] Old eds.Abig.

[194] Old eds.Rogero.”

[195] Old eds.when the changers speak.”

[196] To this speech and Rogero’s five following speeches the prefix “Men. ” is given in the old copies.

[197] Omitted in ed. 1631.

[198] Ed. 1631 “Mucaue.”

[199] Old eds.Robert” and “Rob.”

[200] Ed. 1631 “love’s.”

[201] Old eds.Gui.”

[202] Old eds.Rogero.”

[203] Omitted in ed. 1631.

[204] Old eds. “Candidi Ernigos” and “Erignos.”

[205] To Massino’s speeches old eds. give the prefix “Rog.

[206] Old eds. give the prefix “Men. ” here and at l. 184.

[207] Old eds.Mend.

[208] Old eds.Rogero.”

[209] Old eds. “Ile.”

[210] So ed. 1613.—Ed. 1631 “to supreme.”

[211] Omitted in ed. 1631.

[212] Old eds. “smiles.”

[213] Quy. “choice”?

[214] Old eds. “Sweuia.”


Venice.—A street.

Enter at several doors Abigail and Thais.

Abi. Thais, you’re an early riser. I have that to show will make your hair stand an-end.[215]

Tha. Well, lady, and I have that to show you will bring your courage down. What would you say and I would name a party saw your husband court, kiss, nay, almost go through for the hole?

Abi. How, how? what would I say? nay, by this light! what would I not do? If ever Amazon fought better, or more at the face than I’ll do, let me never be thought a new married wife. Come, unmask her; ’tis some admirable creature, whose beauty you need not paint; I warrant you, ’tis done to your hand.    12

Tha. Would any woman but I be abused to her face? Prithee read the contents. Know’st thou the character?

Abi. ’Tis my husband’s hand, and a love-letter; but for the contents I find none in it. Has the lustful monster, all back and belly, starved me thus? What defect does he see in me? I’ll be sworn, wench, I am of as pliant and yielding a body to him, e’en which way he will—he may turn me as he list himself. What? and dedicate to thee! Ay, marry, here’s a stile so high as a man cannot help a dog o’er it. He was wont to write to me in the city-phrase, My good Abigail. Here’s astonishment of nature, unparallel’d excellency, and most unequal rarity of creation!—three such words will turn any honest woman in the world[216] whore; for a woman is never won till she know not what to answer; and beshrew me if I understand any of these. You are the party, I perceive, and here’s a white sheet, that your husband has promis’d me to do penance in: you must not think to dance the shaking of the sheets[217] alone; though there be not such rare phrases in ’t, ’tis more to the matter: a legible hand, but for the dash or the (he) and (as):[218] short bawdy parentheses as ever you saw, to the purpose; he has not left out a prick, I warrant you, wherein he has promis’d to do me any good; but the law’s in mine own hand.    36

Tha. I ever thought by his red beard he would prove a Judas;[219] here am I bought and sold; he makes much of me indeed. Well, wench, we were best wisely in time seek for prevention; I should be loath to take drink and die on ’t, as I am afraid I shall, that he will lie with thee.

Abi. To be short, sweetheart, I’ll be true to thee, though a liar to my husband. I have signed your husband’s bill like a woodcock, as he is held; persuaded him (since naught but my love can assuage his violent passions) he should enjoy, like a private friend, the pleasures of my bed. I told him my husband was to go to Maurano to-day, to renew a farm he has; and in the meantime he might be tenant at will to use mine. This false fire has so took with him, that he’s ravish’d afore he come. I have had stones on him all red. Dost know this?

Tha. Ay, too well; it blushes, for his master.    53

[Points to the ring.

Abi. Now my husband will be hawking about thee anon, and thou canst meet him closely.

Tha. By my faith, I would be loth in the dark, and he knew me.

Abi. I mean thus: the same occasion will serve him too; they are birds of a feather, and will fly together, I warrant thee, wench; appoint him to come; say that thy husband’s gone for Maurano, and tell me anon if thou madest not his heart-blood spring for joy in his face.    62

Tha. I conceive you not all this while.

Abi. Then th’ art a barren woman, and no marvel if thy husband love thee not. The hour for both to come is six—a dark time fit for purblind lovers; and with cleanly conveyance by the nigglers our maids, they shall be translated into our bed-chambers. Your husband into mine, and mine into yours.

Tha. But you mean they shall come in at the backdoors?    71

Abi. Who? our husbands? nay, an’ they come not in at the fore-doors there will be no pleasure in ’t. But we two will climb over our garden-pales, and come in that way (the chastest that are in Venice will stray for a good turn), and thus wittily will we be stowed—you into my house to your husband, and I into your house to my husband; and I warrant thee before a month come to an end, they’ll crack louder of this night’s lodging than the bedsteads.    80

Tha. All is if our maids keep secret.

Abi. Mine is a maid I’ll be sworn; she has kept her secrets hitherto.

Tha. Troth, and I never had any sea-captain boarded in my house.

Abi. Go to, then; and the better to avoid suspicion, thus we must insist: they must come up darkling, recreate themselves with their delight an hour or two, and after a million kisses or so—    89

Tha. But is my husband content to come darkling?

Abi. What, not to save mine honour? He that will run through fire, as he has profess’d, will, by the heat of his love, grope in the dark! I warrant him he shall save mine honour.

Tha. I am afraid my voice will discover me.

Abi. Why, then, you’re best say nothing, and take it thus quietly when your husband comes.

Tha. Ay, but you know a woman cannot choose but speak in these cases.

Abi. Bite in your nether-lip, and I warrant you;    100 Or make as if you were whiffing tobacco; Or puich[220] like me. Gods so! I hear thy husband!

[Exit Abigail.

Tha. Farewell, wise woman.

Enter Rogero.[221]

Rog.[222] Now ’gins my vengeance mount high in my lust:
’Tis a rare creature, she’ll do ’t i’faith;
And I am arm’d at all points. A rare whiblin,[223]
To be revenged, and yet gain pleasure in ’t,
One height above revenge! Yet what a slave am I!
Are there not younger brothers enough, but we must
Branch one another? O but mine’s revenge!    110
And who on that does dream
Must be a tyrant ever in extreme.—
O my wife Thais, get my breakfast ready;
I must into the country to my farm I have
Some two miles off, and, as I think,
Shall not come home to-night. Jaques, Jaques?
Get my vessel ready to row me down the river.
Prithee make haste, sweet girl.

[Exit Rogero.[224]

Tha. So, there’s one fool shipp’d away. Are your cross-points discovered? Get your breakfast ready!    120
By this light I’ll tie you to hard fare; I have been too sparing of that you prodigally offer voluntary to another: well, you will be a tame fool hereafter,
The finest light is when we first defraud;
Husband, to-night ’tis I must lie abroad.


[215] “And each particular hair to stand an-end.”—Hamlet, i. 4.

[216] Ed. 1631 “a whore.”

[217] “The shaking of the sheets” was the name of an old dance. It is often used with a quibble (as in the text).

[218] I follow the reading of the old copies.

[219] In tapestry Judas was commonly represented with a red beard.

[220] Puke, simper.

[221] Old eds.Mizaldus.”

[222] Old eds.Miz.

[223] This word is used in a variety of senses: see Nares’ Gloss. Here the meaning seems to be “device, trick.” We have had the word “quiblin” in this sense: see p. 60.

[224] Old eds.Mizal.


Venice.Roberto’s house.

Enter Isabella, and a Page with a letter.

Isa. Here, take this letter, bear it to the count.
But, boy, first tell, think’st thou I am in love?

Page. Madam, I cannot tell.

Isa. Canst thou not tell? Dost thou not see my face?
Is not the face the index of the mind?
And canst thou not distinguish love by that?

Page. No, madam.

Isa. Then take this letter and deliver it
Unto the worthy count. No, fie upon him!
Come back: tell me, why shouldst thou think    10
That same’s a love-letter?

Page. I do not think so, madam.

Isa. I know thou dost; for thou dost ever use
To hold the wrong opinion. Tell me true,
Dost thou not think that letter is of love?

Page. If you would have me think so, madam, yes.

Isa. What, dost thou think thy lady is so fond?
Give me the letter; thyself shall see it.
Yet I should tear it in the breaking ope,
And make him lay a wrongful charge on thee,    20
And say thou brokest it open by the way,
And saw what heinous things I charge him with.
But ’tis all one, the letter is not of love;
Therefore deliver it unto himself,
And tell him he’s deceived—I do not love him.
But if he think so, bid him come to me,
And I’ll confute him straight: I’ll show him reasons—
I’ll show him plainly why I cannot love him.
And if he hap to read it in thy hearing,
Or chance to tell thee that the words were sweet,    30
Do not thou then disclose my lewd intent
Under those siren words, and how I mean
To use him when I have him at my will;
For then thou wilt destroy the plot[225] that’s laid,
And make him fear to yield when I do wish
Only to have him yield; for when I have him,
None but myself shall know how I will use him.
Begone! why stayest thou?—yet return again.

Page. Ay, madam.    39

Isa. Why dost thou come again? I bade thee go.
If I say go, never return again.

[Exit Page.

My blood, like to a troubled ocean,
Cuff’d with the winds, incertain where to rest,
Butts at the utmost shore[226] of every limb!
My husband’s not the man I would have had.
O my new thoughts to this brave sprightly lord
Was fix’d to [by?] that hid fire lovers feel!
Where was my mind before—that refined judgment
That represents rare objects to our passions?
Or did my lust beguile me of my sense,    50
Making me feast upon such dangerous cates,
For present want, that needs must breed a surfeit?
How was I shipwrack’d? Yet, Isabella, think;
Thy husband is a noble gentleman,
Young, wise, and rich; think what fate follows thee,
And naught but lust doth blind thy worthy love.
I will desist. O no, it may not be.
Even as a headstrong courser bears away
His rider, vainly striving him to stay;
Or as a sudden gale thrusts into sea    60
The haven-touching bark, now near the lea,
So wavering Cupid brings me back amain,[227]
And purple Love resumes his darts again:
Here of themselves, thy shafts come as if shot,
Better than I thy quiver knows ’em not.

Enter Count Massino[228] and the Page.

Page. Madam, the count.

Mass.[229] So fell the Trojan wanderer on the Greek,
And bore away his ravish’d prize to Troy.
For such a beauty, brighter than his Danae,[230]
Jove should (methinks) now come himself again.    70
Lovely Isabella, I confess me mortal—
Not worthy to serve thee in thought, I swear;
Yet shall not this same overflow of favour
Diminish my vow’d duty to your beauty.

Isa. Your love, my lord, I blushingly proclaim it,
Hath power to draw me through a wilderness,
Were ’t armed with furies, as with furious beasts.
Boy, bid our train be ready; we’ll to horse.

[Exit Page.

My lord, I should say something, but I blush;
Courting is not befitting to our sex.    80

Mass. I’ll teach you how to woo. Say you have loved me long,
And tell me that a woman’s feeble tongue
Was never tuned unto a wooing-string;
Yet for my sake you will forget your sex,
And court my love with strain’d immodesty:
Then bid me make you happy with a kiss.

Isa. Sir, though women do not woo, yet for your sake
I am content to leave that civil custom,
And pray you kiss me.

Mass. Now use some unexpected ambages[231]    90
To draw me further into Vulcan’s net.

Isa. You love not me so well as I love you.

Mass. Fair lady, but I do.

Isa. Then show your love.

Mass. Why, in this kiss I show ’t, and in my vowed service
This wooing shall suffice: ’tis easier far
To make the current of a silver brook
Convert his flowing backward to his spring
Than turn a woman wooer. There’s no cause
Can turn the settled course of Nature’s laws.

Isa. My lord, will you pursue the plot?    100

Mass. The letter gives direction here for Pavy.
To horse, to horse! Thus on Eurydice,[232]
With looks regardiant [sic], did the Thracian gaze,
And lost his gift while he desired the sight:
But wiser I, led by more powerful charm,
I’d see the world win thee from out mine arm.


[225] Ed. 1631 “plots.”

[226] Old eds. “share.”

[227] Old eds. “againe.”

[228] Old eds.Arsena.”

[229] The prefix to Massino’s speeches in old eds. is “Rog.

[230] Old eds. “Dana.”

[231] Old. eds. “vmbages.” The word ambages (= roundabout statements) is not uncommon. Cf. Spanish Tragedy:—
“Tush, tush, my lord, let go these ambages,
And in plain terms acquaint me with your love.”
—Hazlitt’s Dodsley, v. 30.

[232] Old eds. “once Eridace” (and “Fridace”).


Venice.—Courtyard of Robert’s house.

Enter at several doors Claridiana and Guido.

Gui. Zounds! is the hurricano coming? Claridiana, what’s the matter?

[A trampling of horses heard.

Cla. The Countess of Suevia has new taken horse.—
Fly, Phœbus, fly, the hour is six o’clock.!

Gui. Whither is she gone, signior?

Cla. Even as Jove went to meet his Semele—
To the devil, I think.

Gui. You know not wherefore?

Cla. To say sooth. I do not.—
So in immortal wise shall I arrive——

Gui. At the gallows. What, in a passion, signior?    10

Cla. Zounds! do not hold me, sir.—
Beauteous Thais, I am all thine wholly.
The staff is now advancing for the rest,
And when I tilt, Rogero,[233] ’ware thy crest!

[Exit Claridiana.

Gui. What’s here?
The cap’ring god-head[234] tilting in the air?

Enter Roberto in his night-gown and cap, with
Servants; he kneels down.

Rob. The gods send her remorse,[235] a poor old age,
Eternal woe, and sickness’ lasting rage!

Gui. My lord, you may yet o’ertake ’em.

Rob. Furies supply that place, for I will not! No:    20
She can forsake me when pleasure’s in the full,
Fresh and untired;
What would she on the least barren coldness?
I warrant you she has already got
Her bravoes and her ruffians; the meanest whore
Will have one buckler, but your great ones more.
The shores of Sicil retain not such a monster,
Though to galley-slaves they daily prostitute.
To let the nuptial tapers give light to her new lust!
Who would have thought it? She that could no more
Forsake my company than can the day    31
Forsake the glorious presence of the sun!—
When I was absent then her gallèd eyes
Would have shed April showers, and outwept
The clouds in that same o’er-passionate mood,
When they drowned all the world, yet now forsakes me!
Women, your eyes shed glances like the sun:
Now shines your brightness, now your light is done.
On the sweetest flowers[236] you shine—’tis but by chance,
And on the basest weed you’ll waste a glance.    40
Your beams, once lost, can never more be found,
Unless we wait until your course run round,
And take you at fifth hand. Since I cannot
Enjoy the noble title of a man,
But after-ages, as our virtues are
Buried whilst we are living, will sound out
My infamy and her degenerate shame,
Yet in my life I’ll smother ’t, if I may,
And like a dead man to the world bequeath
These houses of vanity, mills, and lands.    50
Take what you will, I will not keep, among you, servants:
And welcome some religious monastery.
A true sworn beads-man I’ll hereafter be,
And wake the morning cock with holy prayers.

Ser. Good my lord—noble master—

Rob. Dissuade me not, my will shall be my king;
I thank thee, wife; a fair change thou has given;
I leave thy lust to woo the love of Heaven!    58

[Exit cum servis.

Gui. This is conversion, is ’t not—as good as might have been? He turns[237] religious upon his wife’s turning courtesan. This is just like some of our gallant prodigals, when they have consum’d their patrimonies wrongfully, they turn Capuchins for devotion.


[233] Old eds. “Mizaldus aware.”

[234] Ed. 1613 “Cods-head.”

[235] So the editor of 1820.—Old eds. “no horse.”

[236] Ed. 1631 “showres.”

[237] Ed. 1631 “returnes.”



Venice.—Outside Lady Lentulus’ house.

Claridiana and Rogero, being in a readiness, are received in at one another’s houses by their Maids.

Then enter Mendoza, with a Page, to the Lady Lentulus’ window.

Men. Night, like a solemn mourner, frowns on earth,
Envying that day should force her doff her robes,
Or Phœbus chase away her melancholy.
Heaven’s eyes look faintly through her sable masque,
And silver Cynthia hides[238] her in her sphere,
Scorning to grace black Night’s solemnity.
Be unpropitious, Night, to villain thoughts,
But let thy diamonds shine on virtuous love.
This is the lower house of high-built heaven,    9
Where my chaste Phœbe sits inthroned ’mong thoughts
So purely good, brings her to heaven on earth.
Such power hath souls in contemplation!
Sing, boy (though night yet), like the morning’s lark—

[Music plays.

A soul that’s clear is light, though heaven be dark.

The Lady Lentulus at her window.

Lady Len. Who speaks in music to us?

Men. Sweet, ’tis I. Boy, leave me and to bed.

[Exit Page.

Lady Len. I thank you for your music; now, good-night.

Men. Leave not the world yet, Queen of Chastity;
Keep promise with thy love Endymion,
And let me meet thee there on Latmus’ top.    20
’Tis I, whose virtuous hopes are firmly fix’d
On the fruition of thy chaste vow’d love.

Lady Len. My lord,
Your honour made me promise you ascent
Into my house, since my vow barr’d my doors,
By some wit’s engine made for theft and lust;
Yet for your honour, and my humble fame,
Check your blood’s passions, and return, dear lord.
Suspicion is a dog that still doth bite
Without a cause: this act gives food to envy;    30
Swoll’n big, it bursts, and poisons our clear flames.

Men. Envy is stingless when she looks on thee.

Lady Len. Envy is blind, my lord, and cannot see.

Men. If you break promise, fair, you break my heart.

Lady Len. Then come,—yet[239] stay! ascend,—yet let us part.
I fear,—yet know not what I fear.
Your love [i]s precious, yet mine honour’s dear.

Men. If I do stain thy honour with foul lust,
May thunder strike me to show Jove is just!

Lady Len. Then come, my lord; on earth your vow is given.    40
This aid I’ll lend you.

[He throws up a ladder of cords, which she makes fast to some part of the window; he ascends, and at top falls.

Men. Thus I mount my heaven:
Receive me, sweet!

Lady Len. O me, unhappy wretch!
How fares your honour? Speak, fate-cross’d lord!
If life retain his seat within you, speak!
Else like that Sestian dame, that saw her love
Cast by the frowning billows on the sands,
And lean death, swoll’n big with the Hellespont,
In bleak Leander’s body—like his love,
Come I to thee. One grave shall serve us both!

Men. Stay, miracle of women! yet I breathe.    50
Though death be entered in this tower of flesh,
He is not conqueror; my heart stands out,
And yields to thee, scorning his tyranny!

Lady Len. My doors are vow’d shut, and I cannot help you.
Your wounds are mortal; wounded is mine honour
If there the town-guard find you. Unhappy dame!
Relief is perjur’d,—my vow kept, shame!
What hellish destiny did twist my fate!

Men. Rest seize thine eyelids; be not passionate;
Sweet, sleep secure; I’ll remove myself,    60
That viper Envy shall not spot thy fame:
I’ll take that poison with me, my soul’s rest,
For like a serpent I’ll creep on my breast.

Lady Len. Thou more than man! Love-wounded, joy and grief
Fight in my blood. Thy wounds and constancy
Are both so strong, none can have victory!

Men. Darken the world, earth’s queen; get thee to bed;
The earth is light while those two stars are spread:
Their splendour will betray me to men’s eyes.
Veil thy bright face; for if thou longer stay,    70
Phœbus will rise to thee and make night day.

Lady Len. To part and leave you hurt my soul doth fear.

Men. To part from hence I cannot, you being there.

Lady Len. We’ll move together, then fate love controls;
And as we part, so bodies part from souls.

Men. Mine is the earth, thine the refinèd fire;
I am mortal, thou divine; then soul mount higher.

Lady Len. Why then, take comfort, sweet; I’ll see you[240] to-morrow.

Men. My wounds are nothing; thy loss breeds my sorrow.

[Exit Lady Lentulus.

See now ’tis dark!    80
Support your master, legs, a little further;
Faint not, bold heart, with anguish of my wound;
Try further yet. Can blood weigh down my soul?
Desire is vain without ability.

[He staggers on, and then falls down.

Thus falls a monarch, if fate push at him.

Enter a Captain and the Watch.

Cap. Come on, my hearts; we are the city’s security. I’ll give you your charge, and then, like courtiers, every man spy out. Let no man in my company be afraid to speak to a cloak lined with velvet, nor tremble at the sound of a gingling spur.    90

Watch. May I never be counted a cock of the game if I fear spurs, but be gelded like a capon for the preserving of my voice.

Cap. I’ll have none of my band refrain to search a venereal house, though his wife’s sister be a lodger there; nor take two shillings of the bawd to save the gentlemen’s credits that are aloft, and so, like voluntary panders, leave them, to the shame of all halberdiers.

2. Nay, the wenches, we’ll tickle them, that’s flat.    99

Cap. If you meet a shevoiliero, that’s in the gross phrase a knight that swaggers in the street, and, being taken, has no money in his purse to pay for his fees, it shall be a part of your duty to entreat me to let him go.

1. O marvellous! is there such shevoiliers?

2. Some two hundred, that’s the least, that are reveal’d.

[Mendoza groans.

Cap. What groan is that? Bring a light. Who lies there?
It is the Lord Mendoza, kinsman to our duke.
Speak, good my lord: relate your dire mischance;
Life, like a fearful servant, flies his master;    110
Art must atone them, or th’ whole man is lost.
Convey him to a surgeon’s, then return;

[Part of the Watch bear away Mendoza.

No place shall be unsearch’d until we find
The truth of this mischance. Make haste again.
Whose house is this stands open? In and search
What guests that house contains, and bring them forth.

[Exit the Watch to search the houses of Rogero and Claridiana.

This noble man’s misfortune stirs my quiet,
And fills my soul with fearful fantasies;
But I’ll unwind this labyrinth of doubt,
Else industry shall lose part of itself’s labour.    120

[Re-enter[241] the Watch with Claridiana and Rogero taken in one another’s houses in their shirts and night-gowns. They see one another.

Who have we there? Signiors, cannot you tell us
How our prince’s kinsman came wounded to the death
Nigh to your houses?

Rog. Heyday! cross-ruff[242] at midnight! Is’t Christmas,
You go a-gaming to your neighbour’s house?

Cla. Dost make a mummer of me, ox-head?

Cap. Make answer, gentlemen, it doth concern you.

Rog. Ox-head will bear an action; I’ll ha’ the law; I’ll not be yoked. Bear witness, gentlemen, he calls me ox-head.    130

Cap. Do you hear, sir?

Cla. Very well, very well; take law and hang thyself; I care not. Had she no other but that good face to dote upon? I’d rather she had dealt with a dangerous Frenchman than with such a pagan.

Cap. Are you mad? Answer my demand.

Rog. I am as good a Christian as thyself, Though my wife have now new christen’d me.

Cap. Are you deaf, you make no answer?    139

Cla. Would I had had the circumcising of thee, Jew; I’d ha’ cut short your cuckold-maker; I would i’faith, I would i’faith!

Cap. Away with them to prison! they’ll answer better there.

Rog. Not too fast, gentlemen; what’s our crime?

Cap. Murder of the duke’s kinsman, Signior Mendoza.

Ambo. Nothing else? We did it, we did it, we did it!

Cap. Take heed, gentlemen, what you confess.

Cla. I’ll confess anything, since I am made a fool by a knave. I’ll be hang’d like an innocent, that’s flat.    151

Rog. I’ll not see my shame. Hemp instead of a quacksalver. You shall put out mine eyes, and my head shall be bought to make ink-horns of.

Cap. You do confess the murder?

Cla. Sir, ’tis true,
Done by a faithless Christian and a Jew.

Cap. To prison with them; we will hear no further;
The tongue betrays the heart of guilty murther.

[Exeunt omnes.

[238] Old eds. “hyes.”

[239] Ed. 1631 “yea.”

[240] Ed. 1631 “see ’ou.”—Ed. 1631 “see, on.”

[241] This stage direction is omitted in ed. 1631.

[242] Ruff was the name of an old game at cards.



Enter Count Massino,[243] Isabella, Anna, and Servants.

Mass. Welcome to Pavy, sweet; and may this kiss
Chase melancholy from thy company;
Speak, my soul’s joy, how fare you after travel?

Isa. Like one that scapeth danger on the seas,
Yet trembles with cold fears, being safe on land,
With bare imagination of what’s past.

Mass. Fear keep with cowards, air[244]-stars cannot move.

Isa. Fear in this kind, my lord, doth sweeten love.

Mass. To think fear joy, dear, I cannot conjecture.

Isa. Fear’s sire to fervency,    10
Which makes love’s sweet prove nectar;
Trembling desire, fear, hope, and doubtful leisure,
Distil from love the quintessence of pleasure.

Mass. Madam, I yield to you; fear keeps with love,
My oratory is too weak against you:
You have the ground of knowledge, wise experience,
Which makes your argument invincible.

Isa. You are Time’s scholar, and can flatter weakness.

Mass. Custom allows it, and we plainly see
Princes and women maintain flattery.    20

Isa. Anna, go see my jewels and my trunks
Be aptly placèd in their several rooms.

[Exit Anna.

Enter Gniaca Count of Gaza, with Attendants.

My lord,
Know you this gallant? Tis a complete gentleman.

Mass. I do; ’tis Count Gniaca, my endeared friend.

Gni. Welcome to Pavy; welcome, fairest lady.
Your sight, dear friend, is life’s restorative;
This day’s the period of long-wish’d content,
More welcome to me than day to the world,
Night to the wearied, or gold to a miser:    30
Such joy feels friendship in society.

Isa. [Aside.] A rare-shaped man: compare them both together.

Mass. Our loves are friendly twins, both at a birth;
The joy you taste, that joy do I conceive.
This day’s the jubilee of my desire.

Isa. [Aside.] He’s fairer than he was when first I saw him.
This little time makes him more excellent.

Gui. Relate some news. Hark you; what lady’s that?
Be open-breasted, so will I to thee.

[They whisper.

Isa. [Aside.] Error did blind him that paints love blind;    40
For my love plainly judges difference:
Love is clear-sighted, and with eagle’s eyes,
Undazzled, looks upon bright sun-beam’d beauty.
Nature did rob herself when she made him,
Blushing to see her work excel herself;
’Tis[245] shape makes mankind femelacy.
Forgive me, Count Massino,[246] ’tis my fate
To love thy friend, and quit thy love with hate.
I must enjoy him; let hope thy passions smother;
Faith cannot cool blood; I’ll clip him were ’t my brother.
Such is the heat of my sincere affection,    51
Hell nor earth can keep love in subjection!

Gni. I crave your honour’s pardon; my ignorance
Of what you were may gain a courteous pardon.

Isa. There needs no pardon where there’s no offence.
[Aside.] His tongue strikes music ravishing my sense:
I must be sudden, else desire confounds me.

Mass. What sport affords this climate for delight?

Gni. We’ll hawk and hunt to-day; as for to-morrow,
Variety shall feed variety.    60

Isa. Dissimulation women’s armour is,
Aid love, belief, and female constancy.—
O I am sick, my lord! Kind Massino,[247] help me!

Mass. Forfend it, Heaven! Madam, sit; how fare you?
My life’s best comfort, speak—O speak, sweet saint!

Isa. Fetch art to keep life; run, my love, I faint;
My vital breath runs coldly through my veins;
I see lean death, with eyes imaginary,
Stand fearfully before me; here my end,
A wife unconstant, yet thy loving friend!    70

Mass. As swift as thought fly I to wish thee aid.


Isa. Thus innocence by craft is soon betray’d.—
My Lord Gniaca, ’tis your art must heal me;
I am love-sick for your love; love, love, for loving!
I blush for speaking truth; fair sir, believe me,
Beneath the moon nought but your frown can grieve me.

Gni. Lady, by Heaven, methinks this fit is strange.

Isa. Count not my love light for this sudden change:
By Cupid’s bow I swear, and will avow,
I never knew true perfect love till now.    80

Gni. Wrong not yourself, me, and your dearest friend;
Your love is violent, and soon will end.
Love is not love unless love doth persever;
That love is perfect love that loves for ever.

Isa. Such love is mine; believe it, well-shaped youth,
Though women use to lie, yet I speak truth.
Give sentence for my life, or speedy death.
Can you affect me?

Gni. I should belie my thoughts to give denial;
But then to friendship I must turn disloyal.    90
I will not wrong my friend; let that suffice.

Isa. I’ll be a miracle; for love a woman dies.

[Offers to stab herself.

Gni. Hold, madam; these are soul-killing passions.
I’d rather wrong my friend than you yourself.

Isa. Love me, or else, by Jove, death’s but delay’d.
My vow is fix’d in heaven; fear shall not move me;
My life is death with tortures ’less you love me.

Gni. Give me some respite, and I will resolve you.

Isa. My heart denies it;
My blood is violent; now or else never.    100
Love me! and like love’s queen I’ll fall before thee,
Enticing dalliance from thee with my smiles,
And steal thy heart with my delicious kisses.
I’ll study art in love, that in a rapture[248]
Thy soul shall taste pleasure’s excelling nature.
Love me!
Both art and nature in large recompense
Shall be profuse in ravishing thy sense.

Gni. You have prevail’d; I am yours from all the world;
Thy wit and beauty have entranced my soul;    110
I long for dalliance, my blood burns like fire.
Hell’s pain on earth is to delay desire!

Isa. I kiss thee for that breath. This day you hunt;
In midst of all your sports leave you Massino;[249]
Return to me, whose life rests in thy sight,
Where pleasure shall make nectar our delight.

Gni. I condescend to what thy will implores me;
He that but now neglected thee adores thee.
But see, here comes my friend; fear makes him tremble.

Enter Massino,[250] Anna, and Doctor.

Isa. Women are witless that cannot dissemble:    120
Now I am sick again.—Where’s my Lord Massino?[250]
His love and my health’s vanish’d both together.

Mass. Wrong not thy friend, dear friend, in thy extremes;
Here’s a profound Hippocrates, my dear,
To administer to thee the spirit of health.

Isa. Your sight to me, my lord, excels all physic;
I am better far, my love, than when you left me;
Your friend was comfortable to me at the last.
’Twas but a fit, my lord, and now ’tis past.
Are all things ready, sir?    130

Anna. Yes, madam, the house is fit.

Gni. Desire in women is the life of wit.

[Exeunt omnes.

[243] Old eds.Guido.” The prefix to Massino’s speeches throughout the scene is “Gui.

[244] Quy. “our stars”?—The sense would be “Our fortunes cannot change.”

[245] Here, as frequently throughout this play, the text is hopelessly corrupt.—Quy. “His shape makes mankind females’ jealousy”? On p. 137 we have the word female as a substantive—“Than trust a female mourning o’er her love.”

[246] Old eds. “Forgiue me, Rogero.”

[247] Old eds. “Rogero.”

[248] Old eds. “rupture.”

[249] Old eds. “Rogero.”

[250] Old eds. “Rogero.”


Venice.—A Street.

Enter Abigail and Thais at several doors.

Abi. O partner, I am with child of laughter, and none but you can be my midwife. Was there ever such a game at noddy?[251]

Tha. Our husbands think they are foremen of the jury; they hold the heretic point of predestination, and sure they are born to be hanged!

Abi. They are like to prove men of judgment; but not for killing of him that’s yet alive and well recovered.

Tha. As soon as my man saw the watch come up,
All his spirit was down.    10

Abi. But though they have made us good sport in speech,
They did hinder us of good sport in action.
O wench! imagination is strong in pleasure!

Tha. That’s true; for the opinion my good man had of enjoying you made him do wonders.

Abi. Why should a weak man, that is so soon satisfied, desire variety?

Tha. Their answer is, to feed on pheasants continually would breed a loathing.

Abi. Then if we seek for strange flesh that have stomachs at will, ’tis pardonable.    21

Tha. Ay, if men had any feeling of it; but they judge us by themselves.

Abi. Well, we will bring them to the gallows, and then, like kind virgins,[252] beg their lives; and after live at our pleasures, and this bridle shall still rein them.

Tha. Faith, if we were disposed, we might sin[253] as safe as if we had the broad seal to warrant it; but that night’s work will stick by me this forty weeks. Come, shall we go visit the discontented Lady Lentulus, whom the Lord Mendoza has confess’d to his chirurgion he would have robb’d? I thought great men would but have robb’d the poor, yet he the rich.    33

Abi. He thought that the richer purchase, though with the worse conscience; but we’ll to comfort her, and then go hear our husband’s lamentations. They say mine has compiled an ungodly volume of satires against women, and calls his book The Snarl.

Tha. But he’s in hope his book will save him.

Abi. God defend that it should, or any that snarl in that fashion!    41

Tha. Well, wench, if I could be metamorphosed into thy shape, I should have my husband pliant to me in his life, and soon rid of him; for being weary with his continual motion, he’d die of a consumption.

Abi. Make much of him, for all our wanton prize;
Follow the proverb, “Merry be and wise.”


[251] There was a game at cards called noddy.

[252] It was popularly supposed that a virgin might save a man from the gallows by offering to marry him. In Arden of Feversham, when the serving-man Michael promises to murder his master, Alice Arden says—“But Michael see you do it cunningly:” to which he replies:—
“Why, say I should be took, I’ll ne’er confess
That you know anything; and Susan, being a maid,
May beg me from the gallows of the shrief.”

Alice bids him “trust not to that;” but he is convinced that all will be right:—
“You cannot tell me; I have seen it, I.”

Many similar passages might be adduced to prove that this extraordinary belief prevailed. I suspect that we must go back to the ancients for an explanation. Plutarch in his life of Numa tells us that a vestal virgin, accidentally meeting a criminal on his way to execution, was entitled by law to give him life and liberty.—The curious Manx custom in regard to rape may be noticed in this connection. The injured woman was presented with a ring, a rope, and a knife. If the offender was a bachelor, the woman might marry him with the ring; if he was a married man, it was left to her discretion whether she should hang him with the rope or castrate him with the knife (an awkward dilemma—for the married man).

[253] Old eds. “seeme.”—The correction was made by the editor of 1820.


Isabella’s house at Pavia.

Enter Isabella, Anna, and Servants.

Isa. Time, that devour’st all mortality,
Run swiftly these few hours,
And bring Gniaca on thy aged shoulders,
That I may clip the rarest model of creation.
Do this, gentle Time,
And I will curl thine agèd silver lock,
And dally with thee in delicious pleasure:
Medea-like I will renew thy youth,
But if thy frozen steps delay my love,
I’ll poison thee, with murder curse thy paths,    10
And make thee know a time of infamy.—
Anna, give watch, and bring me certain notice
When Count Gniaca doth approach my house.

Anna. Madam, I go.—
I am kept for pleasure, though I never taste it;
For ’tis the usher’s office still to cover
His lady’s private meetings with her lover.


Isa. Desire, thou quenchless flame that burn’st our souls,
Cease to torment me;
The dew of pleasure shall put out thy fire,    20
And quite consume thee with satiety.
Lust shall be cool’d with lust, wherein I’ll prove
The life of love is only saved by love.

Enter Anna.

Anna. Madam, he’s coming.

Isa. Thou blessed Mercury,
Prepare a banquet fit to please the gods;
Let sphere-like[254] music breathe delicious tones
Into our mortal ears; perfume the house
With odoriferous scents, sweeter than myrrh,
Or all the spices in Panchaia.
His sight and touching we will recreate,    30
That his five senses shall be fivefold happy.
His breath like roses casts out sweet perfume;
Time now with pleasure shall itself consume.

Enter Gniaca in his hunting weeds.

How like Adonis in his hunting weeds,
Looks this same goddess-tempter!
And art thou come? This kiss entrance thy[255] soul!
Gods, I do not envy you; for, know this,
Way’s[256] here on earth complete, excels your bliss:
I’ll not change this night’s pleasure with you all.

Gni. Thou creature made by love, composed of pleasure,    40
That makest true use of thy creation,
In thee both wit and beauty’s resident;
Delightful pleasure, unpeer’d excellence.
This is the fate fix’d fast unto thy birth,
That thou alone shouldst be man’s heaven on earth.
If I alone may but enjoy thy love,
I’ll not change earthly joy to be heaven’s Jove:
For though that women-haters now are common,
They all shall know earth’s joy consists in woman.

Isa. My love was dotage till I lovèd thee,    50
For thy soul truly tastes our petulance;
Condition’s[257] lover, Cupid’s Intelligencer,
That makes man[258] understand what pleasure is:
These are fit tributes unto thy knowledge;
For women’s beauty o’er men bear that rule,
Our power commands the rich, the wise, the fool.
Though scorn grows big in man, in growth and stature,
Yet women are the rarest works of[259] nature.

Gni. I do confess the truth, and must admire
That women can command rare man’s desire.    60

Isa. Cease admiration, sit to Cupid’s feast,
The preparation to Paphian dalliance;
Harmonious music, breathe thy silver airs
To stir up appetite to Venus’ banquet,
That breath of pleasure that entrances souls,
Making that instant happiness a heaven,
In the true taste of love’s deliciousness.

Gni. Thy words are able to stir cold desire
Into his flesh that lies entomb’d in ice,
Having lost the feeling use of warmth in blood;    70
Then how much more in me, whose youthful veins,
Like a proud river, overflow their bounds?
Pleasure’s ambrosia, or love’s nourisher,
I long for privacy; come, let us in;
’Tis custom, and not reason, makes love sin.

Isa. I’ll lead the way to Venus’ paradise,
Where thou shalt taste that fruit that made man wise.

[Exit Isabella.

Gni. Sing notes of pleasure to elate our blood:
Why should heaven frown on joys that do us good?
I come, Isabella, keeper of love’s treasure,    80
To force thy blood to lust, and ravish pleasure.


After some short song, enter Isabella and Gniaca again, she hanging about his neck lasciviously.

Gni. Still I am thy captive, yet thy thoughts are free;
To be love’s bondman is true liberty.
I have swum in seas of pleasure without ground,
Ventrous desire past depth itself hath drown’d.
Such skill has beauty’s art in a true lover,
That dead desire to life it can recover.
Thus beauty our desire can soon advance,
Then straight again kill it with dalliance.
Divinest women, your enchanting breaths    90
Give lovers many lives and many deaths!

Isa. May thy desire to me for ever last,
Not die but surfeit on my delicates;
And as I tie this jewel about thy neck,
So may I tie thy constant love to mine,
Never to seek weaking variety,
That greedy curse of man and woman’s hell,
Where nought but shame and loath’d diseases dwell.

Gni. You counsel well, dear; learn it then;
For change is given more to you than men.    100

Isa. My faith to thee, like rocks, shall never move,
The sun shall change his course ere I my love.

Enter Anna.

Ann. Madam, the Count Massino[260] knocks.

Isa. Dear love, into my chamber, till I send
My hate from sight.

Gni. Lust makes me wrong my friend.

[Exit Gniaca.

Isa. Anna, stand here and entertain Lord Massino;[260]
I from my window straight will give him answer.
The serpent’s wit to woman rest in me;
By that man fell, then why not he by me?    109
Feign’d sighs, and tears dropp’d from a woman’s eye,
Blinds man of reason, strikes his knowledge dumb.
Wit arms a woman; Count Massino,[260] come.

[Exit Isabella.

Ann. My office still is under: yet in time
Ushers prove masters, degrees makes us climb.

[Massino[261] knocks.

Who knocks? Is’t you, my noble lord?

Enter Massino[261] in his hunting weeds.

Mass. Came my friend hither—Count Gniaca?

Ann. No, my good lord.

Mass. Where’s my Isabella?

Ann. In her chamber.

Mass. Good: I’ll visit her.    120

Ann. The chamber’s lock’d, my lord: she will be private.

Mass. Lock’d against me—my saucy malapert?

Ann. Be patient, good my lord; she’ll give you answer.

Mass. Isabella! life of love, speak, ’tis I that calls.

[Isabella at her window.[262]

Isa. I must desire your lordship pardon me.

Mass. Lordship? what’s this? Isabella, art thou blind?

Isa. My lord,
My lust was blind, but now my soul’s clear-sighted,
And sees the spots that did corrupt my flesh:
Those tokens sent from hell, brought by desire,    130
The messenger of everlasting death!

Ann. My lady’s in her pulpit, now she’ll preach.

Mass. Is not thy lady mad? In verity I always
Took her for a puritan, and now she shows it.

Isa. Mock not repentance. Profanation
Brings mortals laughing to damnation.
Believe it, lord, Isabella’s ill-pass’d life,
Like gold refined, shall make a perfect wife.
I stand on firm ground now, before on ice;
We know not virtue till we taste of vice.    140

Mass. Do you hear dissimulation, woman sinner?

Isa. Leave my house, good my lord, and for my part,
I look for a most wish’d reconciliation
Betwixt myself and my most wrongèd husband.
Tempt not contrition then, religious lord.

Mass. Indeed I was one of your family once;
But do not I know these are but brain-tricks:
And where the devil has the fee-simple,
He’ll keep possession; and will you halt
Before me that yourself has made a cripple?    150

Isa. Nay, then, you wrong me; and, disdainèd lord,
I paid then for thy pleasures vendible—
Whose mercenary flesh I bought with coin.
I will divulge thy baseness, ’less with speed
Thou leave my house and my society.

Mass. Already turn’d apostate! but now all pure,
Now damn’d your faith is, and [your] loves endure
Like dew upon the grass; when pleasure’s sun
Shines on your virtues, all your virtue’s done.
I’ll leave thy house and thee; go, get thee in,    160
Thou gaudy child of pride, and nurse of sin.

Isa. Rail not on me, my lord; for if you do,
My hot desire of vengeance shall strike wonder;
Revenge in women falls like dreadful thunder!


Ann. Your lordship will command me no further service?

Mass. I thank thee for thy watchful service past;
Thy usher-like attendance on the stairs,
Being true signs of thy humility.

Ann. I hope I did discharge my place with care.    169

Mass. Ushers should have much wit, but little hair;[263]
Thou hast of both sufficient: prithee leave me,
If thou hast an honest lady, commend me to her,
But she is none.

[Exit Anna.

Farewell, thou private strumpet, worse than common!
Man were on earth an angel but for woman.
That sevenfold branch of hell from them doth grow;
Pride, lust, and murder, they raise from below,
With all their fellow-sins. Women are made
Of blood, without souls; when their beauties fade,
And their lust’s past, avarice or bawdry    180
Makes them still loved; then they buy venery,
Bribing damnation, and hire brothel-slaves:
Shame’s their executors, infamy their graves.
Your painting will wipe off, which art did hide,
And show your ugly shape in spite of pride.
Farewell, Isabella, poor in soul and fame,
I leave thee rich in nothing but in shame.
Then, soulless women, know, whose faiths are hollow,
Your lust being quench’d a bloody act must follow.


[254] Ed. 1631 “speare-like.”

[255] Ed. 1631 “enters into thy.”

[256] Quy. “Joy’s?”

[257] The text is corrupt. Some copies of ed. 1613 have “conditious.”

[258] Ed. 1631 “men.”

[259] Ed. 1631 and some copies of ed. 1613 “in.”

[260] Old eds. “Rogero.”

[261] Old eds. “Guido.”—The prefix to his speeches throughout the scene is “Gui.

[262] Evidently the window of an inner chamber.

[263] An allusion to the proverb “More hair than wit.”



Venice.—The Senate-house.

Enter the Duke Amago, the Captain, and the rest of the Watch, with the Senators.

Duke. Justice, that makes princes like the gods,
Draws us unto the senate,
That with unpartial balance we may poise
The crimes and innocence of all offenders.
Our presence can chase bribery from laws;
He best can judge that hears himself the cause.

1st Sen. True, mighty duke, it best becomes our places,
To have our light from you the sun of virtue.
Subject authority, for gain, love, or fear,
Oft quits the guilty, and condemns the clear.    10

Duke. The land and people’s mine; the crimes being known,
I must redress; my subjects’ wrong’s mine own.
Call for the two suspected for the murder
Of Mendoza, our endeared kinsman,
These voluntary murderers that confess
The murder of him that is yet alive.
We’ll sport with serious justice for a while;
In show we’ll frown on them that make us smile.

2d Sen. Bring forth the prisoners, we may hear their answers.

Enter (brought in with Officers) Claridiana and Rogero.[264]

Duke. Stand forth, you vipers, [you] that have suck’d blood,    20
And lopp’d a branch sprung from a royal tree!
What can you answer to escape tortures?

Rog. We have confessed the fact,[265] my lord, to God and man,
Our ghostly father, and that worthy captain:
We beg not life, but favourable death.

Duke. On what ground sprung your hate to him we loved?

Cla. Upon that curse laid on Venetians, jealousy. We thought he, being a courtier, would have made us magnificoes of the right stamp, and have play’d at primero in the presence, with gold of the city brought from our Indies.    31

Rog. Nay, more, my lord, we feared that your kinsman, for a mess of sonnets, would have given the plot of us and our wives to some needy poet, and for sport and profit brought us in some Venetian comedy upon the stage.

Duke. Our justice dwells with mercy; be not desperate.

1st Sen. His highness fain would save your lives if you would see it.

Rog. All the law in Venice shall not save me; I will not be saved.

Cla. Fear not, I have a trick to bring us to hanging in spite of the law.    43

Rog. Why, now I see thou lovest me; thou hast confirm’d
Thy friendship for ever to me by these words.
Why, I should never hear lanthorn and candle[266] call’d for
But I should think it was for me and my wife.
I’ll hang for that, forget not thy trick;
Upon ’em with thy trick; I long for sentence.

2d Sen. Will you appeal for mercy to the duke?    50

Cla. Kill not thy justice, duke, to save our lives;
We have deserved death.

Rog. Make not us precedents for after-wrongs;
I will receive punishment for my sins:
It shall be a means to lift me towards heaven.

Cla. Let’s have our desert; we crave no favour.

Duke. Take them asunder; grave justice makes us mirth;
That man is soulless that ne’er smiles[267] on earth.
Signor Rogero,[268] relate the weapon you kill’d him with,
and the manner.    60

Rog. My lord, your lustful kinsman—I can title him no better—came sneaking to my house like a promoter to spy flesh[269] in the Lent. Now I, having a Venetian spirit, watch’d my time, and with my rapier run him through, knowing all pains are but trifles to the horn of a citizen.

Duke. Take him aside. Signior Claridiana, what weapon had you for this bloody act? What dart used death?

Cla. My lord, I brain’d him with a [c]leaver my neighbour lent me, and he stood by and cried, “Strike home, old boy.”    71

Duke. With several instruments. Bring them face to face.
With what kill’d you our nephew?

Rog. With a rapier, liege.

Cla. ’Tis a lie;
I kill’d him with a [c]leaver, and thou stood’st by.

Rog. Dost think to save me and hang thyself? No, I scorn it; is this the trick thou said’st thou had’st? I kill’d him, duke.
He only gave consent: ’twas I that did it.    80

Cla. Thou hast always been cross to me, and wilt be to my death. Have I taken all this pains to bring thee to hanging, and dost thou slip now?

Rog. We shall never agree in a tale till we come to the gallows, then we shall jump.

Cla. I’ll show you a cross-point, if you cross me thus, when thou shalt not see it.

Rog. I’ll make a wry mouth at that, or it shall cost me a fall. ’Tis thy pride to be hang’d alone, because thou scorn’st my company; but it shall be known I am as good a man as thyself, and in these actions will keep company with thy betters, Jew.    92

Cla. Monster!

Rog. Dog-killer!

Cla. Fencer!

[They bustle.

Duke. Part them, part ’em!

Rog. Hang us, and quarter us; we shall ne’er be parted till then.

Duke. You do confess the murder done by both?

Cla. [Aside] But that I would not have the slave laugh at me,
And count me a coward, I have a good mind to live.
But I am resolute: ’tis but a turn.—
I do confess.

Rog. So do I.    103
Pronounce our doom, we are prepared to die.

1st Sen. We sentence you to hang till you be dead;
Since you were men eminent in place and worth,
We give a Christian burial to you both.

Cla. Not in one grave together, we beseech you, we shall ne’er agree.

Rog. He scorns my company till the day of judgment; I’ll not hang with him.    111

Duke. You hang together, that shall make you friends;
An everlasting hatred death soon ends.
To prison with them till the death;
Kings’ words, like fate, must never change their breath.

Rog. You malice-monger, I’ll be hang’d afore thee,
And ’t be but to vex thee.

Cla. I’ll do you as good a turn, or the hangman and [I] shall fall out.

[Exeunt ambo, guarded.

Duke. Now to our kinsman, shame to royal blood;
Bring him before us.    121

Enter Mendoza in his nightgown and cap, guarded, with the Captain.

Theft in a prince is sacrilege to honour;
’Tis virtue’s scandal, death of royalty.
I blush to see my shame. Nephew, sit down.
Justice, that smiles on those, on him must frown!
Speak freely, captain; where found you him wounded?

Capt. Between the widow’s house and these cross neighbours;
Besides, an artificial ladder made of ropes
Was fasten’d to her window, which he confess’d
He brought to rob her of jewels and coin.    130
My knowledge yields no further circumstance.

Duke. Thou know’st too much; would I were past all knowledge,
I might forget my grief springs from my shame!
Thou monster of my blood, answer in brief
To these assertions made against thy life.
Is thy soul guilty of so base a fact?

Men. I do confess I did intend to rob her;
In the attempt I fell and hurt myself.
Law’s thunder is but death; I dread it not,
So my Lentulus’ honour be preserved    140
From black suspicion of a lustful night.

Duke. Thy head’s thy forfeit for thy heart’s offence;
Thy blood’s prerogative may claim that favour.
Thy person then to death doom’d by just laws;
Thy death is infamous, but worse the cause.


[264] Old eds. “Mizaldus.”

[265] Ed. 1631 “act.”

[266] “Lanthorn and candle-light”—the cry of the bellman. See Middleton, i. 70.

[267] So the editor of 1820.—Old eds. “sinnes.”

[268] Old eds. “Mizaldus.”

[269] Rigid rules were enacted from time to time forbidding the consumption of flesh in Lent: see Overall’s Remembrancia. It may be seen from Middleton’s Chaste Maid that promoters (i.e., informers) were busily engaged in preventing any infringement of the regulations.


Pavia.Isabella’s house.

Enter Isabella alone, Gniaca following her.

Isa. O Heavens, that I was born to be hate’s slave,
The food of rumour that devours my fame!
I am call’d Insatiate Countess, lust’s paramour,
A glorious devil, and the noble whore!
I am sick, vex’d, and tormented. O revenge!

Gni. On whom would my Isabella be revenged?

Isa. Upon a viper, that does eat[270] mine honour;
I will not name him till I be revenged.
See, here’s the libels are divulg’d against me—
An everlasting scandal to my name—    10
And thus the villain writes in my disgrace:—

[She reads.

Who loves Isabella the Insatiate,
Needs Atlas’ back for to content her lust,
That wand’ring strumpet, and chaste wedlock’s hate,
That renders truth deceit for loyal trust;
That sacrilegious thief to Hymen’s rites,
Making her lust her god, heaven her delights!
Swell not, proud heart, I’ll quench thy grief in blood;
Desire in woman cannot be withstood.

Gni. I’ll be thy champion, sweet, ’gainst all the world;    20
Name but the villain that defames thee thus.

Isa. Dare thy hand execute whom my tongue condemns,
Then art thou truly valiant, mine for ever;
But if thou faint’st, hate must our true lover sever.

Gni. By my dead father’s soul, my mother’s virtues,
And by my knighthood and gentility,
I’ll be revenged
On all the authors of your obloquy!
Name him.

Isa. Massino.[271]    30

Gni. Ha!

Isa. What! does his name affright thee, coward lord!
Be mad, Isabella! curse on thy revenge!
This lord was knighted for his father’s worth,
Not for his own.
Farewell, thou perjured man! I’ll leave you all;
You all conspire to work mine honour’s fall.

Gni. Stay, my Isabella; were he my father’s son,
Composed of me, he dies!
Delight still keep with thee. Go in.

Isa. Thou art just;    40
Revenge to me is sweeter now than lust.

[Exit Isabella.

Enter Massino;[272] they see one another and draw and make a pass; then enter Anna.

Ann. What mean you, nobles? Will you kill each other?

Ambo. Hold!

Mass. Thou shame to friendship, what intends thy hate?

Gni. Love arms my hand, makes my soul valiant!
Isabella’s wrongs now sit upon my sword,
To fall more heavy to thy coward’s head
Than thunderbolts upon Jove’s rifted oaks.
Deny thy scandal, or defend thy life.

Mass. What?—hath thy faith and reason left thee both,    50
That thou art only flesh without a soul?
Hast thou no feeling of thyself and me?
Blind rage, that will not let thee see thyself!

Gni. I come not to dispute but execute:
And thus comes death!

[Another pass.

Mass. And thus I break thy dart.
Here’s at thy whore’s face!

Gni. ’Tis miss’d. Here’s at thy heart!
Stay, let us breathe.

Mass. Let reason govern rage yet, let us leave;
Although most wrong be mine, I can forgive.
In this attempt thy shame will ever live.    60

Gni. Thou hast wrong’d the Phœnix of all women rarest—
She that’s most wise, most loving, chaste, and fairest.

Mass. Thou dotest upon a devil, not a woman,
That has bewitch’d thee with her sorcery,
And drown’d thy soul in lethy faculties.
Her quenchless[273] lust has [quite] benumbed thy knowledge;
Thy intellectual powers oblivion smothers,
That thou art nothing but forgetfulness.

Gni. What’s this to my Isabella? My sin’s mine own.
Her faults were none, until thou madest ’em known.    70

Mass. Leave her, and leave thy shame where first thou found’st it;
Else live a bondslave to diseasèd lust,
Devour’d in her gulf-like appetite,
And infamy shall write thy epitaph;
Thy memory leave nothing but thy crimes—
A scandal to thy name in future times.

Gni. Put up your weapon; I dare hear you further.
Insatiate lust is sire still to murther.

Mass. Believe it, friend, if her heart-blood were vext,
Though you kill me, new pleasure makes you next.    80
She loved me dearer than she loves you now;
She’ll ne’er be faithful, has twice broke her vow.
This curse pursues female adultery,
They’ll swim through blood for sin’s variety;
Their pleasure like a sea, groundless and wide,
A woman’s lust was never satisfied.

Gni. Fear whispers in my breast, I have a soul
That blushes red for tend’ring[274] bloody facts.
Forgive me, friend, if I can be forgiven;
Thy counsel is the path leads me to heaven.    90

Mass. I do embrace thy reconcilèd love—

Gni. That death or danger now shall ne’er remove.
Go tell thy Insatiate Countess, Anna,
We have escap’d the snares of her false love,
Vowing for ever to abandon her.

Mass. You have heard our resolution; pray, be gone.

Ann. My office ever rested at your pleasure;
I was the Indian, yet you had the treasure.
My faction often sweats, and oft takes cold;
Then gild true diligence o’er with gold.    100

Mass. Thy speech deserves it. There’s gold;

[Gives her gold.

Be honest now, and not love’s noddy,
Turn’d up and play’d on whilst thou keep’st the stock.
Prithee formally let’s ha’ thy absence.

Ann. Lords, farewell.

[Exit Anna.

Mass. ’Tis whores and panders that makes earth like hell.

Gni. Now I am got out of lust’s labyrinth,
I will to Venice for a certain time,
To recreate my much abusèd spirits,
And then revisit Pavy and my friend.    110

Mass. I’ll bring you on your way, but must return;
Love is like Ætna, and will ever burn.
Yet now desire is quench’d, flamed once in height:
Till man knows hell he never has firm faith.

[Exeunt ambo.

[270] Old eds. “get.”

[271] Old eds. “Rogero.”

[272] Old eds.Guido.”—The prefix to his speeches is “Gui.

[273] So the editor of 1820.—Old eds. “vselesse.”

[274] Ed. 1613 “tending.”


The balcony of Isabella’s house at Pavia.

Enter Isabella raving,[275] and Anna.

Isa. Out, screech-owl, messenger of my revenge’s death!
Thou dost belie Gniaca; ’tis not so.

Ann. Upon mine honesty, they are united.

Isa. Thy honesty?—thou vassal to my pleasure,
Take that!

[Strikes her.

Darest thou control me when I say no?
Art not my footstool—did not I create thee,
And made thee gentle, being born a beggar?
Thou hast been my woman’s pander for a crown,
And dost thou stand upon thy honesty?    10

Ann. I am what you please, madam; yet ’tis so.

Isa. Slave, I will slit thy tongue, ’less thou say no!

Ann. No, no, no, madam.

Isa. I have my humour, though thy[276] no be false.
Faint-hearted coward, get thee from my sight!
When,[277] villain? Haste, and come not near me.

Ann. Madam, I run;—her sight like death doth fear me.


Isa. Perfidious cowards, stain of nobility!
Venetians, and be reconciled with words!
O that I had Gniaca once more here,    20
Within this prison made of flesh and bone,
I’d not trust thunder with my fell revenge,
But mine own hands should do the dire exploit,
And fame should chronicle a woman’s acts!
My rage respects the persons, not the facts:
Their place and worths hath power to defame me;
Mean hate is stingless, and does only name me:
I not regard it. ’Tis high blood that swells,
Give me revenge, and damn me into hells!

Enter Don Sago, a Coronel,[278] with a band of Soldiers and a Lieutenant.

A gallant Spaniard, I will hear him speak;    30
Grief must be speechless, ere the heart can break!

Sago. Lieutenant, let good discipline be used
In quart’ring of our troops within the city—
Not separated into many streets.
That shows weak love, but not sound policy:
Division in small numbers makes all weak;
Forces united are the nerves of war.
Mother and nurse of observation—
Whose rare ingenious sprite fills all the world,
By looking on itself with piercing eyes—    40
Will look through strangers’ imbecilities.
Therefore be careful.

Lie. All shall be order’d fitting your command,
For these three gifts which makes a soldier rare,
Is love and duty with a valiant care.

[Exeunt Lieutenant and Soldiers.

Sago. What rarity[279] of women feeds my sight,
And leads my senses in a maze of wonder?

[Sees Isabella.

Thou wert my mistress till I saw that shape;
But now my sword I’ll consecrate to her,    50
Leave Mars and become Cupid’s martialist.
Beauty can turn the rugged face of War,
And make him smile upon delightful Peace,
Courting her smoothly like a femalist.
I grow a slave unto my potent[280] love,
Whose power change[281] hearts, make our fate remove.

Isa. Revenge, not pleasure, now o’er-rules my blood;
Rage shall drown faint love in a crimson flood;
And were he caught, I’d make him murder’s hand!

Sago. Methinks ’twere joy to die at her command.    60
I’ll speak to hear her speech, whose powerful breath
Is able to infuse life into death.

Isa. He comes to speak: he’s mine; by love he is mine!

Sago. Lady, think bold intrusion courtesy;
’Tis but imagination alters them;
Then ’tis your thoughts, not I, that do offend.

Isa. Sir, your intrusion yet ’s but courtesy,
Unless your future humour alter it.

Sago. Why then, divinest woman, know my soul
Is dedicated to thy shrine of beauty,    70
To pray for mercy, and repent the wrongs
Done against love and female purity.
Thou abstract, drawn from nature’s empty storehouse,
I am thy slave; command my sword, my heart;
The soul is tried best by the body’s smart.

Isa. You are a stranger to this land and me.
What madness is’t for me to trust you then?
To cozen women is a trade ’mongst men;
Smooth promises, faint passions, with a lie,
Deceives our sex[282] of fame and chastity.    80
What danger durst you hazard for my love?

Sago. Perils that ever mortal durst approve.
I’ll double all the works of Hercules,
Expose myself in combat against an host,
Meet danger in a place of certain death,
Yet never shrink, or give way to my fate;
Bare-breasted meet the murderous Tartar’s dart,
Or any fatal engine made for death:
Such power has love and beauty from your eye,[283]
He that dies resolute does never die!    90
’Tis fear gives death his strength, which I resisted,
Death is but empty air the fates have twisted.

Isa. Dare you revenge my quarrel ’gainst a foe?

Sago. Then ask me if I dare embrace you thus,
Or kiss your hand, or gaze on your bright eye,
Where Cupid dances on those globes of love!
Fear is my vassal; when I frown he flies;
A hundred times in life a coward dies![284]

Isa. I not suspect your valour, but your will.    99

Sago. To gain your love my father’s blood I’ll spill.

Isa. Many have sworn the like, yet broke their vow.

Sago. My whole endeavour to your wish shall bow;
I am your plague to scourge your enemies.

Isa. Perform your promise, and enjoy your pleasure;
Spend my love’s dowry, that is women’s treasure;
But if thy resolution dread the trial,
I’ll tell the world a Spaniard was disloyal.

Sago. Relate your grief; I long to hear their names
Whose bastard spirits thy true worth defames.
I’ll wash thy scandal off when their hearts bleeds;    110
Valour makes difference betwixt words and deeds.
Tell thy fame’s poison, blood shall wash thee white.

Isa. My spotless honour is a slave to spite.
These are the monsters Venice doth bring forth,
Whose empty souls are bankrupt of true worth:
False Count Guido,[285] treacherous Gniaca,
Counties[286] of Gazia, and of rich Massino.
Then, if thou beest a knight, help the oppress’d;
Through danger safety comes, through trouble rest.
And so my love——    120

Sago. Ignoble villains! their best blood shall prove,
Revenge falls heavy that is raised by love!

Isa. Think what reproach is to a woman’s name,
Honour’d by birth, by marriage, and by beauty;
Be god on earth, and revenge innocence.
O, worthy Spaniard, on my knees I beg,
Forget the persons, think on their offence!

Sago. By the white soul of honour, by heav’n’s Jove,
They die if their death can attain your love!    129

Isa. Thus will I clip thy waist—embrace thee thus;
Thus dally with thy hair, and kiss thee thus:
Our pleasures, Protean-like, in sundry shapes
Shall with variety stir dalliance.

Sago. I am immortal. O, divinest creature,
Thou dost excel the gods in wit and feature!
False counts, you die, revenge now shakes his rods;
Beauty condemns you—stronger than the gods.

Isa. Come, Mars of lovers, Vulcan is not here;
Make vengeance, like my bed, quite void of fear.

Sago. My senses are entranced, and in this slumber
I taste heav’n’s joys, but cannot count the number.    141

[Exeunt ambo.

[275] Ed. 1631 “running.”

[276] Old eds. “they now be false.”

[277] Exclamation of impatience.

[278] Old form of colonel.

[279] Old eds. “rarietie.” (The form rariety—which would here be unmetrical—is sometimes found. Cf. Heywood’s Golden Age, act iii.:—
“Then to our palace
Pass on in state: let all rarieties
Shower down from heaven a largess.”)

[280] For “my potent” the editor of 1820 reads “omnipotent.”

[281] Not unfrequently we find a plural verb following a singular subject.

[282] Ed. 1631 “sect” (a common form of “sex”).

[283] Old ed. “eyes.”

[284] Cf. Jul. Cæs. ii. 2:—
“Cowards die many times before their deaths:
The valiant never taste of death but once.”

[285] See note 2, p. 154.

[286] i.e. Counts.—Old eds. “Countesse.”


Venice.—A street.

Enter Lady Lentulus, Abigail, and Thais.

Abi. Well, madam, you see the destiny that follows marriage:
Our husbands are quiet now, and must suffer the law.

Tha. If my husband had been worth the begging, some courtier would have had him; he might be begg’d[287] well enough, for he knows not his own wife from another.

Lady Lent. O, you’re a couple of trusty wenches, to deceive your husbands thus!

Abi. If we had not deceived them thus, we had been truss’d wenches.

Tha. Our husbands will be hang’d, because they think themselves cuckolds.    11

Abi. If all true cuckolds were of that mind, the hangman would be the richest occupation, and more wealthy widows than there be younger brothers to marry them.

Tha. The merchant venturers would be a very small company.

Abi. ’Tis twelve to one of that; however the rest ’scape, I shall fear a massacre.

Tha. If my husband hereafter, for his wealth, chance to be dubb’d, I’ll have him call’d the knight of the supposed horn.    22

Abi. Faith, and it sounds well.

Lady Lent. Come, madcaps, leave jesting, and let’s deliver them out of their earthly purgation; you are the spirits that torment them; but my love and lord, kind Mendoza, will lose his life to preserve mine honour, not for hate to others.

Abi. By my troth, if I had been his judge, I should have hang’d him, for having no more wit; I speak as I think, for I would not be hang’d for ne’er a man under the heav’ns.    32

Tha. Faith, I think I should for my husband: I do not hold the opinion of the philosopher, that writes, we love them best that we enjoy first; for I protest I love my husband better than any that did know me before.

Abi. So do I; yet life and pleasure are two sweet things to a woman.

Lady Lent. He that’s willing to die to save mine honour, I’ll die to save his.    40

Abi. Tut, believe it who that list, we love a lively man, I grant you; but to maintain that life I’ll ne’er consent to die.
This is a rule I still will keep in breast,
Love well thy husband, wench, but thyself best!

Tha. I have followed your counsel hitherto, and mean to do still.

Lady Lent. Come, we neglect our business; ’tis no jesting;
To-morrow they are executed ’less we reprieve them.
We be their destinies to cast their fate.    50
Let’s all go.

Abi. I fear not to come late.


[287] i.e., he might be begged for a fool.—See Nares’ Glossary.


Pavia.—A street.

Enter Don Sago solus, with a case of pistols.

Sago. Day was my night, and night must be my day;
The sun shined on my pleasure with my love,
And darkness must lend aid to my revenge.
The stage of heaven is hung with solemn black,
A time best fitting to act tragedies.
The night’s great queen, that maiden governess,
Musters black clouds to hide her from the world,
Afraid to look on my bold enterprise.
Cursed creatures, messengers of death, possess the world;
Night-ravens, screetch-owls, and voice-killing[288] mandrakes,
The ghosts[289] of misers, that imprison’d gold    11
Within the harmless[290] bowels of the earth,
Are night’s companions. Bawds to lust and murder,
Be all propitious to my act of justice
Upon the scandalisers of her fame,
That is the lifeblood of deliciousness,
Deem’d[291] Isabella, Cupid’s treasurer,
Whose soul contains the richest gifts of love:
Her beauty from my heart fear doth expel:
They relish pleasure best that dread not hell!    20
Who’s there?

Enter Count Massino.[292]

Mass. A friend to thee, if thy intents
Be just and honourable.

Sago. Count Massino,[292] speak, I am the watch.

Mass. My name is Massino:[292] dost thou know me?

Sago. Yes, slanderous villain, nurse of obloquy,
Whose poison’d breath has speckled clear-faced[293] virtue,
And made a leper of Isabella’s fame,
That is as spotless as the eye of heaven!
Thy vital thread’s a-cutting; start not, slave;
He’s sure of sudden death, Heaven cannot save!    30

Mass. Art not Gniaca turn’d apostata?[294]
Has pleasure once again turned thee again
A devil? art not Gniaca—hah?

Sago. O that I were, then would I stab myself,
For he is mark’d for death as well as thee!
I am Don Sago, thy mortal enemy,
Whose hand love makes thy executioner!

Mass. I know thee, valiant Spaniard, and to thee
Murder’s more hateful than is sacrilege.
Thy actions ever have been honourable.    40

Sago. And this the crown of all my actions,
To purge the earth of such a man turn’d monster!

Mass. I never wrong’d thee, Spaniard—did I? speak:

[Tell[295] him all the plot.

I’ll make thee satisfaction like a soldier,
A true Italian, and a gentleman.
Thy rage is treachery without a cause.

Sago. My rage is just, and thy heart blood shall know,
He that wrongs beauty, must be honour’s foe.
Isabel’s quarrel arms the Spaniard’s spirit!

Mass. Murder should keep with baseness, not with merit.    50
I’ll answer thee to-morrow, by my soul,
And clear thy doubts, or satisfy thy will.

Sago. He’s war’s best scholar can with safety kill.
Take this to-night; now meet with me to-morrow.

[Shoots. Massino falls dead.

I come, Isabella; half thy hate is dead;
Valour makes murder light, which fear makes lead.[296]

Enter Captain with a band of Soldiers.

Capt. The pistol was shot here; seize him!
Bring lights. What, Don Sago, colonel of the horse?
Ring the alarum-bell, raise the whole city;
His troops are in the town; I fear treachery.    60
Who’s this lies murder’d? Speak, bloodthirsty Spaniard!

Sago. I have not spoil’d his face, you may know his visnomy.

Capt. ’Tis Count Massino;[297] go convey him hence;
Thy life, proud Spaniard, answers this offence.
A strong guard for the prisoner, ’less the city’s powers
Rise to rescue him!

[Begirt him with soldiers.

Sago. What needs this strife?
Know, slaves, I prize revenge above my life.
Fame’s register to future times shall tell
That by Don Sago, Count Massino[297] fell!

[Exeunt omnes.

[288] Ed. 1631 and some copies of ed. 1613, “vote-killing.”—The mandrake plant was supposed to shriek so poignantly when pulled from the ground, as to cause madness or death in the person who plucked it.

[289] An allusion to the well-known superstition (to which there is a reference in Hamlet) that ghosts haunted the spot where they had concealed treasure in their lifetime.

[290] The writer had certainly Hotspur’s words in his memory:—
“That villainous salt-petre should be digg’d
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth.”—1 Henry IV. i. 2.

[291] Qu. “Divine” or “Dear”?

[292] Old eds.Rogero.”—The prefix to his speeches is “Rog.

[293] Ed. 1631 “cleane fac’t.”

[294] An old form of “apostate.”

[295] I suppose it was left to the actor to explain shortly the history of Massino’s relations with Isabella.

[296] Old eds. “dead.”

[297] Old eds. “Rogero.”



Pavia.—The place of execution.

Enter[298] Medina, followed by soldiers with the dead body of Count Massino on a bier; Don Sago guarded, Executioner. A scaffold laid out.

Med. Don Sago, quakest thou not to behold this spectacle—
This innocent sacrifice, murder’d nobleness—
When blood, the Maker ever promiseth,
Shall though with slow yet with sure vengeance rest?
’Tis a guerdon earn’d, and must be paid;
As sure revenge, as it is sure a deed;
I ne’er knew murder yet, but it did bleed.
Canst thou, after so many fearful conflicts
Between this object and thy guilty conscience,
Now thou art freed from out the serpent’s jaws,    10
That vild adulteress, whose sorceries
Doth draw chaste men into incontinence—
Whose tongue flows over with harmful eloquence—
Canst thou, I say, repent this heinous act,
And learn to loathe that killing cockatrice?[299]

Sago. By this fresh blood, that from thy manly breast
I cowardly sluiced[300] out, I would in hell,
From this sad minute till[301] the day of doom,
To re-inspire vain Æsculapius,
And fill these crimson conduits, feel the fire    20
Due to the damnèd and this horrid fact![302]

Med. Upon my soul, brave Spaniard, I believe thee.

Sago. O cease to weep in blood, or teach me too!
The bubbling wounds[303] do murmur for revenge.
This is the end of lust, where men may see,
Murder’s the shadow of adultery,
And follows it to death.

Med. But, hopeful lord, we do commiserate
Thy bewitch’d fortunes, a free pardon give
On this thy true and noble penitence.    30
Withal we make thee colonel of our horse,
Levied against the proud Venetian state.

Sago. Medina, I thank thee not; give life to him
That sits with Risus and the full-cheek’d Bacchus,
The rich and mighty monarchs of the earth;
To me life is ten times more terrible
Than death can be to me. O, break, my breast!
Divines[304] and dying men may talk of hell,
But in my heart the several torments dwell.
What Tanais, Nilus, or what Tigris[305] swift,    40
What Rhenus ferier[306] than the cataract,—
Although[307] Neptolis cold, the waves of all the Northern Sea,
Should flow for ever through these guilty hands,
Yet the sanguinolent stain would extant be!

Med. God pardon thee! we do.

Enter a Messenger.

Mes. The countess comes, my lord, unto the death;

[A shout.

But so unwillingly and unprepared,
That she is rather forced, thinking the sum
She sent to you of twenty thousand pound
Would have assurèd her of life.

Med. O Heavens!    50
Is she not weary yet of lust and life?
Had it been Crœsus’ wealth, she should have died;
Her goods by law are all confiscate to us,
And die she shall: her lust
Would make a slaughter-house of Italy.
Ere she attain’d to four-and-twenty years,
Three earls, one viscount, and this valiant Spaniard,
Are known to ha’ been the fuel to her lust;
Besides her secret lovers, which charitably
I judge to have been but few, but some they were.    60
Here is a glass wherein to view her soul,
A noble but unfortunate gentleman,
Cropp’d by her hand, as some rude passenger
Doth pluck the tender roses in the bud!
Murder and lust, the least of which is death,
And hath she yet any false hope of breath?

Enter Isabella, with her hair hanging down, a chaplet of flowers on her head, a nosegay in her hand; Executioner before her, and with her a Cardinal.

Isa. What place is this?

Car. Madam, the Castle Green.

Isa. There should be dancing on a green, I think.

Car. Madam,
To you none other than your dance of death.    70

Isa. Good my Lord Cardinal, do not thunder thus;
I sent to-day to my physician,
And, as he says, he finds no sign of death.

Car. Good madam, do not jest away your soul.

Isa. O servant, how hast thou betray’d my life!

[To Sago.

Thou art my dearest lover now, I see;
Thou wilt not leave me till my very death.
Bless’d be thy hand! I sacrifice a kiss
To it and vengeance. Worthily thou didst;
He died deservedly. Not content to enjoy    80
My youth and beauty, riches and my fortune,
But like a chronicler of his own vice,
In epigrams and songs he tuned my name,
Renown’d me for a strumpet in the courts
Of the French King and the great Emperor.
Did’st thou not kill him drunk?[308]

Med. O shameless woman!

Isa. Thou should’st, or in the embraces of his lust;
It might have been a woman’s vengeance.[309]
Yet I thank thee, Sago, and would not wish him living
Were my life instant ransom.

Car. Madam, in your soul    90
Have charity.

Isa. There’s money for the poor.

[Gives him money.

Car. O lady, this is but a branch of charity,
An ostentation, or a liberal pride:
Let me instruct your soul, for that, I fear,
Within the painted sepulchre of flesh,
Lies in a dead consumption. Good madam, read.

[Gives a book.

Isa. You put me to my book, my lord; will not that save me?[310]

Car. Yes, madam, in the everlasting world.

Sago. Amen, amen!

Isa. While thou wert my servant, thou hast ever said    100
Amen to all my wishes. Witness this spectacle.
Where’s my lord Medina?

Med. Here, Isabella. What would you?

Isa. May we not be reprieved?

Med. Mine honour’s past; you may not.

Isa. No, ’tis my honour past.

Med. Thine honour’s past, indeed.

Isa. Then there’s no hope of absolute remission?

Med. For that your holy confessor will tell you;
Be dead to this world, for I swear you die,    110
Were you my father’s daughter.

Isa. Can you do nothing, my Lord Cardinal?

Car. More than the world, sweet lady; help to save
What hand of man wants power to destroy.

Isa. You’re all for this world, then why not I?
Were you in health and youth, like me, my lord,
Although you merited the crown of life,
And stood in state of grace assured of it,
Yet in this fearful separation,
Old as you are, e’en till your latest gasp,    120
You’d crave the help of the physician,
And wish your days lengthen’d one summer longer.
Though all be grief, labour, and misery,
Yet none will part with it, that I can see.

Med. Up to the scaffold with her, ’tis late.

Isa. Better late than never, my good lord; you think
You use square dealing, Medina’s mighty duke,
Tyrant of France, sent hither by the devil.

[She ascends the scaffold.

Med. The fitter to meet you.

Car. Peace! Good my lord, in death do not provoke her.    130

Isa. Servant,
Low as my destiny I kneel to thee,

[To Sago.

Honouring in death thy manly loyalty;
And what so e’er become of my poor soul,
The joys of both worlds evermore be thine.
Commend me to the noble Count Gniaca,
That should have shared thy valour and my hatred:
Tell him I pray his pardon, and—
Medina, art [thou] yet inspired from heaven?
Show thy Creator’s image: be like Him,    140
Father of mercy.

Med. Head’s-man, do thine office.

Isa. Now God lay all thy sins upon thy head,
And sink thee with them to infernal darkness,
Thou teacher of the furies’ cruelty!

Car. O madam, teach yourself a better prayer;
This is your latest hour.

Isa. He is mine enemy, his sight torments me;
I shall not die in quiet.

Med. I’ll be gone: off with her head there!


Isa. Takest thou delight to torture misery?    150
Such mercy find thou in the day of doom.

Soul. My lord, here is a holy friar desires
To have some conference with the prisoners.

Enter Roberto, Count of Cyprus, in friar’s weeds.

Rob. It is in private, what I have to say,
With favour of your fatherhood.

Car. Friar, in God’s name, welcome.

[Roberto ascends to Isabella.

Rob. Lady, it seems your eye is still the same—
Forgetful of what most it should behold.
Do not you know me, then?

Isa. Holy sir,
So far you are gone from my memory,    160
I must take truce with time ere I can know you.

Rob. Bear record, all you blessèd saints in heaven,
I come not to torment thee in thy death;
For of himself he’s terrible enough.
But call to mind a lady like yourself;
And think how ill in such a beauteous soul,
Upon the instant morrow of her nuptials,
Apostasy and vild revolt would show:
Withal imagine that she had a lord,
Jealous the air should ravish her chaste looks:[311]    170
Doting like the creator in his models,
Who views them every minute, and with care
Mix’d in his fear of their obedience to him.
Suppose he[r] sung through famous Italy,
More common than the looser songs of Petrarch,
To every several zany’s instrument;
And he, poor wretch, hoping some better fate
Might call her back from her adulterate purpose,
Lives in obscure and almost unknown life,
Till hearing that she is condemn’d to die—    180
For he once loved her—lends his pinèd corpse
Motion to bring him to her stage of honour,
Where drown’d in woe at her so dismal chance,
He clasps her: thus he falls into a trance.

Isa. O, my offended lord, lift up your eyes:
But yet avert them from my loathèd sight.
Had I with you enjoyed the lawful pleasure,
To which belongs nor fear nor public shame,
I might have lived in honour, died in fame!
Your pardon on my falt’ring knees I beg,    190
Which shall confirm more peace unto my death
Than all the grave instructions of the Church.

Rob. Pardon belongs unto my holy weeds,
Freely thou hast it.
Farewell, my Isabella! let thy death
Ransom thy soul. O die a rare example!
The kiss thou gavest me in the church, here take;
As I leave thee, so thou the world forsake!

[Exit Roberto.

Car.[312] Rare accident, ill welcome, noble lord.
Madam, your executioner desires you to forgive him.    200

Isa. Yes, and give him too. What must I do, my friend?

Exec. Madam, only tie up your hair.

Isa. O, these golden nets,
That have ensnared so many wanton youths,
Not one but has been held a thread of life,
And superstitiously depended on.
Now to the block we must vail! What else?

Exec. Madam, I must entreat you, blind your eyes.

Isa. I have lived too long in darkness, my friend;
And yet mine eyes, with their majestic light,
Have got new muses in a poet’s sprite.    210
They have been more gazed at than the god of day:
Their brightness never could be flatterèd,
Yet thou command’st a fixèd cloud of lawn
To eclipse eternally these minutes of light.
What else?

Exec. Now, madam, all’s done,
And when you please, I’ll execute my office.

Isa. We will be for thee straight.
Give me your blessing, my Lord Cardinal.
Lord, I am well prepared:
Murder and lust, down with my ashes sink,    220
But, like ingrateful seed, perish in earth,
That you may never spring against my soul,
Like weeds to choke it in the heavenly harvest.
I fall to rise; mount to thy Maker, spirit!
Leave here thy body, death has her demerit.

[The executioner strikes off her head.

Car. A host of angels be thy convey [sic] hence.

Re-enter Medina.[313]

Med. To funeral with her body and this lord’s.
None here, I hope, can tax us of injustice:
She died deservedly, and may like fate
Attend all women so insatiate.

[Exeunt omnes.    230

[298] Old eds.Enter Medina, the dead body of Guido alias Count Arsena, and Souldiours, &c.

[299] A creature resembling a serpent. It was bred from a cock’s egg, and had a cock’s crest; the sight of it caused sudden death.—The term was frequently applied to a wanton woman.

[300] See note, vol. i. p. 189.

[301] Ed. 1613 “still.”

[302] “Fact”—guilty deed, crime.

[303] It was a common superstition that the wounds of a murdered man bled in the presence of the murderer.

[304] This couplet is from a copy of verses in Nashe’s Pierce Penniless, 1592 (Works, ed. Grosart, ii. 10). It is also found in the Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608.

[305] Ed. 1613 “Tioris.”

[306] Fere = proud, fierce. The word was obsolete in Marston’s time.

[307] Quy. “Though Neptune cold”?—The passage smacks of Macbeth.

[308] Cf. Hamlet, iii. 3:—
“Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent:
When he is drunk, asleep, or in his rage;
Or in the incestuous pleasures of his bed,” &c.

[309] Marston almost invariably makes a trisyllable of “vengeance.”

[310] i.e., cannot I be saved by “benefit of clergy”?

[311] Cf. Hamlet, i. 2:—
“So loving to my mother
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly.”

[312] Old eds.Clarid.

[313] Medina’s re-entrance is not marked in old eds.


Venice.—The Senate-house.

Enter Amago the Duke, the Watch, and Senators.

Duke. I am amazèd at this maze of wonder,
Wherein no thread or clue presents itself,
To wind us from the obscure passages.
What says my nephew?

Watch. Still resolute, my lord, and doth confess the theft.

Duke. We’ll use him like a felon; cut him off,
For fear he do pollute our sounder parts.
Yet why should he steal,
That is a loaden vine? Riches to him
Were adding sands into the Libyan shore,    10
Or far less charity. What say the other prisoners?

Watch. Like men, my lord, fit for the other world,
They take’t upon their death, they slew your nephew.

Duke. And he is yet alive; keep them asunder;
We may scent out the wile.

Enter Claridiana and Rogero bound; with a Friar and Officers.

Rog. My friend, is it the rigour of the law
I should be tied thus hard, I’ll undergo it;
If not, prithee then slacken. Yet I have deserved it;
This murder lies heavy on my conscience.

Cla. Wedlock, ay, here’s my wedlock! O whore, whore, whore!    21

Friar. O, sir, be qualified.

Cla. Sir,[314] I am to die a dog’s death, and will snarl a little at the old signor. You are only a parenthesis, which I will leave out of my execrations; but first to our quondam wives, that makes us cry our vowels in red capital letters, “I[315] and U are cuckolds!” O may bastard-bearing, with the pangs of childbirth, be doubled to ’em![316] May they have ever twins, and be three week in travail between! May they be so rivell’d[317] with painting by that time they are thirty, that it may be held a work of condign merit but to look upon ’em! May they live to ride in triumph in a dung-cart, and be brown’d with all the odious ceremonies belonging to ’t! may the cucking-stool be their recreation, and a dungeon their dying-chamber! May they have nine lives like a cat, to endure this and more! May they be burnt for witches of a sudden! And lastly, may the opinion of philosophers prove true, that women have no souls!    39

Enter Thais and Abigail.

Tha. What, husband—at your prayers so seriously?

Cla. Yes, a few orisons. Friar, thou that stand’st between the soul of men and the devil, keep these female spirits away, or I will renounce my faith else.

Abi. O husband, I little thought to see you in this taking!

Rog. O whore, I little thought to see you in this taking! I am governor of this castle of cornets; my grave will be stumbled at, thou adult’rate whore! I might have lived like a merchant.

Abi. So you may still, husband.    50

Rog. Peace! thou art very quick with me.

Abi. Ay, by my faith, and so I am, husband; belike you know I am with child.

Rog. A bastard, a bastard, a bastard! I might have lived like a gentleman, and now I must die like a hanger on, show tricks upon a wooden horse, and run through an alphabet of scurvy faces! Do not expect a good look from me.

Abi. O me unfortunate!    59

Cla. O to think, whilst we are singing the last hymn, and ready to be turn’d off, some new tune is inventing by some metremonger, to a scurvy ballad of our death! Again, at our funeral sermons, to have the divine divide his text into fair branches! O, flesh and blood cannot endure it! Yet I will take it patiently like a grave man. Hangman, tie not my halter of a true lover’s knot: I burst it if thou dost.

Tha. Husband, I do beseech you on my knees,
I may but speak with you. I’ll win your pardon,
Or with tears, like Niobe, bedew a—    70

Cla. Hold thy water, crocodile, and say I am bound to do thee no harm; were I free, yet I could not be looser than thou; for thou art a whore! Agamemnon’s daughter, that was sacrificed for a good wind, felt but a blast of the torments thou should’st endure; I’d make thee swound oftener than that fellow that by his continual practice hopes to become drum-major. What sayst thou to tickling to death with bodkins? But thou hast laugh’d too much at me already, whore! Justice, O duke! and let me not hang in suspense.    80

Abi. Husband,
I’ll nail me to the earth, but I’ll win your pardon.
My jewels, jointure, all I have shall fly;
Apparel, bedding, I’ll not leave a rug,
So you may come off fairly.

Cla. I’ll come off fairly: thou[318] beg my pardon! I had rather Chirurgeons’ Hall should beg my dead body for an anatomy[319] than thou beg my life. Justice, O duke! and let us die!

Duke. Signior, think, and dally not with heaven,    90
But freely tell us, did you do the murder?

Rog. I have confess’d it to my ghostly father,
And done the sacrament of penance for it.
What would your highness more?

Cla. The like have I; what would your highness more?
And here before you all take’t o’ my death.

Duke. In God’s name, then, on to the death with them.
For the poor widows that you leave behind,
Though by the law their goods are all confiscate,
Yet we’ll be their good lord, and give ’em them.    100

Cla. O, hell of hells! Why did not we hire some villain to fire our houses?

Rog. I thought not of that; my mind was altogether of the gallows.

Cla. May the wealth I leave behind me help to damn her!
And as the cursèd fate of courtezan,
What she gleans with her traded art,
May one, as a most due plague, cheat from [her]
In the last dotage of her tirèd lust,
And leave her an unpitied age of woe!    110

Rog. Amen, amen!

Watch. I never heard men pray more fervently.

Rog. O that a man had the instinct of a lion!
He knows when the lioness plays false to him.[320]

But these solaces, these women, they bring man to grey hairs before he be thirty; yet they cast out such mists of flattery from their breath, that a man’s lost again. Sure I fell into my marriage-bed drunk, like the leopard;[321] well, with sober eyes, would I had avoided it!
Come, grave, and hide me from my blasted fame.
O that thou couldst as well conceal my shame!

[Exeunt ambo, with Officers.

Tha. Your pardon and your favour, gracious duke,    120

[Women kneel.

At once we do implore, that have so long
Deceived your royal expectation,
Assurèd that the comic knitting up
Will move your spleen unto the proper use
Of mirth, your natural inclination;
And wipe away the watery-coloured anger
From your enforcèd cheek. Fair lord, beguile
Them and your saf’t[322] with a pleasing smile.    130

Duke. Now by my life I do: fair ladies, rise;
I ne’er did purpose any other end
To them and these designs. I was inform’d
Of some notorious error as I sat in judgment;
And—do you hear?—these night works require
A cat’s eyes to impierce dejected darkness.
Call back the prisoners.

Re-enter Claridiana and Rogero, with Officers.

Cla. Now what other troubled news, that we must back thus? Has any senator begg’d my pardon upon my wife’s prostitution to him?    140

Rog. What a spite’s this; I had kept in my breath of purpose, thinking to go away the quieter, and must we now back?

Duke. Since you are to die, we’ll give you winding-sheets,
Wherein you shall be shrouded alive,
By which we wind out all these miseries.
Signor Rogero, bestow a while your eye,
And read here of your true wife’s chastity.

[Gives him a letter.

Rog. Chastity?
I will sooner expect a Jesuit’s recantation,    150
Or the great Turk’s conversion, than her chastity.
Pardon, my liege; I will not trust mine eyes:
Women and devils will deceive the wise!

Duke. The like, sir, is apparent on your side.

[To Claridiana.

Cla. Who? my wife?—chaste? Has your grace your sense? I’ll sooner believe a conjuror may say his prayers with zeal, than her honesty. Had she been an hermaphrodite, I would scarce have given credit to you.
Let him that hath drunk love-drugs trust a woman.
By Heaven, I think the air is not more common!    160

Duke. Then we impose a strict command upon you.
On your allegiance read what there is writ.

Cla. A writ of error, on my life, my liege!

Duke. You’ll find it so, I fear.

Cla. What have we here—the Art of Brachygraphy?

[Looks on the letter.

Tha. He’s stung already:
As if his eyes were turn’d on Perseus’ shield,
Their motion’s fix’d, like to the pool of Styx.

Abi. Yonder’s our flames; and from the hollow arches
Of his quick eyes comes comet-trains of fire,    170
Bursting like hidden furies from their caves.

Cla.[323] [reading.] Yours till he sleep the sleep of all the world, Rogero.

Rog. Marry, and that lethargy seize you! Read again.

[Reads again.

Cla. Thy servant so made by his stars, Rogero.
A fire on your wand’ring stars, Rogero!

Rog. Satan, why hast thou tempted my wife?

[To Claridiana.

Cla. Peace, seducer; I am branded in the forehead with your star-mark. May the stars drop upon thee, and with their sulphur vapours choke thee, ere thou come at the gallows!    181

Rog. Stretch not my patience, Mahomet.

Cla. Termagant,[324] that will stretch thy patience!

Rog. Had I known this I would have poison’d thee in the chalice
This morning, when we received the sacrament.[325]

Cla. Slave, know’st thou this? [showing the ring] ’tis an appendix to the letter;
But the greater temptation is hidden within.
I will scour thy gorge like a hawk:
Thou shalt swallow thine own stone in this letter,
Seal’d and delivered in the presence of——

[They bustle.

Duke. Keep them asunder; list to us, we command

Cla. O violent villain! is not thy hand hereto,    192
And writ in blood to show thy raging lust?

Tha. Spice of a new halter, when you go a-ranging thus like devils, would you might burn[326] for’t as they do!

Rog. Thus ’tis to lie with another man’s wife: he shall be sure to hear on’t again. But we are friends, sweet duck.

[Kisses Thais.

And this shall be my maxim all my life:—
Man never happy is till in a wife.    200

Cla. Here sink our hate lower than any whirlpool;
And this chaste kiss I give thee for thy care,

[Kisses Abigail.

Thou[327] fame of women, full as wise as fair.

Duke. You have saved us a labour in your love.
But, gentlemen, why stood you so prepost’rously?
Would you have headlong run to infamy—
In so defamed a death?

Rog. O, my liege, I had rather roar to death with Phalaris’ bull, than, Darius-like, to have one of my wings extend to Atlas, the other to Europe.    210
What is a cuckold, learn of me:
Few can tell his pedigree,
Nor his subtile nature conster.
Born a man but dies a monster:
Yet great antiquaries say,
They spring from out Methusala,
Who after Noah’s flood was found
To have his crest with branches crown’d.
God in Eden’s happy shade
This same [wondrous] creature made.    220
Then to cut off all mistaking,
Cuckolds are of women’s making;
From whose snares, good Lord deliver us!

Cla. Amen, amen!
Before I would prove a cuckold, I would endure a winter’s pilgrimage in the frozen zone—go stark naked through Muscovia, where the climate is nine degrees colder than ice. And thus much to all married men:—
Now I see great reason why    230
Love should marry jealousy:
Since man’s best of life is fame,
He hath need preserve the same;
When ’tis in a woman’s keeping,
Let not Argus’ eyes be sleeping.
The box[328] unto Pandora given
By the better powers of heaven,
That contains pure chastity,
And each virgin sovereignty,
Wantonly she oped and lost,    240
Gift whereof a god might boast.
Therefore, shouldst thou Diana wed,
Yet be jealous of her bed.

Duke. Night,[329] like a masque, is enter’d heaven’s great hall,
With thousand torches ushering the way.
To Risus will we consecrate this evening;
Like[330] Mycerinus cheating th’ oracle,
We’ll make this night the day. Fair joys befall
Us and our actions. Are you pleasèd all?

[Exeunt omnes.

[314] This scene is printed throughout as verse in old eds.

[315] “I and U”—so the editor of 1820. Old eds. “IOV.”

[316] Old eds. “him.”

[317] Wrinkled.

[318] Old eds. “then.”

[319] i.e., subject for dissection.

[320] Topsel in his account of the lion writes:—“Their sight and their smelling are most excellent, for they sleep with their eyes open, and because of the brightness of their eyes they cannot endure the light of fire, for fire and fire cannot agree: also their smelling (for which cause they are called Odorati) is very eminent, for if the lioness have committed adultery with the leopard the male discovereth it by the sense of his nose.”—History of Fourfooted Beasts, ed. 1658, p. 360.

[321] Topsel has some remarks on the fondness of leopards for wine.

[322] Quy. “Them, and yourself too”?

[323] Not marked in old eds.

[324] Often mentioned in company with Mahomet and regarded as a Saracen deity. In the miracle-plays he was introduced as a noisy ranter, like Herod.

[325] In the closing chapter of Vulgar Errors, Sir Thomas Browne writes:—“I hope it is not true, and some indeed have probably denied, what is recorded of the monk who poisoned Henry the emperor in a draught of the Holy Eucharist. ’Twas a scandalous wound unto the Christian religion, and I hope all Pagans will forgive it, when they shall read that a Christian was poisoned in a cup of Christ and received his bane in a draught of his salvation.”

[326] An allusion to lues venerea.

[327] Old eds. “That.”

[328] The waggish old printers read “The pox is unto panders given!” The line (which was properly restored by the editor of 1820) must have been purposely misprinted.

[329] “Night ... the way.”—These lines are found in Barkstead’s Myrrha, 1607. See Introduction to vol. i.

[330] Old eds. “Like Missermis cheating of the brack.” The editor of 1820 reads “Like Missermis cheating of the brach,” and to the word brach appends a note, “i.e., the bitch;” but who was Missermis and what the bitch? Every reader of Herodotus (and every reader of Matthew Arnold) will remember how Mycerinus cheated the oracle by turning the day into the night. Six thousand years ago the torches flared in Mycerinus’ palace; and I saw his bones this afternoon at Bloomsbury!


The Metamorphosis of Pigmalions Image. And Certaine Satyres. At London, Printed for Edmond Matts, & are to be sold at the signe of the hand and Plough in Fleet streete. 1598. 8vo.



Sole regent of affection, perpetual ruler of judgment, most famous justice of censures, only giver of honour, great procurer of advancement, the world’s chief balance, the all of all, and all in all, by whom all things are that that they are, I humbly offer this my poem.

Thou soul of pleasure, honour’s only substance,
Great arbitrator, umpire of the earth,
Whom fleshly epicures call virtue’s essence;
Thou moving orator, whose powerful breath
Sways all men’s judgment—Great Opinion,
Vouchsafe to gild my imperfection.

If thou but deign to grace my blushing style,
And crown my muse with good opinion;
If thou vouchsafe with gracious eye to smile
Upon my young new-born invention,
I’ll sing a hymn in honour of thy name
And add some trophy to enlarge thy fame.

But if thou wilt not with thy deity
Shade and inmask the errors of my pen,
Protect an orphan poet’s infancy,
I will disclose, that all the world shall ken
How partial thou art in honours giving,
Crowning the shade, the substance’ praise depriving.

W. K.[331]

[331] W. K[insayder].—See Introduction, vol. i.


Pygmalion, whose chaste mind all the beauties in Cyprus could not ensnare, yet, at the length having carved in ivory an excellent proportion of a beauteous woman, was so deeply enamoured on his own workmanship that he would oftentimes lay the image in bed with him, and fondly use such petitions and dalliance as if it had been a breathing creature. But in the end, finding his fond dotage, and yet persevering in his ardent affection, made his devout prayers to Venus, that she would vouchsafe to inspire life into his love, and then join them both together in marriage. Whereupon Venus, graciously condescending to his earnest suit, the maid (by the power of her deity) was metamorphosed into a living woman. And after, Pygmalion (being in Cyprus) begat a son of her, which was called Paphus; whereupon that island Cyprus, in honour of Venus, was after, and is now, called by the inhabitants, Paphos.[332]

[332] Paphos was the name of a town in Cyprus (celebrated for its temple of Aphrodite)—not of the island itself.


My wanton muse lasciviously doth sing
Of sportive love, of lovely dallying.
O beauteous angel! deign thou to infuse
A sprightly wit into my dullèd muse.
I invocate none other saint but thee,
To grace the first blooms of my poesy.
Thy favours, like Promethean sacred fire,
In dead and dull conceit can life inspire;
Or, like that rare and rich elixir stone,
Can turn to gold leaden invention.
Be gracious then, and deign to show in me
The mighty power of thy deity;
And as thou read’st (fair) take compassion—
Force me not envy my Pygmalion:
Then when thy kindness grants me such sweet bliss,
I’ll gladly write thy Metamorphosis.


Pygmalion, whose high love-hating mind
Disdain’d to yield servile affection
Or amorous suit to any woman-kind,
Knowing their wants and men’s perfection;
Yet love at length forced him to know his fate,
And love the shade whose substance he did hate.

For having wrought in purest ivory
So fair an image of a woman’s feature,[333]
That never yet proudest mortality
Could show so rare and beauteous a creature    10
(Unless my mistress’ all-excelling face,
Which gives to beauty beauty’s only grace)—

He was amazèd at the wondrous rareness
Of his own workmanship’s perfection.
He thought that Nature ne’er produced such fairness,
In which all beauties have their mansion;
And, thus admiring, was enamourèd
On that fair image himself portrayèd.

And naked as it stood before his eyes,
Imperious Love declares his deity:    20
O what alluring beauties he descries
In each part of his fair imagery!
Her nakedness each beauteous shape contains;
All beauty in her nakedness remains.

He thought he saw the blood run through the vein
And leap, and swell with all alluring means;
Then fears he is deceived, and then again
He thinks he seeth the brightness of the beams
Which shoot from out the fairness of her eye;
At which he stands as in an ecstasy.    30

Her amber-colourèd, her shining hair,
Makes him protest the sun hath spread her head
With golden beams, to make her far more fair;
But when her cheeks his amorous thoughts have fed,
Then he exclaims, “Such red and so pure white,
Did never bless the eye of mortal sight!”

Then views her lips, no lips did seem so fair
In his conceit, through which he thinks doth fly
So sweet a breath, that doth perfume the air;
Then next her dimpled chin he doth descry,    40
And views and wonders, and yet views her still,—
Love’s eyes in viewing never have their fill.

Her breasts like polish’d ivory appear,
Whose modest mount do bless admiring eye,
And makes him wish for such a pillowbear.[334]
Thus fond Pygmalion striveth to descry
Each beauteous part, not letting over-slip
One parcel of his curious workmanship;

Until his eye descended so far down
That it descrièd Love’s pavilion,    50
Where Cupid doth enjoy his only crown,
And Venus hath her chiefest mansion:
There would he wink, and winking look again,
Both eyes and thoughts would gladly there remain.

Who ever saw the subtile city-dame
In sacred church, when her pure thoughts should pray,
Peer through her fingers, so to hide her shame,
When that her eye, her mind would fain bewray:
So would he view and wink, and view again;
A chaster thought could not his eyes retain.    60

He wondered that she blush’d not when his eye
Saluted those same parts of secresy:
Conceiting not it was imagery
That kindly yielded that large liberty.
O that my mistress were an image too,
That I might blameless her perfections view!

But when the fair proportion of her thigh
Began appear, “O Ovid!” would he cry,
“Did e’en Corinna show such ivory
When she appeared in Venus livery!”    70
And thus enamour’d dotes on his own art
Which he did work, to work his pleasing smart.

And fondly doting, oft he kiss’d her lip;
Oft would he dally with her ivory breasts;
No wanton love-trick would he over-slip,
But still observ’d all amorous beheasts,
Whereby he thought he might procure the love
Of his dull image, which no plaints could move.

Look how the peevish[335] Papists crouch and kneel
To some dumb idol with their offering,    80
As if a senseless carvèd stone could feel
The ardour of his bootless chattering,
So fond he was, and earnest in his suit
To his remorseless image, dumb and mute.

He oft doth wish his soul might part in sunder
So that one half in her had residence;
Oft he exclaims, “O beauty’s only wonder!
Sweet model of delight, fair excellence,
Be gracious unto him that formèd thee,
Compassionate his true love’s ardency.”    90

She with her silence seems to grant his suit;
Then he all jocund, like a wanton lover,
With amorous embracements doth salute
Her slender waist, presuming to discover
The vale of Love, where Cupid doth delight
To sport and dally all the sable night.

His eyes her eyes kindly encounterèd;
His breast her breast oft joinèd close unto;
His arms’ embracements oft she sufferèd;
Hands, arms, eyes, tongue, lips, and all parts did woo;    100
His thigh with hers, his knee play’d with her knee,—
A happy consort when all parts agree!

But when he saw, poor soul, he was deceivèd
(Yet scarce he could believe his sense had failed[336]),
Yet when he found all hope from him bereavèd,
And saw how fondly all his thoughts had erred,
Then did he like to poor Ixion seem,
That clipt a cloud instead of Heaven’s Queen.

I oft have smiled to see the foolery
Of some sweet youths, who seriously protest    110
That love respects not actual luxury,
But only joys to dally, sport, and jest;
Love is a child, contented with a toy;
A busk-point[337] or some favour stills the boy.

Mark my Pygmalion, whose affections’ ardour
May be a mirror to posterity;
Yet viewing, touching, kissing (common favour),
Could never satiate his love’s ardency:
And therefore, ladies, think that they ne’er love you,
Who do not unto more than kissing move you.    120

For Pygmalion kiss’d, view’d, and embraced,
And yet exclaims, “Why were these women made,
O sacred gods, and with such beauties graced!
Have they not power as well to cool and shade,
As for to heat men’s hearts? Or is there none,
Or are they all, like mine, relentless stone?”

With that he takes her in his loving arms,
And down within a down-bed softly laid her;
Then on his knees he all his senses charms,
To invocate sweet Venus for to raise her    130
To wishèd life, and to infuse some breath
To that which, dead, yet gave a life to death.

“Thou sacred queen of sportive dallying”
(Thus he begins), “Love’s only emperess,
Whose kingdom rests in wanton revelling,
Let me beseech thee show thy powerfulness
In changing stone to flesh! Make her relent,
And kindly yield to thy sweet blandishment.

“O gracious goodess,[338] take compassion;
Instil into her some celestial fire,    140
That she may equalise affection,
And have a mutual love, and love’s desire!
Thou know’st the force of love, then pity me—
Compassionate my true love’s ardency.”

Thus having said, he riseth from the floor
As if his soul divinèd him good fortune,
Hoping his prayers to pity moved some power;
For all his thoughts did all good luck importune;
And therefore straight he strips him naked quite,
That in the bed he might have more delight.    150

Then thus, “Sweet sheets,” he says, “which now do cover
The idol of my soul, the fairest one
That ever loved, or had an amorous lover—
Earth’s only model of perfection—
Sweet happy sheets, deign for to take me in,
That I my hopes and longing thoughts may win!”

With that his nimble limbs do kiss the sheets,
And now he bows him for to lay him down;
And now each part with her fair parts do meet,
Now doth he hope for to enjoy love’s crown;    160
Now do they dally, kiss, embrace together,
Like Leda’s twins at sight of fairest weather.

Yet all’s conceit—but shadow of that bliss
Which now my muse strives sweetly to display
In this my wondrous Metamorphosis.
Deign to believe me—now I sadly[339] say—
The stony substance of his image feature
Was straight transform’d into a living creature!

For when his hands her fair-form’d limbs had felt,
And that his arms her naked waist embraced,    170
Each part like wax before the sun did melt,
And now, O now, he finds how he is graced
By his own work! Tut! women will relent
When as they find such moving blandishment.

Do but conceive a mother’s passing gladness
(After that death her only son had seized,
And overwhelm’d her soul with endless sadness)
When that she sees him ’gin for to be raised
From out his deadly swoun to life again:
Such joy Pygmalion feels in every vein.    180

And yet he fears he doth but dreaming find
So rich content and such celestial bliss;
Yet when he proves and finds her wondrous kind,
Yielding soft touch for touch, sweet kiss for kiss,
He’s well assured no fair imagery
Could yield such pleasing love’s felicity.

O wonder not to hear me thus relate,
And say to flesh transformèd was a stone!
Had I my love in such a wishèd state
As was afforded to Pygmalion,    190
Though flinty-hard, of her you soon should see
As strange a transformation wrought by me.

And now methinks some wanton itching ear,
With lustful thoughts and ill attention,
Lists to my muse, expecting for to hear
The amorous description of that action
Which Venus seeks, and ever doth require,
When fitness grants a place to please desire.

Let him conceit but what himself would do
When that he had obtainèd such a favour    200
Of her to whom his thoughts were bound unto,
If she, in recompence of his love’s labour,
Would deign to let one pair of sheets contain
The willing bodies of those loving twain.

Could he, O could he! when that each to either
Did yield kind kissing and more kind embracing—
Could he when that they felt and clipp’d together,
And might enjoy the life of dallying—
Could he abstain midst such a wanton sporting,
From doing that which is not fit reporting?    210

What would he do when that her softest skin
Saluted his with a delightful kiss;
When all things fit for love’s sweet pleasuring
Invited him to reap a lover’s bliss?
What he would do, the self-same action
Was not neglected by Pygmalion.

For when he found that life had took his seat
Within the breast of his kind beauteous love—
When that he found that warmth and wishèd heat
Which might a saint and coldest spirit move—    220
Then arms, eyes, hands, tongue, lips, and wanton thigh,
Were willing agents in love’s luxury!

Who knows not what ensues? O pardon me!
Ye gaping ears that swallow up my lines,
Expect no more: peace, idle poesy,
Be not obscene though wanton in thy rhymes;
And, chaster thoughts, pardon if I do trip,
Or if some loose lines from my pen do slip.

Let this suffice, that that same happy night,
So gracious were the gods of marriage,    230
Midst all their pleasing and long-wish’d delight
Paphus was got; of whom in after age
Cy[p]rus was Paphos call’d, and evermore
Those islanders do Venus’ name adore.

The Author in praise of his precedent Poem.

Now, Rufus, by old Glebron’s fearful mace,
Hath not my muse deserved a worthy place?
Come, come, Luxurio, crown my head with bays,
Which, like a Paphian, wantonly displays
The Salaminian[340] titillations,
Which tickle up our lewd Priapians.
Is not my pen complete? Are not my lines
Right in the swaggering humour of these times?
O sing pæana to my learnèd muse:
Io bis dicite! Wilt thou refuse?    10
Do not I put my mistress in before,
And piteously her gracious aid implore?
Do not I flatter, call her wondrous fair,
Virtuous, divine, most debonair?
Hath not my goddess, in the vaunt-guard[341] place,
The leading of my lines their plumes to grace?
And then ensues my stanzas, like odd bands
Of voluntaries[342] and mercenarians,
Which, like soldados[343] of our warlike age,
March rich bedight in warlike equipage,    20
Glittering in dawbèd laced accoustrements,[344]
And pleasing suits of love’s habiliments;
Yet puffy as Dutch hose they are within,
Faint and white-liver’d, as our gallants bin;
Patch’d like a beggar’s cloak, and run as sweet
As doth a tumbril[345] in the pavèd street.
And in the end (the end of love, I wot),
Pygmalion hath a jolly boy begot.
So Labeo did complain his love was stone,
Obdurate, flinty, so relentless none;    30
Yet Lynceus knows that in the end of this
He wrought as strange a metamorphosis.
Ends not my poem then surpassing ill?
Come, come, Augustus, crown my laureate quill.
Now, by the whips of epigrammatists,
I’ll not be lasht for my dissembling shifts;
And therefore I use Popelings’[346] discipline,
Lay ope my faults to Mastigophoros’ eyne;
Censure my self, ’fore others me deride
And scoff at me, as if I had denied    40
Or thought my poem good, when that I see
My lines are froth, my stanzas sapless be.
Thus having rail’d against myself a while,
I’ll snarl at those which do the world beguile
With maskèd shows. Ye changing Proteans, list,
And tremble at a barking satirist.

[333] Shape.

[334] Pillowcase.—An old word used by Chaucer in the prologue to the Canterbury Tales.

[335] Idle, silly.

[336] Quy. “swerved” (an imperfect rhyme to “erred”)?

[337] See note, vol. i. p. 9.

[338] Old eds. “Gods.”

[339] “Sadly”—in sober truth.

[340] Salamis,—a town of Cyprus.

[341] Van-guard.

[342] Volunteers.

[343] Soldiers. (Span.)

[344] See note, vol. i. p. 24.

[345] Dung-cart.

[346] Contemptuous term for Papists.



Quœdam videntur, et non sunt.

I cannot show in strange proportion,
Changing my hue like a cameleon;
But you all-canning[347] wits, hold water out,
Ye vizarded-bifronted-Janian rout.
Tell me, brown Ruscus, hast thou Gyges’ ring,
That thou presumest as if thou wert unseen?
If not, why in thy wits half capreal
Lett’st thou a superscribèd letter fall?
And from thyself unto thyself dost send,
And in the same thyself thyself commend?    10
For shame! leave running to some satrapas,
Leave glavering[348] on him in the peopled press;
Holding him on as he through Paul’s doth walk,
With nods and legs[349] and odd superfluous talk;
Making men think thee gracious in his sight,
When he esteems thee but a parasite.
For shame! unmask; leave for to cloke intent,
And show thou art vain-glorious, impudent.
Come, Briscus, by the soul of compliment,
I’ll not endure that with thine instrument    20
(Thy gambo-viol placed betwixt thy thighs,
Wherein the best part of thy courtship lies)
Thou entertain the time, thy mistress by.
Come, now let’s hear thy mounting Mercury.
What! mum? Give him his fiddle once again,
Or he’s more mute than a Pythagoran.
But oh! the absolute Castilio,[350]
He that can all the points of courtship show;
He that can trot a courser, break a rush,
And arm’d in proof, dare dure a straw’s strong push;    30
He, who on his glorious scutcheon
Can quaintly show wit’s new invention,
Advancing forth some thirsty Tantalus,
Or else the vulture on Prometheus,
With some short motto of a dozen lines;
He that can purpose it in dainty rhymes,
Can set his face, and with his eye can speak,
Can dally with his mistress’ dangling feak,[351]
And wish that he were it, to kiss her eye
And flare about her beauty’s deity:—    40
Tut! he is famous for his revelling,
For fine set speeches, and for sonnetting;
He scorns the viol and the scraping stick,
And yet’s but broker of another’s wit.
Certes, if all things were well known and view’d,
He doth but champ that which another chew’d.
Come, come, Castilion, skim thy posset curd,
Show thy queer substance, worthless, most absurd.
Take ceremonious compliment from thee!
Alas! I see Castilio’s beggary.    50
O if Democritus were now alive,
How he would laugh to see this devil thrive!
And by an holy semblance blear men’s eyes,
When he intends some damnèd villanies.
Ixion makes fair weather unto Jove,
That he might make foul work with his fair love;
And is right sober in his outward semblance,
Demure, and modest in his countenance;
Applies himself to great Saturnus’ son,
Till Saturn’s daughter yields his motion.    60
Night-shining Phœbe knows what was begat—
A monstrous Centaur illegitimate.
Who would not chuck to see such pleasing sport—
To see such troops of gallants still resort
Unto Cornuto’s shop? What other cause
But chaste Brownetta,[352] Sporo thither draws?
Who now so long hath praised the chough’s white bill,
That he hath left her ne’er a flying quill:
His meaning gain, though outward semblance love,
So like a crabfish Sporo still doth move.    70
Laugh, laugh, to see the world, Democritus,
Cry like that strange transformèd Tereus.[353]
Now Sorbo, with a feignèd gravity,
Doth fish for honour and high dignity.
Nothing within, nor yet without, but beard,
Which thrice he strokes, before I ever heard
One wise grave word to bless my listening ear.
But mark how Good Opinion doth him rear:
See, he’s in office, on his foot-cloth placed;
Now each man caps, and strives for to be graced    80
With some rude nod of his majestic head,
Which all do wish in limbo harrièd.
But O I grieve that good men deign to be
Slaves unto him that’s slave to villany!
Now Sorbo swells with self-conceited sense,
Thinking that men do yield this reverence
Unto his virtues: fond credulity!
Ass, take[354] off Isis, no man honours thee.
Great Tubrio’s feather gallantly doth wave,
Full twenty falls[355] doth make him wondrous brave.    90
O golden jerkin! royal arming coat!
Like ship on sea, he on the land doth float.
He’s gone, he’s shipp’d, his resolution
Pricks him[356] (by Heaven) to this action.
The pox it doth! Not long since did I view
The man betake him to a common stew;
And there (I wis), like no quaint-stomach’d man,
Eats up his arms; and war’s munition,
His waving plume, falls in the broker’s chest.
Fie! that his ostrich stomach should disgest    100
His ostrich feather, eat up Venice lace!
Thou[357] that didst fear to eat poor-johns a space,
Lie close, ye slave, at beastly luxury!
Melt and consume in pleasure’s surquedry![358]
But now, thou that didst march with Spanish pike before,
Come with French pox out of that brothel door.
The fleet’s return’d. What news from Rodio?[359]
“Hot service, by the Lord,” cries Tubrio.
Why dost thou halt? “Why, six times through each thigh
Push’d with the pike of the hot enemy!    110
Hot service, hot, the Spaniard is a man;
I say no more, and as a gentleman
I served in his face. Farewell. Adieu.”
Welcome from Netherland, from steaming stew.
Ass to thy crib, doff that huge lion’s skin,
Or else the owl will hoot and drive thee in.
For shame, for shame! lewd-living Tubrio,
Presume not troop among that gallant crew
Of true heroic spirits; come, uncase,
Show us the true form of Dametas’[360] face.    120
Hence, hence, ye slave! dissemble not thy state,
But henceforth be a turncoat, runagate.
O hold my sides! that I may break my spleen
With laughter at the shadows I have seen!
Yet I can bear with Curio’s nimble feet,
Saluting me with capers in the street,
Although in open view and people’s face,
He fronts me with some spruce, neat, cinquepace;[361]
Or Tullus, though, whene’er he me espies,
Straight with loud mouth “A bandy, sir,“[362] he cries;    130
Or Robrus, who, addict to nimble fence,
Still greets me with stockado’s[363] violence.
These I do bear, because I too well know
They are the same they seem in outward show.
But all confusion sever from mine eye
This Janian bifront, Hypocrisy.

[347] i.e., all-kenning, all-knowing. Marston uses the word two or three times.

[348] Fawning.

[349] Bows.

[350] A mirror of refinement, a gallant of Castilian breeding. But there is also a reference to Baldessar Castiglione, author of the celebrated treatise Il Cortese. So in Guilpin’s Skialeheia, 1598, the name “Balthazer” is applied to a spruce courtier:—
“Come to the court, and Balthazer affords
Fountains of holy and rose-water words.
Hast thou need of him and wouldst find him kind?
Nay, then, go by, the gentleman is blind.” Sig. C. 4.

[351] Lock of hair?

[352] See note, vol. ii. p. 60.

[353] Who was transformed into the hoopoe. Old ed. “Tyreus.”

[354] Old ed. “talke;” but the correction is made in the author’s list of errata.

[355] Falling bands, which lay upon the shoulders.

[356] “Him”—omitted in old ed., but supplied in the author’s list of errata.

[357] i.e., you who feared a short while ago (“a space”) that you would have to dine off stock-fish.

[358] Wantonness.

[359] “Is the reference to Essex’s expedition to Cadiz in 1596? Rodao is the Italian form of a Portuguese town in the province of Beira.”—Grosart.

[360] The foolish shepherd in Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia.

[361] The name of a dance.

[362] Tullus can talk of nothing but tennis.

[363] A thrust in fencing.


Quædam sunt, et non videntur.

I, that even now lisp’d like an amorist,
Am turn’d into a snaphance[364] satirist.
O title, which my judgment doth adore!
But I, dull-sprited fat Bœotian[365] boor,
Do far off honour that censorian seat;
But if I could in milk-white robes entreat
Plebeians’ favour, I would show to be
Tribunus plebis, ’gainst the villany
Of these same Proteans, whose hypocrisy
Doth still abuse our fond credulity.    10
But since myself am not immaculate,
But many spots my mind doth vitiate,
I’ll leave the white robe and the biting rhymes
Unto our modern Satire’s sharpest lines,
Whose hungry fangs snarl at some secret sin,
And in such pitchy clouds enwrappèd been
His Sphinxian riddles, that old Œdipus
Would be amazed, and take it in foul snuffs
That such Cymmerian darkness should involve
A quaint conceit that he could not resolve.    20
O darkness palpable! Egypt’s black night!
My wit is stricken blind, hath lost his sight;
My shins are broke with groping for some sense,
To know to what his words have reference.
Certes, sunt but non videntur that I know;
Reach me some poets’ index that will show.
Imagines Deorum, Book of Epithets,
Natalis Comes,[366] thou I know recites,
And makest anatomy of poesy;
Help me to unmask the satire’s secrecy;    30
Delphic Apollo, aid me to unrip
These intricate deep oracles of wit—
These dark enigmas, and strange riddling sense,
Which pass my dullard brain’s intelligence.
Fie on my senseless pate! Now I can show
Thou writest that which I nor thou dost know.
Who would imagine that such squint-eyed sight
Could strike the world’s deformities so right?
But take heed, Pallas, lest thou aim awry;
Love nor yet Hate had e’er true-judging eye.    40
Who would once dream that that same elegy,
That fair-framed piece of sweetest poesy,
Which Muto put betwixt his mistress’ paps
(When he, quick-witted, call’d her Cruel Chaps,
And told her there he might his dolors read
Which she, O she! upon his heart had spread),
Was penn’d by Roscio the tragedian?
Yet Muto, like a good Vulcanian—
An honest cuckold—calls the bastard, son,
And brags of that which others for him done.    50
Satire, thou liest, for that same elegy
Is Muto’s own, his own dear poesy:
Why, ’tis his own, and dear, for he did pay
Ten crowns for it, as I heard Roscius say.—
Who would imagine yonder sober man,
That same devout meal-mouth’d precisian,
That cries “Good brother,” “Kind sister,” makes a duck
After the antique grace, can always pluck
A sacred book out of his civil hose,
And at th’ op’ning and at our stomach’s close,    60
Says with a turn’d-up eye a solemn grace
Of half an hour; then with silken face
Smiles on the holy crew, and then doth cry,
“O manners! O times of impurity!”
What that depaints[367] a church-reformed state,
The which the female tongues magnificate,
Because that Plato’s odd opinion
Of all things common hath strong motion
In their weak minds;—who thinks that this good man
Is a vile, sober, damned politician?    70
Not I, till with his bait of purity
He bit me sore in deepest usury.
No Jew, no Turk, would use a Christian
So inhumanely as this Puritan.
Diomedes’ jades were not so bestial
As this same seeming saint—vile cannibal!
Take heed, O world! take heed advisedly
Of these same damnèd anthropophagi.
I had rather be within a harpy’s claws
Than trust myself in their devouring jaws,    80
Who all confusion to the world would bring
Under the form of their new discipline.
O I could say, Briareus’ hundred hands
Were not so ready to bring Jove in bands,
As these to set endless contentious strife
Betwixt Jehovah and his sacred wife!
But see—who’s yonder? True Humility,
The perfect image of fair Courtesy;
See, he doth deign to be in servitude
Where he hath no promotion’s livelihood!    90
Mark, he doth courtesy, and salutes a block,
Will seem to wonder at a weathercock;
Trenchmore[368] with apes, play music to an owl,
Bless his sweet honour’s running brasil[369] bowl;
Cries “Bravely broke!” when that his lordship miss’d,
And is of all the throngèd[370] scaffold hiss’d;
O is not this a courteous-minded man?
No fool, no; a damn’d Machiavelian;
Holds candle to the devil for a while,
That he the better may the world beguile,    100
That’s fed with shows. He hopes, though some repine,
When sun is set the lesser stars will shine;
He is within a haughty malcontent,
Though he do use such humble blandishment.
But, bold-faced Satire, strain not over-high,
But laugh and chuck at meaner gullery.
In faith, yon is a well-faced gentleman;
See how he paceth like a Cyprian!
Fair amber tresses of the fairest hair
That ere were wavèd by our London air;    110
Rich lacèd suit, all spruce, all neat, in truth.
Ho, Lynceus! what’s yonder brisk neat youth
’Bout whom yon troop of gallants flocken so,
And now together to Brown’s Common go?
Thou know’st, I am sure; for thou canst cast thine eye
Through nine mud walls, or else old poets lie.
“’Tis loose-legg’d Lais, that same common drab
For whom good Tubrio took the mortal stab.”[371]
Ha, ha! Nay, then, I’ll never rail at those
That wear a codpis,[372] thereby to disclose    120
What sex they are, since strumpets breeches use,
And all men’s eyes save Lynceus can abuse.
Nay, stead of shadow, lay the substance out,
Or else, fair Briscus, I shall stand in doubt
What sex thou art, since such hermaphrodites,
Such Protean shadows so delude our sights.
Look, look, with what a discontented grace
Bruto the traveller doth sadly[373] pace
’Long Westminster! O civil-seeming shade,
Mark his sad colours!—how demurely clad!    130
Staidness itself, and Nestor’s gravity,
Are but the shade of his civility.
And now he sighs: “O thou corrupted age,
Which slight regard’st men of sound carriage!
Virtue, knowledge, fly to heaven again;
Deign not ’mong these ungrateful sots remain!
Well, some tongues I know, some countries I have seen,
And yet these oily snails respectless been
Of my good parts.” O worthless puffy slave!
Didst thou to Venice go ought[374] else to have,    140
But buy a lute and use a courtesan,[375]
And there to live like a Cyllenian?[376]
And now from thence what hither dost thou bring,
But surphulings,[377] new paints, and poisoning,[378]
Aretine’s[379] pictures, some strange luxury,
And new-found use of Venice venery?
What art thou but black clothes? Sad Bruto, say,
Art anything but only sad[380] array?
Which I am sure is all thou brought’st from France,
Save Naples pox and Frenchmen’s dalliance;    150
From haughty Spain, what brought’st thou else beside
But lofty looks and their Lucifrian pride?
From Belgia, what but their deep bezeling,[381]
Their boot-carouse[382] and their beer-buttering?
Well, then, exclaim not on our age, good man,
But hence, polluted Neapolitan.
Now, Satire, cease to rub our gallèd skins,
And to unmask the world’s detested sins;
Thou shalt as soon draw Nilus river dry
As cleanse the world from foul impiety.    160

[364] A spring-lock to a gun; hence applied to anything that goes off sharply.

[365] Old ed. “Boetian.”

[366] Old ed.Natales Comes.”—Noël Conti (1520-1580), a native of Milan, better known under his Latinised name, Natalis Comes, was the author of Mythologiæ, sive explicationis Fabularum, libri decem, first printed at Venice in 1551, and frequently reprinted. To some editions are appended Deorum Imagines ... M. Antonii Tritonii Vtinensis. Many old treatises on mythology have the title Imagines Deorum.

[367] We had the word “depaint” in vol. i., p. 90. It is as old as Chaucer.

[368] Dance trenchmore—a lively rustic dance.

[369] A sort of hard wood, used in dyeing to produce a red colour.—It is a very old word and is still in use.

[370] Old ed. “thurnged.”

[371] It has been suggested, without the slightest shadow of foundation, that the allusion is to the death of Marlowe. Dr. Nicholson (Grosart’s Marston, p. xlvi.) says:—“If Tubrio be Marlowe, then the hitherto unknown courtesan was the hermaphroditic ‘Moll Cutpurse’” At the earliest computation Moll was born in 1584-5 (see Middleton, iv. 3); and Marlowe died in 1593.—(In old ed. the line runs:—“For from good Tubrio looke the mortall stab.” The correction is made in the author’s list of errata.)

[372] I have kept this spelling, as it was doubtless used intentionally. Nashe, in his droll abuse of Barnabe Barnes, writes:—“The first of them (which is Barnes) presently upon it, because he would be noted, getting him a strange pair of Babylonian breeches with a codpisse as big as a Bolonian sausage,” &c. (Works, ed. Grosart, iii. 162).

[373] Cf. vol. i. p. 12, “Now as solemn as a traveller,” and the note on that passage.

[374] Old ed. “oft”—corrected in the author’s list of errata.

[375] Old ed. “Currezan.”

[376] Mercury was born on Cyllene, a mountain in Arcadia. Hence Marston uses the term, Cyllenian for a person of mercurial disposition.

[377] Cosmetics.

[378] Nashe in The Unfortunate Traveller writes in a similar strain:—“Italy, the paradise of the earth and the epicure’s heaven, how doth it form our young master?... From thence he brings the art of atheism, the art of epicurising, the art of whoring.” Ascham and others make similar observations.

[379] Illustrations (after paintings of Giulio Romano) of the positions in venery. Aretine wrote verses to accompany the designs.

[380] Old ed. “say”—corrected in the author’s list of errata.

[381] Tippling.

[382] Dr. Grosart quotes from Hall’s Satires, vi. i. 81-2:—
“When erst our dry-soul’d sires so lavish were
To charge whole bootsful to their friends’ welfare.”


Quædam et sunt, et videntur.

Now, grim Reproof, swell in my rough-hued rhyme,
That thou mayst vex the guilty of our time.
Yon is a youth whom how can I o’er-slip,
Since he so jump doth in my meshes hit?
He hath been longer in preparing him
Than Terence wench; and now behold he’s seen.
Now, after two years’ fast and earnest prayer
The fashion change not (lest he should despair
Of ever hoarding up more fair gay clothes),
Behold at length in London street he shows.    10
His ruff did eat more time in neatest setting
Than Woodstock’s[383] work in painful perfecting;
It hath more doubles far than Ajax’ shield
When he ’gainst Troy did furious battle wield.
Nay, he doth wear an emblem ’bout his neck;
For under that fair ruff so sprucely set,
Appears a fall, a falling-band forsooth.
O dapper, rare, complete, sweet nitty[384] youth!
Jesu Maria! How his clothes appear
Cross’d and recross’d with lace, sure for some fear    20
Lest that some spirit with a tippet mace[385]
Should with a ghastly show affright his face.
His hat, himself, small crown and huge great brim,
Fair outward show, and little wit within.
And all the band with feathers he doth fill,
Which is a sign of a fantastic still.
Why, so[386] he is, his clothes do sympathise
And with his inward spirit humorise,
As sure as (some do tell me) evermore
A goat doth stand before a brothel door.    30
His clothes perfumed, his fusty mouth is aired,
His chin new swept, his very cheeks are glaired.[387]
But ho! what Ganymede is that doth grace
The gallant’s heels? One who for two days’ space
Is closely hired. Now who dares not call
This Æsop’s crow—fond, mad, fantastical?
An open ass, that is not yet so wise
As his derided fondness to disguise.
Why, thou art Bedlam mad, stark lunatic,
And glori’st to be counted a fantastic;    40
Thou neither art, nor yet will seem to be,
Heir to some virtuous praisèd quality.
O frantic man! that thinks all villany
The complete honours of nobility!
When some damn’d vice, some strange misshapen suit,
Make youths esteem themselves in high repute.
O age! in which our gallants boast to be
Slaves unto riot and rude luxury!
Nay, when they blush, and think an honest act
Doth their supposèd virtues maculate!    50
Bedlam, Frenzy, Madness, Lunacy,
I challenge all your moody empery
Once to produce a more distracted man
Than is inamorato Lucian.
For when my ears received a fearful sound
That he was sick, I went, and there I found
Him laid of love, and newly brought to bed
Of monstrous folly and a frantic head.
His chamber hang’d about with elegies,
With sad complaints of his love’s miseries;    60
His windows strew’d with sonnets, and the glass
Drawn full of love-knots. I approach’d the ass,
And straight he weeps, and sighs some sonnet out
To his fair love! And then he goes about
For to perfume her rare perfection
With some sweet-smelling pink epitheton;
Then with a melting look he writhes his head,
And straight in passion riseth in his bed;
And having kiss’d his hand, stroke up his hair,
Made a French conge, cries, “O cruel fear!”    70
To the antic bedpost. I laugh’d amain,
That down my cheeks the mirthful drops did rain.
Well, he’s no Janus, but substantial,
In show and essence a good natural;
When as thou hear’st me ask spruce Duceus
From whence he comes; and he straight answers us,
From Lady Lilla; and is going straight
To the Countess of (——), for she doth wait
His coming, and will surely send her coach,
Unless he make the speedier approach:    80
Art not thou ready for to break thy spleen
At laughing at the fondness thou hast seen
In this vain-glorious fool, when thou dost know
He never durst unto these ladies show
His pippin face? Well, he’s no accident,
But real, real, shameless, impudent;
And yet he boasts, and wonders that each man
Can call him by his name, sweet Ducean;
And is right proud that thus his name is known.
Ay, Duceus, ay, thy name is too far blown:    90
The world too much, thyself too little know’st,
Thy private self. Why, then, should Duceus boast?
But, humble Satire, wilt thou deign display
These open nags, which purblind eyes bewray?
Come, come, and snarl more dark at secret sin,
Which in such labyrinths enwrappèd bin,
That, Ariadne, I must crave thy aid
To help me find where this foul monster’s laid;
Then will I drive the Minotaur from us,
And seem to be a second Theseus.    100

[383] The maze at Woodstock.

[384] I suppose that “nitty” = spruce (Lat. nitidus). The usual meaning of “nitty” is—lousy.

[385] Carried by the sheriff’s officer when he arrested a man for debt.

[386] In the original, the couplet “Why, so ... humorise,” follows l. 36. Mr. Gosse pointed out this error (Grosart’s Marston, p. li.); he proposes to put the couplet about the goat lower down.

[387] Anointed with the white of an egg.—Old eds. “glazed.”



Now doth Rhamnusia Adrastian,
Daughter of Night, and of the Ocean,
Provoke my pen. What cold Saturnian
Can hold, and hear such vile detraction?
Ye pines of Ida, shake your fair-grown height,
For Jove at first dash will with thunder fight;
Ye cedars, bend, ’fore lightning you dismay;
Ye lions tremble, for an ass doth bray.
Who cannot rail?—what dog but dare to bark
’Gainst Phœbe’s brightness in the silent dark?    10
What stinking scavenger (if so he will,
Though streets be fair) but may right easily fill
His dungy tumbrel? Sweep, pare, wash, make clean,
Yet from your fairness he some dirt can glean.
The windy-colic striv’d to have some vent,
And now ’tis flown, and now his rage is spent.
So have I seen the fuming waves to fret,
And in the end naught but white foam beget;
So have I seen the sullen clouds to cry,
And weep for anger that the earth was dry,    20
After their spite that all the hail-shot drops
Could never pierce the crystal water tops,
And never yet could work her more disgrace
But only bubble quiet Thetis’ face
Vain envious detractor from the good,
What cynic spirit rageth in thy blood?
Cannot a poor mistaken title ’scape,
But thou must that into thy tumbrel scrape?
Cannot some lewd immodest beastliness
Lurk and lie hid in just forgetfulness,    30
But Grillus’[388] subtile-smelling swinish snout
Must scent and grunt, and needs will find it out?
Come, dance, ye stumbling satyrs by his side,
If he list once the Sion Muse deride;
Ye Granta’s white nymphs, come, and with you bring
Some sillabub, whilst he doth sweetly sing
’Gainst Peter’s tears[389] and Mary’s moving moan,
And like a fierce enragèd boar doth foam
At sacred sonnets. O daring hardiment!
At Bartas’ sweet Semains[390] rail impudent;    40
At Hopkins, Sternhold, and the Scottish King,[391]
At all translators that do strive to bring
That stranger language to our vulgar tongue,
Spit in thy poison their fair acts among;
Ding[392] them all down from fair Jerusalem,
And mew them up in thy deserved Bedlam.
Shall Paynims honour their vile falsèd gods
With sprightly wits, and shall not we by odds
Far, far more strive with wit’s best quintessence
To adore the sacred ever-living essence?    50
Hath not strong reason moved the legists’ mind,
To say the fairest of all nature’s kind
The prince by his prerogative may claim?
Why may not then our souls, without thy blame
(Which is the best thing that our God did frame),
Devote the best part to his sacred name,
And with due reverence and devotion,
Honour his name with our invention?
No, poesy not fit for such an action,
It is defiled with superstition:    60
It honoured Baal, therefore pollute, pollute—
Unfit for such a sacred institute.
So have I heard a heretic maintain
The church unholy, where Jehovah’s name
Is now adored, because he surely knows
Sometimes[393] it was defiled with Popish shows;
The bells profane, and not to be endured,
Because to Popish rites they were inured.
Pure madness! Peace, cease to be insolent,
And be not outward sober, inly impudent.    70
Fie, inconsiderate! it grieveth me
An academic should so senseless be.
Fond censurer! why should those mirrors seem
So vile to thee, which better judgments deem
Exquisite then, and in our polish’d times
May run for senseful tolerable lines?
What, not mediocria firma from thy spite?
But must thy envious hungry fangs needs light
On Magistrates’ Mirror?[394] Must thou needs detract
And strive to work his ancient honour’s wrack?    80
What, shall not Rosamond[395] or Gaveston
Ope their sweet lips without detraction?
But must our modern critic’s envious eye
Seem thus to quote some gross deformity,
Where art, not error, shineth in their style,
But error, and no art, doth thee beguile?
For tell me, critic, is not fiction
The soul of poesy’s invention?
Is’t not the form, the spirit, and the essence,
The life, and the essential difference,    90
Which omni, semper, soli, doth agree
To heavenly descended poesy?
Thy wit God comfort, mad chirurgion.
What, make so dangerous an incision?—
At first dash whip away the instrument
Of poet’s procreation! Fie, ignorant!
When as the soul and vital blood doth rest,
And hath in fiction only interest,
What, Satire, suck the soul from poesy,
And leave him spriteless! O impiety!    100
Would ever any erudite pedant[396]
Seem in his artless lines so insolent?
But thus it is when petty Priscians
Will needs step up to be censorians.
When once they can in true scann’d verses frame
A brave encomium of good Virtue’s name;
Why, thus it is, when mimic apes will strive
With iron wedge the trunks of oaks to rive.
But see, his spirit of detraction
Must nibble at a glorious action.    110
Euge! some gallant spirit, some resolvèd blood,
Will hazard all to work his country’s good,
And to enrich his soul and raise his name,
Will boldly sail unto the rich Guiane:
What then? Must straight some shameless satirist,[397]
With odious and opprobrious terms insist
To blast so high resolv’d intention
With a malignant vile detraction?
So have I seen a cur dog in the street
Piss ’gainst the fairest posts he still could meet;    120
So have I seen the March wind strive to fade
The fairest hue that art or nature made:
So envy still doth bark at clearest shine,
And strives to stain heroic acts divine.
Well, I have cast thy water, and I see
Th’ art fall’n to wit’s extremest poverty,
Sure in consumption of the spritely part.
Go, use some cordial for to cheer thy heart,
Or else I fear that I one day shall see
Thee fall into some dangerous lethargy.    130
But come, fond braggart, crown thy brows with bay,
Intrance thyself in thy sweet ecstasy;
Come, manumit thy plumy pinion,
And scour the sword of elvish champion;
Or else vouchsafe to breathe in wax-bound quill,
And deign our longing ears with music fill;
Or let us see thee some such stanzas frame,
That thou mayst raise thy vile inglorious name.
Summon the Nymphs and Dryades to bring
Some rare invention, whilst thou dost sing    140
So sweet that thou mayst shoulder from above
The eagle from the stairs of friendly Jove,[398]
And lead sad Pluto captive with thy song,
Gracing thyself, that art obscured so long.
Come, somewhat say (but hang me when ’tis done)
Worthy of brass and hoary marble stone;
Speak, ye attentive swains, that heard him never,
Will not his pastorals[399] endure for ever?
Speak, ye that never heard him ought but rail,
Do not his poems bear a glorious sail?    150
Hath not he strongly justled from above
The eagle from the stairs of friendly Jove?
May be, may be; tut! ’tis his modesty;
He could, if that he would: nay, would, if could, I see.
Who cannot rail, and with a blasting breath
Scorch even the whitest lilies of the earth?
Who cannot stumble in a stuttering style,
And shallow heads with seeming shades beguile?
Cease, cease, at length to be malevolent
To fairest blooms of virtues eminent;    160
Strive not to soil the freshest hues on earth
With thy malicious and upbraiding breath.
Envy, let pines of Ida rest alone,
For they will grow spite of thy thunder-stone;
Strive not to nibble in their swelling grain
With toothless gums of thy detracting brain;
Eat not thy dam, but laugh and sport with me
At strangers’ follies with a merry glee.
Let’s not malign our kin. Then, satirist,
I do salute thee with an open fist.[400]    170

[388] The allusion in the following lines is to Hall’s Satires, i. 8. See Introduction, vol. i.—Grillus was one of Ulysses’ companions who were turned into swine. When the others rejoiced at resuming their human shape, Grillus preferred to remain a swine.

[389] An allusion to Southwell’s poems Saint Peter’s Complaint and The Virgin Mary to Christ on the Cross.

[390] The allusion is to Sylvester’s once famous translations of Du Bartas.

[391] James in his Poetical Exercises (1591) published a translation of Du Bartas’ poem The Furies; but there seems also to be a reference to the metrical translation of the psalms (first published in 1631), on which James was known to be engaged.

[392] Dash.

[393] Often used for sometime.

[394] In Hall’s Satires, i. 5, the Mirror of Magistrates is ridiculed.

[395] The allusion is to Daniel’s Complaint of Rosamond, 1592, and to Michael Drayton’s Complaint of Gaveston, 1593. I cannot discover any abuse of Daniel or Drayton in Hall’s Satires. I have elsewhere suggested (Marlowe, iii. 243) that Marston is here glancing at Sir John Davies’ forty-fifth epigram, in which a conceit from Daniel’s Rosamond is ridiculed.

[396] A sneer at Hall, who left Cambridge (soon to return), before completing his course, to take temporary work as a schoolmaster, as he relates in Some Specialities of the Life of Joseph Hall, Bishop of Norwich (Works, ed. Wynter, 1. xxiv).

[397] The satirist is Hall, who wrote in the third satire of Book iv. of Virgidem:—
“Ventrous Fortunio his farm hath sold
And gads to Guiane land to fish for gold.”

[398] Marston is ridiculing Hall’s Defiance to Envy, prefixed to Virgidem.:—
“Or would we loose her plumy pinion,
Manacled long with bonds of modest fear,
Soon might she have those kestrels proud outgone
Whose flighty wings are dew’d with weeter [sic] air;
And hopen now to shoulder from above
The eagle from the stairs of friendly Jove.

“Or list she rather in late triumph rear
Eternal trophies to some conqueror
Whose dead deserts slept in his sepulchre,
And never saw nor life nor light before,
To lead sad Pluto captive with my song
To grace the triumphs he obscured so long, &c.”

[399] It is not improbable that Hall published an early volume of pastorals which is now unknown. See Corser’s Collectanea, vii. 134. In Virgidem. vi. 1. ll. 175-184 (“Shall the controller of proud Nemesis, &c.”), Hall replies to Marston’s raillery.

[400] Edward Guilpin in his sixth Satire (Skialetheia, 1598, sig. E. V.) alludes to Marston’s Reactio:—
“The double-volum’d satire praised is
And liked of divers for his rods in piss,
Yet other some who would her credit crack,
Have clapp’d Reactio’s action on her back.”

The expression “rods in piss” is used in reference to Sat. i. l. 44. of the Scourge of Villainy. “Double-volum’d satire” seems to refer to Hall’s two collections of Satires; but the passage is obscure.


Parva magna, magna nulla.

Ambitious Gorgons, wide-mouth’d Lamians,[401]
Shape-changing Proteans, damn’d Briarians,
Is Minos dead, is Rhadamanth asleep,
That ye thus dare unto Jove’s palace creep?
What, hath Rhamnusia spent her knotted whip,
That ye dare strive on Hebe’s cup to sip?
Yet know Apollo’s quiver is not spent,
But can abate your daring hardiment.
Python is slain, yet his accursèd race
Dare look divine Astrea in the face;    10
Chaos return, and with confusion
Involve the world with strange disunion;
For Pluto sits in that adorèd chair
Which doth belong unto Minerva’s heir.
O hecatombe! O catastrophe![402]
From Midas’ pomp to Irus’ beggary!
Prometheus, who celestial fire
Did steal from heaven, therewith to inspire
Our earthly bodies with a senseful mind,
Whereby we might the depth of nature find,    20
Is ding’d[403] to hell, and vulture eats his heart,
Which did such deep philosophy impart
To mortal men; when thieving Mercury,
That even in his new-born infancy
Stole fair Apollo’s quiver and Jove’s mace,
And would have filch’d the lightning from his place,
But that he fear’d he should have burnt his wing
And sing’d his downy feathers’ new-come spring;
He that in ghastly shade of night doth lead
Our souls unto the empire of the dead;    30
When he that better doth deserve a rope
Is a fair planet in our horoscope,
And now hath Caduceus in his hand,
Of life and death that hath the sole command.
Thus petty thefts are paid and soundly whipt,
But greater crimes are slightly overslipt;
Nay, he’s a god that can do villany
With a good grace and glib facility.
The harmless hunter, with a ventrous eye,
When unawares he did Diana spy    40
Nak’d in the fountain, he became straightway
Unto his greedy hounds a wishèd prey,
His own delights taking away his breath,
And all ungrateful forced his fatal death
(And ever since hounds eat their masters clean,
For so Diana curst them in the stream).
When strong-back’d Hercules, in one poor night,
With great, great ease, and wond[e]rous delight,
In strength of lust and Venus’ surquedry,
Robb’d fifty wenches of virginity—    50
Far more than lusty Laurence[404]—yet, poor soul,
He with Actæon drinks of Nemis’[405] bowl:
When Hercules’ lewd act is registered,
And for his fruitful labour deified,
And had a place in heaven him assigned,
When he the world unto the world resigned.
Thus little scapes are deeply punishèd,
But mighty villains are for gods adored.
Jove brought his sister to a nuptial bed,
And hath an Hebe and a Ganymede,    60
A Leda, and a thousand more beside
His chaste Alcmena and his sister-bride,
Who ’fore his face was odiously defil’d,
And by Ixion grossly got with child:
This thunderer, that right vertuously
Thrust forth his father from his empery,
Is now the great monarcho of the earth,
Whose awful nod, whose all-commanding breath,
Shakes Europe’s ground-work; and his title makes[406]
As dread a noise as when a cannon shakes    70
The subtile air. Thus hell-bred villany
Is still rewarded with high dignity,
When Sisyphus, that did but once reveal
That this incestuous villain had to deal
In isle Phliunte with Ægina fair,[407]
Is damn’d to hell, in endless black despair
Ever to rear his tumbling stone upright
Upon the steepy mountain’s lofty height;
His stone will never now get greenish moss,
Since he hath thus incurred so great a loss    80
As Jove’s high favour. But it needs must be
Whilst Jove doth rule and sway the empery.
And poor Astrea’s fled into an isle,
And lives a poor and banishèd exile,
And there penn’d up, sighs in her sad lament,
Wearing away in pining languishment.
If that Silenus’ ass do chance to bray,
And so the satyrs’ lewdness doth bewray,
Let him for ever be a sacrifice;
Prick, spur, beat, load, for ever tyrannise    90
Over the fool. But let some Cerberus
Keep back the wife of sweet-tongued Orpheus,
Gnato[408] applauds the hound. Let that same child
Of night and sleep (which hath the world defiled
With odious railing) bark ’gainst all the work
Of all the gods, and find some error lurk
In all the graces; let his laver[409] lip
Speak in reproach of Nature’s workmanship;
Let him upbraid fair Venus, if he list,
For her short heel; let him with rage insist    100
To snarl at Vulcan’s man, because he was
Not made with windows of transparent glass,
That all might see the passions of his mind;
Let his all-blasting tongue great errors find
In Pallas’ house, because if next should burn,
It could not from the sudden peril turn;
Let him upbraid great Jove with luxury,
Condemn the heaven’s queen of jealousy:
Yet this same Stygian Momus must be praised,
And to some godhead at the least be raised.    110
But if poor Orpheus sing melodiously,
And strive with music’s sweetest symphony
To praise the gods, and unadvisedly
Do but o’er-slip one drunken deity,
Forthwith the bouzing Bacchus out doth send
His furious Bacchides, to be revenged;
And straight they tear the sweet musician,
And leave him to the dogs’ division.
Hebrus, bear witness of their cruelty,
For thou didst view poor Orpheus’ tragedy.    120
Thus slight neglects are deepest villany,
But blasting mouths deserve a deity.
Since Gallus slept, when he was set to watch
Lest Sol or Vulcan should Mavortius catch
In using Venus; since the boy did nap,
Whereby bright Phœbus did great Mars intrap,
Poor Gallus now (whilom to Mars so dear)
Is turnèd to a crowing chaunticlere;
And ever since, ’fore that the sun doth shine
(Lest Phœbus should with his all-piercing eyne    130
Descry some Vulcan), he doth crow full shrill,
That all the air with echoes he doth fill;
Whilst Mars, though all the gods do see his sin,
And know in what lewd vice he liveth in,
Yet is adored still, and magnified,
And with all honours duly worshipped.
Euge! Small faults to mountains straight are raised;
Slight scapes are whipt, but damnèd deeds are praised.
Fie, fie! I am deceived all this while,
A mist of errors doth my sense beguile;    140
I have been long of all my wits bereaven;
Heaven for hell taking, taking hell for heaven;
Virtue for vice, and vice for virtue still;
Sour for sweet, and good for passing ill.
If not, would vice and odious villany
Be still rewarded with high dignity?
Would damned Jovians be of all men praised,
And with high honours unto heaven raised?
’Tis so, ’tis so; riot and luxury
Are virtuous, meritorious chastity:    150
That which I thought to be damn’d hell-born pride,
Is humble modesty, and nought beside;
That which I deemèd Bacchus’ surquedry,
Is grave and staid, civil sobriety.
O then, thrice holy age, thrice sacred men,
’Mong whom no vice a satire can discern,
Since lust is turnèd into chastity,
And riot unto sad sobriety,
Nothing but goodness reigneth in our age,
And virtues all are join’d in marriage!    160
Here is no dwelling for impiety,
No habitation for base villany;
Here are no subject for reproof’s sharp vein;
Then hence, rude satire, make away amain,
And seek a seat where more impurity
Doth lie and lurk in still security!
Now doth my satire stagger in a doubt,
Whether to cease or else to write it out.
The subject is too sharp for my dull quill;
Some son of Maia, show thy riper skill;    170
For I’ll go turn my tub against the sun,
And wistly mark how higher planets run,
Contemplating their hidden motion.
Then on some Latmos with Endymion,
I’ll slumber out my time in discontent,
And never wake to be malevolent,
A beadle to the world’s impurity.
But ever sleep in still security.
If this displease the world’s wrong-judging sight,
It glads my soul, and in some better sprite    180
I’ll write again. But if that this do please,
Hence, hence, satiric Muse, take endless ease,
Hush now, ye band-dogs, bark no more at me,
But let me slide away in secrecy.


[401] In Topsel’s Hist. of Four-footed Beasts (ed. 1658, pp. 352-5) there is an interesting chapter “of the Lamia.”

[402]Huc usque Xylinum.”—Marginal note in old ed. The meaning is “Bombast—balderdash—up to this point.” Marston lets the reader know that the high-sounding lines at the beginning of this satire are to be taken in jest. See more on p. 342. (Lat. xylinum, Gr. ξύλινον = cotton, bombast.)

[403] Dashed.

[404] Dyce, in a note on a passage of The Captain, iv. 3 (Beaumont and Fletcher, iii. 295), quotes from A Brown Dozen of Drunkards, 1648, sig. C:—“This late Lusty Lawrence, that Lancashire Lad, who had seventeen bastards in one year, if we believe his Ballad,” &c.

[405] Seemingly a contraction (metri causa) of “Nemesis.”

[406]Rex hominumque deorumque.”—Marginal note in old ed.

[407] One legend makes Asopus, father of Aegina, to have been the river that watered the Phliasian territory in Argolis. See Heyne’s note on Apollodorus’ Bibl., iii. 12. 5.

[408] Gnatho,—used by Plautus and Terence as a proper name for a parasite (Gr. γνάθων).

[409] “Laver lip” = hanging lip. Cf. Hall’s Satires, ii. 2:—“A lave-ear’d ass with gold may trappèd be;” and again in iv. 1—“His ears hang laving like a new-lugg’d swine.”

[410] I fail to understand why Epictetus’ name should stand here. The conclusion of this satire is more in ‘Ercles’ vein than in Epictetus’.—At the end of old ed. is a list of “Faults escaped.”


The Scovrge of Villanie. Three bookes of Satyres.
v v v Nec scompros [sic] metuentia carmina nec thus.

At London, Printed by I. R. and are to be sold by Iohn Buzbie, in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Crane, 1598.8vo.

The Scovrge of Villanie. Corrected, with the addition of newe Satyres. Three Bookes of Satyres.

v v v Nec scombros metuentia carmina nec thus.

At London, Printed by I. R.  Anno Dom. 1599.8vo.

The letters “v v v” indicate that the dactyl at the beginning of the line has been dropped.

To[411] his most esteemed and best beloved Self dat dedicatque.

[411] This dedication is not found in ed. 1598.

To Detraction I present my Poesy.

Foul canker of fair virtuous action,
Vile blaster of the freshest blooms on earth,
Envy’s abhorrèd child, Detraction,
I here expose, to thy all-tainting breath,
The issue of my brain: snarl, rail, bark, bite,
Know that my spirit scorns Detraction’s spite.

Know that the Genius, which attendeth on
And guides my powers intellectual,
Holds in all vile repute Detraction;
My soul an essence metaphysical,    10
That in the basest sort scorns critics’ rage
Because he knows his sacred parentage.

My spirit is not puft[412] up with fat fume
Of slimy ale, nor Bacchus’ heating grape.
My mind disdains the dungy muddy scum
Of abject thoughts and Envy’s raging hate.
True judgment slight regards Opinion,
A spritely wit disdains Detraction.

A partial praise shall never elevate
My settled censure of my own esteem;    20
A canker’d verdict of malignant hate
Shall ne’er provoke me worse myself to deem.
Spite of despite and rancour’s villainy,
I am myself, so is my poesy.

[412] Ed. 1598 “huft.”

In Lectores prorsus indignos.

Fie, Satire, fie! shall each mechanic slave,
Each dunghill peasant, free perusal have
Of thy well-labour’d lines?—each[413] satin suit,
Each quaint fashion-monger, whose sole repute
Rests in his trim gay clothes, lie slavering,
Tainting thy lines with his lewd censuring?
Shall each odd puisne[414] of the lawyer’s inn,
Each barmy-froth, that last day did begin
To read his little, or his ne’er a whit,
Or shall some greater ancient, of less wit    10
(That never turn’d but brown tobacco leaves,
Whose senses some damn’d occupant[415] bereaves),
Lie gnawing on thy vacant time’s expense,
Tearing thy rhymes, quite altering the sense?
Or shall perfum’d Castilio censure thee,
Shall he o’erview thy sharp-fang’d poesy
(Who ne’er read further than his mistress’ lips),
Ne’er practised ought but some spruce cap’ring skips,
Ne’er in his life did other language use,
But “Sweet lady, fair mistress, kind heart, dear cuz”—
Shall this phantasma, this Coloss peruse,    21
And blast, with stinking breath, my budding muse?
Fie! wilt thou make thy wit a courtezan
For every broken handcraft’s artisan?
Shall brainless cittern-heads,[416] each jobbernoul,[417]
Pocket the very genius of thy soul?
Ay, Phylo, ay, I’ll keep an open hall,
A common and a sumptuous festival;
Welcome all eyes, all ears, all tongues to me,
Gnaw peasants on my scraps of poesy;    30
Castilios, Cyprians, court-boys, Spanish blocks,[418]
Ribanded[419] ears, Granado netherstocks,[420]
Fiddlers, scriveners, pedlars, tinkering knaves,
Base blue-coats,[421] tapsters, broad-cloth-minded slaves—
Welcome, i’faith; but may you ne’er depart
Till I have made your gallèd hides to smart.
Your gallèd hides? avaunt, base muddy scum,
Think you a satire’s dreadful sounding drum
Will brace itself, and deign to terrify
Such abject peasants’ basest roguery?    40
No, no, pass on, ye vain fantastic troop
Of puffy youths; know I do scorn to stoop
To rip your lives. Then hence, lewd nags, away,
Go read each post,[422] view what is play’d to-day,
Then to Priapus’ gardens.[423] You, Castilio,
I pray thee let my lines in freedom go,
Let me alone, the madams call for thee,
Longing to laugh at thy wit’s poverty.
Sirra livery cloak, you lazy slipper-slave,
Thou fawning drudge, what, wouldst thou satires have?    50
Base mind, away, thy master calls, be gone.
Sweet Gnato, let my poesy alone:
Go buy some ballad of the Fairy King,
And of the beggar wench[424] some roguy thing,
Which thou mayst chant unto the chamber-maid
To some vile tune, when that thy master’s laid.
But will you needs stay? am I forced to bear
The blasting breath of each lewd censurer?
Must naught but clothes, and images of men,
But spriteless trunks, be judges of thy pen?    60
Nay then, come all; I prostitute my muse,
For all the swarms of idiots to abuse.
Read all, view all; even with my full consent,
So you will know that which I never meant;
So you will ne’er conceive, and yet dispraise
That which you ne’er conceived, and laughter raise
Where I but strive in honest seriousness
To scourge some soul-polluting beastliness.
So you will rail, and find huge errors lurk
In every corner of my cynic work.    70
Proface,[425] read on, for your extrem’st dislikes
Will add a pinion to my praise’s flights.
O how I bristle up my plumes of pride,
O how I think my satire’s dignifi’d,
When I once hear some quaint Castilio,
Some supple-mouth’d slave, some lewd Tubrio,
Some spruce pedant, or some span-new-come fry
Of inns-o’-court, striving to vilify
My dark reproofs! Then do but rail at me,
No greater honour craves my poesy.    80

1. But, ye diviner wits, celestial souls,
Whose free-born minds no kennel-thought controlls,
Ye sacred spirits, Maia’s eldest sons—

2. Ye substance of the shadows of our age,
In whom all graces link in marriage,
To you how cheerfully my poem runs!

3. True-judging eyes, quick-sighted censurers,
Heaven’s best beauties, wisdom’s treasurers,
O how my love embraceth your great worth!

4. Ye idols of my soul, ye blessed spirits,    90
How shall I give true honour to your merits,
Which I can better think than here paint forth!

You sacred spirits, Maia’s eldest sons,
To you how cheerfully my poem runs!
O how my love embraceth your great worth,
Which I can better think than here paint forth!
O rare!

[413] Ed. 1598 “shal each.”

[414] A newly-entered student at the inns-of-court. Cf. Middleton, iv. 37:—“Now I, not intending to understand her, but like a puny at the inns of Venery, &c.”

[415] See Dyce’s Shakesp. Gloss., s. Occupy.

[416] In allusion to the grotesque figures carved on the tops of citterns. See Nares’ Glossary.

[417] “A jobbernoll. Teste de bœuf, michon, grosse teste.”—Cotgrave.

[418] Spanish hats, fashionable at this time. “From Spain what bringeth our traveller? A skull-crown’d hat of the fashion of an old deep porrenger,” &c.—Nashe’s Unfortunate Traveller.

[419] See note, vol. ii. p. 391.

[420] So in the Debate between Pride and Lowliness:—“The nether-stocks of pure Granada silk.” See Fairholt’s History of Costume, 1860, p. 211.

[421] Serving-men.

[422] It was the custom to paste on a pillar near the theatre the title of the play that was to be acted.

[423] In the suburbs—particularly near the Curtain Theatre—were many gardens, “either paled or walled round very high, with their arbours and bowers” (Stubbes), to which libertines resorted. See Mr. Halliwell-Phillipps’ chapter on “The Theatre and Curtain” in Outlines of the Life of Shakespeare.

[424] An allusion to a jest (common in the fugitive poetry of the time) about a beggar-wench, with a child at her back, who refused the advances of a knight (on the ground that the child would be injured in the amorous encounter), unless he would allow the child to be strapped to his own back.

[425] “Proface”—an exclamation of welcome from the host to his guests at a feast. See Nares’ Glossary.

To those that seem judicial Perusers.

Know, I hate to affect too much obscurity and harshness, because they profit no sense. To note vices, so that no man can understand them, is as fond as the French execution in picture. Yet there are some (too many) that think nothing good that is so courteous as to come within their reach. Terming all satires bastard which are not palpable dark, and so rough writ that the hearing of them read would set a man’s teeth on edge; for whose unseasoned palate I wrote the first Satire, in some places too obscure, in all places misliking me. Yet when by some scurvy chance it shall come into the late perfumed fist of judicial Torquatus[426] (that, like some rotten stick in a troubled water, hath got a great deal of barmy[427] froth to stick to his sides), I know he will vouchsafe it some of his new-minted epithets (as real, intrinsicate, Delphic), when in my conscience he understands not the least part of it. But from thence proceeds his judgment. Persius is crabby, because ancient, and his jerks (being particularly given to private customs of his time) dusky. Juvenal (upon the like occasion) seems to our judgment gloomy. Yet both of them go a good seemly pace, not stumbling, shuffling. Chaucer is hard even to our understandings: who knows not the reason? how much more those old satires which express themselves in terms that breathed not long even in their days. But had we then lived, the understanding of them had been nothing hard. I will not deny there is a seemly decorum to be observed, and a peculiar kind of speech for a satire’s lips, which I can willinglier conceive than dare to prescribe; yet let me have the substance rough, not the shadow. I cannot, nay, I will not delude your sight with mists; yet I dare defend my plainness against the verjuice-face of the crabbed’st satirist that ever stuttered. He that thinks worse of my rhymes than myself, I scorn him, for he cannot: he that thinks better, is a fool. So favour me, Good Opinion, as I am far from being a Suffenus.[428] If thou perusest me with an unpartial eye, read on: if otherwise, know I neither value thee nor thy censure.

W. Kinsayder.

[426] A hit at Ben Jonson.—See Introduction to vol. i.

[427] Ridiculed by Ben Jonson in the Poetaster.

[428] The poet ridiculed by Catullus.



I bear the scourge of just Rhamnusia,
Lashing the lewdness of Britannia.
Let others sing as their good genius moves,
Of deep designs, or else of clipping loves:
Fair fall them all, that with wit’s industry
Do clothe good subjects in true poesy;
But as for me, my vexèd thoughtful soul
Takes pleasure in displeasing sharp control.
Thou nursing mother of fair Wisdom’s lore,
Ingenuous Melancholy, I implore    10
Thy grave assistance: take thy gloomy seat,
Enthrone thee in my blood; let me entreat,
Stay his quick jocund skips, and force him run
A sad-paced course, until my whips be done.
Daphne, unclip thine arms from my sad brow;
Black cypress crown me, whilst I up do plow
The hidden entrails of rank villainy,
Tearing the veil from damn’d impiety.
Quake, guzzel dogs,[429] that live on putrid slime,
Skud from the lashes of my yerking rhyme.    20

[429] “In other words, dogs of the gutter or drain. A small gutter is still called a guzzle in some of the provinces.”—Halliwell.


Fronti nulla fides.

Marry, God forefend! Martius swears he’ll stab:
Phrygio, fear not, thou art no lying drab.
What though dagger-hack’d mouths of his blade swears
It slew as many as figures of years
Aquafortis eat in’t, or as many more
As methodist[430] Musus kill’d with hellebore
In autumn[431] last; yet he bears that male lie[432]
With as smooth calm as Mecho rivalry.
How ill his shape with inward form doth fage,[433]
Like Aphrogenia’s ill-yoked marriage!    10
Fond physiognomer, complexion
Guides not the inward disposition,
Inclines I yield; thou sayst law; Julia,  ⎫
Or Cato’s often-curst Scatinia,     ⎬
Can take no hold on simp’ring Lesbia. ⎭
True, not on her eye; yet alum oft doth blast
The sprouting bud that fain would longer last.
Chary Casca, right pure, or Rhodanus,
Yet each night drinks in glassy Priapus.[434]
Yon pine is fair, yet foully doth it ill    20
To his own sprouts; mark, his rank drops distill
Foul Naples’ canker[435] in their tender rind.
Woe worth, when trees drop in their proper kind!
Mistagogus, what means this prodigy?
When Hiadolgo speaks ’gainst usury,
When Verres rails ’gainst thieves, Milo doth hate
Murder, Clodius cuckolds, Marius the gate
Of squinting Janus shuts? Run beyond bound
Of Nil ultra, and hang me when one’s found
Will be himself. Had nature turn’d our eyes    30
Into our proper selves, these curious spies
Would be ashamed: Flavia would blush to flout
When Oppia calls Lucina help her out,
If she did think Lynceus did know her ill,
How nature art, how art doth nature spill.
God pardon me! I often did aver,
Quod gratis grate, the astronomer
An honest man; but I’ll do so no more.
His face deceived me; but now, since his whore
And sister are all one, his honesty    40
Shall be as bare as his anatomy,
To which he bound his wife. O, packstaff[436] rhymes!
Why not, when court of stars shall see these crimes?
Rods are in piss—ay, for thee, empirick,
That twenty grains of opium will not stick
To minister to babes. Here’s bloody days,
When with plain herbs Mutius more men slays
Than ere third Edward’s sword! Sooth, in our age,
Mad Coribantes need not to enrage
The people’s minds. You, Ophiogeni[437]    50
Of Hellespont, with wrangling villainy
The swoll’n world’s inly stung, then deign a touch,
If that your fingers can effect so much.
Thou sweet Arabian Panchaia,
Perfume this nasty age: smug Lesbia
Hath stinking lungs, although a simp’ring grace,
A muddy inside, though a surphuled[438] face.
O for some deep-searching Corycean,
To ferret out yon lewd Cinædian![439]
How now, Brutus, what shape best pleaseth thee?    60
All Protean forms, thy wife in venery,
At thy enforcement takes? Well, go thy way,
She may transform thee, ere thy dying day.
Hush, Gracchus hears, that hath retail’d more lies,
Broachèd more slanders, done more villainies,
Than Fabius’ perpetual golden coat
(Which might have Semper idem for a mott)
Hath been at feasts, and led the measuring[440]
At court, and in each marriage revelling;
Writ Palæphatus’[441] comment on those dreams    70
That Hylus takes, ’midst dung-pit reeking steams
Of Athos’ hot-house. Gramercy, modest smile,
Chremes asleep! Paphia, sport the while.
Lucia, new set thy ruff; tut, thou art pure,
Canst thou not lisp “good brother,” look demure?
Fie, Gallus, what, a sceptic Pyrrhonist,
When chaste Dictynna breaks the zonelike twist?
Tut, hang up hieroglyphics. I’ll not feign,
Wresting my humour from his native strain.

[430] A regular physician, opposed to an empiric.

[431] Imitated from Juvenal, x. 221, “Quot Themison aegros autumno occiderit uno.

[432]Male lie”—great, strong lie: perhaps in imitation of Gr. ἄρσην.

[433] Fadge.

[434] From Juvenal—“Vitreo bibit ille Priapo,” Sat. ii. 95. The vitreus Priapus was a drinking-cup fashioned in the shape of a Priapus.

[435] “Naples’ canker”—the pox.

[436]Cf. Hall, Prol. B. iii. ‘Satyres ... packstaff plain.’”—Grosart.

[437] “There is a certain kind of people to whom it is naturally given, either by touching or sucking, to cure the wounding of venomous serpents; called Psylli (a people of Libya) and Marsi, people of Italy, bordering upon the Samnites, and Aequiculania, and those that were called by the ancient writers Ophiogenes, which dwelt about Hellespont, as both Pliny, Aelianus, and Aeneas Silvius do witness.”—Topsel’s Hist. of Serpents, ed. 1658, p. 624.

[438] Washed with Cosmetics.

[439] Gr. κίναιδος.

[440] The measures—a stately dance.

[441] The author of a treatise (Περὶ Απίστων) on mythology.


Difficile est Satiram non scribere.Juve.

I cannot hold, I cannot, I, endure
To view a big-womb’d foggy cloud immure
The radiant tresses of the quick’ning sun:
Let custards quake,[442] my rage must freely run.
Preach not the Stoic’s patience to me;
I hate no man, but men’s impiety.
My soul is vex’d; what power will resist,
Or dares to stop a sharp-fang’d satirist?
Who’ll cool my rage? who’ll stay my itching fist?
But I will plague and torture whom I list.    10
If that the threefold walls of Babylon
Should hedge my tongue, yet I should rail upon
This fusty world, that now dare put in ure[443]
To make JEHOVA but a coverture
To shade rank filth. Loose conscience is free
From all conscience, what else hath liberty?
As’t please the Thracian Boreas to blow,
So turns our airy conscience to and fro.
What icy Saturnist, what northern pate,
But such gross lewdness would exasperate?    20
I think the blind doth see the flame-god rise
From sister’s couch, each morning to the skies,
Glowing with lust. Walk but in dusky night
With Lynceus’ eyes, and to thy piercing sight
Disguisèd gods will show, in peasants’ shape,
Prest[444] to commit some execrable rape.
Here Jove’s lust-pander, Maia’s juggling son,
In clown’s disguise, doth after milkmaids run;
And, ’fore he’ll lose his brutish lechery,
The trulls shall taste sweet nectar’s surquedry.    30
There Juno’s brat forsakes Neries’ (?) bed
And like a swaggerer, lust-firèd,
Attended only with his smock-sworn page,
Pert Gallus, slyly slips along, to wage
Tilting encounters with some spurious seed
Of marrow pies and yawning oysters’ breed.
O damn’d!
Who would not shake a satire’s knotty rod,
When to defile the sacred seat of God
Is but accounted gentlemen’s disport?    40
To snort in filth, each hour to resort
To brothel-pits; alas! a venial crime,
Nay, royal, to be last in thirtieth slime!
Ay me! hard world for satirists begin
To set up shop, when no small petty sin
Is left unpurged! Once to be pursy fat,
Had wont because that life did macerate.
Marry, the jealous queen of air doth frown,
That Ganymede is up, and Hebe down.
Once Albion lived in such a cruel age    50
That[445] men did hold by servile villenage:
Poor brats were slaves of bondmen that were born,
And marted, sold: but that rude law is torn
And disannull’d, as too too[446] inhumane,
That lords o’er peasants should such service strain.
But now (sad change!) the kennel sink of slaves,
Peasant great lords, and servile service craves.
Bond-slave sons had wont be bought and sold;
But now heroës’ heirs (if they have not told
A discreet number[447] ’fore their dad did die)    60
Are made much of: how much from merchandie?
Tail’d, and retail’d, till to the pedlar’s pack
The fourth-hand ward-ware comes; alack, alack![448]
Would truth did know I lied: but truth and I
Do know that sense is born to misery.
Oh would to God this were their worst mischance,
Were not their souls sold to dark ignorance!
Fair godness is foul ill, if mischief’s wit
Be not repress’d from lewd corrupting it.
O what dry brain melts not sharp mustard rhyme,    70
To purge the snottery of our slimy time!
Hence, idle “Cave,” vengeance pricks me on,
When mart is made of fair religion.
Reform’d bald Trebus swore, in Romish quire,
He sold God’s essence for a poor denier.[449]
The Egyptians adorèd onions,
To garlic yielding all devotions.
O happy garlic, but thrice happy you,
Whose scenting gods in your large gardens grew!
Democritus, rise from thy putrid slime,    80
Sport at the madness of that hotter clime,
Deride their frenzy, that for policy
Adore wheat dough as real deity.
Almighty men, that can their Maker make,
And force his sacred body to forsake
The cherubins, to be gnawn actually,
Dividing individuum really;
Making a score of gods with one poor word.
Ay, so I thought, in that you could afford
So cheap a pennyworth. O ample field,    90
In which a satire may just weapon wield
But I am vex’d, when swarms of Julians
Are still manured by lewd precisians,
Who, scorning Church-rites, take the symbol up
As slovenly as careless courtiers slup
Their mutton gruel! Fie! who can withhold,
But must of force make his mild muse a scold,
When that he grievèd sees, with red vex’d eyes,
That Athens’ ancient large immunities
Are eyesores to the Fates! Poor cells forlorn!    100
Is’t not enough you are made an abject scorn
To jeering apes, but must the shadow too
Of ancient substance be thus wrung from you!
O split my heart, lest it do break with rage,
To see th’ immodest looseness of our age!
Immodest looseness? fie, too gentle word,
When every sign can brothelry afford:
When lust doth sparkle from our females’ eyes,
And modesty is roosted in the skies!
Tell me, Galliottæ, what means this sign,    110
When impropriate gentles will turn Capuchine?
Sooner be damn’d! O, stuff satirical!
When rapine feeds our pomp, pomp ripes our fall;
When the guest trembles at his host’s swart look;
The son doth fear his stepdame, that hath took
His mother’s place for lust; the twin-born brother
Maligns his mate, that first came from his mother;
When to be huge, is to be deadly sick;
When virtuous peasants will not spare to lick
The devil’s tail for poor promotion;    120
When for neglect, slubber’d Devotion
Is wan with grief; when Rufus yawns for death
Of him that gave him undeservèd breath;
When Hermus makes a worthy question,
Whether of right,[450] as paraphernalion,
A silver piss-pot[451] fits his lady dame,
Or it’s too good—a pewter best became;
When Agrippina poisons Claudius’ son,
That all the world to her own brat might run;
When the husband gapes that his stale wife would die
That he might once be in by courtesy;    131
The big-paunch’d wife longs for her loath’d mate’s death,
That she might have more jointures here on earth;
When tenure for short years (by many a one)
Is thought right good be[452] turn’d forth Littleton,
All to be heady, or freehold at least,
When ’tis all one, for long life be a beast,
A slave, as have a short-term’d tenancy;
When dead’s the strength of England’s yeomanry;
When inundation of luxuriousness    140
Fats all the world with such gross beastliness:—
Who can abstain? What modest brain can hold,
But he must make his shame-faced muse a scold?

[442] Ridiculed in The Poetaster, v. i.; but we have the expression quaking custard in the prologue to Volpone.

[443] Use.

[444] i.e., intent on committing.

[445] So ed. 1598.—Ed. 1599 “Than.”

[446] See note 1, vol. ii. p. 328.

[447] i.e., if they have not attained their majority.

[448] Dekker, on the other hand, tells us in The Seven Deadly Sins of London, 1606, that orphans were nowhere more carefully guarded than in London. “For what city in the world,” he writes, “does more dry up the tears of the widow and gives more warmth to the fatherless than this ancient and reverend grandame of cities? Where hath the orphan (that is to receive great portions) less cause to mourn the loss of parents? He finds four and twenty grave senators to be his father instead of one; the city itself to be his mother; her officers to be his servants, who see that he want nothing; her laws to suffer none to do him wrong; and though he be never so simple in wit or so tender in years, she looks as warily to that wealth which is left him as to the apple of her own eye.”

[449] A small French coin.

[450] Old eds. “Whether of Wright, as Paraphonalion.”

[451] It would appear from old inventories that these articles were occasionally made of the precious metals.

[452] The text is evidently corrupt.


Redde, age, quæ deinceps risisti.

It’s good be wary, whilst the sun shines clear
(Quoth that old chuff that may dispend by year
Three thousand pound), whilst he of good pretence
Commits himself to Fleet, to save expense.
No country’s Christmas—rather tarry here,
The Fleet is cheap, the country hall too dear.
But, Codrus, hark! the world expects to see
Thy bastard heir rot there in misery.
What! will Luxurio keep so great a hall
That he will prove a bastard in his fall?    10
No; “Come[453] on five! St. George, by Heaven, at all!”
Makes his catastrophe right tragical!
At all? till nothing’s left! Come on, till all comes off,
Ay, hair and all! Luxurio, left a scoff
To leprous filths! O stay, thou impious slave,
Tear not the lead from off thy father’s grave
To stop base brokeage!—sell not thy father’s sheet—
His leaden sheet, that strangers’ eyes may greet
Both putrefaction of thy greedy sire
And thy abhorrèd viperous desire!    20
But wilt thou needs, shall thy dad’s lacky brat
Wear thy sire’s half-rot finger in his hat?
Nay, then, Luxurio, waste in obloquy,
And I shall sport to hear thee faintly cry,
“A die, a drab, and filthy broking knaves,
Are the world’s wide mouths, all-devouring graves.”
Yet Samus keeps a right good house, I hear—
No, it keeps him, and free’th him from chill fear
Of shaking fits. How, then, shall his smug wench,
How shall her bawd (fit time) assist her quench    30
Her sanguine heat? Lynceus, canst thou scent?
She hath her monkey and her instrument
Smooth fram’d at Vitrio. O grievous misery!
Luscus hath left his[454] female luxury;
Ay, it left him! No, his old cynic dad
Hath forc’d him clean forsake his Pickhatch[455] drab.
Alack, alack! what peace of lustful flesh
Hath Luscus left, his Priape to redress?
Grieve not, good soul, he hath his Ganymede,
His perfumed she-goat, smooth-kemb’d and high fed.    40
At Hogson[456] now his monstrous love he feasts,
For there he keeps a bawdy-house of beasts.
Paphus, let Luscus have his courtezan,
Or we shall have a monster of a man.
Tut! Paphus now detains him from that bower,
And clasps him close within his brick-built tower.
Diogenes,[457] thou art damn’d for thy lewd wit,
For Luscus now hath skill to practise it.
Faith, what cares he for fair Cinædian boys,
Velvet-caped[458] goats, Dutch mares? Tut! common toys!
Detain them all on this condition,    51
He may but use his cynic friction.
O now, ye male stews, I can give pretence
For your luxurious incontinence.
Hence, hence, ye falsèd seeming patriots,
Return not with pretence of salving spots,
When here ye soil us with impurity,
And monstrous filth of Doway seminary.
What, though Iberia yield you liberty,
To snort in sauce of Sodom villainy?    60
What, though the blooms of young nobility,
Committed to your Rhodon’s custody,
Ye, Nero-like, abuse? yet ne’er approach
Your new St. Omer’s[459] lewdness here to broach;
Tainting our towns and hopeful academes
With your lust-baiting, most abhorrèd means.
Valladolid, our Athens, ’gins to taste
Of thy rank filth. Camphire and lettuce chaste[460]
Are clean cashier’d; now Sophi ringoes eat,
Candied potatoes are Athenians’ meat.    70
Hence, holy thistle, come sweet marrow-pie,
Enflame our backs to itching luxury.
A crab’s[461] baked guts, a lobster’s butter’d thigh,
I hear them swear is blood for venery.
Had I some snout-fair[462] brats, they should endure
The new-found Castilion calenture
Before some pedant tutor, in his bed,
Should use my frie like Phrygian Ganymede.
Nay, then, chaste cells, when greasy Aretine,
For his rank fico,[463] is surnamed divine;    80
Nay, then, come all ye venial scapes to me,
I dare well warrant you’ll absolvèd be.
Rufus, I’ll term thee but intemperate—
I will not once thy vice exaggerate—
Though that each hour thou lewdly swaggerest,
And at the quarter-day pay’st interest
For the forbearance of thy chalkèd score;
Though that thou keep’st a tally with thy whore:
Since Nero keeps his mother Agrippine,
And no strange lust can satiate[464] Messaline.    90
Tullus, go scotfree; though thou often bragg’st
That, for a false French crown thou vaulting hadst;
Though that thou know’st, for thy incontinence,
Thy drab repaid thee true French pestilence.
But tush! his boast I bear, when Tegeran
Brags that he foists his rotten courtezan
Upon his heir, that must have all his lands,
And them hath join’d in Hymen’s sacred bands.
I’ll wink at Robrus, that for vicinage
Enters common on his next neighbour’s stage;    100
When Jove maintains his sister and his whore,
And she incestuous, jealous evermore
Lest that Europa on the bull should ride;
Woe worth, when beasts for filth are deified!
Alack, poor rogues! what censor interdicts
The venial scapes of him that purses picks?
When some sly golden-slopp’d Castilio
Can cut a manor’s strings at primero?
Or with a pawn shall give a lordship mate,
In statute-staple[465] chaining fast his state?    110
What academic starved satirist
Would gnaw reez’d[466] bacon, or, with ink-black fist,
Would toss each muck-heap for some outcast scraps
Of half-dung bones, to stop his yawning chaps?
Or, with a hungry, hollow, half-pined jaw
Would once a thrice-turn’d bone-pick’d subject gnaw,
When swarms of mountebanks and banditti,
Damn’d Briareans, sinks of villainy,
Factors for lewdness, brokers for the devil,
Infect our souls with all-polluting evil?    120
Shall Lucia scorn her husband’s lukewarm bed
(Because her pleasure, being hurrièd
In jolting coach, with glassy instrument,
Doth far exceed the Paphian blandishment),
Whilst I (like to some mute Pythagoran)
Halter my hate, and cease to curse and ban
Such brutish filth? Shall Matho raise his fame
By printing pamphlets in another’s name,
And in them praise himself, his wit, his might,
All to be deem’d his country’s lanthorn-light?    130
Whilst my tongue’s tied with bonds of blushing shame,
For fear of broaching my concealèd name?
Shall Balbus, the demure Athenian,
Dream of the death of next vicarian,
Cast his nativity, mark his complexion,
Weigh well his body’s weak condition,
That, with gilt sleight, he may be sure to get
The planet’s place when his dim shine shall set?
Shall Curio streak[467] his limbs on his day’s couch,
In summer bower, and with bare groping touch    140
Incense his lust, consuming all the year
In Cyprian dalliance, and in Belgic cheer?
Shall Faunus spend a hundred gallions
Of goat’s pure milk to lave his stallions,
As much rose-juice? O bath! O royal, rich,
To scour Faunus and his salt-proud bitch.
And when all’s cleans’d, shall the slave’s inside stink
Worse than the new cast slime of Thames ebb’d brink,
Whilst I securely let him over-slip,
Ne’er yerking him with my satiric whip?    150
Shall Crispus with hypocrisy beguile,
Holding a candle to some fiend a while—
Now Jew, then Turk, then seeming Christian,
Then Atheist, Papist, and straight Puritan;
Now nothing, anything, even what you list,
So that some gilt[468] may grease his greedy fist?
Shall Damas use his third-hand ward as ill
As any jade that tuggeth in the mill?
What, shall law, nature, virtue be rejected,
Shall these world-arteries be soul-infected    160
With corrupt blood, whilst I shall Martia task,
Or some young Villius all in choler ask
How he can keep a lazy waiting-man,
And buy a hood, and silver-handled fan,
With forty pound? Or snarl at Lollius’ son,
That with industrious pains hath harder won
His true-got worship and his gentry’s name
Than any swineherd’s brat that lousy came
To luskish[469] Athens and, with farming pots,
Compiling beds, and scouring greasy spots,    170
By chance (when he can, like taught parrot, cry
“Dearly belov’d,” with simpering gravity)
Hath got the farm of some gelt[470] vicary,
And now, on cock-horse, gallops jollily;
Tickling, with some stol’n stuff, his senseless cure,
Belching lewd terms ’gainst all sound literature?
Shall I with shadows fight, task bitterly
Rome’s filth, scraping base channel roguery,
Whilst such huge giants shall affright our eyes
With execrable, damn’d inpieties?    180
Shall I find trading Mecho never loath
Frankly to take a damning perjured oath?
Shall Furia broke her sister’s modesty,
And prostitute her soul to brothelry?
Shall Cossus make his well-faced wife a stale,[471]
To yield his braided[472] ware a quicker sale?
Shall cock-horse, fat-paunch’d Milo stain whole stocks
Of well-born souls with his adultering spots?
Shall broking panders suck nobility,
Soiling fair stems with foul impurity?    190
Nay, shall a trencher-slave extenuate
Some Lucrece rape, and straight magnificate
Lewd Jovian lust, whilst my satiric vein
Shall muzzled be, not daring out to strain
His tearing paw? No, gloomy Juvenal,
Though to thy fortunes I disastrous fall.

[453] “Come on five,” “at all,”—old terms in dice-playing.

[454] Ed. 1599 “her.”

[455] A low part of Clerkenwell.

[456] Hoxton,—in Elizabethan times a favourite resort for pleasure-seekers. See particularly the opening of The Passionate Morrice (pt. ii. of Tell-Trothes New Yeares Gift), 1593.

[457] There is an allusion to a scandalous story told of Diogenes the Cynic. See Plutarch’s De Stoicorum Repugnantiis, cap. xxi., and Diogenes Laertius’ Philosophorum Vitæ, vi. 2, 46.

[458] So I understand the “Velvet-cap’t” of the old eds.

[459] Old eds. “S. Homers.”

[460] So Hall in Virgidem., iv. 4:—
“Virginius vow’d to keep his maidenhead,
And eats chaste lettuce and drinks poppy head,
And smells on camphire fasting.”

[461] See vol. i. p. 239.

[462] Hall has this word in Virgidem., iv. 1.

[463] The name of a disease (Gr. σῦκον, Lat. ficus).—Aretine was styled Il divino.

[464] Juvenal, Sat. vi. 130.

[465] See Cowell’s Interpreter.

[466] Rusty, rancid. Hall has the expression “reez’d bacon” in Virgidem., iv. 2.

[467] Stretch. So Hall in Virgidem. vi. 1. 207: “When Lucan streakèd on his marble bed, &c.”

[468] “Gilt” (or gelt)—money.—Old eds. “guilt.”

[469] Clownish.—“Maudolé. Misshapen, ill-framed, ill-favoured, luskish, without proportion.”—Cotgrave. Athens is evidently Cambridge; and Marston is again glancing at Hall.

[470] It seems to have been too common a practice for the patron of a living to pocket the best part of the incumbent’s income—to “geld” the vicarage. Cf. Jack Drum’s Entertainment:—
“Sir, it were good you got a benefice,
Some eunuch’d vicarage or some fellowship”

(Simpsons’s School of Shakspere, ii. 172); Hall’s Virgidem., iv. 2, 105-6:—
“plod at a patron’s tail
To get a gelded chapel’s cheaper sale.”

[471] See note, vol. ii. p. 60.

[472] Faded.



Ay, marry, sir, here’s perfect honesty,
When Martius will forswear all villainy
(All damn’d abuse of payment in the wars,
All filching from his prince and soldiers),
When once he can but so much bright dirt glean
As may maintain one more Whitefriars quean,
One drab more; faith, then farewell villainy,
He’ll cleanse himself to Shoreditch purity.
As for Stadius, I think he hath a soul;
And if he were but free from sharp control    10
Of his sour host, and from his tailor’s bill,
He would not thus abuse his rhyming skill;
Jading our tirèd ears with fooleries,
Greasing great slaves with oily flatteries.
Good faith, I think he would not strive to suit
The back of humorous Time (for base repute
’Mong dunghill peasants), botching up such ware
As may be saleable in Sturbridge fair,
If he were once but freed from specialty;
But sooth, till then, bear with his balladry.    20
I ask’d lewd Gallus when he’ll cease to swear,
And with whole-culverin, raging oaths to tear
The vault of heaven—spitting in the eyes
Of Nature’s nature loathsome blasphemies.
To-morrow, he doth vow, he will forbear.
Next day I meet him, but I hear him swear
Worse than before. I put his vow in mind.
He answers me “To-morrow;” but I find
He swears next day far worse than e’er before,
Putting me off with “morrow” evermore.    30
Thus, when I urge him, with his sophistry
He thinks to salve his damnèd perjury.
Silenus now is old, I wonder, I,
He doth not hate his triple venery.
Cold, writhled[473] eld, his life-sweat[474] almost spent,
Methinks a unity were competent.
But, O fair hopes! he whispers secretly,
When it leaves him he’ll leave his lechery.
When simp’ring Flaccus (that demurely goes
Right neatly tripping on his new-black’d toes)    40
Hath made rich use of his religion,
Of God himself, in pure devotion;
When that the strange ideas in his head
(Broachèd ’mongst curious sots, by shadows led)
Have furnish’d him, by his hoar auditors,
Of fair demesnes and goodly rich manors;
Sooth, then, he will repent when’s treasury
Shall force him to disclaim his heresy.
What will not poor need force? But being sped,
God for us all! the gurmond’s[475] paunch is fed;    50
His mind is changed. But when will he do good?
To-morrow,—ay, to-morrow, by the rood!
Yet Ruscus swears he’ll cease to broke a suit,
By peasant means striving to get repute
’Mong puffy sponges, when the Fleet’s defrayed,
His revel tire, and his laundress paid.
There is a crew which I too plain could name,
If so I might without th’ Aquinians’[476] blame,
That lick the tail of greatness with their lips—
Labouring with third-hand jests and apish skips,    60
Retailing others’ wit, long barrellèd,
To glib some great man’s ears till paunch be fed—
Glad if themselves, as sporting fools, be made
To get the shelter of some high-grown shade.
To-morrow yet these base tricks they’ll cast off,
And cease for lucre be a jeering scoff.
Ruscus will leave when once he can renew
His wasted clothes, that are ashamed to view
The world’s proud eyes; Drusus will cease to fawn
When that his farm, that leaks in melting pawn,    70
Some lord-applauded jest hath once set free:
All will to-morrow leave their roguery.
When fox-furr’d Mecho (by damn’d usury,
Cut-throat deceit, and his craft’s villainy)
Hath raked together some four thousand pound,
To make his smug girl bear a bumming sound
In a young merchant’s ear, faith, then (may be)
He’ll ponder if there be a Deity;
Thinking, if to the parish poverty,
At his wish’d death, be doled a halfpenny,    80
A work of supererogation,
A good filth-cleansing strong purgation.
Aulus will leave begging monopolies
When that, ’mong troops of gaudy butterflies,
He is but able jet it jollily
In piebald suits of proud court bravery.
To-morrow doth Luxurio promise me
He will unline himself from bitchery;
Marry, Alcides thirteenth act must lend
A glorious period, and his lust-itch end,    90
When once he hath froth-foaming Ætna past,
At one-and-thirty,[477] being always last.
If not to-day (quoth that Nasonian),
Much less to-morrow. “Yes,” saith Fabian,
“For ingrain’d habits, dyed with often dips,
Are not so soon discolourèd. Young slips,
New set, are easily mov’d and pluck’d away;
But elder roots clip faster in the clay.”
I smile at thee, and at the Stagyrite,[478]
Who holds the liking of the appetite,    100
Being fed with actions often put in ure,[479]
Hatcheth the soul in quality impure
Or pure; may be in virtue: but for vice,
That comes by inspiration, with a trice.
Young Furius, scarce fifteen years of age,
But is, straightways, right fit for marriage—
Unto the devil; for sure they would agree,
Betwixt their souls there is such sympathy.
O where’s your sweaty habit, when each ape,
That can but spy the shadow of his shape,    110
That can no sooner ken what’s virtuous,
But will avoid it, and be vicious!
Without much do or far-fetch’d habiture,
In earnest thus:—It is a sacred cure
To salve the soul’s dread wounds; omnipotent
That Nature is, that cures the impotent,
Even in a moment. Sure, grace is infused
By Divine favour, not by actions used,
Which is as permanent as heaven’s bliss,
To them that have it; then no habit is.    120
To-morrow, nay, to-day, it may be got,
So please that gracious power cleanse thy spot.
Vice, from privation of that sacred grace
Which God withdraws, but puts not vice in place.
Who says the sun is cause of ugly night?
Yet when he veils our eyes from his fair sight,
The gloomy curtain of the night is spread.
Ye curious sots, vainly by Nature led,
Where is your vice or virtuous habit now?
For Sustine[480] pro nunc doth bend his brow,    130
And old crabb’d Scotus, on the Organon,
Pay’th me with snaphance,[481] quick distinction.
“Habits, that intellectual termèd be,
Are got or else infused from Deity.”
Dull Sorbonist, fly contradiction!
Fie! thou oppugn’st the definition;
If one should say, “Of things term’d rational,
Some reason have, others mere sensual,”
Would not some freshman, reading Porphyry,
Hiss and deride such blockish foolery?    140
“Then vice nor virtue have from habit place;
The one from want, the other sacred grace;
Infused, displaced; not in our will or force,
But as it please Jehovah have remorse.”
I will, cries Zeno. O presumption!
I can. Thou mayst, doggèd opinion
Of thwarting cynics. To-day vicious;
List to their precepts, next day virtuous.
Peace, Seneca, thou belchest blasphemy!
“To live from God, but to live happily”    150
(I hear thee boast) “from thy philosophy,
And from thyself.” O ravening lunacy!
Cynics, ye wound yourselves; for destiny,
Inevitable fate, necessity,
You hold, doth sway the acts spiritual,
As well as parts of that we mortal call.
Where’s then I will? Where’s that strong deity
You do ascribe to your philosophy?
Confounded Nature’s brats! can will and fate
Have both their seat and office in your pate?    160
O hidden depth of that dread secrecy,
Which I do trembling touch in poetry!
To-day, to-day, implore obsequiously;
Trust not to-morrow’s will, lest utterly
Ye be attach’d with sad confusion,
In your grace-tempting lewd presumption.
But I forget. Why sweat I out my brain
In deep designs to gay boys, lewd and vain?
These notes were better sung ’mong better sort;
But to my pamphlet, few, save fools, resort.    170

[473] Writhed, crooked.

[474] Old eds.liues-wet.”

[475] “Gourmand. A glutton, gormand, bellie-god, greedy-gut.”—Cotgrave.

[476] Juvenal was a native of Aquinum: hence Aquinians = satirists.

[477] There was a game at cards called “one-and-thirty.”

[478] ἑνὶ δὴ λόγῳ ἐκ τῶν ὁμοίων ἐνεργειῶν αἱ ἕξεις γίνονται . Arist. Eth. Nicom. ii. 1, 7.

[479] Use.

[480] I.e., maintain the thesis for the occasion.

[481] See note, p. 269.


I cannot quote a mott[482] Italionate,
Or brand my satires with some Spanish term;
I cannot with swoll’n lines magnificate
Mine own poor worth, or as immaculate
Task others’ rhymes, as if no blot did stain,
No blemish soil, my young satiric vein.

Nor can I make my soul a merchandise,
Seeking conceits to suit these artless times;
Or deign for base reward to poetise,
Soothing the world with oily flatteries.    10
Shall mercenary thoughts provoke me write—
Shall I for lucre be a parasite?

Shall I once pen for vulgar sorts applause,
To please each hound, each dungy scavenger;
To fit some oyster-wench’s yawning jaws
With tricksey tales of speaking Cornish daws?[483]
First let my brain (bright-hair’d Latona’s son)
Be clean distract with all confusion.

What though some John-à-Stile will basely toil,
Only incited with the hope of gain:    20
Though roguey thoughts do force some jade-like moil;
Yet no such filth my true-born muse will soil.
O Epictetus, I do honour thee,
To think how rich thou wert in poverty!

[482] Motto.

[483] “Cornish daws”—jackdaws.

Ad rhythmum.

Come, pretty pleasing symphony of words,
Ye well-match’d twins (whose like-tuned tongues affords
Such musical delight), come willingly
And dance lavoltas in my poesy.
Come all as easy as spruce Curio will,
In some court-hall, to show his cap’ring skill;
As willingly come, meet and jump together
As new-join’d loves, when they do clip each other;
As willingly as wenches trip around
About a May-pole after bagpipe’s sound;    10
Come, rhyming numbers, come and grace conceit,
Adding a pleasing close, with your deceit
Enticing ears. Let not my ruder hand
Seem once to force you in my lines to stand;
Be not so fearful (pretty souls) to meet
As Flaccus is the sergeant’s face to greet;
Be not so backward, loth to grace my sense,
As Drusus is to have intelligence
His dad’s alive; but come into my head
As jocundly as (when his wife was dead)    20
Young Lælius to his home. Come, like-faced rhyme,
In tuneful numbers keeping music’s time;
But if you hang an arse, like Tubered,
When Chremes dragg’d him from his brothel bed,
Then hence, base ballad-stuff, my poetry
Disclaims you quite; for know my liberty
Scorns rhyming laws. Alas, poor idle sound!
Since I first Phœbus knew I never found
Thy interest in sacred poesy;
Thou to invention add’st but surquedry,    30
A gaudy ornature, but hast no part
In that soul-pleasing high infusèd art.
Then if thou wilt clip kindly in my lines,
Welcome, thou friendly aid of my designs:
If not, no title of my senseless change
To wrest some forcèd rhyme, but freely range.
Ye scrupulous observers, go and learn
Of Æsop’s dog; meat from a shade discern.


Totum in toto.

Hang thyself, Drusus: hast nor arms nor brain?
So Sophi say, “The gods sell all for pain.”
Not so.
Had not that toiling Theban’s[484] steelèd back
Dread poisoned shafts, lived he now, he should lack
Spite of his farming ox-stalls. Themis’ self
Would be cashier’d from one poor scrap of pelf.
If that she were incarnate in our time,
She might lusk,[485] scornèd in disdainèd slime,
Shaded from honour by some envious mist    10
Of wat’ry fogs, that fill the ill-stuff’d list
Of fair Desert, jealous even of blind dark,
Lest it should spy, and at their lameness bark.
“Honour’s shade thrusts honour’s substance from his place.”
’Tis strange, when shade the substance can disgrace.
“Harsh lines!” cries Curus, whose ears ne’er rejoice
But at the quavering of my lady’s voice.
Rude limping lines fits this lewd halting age:
Sweet-scenting Curus, pardon then my rage,
When wisards[486] swear plain virtue never thrives,    20
None but Priapus by plain dealing wives.
Then, subtile Hermes, are the destinies
Enamour’d on thee! Then up, mount the skies,
Advance, depose, do even what thou list,
So long as fates do grace thy juggling fist.
Tuscus, hast Beuclerc’s arms and strong sinews,
Large reach, full-fed veins, ample revenues?
Then make thy markets by thy proper arm;
O brawny strength is an all-canning[487] charm!
Thou dreadless Thracian![488] hast Hallirhothius slain?    30
What, is’t not possible thy cause maintain
Before the dozen Areopagites?
Come, Enagonian,[489] furnish him with sleights.
Tut, Pluto’s wrath Proserpina can melt,
So that thy sacrifice be freely felt.
What! cannot Juno force in bed with Jove,
Turn and return a sentence with her love?—
Thou art too dusky.—Fie, thou shallow ass!
Put on more eyes, and mark me as I pass.
Well, plainly thus: “Sleight, force are mighty things,    40
From which much (if not most) earth’s glory springs.
If virtue’s self were clad in human shape,
Virtue without these might go beg and scrape.
The naked truth is, a well-clothèd lie,
A nimble quick pate mounts to dignity;
By force or fraud, that matters not a jot,
So massy wealth may fall unto thy lot.”
I heard old Albius swear Flavus should have
His eldest girl, for Flavus was a knave,
A damn’d deep-reaching villain, and would mount    50
(He durst well warrant him) to great account;
What, though he laid forth all his stock and store
Upon some office, yet he’ll gain much more,
Though purchased dear; tut, he will treble it
In some few terms, by his extorting wit.
When I, in simple meaning, went to sue
For tongue-tied Damus, that would needs go woo,
I prais’d him for his virtuous honest life.
“By God,” cries Flora, “I’ll not be his wife!
He’ll ne’er come on.” Now I swear solemnly,    60
When I go next I’ll praise his villainy:
A better field to range in nowadays.
If vice be virtue, I can all men praise.
What, though pale Maurus paid huge simonies
For his half-dozen gelded vicaries,[490]
Yet, with good honest cut-throat usury,
I fear he’ll mount to reverent[491] dignity.
“O sleight, all-canning sleight, all-damning sleight,
The only gally-ladder unto might.”
Tuscus is trade-fall’n; yet great hope he’ll rise,    70
For now he makes no count of perjuries;
Hath drawn false lights[492] from pitch-black loveries,[493]
Glazed his braided[494] ware, cogs, swears, and lies;
Now since he hath the grace, thus graceless be,
His neighbours swear he’ll swell with treasury.
Tut, who maintains such goods, ill-got, decay?
No, they’ll stick by thy[495] soul, they’ll ne’er away.
Luscus, my lord’s perfumer, had no sale
Until he made his wife a brothel-stale.
Absurd, the gods sell all for industry,    80
When what’s not got by hell-bred villainy!
Codrus, my well-faced lady’s tail-bearer
(He that sometimes play’th Flavia’s usherer),
I heard one day complain to Lynceus
How vigilant, how right obsequious,
Modest in carriage, how true in trust,
And yet (alas!) ne’er guerdon’d with a crust.
But now I see he finds by his accounts
That sole Priapus, by plain-dealing, mounts.
How now? What, droops the new Pegasian inn?    90
I fear mine host is honest. Tut, begin
To set up whorehouse; ne’er too late to thrive;
By any means, at Porta Rich arrive;
Go use some sleight, or live poor Irus’ life;
Straight prostitute thy daughter or thy wife,
And soon be wealthy; but be damn’d with it.
Hath not rich Milo then deep-reaching wit?
Fair age!
When ’tis a high and hard thing t’ have repute
Of a complete villain, perfect, absolute;    100
And roguing virtue brings a man defame,
A packstaff[496] epithet, and scornèd name.
Fie, how my wit flags! How heavily
Methinks I vent dull sprightless poesy!
What cold black frost congeals my numbèd brain!
What envious power stops a satire’s vein!
O now I know the juggling god of sleights,
With Caduceus nimble Hermes fights,
And mists my wit; offended that my rhymes
Display his odious world-abusing crimes.    110
O be propitious, powerful god of arts!
I sheathe my weapons, and do break my darts.
Be then appeased; I’ll offer to thy shrine
An hecatomb of many spotted kine.
Myriads of beasts shall satisfy thy rage,
Which do profane thee in this apish age.
Infectious blood, ye gouty humours quake,
Whilst my sharp razor doth incision make.

[484] Hercules.

[485] Lie in idleness.

[486] i.e., wise men.

[487] i.e., all-powerful.

[488] Ares.—See Apollodorus’ Bibl., iii. 14.

[489] A term (coined from Gr. ἐναγώνιος) for a rhetorician.

[490] See note, p. 324.

[491] Frequently used by Marston in the sense of reverend.

[492] It was a common device with dishonest tradesmen to darken their shops in order to palm off inferior goods on their customers. Middleton, i. 247.

[493] Loovers,—openings in the roof to let in light.

[494] Faded.

[495] Ed. 1599 “the.”

[496] Fitting a pedlar.—See note 1, p. 310.


Hem, nosti’n?

Curio, know’st me? Why, thou bottle-ale,[497]
Thou barmy[498] froth! O stay me, lest I rail
Beyond Nil ultra! to see this butterfly,
This windy bubble, task my balladry
With senseless censure. Curio, know’st my sprite?
Yet deem’st that in sad[499] seriousness I write
Such nasty stuff as is Pygmalion?
Such maggot-tainted, lewd corruption!
Ha, how he glavers[500] with his fawning snout,
And swears he thought I meant but faintly flout    10
My fine smug rhyme. O barbarous dropsy-noul![501]
Think’st thou that genius that attends my soul,
And guides my fist to scourge magnificos,
Will deign my mind be rank’d in Paphian shows?
Think’st thou that I, which was create to whip
Incarnate fiends, will once vouchsafe to trip
A pavin’s[502] traverse, or will lisp “Sweet love,”
Or pule “Aye me,” some female soul to move?
Think’st thou that I in melting poesy
Will pamper itching sensuality    20
(That in the body’s scum all fatally
Entombs the soul’s most sacred faculty)?
Hence, thou misjudging censor: know I wrot
Those idle rhymes to note the odious spot
And blemish that deforms the lineaments
Of modern poesy’s habiliments.
O that the beauties of invention,
For want of judgment’s disposition,
Should all be spoil’d![503] O that such treasury,
Such strain of well-conceited poesy,    30
Should moulded be in such a shapeless form,
That want of art should make such wit a scorn!
Here’s one must invocate some loose-legg’d dame,
Some brothel drab, to help him stanzas frame,
Or else (alas!) his wits can have no vent,
To broach conceit’s industrious intent.
Another yet dares tremblingly come out;
But first he must invoke good Colin Clout.
Yon’s one hath yean’d a fearful prodigy,
Some monstrous misshapen balladry;    40
His guts are in his brains, huge jobbernoul,[504]
Right gurnet’s-head;[505] the rest without all soul.
Another walks, is lazy, lies him down,
Thinks, reads, at length some wonted sleep doth crown
His new-fall’n lids, dreams; straight, ten pound to one,
Out steps some fairy with quick motion,
And tells him wonders of some flow’ry vale;
Awakes, straight rubs his eyes, and prints his tale.
Yon’s one whose strains have flown so high a pitch,
That straight he flags and tumbles in a ditch.    50
His sprightly hot high-soaring poesy
Is like that dreamèd of imagery,
Whose head was gold, breast silver, brassy thigh,
Lead legs, clay feet;[506] O fair-framed poesy!
Here’s one, to get an undeserved repute
Of deep deep learning, all in fustian suit
Of ill passed, far-fetch’d words attiereth
His period, that sense forsweareth.
Another makes old Homer Spenser cite,
Like my Pygmalion, where, with rare[507] delight,    60
He cries, “O Ovid!” This caus’d my idle quill,
The world’s dull ears with such lewd stuff to fill,
And gull with bumbast lines the witless sense
Of these odd nags, whose pates’ circumference
Is fill’d with froth. O these same buzzing gnats
That sting my sleeping brows, these Nilus’ rats,[508]
Half dung, that have their life from putrid slime—
These that do praise my loose lascivious rhyme!
For these same shades, I seriously protest,
I slubbered up that chaos indigest,    70
To fish for fools that stalk in goodly shape;
“What, though in velvet cloak, yet still an ape.”
Capro reads, swears, scrubs, and swears again,
“Now by my soul an admirable strain;”
Strokes up his hair, cries, “Passing passing good;”
O, there’s a line incends his lustful blood!
Then Muto comes, with his new glass-set face,
And with his late-kiss’d hand my book doth grace,
Straight reads, then smiles, and lisps, “’Tis pretty good,”
And praiseth that he never understood.    80
But room for Flaccus, he’ll my Satires read;
O how I trembled straight with inward dread!
But when I saw him read my fustian,
And heard him swear I was a Pythian,
Yet straight recall’d, and swears I did but quote
Out of Xylinum[509] to that margent’s note,
I could scarce hold and keep myself conceal’d,
But had well-nigh myself and all reveal’d.
Then straight comes Friscus, that neat gentleman,
That new-discarded academian,    90
Who, for he could cry Ergo in the school,
Straightway with his huge judgment dares control
Whatsoe’er he views: “That’s pretty, pretty[510] good;
That epithet hath not that sprightly blood
Which should enforce it speak; that’s Persius’ vein;
That’s Juvenal’s; here’s Horace’ crabbèd strain;”
Though he ne’er read one line in Juvenal,
Or, in his life, his lazy eye let fall
On dusky Persius. O, indignity
To my respectless free-bred poesy!    100
Hence, ye big-buzzing little-bodied gnats,
Ye tattling echoes, huge-tongued pigmy brats:
I mean to sleep: wake not my slumb’ring brain
With your malignant, weak, detracting vein.
What though the sacred issue of my soul
I here expose to idiots’ control;
What though I bare to lewd opinion,
Lay ope to vulgar profanation,
My very genius,—yet know, my poesy
Doth scorn your utmost, rank’st indignity;    110
My pate was great with child, and here ’tis eased;
Vex all the world, so that thyself be pleased.

[497] So Doll Tearsheet to Pistol:—“Away, you bottle-ale rascal, you basket-hilt juggler you.”—2 Henry IV., ii. 4.

[498] See note, p. 305.

[499] “Sad seriousness”—sober earnestness.

[500] See note, p. 263.

[501] “Dropsy-noul”—grouthead.

[502] Old eds. “Paunis.”—Pavin was the name of an old dance.

[503] So. ed. 1599.—Ed. 1598 “soyl’d.”

[504] See note 2, p. 301.

[505] A term of contempt for a stupid empty-headed person.

[506] See the second chapter of The Book of Daniel.

[507] So ed. 1598.—Ed. 1599 “rage.”

[508] Rats were supposed to be bred from the slime of the Nile when the river had shrunk.

[509] For the “margent’s note,” see p. 288. Flaccus is represented as misunderstanding the meaning of “Huc usque xylĭnum” (“bombast up to this point”) and as supposing that Marston in his marginal note was acknowledging his indebtedness to a work entitled Xylīnum.

[510] In ed. 1599 the word “pretty” is not repeated.


A Cynic Satire.

A man,[511] a man, a kingdom for a man!
Why, how now, currish, mad Athenian?
Thou Cynic dog, see’st not the[512] streets do swarm
With troops of men? No, no: for Circe’s charm
Hath turn’d them all to swine. I never shall
Think those same Samian[513] saws authentical:
But rather, I dare swear, the souls of swine
Do live in men. For that same radiant shine—
That lustre wherewith Nature’s nature decked
Our intellectual part—that gloss is soiled    10
With staining spots of vile impiety,
And muddy dirt of sensuality.
These are no men, but apparitions,
Ignes fatui, glowworms, fictions,[514]
Meteors, rats of Nilus, fantasies,
Colosses, pictures, shades, resemblances.
Ho, Lynceus!
Seest thou yon gallant in the sumptuous clothes,
How brisk, how spruce, how gorgeously he shows?
Note his French herring-bones:[515] but note no more,    20
Unless thou spy his fair appendant whore,
That lackies him. Mark nothing but his clothes,
His new-stamp’d compliment, his cannon oaths;
Mark those: for naught but such lewd viciousness
E’er gracèd him, save Sodom beastliness.
Is this a man? Nay, an incarnate devil,
That struts in vice and glorieth in evil.
A man, a man! Peace, Cynic, yon is one:
A complete soul of all perfection.
What, mean’st thou him that walks all open-breasted,    30
Drawn through the ear, with ribands,[516] plumy-crested;
He that doth snort in fat-fed luxury,
And gapes for some grinding monopoly;
He that in effeminate invention,
In beastly source of all pollution,
In riot, lust, and fleshly seeming sweetness,
Sleeps sound, secure, under the shade of greatness?
Mean’st thou that senseless, sensual epicure—
That sink of filth, that guzzel[517] most impure—
What, he? Lynceus, on my word thus presume,    40
He’s nought but clothes, and scenting sweet perfume;
His very soul, assure thee, Lynceus,
Is not so big as is an atomus:
Nay, he is spriteless, sense or soul hath none,
Since last Medusa turn’d him to a stone.
A man, a man! Lo, yonder I espy
The shade of Nestor in sad gravity.
Since old Silenus brake his ass’s back,
He now is forc’d his paunch and guts to pack
In a fair tumbrel.[518] Why, sour satirist,    50
Canst thou unman him? Here I dare insist
And soothly say, he is a perfect soul,
Eats nectar, drinks ambrosia, sans control;
An inundation of felicity
Fats him with honour and huge treasury.
Canst thou not, Lynceus, cast thy searching eye,
And spy his imminent[519] catastrophe?
He’s but a sponge, and shortly needs must leese[520]
His wrong-got juice, when greatness’ fist shall squeeze
His liquor out. Would not some shallow[521] head,    60
That is with seeming shadows only fed,
Swear yon same damask-coat, yon garded[522] man,
Were some grave sober Cato Utican?
When, let him but in judgment’s sight uncase,
He’s naught but budge,[523] old gards, brown fox-fur face;
He hath no soul the which the Stagyrite
Term’d rational: for beastly appetite,
Base dunghill thoughts, and sensual action,
Hath made him lose that fair creation.
And now no man, since Circe’s magic charm    70
Hath turn’d him to a maggot that doth swarm
In tainted flesh, whose foul corruption
Is his fair food: whose generation
Another’s ruin. O Canaan’s dread curse,
To live in people’s sins! Nay, far more worse,
To muck rank hate! But, sirra Lynceus,
Seest thou that troop that now effronteth us?
They are naught but eels,[524] that never will appear
Till that tempestuous winds or thunder tear
Their slimy beds. But prithee stay a while;    80
Look, yon comes John-a-Noke and John-a-Stile;
They are nought but slow-paced, dilatory pleas,
Demure demurrers, still striving to appease
Hot zealous love. The language that they speak
Is the pure barbarous blacksaunt[525] of the Gete;
Their only skill rests in collusions,
Abatements, stoppels, inhibitions.
Heavy-paced jades, dull-pated jobbernouls,
Quick in delays, checking with vain controls
Fair Justice’ course; vile necessary evils,    90
Smooth-seeming saints, yet damn’d incarnate devils.
Far be it from my sharp satiric muse,
Those grave and reverent[526] legists to abuse,
That aid Astræa, that do further right;
But these Megeras that inflame despite,
That broach deep rancour, that study still
To ruin right, that they their paunch may fill
With Irus’ blood—these furies I do mean,
These hedgehogs, that disturb Astrea’s scene.
A man, a man! Peace, Cynic, yon’s a man;    100
Behold yon sprightly dread Mavortian;
With him I stop thy currish barking chops.—
What, mean’st thou him that in his swaggering slops
Wallows unbracèd, all along the street;
He that salutes each gallant he doth meet
With “Farewell, sweet captain, kind heart, adieu;”
He that last night, tumbling thou didst view
From out the great man’s head,[527] and thinking still
He had been sentinel of warlike Brill,[528]
Cries out, “Que va la? zounds, que?” and out doth draw    110
His transform’d poniard, to a syringe straw,
And stabs the drawer? What, that ringo-root![529]
Mean’st thou that wasted leg, puff bumbast boot;
What, he that’s drawn and quarterèd with lace;
That Wesphalian gammon clove-stuck[530] face?
Why, he is nought but huge blaspheming oaths,
Swart snout, big looks, misshapen Switzers’[531] clothes;
Weak meagre lust hath now consumèd quite,
And wasted clean away his martial sprite;
Enfeebling riot, all vices’ confluence,    120
Hath eaten out that sacred influence
Which made him man.
That divine part is soak’d away in sin,
In sensual lust, and midnight bezelling,[532]
Rank inundation of luxuriousness[533]
Have tainted him with such gross beastliness,
That now the seat of that celestial essence
Is all possess’d with Naples’ pestilence.[534]
Fat peace, and dissolute impiety,
Have lullèd him in such security,    130
That now, let whirlwinds and confusion tear
The centre of our state; let giants’ rear
Hill upon hill; let western termagant
Shake heaven’s vault: he, with his occupant,[535]
Are cling’d so close, like dew-worms in the morn,
That he’ll not stir till out his guts are torn
With eating filth. Tubrio, snort on, snort on,
Till thou art waked with sad confusion.
Now rail no more at my sharp cynic sound,
Thou brutish world, that in all vileness drown’d    140
Hast lost thy soul: for nought but shades I see—
Resemblances of men inhabit thee.
Yon tissue slop, yon holy-crossèd pane,[536]
Is but a water-spaniel that will fawn,
And kiss the water, whilst it pleasures him;
But being once arrivèd at the brim,
He shakes it off.
Yon in the cap’ring cloak, a mimic ape,
That only strives to seem another’s shape.
Yon’s Æsop’s ass; yon sad civility    150
Is but an ox that with base drudgery
Ears up the land, whilst some gilt ass doth chaw
The golden wheat, he well apaid with straw.
Yon’s but a muckhill overspread with snow,
Which with that veil doth even as fairly show
As the green meads, whose native outward fair[537]
Breathes sweet perfumes into the neighbour air.
Yon effeminate sanguine Ganymede
Is but a beaver,[538] hunted for the bed.
Peace, Cynic; see, what yonder doth approach;    160
A cart? a tumbrel? No, a badged[539] coach.
What’s in’t? Some man. No, nor yet womankind,
But a celestial angel, fair, refined.
The devil as soon! Her mask so hinders me,
I cannot see her beauty’s deity.
Now that is off, she is so vizarded,
So steep’d in lemon’s[540] juice, so surphulèd,
I cannot see her face. Under one hood
Two faces; but I never understood
Or saw one face under two hoods till now:    170
’Tis the right resemblance of old Janus’ brow.
Her mask, her vizard, her loose-hanging gown
(For her loose-lying body), her bright-spangled crown,
Her long slit sleeve,[541] stiff busk, puff verdingal,
Is all that makes her thus angelical.
Alas! her soul struts round about her neck;
Her seat of sense is her rebato[542] set;
Her intellectual is a feignèd niceness,
Nothing but clothes and simpering preciseness.
Out on these puppets, painted images,    180
Haberdashers’ shops, torchlight maskeries,
Perfuming-pans, Dutch ancients,[543] glow-worms bright,
That soil our souls, and damp our reason’s light!
Away, away, hence, coachman, go enshrine
Thy new-glazed puppet in port Esquiline![544]
Blush, Martia, fear not, or look pale, all’s one;
Margara keeps thy set complexion.
Sure I ne’er think those axioms to be true,
That souls of men from that great soul ensue,
And of his essence do participate    190
As ’twere by pipes; when so degenerate,
So adverse is our nature’s motion
To his immaculate condition,
That such foul filth from such fair purity,
Such sensual acts from such a Deity,
Can ne’er proceed. But if that dream were so,
Then sure the slime, that from our souls do flow,
Have stopp’d those pipes by which it was convey’d,
And now no human creatures, once disray’d
Of that fair gem.    200
Beasts’ sense, plants’ growth, like being as a stone;
But out, alas! our cognisance is gone.

[511] See note 2, vol. ii. p. 349.

[512] Omitted in ed. 1598.

[513] Samos—the birthplace of Pythagoras.

[514] “Fictions ... rats of Nilus.”—Cf. Shirley’s School of Compliment, ii. 1:—“Sirrah clothes, rat of Nilus, fiction, monster, golden calf.”

[515] The name of a particular kind of stitch.

[516] See note, vol. ii. p. 391.

[517] See note 1, p. 308.

[518] Dung-cart.

[519] Ed. 1599, “eminent.”

[520] Lose.

[521] Omitted in ed. 1599.

[522] i.e., whose garments are ornamented with gards or fringes.

[523] Lamb’s fur.

[524] Thunder is supposed to rouse eels from the mud. So Shakespeare—“Thunder shall not so awake the beds of eels.” I suppose that Mr. Browning was giving us a piece of Italian folk-lore when he wrote (in Old Pictures in Florence):—
“The morn when first it thunders in March,
The eel in the pond gives a leap, they say.”

[525] A corruption of black sanctus, which seems to have been a burlesque hymn set to a harsh tune, “in ridicule of the Sanctus or Holy, Holy, Holy, of the Romish Missal” (Nares); hence used to express any discordant noise,—as the rude speech of the Scythians.

[526] So ed. 1598; and I have kept the form “reverent” (though ed. 1599 reads “reverend”), as it was constantly used for “reverend.”

[527] “The great man’s head”—evidently the name of a tavern. Quy. the Saracen’s Head?

[528] One of the cautionary towns pledged to the English crown by the States of Holland.

[529] Sink of lechery.

[530] His face, I suppose, is stuck with plaster, to lead people to imagine that he has been scarred in the wars.

[531] Switzers—mercenary soldiers.

[532] Tippling.

[533] Lust.

[534] The pox.

[535] See note 2, p. 300.

[536] See note 2, vol. ii. p. 337.

[537] Fairness.

[538] “Rugs or covers were made of ‘beever skins,’ which Batman calls ‘very precious.’”—Grosart.

[539] i.e., exhibiting armorial bearings.

[540] In Guilpin’s Skialetheia, 1598, there is a long list of cosmetics. Juice of lemons is mentioned:—
“They [the gallants] were plain asses if they did not know
Quicksilver, juice of lemons, borax too,
Alum, oil tartar, whites of eggs, and galls.
Are made the bawds to morphew, scurfs, and scalls.”

[541] So ed. 1598.—Ed. 1599 “sleeves.”

[542] See note 2, vol. 1. p. 31.

[543] Ancient was the name for the (1) standard, (2) the standard-bearer. Here it has the first meaning; but I cannot find that Dutch standards were particularly tawdry.

[544] “Port Esquiline”—the jakes.


In serious jest, and jesting seriousness,
I strive to scourge polluting beastliness;
I invocate no Delian deity,
No sacred offspring of Mnemosyne;
I pray in aid of no Castalian[545] muse,
No nymph, no female angel, to infuse
A sprightly wit to raise my flagging wings,
And teach me tune these harsh discordant strings.
I crave no sirens of our halcyon times,
To grace the accents of my rough-hew’d rhymes;    10
But grim Reproof, stern hate of villainy,
Inspire and guide a Satire’s poesy.
Fair Detestation of foul odious sin,
In which our swinish times lie wallowing,
Be thou my conduct and my genius,
My wits-inciting sweet-breath’d Zephyrus.
O that a Satire’s hand had force to pluck
Some floodgate up, to purge the world from muck!
Would God I could turn Alpheus river in,
To purge this Augean oxstall from foul sin!    20
Well, I will try; awake, Impurity,
And view the veil drawn from thy villainy!

[545] Ed. 1598 “Castalia.”


Inamorato, Curio.

Curio, aye me! thy mistress’ monkey’s dead;
Alas, alas, her pleasure’s burièd!
Go, woman’s slave, perform his exequies,
Condole his death in mournful elegies.
Tut, rather pæans sing, hermaphrodite;
For that sad death gives life to thy delight.
Sweet-faced Corinna, deign the riband tie
Of thy cork-shoe, or else thy slave will die:
Some puling sonnet tolls his passing bell,
Some sighing elegy must ring his knell,    10
Unless bright sunshine of thy grace revive
His wambling stomach, certes he will dive
Into the whirlpool of devouring death,
And to some mermaid sacrifice his breath.
Then oh, oh then, to thy eternal shame,
And to the honour of sweet Curio’s name,
This epitaph, upon the marble stone,
Must fair be graved of that true-loving one:

“Here lieth he, he lieth here,
That bounced and pity cried:    20
The door not oped, fell sick, alas,
Alas, fell sick and died!”

What Myrmidon, or hard Dolopian,
What savage-minded rude Cyclopian,
But such a sweet pathetic Paphian
Would force to laughter? Ho, Amphitrion,
Thou art no cuckold. What, though Jove dallièd,
During thy wars, in fair Alcmena’s bed,
Yet Hercules, true born, that imbecility
Of corrupt nature, all apparently    30
Appears in him. O foul indignity!
I heard him vow himself a slave to Omphale,
Puling “Aye me!” O valour’s obloquy!
He that the inmost nooks of hell did know,
Whose ne’er-crazed[546] prowess all did overthrow,
Lies streaking[547] brawny limbs in weak’ning bed;
Perfumed, smooth-kemb’d, new glazed, fair surphulèd.
O that the boundless power of the soul
Should be subjected to such base control!
Big-limb’d Alcides, doff thy honour’s crown,    40
Go spin, huge slave, lest Omphale should frown.
By my best hopes, I blush with grief and shame
To broach the peasant baseness of our name.
O, now my ruder hand begins to quake,
To think what lofty cedars I must shake;
But if the canker fret, the barks of oaks,
Like humbler shrubs, shall equal bear the strokes
Of my respectless rude satiric hand.
Unless the Destin’s adamantine band
Should tie my teeth, I cannot choose, but bite,    50
To view Mavortius metamorphos’d quite,
To puling sighs, and into “Aye me’s” state,
With voice distinct, all fine articulate,
Lisping, “Fair saint, my woe compassionate;
By heaven! thine eye is my soul-guiding fate.”
The god of wounds had wont on Cyprian couch
To streak himself, and with incensing touch
To faint his force, only when wrath had end;
But now, ’mong furious garboils,[548] he doth spend
His feebled valour, in tilt and tourneying,    60
With wet turn’d kisses, melting dallying.
A pox upon’t that Bacchis’[549] name should be
The watchword given to the soldiery!
Go, troop to field, mount thy obscurèd fame,
Cry out St. George, invoke thy mistress’ name;
Thy mistress and St. George, alarum cry!
Weak force, weak aid, that sprouts from luxury!
Thou tedious[550] workmanship of lust-stung Jove,
Down from thy skies, enjoy our females’ love:
Some fifty more Beotian girls will sue    70
To have thy love, so that thy back be true.
O, now me thinks I hear swart Martius cry,
Swooping[551] along in wars’ feign’d maskery;
By Lais’ starry front he’ll forthwith dye
In clutter’d[552] blood, his mistress’ livery;
Her fancy’s colours waves upon his head.
O, well-fenced Albion, mainly manly sped,
When those that are soldadoes[553] in thy state
Do bear the badge of base, effeminate,
Even on their plumy crests; brutes sensual,    80
Having no spark of intellectual!
Alack! what hope, when some rank nasty wench
Is subject of their vows and confidence?
Publius hates vainly to idolatrise[554]
And laughs that Papists honour images;
And yet (O madness!) these mine eyes did see
Him melt in moving plaints, obsequiously
Imploring favour; twining his kind arms,
Using enchantments, exorcisms, charms;
The oil of sonnets, wanton blandishment,    90
The force of tears, and seeming languishment,
Unto the picture of a painted lass!
I saw him court his mistress’ looking-glass,
Worship a busk-point, which, in secresy,
I fear was conscious of strange villainy;
I saw him crouch, devote his livelihood,
Swear, protest, vow peasant servitude
Unto a painted puppet; to her eyes
I heard him swear his sighs to sacrifice.
But if he get her itch-allaying pin,    100
O sacred relic! straight he must begin
To rave outright,—then thus: “Celestial bliss,
Can Heaven grant so rich a grace as this?
Touch it not (by the Lord! sir), ’tis divine!
It once beheld her radiant eye’s bright shine!
Her hair embraced it. O thrice-happy prick,
That there was throned, and in her hair didst stick!”
Kiss, bless, adore it, Publius, never lin;
Some sacred virtue lurketh in the pin.
O frantic, fond, pathetic passion!    110
Is’t possible such sensual action
Should clip the wings of contemplation?
O can it be the spirit’s function,
The soul, not subject to dimension,
Should be made slave to reprehension
Of crafty nature’s paint? Fie! can our soul
Be underling to such a vile control?
Saturio wish’d himself his mistress’ busk,
That he might sweetly lie, and softly lusk[555]
Between her paps; then must he have an eye    120
At either end, that freely might descry
Both hills and dales. But, out on Phrigio,
That wish’d he were his mistress’ dog, to go
And lick her milk-white fist! O pretty grace!
That pretty Phrigio begs but Pretty’s place.
Parthenophil,[556] thy wish I will omit,
So beastly ’tis I may not utter it.
But Punicus, of all I’ll bear with thee,
That fain wouldst be thy mistress’ smug monkey.
Here’s one would be a flea[557] (jest comical!);    130
Another, his sweet lady’s verdingal,
To clip her tender breech; another, he
Her silver-handled fan would gladly be;
Here’s one would be his mistress’ necklace, fain
To clip her fair, and kiss her azure vein.
Fond fools, well wish’d, and pity but [’t] should be;
For beastly shape to brutish souls agree.
If Laura’s painted lip do deign a kiss
To her enamour’d slave, “O Heaven’s bliss!”
(Straight he exclaims) “not to be match’d with this!”
Blaspheming dolt! go threescore sonnets write    141
Upon a picture’s kiss, O raving sprite!
I am not sapless, old, or rheumatic,
No Hipponax, misshapen stigmatic,[558]
That I should thus inveigh ’gainst amorous sprite
Of him whose soul doth turn hermaphrodite;
But I do sadly grieve, and inly vex,
To view the base dishonour of our sex.
Tush! guiltless doves, when gods, to force foul rapes,
Will turn themselves to any brutish shapes;    150
Base bastard powers, whom the world doth see
Transform’d to swine for sensual luxury!
The son of Saturn is become a bull,
To crop the beauties of some female trull.
Now, when he hath his first wife Metis[559] sped,
And fairly choked,[560] lest foul[561] gods should be bred
Of that fond mule; Themis, his second wife,
Hath turn’d away, that his unbridled life
Might have more scope; yet, last, his sister’s love
Must satiate the lustful thoughts of Jove.    160
Now doth the lecher in a cuckold’s shape,
Commit a monstrous and incestuous rape.
Thrice sacred gods! and O thrice blessèd skies,
Whose orbs include such virtuous deities!
What should I say? Lust hath confounded all;
The bright gloss of our intellectual
Is foully soil’d. The wanton wallowing
In fond delights, and amorous dallying,
Hath dusk’d the fairest splendour of our soul;
Nothing now left but carcass, loathsome, foul;    170
For sure, if that some sprite remainèd still,
Could it be subject to lewd Lais’ will?
Reason, by prudence in her function,
Had wont to tutor all our action,
Aiding, with precepts of philosophy,
Our feeblèd natures’ imbecility;
But now affection, will, concupiscence,
Have got o’er reason chief pre-eminence.
’Tis so; else how should such vile baseness taint
As force it be made slave to nature’s paint?    180
Methinks the spirit’s Pegase, Fantasy,
Should hoise the soul from such base slavery;
But now I see, and can right plainly show
From whence such abject thoughts and actions grow.
Our adverse body, being earthly, cold,
Heavy, dull, mortal, would not long enfold
A stranger inmate, that was backward still
To all his dungy, brutish, sensual will:
Now hereupon our intellectual,
Compact of fire all celestial,    190
Invisible, immortal, and divine,
Grew straight to scorn his landlord’s muddy slime;
And therefore now is closely slunk away
(Leaving his smoky house of mortal clay),
Adorn’d with all his beauty’s lineaments
And brightest gems of shining ornaments,
His parts divine, sacred, spiritual,
Attending on him; leaving the sensual
Base hangers-on lusking at home in slime,
Such as wont to stop port Esquiline.[562]    200
Now doth the body, led with senseless will
(The which, in reason’s absence, ruleth still),
Rave, talk idly, as ’twere some deity,
Adoring[563] female painted puppetry;
Playing at put-pin,[564] doting on some glass
(Which, breath’d but on, his falsèd gloss doth pass);
Toying with babies,[565] and with fond pastime,
Some children’s sport, deflow’ring of chaste time;
Employing all his wits in vain expense,
Abusing all his organons of sense.    210
Return, return, sacred Synderesis!
Inspire our trunks! Let not such mud as this
Pollute us still. Awake our lethargy,
Raise us from out our brain-sick foolery!

[546] Broken, cracked, impaired.

[547] Stretching.

[548] “Garboil”—tumult, commotion.

[549] The name of a Terentian meretrix.

[550] Jupiter made the night of thrice its ordinary length when he begot Hercules.

[551] Old eds. “Souping.”

[552] Clotted.

[553] Soldiers (Span.).

[554] Old eds. “idolatries.”

[555] See note 1, p. 335.

[556] An allusion to the closing lines of Barnabe Barnes’ sixty-third sonnet.

[557] Donne has some verses On a Flea on his Mistress’ Bosom, beginning:—
“Madam, that flea which crept between your breast
I envied that there he should make his rest.”

Whether these verses of Donne had been written (and circulated in MS.) so early, I do not know; but the conceit was certainly out of the common.

[558] A deformed person; literally, one who has been branded with a hot iron. The very words “misshapen stigmatic” occur in 3 Henry VI., ii. 2. (The Greek satirist Hipponax was an ill-looking fellow.)

[559] Old eds. “Metim.”

[560] When Jupiter discovered that he had got Metis with child, he swallowed her; for it had been foretold that he would be dethroned if Metis had a son.—Apollod. Bibl. i. 6.

[561] Old eds. “foole.”

[562] See note 4, p. 351.

[563] So ed. 1598.—Ed. 1599 “adorning.”—The confusion between “adore” and “adorn” is common.

[564] Commonly called “push-pin,” a childish game described by Strutt.

[565] Children’s toys,—particularly dolls.


Here’s[566] a Toy to mock an Ape indeed.

Grim-faced Reproof, sparkle with threatening eye!
Bend thy sour brows in my tart poesy!
Avaunt! ye curs, howl in some cloudy mist,
Quake to behold a sharp-fang’d satirist!
O how on tip-toes proudly mounts my muse!
Stalking a loftier gait than satires use.
Methinks some sacred rage warms all my veins,
Making my sprite mount up to higher strains
Than well beseems a rough-tongu’d satire’s part;
But Art curbs Nature, Nature guideth[567] Art.    10
Come down, ye apes, or I will strip you quite,
Baring your bald tails to the people’s sight!
Ye mimic slaves, what, are you perch’d so high?
Down, Jackanapes, from thy feign’d royalty!
What! furr’d with beard—cast in a satin suit,
Judicial Jack? How hast thou got repute
Of a sound censure? O idiot times,
When gaudy monkeys mow o’er spritely rhymes!
O world of fools! when all men’s judgment’s set,
And rests[568] upon some mumping marmoset!    20
Yon Athens’ ape (that can but simp’ringly
Yaul “Auditores humanissimi!
Bound to some servile imitation,
Can, with much sweat, patch an oration)
Now up he comes, and with his crookèd eye
Presumes to squint on some fair poesy;
And all as thankless as ungrateful Thames,
He slinks away, leaving but reeking steams
Of dungy slime behind. All as ingrate
He useth it as when I satiate    30
My spaniel’s paunch, who straight perfumes the room
With his tail’s filth: so this uncivil groom,
Ill-tutor’d pedant, Mortimer’s[569] numbers
With muck-pit Esculine filth bescumbers.[570]
Now the ape chatters, and is as malcontent
As a bill-patch’d door, whose entrails out have sent
And spewed their tenant.
My soul adores judicial scholarship;
But when to servile imitatorship
Some spruce Athenian pen is prenticèd,    40
’Tis worse than apish. Fie! be not flatterèd
With seeming worth! Fond affectation
Befits an ape, and mumping babion.[571]
O what a tricksy, learnèd, nicking strain
Is this applauded, senseless, modern vein![572]
When late I heard it from sage Mutius’ lips,
How ill, methought, such wanton jigging skips
Beseem’d his graver speech. “Far fly thy fame,
Most, most of me beloved! whose silent name
One letter bounds. Thy true judicial style    50
I ever honour; and, if my love beguile
Not much my hopes, then thy unvalued worth
Shall mount fair place, when apes are turnèd forth.”
I am too mild. Reach me my scourge again;
O yon’s a pen speaks in a learned vein,
Deep, past all sense. Lanthorn and candle-light![573]
Here’s all invisible—all mental sprite!
What hotch-potch gibberidge doth the poet bring?
How strangely speaks, yet sweetly doth he sing?
I once did know a tinkling pewterer,    60
That was the vilest stumbling stutterer
That ever hack’d and hew’d our native tongue,
Yet to the lute if you had heard him sung,
Jesu! how sweet he breath’d! You can apply.
O senseless prose, judicial poesy,
How ill you’re link’d! This affectation,
To speak beyond men’s apprehension,
How apish ’tis, when all in fustian suit
Is cloth’d a huge nothing, all for repute
Of profound knowledge, when profoundness knows    70
There’s naught contain’d but only seeming shows!
Old Jack of Paris-garden, canst thou get
A fair rich suit, though foully run in debt?
Look smug, smell sweet, take up commodities,[574]
Keep whores, fee bawds, belch impious blasphemies,
Wallow along in swaggering disguise,
Snuff up smoke-whiffs, and each morn, ’fore she rise,
Visit thy drab? Canst use a false-cut die
With a clean grace and glib facility?
Canst thunder cannon-oaths, like th’ rattling    80
Of a huge, double, full-charg’d culvering?[575]
Then Jack, troop ’mong our gallants, kiss thy fist,
And call them brothers; say a satirist
Swears they are thine in near affinity,
All cousin-germans, save in villainy;
For (sadly, truth to say) what are they else
But imitators of lewd beastliness?
Far worse than apes; for mow or scratch your pate,
It may be some odd ape will imitate;
But let a youth that hath abused his time    90
In wrongèd travel, in that hotter clime,
Swoop by old Jack, in clothes Italianate,
And I’ll be hang’d if he will imitate
His strange fantastic suit-shapes:
Or let him bring o’er beastly luxuries,
Some hell-devisèd lustful villanies,
Even apes and beasts would blush with native shame,
And think it foul dishonour to their name,
Their beastly name, to imitate such sin
As our lewd youths do boast and glory in.    100
Fie! whither do these monkeys carry me?
Their very names do soil my poesy.
Thou world of marmosets and mumping apes,
Unmask, put off thy feignèd, borrowed shapes!
Why looks neat Curus all so simp’ringly?
Why babblest thou of deep divinity,
And of that sacred testimonial,
Living voluptuous like a bacchanal?
Good hath thy tongue; but thou, rank Puritan,
I’ll make an ape as good a Christian;    110
I’ll force him chatter, turning up his eye,
Look sad, go grave; demure civility
Shall seem to say, “Good brother, sister dear!”
As for the rest, to snort in belly-cheer,[576]
To bite, to gnaw, and boldly intermel
With sacred things, in which thou dost excel,
Unforced he’ll do. O take compassion
Even on your souls! Make not Religion
A bawd to lewdness. Civil Socrates,
Clip not the youth of Alcibiades    120
With unchaste arms. Disguisèd Messaline,
I’ll tear thy mask, and bare thee to the eyn
Of hissing boys, if to the theatres
I find thee once more come for lecherers,
To satiate (nay, to tire) thee with the use
Of weak’ning lust. Ye feigners, leave t’ abuse
Our better thoughts with your hypocrisy;
Or, by the ever-living verity!
I’ll strip you nak’d, and whip you with my rhymes,
Causing your shame to live to after-times.    130

[566] An old proverbial saying.

[567] Ed. 1598 “guildeth.”

[568] Ed. 1599 “rest.”

[569] The allusion is to Drayton’s Mortimeriados originally published in 1596 (and republished in 1603, with many alterations, under the title of the Baron’s Wars).

[570] Befouls. The word is ridiculed in The Poetaster.

[571] Baboon.—Old eds. “Babilon.”

[572]Non lædere, sed ludere: non lanea, sed linea: non ictus, sed nictus potius.”—Marginal note in old eds.

[573] See note, vol. i. p. 35.

[574] Get goods on credit.

[575] A piece of ordnance.

[576] Gluttony.—The word is not uncommon.

SATIRE X.[577]

Satira Nova.

Stultorum plena sunt omnia.


From out the sadness of my discontent,
Hating my wonted jocund merriment
(Only to give dull time a swifter wing),
Thus scorning scorn, of idiot fools I sing.
I dread no bending of an angry brow,
Or rage of fools that I shall purchase now;
Who’ll scorn to sit in rank of foolery,
When I’ll be master of the company?
For prithee, Ned, I prithee, gentle lad,
Is not he frantic, foolish, bedlam mad,    10
That wastes his sprite, that melts his very brain
In deep designs, in wit’s dark gloomy strain?
That scourgeth great slaves with a dreadless fist,
Playing the rough part of a satirist,
To be perused by all the dung-scum rabble
Of thin-brain’d idiots, dull, incapable,
For mimic apish scholars, pedants, gulls,
Perfumed inamoratos, brothel-trulls?
Whilst I (poor soul) abuse chaste virgin time,
Deflow’ring her with unconceived rhyme.    20
“Tut, tut; a toy of an idle empty brain,
Some scurril jests, light gewgaws, fruitless, vain,”
Cries beard-grave Dromus; when, alas! God knows
His toothless gums ne’er chaw but outward shows.
Poor budge-face,[578] bowcase sleeve: but let him pass;
“Once fur and beard shall privilege an ass.”
And tell me, Ned, what might that gallant be,
Who, to obtain intemperate luxury,
Cuckolds his elder brother, gets an heir,
By which his hope is turnèd to despair?    30
In faith (good Ned), he damn’d himself with cost;
For well thou know’st full goodly land was lost.
I am too private. Yet methinks an ass
Rhymes well with viderit utilitas;
Even full as well, I boldly dare aver,
As any of that stinking scavenger
Which from his dunghill be dedaubèd on
The latter page of old Pygmalion.
O that this brother of hypocrisy
(Applauded by his pure fraternity)    40
Should thus be puffèd, and so proud insist
As play on me the epigrammatist!
“Opinion mounts this froth unto the skies,
Whom judgment’s reason justly vilifies.”
For (shame to the poet) read, Ned, behold
How wittily a master’s hood can scold!

An Epigram which the Author Vergidemiarum caused to be pasted to the latter page of every Pygmalion that came to the Stationers of Cambridge.

I ask’d Physicians what their counsel was
For a mad dog, or for a mankind ass?
They told me, though there were confections’ store
Of poppy-seed and sovereign hellebore,    50
The dog was best cured by cutting and kinsing,[579]
The ass must be kindly whipped for winsing.
Now then, S. K., I little pass.
Whether thou be a mad dog or a mankind ass.

Smart[580] jerk of wit! Did ever such a strain
Rise from an apish schoolboy’s childish brain?
Dost thou not blush, good Ned, that such a scent
Should rise from thence, where thou hadst nutriment?
“Shame to Opinion, that perfumes his dung,
And streweth flowers rotten bones among!    60
Juggling Opinion, thou enchanting witch!
Paint not a rotten post[581] with colours rich.”
But now this juggler, with the world’s consent,
Hath half his[582] soul; the other, compliment;
Mad world the whilst. But I forget me, I,
I am seducèd with this poesy,
And, madder than a bedlam, spend sweet time
In bitter numbers, in this idle rhyme.
Out on this humour! From a sickly bed,
And from a moody mind distemperèd,    70
I vomit forth my love, now turn’d to hate,
Scorning the honour of a poet’s state.
Nor shall the kennel rout of muddy brains
Ravish my muse’s heir, or hear my strains,
Once more. No nitty[583] pedant shall correct
Enigmas to his shallow intellect
Enchantment, Ned, have ravishèd my sense
In a poetic vain circumference.
Yet thus I hope (God shield I now should lie),
Many more fools, and most more wise than I.    80


[577] This satire was added in ed. 1599.—I suspect that “Master E. G.” was Edward Guilpin, author of Skialetheia, 1598, a collection of epigrams.

[578] See note 6, p. 346.

[579] “Mark the witty allusion to my name.”—Marginal note in old ed. (See Introduction to vol. i.)

[580] The heading of the page in old ed. is changed from “Stultorum plena sunt omnia” to “Medice cura tripsum.”

[581] An allusion to the posts that stood at the doors of sheriffs. These posts were repainted when new sheriffs came into office.—Middleton, v. 149.

[582] i.e., the world’s.

[583] Lousy.



Sleep, grim Reproof; my jocund muse doth sing
In other keys, to nimbler fingering.
Dull-sprighted Melancholy, leave my brain—
To hell,[584] Cimmerian night! in lively vein
I strive to paint, then hence all dark intent
And sullen frowns! Come, sporting Merriment,
Cheek-dimpling Laughter, crown my very soul
With jouisance, whilst mirthful jests control
The gouty humours of these pride-swoll’n days,
Which I do long until my pen displays.    10
O, I am great with Mirth! some midwif’ry,
Or I shall break my sides at vanity.
Room for a capering mouth, whose lips ne’er stir
But in discoursing of the graceful slur.[585]
Who ever heard spruce skipping Curio
E’er prate of ought but of the whirl on toe,
The turn-above-ground, Robrus’ sprawling kicks,
Fabius’ caper, Harry’s tossing tricks?
Did ever any ear e’er hear him speak
Unless his tongue of cross-points did entreat?    20
His teeth do caper whilst he eats his meat,
His heels do caper whilst he takes his seat;
His very soul, his intellectual
Is nothing but a mincing capreal.[586]
He dreams of toe-turns; each gallant he doth meet
He fronts him with a traverse in the street.
Praise but Orchestra,[587] and the skipping art,
You shall command him, faith you have his heart
Even cap’ring in your fist. A hall, a hall![588]
Room for the spheres, the orbs celestial    30
Will dance Kempe’s[589] jig: they’ll revel with neat jumps;
A worthy poet hath put on their pumps.
O wit’s quick traverse, but sance ceo’s [?] slow;
Good faith ’tis hard for nimble Curio.
“Ye gracious orbs, keep the old measuring;
All’s spoil’d if once ye fall to capering.”
Luscus, what’s play’d to-day? Faith now I know
I set thy lips abroach, from whence doth flow
Naught but pure Juliet and Romeo.
Say who acts best? Drusus or Roscio?    40
Now I have him, that ne’er of ought did speak
But when of plays or players he did treat—
Hath made a common-place[590] book out of plays,
And speaks in print: at least what e’er he says
Is warranted by Curtain plaudities.
If e’er you heard him courting Lesbia’s eyes,
Say (courteous sir), speaks he not movingly,
From out some new pathetic tragedy?
He writes, he rails, he jests, he courts (what not?),
And all from out his huge long-scraped stock    50
Of well-penn’d plays.
Oh come not within distance! Martius speaks,
Who ne’er discourseth but of fencing feats,
Of counter times,[591] finctures, sly passatas,
Stramazones, resolute stoccatas,
Of the quick change with wiping mandritta,
The carricada, with the embrocata.
“Oh, by Jesu, sir!” methinks I hear him cry,
“The honourable fencing mystery
Who doth not honour?” Then falls he in again,    60
Jading our ears, and somewhat must be sain
Of blades and rapier-hilts, of surest guard,
Of Vincentio,[592] and the Burgonian’s ward.[593]
This bombast foil-button I once did see,
By chance, in Livia’s modest company;
When, after the god-saving ceremony,
For want of talk-stuff, falls to foinery;
Out goes his rapier, and to Livia
He shows the ward by puncta reversa,
The incarnata. Nay, by the blessed light!    70
Before he goes, he’ll teach her how to fight
And hold her weapon. Oh I laugh amain,
To see the madness of this Martius’ vein!
But room for Tuscus, that jest-mounging youth
Who ne’er did ope his apish gerning mouth
But to retail and broke another’s wit
Discourse of what you will, he straight can fit
Your present talk, with “Sir, I’ll tell a jest”
(Of some sweet lady, or grand lord at least).
Then on he goes, and ne’er his tongue shall lie    80
Till his engrossèd jests are all drawn dry;
But then as dumb as Maurus, when at play
Hath lost his crowns, and pawn’d his trim array.
He doth nought but retail jests: break but one,
Out flies his table-book; let him alone,
He’ll have it i’faith. Lad, hast an epigram,
Wilt have it put into the chaps of fame?
Give Tuscus copies; sooth, as his own wit
(His proper issue) he will father it.
O that this echo, that doth seek, spet, write    90
Nought but the excrements of others sprite,
This ill-stuff’d trunk of jests (whose very soul
Is but a heap of gibes) should once enroll
His name ’mong creatures termed rational!
Whose chief repute, whose sense, whose soul and all
Are fed with offal scraps, that sometimes fall
From liberal wits in their large festival.
Come aloft, Jack! room for a vaulting skip,
Room for Torquatus, that ne’er oped his lip
But in prate of pommado reversa,[594]    100
Of the nimble, tumbling Angelica.
Now, on my soul, his very intellect
Is nought but a curvetting sommerset.
“Hush, hush,” cries honest Philo, “peace, desist!
Dost thou not tremble, sour satirist,
Now that[595] judicial Musus readeth thee?
He’ll whip each line, he’ll scourge thy balladry,
Good faith he will.” Philo, I prithee stay
Whilst I the humour of this dog display.
He’s nought but censure; wilt thou credit me,    110
He never writ one line in poesy,
But once at Athens in a theme did frame
A paradox in praise of virtue’s name;
Which still he hugs and lulls as tenderly
As cuckold Tisus his wife’s bastardy?
Well, here’s a challenge: I flatly say he lies
That heard him ought but censure poesies;
’Tis his discourse, first having knit the brow,
Stroke up his fore-top, champèd every row,
Belcheth his slavering censure on each book    120
That dare presume even on Medusa look.
I have no artist’s skill in symphonies,
Yet when some pleasing diapason flies
From out the belly of a sweet-touch’d lute,
My ears dare[596] say ’tis good: or when they suit
Some harsher sevens for variety,
My native skill discerns it presently.
What then? Will any sottish dolt repute,
Or ever think me Orpheus absolute?
Shall all the world of fidlers follow me,    130
Relying on my voice in musickry?
Musus, here’s Rhodes; let’s see thy boasted leap,
Or else avaunt, lewd cur, presume not speak,
Or with thy venom-sputtering chaps to bark
Gainst well-penn’d poems, in the tongue-tied dark.
O for a humour, look, who yon doth go,
The meagre lecher, lewd Luxurio!
’Tis he that hath the sole monopoly,
By patent, of the suburb lechery;
No new edition of drabs comes out,    140
But seen and allow’d by Luxurio’s snout.
Did ever any man e’er hear him talk,
But of Pick-hatch,[597] or of some Shoreditch balk,
Aretine’s filth, or of his wand’ring whore;[598]
Of some Cinædian, or of Tacedore;
Of Ruscus’ nasty, loathsome brothel rhyme,
That stinks like A-jax[599] froth, or muck-pit slime?
The news he tells you is of some new flesh,
Lately broke up, span new, hot piping fresh.
The courtesy he shows you is some morn    150
To give you Venus ’fore her[600] smock be on.
His eyes, his tongue, his soul, his all, is lust,
Which vengeance and confusion follow must.
Out on this salt humour, letcher’s dropsy,
Fie! it doth soil my chaster poesy!
O spruce! How now, Piso, Aurelius’ ape,
What strange disguise, what new deformèd shape,
Doth hold thy thoughts in contemplation?
Faith say, what fashion art thou thinking on?
A stitch’d taffeta cloak, a pair of slops    160
Of Spanish leather? O, who heard his chops
E’er chew of ought but of some strange disguise?
This fashion-monger, each morn ’fore he rise,
Contemplates suit-shapes, and once from out his bed,
He hath them straight full lively portrayèd.
And then he chucks, and is as proud of this
As Taphus when he got his neighbour’s bliss.
All fashions, since the first year of this queen,
May in his study fairly drawn be seen;
And all that shall be to his day of doom;    170
You may peruse within that little room;
For not a fashion once dare show his face,
But from neat Piso first must take his grace:
The long fool’s coat, the huge slop, the lugg’d[601] boot,
From mimic Piso all do claim their root.
O that the boundless power of the soul
Should be coop’d up in fashioning some roll!
But O, Suffenus! (that doth hug, embrace
His proper self, admires his own sweet face;
Praiseth his own fair limbs’ proportion,    180
Kisseth his shade, recounteth all alone
His own good parts) who envies him? Not I,
For well he may, without all rivalry.
Fie! whither’s fled my sprite’s alacrity?
How dull I vent this humorous poesy!
In faith I am sad, I am possess’d with ruth,
To see the vainness of fair Albion’s youth;
To see their richest time even wholly spent
In that which is but gentry’s ornament;
Which, being meanly done, becomes them well;    190
But when with dear time’s loss they do excell,
How ill they do things well! To dance and sing,
To vault, to fence, and fairly trot[602] a ring
With good grace, meanly done, O what repute
They do beget! But being absolute,
It argues too much time, too much regard
Employ’d in that which might be better spar’d
Than substance should be lost. If one should sue
For Lesbia’s love, having two days to woo,
And not one more, and should employ those twain    200
The favour of her waiting-wench to gain,
Were he not mad? Your apprehension,
Your wits are quick in application.
Methinks your souls should grudge and inly scorn
To be made slaves[603] to humours that are born
In slime of filthy sensuality.
That part not subject to mortality
(Boundless, discursive apprehension
Giving it wings to act his function),    210
Methinks should murmur when you stop his course,
And soil his beauties in some beastly source
Of brutish pleasures; but it is so poor,
So weak, so hunger-bitten, evermore
Kept from his food, meagre for want of meat,
Scorn’d and rejected, thrust from out his seat,
Upbraid[604] by capons’ grease, consumèd quite
By eating stews, that waste the better sprite,
Snibb’d[605] by his baser parts, that now poor soul
(Thus peasanted to each lewd thought’s control)    220
Hath lost all heart, bearing all injuries,
The utmost spite and rank’st indignities,
With forcèd willingness; taking great joy,
If you will deign his faculties employ
But in the mean’st ingenious quality.
(How proud he’ll be of any dignity!)
Put it to music, dancing, fencing-school,
Lord, how I laugh to hear the pretty fool,
How it will prate! His tongue shall never lie,
But still discourse of his spruce quality,    230
Egging his master to proceed from this,
And get the substance of celestial bliss.
His lord straight calls his parliament of sense;
But still the sensual have pre-eminence.
The poor soul’s better part so feeble is,
So cold and dead is his Synderesis,
“That shadows, by odd chance, sometimes are got;
But O the substance is respected not!”
Here ends my rage. Though angry brow was bent,
Yet I have sung in sporting merriment.    240

[584] i.e. “Melancholy, get you to hell!”

[585] Seemingly a term for some sliding dance-movement.

[586] “Intellectual ... mincing capreal.”—These words are ridiculed by Ben Jonson in Every Man out of his Humour, iii. 1. See Introduction, vol. i.

[587] Sir John Davies’ excellent poem.

[588] “A hall, a hall!”—The cry raised when an open space was wanted for the dancers.

[589] There is no allusion to Will Kempe’s famous dance from London to Norwich, as that feat was performed in 1600. Kempe’s jig was the name of a popular dance; and there was a ballad that bore the same title.

[590] So in the Induction to the Malcontent:—“I am one that hath seen this play often: I have most of the jests here in my table-book.”—Dekker, in the Gull’s-Horn Book, advises a gallant to “hoard up the finest play-scraps you can get, upon which your lean wit may most savourly feed for want of other stuff, when the Arcadian and Euphuized gentlewomen have their tongues sharpened to set upon you!”

[591] The italicised words are technical terms in fencing. I cannot find the term finctures, but it doubtless has the meaning feints(otherwise called falses).

[592] The reference is to Vincentio Saviolo, a famous Italian master of fence, author of Vincentio Saviolo his Practise in two Bookes. The first intreating of the use of the Rapier and Dagger. The Second of Honor and Honorable Quarrels, 1595, 4to.

[593] In Every Man in his Humour Cob speaks of Bobadil as a “Burgullian fencer“; and Dekker in the Preface to Satiromastix says that “Horace [Jonson] questionless made himself believe that his Burgonian wit might desperately challenge all comers, and that none durst take up the foils against him.” In each case the allusion is to the Bastard of Burgundy who was overthrown at Smithfield in 1467 by Anthony Woodville. There is doubtless the same allusion in the present passage.

[594] The pommado was the vaulting on a horse (without touching the stirrups) and the pommado reversa was the vaulting off again.

[595] Omitted in ed. 1598.

[596] Ed. 1598 “dares.”

[597] Pick-hatch (in Clerkenwell) and Shoreditch were the head-quarters of whores.

[598] Puttana Errante is the title of a poem (by Lorenzo Veniero) falsely ascribed to Aretino. The same title was sometimes given to Dialoghi di Rosana e Ginevra. See Preface to vol. i. of Les Ragionamenti ou Dialogues du divin Pietro Aretino, Paris, 1882.

[599] (1) Ajax; (2) A jakes.—The joke is of constant occurrence.

[600] Ed. 1599 “his.”

[601] i.e., with long ears, or tags.

[602] “Trot a ring.”—See note 1, vol. i. p. 111.

[603] Ed. 1598 “slave.”

[604] “Remors de l’estromac, The upbraiding of the stomacke.”—Cotgrave.

[605] Snubbed.


Thou mighty gulf, insatiate cormorant!
Deride me not, though I seem petulant
To fall into thy chops. Let others pray
For ever their fair poems flourish may;
But as for me, hungry Oblivion,
Devour me quick, accept my orison,
My earnest prayers, which do importune thee,
With gloomy shade of thy still empery,
To veil both me and my rude poesy.
Far worthier lines, in silence of thy state,    10
Do sleep securely, free from love or hate;
From which this living ne’er can be exempt,
But whilst it breathes will hate and fury tempt:
Then close his eyes with thy all-dimming hand,
Which not right glorious actions can withstand.
Peace, hateful tongues, I now in silence pace,
Unless some hound do wake me from my place,
I with this sharp, yet well-meant poesy,
Will sleep secure, right free from injury
Of canker’d hate, or rankest villainy.    20

[606] Compare “The Author’s Charge to his Satires” prefixed to Hall’s Virgedemiarum, The three last Books.


Gentle or ungentle hand that holdest me, let not thine eye be cast upon privateness, for I protest I glance not on it. If thou hast perused me, what lesser favour canst thou grant than not to abuse me with unjust application? Yet, I fear me, I shall be much, much injuried[607] by two sorts of readers: the one being ignorant, not knowing the nature of a satire (which is, under feigned private names to note general vices), will needs wrest each feigned name to a private unfeigned person: the other, too subtile, bearing a private malice to some greater personage than he dare, in his own person, seem to malign, will strive, by a forced application of my general reproofs, to broach his private hatred,—than the which I know not a greater injury can be offered to a satirist. I durst presume, knew they how guiltless and how free I were from prying into privateness, they would blush to think how much they wrong themselves in seeking to injure me. Let this protestation satisfy our curious searchers; so may I obtain my best hopes, as I am free from endeavouring to blast any private man’s good name. If any one (forced with his own guilt) will turn it home and say, “’Tis I,” I cannot hinder him; neither do I injure him. For other faults of poesy, I crave no[608] pardon, in that I scorn all penance the bitterest censurer can impose upon me. Thus (wishing each man to leave inquiring whom I am, and learn to know himself) I take a solemn congee of this fusty world.


[607] The verb injury is frequently found.

[608] Ed. 1598 “me.”


The noble Lorde & Lady of Huntingdons Entertainement of theire right Noble Mother Alice: Countesse Dowager of Darby the first night of her honors arrivall att the house of Ashby.

The MS. of this Entertainment is preserved at Bridgewater House. Extracts were printed in Halliwell’s Marston, vol. iii.; but the Entertainment was first printed in full by Dr. Grosart. I have not seen the MS.: it seemed unnecessary to go over the ground again, for Dr. Grosart’s transcript was evidently made with great care.[609] “The MS.,” he observes, “fills fifteen leaves. The first leaf, which contains the address to the dowager-duchess of Derby, and leaves fourteen and fifteen, which contain the ‘Epilogue’ (never before printed), are in Marston’s own handwriting. The rest of the MS. is in two hands.... Throughout the MS. there are several corrections made in a darker ink, and apparently by Marston himself. On leaf two is a small blank space and the following words by Marston: ‘as this lame figure demonstrates’—a sketch being evidently intended. But, spite of the author’s supervision, various mistakes of the scribe are left.”

[609] At the close of his Introduction to Hall’s Satires, Dr. Grosart corrects a few errors that had crept into his transcript of Marston’s Entertainment. These corrections I have silently adopted.



Countess-Dowager of Derby.


If my slight Muse may suit your noble merit,
My hopes are crown’d, and I shall cheer my spirit;
But if my weak quill droops or seems unfit,
’Tis not your want of worth, but mine of wit.
The servant of your honour’d virtues,

John Marston.

When her Ladyship approached the Park corner, a full noise of cornets winded; and when she entered into the Park, treble cornets reported one to another, as giving warning of her Honour’s nearer approach; when presently her eye was saluted with an antique gate, which suddenly was erected in this form. Upon the gate did hang many silver scrolls with this word in them, Tantum uni. Upon the battlements over the gate three gilt shields in diamond-figure, impaled on the top with three coronets purfled with gold, and severally inscribed with silver words; in the first shield, Venisti tandem; in the second, Nostra sera; in the third, Et sola voluptas. Over these, upon a half sphere, stood embossed an antique figure gilt; the slight tower[s] to this gate, which were only raised for show, were set out with battlements, shields, and coronets suitable to the rest. When the Countess came near the gate an old enchantress in crimson velvet, with pale face, black hair, and disliking countenance, affronted her Ladyship, and thus rudely saluted her:

Woman, Lady, Princess, Nymph, or Goddess,
For more you are not, and you seem no less;
Stay, and attempt not passage through this port,
Here the pale Lord of Sadness keep[s] his court,
Rough-visag’d Saturn, on whose bloodless cheeks,
Dull Melancholy sits, who straightly seeks
To seize on all that enter through this gate.
Grant gracious listening, and I shall relate
The means, the manner, and of all the sense,
Whilst your fair eye enforceth eloquence.
There was a time (and since that time the sun
Hath not yet through nine signs of heaven run)
When the high Sylvan, that commands these woods,
And his bright Nymph, fairer than Queen of Floods,
With most impatient longings hoped to view
Her face to whom their hearts’ dear’st zeal was due.
Youth’s joys to love, sweet light unto the blind,
Beauty to virgins, or what wit can find
Most dearly wished, was not so much desired
As she to them; O my dull soul is fired
To tell their longings, but it is a piece
That would o’erload the famous tongues of Greece.
Yet long they hop’d, till Rumour struck Hope dead,
And showed their wishes were but flatterèd;
For scarce her chariot cut the easy earth,
And journeyed on, when Winter with cold breath
Crosseth her way, her borrowed hair doth shine
With glittering icicles all crystalline;
Her brows were periwigg’d with softer snow,
Her russet mantle, fringed with ice below,
Sat[610] stiffly on her back; she thus came forth,
Ushered with tempest of the frosty North;
And seeing her, she thought she sure had seen
The sweet-breath’d Flora, the bright Summer’s Queen.
So full of cheerful grace she did appear,
That Winter feared her face recalled the year,
And forced untimely springs to seize her right,
Whereat with anger and malicious spite
She vows revenge; straight with tempestuous wings,
From Taurus, Alps, and Scythian rocks she flings
Their covering off, and here their thick fur spread,
That patient earth was almost smotherèd.
Up Boreas mounts, and doth so strongly blow
Athwart her way huge drifts of blinding snow,
That mountain-like, at length heaps rose so high,
Man’s sight might doubt whether Heaven or Earth were sky.
Hereat she turnèd back, and left her way
(Necessity all mortals must obey);
Which was no sooner voiced and hither flown,
It sads me but to think what grief was shown;
Which to augment (mishap ne’er single falls),
The God of Sadness and of Funerals,
Of heavy pensiveness and discontent,
Cold and dull Saturn hither straight was sent.
Myself, Merimna, who still wait upon
Pale Melancholy and Desolation,
Usher’d him in, when straight we strongly seize
All this sad house, and vowed no means should ease
These heavy bands which pensive Saturn tied,
Till with wish’d grace this house was beautified.
Pace then no further, for vouchsafe to know,
Till her approach here can no comfort grow;
’Tis only one can their sad bondage break,
Whose worth I may admire, not dare to speak.
She’s so complete, that her much honoured state
Gives Fortune Virtue, makes Virtue fortunate;
As one in whom three rare mix’d virtues sit
Seen seldom joinèd, Fortune, Beauty, Wit;
To this choice Lady and to her dear state
All hearts do open, as alone this gate;
She only drives away dull Saturn hence,
She whom to praise I need her eloquence!

This speech thus ended, presently Saturn issued from forth the port, and curiously beholding the Countess, spake thus:

Peace! stay, it is, it is, it is even she!
Hail happy honours of Nobility!
Did never Saturn see, or ne’er see such?
What should I style you? what choice phrase may touch,
Or hopes in words such wondrous grace to suit,
Whose worth doth want an equal attribute.
Let never mortal wondering silence break,
Since to express you Gods themselves must speak.
Sweet glories of your sex, know that your eyes
Makes mild the roughest planet of the skies.
Even we, the Lord that sits on ebon thrones,
Circled with sighs and discontented groans,
Are forced at your fair presence to relent,
At your approach all Saturn’s force is spent.
Now breaks my bands, now sadness leaves their towers,
Now all are turn’d to Flora’s smiling bowers;
Then now give way, now is my bondage due
Only to those who safely envy you.
Hence, solitary Beldam, sink to-night,
I give up all to joy, and to delight.
And now pass on, all-happy-making dame!
O could you but imagine what a flame
Of many joys now in their bosoms shine
Who count it their dear’st honour to be thine,
You would aver, to number[611] them who seeks
Must sure invent some new arithmetics,
For who to cast their reckoning takes in hand
Had need for counters take the ocean-sand.
Their service is your right, your love their due
Who only love themselves for loving you.
Their palace waits you with so hearty gate
Men cannot utter nor Gods scarce relate.

Then passed the whole troop to the house, until the Countess had mounted the stairs to the great chamber; on the top of which, Merimna, having changed her habit all to white, met her, and, whilst a consort softly played, spake thus:

See what a change the spirit of your eyes
Hath wrought in us. Hence dull Saturn flies,
And we that were the ghost of woe and earth
Are all transform’d unto the soul of mirth.
O we are full of joy, no breast more light
But those who owe you theirs by nature’s right;
From whom vouchsafe this present,—’tis a work
Wherein strange miracles and wonders lurk.
For, know, that Lady whose ambition towers
Only to this, to be term’d worthy yours;
Whose forehead I could crown with clearest rays,
But that her praise is she abhors much praise;
Not long since thought she saw in slumb’ring trances
The Queen of Fairies and of moonlight dances
Come tripping in; and with a fairy kiss
She chastely touch’d her and straight gave her this
With this strange charge:—“This piece alone was made
For her in whom no graces e’er shall fade;
For her whose worth is such I dare aver
It fears not satire nor the flatterer;
For her who gave you first most gracing name,
Who loveth goodness for itself, not fame;
For her whom modest virtue doth enfold[612] so
That she had rather be much graced than told so;
For her for whom, had you the whole world’s breast
And of it all gave her sole interest,
You’d judge it slight.” This said, hence straight she flew,
And left it her who only vows it you.
Then whilst our breast with secret welcomes ring,
Vouchsafe acceptance of this offering.

Thus with a song Merimna presented her[613] honour with a very curious and rich waistcoat; which done, the Countess passed on to her chamber.

The Masque presented by four knights and four gentlemen at the right noble Earl of Huntingdon’s house of Ashby in honour of his Lady’s most worthy mother’s arrival, Alice Countess Dowager of Derby.

The form was thus:

At the approach of the countesses into the great chamber the hoboys played until the room was marshalled; which once ordered, a traverse[614] slided away; presently a cloud was seen move up and down almost to the top of the great chamber, upon which Cynthia was discovered riding; her habit was blue satin, fairly embroidered with stars and clouds: who looking down and earnestly surveying the ladies, spake thus:

Cynth. Are not we Cynthia? and shall earth display
Brighter than us and force untimely day?
What daring flames beam such illustrious light,
Enforcing darkness from the claim of night?
Up, Ariadne, thy clear beauty rouse,
Thou Northern Crown to lusty Bacchus’ spouse,
Let’s mix our glories to outblaze your flame;
To be outshone is Heaven’s and great hearts’ shame.
Look down; know’st them? See how their fronts rebate
Splendour like Jove and beauty worth our state!
Hath our bright brother, the fair Lord of days,
Into their eyes shed his us-dark’ning rays?
Or hath some daring spirit forgot Jove’s ire
And to grace them stol’n his celestial fire?
We are not Phœbe, this is not Heaven’s story;
Place gives not worth, but worth gives place his glory.

In the midst of this speech Ariadne rose from the bottom of the room, mounted upon a cloud which waved up until it came near Cynthia, where resting Ariadne spake thus:

Ariad. Can our chaste queen, searching Apollo’s sister,
Not know those stars that in yon valley glister?
Is virtue strange to heaven? Can Cynthia
Not know the goodly-form’d Pasithea?
She who loves greatness to be greatly good,
Knowing fair’st worth from virtue springs, not blood;
Whose graceful just proportion is held such
That what may be judge[d] beauty must have touch
And proof from hers: yet this her least of grace
(Which is the most in most)—her beauty’s but the case
Of fairest mind: when Fortune gave her eyes,
Her worth made Fortune judge she once had eyes.
But see a piece that would strike envy blind,
Whose face would Furies tame, make monsters kind.
He gave her mighty praise and yet no other
But that in mind and form she’s like her mother:
Up, raisèd passion, and with pæans follow
Grace of the Muses, daughter of Apollo!
O precious selahs’ praise thy worth is under;
He that would limn thy grace must only wonder.<