The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Select Collection of Old English Plays,
Volume 12 (of 15), by Robert Dodsley

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Title: A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Volume 12 (of 15)

Author: Robert Dodsley

Editor: William Carew Hazlitt

Release Date: September 6, 2014 [EBook #46791]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by Richard Tonsing, Jonathan Ingram and the Online
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The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.




New York

First published 1874-1876
Reissued 1964 by Benjamin Blom, Inc.
L.C. Catalog Card No.: 64-14702

Printed in U.S.A. by

[Pg 1]


[Pg 2]



The Old Couple. A Comedy. By Thomas May, Esq.; London, Printed by J. Cottrel, for Samuel Speed, at the signe of the Printing-press in S. Paul's Churchyard. 1658. 4o.

[A MS. note in one of the former editions says: "This comedy is pleasingly and fluently written, and though it contains little poetry, is not without some eloquent and beautiful passages. The first scene is the best in the play."]

[Pg 3]


It seems probable that this comedy, as it is called, was never acted, and on the title-page of the old edition (not printed until 1658, eight years after the death of the author), it is not mentioned that it was performed by any private or public company. This fact was usually stated, though during the period when the theatres were silenced exceptions were not very uncommon. It is pretty obvious, however, from the general structure of the piece and the nature of the dialogue, that "The Old Couple" was not calculated or intended by the author to please the multitude. No inconsiderable part of the plot, and some of the characters, may be considered allegorical, and for the sake of preserving it, some constraint is used in a few of the incidents, and forced and unnatural conversions take place among the persons.[1]

[Pg 4]

As to the period when it was written, judging from internal evidence, it might be thought that May produced "The Old Couple" late in life, and it was certainly the last printed of any of his works. It will be observed that two lines in the last scene of this play close "The Goblins" of Sir John Suckling.

"Gently my joys distil,
Lest you should break the vessel you should fill."

Sir J. Suckling does not introduce them as a quotation, but nevertheless, from the situation in which they are found in his comedy, it seems likely that they were so, and that they originally belong to May. If this supposition be correct, "The Old Couple" must have been written before 1641, in which year Suckling died, and the latter must have seen it in MS.[2]

[Pg 5]




[Pg 6]
[Pg 7]



Eugeny solus.

Eug. This is the hour which fair Artemia
Promis'd to borrow from all company,
And bless me only with it; to deny
Her beauteous presence to all else, and shine
On me, poor me! Within this garden here,
This happy garden once, while I was happy,[3]
And wanted not a free access unto it;
Before my fatal and accursed crime
Had shut these gates of paradise against me;
When I, without control alone might spend
With sweet Artemia in these fragrant walks
The day's short-seeming hours; and (ravish'd) hear
Her sweet discourses of the lily's whiteness,
The blushing rose, blue-mantled violet,
Pale daffodil, and purple hyacinth:
With all the various sweets and painted glories
Of Nature's wardrobe, which were all eclips'd
By her diviner beauty. But alas!
What boots the former happiness I had,
[Pg 8] But to increase my sorrow?[4] My sad crime
Has left me now no entrance but by stealth,
When death and danger dog my vent'rous steps.
But welcome danger, since thou find'st so fair
A recompense as my Artemia's sight!

Enter Artemia.

Art. And art thou come, my dearest Eugeny?
Has thy true love broke through so many hazards
To visit me? I prythee, chide my fondness,
That did command thee such a dangerous task.
I did repent it since, and was in hope
Thou wouldst not come.
Eug. Why hop'd Artemia so?
Wouldst thou not see me then? Or can the hazard
Of ten such lives as mine is countervail
One glance of favour from thy beauteous eyes?
Art. Why dost thou use that language to a heart,
Which is thy captive, Eugeny, and lives,
In nothing happy but in thee?
Eug. Ah, love!
There lies my greatest sorrow; that the storms
Of spiteful fortune, which o'erwhelm my state,
Should draw thy constant goodness to a suff'ring—
A goodness worthy of the happiest man.
Art. Those storms of fortune will be soon o'er-blown,
When once thy cause shall be but truly known,
That chance, not malice, wrought it; and thy pardon
[Pg 9] Will be with ease obtain'd.
Eug. It may be, love,
If old Sir Argent do deal truly in it.
Art. But keep thyself conceal'd: do not rashly
Venture two lives in one: or, when thou com'st,
Let it be still in silence of the night.
No visitation then, or other strange
Unlook'd-for accident, can bar our joys.
The moon is now in her full orb, and lends
Securer light to lovers than the sun:
Then only come. But prythee, tell me, love,
How dost thou spend thy melancholy time?
Eug. Within the covert of yon shady wood,
Which clothes the mountain's rough and craggy top,
A little hovel built of boughs and reeds
Is my abode: from whence the spreading trees
Keep out the sun, and do bestow in lieu
A greater benefit, a safe concealment.
In that secure and solitary place
I give my pleas'd imagination leave
To feast itself with thy supposed presence,
Whose only shadow brings more joy to me,
Than all the substance of the world beside.
Art. Just so alone am I; nay, want the presence
Of mine own heart, which strays to find out thee.
But who comes to thee to supply thy wants?
Eug. There Artemia names my happiness—
A happiness which, next thy love, I hold
To be the greatest that the world can give,
And I am proud to name it. I do there
Enjoy a friend, whose sweet society
Makes that dark wood a palace of delight:
One stor'd with all that can commend a man;
In whom refined knowledge and pure art,
[Pg 10] Mixing with true and sound morality,
Is crown'd with piety.
Art. What wonder's this,
Whom thou describ'st?
Eug. But I in vain, alas!
Do strive to make with my imperfect skill
A true dissection of his noble parts:
He loses, love, by all that I can say;
For praise can come no nearer to his worth
Than can a painter with his mimic sun
Express the beauty of Hyperion.
Art. What is his name?
Eug. His name is Theodore,
Rich Earthworm's son, lately come home from travel.
Art. O heavens! his son? Can such a caitiff wretch,
Hated and curs'd by all, have such a son?
The miser lives alone, abhorr'd by all,
Like a disease, yet cannot so be 'scap'd;
But, canker-like, eats through the poor men's hearts,
That live about him: never has commerce
With any, but to ruin them; his house
Inhospitable as the wilderness,
And never look'd upon but with a curse.
He hoards, in secret places of the earth,
Not only bags of treasure, but his corn,
Whose every grain he prizes 'bove a life,
And never prays at all but for dear years.
Eug. For his son's sake, tread gently on his fame.
Art. O love! his fame cannot be redeemed
From obloquy; but thee I trust so far,
As highly to esteem his worthy son.
Eug. That man is all, and more than I have said:
His wondrous virtues will hereafter make
[Pg 11] The people all forgive his father's ill:
I was acquainted with him long ago
In foreign parts. And, now I think on't, love,
He'll be the fittest man to be acquainted
With all our secrecies, and be a means
To further us; and think I trust his truth,
That dare so much commend his worth to thee.
Art. He is my neighbour here: that house is Earthworm's,
That stands alone beside yon grove of trees;
And fear not, dearest love, I'll find a means
To send for him: do you acquaint him first. [Exeunt.

Euphues, Dotterel, Barnet.

Euph. Then shall I tell my cousin that you are
A younger brother, Master Dotterel?
Dot. O yes, by any means, sir.
Euph. What's your reason?
Dot. A crotchet, sir, a crotchet that I have:
Here's one can tell you I have twenty of 'em.
Bar. Euphues, dissuade him not; he is resolv'd
To keep his birth and fortunes both conceal'd;
Yet win her so, or no way. He would know
Whether himself be truly lov'd or no;
And not his fortunes only.
Euph. Well, access
You have already found; pursue it, sir,
But give me leave to wonder at your way.
Another wooer, to obtain his love,
Would put on all his colours; stretch t' appear
At his full height, or a degree beyond it;
Belie his fortunes; borrow what he wanted;
Not make himself less than he truly is.
What reason is there that a man possess'd
Of fortunes large enough, that they may come boldly
A welcome suitor to herself and friends,
[Pg 12] And, ten to one, speed in his suit the fair
And usual way, should play the fool, and lose
His precious time in such a hopeless wooing?
Dot. Alas, sir! what is a gentleman's time?
Bar. Euphues, he tells you true; there are some brains
Can never lose their time, whate'er they do:
Yet I can tell you, he has read some books.
Dot. Do not disparage me.
Bar. I warrant thee;
And in those books he says he finds examples
Of greatest beauties that have so been won.
Euph. O, in "Parismus" and the "Knight o' th' Sun!"[5]
Are those your authors?
Dot. Yes, and those are good ones.
Why should a man of worth, though but a shepherd,
Despair to get the love of a king's daughter?
Euph. I prythee, Barnet, how hast thou screw'd up
This fool to such a monstrous confidence?
Bar. He needs no screwing up; but let him have
His swing a little.
Euph. He shall have it freely.
But you have seen your mistress, Master Dotterel?
How do you find her? coming?
Dot. That's all one;
I know what I know.
Bar. He has already got
Some footing in her favour.
Euph. But I doubt
He'll play the tyrant; make her doat too long,
Wear the green-sickness as his livery,
And pine a year or two.
[Pg 13]
Dot. She's not the first
That has done so for me.
Euph. But if you use
My cousin so, I shall not take it well.
Dot. O, I protest I have no such meaning, sir.
See, here she comes! the Lady Whimsey too.

Enter Lady Whimsey, with Artemia.

Lady W. I thought, sweetheart, th' hadst wanted company.
Art. Why, so I did—yours, madam.
Lady W. Had I known
Your house had been so full of gallants now,
I would have spar'd my visit. But 'tis all one,
I have met a friend here.
Euph. Your poor servant, madam.
Lady W. I was confessing of your cousin here
About th' affairs of love.
Euph. Your ladyship, I hope, will shrieve her gently.[6]
Lady W. But I tell her
She shall not thank me now for seeing her;
For I have business hard by. I am going
A suitor to your old rich neighbour here—
Euph. A suitor! He is very hard
In granting anything, especially
If it be money.
Lady W. Yes, my suit's for money;
Nay, all his money, and himself to boot.
[Pg 14]
Bar. His money would do well without himself.
Lady W. And with himself.
Bar. Alas! your ladyship
Should too much wrong your beauty, to bestow it
Upon one that cannot use it, and debar
More able men their wishes.
Euph. That's true, Barnet,
If she should bar all other men: but that
Would be too great a cruelty.
Art. Do you hear my cousin, madam?
Lady W. Yes, he will be heard:
Rather than fail, he'll give himself the hearing.
But, prythee, Euphues, tell me plainly now,
What thou dost think of me? I love thy freeness
Better than any flattery in the world.
Euph. I think you wondrous wise.
Lady W. In what?
Euph. In that
That makes or mars a woman—I mean love.
Lady W. Why, prythee?
Euph. I think you understand so well
What the true use of man is, that you'll ne'er
Trouble your thoughts with care, or spoil your beauty
With the green-sickness, to obtain a thing
Which you can purchase a discreeter way.
Art. How do you like this, madam?
Lady W. Wondrous well;
'Tis that I look'd for. But what entertainment
Would old rich Earthworm give us, do you think?
Bar. Unless your presence, madam, could infuse
A nobler soul into him, 'tis much fear'd
'Twould be but mean.
Lady W. Because (you'll say) he's covetous?
Tut! I can work a change in any man.
If I were married to him, you should see
What I would make him.
[Pg 15]
Euph. I believe we should,
If cuckold's horns were visible.
Art. But could
Your ladyship be pleas'd with such a husband?
Lady W. Who could not well be pleas'd with such a fortune?
Art. Wealth cannot make a man.
Lady W. But his wealth, lady,
Can make a woman.
Euph. Yet, I doubt, old Earthworm
Would prove too subtle to be govern'd so.
You'll find him, madam, an old crabbed piece:
Some gentle fool were better for a husband.
Art. Fie, cousin, how thou talk'st!
Lady W. He's in the right:
Fools are the only husbands; one may rule 'em.
Why should not we desire to use men so,
As they would us? I have heard men protest
They would have their wives silly, and not studied
In anything, but how to dress themselves;
And not so much as able to write letters.
Just such a husband would I wish to have,
So qualifi'd, and not a jot beyond it;
He should not have the skill to write or read.
Art. What could you get by that?
Lady W. I should be sure
He could not read my letters; and for bonds,
When I should have occasion to use money,
His mark would serve.
Art. I am not of your mind:
I would not have a fool for all the world.
Bar. No, fairest lady, your perfections
None but the wisest and the best of men
Can truly find and value.
Dot. And I protest, lady,
I honour you for not loving a fool.
Lady W. You would love a wife, it seems, that loves not you?
[Pg 16]
Euph. A tart jest, Barnet!
Bar. But he feels it not. [Aside.
Euph. Fie, Master Dotterel! 'tis not nobly done
In you to hate a fool: a generous spirit
Would take the weakest' part; and fools, you know,
Are weakest still.
Dot. Faith, Master Euphues,
I must confess I have a generous spirit,
And do a little sympathise with fools:
I learn'd that word from a good honest man.
But hark you, cousin Barnet, this same lady
Is a brave woman.
Bar. Are you taken with her?
Dot. I love a wit with all my heart.
Bar. 'Tis well;
He is already taken off, I see,
From fair Artemia, or may be soon;
Upon this t'other I may build a fortune. [Aside.
Euph. But, madam, if your ladyship would marry
Upon those terms, 'twere better that you took
Old Earthworm's son.
Lady W. Has he a son, I prythee?
Euph. Yes, lately come from travel, as they say,
We have not seen him yet; he has kept close
Since his arrival; people give him out
To be his father's own.
Lady W. Nay, then I swear
I'll none of him. If he be covetous,
And young, I shall be troubled too long with him:
I had rather have the old one.
Art. Here's my father.

Enter Master Freeman.

Free. Health to this good society: I am sorry
[Pg 17] That my poor house must not to-day enjoy
The happiness to entertain you all.
We are invited to th' old Lady Covet's;
And thither must our company remove.
Lady W. Sir, I'll be govern'd by you. I was bold
To come and see Mistress Artemia.
Free. She's much beholden to your ladyship
For doing her that honour.
Euph. Tell me, uncle:
I hear Sir Argent Scrape is at her house.
Free. Nephew, 'tis true; and, which thou'lt wonder at,
That marriage, which we talk'd of as a jest,
In earnest now's concluded of, and shall
To-morrow morning be solemnised.
Euph. Betwixt Sir Argent and the Lady Covet?
I do not think it strange; there's but one hedge
Has a long time divided them—I mean
Their large estates; and 'tis th' estate that marries.
Free. But is't not strange, nay, most unnatural—
And I may say ridiculous, for those years
To marry, and abuse the ordinance?
My Lady Covet is, at least, fourscore,
And he, this year, is fourscore and fifteen:
Besides, he has been bed-rid long, and lame
Of both his feet.
Euph. Uncle, he's not too old
To love—I mean her money; and in that
The chiefest end of marriage is fulfill'd:
He will increase and multiply his fortunes:
Increase, you know, is the true end of marriage!
Free. They have already almost the whole country.
Euph. But you shall see how now they'll propagate.
Free. Is such a marriage lawful?
[Pg 18]
Euph. Ah! good uncle,
Dispute not that, the church has nought in this;
Their lawyer is the priest that marries them,
The banns of matrimony are the indentures,
The bounds and landmarks are the ring that joins them.
Art. But there's no love at all.
Euph. Yes, pretty cousin,
If thou art read in amorous books, thou'lt find
That Cupid's arrow has a golden head;
And 'twas a golden shaft that wounded them.
Free. Well, thither we must go; but, prythee, nephew,
Forbear thy jesting there.
Euph. I warrant you;
I'll flatter the old lady, and persuade her
How well she looks: but when they go to bed,
I'll write their epitaph.
Free. How, man! their epitaph?
Their epithalamium thou mean'st.
Euph. No, sirs;
Over their marriage-bed I'll write their ages,
And only say, Here lies Sir Argent Scrape,
Together with his wife, the Lady Covet.
And whosoever reads it will suppose
The place to be a tomb, no marriage-bed.
Lady W. How strangely thou art taken with this wedding,
Before thou see'st it!
Euph. And then, let me see:
To fit them for an Hymeneal song,
Instead of those so high and spirited strains,
Which the old Grecian lovers us'd to sing
When lusty bridegrooms rifled maidenheads,
I'll sing a quiet dirge, and bid them sleep
[Pg 19] In peaceful rest, and bid the clothes, instead
Of earth, lie gently on their aged bones——[7]
[Pg 20]
Free. Thou'lt ne'er have done. Well, gallants, 'tis almost
The time that calls us: I must needs be gone.
Lady W. We'll wait upon you, sir.
Free. Your servant, madam.

[Exeunt Lady Whimsey, Freeman, Dotterel, and Barnet.

Art. Stay, cousin, I have a request to thee.
Euph. Thou canst not fear that I'll deny it thee.
Speak it: 'tis done.
Art. Why, then, in short, 'tis this—
Old Earthworm, cousin, has a son (they say)
Lately come home; his name, as I have heard,
Is Theodore.
Euph. Yes, I have heard of him.
Art. I would entreat you, by some means or other,
To draw him hither; I'd fain speak with him:
Ask not the cause, but do what I request—
You may hereafter know.
[Pg 21]
Eup. Well, I'll not question't,
But bring him hither, though I know him not.
Art. Cousin, farewell; I shall be look'd for straight.

[Exit Artemia.

Manet Euphues.

Euph. Rich Earthworm's son! why, in the name of wonder,
Should it be her desire to speak with him?
She knows him not. Well, let it be a riddle;
I have not so much wit as to expound it;
Nor yet so little as to lose my thoughts
Or study to find out what the no reason
Of a young wench's will is. Should I guess—
I know not what to think; she may have heard
That he's a proper man, and so desire
To satisfy herself? What reason then
Can she allege to him? Tut, that's not it:
Her beauty and large dow'r need not to seek
Out any suitors; and the odious name
Of his old wretched father would quite choke it.
Or have some tattling gossips or the maids
Told her, perchance, that he's a conjuror?
He goes in black: they say he is a scholar:
Has been beyond sea, too; there it may lie:
And he must satisfy her longing thought,
What or how many husbands she shall have;
Of what degree; upon what night she shall
Dream of the man; when she shall fast,[8] and walk
In the churchyard, to see him passing by,
Just in those clothes that first he comes a suitor.
[Pg 22] These things may be; but why should she make me
To be her instrument? Some of the men
Or maids might do't as well. Well, since you have
Us'd me, fair cousin, I will sound your drifts,
Or't shall go hard. The fellow may abuse her;
Therefore, I'll watch him too, and straight about it.
But now I think on't, I'll solicit him
By letter first, and meet him afterward. [Exit.


[1] [It is difficult to allow that this piece is particularly allegorical in any of its parts or characters. It has the air of a drama which had lain by for some time, and been hastily finished, as some of the incidents and characters are not developed with due regard to dramatic propriety. The conversion of Earthworm, especially, is unnaturally abrupt and violent.]

[2] "The Goblins" was publicly performed, whereas the "Old Couple" does not seem to have been so. Suckling died early in 1641. I confess that the evidence appears to me to lie strongly against May, who was a great borrower—even from himself, the most allowable kind of plagiarism.

[3] Former editions—

"This happy garden, once while I was happy."


[4] Dante ("Inferno," c. v.) says—

"Nessun maggior dolore
Che ricordarsi del tempo felice
Ne la miseria."


[5] Two romances of the time, very well known, often reprinted, and frequently mentioned in old authors.—Collier.

[6] i.e., Shrive her, hear her at confession. So in Shakespeare's "King Richard III."—

"What, talking with a priest, Lord Chamberlain?
Your lordship hath no shriving-work in hand."


[7] These lines seem a parody on the following one in "Bonduca," by Beaumont and Fletcher, act iv. sc. 3—

"Lie lightly on my ashes, gentle earth."

The time when Prior wrote his beautiful Ode to the Memory of Colonel George Villiers, drowned in the river Piave, in Friuli, 1703, is so near the period in which Mr Pope composed his elegy to the memory of an unfortunate lady, that it is difficult to say which of these great men borrowed from the other. It appears certain, however, that one of them, in the following lines, was indebted to his friend, unless it can be supposed that both of them were obliged to the above line of Beaumont and Fletcher. Prior says—

"Lay the dead hero graceful in a grave
(The only honour he can now receive),
And fragrant mould upon his body throw.
And plant the warrior laurel o'er his brow;
Light lie the earth, and flourish green the bough."

Mr Pope writes thus—

"What though no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb;
Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be drest,
And thy green turf lie lightly on thy breast."

I know not why we should suppose that Pope borrowed from Prior, or that either of them was indebted to Beaumont and Fletcher on this occasion. Sit tibi terra levis! is a wish expressed in many of the ancient Roman inscriptions. So in that on Pylades—

"Dicite qui legitis, solito de more, sepulto,
Pro meritis, Pylade, sit tibi terra levis!"

Again, in the sepulchral dialogue supposed to pass between Atimetus and Homonœa—

"Sit tibi terra levis, mulier dignissima vita!"

Again, in Propertius, El. xvii. lib. 1—

"Et mihi non ullo pondere terra foret."

Again, in Ovid—

"Et sit humus cineri non onerosa tuo!"

Thus also Juvenal, Sat. vii.—

"Di majorum umbris tenuem et sine pondere terram,
Spirantesque crocos, et in urna perpetuum ver!"

Again, in Persius, Sat. i.—

"Non levior cippus nunc imprimit ossa?
... nunc non e manibus illis,
Nunc non e tumulo fortunataque favilla
Nascentur violæ?"

On the contrary, Sit tibi terra gravis and Urgeat ossa lapis were usual maledictions, the ancients supposing that the soul remained for some time after death with the body, and was partner in its confinement. The latter of these wishes is ludicrously adopted by Dr Evans, in his epitaph on Sir J. Vanbrugh—

"Lie heavy on him, earth! for he
Laid many a heavy weight on thee."

It may be observed that such ideas, however poetical, have no great degree of propriety when introduced into Christian elegies, as we have no belief that the soul is in danger of being oppressed by a monument or stifled in a grave.—Steevens.

[8] These customs are still preserved by the inferior ranks of females in different parts of the kingdom. Among others, they frequently fast on St Agnes' Eve, and at the same time make use of several singular rites and ceremonies; all which are described and ridiculed in Gay's comedy of the "Wife of Bath." See also ["Popular Antiquities of Great Britain," 1870, i. 20, et alibi.]


Earthworm, Theodore.

Earth. I do not more rejoice in all my stores,
My wealthy bags, fill'd garners, crowded chests,
And all the envi'd heaps that I have glean'd
With so long care and labour, than I do
In thy most frugal nature, Theodore,
Concurring just with mine. In thee, my son,
I see, methinks, a perpetuity
Of all the projects which my soul has hatch'd,
And their rich fruits: I see my happiness,
When I consider what great hoards of wealth,
With long care rak'd together, I have seen
Even in a moment scatter'd; when I view
The gaudy heirs of thriving aldermen
Fleeting like short-liv'd bubbles into air,
And all that fire expiring in one blaze,
That was so long a-kindling. But do thou,
Do thou, my son, go on, and grow in thrift;
It is a virtue that rewards itself.
'Tis matterless in goodness who excels;
He that hath coins hath all perfections else.
Theo. Sir, I am wholly yours, and never can
Degenerate from your frugality;
[Pg 23] Or, if my nature did a little stray,
Your good example would direct it still,
Till it were grown in me habitual.
Earth. 'Twill be a greater patrimony to thee
Than all my wealth: strive to be perfect in't;
Study the rules. One rule is general.
And that is, give away nothing, son;
For thrift is like a journey; every gift,
Though ne'er so small, is a step back again.
He that would rise to riches or renown
Must not regard, though he pull millions down.
Theo. That lesson, sir, is easy to be learn'd.
Earth. Laugh at those fools that are ambitious
Of empty air, to be styl'd liberal!
That sell their substance for the breath of others,
And with the flattering thanks of idle drones
Are swelled, while their solid parts decay.
What clothes to wear?—the first occasion
Of wearing clothes will teach a wise man best.
Theo. True, sir; it teacheth us how vain a thing
It is for men to take a pride in that,
Which was at first the emblem of their shame.[9]
Earth. Thou hitt'st it right: but canst thou be content
With my poor diet too?
Theo. O, wondrous well!
'Twas such a diet which that happy age,
That poets style the golden, first did use.
Earth. And such a diet to our chests will bring
The golden age again.
[Pg 24]
Theo. Beside the gain
That flows upon us, health and liberty
Attend on these bare meals: if we all were bless'd
With such a temperance, what man would fawn,
Or to his belly sell his liberty?
There would be then no slaves, no sycophants
At great men's tables. If the base Sarmentus
Or that vile Galba[10] had been thus content,
They had not borne the scoffs of Cæsar's board.
He whose cheap thirst the springs and brooks can quench,
How many cares is he exempted from?
He's not indebted to the merchant's toil,
Nor fears that pirates' force or storms should rob him
Of rich Canaries or sweet Candian wines:
He smells nor seeks no feasts; but in his own
True strength contracted lives, and there enjoys
A greater freedom than the Parthian king.
Earth. Thou mak'st me more in love with my bless'd life.
Theo. Besides, pure cheerful health ever attends it;
Which made the former ages live so long.
With riotous banquets sicknesses came in;
When death 'gan muster all his dismal band
Of pale diseases, such as poets feign
Keep sentinel before the gates of hell,
And bad them wait about the gluttons' tables,
Whom they, like venom'd pills in sweetest wines,
Deceiv'd, swallow down, and hasten on
What most they would eschew—untimely death.
But from our tables here no painful surfeits,
No fed diseases grow, to strangle nature
[Pg 25] And suffocate the active brain; no fevers,
No apoplexies, palsies, or catarrhs
Are here, where nature, not entic'd at all
With such a dangerous bait as pleasant cates,
Takes in no more than she can govern well.
Earth. But that which is the greatest comfort, son,
Is to observe with pleasure our rich hoards
Daily increase, and stuff the swelling bags.
Come, thou art mine, I see! Here, take these keys.

[Gives Theodore the keys.

These keys can show thee such amazing plenty,
Whose very sight would feed a famish'd country.
I durst not trust my servants.
Theo. Me you may,
Who equal with my life do prize your profit.
Earth. Well, I'll go in: I feel myself half sleepy
After the drink I took. [Exit.
Theo. 'Twill do you good, sir.
Work sweetly, gentle cordial! and restore
Those spirits again which pining avarice
Has 'reft him of. Ah me! how wondrous thin,
How lean and wan he looks! How much, alas!
Has he defrauded his poor genius
In raking wealth, while the pale, grisly sighs
Of famine dwell upon his aged cheeks.
O avarice! than thee a greater plague
Did ne'er infest the life of wretched man!
Heaven aid my work! That rare extraction
Which he has drunk, beside the nourishment,
Will cast him in a safe and gentle sleep,
While I have liberty to work my ends;
And with his body's cure a means I'll find
To cure his fame, and (which is more) his mind.

[Pg 26]

Enter Jasper.

Jas. Sir!
Theo. Are those disguises ready,
Which I bespoke?
Jas. They are all fitted, sir.
Theo. Then at the hour, which I appointed thee,
Invite those people, Jasper; but be true
And secret to me.
Jas. As your own heart, sir.
Theo. Take this: I will reward thy service better,
As soon as these occasions are dispatch'd.
Jas. I thank you, sir. I have a letter for you,
Left here but now, from Master Euphues,
Old Master Freeman's nephew.
Theo. Give it me;
I will anon peruse it. But my haste
Permits not now: Eugeny waits my coming. [Exit Theodore.
Jas. I like this well; yet, if I should prove false
To my old master for my young master's sake,
Who can accuse me? For the reason's plain
And very palpable; I feel it here.
This will buy ale; so will not all the hoards,
Which my old master has: his money serves
For nothing but to look upon; but this
Knows what the common use of money is.
Well, for my own part, I'm resolv'd to do
Whatever he commands me; he's too honest
To wrong his father in it: if he should,
The worst would be his own another day. [Exit.

Eugeny solus.

Eug. Just thus, in woods and solitary caves,
The ancient hermits liv'd; but they liv'd happy!
And in their quiet contemplations found
[Pg 27] More real comforts than society
Of men could yield, than cities could afford,
Or all the lustres of a court could give.
But I have no such sweet preservatives
Against the sadness of this desert place.
I am myself a greater wilderness
Than are these woods, where horror and dismay
Make their abodes; while different passions
By turn do reign in my distracted soul.
Fortune makes this conclusion general—
All things shall help th' unfortunate man to fall.
First sorrow comes, and tells me I have done
A crime whose foulness must deserve a sea
Of penitent tears to wash me clean again.
Then sear[11] steps in, and tells me, if surpris'd,
My wretched life is forfeit to the law.
When these have done, enters the tyrant love,
And sets before me fair Artemia;
Displays her virtues and perfections;
Tells me that all those graces, all those beauties,
Suffer for me, for my unhappiness,
And wounds me more in her than in myself.
Ah, Theodore! would I could ever sleep
But when thou com'st, for in myself I find
No drop of comfort? Welcome, dearest friend!

Enter Theodore.

Theo. Pardon the slowness of my visit, friend;
For such occasions have detain'd me hence,
As, if thou knew'st, I know thou wouldst excuse.
Eug. I must confess, I thought the hours too long;
But the fruition of thy presence now
Makes me forget it all.
Theo. Collect thyself,
[Pg 28]
Thou droop'st too much, my dearest Eugeny,
And art too harsh and sour a censurer
Of that unhappy crime which thou wert forc'd
Lately to act. I did allow in thee
That lawful sorrow that was fit; but let
Well-grounded comforts cure thee: nought extreme
Is safe in man.
Eug. 'Tis time must work that cure.
Theo. But why thy pardon is not yet obtain'd,
Let me be free in my conjectures to thee.
Eug. Speak, friend, as to thyself.
Theo. Sir Argent Scrape,
Your old rich kinsman, who to-morrow morning
Is to be married to the Lady Covet——
Eug. Is that match come about? O avarice!
What monsters thou begett'st in this vile age!
Theo. Sir Argent Scrape, I say, is next heir male,
On whom thy whole estate was long ago
Eug. 'Tis true.
Theo. He must inherit it,
Should thy life fail.
Eug. 'Tis granted.
Theo. Then, friend, hear
What not a bare conjecture, but strong grounds
Move me to utter. Think upon that word
Thou spok'st so lately: think what avarice
Can make her bondmen do—that such a price
As fifteen hundred pounds a year will make
Him labour, not thy pardon, but thy death.
Eug. Can there be such a miscreant in nature?
Theo. I should not think so, if I weigh'd him only,
As he's thy kinsman. I have been inform'd
He labours underhand to apprehend thee
Just at the assizes now, and has laid plots
To stop all pardons, which in that short time
[Pg 29] Might be procur'd: and then what bribes may do
In hastening execution, do but consider.
If this be false, some courtiers have abus'd
His fame: and pardon me, my dearest friend,
If I suspect the worst for fear of thee.
Eug. When I consider what accurs'd effects
Proceed from wretched avarice, I begin
To feel a fear.
Theo. This very age hath given
Horrid examples lately: brothers have been
Betray'd by brothers in that very kind.
When pardons have been got by the next heirs,
They have arriv'd too late. No tie so near,
No band so sacred, but the cursed hunger
Of gold has broke it, and made wretched men
To fly from nature, mock religion,
And trample under feet the holiest laws.
Eug. He has been ever noted for that vice
Which, with his age, has still grown stronger in him.
Theo. Ah, Eugeny! how happy were that last
Age of a man, when long experience
Has taught him knowledge, taught him temperance,
And freed him from so many loose desires
In which rash youth is plung'd, were not this vice—
But hark, hark, friend! what ravishing sound is that?
Eug. Ha! wondrous sweet! 'tis from th' adjoining thicket.


This is not the Elysian grove;
[Pg 30] Nor can I meet my slaughter'd love
Within these shades. Come, Death, and be
At last as merciful to me,
As in my dearest Scudmore's fall,
Thou show'dst thyself tyrannical.
Then did I die when he was slain;
But kill me now, I live again,
And shall go meet him in a grove
Fairer than any here above.
O, let this woful breath expire!
Why should I wish Evadne's fire,
Sad Portia's coals, or Lucrece' knife,
To rid me of a loathed life?
'Tis shame enough that grief alone
Kills me not now, when thou art gone!
But, life, since thou art slow to go,
I'll punish thee for lasting so;
And make thee piecemeal every day
Dissolve to tears, and melt away.
Theo. Ah, Eugeny! some heavenly nymph descends
To make thee music in these desert woods,
To quench or feed thy baleful melancholy:
It is so sweet, I could almost believe,
But that 'tis sad, it were an angel's voice.
Eug. What, in the name of miracle, is this?
Theo. Remove not thou; I'll make discovery
Within this thicket.
Eug. Ha! what means thy wonder?
What dost thou see?
Theo. I know not how to tell thee:
Now I could wish myself to be all eyes,
As erst all ears. I see a shape as fair,
And as divine, as was the voice it sent;
But clouded all with sorrow: a fair woman,
If by a name so mortal I may term her.
In such a sorrow sat the Queen of Love,
When in the wood she wail'd Adonis' death,
And from her crystal-dropping eyes did pay
A lover's obsequy.
Eug. Let me come near.
[Pg 31]
Theo. Sure, black is Cupid's colour; Death and he
Have chang'd their liveries now, as in the fable
They did their quivers once.[12]
Eug. Ah, woe is me!
Theo. What means that woe?
Eug. Ah, Theodore! my guilt
Pursues me to the woods! No place can keep
The monuments of my misdeeds away.
Theo. I understand you not.
Eug. It is Matilda,
The slaughter'd Scudmore's love, his virtuous love,
Whose life by me unhappily was spilt.
The sad, melodious ditty, which so late
Did pierce our ravish'd ears, was but the note
Of this fair turtle for her slaughter'd mate;
In which perchance, amidst her woes, she sends
Black curses up against my spotted self.
But I with prayers and blessings will repay
Whate'er thou vent'st 'gainst me. O, do not wish
More wretchedness to my distracted soul
Than I already feel! Sad sighs and tears
Are all the satisfaction that is left
For me to make to thy dead love and thee.
Theo. Those lips can vent no curses; 'twould take off
Much from the sweetness of her virtuous sorrow.
[Pg 32] Where lives this lovely maid?
Eug. In the next village.
Theo. Has she a father living?
Eug. No, friend; he died
When she was in her infancy. Her mother
Two years ago deceas'd, and left her all
The substance that she had; which was not great,
But does maintain her. In that little house,
E'er since this fatal accident, she lives
A miracle of truth and constancy,
Wailing her love; and now, it seems, has[13] come
To vent her woful passions to the woods.
Theo. How happy had he been in such a love,
If fate had spar'd his life! But he is dead,
And time at last may wear this sorrow off,
And make her relish the true joys of love.
But why do I thus wander in my thoughts?
This passion must be curb'd in the beginning;
'Twill prove too stubborn for me, if it grow. [Aside.
Eug. Come, let us to my cave, as we intended,
Ere this sad object stay'd us.
Theo. Sad indeed!
Believe me, friend, I suffer with thee in it;
But we were wounded in two different kinds. [Aside.
Come, let's be gone; though—I could still—dwell here. [Exeunt.

Enter Matilda.

Mat. Methought I heard a noise within the wood;
As if men talk'd together not far off;
But could discover none. The time has been,[14]
In such a solitary place as this,
[Pg 33] I should have trembled at each moving leaf;
But sorrow and my miserable state
Have made me bold. If there be savages
That live by rapine in such woods as these,
As I have heard in ancient times there were,
My wretched state would move their pity rather
Than violence. I'll confidently go,
Guarded with nothing but my innocence. [Exit.

Enter Fruitful, Trusty.

Fruit. Come, master steward, you have had a time
Of sweating for this wedding.
Trusty. I have ta'en
A little pains to-day: yours, Master Fruitful,
Is yet to come; I mean your sermon.
Fruit. Yes, but the pains are pass'd; and that's the study.
But to our business that more concerns us:
Is the deed ready-written that my lady
Must seal to-day?
Trusty. Do you believe she'll seal it?
Fruit. I warrant you; I have so followed her,
And laid it to her conscience, that I dare
Hazard my life 'tis done.
Trusty. Well, here's the deed: 'tis plainly written.
Fruit. I'll peruse't anon.
I know the other feoffees are as true
And honest men as any are i' th' world. [Exit Trusty.

[Pg 34]

Enter Freeman, Euphues, Barnet, Dotterel, Lady Whimsey.

Free. Save you, Master Fruitful!
Fruit. Worthy Master Freeman!
Free. How does my lady, sir? I have made bold
To bring her company.
Fruit. Please you draw near, sir;
I will go up and signify unto my lady
That you are here. [Exit Fruitful.
Bar. What's he? her chaplain, Euphues?
Euph. O yes.
Lady W. She uses praying then, it seems?
Euph. Yes, madam, and fasting too, but gives no alms.
Lady W. Cannot he teach her that?
Euph. 'Tis to be doubted:
But he has other ways, which are far safer—
To speak against the fashion, against painting,
Or fornication. If he were your chaplain,
He would inveigh as much 'gainst covetousness.
Lady W. He would hurt me little in that.
But has he learning?
Euph. No, surely, madam; he is full of knowledge,
But has no learning at all: he can expound,
But understands nothing. One thing in him
Is excellent: though he do hate the bishops,
He would not make them guilty of one sin,
Which was to give him orders; for he hates
Orders as much as them.
Free. Well, I have heard,
Though he came lately to her, he has got
A great hand over her, and sways her conscience
Which way he list.
Euph. Uncle, 'tis very easy
To rule a thing so weak as is her conscience.
[Pg 35] I'll undertake, that a twin'd thread would do it
As well as a strong cable. If he could
Rule her estate too, he would have a place on't.
Free. Why, that will follow t'other.
Euph. I think not;
Rather her conscience follows her estate,
Oppression had not else increas'd it so.
She wrong'd a worthy friend of mine—young Scudmore,
And by mere fraud and bribery took away
His whole estate, five hundred pound a year.
Free. I must confess, 'twas a foul cause indeed;
And he, poor man, lack'd means to prosecute
The cause against her. But he feels it not
At this time, nephew.
Bar. Was't that Scudmore, sir,
Whom Eugeny, Sir Argent Scrape's young kinsman,
Unfortunately kill'd?
Free. The same. Well, let
All these things pass: we come now to be merry.
Lady W. Let's eat up her good cheer: a niggard's feast
Is best, they say.
Dot. Shall we have wine good store?
Bar. O, fear not that.
Dot. Hold, belly, hold, i' faith!
Bar. Yes, and brain too.
Dot. Nay, for my brain,
Let me alone, I fear not that: no wine
Can hurt my brain.
Lady W. Say you so, Master Dotterel?
Why, such a brain I love.
Dot. Madam, I am glad
I had it for you.
Lady W. For me, sir?
Dot. Yes, lady,
'Tis at your service; so is the whole body.
Did I not tickle her there, old lad?
[Pg 36]
Bar. Yes, rarely.
Lady W. Shall I presume to call you servant, then?
Dot. O Lord, madam! if I were worthy to be.
Lady W. Nay, I know you have good courtship, servant.
Wear this for my sake. [Gives him a scarf.
Dot. 'Tis your livery, madam.
Bar. Well, th' art a happy man, if thou knew'st all.
Euph. Madam, I see your ladyship can tell
How to make choice in dealing of your favours.
Dot. It pleases you to say so, good Master Euphues.
Euph. Why, sir, I speak of the lady's judgment.
Dot. 'Twas more of her courtesy than my desert.

Enter Lady Covet on crutches.

Euph. Here comes the lady bride.
Free. Joy to your ladyship!
Lady C. I thank you, sir: y' are very welcome all.
Free. I have made bold to bring my friends along,
As you commanded, lady.
Lady C. They are most welcome.
Euph. Methinks your ladyship looks fresh to-day,
And like a bride indeed.
Lady C. Ah, Master Euphues!
You, I perceive, can flatter.
Euph. Does your glass
Tell you I flatter, madam?
Lady C. Bestow this
Upon young maids; but let me tell you, sir,
Old folks may marry too. It was ordain'd
[Pg 37] At first to be as well a stay to age
As to please youth. We have our comforts too,
Though we be old.
Euph. Madam, I doubt it not:
You are not yet so old but you may have
Your comfort well; and if Sir Argent Scrape
Were but one threescore years younger than he is——
Bar. What a strange but thou mak'st!
Euph. You would perceive it.
Lady W. Servant, could you find in your heart to marry
Such an old bride?
Dot. No, mistress, I protest
I had rather have none.
Lady W. What age would you desire
To choose your wife of?
Dot. Just as old as you are.
Lady W. Well, servant, I believe you can dissemble.
Lady C. Will't please you to draw near? Sir Argent stays
Expecting within.
Free. We'll wait upon you. [Exeunt.

Manent Barnet, Dotterel.

Bar. To what strange fortune, friend, are some men born,
I mean by thee. Surely, when thou wert young,
The fairies dandled thee.
Dot. Why, prythee, Barnet?
Bar. That ladies thus should doat upon thy person.
Dost thou not see how soon the Lady Whimsey
Is caught in love with thee?
Dot. But is she, think'st thou?
[Pg 38]
Bar. Is she! Come, thou perceiv'st it well enough;
What else should make her court thee, and bestow
Her favours openly? And such a lady!
So full of wit as she is, too! Would she
Betray the secrets of her heart so far,
But that love plays the tyrant in her breast,
And forces her?
Dot. True, and, as thou say'st, Barnet,
She's a brave, witty lady; and I love
A wit with all my heart. What would she say
If she should know me truly, that thus loves,
And thinks I am but a poor younger brother?
Bar. Why, still the greater is thy happiness:
Thou may'st be sure she loves thee truly now,
And not thy fortunes.
Dot. Has she found me out,
For all I sought to hide myself?
Bar. The more
Thy worth appears, the more her judgment's seen.
O, 'tis a gallant lady! Well, she might
Have cast her eye on me or Euphues;
But 'twas not our good fortune!
Dot. Do not despair;
Some other woman may love thee as well:
Come, thou hast worth, Barnet, as well as I.
Bar. Nay, nay, abuse not your poor friends; but tell me,
What dost thou think of young Artemia now?
Dot. Of her! a foolish girl, a simple thing!
She'd make a pretty wife for me! I confess
I courted her; but she had not the wit
To find out what I was, for all my talk.
Bar. And that was strange she should not; but 'tis fate
That governs marriages.
Dot. Let her repent,
And know what she hath lost, when 'tis too late.
[Pg 39] But dost thou think this gallant Lady Whimsey
Will marry me?
Bar. Mak'st thou a doubt of that?
'Tis thy own fault, boy, if thou hast her not.
Dot. That I protest it shall not be; but, tell me,
Shall I express my love to her in verse
Or prose?
Bar. In which you will.
Dot. I am alike at both of them indeed.
Bar. I know thou art.
Dot. Come, let's go in.
Bar. Thou long'st to see thy mistress?
Dot. We'll drink her health in a crown'd cup,[15] my lad. [Exeunt.


[9] Richard Braithwaite printed precisely the same thought in 1621, in his "Times Curtaine Drawne"—

"For who (remembering the cause why clothes were made,
Even then when Adam fled unto his shade,
For covert nakedness) will not blame
Himself to glory in his parents' shame?"

The coincidence is remarkable.—Collier.


"Quæ nec Sarmentus iniquas
Cæsaris ad mensas, nec vilis Galba tulisset."

—Juv., Sat. v. 3.

[11] [Conscience.]

[12] Mr Gifford, in a note on Massinger's "Virgin Martyr," points out an elegy by Secundus as the origin of this pretty fancy, which is thus employed by Fairfax in his translation of Tasso's "Jerusalem Delivered"—

"Death hath again exchanged his darts with Love,
And Cupid thus lets borrow'd arrows fly."

The allusion is not to be found in the original Italian (bk. ii. s. 34). Davenant, in bk. ii. c. 7, of his "Gondibert," also mentions the fable, and it would be easy among foreign writers to point out many instances in which more extensive use has been made of it. The sonnets by Annibale Nozzolini and by Girolamo Pompei are well known.—Collier.

[13] [Old copy, was.]

[14] So in "Macbeth," act v. sc. 5—

"I have almost forgot the taste of fears:
The time has been, my senses would have cool'd
To hear a night-shriek; and my fell of hair
Would at a dismal treatise rouse, and stir
As life were in't. I have supt full with horrors!
Direness, familiar to my slaught'rous thoughts,
Cannot once start me."

[And see note to the "Heir," xi. 449.]


[Earthworm's house.]

Theodore, Neighbours with sacks.

Theo. Come, neighbours, pray draw near; my fellow Jasper
Has told you wherefore you were sent for hither.
1st Neigh. Ay, I thank you, friend.
2d Neigh. And my good master too.
Theo. My master, touch'd with sorrow and remorse
For that unhappy error of his life—
[Pg 40] That fault (alas!) which by too true a name
Is termed misery, determines now
By deeds of tender charity to make
The wronged poor amends, and to the world
Declare the fruits of a reformed life.
And first your pardon, neighbours, he would beg,
And, next to heaven, be reconcil'd to you.
1st Neigh. Now blessing on his heart!
2d Neigh. Good tender soul!
3d Neigh. I ever thought him a right honest man.
Theo. He that before did churlishly engross
And lock those blessings up, which from the hand
Of heaven were shower'd upon him, has at last
Found their true use, and will henceforth redeem
The former misspent time. His wealthy stores
Shall be no longer shut against the poor;
His bags seal'd up no longer, to debar
The course of fitting bounty. To you all,
Of corn and money, weekly he'll allow
In recompense a greater quantity
By far than men of greater rank shall do:
Nor will he come himself to take your thanks,
Till, as he says, he has deserv'd them better.
Meantime, by me he pours his bounty forth,
Which he desires with greatest secrecy
May be perform'd; for all vainglorious shows
And ostentation does his soul abhor.
He sounds no trumpet to bestow his alms;
Nor in the streets proclaims his charity,
Which makes the virtue vice; nor would he have
The world take notice of you at his doors.
1st Neigh. See, see, religious man!
2d Neigh. Ah, neighbour!
Some in the world have been mistaken in him.
Theo. Nor would he have you blaze his bounty forth,
[Pg 41] And praise him openly: forbear it, neighbours;
Your private prayers only he desires
And hearty wishes; for true charity,
Though ne'er so secret, finds a just reward.
I am his servant, newly entertain'd,
But one to whom he does commit the trust
Of his desires in this; and I should wrong
His goodness strangely, if I should keep
The least of what his bounty doth intend.
Come in with me; I'll fill your sacks with corn,
And let you see what money he bestows.
Omnes Neigh. We'll pray to heaven to reward his goodness.


Euphues, Barnet.

Euph. Our Dotterel, then, is caught?
Bar. He is, and just
As Dotterels[16] used to be: the lady first
Advanc'd toward him, stretch'd forth her wing, and he
Met her with all expressions; and he's caught
As fast in her lime-twigs as he can be,
Until the church confirm it.
Euph. There will be
Another brave estate for her to spend.
Bar. Others will be the better for't; and if
None but a Dotterel suffer for't, what loss
Of his can countervail the least good fortune
That may from thence blow to another man?
Euph. She spent her t'other husband a great fortune.
Bar. Dotterel's estate will find her work again
For a great while: two thousand pounds a year
Cannot be melted suddenly; when 'tis,
Men can but say her prodigality
Has done an act of justice, and translated
[Pg 42] That wealth, which fortune's blindness had misplac'd
On such a fellow. What should he do with it?
Euph. And thou say'st right: some men[17] were made to be
The conduit-pipes of an estate, or rather
The sieves of fortune, through whose leaking holes
She means to scatter a large flood of wealth,
Besprinkling many with refreshing showers.
So usurers, so dying aldermen
Pour out at once upon their sieve-like heirs
Whole gusts of envi'd wealth; which they together
Through many holes let out again in showers,
And with their ruin water a whole country.
But will it surely be a match?
Bar. As sure
As the two old death's-heads to-morrow morning
Are to be join'd together.
Euph. Who, Sir Argent and his lady?
Bar. Yes, if she keep touch
In what she promis'd me, I'll undertake
Her Dotterel shall be sure, and given to her
In matrimony.
Euph. Given to his wife?
I see thou mean'st in Dotterel to bring back
The ancient Spanish custom, where the women
Inherited the land, rul'd the estates;
The men were given in marriage to the women
With portions, and had jointures made to them:
[Pg 43] Just so will be his case; he will be married
Unto a brave subjection. How the fool
Is caught in his own noose! What confidence
Had he, that he would never marry any,
But such, forsooth, as must first fall in love
With him, not knowing of his wealth at all?
Bar. Well, now he's fitted: he begun at first
With fair Artemia.
Euph. He might have told
Her of his wealth, and miss'd her too, or else
I am deceiv'd in her: true virtuous love
Cannot be bought so basely; she besides
Has been in love, I'm sure; and may be still,
Though he be fled the land. But, now I think on't,
I must go see whether old Earthworm's son
Has yet perform'd what she desir'd: she stays
At home.
Bar. I'll in, and see how Dotterel
Courts his brave mistress: I left him composing
A sonnet to her. There are the old couple
Within too.
Euph. If a man could get to hear
Their way of courting, 'twould be full as strange
As Dotterel's is ridiculous: but stay,

Sir Argent Scrape and Lady Covet brought in in chairs.

Here come the lovely bride and bridegroom forth.
Prythee, let's venture to stay here a little
Behind the hangings, man: we shall be sure
To hear their love; they are both somewhat deaf,
And must speak loud.
Bar. Content, I'll stay with thee.
Sir Arg. Leave us awhile. Now, madam, you have seen,
[Pg 44] So have your learned counsel, that I deal
Squarely with you: my personal estate
Is no less worth than I profess'd, when first
I mov'd my loving suit.
Bar. Ay, marry, sir, a loving suit indeed!


Euph. Let 'em go on in their own proper dialect.


Lady C. I find it;
And should be loth but to requite your truth
In the same kind: you seem'd at first to question,
How strong my title was in that estate
Which was young Scudmore's once: 'tis a fair manor.
Euph. 'Tis true, old rottenness—too good for you.


Lady C. My counsel can inform you that I kept it,
And did enjoy possession while he liv'd;
And now he's dead, who should recover it?
The heirs are poor and beggarly.
Sir Arg. Nay, I think
We need not fear their suing against us.
Lady C. If they should stir, a little piece of money
Would stop their mouths.
Euph. A little piece of dirt
Will stop your mouth ere long, and then the suit
Will go against thee, mischief!


Bar. Prythee, peace;
Thou art not merry now, but choleric. [Aside.
Euph. I think of my wrong'd friend. [Aside.
Lady C. But you were saying
You made no doubt but shortly to enjoy
Your kinsman Eugeny's estate: that were
A fair addition to your land; they say
It goes at fifteen hundred pounds a year.
Sir Arg. 'Tis true, and 'tis well worth it.
[Pg 45]
Lady C. But what hopes have you to gain it shortly?
Sir Arg. He, you know,
By Scudmore's death has forfeited his life
Unto the law; and the estate's entail'd
On me as the next heir.
Lady C. But he is fled.
Sir Arg. No, no; I know he lurks not far from hence,
And I shall shortly learn the very place
By some intelligence. I have provided
My secret scouts; and then you know th' assizes
Are now at hand: the time will be too short
To get a pardon, specially as I
Have laid some friends to stall it underhand.
Euph. Here's a new mischief, Barnet! [Aside.
Bar. And a strange one. [Aside.
Lady C. And then you must not spare a little money
To hasten execution at an hour
Unusual. Those things may well be done:
Else what were money good for?
Sir Arg. You say right.
If 'twere once come to that, I fear it not.
Lady C. Well, sir, I see all's right and straight between us.
You understand how welcome you are hither;
I need not tell it o'er again.
Sir Arg. No, lady;
I will be bold to say, I do not come
Now as a stranger, but to take possession
Both of your house and you.
Euph. He cannot speak
Out of that thriving language in his love. [Aside.
Lady C. Will you go in again? our guests, perhaps,
Think the time long.
Sir Arg. With all my heart:
A cup of sack would not do much amiss.
[Pg 46]
Lady C. We'll have it with a toast. Who's near there, ho!

Enter Servants, and carry them out.

Bar. What a strange kind of pageant have we seen?
Euph. Barnet, I cannot tell whether such strange
Unsatiable desires in these old folks,
That are half earth already, should be thought
More impious or more ridiculous.
Bar. They are both alike.
Euph. But such a monstrous
Unnatural plot as his, to apprehend
His kinsman, I ne'er heard of! If I knew
Where Eugeny remain'd, though 'twere his fortune
To kill a friend of mine, I'd rescue him
From this unnatural and wolfish man.
Bar. That would betray his life to satisfy
His avarice, not justice of the law.

Enter Dotterel, Lady Whimsey.

Here comes another piece of matrimony,
That may be shortly.
Euph. 'Tis better far than t'other:
They are the last couple in hell.
Dot. Save you, gallants!
Bar. You are the gallant, sir, that on your arm
Do wear the trophies of a conquer'd lady.
Euph. Madam, I had almost mistaken my salutation,
And bid God give you joy.
Lady W. Of what, I prythee?
Euph. Of this young gallant, call him by what name
Or title you are pleas'd, husband or servant.
[Pg 47]
Bar. He may be both, sir: he is not the first
Has been a husband and a servant too.
Dot. I am her servant, sir: and I confess
Have an ambition, and so forth.
Lady W. How now, servant!
Euph. I tell you truly, madam, 'tis reported
(And those reports are fatal still, you know)
That Master Dotterel and you are purpos'd
To bear the old knight and lady company
To-morrow to the church.
Lady W. That I confess, and so will you, I think.
Euph. Nay, but to do
As they do, madam—tie the lasting knot.
Lady W. Do you hear, servant? This it is to have
So proper a servant: every one supposes
I must needs be in love.
Dot. I would you were
As deep in Cupid's books as I.
Euph. That is
In Cupid's favour: you are a happy man.
Lady W. My servant has been searching Cupid's books,
I think, to find that sonnet that he gave me.
Are you content that I should show your poetry?
Dot. Do, mistress, I am not asham'd on't;
But you shall give me leave to read it to 'em.
'Tis but a sonnet, gentlemen, that I fitted
To my fair mistress here.
Euph. Let us be happy
To hear it, sir.
Dot. Take it as it is— [He reads.
Dear, do not your fair beauty wrong;
In thinking still you are too young.
Euph. How! too young?
Bar. Let him alone; I know the song.
[Pg 48]
Dot. The rose and lilies in your cheek
Flourish, and no more ripeness seek;
Your cherry lip, red, soft and sweet,
Proclaims such fruit for taste most meet:
Then lose no time, for love has wings,
And flies away from aged things.
How do you like it, gentlemen?
Euph. Very well. The song's a good one.
Bar. O, monstrous!
Never man stole with so little judgment.
Euph. Of all the love-songs that were ever made,
He could not have chose out one more unfit,
More palpably unfit, that must betray
His most ridiculous theft.
Lady W. Who would have thought
My servant should suppose I think myself
Too young to love, that have already had
One husband!
Euph. O, excuse him, gentle madam,
He found it in the song.
Bar. And, it should seem,
He could get no other song but this.
Lady W. Surely a woman of five-and-thirty year old
Is not too young to love!
Bar. O, spare him, madam!
Euph. Let's raise him up. I think the sonnet's good:
There's somewhat in't to th' purpose. Read it again.

[He reads it again.

Euph. ——For taste most meet.
Very good; and there he tickled it?
Mark'd you that, madam! The two last of all?
Then lose no time, for love hath wings—
He gives you fitting counsel.
Lady W. Yes, I like it.
[Pg 49]
Dot. I thought, when they understood it, they would like it:
I am sure, I have heard this song prais'd ere now.
Lady W. This does deserve a double favour, servant.
Dot. Let this be the favour, sweet mistress. [Kisses her.
Euph. How some men's poetry happens to be rewarded!
Lady W. Shall we go in? But, prythee, Euphues,
What is the reason sweet Artemia,
Thy cousin, is not here?
Euph. I know not, madam;
But her pretence was business. I am going
To visit her. If you go in to keep
Th' old couple company, I'll fetch her to you.
Lady W. I prythee, do! Farewell. Come, servant,
Shall we go in?
Dot. I'll wait upon you, mistress. [Exeunt.

Theodore, Artemia.

Theo. I will acquaint him, lady, with the hour,
And to his longing ear deliver all
Your sweet salutes; which is the only air
Of life and comfort Eugeny takes in.
Your constant love and virtues, sweetest lady,
Are those preservatives, which from his heart
Expel the killing fits of melancholy,
And do, in spite of fortune, quicken him.
Art. O, would those comforts could arrive at him,
That from my wishing thoughts are hourly sent!
Theo. Such virtuous wishes seldom are in vain.
Art. I should be far more sad in the behalf
Of my dear Eugeny, but that I know
[Pg 50] He does enjoy your sweet society,
Which he beyond all value does esteem.
Theo. His own is recompense enough for mine.
And I the gainer in it; did not grief
For his misfortune stain that perfect joy,
Which I could take in his dear company.
Art. If I should speak, sir, how he values you,
I should too much oppress your modesty.
Theo. Our friendship, fairest lady, is more old,
And he more true, than that his heart so long
Should be unknown to me. I'll not be long,
Before I visit him to let him know,
What hour shall make him happy in your sight.
My longer stay, sweet lady, might be more
Observ'd and pry'd into: let me be bold
To leave you now, but be your servant ever.
Art. All happiness attend you, worthy sir. [Exit Theodore.
Would I myself might go as well as send,
And see that seeming solitary place,
That place of woe. Sure, it would be to me
No desert wood, while Eugeny were there,
But a delightful palace. Here at home,
The more that company comes in, the more
I am alone, methinks. Wanting that object
On which my heart is fix'd, I cannot be
Possess'd of anything. Nothing can be
My comfort but a hope that these sad clouds
Of our misfortunes will at last blow over.
But mischief's like a cockatrice's eyes—
Sees first and kills, or is seen first and dies.

Enter Euphues.

Euph. How dost thou, coz? I wrote a letter for thee
[Pg 51] To Earthworm's son: has the young ten-i'-th'-hundred
Been here?
Art. I thank you, cousin; the gentleman
Was with me, and but newly parted hence.
Euph. H' has got a title then by coming hither:
But he may be a gentleman; his wealth
Will make it good.
Art. His virtues make it good:
Believe it, cousin, there's a wealthy mind
Within that plain outside.
Euph. How's this?
Have your quick eyes found out his worth already?
Art. They must be blind that cannot, when they know him.
Well, cousin, you may laugh at me.
Euph. By no means;
I know your judgment's good.
Art. As good as 'tis,
It must content a woman. When you know him,
You'll find a man that may deserve your friendship,
And far above all slighting.
Euph. I am sorry
I came not soon enough: but prythee, cousin,
What are the ways have taken thee so soon?
Art. What taking do you mean? You promis'd me
You would not ask the cause I sent for him,
Though you shall know hereafter. But I hope
You do not think I am in love with him?
Euph. I'll look upon the man, and then resolve you.
Art. Well, do; perhaps you'll know him better, then:
He knows you well.
Euph. Me! Has he told you how?
Art. Did you ne'er meet one Theodore at Venice?
Euph. Can this be he?
[Pg 52]
Art. Yes, very well; although
He be old Earthworm's son, and make no shew
At home.
Euph. And have you found out so much worth
In him already?
Art. How do you esteem him?
We women well may err.
Euph. I smell a rat;
And, if my brain fail not, have found out all
Your drifts, though ne'er so politicly carri'd.
Art. I know your brain, cousin, is very good;
But it may fail.
Euph. It comes into my head
What old Sir Argent Scrape told to his lady.
His kinsman Eugeny lurk'd hereabouts:
He was her sweetheart once, and may be still;
I think she's constant, though she keep it close.
This Theodore and he were fam'd for friendship.


I have collected, cousin, and have at you?
Art. Let's hear it, pray.
Euph. You shall. This Theodore
I do confess a most deserving man;
And so perchance your lover Eugeny
Has told you, cousin. Ha! do you begin
To blush already? I am sure those two
Were most entirely friends; and I am sorry
To hear what I have heard to-day, concerning
Young Eugeny.
Art. What, prythee, cousin? Tell me.
Euph. Now you are mov'd; but I may err, you know.
Art. Good cousin, tell me what.
Euph. Nay, I believe
I shall worse startle you, though you would make
Such fools as I believe he is in France.
Yes, yes, it may be so; and then, you know,
He's safe enough.
[Pg 53]
Art. O cousin, I'll confess
What you would have me do; but tell me this.
Euph. Nay, now I will not thank you; I have found it:
And though you dealt in riddles so with me,
I'll plainly tell you all, and teach you how
You may perchance prevent your lover's danger.
Art. O, I shall ever love you.
Euph. Well, come in;
I'll tell you all, and by what means I knew it.


[15] I suppose he means a bumper, a cup filled till the wine rises above the top of it. Such a character as Dotterel is hardly made to allude to the pocula coronata of the Romans.—Steevens.

A crowned cup was not an unusual expression for a bumper: thus, in "All Fools," Fortunio says—

"True, and to welcome Dariotto's lateness
He shall (unpledg'd) carouse one crowned cup
To all these ladies' health."

Dotterel might therefore very properly employ words in ordinary use, without supposing him acquainted with "the pocula coronata of the Romans."—Collier.

[16] [Compare vol. iv. p. 68.]

[17] So Pope—

"Who sees pale Mammon pine amidst his store,
Sees but a backward steward for the poor;
This year a reservoir to keep and spare;
The next, a fountain, spouting through his heir,
In lavish streams to quench a country's thirst,
And men and dogs shall drink him till they burst."

—"Moral Essays," Ep. iii. l. 170.


Earthworm, Jasper.

Earth. Out, villain! how could any fire come there
But by thy negligence? I do not use
To keep such fires as should at all endanger
My house, much less my barn.
Jas. I know not, sir;
But there I'm sure it was, and still continues,
Though without danger now; for the poor people,
Ere this, have quench'd it.
Earth. There my wonder lies.
Why should the people come to quench my fire?
Had it been a city, where one house
Might have endanger'd all, it justly then
Might have engag'd the people's utmost aid,
And I ne'er bound to give them thanks at all;
But my house stands alone, and could endanger
No other building. Why should all the people
Come running hither so to quench the fire?
They love not me.
Jas. Sure, sir, I cannot tell;
Perhaps the people knew not what to do,
And might be glad to see a sight.
[Pg 54]
Earth. Methought,
As I came by, I saw them wondrous busy;
Nay, more—methought I heard them pray for me,
As if they lov'd me. Why should they do so?
I ne'er deserv'd it at the people's hands.
Go, Jasper, tell me whether it be quench'd,
And all secure: I long to hear the news.

Enter Theodore.

Theo. I come to bring you happy tidings, sir.
The fire is quench'd, and little hurt is done.
Earth. That's well, my son.
Theo. But, sir, if you had seen
How the poor people labour'd to effect it,
And (like so many salamanders) rush'd
Into the fire, scorching their clothes and beards,
You would have wonder'd justly, and have thought
That each man toil'd to save his father's house
Or his own dear estate; but I conceive
'Twas nothing but an honest charity,
That wrought it in them.
Earth. Ha! a charity!
Why should that charity be show'd to me?
Theo. If I mistake not strangely, he begins
To apprehend it.
Earth. As I came along,
I heard them pray for me; but those good prayers
Can never pierce the skies in my behalf,
But will return again, and ever lodge
Within those honest breasts, that sent them forth.
Theo. Surely it works.
Earth. O! all the world but I are honest men! [He weeps.
Theo. What is't that troubles you?
Your goods are safe; there's nothing lost at all.
You should rejoice, methinks. You might have suffer'd
A wondrous loss in your estate!
[Pg 55]
Earth. Ah, son!
'Tis not the thought of what I might have lost,
That draws these tears from me.
Theo. Does he not weep,
Or do my flattering hopes deceive my sight?
He weeps, and fully too; large show'rs of tears
Bedew his aged cheeks. O happy sorrow,
That makes me weep for joy! Never did son
So justly glory in a father's tears. [Aside.
Sir, you are sad, methinks.
Earth. No sadness, son,
Can be enough to expiate the crimes
That my accursed avarice has wrought.
Where are the poor?
Theo. Why, sir, what would you do?[18]
Earth. Ask me not, Theodore. Alas, I fear
Thou art too much my son; my bad example
Has done thee much more harm than all the large
Increase of treasure I shall leave behind
Can recompence. But leave those wretched thoughts,
And let me teach thee a new lesson now:
But thou art learned, Theodore, and soon
Wilt find the reasons of it.
Theo. Do you please
To speak it, sir, and I will strive to frame
Myself to follow.
Earth. Where are all the poor?
Jasper, go call them in. Now, prythee, learn
(For this late accident may truly teach
A man what value he should set on wealth)
Fire may consume my houses; thieves may steal
My plate and jewels; all my merchandise
Is at the mercy of the winds and seas;
And nothing can be truly term'd mine own,
[Pg 56] But what I make mine own by using well.
Those deeds of charity which we have done,
Shall stay for ever with us; and that wealth
Which we have so bestowed, we only keep:
The other is not ours.
Theo. Sir, you have taught me
Not to give anything at all away.
Earth. When I was blind, my son, and did miscall
My sordid vice of avarice true thrift:
But now forget that lesson; I prythee, do.
That cosening vice, although it seem to keep
Our wealth, debars us from possessing it,
And makes us more than poor.
Theo. How far beyond
All hope my happy project works upon him!

Enter Neighbours.

Earth. Y' are welcome, neighbours; welcome heartily!
I thank you all, and will hereafter study
To recompence your undeserved love.
My house shall stand more open to the poor,
More hospitable, and my wealth more free
To feed and clothe the naked hungry souls.
I will redeem the ill that I have done
(If heaven be pleas'd to spare my life awhile)
With true unfeigned deeds of charity.
1st Neigh. We thank your worship.
2d Neigh. We know full well
Your worship has a good heart toward us.
Earth. Alas! you do not know it; but have had
Too sad a cause to know the contrary.
Pray do not thank me, till you truly find
How much my heart is chang'd from what it was;
[Pg 57] Till you, by real and substantial deeds,
Shall see my penitence, and be fully taught
How to forget or pardon all the errors
Of that my former miserable life.
Jasper, go in with them; show them the way
Into my house.
Jas. I think I had need to show 'em;
No poor folks heretofore have us'd this way.
Earth. And I'll come to you, neighbours, presently.
1st Neigh. Long may you live.
2d Neigh. All happiness betide you.
3d Neigh. And a reward fourfold in th' other world.
Earth. How dost thou like this music, Theodore?
I mean, the hearty prayers of the poor,
Whose curses pierce more than two-edged swords.
What comfort like to this can riches give?
What joy can be so great, as to be able
To feed the hungry, clothe the naked man?
Theo. Now, sir, you think aright; for to bestow
Is greater pleasure far than to receive.
Earth. No vice, so much as avarice, deprives
Our life of sweetest comforts, and debars
So much the fair society of men.
I taught thee once far otherwise, but now
Study this last and better lesson, son.
Theo. With more delight than e'er I did the former.
You never yet knew scholar covetous.
Earth. And now I think on't, Theodore, I have
A niece, the daughter of my only sister;
Her mother died a widow two years since.
How she has left her orphan daughter there,
I do not know; if she have left her ill,
I'll be a father to her. Prythee, go
Inquire her out, and bring her to my house,
[Pg 58] How well soe'er the world may go with her
Bounty's a spice of virtue. Whoso can,
And won't, relieve the poor, he is no man.
Theo. Where lives she, sir?
Earth. 'Tis not a mile from hence,
In the next village. Thou ne'er saw'st her yet;
But fame has spoke her for a virtuous maid.
Young Scudmore, while he liv'd, and was possess'd
Of his estate, thought to have married her,
Whose death, they say, she takes most heavily,
And with a wond'rous constant sorrow mourns.
Theo. Sure, 'tis the same fair maid. [Aside.
Earth. Her name's Matilda.
Theo. The very same! [Aside.] I can inquire her out;
And, if you please, will presently about it.
Earth. Do, while I my neighbours visit. He doth live
Mighty that hath the pow'r and will to give. [Exit.
Theo. This is the same fair nightingale that tun'd
Her sweet sad accents lately to the woods,
And did so far enthral my heart: but that
Fond love is vanish'd. Like a kinsman now
I'll comfort her, and love her virtuous soul.
O, what a blessed change this day has wrought
In my old father's heart! You pow'rs, that gave
Those thoughts, continue them! This day will I
Still celebrate as my nativity. [Exit.

Lady Covet, Fruitful.

Lady C. But is that lawful, to convey away
All my estate, before I marry him?
Fruit. 'Tis more than lawful, madam: I must
Tell you 'tis necessary; and your ladyship
Is bound in conscience so to do; for else
'Twill be no longer yours, but all is his,
[Pg 59] When he has married you. You cannot then
Dispose of anything to pious uses;
You cannot show your charity at all,
But must be govern'd by Sir Argent Scrape:
And can you tell how he'll dispose of it?
Lady C. 'Tis true: perchance he'll take my money all,
And purchase for himself, to give away
To his own name, and put me, while I live,
To a poor stipend.
Fruit. There you think aright.
You can relieve no friends; you can bequeath
Nothing at all, if he survive you, madam,
As 'tis his hope he shall.
Lady C. That hope may fail him.
I am not yet so weak, but I may hop
Over his grave.
Fruit. That is not in our knowledge.
But if you do survive him, as I hope,
Madam, you will, there is no law at all
Can bar you of your thirds in all his land,
And you besides are mistress of your own.
And all the charitable deeds, which you
After your death shall do, as building schools
Or hospitals, shall go in your own name;
Which otherwise Sir Argent Scrape would have,
And with your riches build himself a fame.
Lady C. I grant 'tis true: but will it not seem strange
That I should serve him so?
Fruit. Strange, madam! no;
Nothing is now more usual: all your widows
Of aldermen, that marry lords of late,
Make over their estates, and by that means
Retain a power to curb their lordly husbands.
When they, to raise the ruins of their houses,
Do marry so: instead of purchasing
[Pg 60] What was expected, they do more engage
Their land in thirds for them.
Lady C. Well, I must trust
The feoffees then: but they are honest men.
Fruit. You need not fear them; they are zealous men,
Honest in all their dealings, and well known
In London, madam. Will you seal it now?

Enter Trusty.

Lady C. Yes, have you it?
Fruit. 'Tis here: Here's Master Trusty too,
Your steward, madam; he and I shall be
Enough for witnesses.
Lady C. 'Tis true: give me
The seal. So now dispose of it as I
Intended, Master Fruitful. [Seals and delivers.
Fruit. I will, madam.
Lady C. Trusty, come you along with me. [Exeunt.

Manet Fruitful.

Fruit. Now all our ends are wrought! this is the thing,
Which I so long have labour'd to effect.
Old covetous lady, I will purge your mind
Of all this wealth, that lay so heavy there,
And by evacuation make a cure
Of that your golden dropsy, whose strange thirst
Could ne'er be satisfied with taking in.
You once had wealth—But soft, let me consider!
If she should marry old Sir Argent Scrape,
We could not keep it; for his money then
Would make a suit against us, and perchance
Recover hers again; which to prevent
I will go spoil the marriage presently.
The sight of this will soon forbid the banns,
[Pg 61] And stop his love. Then she wants means to sue us.
Be sure to keep thine adversary poor,
If thou wouldst thrive in suits. The way to 'scape
Revenge for one wrong is to do another:
The second injury secures the former.
I'll presently to old Sir Argent Scrape,
And tell him this: he's meditating now,
What strange additions to his large revenue
Are coming at one happy clap; what heaps
Of wealth to-morrow he shall be possess'd of;
What purchases to make; how to dispose
Of her and hers. But soft, the cards must turn:
The man must be deceived, and she much more.
To cosen the deceitful is no fraud. [Exit.

Enter Sir Argent Scrape.

Sir Arg. Methinks a youthful figure doth possess
My late stiff limbs; and (like a snake) I feel
A second spring succeed my age of winter.
O gold! how cordial, how restorative
Art thou! What, though thou canst not give me legs
Nor active hands, alas! I need them not;
Possess'd of thee, I can command the legs,
The hands, the tongues, the brains, of other men
To move for me. What need he hands or brains,
That may command the lawyer's subtlety,
The soldier's valour, the best poet's wit,
Or any writer's skill? O gold! to thee
The sciences are servants; the best trades
Are but thy slaves, indeed thy creatures rather:
For thee they were invented, and by thee
Are still maintained. 'Tis thou alone that art
The nerves of war, the cement of the state,
And guide of human actions. 'Tis for thee
[Pg 62] Old Argent lives. O, what a golden shower
Will rain on me to-morrow! Let me see:
Her personal estate alone will buy
Upon good rates a thousand pound a year.
Where must that lie? Not in our country here—
Not all together; no; then my revenue
Will have too great a notice taken of it;
I shall be rais'd in subsidies, and 'sess'd
More to the poor. No, no, that must not be.
I'll purchase all in parcels, far from home,
And closely as I can: a piece in Cornwall;
In Hampshire some; some in Northumberland.
I'll have my factors forth in all those parts,
To know what prodigals there be abroad,
What pennyworths may be had: so it shall be.

Enter Fruitful.

Sir Arg. Ha! Master Fruitful! welcome. How go the squares?
What do you think of me to make a bridegroom?
Do I look young enough?
Fruit. Sir, I am come
To tell you news; such news as will, perhaps,
A little trouble you; but, if your worship
Should not have known it, 'twould have vex'd you more.
Sir Arg. Vex'd me! What's that can vex me now? speak, man.
Fruit. I thought that I was bound in conscience, sir,
To tell it you: 'tis conscience, and the love
I bear to truth, makes me reveal it now.
Sir Arg. What is the business? speak.
Fruit. Do not suppose
That I am treacherous to my Lady Covet,
To whom I do belong, in uttering this.
[Pg 63] In such a case I serve not her, but truth,
And hate dishonest dealing.
Sir Arg. Come to th' purpose.
Fruit. Then thus it is: my Lady Covet, sir,
Merely to cosen you, has pass'd away
Her whole estate; you shall not get a penny
By marrying her.
Sir Arg. How, man? is't possible?
Fruit. 'Tis very certain, sir; I, for a need,
Could show you the conveyance; for my hand
Is as a witness there; so is her steward's.
Sir Arg. O horrible deceit!
Fruit. Ask her herself;
If she deny it, I can justify it;
So can her steward too.
Sir Arg. You make me mad.
Fruit. I keep you from being so by a mature
Prevention of your cosening.
Sir Arg. O, what hopes
Am I fall'n from; who would believe these false
Deceitful creatures?
Fruit. Sir, I could but wonder,
That she would cheat so honest a gentleman,
That came a suitor to her for pure love.
Sir Arg. Love! Mischief of love!
Fruit. Alas, I know
It was not her estate that you sought after,
Your love was honester: and then that she
Should cosen you!
Sir Arg. She shall not cosen me:
I'll have my horse-litter made ready straight,
And leave her house.
Fruit. But when you see her, sir,
It may be your affection will return.
If you should leave her only upon this,
The world would think that you were covetous;
And covetousness is such a sin, you know.
Sir Arg. You do not mock me, do you?
[Pg 64]
Fruit. Who? I, sir?
I know your worship does abhor the sin
Of covetousness; but I confess indeed
'Twould vex a man to have been cosen'd so.
Sir Arg. Have I liv'd all this while to be o'er-reach'd
And cheated by a woman? I'll forsake her
Fruit. Sir, 'tis a happy thing,
When men can love with such discretion,
As to forsake when they shall see just cause.
Some are so fond in their affections
That, though provok'd by all the injuries
That can be offer'd, they can never leave
The mistress of their hearts.
Sir Arg. I warrant her,
For any such affection in old Argent.
Fruit. I do believe it, sir; you are too wise. [Retires.

Enter Lady Covet.

Lady C. How do you, sir?
Sir Arg. E'en as I may:
You do not mean I shall be e'er the better
For you.
Lady C. How's this? I do not understand
What you should mean.
Sir Arg. You may, if you consider:
But if you do not, I'll explain it to you.
Have I deserv'd such dealing at your hands?
Lady C. As what?
Sir Arg. As that you should speak one thing to me
And mean another; but I'll make it plainer;
You seem'd to love me, and for love it seems,
Thinking to marry me, have made away
All your estate.
Lady C. How's this?
[Pg 65]
Sir Arg. Nay, 'tis too true,
Or else your chaplain does you wrong.
Lady C. O villain!
Sir Arg. Nay, villain him no villains; is it so,
Or not?
Fruit. If she deny it to you, sir,
I can produce her hand, and have the deed.
Lady C. O monstrous villany! O impudence!
Can'st thou abuse me thus, that first of all
Did'st counsel me to do it?
Fruit. I confess
I gave you way, and for the time did wink
At your false dealing; but at last my conscience
Would not permit me to conceal it longer.
I have discharg'd it now, and told the truth.
Sir Arg. Twas well done of you, sir: well, I'll away.
Madam, seek out some other man to cheat.
For me you shall not.
Lady. C. Stay, sir, my estate
Shall still be good; the feoffees will be honest.
Fruit. Ay, that they will, to keep what is their own.
Lady C. O monstrous wickedness! was e'er the like
Heard of before?
Fruit. I know the feoffees' minds.

Enter Freeman, Euphues, Barnet, Dotterel, Lady Whimsey.

Free. How fare you, madam. Wherefore look you sadly
At such a joyful time?
Lady C. O Master Freeman,
I am undone and ruin'd.
Fruit. No, good madam,
We'll see you shall not want.
[Pg 66]
Free. How's this?
Fruit. You shall have a fair competence allow'd you.
Euph. What riddle have we here?
Lady C. Out, thou ungracious, dissembling villain.
Fruit. An indifferent means
Will keep your ladyship; for you are past
Those vanities which younger ladies use:
You need no gaudy clothes, no change of fashions,
No paintings nor perfumes.
Euph. I would fain know the bottom of this.
Lady W. Servant, can you discover
What this should mean?
Dot. No, mistress, I protest:
With all the wit I have.
Fruit. And for your house,
You shall have leave to stay here, till we have
Provided for you.
Lady C. O, my heart will break!
Euph. Here is the finest turn that e'er I saw.
Sir Arg. I will resolve you, gentlemen. This lady,
To cosen me in marriage, had (it seems)
Pass'd her estate away: into what hands
'Tis fallen, I know not, nor I care not, I.
Fruit. 'Tis fallen into the hands of wise men, sir,
That know how to make use of what is theirs.
Lady C. This hypocrite persuaded me to do't,
And then discover'd all, as if on purposes
He sought my ruin.
Fruit. No, not I, good madam:
'Twas for your soul's health; I have done you good,
And eas'd you of a burden, and a great one.
So much estate would have been still a cause
Of cares unto you, and those cares have hinder'd
Your quiet passage to a better life.
Euph. Excellent devil! how I love him now!
Never did knavery play a juster part.
[Pg 67]
Fruit. And why should you, at such an age as this,
Dream of a marriage? A thing so far
Unfit, nay most unnatural and profane,
To stain that holy ordinance, and make it
But a mere bargain! For two clods of earth
Might have been join'd as well in matrimony.
Tis for your soul's health, madam, I do this.
Euph. How much was I mistaken in this chaplain!
I see he has brains.
Free. Though't be dishonesty
In him, yet justly was it plac'd on her:
And I could even applaud it.
Lady W. I protest I love this chaplain.
Dot. So do I, sweet mistress, or I am an errant fool.
Lady C. But yet I hope
The feoffees may prove honest: I'll try them.
Fruit. I'll go and bring them to your ladyship. [Exit Fruitful.
Sir Arg. I'll stay no longer. Make my litter ready.
Lady, farewell; and to you all.
Free. Nay, sir.
Then let me interpose; let me entreat you,
By all the rites of neighbourhood, Sir Argent,
Make not so sudden a departure now.
What, though the business has gone so cross,
You may part fairly yet. Stay till to-morrow;
Let not the country take too great a notice
Of these proceedings and strange breach: 'twill be
Nothing but a dishonour to you both.
Pray, sir, consent: give me your hand, Sir Argent.
Sir Arg. At your entreaty, sir, I'll stay till morning.
Free. Before that time, you may consider better. [Exeunt.

[Pg 68]


[18] [A MS. note in one of the former edits. says: "This sudden and total change, unnatural as it is, is one of the characteristics of the old plays."]


Matilda, Theodore.

Mat. I'll not refuse my uncle's courtesy,
But go and see his house. I should before
Have done that duty to him, but I thought
My visits were not welcome, since he liv'd
So close and privately.
Theo. Sweet cousin, you'll find
A happy alteration in my father,
And that there dwells a kind and honest soul
Within his breast. Though wretched avarice,
The usual fault of age, has heretofore
Too much kept back the good expressions
Of such-like thoughts, he now will make amends
To all the world; and has begun already
With his poor neighbours.
Mat. Cousin, I shall be
Too bad a guest at this sad time, and bring
Nothing but sorrow to my uncle's house.
Theo. You'll be yourself a welcome guest to him;
And I shall think our roof exceeding happy,
If it may mitigate that killing grief,
Which your so solitary life too much
Has nourish'd in you. Cousin, feed it not:
'Tis a disease that will in time consume you.
I have already given the best advice,
That my poor knowledge will afford, to ease
Your troubled thoughts. If time, which Heaven allows
To cure all griefs, should not have power to do it:
If death of father, mother, husband, wife,
Should be lamented still, the world would wear
Nothing but black: sorrow alone would reign
In every family that lives, and bring
[Pg 69] Upon poor mortals a perpetual night.
You must forget it, cousin.
Mat. Never can I
Forget my love to him.
Theo. Nor do I strive
To teach you to forget that love you bear
To his dear memory; but that grief which lies
Wrapp'd in amongst it, and turns all to poison,
Making it mortal to that soul that tastes it—
'Tis that, sweet cousin, which I hope that time
May by degrees extinguish. Will you please
To walk along? My father long ere this
Expects us, I am sure, and longs to see you. [Exeunt.

Eugeny in the Officers' hands.

Eug. I blame you not at all, that by the law
And virtue of your places are requir'd
To apprehend me.
Officer. We are sorry, sir, we were enforc'd to seize you.
Eug. But I wonder
What curious eye it was that search'd so far
Into my secret walks, that did discover
This dark abode of mine, and envied me
My solitary sorrow: such a life,
As I enjoy'd, a man might well afford
To his most great and mortal enemy.
Officer. 'Twas a plain fellow, sir, that brought us hither
In the king's name, and left us when we had you.
But, sir, we wish you all the good we may.
Eug. I thank you, friends: I cannot tell at all
Whom to suspect; nor will I further vex
My thoughts in search of such a needless thing.
I call to mind what once my Theodore
Told me by way of a surmise; but, sure,
It cannot be so foul. Shall I entreat you
[Pg 70] To carry me to old Sir Argent Scrape,
My kinsman? I would only speak with him,
Before I go to prison: and let one,
If you can spare a man, go run for me
To Master Earthworm's house, and bid his son
Meet me with old Sir Argent; he lies now
At my Lady Covet's house. I have about me
What will reward your pains, and highly too.
Officer. It shall be done, as you would have it, sir.
Eug. I dare not send to fair Artemia:
The sight of her and of so dear a sorrow
As she would show, would but afflict me more.
Perchance I may come safely off; till then
I would conceal this accident from her.
But fame is swiftest still, when she goes laden
With news of mischief: she too soon will hear,
And in her sorrow I shall doubly suffer.
Thus are we fortune's pastimes: one day live
Advanc'd to heaven by the people's breath,
The next, hurl'd down into th' abyss of death.

Enter Euphues, Artemia.

Euph. But are you sure 'tis hereabouts he lives?
Ha! who is that? 'Tis he, and in the hands
Of officers! Cousin, the mischief's done
Before we come.
Art. O my dear Eugeny!
Eug. Artemia too! Ah me! she swoons! Help, help!
Look up, my love! There is no fear at all
For me; no danger: all is safe, and full
Of hope and comfort.
Euph. She begins to come
Unto herself again.
Eug. But pray, sir, tell
How came you hither, noble Euphues?
[Pg 71]
Euph. I never knew the place; but now, by her
Instructions, found it out. I came to bear
Her company, and her intent of coming
Was to inform you of a danger near—
Of such a monstrous mischief, as perchance
You scarce can credit. Old Sir Argent Scrape,
By me and by another gentleman,
Was overheard to say that he had scouts,
And had laid certain plots to apprehend
His kinsman Eugeny, just before th' assizes.
Besides, what further means he did intend,
Closely to work your death, he then declar'd
To the old covetous lady, whom he came
A suitor to.
Eug. Prophetic Theodore, how right thou wert!
Euph. This thing, when I had heard,
I told it her, and we with speed made hither;
But ere we came, the mischief was fulfill'd.
Eug. I thank you, sir, for this discovery:
Howe'er I speed, pray pardon me, if I
Shall by the hand of justice die your debtor.
How soon from virtue and an honour'd spirit
Man may receive what he can never merit!
Be not thou cruel, my Artemia;
Do not torment me with thy grief, and make
Me die before my time: let hope a while
Suspend thy sorrow; if the worst should fall,
Thy sorrow would but more enfeeble me,
And make me suffer faintly for thy sake.
Art. If worst should fall, my love (which heaven forfend),
How could I choose but suffer?
Euph. I will hope
Your safety yet may well be wrought; and knowing
Sir Argent's mind, you know what ways to trust.
Art. Good cousin, help us with thy counsel now,
If thou dost love my life.
[Pg 72]
Euph. Fear it not, cousin:
If I may aid you, sir, in anything,
You shall command it.
Eug. Sir, I cannot thank you
So much as it deserves: this timely favour,
If not in life, yet shall at least in death
Endear me to you.
Art. Do not name that word,
My dearest love!
Euph. You must be speedy, sir,
In all your courses now.
Eug. Then let me beg
That you would meet me at my Lady Covet's.
I'll ring Sir Argent Scrape so loud a peal,
As shall, perchance, awake his bed-rid soul,
And rouse it, though so deeply sunk in dross—
Drown'd and o'erwhelm'd with muck. Go you together,
And leave me to my way.
Art. Farewell, dear love! [Exeunt severally.

Enter Barnet, Lady Whimsey.

Bar. Madam, 'tis sure; I know your ladyship
Is so possess'd.
Lady W. I think he loves me well,
And will not now start back from marrying me.
Bar. That is the happy hour he only longs for;
But if so strange a thing should come to pass,
Which yet I think impossible, that this
Your marriage should break off, I will give back
Into your hand this bond, which I receiv'd;
And 'tis worth nothing, madam, as you know
By the condition.
Lady W. True, I fear it not;
But I durst trust you, if 'twere otherwise.
[Pg 73]
Bar. He waits the hour, when you will please to tie
The happy knot with him.
Lady W. He shall no longer
Wait for it now: I'll go confirm him.
Bar. But think not, gentle madam, that I shark[19]
Or cheat him in it: I have to a sum
Greater than this from him as good a title
As right can give, though my unhappy fortunes
Made me forbear the trial of my title,
While his old crafty father was alive.
He held from me a farm of greater value,
As all the neighbours know: I then forbore it,
And will do still, since by an easier way
I may have satisfaction. But here comes
One that has lost a marriage.

Enter Trusty, Lady Covet.

Lady C. Tell me, Trusty, what say the feoffees?
Trusty. They'll say nothing, madam;
Make me no answer, but that they know how
To manage their own fortunes.
Lady C. All the world
Conspires against me; I am quite undone!
Trusty. I promise you truly, madam, I believe
They mean little better than plain knavery.
Lady C. Ay, 'tis too true.
Lady W. How does your ladyship?
I was in hope to-day we should have seen you
A joyful bride.
Lady C. Ah, madam! 'twas my folly
To dream of such a thing; 'tis that has brought me
[Pg 74] To all this sorrow, and undone me quite.
Lady W. I hope not so. But, madam, I confess
The marriage could have done you little good:
One of your years, and then a man so old!
Lady C. O, do not mention it; I am justly punish'd.
Lady W. Pardon me, madam; I must make so bold
As leave you for a while. Come, Master Barnet,
Shall we go see the party?
Bar. I wait you, madam. [Exeunt.
Lady C. My sorrow will not leave me. But, alas!
'Tis a deserved punishment I suffer
For my unjust oppressions; I detain'd
Scudmore's estate injuriously, and had
No conscience to restore what was not mine,
And now all's ta'en away! What then I would not,
I cannot now perform, though I desire.

Enter Freeman, Artemia.

Free. Fear not, Artemia, there shall no means
Be left untri'd to save the gentleman.
I did approve thy choice, and still will do,
If fortune will consent. My Lady Covet,
Are you sad still?
Lady C. Never had any woman
A greater cause of sorrow, Master Freeman;
For I protest it does not trouble me
So much, that by this cheat I lose the power
Of my estate, as that I lose all means
Of charity or restitution
To any person whom I wrong'd before.
Free. Why, then, you make a true and perfect use
[Pg 75] Of such a cross, and may hereafter take
True comfort from it.
Lady C. If my conscience
Were satisfi'd, I could forsake the rest.

Enter Euphues.

Euph. My cousin, I perceive, has made more haste
Hither than I; but I have seen a pageant
That, in the saddest time, would make one laugh.
Free. What, prythee?
Euph. I have seen your neighbour Earthworm
In such a mood, as you would wonder at,
And all that ever knew him heretofore.
He is inveighing 'gainst Sir Argent Scrape
For being so basely covetous, as thus
For hope of lucre to betray his kinsman:
A thing that he himself would scorn as much,
He does protest, as can be.
Free. I have known
It otherwise. What may not come to pass,
When Earthworm is a foe to avarice?
Euph. But he, they say, has made it good in deeds.
Free. He has been so exceeding bountiful
Now to our poor, and vows to be so still,
That we may well believe he is quite chang'd,
And strives to make amends for what is pass'd.
He has, they say, a brave and virtuous son,
Lately come home, that has been cause of all.
Euph. It well may be: I know young Theodore.
Uncle, he is of strange abilities;
And to convert his father was an act
Worthy of him.

[Pg 76]

Enter Servant, and Sir Argent in his chair.

Ser. Madam, Sir Argent Scrape would take his leave
Of you.
Lady C. When it pleases him.
Sir Arg. Get me my litter
Ready presently; I will be gone. Madam,
I now am come to give you loving thanks
For my good cheer, and so bid you farewell.
But let me tell you this, before we part:
Things might have been carried another way
For your own good; but you may thank yourself
For what has happened now.
Lady C. If you suppose
It had been for my good to marry you,
You are deceiv'd; for that, in my esteem
(Though once I was so foolish to give way
To that ridiculous motion), had brought with it
As great a misery as that which now
Is fall'n upon me.
Sir Arg. How! as great a misery
As to be beggar'd?
Lady C. Yes, sir, I'll assure you,
I am of that opinion, and still shall be.
But know, Sir Argent, though I now want pow'r
To give you that which you still gap'd for, wealth,
I can be charitable, and bestow
Somewhat upon you that is better far.
Sir Arg. Better than wealth! what's that?
Lady C. Honest counsel.
Let my calamity admonish you
To make a better use of your large wealth,
While you may call it yours. Things may be chang'd;
For know, that hand that has afflicted me,
Can find out you. You do not stand above it.
[Pg 77]
Sir Arg. I hope I shall know how to keep mine own.
Euph. I do begin to pity the poor lady.
Free. This has wrought goodness in her. Who are these?

Enter Earthworm and Theodore.

My neighbour Earthworm? Lord! how he is chang'd!
Earth. 'Twas basely done, and like a covetous wretch,
I'll tell him to his face: what care I for him?
I have a purse as well as he.
Euph. How's this?
Earth. Betray a kinsman's life to purchase wealth!
O, detestable!
Euph. O miraculous change!
Do you not hear him, uncle?
Earth. Master Freeman, happily met.
Free. Sir, I am glad to see you.
Earth. I have been long your neighbour, sir, but liv'd
In such a fashion, as I must endeavour
To make amends hereafter for, and strive
To recompence with better neighbourhood.
Free. It joys me much to see this change in you.
Earth. Pardon my boldness, madam, that I make
This intrusion.
Lady C. Y'are welcome, Master Earthworm.
Euph. Let me be bold, then, noble Theodore,
To claim our old acquaintance.
Theo. I shall think it
My honour, worthy sir, to hold that name.
[Pg 78]
Earth. Is that Sir Argent Scrape in the chair yonder?
Free. Yes, sir.
Earth. O, fie upon him! But soft,
He will be told on't now. [Eugeny brought in.
Sir Arg. Ha! Eugeny!
Why have they brought him hither?
Eug. I am come.
Methinks these looks of mine, inhumane wretch!
Though I were silent, should have power to pierce
That treacherous breast, and wound thy conscience,
Though it be hard and senseless as the idol
Which thou ador'st, thy gold.
Sir Arg. Is this to me, kinsman, you speak?
Eug. Kinsman! Do not wrong
That honest name with thy unhallowed lips.
To find a name for thee and thy foul guilt,
Has so far pos'd me, as I cannot make
Choice of a language fit to tell thee of it.
Treacherous, bloody man! that has betray'd
And sold my life to thy base avarice!
Sir Arg. Who? I betray you?
Eug. Yes; can you deny it?
Lady C. I'll witness it against him, if he do.
'Twas his intent, I know.
Euph. And so do I:
I overheard his counsels.
Earth. Out upon him,
Unworthy man!
Euph. I could e'en laugh to hear
Old Earthworm chide.
Eug. But think upon the deed,
Think on your own decrepit age, and know
That day, by nature's possibility,
Cannot be far from hence, when you must leave
Those wealthy hoards that you so basely lov'd,
And carry nothing with thee, but the guilt
Of impious getting: then, if you would give
[Pg 79] To pious uses what you cannot keep,
Think what a wretched charity it is;
And know, this act shall leave a greater stain
On your detested memory, than all
Those seeming deeds of charity can have
A pow'r to wash away: when men shall say
In the next age: this goodly hospital,
This house of alms, this school, though seeming fair,
Was the foul issue of a cursed murder,
And took foundation in a kinsman's blood.
The privilege that rich men have in evil,
Is, that they go unpunish'd to the devil.
Sir Arg. O! I could wish the deed undone again.
Ah me! what means are left to help it now?
Free. Sure, the old man begins to melt indeed.
Eug. Now let me turn to you, my truer friends,
And take my last farewell.

Enter Fruitful and Trusty.

Euph. My noble chaplain!
What pranks comes he to play now? I had thought
His business had been done.
Fruit. Health to you, madam!
Lady C. How can you wish me health, that have so labour'd
To ruin me in all things?
Fruit. No, good madam;
'Twas not your ruin, but your good I sought:
Nor was it to deprive you of your means,
But only rectify your conscience.
Free. How's this?
Euph. Another fetch! this may be worth the hearing.
[Pg 80]
Fruit. Madam, you convey'd away
To three good honest men your whole estate.
Lady C. They have not prov'd so honest: I had thought
I might have trusted them.
Fruit. Then give me hearing.
They, by the virtue of that deed possess'd,
Have back again convey'd it all to you.
Lady C. Ha!
Fruit. Madam, 'twas done before good witnesses,
Of which your steward here was one.
Trusty. Most true.
Fruit. And all the other are well-known to you.
Here is the deed.
Free. Let me peruse it, madam.
Lady C. Good Master Freeman, do.

[Freeman reads it to himself.

Euph. What plot is this?
Fruit. One manor only they except from hence.
Which they suppose you did unjustly hold
From the true heir: his name was Scudmore, madam.
Lady C. I do confess I did unjustly hold it;
And since have griev'd me much, that while I might,
I made not restitution.
Fruit. He was poor,
And by the law could not recover it;
Therefore this means was taken. By this deed
They have convey'd it hither, where it ought
Of right to be: are you content with this?
And all the rest of your estate is yours.
Lady C. With all my heart.
Free. Madam, the deed is good.
Lady C. For that estate which justly is pass'd over
[Pg 81] To Scudmore's heir, I am so well content,
As that, before these gentlemen, I promise
To pay him back all the arrearages
Of whatsoever profits I have made.
Fruit. I thank your ladyship. Now know your chaplain,
That wanted orders. [Discovers himself.
Lady C. Master Scudmore living!
Euph. My friend, how couldst thou keep conceal'd so long
From me?
Scud. Excuse it, noble Euphues.
Art. O happiness beyond what could be hop'd!
My Eugeny is safe, and all his griefs
At quiet now.
Eug. Is this a vision,
A mere fantastic show, or do I see
Scudmore himself alive? then let me beg
Pardon from him.
Scud. Long ago 'twas granted:
Thy love I now shall seek. But though awhile
For these my ends I have conceal'd myself,
I ever meant to secure thee from danger.
Eug. What strange unlook'd-for happiness this day
Has brought forth with it!
Scud. To tell you by what means
I was most strangely cur'd, and found a way
How to conceal my life, will be too long
Now to discourse of here; I will anon
Relate at large. But one thing much has griev'd me,
That my too long concealment has been cause
Of so much sorrow to my constant love,
The fair Matilda. Sir, she is your niece,
Let me intreat my pardon, next to her,
From you.
Earth. You have it. Go, good Theodore,
[Pg 82] And bring her hither, but prepare her first:
Too sudden apprehension of a joy
Is sometimes fatal.
Theo. I'll about it gladly. [Exit.
Sir Arg. Dear cousin Eugeny, if I yet may be
Thought worthy of that name, pardon my crime,
And my whole life, how short soe'er it be,
Shall testify my love to be unfeigned.
Eug. I do forgive you freely. Now to you,
Grave sir, in whose rich bounty it must lie,
To make me happy in conferring on me
So bright a jewel as Artemia,
'Tis your consent I beg.
Free. You have it freely;
Her heart I know she gave you long ago,
And here I give her hand.
Eug. A richer gift
Than any monarch of the world can give:
Bless'd happiness? Gently my joys distil,[20]
Lest you do break the vessel you should fill.

Enter Barnet, Dotterel, Lady Whimsey.

Euph. Here comes another couple to make up
The day's festivity. Joy to you, madam!
Lady W. Thanks, noble Euphues.
Dot. We have tied the knot,
That cannot be undone: this gentleman is witness
Of it.
Bar. Yes, I saw it finish'd.
Lady W. Mistress Artemia, as I suppose,
I may pronounce as much to you?
Art. You may as much as I shall wish your ladyship.

[Pg 83]

Enter Theodore and Matilda.

Scud. Here comes the dearest object of my soul,
In whom too much I see my cruelty,
And chide myself. O, pardon me, dear love,
That I too long a time have tyranniz'd
Over thy constant sorrow.
Mat. Dearest Scudmore,
But that my worthy cousin has prepar'd
My heart for this, I should not have believ'd
My flattering eyes.
Scud. To know brave Theodore,
Next to enjoying thee, was my ambition;
Which now affinity hath bless'd me with.
Eug. His friendship, worthy Scudmore, is a treasure.
Theo. I shall endeavour to deserve your loves.
Earth. Come, leave your compliments at all hands now,
And hear an old man speak. I must intreat
This favour from all this noble company,
Especially from you, good Master Freeman,
Although this be your daughter's wedding-day,
That you would all be pleas'd to be my guests,
And keep with me your marriage festivals.
Grant my request.
Free. 'Tis granted, sir, from me.
Eug. And so, I think, from all the company.
Earth. Then let's be merry: Earthworm's jovial now,
And that's as much as he desires from you. [To the Pit.

[Pg 84]
[Pg 85]


[19] i.e., Collect my prey like the shark-fish. So in "Hamlet"—

"Shark'd up a troop of landless resolutes."


[20] [See Introduction to this play, p. 4.]

[Pg 86]



A New Wonder, A Woman never Vext. A Pleasant Conceited Comedy: sundry times Acted: never before printed. Written by William Rowley, one of his Maiesties Servants. London, Imprinted by G. P., for Francis Constable, and are to be sold at his shop, at the signe of the Crane in Saint Pauls Churchyard. 1632. 4o.

[Pg 87]


(With Additions, &c.)[21]

This writer is ranked by the editors of the "Biographia Dramatica" in the third class of dramatic writers, and Mr Gifford justly observes it is impossible to place him higher. [Mr Collier, in a note to Rowley's "Match at Midnight," 1633, Introd., supposed that Samuel Rowley, the writer of the historical play on "Henry VIII.," 1605, might be the "Master Rowley, once a rare scholar of Pembroke Hall," mentioned by Meres ("Politeuphuia," 1598, "Anc. Crit. Essays," iii. 154), as one of the best for comedy; but Meres, who was himself a university man, would scarcely confound either Samuel or William Rowley with the Ralph Rowley of Pembroke Hall, writer of certain occasional poetry now forgotten (Cooper's "Athenæ," ii. 388); and it is grossly improbable, surely, that Meres should cite Ralph Rowley as "one of the best for comedy" on the strength of such [Pg 88]pieces as are connected with Samuel Rowley's name. Mr Collier remarks, that it appears from Henslowe's memoranda ("Diary," pp. 120, 218) that "in the very year in which Meres wrote, [Samuel Rowley] was reduced to accept the situation of a hireling at Henslowe's theatre." There is no trace of anything written by him earlier than Jan. 7, 1601-2, when he assisted William Haughton and William Borne in writing a piece called "Judas." As to William, he could scarcely have acquired any reputation so early, and what, on the whole, is most likely to have been the truth is, that Ralph Rowley composed pieces which, like those of the Earl of Oxford and others, have not survived.[22] Of the time or place of his birth, or decease, we are altogether ignorant. Of his life it is only known that he was a player. That he lived on terms of intimacy with the dramatic writers of his time is sufficiently evident from his having written in conjunction with many of them; and, if we may believe the title-page, [which we cannot, we should be able to believe that] in one[23] he received assistance from Shakespeare himself. He was a comedian, and one of the Prince's company of players; and Oldys observes, in his MSS. notes to Langbaine, on the authority of [transcripts made by Vertue from] the office books of Lord Harrington, Treasurer of the Chambers in those years, that "One William Rowley was head of the Prince's company of comedians from 1613 to 1616:" this, there can be [no] doubt, was our author; and [he continued to belong [Pg 89]to that company till the death of James I.[24]] The tragedy of "All's Lost by Lust" (as it is better known) would perhaps have been selected in preference, but for the resemblance it bears, in the general outline, to the "Women beware Women" of Middleton, and the "Appius and Virginia" of Webster,[25] to either of which, in my opinion, it is inferior. On the present play Langbaine observes that the passage of the widow's finding her wedding-ring, which she dropped in crossing the Thames, in the belly of a fish which her maid bought accidently in the market, is founded either upon the story of Polycrates of Samos, as the author may read at large in Herodotus, lib. 3, sive Thalia; or upon the like story related of one Anderson of Newcastle, by Doctor Fuller, in his "Worthies of England." The story here referred to is this: "A citizen of Newcastle (whose name I take to be M. Anderson) talking with a friend of his upon Newcastle bridge, and fingering his ring, before he was aware let it fall into the river; and was much troubled with the losse of it, till by a fish caught in the river that losse was repaired, and his ring restored to him." It is quite impossible, however, that our author could have had this story from Fuller's "Worthies," which was not published till many years after this drama was in print: he might, however, have found it, whence indeed Fuller himself took it (and the story of Polycrates is likewise quoted there), in the Preface to a little work called "Vox Piscis, or the Book-Fish, containing three Treatises, which were found in the belly of a Cod-fish in Cambridge Market, on Midsummer Eve [Pg 90]last, Anno Domini 1626;" published in London in 1627. It is not noticed either by Langbaine or the editors of the "Biographia Dramatica" that this play is, in part, historical. This, however, is the case; and I have collected together, from various scattered notices in Stow and Strype, the best account I was enabled of Stephen Foster, his wife, and Alderman Brewen,[26] three of the principal persons in the drama. Sir Stephen Foster was the son of Robert Foster of London, stock-fishmonger; he was elected Sheriff of London in the year 1444, and Lord Mayor in 1454, and served as member for that city in the parliament held at Westminster in the thirteenth of Henry VI. Speaking of Ludgate, Strype says, (Append, p. 26), "There happened to be prisoner there, one Stephen Foster, who (as poor men are at this day) was a cryer at the grate, to beg the benevolent charities of pious and commiserate benefactors that passed by. As he was doing his doleful office, a rich widow of London hearing his complaint, enquired of him what would release him? To which he answered, Twenty pound; which she in charity expended; and clearing him out of prison, entertained him in her service; who, afterward falling into the way of merchandise, and increasing as well in wealth as courage, wooed his mistress, Dame Agnes, and married her.

"Her riches and his industry brought him both great wealth and honour, being afterwards no less than Sir Stephen Foster, Lord Mayor of the honourable city of London: yet whilst he lived in this great honour and dignity, he forgot not the place of his captivity; but, mindful of the sad and irksome place wherein poor men [Pg 91]were imprisoned, bethought himself of enlarging it, to make it a little more delightful and pleasant for those who in aftertimes should be imprisoned and shut up therein. And, in order thereunto, acquainted his lady with this his pious purpose and intention, in whom likewise he found so affable and willing a mind to do good to the poor, that she promised to expend as much as he should do for the carrying on of the work; and, having possessions adjoining thereunto, they caused to be erected and built the rooms and places following, that is to say, the paper house, the porch, the watch-hall, the upper and lower lumbries, the cellar, the long ward, and the chapel for divine service; in which chapel is an inscription upon the wall, containing these words—

"This chapel was erected and ordained for the divine worship and service of God, by the Right Honourable Sir Stephen Foster, Knight, some time Lord Maior of this honourable city, and by Dame Agnes his wife, for the use and godly exercise of the prisoners in this prison of Ludgate, Anno 1454.

" ... He likewise gave maintenance for a preaching minister," ... and "ordained what he had so built, with that little which was before, should be free for all free-men, and that they providing their own bedding should pay nothing at their departure for lodging or chamber-rent."[27]

There can be little doubt from the inscription in the chapel, that this worthy man was alive in the year 1454; it is still more certain from the following extract from Stow, that he was dead in 1463: "In the year 1463, the third of Edward the Fourth, Mathew Philip being mayor, in a common counsaile, at the request of [Pg 92]the well-disposed, blessed, and devout woman, Dame Agnes Foster, widow, late wife to Stephen Foster, fishmonger, sometime mayor, for the comfort and reliefe of all the poore prisoners, certaine articles were established. In primis, that the new works then late edified by the same Dame Agnes, for the inlarging of the prison of Ludgate, from thenceforth should be had and taken as a parte and parcell of the saide prison of Ludgate, so that both the old and new works of Ludgate aforesaid, be one prison, gaile, keeping, and charge for evermore." To this Stow adds, "The said quadrant strongly builded of stone, by the fore-named Stephen Foster, and Agnes his wife, contayneth a large walking-place by ground, ... the like roome it hath over it for lodgings, and over all a fayre leades to walke upon, well imbattayled, all for ease of prisoners, to the ende they shoulde have lodging and water free without charge: as by certaine verses grauen in copper, and fixed on the said quadrant, I have read in forme following—

'Deuout soules that passe this way,
for Stephen Foster late mayor, hartely pray,
And Dame Agnes his spouse, to God consecrate,
that of pitty this house made for Lōdoners in Ludgate.
So that for lodging and water prisoners here nought pay,
as there keepers shall answere at dreadfull domes day.'

"This plate, and one other of his armes, taken downe with the old gate, I caused to be fixed over the entrie of the said quadrant, but the verses being unhappily turned inward to the wall, the like in effect is graven outward in prose, declaring him to be a fishmonger, because some upon a light occasion (as a maydens heade in a glasse window) had fabuled him to bee a mercer, and to have begged there at Ludgate." "They were both buried (Stow, p. 163, edit. 1598) at Butolph's church, Billingsgate." How far the poet has deviated from the[Pg 93] tradition as recorded by Strype, the reader will be now as well able to decide as myself: when I speak of the tradition, I allude only to the circumstance of his having been confined a prisoner in Ludgate, and to his release by his wife (by his nephew according to the drama); and this I do on the authority of Stow, the elder of the historians who, in his concluding remarks, refers to it as a fable. Of the charitable acts of these worthy people there can be no doubt. In relation to the character of Bruin, I find (Strype, ii. 260) that "In the year 1197, Walter Brune, a citizen of London, and Rosia his wife, founded the hospital of Our Lady, called Domus Dei, or St Mary the Spittle, without Bishopsgate in London, an house of such relief to the needy, that there was found standing at the surrender thereof nine score beds well furnished for receipt of poor people." The reader cannot fail to notice the gross anachronisms with which the plot of this drama abounds; something, however, may be said in excuse of the bringing together such men as Foster and Bruin; but the introduction of Henry III. is so wanton and unnecessary, that there can be little doubt it is an error of the printer's, and that Henry VI. is the character intended, in whose time Sir Stephen Foster lived. I did not, however, think it necessary to disturb the text; not out of respect to the quarto, for a more disgraceful work never issued from the press even of the printers of that age, but because, the circumstance having been once noticed, it becomes of little consequence. While on this subject I may just observe, that in the original this play is, with very trifling limitations, throughout printed as blank verse: by what possible rule or ear the division was made it is absolutely impossible to conceive; some scenes have without hesitation been reduced to prose; and by changing the construction of[Pg 94] whole speeches, innumerable couplets have been restored: if yet the attentive reader shall discover passages (and that many have escaped my notice I cannot doubt), on which he would willingly exercise his skill, I can only observe that he must not make too free with the pruning knife; that it is difficult to distinguish between a licentious metre and measured prose; and that very little good dramatic dialogue of the higher walks can be found, that, with moderate torturing to the eye and ear, may not pass for such metre.

The following is a list of his dramatic works—

1. "A New Wonder," "A Woman never vext," C. 4o, 1632.

2. A Tragedy called, All's Lost by Lust. Written by William Rowley. Divers times Acted by the Lady Elizabeths Servants. And now lately by her Maiesties Servants, with great applause, at the Phœnix in Drury-Lane. 4o, 1633.

3. "A Match at Midnight," C. 4o, 1633, printed post.

4. "A Shoemaker's a Gentleman," C. 4o, 1638.

He wrote also, in conjunction with Day and Wilkins,

5. "The Travels of Three English Brothers," Sir Thomas, Sir Anthony, and Mr Robert Sherley. 4o, 1607.

With Middleton,

6. "A Fair Quarrel," C. 4o, 1617.

7. "The World toss'd at Tennis," M. 4o, 1620.

8. "The Spanish Gipsy," C. 4o, 1663.


9. "The Changeling," T. 4o, 1653.

With Fletcher,

10. "The Maid of the Mill," fol. 1647.

[Pg 95]

With Massinger and Middleton,

11. "The Old Law," T. C. 4o, 1656.

With Dekker and Ford,

12. "The Witch of Edmonton," T. C. 4o, 1658.

And (it is, however, very doubtful) with Shakespeare,

13. "The Birth of Merlin." T. C. 4o, 1662.

With Webster (though Webster's participation is equally problematical),

14. "A Cure for a Cuckold," C. 1661.


15. "The Thracian Wonder," C. H. 4o, 1661.

And with Heywood,

16. "Fortune by Land and Sea," C. 4o, 1655.

The following are also entered in his name on the Books of the Stationers' Company—

In the Dramatis Personæ, prefixed to his own play of "All's Lost by Lust," the part of Jaques, a simple clownish gentleman, is said to have been personated by the poet; and in Middleton's "Inner Temple Masque," 1619, he performed the part of Plumb-porridge.

It appears from Sir H. Herbert's office book, that one of the Rowleys wrote "A Match or No Match;" this is most probably our author's "Match at Midnight." Rowley wrote also a [prose] pamphlet called, "A Search for Money; or, The Lamentable Complaint for the Loss of the Wandering Knight, Monsieur L'Argent," [Pg 96]&c., 4o, 1609;[29] [an elegy on a fellow-performer, Hugh Atwell, who died on the 25th September 1621; printed on a broadside, and two or three other poetical trifles.][30]

[Pg 97]


[21] [This play having been printed by Dilke, and the following one (by the same author) in Dodsley's collection, the two prefaces presented, of course, many repetitions, as well as certain mistakes. That now given (from a collation of the two) will, it is hoped, be found to contain the whole matter of both without these accidental oversights.]

[22] Malone (Sh. by Bosw. II. 172) expresses his conviction that this "rare scholar of Pembroke Hall" was neither William nor Samuel Rowley, but Ralph Rowley, who became a student of Pembroke Hall in 1579, and was elected fellow in 1583.—Collier.

[23] ["The Birth of Merlin," 1662.]

[24] [Halliwell's "New Illustrations of the Life of Shakespeare," 1875, pp. 29, 30, where a curious anecdote of him is given.]

[25] The title of "All's Lost by Lust" might, at least with equal propriety, be given to the others.

[26] [In the old copy and by Dilke the name is given as Bruin.]

[27] [See further Stow, edit. 1720, bk. i. p. 21.]

[28] [This and the two following plays were in Warburton's collection of MSS. dramas, and appear to have perished.]

[29] [Chalmers, and after him Dilke, confounded Samuel with William Rowley, supposing the latter to be the writer of the historical play on the reign of Henry VIII. 4o, 1605, 1613, &c.]

[30] [Hazlitt's "Handbook," in v.]


[Pg 98]
[Pg 99]




Enter Old Foster, Alderman Brewen, and two factors,[32] Richard and George.

O. Fos. This air has a sweet breath, Master Brewen.
Brew. Your partner, sir.
O. Fos. Ay, and in good, I hope: this halcyon gale
Plays the lewd wanton with our dancing sails,
And makes 'em big[33] with vaporous embryo.[34]
Brew. 'Tis no more yet; but then our fraught is full,
When she returns laden with merchandise,
And safe deliver'd with our customage.
[Pg 100]
O. Fos. Such a delivery heaven send us;
But time must ripen it. Are our accounts made even?

George. To the quantity of a penny, if his agree with mine. What's yours, Richard?

Rich. Five hundred sixty pounds. Read the gross sum of your broadcloths.

George. 68 pieces at B, ss, and l; 57 at l, ss, and o.[35]

Rich. Just: lead nineteen ton.

O. Fos. As evenly we will lay our bosoms
As our bottoms, with love as merchandise,
And may they both increase t' infinities.
Brew. Especially at home; that golden traffic, love,
Is scantier far than gold; and one mine of that
More worth than twenty argosies[36]
Of the world's richest treasure.

O. Fos. Here you shall dig [Laying his hand on his breast], and find your lading.

Brew. Here's your exchange: and, as in love,
So we'll participate in merchandise.
O. Fos. The merchant's casualty:
We always venture on uncertain odds,
Although we bear hope's emblem, the anchor,
[Pg 101] With us. The wind brought it; let the wind blow 't
Away again; should not the sea sometimes
Be partner with us, our wealth would swallow us.
Brew. A good resolve: but now I must be bold
To touch you with somewhat that concerns you.
O. Fos. I could prevent[37] you: is't not my unthrifty brother?
Brew. Nay, leave out th' adjective (unthrifty);
Your brother, sir—'tis he that I would speak of.
O. Fos. He cannot be nam'd without unthrifty, sir;
'Tis his proper epithet: would you conceit
But what my love has done for him:
So oft, so chargeable, and so expensive,
You would not urge another addition.
Brew. Nay, sir, you must not stay at quantity,
Till he forfeit the name of brother,
Which is inseparable: he's now in Ludgate, sir.
And part of your treasure lies buried with him.
O. Fos. Ay, by vulgar blemish, but not by any good account:
There let him howl; 'tis the best stay he hath;
For nothing but a prison can contain him,
So boundless is his riot: twice have I rais'd
His decayed fortunes to a fair estate;
But with as fruitless charity as if I had thrown
My safe-landed substance back into the sea;
Or dress in pity some corrupted jade,
And he should kick me for my courtesy.
I am sure you cannot but hear what quicksands
He finds out; as dice, cards, pigeon-holes,[38]
And which is more, should I not restrain it,
[Pg 102] He'd make my state his prodigality.[39]
Brew. All this may be, sir; yet examples daily show
To our eyes that prodigals return at last;
And the loudest roarer[40] (as our city phrase is)
Will speak calm and smooth; you must help with hope, sir:
Had I such a brother, I should think
That heaven had made him as an instrument
For my best charity to work upon:
This is a maxim sure, Some are made poor,
That rich men by giving may increase their store.
Nor think, sir,
That I do tax your labours and mean myself
For to stand idly by; for I have vow'd,
If heaven but bless this voyage now abroad,
To leave some memorable relic after me,
That shall preserve my name alive till doomsday.
O. Fos. Ay, sir, that work is good, and therein could I
Join with your good intents; but to relieve
A waste-good, a spendthrift——
Brew. O, no more, no more, good sir!
[Pg 103]
O. Fos. [To Rich.] Sirrah, when saw you my son Robert?
Rich. This morning, sir; he said he would go visit his uncle.
O. Fos. I pay for their meetings, I am sure: that boy
Makes prize of all his fingers 'light upon
To relieve his unthrifty uncle.
Brew. Does he rob![41] In troth, I commend him. [Aside.
O. Fos. [To Rich.] 'Tis partly your fault, sirrah; you see't and suffer it.
Rich. Sir, mine's a servant's duty, his a son's;
Nor know I better how to express my love
Unto yourself, than by loving your son.
O. Fos. By concealing of his pilferings.
Rich. I dare not call them so; he is my second master,
And methinks 'tis far above my limits
Either to check or to complain of him.
Brew. Gramercy, Dick, thou mak'st a good construction;
[To O. Fos.] And your son Robert a natural nephew's part
To relieve his poor uncle.
O. Fos. 'Tis in neither well, sir: for note but the
Condition of my estate; I'm lately married
To a wealthy widow, from whom my substance
Chiefly does arise: she has observed this in her
Son-in-law, often complains and grudges at it,
And what foul broils such civil discords bring,
Few married men are ignorant of.

Enter Mistress Foster.

Nay, will you see a present proof of it?
Mrs Fos. Shall I not live to breathe a quiet hour?
[Pg 104]
I would I were a beggar with content
Rather than thus be thwarted for mine own.
O. Fos. Why, what's the matter, woman?
Mrs Fos. I'll rouse 'em up,
Though you regard not of my just complaints,
Neither in love to me, nor [for] preserving me
From other injuries, both which you're tied to
By all the rightful laws, heavenly or humane—
But I'll complain, sir, where I will be heard.
O. Fos. Nay, thou'lt be heard too far.
Mrs Fos. Nay, sir, I will be heard:
Some awkward star threw out's unhappy fire
At my conception, and 'twill never quench,
While I have heat in me. Would I were cold!
There would be bonfires made to warm defame:
My death would be a jubilee to some.
O. Fos. Why, sir, how should I minister remedy
And know not the cause?
Brew. Mother-o'-pearl![42] Woman, shew your husband the cause.
Mrs Fos. Had he been a husband, sir, I had no cause.
[So] to complain: I threw down at his feet
The subjection of his whole estate: he did not
Marry me for love's sake, nor for pity;
But love to that I had; he now neglects
The love he had before: a prodigal
Is suffer'd to lay waste those worldly blessings,
Which I enclosed long,[43] intending for good uses.
O. Fos. That's my son.
Mrs Fos. Ay, thou know'st it well enough; He's the conduit-pipe
That throws it forth into the common shore.
O. Fos. And th' other's my brother.
[Pg 105]
Mrs Fos. You may well shame,
As I do grieve the kindred; but I'd make
The one a stranger, the other a servant—
No son nor brother; for they deserve neither
Of those offices.
O. Fos. Why, did I ever cherish him! have not I threaten'd him
With disinheritance for this disorder?
Mrs Fos. Why do you not perform it?
O. Fos. The other's in Ludgate.
Mrs Fos. No; he's in my house, approving to my face
The charitable office of his kind nephew
Who with his pilfering purloin'd from me,
Has set him at liberty; if this may be suffer'd,
I'll have no eyes to see.
O. Fos. Prythee, content thyself, I'll see
A present remedy. Sirrah, go call 'em in:
This worthy gentleman shall know the cause,
And censure for us both with equity.
Brew. Nay, good sir, let not me be so employ'd,
For I shall favour one for pity,
The other for your love's sake.

Enter Robert and Stephen Foster.

O. Fos. Now, sir,
Are all my words with you so light esteem'd,
That they can take no hold upon your duty?
Rob. Misconstrue not, I beseech you.
Mrs Fos. Nay, he'll approve his good deeds, I warrant you.
O. Fos. And you, sir?
Steph. Well, sir.
O. Fos. I had thought you had been in Ludgate, sir?
Steph. Why, you see where I am, sir.
[Pg 106]
O. Fos. Why, where are you, sir?
Steph. In debt, sir, in debt.
O. Fos. Indeed, that is a place you hardly can be
Removed from; but this is not a place fit
For one in debt. How came you out of prison, sirrah?[44]
Steph. As I went into prison, sirrah—by the keepers.
O. Fos. [To Rob.] This was your work, to let this bandog loose.
Rob. Sir, it was my duty to let my uncle loose.
O. Fos. Your duty did belong to me, and I
Did not command it.
Rob. You cannot make a separation, sir,
Betwixt the duty that belongs to me
And love unto my uncle: as well you may
Bid me [to] love my maker, and neglect
The creature which he hath bid me [to] love:[45]
If man to man join not a love on earth,
They love not heaven, nor him that dwells above it;
Such is my duty; a strong correlative
Unto my uncle—why, he's half yourself.
Brew. Believe me, sir, he has answer'd you well.
O. Fos. He has not, worthy sir;
But to make void that false construction.
Here I disclaim the title of a brother;
And by that disclaim hast thou lost thy child's part:
Be thou engag'd for any debts of his,
In prison rot with him; my goods shall not
Purchase such fruitless recompence.

[Pg 107]

Steph. Then thou'rt a scurvy father and a filthy brother.

Mrs Fos. Ay, ay, sir, your tongue cannot defame his reputation.

Steph. But yours can; for all the city reports what an abominable scold he has got to his wife.

O. Fos. If e'er I know thou keep'st him company,
I'll take my blessing from thee whilst I live,
And that which after me should bless thy 'state.
Steph. And I'll proclaim thy baseness to the world;
Ballads I'll make, and make 'em tavern music,
To sing thy churlish cruelty.
O. Fos. Tut, tut, these are babbles.[46]
Steph. Each festival day I'll come unto thy house,
And I will piss upon thy threshold.
O. Fos. You must be out of prison first, sir.
Steph. If e'er I live to see thee sheriff of London,
I'll gild thy painted posts[47] cum privilegio,
And kick thy sergeants.
Rob. Nay, good uncle!
Steph. Why, I'll beg for thee, boy;
I'll break this leg, and bind it up again,
To pull out pity from a stony breast,
Rather than thou shalt want.
O. Fos. Ay, do; let him sear up his arm, and scarf it up
With two yards of rope; counterfeit two villains;
Beg under a hedge, and share your bounty:[48]
[Pg 108] But come not near my house;
Nor thou in's company, if thou'lt obey:
There's punishment for thee; for thee there's worse:
The loss of all that's mine, with my dear curse. [Exeunt.

Manent Stephen and Robert.

Steph. Churl! dog! you churlish rascally miser!
Rob. Nay, good uncle, throw not foul language;
This is but heat, sir, and I doubt not but
To cool this rage with my obedience:
But, uncle, you must not then heap[49] such fuel.
Steph. Coz, I grieve for thee, that thou hast undergone
Thy father's curse for love unto thy uncle.
Rob. Tut! that bond shall ne'er be cancell'd, sir.
Steph. I pity that, i'faith.
Rob. Let pity then for me turn to yourself:
Bethink yourself, sir, of some course that might
Befit your estate, and let me guide it.

Steph. Ha, a course? 'Sfoot! I have't![50] Coz, canst lend me forty shillings? Could I but repair this old decay'd tenement of mine with some new plaister; for, alas, what can a man do in such a case as this?

[Pg 109]

Rob. Ay, but your course, uncle?

Steph. Tush! leave that to me, because thou shalt wonder at it: if you should see me in a scarlet gown within the compass of a gold chain, then I hope you'll say that I do keep myself in good compass: then, sir, if the cap of maintenance[51] do march before me, and not a cap be suffer'd to be worn in my presence, pray do not upbraid me with my former poverty. I cannot tell, state and wealth may make a man forget himself; but, I beseech you, do not; there are things in my head that you dream not of; dare you try me, coz?

Rob. Why, forty shillings, uncle, shall not keep back
Your fortunes.

Steph. Why, gramercy, coz. [Aside.] Now if the dice do run right, this forty shillings may set me up again: to lay't on my back, and so to pawn it, there's ne'er a damn'd broker in the world will give me half the worth on't: no, whilst 'tis in ready cash, that's the surest way: seven is better than eleven; a pox take the bones![52] an they will not favour a man sometimes.

Rob. Look you, uncle, there's forty shillings for you.

Steph. As many good angels guard thee, as thou hast given me bad ones to seduce me! for these deputy devils damn worse than the old ones. Now, coz, pray listen; listen after my transformation: I will henceforth turn an apostate to prodigality; [Pg 110]I will eat cheese and onions, and buy lordships; and will not you think this strange?

Rob. I am glad you're merry, uncle; but this is fix'd
Betwixt an uncle and a nephew's love;
Though my estate be poor, revenues scant,
Whilst I have any left, you shall not want.

Steph. Why, gramercy! by this hand I'll make thee an alderman, before I die, do but follow my steps. [Exeunt.

Enter Widow and Clown.

Wid. Sirrah, will the churchman come I sent you for?

Clown. Yes, mistress, he will come; but pray, resolve me one thing for my long service. What business have you with the churchman? Is it to make your will, or to get you a new husband?

Wid. Suppose to make my will, how then?

Clown. Then I would desire you to remember me, mistress; I have serv'd you long, and that's the best service to a woman: make a good will, if you mean to die, that it may not be said, Though most women be long-liv'd, yet they all die with an ill-will.

Wid. So, sir; suppose it be for marriage?

Clown. Why, then, remember yourself, mistress: take heed how you give away the head; it stands yet upon the shoulders of your widowhood: the loving, embracing ivy has yet the upper place in the house; if you give it to the holly, take heed, there's pricks in holly; or if you fear not the pricks, take heed of the wands; you cannot have the pricks without the wands: you give away the sword, and must defend yourself with the scabbard: these are pretty instructions of a friend; I would be loth to see you cast down, and not well taken up.

[Pg 111]

Wid. Well, sir, well, let not all this trouble you; see, he's come: will you begone?

Enter Doctor.[53]

Clown. I will first give him a caveat, to use you as kindly as he can. [To the Doctor.] If you find my mistress have a mind to this coupling at barley-break, let her not be the last couple to be left in hell.[54]

Doc. I would I knew your meaning, sir.

Clown. If she have a mind to a fresh husband or so, use her as well as you can; let her enter into as easy bands as may be.

Doc. Sir, this is none of my traffic; I sell no husbands.

Clown. Then you do wrong, sir; for you take money for 'em: what woman can have a husband, but you must have custom for him? and often the ware proves naught too—not worth the impost.

Doc. Your man's pregnant[55] and merry, mistress.

Wid. He's saucy, sir. Sirrah, you'll begone?

Clown. Nay, at the second hand you'll have a fee too; you sell in the church; and[56] they bring 'em again to your churchyard, you must have tollage: methinks, if a man die whether you will or no, he should be buried whether you would or no.

Doc. Nay, now you wade too far, sir.

Wid. You'll begone, sirrah!

Clown. Mistress, make him your friend; for he knows what rate good husbands are at; if [Pg 112]there hath been a dearth of women of late, you may chance pick out a good prize; but take heed of a clerk.

Wid. Will you yet, sir, after your needless trouble?
Begone, and bid the maids dress dinner!
Clown. Mistress, 'tis fasting day to-day, there's nothing
But fish.
Wid. Let there be store of that; let bounty
Furnish the table, and charity
Shall be the voider. What fish is there, sirrah?

Clown. Marry, there is salmon, pike, and fresh cod, soles, maids,[57] and plaice.

Wid. Bid 'em haste to dress 'em then.

Clown. Nay, mistress, I'll help 'em too; the maids shall first dress the pike and the cod, and then [Aside] I'll dress the maids in the place you wot on. [Exit Clown.

Doc. You sent for me, gentlewoman?
Wid. Sir, I did: and to this end:
I have some scruples in my conscience;
Some doubtful problems which I cannot answer
Nor reconcile; I'd have you make them plain.
Doc. This is my duty; pray [you], speak your mind.
Wid. And as I speak, I must remember heaven,
That gave those blessings which I must relate:
Sir, you now behold a wond'rous woman;
You only wonder at the epithet;
I can approve it good: guess at mine age.
Doc. At the half-way 'twixt thirty and forty.
Wid. 'Twas not much amiss; yet nearest to the last.
How think you then, is not this a wonder?
That a woman lives full seven-and-thirty years
Maid to a wife, and wife unto a widow,
[Pg 113] Now widow'd, and mine own, yet all this while
From the extremest verge of my remembrance,
Even from my weaning-hour unto this minute,
Did never taste what was calamity?
I know not yet what grief is, yet have sought
An hundred ways for its acquaintance: with me
Prosperity hath kept so close a watch,
That even those things that I have meant a cross,
Have that way turn'd a blessing. Is it not strange?
Doc. Unparallel'd; this gift is singular,
And to you alone belonging: you are the moon,
For there's but one: all women else are stars,
For there are none of like condition.
Full oft and many have I heard complain
Of discontents, thwarts, and adversities,
But a second to yourself I never knew:
To groan under the superflux of blessings,
To have ever been alien unto sorrow,
No trip of fate? Sure, it is wonderful.
Wid. Ay, sir, 'tis wonderful: but is it well?
For it is now my chief affliction.
I have heard you say, that the child of heaven
Shall suffer many tribulations;
Nay, kings and princes share them with their subjects:
Then I that know not any chastisement,
How may I know my part of childhood?[58]
Doc. 'Tis a good doubt; but make it not extreme.
'Tis some affliction that you are afflicted
For want of affliction; cherish that:
Yet wrest it not to misconstruction;
For all your blessings are free gifts from heaven—
Health, wealth, and peace; nor can they turn to curses
[Pg 114] But by abuse. Pray, let me question you:
You lost a husband—was it no grief to you?
Wid. It was; but very small. No sooner I
Had given it entertainment as a sorrow,
But straight it turn'd unto my treble joy:
A comfortable revelation prompts me then,
That husband (whom in life I held so dear)
Had chang'd a frailty to unchanging joys;
Methought I saw him stellified in heaven,
And singing hallelujahs 'mongst a quire
Of white-sainted souls: then again it spake,
And said it was a sin for me to grieve
At his best good, that I esteemed best:
And thus this slender shadow of a grief
Vanish'd again.
Doc. All this was happy; nor can you wrest it from
A heavenly blessing: do not appoint the rod;
Leave still the stroke unto the magistrate:
The time is not passed, but you may feel enough.
Wid. One taste more I had, although but little,
Yet I would aggravate to make the most on't;
Thus 'twas: the other day it was my hap,
In crossing of the Thames,
To drop that wedlock ring from off my finger
That once conjoin'd me and my dead husband;
It sank; I priz'd it dear—the dearer, 'cause it kept
Still in mine eye the memory of my loss;
Yet I griev'd [less] the loss; and [I] did joy withal,
That I had found a grief: and this is all
The sorrow I can boast of.
Doc. This is but small.
Wid. Nay, sure I am of this opinion,
That had I suffered a draught to be made for it,
[Pg 115] The bottom would have sent it up again,
I am so wondrously fortunate.
Doc. You would not suffer it?

Enter Clown.

Wid. Not for my whole estate.

Clown. O mistress! where are you? I think you are the fortunatest woman that ever breathed on two shoes: the thief is found.

Wid. The thief! what thief? I never was so happy to be robbed.

Clown. Bring him away, Jug: nay, you shall see the strangest piece of felony discovered that ever you saw, or your great grandmother's grandam before, or after; a pirate, a water-thief.

Wid. What's all this?

Clown. Bring him away, Jug: yet the villain would not confess a word, till it was found about him.

Wid. I think the fellow's mad.

Clown. Did you not lose your wedding-ring the other day?

Wid. Yes, sir, but I was not robbed of it.

Enter Joan with a fish.

Clown. No! well, thank him that brings it home then, and will ask nothing for his pains. You see this salmon?

Wid. Yes, what of it?

Clown. It cost but sixpence: but had the fisher known the worth of it, 'twould have cost you forty shillings. Is not this your ring?

Wid. The very same.

Clown. Your maid Joan, examining this salmon, that she bought in the market, found that he had swallowed this gudgeon.

[Pg 116]

Wid. How am I vex'd with blessings! how think you, sir,
Is not this above wonder?
Doc. I am amaz'd at it.
Wid. First, that this fish should snatch it as a bait;
Then that my servant needs must buy that fish
'Mongst such infinities of fish and buyers:
What fate is mine that runs all by itself
In unhappy happiness? My conscience dreads it.
Would thou hadst not swallowed it, or thou not bought it.

Clown. Alas! blame not the poor fish, mistress: he, being a phlegmatic creature, took gold for restorative.[59] He took it fair; and he that gets gold, let him eat gold.

Wid. Nothing can hinder fate.

Doc. Seek not to cross it, then.

Wid. [To Joan.] About your business! you have not pleased me in this.

Joan. By my maidenhead! if I had thought you would have ta'en it no kindlier, you should ne'er have been vexed with the sight on't; the garbage should have been the cook's fees at this time. [Exit Joan.

Clown. Now do I see the old proverb come to pass—Give a woman luck, and cast her into the sea: there's many a man would wish his wife good luck on that condition he might throw her away so. But, mistress, there's one within would speak with you, that vexeth as fast against crosses as you do against good luck.

Wid. I know her sure, then; 'tis my gossip Foster.
Request her in; here's good company, tell her.
[Pg 117]
Clown. I'll tell her so for my own credit's sake. [Exit.
Wid. Yon shall now see an absolute contrary:
Would I had chang'd bosoms with her for a time!
'Twould make me better relish happiness.

Enter Mistress Foster and Clown.

Mrs Fos. O friend and gossip, where are you? I am
O'erladen with my griefs, and but in your bosom
I know not where to ease me.
Clown. I had rather
Help you to a close-stool, an't please you. [Aside.
Mrs Fos. Ne'er had woman more sinister fate;
All ominous stars were in conjunction
Even at my birth, and do still attend me.
Doc. This is a perfect contrary indeed.
Wid. What ails you, woman?
Mrs Fos. Unless seven witches had set spells about me,
I could not be so cross'd; never at quiet,
Never a happy hour, not a minute's content.
Doc. You hurt yourself most with impatience.
Mrs Fos. Ay, ay, physicians 'minister with ease,
Although the patient do receive in pain:
Would I could think but of one joyful hour!

Clown. You have had two husbands to my knowledge; and if you had not one joyful hour between both, I would you were hanged, i' faith. [Aside.

Mrs Fos. Full fourteen years I liv'd a weary maid,
Thinking no joy till I had got a husband.
Clown. That was a tedious time indeed. [Aside.
Mrs Fos. I had one lov'd me well, and then ere long
I grew into my longing peevishness.
[Pg 118]
Clown. There was some pleasure ere you came to that. [Aside.
Mrs Fos. Then all the kindness that he would apply,
Nothing could please: soon after it he died.
Clown. That could be but little grief. [Aside.
Mrs Fos. Then worldly care did so o'erload my weakness,
That I must have a second stay; I chose again,
And there begins my griefs to multiply.
Wid. It cannot be, friend; your husband's kind.
Doc. A man of fair condition, well-reputed.
Clown. But it may be he has not that should please her.
Wid. Peace, sirrah! How can your sorrows increase from him?
Mrs Fos. How can they but o'erwhelm me? He keeps a son,
That makes my state his prodigality;
To him a brother, one of the city scandals.
The one the hand, the other is the maw;
And between both my goods are swallowed up.
The full quantity that I brought amongst 'em
Is now consum'd to half.
Wid. The fire of your spleen wastes it:
Good sooth, gossip, I could laugh at thee, and only grieve
I have not some cause of sorrow with thee:
Prythee, be temperate, and suffer.
Doc. 'Tis good counsel, mistress; receive it so.
Wid. Canst thou devise to lay them half on me?
And I'll bear 'em willingly.
Mrs Fos. Would I could! that I might laugh another while:
But you are wise to heed at others' harms;
You'll keep you happy in your widowhood.
Wid. Not I, in good faith, were I sure marriage
Would make me unhappy.
[Pg 119]
Mrs Fos. Try, try, you shall not need to wish;
You'll sing another song, and bear a part
In my grief's descant, when you're vex'd at heart:
Your second choice will differ from the first;
So oft as widows marry, they are accurs'd.

Clown. Ay, cursed widows are; but if they had all stiff husbands to tame 'em, they'd be quiet enough.

Wid. You'll be gone, sir, and see dinner ready.
Clown. I care not if I do, mistress, now my stomach's ready;
Yet I'll stay a little, an't be but to vex you.
Wid. When go you, sirrah?
Clown. I will not go yet.
Wid. Ha, ha, ha! thou makest me laugh at thee; prythee, stay.
Clown. Nay, then, I'll go to vex you. [Exit Clown.
Mrs Fos. You have a light heart, gossip.
Wid. So should you, woman, would you be rul'd by me.
Come, we'll dine together; after walk abroad
Unto my suburb garden,[60] where, if thou'lt hear,
I'll read my heart to thee, and thou from thence
Shall learn to vex thy cares with patience. [Exeunt.

[Pg 120]


[31] [This play was first reprinted by Dilke in his "Old English Plays," 1816.]

[32] The word factor is here used in a more limited sense than at present, as Richard and George appear to have been the exclusive servants of the other two.

[33] So Titania, in "A Midsummer Night's Dream"—

"We have laugh'd to see the sails conceive,
And grow big-bellied with the wanton wind."

[34] [Old copy and Dilke, envy.]

[35] These are, I believe, the private marks of the merchants to denote the value of their goods, a sort of cipher known only to themselves. They may, however, allude to the marks affixed to the different packages in which the pieces were contained.

[36] Argosies [were ships chiefly used for commercial purposes, but also occasionally employed in what was known at Venice as the mercantile marine. They were of large size. The origin of the word is doubtful; but it probably comes from Argo, the name of the vessel which sailed, according to tradition, in the Argonautic cruise.] Gremio, in the "Taming of the Shrew," talks of an argosy which he would settle on Bianca, and then tauntingly asks—

"What, have I chok'd you with an argosy?"

[37] [Anticipate.]

[38] Pigeon-holes seems to have been the game which is sometimes called trow-madame, or trol-my-dames. See Steevens's note on "The Winter's Tale," act iv. sc. 2; and in Farmer's note on the same passage, the reader will find a description of the manner of playing it. [See "Popular Antiquities of Great Britain," ii. 325.]

[39] [This expression is repeated lower down, or it might have been supposed that a word was wanting to complete the sense. As it is, the meaning can be easily guessed at.]

[40] Roarer was the common cant word for the swaggering drunkard of our poet's age. Its occurrence is sufficiently common. So in Dekker's play, "If it be not a Good Play, the Devil's in it"—

"Those bloody thoughts will damn you into hell.

Sou. Do you think so? What becomes of our roaring boys then, that stab healths one to another?"

[41] [A play may be intended on rob and Robert.]

[42] This seems a cant expression, as Brewen several times uses it.

[43] [Old copy and Dilke, long enclosed.]

[44] [In the old copy and Dilke this speech is printed as prose. The old copy reads that's—can hardly.]

[45] Our poet here evidently alludes to a passage in the First Epistle to St John, chap. iii. ver. 10.

[46] i.e., Idle tales.

[47] It appears to have been the custom for the sheriff to have a post set up at his door as an indication of his office. So in the "Twelfth Night" of Shakespeare, Malvolio says of Cesario, "He'll stand at your door like a sheriff's post." See notes on act i. sc. 5, where the passage in the text has been quoted by Steevens.

[48] Our poet alludes here to the methods which are still frequently practised amongst beggars, of making artificial sores. The reader will find many of these mentioned by Prigg in act ii. sc. 1 of the "Beggar's Bush" of Beaumont and Fletcher. In the quarto this speech is in horrible metre; and the same may be observed of nearly the whole remainder of this scene, and until the clown quits the stage in the next.

[49] [Old copy and Dilke, heap on.]

[50] "'Sfoot I hate," [i.e., ha't] is the reading of the 4o.

[51] Caps of maintenance are said to be carried in state on occasions of great solemnity before the mayors of several cities in England. Stephen had before imagined himself arrayed with the gown and chain of an alderman; he is now describing his consequence as the future Lord Mayor of London.

[52] The dice.

[53] It is to be remembered that the doctor here introduced is a divine, and not a physician.

[54] [See "Popular Antiquities of Great Britain," ii., 293-5.]

[55] [Full of wit] So in "Hamlet"—

"How pregnant sometimes his replies are."

[56] [If.]

[57] [Thornbacks.]

[58] Our poet alludes here to a passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews, chap. xii. vers. 7 and 8.

[59] Gold was formerly used in medicine, and many imaginary virtues ascribed to it.

[60] These suburb gardens and garden-houses are constantly mentioned by the writers of that age. An extract from Stubbs's "Anatomy of Abuses," 1585 (quoted by Mr Gifford in a note on "The Bondman"), will afford the reader some information: "In the suberbes of the citie, they [the women] have gardens either paled or walled round about very high, with their harbours and bowers fit for the purpose; and lest they might be espied in these open places, they have their banqueting houses, with galleries, turrets, and what not, therein sumptuously erected, wherein they may, and doubtless do, many of them, play the filthy persons."


Enter Host Boxall, Stephen, Jack, Dick, and Hugh.

Host. Welcome still, my merchants of bona Speranza; what's your traffic, bullies? What ware deal you in?—cards, dice, bowls, or pigeon-holes? Sort 'em yourselves: either passage, Novem, or mumchance?[61] Say, my brave bursemen, what's your recreation?

Steph. Dice, mine host. Is there no other room empty?

Host. Not a hole unstopped in my house but this, my thrifts.

Jack. Miscall us not for our money, good mine host; we are none of your thrifts. We have 'scaped that scandal long ago.

Dick. Yes, his thrifts we are, Jack, though not our own.

Host. Tush, you are young men; 'tis too soon to thrive yet. He that gathers young, spends when he's old. 'Tis better to begin ill and end well, than to begin well and end ill. Miserable fathers have, for the most part, unthrifty sons. Leave not too much for your heirs, boys.

Jack. He says well, i' faith: why should a man trust to executors?

Steph. As good trust to hangmen as to executors. Who's in the bowling-alley, mine host?

Host. Honest traders, thrifty lads, they are rubbing on't; towardly boys, every one strives to lie nearest the mistress.[62]

[Pg 121]

Steph. Give's a bale of dice.[63]

Host. Here, my brave wags.

Steph. We fear no counters now, mine host, so long as we have your bale so ready.[64] Come, trip.

Jack. Up with's heels.

Dick. Down with them.

Hugh. Now the dice are mine; set me now a fair board; a fair passage, sweet bones! Boreas![65]

[A noise below in the bowling-alley of betting and wrangling.

Host. How now, my fine trundletails;[66] my wooden cosmographers; my bowling-alley in an uproar? Is Orlando up in arms? I must be stickler; I am constable, justice, and beadle in mine own house; I accuse, sentence, and punish: have amongst you! look to my box, boys![67] He [Pg 122]that breaks the peace, I brake his pate for recompense: look to my box, I say! [Exit.

Steph. A pox o' your box! I shall ne'er be so happy to reward it better; set me fair; aloft now. [The dice are thrown.

Jack. Out.

Steph. What was't?

Dick. Two treys and an ace.

Steph. Seven still, pox on't! that number of the deadly sins haunts me damnably. Come, sir, throw.

Jack. Prythee, invoke not so: all sinks too fast already.

Hugh. It will be found again in mine host's box. [The dice are thrown.

Jack. In still, two thieves and choose thy fellow.

Steph. Take the miller.

Jack. Have at them, i' faith. [Throws.

Hugh. For a thief, I'll warrant you; who'll you have next?

Jack. Two quatres and a trey.

Steph. I hope we shall have good cheer, when two caters and a tray go to the market.[68]

Enter Host.

Host. So all's whist; they play upon the still pipes now; the bull-beggar[69] comes when I show my head. Silence is a virtue, and I have made 'em virtuous. Let 'em play still till they be penniless; pawn till they be naked; so they be quiet, [Pg 123]welcome and welcome. (A noise above at cards.) How now! how now! my roaring Tamberlain? take heed, the Soldan comes: and 'twere not for profit, who would live amongst such bears? Why, Ursa Major, I say, what, in Capite Draconis? is there no hope to reclaim you? shall I never live in quiet for you?

Dick. Good mine host, still 'em; civil gamesters cannot play for 'em.

Host. I come amongst you, you maledictious slaves! I'll utter you all; some I'll take ready money for, and lay up the rest in the stocks: look to my box, I say!

Steph. Your box is like your belly, mine host: it draws all. Now for a suit of apparel. [Throws the dice.

Jack. At whose suit, I pray? You're out again with the threes.

Steph. Foot! I think my father threw three when I was begotten: pox on't! I know now why I am so haunted with threes.

Jack. Why, I prythee?

Steph. I met the third part of a knave as I came.

Jack. The third part of a knave? 'sfoot! what thing's that?

Steph. Why, a serjeant's yeoman, man; the supervisor himself is but a whole one, and he shares but a groat in the shilling with him.

Dick. That's but the third part indeed: but goes he no further?

Steph. No, he rests there.

Hugh. Come, let's give o'er.

Steph. I thank you, sir, and so much a loser? there's but the waistband of my suit left:[70] now, sweet bones!

[Pg 124]

Hugh. Twelve at all. [Throws.

Steph. Soft, this die is false.

Hugh. False? you do him wrong, sir; he's true to his master.

Steph. Fullam!

Dick. I'll be hanged, then! where's Putney, then, I pray you?[71]

Steph. 'Tis false, and I'll have my money again.

Hugh. You shall have cold iron with your silver, then.

Steph. Ay, have at you, sir!

Enter Host and Young Foster.

Host. I think he's here, sir.

[They draw their swords and fight. Young Foster assists his uncle and the host, and the cheats are beaten. Whilst they are fighting, the bowlers enter and steal away their cloaks.

Rob. I am sure he's now, sir.

Hugh. Hold! hold! an' you be gentlemen, hold!

Rob. Get you gone, varlets, or there's hold to be taken!

Host. Nay, sweet sir, no bloodshed in my house; I am lord of misrule; pray you, put up, sir.

Omnes. 'Sfoot! mine host, where are our cloaks?

Host. Why, this is quarrelling: make after in time: some of your own crew, to try the weight, has lifted them: look out, I say.

[Pg 125]

Jack. There will ever be thieves in a dicing house till thou be'st hanged, I'll warrant thee. [Exit.

Steph. Mine host, my cloak was lined through with orange-tawny velvet.

Host. How, your cloak? I ne'er knew thee worth one.

Steph. You're a company of coneycatching rascals: is this a suit to walk without a cloak in?

Rob. Uncle, is this the reformation that you promised me?

Steph. Coz, shall I tell thee the truth? I had diminished but sixpence of the forty shillings; by chance meeting with a friend, I went to a tailor, bargained for a suit: it came to full forty: I tendered my thirty-nine and a half, and (do you think) the scabby-wristed rascal would [not] trust me for sixpence!

Rob. Your credit is the better, uncle.

Steph. Pox on him! if the tailor had been a man, I had had a fair suit on my back: so venturing for the other tester——

Rob. You lost the whole bedstead.[72]

Steph. But after this day, I protest, coz, you shall never see me handle those bones again; this day I break up school: if ever you call me unthrift after this day, you do me wrong.

Rob. I should be glad to wrong you so, uncle.

Steph. And what says your father yet, coz?

Rob. I'll tell you that in your ear.

Enter Mistress Foster, Widow, and Clown.

Mrs Fos. Nay, I pray you, friend, bear me company a little this way; for into this dicing-house [Pg 126]I saw my good son-in-law enter, and 'tis odds but he meets his uncle here.

Wid. You cannot tire me, gossip, in your company; 'tis the best affliction I have to see you impatient.

Mrs Fos. Ay, ay, you may make mirth of my sorrow.

Clown. We have hunted well, mistress; do you not see the hare's in sight?

Mrs Fos. Did not I tell you so? ay, ay, there's good counsel between you; the one would go afoot to hell, the other the horseway.

Rob. Mother, I am sorry you have trod this path.
Mrs Fos. Mother? hang thee, wretch! I bore thee not;
But many afflictions I have borne for thee:
Wert thou mine own, I'd see thee stretch'd (a handful),
And put thee a coffin into the cart
Ere thou shouldst vex me thus.
Rob. Were I your own,
You could not use me worse than you do.
Mrs Fos. I'll make thy father turn thee out for ever,
Or else I'll make him wish him in his grave.
You'll witness with me, gossip, where I've found him.
Clown. Nay, I'll be sworn upon a book of calico for that.
Rob. It shall not need; I'll not deny that I was with my uncle.
Mrs Fos. And that shall disinherit thee, if thy father
Be an honest man: thou hadst been better
To have been born a viper, and eat thy way
Through thy mother's womb into the world,
Than to tempt my displeasure.
[Pg 127]
Steph. Thou liest, Xantippe! it had been better
Thou'dst been press'd to death under two Irish rugs,
Than to ride honest Socrates, thy husband, thus,
And abuse his honest child.
Mrs Fos. Out, raggamuffin? dost thou talk? I shall see thee
In Ludgate again shortly.

Steph. Thou liest again: 'twill be at Moorgate, beldam, where I shall see thee in the ditch dancing in a cucking-stool.[73]

Mrs Fos. I'll see thee hanged first.

Steph. Thou liest again.

Clown. Nay, sir, you do wrong to give a woman so many lies: she had rather have had twice so many standings than one lie.

Mrs Fos. I'll lie with him, I'll warrant him.

Steph. You'll be a whore, then.

Clown. Little less, I promise you, if you lie with him.
Steph. If you complain upon mine honest coz,
And that his father be offended with him,
The next time I meet thee, though it be i' the street,
I'll dance i' th' dirt upon thy velvet cap;
Nay, worse, I'll stain thy ruff; nay, worse than that,
I'll do thus. [Holds a wisp.[74]
[Pg 128]
Mrs Fos. O my heart; gossip, do you see this? Was ever
Woman thus abus'd?
Wid. Methinks 'tis good sport, i' faith.
Mrs Fos. Ay, I am well recompens'd to complain to you?
Had you such a kindred——
Wid. I would rejoice in't, gossip.

Mrs Fos. Do so; choose here then. O my heart! but I'll do your errand! O that my nails were not pared! but I'll do your errand! Will you go, gossip?

Wid. No, I'll stay awhile, and tell 'em out with patience.

Mrs Fos. I cannot hold a joint still! Dost wisp me, thou tatterdemalion? I'll do your errands! if I have a husband. O that I could spit wild-fire! My heart! O my heart! if it does not go pantle, pantle, pantle in my belly, I am no honest woman: but I'll do your errands!

[Exit Mistress Foster.

Rob. Kind gentlewoman, you have some patience.

Wid. I have too much, sir.

Rob. You may do a good office, and make yourself a peaceful moderator betwixt me and my angry father, whom his wife hath moved to spleen against me.

Wid. Sir, I do not disallow the kindness
Your consanguinity renders; I would not teach
You otherwise: I'd speak with your uncle, sir,
If you'll give me leave.

[Pg 129]

Clown. [To Robert.] You may talk with me, sir, in the meantime. [Exit Robert and Clown.

Steph. With me would you talk, gentlewoman?

Wid. Yes, sir, with you: you are a brave unthrift.

Steph. Not very brave neither, yet I make a shift.

Wid. When you have a clean shirt.

Steph. I'll be no pupil to a woman. Leave your discipline.

Wid. Nay, pray you, hear me, sir, I cannot chide; I'll but give you good counsel: 'tis not a good Course that you run.

Steph. Yet I must run to th' end of it.

Wid. I would teach you a better, if you'd stay where you are.

Steph. I would stay where I am, if I had any money.

Wid. In the dicing-house?

Steph. I think so too; I have played at passage all this while, now I'd go to hazard.

Wid. Dost thou want money? Thou art worthy to be tattered! Hast thou no wit, now thy money's gone?

Steph. 'Tis all the portion I have. I have nothing to maintain me but my wit; my money is too little, I'm sure.

Wid. I cannot believe thy wit's more than thy money—a fellow so well-limbed, so able to do good service, and want?

Steph. Why, mistress, my shoulders were not made for a frock and a basket, nor a coal-sack; no, nor my hands to turn a trencher at a table's side.

Wid. I like that resolution well; but how comes it then that thy wit leaves thy body unfurnished? Thou art very poor?

[Pg 130]

Steph. The fortune of the dice, you see.

Wid. They are the only wizards, I confess,
The only fortune-tellers; but he that goes
To seek his fortune from them must never hope
To have a good destiny allotted him.
Yet it is not the course that I dislike in thee,
But that thou canst not supply that course,
And outcross them that cross thee; were I as thou art—

Steph. You'd be as beggarly as I am.

Wid. I'll be hanged first.

Steph. Nay, you must be well hanged ere you can be as I am.

Wid. So, sir: I conceit you. Were I as well hanged, then, as you could imagine, I would tell some rich widow such a tale in her ear—

Steph. Ha! some rich widow? By this penniless pocket, I think 'twere not the worst way.

Wid. I'd be ashamed to take such a fruitless oath. I say, seek me out some rich widow; promise her fair—she's apt to believe a young man. Marry her, and let her estate fly. No matter: 'tis charity. Twenty to one some rich miser raked it together. This is none of Hercules' labours.

Steph. Ha? Let me recount these articles: seek her out; promise her fair; marry her; let her estate fly. But where should I find her?

Wid. The easiest of all. Why, man, they are more common than tavern-bushes; two fairs might be furnished every week in London with 'em, though no foreigners came in, if the charter were granted once: nay, 'tis thought, if the horsemarket be removed, that Smithfield shall be so employed; and then, I'll warrant you, 'twill be as well furnished with widows as 'twas with sows, cows, and old trotting jades before.

Steph. 'Sfoot! if it were, I would be a chapman;[Pg 131] I'd see for my pleasure, and buy for my love, for money I have none.

Wid. Thou shalt not stay the market, if thou'lt be ruled. I'll find thee out a widow, and help in some of the rest too, if thou'lt but promise me the last, but to let her estate fly; for she's one I love not, and I'd be glad to see that revenge on her.

Steph. Spend her estate? were't five aldermen's. I'll put you in security for that; 'sfoot! all my neighbours shall be bound for me; nay, my kind sister-in-law shall pass her word for that.

Wid. Only this I'll enjoin you: to be matrimonially honest to her for your own health's sake. All other injuries shall be blessings to her.

Steph. I'll bless her, then; I ever drank so much, that I was never great feeder. Give me drink and my pleasure, and a little flesh serves my turn.

Wid. I'll show thee the party. What sayest thou to myself?

Steph. Yourself, gentlewoman? I would it were no worse. I have heard you reputed a rich widow.

Wid. I have a lease of thousands at least, sir.

Steph. I'll let out your leases for you, if you'll allow me the power, I'll warrant you.

Wid. That's my hope, sir; but you must be honest withal.

Steph. I'll be honest with some; if I can be honest with all, I will too.

Wid. Give me thy hand; go home with me, I'll give thee better clothes; and, as I like thee then, we'll go further; we may chance make a blind bargain of it.

Steph. I can make no blind bargain, unless I be in your bed, widow.

[Pg 132]

Wid. No, I bar that, sir; let's begin honestly, howe'er we end: marry, for the waste of my estate, spare it not; do thy worst.

Steph. I'll do bad enough, fear it not.

Wid. Come, will you walk, sir?

Steph. No, widow, I'll stand to no hazard of blind bargains; either promise me marriage, and give me earnest in a handfast, or I'll not budge a foot.

Wid. No, sir? are you grown so stout already?

Steph. I'll grow stouter when I'm married.

Wid. I hope thou'lt vex me.

Steph. I'll give you cause, I'll warrant you.

Wid. I shall rail and curse thee, I hope; yet I'd not have thee give over neither; for I would be vexed. Here's my hand! I am thine, thou art mine: I'll have thee with all faults.

Steph. You shall have one with some, an' you have me.

Enter Robert and Clown.

Wid. Here's witness[es]. [To Robert.] Come hither, sir—cousin I must call you shortly; and you, sirrah, be witness to this match; here's man and wife.

Rob. I joy at mine uncle's happiness, widow.

Clown. I do forbid the banns: alas! poor shag-rag, my mistress does but gull him. [To Stephen.] You may imagine it to be twelfth-day at night, and the bean found in the corner of your cake, but 'tis not worth a vetch, I'll assure you[75].

[Pg 133]

Wid. You'll let me dispose of myself, I hope?

Clown. You love to be merry, mistress: come, come, give him four farthings, and let him go. He'll pray for his good dame, and be drunk. Why, if your blood does itch that way, we'll stand together. [Places himself by the side of Stephen.] How think you? I think here is the sweeter bit; [Pointing to himself] you see this nit[76], and you see this louse! you may crack o' your choice, if you choose here.

Wid. You have put me to my choice, then; see, here I choose: this is my husband; thus I begin the contract. [Kisses Stephen.

Steph. 'Tis sealed; I am thine. Now, coz, fear no black storms: if thy father thunder, come to me for shelter.

Wid. His word is now a deed, sir.

Rob. I thank you both. Uncle, what my joy conceives, I cannot utter yet.

Clown. I will make black Monday of this! ere I suffer this disgrace, the kennel shall run with blood and rags.

Rob. Sir, I am your opposite.

Clown. I have nothing to say to you, sir; I aim at your uncle.

[Pg 134]

Rob. He has no weapon.

Clown. That's all one, I'll take him as I find him.

Wid. I have taken him so before you, sir: will you be quiet?

Steph. Thou shalt take me so too, Hodge, for I'll be thy fellow, though thy mistress's husband. Give me thy hand.

[Exeunt Widow, Stephen, and Robert.

Clown. I'll make you seek your fingers among the dogs, if you come to me. My fellow? You lousy companion, I scorn thee. 'Sfoot! is't come to this? Have I stood all this while to my mistress an honest, handsome, plain-dealing serving-creature, and she to marry a whoreson tityre tu tattere with never a good rag about him? [Draws his sword, and puts his cap on the point of it.] Stand thou to me, and be my friend; and since my mistress has forsaken me——

Enter Robert.

Rob. How now? what's the matter?

Clown. 'Twas well you came in good time.

Rob. Why, man?

Clown. I was going the wrong way.

Rob. But tell me one thing I apprehend not: why didst lay thy cap upon the sword's point?

Clown. Dost not thou know the reason of that? why, 'twas to save my belly: dost thou think I am so mad to cast myself away for e'er a woman of 'em all? I'll see 'em hanged first!

Rob. Come, Roger, will you go?

Clown. Well, since there is no remedy. O tears! be you my friend.

Rob. Nay, prythee, Roger, do not cry.

Clown. I cannot choose; nay, I will steep
Mine eyes in crying tears, and crying weep. [Exeunt.

[Pg 135]


[61] Passage and Novem were games at dice, and mumchance one at cards. See Steevens's note on a passage in "Love's Labour Lost," act v.

[62] [The jack.]

[63] By a bale a pair of dice only is meant.

[64] Stephen puns on the words bale and bail.

[65] It appears from an after-remark of Stephen's, that the game they were playing at was passage. Boreas may be a punning invocation to the north wind to assist him in his passage, or an allusion to the noise which arises at the same time in the bowling-alley.

[66] The trundletail was a species of dog in little estimation, I believe; it is mentioned in the "Lear" of Shakespeare. So Ursula to Quar. in "Bartholomew Fair:" "Do you sneer, you dog's-head, you trundletail!" But here the host only puns on the rolling or trundling the bowl at the game.

[67] The host was probably box-keeper or groom-porter; and it appears by an extract from the Monthly Mirror (quoted by Mr Gifford), that "if the caster throws three mains, or wins by throwing three times successively, he pays to the box-keeper, for the use of the house, a stipulated sum." It was probably these profits that the host directs them to look to; or that in our poet's time, or at a different game, a regular percentage might have been paid to the box-keeper on the money staked; or the host might have been banker, and staked against the players, as now at Rouge-et-Noir, and some other games, I believe.

[68] It is perhaps unnecessary to notice that Stephen puns between the quatre and trey on the dice, and the cater or caterer who buys the provisions, and the tray in which it is brought home.

[69] [i.e., bogie. See "Popular Antiquities of Great Britain," iii. 330.]

[70] Stephen means, perhaps, that but one shilling was left of the forty his nephew had supplied him with.

[71] Fullam or Fulham was a well-known name for false dice. One of the cheats therefore sneeringly asks if one of the dice was Fulham, which of them was Putney, as Putney is on the Thames immediately opposite to Fulham.

[72] Robert puns on the word tester, which signifies the cover of a bed as well as a sixpence.

[73] There was formerly a prison at Moorgate as well as at Ludgate; though Stephen means, I conceive, that the next time she would see him would be when attracted to that spot to see the operation of ducking performed on her as a scold. The ditch, as appears from Stow, was called deep ditch; but whether celebrated for exhibitions of this nature or not, I cannot say. It is mentioned in the "First Part of Henry IV."

[74] That a wisp was in some way made use of for the punishment or exposure of a scold, is evident from the notes on a passage in the "Third Part of Henry VI.," ii. 2. From the verses quoted by Malone, it seems probable that the wearing of the wisp was in some way connected with, or made part of, the ceremony of the skimmington. [See "Popular Antiquities of Great Britain," ii, 128.]

[75] The clown alludes to the then manner of choosing the king and queen on Twelfth Day, which was as follows. With the ingredients of which the cake or cakes, for there was probably one for each sex, were composed, a bean and pea were mixed up, and the two persons who were so fortunate as to find these in their respective portions were declared king and queen for the night. Thus in Herrick's "Hesperides"—

"Now, now, the mirth comes.
With the cake fall of plums,
Where bean's the king of the sport here;
Besides we must know,
The pea also
Must revel, as queen, in the court here."

This method of election, which we find referred to as early as Edward III., was common at the beginning of the sixteenth century to both our universities. The curious reader will collect further information on the subject from ["Popular Antiquities of Great Britain," 1870, i. 13 et seq.]

[76] The 4o reads nap; and I am not certain of the propriety of the alteration, as the Clown may allude to Stephen's dress.


Enter Alderman Brewen, Sir Godfrey Speedwell, Innocent Lambskin, and Mistress Jane.

Brew. Gentlemen, you're welcome; that once well-pronounced has a thousand echoes. Let it suffice, I have spoke it to the full. Here's your affairs, here's your merchandise—this is your prize. [Pointing to Jane.

If you can mix your names and gentle bloods
With the poor daughter of a citizen,
I make the passage free, to greet and court,
Traffic the mart of love, clap hands, and strike
The bargain through; she pleas'd, and I shall like.

Speed. 'Tis good ware, believe me, sir: I know that by mine own experience, for I have handled the like many times in my first wife's days. Ay, by knighthood! sometimes before I was married, too; therefore I know't by mine own experience.

Lamb. Well, sir, I know by observation as much as you do by experience; for I have known many gentlemen have taken up such ware as this is, but it has lain on their hands as long as they lived. This I have seen by observation.

Jane. [Aside.] I am like to have a couple of fair chapmen. If they were at my own dispose, I would willingly raffle them both at twelvepence a share. They would be good food for a new plantation. The one might mend his experience, and the other his observation very much.[77]

Speed. Sir, let me advise you; I see you want [Pg 136]experience. Meddle no further in this case; 'twill be the more credit for your observation, for I find by my experience you are but shallow.

Lamb. But shallow, sir? Your experience is a little wide; you shall find I will be as deep in this case as yourself. My observation has been where your experience must wait at door; yet I will give you the fore-horse place, and I will be in the thills[78], because you are the elder tree, and I the young plant. Put on your experience, and I will observe.

Speed. Sweet virgin, to be prolix and tedious fits not experience. Short words and large deeds are best pleasing to women.

Jane. So, sir.

Speed. My name is Speedwell by my father's copy.

Jane. Then you never served for't, it seems[79].

Speed. Yes, sweet feminine! I have served for it too; for I found my nativity suited to my name. As my name is Speedwell, so have I sped well in divers actions.

Jane. It must needs be a fair and comely suit, then.

Lamb. You observe very well, sweet virgin; for his nativity is his doublet, which is the upper part of his suit; and his name is in's breeches, for that part, which is his name, he defiles many times.

Speed. Your observation is corrupt, sir. Let me show mine own tale. I say, sweet beauty, my name is Speedwell. My godfather, by his bounty (being an old soldier, and having served in the wars as far as Boulogne) therefore called my name Godfrey, [Pg 137]a title of large renown.[80] My wealth and wit has added to those the paraphrase of knighthood, so that my name in the full longitude is called Sir Godfrey Speedwell, a name of good experience.

Jane. If every quality you have be as large in relation as your name, sir, I should imagine the best of them, rather than hear them reported.

Speed. You say well, sweet modesty; a good imagination is good, and shows your good experience.

Lamb. Nay, if names can do any good, I beseech you observe mine. My name is Lambskin, a thing both hot and harmless.

Jane. On, sir; I would not interrupt you, because you should be brief.

Lamb. My godfather, seeing in my face some notes of disposition, in my cradle did give me the title of Innocent,[81] which I have practised all my lifetime; and since my father's decease, my wealth has purchased me in the vanguard of my name the paraphrase of gentility, so that I am called Master Innocent Lambskin.

Jane. In good time: and what trade was your father, sir?

Lamb. My father was of an occupation before he was a tradesman; for, as I have observed in my father's and mother's report, they set up together in their youth. My father was a starch-maker, and my mother a laundress; so, being partners, they did occupy[82] long together before they were married; then was I born.

[Pg 138]

Jane. What, before your father was married?

Lamb. Truly a little after. I was the first-fruits, as they say. Then did my father change his copy, and set up a brewhouse.

Jane. Ay, then came your wealth in, sir.

Lamb. Your observation's good. I have carried the tallies[83] at my girdle seven year together with much delight and observation, for I did ever love to deal honestly in the nick.

Jane. A very innocent resolution.

Speed. Your experience may see his coarse education; but to the purpose, sweet female. I do love that face of yours.

Jane. Sir, if you love nothing but my face, I cannot sell it from the rest.

Lamb. You may see his slender observation. Sweet virgin, I do love your lower parts better than your face.

Speed. Sir, you do interrupt and thwart my love.

Lamb. Ay, sir, I am your rival, and I will thwart your love; for your love licks at the face, and my love shall be arsy-versy to yours.

Jane. I would desire no better wooing of so bad suitors.

Steph. Mistake me not, kind-heart.

[Pg 139]

Lamb. He calls you tooth-drawer by way of experience.[84]

Speed. In loving your face, I love all the rest of your body, as you shall find by experience.

Jane. Well, sir, you love me, then?

Speed. Let your experience make a trial.

Jane. No, sir, I'll believe you rather, and I thank you for't.

Lamb. I love you too, fair maid, double and treble, if it please you.

Jane. I thank you too, sir; I am so much beholding to you both, I am afraid I shall never requite it.

Speed. Requite one, sweet chastity, and let it be Sir Godfrey, with the correspondency of your love to him. I will maintain you like a lady; and it is brave, as I know by experience.

Lamb. I will maintain you like a gentlewoman: and that may be better maintenance than a lady's, as I have found by observation.

[Pg 140]

Speed. How dare you maintain that, sir?

Lamb. I dare maintain it with my purse, sir.

Speed. I dare cross it with my sword, sir.

[Lays his hand on his sword.

Lamb. If you dare cross my purse with your sword, sir, I'll lay an action of suspicion of felony to you; that's flat, sir.

Jane. Nay, pray you, gentlemen, do not quarrel till you know for what.

Brew. O, no quarrelling, I beseech you, gentlemen! the reputation of my house is soiled if any uncivil noise arise in't.

Lamb. Let him but shake his blade at me, and I'll throw down my purse and cry a rape; I scorn to kill him, but I'll hang his knighthood, I warrant him, if he offer assault and battery on my purse.

Brew. Nay, good sir, put up your sword.

Speed. You have confined him prisoner for ever: I hope your experience sees he's a harmless thing.

Enter George.

George. Sir, here's young Master Foster requests to speak with you.

Brew. Does he? Prythee, request him [in]. Gentlemen, please you taste the sweetness of my garden awhile, and let my daughter bear you company.

Speed. Where she is leader, there will be followers.

Jane. [Aside to her father.] You send me to the galleys, sir; pray you, redeem me as soon as you can: these are pretty things for mirth, but not for serious uses.

Brew. Prythee, be merry with them then awhile, if but for courtesy; thou hast wit enough: but take heed they quarrel not.

Jane. Nay, I dare take in hand to part 'em[Pg 141] without any danger; but I beseech you, let me not be too long a prisoner. Will you walk, gentlemen.

Lamb. If it please you to place one of us for your conduct, otherwise this old coxcomb and I shall quarrel.

Jane. Sir Godfrey, you are the eldest; pray, lead the way.

Speed. With all my heart, sweet virgin. [Aside.] Ah! ah! this place promises well in the eyes of experience. Master Innocent, come you behind.

Lamb. Right, sir; but I put the gentlewoman before, and that is the thing I desire; and there your experience halts a little.

Speed. When I look back, sir, I see your nose behind.

Lamb. Then when I look back your nose stands here.

Speed. Sweet lady, follow experience.

Lamb. And let observation follow you. [Exeunt.

Brew. So: now request you Master Foster in, George; but hark! does that news hold his own still, that our ships are so near return, as laden on the Downs with such a wealthy fraughtage?

George. Yes, sir, and the next tide [do] purpose to
Put into the river. Master Foster, your partner,
Hath now receiv'd more such intelligence, with
Most o' the particulars of your merchandise;
Your venture is return'd with treble blessings.
Brew. Let him be ever blessed that sent [it]!
George, now call in the young man; and hark ye,
George, from him run to my partner, and request
him to me. This news, I'm sure, makes him a
joyful merchant; for my own part, I'll not forget
my vow. [Exit George.
This free addition heaven hath lent my state,
As freely back to heaven I'll dedicate.

[Pg 142]

Enter Robert Foster.

Ay, marry, sir, would this were a third suitor to
My daughter Jane! I should better like him than
All that's come yet. Now, Master Foster, are
Your father and yourself yet reconcil'd?
Rob. Sir, 'twas my business in your courteous tongue
To put the arbitration. I have again
(Discover'd by my mother) reliev'd my poor uncle;
Whose anger now so great is multiplied,
I dare not venture in the eye of either,
Till your persuasions [shall] with fair excuse
Have made my satisfaction.
Brew. Mother-o'-pearl! sir, 'tis a shrewd task;
Yet I'll do my best: your father hath so good news,
That I hope 'twill be a fair motive to't;
But women's tongues are dangerous stumbling-blocks
To lie in the way of peace.

Enter George.

Now, George?
George. Master Foster's coming, sir.
Rob. I beseech you, sir, let not me see him
Till you have conferr'd with him.

Brew. Well, well! [To George.] Ere your return to Master Foster, call my daughter forth of the garden. [Exit George.

And how does your uncle, Master Foster?
Rob. Sir, so well,
I'd be loth to anticipate the fame
That shortly will o'erspread the city
Of his good fortunes.
Brew. Why, I commend thee still;
He wants no good from thee—no, not in report:
'Tis well done, sir, and you show duty in't.
[Pg 143]

Enter Jane.

Now, daughter, where are your lusty suitors?

Jane. I was glad of my release, sir. Suitors call you 'em? I'd keep dish-water continually boiling, but I'd seethe such suitors: I have had much ado to keep 'em from bloodshed. I have seen for all the world a couple of cowardly curs quarrel in that fashion; as the one turns his head, the other snaps behind; and as he turns, his mouth recoils again: but I thank my pains for't, I have leagued with 'em for a week without any further intercourse.

Brew. Well, daughter, well; say a third trouble come; say in the person of young Master Foster here came a third suitor: how then?

Jane. Three's the woman's total arithmetic: indeed I would learn to number no farther, if there was a good account made of that.

Rob. I can instruct you so far, sweet beauty.

Jane. Take heed, sir; I have had ill-handsel to-day; perhaps 'tis not the fortunate season; you were best adjourn your journey to some happier time.

Rob. There shall no augurism fright my plain dealing: sweet, I fear no hours.

Jane. You'll not betray me with love-powder?

Rob. Nor with gunpowder neither, i' faith; yet I'll make you yield, if I can.

Brew. Go, get you together; your father will be coming; leave me with your suit to him, ply this yourself: and, Jane, use him kindly; he shall be his father's heir, I can tell you.

Jane. Never the more for that, father; if I use him kindly, it shall be for something I like in himself, and not for any good he borrows of his father. But come, sir, will you walk into the garden? for[Pg 144] that's the field I have best fortune to overcome my suitors in.

Rob. I fear not that fate neither; but if I walk into your garden, I shall be tasting your sweets.

Jane. Taste sweetly, and welcome, sir; for there grows honesty, I can tell you.

Rob. I shall be plucking at your honesty.

Jane. By my honesty, but you shall not, sir: I'll hold you a handful of pennyroyal of that; i' faith, if you touch my honesty there, I'll make you eat sorrel to your supper, though I eat sullenwood[85] myself: no, sir, gather first time and sage, and such wholesome herbs, and honesty and heart's-ease will ripen the whilst.

Rob. You have fair roses, have you not.
Jane. Yes, sir, roses; but no gilliflowers.[86]
[Pg 145]
Brew. Go, go, and rest on Venus' violets:
Show her a dozen of bachelor's buttons, boy. [Exit Robert and Jane.
Here comes his father.

Enter Old Master Foster and his Wife.

Now, my kind partner, have we good news?
O. Fos. Sir, in a word take it: your full lading
And venture is return'd at sixtyfold increase.
Brew. Heaven take the glory! a wondrous blessing;
O, keep us strong against these flowing tides!
Man is too weak to bound himself below,
When such high waves do mount him.
O. Fos. O, sir, care and ambition seldom meet;
Let us be thrifty; titles will faster come,
Than we shall wish to have them.
Brew. Faith, I desire none.
O. Fos. Why, sir, if so you please, I'll ease your cares;
Shall I, like a full adventurer, now bid you
A certain ready sum for your half traffic.
Brew. Ay, and I'd make you gainer by it, too;
For then would I lay by my trouble, and begin
A work which I have promis'd unto heaven;
A house, a Domus Dei shall be rais'd,
Which shall to doomsday be established
For succour to the poor; for in all ages
There must be such.
O. Fos. Shall I bid your venture at a venture?
Brew. Pray you, do, sir.
O. Fos. Twenty thousand pounds?

Brew. Nay, then you underrate your own value much: will you make it thirty?

O. Fos. Shall I meet you half-way?

Brew. I meet you there, sir: for five-and-twenty thousand pounds the full venture's yours.

[Pg 146]

O. Fos. If you like my payment, 'tis the one-half in ready cash, the other seal'd for six months.

Brew. 'Tis merchant-like and fair. George, you observe this? Let the contents be drawn.

George. They shall, sir.
O. Fos. Your hazard is now all pass'd, sir.
Brew. I rejoice at it, sir, and shall not grudge your gains,
Though multiplied to thousands.
O. Fos. Believe me, sir, I account myself a large gainer by you.
Brew. Much good may it be to you, sir: but one thing
At this advantage of my love to you
Let me entreat.
O. Fos. What is it, sir?
Brew. Faith, my old suit—to reconcile those breaches
'Twixt your kind son and you: let not the love
He shows unto his uncle be any more a bar
To sunder your blessings and his duty.
O. Fos. I would you had enjoin'd me some great labour
For your own love's sake: but to that my vow
Stands fix'd against; I'm deaf, obdurate
To either of them.
Mrs Fos. Nay, sir, if you knew all,
You would not waste your words in so vain expense:
Since his last reformation, he has flown
Out again, and in my sight relieved
His uncle in the dicing-house; for which
Either he shall be no father to him,
Or no husband to me.

Brew. Well, sir, go call my daughter forth of the garden, and bid her bring her friend along with her: troth, sir, I must not leave you thus; I must needs make him your son again.

O. Fos. Sir, I have no such thing akin to me.

[Pg 147]

Enter Robert; Robert kneels to his father.

Brew. Look you, sir, know you this duty?
O. Fos. Not I, sir; he's a stranger to me.
Save your knee; I have no blessing for you.

Mrs Fos. Go, go to your uncle, sir; you know where to find him; he's at his old haunt; he wants more money by this time; but I think the conduit-pipe is stopped from whence it ran.

O. Fos. Did he not say he'd beg for you? you'd best make use of's bounty.

Brew. Nay, good sir.

O. Fos. Sir, if your daughter cast any eye of favour upon this unthrift, restrain't, he's a beggar. Mistress Jane, take heed what you do.

Mrs Fos. Ay, ay, be wise, Mistress Jane; do not you trust to spleen in time worn to pity,[87] you'll not find it so; therefore, good gentlewoman, take heed.

Brew. Nay, then, you are too impenetrable.

O. Fos. Sir, your money shall be ready, and your bills; other business I have none.

[To Rob.] For thee, beg, hang, die like a slave;
Such blessings ever thou from me shalt have.

[Exit Foster and his Wife.

Brew. Well, sir, I'll follow you. [To Robert.
And, sir, be comforted,
I will not leave, till I find some remorse;
Meantime let not want trouble you;
You shall not know it.
Rob. Sir, 'tis not want I fear, but want of blessing
My knee was bent for; for mine uncle's state,
Which now (I daresay) outweighs my father's far,
Confirms my hopes as rich as with my father's,
[Pg 148] His love excepted only.
Brew. Thy uncle's state! how, for heaven's love?
Rob. By his late marriage to the wealthiest widow
That London had; who has not only made him
Lord of herself, but of her whole estate.
Brew. Mother-o'-pearl! I rejoice in't: this news
Is yet but young.
Rob. Fame will soon speak it loud, sir.
Brew. This may help happily to make all peace:
But how, have you parley'd with my daughter, sir?

Enter Jane.

Jane. Very well, father; we spake something, but did nothing at all: I requested him to pull me a Catherine pear, and had I not looked to him, he would have mistook and given me a poperin: and to requite his kindness I plucked him a rose, and had almost pricked my finger for my pains.

Brew. Well-said, wag; are there sparks kindled?
Quench 'em not for me: 'tis not a father's roughness,
Nor doubtful hazard of an uncle's kindness
Can me deter. I must to your father;
Where (as a chief affair) I'll once more move,
And (if I can) return him back to love. [Exeunt.

Enter Doctor and Stephen's Wife.

Wife. Sir, you see I have made a speedy choice
And as swift a marriage: be it as it will,
I like the man: if his qualities afflict me,
I shall be happy in't.
Doc. I must not distaste what I have help'd to make;
'Tis I that join'd you.
Wife. A good bargain, I hope.

[Pg 149]

Enter Clown.

Roger, where's your master?

Clown. The good man of the house is within, forsooth.

Wife. Not your master, sir?

Clown. 'Tis hard of digestion. Yes, my master is within. He masters you; therefore I must be content. You have longed for crosses a good while, and now you are like to be farther off them than e'er you were; for I'm afraid your good husband will leave you ne'er a cross i' th' house to bless you with.

Wife. Well, sir, I shall be bless'd in't. But where is he?

Clown. Where he has mistaken the place a little, being his wedding-day; he is in nomine, when he should be in re.

Wife. And where's that?

Clown. In your counting-house: if he were a kind husband, he would have been in another counting-house by this time: he's tumbling over all his money-bags yonder; you shall hear of him in the bowling-alley again.

Wife. Why, sir, all is his, and at his dispose; Who shall dare to thwart him?

Enter Stephen with bills and bonds.

Clown. Look where he comes.
Wife. How now, sweetheart? what hast thou there?
Steph. I find much debts belonging to you, sweet;
And my care must be now to fetch them in.
Wife. Ha, ha! prythee, do not mistake thyself,
Nor my true purpose; I did not wed to thrall,
Or bind thy large expense, but rather to add
[Pg 150] A plenty to that liberty. I thought by this,
Thou wouldst have stuff'd thy pockets full of gold,
And thrown it at a hazard; made ducks and drakes,
And baited fishes with thy silver flies;
Lost, and fetch'd more: why, this had been my joy!
Perhaps at length thou wouldst have wasted my store:
Why, this had been a blessing too good for me.
Steph. Content thee, sweet, those days are gone—
Ay, even from my memory;
I have forgot that e'er I had such follies,
And I'll not call 'em back: my cares[88] are bent
To keep your state, and give you all content.
Roger, go, call your fellow-servants up to me,
And to my chamber bring all books of debt;
I will o'erlook and cast up all accounts,
That I may know the weight of all my cares,
And once a year give up my stewardship.

Clown. [Aside to the Wife.] Now you may see what hasty matching is. You had thought to have been vexed, and now you cannot; you have married a husband, that (sir reverence of the title) now being my master-in-law, I do think he'll prove the miserablest covetous rascal that ever beat beggar from his gate. But 'tis no matter. Time was when you were fairly offered, if you would have took it. You might have had other matches, i' faith, if it had pleased you; and those that would have crossed you. I would have sold away all that ever you had had; have kept two or three whores at livery under your nose; have turned you out in your smock, and have used you like a woman: whereas now, if you'd hang yourself, you can have [Pg 151]none of these blessings. But 'tis well enough—now you must take what follows.

Wife. I'm to new[89] seek for crosses: the hopes I meant
Turn to despair, and smother in content.

Enter Robert.

Steph. O nephew, are you come! the welcom'st wish
That my heart has; this is my kinsman, sweet.
Wife. Let him be largely texted in your love,
That all the city may read it fairly;
You cannot remember me, and him forget:
We were alike to you in poverty.
Steph. I should have begg'd that bounty of your love,
Though you had scanted me to have given't him;
For we are one: I an uncle-nephew,
He a nephew-uncle. But, my sweet self,
My slow request you have anticipated
With proffer'd kindness; and I thank you for it.
But how, kind cousin, does your father use you?
Is your name found again within his books?
Can he read son there?
Rob. 'Tis now blotted quite:
For by the violent instigation
Of my cruel stepmother, his vows and oaths
Are stamp'd against me, ne'er to acknowledge me,
Never to call or bless me as a child;
But in his brow, his bounty and behaviour
I read it all most plainly.
Steph. Cousin, grieve
Not at it; that father, lost at home, you shall
Find here; and with the loss of his inheritance,
You meet another amply proffer'd you;
[Pg 152] Be my adopted son, no more my kinsman:
[To his Wife.] So that this borrowed bounty do not stray
From your consent.
Wife. Call it not borrow'd, sir; 'tis all your own;
Here 'fore this reverend man I make it known,
Thou art our child as free by adoption,
As deriv'd from us by conception,
Birth, and propinquity; inheritor
To our full substance.
Rob. You were born
To bless us both; my knee shall practise
A son's duty even beneath [a] son's;
Giving you all the comely dues of parents; yet
Not forgetting my duty to my father:
Where'er I meet him, he shall have my knee,
Although his blessing ne'er return to me.
Steph. Come then, my dearest son, I'll now give thee
A taste of my love to thee: be thou my deputy,
The factor and disposer of my business;
Keep my accounts, and order my affairs;
They must be all your own: for you, dear sweet,
Be merry, take your pleasure at home—abroad;
Visit your neighbours—aught that may seem good
To your own will; down to the country ride;
For cares and troubles, lay them all aside,
And I will take them up: it's fit that weight
Should now lie all on me: take thou the height
Of quiet and content: let nothing grieve thee.
I brought thee nothing else, and that I'll give thee.

[Exit Stephen and Robert.

Wife. Will the tide never turn? Was ever woman
Thus burden'd with unhappy happiness?
[Pg 153] Did I from riot take him to waste my goods,
And he strives to augment it? I did mistake him.
Doc. Spoil not a good text with a false comment;
All these are blessings, and from heaven sent;
It is your husband's good; he's now transform'd
To a better shade; the prodigal's return'd.
Come, come, know joy, make not abundance scant;
You 'plain of that which thousand women want. [Exeunt.

Enter Brewen and Old Foster; George and Richard follow them, carrying several bags of money across the stage.

Brew. So, so,
Haste home, good lads, and return for the rest.
Would they were cover'd, George; 'tis too public
Blazon of my estate; but 'tis no matter now;
I'll bring it abroad again, ere it be long.
Sir, I acknowledge receipt of my full half debt,
Twelve thousand five hundred pounds; it now remains
You seal those writings as assurance for the rest,
And I am satisfied for this time.
O. Fos. Pray stay, sir, I have bethought me: let me once
Throw dice at all, and either be a complete
Merchant, or wrack my estate for ever:
Hear me, sir; I have of wares, that are now vendible,
So much as will defray your utmost penny;
Will you accept of them, and save this charge
Of wax and parchment?
Brew. Be they vendible, sir, I am your chapman:
What are they, Master Foster?

[Pg 154]

O. Fos. Broadcloths, kerseys, cochineal, such as will not stay two days upon your hands.

Brew. I find your purpose; you'd have your warehouses empty for the receipt of your full fraught: I'll be your furtherer; make so your rates that I may be no loser.

Enter George and Richard.

O. Fos. I have no other end, sir; let our factors peruse and deal for both.

Brew. Mine is returned. George, here's a new business; you and Richard must deal for some commodities betwixt us; if you find 'em even gain or but little loss, take carriage presently, and carry 'em home.

George. I shall.

O. Fos. Richard, have you any further news yet from our shipping?

Rich Not yet, sir; but by account from the last, when they put from Dover, this tide should bring them into Saint Catherine's pool; the wind has been friendly.

O. Fos. Listen their arrival, and bid the gunner speak it
In his loud thunder all the city over;
Tingle the merchants' ears at the report
Of my abundant wealth. Now go with George.
Rich I shall do both, sir. [Exeunt Factors.
O. Fos. I must plainly now confess, master alderman,
I shall gain much by you. The half of your ship
Defrays my full cost.
Brew. Beshrew me, if I grudge it, being myself
A sufficient gainer by my venture, sir.

[Pg 155]

Enter Mistress Foster.

Mrs Fos. Still flows the tide of my unhappiness;
The stars shoot mischief, and every hour
Is critical to me.
O. Fos. How now, woman?
Wrecked in the haven of felicity? What ail'st thou?
Mrs Fos. I think the devil's mine enemy.
O. Fos. I hope so too; his hate is better than his friendship.
Mrs Fos. Your brother—your good brother, sir——
O. Fos. What of him? he's in Ludgate again.
Mrs Fos. No, he's in Highgate; he struts it bravely—
An alderman's pace at least.
O. Fos. Why, these
Are oracles, doubtful enigmas!
Mrs Fos. Why,
I'm sure you have heard the news; he's married, forsooth.
O. Fos. How, married?
No woman of repute would choose so slightly.
Mrs Fos. A woman, in whose breast I'd thought had liv'd
The very quintessence of discretion:
And who is't, think you? nay, you cannot guess,
Though I should give you a day to [un]riddle it:
It is my gossip, man, the rich
Widow of Cornhill.
O. Fos. Fie, fie! 'tis fabulous.
Mrs Fos. Are you my husband? then is she his wife.
How will this upstart beggar shoulder up,
And take the wall of you! his new-found pride
Will know no eldership.
O. Fos. But, wife, my wealth will five times double his
[Pg 156] Ere this tide ebb again: I wonder I hear not
The brazen cannon proclaim the arrival
Of my infinite substance.
Mrs Fos. But beggars
Will be proud of little, and shoulder at the best.
O. Fos. Let him first pay his old score, and then reckon:
But that she——
Mrs Fos. Ay, that's it mads me too.
Would any woman, 'less to spite herself,
So much profane the sacred name of wedlock:
A dove to couple with a stork, or a lamb a viper?
O. Fos. Content thee; forgive her; she'll do so no more.
She was a rich widow: a wife he'll make her poor.
Brew. So, sir, you have clos'd it well; if so ill it prove,
Leave it to proof, and wish not misery

Enter Stephen and Robert.

Unto your enemy. Look, here he comes.
O. Fos. You say true; 'tis my enemy indeed.
Steph. Save you, master alderman, I have some business with you.
Brew. With me, sir? and most welcome; I rejoice to see you.
Mrs Fos. Do you observe, sir, he will not know you now?
Jockey's a gentleman now.[90]
O. Fos. Well fare rich widows, when such beggars flourish;
But ill shall they fare that flourish o'er such beggars.
Steph. Ha! ha! ha!
[Pg 157]
Mrs Fos. He laughs at you.
O. Fos. No wonder, woman, he would do that in Ludgate;
But 'twas when his kind nephew did relieve him:
I shall hear him cry there again shortly.
Steph. Oysters, new Walfleet oysters!
O. Fos. The gentleman is merry.
Mrs Fos. No, no, no; he does this to spite me; as who should say,
I had been a fishwife in my younger days.
Brew. Fie, fie, gentlemen! this is not well;
My ears are guilty to hear such discords.

[Robert kneels to his father.

Look, Master Foster; turn your eye that way;
There's duty unregarded, while envy struts
In too much state: believe me, gentlemen,
I know not which to chide first.
O. Fos. What idol kneels that heretic to?
Steph. Rise, boy, thou art now my son, and owest no knee
To that unnatural: I charge you, rise.
O. Fos. Do, sir, or turn your adoration that way;
You were kind to him in his tatter'd state;
Let him requite it now.
Mrs Fos. Do, do, we have paid for't aforehand.
Rob. I would I were divided in two halves,
So that might reconcile your harsh division.
Steph. Proud sir, this son, which you have alienated
For my love's sake, shall by my love's bounty
Ride side by side in the best equipage
Your scorns dare pattern him.
O. Fos. Ay, ay, a beggar's gallop up and down.
Mrs Fos. Ay, 'tis up now, the next step down.
Steph. Ha, ha! I laugh at your envy, sir. My business
Is to you.
[Pg 158]
Brew. Good sir, speak of anything but this.
Steph. Sir, I am furnishing some shipping forth,
And want some English traffic, broadcloths, kerseys,
Or suchlike; my voyage is to the Straits:
If you can supply me, sir, I'll be your chapman.
Brew. That I shall soon resolve you, sir.

Enter Factors.

Come hither, George.
O. Fos. This is the rich merchantman;
Mrs Fos. That's neither grave nor wise;
O. Fos. Who will kill a man at Tyburn shortly.
Mrs Fos. By carts that may arise;[91]
Or if the hangman die, he may have his office.
Brew. Then you have bargain'd, George?
George. And the ware carried home, sir; you must look
To be little gainer; but lose you cannot.
Brew. 'Tis all I desire from thence. Sir, I can furnish you
With wares I lately from your brother bought:
Please you go see them, for I would fain divide you,
Since I can win no nearer friendship.
Steph. I'll go with you, sir.

[Exeunt Brewen, Stephen, and George.

O. Fos. Take your adoption with you, sir.
Rob. I crave but your blessing with me, sir.
O. Fos. 'Tis my curse then; get thee out of mine eye:
[Pg 159]
Thou art a beam in't, and I'll tear it out,
Ere it offend to look on thee.[92]
Mrs Fos. Go, go, sir; follow your uncle-father,
Help him to spend what thrift has got together;
It will be charity in you to spend,
Because your charity it was to lend.
Rob. My charity! you can a virtue name,
And teach the use, yet never knew the same. [Exit.

Enter Richard.

O. Fos. See, wife, here comes Richard; now listen,
And hear me crown'd the wealthiest London merchant.
Why dost thou look so sadly?
Mrs Fos. Why dost not speak? hast lost thy tongue?
Rich. I never could speak worse.
O. Fos. Why, thy voice is good enough.
Rich. But the worst accent that ever you heard;
I speak a screech-owl's note. O, you have made
The most unhappiest bargain that ever merchant did!
O. Fos. Ha?
What can so baleful be, as thou wouldst seem
To make by this sad prologue? I am no traitor,
To confiscate my goods: speak, whate'er it be.
Rich. I would you could conceit it, that I might
Not speak it.
O. Fos. Dally not with torments,
Sink me at once.
Rich. Now you've spoke it half;
'Tis sinking I must treat of: your ships are all sunk.
[Pg 160]
O. Fos. Ha!
Mrs Fos. O thou fatal raven! let me pull thine eyes out
For this sad croak. [Flies at Richard.
O. Fos. Hold, woman! hold, prythee! 'tis none of his fault.
Mrs Fos. No, no, 'tis thine, thou wretch; and therefore
Let me turn my vengeance all on thee; thou
Hast made hot haste to empty all my warehouses,
And made room for that the sea hath drunk before thee.
O. Fos. Undone for ever! Where could this mischief fall?
Were not my ships in their full pride at Dover;
And what English Charybdis has the devil digg'd
To swallow nearer home.
Rich. Even in the mouth
And entrance of the Thames they were all cast away.
O. Fos. Dam up thy mouth
From any further mischievous relation.
Rich. Some men were sav'd, but not one pennyworth
Of goods.
O. Fos. Even now thy baleful utterance
Was chok'd, and now it runs too fast;
Thou fatal bird, no more.
Mrs Fos. May serpents breed,
And fill this fatal stream, and poison her for ever.
O. Fos. O, curse not; they come too fast!
Mrs Fos. Let me curse somewhere, wretch, or else I'll throw
Them all on thee; 'tis thou, ungodly slave,
That art the mark unto the wrath of heaven:
I thriv'd ere I knew thee.
O. Fos. I prythee, split me too.
[Pg 161]
Mrs Fos. I would I could! I would I had ne'er seen thee,
For I ne'er saw hour of comfort since I knew thee.
O. Fos. Undone for ever! My credit I have crack'd
To buy a venture, which the sea has soak'd;
What worse can woe report?
Mrs Fos. Yes, worse than all,
Thy enemies will laugh, and scorn thy fall.
O. Fos. Be it the worst, then: that place I did assign
My unthrifty brother, Ludgate, must now be mine.
Break, and take Ludgate.
Mrs Fos. Take Newgate rather.
O. Fos. I scorn'd my child, now he may scorn his father.
Mrs Fos. Scorn him still!
O. Fos. I will: would he my wants relieve,
I'd scorn to take what he would yield to give.
My heart be still my friend, although no other.
I'll scorn the help of either son or brother.
My portion's begging now: seldom before,
In one sad hour, was man so rich and poor. [Exeunt.


[77] There were several works published about this time containing the results of the various writers' experiences and observations in the new plantations in America.

[78] [Shafts.]

[79] You acquired citizenship in right of your father, and without personal service.

[80] An allusion to Godfrey of Boulogne or Bulloigne.

[81] Innocent, it must be remembered, in the language of our old dramatic writers, denotes an idiot.

[82] [Enjoy, in the sense of a man having knowledge of a woman.] Doll Tearsheet says of Pistol, in the "Second Part of Henry IV.," "These villains will make the word captain as odious as the word occupy, which, was an excellent good word before it was ill-sorted," [See Nares, edit. 1859, in v.; and Percy Folio MS. ("Loose and Humorous Songs," p. 29.)]

[83] "Tallies," says Johnson, "are sticks cut in conformity to others, by which accounts were kept." Jack Cade reproaches the Lord Say, "with having caused printing to be used, whereas before no other books were made use of by their forefathers but the score and tally. And Cade has the Exchequer Office on his side, where accounts are still partially kept after this most barbarous fashion."

[84] The name of a tooth-drawer, real or imaginary, who attended fairs. In 1592 Chettle printed his tract called "Kindhart's Dream." Dilke observes: "I am inclined to think, however, that kind-heart was the 'travelling name' of some notorious quack tooth-drawer, or a cant name given to the whole race of them. So the stage-keeper, in the induction to 'Bartholomew Fair,' when expressing his fear of the author's success, says: 'He has ne'er a sword-and-buckler man in his fair, nor a little Davy, to take toll of the bawds there, as in my time; nor a kind-heart, if anybody's teeth should chance to ake in his play.' And further, it is part of the 'covenant and agreement,' in the same induction, that the audience shall not 'look back to the sword-and-buckler age of Smithfield, but content themselves with the present. Instead of a little Davy, to take toll of the bawds, the author doth promise a strutting horse-courser, with a leer drunkard, two or three to attend him in as good equipage as you would wish. And then for kind-heart the tooth-drawer, a fine oily pig-woman, with,'" &c., &c. [Lambskin's reply is obviously allusive to the name by which Stephen has just addressed the widow.]

[85] The artemisia or southern wood is meant.

[86] Jane has been too successful in her play on the names and qualities of the flowers to have chosen this at random; and I am inclined to think the following extract from the "Winter's Tale" will serve to elucidate her meaning—

"The fairest flowers o' the season
Are our carnations and streak'd gilliflowers.
Which some call nature's bastards: of that kind
Our rustic garden's barren; and I care not
To get slips of them.

Pol. Wherefore, gentle maiden,
Do you neglect them?

Per. For I have heard it said,
There is an art, which, in their piedness, shares
With great creating nature."

"This art," says Steevens, in a note on that passage, "is pretended to be taught at the end of some of the old books that treat of cookery." As I understand the passage then, Jane means to say, I have such good qualities and beauty as nature has given, but none that are produced by art. If the passage be thus understood, the opposition of the rose and the gilliflower is complete. If the reader is not satisfied with this conjecture, I will further suggest that gill-flirt was then a well-known term for a wanton; and Steevens has informed us that gilly'vors (the vulgar way of calling gilly-flowers) is still in use in Sussex to denote a harlot. Jane has spoken more than once of her honesty, and here may be the allusion.

[87] [Old copy, and.]

[88] [The 4o reads eares.]

[89] [Old copy, new to.]

[90] [Or, Jack will be a gentleman. This is a common proverb. It occurs in "A Garden of Spiritual Flowers," 1610, edit. 1638, part ii. p. 303.]

[91] These four lines seem to be a quotation, probably from some old ballad.

[92] Here is an evident allusion to two passages in the Gospel of St Matthew.


Enter Mistress Jane, Godfrey Speedwell, and Master Lambskin.

Jane. Gentlemen, my father's not within; please you to walk a turn or two in the garden; he'll not be long.

Lamb. Your father, Mistress Jane? I hope you[Pg 162] have observation in you, and know our humours; we come not a-wooing to your father.

Speed. Experience must bear with folly; thou art all innocent, and thy name is Lambskin; grave sapience guides me, and I care not a pin for thy squibs and thy crackers. My old dry wood shall make a lusty bonfire when thy green chips shall lie hissing in the chimney-corner. Remember, mistress, I can make you a lady by mine own experience.

Lamb. Prythee, do not stand troubling the gentlewoman with thy musty sentences, but let her love be laid down betwixt us like a pair of cudgels, and into whose hands she thrusts the weapons first, let him take up the bucklers.[93]

Speed. A match between us.

Jane. Must I be stickler, then?

Lamb. We are both to run at the ring of your setting-up, and you must tell us who deserves most favour.

Jane. But will you stand both at my disposing?

Lamb. Else let me never stand but in a pillory.

Jane. You love me both, you say?

Speed. By this hand!

Lamb. Hand? Zounds! by the four-and-twenty elements.

Jane. Pray spare your oaths; I do believe you do,
You would not else make all this stir to woo.
Sir Godfrey, you are a knight both tough and old;
A rotten building cannot long time hold.

Lamb. Speedwell, live well, die well, and be hanged well, change your copy well, your experience will not carry it else.

[Pg 163]

Jane. You're rich too, at least yourself so say;
What, though you're but a gilded man of clay.

Lamb. A man of gingerbread; i' faith, I could find in my heart to eat him.

Jane. Should I wed you, the fire with frost must marry,
January and May! I for a younger tarry.

Lamb. That's I! In troth, I'll be thy young Lambskin; thou shalt find me as innocent as a sucking dove. Speak, sweet mistress, am I the youth in a basket?

Jane. You are the sweet youth, sir, whose pretty eyes
Would make me love; but you must first be wise.

Speed. Ha, ha! Is your coxcomb cut? I see experience must board this fair pinnace. A word in private.

Lamb. I'll have no words in private, unless I hear too. [Retire.

Enter Master Brewen, Stephen, and Robert.

Brew. Come, gentlemen, we'll make few words about it:
Merchants in bargaining must not, like soldiers
Lying at a siege, stay moneths, weeks, days,
But strike at the first parley.
Broadcloths and wools, and other rich commodities,
I lately from your brother brought, are all your own.
Steph. 'Tis well.
Brew. Then be not angry, gentle sir,
If now a string be touch'd, which hath too long
Sounded so harshly over all the city;
I now would wind it to a musical height.
Steph. Good master alderman, I think that string
[Pg 164] Will still offend mine ear; you mean the jarring
'Twixt me and my brother?
Brew. In troth, the same.
Steph. I hate no poison like that brother's name.
Brew. O fie! not so.
Steph. Uncivil churl, when all his sails were up,
And that his proud heart danc'd on golden waves——
Brew. As, heaven be thanked, it still does!
Steph. Yet, sir, then,
I being sunk, and drown'd in mine own misery,
He would not cast out a poor line of thread,
And bring me to the shore; I had been dead,
And might have starv'd for him.
Brew. A better fate, sir,
Stood at your elbow.
Steph. True, sir: this was he,
That lifted me from want and misery;
Whose cruel father, for that [act of] good,
Cast him away, scorning his name and blood;
Lopp'd from his side this branch that held me dear;
For which he's now my son, my joy, my heir.
But, for his father, hang him!
Brew. Fie, fie!
Steph. By heaven!
Brew. Come, come,
Live in more charity, he is your brother;
If that name offend, I'll sing that tune no more.
Yonder's my daughter busy with her suitors;
We'll visit them. Now, Jane, bid your friends welcome.
Jane. They must be welcome, sir, that come with you;
To thee ten thousand welcomes still are due.
Rob. My sweet mistress! [Kisses her.

Lamb. Zounds! Sir knight, we have stood [Pg 165]beating the bush, and the bird's flown away; this city bowler has kissed the mistress[94] at first cast.

Brew. How fare ye, gentlemen? what cheer, sir knight?

Speed. An adventurer still, sir, to this new-found land.[95]

Lamb. He sails about the point, sir; but he cannot put in yet.

Brew. The wind may turn, sir. [To Stephen.] A word, Master Foster. [They converse apart.

Lamb. You see, Sir Speedwell, what card is turned up for trump; I hold my life, this spruce citizen will forestall the market: O, these brisk factors are notable firkers.

Speed. I doubt, sir, he will play the merchant[96] with us.

Brew. They both are suitors, sir, yet both shoot wide;
My daughter, sure, must be your kinsman's bride.
Steph. I'll give her a wedding-ring on that condition,
And put a stone in't worth a thousand pound, sir.

Brew. You have my hand and heart to't, be she pleased so.

Lamb. 'Sfoot! let's show ourselves gallants or [Pg 166]gallymawfries:[97] shall we be outbraved by a cockney? [To Robert.] A word, my fair Zenocrates; do you see, sir, here be those that have gone a-fishing, and can give you a gudgeon?

Rob. You were best go fish for better manners, or I shall bob for eels[98] with you. [Strikes him.

Lamb. Zounds! are you a striker? Draw, sir knight.

Brew. Not in my house; I pray, be quiet, gentlemen.

Rob. He dares not do't abroad, believe me, sir.

Steph. Now, by my life, my boy, for this brave spirit
I'll hug thee in mine arms: lose life and limbs,
Ere thou forsake thy love.
Lamb. He is no rival he, sir,[99] has struck me;
And we are gentlemen.

Speed. And hear ye, sir; let him seek out his equals; for some of us are in danger to make her a lady shortly: I know what I speak; what I speak I'll do; yet I'll do nothing but what comes from grave experience.

Steph. Speak what you please, sir; he's a gentleman
As good as either of you both; and shall
In list of love, for such a bedfellow,
Brave him that dares; and here lay down more gold
To win her love than both your states are worth.

[Pg 167]

Speed. Ha! do you know us, sir? you grow too bold; my experience now hath found you: you were once a tattered fellow, your name is Foster; have you such gold to give?

Lamb. Yes, yes, 'has won it betting at the bowling-alleys, or at the pigeon-holes in the garden-alleys.

Steph. You are muddy grooms[100] to upbraid me with that scorn
Which virtue now gilds over. Pray ye, gentlemen,
May I request your names?
Lamb. Our names are in the heralds' books, I warrant you;
My name is Innocent Lambskin; and this knight,
Simply though he stands here, is known to be
Sir Godfrey Speedwell.

Steph. Well may he speed, sir. Lambskin and Speedwell. Ha! is't so? I think I shall give you a medicine to purge this itch of love, sir.

Lamb. No itch neither, sir; we have no scabs here
But yourself and your cousin.
Steph. Very good, sir! my little Lambskin, I have you
Here in sheep's-skin [Produces a parchment]; look you, 'tis so, i' faith.
See, master alderman, these two crack'd gallants
Are in several bonds to my predecessor
For a debt of full two thousand a-piece.
Cousin, fetch me a sergeant straight.
Rob. Yes, sir.
Speed. O, let him: I have a protection, sir.
Steph. I'll try that, sir.
Speed. A sergeant? nay, then,
Experience must work: legs be strong and bold:
[Pg 168]
When sergeants wait at feasts, the cheer's but cold.
I'll shift for one. [Exit.

Lamb. Knight, knight! 'Sfoot! if an errand-knight run away, I were an errand ass to tarry, and be catched in the lime-bush: I love the wench well; but if they have no hole to place me in but the hole in the counter, I'll be gone and leave 'em; that's flat. [Exit.

Brew. You have scared the suitors from the mark, sir.
Steph. I am glad on't, sir; they are but such as seek
To build their rotten state on you, and with your wealth
To underprop their weakness:
Believe me, reverend sir, I had much rather
You'd venture that my coz might call you father.

Brew. We'll talk of that anon. See, sir, here comes you wife.

Enter Stephen's Wife.

The theme of all her time, with goodness mix'd,
The happy woman that was never vex'd.
You're welcome, Mistress Foster.
Wife. I thank ye, sir.
Steph. Wife, your two debtors
Were here but now, Speedwell and Lambskin.
A wolf could not have torn poor Lambskin worse
Than the bare name of sergeant: the very thought
Made them both take their heels and run away.
Wife. 'Las! they are poor and lean, and being so,
Kill them not till they are fatter.
Steph. At thy girdle, sweet, hang the keys
To lock the prison doors or let them loose:
[Pg 169] 'Twas my intent only (in way of mirth)
To rid them from the presence of Mistress Jane,
That our adopted son might have no bar
Unto his love.
Wife. The match is fair; and were that knot once tied,
I'd send some angels to attend the bride.

Enter George.

Steph. Sir, here's your factor.

Brew. Are the wares ready?

George. Yes, and delivered, sir, to Master Foster's servants, who conveyed them in carts to the Custom House, there to be shipped; but going with them, sir, I met ill news.

Brew. Ill news? what is't?

George. Old Master Foster's ships, so richly laden,
By strange misfortune, sir, are cast away.
Brew. Now heaven forbid!
Rob. O me!
Steph. How? cast away? where?
Brew. 'Tis impossible; they rid at Dover safe
When he outbought my full share in the fraught,
And paid me down near thirty thousand pounds
In wares and money.
George. Which, had he not done, you had lost your venture.
By Master Foster's own appointment, sir, they weighed
Their anchors up, and so to come for London;
But by a merciless storm they all were swallowed,
Even in the Thames's mouth: yet the men were sav'd,
But all the goods were lost.
Rob. O my poor father! This loss will break his back.
[Pg 170]
Steph. Ha! what is that to you? If in my favour
You'll sit warm, then bury all love to him,
Nay, duty; hear you, sir? What! shedd'st thou tears
For him that had no care to see thy heart
Drop blood? He was unnatural, and heaven
Hath justly now rewarded him.
Brew. 'Tis a most strange fate!
He needs would buy my part at any rate;
And now all's lost.
Steph. Greedy desire he swallowed,
And now is swallowed: 'tis but his hire,
And I'll not pity it no more than he
In his abundance did my misery.
Wife. I grieve for my poor gossip, his good wife;
She never met good fortune all her life,
And this will break her heart-strings:
In good sooth, I'll go and comfort her.
Steph. In good sooth, you shall not;
Nor him, nor her, at this time, gentle wife;
He scorn'd me in his height: now being poor,
If that he needs my help, he knows my door.
Sir, we'll for this time leave you; at fitter leisure
We'll have this marriage talk'd of.
Brew. At your own good pleasure.
Steph. Come, wife. Go not to see your father, sir,
I charge you.
Brew. Jane, bring your friends to th' door.
Rob. [Aside.] I'll help my father, though myself grow poor. [Exeunt.
Brew. Where's my factor?
George. Here, sir.
Brew. What, are the square stones and timber brought, as I appointed?

[Pg 171]

George. Yes, sir, and the workmen that daily ply the work are in number fourscore at least.

Brew. My vows flew up to heaven, that I would make
Some pious work in the brass book of fame,
That might till doomsday lengthen out my name.
Near Norton Folgate, therefore, have I bought
Ground to erect this house, which I will call
And dedicate St Mary's Hospital;
And when 'tis finish'd, o'er the gates shall stand
In capital letters, these words fairly graven,
For I have given the work and house to heaven,
And call'd it Domus Dei, God's house;
For in my zealous faith I know full well,
Where good deeds are, there heaven itself doth dwell. [Exit.

Enter Old Foster, Richard his factor, and the Keeper of Ludgate.

Rich. Good sir, resolve not thus; return again,
Your debts are not so great that you should yield
Your body thus to prison unconstrain'd.
O. Fos. I will not trust the iron hearts of men;
My credit's lost, my wealth the sea has swallowed,
Wrack'd at my door, even in the mouth o' th' Thames;
O my misfortune! never man like me
Was so thrown down and cast to misery.
Rich. Dear sir, be patient!
O. Fos. I prythee, get thee gone,
And with thy diligence assist thy mistress
To keep that little left to help herself;
Whilst here in Ludgate I secure my body
From writs, arrests, and executions,
Which, well I know, my cruel creditors
Will thunder on me. Go, get thee gone!
[Pg 172] If what is left they'll take, do thou agree;
If not, I am resolv'd here to stay and die.
Rich. I'll do my best, sir, to procure your peace. [Exit.
O. Fos. Do so. [To the Keeper.] Come, sir, I yield myself your prisoner:
You are the keeper of this Ludgate?
Keeper. Yes, sir;
Your name is register'd amongst the prisoners.
O. Fos. So!
I have seen the fair outside of this tomb before;
This goodly apple has a rotten core.
Keeper. As all prisons have, sir.
O. Fos. I prythee, bar me of no privilege
Due to a free citizen: thou knowest me well?
Keeper. Yes, Master Foster, and I sorrow for your losses,
Yet doubt not but your son and brother——
O. Fos. O, speak not of them! do not kiss and kill me;
I have no son nor brother that esteems me,
And I for ever hate their memory.
Prythee, no more! I am come sick
Into a bad inn, and look for worse attendance:
I have taken a surfeit of misfortunes, and here
Must swallow pills, with poison to recure me:
I am sea-sick, sir, and heave my hands to heaven;
Ne'er to so low an ebb was Foster driven.
Keeper. There be some fees to pay, sir, at your coming in.
O. Fos. So, so!
If this old walnut-tree, after all this cudgelling,
Have but one cluster left, thou shalt have that too;
If not, take off these leaves that cover me,
Pull off these white locks! rend them from my head!
And let them in my woes be buried.
Keeper. 'Las, sir! this house is poor.
[Pg 173]
O. Fos. I think no less,
For rich men seldom meet with such distress:
Well, well! what book must I read over now?
What servile oar must I be tied to here,
Slave-like to tug within this Christian galley?
Keeper. Sir, being the youngest prisoner in the house,
You must beg at the iron grate above,
As others do, for your relief and theirs.
O. Fos. For a beggar to beg, sir, is no shame;
And for the iron grate, it bears an emblem
Of iron-hearted creditors, that force men lie
In loathsome prisons thus to starve and die.

Enter Robert.

Keeper. Who would you speak with, sir?
O, cry you mercy! 'tis his son:
I'll leave them. [Exit.
O. Fos. O torment to my soul! what mak'st thou here?
Cannot the picture of my misery
Be drawn, and hung out to the eyes of men,
But thou must come to scorn and laugh at it?
Rob. Dear sir,
I come to thrust my back under your load,
To make the burden lighter.
O. Fos. Hence from my sight, dissembling villain! go!
Thine uncle sends defiance to my woe,
And thou must bring it. Hence! thou basilisk,
That kill'st me with thine eyes. Nay, never kneel; [Robert kneels.
These scornful mocks more than my woes I feel.
Rob. Alas! I mock ye not, but come in love
And natural duty, sir, to beg your blessing;
And for mine uncle——
O. Fos. Him and thee I curse;
[Pg 174] I'll starve ere I eat bread [bought] from his purse
Or from thy hand. Out, villain! tell that cur,
Thy barking uncle, that I lie not here
Upon my bed of riot, as he did,
Cover'd with all the villanies which man
Had ever woven; tell him I lie not so,
It was the hand of heaven struck me thus low,
And I do thank it. Get thee gone, I say,
Or I shall curse thee, strike thee; prythee, away!
Or if thou'lt laugh thy fill at my poor state,
Then stay, and listen to the prison-grate,
And hear thy father, an old wretched man,
That yesterday had thousands, beg and cry
To get a penny: O my misery!
Rob. Dear sir, for pity hear me.
O. Fos. Upon my curse I charge no nearer come:
I'll be no father to so vile a son. [Exit.
Rob. O my abortive fate!
Why for my good am I thus paid with hate!
From this sad place of Ludgate here I freed
An uncle, and I lost a father for it;
Now is my father here, whom if I succour,
I then must lose my uncle's love and favour.
My father once being rich, and uncle poor,
I him relieving was thrust forth of door.
Baffled, revil'd, and disinherited:
Now mine own father here must beg for bread,
Mine uncle being rich; and yet, if I
Feed him, myself must beg. O misery,
How bitter is thy taste! yet I will drink
Thy strongest poison: fret what mischief can,
I'll feed my father; though, like the pelican,
I peck mine own breast for him.

[Old Foster appears above at the grate, a box
hanging down.

O. Fos. Bread, bread! one penny to buy a loaf of bread for the tender mercy!
[Pg 175]
Rob. O me, my shame! I know that voice full well;
I'll help thy wants, although thou curse me still.
O. Fos. Bread, bread! some Christian man send back
Your charity to a number of poor prisoners.
One penny for the tender mercy! [Robert puts in money.
The hand of heaven reward you, gentle sir,
Never may you want, never feel misery;
Let blessings in unnumber'd measure grow,
And fall upon your head where'er you go.
Rob. O happy comfort! curses to the ground
First struck me: now with blessings I am crown'd.
O. Fos. Bread, bread, for the tender mercy! one penny for a loaf of bread!
Rob. I'll buy more blessings: take thou all my store,
I'll keep no coin, and see my father poor. [Puts in more money.
O. Fos. Good angels guard you, sir; my prayers shall be
That heaven may bless you for this charity!
Rob. If he knew me, sure he would not say so;
Yet I have comfort, if by any means
I get a blessing from my father's hands.
How cheap are good prayers! a poor penny buys
That by which man up in a minute flies,
And mounts to heaven.

Enter Stephen.

O me! mine uncle sees me.
Steph. Now, sir, what make you here
So near the prison?
Rob. I was going, sir,
To buy meat for a poor bird I have,
[Pg 176] That sits so sadly in the cage of late,
I think he'll die for sorrow.
Steph. So, sir; your pity will not quit your pains:
I fear me, I shall find that bird to be
That churlish wretch your father, that has taken
Shelter here in Ludgate. Go to, sir! urge me not,
You had best; I have given you warning;
Fawn not upon him, nor come not near him,
If you'll have my love.
Rob. 'Las, sir! that lamb
Were most unnatural that should hate the dam.
Steph. Lamb me no lambs, sir!
Rob. Good uncle! alas!
You know, when you lay here, I succour'd you,
So let me now help him.
Steph. Yes, as he did me,
To laugh and triumph at my misery;
You freed me with his gold, but 'gainst his will:
For him I might have rotted, and lain still:
So shall he now.
Rob. Alack the day!
Steph. If him thou pity, 'tis thine own decay.

O. Fos. Bread, bread! some charitable man remember the poor prisoners: bread for the tender mercy! one penny!

Rob. O listen, uncle!
That's my poor father's voice.
Steph. There let him howl.
Get you gone, and come not near him.
Rob. O my soul,
What tortures dost thou feel! Earth ne'er shall find
A son so true, yet forc'd to be unkind. [Exit.
Steph. Well, go thy ways, thou pattern of true virtue;
My heart is full: I could e'en weep,
[Pg 177] (And much ado I had to forbear.)
To hear a brother begging in a jail,
That but erewhile spread up a lofty sail
As proudly as the best. O, 'twere a sin
Unpardonable in me, should I not succour him!
Yes, I will do't, yet closely it shall be done,
And he not know from whence his comforts come.
What ho! keeper, there! a word, I pray.

Enter Keeper.

Keeper. What's your pleasure, sir?
Steph. What's he that at the grate there begg'd even now?

Keeper. One Master Foster, sir, a decayed citizen new-come in. Cry you mercy, sir, you know him better than myself, I think.

Steph. I should do, knew he me, as I would know him.
Prythee, take him from the grate; and that
No more he stand to beg, there is ten pound
To pay his score and take off all his wants:
If he demand who sends it, tell him 'tis
Thine own free hand to lend him money.
Keeper. Well, sir, I shall.
Steph. Spend what he will, my purse shall pay it all;
And at his parting hence the poorest prisoner,
And all free citizens that live in Ludgate,
Shall bless his coming in: I'll for his sake
Do something now that, whilst this city stands,
Shall keep the Fosters' name engraven so high,
As no black storm shall cloud their memory.
Keeper. Heaven bless your purpose, sir! [Exeunt.

Enter Stephen's Wife, and her Sister, Old Foster's Wife.

Wife. Sister, there's no way to make sorrow light
[Pg 178] But in the noble bearing; be content.
Blows given from heaven are our due punishment:
All shipwrecks are no drownings: you see buildings
Made fairer from their ruins: he that I married—
The brother to your husband—lay, you know,
On the same bed of misery; yet now
He's rank'd with the best citizens.
Mrs Fos. O, you were born to wealth and happiness;
I, to want and scorn!
Wife. Come, I will work my husband: stay this grief.
The longest sorrow finds at last relief.

Enter Clown.

Now, sir, your business?

Clown. Marry, mistress, here are two creatures, scarce able to make one man, desire to speak with you.

Wife. What are they? Know their names.

Clown. Nay, I know that already: the one is a thing that was plucked into the world by the head and shoulders to be wondered at, and 'tis called a knight; the other is a coach-horse of the same overridden race, and that's a foolish gentleman.

Wife. O, they are my old debtors, Speedwell and Lambskin:
Go, call them in: and, my gentle sister,
Comfort yourself and my imprison'd brother,
To whom commend me; give to him this gold;
What good I can I'll do for him, be bold.
Mrs Fos. May heavenly blessings guard you from all ill:
Never was woman vex'd as I am still. [Exit.

[Pg 179]

Enter Speedwell and Lambskin.

Wife. Now, good Sir Godfrey and Master Innocent.

Lamb. I put my innocent case into your hands, mistress, as a simple country client thrusts his money into a lawyer's, who stands upon no great terms to take it.

Speed. We come about the old business, the sickness of the purse, lady.

Clown. And they'd be loth to keep their beds i' th' counter, mistress; they are afraid of sergeants; Master Lambskin knows that mace[101] is a binder.

Lamb. No, truly it makes me loose, for I never smell it, though it be two streets off, but it gives me a stool presently.

Clown. Ay, you have been a loose liver always: 'tis time to look to you.

Speed. Fair lady, we are your debtors, and owe you money:
Experience tells us that our bonds are forfeit,
For which your husband threaten'd to arrest us;
My shoulders love no such clappings; I love tobacco,
But would be loth to drink in Wood Street pipes:[102]
Some money we will pay ere we go hence:
I speak, you see, with grave experience.
Wife. I know it well, sir.
Lamb. Had not your husband (when he went about fowling
For the alderman's daughter) driven away the bird,

[Pg 180]

We might have bidden you to a better breakfast; But now you must take what we can set before you.

Wife. I am content to do so: you shall find
Nor me nor my husband carry a griping mind.

Enter Robert.

Now, coz, where's your uncle?
Rob. He's hard at hand, I saw him coming
With the Lord Mayor and Aldermen.
Lamb. Zounds! knight, if the mayor come,
The shoulder-clappers are not far off.
Wife. O, fear not, I'll be your surety, sir.
Clown. Do you not smell Poultry ware, Sir
Speed. Most horribly; I'll not endure the scent on't.
Wife. Upon my trust, none here shall do you wrong.
[To Robert.] What is his business with the aldermen?
Rob. About the entertainment of the king,
That means to visit London.
Wife. Saw you your sad father?
Rob. I did; would I might never see man more,
Since he so hates my sight! the prison door,
Which gapes for comers-in, that mouth of hell,
Shut me out with a churlish cold farewell:
After my father's most unnatural part
Was play'd on misery's stage, mine uncle comes
In thunder on me, threatening with black storms
To nail me to the earth, if I relieved
My poor old father.

Enter Stephen.

Clown. Here's my master now, gentlemen.
[Pg 181]
Steph. O gentlemen, you're both welcome;
Have you paid this money on your bonds yet?
Wife. Not yet, sir; but here they come like honest gentlemen
To take some order for it: good sweetheart,
Shall it be put to me?
Steph. Do as you please;
In all thy deeds thou'rt govern'd with good stars;
Therefore, if thou cry'st peace, I'll not raise wars.
E'en order it how thou wilt.
Wife. I thank ye, sir: then tell me, gentlemen,
What present money can you pay?

Speed. Two hundred pound we can lay down.

Lamb. And take up seven times as much if we knew where to get it; but there's our lamentable case: mistress, if you strip us any nearer, you'll strip the skin and all, I'll assure you.

Wife. We'll shear no sheep so close.

Lamb. No sheep, forsooth, but a poor Innocent Lambskin.

Clown. You should be a calf by your white face.

Wife. All your two thousand pound, gentlemen, we quit
For your two hundred: go, pay the money to my coz,
And receive your two bonds cancell'd.
[To Stephen.] Say, sir, are ye content?
Steph. Wife, I must stand to the arbitrament.
Go, cousin, receive their money: [To Clown] and, sirrah,
Make them drink.

Clown. I'll make them drink, if they will. Come, gallants, empty your bags, and I'll bumbast your bellies: this lean gentleman looks as if he had no lining in's guts; I could take him by the leg, and hurl him into the dog-house.

[Exeunt Robert, Speedwell, Lambskin, and

[Pg 182]

Steph. How now, sweet wife, what art thou musing on?
Wife. I must come a-wooing to you, sir.
Steph. A-wooing, sweet, for what?
Wife. For your brother: O, 'tis unmeet
For souls fram'd by one square to grow uneven!
'Tis like a war 'mongst the great lights of heaven;
One cannot lose his beauty, but the other
Suffers eclipse—so brother against brother.
Steph. Wouldst have me kiss him that would kill me?
Wife. Would you kill a man lying at your feet?
Do good for ill.
Steph. Thy songs are angels' tunes,
And on thy wings I'll fly with thee to heaven.
Thou speakest as I would have thee;
His debts I have justly weighed, and find them light.
Wife. The easier then ta'en off.
Steph. Thou sayest most right:
But I of purpose keep aloof to try
My kinsman, whom I spied most dolefully
Hovering about the grate, where his father cried
With piteous voice for bread; yet did I chide,
And rail'd against the boy, but my heart says
(Howe'er my tongue) it was drown'd in tears,
To see such goodness in a son.
Wife. Such wheels in children's bosoms seldom run.
Steph. I'll lay a wager, wife, that this two hundred pounds,
Paid by these foolish fellows, will by the boy
Be given his father.
Wife. Troth, would it might!
Steph. In doing me such wrong he does me right.
Ludgate was once my dwelling, and to shew
That I true feeling of his misery knew,
[Pg 183] Albe't long since blown o'er, so thou'lt consent,
Within that place I'll raise some monument,
Shall keep our names alive till doomsday.
Wife. I gladly shall agree
To any act that tends to charity.

Enter Master Brewen.

Brew. Come, where's Master Foster? O, you lose time, sir,
Not meeting fortune that comes to kiss you!
The Lord Mayor and Aldermen stay at the Guildhall
Expecting you, as well to set down order
Touching the entertainment of the king,
As to elect you for the following year
A sheriff of London.
Steph. Their loves outstrip my merit:
Yet, since they lay that load on me, I'll bear it,
And wait in scarlet on my liege and king.
But pray resolve me, master alderman,
Why makes the king this visitation?
Brew. Troth, sir, to honour me, I thank his highness,
Who with my lord the Cardinal comes along
To see the dedication of my house,
Built for the weary travellers to rest in;
Where stands three hundred beds for their relief,
With meat, drink, and some money, when they part;
Which I'll give freely with a willing heart.
Steph. A pious, worthy, and religious act.
Come, sir, to th' Guildhall. Wife, look to your kinsman;
Watch him near, but do not hinder him
If he relieve his father. Come, master alderman:
With such sweet incense up your offerings fly,
I'll build one altar more to charity. [Exeunt.

[Pg 184]


[93] i.e., Let him be declared victor. The expression is not uncommon in our old dramatic writers.

[94] This phrase is, I believe, still common among bowlers, with the exception that the mistress is now called the jack.

[95] [An apparent allusion to the then recent settlement of Newfoundland, an account of which is to be found in Vaughan's "Golden Fleece," 1626, and "Newlander's Cure," 1630, besides other works.]

[96] [The word began, even before this, to acquire a bad sense, and was used contemptuously, as we use chapman or chap now.]

[97] This word seems used here with no very definite meaning. Pistol, in the "Merry Wives of Windsor," ii. 1, applies it to Mrs Ford—

"He loves thy gally-mawfrey; Ford, perpend."

[98] [A play on eels and heels.]

[99] [Old copy and Dilke read—

"He's no rival here, sir; has struck me."]

[100] [Men, fellows.]

[101] I scarcely need observe that the Clown puns between the sergeant's mace and the spice of that name. Poor as it is, it is common enough.

[102] One of the counters was situated in Wood Street, Cheapside.


Ludgate. Enter Old Foster, his Wife, and Keeper.

Keeper. Come, come, be merry, sir; do as mourners do at funerals, wear your hat in your eyes, and laugh in your heart.

O. Fos. I have no such fat legacy left me,
To teach me how to play the hypocrite.

Keeper. No? Why, look ye, sir, you shall want neither meat, drink, money, nor anything that the house affords; or if anything abroad like ye, sir, here's money, send for what you will, sir. Nay, you shall beg no more at the grate neither.

O. Fos. Ha! is not this Ludgate?
Keeper. Yes, sir.
O. Fos. A jail, a prison, a tomb of men lock'd up,
Alive and buried?
Keeper. 'Tis what you please to call it.
O. Fos. O, at what crevice, then, hath comfort,
Like a sunbeam, crept in? for all the doors
And windows are of iron, and barr'd to keep
Her out. I had a limb cut from my body
Dear to me as [my] life; I had a son
And brother, too. O grief!
They both would give me poison first in gold,
Before their hollow palms ten drops should hold
Of nature's drink, cold water, but to save
My life one minute: whence should pity come,
When my best friends do beat it from this room?

Keeper. No matter, sir; since you have good meat set before you, never ask who sent it. If heaven provide for you, and make the fowls of the air your caters, feed you fat, and be thankful; and so I leave you. [Exit.

[Pg 185]

Mrs Fos. The keeper is your friend, and pours true balm
Into your smarting wounds; therefore, dear husband,
Endure the dressing with patience.
O. Fos. O wife, my losses are as numberless
As the sea-sands that swallowed them! And shall I,
In reckoning them, my sad griefs multiply?
Mrs Fos. You may, sir;
But your dim eyes so thick with tears do run,
You cannot see from whence your comforts come:
Besides, your debts being truly counted
Cannot be great.
O. Fos. But all my wealth and state lies in the sea's bottom.
Mrs Fos. It again may rise.
O. Fos. O, never!
Mrs Fos. Good sir, so hope, for I from heaven espy
An arm to pluck you from this misery.

Enter Keeper.

Keeper. Sir, there's one without desires to speak with you.

O. Fos. Go, send him in. [Exit Keeper.] None comes to do me good,
My wealth is lost, now let them take my blood.

Enter Robert.

Ha! what art thou? Call for the keeper there,
And thrust him out of doors, or lock me up.
Mrs Fos. O, 'tis your son, sir!
O. Fos. I know him not: [Robert kneels.
I am no king, unless of scorn and woe;
[Pg 186] Why kneel'st thou, then? Why dost thou mock me so?
Rob. O my dear father, hither am I come,
Not like a threat'ning storm t' increase your wrack,
For I would take all sorrows from your back,
To lay them all on my own.
O. Fos. Rise, mischief, rise! Away, and get thee gone!
Rob. O, if I be thus hateful to your eye,
I will depart, and wish I soon may die;
Yet let your blessing, sir, but fall on me.
O. Fos. My heart still hates thee.
Mrs Fos. Sweet husband!
O. Fos. Get you both gone!
That misery takes some rest that dwells alone;
Away, thou villain!
Rob. Heaven can tell,
Ache but your finger, I, to make it well,
Would cut my hand off.
O. Fos. Hang thee, hang thee!
Mrs Fos. Husband!
O. Fos. Destruction meet thee! Turn the key there, ho!
Rob. Good sir, I'm gone; I will not stay to grieve you.
O, knew you for your woes what pains I feel,
You would not scorn me so. See, sir, to cool
Your heat of burning sorrow, I have got
Two hundred pounds, and glad it is my lot
To lay it down with reverence at your feet;
No comfort in the world to me is sweet,
Whilst thus you live in moan.
O. Fos. Stay!
Rob. Good troth, sir, I'll have none on't back,
Could but one penny of it save my life.
Mrs Fos. Yet stay and hear him. O unnatural strife
In a hard father's bosom!
[Pg 187]
O. Fos. I see mine error now. O, can there grow
A rose upon a bramble? Did there e'er flow
Poison and health together in one tide?
I'm born a man: reason may step aside,
And lead a father's love out of the way:
Forgive me, my good boy, I went astray:
Look, on my knees I beg it—not for joy
Thou bring'st this golden rubbish, which I spurn;
But glad in this, the heavens mine eyeballs turn,
And fix them right to look upon that face,
Where love remains with pity, duty, grace.
O my dear wronged boy!
Rob. Gladness o'erwhelms my heart!
With joy I cannot speak!
Mrs Fos. Crosses of this foolish world
Did never grieve my heart with torments more,
Than it is now grown light
With joy and comfort of this happy sight.
O. Fos. Yet, wife, I disinherited this boy.
Rob. Your blessing's all I crave.
O. Fos. And that enjoy
For ever: evermore my blessings fly
To pay thy virtues, love and charity.

Enter Stephen's Wife.

Mrs Fos. Here comes your brother's wife.
Welcome, dear sister.
Wife. I thank you. How fare you, brother?
O. Fos. Better than your husband's hate could wish me,
That laughs to see my back with sorrows bow:
But I am rid of half my ague now.
Wife. Had you an ague, then?
O. Fos. Yes, and my heart had every hour a fit;
But now't has left me well, and I left it.
[Pg 188]
Wife. O, 'tis well. Cousin, what make you here, I pray?
Rob. To support a weak house falling to decay.
Wife. 'Tis well if you can do't, and that the timber
You underprop it with be all your own.
Hark, coz, where's your uncle's money?
Rob. Faith, aunt, 'tis gone;
But not at dice nor drabbing.
Wife. Sir, I believe,
With your uncle's gold your father you relieve.
Rob. You are sav'd, believing so: your belief's true.
Wife. You cut large thongs of that's another's due,
And you will answer't ill. Now, in good troth,
I laugh at this jest: much good do them both:
My wager I had won, had I but laid. [Aside.
O. Fos. What has my poor boy done, that you have made
So much blood rise in's cheeks?
Wife. Nothing, dear brother;
Indeed all's well: the course that he has run
I like and love; let him hold on the same;
A son's love to a father none can blame:
I will not leave your brother's iron heart,
Till I have beat it soft with my entreats.
O. Fos. 'Twill ne'er be music, 'tis so full of frets.
Wife. Frets make best music: strings the higher rack'd
Sound sweetest.
O. Fos. And sound nothing when they are crack'd,
As is his love to me, and mine to him.
Wife. I hope you both in smoother streams shall swim.
He's now the Sheriff of London, and in council
[Pg 189] Set at the Guildhall in his scarlet gown,
With mayor and aldermen, how to receive the king,
Who comes to see Master Brewen's hospital
To-morrow, consecrated by th' Cardinal,
And old St Mary's Spital, here by Shoreditch.
Mrs Fos. Ay, sister, he and you may set
'Bout what you will; heav'n, I am sure, prospers it;
But I am ever cross'd: you have been bound
For three great voyages, yet ne'er run aground—
Maid, wife, and widow, and wife again—have spread
Full and fair sails, no wrecks you e'er did dread,
Nor e'er felt any; but even close ashore,
I'm sunk, and 'midst of all my wealth made poor.
Wife. You must thank heaven.
Mrs Fos. I do, indeed, for all.
Wife. Sister, that hand can raise that gives the fall.

Enter Keeper.

Keeper. Master Foster, the new sheriff, your brother,
Is come to Ludgate, and I am come in haste
To know your pleasure, if you would see him.
O. Fos. I'll see a fury first; hence! clap to the door, I pray thee.
Wife. Why, 'tis your brother, sir.
Rob. Father, let's fly the thunder of his rage.
Wife. Stand valiantly,
And let me bear the storm: all hurts that are,
And ruins in your bosoms I'll repair.

Enter Stephen Foster.

Steph. Where's the keeper? Go, sir, take my officers
[Pg 190] And see your prisoners presently convey'd
From Ludgate unto Newgate and the Counters.
Keeper. I shall, sir.
Steph. Let the constables of the wards
Assist you. Go, despatch! and take these with you.
[To Robert.] How now! what mak'st thou here, thou caitiff? Ha!
Com'st thou to stitch his wounds that seeks to cut
My throat? Darest thou in despite
Relieve this dotard?
O. Fos. Get thee from my sight,
Thou devil in red: com'st thou in scarlet pride
To tread on thy poor brother in a jail?
Is there but one small conduit-pipe that runs
Cold water to my comfort, and wouldst thou
Cut off that, thou cruel man?
Steph. Yes;
I'll stop that pipe that thou may'st pining sit;
When drops but fell on me, thou poison'd it:
Thou thrust'st a son's name from thy cruel breast
For clothing of his uncle; now that uncle
Shall thrust him naked forth for clothing thee;
Banish'd for ever from my wealth and me.
O. Fos. Thou canst not be to nature so uneven,
To punish that which has a pay from heaven:
Pity, I mean, and duty. [Stephen offers to strike Robert.] Wouldst thou strike?
Wound me, then, that will kill thee, if I can:
Steph. Thou ravest.
O. Fos. How can I choose? Thou makest me mad:
For shame thou shouldst not make these white hairs sad:
Churl, beat not my poor boy; let him not lose
Thy love for my sake; I had rather bruise
My soul with torments for a thousand years,
[Pg 191] Could I but live them, rather than salt tears
Thy malice draw from him: see, here's thy gold;
Tell it: none's stole. My woes can ne'er be told!
Rob. O misery! is nature quite forgot?
O. Fos. Choke with thy dunghill-muck! and vex me not.
Steph. No, keep it; he perhaps that money stole
To give it thee; for which, to vex thy soul,
I'll turn him forth of doors: make him thy heir,
Of jails, miseries, curses, and despair,
For here I disinherit him of all.
O. Fos. No matter; lands to him in heaven will fall.
Wife. Good husband.
Mrs Fos. Gentle brother.
Rob. Dear uncle.
Steph. I am deaf.
O. Fos. And damn'd; the devil's thumbs stop thine ears!
Steph. I'll make thee wash those curses off with tears.
Keeper, away with him out of my sight;
And do, sir, as I charg'd you.
Keeper. Yes, sir, I will.
O. Fos. Poor tyranny! when lions weak lambs kill.
[Exeunt all but Stephen and his Wife.
Steph. How now, wife, art vex'd yet?
Wife. Never so well content, believe me, sir;
Your mildness wears this mask of cruelty well.
Steph. I am glad they're gone; mine eyes with rain did swell,
And much ado they had from pouring down.
The keeper knows my mind. Wife, I have paid
My brother's debts; and when he's out of door
To march to Newgate, he shall be set free.
Wife. O let me kiss thee for this charity.
But for your cousin, sir?
[Pg 192]
Steph. He's my life's best health.
The boy shall not miscarry for more wealth
Than London gates lock safe up every night.
My breath in black clouds flies: my thoughts are white.
Wife. Why from Ludgate do you remove [the] prisoners?
Steph. This is my meaning, wife:
I'll take the prison down, and build it new,
With leads to walk on, [and] rooms large and fair;
For when myself lay there, the noisome air
Chok'd up my spirits; and none better know
What prisoners feel than they that taste the woe.
The workmen are appointed for the business;
I will have't despatched, before 'tis thought on.
Wife. In good deeds I'll walk hand in hand with you;
There is a fair tenement adjoining
Close to the gate, that was my father's,
I'll give it freely; take it down, and add
So much ground to the work.
Steph.[103] 'Tis fairly given;
Thy soul on prisoners' prayers shall mount to heaven.
[Pg 193] The plumbers and the workmen have survey'd
The ground from Paddington; whence I'll have laid
Pipes [all along] to London, to convey
Sweet water into Ludgate from fresh springs:
When charity tunes the pipe, the poor man sings.

Enter Keeper.

How now, keeper?
Keep. The prisoners are remov'd, sir.
Steph. What did you with my brother?
Keep. As you commanded, sir, I have discharged him.
Steph. How did he meet that unexpected kindness?
Keep. Troth, sir, as a man o'ercome 'twixt grief and gladness;
But, turning to his son, he fetch'd a sigh
So violent as if his heart would break,
And (silent) wept, having no power to speak.
Wife. Alas! good old man, some sweet bird must sing,
And give his sorrows present comforting.
Steph. Not yet, I'll wrack his sorrows to the height,
And of themselves they'll then sink softly down.
Keeper, go thou again after my brother,
Charge in my name him and his son to appear
Before the king; to whom I will make known
Their wrongs against me, showing just cause
[Pg 194] To disinherit both by course of law. Begone!
Keep. I am gone, sir. [Exit.
Steph. Come, wife.
Wife. What's your meaning, sir?
Steph. Thou shalt know that anon.
The heavens oft scowl, clouds thicken, winds blow high,
Yet the brightest sun clears all, and so will I. [Exeunt.

Enter Henry III., attended by Montfort, Pembroke, and Arundel, Lord Mayor, Stephen Foster as Sheriff, Alderman Brewen, &c.

King. O, welcome is all love; our people's shouts
In their heart's language makes our bienvenues
Most high and sovereign: we return all thanks
Unto our loving citizens; [To Brewen] chiefly to you, sir,
Whose pious work invites our majesty
To royalise this place with our best presence,
Accompanied with this reverend Cardinal:
Would [that] me might, after [so] many broils,
End our days [too] in these religious toils:
We would work most faithfully. But, bounteous sir,
How do you call your buildings?
Brew. Unless it please your majesty to change it,
I call it Domus Dei.
King. The house of God;
It is too good to change: pray you, proceed.
Brew. These are my ends: to all distressed Christians,
Whose travels this way bend, the hospital shall
Free succour be for three days and three nights
Sojourn: diet[104] and lodging, both sweet and satisfying:
[Pg 195]
And (if their need be such) as much in coin
As shall, for three days more, defray their further travel:
This unto heaven—be you testator, good my liege,
And witness with me, noble gentlemen—
Most free and faithfully I dedicate.
King. An honourable work, and deserves large memory.
Mont. 'Tis a good example, 'tis pity 'tis no better followed.
Arun. But say, sir: now in some future age,
Perhaps some two or three hundred year behind us,
This place, intended for a use so charitable,
Should be unhallow'd again by villanous inhabitants,
Say whores instead of Christians, and
Your hospital tenements turn'd into stews,
Would not this grieve you in your grave?[105]
Brew. If my grave were capable of grief, sure it would, sir.
King. Prythee, be a false prophet.
Arun. I will, if I can, my lord.
King. Let now our heralds in the streets proclaim
The title and [the] office of this hospital;
Make known to all distressed travellers,
That we'll accept his charitable house;
[Pg 196] This Domus Dei shall be their free sojourn,
As is proposed.

Enter on the one side Stephen's Wife; on the other Old Foster, Mistress Foster, Jane, Robert, and Keeper. All kneel.

King. What are these petitioners?
Rob. Each hath a knee for duty, the other for petition.
King. Rise, your duty's done; your petitions
Shall need no knees, so your intents be honest:
Does none here know them?
Steph. Yes, my good lord,
There's now a wonder in your sight.
King. A wonder, Master Sheriff?
You mean for beauty?
Steph. No, my liege, I would not
So boast mine own wife; but it is a wonder
That excels beauty.
King. A wonder in a woman!
What is't, I prythee?
Steph. Patience, my liege;
This is a woman that was never vex'd.
King. You may boast it largely; 'tis a subject's happiness
Above a queen's. Have you suits to us?
Rob. I am the suppliant plaintiff, royal Henry;
From me their griefs take their original.
King. What art thou?
Rob. Even what your grace shall please to make of me:
I was the son to this distressed father,
Until he took his paternity off,
And threw me from his love; then I became
Son to mine uncle by adoption;
[Pg 197] Who likewise that hath ta'en away again,
And thrown me back to poverty: never was son
So toss'd betwixt two fathers, yet knows not one;
For still the richest does despise his heir,
And I am back expuls'd into despair.
King. This may your vices cause.
Rob. For that I come
To your impartial censure for a doom.
King. We hear; speak on: we know the parties;
Each one relate his grief, and if it lie in us,
We'll yield relief: it is first requisite
That we know of you, sir, the cause
Of this your son his disinheritance.
O. Fos. Before I understood his virtuous mind,
Or weighed his disposition to be kind,
I did that froward work; this now great man
Was an unthrifty wretch, a prodigal then,
And I disdain'd to know his brotherhood,
Denied relief to him; this child, kind and good,
Against my contradiction, did him relieve,
As his distressed uncle; at this
I chid, forbad. Still he holds on his course,
He grows more kind, and he in wasting worse;
My rage continued, as it had begun,
And in that rage I threw away my son.
Steph. The like plead I, my lord: for when my state
Had rais'd itself by an uncertain fate,
I took this outcast child, made him my own,
As full and free as I myself had sown
The seed that brought him forth; for this my love
His oblig'd duty presently did prove
A traitor to my trust, against my will
Succouring that foe which I did love so ill
Only for hating him. My charity being thus
Abus'd, and quit with injury, what could I then
But, as his father erst, so I again
[Pg 198] Might throw him from my love? for worse is love abus'd
Than new-born hate, and should be so refus'd:
I did a father's part, if it were bad,
Blame him for both, there I my pattern had.
King. You fall betwixt two pillars, sir; is't not so?
Rob. Unhappy fate, my lord; yet thus I plead:
For this my father's hate I might deserve,
I broke his precepts, and did unchildly swerve
From his commission; I to my uncle gave
What was my father's, striving thereby to save
His fall'n repute; he rag'd; I did it still,
Yet must confess, as it was well, 'twas ill;
Well in my love, methought, ill to my fate,
For I thereby ruin'd my own estate:
But that mine uncle throws me forth of door,
For the same cause he took me in before,
Beats sorest 'gainst my bosom. If 'twere good
To take from a father for an uncle's food
In laws of love and nature, how much rather
Might I abridge an uncle for a father?
Charity's a virtue generally stands,
And should dispersed be through all men's hands.
Then would you keep't alone? For when your heir
I first adopted was, charity was there:
How errs your judgment then? seeing, you see,
What was good in you, makes sin in me.
You'll say my father did it: O, throw away
That foul excuse; let not discretion stray
So far aside; if custom lawful make,
Then sin were lawful for example sake;
Nor were those wasted goods only your own,
Since part was mine having adoption;
Then do me right, my lord, yet do no wrong,
For where my duty fail'd, my love was strong.
King. With an impartial ear we have heard
Your loving story; 'tis both fair and honest.
[Pg 199]
Steph. O, let me now anticipate your grace,
And, casting off the shadow of a face,
Show my heart's true figure; how have I striv'd
To make this forced counterfeit long-liv'd,
And now it bursts. Come (both) into my heart,
I have two jewels here shall never part
From my love's eye-watch; too worthy to be fil'd
On time's best record, a woman and a child.
(To O. Fos). Now, sir, to you I come; we must be friends,
Though envy wills not so, yet love contends
'Gainst envy and her forces; my young years
Say I must offer first a peace in tears.
O. Fos. O, let my shame my bosom's centre break!
Love is so young, it coys, but cannot speak.
King. You bless mine eyes with objects that become
The theatre of kings to look upon.
Steph. The keeper is discharg'd, sir; your debts are paid,
And from the prison you're a free man made:
There's not a creditor can ask you ought.
As your son did for me, so have I bought
Your liberty with mine; and to increase it more,
Because I know bare liberty is poor
Without assistance: to raise your state again,
The thirds of mine are yours, [To Wife] say you
Wife. No, not to that, you are kind brothers now,
Divide by halves that love, and I'll allow.
Steph. Thou art only wise in virtue; as thou sett'st down,
So let it be. Half my estate's your own.
O. Fos. It whole redounds again, for I am yours;
Forget this minute my forgetful hours.
[Pg 200]
Steph. O, they are buried all, sir!
King. This union's good;
Such league should ever be in brotherhood.
Steph. Yet without boast, my liege, let me relate
One small thing more—remorse of my own state,
And my dear brother's worse succession:
For that we both have prisoners been in one
Selfsame place of woe, and felt those throes,
That Ludgate yields: my charity bestows
Some alms of comfort: keeper, you can speak it.
Keep. And many hundred more, sir: you have re-edified
And built it fair, adding more ground to it,
And by pipes of lead from Paddington, drawn
Water thither free for all prisoners: lodgings
Likewise free, and a hundred pounds yearly, to make
Them fires for better comfort: all this is almost finish'd.
King. A worthy work! the better being done
In the founder's eye, not left unto succession.
Steph. O my good lord, I ever kept in mind
An English sentence, which my tutor is,
And teaches me to act my charity
With mine own hands; so doubtful is performance,
When the benefactor's dead.
King. What is't, I prythee?
Steph. This, my good lord:
Women are forgetful, children unkind,
Executors covetous, and take what they find;
If any man ask, where the dead's goods became,
The executor swears he died a poor man.[106]
[Pg 201]
King. You have prevented well, so has this good alderman;
I wish you many scholars.
Wife. [To Steph.] You make some doubts of me in this, sir:
Did you not say that women are forgetful?
King. You have vex'd her now, sir: how do you answer that?
Steph. No, my lord, she's exempt from the proverb.
Wife. No, my lord, I'll help it better: I do confess
That women are forgetful, yet ne'ertheless
I am exempt: I know my fate, and find
My dear husband must not leave me behind,
But I must go before him;[107] and 'tis said,
The grave's good rest when women go first to bed.
Steph. Thanks for thy excuse, good wife, but not thy love
To fill my grave before me: I would not live to see that day.
Wife. Prythee, no more, I had rather be angry than flatter'd.
King. You have a wonder, master sheriff; a priceless jewel.
Steph. Many jewels, my good lord; a brother, wife, and child,
For this I would have strove even with a father:
Howe'er rough storms did in my brows appear,
Within my bosom it was always clear.
O. Fos. I give him to you now, sir.
Steph. I take him, and to him back do give
All that myself behind in 'state shall leave.
O. Fos. And all that you gave me, I do bestow;
So in one hour become full heir to two.
[Pg 202]
Brew. I claim a third by this bond's virtue; [Pointing to Jane.
See, as a father thou art heir to those.
Jane. I will not go to him, father, on any of these conditions.
Rob. You shall have love to boot too, sweet Jane.
Jane. Nay, an' you play booty, I dare not trust you.
Rob. What shall I say? Accept my hand and heart,[108]
Tied in a true love's knot, never to part.

Jane. Ay, marry, sir, these are better conditions than the inheritance of three fathers. Let me have love in esse; let lands follow in posse. Now I'll have thee as fast as the priest can despatch us, let him read as fast as he can.

King. The liveliest harmony that e'er I heard!
All instruments compar'd to these sweet tunes
Are dull and harsh: I joy to see so good a child,
A woman wonder; brothers reconciled.
[To Brewen.] You, worthy sir, did invite us to a feast,
We'll not forget it, but will be your guest;
Because we'll view these wonders o'er again,
Whose records do deserve a brazen pen;
But this above the rest in golden text
Shall be insculp'd, A woman never vex'd.

[Pg 203]


[103] This speech is not appropriated in the original, although divided from the wife's: neither are the words between brackets altogether an insertion of my own. The speech appears thus in the original:—

'Tis fairely given.
Thy soule on prisoners prayers shall mount to heaven:
The Plummers and the Workemen have survey'd the ground
From Paddington; from whence I'l have laid pipes
Long to London to convey sweet water into Ludgate;
From fresh Springs: when charity tunes the pipe, the
Poore man sings. Enter Keeper.
How now, Keeper.

As I had occasion to give a note here, I thought one sample of the original might gratify the reader's curiosity, and he has a miniature of the whole work. The poet, who is here very minute in the description of Stephen's charity, is justified by the inscription on the wall quoted by Stow. On this subject, however, Strype observes, "The water I find not to be altogether his gift; for that I perused lately a book, wherein I found a memorandum, that Sir Robert Knowles [Lord Mayor in 1400] gave maintenance for the supply of the prisoners of Ludgate and Newgate for ever" ("Appendix," p. 26). There can be little doubt, however, that this excellent man did something for the benefit of the prisoners, in regard to the supplying them with water.—Dilke.

[104] [Old copy, for diet.]

[105] I suspect Arundel to have been of Cranmer's school, and to have prophesied of what had actually happened. The following extract from a pamphlet of that time called, "Thieves falling out, true Men come by their Goods," [1615,] justifies the supposition: "And Shoreditch will complain to Dame Ann a Clear, if we of the sisterhood, should not uphold her jollity." It is not through the inattention of the editor that this, and the preceding speech of Brewen's, halt so lamentably; he has, in fact, exercised his utmost skill; but, as with many other passages in this drama, his success has not equalled his exertion. [The pamphlet cited by Dilke is a re-issue, under a changed title, of Robert Greene's "Disputation between a He-Coneycatcher and a She-Coneycatcher," 1592.]

[106] [This is a somewhat corrupt form of a saying to be found in Stowe. See Hazlitt's "Proverbs," 1869, p. 480.]

[107] This lady proved a false prophetess.

[108] The 4o reads, "What shall I say, except my hand and heart;" and Stephen may mean, What shall I offer except, &c.; but it seems a forced construction.

[Pg 204]



The Ordinary, a Comedy, Written by William Cartwright, M.A. Ch. Ch. Oxon. London, Printed for Humphrey Moseley, and are to be sold at his shop at the Sign of The Princes Armes in St Paul's Churchyard. 1651. 8o.[109]

[Pg 205]


[109] [This forms part of a somewhat thick volume, containing the author's poems and plays, with his portrait by Lombart, and an extraordinarily long series of introductory verses.] Among them are verses by a number of men of little note; but this can hardly be said of the contributions of Jasper Mayne, James Howell, Sir R. Stapylton, H. Vaughan (Silurist), Alexander Brome, and Izaak Walton. M. Lluellin has also added an ode to the collection; and another poem on Cartwright is to be found in his, "Men, Miracles, and other Poems," 1646.—Collier.


William Cartwright was, according to Lloyd,[110] born the 16th of August 1615, though Wood[111] says he was born at Northway, near Tewksbury, Gloucestershire, in September 1611, and christened on the 26th of the same month. There is as much difference between these two writers, with respect to his father, as there is concerning the time of his birth. Lloyd says he was the son of Thomas Cartwright of Burford, in Oxfordshire. Wood asserts that his father's name was William Cartwright, one who had dissipated a fair inheritance, and was at last reduced to keep an inn at Cirencester. These contradictory accounts are totally irreconcilable. Wood's, however, is probably the true one.[112] That author says that Cartwright received part of his education under Mr William Top, master of the Free School at Cirencester; was from thence sent to Westminster, where he completed his education under Mr Lambert Osbaldiston; and in the year 1628[113] was chosen a student of Christ Church in Oxford, and placed under the care of Mr Terrent. He took his several degrees of Bachelor and Master of Arts—the latter in 1635; and afterwards entering into holy orders, became, as Wood[114] [Pg 206]expresses it, "the most florid and seraphical preacher in the University." In October 1642, Bishop Duppa conferred on him the place of Succentor in the Church of Salisbury; and on the 12th of April 1643, he was admitted junior proctor of the University. He died the 29th of November following of a malignant fever, universally lamented by every person who knew him, even by his sovereign, who showed him particular marks of his respect.[115] He was buried at the upper end of the south aisle, adjoining to the choir of the cathedral of Christ Church. "He was," says Langbaine, "extremely remarkable both for his outward and inward endowments, his body being as handsome as his soul. He was an expert linguist, understanding not only Greek and Latin, but French and Italian, as perfectly as his mother tongue. He was an excellent orator, and yet an admirable poet, a quality which Cicero, with all his pains, could not attain to. Nor was Aristotle less known to him than Cicero and Virgil; and those who heard his metaphysical lectures gave him the preference to all his predecessors, the present Bishop of Lincoln (Dr Barlow) excepted. His sermons were as much admired as his other composures; and one fitly applied to our author that saying of Aristotle concerning Æschrion the poet, that he could not tell what Æschrion could not do."

Ben Jonson said of him with some passion, My son Cartwright writes all like a man; and Dr Fell, Bishop [Pg 207]of Oxford, gave him this character: Cartwright was the utmost man could come to.

Besides a sermon and some Greek and Latin poems, he was the author of four plays, one only of which, I believe, was published in his lifetime, viz.—

1. "The Royal Slave, a Tragi-Comedy, presented to the king and queen by the students of Christ Church in Oxford, August 30, 1636; presented since to both their majesties, at Hampton Court, by the king's servants." 4o, 1639-40; 8vo, 1651.

This play, in which the celebrated Dr Busby performed a part, gave so much satisfaction to their majesties, that it was by their orders performed at Hampton Court by their own servants. Langbaine says the preference was given to the representation by the collegians, as much superior to that of the players.

2. "The Lady Errant, a Tragi-Comedy."

3. "The Ordinary, a comedy," [probably written in 1634.]

4. "The Siege; or, Love's Convert, a Tragi-Comedy."

[Pg 208]


[110] "Memoirs," p. 422.

[111] "Athen. Oxon." p. 34.

[112] Ibid.

[113] Langbaine, p. 51, says 1631.

[114] "Athen. Oxon." ii. p. 35.

[115] Oldys, in his MSS. notes on Langbaine, says that the king being asked why he appeared in black the day Cartwright was buried, answered, that since the Muses had so much mourned for the loss of such a son, it would be a shame for him not to appear in mourning for the loss of such a subject.


The scene, London.

[Pg 209]


'Twould wrong our author to bespeak your ears;
Your persons he adores, but judgment fears:
For where you please but to dislike, he shall
Be atheist thought, that worships not his fall.
Next to not marking, 'tis his hope that you,
Who can so ably judge, can pardon too.
His conversation will not yet supply
Follies enough to make a comedy:
He cannot write by th' poll; nor act we here
Scenes, which perhaps you should see liv'd elsewhere.
No guilty line traduceth any; all
We now present is but conjectural;
'Tis a mere guess: those then will be to blame
Who make that person, which he meant but name.
That web of manners which the stage requires,
That mass of humours which poetic fires
Take in, and boil, and purge, and try, and then
With sublimated follies cheat those men
That first did vent them, are not yet his art;
But, as drown'd islands or the world's fifth part,
Lie undiscover'd; and he only knows
Enough to make himself ridiculous.
Think, then, if here you find nought can delight,
He hath not yet seen vice enough to write.

[Pg 210]
[Pg 211]



Hearsay, Slicer, Shape, Meanwell.

Hear. We're made, my boys, we're made! methinks I am
Growing into a thing that will be worshipp'd.
Slicer. I shall sleep one day in my chain and scarlet
At Spital-sermon.
Shape. Were not my wit such,
I'd put out moneys of being Mayor.
But, O this brain of mine! that's it that will
Bar me the city honour.
Hear. We're cri'd up
O' th' sudden for the sole tutors of the age.
Shape. Esteem'd discreet, sage trainers up of youth.
Hear. Our house becomes a place of visit now.
Slicer. In my poor judgment, 'tis as good my lady
Should venture to commit her eldest son
To us as to the Inns-of-Court: He'll be
Undone here, only with less ceremony.
Hear. Speak for our credit, my brave man of war.
What, Meanwell, why so lumpish?
Mean. Pray you, be quiet.
Hear. Thou look'st as if thou plott'st the calling in
[Pg 212] O' th' Declaration, or the abolishing[116]
O' th' common prayers. Cheer up; say something for us.
Mean. Pray, vex me not.
Slicer. These foolish, puling sighs
Are good for nothing, but to endanger buttons.
Take heart of grace, man.[117]
Mean. Fie, y' are troublesome!
Hear. Nay, fare you well then, sir.

[Exeunt Hearsay, Slicer, Shape.

Mean. My father still
Runs in my mind, meets all my thoughts, and doth
Mingle himself in all my cogitations.
Thus to see eager villains drag along
Him unto whom they crouch'd! to see him hal'd,
That ne'er knew what compulsion was, but when
His virtues did incite him to good deeds,
And keep my sword dry! O unequal nature!
Why was I made so patient as to view,
And not so strong as to redeem? Why should I
Dare to behold, and yet not dare to rescue?
Had I been destitute of weapons, yet
Arm'd with the only name of son, I might
Have outdone wonder. Naked piety
Dares more than fury well-appointed[118]; blood
[Pg 213] Being never better sacrificed, than when
It flows to him that gave it. But, alas!
The envy of my fortune did allow
That only which she could not take away—
Compassion, that which was not in those savage
And knowing beasts, those engines of the law
That even killed as uncontroll'd as that.
How do I grieve when I consider from
What hands he suffer'd! Hands that do excuse
Th' indulgent prison, shackles being here
A kind of rescue. Young man, 'tis not well
To see thy aged father thus confin'd.
Good, good old man! alas! thou'rt dead to me,
Dead to the world, and only living to
That which is more than death, thy misery!
The grave could be a comfort: and shall I—
O, would this soul of mine—But death's the wish
Of him that fears; he's lazy that would die.
I'll live and see that thing of wealth, that worm
Bred out of splendid muck, that citizen,
Like his own sullied wares thrown by into
Some unregarded corner; and my piety
Shall be as famous as his avarice.
His son, whom we have in our tuition,
Shall be the subject of my good revenge:
I'll count myself no child, till I have done
Something that's worth that name. My brain shall be
Busy in his undoing; and I will
Plot ruin with religion: his disgrace
Shall be my zeal's contrivement; and when this
[Pg 214] Shall style me son again, I hope 'twill be
Counted not wrong, but duty. When that time
Shall give my actions growth, I will cast off
This brood of vipers, and will show that I
Do hate the poison which I meant t' apply. [Exit.


Mistress Potluck.

Pot. Now help, good heaven! 'tis such an uncouth thing
To be a widow out of term-time: I
Do feel such aguish qualms and dumps, and fits,
And shakings still an end! I lately was
A wife, I do confess; but yet I had
No husband; he, alas! was dead to me,
Even when he lived unto the world: I was
A widow, whilst he breath'd. His death did only
Make others know so much; but yet—

Enter Hearsay.

Hear. How now?
So melancholy, sweet?
Pot. How could I choose,
Being thou wert not here? The time is come:
Thou'lt be as good unto me as thy word?
Hear. Nay, hang me, if I e'er recant. You'll take me
Both wind and limb at th' venture, will you not?
Pot. Ay, good chuck, every inch of thee; she were no true woman that would not.
Hear. I must tell you one thing—and yet I'm loth.
[Pg 215]
Pot. I am thy rib,
Thou must keep nothing from thy rib, good chuck:
Thy yoke-fellow must know all thy secrets.
Hear. Why then, I'll tell you, sweet. [He whispers her.
Pot. Heaven defend!
Hear. 'Tis true.
Pot. Now, God forbid! and would you offer
T' undo a widow-woman so? I had
As lief the old vintner were alive again.
Hear. I was born[119] with it, I confess; but lying
In Turkey for intelligence, the Great Turk,
Somewhat suspicious of me, lest I might
Entice some o' th' seraglio, did command
I should be forthwith cut.
Pot. A heathen deed
It was! none but an infidel could have
The heart to do it.
Hear. Now you know the worst
That you must trust to. Come, let's to the church.
Pot. Good Master Hearsay, nature ne'er intended
One woman should be joined to another:
The holy blessing of all wedlock was
T' increase and multiply, as Master Christopher
Did well observe last Sabbath. I'll not do
Anything 'gainst God's word. I do release you
Of all your promises; and that it may not
Be said you lost by loving me, take this.
Perhaps I may get you a contribution
O' th' women of the parish, as I did
The broken-bellied man the other day.
Hear. Seeing you needs will cast me off, let me
Entreat this one thing of you: that you would not
Make me your table-talk at the next gossiping. [Exit.
[Pg 216]
Pot. Indeed I pity thee, poor thing; or rather
I pity thee, poor nothing!

Enter Slicer.

Good lieutenant,
How dost thou? Thou art mindful of thy promise.
Slicer. What else, my jolly wench?
Pot. Good sweet lieutenant,
Give me but leave to ask one question of you:
Art thou entire and sound in all thy limbs?
Slicer. To tell the very truth, ere now I've had
A spice o' the pox or so; but now I am sound
As any bell—hem! was't not shrill, my girl? ha!
Pot. I do not ask thee about these diseases:
My question is, whether thou'st all thy parts?
Slicer. Faith, I have lost a joint or two; as none
Of our profession, come off whole, unless
The general and some sneaks.
Pot. My meaning is,
Whether that something is not wanting that
Should write thee husband?
Slicer. Ne'er fear that, my wench:
Dost think the king would send me to the wars
Without I had my weapons? Eunuchs are not
Men of employment in these days. His majesty
Hath newly put me on a piece of service;
And if I e'er come off (which I do fear
I sha'n't, the danger is so great) brave widow,
We'll to't, and get commanders.
Pot. If you can
Leave me, I can leave you. There are other men
That won't refuse a fortune when 'tis proffer'd.
Slicer. Well, I must to his majesty: think on't:
[Pg 217] So fare thee well. Thine, to his very death,
That is, a month or two, perhaps, D. Slicer. [Exit.

Enter Shape.

Pot. Kind Master Shape, you are exceeding welcome.
Here hath been Master Hearsay and Lieutenant
Slicer: you may guess at their business, but
I hope you think me faithful.
Shape. I believe
The memory of your husband's ashes, which
Scarce yet are cold, extinguisheth all flames
That tend to kindling any love fire. 'Tis
A virtue in you which I must admire,
That only you, amongst so many, should
Be the sole turtle of the age.
Pot. I do
Bear him in memory, I confess; but when
I do remember what your promise was
When he lay sick, it doth take something from
The bitterness of sorrow. Woman was
Not made to be alone still.
Shape. Tender things
At seventeen may use that plea; but you
Are now arriv'd at matron. These young sparks
Are rak'd up, I presume, in sager embers.
Pot. Nay, don't abuse her that must be your wife.
You might have pity, and not come with your nicknames,
And call me turtle. Have I deserved this?
Shape. If that you once hold merits, I have done.
I'm glad I know what's your religion.
Pot. What's my religion? 'Tis well known there hath
[Pg 218] Been no religion in my house, e'er since
My husband died.

Enter Slicer, Hearsay.

Hear. How now, sweet Shape'! So close alone
Wi' your widow!
Shape. Sirs, dare you believe it?
This thing, whose prayer it hath been these ten
Years that she may obtain the second tooth
And the third hair, now doats on me; on me,
That do refuse all that are past sixteen.
Slicer. Why, faith, this was her suit to me just now.
Hear. I had the first on't, then. A coachman or
A groom, were fitter far for her.
Slicer. You do
Honour her too much to think she deserves
A thing that can lust moderately: give her
The sorrel stallion in my lord's long stable.
Shape. Or the same-colour'd brother, which is worse.
Pot. Why, gentlemen——
Hear. Foh, foh! She hath let fly.
Pot. D'you think I have no more manners than so?
Shape. Nay, faith, I can excuse her for that; but
I must confess she spoke, which is all one.
Slicer. Her breath would rout an army sooner than
That of a cannon.
Hear. It would lay a devil
Sooner than all Trithemius' charms.[120]
[Pg 219]
Shape. Hark how
It blusters in her nostrils, like a wind
In a foul chimney!
Pot. Out, you base companions,
You stinking swabbers!
Hear. For her gait, that's such
As if her nose did strive t' outrun her heels.
Shape. She's just six yards behind when that appears.
It saves an usher, madam.
[Pg 220]
Pot. You are all
Most foul-mouth'd knaves to use a woman thus.
Slicer. Your plaster'd face doth drop against moist weather.
Shape. Fie, how you writhe it! Now it looks just like
A ruffled boot.
Slicer. Or an oil'd paper-lantern.
Hear. Her nose the candle in the midst of it.
Shape. How bright it flames! Put out your nose, good lady;
You burn daylight.[121]
Pot. Come up, you lousy rascals.
Hear. Not upon you for a kingdom, good Joan.
The Great Turk, Joan, the Great Turk!
Slicer. Kiss him, chuck;
Kiss him, chuck, open-mouth'd, and be reveng'd.
Pot. Hang you, base cheating varlet!
Slicer. Don't you see
December in her face?
Shape. Sure, the surveyor
Of the highways will have to do with her
For not keeping her countenance passable.
Hear. There lies a hoar-frost on her head, and yet
A constant thaw in her nose.
Shape. She's like a piece
Of firewood, dropping at one end, and yet
Burning i' th' midst.
Slicer. O that endeavouring face!
When will your costiveness have done, good madam?
Hear. Do you not hear her guts already squeak
Like kit-strings?
Slicer. They must come to that within
[Pg 221]
This two or three years: by that time she'll be
True perfect cat. They practise beforehand.
Pot. I can endure no longer, though I should
Throw off my womanhood.
Hear. No need, that's done
Already: nothing left thee that may style thee
Woman, but lust and tongue: no flesh but what
The vices of the sex exact, to keep them
In heart.
Shape. Thou art so lean and out of case,
That 'twere absurd to call thee devil incarnate.
Slicer. Th' art a dry devil, troubled with the lust
Of that thou hast not, flesh.
Pot. Rogue, rascal, villain!
I'll show your cheating tricks, i' faith: all shall
Be now laid open. Have I suffer'd you
Thus long i' my house, and ne'er demanded yet
One penny rent for this? I'll have it all:
By this good blessed light, I will!
Hear. You may,
If that you please undo yourself; you may:
I will not strive to hinder you. There is
Something contriving for you, which may be
Perhaps yet brought about: a match or so;
A proper fellow: 'tis a trifle, that;
A thing you care not for, I know. Have I
Plotted to take you off from these, to match you
In better sort, and am us'd thus? As for
The rent you ask, here take it; take your money;
Fill, choke your gaping throat: but if as yet
You are not deaf to counsel, let me tell you,
It had been better that you ne'er had took it;
It may stop some proceedings.
Pot. Master Hearsay,
You know you may have even my heart out of
My belly (as they say), if you'll but take
The pains to reach it out. I am sometimes
Peevish, I do confess. Here, take your money.
[Pg 222]
Hear. No.
Pot. Good sir.
Hear. No, keep it and hoard it up;
My purse is no safe place for it.
Pot. Let me
Request you that you would be pleas'd to take it.
Hear. Alas! 'twould only trouble me: I can
As willingly go light as be your treasurer.
Pot. Good Master Slicer, speak to him to take it.
Sweet Master Shape, join with him.[122]
Slicer. Nay, be once
O'errul'd by a woman.
Shape. Come, come; you shall take it.
Pot. Nay, faith you shall. Here, put it up, good sir.
Hear. Upon entreaty, I'm content for once;
But make no custom of't. You do presume
Upon my easy foolishness: 'tis that
Makes you so bold. Were it another man,
He ne'er would have to do with you. But mark me—
If e'er I find you in this mood again,
I'll dash your hopes of marriage for ever.

[Exeunt all but Hearsay.


To him Meanwell, Andrew.

And. God save you, tutors both!
Mean. Fie, Andrew, fie!
What, kiss your hand! You smell not compliment.
Hear. Besides you come too near, when you salute.
Your breath may be discover'd; and you give
[Pg 223] Advantage unto him you thus accost
To shake you by the hand: which often doth
Endanger the whole arm. Your gallant's, like
The crystal glass, brittle; rude handling cracks him.
To be saluted so were to be wounded:
His parts would fall asunder like unto
Spill'd quicksilver. An ear, an eye, a nose,
Would drop, like summer fruit from shaken trees.
Mean. For the same reason, I'd not have you dance.
Some courtiers, I confess, do use it; but
They are the sounder sort; those foolish ones
That have a care of health, which you shall not,
If you'll be rul'd by me. The hazard's great:
'Tis an adventure, an exploit, no[123] piece
Of service for a gentleman, to caper.
Hear. A gallant's like a leg of mutton boil'd
By a Spanish cook: take him but by the one end,
And shake him, all the flesh falls from the bones,
And leaves them bare immediately.
And. I would
Not be a leg of mutton here.
Hear. I saw
In France a monsieur, only in the cutting
Of one cross caper, rise a man, and come
Down, to th' amazement of the standers-by,
A true extemporary skeleton;
And was straight read on.[124]
And. Sure, this man,
Good tutor, was quite rotten.
Mean. See how you
Betray your breeding now. Quite rotten! 'Tis
Rottenness, perhaps, in footmen or in yeomen:
'Tis tenderness in gentlemen; they are
[Pg 224] A little over-boil'd, or so.
Hear. He is
A churl, a hind, that's wholesome; some raw thing
That never was at London: one in whom
The clown is too predominant. Refin'd
People feel Naples in their bodies; and
An ache i' th' bones at sixteen passeth now
For high descent: it argues a great birth.
Low bloods are never worthy such infection.
And. Ay, but my father bid me I should live
Honest, and say my prayers; that he did.
Hear. If that you cannot sleep at any time, we do
Allow you to begin your pray'rs, that so
A slumber may seize on you.
Mean. But as for
Your living honest, 'twere to take away
A trade i' th' commonwealth! the surgeons'
Benefit would go down. You may go on
In foolish chastity, eat only salads,
Walk an unskilful thing, and be to learn
Something the first night of your wife; but that's
To marry out of fashion.
And. Here's no proofs,
No doctrines, nor no uses. Tutor, I
Would fain learn some religion.
Hear. Religion!
Yes, to become a martyr, and be pictur'd
With a long label out o' your mouth, like those
In Fox's book;[125] just like a juggler drawing
Riband out of his throat.
[Pg 225]
And. I must be gone.
Mean. Obedience is the first step unto science:
Stay, and be wise.
And. Indeed, I dare not stay;
The clyster works you sent to purge gross humours. [Exit.
Mean. Being you will not take your lecture out,
Good-morrow to y', good Andrew. This soft fool
Must swim in's father's wealth! It is a curse
That fortune justly makes the city's lot;
The young fool spends whate'er the old knave got. [Exit Meanwell.


To Hearsay enter Slicer and Credulous.

Hear. Sir, let me tell you, this is not the least
Of things wherein your wisdom shows itself,
In that you've plac'd your son in this good sort.
Cre. Nay, nay, let me alone to give him breeding:
I did not hold the university
Fit for the training up of such a spirit.
Slicer. The university! 'T had been the only way
T' have took him off his courage and his mettle:
He had return'd, as slaves do from the galleys:
A naked shorn thing, with a thin-dock'd top,
Learnedly cut into a logic mode.
Hear. A private oath given him at first entrance,
Had sworn him pilgrim unto conventicles;
Engag'd him to the hate of all, but what
Pleaseth the stubborn, froward elect.
Slicer. But we,
Following another model, do allow
[Pg 226] Freedom and courage, cherish and maintain
High noble thoughts——
Hear. Set nature free, and are
Chemists of manners——
Slicer. Do instruct of states——
Hear. And wars. There's one, look on him——
Slicer. Do but view
That searching head——
Hear. The very soul of battle:
True steel.
Slicer. H' hath been an agent some few years
(A score or so) for princes, and as yet
Doth not write forty.
Hear. I confess I can
Discover th' entrails of a state perhaps.
Lay open a kingdom's paunches, show the bowels
And inwards of a signiory or two;
But for your deeds of valour, there is one,
Although I speak it to his face, that can
Write a geography by his own conquests:
H' hath fought o'er Strabo,[126] Ptolemy,[127] and Stafford;[128]
Travell'd as far in arms as Lithgow[129] naked;
Borne weapons whither Coriat[130] durst not
[Pg 227] Carry a shirt or shoes. Jack Mandevile[131]
Ne'er sail'd so far as he hath steer'd by land,
Using his colours both for mast and sail.
Cre. I'd thought h' had been lieutenant.
Hear. That's all one.
Slicer. I've worn some leather out abroad, let out
A heathen soul or two, fed this good sword
With, the black blood of pagan Christians,
[Pg 228] Converted a few infidels with it;
But let that pass. That man of peace there hath
Been trusted with kings' breasts—
Hear. His name is heard
Like thunder, and that mere word Slicer hath
Sufficed unto victory.
Slicer. He's close,
Reserv'd, lock'd up. The secrets of the King
Of Tartary, of China, and some other
Counsels of moment, have been so long kept
In's body without vent, that every morning,
Before he covers them with some warm thing
Or other, you may smell 'em very strongly;
Distinguish each of them by several scents—
Hear. A grove of pikes are rushes to him: hail
More frights you than a shower of bullets him—
Slicer. The Dutch come up like broken beer;[132] the Irish
Savour of usquebaugh; the Spanish they
Smell like unto perfume at first, but then
After a while end in a fatal steam—
Hear. One drum's his table, the other is his music:
His sword's his knife; his colours are his napkins;
[Pg 229] Carves nourishing horse, as he is us'd to do
The hostile paynim,[133] or we venison; eats
Gunpowder with his meat instead of pepper,
Then drinks o'er all his bandoleers, and fights—
Slicer. Secrets are rank'd and order'd in his belly,
Just like tobacco-leaves laid in a sweat.
Here lies a row of Indian secrets, then
Something of's own on them; on that, another
Of China counsels, cover'd with a lid
Of Newfoundland discoveries: next, a bed
Of Russia policies; on them, a lay
Of Prester-Johnian whispers—
Hear. Slights a tempest;
Counts lightning but a giving fire, and thunder
The loud report when heaven hath discharg'd.
H' hath with his breath[134] suppli'd a breach:
When he's once fix'd, no engine can remove him.
Slicer. 'Twould be a policy worth hatching to
Have him dissected, if 'twere not too cruel.
All states would lie as open as his bowels:
Turkey in's bloody liver; Italy
Be found in's reins; Spain busy in his stomach;
Venice would float in's bladder; Holland sail
Up and down all his veins; Bavaria lie
Close in some little gut, and ragioni
Di Stato[135] generally reek in all.
Cre. I see my son's too happy: he is born
To be some man of action; some engine
For th' overthrow of kingdoms.
Hear. Troth, he may
Divert the torrent of the Turkish rule
Into some other track: dam up the stream
[Pg 230] Of that vast headlong monarchy, if that
He want not means to compass his intents.
Cre. The Turkish monarchy's a thing too big
For him to manage: he may make perhaps
The governor of some new little island,
And there plant faith and zeal; but for the present,
M' ambition's only to contrive a match
Between Sir Thomas Bitefig's only daughter
And (if I may so call him now) my son:
'Twill raise his fortunes somewhat.
Slicer. We have got
One that will do more good with's tongue that way
Than that uxorious show'r that came from heaven:
But you must oil it first.
Cre. I understand you:
Grease him i' th' fist, you mean? There's just ten pieces;
'Tis but an earnest: if he bring 't about,
I'll make those ten a hundred.
Hear. Think it done.

[Exit Credulous, and enter Shape and


Hearsay, Slicer, Meanwell, Shape.

Hear. Our life, methinks, is but the same with others:
To cosen and be cosen'd makes the age.
The prey and feeder are that civil thing
That sager heads call body politic.
Here is the only difference: others cheat
By statute, but we do't upon no grounds.
The fraud's the same in both; there only wants
Allowance to our way. The commonwealth
[Pg 231] Hath not declar'd herself as yet for us;
Wherefore our policy must be our charter.
Mean. Well-manag'd knav'ry is but one degree
Below plain honesty.
Slicer. Give me villany,
That's circumspect and well-advis'd, that doth
Colour at least for goodness. If the cloak
And mantle were pull'd off from things, 'twould be
As hard to meet an honest action as
A liberal alderman or a court-nun.
Hear. Knowing, then, how we must direct our steps,
Let us chalk out our paths: you, Shape, know yours.
Shape. Where'er I light on fortune, my commission
Will hold to take her up: I'll ease my silken
Friends of that idle luggage we call money.
Hear. For my good toothless countess, let us try
To win that old eremite thing that, like
An image in a German clock,[136] doth move,
Not walk—I mean, that rotten antiquary.
Mean. He'll surely love her, 'cause she looks like some
Old ruin'd piece, that was five ages backward.
Hear. To the great vestry-wit, the livery-brain,
My common-council pate, that doth determine
A city-business with his gloves on's head,
We must apply good hope of wealth and means.
Slicer. That griping knight Sir Thomas must be call'd
With the same lure: he knows t' a crumb how much
Loss is in twenty dozen of bread, between
[Pg 232] That which is broke by th' hand and that is cut.
Which way best keep his candles, bran or straw:
What tallow's lost in putting of 'em out
By spittle, what by foot, what by the puff,
What by the holding downwards, and what by
The extinguisher; which wick will longest be
In lighting, which spend fastest. He must hear
Nothing but moieties, and lives, and farms,
Copies, and tenures; he is deaf to th' rest.
Mean. I'll speak the language of the wealthy to him;
My mouth shall swill with bags, revenues, fees,
Estates, reversions, incomes, and assurance[s].
He's in the gin already; for his daughter,
She'll be an easy purchase.[137]
Hear. I do hope
We shall grow famous; have all sorts repair
As duly to us, as the barren wives
Of aged citizens do to St Antholin's.
Come, let us take our quarters; we may come
To be some great officers in time,
And with a reverend magisterial frown
Pass sentence on those faults that are our own. [Exeunt omnes.


[116] The Declaration concerning "The Book of Sports," set forth some time before. This was a matter very disgusting to the Puritans, who had an equal dislike to the Book of Common Prayer.

[117] This phrase signifies take courage, or summon up resolution. It is at present always written in this manner; formerly it used, [very erroneously,] to be, take heart at grass; as in "Euphues," p. 18: "Rise, therefore, Euphues, and take heart at grasse, younger thou shalt never bee: plucke up thy stomacke, if love have stong thee, it shall not stifle thee."

Again, in Tarlton's "Newes out of Purgatory," p. 4: "Therefore taking heart at grasse, drawing more neere him," &c.

And Ibid., p. 24: "Seeing she would take no warning: on a day tooke heart at grasse, and belabour'd her well with a cudgel."

[118] Well-appointed is completely accoutred. So in "The Miseries of Queen Margaret," by Drayton—

"Ten thousand valiant well-appointed men;"

and in the "Second Part of Henry IV." act iv. sc. 1—

"What well-appointed leader fronts us here?"

—Mr Steevens's note on the last passage.

[119] [Old copy, not born.]

[120] See Wolfii "Opera," 1672, ii. 592.

Johannes Trithemius, abbè of the order of St Benedict, and one of the most learned men of the fifteenth century, was born at Tritenheim, in the diocese of Treves, the 1st of February 1462. After having studied for some time, he became a Benedictine friar, and abbot of Spanheim, in the diocese of Mayence, in 1483. He governed the abbey until the year 1506, when he joined the abbey of St James, at Wurtzburgh. He was learned in all sciences, divine and human, and died the 13th of December 1516.

Thevet calls him a subtle philosopher, an ingenious mathematician, a famous poet, an accomplished historian, a very eloquent orator, and eminent divine. Naudius says that those who would make him a magician ground their right on a little book of three or four sheets, printed in 1612, entitled, "Veterum Sophorum sigilla et imagines magicæ, sive sculptura lapidum aut gemmarum ex nomine Tetragrammaton cum signatura planetarum authoribus Zoroastre, Salomone Raphaele, Chaele Hermete Thelete, ex Joan Kithemii manuscripto erutæ." Secondly, his speaking so pertinently of magic, and giving himself the title of magician in some of his epistles. Thirdly, his writing the book of Steganography, a treatise stuffed with the names of devils, and full of invocations, and as very pernicious condemned by Boville as worse than Agrippa. To these Naudius answers that the pamphlet of making images and characters upon stones, under certain constellations, is a pure imposture and cheat of booksellers, it being printed above 120 years before by Camillus Lienard, as the third book of his "Mirror of Precious Stones, De Unguento Armario." From a letter then to a Carmelite of Gaunt, Arnoldus Bostius, the suspicion of his being a magician must be collected, wherein he specified many miraculous and extraordinary effects performed in his treatise of Steganography. This, however, is defended by several writers only as the means to decipher.—Naudius's "History of Magick," translated by Davies, p. 237, &c.

[121] See note on the "Spanish Tragedy," [v. 115]

[122] "Join with me," would suit the sense better, as she is asking Shape to unite his solicitations with hers. The old copy reads as it is reprinted.—Collier.

[123] [Old copy, a.]

[124] [A lecture, probably, was delivered on the phenomenon.]

[125] [The "Book of the Acts and Monuments," &c., 1563, &c. The woodcuts have the dying words of the martyrs printed on labels out of their mouths, in the way mentioned in the text.]

[126] Strabo, a philosopher of Crete and a geographer in the time of Augustus.

[127] Born at Pelusium, flourished about the year 140, and died 162, aged 78.

[128] Robert Stafford, born at Dublin, was of Exeter College, Oxford, and published "A Geographical and Anthological description of all the Empires and Kingdoms, both of Continent and Islands, in this terrestial Globe," &c., 1607. Wood says it was reported that John Prideaux, who was Stafford's tutor, had the chief hand in this work.

[129] [Naked, i.e., unarmed.] William Lithgow, a Scotsman, whose sufferings by imprisonment and torture at Malaga, and whose travels on foot over Europe, Asia, and Africa, seem to raise him almost to the rank of a martyr and a hero, published an account of his peregrinations and adventures, 1614; reprinted in 1616, &c., with additions. At the conclusion of this work he says, "Here is the just relation of nineteene yeares travells, perfited in three deare bought voyages: the generall computation of which dimmensions spaces in my goings, traversings, and returnings through kingdomes, continents, and ilands, which my payneful feet traced over (besides my passages of seas and rivers) amounteth to thirty-six thousand and odde miles; which draweth neare to twice the circumference of the whole earth." [A list of his other works may be found in Hazlitt's "Handbook," 1867, in v.]

[130] The celebrated Thomas Coriat who, except Lithgow, is supposed to have travelled more miles on foot than any person of his times, or indeed in any period since. From his writings, and many parts of his conduct, he cannot be supposed to have been in his perfect senses. He was, notwithstanding, a man of considerable learning, and rendered himself ridiculous, chiefly by dwelling with too much attention on the trifling accidents which happened to him during his journey. In the year 1608 he left England and went to Venice and back again; a journey performed on foot in five months. On his return, he published an account of it in a large quarto volume, 1611, containing 655 pages, besides more than 100 filled with commendatory verses by Ben Jonson and other wits of the age, who both laughed at and flattered him at the same time. He afterwards travelled into Persia, and from thence into the East Indies (still on foot), and died at Surat in the year 1617.

[131] Sir John Mandevile, Knight, born at St Albans. He was a traveller for the space of thirty-four years, visiting in that time Scythia, Armenia the Greater and Less, Egypt, both Libyas, Arabia, Syria, Media, Mesopotamia, Persia, Chaldæa, Greece, Illyrium, Tartary, and divers other kingdoms. He died at Liege, November 17, 1371. An edition of his travels was printed in 8o, 1725, from a MS. in the Cotton Library.

[132] ["The leavings of what has been drawn for others"—Gifford (edit. of Ben Jonson, vii. 433).] So in Jonson's "Masque of Augurs:" "The poor cattle yonder are passing away the time with a cheat loaf and a bumbard of broken beer."

Again, in the "Masque of Gypsies:" "He were very carefully carried at his mother's back, rocked in a cradle of Welsh cheese, like a maggot, and there fed with broken beer and blown wine of the best daily."

And in Scot's "Belgicke Pismire," 1622, p. 76: "Having before fed themselves full with the sweat of other mens browes, even to gluttonie, drunkenesse, and surfetting, may releeve with their scraps, crummes, bones and broken beere, the necessities of such as they or their predecessors have before undone and made beggers."

[133] [Old copy, paguim.]

[134] Qy. breadth, i.e., stopped a breach by his person.—Collier.

[135] [Reasons or policies of state.]

[136] German clocks were about this time much in use. They are frequently mentioned by Ben Jonson and other writers.—See "Epicæne," act iv. sc. 2.


Have-at-all, Slicer, Hearsay having rescued him in a quarrel.

Have. 'Tis destin'd; I'll be valiant: I am sure
I shall be beaten with more credit then
Than now I do escape. Lieutenant, has't
Bethought thyself as yet? Has't any way
To make my sword fetch blood?
[Pg 233]
Slicer. You never yet
Did kill your man, then?
Have. No.
Hear. Nor get your wench
With child, I warrant?
Have. O sir!
Slicer. You're not quite
Free of the gentry, till y' have marr'd one man
And made another. When one fury hath
Cried quit with t'other, and your lust repair'd
What anger hath destroy'd, the title's yours;
Till then you do but stand for't.
Have. Pox! who'd be
That vile, scorn'd name, that stuffs all court-gate bills?
Lieutenant, thou may'st teach me valour yet.
Slicer. Teach thee! I will inspire thee; man, I'll make
Thy name become a terror; and to say
That Have-at-all is coming shall make room,
As when the bears are in procession.
Hark hither, Frank—[They consult.
Hear. That's good, but—
Slicer. How think'st now?
Hear. Nay, he will pay you large—ly. [Aloud.
Have. Pay, what else?
Hear. Make him believe the citizen's his guest;
The citizen, that he is his.
Slicer. Concluded.
Would you fight fair, or conquer by a spell?
Have. I do not care for witchcraft; I would have
My strength rely merely upon itself.
Slicer. There is a way, though I ne'er show'd it yet
But to one Spaniard, and 'twas wondrous happy.
Have. Think me a second Spaniard, worthy sir.
[Pg 234]
Slicer. Then listen. The design is by a dinner—
An easy way, you'll say: I'll say, a true.
Hunger may break stone walls, it ne'er hurts men:
Your cleanly feeder is your man of valour.
What makes the peasant grovel in his muck,
Humbling his crooked soul, but that he eats
Bread just in colour like it? Courage ne'er
Vouchsaf'd to dwell a minute where a sullen
Pair of brown loaves darken'd the dirty table;
Shadows of bread, not bread. You never knew
A solemn son of bag-pudding and pottage
Make a commander, or a tripe-eater
Become a tyrant. He's the kingdom's arm
That can feed large and choicely.
Have. If that be
The way, I'll eat myself into courage,
And will devour valour enough quickly.
Slicer. 'Tis not the casual eating of those meats
That doth procure those spirits, but the order
And manner of the meal—the ranking of
The dishes, that does all; else he that hath
The greatest range, would be the hardiest man.
Those goodly juments of the guard would fight
(As they eat beef) after six stone a day;
The spit would nourish great attempts: my lord
Would lead a troop, as well as now a masque;
And force the enemy's sword with as much ease
As his mistress's bodkin: gallants would
Owe valour to their ordinaries, and fight
After a crown meal.
Have. I do conceive
The art is all in all. If that you'll give
A bill of your directions, I'll account
Myself oblig'd unto you for my safety.
Slicer. Take it then thus. All must be soldier-like;
No dish but must present artillery;
Some military instrument in each.
[Pg 235] Imprimis, six or seven yards of tripe
Display'd instead o' th' ensign.
Have. Why, you said
Tripe-eaters ne'er made tyrants.
Slicer. Peace, sir: learners
Must be attentive, and believe. Do y' think
We'll eat this? 'Tis but for formality.
Item, a collar of good large fat brawn
Serv'd for a drum, waited upon by two
Fair long black-puddings, lying by for drumsticks.
Item, a well-grown lamprey for a fife;
Next some good curious march-panes[138] made into
The form of trumpets. Then in order shall
Follow the officers: the captain first
Shall be presented in a warlike cock,
Swimming in white broth, as he's wont in blood:
The serjeant-major he may bustle in
The shape of some large turkey: for myself,
Who am lieutenant, I'm content there be
A buzzard only. Let the corporal
Come sweating in a breast of mutton, stuff'd[139]
With pudding, or strut in some aged carp:
Either doth serve, I think. As for perdues,[140]
Some choice sous'd fish brought couchant in a dish
Among some fennel or some other grass,
Shows how they lie i' th' field. The soldier then
May be thus rank'd: the common one, chicken,
Duck, rabbit, pigeon; for the more genteel,
Snipe, woodcock, partridge, pheasant, quail, will serve.
[Pg 236]
Hear. Bravely contriv'd!
Slicer. That weapons be not wanting,
We'll have a dozen of bones well-charg'd with marrow
For ordnance, muskets, petronels, petards;
Twelve yards of sausage by, instead of match;
And caveary[141] then prepar'd for wild-fire.
Hear. Rare rogue! how I do love him now, methinks!
Slicer. Next we'll have true fat eatable old pikes,
Then a fresh turbot brought in for a buckler,
With a long spitchcock for the sword adjoin'd.
We'll bring the ancient weapons into play.
Have. Most rare, by heaven!
Slicer. Peaches, apricocks,
And malecotoons,[142] with other choicer plums,
Will serve for large-sized bullets; then a dish
[Pg 237] Or two of peas for small ones. I could now
Tell you of pepper in the stead of powder,
But that 'tis not in fashion 'mongst us gallants.
If this might all stand upon drum-heads, 'twould
Work somewhat better.
Have. Will't so? Then we'll have 'em
From every ward i' th' city.
Slicer. No, I'm loth
To put you to such charge. For once a long
Table shall serve the turn; 'tis no great matter.
The main thing's still behind. We must have there
Some fort to scale; a venison-pasty doth it.
You may have other pies instead of outworks:
Some sconces would not be amiss, I think.
When this is all prepar'd, and when we see
The table look like a pitch'd battle, then
We'll give the word, fall to, slash, kill and spoil:
Destruction, rapine, violence! spare none.
Hear. Thou hast forgotten wine, lieutenant—wine.
Slicer. Then to avoid the gross absurdity
Of a dry battle, 'cause there must some blood
Be spill'd (on th' enemies' side, I mean) you may
Have there a rundlet of brisk claret, and
As much of alicant; the same quantity
Of tent would not be wanting—'tis a wine
Most like to blood. Some shall bleed fainter colours,
As sack and white wine. Some that have the itch
(As there are tailors still in every army),
Shall run with Rhenish that hath brimstone in't.
When this is done, fight boldly: write yourself
The tenth or 'leventh worthy—which you please:
Your choice is free.
Have. I'll be the gaming worthy;
[Pg 238] My word shall be twice twelve. I think the dice
Ne'er mounted any upon horseback yet.
Slicer. We'll bring your friends and ours to this large dinner:
It works the better, eaten before witness.
Beware you say 'tis yours; confession is
One step to weakness; private conscience is
A theatre to valour. Let's be close:
Old Credulous and his son, and Master Caster,
Shall all be there.
Have. But then they will grow valiant
All at my charge.
Slicer. Ne'er fear't: the unknowing man
Eats only flesh, the understanding, valour:
His ignorance i' th' mystery keeps him coward.
To him 'tis but a meal; to you 'tis virtue.
It shall be kept here.
Have. No fitter place. There is
An old rich clutch-fist knight, Sir Thomas Bitefig,
Invite him too; perhaps I may have luck,
And break his purse yet open for one hundred.
A usurer is somewhat exorable,
When he is full; he ne'er lends money empty.
Slicer. Discreet, and wisely done: I was about
T' have prompted it.
Hear. Stout Master Have-at-all,
Let's be sworn brothers.
Have. Pox! thou fear'st I'll beat thee,
After I've eaten. Dost thou think I'll offer't?
By my next meal, I won't; nay, I do love
My friends howe'er. I do but think how I
Shall bastinado o'er the ordinaries.
Arm'd with my sword, battoon and foot, I'll walk
To give each rank its due. No one shall 'scape,
But he I win of.
Hear. You shall have at least
Some twenty warrants sign'd upon you straight:
The trunk-hose justices will try all means
[Pg 239] To bind you to the peace, but that your strength
Shall not be bound by any.
Slicer. Surgeons will
Pray for your health and happiness: you may
Bring them to be your tributaries, if
You but deny to fight awhile.
Have. My teeth
Are on an edge till I do eat. Now will
I cosen all men without opposition:
I feel my strength increase with very thought on't.
Sword, sword, thou shalt grow fat; and thou, battoon,
Hold out, I prythee: when my labour's done,
I'll plant thee in the Tower-yard, and there,
Water'd with wine, thou shalt revive, and spring
In spite of nature with fresh succulent boughs,
Which shall supply the commonwealth with cudgels.
Thou I first meet after this meal I do
Pronounce unhappy shadow—happy yet
In that thou'lt fall by me. Some men I will
Speak into carcase; some I'll look to death;
Others I'll breathe to dust: none shall hold back
This fatal arm. The Templars shall not dare
T' attempt a rescue; no mild words shall bury
My splitted, spitchcock'd——
Slicer. Oliv'd,[143] hash'd——
Hear. Dri'd, powder'd——
Have. Roasted fury. [Exeunt.


Meanwell, Moth.

Mean. If what I speak prove false, then stigmatise me.
[Pg 240]
Moth.[144] I was not what you mean; depardieu,[145]
You snyb[146] mine old years, sans fail I wene[147] you bin
A jangler[148] and a golierdis.[149]
Mean. I swear
By those two Janus' heads you had of us,
And your own too, as reverend as those,
There is one loves you that you think not on.
Moth. Nad be, none pleasaunce is to me ylaft,[150]
This white top writeeth much my years, i-wis,
My fire yreken is in ashen cold.[151]
I can no whit of dalliance: if I kissen,
These thick stark bristles of mine beard will pricken
[Pg 241] Ylike the skin of hound-fish. Sikerly[152]
What wends against the grain is lytherly.[153]
Mean. Methinks y' are strong enough and very lusty,
Fit to get heirs: among your other pieces
Of age and time let one young face be seen
May call you father.
Moth. Wholesome counsel! But
The world is now full tickle[154] sykerly;
'Tis hard to find a damosel unwenned;[155]
They being all coltish and full of ragery,[156]
And full of gergon[157] as is a flecken[158] pie.
Whoso with them maketh that bond anon,
Which men do clyppen[159] spousail or wedlock,
Saint Idiot is his lord, i-wis.
Mean. This is
No tender and wanton thing; she is a staid
And settled widow, one who'll be a nurse
Unto you in your latter days.
Moth. A norice[160]
Some dele ystept in age! So mote[161] I gone,
This goeth aright: how highteth[162] she, say you?
Mean. Mistress Joan Potluck, vintner Potluck's widow.
Moth. Joan Potluck, spinster? Lore me o' thing mere
Alouten: what time 'gan she brendle thus?
Mean. On Thursday morning last.
Moth. Y' blessed Thursday,
Ycleped so from Thor the Saxon's god.
Ah, benedicite! I might soothly sayn,
[Pg 242] Mine mouth hath itched all this livelong day;
All night me met[163] eke, that I was at kirk;
My heart gan quapp[164] full oft. Dan Cupido
Sure sent thylke sweven[165] to mine head.
Mean. You shall
Know more, if you'll walk in. [Exit Meanwell.
Moth. Wend you beforne;
Kembeth[166] thyself, and pyketh[167] now thyself;
Sleeketh thyself; make cheer much digne,[168] good Robert:
I do arret thou shalt acquainted bin
With nymphs and fauns, and hamadryades:
And yeke the sisterne nine Pierides
That were transmued into birds, nemp'd[169] pyes
Metamorphoseos wot well what I mean:
I is as jollie now as fish in Seine. [Exeunt.


Hearsay, Caster, Shape.

Hear. Can I lie hid nowhere securely from
The throng and press of men? Must every place
Become a theatre, where I seek shelter,
And solitudes become markets, 'cause I'm there?
Good sir, I know your tricks; you would entrap:
This is your snare, not your request.
Shape. Take heed;
He's nois'd about for a deep-searching head.
I'll pawn my life 'tis a trick.
Hear. Leave off these gins,
You do not do it handsomely. You think
[Pg 243] Y' have met with fools, I warrant.
Shape. On my life, a spy, a mere informer.
Cas. As I hope
For fortunes, my intentions are most fair.
Shape. A gamester's oath! he hath some reservation.
Hear. Yet did I think you true——
Cas. By all that's good,
You do me wrong, to think that I'd wrong you.
Hear. When I lay agent last in New Atlantis,
I met with, what you now desire, a strange
New way of winning, but yet very sure.
Were not the danger great, I'd——
Cas. Do you think
I will betray myself or you, whom I
Esteem above myself? I have as yet
One hundred left, some part of which——
Shape. Faith, sir,
These times require advice: if it should come
Unto the council's ear once, he might be
Sent into other kingdoms, to win up
Money for the relief o' th' state, and so
Be as it were an honest kind of exile.
Cas. If I do e'er discover, may I want
Money to pay my ordinary: may I
At my last stake (when there is nothing else
To lose the game) throw ames-ace[170] thrice together!
I'll give you forty pound in hand——
Hear. I may
Show you the virtue of't, though not the thing:
I love my country very well. Your high
And low men are but trifles;[171] your pois'd dye,
[Pg 244] That's ballasted with quicksilver or gold,
Is gross to this——
Shape. Proffer him more, I say. [Aside.
Cas. Here's fifty——
Hear. For the bristle dye, it is
Not worth that hand that guides it: toys fit only
For clerks to win poor costermongers' ware with.
Shape. You do not come on well. [Aside.
Cas. Here's threescore——
Hear. Then
Your hollowed thumb join'd with your wriggled box—
The slur and suchlike are not to be talk'd of;
They're open to the eye. For cards, you may
Without the help of any secret word
Or a false hand, without the cut or shuffle,
Or the pack'd trick, have what you will yourself;
There's none to contradict you.
Cas. If you please
But to instruct me, here is fourscore pound.
Hear. Do you think 'tis money I esteem? I can
Command each term by art as much as will
Furnish a navy. Had you but five pound
Left you in all the world, I'd undertake
Within one fortnight you should see five thousand.
Not that I covet any of your dross,
But that the power of this art may be
More demonstrably evident, leave in
My hands all but some smaller sum to set,
Something to stake at first.
[Pg 245]
Shape. He'll tell you all,
If you but seem to trust him. [Aside.
Cas. Here I'll lay
Down in your hands all but this little portion,
Which I reserve for a foundation.
Hear. Being y' are confident of me, and I
Presume your lips are sealed up to silence,
Take that, which I did never yet discover:
So help you fortune, me philosophy.
(I must intreat your absence, Master Shape.) [Exit Shape.
I do presume you know the strength and power
That lies in fancy.
Cas. Strange things are done by it.
Hear. It works upon that which is not as yet:
The little Ethiop infant would have been
Black in his cradle,[172] had he not been first
White in the mother's strong imagination.
[Pg 246] 'Tis thought the hairy child, that's shown about,
Came by the mother's thinking on the picture
Of Saint John Baptist in his camel's coat.
See we not beasts conceive, as they do fancy
The present colours plac'd before their eyes?
We owe pied colts unto the varied horse-cloth,
And the white partridge to the neighbouring snow.
Fancy can save or kill: it hath clos'd up
Wounds,[173] when the balsam could not; and without
The aid of salves, to think hath been a cure.
For witchcraft then, that's all done by the force
Of mere imagination. That which can
Alter the course of nature, I presume,
You'll grant shall bear more rule in petty hazards.
Cas. It must, it must, good sir. I pray, go on.
Hear. Now the strongest fancies still are found to dwell
In the most simple; they being easiest won
To the most firm belief, who understand not
Why[174] 'tis they do believe. If they think 'twill
Be so, it will be so: they do command
And check the course of fortune: they may stop
Thunder, and make it stand, as if arrested
In its mid-journey. If that such a one
Shall think you'll win, you must win: 'tis a due,
That nature pays those men in recompense
Of her deficiency that, whate'er they think,
Shall come to pass. But now the hardest will be
To find out one that's capable of thinking.
Cas. I know you can produce an instrument
To work this your design by: let me owe you
The whole and entire courtesy.
Hear. I've one
Committed to my custody but lately,
[Pg 247] The powerfull'st that way I e'er found yet:
He will but think he shall be abus'd in such
A company, and he's abus'd: he will
Imagine only that he shall be cheated,
And he is cheated: all still comes to pass.
He's but one pin above a natural: but——
Cas. We'll purchase him; I'll take up for't. Old Simon
Shall have my farm outright now. What's a piece
Of dirty earth to me? a clod! a turf!
Hear. Because I see your freer nature's such
As doth deserve supplies, I'll do my best
To win him o'er awhile into your service.
Cas. If I should strive to pay you thanks, I should
But undervalue this great courtesy.
Sir, give me leave to think and worship. Stay:
First, will I beggar all the gentlemen
That do keep terms; then build with what I win.
Next, I'll undo all gaming citizens,
And purchase upon that. The foreman shall
Want of his wonted opportunities;
Old Thomas shall keep home, I warrant him.
I will ascend to the groom-porters next,
Fly higher games, and make my mincing knights
Walk musing in their knotty freeze abroad;
For they shall have no home. There shall not be
That pleasure but I'll balk: I'll run o'er Nature;
And when I've ransack'd her, I'll weary art:
My means, I'm sure, will reach it. Let me see,
'Twill yearly be—by heaven, I know not what——
Hear. Ne'er think to sum it, 'tis impossible:
You shall ne'er know what angels, pieces, pounds,
Those names of want and beggary, mean: your tongue
Shall utter nought but millions; you shall measure,
Not count your moneys; your revenues shall
[Pg 248] Be proud and insolent, and unruly;
They shall increase above your conquer'd spendings,
In spite of their excess. Your care shall be
Only to tame your riches, and to make them
Grow sober and obedient to your use.
Cas. I'll send some forty thousand unto Paul's;
Build a cathedral next in Banbury;[175]
Give organs to each parish in the kingdom;
And so root out th' unmusical elect.
I'll pay all soldiers, whom their captains won't;
Raise a new hospital for those maim'd people
That have been hurt in gaming: then build up
All colleges that ruin hath demolish'd,
Or interruption left unperfect.
Hear. 'Twill
Never be done, I think, unless you do it.
Provide the wealthiest gamesters: there's but one
That can do us wrong—discovery.
You have no enemy but frailty.
Cas. Night
And silence are loud names compar'd with me.
Hear. I see the tide of fortune rolling in
Without resistance. Go, be close and happy. [Exeunt.


Andrew, Meanwell.

And. Upon my conscience, now he cheated me;
I could have never lost it else so strangely.
Mean. What is a paltry cloak to a man of worth?
[Pg 249]
It barr'd men only o' th' sight of your body;
Your handsomeness will now appear the better.
And. He was as like our Master Shape as could be;
But that he had a patch upon his cheek
And a black beard, I should have sworn 'twere he:
It was somebody in his clothes, I'm sure.
Mean. Some cunning cheater, upon my life, won
His cloak and suit too!
And. There it is for certain,
Pyes take him! doth he play for cloaks still? Surely
He hath a fly only to win good clothes.

Enter Shape.

Shape. The pox and plague take all ill-fortune! this
The second time that he hath cheated me;
My very best suit that I had!
And. How now!
What, lost your cloak and suit? A jest, I vow;
I vow, a pretty jest. 'Odsnigs, I guess'd so;
I saw him have it on: it made him look as like you,
As like you—'tis a rogue, a mere decoy. [Aside.
Shape. A rogue, a mere decoy! and yet like
And. Nay, hold, I mean he is a rogue, when that
He hath his own clothes on. D' y' think that I
Would call him so when he is in your suit?
Shape. No more of that, good Andrew, as you love me;
Keep in your wit.
[Pg 250]
And. Speak, tutor, do I use
To quarrel? Speak, good tutor.
Mean. That wit, Andrew,
Of yours will be th' undoing of you, if
You use't no better.
And. Faith, I thought I might
Have broke a witty jest upon him, being
I've lost my cloak.
Mean. True; but he has lost his too,
And then you know that is not lawful wit.

Enter Hearsay.

Hear. Here's Master Credulous and old Sir Thomas;
They have some business with you.
Mean. Bring 'em in.
Shape. My business lies not here, sirs, fare you well.

[Exit Shape.

And. For God's sake, don't you tell old Sim on't, now.


To them Sir Thomas Bitefig, Credulous.

Mean. God save you, good Sir Thomas.
Sir T. Save you, sir.
Mean. Your welcome, Master Credulous.
Cre. Come hither:
Whither do you steal now? What! Where's your cloak?
And. Going to foils e'en now, I put it off.
Mean. To tell you truth, he hath lost it at doublets.
Cre. With what a lie you'd flap me in the mouth!
Thou hast the readiest invention
[Pg 251] To put off anything: thou hadst it from
Thy mother, I'll be sworn: 't ne'er came from me.
Mean. Peace, as you love yourself: if that the knight
Should once perceive that he were given to gaming,
'Twould make him break the match off presently.
Cre. Sir Thomas, here's my son; he may be yours,
If you please to accept him.
And. Father, don't
Give me away for this: try me once more.
Sir T. I like his person well enough, if that
You'll make him an estate convenient.
Mean. He hath more in him, sir, than he can show.
He hath one fault: he's something covetous.
Sir T. Marry, a very commendable fault.
Cre. He is descended of no great high blood:
He hath a house, although he came of none.
His grandfather was a good livery-man,
Paid scot and lot, old Timothy Credulous
My father—though I say it, that should not.
Sir T. I don't regard this thing that you call blood;
'Tis a mere name, a sound.
Mean. Your worship speaks
Just like yourself: methinks he's noble
That's truly rich. Men may talk much of lines,
Of arms, of blood, of race, of pedigree:
Houses, descents and families; they are
But empty noise, God knows; the idle breath
Of that puff nothing, honour; formal words,
Fit for the tongues of men that ne'er knew yet
What stem, what gentry, nay, what virtue lies
In great revenues.
Sir T. Well and pithy said!
You may work on my daughter, and prevail
For that young stripling. 'Tis a foolish wench,
An unexperienc'd girl; she'd like to have been
[Pg 252] Caught by Sir Robert Littleworth's son, if that
I had not banish'd him my house; a youth
Honest enough, I think, but that he's poor;
Born to more name than fortune.
Cre. He is safe
For ever wooing. I have laid his father
Out of harm's way; there's picking meat for him,
And God knows where he's gone: he hath not been
Seen this long while; he's, sure, turn'd vagabond;
No sight of him since the arrest of his father.
Andrew, address yourself to good Sir Thomas.
And. 'Slid, father, you're the strangest man—I won't.
Cre. As God shall mend me, thou'rt the proudest thing——
Thou can'st not compliment, but in caparisons.
And. What's that to you? I'd fain say something yet,
But that I can't, my losses do so vex me.
Cre. Come, think not on't, my boy; I'll furnish thee.
And. Sir, though——
Cre. Nay, to't, I say: help him, sir, help him.
And. Sir, though without my cloak at this time—
To-morrow I shall have one—give me leave
Barely to say I am your servant, sir——
In hose and doublet.
Cre. I'll do what you told me.
Hear. Take heed: if that you do't, he'll guess you're given
To idle spendings, and so cross the match.
I will invite him as to myself.
Cre. Do so.
Hear. Sir Thomas, if you'll please so far to grace us,
As be a guest to-morrow here, we shall
Study hereafter to deserve the favour.
[Pg 253]
Sir T. Although I do not use to eat at ordinaries;
Yet to accept your courtesy, good friends,
I'll break my wonted custom.
Hear. You shall have it
With a free heart.
Sir T. If I thought otherwise,
I do assure you, I'd not venture hither. [Exeunt.


[137] i.e., Prize [or acquisition.]—Collier.

[138] March-pane was a confection made of pistachio nuts, almonds, sugar, &c., formerly in high esteem, and a constant article in the deserts of our ancestors. See the notes of Dr Gray, Mr Hawkins, and Mr Steevens, to "Romeo and Juliet," act i. sc. 5.

[139] This is called a St Stephen's pudding: it used formerly to be provided at St John's College, Cambridge, uniformly on St Stephen's day.—Pegge.

[140] See [Suckling's Works, by Hazlitt, ii. 33.]

[141] Or, caveare. Giles Fletcher, in his "Russe Commonwealth," 1591, p. 11, says: "In Russia they have divers kinds of fish, very good and delicate: as the Bellouga or Bellougina, of four or five elnes long; the Ostrina or Sturgeon, but not so thicke nor long. These four kinds of fish breed in the Volgha, and are catched in great plenty, and served thence into the whole realme for a great food. Of the roes of these foure kinds, they make very great store of Icary, or caveary."

The introduction of these foreign delicacies is ridiculed by several writers of the times; as Ben Jonson's "Cynthia's Revels," act iii. sc. 1: "Come; let us go and taste some light dinner, a dish of sliced caviare, or so."

And in Marston's "What you Will," act ii. sc. 1—

"A man can scarce put on a tuckt-up cap,
A button'd frizado sute; scarce eate good meate,
Anchovies, caviare, but hee's satired,
And term'd phantasticall."

[142] The malacoton is one of the late peaches. So in Ben Jonson's "Bartholomew Fair"—

"A soft velvet head like a mellicotton."


[143] Olived is a term of cookery. In Murrell's "New Book of Cookery," [1630,] is a receipt to make an olive-pie to be eaten hot. Olives are collops of any meat.—Steevens.

[144] Cartwright has fetched most of his antiquated terms from Chaucer. I have therefore given the explanation of them from Mr Tyrwhitt's excellent glossary on that author.

[145] [For God's sake.]

[146] Snub, reprove.—T.

[147] Think, suppose.—T.

[148] A prater.—T.

[149] Fr. Goliardus, or Goliardensis, Lat. "This jovial sect seems to have been so called from Golias, the [representative] name of a man of wit, toward the end of the 12th century, [under which pass] "Apocalypsis Goliæ" and other pieces, in burlesque Latin rhymes, some of which have been falsely attributed to Walter Mapes. In several authors of the 13th century, quoted by Du Cange, the Goliardi are classed with the joculatores or buffones."—T. [See "Poems of Walter Mapes," edit. Wright, p. ix. et seq.]

[150] Left.—T.

[151] So in Chaucer's "Reve's Prologue," v. 3880—

"Yet in our ashen cold is fire yreken."

On this last line Mr Tyrwhitt observes: "There is so great a resemblance between this line and the following in 'Gray's Elegy,' [edit. Mitford, i. 106]—

"Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires,"

that I should certainly have considered the latter as an imitation, if Mr Gray himself had not referred us to the 169 (170) sonnet of Petrarch, as his original 'Ch'i veggio nel pensier,' &c.

[152] Surely.—T.

[153] Very ill.—T.

[154] Uncertain.—T.

[155] Unspotted.—T.

[156] Wantonness.—T.

[157] Jargon, chattering.—T.

[158] Spotted.—T.

[159] Call, name.—T.

[160] A nurse.—T.

[161] [Might.]

[162] Is she called.—T.

[163] Dreamed.—T.

[164] Tremble or quake.—T.

[165] Dream.—T.

[166] Combeth.—T.

[167] Pick as a hawk does his feathers.—T.

[168] Worthy.—T.

[169] Named.—T.

[170] ["Both aces, the lowest throw upon the dice."—Dyce's "Shakespeare Glossary," 1868.]

[171] High men and low men are false dice. See Florio's "Dictionary," 1598, v. Pise. These terms so very oft occur in our ancient dramatic writers, that to quote examples would be endless.

[172] The epithet black does not agree with Sir Kenelm Digby's "Discourse touching the Cure of Wounds by the Power of Sympathy," 4th edition, 1664, p. 104: "I told her sundry stories upon this subject; as that of the Queen of Ethiopia, who was delivered of a white boy; which was attributed to a picture of the Blessed Virgin, which she had always near the tester of her bed, whereunto she bore great devotion. I urged another, of a woman who was brought to bed of a child all hairy, because of a portrait of St John the Baptist in the wilderness, where he wore a coat of camel's hair."

Perhaps the original reading is the true one, and the corruption lies in the former line. I would read—

"It works upon that which is not as yet:
The little Ethiop infant would have been
Black in his cradle, had he not been first
White in the mother's strong imagination."

The compositor's eye might have caught had not from the following line—a very common accident. Without this emendation we have too much of not and had not in the course of three verses.—Steevens's note (altered.) [Cartwright and Digby probably derived the story of the Ethiop mother and her white offspring from a common source; but Digby's work was not published till several years after Cartwright's death.]

[173] See Sir Kenelm Digby's "Discourse," p. 6.

[174] [Old copy, who. Mr Collier's correction.]

[175] From Bishop Corbet's "Iter Boreale," this town appears to have been inhabited chiefly by Puritans. Mr Dodd, mentioned in act iv. sc. 3, was minister there.


Moth. Harrow,[176] alas! I swelt[177] here as I go;
Brenning[178] in fire of little Cupido.
I no where hoart yfeel but on mine head.
Huh, huh, huh, so; ycapred very wele.
I am thine leek, thou Chaucer eloquent;
Mine head is white, but, O, mine taile is green.
This is the palyes, where mine lady wendeth.
Saint Francis[179] and Saint Benedight,
Blesse this house from wicked wight;
From the night-mare and the goblin,
That is hight Good-fellow Robin;
Keep it from all evil spirits,
Fairies, weazels, rats, and ferrets:
From curfew-time
To the next prime.
Come forth, mine duck, mine bride, mine honeycomb;
[Pg 254] Come forth, mine cinnamon.

Enter Mistress Potluck.

Pot. Who is't that calls?
Moth. A knight most gent.
Pot. What is your pleasure, sir?
Moth. Thou art mine pleasure, by dame Venus brent;
So fresh thou art, and therewith so lycand.[180]
Pot. Alas! I am not any flickering thing:
I cannot boast of that slight-fading gift
You men call beauty; all my handsomeness
Is my good-breeding and my honesty.
I could plant red where you now yellow see;
But painting shows an harlot.
Moth. Harlot! so
Called from one Harlotha, concubine
To deignous[181] Wilhelm, hight the Conqueror.
Pot. Were he ten Williams and ten conquerors,
I'd have him know't, I scorn to be his harlot.
I never yet did take press-money to
Serve under any one.
Moth. Then take it now.
Werme kiss! Thine lips ytaste like marrow-milk;
Me-thinketh that fresh butter runneth on them.
I grant well now, I do enduren woe,
As sharp as doth the Tityus in hell,
Whose stomach fowls do tyren[182] ever more,
That highten vultures, as do tellen clerks.
Pot. You've spoke my meaning, though I do not know
What 'tis you said. Now see the fortune on't;
We do know one another's souls already;
[Pg 255] The other must needs follow. Where's your dwelling?
Moth. Yclose by Aldersgate there dwelleth one
Wights clepen Robert Moth; now Aldersgate[183]
Is hoten so from one that Aldrich hight;
Or else of elders, that is, ancient men;
Or else of aldern-trees, which growden there;
Or else, as heralds say, from Aluredus:
But whencesoe'er this yate[184] ycalled is,
There dwelleth Robert Moth, thine paramour.
Pot. Can you be constant unto me, as I
Can be to you?
Moth. By Woden, god of Saxons,
From whence comes We'nsday, that is, Woden'sday,
Truth is a thing that ever I will keep,
Unto thylke day in which I creep into
My sepulchre; I'll be as faithful to thee,
As Chaunticleer to Madam Partelot.[185]
Pot. Here then I give away my heart to you;
As true a heart as ever widow gave.
Moth. I Robert Moth, this tenth [year] of our king,[186]
Give to thee, Joan Potluck, my bigg'st cramp-ring:[187]
And with it my carcase entire I bequeathen
[Pg 256] Under my foot to hell, above my head to heaven;
And to witnesse[188] that this is sooth,
I bite thy red lip with my tooth.
Pot. Though for a while our bodies now must part,
I hope they will be join'd hereafter.
Moth. O!
And must we part? Alas! and must we so?
[Pg 257] Sin it may be no bet,[189] now gang in peace.

[Exit Potluck.

Though soft into my bed I gin to sink
To sleep long as I'm wont to done,[190] yet all
Will be for nought; I may well lig and wink,
But sleep shall there none in this heart ysink. [Exit.


Credulous, and Shape dogging him.

Cre. So now the mortgage is mine own outright;
I swear by the faith of my body now,
It is a pretty thing—o' my corporal oath,
A very pretty thing. Besides the house,
Orchards, and gardens, some two hundred acres
Of land, that beareth as good country corn,
For country corn, as may be.
Shape. As I'd have it.
Cre. How now, good friend? Where dost thou live?
Dost thou know Caster's farm?
Shape. Yes, sir; I fear 'tis gone:
Sure, Caster's farm is cast away!
Cre. A jest!
Good troth, a good one of a country one;
I see there's wit there too. Then thou dost know it?
Shape. I am afraid I shall not know it long;
I shall lose my acquaintance.
Cre. 'Snigs, another!
A very perilous head! a dangerous brain!
[Pg 258]
Shape. God bless my master, and the devil take
Somebody else.
Cre. Um! that's not quite so good
As th' other two; that somebody else is me:
Now you shall see how he'll abuse me here
To mine own face. [Aside.] Why somebody else, good brother?
Shape. The rich gout rot his bones! An hungry, old,
Hard-griping citizen, that only feeds
On heirs' and orphans' goods, they say must have it:
One that ne'er had the wisdom to be honest,
And's therefore knave, 'cause 'tis the easier art.
I know he hath not given half the worth on't:
'Tis a mere cheat.
Cre. 'Slid, brother, thou hast paid him
To th' utmost, though he hath not paid thy master.
Now is my wit up too. This land, I see,
Will make men thrive i' th' brain. [Aside.
Shape. Would he were here,
Whoe'er he be, I'd give him somewhat more
Into the bargain: a base, thin-jaw'd sneaksbill,
Thus to work gallants out of all! It grieves me,
That my poor tenement too goes into th' sale.
Cre. What have I done? Now, wit, deliver me!
If he know I am he, he'll cut my throat;
I never shall enjoy it. [Aside.] Sure, it was
Your master's seeking, friend; he would ne'er else
Have had to do with it: he that bought it is
A very honest man, and if you please him,
Will deal with you. I may speak a word
In your behalf; 'twon't be the worse for you.
Shape. I'm going, sir, unto him; do you know
Where I may find him?
[Pg 259]
Cre. What if I am he?
Shape. I am afraid he is not half so honest
As you do seem.
Cre. Faith, I'm the same. I tried
What metal thou wast made of: I perceive
Thou wilt not flinch for th' wetting;[191] thou may'st be
My bailiff there, perhaps.
Shape. An't please your worship! [Aside.
Cre. So now the case is alter'd.
Shape. I do know
It was my master's seeking; you would ne'er
Have had to do with't else. He sent me to you
For the last hundred pound by the same token
That you invited him to th' eating-house.
Cre. O, this simplicity! He does not know
Yet what an ordinary means. [Aside.] I was now coming
To have paid it in.
Shape. I'll save your worship that
Labour, an't please you. Let me now begin
My bailiffship.
Cre. 'Snigs, wiser yet than so.
Where is thy master?
Shape. Sir, my master's here,
I thank my stars; but Master Caster is
At an horse-race some ten miles off.
Cre. Why, then,
I'll stay till he returns: 'twill be by dinner.
Shape. Your best way's now to send it: if by chance
The race go on his side, your worship may
Fail of your purchase.
Cre. 'Snigs, and that's considerable.
Here, here, make haste with it; but, ere thou goest,
Tell me, is it a pretty thing?
[Pg 260]
Shape. O' my corporal oath,
A very pretty thing. Besides the house,
Orchards, and gardens, some two hundred acres
Of land that beareth as good country corn—
God give you luck on't!
Cre. Right, as I did say,
Ev'n word by word. But prythee, stay a little;
What meadow-ground's there? Pasture in proportion?
Shape. As you would wish, sir, I'm in haste.
Cre. Nay, bailiff,
But one word more, and I have done: what place
Is there to dry wet linen in?
Shape. O, twenty,
To hang up clothes or anything you please;
Your worship cannot want line-room. God be wi' you!
Cre. But this once, and—
Shape. I must be gone—The race! [Exit Shape.
Cre. Little think'st thee, how diligent thou art
To little purpose. 'Snigs, I pity him:
What haste he makes to cheat himself, poor fool!
Now I am safe, the wretch must pardon me
For his poor tenement; all's mine. I'll sow
One ground or other every month with pease;
And so I will have green ones all the year.
These yeomen have no policy i' th' world. [Exit.


Priscilla, Meanwell.

Pris. Pray y', entertain yourself awhile, until
I give my mistress notice of your presence.
I'd leave a book with you, but that I see
You are a gentleman: perhaps you'll find
Some pretty stories in the hangings there.
[Pg 261]
Mean. Thank you, sweetheart.
Pris. A very proper man! [Aside.
If't lie in me to do you any pleasure,
Pray you, sir, use me; you shall find me ready.

[Exit Priscilla.

Mean. I make no doubt of that. These implements,
These chamber-properties are such ripe things,
They'll fall with the least touch: from twelve to twenty
They think that others are to sue to them;
When once they've pass'd these limits, they make bold—
I cannot say to woo, that's something modest—
But ask downright themselves.

Enter Mistress Jane.

Jane. Leave us, Priscilla,
And wait without awhile.
Mean. Fair mistress, pardon
The boldness of a stranger, who uncivilly
Thus interrupts your better thoughts.
Jane. May I
Demand your business?
Mean. Under favour thus:
Not to use farther circumstance, fair virgin
(And yet less fair, 'cause virgin), you are one
That are the thought, the care, the aim, the strife—
I should not err, if I should say the madness—
Of all young men: all sighs, all folded arms,
All o'ercast looks, all broken sleeps are ow'd
Only to you.
Jane. I'm sorry I should be
A trouble unto any: if I could
Afford the remedy as well as now
I do your grief, assure yourself that cure
Shall be the birth of my next action.
[Pg 262]
Mean. That cure is my request. If that this were
Mine own suit, I had us'd no circumstance.
Young Master Credulous, a proper man—
For sure he shall be rich—one whom the whole
List of our city virgins doat on—you
Conceive the rest, I know.
Jane. Alas! what ails him?
I'll not be slack to do him any good.
Mean. 'Tis in your power. He is very much,
If you will know't—but, sure, you will not grant
If I should tell you.
Jane. If you thus presume
That I am hard, you only ask denial;
Your expectation's cross'd, except you fail.
Mean. If you will know it, then, he is in love.
Jane. I pity him indeed, poor heart. With whom?
Mean. Even with your beauteous self.
Jane. 'Tis not well done
To scoff one ne'er did injure you.
Mean. I vow
By all that's good, by your fair self, I am
As tender of you as that bless'd one is,
Whoe'er he be, that loves you most. If I
In any case abuse you, let me be
More miserable than Littleworth.
Jane. Is he become expression?[192] Is his fate
The period of ill-wishes? Sure, he never
Deserv'd so ill from you!
Mean. I don't reflect
Upon his ruin'd fortunes, but your coldness;
And, sure, I may call him unhappy whom
You do neglect.
Jane. That man, where'er he be,
[Pg 263]
Is happier than yourself; and were he here,
You should see him receiv'd, and yourself scorn'd.
Mean. I do not think so, lady; sure, you would
Make more of me than so. I'll bring the man,
And so confute you.
Jane. It may be I might
Love you the better something for that office,
If he might enter here.
Mean. Nay, I could tell
Y' had cast him off: alas! you need not hide it:
I have it from himself.
Jane. Doth he think so? Could I but see him——
Mean. If his sight can bring
But the least joy unto you—as perhaps
You'll take some pleasure in his misery—
You shall enjoy it.
Jane. I do fear you promise
Only to raise my hopes awhile, and then
To triumph in their ruin.
Mean. That you may
See how my breast and tongue agree, I'll leave
This ring with you, till I return again.
Jane. My Littleworth! Fool that I was, could I
Not all this while perceive 'twas thee? Why didst thou
Defer my joy thus long by suffering me
To stand i' th' cloud?
Mean. Alas! I guess'd I'd been
Infectious to thee now; that thou wouldst look
On a disease more mildly than on me;
For poverty is counted a contagion.
Jane. I call this kiss to witness—which I wish,
If I prove false, may be the last to me
Which friends pay dying friends—I ne'er will be
Other's than thine.
Mean. I like the vow so well,
[Pg 264] That the same way I'll seal my promise too.
If I prove not as thou (that is, most constant),
May this kiss be—that I may wish it worse,
Than that which is due to departing souls—
The last that I shall take from thee. I am
Sent here, but yet unknown to them that send me,
To be another's spokesman: the man is
That foolish son of Master Credulous.
Thou must pretend some liking. 'Twas thy father
Granted me this access to win thee for him:
Be thou no way averse; 't shall be my care
So to bring things about that thou shalt be
Mine by consent in spite of misery.
Jane. Be secret, and love prosper thy design!

[Exit Jane.

Mean. Happy that man that meets such faithfulness!
I did not think it had been in the sex.
I know not now what's misery. Peace! my fair [Music.
Is hallowing the lute with her bless'd touch.

A Song within.

1. Come, O, come, I brook no stay:
He doth not love that can delay.
See how the stealing night
Hath blotted out the light,
And tapers do supply the day.
2. To be chaste is to be old;
And that foolish girl that's cold
Is fourscore at fifteen:
Desires do write us green,
And looser flames our youth unfold.
Mean. 'T cannot be her, her voice was ne'er profan'd
With such immodest numbers.
[Pg 265]
3. See, the first taper's almost gone;
Thy flame like that will straight be none,
And I as it expire,
Not able to hold fire:
She loseth time that lies alone.
Mean. 'Tis the breath
Of something troubled with virginity.
4. O, let us cherish then these powers,
Whiles we yet may call them ours:
Then we best spend our time,
When no dull zealous chime,
But sprightful kisses strike the hours.

Enter Priscilla.

Mean. What dost thou mean?
Pris. Only to please you, sir.
Mean. Sweetest of things, was't thou? I' faith, I guess'd
'T could be no other's melody but yours.
There have been many of your sex much given
Unto this kind of music.
Pris. Sappho was
Excellent at it; but Amphion he—
He was the man that outdid all: 'tis said
Of him that he could draw stones with the sound
Of his sweet strings. I'd willingly arrive
At some perfection in the quality.
Mean. I do acknowledge your desires most prone.
This for your trouble.
Pris. I am not mercenary;
Your acceptation is reward enough.
Mean. You have it, then.
Pris. Beauty go with you, sir. [Exeunt several ways.

[Pg 266]


Credulous, Hearsay, Slicer; to them Sir Thomas Bitefig, Have-at-all, Caster, as to the Ordinary.

Cre. You're welcome, friends, as I may say——
Hear. You do forget——
Cre. That am a guest as well as you.
Slicer. Most noble sons of fortune and of valour,
You grace us with your presence: you must pardon
Our small provision.
Hear. No variety here,
But you, most noble guests, whose gracious looks
Must make a dish or two become a feast.
Have. I'll be as free as 'twere mine own.
Cas. Who thinks
On anything that borders upon sadness,
May he ne'er know what's mirth, but when others
Laugh at his sullen wrinkles.
Have. We will raise
A noise enough to wake an alderman,
Or a cast captain when the reck'ning is
About to pay.
Cre. Hang thinking; 'snigs, I'll be
As merry as a pismire. Come, let's in.
Slicer. Let's march in order military, sirs.
Have. That's well remember'd, most complete lieutenant.

[Exeunt as to the Ordinary.

[Pg 267]


Rhymewell, Bagshot, Vicar Catchmey, Sir Christopher.

Rhyme. Come, my most noble order of the club,
'Cause none will else, let's make much of ourselves:
His letter may procure a dinner yet.
Bag. Cheer up, Sir Kit, thou look'st too spiritually:
I see too much of the tithepig in thee.
Chris. I'm not so happy: Kit's as hungry now
As a besieged city, and as dry
As a Dutch commentator. This vile world
Ne'er thinks of qualities: good truth, I think
'T hath much to answer for. Thy poetry,
Rhymewell, and thy voice, Vicar Catchmey, and
Thy law too, Bagshot, is contemn'd: 'tis pity
Professions should be slighted thus. The day
Will come perhaps, when that the commonwealth
May need such men as we. There was a time
When cobblers were made churchmen; and those black'd
Smutch'd creatures thrust into white surplices,
Look'd like so many magpies, and did speak
Just as they [did], by rote. But now the land
Surfeits forsooth: poor labourers in divinity
Can't earn their groat a day, unless it be
Reading of the Christian burial for the dead;
When they, ev'n for that reason, truly thank
God for thus taking this their brother to him.
Catch. Something profane, Sir Christopher!
Chris. When I
Level my larger thoughts unto the basis
Of thy deep shallowness, am I profane?
[Pg 268] Henceforth I'll speak, or rather not speak, for
I will speak darkly.
Catch. There's one comfort then:
You will be brief!
Chris. My briefness is prolix.
Thy mind is bodily, thy soul corporeal,
And all thy subtle faculties are not subtle:
Thy subtlety is dulness. I am strong;
I will not be conceiv'd by such mechanics.
Rhyme. I do conceive you, though, Sir Christopher;
My muse doth sometimes take the selfsame flight.
Chris. Pauci, pauci quos æquus amavit.
But quadragesimal wits[193] and fancies, lean
As ember weeks (which therefore I call lean,
Because they're fat), these I do doom unto
A knowing ignorance: he that's conceiv'd
By such is not conceiv'd; sense is non-sense,
If understood by them. I'm strong again.
Rhyme. You err most orthodoxly, sweet Sir Kit.
Chris. I love that, though I hate it; and I have
A kind of disagreeing consent to't.
I'm strong, I'm strong again. Let's keep these two
In desperate hope of understanding us:
Riddles and clouds are very lights of speech.
I'll veil my careless anxious thoughts, as 'twere
In a perspicuous cloud, that I may
Whisper in a loud voice, and ev'n be silent,
When I do utter words. Words did I call them?
My words shall be no words, my voice no voice,
My noise no noise, my very language silence.
I'm strong, I'm strong. Good sir, you understand not!
[Pg 269]
Bag. Nor do desire: 'tis merely froth and barm,
The yeast that makes your thin small sermons work.
Chris. Thou hold'st thy peace most vocally. Again!
Catch. I hate this bilk.
Chris. Thou lov'st, 'cause thou dost hate:
Thy injuries are courtesies. Strong again!
Catch. Good Samson, use not this your ass's jaw-bone.
Chris. Thou'st got my love by losing it: that earnest
Jest hath regain'd my soul. Samson was strong;
He killed a thousand with an ass's jaw-bone,

Enter a Servant, as passing by.

And so will I. 'St! 'st!—good friend, d' y' hear?
Here is a letter, friend, to Master Meanwell.
Bag. Any reversions yet? Nothing transmiss'd?
Rhyme. No gleanings, James? No trencher-analects?[194]
Ser. Parley a little with your stomachs, sirs.
Catch. There's nothing so ridiculous as the hungry:
A fasting man is a good jest at any time.
Ser. There is a gentleman without, that will'd me
To ask if you'll admit of him among you:
He can't endure to be in good company.
Catch. You're merry, James. Yes, by all means, good James.
Admit, quoth he! What else? Pray, send him in. [Exit Servant.
Let's be resolv'd to fall out now; then he
Shall have the glory to compose the quarrel
[Pg 270] By a good dozen of pacifical beer.
Rhyme. Bag. Agreed, agreed.
Chris. My coat allows no quarrel.
Rhyme. The colour bears't, if you'll venture the stuff.
The tenderness of it, I do confess,
Somewhat denies a grappling.
Chris. I will try:
Perhaps my spirit will suggest some anger.

Enter Andrew.

And. Save you, boon sparks! Will't please you to admit me?
Chris. Your worship graceth us in condescending
To level thus your presence, noble[195] sir.
And. What may I call your name, most reverend sir?
Bag. His name's Sir Kit.
Chris. My name is not so short:
'Tis a trisyllable, an't please your worship;
But vulgar tongues have made bold to profane it
With the short sound of that unhallow'd idol
They call a kit. Boy, learn more reverence.
Bag. Yes, to my betters.
And. Nay, friends, do not quarrel.
Chris. It is the holy cause, and I must quarrel.
Thou son of parchment, got between the standish
And the stiff buckram-bag! thou, that may'st call
The pen thy father and the ink thy mother,
The sand thy brother and the wax thy sister,
And the good pillory thy cousin [once] remov'd—
[Pg 271] I say, learn reverence to thy betters.
Bag. Set up an hour-glass; he'll go on, until
The last sand make his period.
Chris. 'Tis my custom;
I do approve the calumny: the words
I do acknowledge, but not the disgrace,
Thou vile ingrosser of unchristian deeds.
Bag. Good Israel Inspiration, hold your tongue;
It makes far better music when you nose
Sternhold's or Wisdom's metre.[196]
Catch. By your leave,
You fall on me now, brother.
Rhyme. 'Tis by cause
You are too forward, brother Catchmey.
Catch. I too forward!
Rhyme. Yes, I say you are too forward—
By the length of your London-measure beard.
Catch. Thou never couldst entreat that respite yet
Of thy dishonesty as to get one hair
To testify thy age.
Bag. I'm beardless too;
I hope you think not so of me[197].
Chris. Yes, verily;
[Pg 272] Not one hair's difference betwixt you both.
Rhyme. Thou violent cushion-thumper, hold thy tongue;
The Furies dwell in it!
Catch. Peace, good Sir Kit.
Chris. Sir Kit again! thou art a Lopez. When
One of thy legs rots off (which will be shortly),
Thou'lt bear about a quire of wicked paper,
Defiled with [un]sanctified rhymes
And idols in the frontispiece—that I
May speak to thy capacity, thou'lt be
A ballad-monger.
Catch. I shall live to see thee
Stand in a playhouse door with thy long box,
Thy half-crown library, and cry small books.
Buy a good godly sermon, gentlemen—
A judgment shown upon a knot of drunkards:
A pill to purge out popery: The life
And death of Katharine Stubbs.[198]
Chris. Thou wilt visit windows.
Methinks I hear thee with thy begging tone,
About the break of day, waking the brethren
[Pg 273] Out of their morning-revelations.
And. Brave sport, i' faith!
Rhyme. Pray y', good sir, reconcile them.
If that same Justice be i' th' ordinary now,
He'll bind them to the peace for troubling him.
Bag. Why should he not, good sir? It is his office.
And. Now 'tis o' this side: O, for a pair of cudgels!
Rhyme. Peace, inkhorn; there's no music in thy tongue.
Catch. Thou and thy rhyme lie both: the tongue of man
Is born to music naturally.
Rhyme. Thou thing,
Thy belly looks like to some strutting hill,
O'ershadow'd with thy rough beard like a wood.
Chris. Or like a larger jug, that some men call
A Bellarmine, but we a Conscience;
Whereon the lewder hand of pagan workman
Over the proud ambitious head hath carv'd
An idol large with beard episcopal,
Making the vessel look like tyrant Eglon.
Catch. Profane again, Sir Christopher, I take it.
Chris. Must I be strong again? Thou human beast,
Who'rt only eloquent when thou say'st nothing,
And appear'st handsome while thou hid'st thyself,
I'm holy, 'cause profane.
And. Courageous rascals!
Brave spirits! soldiers in their days, I warrant!
Bag. Born in the field, I do assure your worship.
This quarrelling is meat and drink to them.
Rhyme. Thou liest.
[Pg 274]
Bag. Nay, then I do defy thee thus.

[Bagshot draws his inkhorn, and Rhymewell
catcheth off Sir Christopher's hat and

Rhyme. And thus I am prepar'd to answer thee.
Chris. For the good saint's sake, part them: I am blind,
If that my spectacles should once miscarry.
Rhyme. Caitiff, this holy instrument shall quail thee.
Bag. And this shall send thee to thy cousin furies.
Chris. I feel a film come o'er mine eyes already:
I must look out an animal conductive—
I mean a dog.
And. Pray y', beat not out his eyes in
Another's hands.
Chris. Most strongly urg'd!
Catch. Your words
Are merely wind. James, ho! what, James, some beer.
They're mastiff dogs; they wont be parted, sir,
Without good store of liquor.

Enter Servant, with beer.

And. I will souse them:
Ser. Drink to 'em, sir, if that you'll have 'em quiet.
And. Is that the way? Here's to you, my friends, a whole one.
Bag. Were't not for that good gentleman, thou'dst smoke for't.
Rhyme. Had I not vow'd some reverence to his presence,
Thou hadst been nothing.
[Pg 275]
Bag. 'Fore Mars, I was dry.
This valour's thirsty: fill to my antagonist.
Rhyme. No, mine own dish will serve; I'm singular.
Few vessels still do well. I carry this
To drink my beer, while others drink their sack.
I am abstemious Rhymewell: I hate wine,
Since I spake treason last i' th' cellar. Here,
Give me thy hand, thou child of fervency.
Didst thou mistrust thy spectacles?
It was no anger, 'twas a rapture merely.
Chris. Drink, and excuse it after. James, your help!
Come, man of voice, keep time, while that I drink.
This moisture shall dry up all injuries,
Which I'll remember only to forget;
And so hereafter, which I'm wont to call
The future now, I love thee stubbornly.
Your beer is like my words, strong, stinging gear.
Catch. Here, little lawyer, let's be friends hereafter;
I love this reconcilement with my heart.
And. 'Tis the best deed that e'er I did. O' my conscience,
I shall make a good justice of the peace.
There had been blood shed if I had not stickled.[199]
Ser. More blood been spill'd, I warrant, than beer now.
And. That inkhorn is a deadly dangerous weapon:
It hath undone one quarter of the kingdom.
Chris. Men should forgive; but thou art far, yea far
From it, O Bagshot: thou'rt in 'love with hate.
[Pg 276] Bless me! I see the fiend still in his looks;
He is not reconcilable with drink:
He'll ne'er love truly till he eat with me.
The nature of his spirit asketh meat;
He hath a wolf in's breast: food must appease him.
And. Cold meat will do it, will't not?
Rhyme. Anything
That may employ the teeth.
And. Go, James, provide.
You are not merry yet.
Catch. To satisfy you
In that point, we'll sing a song of his.
And. Let's ha't; I love these ballads hugeously.

The Song.

1. Catchmey.

Then our music is in prime,
When our teeth keep triple time;
Hungry notes are fit for knells.
May lankness be
No guest to me:
The bagpipe sounds when that it swells.
Chorus. May lankness, &c.

2. Bagshot.

A mooting-night[200] brings wholesome smiles,
When John-a-Nokes and John-a-Styles
Do grease the lawyer's satin.
[Pg 277]
A reading-day
Frights French away,
The benchers dare speak Latin.
Chorus. A reading, &c.

3. Rhymewell.

He that's full doth verse compose;
Hunger deals in sullen prose:
Take notice and discard her.
The empty spit
Ne'er cherish'd wit;
Minerva loves the larder.
Chorus. The empty spit, &c.

4. Christopher.

First to breakfast, then to dine,
Is to conquer Bellarmine:
Distinctions then are budding.
Old Sutcliff's wit[201]
Did never hit,
But after his bag-pudding.
Chorus. Old Sutcliffs wit, &c.
[Pg 278]
And. Most admirable! A good eating song!
Chris. Let's walk in and practise it; my bowels
Yearn till I'm in charity with all.
And. A christian resolution, good Sir Christopher!



Meanwell with a letter in his hand, Hearsay, Slicer.

Meanwell reads.

Sweet sir, I am most passionately yours,
To serve you all the ways I can: Priscilla.
Very well penn'd of a young chambermaid.
I do conceive your meaning, sweet Priscilla.
You see I have the happy fortune on't;
A night for nothing, and entreated, too.
Slicer. Thou dost not know how I do love thee. Let me
Make use of this; thou'lt have the like occasion.
[Pg 279]
Hear. Thou art the fawning'st fellow, Slicer! Meanwell,
Hark here.
Mean. For God's sake, be contented, sirs;
I'm flesh and blood as well as you. Lieutenant,
Think on your suburb beauties. Sweet intelligencer,
I will by no means bar you of your lady:
Your sin, I assure you, will be honourable. [Exit Meanwell.
Slicer. Pox o' your liquorish lips! If that she don't
After this sealing forty weeks, deliver
Something unto thee as thy act and deed,
Say I can't prophesy.
Hear. If I don't serve him
A trick he thinks not of——
Slicer. Didst mark how he
Did apply himself to the knight all dinner!
I am afraid he plays the cunning factor,
And in another's name wooes for himself.
Hear. Let it go on; let it work something farther:
'Tis almost ripe enough to crush. He hath not
Crept high enough as yet to be sensible
Of any fall.
Slicer. Now is the time, or never.
This night, you know, he and his doxy meet;
Let me alone to give them their good-morrow.
If that we carry things but one week longer
Without discovery, farewell London then:
The world's our own. He ne'er deserves to thrive
That doth not venture for it: wealth's then sweet,
When bought with hazard. Fate this law hath set;
The fool inherits, but the wise must get.

[Pg 280]


[176] [See Halliwell's Dictionary, v. Haro—the same word, and Littrè's French Dictionary. A case occurred a few years ago, in which the ancient Clameur de Haro was raised at Jersey, in the Presbyterian Church there. But the word is here employed as a mere ejaculation or exclamation, and, it must be added, without much propriety.]

[177] Faint.—T.

[178] Burning.—T.

[179] See notes to "Midsummer Night's Dream," act ii. sc. 1, [and "Popular Antiquities of Great Britain," 1870, iii. 39 et seq.]

[180] Agreeable, pleasing.

[181] Disdainful.—T.

[182] [Tear.]

[183] See Stowe's "Survey of London," Strype's edition, 1720, vol. I. bk. ii. p. 18.

[184] Gate.

[185] The name of Chaucer's cock and hen.—Steevens.

[186] So that this play was written in 1634.—Pegge.

[187] These rings were sometimes made out of the handles of decayed coffins, and in more ancient times were consecrated at the ceremony of creeping [to] the cross, of which an account is given in a note on the "Merry Devil of Edmonton," with reference to the observations of Dr Percy on the "Northumberland Household Book," 1512.—Steevens.

Cramp-rings were formerly worn as charms for curing of the cramp. See Brookes's "Natural History," vol. i. p. 206.—Pegge.

Andrew Borde, in his "Book of the Introduction of Knowledge," 1542, says: "The kynges of Englande ... doth halowe every yere crampe rynges, the which rynges worne on ones fynger doth helpe them the whyche hath the crampe." Dr Percy, in his notes on the "Northumberland Household Book," speaking of these rings observes "that our ancient kings even in those dark times of superstition, do not seem to have affected to cure the king's evil; at least in the MSS. above quoted there is no mention or hint of any power of that sort. This miraculous gift was left to be claimed by the Stuarts: our ancient Plantagenets were humbly content to cure the cramp." I cite this passage merely to remark that the learned editor of the above curious volume has been betrayed into a mistake by the manner in which the cramp rings are mentioned in Mr Anstis's MSS. The power of curing the king's evil was certainly claimed by many of the Plantagenets. The above Dr Borde, who wrote in the time of Henry VIII., says, "The kynges of England, by the power that God hath given to them, doth make sicke men whole of a sickness called the Kynges Evyll." In Laneham's "Account of the Entertainment of Kennilworth Castle," it is said, "And also by her highness accustomed mercy and charitee, nyne cured of the paynful and dangerous diseaz called the King's Evil, for that kings and queens of this realm withoout oother medsin (save only by handling and prayer) only doo cure it." Polydore Virgil asserts the same, and William Tooker, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, [1597,] published a book on this subject. For the knowledge of this last book I am obliged to Dr Douglas's excellent treatise, called "The Criterion," p. 191, &c.

[188] Alluding to the old way of biting the wax, usually red, in sealing deeds.—Pegge.

The form usually was this—

"And to witness this is sooth,
I bite the wax with my wang tooth."

See Cowell's "Interpreter," 1607.

[189] Better.—T.

[190] Do.—T.

[191] An allusion to the effects of water on cloth ill-woven.

[192] [A proverb, or bye-word.]

[193] i.e., Those who write the customary verses during the Lent season at Oxford.—Steevens.

[194] i.e., Scraps of anything; ἀναλέγω, colligo. Every one has heard of the collectanea and analecta poetarum.—Steevens.

[195] [The reading of the old copy is humble, which does not appear to agree at all with the context, since the parson addresses Andrew in a half-satirical strain of respect.]

[196] Robert Wisdom, a translator of the Psalms. Wood ("Athenæ Oxonienses," vol. i., "Fasti," p. 57) says he was "a good Latin and English poet of his time, and one that had been in exile in Queen Mary's reign. He was also rector of Settrington in Yorkshire, and died in 1568, having been nominated to a bishopric in Ireland in the time of Edward the 6th." His version of the Psalms is ridiculed in the "Remains of Samuel Butler," 1759, p. 41—

"Thence, with short meal and tedious grace,
In a loud tone and public place,
Sings Wisdom's Hymns, that trot and pace
As if Goliah scann'd 'em."

Again, p. 230: "Besides, when Rouse stood forth for his trial, Robin Wisdom was found the better poet." [Further particulars of Wisdom are to be found in Warton's Poetry, by Hazlitt, iv. 131.]

[197] [Old copy, my.]

[198] [Of these books the two former are not at present known by such titles. The third, the "Life of Mistress Katherine Stubs," by her husband, the celebrated Philip Stubs, was originally published in 1591, and went through many editions.] The Author observes, in the opening of the tract: "At fifteen years of age, her father being dead, her mother bestowed her in marriage upon one Master Philip Stubbes, with whom she lived four years and almost a half, very honestly and godly."

Richard Brome, in his play of "The Antipodes," act iii. sc. 2, mentions one of them in the following manner—

"A booke of the godly life and death
Of Mistress Katherine Stubs, which I have turn'd
Into sweet meetre, for the vertuous youth,
To woe an ancient lady widow with."

Again, Bishop Corbet in his "Iter Boreale," says—

"And in some barn hear cited many an author,
Kate Stubbs, Anne Ascue, or the Ladies Daughter."

[199] i.e., Been the mediator. The stickler now is called the sidesman. So in "Troilus and Cressida," act v. sc. 8—

"And, stickler-like, our armies separates."


[200] "Moot is a term used in the Inns-of-Court, and signifies the handling or arguing a case for exercise."—Blount.

For the regulations of Mooting and Reading-Days, see Dugdale's "Origines Juridiciales."

[201] This was Dr Matthew Sutcliff, Dean of Exeter, in the reign of King James I.; a person who had been one of the opponents of Parsons the Jesuit, in defence of the Reformed Religion. In the year 1616 he procured an Act of Parliament for incorporating himself and other divines to be provost and fellows of a college then founded at Chelsea, for promoting the study of polemic divinity, and vindicating the doctrines of the Reformation against all Popish writers. To carry this design into execution, he settled on the college four farms in Devonshire, of the value of £300 per annum, and the benefit of an extent on a statute, acknowledged by Sir Lewis Stukely, for £4000. By the Act of Parliament, the college was empowered to bring a stream of water from the river Lee for the use of the city of London a scheme similar to that then lately executed by Sir Hugh Middleton. This foundation, although patronised both by King James and his sons, Prince Henry and Charles I., yet fell to decay. One range of building only, scarce an eighth of the intended edifice, was erected by Dr Sutcliff, at the expense of £3000. After lingering some time, suits were commenced about the title to the very ground on which the college stood, and by a decree of the Court of Chancery, in the time of Lord Coventry, three of the four farms were returned to Dr Sutcliff's heir. See "The Glory of Chelsey Colledge Revived," by John Darly, 4o, 1662. Sutcliff's wit seems almost to have been proverbial. Beaumont, in his letter to Ben Jonson, says—

"'Tis liquor that will find out Sutcliff's wit,
Lie where he will, and make him write worse yet."


Credulous, Hearsay, Slicer.

Cre. My name's not Tribulation,
Nor holy Ananias:
I was baptiz'd in fashion,
Our vicar did hold bias.
Hear. What! how now, Master Credulous? so merry?
Cre. Come, let's be mad: by yea and nay, my son
Shall have the Turkish monarchy; he shall
Have it directly. The twelve companies
Shall be his kickshaws.
Hear. Bashaws, sir, you mean.
Cre. Well, sir, what if I do? Andrew the Great Turk?
I would I were a pepper-corn,[202] if that
It sounds not well. Does't not?
Slicer. Yes, very well.
Cre. I'll make it else great Andrew Mahomet,
Imperious Andrew Mahomet Credulous—
Tell me which name sounds best.
Hear. That's as you speak 'em.
Cre. Oatmealman Andrew! Andrew Oatmealman.
Hear. Ottoman, sir, you mean.
Cre. Yes, Ottoman.
Then, Mistress Jane, Sir Thomas Bitefig's daughter,
That may be the She-Great-Turk, if she please me.
Slicer. The sign o' th' half-moon, that hangs at your door
Is not for nought.
[Pg 281]
Cre. That's the Turk's arms, they say;
The empire's destin'd to our house directly.
Hang shop-books; give us some wine! Hey for a noise[203]
Of fiddlers now!
Hear. The Great Turk loves no music.
Cre. Does he not so? Nor I. I'll light tobacco
With my sum-totals; my debt-books shall sole[204]
Pies at young Andrew's wedding; cry you mercy,
I would say, gentlemen, the Great Turk's wedding.
My deeds shall be slic'd out in tailors' measures;
They all employed in making Mistress Mahomet
New gowns against the time. Hang dirty wealth!
Slicer. What should the Great Turk's father do with wealth?
Cre. 'Snigs, I would fain now hear some fighting news.

[Pg 282]

Enter Caster.

Slicer. There's one will furnish you, I warrant you.
Cas. Pox! plague! hell! death! damn'd luck! This 'tis!
The devil take all fortunes! Never man
Came off so: quite and clean defunct, by heaven!
Not a piece left.
Cre. What, all your ordnance lost?
Cas. But one to bear and lose it! All the world
Was, sure, against me.
Cre. 'Snigs, how many fell?
Cas. He threw twice twelve.
Cre. By'r Lady, a shrewd many!
Cas. The devil, sure, was in his hand, I think.
Cre. Nay, if the devil was against you, then——
Cas. But one for to be hit in all the time,
And that, too, safe enough, to any one's thinking:
'T stood on eleven.
Cre. 'Slid, a mighty slaughter;
But did he stand upon eleven at once?
Cas. The plague take all impertinences. Peace!
Cre. These soldiers are so choleric, there is
No dealing with 'em. Then they've lost the day?
Cas. 'Twas ten to one, by heaven, all the while.
Cre. And yet all kill'd at last! Hard fortune, faith!
What news from Brussels or the Hague? D' y' hear
Ought of the Turk's designs?
Cas. I'll make thee news for the Coranti, dotard.
Cre. Ay, the Coranti; what doth that say?
Cas. O hell! Thou foolish thing,
Keep in that tongue of thine; or——
[Pg 283]
Slicer. Good now, peace:
He's very furious when he's mov'd.
Hear. This 'twas.
You must be venturing without your fancy-man.
Cre. What officer's that fancy-man, lieutenant?
Some great commander, sure.
Cas. Pox! let it go;
I'll win't again: 'twas but the relics of
An idle hundred.
Cre. 'Snigs, and well-remember'd.
You did receive the hundred that I sent you
To th' race this morning by your man, my bailiff?
Cas. Take him away, his wine speaks in him now.
Cre. Godsnigs! the farm is mine, and must be so.
Slicer. Debate these things another time, good friends.

Enter Have-at-all.

Come, come, have patience. Od's my life, away!
There's Master Have-at-all is mad; he'll spit you
If he but know you are a usurer.
Cre. A plot, a plot, to take away my life and farm!


Have. Fight, as I live, with any one. Lieutenant,
Do not come near me now, nor yet thou, Caster:
It works, 'fore Mars, it works; I'll take my walk,
And if I do find any one, by Jove——

[Exit Have-at-all.[205]

Cas. What, 's he fox'd too? Some drunken planet reigns,
And works upon the world. Provide my fancy,
Good noble patron; I'll win soberly,
[Pg 284] I itch till I have beggar'd all the city. [Exit Caster.
Hear. Till that you have undone yourself, you mean.

Enter Moth.

Moth. Ey save you both; for dern love sayen soothly
Where is thylk amebly franklin, cleped Meanwell?
Hear. He's gone abroad.
Moth. Lere me whylk way he wended.
Slicer. He is gone o'er the fields.
Hear. To the knight's house.
Moth. Why laugh you every dele? So mote I gone,
This goeth not aright; I dread some covin. [Exit Moth.
Slicer. Now will he meet with Have-at-all; there'll be
A combat worthy chronicle. Let's go,
And see how this grave motion[206] will bestir him. [Exeunt.


Have-at-all: after a while, Moth; Slicer and Hearsay watching.

Have. What, no man yet march by? Whoe'er comes next,
I'll give him one rap more for making me
Stay here so long.

[Pg 285]

Enter Moth.

So, so, here he is; how shall
I do to know whe'r he be a gentleman,
Or yeoman, or servingman. I think
I'd best suppose him all, and beat him through
Every degree; and so I shall not wrong him.
What? Who goes there?
Moth. Waes-heal,[207] thou gentle knight.
Have. Waes-heal, thou gentle knight? Speak, what art thou?
Speak quickly do. Villain, know'st thou not me?
Moth. Now, by my troth, I know not your name;
Whider I shall call you my Lord Dan John,
Or Dan Thomas, or Dan Robert, or Dan Albon.
I vow to God thou hast a full fair chine.
Upon my faith, art some officer.
Have. Have you the pox, sir? speak.
Moth. No.
Have. No, nor yet
An ache in your bones?
Moth. No.
Have. No! why then you are
No gentleman; Lieutenant Slicer says so.
This cudgel then serves turn.
Moth. You will not foin,[208]
Have. I will not foin, but I will beat you, sir.
Moth. Why intermete[209] of what thou hast to done;[210]
[Pg 286] So leteth me alone, 't shall be thy best.
Have. I fanci'd you a beating; you must have it.
You shall not say but I will show you favour:
Choose whether you will be hacked with my sword,
Or bruis'd by my battoon.
Moth. Dre not thy true
And poynant[211] morglay[212] out of shete. Lo, thus
Eftsoons, sir knight, I greet thee lowting low.
Have. Down lower yet.
Moth. Reuth[213] on my grey haires.
Have. Yet lower. So, then, thus I do bestride thee.
Moth. Tubal the sonne of Lamech did yfind
Music by knocking hammers upon anviles.
Let go thine blows; thylke art is no compleat.[214]
Have. Dost thou make me a smith, thou rogue? a Tubal?
[Pg 287]
Moth. Harrow[215] alas! Flet, Englond, flet, Englond!
Dead is Edmond.
Have. Take that for history.
O brave lieutenant, now thy dinner works!
Moth. I nis not Edmond Ironside, God wot.
Have. More provocation yet? I'll seal thy lips.
Moth. A twenty-devil way! So did the Saxon[216]
Upon thylke plain of Sarum done to death
By treachery the lords of merry Englond,
Nem esur Saxes.
Have. Villain, dost abuse me
In unbaptized language? Do not answer: [Moth entreats by signs.
If that thou dost, by Jove, I'll strangle thee.
Do you make mouths, you rascal, thus at me?
You're at dumb-service now. Why, this is more
Unsufferable than your old patch'd gibberish:
This silence is abuse. I'll send thee to
The place of it, where thou shalt meet with Oswald,
Vortigern, Harold, Hengist, Horsa, Knute,
[Pg 288] Alured, Edgar, and Cunobeline. [Slicer, Hearsay step in.
Thus, thus I sheathe my sword.
Slicer. Redoubted knight
Enough: it is thy foe doth vanquish'd lie
Now at thy mercy. Mercy not withstand;
For he is one the truest knight alive,
Though conquer'd now he lie on lowly ground.
Have. Thou ow'st thy life to my lieutenant, caitiff:
Breathe and be thankful.
Moth. I rech[217] not thine yeft;[218]
Maugre[219] thine head; algate[220] I suffer none.
I am thine lefe, thine deere, mine Potluck Joan.


Andrew, Priscilla.

And. Fairest of things, tralucent creature—Hang me,
If I do know what's next.
Pris. This meant to me?
And. Fairest of things, tralucent creature, rather,
Obscured deity—'Tis gone again.
Lady, will you eat a piece of gingerbread?
Pris. You might have better manners, than to scoff
One of my breeding.
And. Hark! Indeed I love you.
Pris. Alas!
And. I vow, I burn in love, as doth
A penny fagot.
[Pg 289]
Pris. Heigho!
And. And I shall
Blaze out, sir reverence, if ye do not quench me.
Pris. Indeed now?
And. Though I say't that should not say't,
I am affected towards you strangely.
Pris. Now,
Who'd have thought it?
And. There's a thing each night
Comes to my bed's head, and cries, Matrimony,
Matrimony, Andrew.
Pris. God forbid!
And. It is
Some spirit that would join us.
Pris. Goodly, goodly.
And. Then do I shake all over.
Pris. Doth it so?
And. Then shake again.
Pris. I pray you now.
And. Then cry,
Fairest of things, tralucent creature, rather,
Obscured deity, sweet Mistress Jane,
I come, I come.
Pris. Sweet sir, you are deceiv'd;
I'm but her woman. Here she comes herself.

Enter Mistress Jane.

And. Now, as my father saith, I would I were
A cucumber, if I know what to do.
Jane. Why, how now, Pris.? Who's that that useth you
So lovingly?
And. Fairest of things—'tis one
Tralucent creature—'tis—ay, that it is,
Pris. That would willingly run out of doors,
If that he had but law enough.
[Pg 290]
And. I say——
Jane. Nay, ben't afraid; here's none shall do you harm.
And. 'Tis one that brought his pigs to the wrong market.
You keep your woman here so fine, that I
Had like t' have made a proper business on't,
Before I was aware. If anything
Do prove amiss, indeed, la, you shall be
The father on't. But know, tralucent creature,
I am come off entire, and now am yours,
Whole Andrew Credulous, your servant's servant.
Jane. Methinks you contradict yourself: how can you
Be wholly mine, and yet my servant's servant?
And. I do but compliment in that (I see
Downright's the best way here); if thou canst love,
I can love too. La, thee there, now! I'm rich.
Jane. I use not to look after riches; 'tis
The person that I aim at.
And. That is me:
I'm proper, handsome, fair, clean-limb'd—I'm rich.
Jane. I must have one that can direct and guide me:
A guardian rather than a husband; for
I'm foolish yet.
And. Now see the luck on't, lady;
So am I too, i' faith.
Jane. And whoe'er hath me,
Will find me to be one of those things, which
His care must first reform.
And. Do not doubt that;
I have a head for reformation:
This noddle here shall do it. I am rich.
Jane. Riches create no love: I fear you mean
To take me for formality only;
As some staid piece of household stuff, perhaps,
Fit to be seen 'mongst other ornaments:
[Pg 291] Or, at the best, I shall be counted but
A name of dignity; not entertain'd
For love, but state; one of your train; a thing
Took to wipe off suspicion from some fairer,
To whom you have vow'd homage.
And. Do not think
I've any plots or projects in my head.
I will do anything for thee, that thou
Canst name or think on.
Pris. Pray you try him, mistress.
By my virginity, I think he'll flinch.
And. By my virginity (which is as good
As yours, I'm sure)—by my virginity,
If that we men have any such thing (as
We men have such a thing), I do believe
I will not flinch. Alas! you don't know Andrew.
Jane. Can you obtain but so much respite from
Your other sovereign's service, as to keep
Your eye from gazing on her for awhile?
And. If I do look on any woman—nay,
If I do cast a sheep's eye upon any
But your sweet self, may I lose one of mine!
Marry, I'll keep the other howsoe'er.
Jane. I know not how I may believe you: you'll
Swear you ne'er cast a glance on any, when
Your eye hath baited at each face you met.
And. Blind me, good, now: being you mistrust, I will
Be blinded with this handkerchief; you shall
See that I love you now. So, let me have
But any reasonable thing to lead me home,
I do not care, though't be a dog, so that
He knows the way, or hath the wit t' inquire it.
Jane. That care, sir, shall be mine. [Exeunt Jane and Priscilla.
And. I doubt not but
I shall be in the Chronicle for this,
Or in a ballad else. This handkerchief
[Pg 292] Shall be hung up i' th' parish church, instead
Of a great silken flag to fan my grave:
With my arms in't, portray'd in good blue thread,
With this word underneath—This, this was he
That shut his eyes because he would not see.
Hold, who comes there?

Enter Meanwell, Shape.

Mean. One, sir, to lead you home.
And. Who? tutor Meanwell?

[Shape counterfeits Mistress Jane's voice.

Shape. Yes, I do commit you
Unto your trusty friend: if you perform
This vow, we may——
And. I'll say your sentence out—
Be man and wife.
Shape. If you'll do something else
That I'll propose.
And. Pray make your own conditions.
Shape. You'll promise me you'll not be jealous of me?
And. Do what you will, I'll trust you.
Shape. Never hire
Any to tempt me?
And. By this light (I would say,
By this darkness), I never will.
Shape. Nor mark
On whom I laugh?
And. No.
Shape. Nor suspect my smiles,
My nods, my winks?
And. No, no.
Shape. Nor yet keep count
From any gallant's visit?
And. I'll ne'er reckon:
You shall do what you will.
Shape. You'll never set
[Pg 293] Great chests and forms against my chamber-door;
Nor pin my smock unto your shirt a-nights,
For fear I should slip from you ere you wake?
And. As I do hope for day, I will not.
Shape. Give me
Some small pledge from you to assure your love;
If that you yet prove false, I may have something
To witness your inconstancy. I'll take
This little ruby—this small blushing stone
From your fair finger.
And. Take it, sweet. There is
A diamond in my band-string; if you have
A mind to that, I pray, make use of't too.
Shape. In troth, a stone of lustre. I assure you,
It darts a pretty light, a veget spark,[221]
It seems an eye upon your breast.
And. Nay, take it,
For love's sake, take it then: leave nothing that
Looks like an eye about me.
Shape. My good Andrew,
'Cause of thy resolution, I'll perform
This office for thee. Take my word for't, this
Shall ne'er betray thee. [Exit Shape.
And. Farewell, honest Jany;
I cannot see to thank thee, my sweet Jany.
Tutor, your hand; good tutor, lead me wisely.
Mean. Take comfort, man; I have good news for thee:
Thine eyes shall be thine own before next morning. [Exeunt.


Shape, Chirurgeon, Mercer.

Shape. He's a good friend of mine, and I presume
Upon your secrecy.
[Pg 294]
Chir. O sir, the deed
By which it came was not more close. D' y' think
I would undo myself by twitting? 'Twere
To bring the gallants all about mine ears,
And make me mine own patient. I'm faithful
And secret, though a barber.
Shape. Nay, but hear me;
He's very modest: 'twas his first attempt
Procur'd him this infirmity. He will
Be bashful, I am sure, and won't be known
Of any such thing at the first. You must
Be sure to put him to't.
Chir. Let me alone:
He knows not yet the world, I do perceive.
It is as common now with gentlemen,
As 'tis to follow fashion: only here
Lieth the difference, that they keep in this
A little longer. I shall have so much
Upon your word, sir?
Shape. If you do perform
The cure by that time, twenty pieces, sir:
You are content?
Mer. Yes, sir.
Chir. It shall be done [Exit Shape.
According to your own prescription.
Sit down, I pray you, sir: this gentleman
Is a good friend of yours.
Mer. Indeed he is a very honest man,
As any one can wish to deal with, verily.
Chir. Believe't, he loves you very well.
Mer. I am most ready
To do him any service truly. Pray you,
Good brother, don't delay me: I'm in haste.
Chir. Indeed-and truly-verily-good brother!
How could these milksop words e'er get him company
That could procure the pox? [Aside.] Where do you feel
[Pg 295] You[r] grief most trouble you?
Mer. I'm very well: what mean you, brother?
Chir. Nay, be not so modest:
'Tis no such heinous fault, as that you should
Seek thus to hide it; mere ill-fortune only—
Mer. Surely you do forget yourself.
Chir. Come, come,
He told me you'd be shamefac'd: you must be
Wary hereafter.
Mer. I do perceive
He is a little mad indeed: the gentleman
Told me so much just as I came along. [Aside.
Yes, yes, I will be wary; I'll take heed.
Come, pray y', despatch me.
Chir. So, I like you now.
It is the custom of most gentlemen
Not to confess until they feel their bones
Begin t' admonish 'em.
Mer. You are i' th' right.
Good friend, make haste; I've very urgent business.
Chir. Not rashly neither. Is your gristle sound?
Methinks 'tis very firm as yet to the touch.
You fear no danger there as yet, sir, do you?
Mer. No, I'll assure you. He must have his humour:
I see he is not to be cross'd. [Aside.
Chir. When did you
Feel the first grudging on't? 'Tis not broke out
In any place?
Mer. No, no: I pray y', despatch me.
Chir. These things desire deliberation;
Care is requir'd.
Mer. Good brother, go t' your chest.
Chir. How can I know what med'cines to apply,
If that you tell me not where lies your grief?
[Pg 296]
Mer. Nay, good, now let me go.
Chir. I must not, sir,
Nor will not, truly. Trust me, you will wish
You had confess'd, and suffer'd me in time,
When you shall come to dry-burnt racks of mutton,
The syringe, and the tub.[222]
Mer. So: now enough.
Pray fetch me what you promis'd.
Chir. Are you wild
Or mad? I do protest, I ne'er did meet
A gentleman of such perverseness yet.
I find you just as I was told I should.
Mer. I lose the taking, by my swear, of[223]
As much, whiles that I am receiving this.
Chir. I will not hinder you, if that you do
Prefer your gain before your health.
Mer. Well then,
I pray you tell it out: we tradesmen are not
Masters of our own time.
Chir. What would you have?
Mer. What would I have? as if you did not know!
Come, come, leave jesting now at last, good brother.
Chir. I am in earnest, sir.
Mer. Why, I would have
My money, sir; the twenty pieces that
The gentleman did give you order now
To pay me for the velvet that he bought
[Pg 297] This morning of me.
Chir. O, the gentleman——
Mer. You should not make a laughingstock, good brother,
Of one that wrongs you not; I do profess
I wont be fubb'd, ensure yourself.
Chir. The gentleman!
O, O, the gentleman! Is this the cure
I should perform? Truly I dare not venture
Upon such desperate maladies.
Mer. You are but merrily dispos'd?
Chir. Indeed, they are
Too high for my small quality. Verily
Perhaps, good brother, you might perish under
Mine hands truly. I do profess, I am not
Any of your bold mountebanks in this.
Mer. You're still dispos'd——
Chir. To laugh at you, good brother.
Gull'd, by my swear: by my swear, gull'd! he told me
You had a small infirmity upon you,
A grief of youth or two: and that I should
Have twenty pieces for the cure. He ask'd you,
If that you were content? you answered, yes.
I was in hope I had gain'd a patient more.
Your best way is to make haste after him.
Mer. Now could I beat myself for a wise fool
That I was, thus to trust him. [Exit.
Chir. B' w' y', brother.
'Fore God, a good one. O, the gentleman! [Exit laughing.

[Pg 298]


Rhymewell, Bagshot, Catchmey, Sir Christopher: a song at a window, congratulating (as they think) Master Meanwell's marriage.

1. Whiles early light springs from the skies
A fairer from your bride doth rue;
A brighter day doth thence appear,
And makes a second morning there.
Her blush doth shed
All o'er the bed
Clean shamefac'd beams,
That spread in streams,
And purple round the modest air.
2. I will not tell what shrieks and cries,
What angry pishes, and what fies,
What pretty oaths then newly born,
The list'ning taper heard there sworn:
Whiles froward she
Most peevishly
Did yielding fight
To keep o'er night,
What she'd have proffer'd you ere morn.
3. Fair, we know, maids do refuse
To grant what they do come to lose.
Intend a conquest, you that wed;
They would be chastely ravished.
Not any kiss
From Mistress Pris,
If that you do,
Persuade and woo:
Know pleasure's by extorting fed.
4. O, may her arms wax black and blue
[Pg 299] Only by hard encircling you:
May she round about you twine,
Like the easy-twisting vine;
And whiles you sip
From her full lip
Pleasures as new
As morning dew,
Let those soft ties your hearts combine.
Singer. God give you joy, Master Meanwell!
God give your worship good morrow!
Rhyme. Come, let's be going.
Chris. Hold, a blow I'll have,
One jerk at th' times, wrapp'd in a benediction
O' th' spouse's teeming, and I'll go with you.

A Song.

Now thou, our future brother,
That shalt make this spouse a mother,
Spring up, and Dod's blessing on't.[224]
Show thy little sorrel pate,
And prove regenerate,
Before thou be brought to the font.
May the parish surplice be
Cut in pieces quite for thee,
To wrap thy soft body about;
So 'twill better service do,
Reformed thus into
The state of an orthodox clout.
[Pg 300]
When thou shalt leave the cradle,
And shalt begin to waddle,
And trudge in thy little apron;
May'st thou conceive a grace
Of half an hour's space,
And rejoice in thy Friday capon.
For an error that's the flock's,
Name Master Paul, but urge St Knox;[225]
And at every reform'd dinner,
Let cheese come in, and preaching,
And by that third course teaching
Confirm an unsatisfi'd sinner.
Thence grow up to hate a ring,
And defy an offering;
And learn to sing what others say.
Let Christ-tide be thy fast,
And Lent thy good repast;
And regard not an holy-day.

Enter CONSTABLE and Assistants.

Con. Lay hold on them! lay hold on them, I say!
I'll hamper them.
Catch. Hell take your headlong zeal!
You must be jerking at the times, forsooth.
I am afraid the times will 'scape, and we,
The men of them, shall suffer now the scourge.
Con. Let none escape.
Chris. 'Twas godliness, verily:
It was a hymn I warbled.
Con. Thou dost lie,
It was no hymn, it was a song. Is this
Your filthy rendezvous? you shall be taught
[Pg 301] Another tune.
Chris. I do beseech you, show
Merciful cruelty, and as 'twere a kind
Of pitiful hard-heartedness. I'm strong.

[They bring in Andrew and Priscilla.

Con. I'm glad you told me so, I will provide
Your ward accordingly. Drag 'em out both.
And. Let me but send to th' ordinary.
Con. You shall not;
The ord'nary hath sent to you. No bail:
I will take none. I'll suffer no such sneaks
As you to offend this way: it doth belong
T'your betters, sir.
And. Here's a sufficient man,
I do assure you; take my word for that.
Con. This staff was made to knock down sin. I'll look
There shall be no advoutry[226] in my ward,
But what is honest. I'll see justice done
As long as I'm in office. Come along. [Exeunt.


[202] So Falstaff says ("First Part Henry IV.," act iii. sc. 3): "An I have not forgotten what the inside of a church is made of, I am a pepper-corn, a brewer's horse."

[203] A noise of fiddlers is a company or concert of them; as in Ben Jonson's "Epicæne," act iii. sc. 3: "The smell of the venison, going through the street, will invite one noise of fiddlers or other."

So in "Bartholomew Fair," act iii. sc. 6: "Cry you mercy, sir; will you buy a fiddle to fill up your noise?"

In Marmyon's "Fine Companion," act iv. sc. 1: "He come but with a troope of wenches, and a noyse of fidlers; and play thee backe like Orpheus."

Again, in Dekker's "Belman of London," 1608, sig. G 2: "To bee up more earely then a noyse of shrugging fidlers."

And in "Miscellaneous State Papers from 1501 to 1726," vol. i. p. 87: "After the which they had a very notable banquet; the heavenly noise that was there, as well with strange instruments of music as otherwise, I cannot declare."

See also the examples in Mr Steevens's note on "Henry IV., Part II.," act ii. sc. 4.

[204] i.e., Be placed at the bottom of them, and act as the sole to the shoe.—Steevens.

[205] The old copy has it, Enter Have-at-all; but it is an obvious error of the press.—Collier.

[206] See note to "The Antiquary" [act i., sc. 1, vol. 13].

[207] A term anciently used in salutation, or rather in drinking. See Selden's notes on the ninth song of Drayton's "Polyolbion," and [Steevens's] notes on "Macbeth," act i. sc. 7, for a particular account of the origin of this phrase.—Steevens.

[208] [A term in fencing.]

[209] [Cartwright's adoption of the English of a period of which he was evidently very ignorant, has made his character of "The Antiquary" a very tedious and troublesome one. By intermete we are here to understand intermit; but there is no such word in early English. Intermit occurs in Coleridge's "Glossary," 1859.]

[210] To do.

[211] [Old copy, paynant.]

[212] Morglay was the sword of Bevis of Southampton. It afterwards became a cant word for a sword in general. See "Every Man in his Humour," Act iii. so. 1; also "Every Woman in her Humour," 1609, sig. D 4—

"Had I been accompanied with my toledo or morglay."

[213] Pity.

[214] Now complete. The passage requires this explanation, or poor Moth's argument seems to want force, his present hopes being founded on a supposition that all possible discoveries to be made by beating have been already made.

[215] Moth here seems to allude to the following circumstance in the English History: "But uppon the morne followynge, both hostes joyned agayne, and fought egerly: contynuyng whych fyghte, Edrycus espying Edmunde to be at advauntage of wynnyng of the feld, sodaynly pyght a dead mannes hed upon a speare head, and cryed to the host of Englyshmen, fle, fle, ye Englyshmen, and save youre selfes, lo here is the heade of Edmunde your kinge."—Fabyan's "Chronicle."

[216] Verstegan, in his "Restitution of Decayed Intelligence," 1634, p. 130, gives the following account of this transaction:—"King Hingistus prepared them a feast; and after the Brittains were well whitled with wine, he fell to taunting and girning at them; whereupon blowes ensued; and the Brittish nobility there present, being in all three hundreth, were all of them slaine; as William of Malmesbury reporteth: though others make the number more, and say that the Saxons had each of them a seax (a kind of crooked knife) closely in his pocket, and that at the watch-word, Nem cowr seaxes, which is, take your seaxes, they suddainely, and at unwares, slew the Brittaines."

[217] Care not.

[218] Gift.

[219] In spite of.

[220] Always.

[221] A lively spark.

[222] [Old copy, syren.] So in "Timon of Athens," act iv. sc. 3—

"The tub-fast and the diet."

See a note on that passage, Shakespeare, viii. 409, edit. 1778.—Steevens.

[223] [Old copy repeats taking after of, as it appears, erroneously, since it spoils the sense, and is not essential to the metre, such metre as it is! By my swear, by my oath: it is an unusual phrase, but occurs again just below.]

[224] John Dod, a learned and pious divine, born in Cheshire, educated at Jesus College, Cambridge, and afterwards successively minister of Hanwell, Oxfordshire, Fenny Drayton, Leicestershire, Canons Ashby and Fawsley in Northamptonshire, though for a time silenced in each of them. He is commonly called the Decalogist, having with Robert Cleaver, another Puritan, written "An Exposition on the Ten Commandments." He died at Fawsley in 1645, aged about ninety years. [For whatever the preceding account may be worth it is retained; but Dod's blessing seems to be merely a whimsical corruption of God's blessing.]

[225] This was John Knox, the celebrated reformer in Scotland. See his character in Robertson's "History of Scotland," i. 130.


Sir Thomas Bitefig as sick, Jane.

Sir T. Now that I have made even, girl, with heaven,
Though I am past the worst, and I perceive
My dinner only griev'd me; yet 'cause life's
Frail and uncertain, let me counsel thee—
'Tis good to be beforehand still. First, then,
I charge thee, lend no money; next, serve God;
If ever thou hast children, teach them thrift;
They'll learn religion fast enough themselves.
Nay, do not weep, but hearken. When heaven shall
[Pg 302] Please to call in this weary soul of mine;
Ben't idle in expense about my burial:
Buy me a shroud—any old sheet will serve
To clothe corruption; I can rot without
Fine linen; 'tis but to enrich the grave,
And adorn stench—no reverence to the dead,
To make them crumble more luxuriously.
One torch will be sufficient to direct
The footsteps of my bearers. If there be
Any so kind as to accompany
My body to the earth, let them not want
For entertainment: prythee, see they have
A sprig of rosemary dipp'd in common water,
To smell to, as they walk along the streets.
Eatings and drinkings are no obsequies.
Raise no oppressing pile to load my ashes;
But if thou'lt needs b' at charges of a tomb,
Five or six foot of common stone, engraved
With a good hopeful word, or else a couple
Of capital letters filled up with pitch,
Such as I set upon my sheep, will serve:
State is not meet for those that dwell in dust.
Mourn as thou pleasest for me; plainness shows
True grief. I give thee leave to do it for
Two or three years, if that thou shalt think fit;
'Twill save expense in clothes. And so now be
My blessing on thee, and my means hereafter.
Jane. I hope heaven will not deal so rigidly
With me, as to preserve me to th' unwelcome
Performance of these sad injunctions.


To them Meanwell.

Mean. Good health unto you, sir.
Sir T. I have the more
[Pg 303] By reason of the care you took in sending
A confessor unto me.
Mean. I? a confessor?
Sure, there is some design, some trick or other
Put on you by those men, who never sleep,
Unless they've cheated on that day.
Sir T. I hope
You do mean your partners my good friends?
Mean. They ne'er deserve the name of friends; they do
Covet, not love. If any came from them,
It was some vulture in a holy habit,
Who did intend your carcase, not your safety.
Indeed I know not of't; I've all this while
Appear'd another to you than I am. [Discloseth himself.
Perhaps you know me now, I'm he whom you
Pleas'd to forbid your house—whom Master Credulous
Takes leave to style lost man and vagabond.
Sir T. That I forbad you my house, was only
In care to my daughter, not in hate to you.
Mean. That I frequented it without your leave,
Was both in love to you and to your daughter:
That I have all this while liv'd thus disguis'd,
Was only to avert the snare from you,
Not to entrap you: that you might not be
Blinded by those who, like to venomous beasts,
Have only sight to poison; that you might not
Ruin your daughter in a compliment.
Sir T. This may b' your plot, and this discovery
Feign'd only to secure your own designs;
For't cannot sink into me, that they durst
Make mirth of my repentance, and abuse
My last devotion with a scene of laughter.
Mean. They dare beyond your thought. When parted this
Your confessor?
[Pg 304]
Sir T. You could not choose but meet him:
He is scarce yet at home.
Mean. If that you dare
But venture with me home, I'll almost promise
I'll make it plain they've put a trick upon you.
Sir T. Though every step were so much toward my grave,
I'd tread them o'er with comfort, that I might
Discover this religious villany. [Exeunt.


Hearsay, Slicer, and Shape in his Confessor's habit.

Hear. Come, my good vulture, speak; what prey? what mirth?
Slicer. What income, my dear holiness? what sport?
Shape. Give me the chair: imagine me the knight
(When I sit down), and (when I stand) the confessor.

[As he is thus acting, Meanwell and Sir
Thomas discover themselves above.

Thus I come in peace to thy soul, good son.
'Tis you must give it, father: I am ill,
I'm very ill; fit only now for heaven.
My soul would fain be flying, were't not for
A sin or two that clogs her. But for a sin
Or two that clogs her? Take heed; don't, so near
Your last deliverance, play the sophister
With heaven. A sin or two! why, I've heard say
You're wont to screw your wretched tenants up
To th' utmost farthing, and then stand upon
The third rent-capon. Then he answers me
[Pg 305] In the small doleful tune of a country wench
Examin'd by th' official for the mischance
Of a great belly caught at a Whitson-ale:[227]
I could not help it. Then it is your custom,
When you invite, to think your meat laid out,
You write your beef disburs'd, are wont to call
For the return of't just as for a debt;
True. That two chimneys ne'er yet smok'd at once
In all your buildings. All most true. That you
Are wont to keep an untouch'd capon, till
Corruption makes it able to walk out
And visit the barn-door again. I could
Say much more, but I had rather have you
Come so much nearer pardon, as t' accuse
Yourself by your own mouth.
Slicer. How grave the rogue was!
Shape. I'll do't as strictly as mine enemy.
Sir T. I cannot hold: I'll break in as I am,
And take my vengeance whilst my fury's hot. [Above.
Mean. Repress it, sir, awhile; h' hath but begun.


Shape. Then thus he drawls it out, I do confess
I've been addicted to frugality.
Son, do not mince: pray, call it covetousness.
Imprimis, It hath ever been my custom
To ride beyond an inn to save my horse-meat.
Item, When once I had done so, and found
No entertainment, I beguil'd the children
Of their parch'd peas: my man being left to that
We make the emblem of mortality.
What? Grass, you mean? Or sweet hay, which you please.
[Pg 306]
Hear. Methinks this is truly coming to a reckoning.
He doth account for's sins with Item so.
Shape. Item, I've often bought a Cheapside custard,
And so refresh'd my soul under my cloak,
As I did walk the streets. Cloaking of sins,
Although they be but eating sins, I do
Pronounce most dangerous. I find this so,
I'd almost lost mine eyes by't, being justled.
Slicer. O thou rich soul of roguery!
Shape. Moreover,
I once sung Psalms with servants, where I lodg'd,
And took part with 'em in their lovely reliques;
Truly my soul did lust, they were temptations.
What! sing that you might eat? It is the sin
O' th' brethren, son; but that their reliques are
Whole widows' houses.
Hear. O thou preaching devil!
Shape. Item, I entered into a chandler's shop,
And eat my bread in secret, whilst my man
Fed on the wholesome steam of candle-suet,
Item, which grieves me most, I did make bold
With the black puddings of my needy tailor:
Satan was strong; they did provoke me much.
Sir T. Wretch that I was, to trust my bosom to
One so exactly bad that, if the book
Of all men's lives lay open to his view,
Would meet no sin unpractis'd by himself.
I will rush in. [Above.
Mean. Good sir, keep close awhile. [Above.
Shape. I see no tears, no penitential tears.
Alas! I cannot weep, mine eyes are pumice:
But alms I hope may yet redeem. Alms given
In a large manner, son. Won't fifty pounds
Wipe off my score? If doubled, 't may do something.
Can I be sav'd no cheaper? Take this, then,
[Pg 307] And pray for me. With that I thus dismiss'd him.
Bless'd son, for now I dare pronounce thee bless'd,
Being thou'st pour'd thus out thy soul.—The wolf!
The wolf! 'Sfoot, peace, we're in the noose;
We are betray'd; yon's Meanwell and the knight!
Truly he is as good a man as any
I ever yet confess'd—don't look that way—
A very honest, charitable man,
Full of sincerity and true devotion.
Sir T. Patience itself would now turn furious.
Let's for some officers.

[Exeunt Sir Thomas and Meanwell.

Shape. Discover'd all!
Religion is unlucky to me.
Hear. Man,
Perfidious man! there is no trust in thee!
Slicer. I never lik'd this Meanwell; I did always
See treachery writ in's forehead. I well hop'd
H' had been in prison with his wench.
Shape. Leave railing.
Along with me. There is left one way more;
The cat may yet perhaps light on all four.[228] [Exeunt.


Sir Thomas Bitefig, Meanwell, Constable, Watchmen.

Sir T. What, gone! Upon my life, they did mistrust.
Mean. They are so beaten, that they smell an officer,
As crows do powder.
Sir T. Watchman, call you forth
[Pg 308]
The mistress of the house imprimis; for

[Exit Officer.

They have their lurking-hole near hand most certain.

Enter Moth and Potluck, as man and wife.

Moth. Denuncio vobis gaudium magnum,
Robertus de Tinea electus est in sedem hospitalem,
Et assumit sibi nomen Galfridi.
Joy comes to our house: I, Robert Moth, am
Chesen into thylk hospital seat,
Thylk bason of Joan Potluck, vintner's widow,
And do transmue[229] my name to Geffery.
New foysons[230] byn ygraced with new titles.
Come, buss. [Kisses her.
Pot. Fie! Master Geffery, I swear
You make m' asham'd 'fore all this company.
Sir T. Sir, if you be the master of this house,
You've harbour'd here a company of cheating
Villains we are come to apprehend.
Pot. Pray y', look,
Search every corner: here's no cheats. I'm sure
The house was clear before your worship enter'd.
Con. Make fast the doors, for fear they do escape.
Let's in, and ferret out these cheating rake-hells.

[As the Watchmen go in and out about the
rooms, Hearsay, Slicer, and Shape,
mingle themselves with them, being accounted
watchmen, and so pass without discovery.

Enter 1st Watchman and Hearsay.

1st Watch. 'Tis very certain they are not in the house.
[Pg 309]
Sir T. They had no time to get away.
Hear. Why, then,
It may be, being they are such cunning fellows,
They have the trick of going invisible.

Enter 2d Watchman and Slicer.

2d Watch. There's no place left unsearch'd but pots and mouseholes.
Slicer. They're either gone or in the house, that's certain.
2d Watch. That cannot be: the doors were shut, I'm sure,
And so they could not get out; the rooms then are
All search'd, and so they cannot be within.
Slicer. I'll lay my neck to a farthing, then, they're vanish'd.
Hear. Sunk like the Queen; they'll rise at Queenhive, sure![231]

Enter Constable and other Watchmen, and Shape among 'em, bringing in Credulous and Caster.

Shape. Most certain, these are two of them: for this
Old knave, I'll take my oath that he is one.
Con. Confess, confess: where are your other comrades?
[Pg 310]
Cre. I am as honest as the skin that is
Between thy brows.
Con. What skin between my brows?
What skin, thou knave? I am a Christian;
And, what is more, a constable! What skin?[232]
Sir T. You are mistaken, friends.
Con. I cry you mercy.
Shape. The constable may call you anything
In the king's name, upon suspicion.
Sir T. We're cheated, friends: these men o' th' ordinary
Have gull'd us all this while, and now are gone.
Cas. I am undone! Ne'er let me live, if that
I did not think they would gull me. I perceive
Fancy doth much: see, how 'tis come to pass!
Cre. Where is my son? God bless, him!
Where is Andrew?
Pray God they have not taken him along:
He hath a perilous wit to be a cheat;
H'd quickly come to be his Majesty's taker.
Con. I took one Andrew Credulous this morning
In dishonest adultery with a trull;
And if he be your son, he is in prison.
Cre. Their villainy, o' my life! Now, as I am
A freeman and a grocer, I had rather have
Found forty pounds. I pray, go fetch him.

[Exit Officer.

Sir T. I'm sorry that your son takes these lewd courses;
He is not fit to make a husband of.
Cre. Do not condemn before you hear. I'll warrant,
Though he be guilty, yet he's innocent.

[Pg 311]

Enter Have-at-all.

Moth. Hent[233] him, for dern love, hent him; I done drad
His visage foul, yfrounc'd[234] with glowing eyne.
Have. I come t' excuse my ruder usage of you;
I was in drink when that I did it: 'twas
The plot of those base knaves, I hear, are gone,
To teach me valour by the strength of wine;
Naming that courage which was only fury:
It was not wilfully.
Moth. I do not rech
One bean for all. This buss is a blive guerdon.[235]
Hence carlishnesse yferre. 'Tis a sooth saw,
Had I but venged all mine herme,
Mine cloak had not been furred half so werme.

Enter Officers with Andrew, Priscilla, and the four that were taken at the window singing.

Cre. Now, sir, you shall hear all. Come, Andrew, tell me,
How cam'st thou hither?
And. Truly, Master Meanwell
Told me that I should meet with Mistress Jane;
And there I found her chambermaid!
Cre. D' y' see?
Your chambermaid, Sir Thomas! Out, you whore.
And. Take heed what you say, father; she's my wife.
[Pg 312]
Cre. I would thou'rt in thy grave, then; 'twere the better
Fortune o' th' two.
Pris. Indeed, this reverend man join'd us i' th' prison.
Chris. Marriage is a bond;
So no place fitter to perform it in!
Sir T. Send for my daughter hither; we'll know all.
What are you, sir?
Chris. A workman in the clergy.
Con. Yes, this is one I took at the window singing,
With these three other vagrant fellows here.
Chris. I was in body there, but not in mind,
So that my sin is but inchoately perfect;
And I, though in a fault, did not offend;
And that for three reasons. First, I did yield
Only a kind of unwilling consent.
Secondly, I was drawn, as 'twere, by their
Impulsive gentleness (mark, sir, I'm strong).
Thirdly, I deem'd it not a woman's shambles.
Fourthly and lastly, that I sung was only
An holy wish. Once more, beloved—
Sir T. Peace!
Y' have said enough already. How came you
To sing beneath the window?
Rime. Master Hearsay
Told us that Master Meanwell was new-married,
And thought it good that we should gratify him.
And show ourselves to him in a Fescennine.[236]
Cre. That rascal Meanwell was the cause of all:
I would I had him here.
[Pg 313]
Sir T. Why, this is he,
Sir Robert Littleworth his son: he hath
Disclos'd their villanies; he is no cheat.
Mean. God save you, Master Credulous; you have
Forgotten me, perhaps: I'm somewhat chang'd.
You see, your lost man's found; your vagabond
Appears at last.
Cre. Go, you are a gibing scab.
Leave off your flouting: you're a beardless boy,
I am a father of children.
Mean. And your son
Will be so shortly, if he han't ill-luck
To vex you more: that hundred pounds you sent
To Master Caster, Shape i' th' habit of
A country-fellow gull'd you of.
Cre. That rascal!
Thou show'st thy wit t' abuse an old man thus:
As God shall mend me, I will hamper thee.
Thou'st been disguis'd here all this while, thou hast!
Would I were bray'd in mine own mortar,[237] if
I do not call th' in question the next term,
For counterfeiting of the king's subjects.
Come away from him, sirrah, come along.

[Exeunt Credulous, Andrew, and Priscilla.

[Pg 314]

Mean. There's a trunk they've left behind; I have
Seiz'd it for you, so that you'll be no loser.
Sir T. If you can find a way whereby I may
Reward this courtesy of yours, I shall
Confess myself engaged doubly to you—
Both for the benefit and its requital.

Enter Jane.

Mean. The appearance of your daughter here suggests
Something to ask, which yet my thoughts call boldness.
Sir T. Can she suggest yet any good, that is
So expert grown in this flesh-brokery?
Mean. O, do not blot that innocence with suspicion,
Who never came so near a blemish yet,
As to be accus'd. To quit you of such thoughts,
I did receive a tempting letter from
That strumpet that's gone out (as sin is bold
To try, even where no hope is); I made promise,
But to secure myself, and withal sound
Th' affections of young Credulous unto
Your virtuous daughter, told him he should meet her,
Where I agreed to meet your chambermaid:
The blame must all be mine.
Sir T. 'Tis her deliverance.
She hath escap'd two plagues, a lustful fool.
Mean. I dare not challenge her, I do confess,
As a reward due to my service; and
If you deny her me, assure yourself
I'll never draw her from obedience.
I will not love her to procure her ruin,
And make m' affection prove her enemy.
Sir T. You speak most honestly: I never did
[Pg 315] Think ill of your intents, but always gave
A testimony to your life as large
As were your merits. But your fortunes are
Unequal; there's the want.
Mean. What's there defective
Love shall supply. True, Master Credulous
Is a rich man, but yet wants that which makes
His riches useful, free discretion.
He may be something in th' eye o' th' world;
But let a knowing man, that can distinguish
Between possessions and good parts, but view him,
And prize impartially, he will be rated
Only as chests and caskets, just according
To what he holds. I value him as I
Would an exchequer or a magazine.
He is not virtuous, but well-stor'd: a thing
Rather well-victuall'd than well-qualified;
And if you please to cast your eye on me,
Some moneys will call back my father's lands
Out of his lime-twig fingers, and I shall
Come forth as gay as he.
Sir T. I'll strive no longer,
For fear I seem t' oppose felicity.
If she'll give her consent, y' are one.
Jane. It is
The voice of angels to me. I had thought
Nothing in all the store of nature could
Have added to that love wherewith I do
Reverence that name, my father, till that you
Spoke this.
Sir T. I know your former loves: grow up
Into an aged pair, yet still seem young.
May you stand fresh, as in your pictures, still,
And only have the reverence of the aged.
I thank you for your pains, Master Constable:
You may dismiss your watch now.
Shape. [Disguised as a Constable.] A pox on't!
That, after all this, ne'er a man to carry
[Pg 316] To prison! Must poor tradesmen be brought out,
And nobody clapp'd up?
Mean. That you mayn't want
Employment, friends, take this, I pray, and drink it.
Slicer. [Disguised.] Sir, when y' are cheated next, we are your servants.

[Exeunt all but Shape, Hearsay, and Slicer.


Shape, Slicer, Hearsay.

Shape. Lie thou there, watchman. How the knave that's look'd for
May often lurk under the officer!
Invention, I applaud thee.
Hear. London air,
Methinks, begins to be too hot for us.
Slicer. There is no longer tarrying here: let's swear
Fidelity to one another, and
So resolve for New England.[238]
Hear. 'Tis but getting
A little pigeon-hole reformed ruff——
[Pg 317]
Slicer. Forcing our beards into th' orthodox bent——
Shape. Nosing a little treason 'gainst the king,
Bark something at the bishops, and we shall
Be easily receiv'd.
Hear. No fitter place.
They are good silly people; souls that will
Be cheated without trouble. One eye is
Put out with zeal, th' other with ignorance;
And yet they think they're eagles.
Shape. We are made
Just fit for that meridian. No good work's
Allow'd there: faith—faith is that they call for,
And we will bring it 'em.
Slicer. What language speak they?
Hear. English, and now and then a root or two
Of Hebrew, which we'll learn of some Dutch skipper
That goes along with us this voyage. Now
We want but a good wind; the brethren's sighs
Must fill our sails; for what Old England won't
Afford, New England will. You shall hear of us
By the next ship that comes for proselytes.
Each soil is not the good man's country only;
Nor is the lot his to be still at home:
We'll claim a share, and prove that nature gave
This boon, as to the good, so to the knave. [Exeunt.

[Pg 318]


[226] Adultery.

[227] See Note to "The Antiquary" [act iv., vol. 13].

[228] [i.e., All fours.]

[229] Change.

[230] Plenty, abundance.

[231] The story here alluded to is told in an old play, entitled "The Famous Chronicle of King Edward the first, sir-named Edward Longshankes, with his returne from the holy land. Also the life of Llevellen rebell in Wales. Lastly, the sinking of Queene Elinor, who sunck at Charing cross, and rose againe at Potters hith, now named Queene-hith. By George Peele." 4o, 1593, 1599. See also a ballad on the same subject in Evans's "Old Ballads," vol i. p. 237. [Peele's play is, of course, printed in his works by Dyce.]

[232] [The Constable's ideas had become confused, and he thought that Credulous, was taxing him with having been circumcised.]

[233] Take hold of him.—T.

[234] Decorated or adorned [in the forehead or brow.] So in Milton's "Penseroso"—

"Not trick'd and frounc'd as she was wont,
With Attic boy to hunt;
But kerchief'd in a comely cloud."

Steevens (altered).

[235] Quick reward. [But it may be doubted, perhaps, if Cartwright did not intend blithe, i.e., glad or joyful.]

[236] i.e., A nuptial ditty: from Fescennia, or Fescennium, a town in Italy, where these kinds of songs were first practised.—Steevens.

[237] To bray, to pound, or grind small—

"I'll burst him, I will bray
His bones, as in a mortar."

"Except you would bray christendom in a mortar, and mould it into a new paste, there is no possibility of a holy war."—Bacon. See Johnson's Dictionary, v. Bray.

It also means only to stamp with the feet: thus in Fortescue's "Foreste of Histories," 1571, fol. 68: "When Apelles his horse was brought into the place the other began to braie and stirre, as is their common usage."—Collier.

[238] This is intended to ridicule the Puritans of the times, who, on account of the severe censures of the Star Chamber, the greatness of the fines there, the rigorous proceedings to impose ceremonies, the suspending and silencing ministers for not reading in church "The Book of Sports," and other grievances, sold their estates, and settled in New England. The emigrations, on these accounts, at length became so general, that a proclamation was put forth in 1635 to stop those who had determined to follow their friends. It is remarkable that amongst those who were actually on shipboard, and prevented by the proclamation from proceeding on their voyage, were the patriot Hampden and his cousin Oliver Cromwell.


Shape. We have escap'd the law, but yet do fear
Something that's harder answered—your sharp ear.
O, for a present sleight now to beguile
That, and deceive you but of one good smile.
'Tis that must free us: th' Author dares not look
For that good fortune, to be sav'd by's book.
To leave this blessed soil is no great woe;
Our griefs in leaving you, that make it so;
For if you shall call in those beams you lent,
'Twould ev'n at home create a banishment.

[Pg 319]

[Pg 320]



The London Chaunticleers. A Witty Comoedy, full of Various and Delightfull Mirth. Often Acted with Great applause, and never before Published. London, Printed for Simon Miller, at the Star in St. Pauls Churchyard. 1659. 4o.

This amusing and peculiar play has never hitherto been re-published from the original edition. It is a performance, as the title-page partly intimates, considerably older than the date of publication. Mr Halliwell ("Dictionary of Old Plays," 1860, p. 144) observes: "This piece is rather an interlude than a play; but it is curious, the characters being London criers.

"From a passage in the prologue we may perhaps infer that the production originally appeared during a visitation of the plague at London, and that it was first presented (the machinery required being simple enough) on some suburban or provincial stage. The metropolis was ravaged by pestilence in 1636, which is a not unlikely date for the composition and original presentation of 'The London Chanticleers.'"

The allusions to old usages, with the mention of many well-known ballads, and of some known no longer, contribute to give the present piece an interest and value of its own.

[Pg 321]


[Pg 322]


The style that banish'd Ovid and his book,
And, spite of's laurel made him thunderstrook,
Is banish'd from this scene by us; and here
Cato may come into the theatre.
At our love-tricks none need their eyelids crush,
Chaste vestals may look on without a blush:
Our cheats do take, if they but time beguile,
And all our plot is but to make you smile.
You're welcome then to London, which our show,
Since you mayn't go to that, has brought to you.
Pardon, if we offend you with our noise,
'Tis but an echo of their clamorous voice.

[Pg 323]



Enter Heath, a broom-man.

Heath. Brooms, maids, brooms! Old boots or shoes! Come, buy my brooms!

You maidens that do cleanse the door,
And make a looking-glass o' th' floor,
That every night prepare the ground,
For Oberon to dance a round,
And do expect Queen Mab for you
Should drop a tester in a shoe,
And would sleep without pinching, come
Quickly to me, and buy a broom,
That will effect the thing you mean;
'Tis a new broom, and will sweep clean.

Come, buy my broom, maids! Maids, did I say? Sure, there are none i' th' city; or, if there be any, they have forsworn my custom. All the brooms I have sold to-day would not sweep half the ground I have gone; and the money I have got will scarce buy ale enough to moisten my mouth after one cry. Sure, all the city are turned dustmen, and the whole corporation are of the company of Grobians. Women sweep their houses with their long coats, and men their shops with their scrubbed beards.[Pg 324] There's no use of a besom now but to make rods of and sweep the children's backsides. 'Tis better killing men for eightpence a day, or hanging of 'em for thirteenpence halfpenny apiece, than follow this poor and idle life; 'tis easier canting out, A piece of broken bread for a poor man, than singing, Brooms, maids, brooms: come, buy my brooms! I should e'en go hang myself now if I were worth a halter; but who will spend a groat on't, when he may be hanged at free cost? I'll go rob the sheriff, and not leave him enough to hire an executioner for me; steal the judge's gown, that he may not come to the assizes, and poison the jury, that they may not bring me in guilty.

Enter Bristle.

Bris. Buy a save-all, buy a save-all; never more need. Come, buy a save-all! Buy a comb-brush or a pot-brush; buy a flint, or a steel, or a tinder-box.

Heath. O Bristle, welcome! I perceive by thy merry note, that there's music in thy pocket. What, dost jingle?

Bris. And I perceive by thy heavy countenance thy purse is light. Dost want coin?

Heath. Dost thou doubt that? Dost thou not see I'm sober? Do I swear or kick for asking, if I want money?

Bris. These are infallible signs indeed that thou dost want it.

Heath. I have been up this two hours, and have not visited one alehouse yet.

Bris. Nay, I am fully satisfied; but canst thou want money whilst thou hast fingers to tell it?

Heath. Why, wouldst have 'um made of loadstones, to draw all that comes nigh 'em?

Bris. Canst thou be poor, and have a tongue[Pg 325] Nay, then, 'tis pity but thou shouldst be sent to the Mint thyself, and be stamped into farthings, to be bestowed on beggars! I'd dig to the Antipodes with my nails, but I'd find a mine; and, like the cripple, run up Paul's steeple, but I'd get the silver cock.

Heath. He had no legs to break if he had fallen, nor weight enough to crack his neck.

Bris. Nor thou wit enough to be hanged. Thou hadst rather be starved than break open a cupboard, and die a good poor man or an honest beggar, than a rich thief or a gentleman rogue. Thou thinkest it more commendable, I warrant, to be carried in a chair from constable to constable, with a warrant from the churchwardens; that thou art a poor man, and desirest their charity; that thou art willing to work, but art almost starved; hast half a dozen children, the eldest not above three years old, their mother having been dead this eight year; and such pitiful complaints, with as many tears as would drown all the victuals thou eat'st, than ride a mile or two in a cart, with the sheriff attending on thee! Thou believ'st that more may be gotten with a Good your (non-sense) Worship to every Jack than a Sirrah, deliver your purse to the best lord i' th' land; and all this grounded upon that precise axiom, "A little with honesty is better than a great deal with knavery."

Heath. Thanks, good Bristle, for thy counsel. I mean to be as perfect a pickpocket, as good as ever nipped the judge's bung while he was condemning him. Look to thy purse, Bristle, lest I practise on thee first. The fairies can't creep through a lesser keyhole than I. O, for a dead man's hand now! 'Tis as good as poppy-seed to charm the house asleep; it makes 'um as senseless as itself. Come, shall we turn knight-errants? Name the first adventure. Dost thou know no[Pg 326] enchanted castle, no golden ladies in distress or imprisoned by some old giant usurer?

Bris. Stay a little, Heath. I have a design in my head that will outgo Don Quixote or Palmerin as far as they did the giants they overcame—a trick that shall load us with money without any fear of th' cart.

Heath. I'll be thy squire, though I fare no better than Sanch Pancha, and am tossed in a blanket.

Bris. Come, follow me. [Exeunt.


Enter Nancy Curdwell.

Curd. I have fresh cheese and cream; I have fresh cheese and cream. Heigho! But one suitor yet? Must my sheets lie smooth till I am wrinkled? Nay, then, I see beauty is not a cable-rope, to draw men's hearts after it, nor our mouths a mouse-trap, our tongues a lure, and lips a gin; our hairs are not fishing-lines, nor our noses hooks. These gudgeons will not swallow the bait that hangs there. Nay, we cannot catch these mermen, though our smocks were made of network, and we hung all o'er with looking-glasses. No, no; I see, when these buzzards look after mates, they wink and choose. I think I must have my nose turned into a bill, and write upon it, Here is a house to be let. I am but six-and-twenty years old, and that's young enough to play with a baby. O, how like the picture of Charity should I look with two sucklings at my breast!

Enter Budget, a tinker.

Bud. Have you any work for a tinker? Old brass, old pots, old kettles. I'll mend them all[Pg 327] with a tara-tink, and never hurt your metal.—Here she is! Methinks she looks very smug upon me. Now to my 'ration. Most beautiful, fair and virtuous mistress, whose face is a burning-glass, and hath set me on fire. My sugar-plum and stewed-prune lady, whose fine sharp nose, like Cupid's darts, hath pricked me to the heart! Whiter than the curds thou sell'st, softer than the silk thou wearest, milder than the four-shilling beer thou drink'st! Venus, I believe, was a fresh cheese and cream woman, and, letting fall her pail, made the Milky Way, but yet came as far short of thee, my sweet, honey Nancy, as whey of butter-milk or skimmed milk of cream! O, that I were a worm to crawl on that face of thine, or a flea———

Curd. He'd bite me, sure?

Bud. To slip about thy neck. Do not, I pray, tread on me with the foot of disdain, lest thou crush my heart as flat as a pancake.

Curds. Pray, leave off your suit; I have no mind to marry; I'll always live a virgin.

Bud. What, and lead apes in hell? What pity would it be to see you chained to a monkey!

Curds. Or tied to you! [Aside.

Bud. O, do not frown! Each wrinkle is a grave to me, and angry look a death's-head. Do not despise me 'cause I am black and you so white; the moon wears beauty-spots, and the fairest ladies black patches. White petticoats are wrought with black silk, and we put black plums into white puddings.

Curd. But black-and-white ribbons are worn only at burials, never at weddings: and I would be loth my wedding-sheet should be my shroud, and my bed a grave. Therefore, pray, be gone, and come when I send for you.

[Pg 328]

Bud. Sweet sugar-candy mistress, grant me one thing before you go.

Curd. What is't?

Bud. Give me leave to vouchsafe one kiss on those sweet silken parchment-lips.

Curd. Take your farewell, you shall never kiss 'um again. [Kisses her, and blacks her mouth.

Bud. Thanks, pudding-pie Nancy. [Exit.

Curd. Faugh, how he stinks of smoke! Does he think I'll be his trull, and that he shall smutch my face thus with his charcoal nose? No, I'll see him burnt first! Out upon him, beggar, burnt-arse rogue, devil-tinker! I am afraid his ugly looks have soured my cream, and made all my cheese run to whey; but if he come to me again thus, I'll make him blue as well as black.

Enter Hanna Jenniting.

Jen. Come, buy my pearmains, curious John apples, dainty pippins; come, who buys? who buys?

Curd. O sister Hanna, I wanted you just now; here was a tinker had like to have run away with me in his budget; a copper-nosed rogue, brazen-faced rascal!

Jen. But you were even with him? Nay, you are a whisket! I' faith, I see beards are infectious as well as scabbed lips. Salute your apron, and 'twill tell you who you kissed last.

Curd. He has printed a kiss indeed.

Jen. Was he a suitor? Did he woo you with posnets and skillets, and promise you a kettle next Bartholomew fair? And how did you answer him? Did you say, Fly, brass, the devil's a tinker? Or more mildly tell him you could not settle your affections on him? But come, look sprightly. Somebody will stare so long upon the bright sun[Pg 329] of our beauties, till they are blinded with beams. Thou knowest, when my mother died, she left us, beside some stringed pence and a granam's groat, seven suitors, whereof all have forsaken us but Graftwell the gardener; and my mother indeed used to say that I was born to be a gardener's wife, as soon as ever I was taken out of her parsley-bed. But 'tis no matter; let 'um go.

Curd. But I wonder, Hanna, that you, having been an apple-woman so long, cannot get a customer for yourself. You might go off for a queen-apple! Come along; the next chapman shall have us at an easy rate. I have fresh cheese, &c.

Jen. Come, buy pippins. [Exeunt crying.


Enter Ditty, a ballad-man.

Ditty. Come, new books, new books; newly printed and newly come forth! All sorts of ballads and pleasant books! The Famous History of Tom Thumb and Unfortunate Jack,[239] A Hundred Godly Lessons, and Alas, poor Scholar, whither wilt thou go? The second part of Mother Shipton's Prophecies, newly made by a gentleman of good quality, foretelling what was done four hundred years ago, and A Pleasant Ballad of a bloody fight seen i' th' air, which, the astrologers say, portends scarcity of fowl this year. [Sings a ballad.

Enter Budget.

Bud. Have you the Ballad of the Unfortunate Lover?

[Pg 330]

Ditty. No, but I have George of Green or Chivy Chase, Collins and the Devil, or Room for Cuckolds; I have anything but that.

Bud. Have you the Coy Maid?

Ditty. I sold that just now; but I have the Ballad of the London 'Prentice, Guy of Warwick, or The Beggar of Bethnal Green.

Bud. What loves-ongs have you? I would have a wooing ballad.

Ditty. I have twenty of them. Look you, here's one, and although I say it myself, as good a one as ever trod upon shoe-leather.

Bud. What is't? Good Ditty, let me hear it.

Ditty. The honest Milkmaid, or I must not wrong my Dame.

Bud. Have you never a one called The honest Fresh Cheese and Cream Woman?

Ditty. I do not remember that; but here is another, you shall hear me sing it.

Once did I love a maiden fair,
Down derry, down, down, down, down derry;
With silver locks and golden hair,
Down derry, &c.;
Her cheeks were like the rose so sweet,
Down derry, &c.;
Like marble pillars were her feet,
Down derry, &c.

How like you this? 'Tis a rare tune, and a very pleasant song.

Bud. I like the song well; but I would have a picture upon it like me.

Ditty. Look you here; here's one as like you as if it had been spit out of your mouth; your nose, eye, lip, chin; sure, they printed it with your face! and the most sweetest ballad that ever I sung—

[Pg 331]

My love and I to medley,
Upon a time would go:
The boatmen they stood ready,
My love and I to row;
Where we had cakes and prunes,
And many fine things mo;
But now, alas, she has left me:
Fa la, fa lero, lo!

Bud. This is the ballad I'll have. Come, Ditty, thou shalt teach me to sing it, and I'll pay thee at the next good house. [Exeunt.


Enter Bristle, like a shoemaker, with Heath, like a butcher.

Heath. Slaughter-calf do you say my name shall be?

Bris. Ay, ay, and mine Vamp.

Heath. And how do I look now? Like one that was begotten under a butcher's stall, I warrant, and born in a slaughter-house? I know there's never a Kill-cow i' th' city becomes a woollen apron better than I do.

Bris. Liker a calf than butcher; yet thy sheep's head will be some token thou cam'st from the Butch Row. Have a care thou dost not forget thyself, and talk of brooms instead of fly-flops, and old boots and shoes instead of calves' skins!

Heath. I am as artificial at the trade as the master o' th' company. I could sell Jupiter, were he a bull again. I am perfectly changed; I never knew Heath the broom-man or the price of a besom, never trafficked with maids o' th' kitchen, or shopboys for old boots and shoes.

[Pg 332]

Bris. Nor I for new, for all I'm a shoemaker. But to the design. Stand here; this is the road she walks; if thou fail'st, may thy woollen apron be spun into halters to hang thee in, and a stall be thy gibbet. [Exit.

Heath. If I don't act my part well, may I be a changeling indeed, and be begged for the city fool. If she be coy, and by her obstinacy hinder our plot, I'll quarter her out and sell her for cow-beef, make pettitoes of her fingers and trotters of her feet.

Enter Curdwell.

Curd. I have fresh cheese and cream!

Heath. Harmonious voice! The Witney singers are but chattering magpies to this melodious nightingale, and the tabor and pipe but as the scraping on a brass pan to this organ; sure, this is the beauty that I must court. If Cupid be not propitious now, I'll cut my brooms into rods, and whip the peevish boy. Lady (for so your beauty styles you), to whom the snow and swan are black, whether thou art a goddess, and come down to punish men, and make them die with love, or a mortal which excellest all goddesses, pity a wounded heart, which can receive no ease from any thing but those eyes from whom it did receive its wounds. There's no nectar or ambrosia but what thy pail affords; the moon would willingly be that the Welshmen wish it, so thou wouldst give it room amongst thy cheeses. Be not unkind, sweet lady; one cruel look will make this place my slaughter-house, and thee the butcher's butcher.

Curd. I dare not trust you, for all your fair words; men of your profession make it a trade to cheat us.

Heath. I'll be as faithful as thou art fair, and stick as close unto thee as my shirt does to my[Pg 333] back on a sweltry sweating day. Come, thou shalt yield, and by yielding conquer me.

Curd. You set upon weak women with your strong compliments, and overcome them, whether they will or no. [He moves.

Heath. Move forward; we'll be contracted at the next alehouse, be married to-morrow, and have half a dozen children the next day. [Exeunt.


Enter Welcome, a host.

Wel. Sure, I have slept myself into an owl, and mistake night for day? Can light dawn, and none see the way to my house for a morning's draught? No groats due? Did all my mad lads go sober to bed last night? Such a crime forfeits the city charter. What ho! speak here, sirrah Bung.

Enter Bung.

Bung. By and by! Who calls? O master, good morrow to you.

Wel. Why, it is day with thee too, Bung, and I no owl. Speak, prythee; how long is't since thou couldst grope the tap out?

Bung. O sir, this two hours. I have cut two dozen of toasts, broached a new barrel of ale, washed all the cups and flagons, made a fire i' th' George,[240] drained all the beer out of th' Half-Moon the company left o' the floor last night, wiped down all the tables, and have swept every room. The sun has been up this hour almost.

[Pg 334]

Wel. Ay, there's an honest soaker; the old blade swills himself i' th' sea all night, and quaffs from th' earth all day, and that makes him have such a ruby face. But what, no customers yet?

Bung. Not one, sir; our old charwoman, Mary, has not called for her morning's draught yet—she that's the tub for all men's snuffs, and devours me more tappings than would serve to make strong waters for an army.

Wel. Sure, all the beer that was drunk yesterday had poppy in't instead of malt; and people are not yet awake, or else they mistake my house for a prison, and my old lattice for grates. Come, Bung, we'll give ourselves handsel; go, fill's a lusty pot of ale. [Exit Bung.] This is a precious varlet, and has tricks enou' to furnish all the tapsters between Charing Cross and Fleet Bridge. The sleights of nicking and frothing he scorns as too common, but supplies that defect with little jugs and great glasses, and where he fears a dissolution, brings up his flagon, begins the king's health, and with that decoy draws on another dozen or two, till the whole royal progeny is gone over. He wished it once as numerous as old Priam's was, and another time had like to have been hanged for praying treason, that there were a hundred kings i' th' land, that men might be forced to drink all their healths for fear of displeasing any.

Re-enter Bung.

Bung. Here, sir, here's a cup of stinging liquor; it is so thick that you may slice it, and came drivelling out as if the loving vessel had been loth to part with it.

Wel. How? 'tis cold; the rogue has put ice into't instead of toast, or else one of's hundred leger wafers the baker dried for him t'other day[Pg 335] in's oven, after his bread was drawn, for the yeast of two barrels. [Aside.] You rascal, cheat your master?

Bung. Cry you mercy, good sir; I protest I had forgot who 'twas for, and popped it in before I was aware; but I'll air it for you instantly, if you please.

Wel. No, no, I'll warm't myself, and it shall warm me. Come, here's to all good swallows! So, so, one cup of ale will shroud one better from the cold than all the furs in Russia.

Within. Tapster, where are you? Show's a room here.

Bung. Anon, anon, sir. You are welcome, gentlemen. Please you, walk into th' George; there's a good fire, and no company. [Exit.

Wel. To see what luck a handsel will procure! No sooner the cup out of my mouth but another called for! It seems it stayed at me all this while; a dry, shabby host is more absurd than a dumb Exchange. These are some boon fellows, I know; the rogue is so perfect in his lerry.[241] Ditty and's comrades, perhaps; the rascal can never sing well till he has wetted his whistle at my house. He made me set up the sign o' th' Flying Horse for a Pegasus. Budget the tinker, too, is as good at cracking a pot as any, and Bristle the merriest, cunningest whoreson; he sells his traps twopence dearer, only by giving rules how to bait them—for a Dutch mouse, with butter forsooth, or bacon; and then for a Welsh one, toasted cheese is the best.

Enter Bung again.

Bung. The gentlemen within desire your company.

[Pg 336]

Wel. What are they?

Bung. The four churchwardens o' th' parish, that never exceed halfpence apiece at a morning's draught, must have a flagon instead of a black-pot, and fire, toast and nutmeg over and above; nay, sometimes a breakfast too.

Wel. And when they mount so high as a penny, drink at Widow Grunt's—she that has an eleven children, and say they are prodigal, merely out of charity to the poor orphan pigs; but at th' hall, on a court-day, can be as drunk as so many tinkers at Banbury, or nurses at a christ'ning! Pox on 'um, tell 'um I am busy with other company.

Bung. Nay, sir, they protest they'll have your jug in.[242]

Wel. They shall have me too then, and for once I'll obey their summons; but let 'um expect to pay for all they call for, and therefore for me. [Exeunt.


Enter Gum, a tooth-drawer.

Gum. Have you any corns upon your feet or toes? any teeth to draw? O, for a flood now or a whole year of rain, that every step may be up to the ankles in water, and cover every toe with a corn! May the shoemakers make all their shoes too strait, that they may pinch the sore-toed miser, and at every tread put him in mind of work for the corn-cutter! May the toothache be an hereditary disease, and prove infectious, or so many aldermen be turned into marble that the whole [Pg 337]city may get rotten teeth with eating of sugar-plums and sweetmeats at their funerals.

Enter Ditty.

Ditty. The Seven Wise Men of Gotam, a Hundred Merry Tales, Scoggin's Jests, or A Book of Prayers and Graces for Young Children.

Gum. What news-books, Ditty? Any proclamations that they must forfeit all their toes that have no corns, or that they must never eat good victuals that have not the toothache? Are red mufflers and slashed shoes come into fashion? They are as sure signs of the ache of teeth and toes as a red lattice of an alehouse.

Ditty. No, truly, Master Gum, I have none of these books, but I have as good. I have very strange news from beyond seas.

Gum. What is't? Do they want corn-cutters or tooth-drawers? prythee, let's hear it.

Ditty. The King of Morocco has got the black jaundice, and the Duke of Westphalia is sick of the swine-pox with eating bacon; the Moors increase daily, and the King of Cyprus mourns for the Duke of Saxony, that is dead of the stone; and Presbyter John is advanced to Zealand; the sea ebbs and flows but twice in four-and-twenty hours, and the moon has changed but once the last month.

Gum. Hold, hold! here's enough to tire the dove's neck, before she gets home.

Enter Budget.

Bud. Well, I must strike whilst the iron's hot. Good Vulcan, be assistant, and grant that some spark of love may be kindled in her heart, and that I may with my compliments, as with the bellows of rhetoric, blow the coals of good-will, and[Pg 338] with my forked arguments stir up the fire of affection in her! I have been filing my nose and anviling down my chin this two days, and yet just now there was scarce room enough for her sweet lips and mine to meet. She calls me Vulcan and Cyclops, and says I shall be hanged up for the sign of the Black Boy. But 'tis no matter. It may be, when she calls me Vulcan, she would have me make her my Venus!

Ditty. Who is this trough that he is about to run away with?

Bud. Well, I'll try both ways.

Ditty. How now, Budget? Can you sing your ballad yet? Come, are you perfect?

Bud. Not yet, Ditty; but is't to the tune o' th' Bleeding Heart, do you say?

Ditty. Ay, ay; but what makes you so pale, Budget? There's a cup of ale at mine host Welcome's will make your nose of another colour.

Bud. O Ditty, there is a nail knocked into my heart! It pricks, it pricks.

Gum. Why, if you can't wrench it out, we'll send for a smith.

Ditty. Has Cupid played the joiner with you, then? Who is't he has fastened to your heart with that nail? What metal is she made of, that you cannot hammer her?

Bud. It is the city's beauty!

Ditty. The city's beauty? who's that? One of my lord major's spaniels?

Gum. I knew a bitch of that name was a very pretty dog, and would fetch and carry as nimbly as any porter in the town.

Bud. What, villain, do you make a puppy of me! I'll kick you into glove-dogs, you mongrels, hell-hounds, whelps! [Kicks them.

Ditty. Hold, good Budget, a jest is but a jest; I spoke but in jest.

[Pg 339]

Gum. Nor I, indeed, Master Budget.

Bud. Then I kicked you but in jest.

Gum. Ay, ay, sir, we take it so; you must think, if it had been in earnest, though it had been the best man i' th' land, he had kicked his last.

Bud. Had he so, slave?

Gum. Yes, when he had done kicking.

Dit. Good Budget, be pacified, and we'll recompense the injury we have done you with our forwardness to promote your desires and translation out of the circle of love into the wedding-ring.

Bud. Thanks, kind Ditty; walk along with me, and I will show thee the sweet empress of my heart. I am appeased. [Exeunt.


Enter Bristle and Jenniting.

Bris. Yes, truly, I am one of the gentle craft, though I have got somewhat of the tailor's trade too; some hangers on—fellow-travellers, that I cannot be rid of, though, are still upon my back: they put me to foul shifts sometimes.

Jen. Then you know Crispianus?

Bris. Yes, he is a saint amongst us, of whose votaries I am one, that each Monday morning liquor his altar with ale, and grease it with bacon.

Jen. So you sacrifice the hog to get the bristles?

Bris. She knows my name, sure. [Aside.] But 'tis no matter for him. Hereafter I'll know no saints but thee; be not therefore unkind, but look with a favourable aspect on him that can expect no bad influence from so benign a star.

Jen. You do but flatter me; I am not so good a one as you make me.

Bris. Now, by Jove, thou art fairer than Calisto[Pg 340] (and more like a bear), more divine than Cassiopeia! Do but consider that every sow has a ring, and will not you have one?

Jen. Well, Vamp, you know how to take the length of women's feet.

Bris. Come, my Jenniting, we will have twins every year.

Jen. Such as shall be christened at Saint James' tide, I warrant!

Bris. No, no; two boys and so many wenches, that we will furnish the whole city with herb-women and costermongers of our own progeny; there shall not be an apple-wife in the whole country but she shall be ingrafted into some branch of our family: not a day in the whole year shall pass but some tree of our stock shall be set, till we have enough to plant a wilderness and people it. Go, pack up thy treasure; the time flies too fast, but we'll outstrip it. To-night we'll be at a place some ten miles off, where a house ready-furnished waits for thee, with all things necessary for the celebration of our nuptials. I'll fit thee with a pair of shoes; let's see thy foot. It is of the eighteens; thou shalt have a strapping pair. Make haste.

Jen. Thanks, kind Vamp; all that I have is thine. [Exit.

Bris. I hope so, or else my plot fails me: if Heath speed with Nancy Curds as well as I have with Hanna Jenniting, we shall make quick work with 'um; we shall fledge ourselves before we fly. Let them husband what we leave 'um as well as they can. [Exit.

[Pg 341]


Enter Heath and Curds.

Heath. Yes, it is a very neat house; 'tis at the, sign of the Bull; 'tis newly covered with calves'-skins, and paved with knuckle-bones. Thou shalt not deny me; we'll be there to-night; and 'tis but three hours' journey. Let me have thy bundles of necessaries an hour hence, and I'll see 'um safe sent before. Thou shalt be the lady o' th' town.

Curds. I have been one in my days, when we kept the Whitson ale, where we danced The Building of London Bridge upon wool-packs[243] and The Hay[244] upon a grass-plat, and when we were aweary with dancing hard, we always went to the cushion dance.

Heath. Ay, we'll have dancing at our wedding too, when the cups of canary have made our heads frisk. O, how we shall foot it, when we can scarce stand, and caper when we are cut in the leg! The first year shall be a leap-year with us.

Curds. What shall we have at our wedding dinner? We'll be sure of a plum-pudding, that shall be the very flower of the feast.

Heath. Then a leg of beef shall walk round the table, like a city captain with a target of lamb before it: a snipe, with his long bill, shall be a serjeant, and a capon carry the drumsticks. Thou shalt be lady-general, and pick out the choicest of every dish for thy life-guard.

[Pg 342]

Curds. I'll pay them to the full. [Aside.

Heath. Till anon good-bye. [Exit Heath.

Enter Budget, Ditty, Gum.

Ditty. Pox o' thy ugly face! ca'st not sing but thou must cry too? Look, there she is; good Gum, hold my shop a little.

Bud. And mine too.

Gum. Now do I look like one of the pillars in the Exchange. [Exit.

Bud. Sweet lady, smile on me.
Curds. [Aside.] Hissing adders!
Bud. Now merrily:
For if thou frown on me,
Sure I shall die.
Both. Sure I shall die, &c.
Curds. Croaking toads.
Bud. Thy eyes, like a cockatrice,
Kill with a look:
They shine like the sun,
I'd swear on a book.
Curds. Away, screech-owls!
Both. I swear on a book, &c. [Exit Curds.

Bud. Stay, Ditty, she is deaf, and would not hear though Orpheus played, nor be moved though the stones and trees danced.

Ditty. Give me thy letter then—I'll run after her and deliver it myself.

Bud. Prythee, do, kind-hearted Ditty.

Ditty. O, what a nimble Cupid shall I be! Venus herself will mistake me for her boy.

Bud. I'll wait here till thou returnest.

[Exit Ditty.[245]

[Pg 343]


Enter Bristle and Heath.

Bris. What, did she melt easily? Was she pliable?

Heath. O, like cobbler's wax; she stuck to my fingers: I could hardly get her off, and had much ado to persuade her not to undo herself quite. She would have had me gone home and took all; nay, would have robbed her aunt too, but that I should cheat her sufficiently. This will be the best day's work I have done this many a year.

Bris. And yet all my rhetoric could scarce persuade you to be wise.

Heath. I am thy scholar, and thou shalt find I'll prove an apt one. If I am not as perfect at the art as thyself in a short time, may I never be made free, but always steal for others, and be hanged myself.

Bris. Yet still thou owest thy learning unto me; if I had not been thy master, thou might'st have sat at home now with a cup of cold water and thy precious jewel, a contented mind, wishing thou hadst but money enough to pay a forfeit for being drunk, though thy empty pockets forced thee to be sober.

Heath. Come, prythee, leave; I myself do now laugh at my former ignorance. Thou hast infused a new soul into me; thou hast played hocus-pocus with me, I think, and juggled Gusmond or country Tom's legerdemain into me. There's not such a change in all the Metamorphosis.

Bris. And now thou hast[246] bargained with thy whey-faced wench, what hast thou gained by the project? nothing but wit.

[Pg 344]

Heath. Yes, a silver bodkin and thimble, and as many curds as would serve the court ladies for a twelvemonth, besides the box laden with all the plate and household stuff that her pitchy fingers could stick to in six years' service, with which I believe she now waits for me at the appointed place. What we can't turn into money we will into ale, and drink it out. Mine host Welcome has a cup of blessed lull.[247]

Bris. Away, make haste, we'll empty his cellar to-night, and draw his barrels out into our hogshead.

Heath. I'll outfly the swift. [Exit Heath.

Bris. But scarce outgo an owl. This fellow will I so tutor, that he shall rob Mercury himself, surpass Prometheus, and steal the sun from heaven! Filch away Venus's box of beauty, and pawn it to ladies, not to be redeemed but by the golden apple that Paris gave her! Jupiter's thunder, too, and sell it to besieged towns for granadoes!

Enter Jenniting with a bundle.

O, here comes my precious Hanna, never so lovely as now, when she brings a bundle along with her! That beauty-spot makes her look fair. Come, my sweeting; every minute was an age till thou camest. But why so wrinkled? Those looks do not become a bride.

Jen. Is there no danger of drowning? I am ready to sink every time I think of the water. I cannot choose but quake ever since I was in the ducking-stool.

Bris. Never fear it. Thou shalt be Queen o' th' Thames, and command the waves; be [Pg 345]crowned with water-cresses, and enrobed in watered grogerum. The Nymphs shall curl thy hair, and Syrens sing thy nuptials. The sea shall drink thy health, till it spews and purges again, and swell with pride, that it can carry thee.

Jen. These lines are strong enough to hold an anchor.

Bris. Dolphins shall bring musicians on their backs, and spout out cans of beer beyond the conduits on the Mayor's-day.

Jen. We'll have a fish-dinner, too, and the Lady o' th' Lobster shall be Mistress o' th' Feast.

Bris. Yes, yes; and Triton's trumpet shall echo up each mess, while we sound the bottom of our ocean cups, and drown god Neptune in a sea of wine! But let not your sister Nancy hear of it for your ears. She'll raise a tempest will ship-wreck all our hopes; she'll storm louder than the winds. Meet me here two hours hence with all your tacklings. I'll see this bundle shall be safe. The ruddy sky promises a fair gale; if the winds fail us and blow enviously, we'll blast Æolus. [Exeunt.


Enter Ditty.

Ditty. Well, if ever I carry love-letters again, may they make a love-letter of me; turn my skin to paper, my skull to an inkhorn, and make a pen of my nose; it will be excellent for a fast hand, for it runs continually, and is so moist that it will write without ink! Nay, if ever I thrust myself into wedding businesses again, may a piece of match be my bane; may the bridegroom wring my ears off, hang me in the bride's garter, or drown[Pg 346] me in the sack posset; and if he bury me, bestow this threadbare epitaph—

Here lieth Tom Ditty under this stone,
That carried love-letters; reader, go on,—
But stay! wouldst thou know the cause of his death?
Th' long-winded letter put him out of breath.

The next epistle I carry for Budget, he shall carry himself; I'll not be his post, to be her beating-block too. Pox on's kettledrum! 'tis good for nothing but to call the moon out of an eclipse, and he'll serve for nought neither, but a chimney-sweeper's shadow, or bugbear to fright froward children. I'll have some revenge on him, and deliver him up into her hands. If she do not sufficiently punish him, I'll forgive him.

Enter Budget.

Ditty. O, here comes the chimney, the man of soot, the picture of smoke and cinders!

Bud. O Ditty! I see by thy face there's ill news.

Ditty. Ay, pox on't! I was set upon yonder by a company of women, and had like to have been scolded into a cripple for singing Room for Cuckolds t'other day.

Bud. But what said my Nancy? Did she smile, and say that all her denials were maiden's nays? Is she softened, and will she now let me taste her strawberry lips willingly?

Ditty. Yes, and give you cream to 'um too. Why, she is almost mad for you, and has bespoke a place in Bedlam already. If you do not go quickly and recover her, she'll either be turned into a kettle with grief, or melt into bell-metal, that she may be made a posnet of. Nay, and desired me to tell you that if after her transformation[Pg 347] she chance ever to come under your hands to be mended, she would desire you to use her gently, and that you should know which was she, she had provided in her will that H. L. may be set on her handle for Nancy Curdwell.

Bud. I will, I will; I'll mend her with sugar-nails and a Naples biscuit-hammer. But is there no way to persuade her to live still a woman? I would be loth to carry my wife at my back, and have one with three legs.

Ditty. If you make haste, you may chance to come before she is quite changed; you may save a leg, perhaps, or an arm of flesh yet; but I believe the most part of her is brass already.

Bud. Good Ditty, go along with me; if she be a pot before I come, I'll weep it full of tears, and then be boiled to death in't. [Exeunt.


Enter Gum with the Tinker's budget and Ballad-man's box.

Any old pots or kettles to mend? Will you buy my ballads? or have you any corns on your feet-toes? Nay, I am Jack-of-all-trades now. Three is a perfect number, and so many I have. Nay, Master Tinker, you kicked me to-day; but since you are so light of your heels, I'll make you walk after your budget before you have it. 'T shall be in trouble presently, not to be delivered without a fee. I'll drink as much ale on the kettle as will fill it; the rest o' th' tools shall go for jugs apiece; and then, Master Ditty, I will be merry with your ballads, too. They must be in lavender a little, and soak. If they will but yield me draughts apiece, I care not, and the box shall serve to score[Pg 348] on. But stay, had I not better burn it, to bake the toasts and warm the ale? Hang't! 'tis but engaging the books twopence or a groat deeper, and have some three or four bundles of straws like faggots, and 'twill be a-la-mode.

Enter Bristle and Heath with bundles. Gum retires.

Bris. She'll say I am a pretty jewel to run away with her cabinet; but 'tis no matter. This box will make me flourish all the year long.

Gum. So, so; here are companions that will help drink the sea dry: mere gulfs or whirlpools, that suck in all that comes nigh 'um.

Bris. Come, Heath, open thy treasury. What's the first pearl?

Gum. These ale-suckers, too, are a-going to liquor some prize that their lime-twig fingers have seized upon.

Heath. A pair of silver-handled knives. These, I believe, she made when she lived with my Lady May'ress. Next, a pair of white gloves; these she had at the funeral of a dear friend, for whose sake she meant to be buried in 'um herself; and how would Cerberus take it, to see one come to hell with a dog-skin pair of gloves? A silken garter! This, I warrant it, she had at a wedding, and intended to bestow it on her own bridemaid. Then a pair of scissors——

Gum. Sure, these villains have robbed an haberdasher, and stole a box of small-ware. [Aside.

Heath sings.

Come out to the light,
[Pg 349] Than which thou'rt more bright:
This box thee no longer shall harbour.
'Tis thou that hast made
Me o' th' triple trade—
A tailor, a sempster, a barber.
With thee I will shave
The barbarian slave,
And trim up the youngsters of Poland,
Make a jump of Aleppo,
Of Friesland a[nd] Joppo,
And a stately brave shirt of Holland.

Gum. [Coming forward.] Well sung of a woodcock. Come, thou must go have thy pipe tuned at mine host Welcome's; thou art like the glass pipe, that will never whistle but when there's water in't.

Heath. Ho, ho! What, furniture for a whole fair upon thy back at once? Dressed up just like the wooden boys on haberdashers' stalls.

Bris. Three strings to thy bow at once? Sure, thou canst not break when thou hast such a triple cord to hold thee.

Gum. A single one, I believe, would spoil your drinking; 'twould tie up your guzzle.

Bris. But how dar'st thou walk abroad before owl-light? Dost think there's no birds stirring still that will spy out these feathers? Come, off with thy box of poetry, the Muses' warehouse, Calliope's Cabinet. 'Tis ominous to have the string about thy neck. If thou art taken with 'um, thou may'st be condemned to make as many wry mouths as the squeaking owner did, when he last strained and vomited 'um out at Smithfield or Pye Corner.

Gum. O, there's no fear of that, though he that these call master had my neck in a slip. These are Ditty's, and these Budget's; they gave 'um me to hold a little; but I'll carry 'um to the Flying Horse, and change 'um for a cup of Helicon, which[Pg 350] will in half an hour make me able to repay the paltry rhymes in heroic verse.

Bris. Come, shall we join together? we three are able to sponge up all the ale i' th' city, and raise the price of malt.

Gum. A match; as far as these will go, I'm for you.

Heath. And when they're gone, we'll drink our very shirts out, and then pawn ourselves too. [Exeunt.


Enter Jenniting and Curds.

Jen. Was he a butcher, say you?

Curds. Ay, and called me his pretty lamb and his sweetbread; told me he would meet me here two hours ago, and promised me mountains; but bid me I should not tell you on't.

Jen. They are mere rogues, very jugglers; they have cheated us both. Just so did the shoemaker do to me.

Curds. He has got my box of milled sixpences and Harry groats: the gilded scissors that were given me for a New Year's gift, and my bodkin and thimble.

Jen. I would they might both feed upon nothing but rotten apples, and be choked with pears!

Curds. Or a piece of clout be left in the next fresh cheese they eat, and strangle 'um; or a favourable spider drop into the cream, and drown himself, that he may poison them.

Enter Ditty and Budget.

Ditty. 'Slife, lose [not] this opportunity; there she is; on, I say, and I'll be your second. I warrant[Pg 351] she had been dead before this time, but that she smelt your breath hard by, or else knew by sympathy that you were coming.

Bud. Did the letter work so strangely on her, are you sure? I would not willingly venture my lips for a kiss, or my eyes for a look.

Ditty. Why, I tell thee she was so nigh a dissolution when I left her, that I thought to have found her in a sand-box, or begged by some vintner to keep bottled wine in, before I could return.

Bud. Well, I'll try, though she squeeze me into verjuice, and stamp my bones into small coal, that they may be twice burnt. [Advances.] O my honeycomb, milksop Nancy, whiter than the powder of chalk, and (like it) able to scour off the dirt of sullied drabs, and paint them with a brightness as glustering as thy own.

Curds. Out, you sooty goblin, besmeared dolt! dost think I'll couple with a negro, to bring forth magpies, half white and half black? Take me for a bee, to knit at the sound of a brass kettle or frying-pan? Bundle of charcoal, furred crock, dost think I'll hang in thy pot-hook arm? Hence, or I'll beat thee worse than the Bridewell crew does hemp!

Ditty. Ay, ay, read him the same lesson you conned me!

Bud. Sweet Mistress Curds, be not so sour. Good Ditty, stop her mouth.

Ditty. Hold, hold, Nancy! He thought all women like pots of ale, and that tinkers might call for 'um as freely as the finest customer; this crab-tree lecture will teach him better manners hereafter.

Jen. Ay, sister, do not foul your mouth any more with the checker-faced scullion; let him go.

Ditty. Come, then, and shake hands; we'll fine[Pg 352] him for's sauciness, and his ransom shall be half a dozen at mine host Welcome's. Come, come, you shall be friends, and I'll perfect the reconciliation with a song.

Bud. Half a dozen! We'll score out all the chalk i' th' house, and make the tapster fetch one o' th' city clerks to sum up the reckoning.

Jen. Come, sister, let's go drink sorrows dry; and a woman's anger should be like jack-weights—quickly up and quickly down. [Exeunt.


Enter Welcome.

Wel. Ay, ay, 'tis the rich face that keeps us from poverty. If the tailor's countenance were in fashion now, and all that had fiery faces were counted comets, what a decay would there be amongst our houses of good fellowship. How our cans would rot and jugs grow musty for want of use! I would the whole city were jugs and cans, that they might never be in good case but when they're full of good liquor. I fear this will be a bad year for all of our profession; salt meats are grown out of fashion, and Lent will be forgotten this year, and, for aught I know, the next Papist that's drunk may make the people condemn it for superstition because he uses it. Forbid, thou who ever art patron of good fellowship!

Enter Bung.

Bung. [To some one within.] I'll be with you presently. Master, can you give me a groat and sixpence for a twopence.

Wel. Who is't for?

[Pg 353]

Bung. For a couple of strangers i' th' King's Head; they have sat preaching this two hours over two cans, and called me rogue and rascal for not giving attendance, and setting a chamber-pot for 'um. They've twopence to pay.

Wel. Then thou'dst have me give 'um eightpence to be gone, ha!

Bung. A groat and twopence for a sixpence, I mean.

Wel. There 'tis; go, be nimble. [Exit Bung.] We have had but small takings to-day; men have got the squincy or stopping of the throat, I think—they drink so slowly. May it turn to the dropsy, that they may never be weary of drinking, but that every draught may but make room for two more! 'Twill never be a good world while there's any but Welsh taverns, such as sell nothing but ale and tobacco; these French and Spanish ones will be the undoing of us all; men are grown such dottrels, that they had rather give five or six shillings to be drunk, like the Spaniard, with canary, or the Frenchman, with claret, than so many pence to be foxed with their own native beer.

Enter Bung.

Bung. O master, master, yonder's Ditty and Budget come in with two doxies! Ditty swears he'll have one of 'um, though she cuckold him the first night, and clap a pair of horns upon his head, that will confine him to his chamber till rutting-time come, and he shed 'um.

Wel. Who are they which they're enamoured so with?

Bung. The one's Nancy Curds and the other Hanna Jenniting; Ditty and Jenniting are agreed already; now, if you'll go promote Budget's suit, and make a conclusion between him and Curds,[Pg 354] the wedding will be kept at our house, and we shall, besides the getting by the victuals, put off the barrel of sour beer by and by. [Exit.

Wel. Well said, Bung: the crafti'st knave alive! I should be glad to see both Budget and Ditty in the way of multiplying; all their progeny cannot choose but be friends to the black pot, and will be notable tipplers, I warrant 'um, as soon as they come to the sucking-bottle. I'll go myself and contract 'um. [Exit.


Enter Bristle, Heath, Gum.

Bris. Pox o' the ugly baboon! she has got a face like a Bartholomew Fair baby, and a mouth like the whale that swallowed a whole fleet. Her fingers are rolling-pins, and her arms coal-staves! Hang her, what should women do with money, or anything that's good?

Heath. You say true. If we had let 'um alone, I warrant these boxes had been kept till they were mouldy, visited but once a quarter, and at last bequeathed by will and testament to some silly sober well-wisher of hers in her lifetime.

Bris. One that never drank above four-shilling beer but once at a christening, and then had like to have got a red nose by it, cannot distinguish between a jug and a flagon, never was in an alehouse, knows not what a bush means, nor ever spent above twopence in his life, and that was upon a prayer-book.

Gum. Your tongues, methinks, run very glib; I wonder they do not screek for want of liquor. What, tapster? attendance here.

Bung. Anon, anon, sir; I have it in my hand.

[Pg 355]

Enter Tapster.

Tap. You're welcome, gentlemen; here's a cup of the best ale in London.

Bris. How? gentlemen? untutored slave, saucy villain! Gentlemen? why, sirrah, do I look like a gentleman? I scorn thy terms, and let this kick put thee in mind of better language.

Bung. Cry you mercy, I mistook you indeed.

Heath. Sirrah, we'll make you know who you mistake; call one of your master's best customers gentleman!

Bung. [To some one outside.] Anon, anon, sir; I'll be with you presently.

Bris. Sirrah, bid your master come in.

[Exit Tapster.

Gum. Come, here's a round to the first inventor of the famous art of drinking.

Bris. No, no; to the first finder out of the noble art of brewing; for we should be forced to drink water else.

Heath. To neither; but to the first most commendable alehouse-keeper that sold three cans for twopence; he is the chief benefactor we have. Come, three cans to his health!

Gum, Bris. A match!

Enter Welcome, Ditty, Budget, Jenniting, Curds.

Wel. Set you merry, my merry, merry lads; what, do the cans dance nimbly?

Heath. Yes, but we want a pipe or two; good mine host, let's have some whiff.

Wel. Here's a musician; honest Ditty and Budget too: if they do not make up the consort, they are very much out of tune.

Ditty. O Gum, have we found you out? my box, you slave!

[Pg 356]

Bud. And my budget!

Wel. Come, set about, set about, my boon companions.

Bris. A devil on your snout! oatmeal face and tallow-chops, how came you hither with a pox, trow?

Heath. Look here, Bristle, how like shorn sheep they look. Where shall we run? they have cast me into a fit o' th' shaking palsy.

Bris. Come, we'll outface 'um.

Wel. Come, sit down, my jovial boys, and roar. This night we'll suck up all the dew.

Enter Bung, with tobacco.

Bung. Here's a pipe o' th' best tobacco that Christendom affords; it grew under the King of Spain's own window. [To other customers.] By and by; what do you want, sirs? [Exit.

Ditty. And I warrant he used to fling pisspots out on't.

Wel. We'll drink ourselves into fish, and eat ourselves into cormorants; we'll not fast, though it be an eve to a surfeiting gawdy day.

Heath. Is't an eve, say you? pray, what holiday is to-morrow?

Wel. Budget's and Ditty's nuptials. Drink freely; all is paid already, and you are Ditty's guests to-night as well as mine. There sit the brides. You shall not leave my house to-night, that I may be sure of you to-morrow morning at the solemnities; be merry then, and free. I'll pardon you your groats to-morrow, and none shall forfeit but he that is not drunk. [Exit Welcome.

Heath, Bris, Gum. Joy to the brides and bridegrooms!

Ditty. Gentlemen, you may see how quickly a man may be shuffled into a wedding; we liked at[Pg 357] first sight, and why should we then defer our joys any longer?

Bud. Like the Spanish, I was beaten into love; but at last have overcome, thanks to mine host, that took my part.

Curds. And I cheated into a bride; he that stole away my box made up the match between you and me.

Bris. Is't so, i' faith? then, mistress bride, pray take this box. You know it, I believe, and me too.

Heath. And you this bundle.

Jen. The thing I was cheated of! Art thou the thief too? O, the very villain!

Curds. Lay hold of 'um, sweet Budget—the slaves that cheated us in a disguise.

Ditty. Come, what's the matter? we'll have no quarrelling to-night; we forgive all.

Gum. Then your books may be freed for eighteen-pence; that's all they are engaged for yet, and the budget but for two shillings.

Ditty, Bud. We forgive most willing.

Ditty. A porter would not have carried 'um so far for the price.

Bris. Here's a health to the brides, then, out of an extinguisher. I'll find 'um in mice-traps, brushes, steel and tinder-box all their lifetime.

Heath. And I with brooms.

Gum. I'll cut their corns for nothing, and draw their teeth for a touch of their lips.

Ditty. Defer that health till to-morrow; in the meanwhile let's have on[e] to the genius of good ale.

Omnes. Begin't, begin't!

Ditty. Submit, bunch of grapes,
[Pg 358] To the strong barley ear:
The weak vine no longer
The laurel shall wear.
Bud. Sack and all drinks else,
Desist from the strife,
Ale's th' only aqua vitæ
And liquor of life.
All Tog. Then come, my boon fellows,
Let's drink it around;
It keeps us from th' grave,
Though it lays us o' th' ground.
Bud. Ale's a physician,
No mountebank bragger,
Can cure the chill ague,
Though't be with the stagger.
Ditty. Ale's a strong wrestler,
Flings all it hath met,
And makes the ground slippery,
Though't be not wet.
Omnes. But come, my boon, &c.
Ditty. Ale is both Ceres
And good Neptune too;
Ale's froth was the sea,
From whence Venus grew.
Bud. Ale is immortal,
And be there no stops,
In bonny lads quaffing,
Can live without hops,
Omnes. Then come, my boon fellows,
Let's drink it around,
It keeps us from th' grave,
Though it lays us o' th' ground.

[All drink.

Enter Welcome.

Wel. Well said, my whistling birds; 'tis spring with you all the year long, while the ale flourishes. Come, I have provided a supper will tire your teeth; 'tis but a prologue, though, of to-morrow's feast. I hope your appetites need no provocations. It now waits for you, but will not be ready till you[Pg 359] concoct it. Come then, cheer up, my buxom girls; the cakes and posset my wife shall provide, and I'll engage myself to be father to you both. Ditty's ballads and his budget shall be cut out into favours and gloves. [Exeunt.

[Pg 360]


[239] See Hazlitt's "Handbook," art. Jack. Only a second part is at present known.

[240] It is well known that in our old inns the various rooms had separate names.

[241] The usual burden of a song.

[242] This points to the custom of the landlord, when he joined any guests at a table, contributing a free jug or bottle.

[243] This saying arose from the duty on wool, levied to defray the cost of rebuilding the bridge (Knight's "London," i. 79). Nancy alludes to a dance so called.

[244] A well-known and often-quoted dance. See the poem by N. Breton, in "England's Helicon," 1600, repr. Collier, p. 222.

[245] Although Budget promises to await Ditty's return, he appears to retire to the back of the stage.

[246] Old copy, hast thou.

[247] Ale.


Welcome the Host.

Gentlemen and ladies, I am sent to you,
Not to beg cast-by sheets, a shirt or two,
Or clouts for th' teeming women, nor bespeak
Gossips or guests against the christ'ning week:
No off'ring for the married couple. What, then?
Only to bid you welcome, gentlemen,
Before your parting; and for th' women, beg
That, when they travail, you'ld not sit cross-leg.
But when their notes are turn'd to childbirth cries,
You'd cry good speed to their deliveries;
And if our cries have wanted mirth or wit,
There's one more left, We cry you mercy yet!

[Pg 361]

[Pg 362]



The Shepheards Holy-day. A pastorall tragi-Comœdie. Acted before their Majesties at Whitehall by the Queenes Servants. With an Eligie on the death of the most Noble Lady, the Lady Venetia Digby. London, Printed by N. and I. Okes for Iohn Benson.... 1635. 8o.

[This is one of the pieces which Isaac Reed did not retain in the edition of 1780, nor is it in that of 1825. Yet there is no apparent ground for its exclusion.

A piece bearing the same title as Rutter's was written by Sir W. Denny at a later date, and is printed from the original MS. in "Inedited Poetical Miscellanies," 1870.

It seems to be a hypothesis sufficiently plausible to justify a passing notice, in that one of the suppressed printed at the end of the "Private Memoirs of Sir Kinelm Digby," 1827, the intimacy of Digby with a royal personage is described in very warm terms and colours, and that Rutter, who was in Digby's family at one time, may have founded on what came to his ears the episode of Sylvia and Thyrsis in this production.]

[Pg 363]


This author wrote in the reign of Charles the First. He lived with the Earl of Dorset, as tutor to his son, and translated, at the desire of his patron, the Cid of Corneille, a tragi-comedy, in two parts [1640-50, 8o]. It appears, from his dedication of this pastoral to Sir Kenelm Digby, that he lived also with that gentleman for some time, but in what capacity I cannot tell. The plainness and simplicity of this pastoral is commended by Thomas May, author of "The Heir" and "The Old Couple;" and also by Ben Jonson in the following lines—

"I have read
And weigh'd your play; untwisted every thread,
And know the woof and warp thereof; can tell
Where it runs round and even; where so well,
So soft, and smooth it handles, the whole piece,
As it were, spun by nature off the fleece."

[Pg 364]


Chorus of Shepherds.

The Scene, Arcady.

[Pg 365]


To this fair company I am to say,
You're welcome all to a well-meaning play;
For such our author made it, with intent
To defame none. His muse is innocent:
A virgin yet, that has not found the ways
Out of foul crimes to raise herself a praise;
And therefore she desires you would excuse
All bitter strains, that suit a satire muse:
And that which so much takes the vulgar ear—
Looseness of speech, which they for jests do hear.
She hopes none such are here, therefore she dares
Venture this story, purg'd from lighter airs:
A piece entire, without or patch or maim,
Round in itself, and everywhere the same.
And if there be not in't what they call wit,
There might have been, had it been thought so fit.
A shepherd's muse gently of love does sing,
And with it mingles no impurer thing.
Such she presents unto your ears and eyes,
And yet your Christian freedom not denies
Of liking or disliking what you will:
You may say this is well, or that is ill,
Without dispute; for why should you that pay
For what you have, be taught what you should say?
Or made to judge by any square or rule,
As if you came not to a stage, but school?
No, he that made it says, if you will eat,
He will not force your stomachs: there's your meat;
Which if you like, 'tis well; if not, all's one;
There must be difference in opinion.
Besides, he's sure, whatever he could wish,
Your taste, and not his art, must praise the dish.

[Pg 366]
[Pg 367]

The Shepherds' Holiday.


Thyrsis, Montanus.

Thyr. Here in this grove I left her, here amongst
These poplars, laurels, and these sycamores,
Guilty of her sad loss: and yet behold
They do appear as fresh and full of verdure,
As when my love, clothed in her clearest looks,
Did give them grace and lustre. Why do we,
Poor silly men, bred up in cares and fear,
The nurse of our religion, stoop to Nature,
That only knows to form, not to preserve
What she has made; since, careless of her work,
She leaves to giddy Fortune the whole power
Of ruling us? These senseless trees stand still,
And flourish too, and in their pride upbraid
My loss to me; but my dear Sylvia being
Nature's best piece, made to excuse the rest
Of all her vulgar forms, ah me! was left
To desolation, till some horrid satyr,
Bred in these woods, and furious in his lusts,
Made her his prey; and now has carried her
Into his dark retirings, or some cave,
Where her poor Thyrsis never more shall see her.
But I will be reveng'd: this wood, that now
[Pg 368] Is so bedeck'd with leaves and fresh array,
I'll level with the ground, until it be
As desolate as I.
Mon. Alas, poor shepherd! [Aside.
Thyr. It shall afford no shade to anything,
That hither us'd to come for its relief;
But henceforth be for ever infamous:
That, when some gentle shepherd passes by,
And sees this ground rent with the crooked plough:
Here, he may say, here 'twas that Sylvia
Was lost, and then shall turn another way.
Mon. Good Thyrsis, do not make so much of grief,
Y' have fed it with too many tears already;
Take comfort now.
Thyr. What has my present state
To do with comfort? If you see the trees
Widow'd of leaves, the earth grown hard, and spoil'd
Of the green mantles which she wont to wear,
You wonder not if winter then appear.
Mon. By these we know that season.
Thyr. And must I,
When she is gone, whose sun-like eyes did cherish
An everlasting summer in my life,
Feel any spring of joy to comfort me?
No, father, grief with me is best in season.
Mon. But whilst you mourn thus, who looks to your flock?
Thyr. All as the shepherd is, such be his flocks,
So pine and languish they, as in despair
He pines and languishes; their fleecy locks
Let hang disorder'd, as their master's hair,
Since she is gone that deck'd both him and them.
And now what beauty can there be to live,
When she is lost that did all beauty give?
Mon. But yet, methinks, for one that is a stranger,
[Pg 369] Scarce known to any here, but by her name,
These plaints are overmuch. Besides, there are
In fruitful Arcady as fair as she:
I'm sure more rich and wise: make out of them
A choice. Nerina is as fair as she,
Dorinda's flocks are more than Sylvia's,
And carry on their backs more wool than hers.
Thyr. Let such base peasants as the gods do hate
Admire their wealth and them for what they have,
Their bodies' and their souls material
Alike of drossy substance are compounded,
And can contemplate nothing but the earth.
No, Sylvia, whom some better god, perhaps
For the reward of my well-tuned pipe,
Sent down to me, made up of air and fire;
Though since, because I knew not how to use
With fair respect a gift so great as she,
Has justly reft her from me,—is so much,
So great a part of me, that in her absence
Amidst my grief I feel some little joy,
To see how much of me each minute wasteth,
And gives me hope, that when I shall dissolve
This earthly substance, and be pure as she
(For sure the gods have ta'en her undefil'd),
I may enjoy her looks, and though it be
Profane to touch a hallowed thing like her,
I may adore her yet, and recompense
With my religion the proud thoughts I had
Once to enjoy her.
Mon. See how fond you are
T'embrace a shadow, and to leave the substance!
The love of Hylas to Nerina has
More hopes than yours; though she be young and coy,
Yet whilst Nerina is and Hylas too,
One time or other they may both have joy.
[Pg 370]
Thyr. May they prove happy in each other's love,
And nothing please, but what each other do;
For so liv'd Thyrsis and his Sylvia:
Whilst Sylvia was, and Thyrsis was her love.
Whatever Thyrsis pip'd, pleas'd Sylvia;
Thyrsis admir'd whatever Sylvia sung,
And both their joys were equal or but one.
Well, I can now remember (and it is
Some comfort to remember what I moan)
That, when our loves began, how first I gaz'd
On her, and she was pleas'd that I should look,
Till greedily I had devour'd the hook.
Love gave me courage then to speak my thoughts,
And gave her pity to receive my words,
They link'd our hearts together: from that time,
Whene'er she saw me strike the furious boar,
Though then my case she ru'd, and sigh'd full oft,
Yet was she pleas'd to see my victory,
And I receiv'd my vigour from her eye.
Then would she make me chaplets of the best
And choicest flowers, to adorn my head:
Which when I wore, methought I did then grasp
The empire of the world. But what of that?
The more I then enjoy'd of heavenly bliss,
The more my present grief and passion is.
Mon. Well, Thyrsis, since my words do but renew
The story of your grief, I'll leave to use
Persuasions to you; for 'tis time, I see,
And not my words, must cure your malady. [Exit.
Thyr. That time must put a period to my life,
Or else it never will unto my grief:
Come, boy, and under this same hanging bough
The note, which thou attemper'st to my words,
Sing, and be happier than thy master, boy.

[Pg 371]


Boy. Shall I, because my love is gone,
Accuse those golden darts,
Which to a blessed union
Struck our two loving hearts,
Since fortune, and not love, hath caus'd my moan?


No, her pure image I shall prize,
Imprinted in my breast,
More than the fairest mistress' eyes,
That ever swain possessed,
Which in eternal bonds my fancy ties.


Come then, you sharpest griefs, and try
If you can pierce my heart,
But use, if you would have me die,
The best you can of art,
To wound a breast so arm'd with constancy.
Thyr. Enough: I'll sigh the rest out. Go, my boy,
Be careful of thy tender lambs, whilst I
Seek out some hidden place to pine and die.


Hylas, Mirtillus.

Believe, Mirtillus, never any love
Was bought with other price than love alone,
Since nothing is more precious than itself:
It being the purest abstract of that fire
[Pg 372] Which wise Prometheus first indu'd us with;
And he must love that would be lov'd again.
Mir. Why, who can say Mirtillus does not love?
Mirtillus, he who has employ'd his youth
Ever in service of the fairest nymphs.
Hyl. Mirtillus cannot love.
Mir. No, gentle Hylas?
This riband and this hair you see me wear,
Are they not ensigns of a lover? Say,
What shepherdess whom ever swain thought fair,
Has not Mirtillus courted, and obtain'd
Some favour from. But you will think, because
I do not fold my arms, and sigh, and spend
The days, the gods have given me to rejoice,
In whining passion, walking still alone,
Now proud with hopes, then cast down with despair,
Unequal to myself in everything,
I cannot love. No, Hylas, know I love
Dorinda, Chloris, Amarillis, all
Whom ever love did to his altars call:
And when this mistress frowns, I am content
To take another; when that flame is spent
By time, or put out by a rival, straight
A third supplies her place, perhaps more worthy;
If less, because she loves, I'll think her so.
Hyl. Alas, Mirtillus! I do pity thee—
Pity the error which thou wander'st in,
That think'st thou lov'st, and know'st not what it is.
Mir. Why, what is love, say you, if mine be not?
Hyl. I know, Mirtillus, that no lover yet
Purchas'd a lasting pleasure without grief;
For love has gall in it as well as honey,
And so compounded that, whosoe'er will taste
The sweets of it, must take the bitter too,
[Pg 373] Out of both which is made our constancy.
You, that embrace the false delights alone,
Are a feign'd lover or (more truly) none.
Mir. I know not what you mean by constancy:
I'm sure I love the fairest.
Hyl. Still you err;
For, if you lov'd the fairest, none had been
The object of your choice but my Nerina;
Nerina, she the glory of these woods,
The only subject of all shepherds' song.
Mir. She has her share of beauty with the rest,
And I confess she's fit for love as any;
But why she only should take up your breast,
And shut out all that have a right as good,
Whose equal or transcendent beauty pleads
As just a title to't as hers can do,
I cannot reach the reason, but admire
Your faith and (what you praise) your constancy.
Hyl. Mirtillus, though I know your stubborn heart
Could never entertain a lover's thought,
Yet did I think you would have been more tender
How you profan'd a name so sacred as
Nerina's is, whom never any swain,
Nor rural god, nor satyr, though he be
Of savage kind, would ever violate:
Nerina, in whose form love ever dwells,
Attended by the Graces, which do range
Themselves in order 'bout her comely face:
Whose breasts without are hills of whitest snow,
Within, the seat of blameless modesty,
Regard of honour and pure chastity;
Nor may a loose thought ever harbour there
To tempt such lovers as you seem to be:
Is it for that you slight her?
Mir. No, I love her
As I do others, with whom I compare her.
[Pg 374] But you, that love with such intemperance,
Make of your love a glass, wherein you see
Each thing much greater than indeed it is:
My love's too cold, you say; but I am sure
Yours is too hot for any to endure:
A mean, perhaps, 'twixt these I might approve.
Hyl. You might, if there were any mean in love.
Mir. But whilst we talk thus, see, the flame has caught you;
Your beauteous flame, Nerina, is at hand,
Dorinda with her: dare you stay th' encounter?
Hyl. No, let's withdraw, and watch her, where she goes.


Nerina, Dorinda.

Dorinda, I have miss'd the chase to-day,
Such is my chance, and he that lodg'd the deer
Told me it was the fairest in these woods.
Dor. The gods do love you, sure, that thus have left
Your thoughts so free for sport; mine are not so.
Ner. Thou art in love, I warrant, art thou not?
Dor. That angry god pursues me in his fury,
And forces me to love where I am scorn'd.
Hapless Dorinda, why should he despise thee?
Many a swain and many a rural god
Have sought thy favours, and have sought in vain:
Now thou art justly punish'd with disdain.
Ner. Trust me, sweetheart, I cannot choose but wonder,
To think that one of such a comely grace—
I do not flatter you—could sue to any
For love, who are much fitter to be lov'd:
Scorn him as much as he does thee; for men
Love us no more! when we love them again.
[Pg 375]
Dor. Ah, good Nerina, you have spoken truth:
It may warn other nymphs by my example,
How they profess their loves to any man:
I am past cure, for[248] he that wounded me
Has left me quite disarm'd, and robb'd me of
All those defensive arts which men will say
Are natural and proper to our sex.
I cannot change a face or weep one tear,
Or laugh against my will, so violently
My fate hath thrust me to this love, that all
My faculties confess their weakness; and
My flame is got so much above my reach,
I cannot put it out, nor smother it.
Ner. Alas, poor wench! tell me, who is the man
Made up of so much rigid cruelty,
That I may shun him wheresoe'er I go.
Dor. Do not you know him?
Ner. No.
Dor. I hear he boasts
To every shepherd and to every nymph
How much I love him.
Ner. Then it must be Daphnis.
Dor. Venus forgive me if I do disclose him,
But he will do't himself: 'tis he, Nerina.
Ner. Daphnis, that wooes my father to win me;
He is my daily suitor; now I know
How much he owes to pity and to thee;
Until he pay that debt, I shall despise him.
Dor. Why, do not you love him as much as I?
Ner. Love him! I know no greater misery,
Than to love one that's not of human race—
A tiger rather; but a tiger is more mild
Than he.
Dor. For love's sake, say not so!
He has a manly feature, and does show
As much of grace in his comportment as
[Pg 376] The best of shepherds can; him Titan made
Of better clay than he did other men,
Although his heart be flint and hardest rock.
Yet is his heart so hard, or are my parts
Rather unequal to his high deserts?
For he can love, I see, since you he loves,
And you deserve it. Had he thought me worthy,
He would have lov'd me too; but as I am
Worthless Dorinda, I am made his scorn,
And I had rather be so, than Nerina
Should want a servant such as Daphnis is.
Ner. Prythee, no more of him: I hate his name
As much as I would do the loss of honour,
Which he injuriously would rob me of.
No, no, Dorinda, if by love I be
Enthrall'd to any, Daphnis is not he.
Dor. Why, is there any can deserve you more?
Ner. Yes, many, that I could tell how to love
Rather than him: for why should I love him,
Whilst Hylas lives, and languishes for me?
Hylas, who lov'd me in my infancy,
And being then a boy, was never well
If I was absent; nor indeed was I
Content with any but his company.
Our flocks still fed together: I on him,
And he on me did feed his greedy eyes.
Since, though his years have styled him man, he has
Continu'd that first love with such respects,
So full of innocence and simple truth,
That howsoe'er my outward coyness is,
My heart within tells me 'tis only his.
Ah me! my father! prythee, let's away.
Dor. But Daphnis comes with him: for love's sake, stay!

[Pg 377]


Hylas, Mirtillus, Charinus, Daphnis.

Pan be as cruel to his flocks and him
As he has been to me!
Mir. Go, leave your cursing,
And follow her; let me alone with him.
Char. Ha! have I found you? Ho! Nerina, stay!
Your father calls you; was not that my daughter
That made away so fast?
Mir. Who, she that's gone?
Believe your eyes no more, they are false to you.
Could you take one for her that's nothing like her?
'Twas Chloris went from us.
Char. Is't possible?
Mir. 'Tis true.
Daph. I thought that it had been my love.
Char. I durst have sworn that she had been my daughter.
What made she here? 'Twill ne'er be otherwise;
Young women will be chatting with young men,
Whate'er their fathers say. It was not so
When I was young—a boy, as you are, shepherds.
Mir. We are not men with him till after fifty.
Char. We never durst keep company with women,
Nor they with us: each one did carefully
Attend his charge. And when the time was come,
That we grew ripe in years, and were staid youths,
Our fathers would provide us wives: we did not
Carve for ourselves, as nowadays they do.
But now our children think themselves as wise,
Nay, wiser than their fathers, and will rule 'em:
They can no sooner peep out of the shell,
But they must love, forsooth. I would fain know,
[Pg 378] Whether 'twere fit a maid should be in love—
I speak now of that skittish girl, my daughter—
Before she ask her father's leave and liking?
Daph. Tis true, Charinus, 'twere not fit indeed.
Who should bestow the daughter but the father?
Mir. But, shepherds, did you never hear that once
There was an age, the nearest to the gods:
An age we rather praise than imitate;
When no man's will nor woman's was enforc'd
To any bent but its own motion?
Each follow'd nature's laws, and by instinct
Did love the fairest, and enjoy their wishes:
Love then, not tied to any interest
Of blood or fortune, hasten'd to his end
Without control, nor did the shepherd number
Her sheep that was his choice, but every grace
That did adorn her beauteous mind or face.
Riches with love then were not valued—
Pure, uncompounded love—that could despise
The whole world's riches for a mistress' eyes.
Pray tell me, Daphnis—you are young and handsome,
The lover of our fairest nymph Nerina—
Would you, for all that fruitful Sicily
Can yield, or all the wealth of Persia,
Change one poor lock of your fair mistress' hair,
Whilst she is yours, and you her shepherd are?
Daph. Would she were mine, I'd ask no portion.
Mir. Spoke like a lover of the ancient stamp!
Char. Son, son, she shall be yours: why, am not I
Her father, she my daughter? May not I
Bestow her where I please?
Mir. Yes, if she like
The man, she will bestow herself, ne'er fear it.
Char. What! she bestow herself without my leave?
[Pg 379] No, no, Mirtillus, you mistake my daughter.
I cannot get her once to think of marriage,
And truly I do muse to see a wench,
That in all other things (although I say it)
Has wit at will: can pin her sheep in fold
As well as any: knows when to drive them home;
And there she can do twenty things as well:
Yet when I speak to her of marriage,
She turns the head: she'll be a Dryad, she,
Or one of those fond nymphs of Dian's train.
Mir. Old man, believe her not, she means not so;
She loves to keep the thing for which she is
So much belov'd—I mean her maidenhead—
Which, whilst she has, she knows to play the tyrant,
And make us slaves unto her scornful looks:
For beauty then itself most justifies,
When it is courted; if not lov'd, it dies.
Char. Well, we will think of this. Come, Daphnis, come,
I see you love my daughter, and you only
Shall have her; it is I that tell you so,
That am her father.
Daph. Thank you, good Charinus;
But I had rather she had told me so. [Aside.


[248] [Old copy, the cure, he.]


Thyrsis, Montanus. To them Mirtillus.

[Thyr.] This day the sun shot forth his beams as fair
As e'er he did, and through the trembling air
Cool Zephyrus with gentle murmuring
[Pg 380] Breath'd a new freshness on each tree and plant:
My kids are gamesome too, as e'er they were;
All show a face of gladness but myself.
Mon. And why not you as well by their example?
Thyr. Not in this life: here joy would be untimely:
The gods reserve for me their comforts in
Th' Elysian fields, or else they mock my sorrows.
Mon. O, say not so, they're just and pitiful.
Thyr. They are, but, father—so I still must call you—
When in the sadness of my soul I ask'd
Before the altar of our great Apollo,
What should become of me, or where my love,
Bright Sylvia, was, whether alive or dead,
Why should the oracle reply: Go home,
Thou shall enjoy thy Sylvia