Back to the Index Page

 
 
 
The Honest Whore, Part One by Thomas Middleton


[Dramatis Personae (in order of appearance)
Gasparo Trebatzi, DUKE of Milan
Count HIPOLITO, in love with Infelice
MATHEO, his friend
FUSTIGO, brother to Viola
A PORTER
VIOLA, wife to Candido
DOCTOR Benedict
Two SERVANTS to the Duke
INFELICE, daughter to the Duke
CASTRUCHIO }
FLUELLO } courtiers
PIORATTO }
GEORGE, prentice to Candido
Two other PRENTICES to Candido
CANDIDO, a linen-draper
ROGER, a pander
BELLAFRONT, a whore
An OFFICER
Madame Fingerlock, a BAWD
SERVANT to Hipolito
Corporal CRAMBO
Lieutenant POH
The DOCTOR'S MAN
ANSELMO, a friar
A SWEEPER at the Bethlehem Monastery
SINEZI, a courtier
Three MADMEN
Officers
The scene: Milan]


I.i. [A street]


Enter at one door a funeral, a coronet lying on the hearse, scutcheons and garlands hanging on the sides, attended by Gasparo Trebatzi, Duke of Milan, Castruchio, Sinezi, Pioratto, Fluello, and others. At another door, enter Hipolito in discontented appearance, Matheo, a gentleman his friend, labouring to hold him back.

DUKE
Behold, yon comet shows his head again;
Twice hath he thus at cross-turns thrown on us
Prodigious looks, twice hath he troubled
The waters of our eyes. See, he's turn'd wild;
Go on, in God's name.

ALL
On afore there, ho!

DUKE
Kinsmen and friends, take from your manly sides
Your weapons to keep back the desp'rate boy
From doing violence to the innocent dead.

HIPOLITO
I pray thee, dear Matheo!

MATHEO
Come, y'are mad!

HIPOLITO
I do arrest thee, murderer! Set down,
Villains, set down that sorrow, 'tis all mine.

DUKE
I do beseech you all, for my blood's sake
Send hence your milder spirits, and let wrath
Join in confederacy with your weapons' points;
If he proceed to vex us, let your swords
Seek out his bowels: funeral grief loathes words.

ALL
Set on.

HIPOLITO
Set down the body!

MATHEO
Oh, my lord!
Y'are wrong. I' th' open street! You see she's dead.

HIPOLITO
I know she is not dead.

DUKE
Frantic young man,
Wilt thou believe these gentlemen? Pray speak:
Thou dost abuse my child, and mock'st the tears
That here are shed for her. If to behold
Those roses withered that set out her cheeks,
That pair of stars that gave her body light
Dark'ned and dim forever, all those rivers
That fed her veins with warm and crimson streams
Frozen and dried up: if these be signs of death,
Then is she dead. Thou unreligious youth,
Art not asham'd to empty all these eyes
Of funeral tears, a debt due to the dead
As mirth is to the living? Sham'st thou not
To have them stare on thee? Hark, thou art curs'd
Even to thy face by those that scarce can speak!

HIPOLITO
My lord.

DUKE
What wouldst thou have? Is she not dead?

HIPOLITO
Oh, you ha' kill'd her by your cruelty!

DUKE
Admit I had, thou kill'st her now again,
And art more savage than a barbarous moor.

HIPOLITO
Let me but kiss her pale and bloodless lip.

DUKE
Oh, fie, fie, fie!

HIPOLITO
Or if not touch her, let me look on her.

MATHEO
As you regard your honour--

HIPOLITO
Honour? Smoke!

MATHEO
Or if you lov'd her living, spare her now.

DUKE
Ay, well done, sir; you play the gentleman.
Steal hence. 'Tis nobly done. Away. I'll join
My force to yours to stop this violent torment.
Pass on.

Exeunt [courtiers and attendants] with funeral.

HIPOLITO
Matheo, thou dost wound me more.

MATHEO
I give you physic, noble friend, not wounds.

DUKE
Oh, well said, well done, a true gentleman!
Alack, I know the sea of lovers' rage
Comes rushing with so strong a tide: it beats
And bears down all respects of life, of honour,
Of friends, of foes. Forget her, gallant youth.

HIPOLITO
Forget her?

DUKE
Nay, nay, be but patient.
For why? Death's hand hath sued a strict divorce
'Twixt her and thee? What's beauty but a corse?
What but fair sand-dust are earth's purest forms?
Queens' bodies are but trunks to put in worms.

MATHEO
[Aside to Duke] Speak no more sentences, my good lord, but slip hence. You see they are but fits; I'll rule him, I warrant ye. Ay, so, tread gingerly, your grace is here somewhat too long already.

[Exit Duke.]

[Aside] 'Sblood, the jest were now, if having ta'en some knocks o' th' pate already, he should get loose again, and like a mad ox toss my new black cloaks into the kennel! I must humour his lordship.--My Lord Hipolito, is it in your stomach to go to dinner?

HIPOLITO
Where is the body?

MATHEO
The body, as the duke spake very wisely, is gone to be worm'd.

HIPOLITO
I cannot rest: I'll meet it at next turn;
I'll see how my love looks.

Matheo holds him in's arms.

MATHEO
How your love looks? Worse than a scarecrow. Wrastle not with me: the great fellow gives the fall, for a ducat!

HIPOLITO
I shall forget myself!

MATHEO
Pray do so, leave yourself behind yourself, and go whither you will. 'Sfoot, do you long to have base rogues that maintain a Saint Anthony's fire in their noses by nothing but two-penny ale make ballads of you? If the duke had but so much mettle in him as is in a cobbler's awl, he would ha' been a vex'd thing: he and his train had blown you up, but that their powder has taken the wet of cowards; you'll bleed three pottles of Aligant, by this light, if you follow 'em, and then we shall have a hole made in a wrong place, to have surgeons roll thee up like a baby in swaddling clouts.

HIPOLITO
What day is today, Matheo?

MATHEO
Yea, marry, this is an easy question: why, today is, let me see, Thursday.

HIPOLITO
Oh, Thursday.

MATHEO
Here's a coil for a dead commodity! 'Sfoot, women when they are alive are but dead commodities, for you shall have one woman lie upon many men's hands!

HIPOLITO
She died on Monday then.

MATHEO
And that's the most villainous day of all the week to die in. And she was well, and ate a mess of water-gruel on Monday morning.

HIPOLITO
Ay, it cannot be
Such a bright taper should burn out so soon.

MATHEO
Oh, yes, my lord, so soon: why, I ha' known them that at dinner have been as well, and had so much health, that they were glad to pledge it, yet before three a' clock have been found dead drunk.

HIPOLITO
On Thursday buried, and on Monday died!
Quick haste, byrlady: sure her winding sheet
Was laid out 'fore her body, and the worms,
That now must feast with her, were even bespoke,
And solemnly invited like strange guests.

MATHEO
Strange feeders they are indeed, my lord, and, like your jester or young courtier, will enter upon any man's trencher without bidding.

HIPOLITO
Curs'd be that day forever that [robb'd] her
Of breath, and me of bliss: henceforth let it stand
Within the wizards' book, the calendar,
Mark'd with a marginal finger, to be chosen
By thieves, by villains, and black murderers
As the best day for them to labour in.
If henceforth this adulterous bawdy world
Be got with child with treason, sacrilege,
Atheism, rapes, treacherous friendship, perjury,
Slander, the beggar's sin, lies, sin of fools,
Or any other damn'd impieties,
On Monday let 'em be delivered!
I swear to thee, Matheo, by my soul,
Hereafter weekly on that day I'll glue
Mine eyelids down, because they shall not gaze
On any female cheek. And being lock'd up
In my close chamber, there I'll meditate
On nothing but my Infelice's end,
Or on a dead man's skull draw out mine own.

MATHEO
You'll do all these good works now every Monday because it is so bad, but I hope upon Tuesday morning I shall take you with a wench.

HIPOLITO
If ever whilst frail blood through my veins run,
On woman's beams I throw affection,
Save her that's dead, or that I loosely fly
To th' shore of any other wafting eye,
Let me not prosper, heaven! I will be true,
Even to her dust and ashes: could her tomb
Stand whilst I liv'd, so long that it might rot,
That should fall down, but she be ne'er forgot.

MATHEO
If you have this strange monster, honesty, in your belly, why, so jig-makers and chroniclers shall pick something out of you: but and I smell not you and a bawdy house out within these ten days, let my nose be as big as an English bag-pudding. I'll follow your lordship, though it be to the place aforenamed.

Exeunt.


[I.ii. A street]
Enter Fustigo in some fantastic sea-suit at one door, a Porter meets him at another.

FUSTIGO
How now, porter, will she come?

PORTER
If I may trust a woman, sir, she will come.

FUSTIGO
[Giving him money] There's for thy pains, godamercy. If ever I stand in need of a wench that will come with a wet finger, porter, thou shalt earn my money before any clarissimo in Milan, yet, so God sa' me, she's mine own sister body and soul, as I am a Christian gentleman! Farewell, I'll ponder till she come: thou hast been no bawd in fetching this woman, I assure thee.

PORTER
No matter if I had, sir: better men than porters are bawds.

FUSTIGO
Oh, God, sir, many that have borne offices! But, porter, art sure thou went'st into a true house?

PORTER
I think so, for I met with no thieves.

FUSTIGO
Nay, but art sure it was my sister Viola?

PORTER
I am sure by all superscriptions it was the party you ciphered.

FUSTIGO
Not very tall?

PORTER
Nor very low: a middling woman.

FUSTIGO
'Twas she, faith, 'twas she! A pretty plump cheek like mine?

PORTER
At a blush, a little very much like you.

FUSTIGO
Gods-so, I would not for a ducat she had kick'd up her heels, for I ha' spent an abomination this voyage; marry, I did it amongst sailors and gentlemen. [Giving him money] There's a little modicum more, porter, for making thee stay; farewell, honest porter.

PORTER
I am in your debt, sir; God preserve you.

FUSTIGO
Not so neither, good porter.

Exit. Enter Viola.

God's lid, yonder she comes! Sister Viola, I am glad to see you stirring. It's news to have me here, is't not, sister?

VIOLA
Yes, trust me: I wond'red who should be so bold to send for me. You are welcome to Milan, brother.

FUSTIGO
Troth, sister, I heard you were married to a very rich chuff, and I was very sorry for it, that I had no better clothes, and that made me send, for you know we Milaners love to strut upon Spanish leather. And how does all our friends?

VIOLA
Very well. You ha' travelled enough now, I trow, to sow your wild oats.

FUSTIGO
A pox on 'em! Wild oats? I ha' not an oat to throw at a horse. Troth, sister, I ha' sow'd my oats, and reap'd two hundred ducats if I had 'em. Here, marry, I must entreat you to lend me some thirty or forty till the ship come; by this hand, I'll discharge at my day, by this hand.

VIOLA
These are your old oaths.

FUSTIGO
Why, sister, do you think I'll forswear my hand?

VIOLA
Well, well, you shall have them: put yourself into better fashion, because I must employ you in a serious matter.

FUSTIGO
I'll sweat like a horse if I like the matter.

VIOLA
You ha' cast off all your old swaggering humours.

FUSTIGO
I had not sail'd a league in that great fishpond, the sea, but I cast up my very gall.

VIOLA
I am the more sorry, for I must employ a true swaggerer.

FUSTIGO
Nay, by this iron, sister, they shall find I am powder and touch-box if they put fire once into me.

VIOLA
Then lend me your ears.

FUSTIGO
Mine ears are yours, dear sister.

VIOLA
I am married to a man that has wealth enough, and wit enough.

FUSTIGO
A linen-draper I was told, sister.

VIOLA
Very true, a grave citizen; I want nothing that a wife can wish from a husband. But here's the spite: he has not all things belonging to a man.

FUSTIGO
God's my life, he's a very mandrake, or else, God bless us, one a' these whiblins, and that's worse! And then all the children that he gets lawfully of your body, sister, are bastards by a statute.

VIOLA
Oh, you run over me too fast, brother! I have heard it often said that he who cannot be angry is no man. I am sure my husband is a man in print for all things else save only in this: no tempest can move him.

FUSTIGO
'Slid, would he had been at sea with us, he should ha' been mov'd and mov'd again, for I'll be sworn, la, our drunken ship reel'd like a Dutchman!

VIOLA
No loss of goods can increase in him a wrinkle, no crabbed language make his countenance sour, the stubbornness of no servant shake him; he has no more gall in him than a dove, no more sting than an ant. Musician will he never be, yet I find much music in him, but he loves no frets, and is so free from anger that many times I am ready to bite off my tongue, because it wants that virtue which all women's tongues have, to anger their husbands. Brother, mine can by no thunder turn him into a sharpness.

FUSTIGO
Belike his blood, sister, is well-brew'd then.

VIOLA
I protest to thee, Fustigo, I love him most affectionately, but I know not--I ha' such a tickling within me, such a strange longing; nay, verily I do long.

FUSTIGO
Then y'are with child, sister, by all signs and tokens; nay, I am partly a physician, and partly something else: I ha' read Albertus Magnus, and Aristotle's Emblems.

VIOLA
Y'are wide a' th' bow hand still, brother: my longings are not wanton, but wayward: I long to have my patient husband eat up a whole porcupine, to the intent the bristling quills may stick about his lips like a Flemish mustacho, and be shot at me. I shall be leaner than the new moon, unless I can make him horn-mad.

FUSTIGO
'Sfoot, half a quarter of an hour does that: make him a cuckold!

VIOLA
Puh, he would count such a cut no unkindness!

FUSTIGO
The honester citizen he. Then make him drunk and cut off his beard.

VIOLA
Fie, fie, idle, idle: he's no Frenchman, to fret at the loss of a little scald hair. No, brother, thus it shall be, you must be secret.

FUSTIGO
As your midwife, I protest, sister, or a barber-surgeon.

VIOLA
Repair to the Tortoise here in Saint Christopher's Street. I will send you money; turn yourself into a brave man: instead of the arms of your mistress, let your sword and your military scarf hang about your neck.

FUSTIGO
I must have a great horseman's French feather too, sister.

VIOLA
Oh, by any means, to show your light head, else your hat will sit like a coxcomb! To be brief, you must be in all points a most terrible wide-mouth'd swaggerer.

FUSTIGO
Nay, for swaggering points let me alone.

VIOLA
Resort then to our shop, and, in my husband's presence, kiss me, snatch rings, jewels, or anything so you give it back again, brother, in secret.

FUSTIGO
By this hand, sister.

VIOLA
Swear as if you came but new from knighting.

FUSTIGO
Nay, I'll swear after four hundred a year.

VIOLA
Swagger worse than a lieutenant among freshwater soldiers; call me your love, your ingle, your cousin, or so, but sister at no hand.

FUSTIGO
No, no, it shall be cousin, or rather coz: that's the gulling word between the citizens' wives and their madcaps, that man 'em to the garden. To call you one a' mine aunts, sister, were as good as call you arrant whore; no, no, let me alone to cousin you rarely.

VIOLA
H'as heard I have a brother, but never saw him, therefore put on a good face.

FUSTIGO
The best in Milan, I warrant.

VIOLA
Take up wares, but pay nothing, rifle my bosom, my pocket, my purse, the boxes for money to dice withal; but, brother, you must give all back again in secret.

FUSTIGO
By this welkin that here roars, I will, or else let me never know what a secret is! Why, sister, do you think I'll coney-catch you, when you are my cousin? God's my life, then I were a stark ass! If I fret not his guts, beg me for a fool.

VIOLA
Be circumspect, and do so then. Farewell.

FUSTIGO
The Tortoise, sister? I'll stay there. Forty ducats.

Exit.

VIOLA
Thither I'll send. This law can none deny:
Women must have their longings, or they die.

Exit.


[I.iii. A private chamber of the Duke's]
[Enter] Gasparo the Duke, Doctor Benedict, two Servants.

DUKE
Give charge that none do enter, lock the doors,
And fellows, what your eyes and ears receive,
Upon your lives trust not the gadding air
To carry the least part of it: the glass,
The hourglass.

DOCTOR
Here, my lord.

DUKE
Ah, 'tis near spent.
But Doctor Benedict, does your art speak truth?
Art sure the soporiferous stream will ebb,
And leave the crystal banks of her white body
Pure as they were at first just at the hour?

DOCTOR
Just at the hour, my lord.

DUKE
Uncurtain her.

[The Doctor draws the curtain to reveal Infelice in bed.]

Softly, see, doctor, what a coldish heat
Spreads over all her body.

DOCTOR
Now it works:
The vital spirits that by a sleepy charm
Were bound up fast, and threw an icy [crust]
On her exterior parts, now 'gin to break.
Trouble her not, my lord.

DUKE
Some stools! You call'd
For music, did you not?

[The Servants bring stools. Soft music.]

Oh ho, it speaks,
It speaks! Watch, sirs, her waking, note those sands.
Doctor, sit down. A dukedom that should weigh
Mine own down twice, being put into one scale,
And that fond desperate boy, Hipolito,
Making the weight up, should not at my hands
Buy her i' th' tother, were her state more light
Than hers who makes a dowry up with alms.
Doctor, I'll starve her on the Appenine
Ere he shall marry her. I must confess,
Hipolito is nobly borne, a man
(Did not mine enemies' blood boil in his veins)
Whom I would court to be my son-in-law.
But princes whose high spleens for empery swell
Are not with easy art made parallel.

SECOND SERVANT
She wakes, my lord.

DUKE
Look, Doctor Benedict.
I charge you on your lives maintain for truth
Whate'er the doctor or myself aver,
For you shall bear her hence to Bergamo.

INFELICE
Oh, God, what fearful dreams!

DOCTOR
Lady.

INFELICE
Ha?

DUKE
Girl.
Why, Infelice, how is't now, ha? Speak.

INFELICE
I'm well. What makes this doctor here? I'm well.

DUKE
Thou wert not so even now: sickness' pale hand
Laid hold on thee even in the midst of feasting,
And when a cup crown'd with thy lover's health
Had touch'd thy lips, a sensible cold dew
Stood on thy cheeks, as if that death had wept
To see such beauty alter.

INFELICE
I remember
I sat at banquet, but felt no such change.

DUKE
Thou hast forgot then how a messenger
Came wildly in with this unsavoury news
That he was dead.

INFELICE
What messenger? Who's dead?

DUKE
Hipolito. Alack, wring not thy hands.

INFELICE
I saw no messenger, heard no such news.

DOCTOR
Trust me you did, sweet lady.

DUKE
La you now.

BOTH SERVANTS
Yes, indeed, madam.

DUKE
La you now. [Aside to Servants] 'Tis well, good knaves.

INFELICE
You ha' slain him, and now you'll murder me!

DUKE
Good Infelice, vex not thus thyself:
Of this the bad report before did strike
So coldly to thy heart, that the swift currents
Of life were all frozen up.

INFELICE
It is untrue,
'Tis most untrue! Oh, most unnatural father!

DUKE
And we had much to do by art's best cunning
To fetch life back again.

DOCTOR
Most certain, lady.

DUKE
Why, la you now, you'll not believe me. Friends,
Sweat we not all, had we not much to do?

[BOTH SERVANTS]
Yes, indeed, my lord, much.

DUKE
Death drew such fearful pictures in thy face,
That were Hipolito alive again,
I'd kneel and woo the noble gentleman
To be thy husband; now I sore repent
My sharpness to him and his family.
Nay, do not weep for him; we all must die.
Doctor, this place where she so oft hath seen
His lively presence hurts her, does it not?

DOCTOR
Doubtless, my lord, it does.

DUKE
It does, it does.
Therefore, sweet girl, thou shalt to Bergamo.

INFELICE
Even where you will, in any place there's woe.

DUKE
A coach is ready. Bergamo doth stand
In a most wholesome air: sweet walks, there's deer--
Ay, thou shalt hunt and send us venison,
Which like some goddess in the Cyprian groves,
Thine own fair hand shall strike. Sirs, you shall teach her
To stand and how to shoot. Ay, she shall hunt.
Cast off this sorrow. In, girl, and prepare
This night to ride away to Bergamo.

INFELICE
Oh, most unhappy maid!

Exit.

DUKE
Follow her close.
No words that she was buried, on your lives,
Or that her ghost walks now after she's dead;
I'll hang you if you name a funeral.

FIRST SERVANT
I'll speak Greek, my lord, ere I speak that deadly word.

SECOND SERVANT
And I'll speak Welsh, which is harder than Greek.

DUKE
Away, look to her.

Exeunt [Servants].

Doctor Benedict,
Did you observe how her complexion alt'red
Upon his name and death? Oh, would 'twere true!

DOCTOR
It may, my lord.

DUKE
May? How? I wish his death.

DOCTOR
And you may have your wish; say but the word,
And 'tis a strong spell to rip up his grave.
I have good knowledge with Hipolito;
He calls me friend: I'll creep into his bosom
And sting him there to death; poison can do't.

DUKE
Perform it; I'll create thee half mine heir.

DOCTOR
It shall be done, although the fact be foul.

DUKE
Greatness hides sin, the guilt upon my soul.

Exeunt.


[I.iv. The court]
Enter Castruchio, Pioratto, and Fluello.

CASTRUCHIO
Signior Pioratto, Signior Fluello, shall's be merry? Shall's play the wags now?

FLUELLO
Ay, anything that may beget the child of laughter.

CASTRUCHIO
Truth, I have a pretty sportive conceit new crept into my brain will move excellent mirth.

PIORATTO
Let's ha't, let's ha't, and where shall the scene of mirth lie?

CASTRUCHIO
At Signior Candido's house, the patient man, nay, the monstrous patient man; they say his blood is immoveable, that he has taken all patience from a man, and all constancy from a woman.

FLUELLO
That makes so many whores nowadays.

CASTRUCHIO
Ay, and so many knaves too.

PIORATTO
Well, sir.

CASTRUCHIO
To conclude, the report goes, he's so mild, so affable, so suffering, that nothing indeed can move him: now do but think what sport it will be to make this fellow, the mirror of patience, as angry, as vex'd, and as mad as an English cuckold.

FLUELLO
Oh, 'twere admirable mirth, that! But how wilt be done, signior?

CASTRUCHIO
Let me alone: I have a trick, a conceit, a thing, a device will sting him, i'faith, if he have but a thimble full of blood in's belly, or a spleen not so big as a tavern token.

PIORATTO
Thou stir him? Thou move him? Thou anger him? Alas, I know his approved temper. Thou vex him? Why, he has a patience above man's injuries: thou mayest sooner raise a spleen in an angel than rough humour in him. Why, I'll give you instance for it. This wonderfully temper'd Signior Candido upon a time invited home to his house certain Neapolitan lords of curious taste, and no mean palates, conjuring his wife of all loves to prepare cheer fitting for such honourable trenchermen. She, just of a woman's nature, covetous to try the uttermost of vexation, and thinking at last to get the start of his humour, willingly neglected the preparation, and became unfurnish'd, not only of dainty, but of ordinary dishes. He, according to the mildness of his breast, entertained the lords, and with courtly discourse beguiled the time, as much as a citizen might do. To conclude, they were hungry lords, for there came no meat in; their stomachs were plainly gull'd, and their teeth deluded, and, if anger could have seiz'd a man, there was matter enough, i'faith, to vex any citizen in the world if he were not too much made a fool by his wife.

FLUELLO
Ay, I'll swear for't. 'Sfoot, had it been my case, I should ha' play'd mad tricks with my wife and family! First I would ha' spitted the men, stew'd the maids, and bak'd the mistress, and so served them in.

PIORATTO
Why, 'twould ha' tempted any blood but his.
And thou to vex him? Thou to anger him
With some poor shallow jest?

CASTRUCHIO
'Sblood, Signior Pioratto, you that disparage my conceit, I'll wage a hundred ducats upon the head on't that it moves him, frets him, and galls him!

PIORATTO
Done; 'tis a lay, join golls on't. Witness, Signior Fluello.

CASTRUCHIO
Witness: 'tis done.
Come, follow me: the house is not far off.
I'll thrust him from his humour, vex his breast,
And win a hundred ducats by one jest.

Exeunt.


[I.v. Candido's shop]
Enter Candido's wife [Viola], George, and two Prentices in the shop.

[VIOLA]
Come, you put up your wares in good order here, do you not think you? One piece cast this way, another that way? You had need have a patient master indeed.

GEORGE
[Aside] Ay, I'll be sworn, for we have a curs'd mistress.

[VIOLA]
You mumble. Do you mumble? I would your master or I could be a note more angry, for two patient folks in a house spoil all the servants that ever shall come under them.

FIRST PRENTICE
[Aside] You patient! Ay, so is the devil when he is horn-mad.

Enter Castruchio, Fluello, and Pioratto.

ALL THREE [PRENTICES]
Gentlemen, what do you lack? What is't you buy? See fine hollands, fine cambrics, fine lawns.

GEORGE
What is't you lack?

SECOND PRENTICE
What is't you buy?

CASTRUCHIO
Where's Signior Candido thy master?

GEORGE
Faith, signior, he's a little negotiated; he'll appear presently.

CASTRUCHIO
Fellow, let's see a lawn, a choice one, sirrah.

GEORGE
The best in all Milan, gentlemen, and this is the piece. I can fit you gentlemen with fine calicoes too for doublets, the only sweet fashion now, most delicate and courtly, a meek gentle calico, cut upon two double affable taffetas, ah, most neat, feat, and unmatchable!

FLUELLO
[Aside to Pioratto] A notable, voluble-tongu'd villain!

PIORATTO
[Aside to Fluello] I warrant this fellow was never begot without much prating.

CASTRUCHIO
What, and is this she, sayst thou?

GEORGE
Ay, and the purest she that ever you finger'd since you were a gentleman: look how even she is, look how clean she is, ha, as even as the brow of Cynthia, and as clean as your sons and heirs when they ha' spent all!

CASTRUCHIO
Puh, thou talk'st! Pox on't, 'tis rough!

GEORGE
How! Is she rough? But if you bid pox on't, sir, 'twill take away the roughness presently.

FLUELLO
Ha, signior! Has he fitted your French curse?

GEORGE
Look you, gentleman, here's another; compare them I pray, compara Virgilium cum Homero, compare virgins with harlots.

CASTRUCHIO
Puh, I ha' seen better, and as you term them, evener and cleaner.

GEORGE
You may see further for your mind, but trust me you shall not find better for your body.

Enter Candido.

CASTRUCHIO
[Aside to Fluello and Pioratto] Oh, here he comes! Let's make as tho' we pass.--Come, come, we'll try in some other shop.

CANDIDO
How now? What's the matter?

GEORGE
The gentlemen find fault with this lawn, fall out with it, and without a cause too.

CANDIDO
Without a cause!
And that makes you to let 'em pass away?
Ah, may I crave a word with you gentlemen?

FLUELLO
[Aside to Castruchio] He calls us.

CASTRUCHIO
[Aside to Fluello] Makes the better for the jest.

CANDIDO
I pray come near, y'are very welcome, gallants;
Pray pardon my man's rudeness, for I fear me
H'as talk'd above a prentice with you. Lawns?
Look you, kind gentlemen. This? No. Ay, this:
Take this upon my honest-dealing faith
To be a true weave, not too hard, nor slack,
But e'en as far from falsehood as from black.

CASTRUCHIO
Well, how do you rate it?

CANDIDO
Very conscionably: eighteen shillings a yard.

CASTRUCHIO
That's too dear. How many yards does the whole piece contain, think you?

CANDIDO
Why, some seventeen yards I think, or thereabouts.
How much would serve your turn, I pray?

CASTRUCHIO
Why, let me see. Would it were better too.

CANDIDO
Truth, 'tis the best in Milan at few words.

CASTRUCHIO
Well, let me have then--a whole pennyworth.

CANDIDO
Ha, ha! Y'are a merry gentleman.

CASTRUCHIO
A penn'orth I say.

CANDIDO
Of lawn!

CASTRUCHIO
Of lawn? Ay, of lawn, a penn'orth. 'Sblood, dost not hear? A whole penn'orth! Are you deaf?

CANDIDO
Deaf? No, sir, but I must tell you,
Our wares do seldom meet such customers.

CASTRUCHIO
Nay, and you and your lawns be so squeamish, fare you well.

CANDIDO
Pray stay, a word, pray, signior. For what purpose is it I beseech you?

CASTRUCHIO
'Sblood, what's that to you? I'll have a pennyworth.

CANDIDO
A pennyworth! Why, you shall. I'll serve you presently.

SECOND PRENTICE
'Sfoot, a pennyworth, mistress!

[VIOLA]
A pennyworth! Call you these gentlemen?

CASTRUCHIO
[To Candido, who is beginning to cut] No, no: not there.

CANDIDO
What then, kind gentleman? What, at this corner here?

CASTRUCHIO
Nor there neither.
I'll have it just in the middle, or else not.

CANDIDO
Just in the middle? Ha! You shall too. What?
Have you a single penny?

CASTRUCHIO
Yes, here's one.

CANDIDO
Lend it me I pray.

FLUELLO
[Aside] An ex'lent followed jest.

[VIOLA]
What, will he spoil the lawn now?

CANDIDO
Patience, good wife.

[VIOLA]
Ay, that patience makes a fool of you. Gentlemen, you might ha' found some other citizen to have made a kind gull on besides my husband.

CANDIDO
Pray, gentlemen, take her to be a woman;
Do not regard her language. Oh, kind soul,
Such words will drive away my customers.

[VIOLA]
Customers with a murrain! Call you these customers?

CANDIDO
Patience, good wife.

[VIOLA]
Pax a' your patience!

GEORGE
'Sfoot, mistress, I warrant these are some cheating companions!

CANDIDO
Look you, gentleman, there's your ware; I thank you.
I have your money here; pray know my shop,
Pray let me have your custom.

[VIOLA]
Custom, quoth 'a!

CANDIDO
Let me take more of your money.

[VIOLA]
You had need so.

PIORATTO
[Taking Castruchio aside] Hark in thine ear: t' hast lost an hundred ducats.

CASTRUCHIO
Well, well, I know't. Is't possible that homo
Should be nor man nor woman, not once mov'd?
No, not at such an injury, not at all!
Sure he's a pigeon, for he has no gall.

FLUELLO
Come, come, y'are angry tho' you smother it.
Y'are vex'd, i'faith, confess.

CANDIDO
Why, gentlemen,
Should you conceit me to be vex'd or mov'd?
He has my ware, I have his money for't,
And that's no argument I am angry. No,
The best logician cannot prove me so.

FLUELLO
Oh, but the hateful name of a pennyworth of lawn,
And then cut out i' th' middle of the piece!
[Aside] Pah, I guess it by myself, would move a lamb
Were he a linen-draper, 'twould, i'faith!

CANDIDO
Well, give me leave to answer you for that:
We are set here to please all customers,
Their humours and their fancies, offend none;
We get by many, if we leese by one.
Maybe his mind stood to no more than that;
A pen'worth serves him, and 'mongst trades 'tis found,
Deny a penn'orth, it may cross a pound.
Oh, he that means to thrive with patient eye
Must please the devil if he come to buy!

FLUELLO
Oh, wondrous man, patient 'bove wrong or woe,
How bless'd were men if women could be so!

CANDIDO
And to express how well my breast is pleas'd
And satisfied in all: George, fill a beaker.

Exit George.

I'll drink unto that gentleman who lately
Bestowed his money with me.

[VIOLA]
God's my life,
We shall have all our gains drunk out in beakers
To make amends for pennyworths of lawn!

Enter George.

CANDIDO
Here, wife, begin you to the gentleman.

[VIOLA]
I begin to him? [Throws down the beaker.]

CANDIDO
George, fill 't up again:
'Twas my fault, my hand shook.

Exit George.

PIORATTO
[Aside] How strangely this doth show!
A patient man link'd with a waspish shrow.

FLUELLO
[Taking Castruchio aside] A silver and gilt beaker! I have a trick
To work upon that beaker: sure 'twill fret him;
It cannot choose but vex him. Signior Castruchio,
In pity to thee, I have a conceit
Will save thy hundred ducats yet; 'twill do't,
And work him to impatience.

CASTRUCHIO
Sweet Fluello,
I should be bountiful to that conceit.

FLUELLO
Well 'tis enough.

Enter George.

CANDIDO
Here, gentleman to you:
I wish your custom; y'are exceeding welcome.

CASTRUCHIO
I pledge you, Signior Candido.
[Aside to Pioratto] Here to you, that must receive a hundred ducats.

PIORATTO
[Aside to Castruchio] I'll pledge them deep, i'faith, Castruchio.--
Signior Fluello?

FLUELLO
Come, play 't off to me;
I am your last man.

CANDIDO
George, supply the cup.

FLUELLO
So, so, good honest George.
Here, Signior Candido, all this to you.

CANDIDO
Oh, you must pardon me, I use it not.

FLUELLO
Will you not pledge me then?

CANDIDO
Yes, but not that:
Great love is shown in little.

FLUELLO
Blurt on your sentences!
'Sfoot, you shall pledge me all!

CANDIDO
Indeed I shall not.

FLUELLO
Not pledge me? 'Sblood, I'll carry away the beaker then!

CANDIDO
The beaker! Oh, that at your pleasure, sir.

FLUELLO
Now, by this drink, I will.

CASTRUCHIO
Pledge him, he'll do't else.

FLUELLO
So, I ha' done you right, on my thumbnail.
What, will you pledge me now?

CANDIDO
You know me, sir:
I am not of that sin.

FLUELLO
Why then, farewell;
I'll bear away the beaker, by this light.

CANDIDO
That's as you please; 'tis very good.

FLUELLO
Nay, it doth please me, and as you say, 'tis a very good one.
Farewell, Signior Candido.

PIORATTO
Farewell, Candido.

CANDIDO
Y'are welcome, gentlemen.

CASTRUCHIO
[Aside] Heart, not mov'd yet?
I think his patience is above our wit!

Exeunt [Castruchio, Fluello, Pioratto].

GEORGE
I told you before, mistress, they were all cheaters.

[VIOLA]
Why, fool! Why, husband! Why, madman! I hope you will not let 'em sneak away so with a silver and gilt beaker, the best in the house too. [To Prentices] Go, fellows, make hue and cry after them.

CANDIDO
Pray, let your tongue lie still, all will be well.
Come hither, George; hie to the constable,
And in calm order wish him to attach them:
Make no great stir, because they're gentlemen,
And a thing partly done in merriment;
'Tis but a size above a jest, thou know'st,
Therefore pursue it mildly. Go, be gone;
The constable's hard by, bring him along.
Make haste again.

Exit George.

[VIOLA]
Oh, y'are a goodly patient woodcock, are you not now? See what your patience comes too! Everyone saddles you and rides you, you'll be shortly the common stone-horse of Milan: a woman's well holp'd up with such a meacock. I had rather have a husband that would swaddle me thrice a day than such a one that will be gull'd twice in half an hour. Oh, I could burn all the wares in my shop for anger!

CANDIDO
Pray wear a peaceful temper. Be my wife,
That is, be patient, for a wife and husband
Share but one soul between them. This being known,
Why should not one soul then agree in one?

[VIOLA]
Hang your agreements! But if my beaker be gone--

Exit. Enter Castruchio, Fluello, Pioratto, and George.

CANDIDO
Oh, here they come!

GEORGE
The constable, sir, let 'em come along with me because there should be no wond'ring; he stays at door.

CASTRUCHIO
Constable, goodman Abram.

FLUELLO
Now, Signior Candido. 'Sblood, why do you attach us?

CASTRUCHIO
'Sheart! Attach us!

CANDIDO
Nay, swear not, gallants:
Your oaths may move your souls, but not move me.
You have a silver beaker of my wife's.

FLUELLO
You say not true: 'tis gilt.

CANDIDO
Then you say true.
And being gilt, the guilt lies more on you.

CASTRUCHIO
I hope y'are not angry, sir.

CANDIDO
Then you hope right,
For I am not angry.

PIORATTO
No, but a little mov'd.

CANDIDO
I mov'd! 'Twas you were mov'd: you were brought hither.

CASTRUCHIO
But you, out of your anger and impatience,
Caus'd us to be attach'd.

CANDIDO
Nay, you misplace it.
Out of my quiet sufferance I did that,
And not of any wrath; had I shown anger,
I should have then pursu'd you with the law,
And hunted you to shame, as many worldlings
Do build their anger upon feebler grounds.
The more's the pity: many lose their lives
For scarce so much coin as will hide their palm,
Which is most cruel; those have vexed spirits
That pursue lives. In this opinion rest:
The loss of millions could not move my breast.

FLUELLO
Thou art a bless'd man, and with peace dost deal;
Such a meek spirit can bless a commonweal.

CANDIDO
Gentlemen, now 'tis upon eating time;
Pray, part not hence, but dine with me today.

CASTRUCHIO
I never heard a courtier yet say nay
To such a motion. I'll not be the first.

PIORATTO
Nor I.

FLUELLO
Nor I.

CANDIDO
The constable shall bear you company;
George, call him in. Let the world say what it can,
Nothing can drive me from a patient man.

Exeunt.


[II.i. A brothel]


Enter Roger with a stool, cushion, looking-glass, and chafing-dish. Those being set down, he pulls out of his pocket a vial with white colour in it, and two boxes, one with white, another red painting. He places all things in order and a candle by them, singing with the ends of old ballads as he does it. At last Bellafront, as he rubs his cheek with the colours, whistles within.

ROGER
Anon, forsooth!

BELLAFRONT
[Within] What are you playing the rogue about?

ROGER
About you, forsooth: I'm drawing up a hole in your white silk stocking.

BELLAFRONT
[Within] Is my glass there? And my boxes of complexion?

ROGER
Yes, forsooth, your boxes of complexion are here, I think; yes, 'tis here. Here's your two complexions, and if I had all the four complexions, I should ne'er set a good face upon't. Some men I see are born under hard-favour'd planets as well as women. Zounds, I look worse now than I did before, and it makes her face glister most damnably; there's knavery in daubing, I hold my life, or else this is only female pomatum.

Enter Bellafront not full ready, without a gown; she sits down, with her bodkin curls her hair, colours her lips.

BELLAFRONT
Where's my ruff and poker, you blockhead?

ROGER
Your ruff and your poker are ingend'ring together upon the cupboard of the court, or the court-cupboard.

BELLAFRONT
Fetch 'em. Is the pox in your hams, you can go no faster?

ROGER
Would the pox were in your fingers, unless you could leave flinging. Catch!

Exit.

BELLAFRONT
I'll catch you, you dog, by and by! Do you grumble?

She sings.

Cupid is a God,
As naked as my nail;
I'll whip him with a rod
If he my true love fail.
[Enter Roger.]
ROGER
There's your ruff. Shall I poke it?

BELLAFRONT
Yes, honest Roger. No, stay: prithee, good boy, hold here. [Singing] "Down, down, down, down, I fall down and arise I never shall."

ROGER
Troth, mistress, then leave the trade if you shall never rise.

BELLAFRONT
What trade, goodman Abram?

ROGER
Why that of down and arise, or the falling trade.

BELLAFRONT
I'll fall with you by and by.

ROGER
If you do I know who shall smart for't.
Troth, Mistress, what do I look like now?

BELLAFRONT
Like as you are: a panderly, sixpenny rascal.

ROGER
I may thank you for that: no, faith, I look like an old proverb, "Hold the candle before the devil."

BELLAFRONT
'Ud's life, I'll stick my knife in your guts and you prate to me so. What!

She sings.

Well met, pug, the pearl of beauty, umh, umh.
How now, sir knave, you forget your duty, umh, umh.
Marry muff, sir, are you grown so dainty? Fa, la, la, etc.
Is it you, sir? The worst of twenty, fa, la, la, leera la.
Pox on you, how dost thou hold my glass?
ROGER
Why, as I hold your door: with my fingers.

BELLAFRONT
Nay, pray thee, sweet honey Roger, hold up handsomely. (Sing.) "Pretty wantons warble, etc." We shall ha' guests today, I lay my little maidenhead: my nose itches so.

ROGER
I said so too last night, when our fleas twing'd me.

BELLAFRONT
So poke my ruff now. My gown, my gown. Have I my fall?
Where's my fall, Roger?

One knocks.

ROGER
Your fall, forsooth, is behind.

BELLAFRONT
Gods my pittikins, some fool or other knocks.

ROGER
Shall I open to the fool, mistress?

BELLAFRONT
And all these baubles lying thus? Away with it quickly. Ay, ay, knock and be damn'd, whosoever you be. So, give the fresh salmon line now: let him come ashore, he shall serve for my breakfast, tho' he go against my stomach.

Roger fetch in Fluello, Castruchio, and Pioratto.

FLUELLO
Morrow, coz.

CASTRUCHIO
How does my sweet acquaintance?

PIORATTO
Save thee, little marmoset. How dost thou, good pretty rogue?

BELLAFRONT
Well, godamercy, good pretty rascal.

FLUELLO
Roger, some light I prithee.

ROGER
You shall, signior, for we that live here in this vale of misery are as dark as hell.

Exit for a candle.

CASTRUCHIO
Good tobacco, Fluello?

FLUELLO
Smell!

PIORATTO
It may be tickling gear, for it plays with my nose already.

Enter Roger.

ROGER
Here's another light angel, signior.

BELLAFRONT
What? You pied curtal, what's that you are neighing?

ROGER
I say God send us the light of heaven, or some more angels.

BELLAFRONT
Go fetch some wine, and drink half of it.

ROGER
I must fetch some wine, gentlemen, and drink half of it.

FLUELLO
Here, Roger.

CASTRUCHIO
No, let me send prithee.

FLUELLO
Hold, you canker worm.

ROGER
You shall send both, if you please, signiors.

PIORATTO
Stay, what's best to drink a-mornings?

ROGER
Hypocras, sir, for my mistress, if I fetch it, is most dear to her.

FLUELLO
Hypocras! There then, here's a teston for you, you snake.

ROGER
Right, sir, here's three shillings sixpence for a pottle and a manchet.

Exit.

CASTRUCHIO
Here's most Herculean tobacco; ha' some, acquaintance?

BELLAFRONT
Fah, not I; makes your breath stink, like the piss of a fox. Acquaintance, where supp'd you last night?

CASTRUCHIO
At a place, sweet acquaintance, where your health danc'd the canaries, i'faith; you should ha' been there.

BELLAFRONT
Ay, there among your punks. Marry, fah, hang 'em! Scorn 't! Will you never leave sucking of eggs in other folks' hens' nests?

CASTRUCHIO
Why, in good troth, if you'll trust me, acquaintance, there was not one hen at the board. Ask Fluello.

FLUELLO
No, faith, coz; none but cocks. Signior Malavolta drunk to thee.

BELLAFRONT
Oh, a pure beagle! That horse-leech there?

FLUELLO
And the knight, Sir Oliver Lollio, swore he would bestow a taffeta petticoat on thee but to break his fast with thee.

BELLAFRONT
With me! I'll choke him then; hang him, mole-catcher! It's the dreaming'st snotty-nose.

PIORATTO
Well, many took that Lollio for a fool, but he's a subtle fool.

BELLAFRONT
Ay, and he has fellows: of all filthy dry-fisted knights, I cannot abide that he should touch me.

CASTRUCHIO
Why, wench? Is he scabbed?

BELLAFRONT
Hang him, he'll not live to be so honest, nor to the credit, to have scabs about him; his betters have 'em. But I hate to wear out any of his coarse knighthood, because he's made like an alderman's nightgown, fac'st all with cony before, and within nothing but fox. This sweet Oliver will eat mutton till he be ready to burst, but the lean-jaw'd slave will not pay for the scraping of his trencher.

PIORATTO
Plague him, set him beneath the salt, and let him not touch a bit till everyone has had his full cut.

FLUELLO
Sordello the gentleman-usher came into us too; marry, 'twas in our cheese, for he had been to borrow money for his lord of a citizen.

CASTRUCHIO
What an ass is that lord to borrow money of a citizen!

BELLAFRONT
Nay, God's my pity, what an ass is that citizen to lend money to a lord!

Enter Matheo and Hipolito, who, saluting the company as a stranger, walks off. Roger comes in sadly behind them with a pottle-pot and stands aloof off.

MATHEO
Save you gallants. Signior Fluello, exceedingly well met, as I may say.

FLUELLO
Signior Matheo, exceedingly well met too, as I may say.

MATHEO
And how fares my little pretty mistress?

BELLAFRONT
E'en as my little pretty servant; sees three court dishes before her, and not one good bit in them. [To Roger] How now? Why the devil stand'st thou so? Art in a trance?

ROGER
Yes, forsooth.

BELLAFRONT
Why dost not fill out their wine?

ROGER
Forsooth, 'tis fill'd out already: all the wine that the signior has bestow'd upon you is cast away, a porter ran [a-tilt] at me, and so [fac'd] me down that I had not a drop.

BELLAFRONT
I'm accurs'd to let such a withered artichoke-faced rascal grow under my nose! Now you look like an old he-cat, going to the gallows: I'll be hang'd if he ha' not put up the money to cony-catch us all.

ROGER
No, truly, forsooth, 'tis not put up yet.

BELLAFRONT
How many gentlemen hast thou served thus?

ROGER
None but five hundred, besides prentices and serving-men.

BELLAFRONT
Dost think I pocket it up at thy hands?

ROGER
Yes, forsooth, I fear you will pocket it up.

BELLAFRONT
Fie, fie, cut my lace, good servant! I shall ha' the mother presently, I'm so vex'd at this horse-plum!

FLUELLO
Plague, not for a scald pottle of wine!

MATHEO
Nay, sweet Bellafront, for a little pig's wash.

CASTRUCHIO
Here, Roger, fetch more; a mischance, i'faith, acquaintance.

BELLAFRONT
Out of my sight, thou ungodly puritanical creature!

ROGER
For the tother pottle? Yes, forsooth.

Exit.

BELLAFRONT
Spill that too! What gentleman is that, servant? Your friend?

MATHEO
Gods-so, a stool, a stool! If you love me, mistress, entertain this gentleman respectively and bid him welcome.

BELLAFRONT
He's very welcome. Pray, sir, sit.

HIPOLITO
Thanks, lady.

FLUELLO
Count Hipolito, is't not? Cry you mercy, signior, you walk here all this while and we not heed you? Let me bestow a stool upon you, beseech you. You are a stranger here; we know the fashions a' th' house.

CASTRUCHIO
Please you be here, my lord.

Tobacco.

HIPOLITO
No, good Castruchio.

FLUELLO
You have abandoned the court I see, my lord, since the death of your mistress; well, she was a delicate piece. Beseech you, sweet; come, let us serve under the colours of your acquaintance still, for all that. Please you to meet here at the lodging of my coz, I shall bestow a banquet upon you.

HIPOLITO
I never can deserve this kindness, sir.
What may this lady be whom you call coz?

FLUELLO
Faith, sir, a poor gentlewoman, of passing good carriage, one that has some suits in law, and lies here in an attorney's house.

HIPOLITO
Is she married?

FLUELLO
Hah, as all your punks are, a captain's wife or so! Never saw her before, my lord?

HIPOLITO
Never; trust me, a goodly creature.

FLUELLO
By gad, when you know her as we do, you'll swear she is the prettiest, kindest, sweetest, most bewitching honest ape under the pole! A skin, your satin is not more soft, nor lawn whiter.

HIPOLITO
Belike then she's some sale courtesan.

FLUELLO
Troth, as all your best faces are, a good wench.

HIPOLITO
Great pity that she's a good wench.

MATHEO
Thou shalt have it, i'faith, mistress. How now, signiors? What? Whispering? Did not I lay a wager I should take you within seven days in a house of vanity?

HIPOLITO
You did, and I beshrew your heart, you have won.

MATHEO
How do you like my mistress?

HIPOLITO
Well, for such a mistress: better, if your mistress be not your master.
I must break manners, gentlemen; fare you well.

MATHEO
'Sfoot, you shall not leave us!

BELLAFRONT
The gentleman likes not the taste of our company.

OMNES [COURTIERS]
Beseech you, stay.

HIPOLITO
Trust me, my affairs beckon for me; pardon me.

MATHEO
Will you call for me half an hour hence here?

HIPOLITO
Perhaps I shall.

MATHEO
Perhaps? Fah! I know you can swear to me you will.

HIPOLITO
Since you will press me on my word, I will.

Exit.

BELLAFRONT
What sullen picture is this, servant?

MATHEO
It's Count Hipolito, the brave count.

PIORATTO
As gallant a spirit as any in Milan, you sweet Jew.

FLUELLO
Oh, he's a most essential gentleman, coz!

CASTRUCHIO
Did you never hear of Count Hipolito, acquaintance?

BELLAFRONT
Marry muff a' your counts, and be no more life in 'em.

MATHEO
He's so malcontent! Sirrah Bellafront, and you be honest gallants, let's sup together, and have the count with us: thou shalt sit at the upper end, punk.

BELLAFRONT
Punk, you sous'd gurnet!

MATHEO
King's truce: come, I'll bestow the supper to have him but laugh.

CASTRUCHIO
He betrays his youth too grossly to that tyrant melancholy.

MATHEO
All this is for a woman.

BELLAFRONT
A woman? Some whore! What sweet jewel is't?

PIORATTO
Would she heard you.

FLUELLO
Troth, so would I.

CASTRUCHIO
And I, by heaven.

BELLAFRONT
Nay, good servant, what woman?

MATHEO
Pah!

BELLAFRONT
Prithee tell me, a buss and tell me: I warrant he's an honest fellow if he take on thus for a wench. Good rogue, who?

MATHEO
By th' Lord I will not, must not, faith, mistress. Is't a match, sirs, this night at th' Antelope? For there's best wine and good boys.

OMNES [COURTIERS]
It's done; at th' Antelope.

BELLAFRONT
I cannot be there tonight.

MATHEO
Cannot? By th' Lord, you shall.

BELLAFRONT
By the lady, I will not. Shall!

FLUELLO
Why then, put it off till Friday. Wut come then, coz?

BELLAFRONT
Well.

Enter Roger.

MATHEO
Y'are the waspishest ape. Roger, put your mistress in mind, your scurvy mistress here, to sup with us on Friday next. Y'are best come like a madwoman without a band in your waistcoat, and the linings of your kirtle outward, like every common hackney that steals out at the back gate of her sweet knight's lodging.

BELLAFRONT
Go, go, hang yourself!

CASTRUCHIO
It's dinner time, Matheo. Shall's hence?

OMNES [COURTIERS]
Yes, yes; farewell, wench.

BELLAFRONT
Farewell, boys.

Exeunt [courtiers].

Roger, what wine sent they for?

ROGER
Bastard wine, for if it had been truly begotten, it would not ha' been asham'd to come in; here's six shillings to pay for nursing the bastard.

BELLAFRONT
A company of rooks! Oh, good sweet Roger, run to the poulter's and buy me some fine larks.

ROGER
No woodcocks?

BELLAFRONT
Yes, faith, a couple, if they be not dear.

ROGER
I'll buy but one: there's one already here.

Exit. Enter Hipolito.

HIPOLITO
Is the gentleman my friend departed, mistress?

BELLAFRONT
His back is but new-turn'd, sir.

HIPOLITO
Fare you well.

BELLAFRONT
I can direct you to him.

HIPOLITO
Can you? Pray.

BELLAFRONT
If you please stay, he'll not be absent long.

HIPOLITO
I care not much.

BELLAFRONT
Pray sit, forsooth.

HIPOLITO
I'm hot.
If may use your room, I'll rather walk.

BELLAFRONT
At your best pleasure. Whew! Some rubbers there.

HIPOLITO
Indeed, I'll none. Indeed I will not: thanks.
Pretty--fine--lodging. I perceive my friend
Is old in your acquaintance.

BELLAFRONT
Troth, sir, he comes
As other gentlemen, to spend spare hours;
If yourself like our roof, such as it is,
Your own acquaintance may be as old as his.

HIPOLITO
Say I did like, what welcome should I find?

BELLAFRONT
Such as my present fortunes can afford.

HIPOLITO
But would you let me play Matheo's part?

BELLAFRONT
What part?

HIPOLITO
Why, embrace you, dally with you, kiss.
Faith, tell me, will you leave him and love me?

BELLAFRONT
I am in bonds to no man, sir.

HIPOLITO
Why, then,
Y'are free for any man: if any, me.
But I must tell you, lady, were you mine,
You should be all mine: I could brook no sharers;
I should be covetous and sweep up all.
I should be pleasure's usurer; faith, I should.

BELLAFRONT
Oh, fate!

HIPOLITO
Why sigh you, lady? May I know?

BELLAFRONT
'T has never been my fortune yet to single
Out that one man whose love could fellow mine,
As I have ever wish'd it. Oh, my stars!
Had I but met with one kind gentleman,
That would have purchas'd sin alone (to himself,
For his own private use, although scarce proper)
Indifferent handsome, meetly legg'd and thighed,
And my allowance reasonable--i'faith,
According to my body--by my troth,
I would have been as true unto his pleasures,
Yea, and as loyal to his afternoons
As ever a poor gentlewoman could be.

HIPOLITO
This were well now to one but newly fledg'd,
And scarce a day old in this subtle world:
'Twere pretty art, good birdlime, cunning net.
But come, come, faith, confess: how many men
Have drunk this selfsame protestation
From that red 'ticing lip?

BELLAFRONT
Indeed, not any.

HIPOLITO
Indeed? And blush not!

BELLAFRONT
No, in truth not any.

HIPOLITO
Indeed! In truth! How warily you swear!
'Tis well; if ill, it be not: yet had I
The ruffian in me, and were drawn before you
But in light colours, I do know indeed
You would not swear indeed, but thunder oaths
That should shake heaven, drown the harmonious spheres,
And pierce a soul that lov'd her maker's honour
With horror and amazement.

BELLAFRONT
Shall I swear?
Will you believe me then?

HIPOLITO
Worst then of all:
Our sins by custom seem at last but small.
Were I but o'er your threshold, a next man,
And after him a next, and then a fourth
Should have this golden hook and lascivious bait
Thrown out to the full length. Why, let me tell you,
I ha' seen letters sent from that white hand,
Tuning such music to Matheo's ear.

BELLAFRONT
Matheo! That's true, but if you'll believe
My honest tongue, mine eyes no sooner met you
But they convey'd and led you to my heart.

HIPOLITO
Oh, you cannot feign with me! Why, I know, lady,
This is the common fashion of you all,
To hook in a kind gentleman, and then
Abuse his coin, conveying it to your lover;
And in the end you show him a French trick,
And so you leave him, that a coach may run
Between his legs for breadth.

BELLAFRONT
Oh, by my soul!
Not I: therein I'll prove an honest whore
In being true to one, and to no more.

HIPOLITO
If any be dispos'd to trust your oath,
Let him: I'll not be he. I know you feign
All that you speak, ay, for a mingled harlot
Is true in nothing but in being false.
What, shall I teach you how to loathe yourself?
And mildly too, not without sense or reason.

BELLAFRONT
I am content, I would fain loathe myself
If you not love me.

HIPOLITO
Then if your gracious blood
Be not all wasted, I shall assay to do't.
Lend me your silence and attention.
You have no soul; that makes you weigh so light:
Heaven's treasure bought it
And half a crown hath sold it, for your body,
It's like the common shore that still receives
All the town's filth. The sin of many men
Is within you, and thus much I suppose,
That if all your committers stood in rank,
They'd make a lane in which your shame might dwell,
And with their spaces reach from hence to hell.
Nay, shall I urge it more? There has been known
As many by one harlot, maim'd and dismemb'red,
As would ha' stuff'd an hospital: this I might
Apply to you, and perhaps do you right.
Oh, y'are as base as any beast that bears:
Your body is e'en hir'd, and so are theirs!
For gold and sparkling jewels, if he can,
You'll let a Jew get you with Christian,
Be he a Moor, a Tartar, tho' his face
Look uglier than a dead man's skull;
Could the devil put on a human shape,
If his purse shake out crowns, up then he gets.
Whores will be rid to hell with golden bits:
So that y'are crueler than Turks, for they
Sell Christians only, you sell yourselves away.
Why, those that love you, hate you, and will term you
Liquorish damnation, wish themselves half sunk
After the sin is laid out, and e'en curse
Their fruitless riot, for what one begets
Another poisons. Lust and murder hit:
A tree being often shook, what fruit can knit?

BELLAFRONT
Oh, me unhappy!

HIPOLITO
I can vex you more:
A harlot is like Dunkirk, true to none,
Swallows both English, Spanish, fulsome Dutch,
Back-door'd Italian, last of all the French.
And he sticks to you, faith, gives you your diet,
Brings you acquainted first with monsieur doctor,
And then you know what follows.

BELLAFRONT
Misery:
Rank, stinking, and most loathsome misery!

HIPOLITO
Methinks a toad is happier than a whore
That with one poison swells; with thousands more
The other stocks her veins. Harlot? Fie, fie!
You are the miserablest creatures breathing,
The very slaves of nature; mark me else:
You put on rich attires, others' eyes wear them,
You eat, but to supply your blood with sin,
And this strange curse e'en haunts you to your graves.
From fools you get, and spend it upon slaves.
Like bears and apes, y'are baited and show tricks
For money, but your bawd the sweetness licks.
Indeed you are their journey-women, and do
All base and damn'd works they list set you to,
So that you ne'er are rich, for do but show me,
In present memory or in ages past,
The fairest and most famous courtesan
Whose flesh was dear'st, that rais'd the price of sin
And held it up, to whose intemperate bosom
Princes, earls, lords, the worst has been a knight,
The mean'st a gentleman, have off'red up
Whole hecatombs of sighs, and rain'd in showers
Handfuls of gold, yet for all this, at last
Diseases suck'd her marrow, then grew so poor
That she has begg'd, e'en at a beggar's door.
And, wherein heav'n has a finger, when this idol
From coast to coast has leapt on foreign shores,
And had more worship than th' outlandish whores,
When several nations have gone over her,
When for each several city she has seen
Her maidenhead has been new and been sold dear,
Did live well there, and might have died unknown
And undefam'd, back comes she to her own,
And there both miserably lives and dies,
Scorn'd even of those that once ador'd her eyes,
As if her fatal-circled life thus ran:
Her pride should end there where it first began.
What, do you weep to hear your story read?
Nay, if you spoil your cheeks, I'll read no more.

BELLAFRONT
Oh, yes, I pray, proceed!
Indeed, 'twill do me good to weep indeed.

HIPOLITO
To give those tears a relish, this I add:
Y'are like the Jews, scatter'd, in no place certain,
Your days are tedious, your hours burdensome;
And were 't not for full suppers, midnight revels,
Dancing, wine, riotous meetings, which do drown
And bury quite in you all virtuous thoughts,
And on your eyelids hang so heavily
They have no power to look so high as heaven,
You'd sit and muse on nothing but despair.
Curse that devil lust that so burns up your blood
And in ten thousand shivers break your glass
For his temptation! Say you taste delight,
To have a golden gull from rise to set,
To meet you in his hot luxurious arms,
Yet your nights pay for all: I know you dream
Of warrants, whips, and beadles, and then start
At a door's windy creak, think every weasel
To be a constable and every rat
A long-tail'd officer. Are you now not slaves?
Oh, you have damnation without pleasure for it!
Such is the state of harlots. To conclude,
When you are old and can well paint no more,
You turn bawd, and are then worse than before.
Make use of this; farewell.

BELLAFRONT
Oh, I pray, stay!

HIPOLITO
I see Matheo comes not. Time hath barr'd me;
Would all the harlots in the town had heard me.

Exit.

BELLAFRONT
Stay yet a little longer. No? Quite gone!
Curs'd be that minute--for it was no more
So soon a maid is chang'd into a whore--
Wherein I first fell, be it forever black!
Yet why should sweet Hipolito shun mine eyes,
For whose true love I would become pure-honest,
Hate the world's mixtures and the smiles of gold?
Am I not fair? Why should he fly me then?
Fair creatures are desir'd, not scorn'd of men.
How many gallants have drunk healths to me
Out of their dagger'd arms, and thought them bless'd,
Enjoying but mine eyes at prodigal feasts!
And does Hipolito detest my love?
Oh, sure their heedless lusts but flatt'red me!
I am not pleasing, beautiful nor young;
Hipolito hath spied some ugly blemish,
Eclipsing all my beauties: I am foul.
Harlot! Ay, that's the spot that taints my soul.
His weapon left here? Oh, fit instrument
To let forth all the poison of my flesh!
Thy master hates me 'cause my blood hath rang'd,
But when 'tis forth, then he'll believe I'm chang'd.

Enter Hipolito.

HIPOLITO
Mad woman, what art doing?

BELLAFRONT
Either love me
Or cleave my bosom on thy rapier's point!
Yet do not neither, for thou then destroy'st
That which I love thee for, thy virtues. Here, here
Th'art crueler and kill'st me with disdain;
To die so sheds no blood, yet 'tis worse pain.

Exit Hipolito.

Not speak to me! Not look! Not bid farewell!
Hated! This must not be. Some means I'll try.
Would all whores were as honest now as I.

[Exit.]


[III.i. Candido's shop]


Enter Candido, his wife [Viola], George, and two Prentices in the shop; Fustigo enters, walking by.

GEORGE
See, gentlemen, what you lack! A fine holland, a fine cambric, see what you buy!

FIRST PRENTICE
Holland for shirts, cambric for bands! What is't you lack?

FUSTIGO
[Aside] 'Sfoot, I lack 'em all; nay, more, I lack money to buy 'em. Let me see, let me look again. Mass, this is the shop!--[Approaching Viola] What, coz! Sweet coz! How dost, i'faith, since last night after candlelight? We had good sport, i'faith, had we not? And when shall's laugh again?

[VIOLA]
When you will, cousin.

FUSTIGO
Spoke like a kind Lacedemonian: I see yonder's thy husband.

[VIOLA]
Ay, there's the sweet youth, God bless him.

FUSTIGO
And how is't cousin? And how? How is't, thou squall?

[VIOLA]
Well, cousin, how fare you?

FUSTIGO
How fare I? Troth, for sixpence a meal, wench, as well as heart can wish, with calves' chaldrons and chitterlings; besides I have a punk after supper, as good as a roasted apple.

CANDIDO
Are you my wife's cousin?

FUSTIGO
I am, sir; what hast thou to do with that?

CANDIDO
Oh, nothing but y'are welcome.

FUSTIGO
The devil's dung in thy teeth: I'll be welcome whether thou wilt or no, I! What ring's this, coz? Very pretty and fantastical; i'faith, let's see it.

[VIOLA]
Puh! Nay, you wrench my finger!

FUSTIGO
I ha' sworn I'll ha't, and I hope you will not let my oaths be crack'd in the ring, will you? I hope, sir, you are not mallicolly at this for all your great looks. Are you angry?

CANDIDO
Angry? Not I, sir; nay, if she can part
So easily with her ring, 'tis with my heart.

GEORGE
Suffer this, sir, and suffer all, a whoreson gull, to--

CANDIDO
Peace, George; when she has reap'd what I have sown,
She'll say one grain tastes better of her own
Than whole sheaves gather'd from another's land:
Wit's never good till bought at a dear hand.

GEORGE
But in the meantime she makes an ass of somebody.

SECOND PRENTICE
See, see, see, sir, as you turn your back, they do nothing but kiss.

CANDIDO
No matter, let 'em; when I touch her lip,
I shall not feel his kisses, no, nor miss
Any of her lip: no harm in kissing is.
Look to your business, pray, make up your wares.

FUSTIGO
Troth, coz, and well rememb'red, I would thou wouldst give me five yards of lawn to make my punk some falling bands a' the fashion, three falling one upon another, for that's the new edition now; she's out of linen horribly too: troth, sh'as never a good smock to her back neither, but one that has a great many patches in't, and that I'm fain to wear myself for want of shift too. Prithee put me into wholesome napery, and bestow some clean commodities upon us.

[VIOLA]
Reach me those cambrics and the lawns hither.

CANDIDO
What to do, wife? To lavish out my goods upon a fool?

FUSTIGO
Fool! 'Snails, eat the fool, or I'll so batter your crown that it shall scarce go for five shillings!

SECOND PRENTICE
Do you hear, sir? Y'are best be quiet and say a fool tells you so.

FUSTIGO
Nails, I think so, for thou tell'st me!

CANDIDO
Are you angry, sir, because I nam'd thee fool?
Trust me, you are not wise in mine own house
And to my face to play the antic thus:
If you'll needs play the madman, choose a stage
Of lesser compass, where few eyes may note
Your action's error; but if still you miss,
As here you do, for one clap ten will hiss.

FUSTIGO
Zounds, cousin, he talks to me as if I were a scurvy tragedian!

SECOND PRENTICE
[Taking George aside] Sirrah George, I ha' thought upon a device how to break his pate, beat him soundly, and ship him away.

GEORGE
Do't.

SECOND PRENTICE
I'll go in, pass thorough the house, give some of our fellow prentices the watchword when they shall enter, then come and fetch my master in by a wile, and place one in the hall to hold him in conference, whilst we cudgel the gull out of his coxcomb.

GEORGE
Do't! Away, do't!

[VIOLA]
Must I call twice for these cambrics and lawns?

CANDIDO
Nay, see, you anger her, George; prithee dispatch.

SECOND PRENTICE
Two of the choicest pieces are in the warehouse, sir.

CANDIDO
Go fetch them presently.

FUSTIGO
Ay, do; make haste, sirrah.

Exit [Second] Prentice.

CANDIDO
Why were you such a stranger all this while, being my wife's cousin?

FUSTIGO
Stranger? No, sir, I'm a natural Milaner born.

CANDIDO
I perceive still it is your natural guise to mistake me, but you are welcome, sir; I much wish your acquaintance.

FUSTIGO
My acquaintance? I scorn that, i'faith; I hope my acquaintance goes in chains of gold three and fifty times double: you know who I mean, coz; the posts of his gate are a-painting too.

Enter the [Second] Prentice.

SECOND PRENTICE
Signior Pandulfo the merchant desires conference with you.

CANDIDO
Signior Pandulfo? I'll be with him straight.
Attend your mistress and the gentleman.

Exit.

[VIOLA]
When do you show those pieces?

FUSTIGO
Ay, when do you show those pieces?

OMNES [PRENTICES]
Presently, sir, presently; we are but charging them.

FUSTIGO
Come, sirrah, you flatcap, where be these whites?

GEORGE
Flatcap? [Aside to him] Hark in your ear, sir: y'are a flat fool, an ass, a gull, and I'll thrum you!--Do you see this cambric, sir?

FUSTIGO
'Sfoot, coz, a good jest! Did you hear him? He told me in my ear I was "a flat fool, an ass, a gull, and I'll thrum you. Do you see this cambric, sir?"

[VIOLA]
What, not my men, I hope?

FUSTIGO
No, not your men, but one of your men, i'faith.

FIRST PRENTICE
I pray, sir, come hither. What say you to this? Here's an excellent good one.

FUSTIGO
Ay, marry, this likes me well; cut me off some half score yards.

SECOND PRENTICE
[Aside to him] Let your whores cut; y'are an impudent coxcomb: you get none; and yet I'll thrum you!--A very good cambric, sir.

FUSTIGO
Again, again, as God judge me! 'Sfoot, coz, they stand thrumming here with me all day, and yet I get nothing!

FIRST PRENTICE
[Aside to him] A word, I pray, sir: you must not be angry; prentices have hot bloods, young fellows.--What say you to this piece? Look you, 'tis so delicate, so soft, so even, so fine a thread that a lady may wear it.

FUSTIGO
'Sfoot, I think so: if a knight marry my punk, a lady shall wear it. Cut me off twenty yards; th'art an honest lad.

FIRST PRENTICE
[Aside to him] Not without money, gull, and I'll thrum you too!

OMNES [PRENTICES]
[Aside to him] Gull, we'll thrum you!

FUSTIGO
Oh, Lord, sister, did you not hear something cry thump? Zounds, your men here make a plain ass of me!

[VIOLA]
What, to my face so impudent?

GEORGE
Ay, in a cause so honest, we'll not suffer
Our master's goods to vanish moneyless.

[VIOLA]
You will not suffer them?

SECOND PRENTICE
No, and you may blush
In going about to vex so mild a breast
As is our master's.

[VIOLA]
Take away those pieces.
Cousin, I give them freely.

FUSTIGO
Mass, and I'll take 'em as freely!

OMNES [PRENTICES]
We'll make you lay 'em down again more freely.

[They beat Fustigo.]

[VIOLA]
Help, help, my brother will be murdered!

Enter Candido.

CANDIDO
How now, what coil is here? Forbear, I say!

GEORGE
He calls us flatcaps and abuses us.

CANDIDO
Why, sirs? Do such examples flow from me?

[VIOLA]
They are of your keeping, sir. Alas, poor brother!

FUSTIGO
I'faith, they ha' pepper'd me, sister! Look, does 't spin? Call you these prentices? I'll ne'er play at cards more when clubs is trump. I have a goodly coxcomb, sister, have I not?

CANDIDO
Sister and brother, brother to my wife!

FUSTIGO
If you have any skill in heraldry, you may soon know that: break but her pate, and you shall see her blood and mine is all one.

CANDIDO
A surgeon, run, a surgeon!

[Exit First Prentice.]

Why then wore you that forged name of cousin?

FUSTIGO
Because it's a common thing to call coz and ningle nowadays all the world over.

CANDIDO
Cousin! A name of much deceit, folly and sin,
For under that common abused word
Many an honest temp'red citizen
Is made a monster, and his wife train'd out
To foul adulterous action, full of fraud
I may well call that word "a city's bawd."

FUSTIGO
Troth, brother, my sister would needs ha' me take upon me to gull your patience a little, but it has made double gules on my coxcomb.

[VIOLA]
What, playing the woman? Blabbing now, you fool?

CANDIDO
Oh, my wife did but exercise a jest upon your wit.

FUSTIGO
'Sfoot, my wit bleeds for't, methinks!

CANDIDO
Then let this warning more of sense afford:
The name of cousin is a bloody word.

FUSTIGO
I'll ne'er call coz again whilst I live, to have such a coil about it: this should be a coronation day, for my head runs claret lustily.

Exit. Enter an Officer.

CANDIDO
Go wish the surgeon to have great respect.

[Exit Second Prentice.]

How now, my friend; what, do they sit today?

OFFICER
Yes, sir, they expect you at the senate-house.

CANDIDO
I thank your pains; I'll not be last man there.

Exit Officer.

My gown, George, go, my gown.

[Exit George.]

A happy land,
Where grave men meet each cause to understand,
Whose consciences are not cut out in bribes
To gull the poor man's right, but in even scales
Peize rich and poor without corruption's vails.

[Enter George.]

Come, where's the gown?

GEORGE
I cannot find the key, sir.

CANDIDO
Request it of your mistress.

[VIOLA]
Come not to me for any key.
I'll not be troubled to deliver it.

CANDIDO
Good wife, kind wife, it is a needful trouble,
But for my gown.

[VIOLA]
Moths swallow down your gown!
You set my teeth an edge with talking on't.

CANDIDO
Nay, prithee, sweet, I cannot meet without it;
I should have a great fine set on my head.

[VIOLA]
Set on your coxcomb: tush, fine me no fines!

CANDIDO
Believe me, sweet, none greets the senate-house
Without his robe of reverence, that's his gown.

[VIOLA]
Well, then y'are like to cross that custom once:
You get nor key, nor gown, and so depart.
[Aside] This trick will vex him sure and fret his heart.

Exit.

CANDIDO
Stay, let me see, I must have some device;
My cloak's too short: fie, fie, no cloak will do't!
It must be something fashioned like a gown,
With my arms out. Oh, George, come hither, George!
I prithee lend me thine advice.

GEORGE
Troth, sir, were it any but you, they would break open chest.

CANDIDO
Oh, no! Break open chest? That's a thief's office;
Therein you counsel me against my blood:
'Twould show impatience that; any meek means
I would be glad to embrace. Mass, I have got it!
Go, step up, fetch me down one of the carpets,
The saddest colour'd carpet, honest George;
Cut thou a hole i' th' middle for my neck,
Two for mine arms. Nay, prithee look not strange.

GEORGE
I hope you do not think, sir, as you mean.

CANDIDO
Prithee about it quickly, the hour chides me:
Warily, George, softly, take heed of eyes.

Exit George.

Out of two evils he's accounted wise
That can pick out the least; the fine impos'd
For an ungowned senator, is about
Forty cruzadoes, the carpet not 'bove four.
Thus have I chosen the lesser evil yet,
Preserv'd my patience, foil'd her desperate wit.

Enter George.

GEORGE
Here, sir, here's the carpet.

CANDIDO
Oh, well done, George; we'll cut it just i' th' midst.
'Tis very well, I thank thee; help it on.

GEORGE
It must come over your head, sir, like a wench's petticoat.

CANDIDO
Th'art in the right, good George, it must indeed.
Fetch me a nightcap, for I'll gird it close,
As if my health were queasy: 'twill show well
For a rude careless nightgown, will 't not, think'st?

GEORGE
Indifferent well, sir, for a nightgown, being girt and pleated.

CANDIDO
Ay, and a nightcap on my head.

GEORGE
That's true, sir; I'll run and fetch one, and a staff.

Exit George.

CANDIDO
For thus they cannot choose but conster it,
One that is out of health takes no delight,
Wears his apparel without appetite,
And puts on heedless raiment without form.

Enter George.

So, so, kind George, be secret now, and prithee
Do not laugh at me till I'm out of sight.

GEORGE
I laugh? Not I, sir.

CANDIDO
Now to the senate-house:
Methinks I'd rather wear without a frown
A patient carpet than an angry gown.

Exit.

GEORGE
Now looks my master just like one of our carpet knights, only he's somewhat the honester of the two.

Enter Candido's wife [Viola].

[VIOLA]
What, is your master gone?

GEORGE
Yes, forsooth, his back is but new-turn'd.

[VIOLA]
And in his cloak? Did he not vex and swear?

GEORGE
[Aside] No, but he'll make you swear anon.--No, indeed, he went away like a lamb.

[VIOLA]
Key sink to hell: still patient, patient still!
I am with child to vex him. Prithee, George,
If e'er thou look'st for favour at my hands,
Uphold one jest for me.

GEORGE
Against my master?

[VIOLA]
'Tis a mere jest, in faith. Say, wilt thou do't?

GEORGE
Well, what is't?

[VIOLA]
Here, take this key, thou know'st where all things lie;
Put on thy master's best apparel, gown,
Chain, cap, ruff, everything: be like himself,
And 'gainst his coming home, walk in the shop,
Feign the same carriage and his patient look.
'Twill breed but a jest, thou know'st; speak, wilt thou?

GEORGE
'Twill wrong my master's patience.

[VIOLA]
Prithee, George.

GEORGE
Well, if you'll save me harmless and put me under covert bar'n, I am content to please you, provided it may breed no wrong against him.

[VIOLA]
No wrong at all; here take the key, be gone:
If any vex him, this; if not this, none.

Exeunt.


[III.ii. The brothel]
Enter a Bawd and Roger.

BAWD
Oh, Roger, Roger, where's your mistress, where's your mistress? There's the finest, neatest gentleman at my house but newly come over! Oh, where is she, where is she, where is she?

ROGER
My mistress is abroad, but not amongst 'em: my mistress is not the whore now that you take her for.

BAWD
How! Is she not a whore? Do you go about to take away her good name, Roger? You are a fine pander indeed!

ROGER
I tell you, Madonna Fingerlock, I am not sad for nothing; I ha' not eaten one good meal this three and thirty days: I had wont to get sixteen pence by fetching a pottle of Hypocras, but now those days are past. We had as good doings, Madonna Fingerlock, she withindoors and I without, as any poor young couple in Milan.

BAWD
Gods my life, and is she chang'd now?

ROGER
I ha' lost by her squeamishness, more than would have builded twelve bawdy houses.

[BAWD]
And had she no time to turn honest but now? What a vile woman is this! Twenty pound a night, I'll be sworn, Roger, in good gold and no silver: why here was a time, if she should ha' pick'd out a time, it could not be better! Gold enough stirring; choice of men, choice of hair, choice of beards, choice of legs, and choice of every, every, everything: it cannot sink into my head, that she should be such an ass, Roger, I never believe it.

ROGER
Here she comes now.

Enter Bellafront.

BAWD
Oh, sweet madonna, on with your loose gown, your felt and your feather. There's the sweetest, prop'rest, gallantest gentleman at my house: he smells all of musk and ambergris, his pocket full of crowns, flame-colour'd doublet, red satin hose, carnation silk stockings, and a leg and a body, oh!

BELLAFRONT
Hence, thou our sex's monster, poisonous bawd,
Lust's factor, and damnation's orator,
Gossip of hell! Were all the harlots' sins
Which the whole world contains numb'red together,
Thine far exceeds them all; of all the creatures
That ever were created, thou art basest!
What serpent would beguile thee of thy office?
It is detestable, for thou liv'st
Upon the dregs of harlots, guard'st the door,
Whilst couples go to dancing. Oh, coarse devil!
Thou art the bastard's curse (thou brand'st his birth),
The lecher's French disease (for thou dry-suck'st him),
The harlot's poison, and thine own confusion.

BAWD
Mary come up with a pox, have you nobody to rail against but your bawd now?

BELLAFRONT
And you, knave pander, kinsman to a bawd--

ROGER
You and I, madonna, are cousins.

BELLAFRONT
Of the same blood and making, near allied,
Thou, that slave to sixpence, base-metall'd villain!

ROGER
Sixpence? Nay, that's not so: I never took under two shillings fourpence; I hope I know my fee.

BELLAFRONT
I know not against which most to inveigh,
For both of you are damn'd so equally.
Thou never spar'st for oaths, swear'st anything,
As if thy soul were made of shoe-leather:
"God damn me, gentleman, if she be within,"
When in the next room she's found dallying.

ROGER
If it be my vocation to swear, every man in his vocation: I hope my betters swear and damn themselves, and why should not I?

BELLAFRONT
Roger, you cheat kind gentlemen?

ROGER
The more gulls they.

BELLAFRONT
Slave, I cashier thee!

BAWD
And you do cashier him, he shall be entertain'd.

ROGER
Shall I? Then blurt a' your service!

BELLAFRONT
As hell would have it, entertain'd by you!
I dare the devil himself to match those two.

Exit.

BAWD
Marry gup, are you grown so holy, so pure, so honest with a pox?

ROGER
Scurvy, honest punk! But stay, madonna, how must our agreement be now? For you know I am to have all the comings in at the hall door, and you at the chamber door.

BAWD
True, Roger, except my vails.

ROGER
Vails? What vails?

BAWD
Why, as thus: if a couple come in a coach, and light to lie down a little, then, Roger, that's my fee, and you may walk abroad, for the coachman himself is their pander.

ROGER
Is 'a' so? In truth, I have almost forgot for want of exercise. But how if I fetch this citizen's wife to that gull, and that madonna to that gallant, how then?

BAWD
Why then, Roger, you are to have sixpence a lane: so many lanes, so many sixpences.

ROGER
Is't so? Then I see we two shall agree and live together.

BAWD
Ay, Roger, so long as there be any taverns and bawdy houses in Milan.

Exeunt.


[III.iii. Bellafront's chamber]
Enter Bellafront with a lute; pen, ink and paper being plac'd before her.

Song.

[BELLAFRONT]
The courtier's flatt'ring jewels
(Temptation's only fools),
The lawyer's ill-got moneys
(That suck up poor bees' honeys),
The citizen's son's riot,
The gallant['s] costly diet
(Silks and velvets, pearls and ambers)
Shall not draw me to their chambers.
Silks and velvets, etc.
She writes.
Oh, 'tis in vain to write! It will not please:
Ink on this paper would ha' but presented
The foul black spots that stick upon my soul,
And rather make me loathsomer than wrought
My love's impression in Hipolito's thought.
No, I must turn the chaste leaves of my breast,
And pick out some sweet means to breed my rest.
Hipolito, believe me I will be
As true unto thy heart as thy heart to thee,
And hate all men, their gifts and company.

Enter Matheo, Castruchio, Fluello, Pioratto.

MATHEO
You, goody punk, subaudi cockatrice! Oh, y'are a sweet whore of your promise, are you not, think you? How well you came to supper to us last night: mew, a whore and break her word! Nay, you may blush and hold down your head at it well enough. 'Sfoot, ask these gallants if we stay'd not till we were as hungry as sergeants!

FLUELLO
Ay, and their yeoman too.

CASTRUCHIO
Nay, faith, acquaintance, let me tell you, you forgot yourself too much: we had excellent cheer, rare vintage, and were drunk after supper.

PIORATTO
And when we were in our woodcocks, sweet rogue, a brace of gulls, dwelling here in the city, came in and paid all the shot.

MATHEO
Pox on her, let her alone.

BELLAFRONT
Oh, I pray do, if you be gentlemen!
I pray depart the house; beshrew the door
For being so easily entreated: faith,
I lent but little ear unto your talk;
My mind was busied otherwise in troth,
And so your words did unregarded pass.
Let this suffice, I am not as I was.

FLUELLO
I am not what I was! No, I'll be sworn thou art not, for thou wert honest at five, and now th'art a punk at fifteen; thou wert yesterday a simple whore, and now th'art a cunning coney-catching baggage today.

BELLAFRONT
I'll say I'm worse. I pray forsake me then;
I do desire you leave me, gentlemen,
And leave yourselves. Oh, be not what you are,
Spendthrifts of soul and body!
Let me persuade you to forsake all harlots,
Worse than the deadliest poisons; they are worse,
For o'er their souls hangs an eternal curse:
In being slaves to slaves, their labours perish;
Th'are seldom bless'd with fruit, for ere it blossoms,
Many a worm confounds it.
They have no issue but foul, ugly ones
That run along with them, e'en to their graves,
For stead of children, they breed rank diseases,
And all you gallants can bestow on them
Is that French infant, which ne'er acts but speaks.
What shallow son and heir then, foolish gallant,
Would waste all his inheritance to purchase
A filthy, loath'd disease, and pawn his body
To a dry evil? That usury's worst of all,
When th' interest will eat out the principal.

MATHEO
[Aside] 'Sfoot, she gulls 'em the best! This is always her fashion when she would be rid of any company that she cares not for, to enjoy mine alone.

FLUELLO
What's here? Instructions, admonitions, and caveats? Come out, you scabbard of vengeance!

MATHEO
Fluello, spurn your hounds when they fist, you shall not spurn my punk; I can tell you my blood is vex'd.

FLUELLO
Pox a' your blood! Make it a quarrel.

MATHEO
Y'are a slave. Will that serve turn?

[Matheo and Fluello draw.]

[CASTRUCHIO, PIORATTO]
'Sblood, hold, hold!

CASTRUCHIO
Matheo, Fluello, for shame, put up!

MATHEO
Spurn my sweet varlet!

BELLAFRONT
Oh, how many thus
Mov'd with a little folly have let out
Their souls in brothel houses, fell down and died
Just at their harlot's foot, as 'twere in pride?

FLUELLO
Matheo, we shall meet!

MATHEO
Ay, ay, anywhere, saving at church: pray take heed we meet not there.

FLUELLO
Adieu, damnation.

CASTRUCHIO
Cockatrice, farewell.

PIORATTO
There's more deceit in women than in hell.

Exeunt [Castruchio, Fluello, Pioratto].

MATHEO
Ha, ha, thou dost gull 'em so rarely, so naturally. If I did not think thou hadst been in earnest. Thou art a sweet rogue for't, i'faith.

BELLAFRONT
Why are not you gone too, Signior Matheo?
I pray depart my house: you may believe me;
In troth I have no part of harlot in me.

MATHEO
How's this?

BELLAFRONT
Indeed, I love you not, but hate you worse
Than any man, because you were the first
Gave money for my soul; you brake the ice,
Which after turn'd a puddle: I was led
By your temptation to be miserable.
I pray seek out some other that will fall,
Or rather I pray seek out none at all.

MATHEO
Is't possible to be impossible, an honest whore! I have heard many honest wenches turn strumpets with a wet finger, but for a harlot to turn honest is one of Hercules' labours. It was more easy for him in one night to make fifty queans than to make one of them honest again in fifty years. Come, I hope thou dost but jest.

BELLAFRONT
'Tis time to leave off jesting; I had almost
Jested away salvation: I shall love you,
If you will soon forsake me.

MATHEO
God buy thee.

BELLAFRONT
Oh, tempt no more women; shun their weighty curse!
Women at best are bad; make them not worse.
You gladly seek our sex's overthrow,
But not to raise our states for all your wrongs.
Will you vouchsafe me but due recompense
To marry with me?

MATHEO
How! Marry with a punk, a cockatrice, a harlot? Marry foh, I'll be burnt thorough the nose first!

BELLAFRONT
Why la, these are your oaths; you love to undo us,
To put heaven from us, whilst our best hours waste:
You love to make us lewd, but never chaste.

MATHEO
I'll hear no more of this: this ground upon
Th'art damn'd for alt'ring thy religion.

Exit.

BELLAFRONT
Thy lust and sin speak so much. Go thou my ruin,
The first fall my soul took; by my example
I hope few maidens now will put their heads
Under men's girdles: who least trusts, is most wise;
Men's oaths do cast a mist before our eyes.
My best of wit be ready: now I go,
By some device to greet Hipolito.

[Exit.]


[IV.i. Hipolito's chamber]


Enter a Servant setting out a table, on which he places a skull, a picture, a book, and a taper.

SERVANT
So, this is Monday morning, and now must I to my huswif'ry: would I had been created a shoemaker, for all the gentle craft are gentlemen every Monday by their copy and scorn then to work one true stitch. My master means sure to turn me into a student, for here's my book, here my desk, here my light, this my close chamber, and here my punk: so that this dull drowsy first day of the week makes me half a priest, half a chandler, half a painter, half a sexton, ay, and half a bawd, for all this day my office is to do nothing but keep the door. To prove it, look you, this good face and yonder gentleman, so soon as ever my back's turn'd, will be naught together.

Enter Hipolito.

HIPOLITO
Are all the windows shut?

SERVANT
Close, sir, as the fist of a courtier that hath stood in three reigns.

HIPOLITO
Thou art a faithful servant and observ'st
The calendar, both of my solemn vows
And ceremonious sorrow. Get thee gone;
I charge thee on thy life let not the sound
Of any woman's voice pierce through that door.

SERVANT
If they do, my lord, I'll pierce some of them.
What will your lordship have to breakfast?

HIPOLITO
Sighs.

SERVANT
What to dinner?

HIPOLITO
Tears.

SERVANT
The one of them, my lord, will fill you too full of wind, the other wet you too much. What to supper?

HIPOLITO
That which now thou canst not get me, the constancy of a woman.

SERVANT
Indeed that's harder to come by than ever was Ostend.

HIPOLITO
Prithee away.

SERVANT
I'll make away myself presently, which few servants will do for their lords, but rather help to make them away. Now to my door-keeping; I hope to pick something out of it.

Exit.

HIPOLITO
[Taking up her picture] My Infelice's face: her brow, her eye,
The dimple on her cheek, and such sweet skill
Hath from the cunning workman's pencil flown,
These lips look fresh and lively as her own,
Seeming to move and speak. 'Las! Now I see
The reason why fond women love to buy
Adulterate complexion: here 'tis read
False colours last after the true be dead.
Of all the roses grafted on her cheeks,
Of all the graces dancing in her eyes,
Of all the music set upon her tongue,
Of all that was past woman's excellence
In her white bosom, look, a painted board
Circumscribes all! Earth can no bliss afford.
Nothing of her, but this? This cannot speak,
It has no lap for me to rest upon,
No lip worth tasting: here the worms will feed,
As in her coffin. Hence then, idle art:
True love's best pictur'd in a true love's heart.
Here art thou drawn, sweet maid, till this be dead,
So that thou liv'st twice, twice art buried.
Thou figure of my friend, lie there. What's here?
[Taking up the skull] Perhaps this shrewd pate was mine enemy's.
'Las! Say it were: I need not fear him now.
For all his braves, his contumelious breath,
His frowns (tho' dagger-pointed), all his plots
(Tho' ne'er so mischievous), his Italian pills,
His quarrels, and that common fence, his law:
See, see, they're all eaten out; here's not left one!
How clean they're pick'd away! To the bare bone!
How mad are mortals then to rear great names
On tops of swelling houses! Or to wear out
Their fingers' ends in dirt to scrape up gold!
Not caring, so that sumpter-horse the back
Be hung with gaudy trappings, with what coarse,
Yea, rags most beggarly, they clothe the soul!
Yet after all their gayness looks thus foul.
What fools are men to build a garish tomb,
Only to save the carcass whilst it rots,
To maintain 't long in stinking, make good carrion,
But leave no good deeds to preserve them sound,
For good deeds keep men sweet long above ground,
And must all come to this: fools, wise, all hither;
Must all heads thus at last be laid together.
Draw me my picture then, thou grave neat workman,
After this fashion, not like this: these colours
In time kissing but air will be kiss'd off,
But here's a fellow; that which he lays on,
Till doomsday, alters not complexion.
Death's the best painter then. They that draw shapes
And live by wicked faces are but God's apes:
They come but near the life, and there they stay.
This fellow draws life too: his art is fuller;
The pictures which he makes are without colour.

Enter his Servant.

SERVANT
Here's a person would speak with you, sir.

HIPOLITO
Hah!

SERVANT
A parson, sir, would speak with you.

HIPOLITO
Vicar?

SERVANT
Vicar? No, sir, h'as too good a face to be a vicar yet. A youth, a very youth.

HIPOLITO
What youth? Of man or woman? Lock the doors.

SERVANT
If it be a woman, marybones and potato pies keep me for meddling with her, for the thing has got the breeches. 'Tis a male varlet sure, my lord, for a woman's tailor ne'er measur'd him.

HIPOLITO
Let him give thee his message and be gone.

SERVANT
He says he's Signior Matheo's man, but I know he lies.

HIPOLITO
How dost thou know it?

SERVANT
'Cause h'as ne'er a beard: 'tis his boy, I think, sir, whosoe'er paid for his nursing.

HIPOLITO
Send him and keep the door.

[Exit Servant. Hipolito] reads.

"Fata si liceat mihi
Fingere arbitrio meo
Temperem Zephyro levi
Vela."
I'd sail, were I to choose, not in the ocean;
Cedars are shaken when shrubs do feel no bruise.

Enter Bellafront like a page [and hands him a paper, keeping her face averted].

How? From Matheo?

BELLAFRONT
Yes, my lord.

HIPOLITO
Art sick?

BELLAFRONT
Not all in health, my lord.

HIPOLITO
Keep off.

BELLAFRONT
I do.
[Aside] Hard fate when women are compell'd to woo.

HIPOLITO
This paper does speak nothing.

BELLAFRONT
Yes, my lord,
Matter of life it speaks, and therefore writ
In hidden character; to me instruction
My master gives, and, 'less you please to stay
Till you both meet, I can the text display.

HIPOLITO
Do so: read out.

BELLAFRONT
[Showing her face] I am already out:
Look on my face and read the strangest story!

HIPOLITO
What villain, ho!

Enter his Servant.

SERVANT
Call you my lord?

HIPOLITO
Thou slave, thou hast let in the devil!

SERVANT
Lord bless us, where? He's not cloven, my lord, that I can see: besides the devil goes more like a gentleman than a page. Good my lord, boon couragio.

HIPOLITO
Thou hast let in a woman in man's shape,
And thou art damn'd for't.

SERVANT
Not damn'd I hope for putting in a woman to a lord.

HIPOLITO
Fetch me my rapier! Do not: I shall kill thee.
Purge this infected chamber of that plague
That runs upon me thus! Slave, thrust her hence!

SERVANT
Alas, my lord, I shall never be able to thrust her hence without help. Come, mermaid, you must to sea again.

BELLAFRONT
Hear me but speak, my words shall be all music:
Hear me but speak.

HIPOLITO
Another beats the door;
T'other she-devil, look.

SERVANT
Why then hell's broke loose.

HIPOLITO
Hence, guard the chamber: let no more come on;
One woman serves for man's damnation.

Exit [Servant].

Beshrew thee, thou dost make me violate
The chastest and most sanctimonious vow
That e'er was ent'red in the court of heaven:
I was on meditation's spotless wings,
Upon my journey thither; like a storm
Thou beats my ripened cogitations
Flat to the ground, and like a thief dost stand
To steal devotion from the holy land.

BELLAFRONT
If woman were thy mother, if thy heart
Be not all marble--or if't marble be,
Let my tears soften it to pity me--
I do beseech thee do not thus with scorn
Destroy a woman.

HIPOLITO
Woman, I beseech thee
Get thee some other suit, this fits thee not;
I would not grant it to a kneeling queen:
I cannot love thee, nor I must not. See
The copy of that obligation
Where my soul's bound in heavy penalties.

BELLAFRONT
She's dead, you told me; she'll let fall her suit.

HIPOLITO
My vows to her fled after her to heaven;
Were thine eyes clear as mine, thou mightst behold her
Watching upon yon battlements of stars
How I observe them: should I break my bond,
This board would rive in twain, these wooden lips
Call me most perjur'd villain; let it suffice,
I ha' set thee in the path. Is't not a sign
I love thee when with one so most, most dear,
I'll have thee fellows? All are fellows there.

BELLAFRONT
Be greater than a king; save not a body,
But from eternal shipwrack keep a soul:
If not, and that again, sin's path I tread;
The grief be mine, the guilt fall on thy head.

HIPOLITO
Stay and take physic for it; read this book,
Ask counsel of this head what's to be done:
He'll strike it dead that 'tis damnation
If you turn Turk again. Oh, do it not!
Tho' heaven cannot allure you to do well
From doing ill, let hell fright you, and learn this:
The soul whose bosom lust did never touch
Is God's fair bride, and maidens' souls are such;
The soul that leaving chastity's white shore
Swims in hot sensual streams, is the devil's whore.

Enter his servant.

How now! Who comes?

SERVANT
No more knaves, my lord, that wear smocks. Here's a letter from Doctor Benedict; I would not enter his man, tho' he had hairs at his mouth, for fear he should be a woman, for some women have beards. Marry, they are half witches! 'Slid, you are a sweet youth to wear a codpiece and have no pins to stick upon't!

HIPOLITO
I'll meet the doctor, tell him; yet tonight
I cannot, but at morrow rising sun
I will not fail. Go, woman; fare thee well.

Exeunt [Hipolito and his Servant].

BELLAFRONT
The lowest fall can be but into hell;
It does not move him. I must therefore fly
From this undoing city, and with tears
Wash off all anger from my father's brow:
He cannot sure but joy seeing me new born.
A woman honest first and then turn whore
Is, as with me, common to thousands more,
But from a strumpet to turn chaste, that sound
Has oft been heard, that woman hardly found.

Exit.


[IV.ii. A street]
Enter Fustigo, Crambo and Poh.

FUSTIGO
[Giving them money] Hold up your hands, gentlemen: here's one, two, three--nay, I warrant, they are sound pistols and without flaws, I had them of my sister, and I know she uses to put up nothing that's crack'd--three, four, five, six, seven, eight and nine. By this hand bring me but a piece of his blood, and you shall have nine more. I'll lurk in a tavern not far off, and provide supper to close up the end of the tragedy. The linen-draper's, remember: stand to't, I beseech you, and play your parts perfectly.

CRAMBO
Look you, signior, 'tis not your gold that we weigh.

FUSTIGO
Nay, nay, weigh it and spare not; if it lack one grain of corn, I'll give you a bushel of wheat to make it up.

CRAMBO
But by your favour, signior, which of the servants is it, because we'll punish justly.

FUSTIGO
Marry, 'tis the head man; you shall taste him by his tongue: a pretty, tall, prating fellow with a Tuscalonian beard.

POH
Tuscalonian: very good.

FUSTIGO
Cods life, I was ne'er so thrumm'd since I was a gentleman: my coxcomb was dry-beaten as if my hair had been hemp!

CRAMBO
We'll dry-beat some of them.

FUSTIGO
Nay, it grew so high that my sister cried murder out very manfully: I have her consent in a manner to have him pepper'd, else I'll not do't to win more than ten cheaters do at a rifling. Break but his pate or so, only his mazer, because I'll have his head in a cloth as well as mine; he's a linen-draper and may take enough. I could enter mine action of battery against him, but we mayhaps be both dead and rotten before the lawyers would end it.

CRAMBO
No more to do but ensconce yourself i' th' tavern; provide no great cheer, couple of capons, some pheasants, plovers, an orangeado pie or so: but how bloody soe'er the day be, sally you not forth.

FUSTIGO
No, no, nay, if I stir, somebody shall stink; I'll not budge: I'll lie like a dog in a manger.

CRAMBO
Well, well, to the tavern; let not our supper be raw, for you shall have blood enough, your belly full.

FUSTIGO
That's all, so God sa' me, I thirst after: blood for blood, bump for bump, nose for nose, head for head, plaster for plaster, and so farewell. What shall I call your names, because I'll leave word if any such come to the bar.

CRAMBO
My name is Corporal Crambo.

POH
And mine, Lieutenant Poh.

CRAMBO
Poh is as tall a man as ever opened oyster; I would not be the devil to meet Poh. Farewell.

FUSTIGO
Nor I, by this light, if Poh be such a Poh.

Exeunt.


[IV.iii. Candido's shop]
Enter Candido's wife [Viola] in her shop, and the two Prentices.

[VIOLA]
What's a' clock now?

SECOND PRENTICE
'Tis almost twelve.

[VIOLA]
That's well.
The senate will leave wording presently.
But is George ready?

SECOND PRENTICE
Yes, forsooth, he's furbish'd.

[VIOLA]
Now as you ever hope to win my favour,
Throw both your duties and respects on him
With the like awe as if he were your master;
Let not your looks betray it with a smile,
Or jeering glance to any customer:
Keep a true settled countenance, and beware
You laugh not whatsoever you hear or see.

SECOND PRENTICE
I warrant you, mistress, let us alone for keeping our countenance, for if I list, there's never a fool in all Milan shall make me laugh, let him play the fool never so like an ass, whether it be the fat court fool or the lean city fool.

[VIOLA]
Enough then, call down George.

SECOND PRENTICE
I hear him coming.

Enter George.

[VIOLA]
Be ready with your legs then; let me see
How curtsy would become him. Gallantly!
Beshrew my blood, a proper seemly man,
Of a choice carriage, walks with a good port.

GEORGE
I thank you, mistress; my back's broad enough now my master's gown's on.

[VIOLA]
Sure I should think it were the least of sin
To mistake the master and to let him in.

GEORGE
'Twere a good comedy of errors, that, i'faith.

SECOND PRENTICE
Whist, whist, my master!

[VIOLA]
You all know your tasks.

Enter Candido and exit presently.

God's my life, what's that he has got upon's back? Who can tell?

GEORGE
That can I, but I will not.

[VIOLA]
Girt about him like a madman! What, has he lost his cloak too? This is the maddest fashion that e'er I saw! What said he, George, when he pass'd by thee?

GEORGE
Troth, mistress, nothing. Not so much as a bee, he did not hum; not so much as a bawd, he did not hem; not so much as a cuckold, he did not ha; neither hum, hem, nor ha, only star'd me in the face, past along, and made haste in, as if my looks had work'd with him to give him a stool.

[VIOLA]
Sure he's vex'd now; this trick has mov'd his spleen:
He's ang'red now because he utt'red nothing;
And wordless wrath breaks out more violent.
Maybe he'll strive for place when he comes down,
But if thou lov'st me, George, afford him none.

GEORGE
Nay, let me alone to play my master's prize, as long as my mistress warrants me. I'm sure I have his best clothes on, and I scorn to give place to any that is inferior in apparel to me: that's an axiom, a principle, and is observ'd as much as the fashion; let that persuade you then, that I'll shoulder with him for the upper hand in the shop, as long as this chain will maintain it.

[VIOLA]
Spoke with the spirit of a master, tho' with the tongue of a prentice.

Enter Candido like a prentice.

Why, how now, madman? What in your tricksy coats?

CANDIDO
Oh, peace, good mistress!

Enter Crambo and Poh.

See what you lack, what is't you buy? Pure calicoes, fine hollands, choice cambrics, neat lawns! See what you buy! Pray come near, my master will use you well; he can afford you a pennyworth.

[VIOLA]
Ay, that he can, out of a whole piece of lawn, i'faith.

CANDIDO
Pray see your choice here, gentlemen.

[VIOLA]
[Aside] Oh, fine fool! What a madman! A patient madman! Whoever heard of the like? Well, sir, I'll fit you and your humour presently. What? Cross-points? I'll untie 'em all in a trice; I'll vex you, faith.--Boy, take your cloak; quick, come.

Exit [with First Prentice].

CANDIDO
Be covered, George; this chain and welted gown
Bare to this coat: then the world's upside down.

GEORGE
Umh, umh, hum.

CRAMBO
That's the shop, and there's the fellow.

POH
Ay, but the master is walking in there.

CRAMBO
No matter, we'll in.

POH
'Sblood, dost long to lie in limbo?

CRAMBO
And limbo be in hell, I care not.

CANDIDO
Look you, gentlemen, your choice: cambrics?

CRAMBO
No, sir, some shirting.

CANDIDO
You shall.

CRAMBO
Have you none of this strip'd canvas for doublets?

CANDIDO
None strip'd, sir, but plain.

SECOND PRENTICE
I think there be one piece strip'd within.

GEORGE
Step, sirrah, and fetch it, hum, hum, hum.

[Exit Second Prentice.]

CANDIDO
Look you, gentlemen, I'll make but one spreading; here's a piece of cloth, fine, yet shall wear like iron: 'tis without fault, take this upon my word, 'tis without fault.

CRAMBO
Then 'tis better than you, sirrah.

CANDIDO
Ay, and a number more. Oh, that each soul
Were but as spotless as this innocent white
And had as few breaks in it!

CRAMBO
'Twould have some then. There was a fray here last day in this shop.

CANDIDO
There was indeed a little flea-biting.

POH
A gentleman had his pate broke. Call you that but a flea-biting?

CANDIDO
He had so.

CRAMBO
Zounds, do you stand in't?

He strikes him.

GEORGE
'Sfoot! Clubs, clubs, prentices! Down with 'em! Ah, you rogues, strike a citizen in's shop?

[The Prentices rush in and with George they disarm and beat Crambo and Poh.]

CANDIDO
None of you stir; I pray, forbear, good George.

CRAMBO
I beseech you, sir, we mistook our marks; deliver us our weapons.

GEORGE
Your head bleeds, sir: cry clubs!

CANDIDO
I say you shall not; pray be patient.
Give them their weapons. Sirs, you're best be gone;
I tell you here are boys more tough than bears:
Hence, lest more fists do walk about your ears.

BOTH [CRAMBO AND POH]
We thank you, sir.

Exeunt [Crambo and Poh].

CANDIDO
You shall not follow them.
Let them alone pray, this did me no harm;
Troth, I was cold, and the blow made me warm.
I thank 'em for't; besides I had decreed
To have a vein prick'd: I did mean to bleed,
So that there's money sav'd. They are honest men;
Pray use 'em well when they appear again.

GEORGE
Yes, sir, we'll use 'em like honest men.

CANDIDO
Ay, well said, George, like honest men, tho' they be arrant knaves, for that's the phrase of the city. Help to lay up these wares.

Enter Candido's wife [Viola] with Officers [to one side].

[VIOLA]
Yonder he stands.

[FIRST] OFFICER
What, in a prentice coat?

[VIOLA]
Ay, ay, mad, mad; pray take heed.

CANDIDO
How now? What news with them? What make they with my wife? Officers? Is she attach'd? Look to your wares.

[VIOLA]
He talks to himself. Oh, he's much gone indeed!

[FIRST] OFFICER
Pray pluck up a good heart; be not so fearful.
Sirs, hark, we'll gather to him by degrees.

[VIOLA]
Ay, ay, by degrees I pray. Oh, me! What makes he with the lawn in his hand; he'll tear all the ware in my shop.

[FIRST] OFFICER
Fear not, we'll catch him on a sudden.

[VIOLA]
Oh, you had need do so! Pray take heed of your warrant.

[FIRST] OFFICER
I warrant, mistress. [Approaching Candido] Now, Signior Candido?

CANDIDO
Now, sir, what news with you, sir?

[VIOLA]
What news with you, he says. Oh, he's far gone!

[FIRST] OFFICER
I pray fear nothing, let's alone with him.
Signior, you look not like yourself methinks.
[To Second Officer] Steal you a' t'other side.--Y'are chang'd, y'are alt'red.

CANDIDO
Chang'd, sir? Why, true, sir. Is change strange? 'Tis not the fashion unless it alter? Monarchs turn to beggars, beggars creep into the nests of princes, masters serve their prentices, ladies their serving-men, men turn to women.

[FIRST] OFFICER
And women turn to men.

CANDIDO
Ay, and women turn to men, you say true. Ha, ha, a mad world, a mad world!

[The Officers seize Candido, and the Second Officer begins to bind him.]

[FIRST] OFFICER
Have we caught you, sir?

CANDIDO
Caught me? Well, well, you have caught me.

[VIOLA]
He laughs in your faces.

GEORGE
A rescue, prentices, my master's catchpol'd!

[FIRST] OFFICER
I charge you keep the peace, or have your legs gartered with irons; we have from the duke a warrant strong enough for what we do.

CANDIDO
I pray rest quiet; I desire no rescue.

[VIOLA]
La, he desires no rescue! 'Las, poor heart,
He talks against himself.

CANDIDO
Well, what's the matter?

[FIRST] OFFICER
Look to that arm;
Pray make sure work: double the cord.

CANDIDO
Why, why?

[VIOLA]
Look how his head goes! Should he get but loose,
Oh, 'twere as much as all our lives were worth!

[FIRST] OFFICER
Fear not, we'll make all sure for our own safety.

CANDIDO
Are you at leisure now? Well, what's the matter?
Why do I enter into bonds thus, ha?

[FIRST] OFFICER
Because y'are mad, put fear upon your wife.

[VIOLA]
Oh, ay, I went in danger of my life, every minute!

CANDIDO
What? Am I mad say you, and I not know it?

[FIRST] OFFICER
That proves you mad, because you know it not.

[VIOLA]
Pray talk as little to him as you can;
You see he's too far spent.

CANDIDO
Bound with strong cord?
A sister's thread, i'faith, had been enough
To lead me anywhere. Wife, do you long?
You are mad too, or else you do me wrong.

GEORGE
But are you mad indeed, master?

CANDIDO
My wife says so,
And what she says, George, is all truth you know.
And whither now? To Beth'lem Monastery?
Ha? Whither?

[FIRST] OFFICER
Faith, e'en to the madmen's pound.

CANDIDO
A' God's name, still I feel my patience sound.

Exeunt [Candido with Officers].

GEORGE
Come, we'll see whither he goes. If the master be mad, we are his servants and must follow his steps: we'll be madcaps too. Farewell, mistress, you shall have us all in Bedlam.

Exeunt [George and the other Prentices].

[VIOLA]
I think I ha' fitted now you and your clothes!
If this move not his patience, nothing can;
I'll swear then I have a saint and not a man.

Exit.


[IV.iv. Doctor Benedict's house]
Enter Duke, Doctor, Fluello, Castruchio, Pioratto.

DUKE
Give us a little leave.

[Exeunt Fluello, Castruchio, and Pioratto.]

Doctor, your news.

DOCTOR
I sent for him, my lord. At last he came,
And did receive all speech that went from me
As gilded pills made to prolong his health:
My credit with him wrought it, for some men
Swallow even empty hooks, like fools that fear
No drowning where 'tis deepest 'cause 'tis clear.
In th' end we sat and ate: a health I drank
To Infelice's sweet departed soul;
This train I knew would take.

DUKE
'Twas excellent.

DOCTOR
He fell with such devotion on his knees
To pledge the same--

DUKE
Fond, superstitious fool!

DOCTOR
That had he been inflam'd with zeal of prayer,
He could not power 't out with more reverence.
About my neck he hung, wept on my cheek,
Kiss'd it, and swore he would adore my lips
Because they brought forth Infelice's name.

DUKE
Ha, ha! Alack, alack!

DOCTOR
The cup he lifts up high, and thus he said,
"Here, noble maid," drinks, and was poisoned.

DUKE
And died?

DOCTOR
And died, my lord.

DUKE
Thou in that word
Hast piec'd mine aged hours out with more years
Than thou hast taken from Hipolito.
A noble youth he was, but lesser branches
Hind'ring the greater's growth must be lopp'd off
And feed the fire. Doctor, w'are now all thine,
And use us so. Be bold.

DOCTOR
Thanks, gracious lord.
My honoured lord--

DUKE
Hmh?

DOCTOR
I do beseech your grace to bury deep
This bloody act of mine.

DUKE
Nay, nay, for that,
Doctor, look you to't. Me it shall not move;
They're curs'd that ill do, not that ill do love.

DOCTOR
You throw an angry forehead on my face,
But be you pleas'd, backward thus for to look,
That for your good this evil I undertook--

DUKE
Ay, ay, we conster so.

DOCTOR
And only for your love--

DUKE
Confess'd, 'tis true.

DOCTOR
Nor let it stand against me as a bar
To thrust me from your presence, nor believe,
As princes have quick thoughts, that now my finger
Being deep'd in blood I will not spare the hand,
But that for gold, as what can gold not do,
I may be hir'd to work the like on you.

DUKE
Which to prevent--

DOCTOR
'Tis from my heart as far--

DUKE
No matter, doctor, 'cause I'll fearless sleep;
And that you shall stand clear of that suspicion
I banish thee forever from my court.
This principle is old but true as fate:
Kings may love treason, but the traitor hate.

Exit.

DOCTOR
Is't so? Nay then, duke, your stale principle
With one as stale the doctor thus shall quit:
He falls himself that digs another's pit.
How now!

Enter the Doctor's Man.

Where is he? Will he meet me?

DOCTOR'S MAN
Meet you, sir! He might have met with three fencers in this time and have received less hurt than by meeting one doctor of physic! Why, sir, h'as walk'd under the old abbey wall yonder this hour till he's more cold than a citizen's country house in January; you may smell him behind, sir. La you, yonder he comes.

DOCTOR
Leave me.

Enter Hipolito.

DOCTOR'S MAN
I' th' lurch, if you will.

Exit.

DOCTOR
Oh, my most noble friend!

HIPOLITO
Few but yourself
Could have intic'd me thus to trust the air
With my close sighs. You send for me. What news?

DOCTOR
Come, you must doff this black, dye that pale cheek
Into his own colour; go. Attire yourself
Fresh as a bridegroom when he meets his bride.
The duke has done much treason to thy love;
'Tis now revealed, 'tis now to be reveng'd.
Be merry, honour'd friend: thy lady lives.

HIPOLITO
What lady?

DOCTOR
Infelice. She's reviv'd.
Reviv'd? Alack! Death never had the heart
To take breath from her.

HIPOLITO
Umh, I thank you, sir.
Physic prolongs life when it cannot save:
This helps not my hopes; mine are in their grave.
You do some wrong to mock me.

DOCTOR
By that love
Which I have ever borne you, what I speak
Is truth: the maiden lives. That funeral,
Duke's tears, the mourning was all counterfeit:
A sleepy draught cozen'd the world and you;
I was his minister and then chamb'red up
To stop discovery.

HIPOLITO
Oh, treacherous duke!

DOCTOR
He cannot hope so certainly for bliss,
As he believes that I have poison'd you.
He woo'd me to't, I yielded, and confirm'd him
In his most bloody thoughts.

HIPOLITO
A very devil!

DOCTOR
Her did he closely coach to Bergamo,
And thither--

HIPOLITO
Will I ride! Stood Bergamo
In the low countries of black hell, I'll to her.

DOCTOR
You shall to her, but not to Bergamo.
How passion makes you fly beyond yourself!
Much of that weary journey I ha' cut off,
For she by letters hath intelligence
Of your supposed death, her own interment,
And all those plots, which that false duke her father
Has wrought against you. And she'll meet you.

HIPOLITO
Oh, when?

DOCTOR
Nay, see how covetous are your desires;
Early tomorrow morn.

HIPOLITO
Oh, where, good father?

DOCTOR
At Beth'lem Monastery. Are you pleas'd now?

HIPOLITO
At Beth'lem monastery. The place well fits:
It is the school where those that lose their wits
Practise again to get them. I am sick
Of that disease; all love is lunatic.

DOCTOR
We'll steal away this night in some disguise;
Father Anselmo, a most reverend friar,
Expects our coming, before whom we'll lay
Reasons so strong that he shall yield in bands
Of holy wedlock to tie both your hands.

HIPOLITO
This is such happiness
That to believe it 'tis impossible!

DOCTOR
Let all your joys then die in misbelief;
I will reveal no more.

HIPOLITO
Oh, yes, good father,
I am so well acquainted with despair,
I know not how to hope: I believe all.

DOCTOR
We'll hence this night; much must be done, much said,
But if the doctor fail not in his charms,
Your lady shall ere morning fill these arms.

HIPOLITO
Heavenly physician, far thy fame shall spread,
That mak'st two lovers speak when they be dead.

Exeunt.


[V.i. Outside the Duke's castle]


[Enter] Candido's wife [Viola] and George; Pioratto meets them.

[VIOLA]
Oh, watch, good George, watch which way the duke comes.

GEORGE
Here comes one of the butterflies; ask him.

[VIOLA]
Pray, sir, comes the duke this way?

PIORATTO
He's upon coming, mistress.

Exit.

[VIOLA]
I thank you, sir.

Exit [Pioratto].

George, are there many mad folks where thy master lies?

GEORGE
Oh, yes, of all countries some, but especially mad Greeks; they swarm. Troth, mistress, the world is altered with you; you had not wont to stand thus with a paper humbly complaining, but you're well enough serv'd: provender prick'd you, as it does many of our city-wives besides.

[VIOLA]
Dost think, George, we shall get him forth?

GEORGE
Truly, mistress, I cannot tell; I think you'll hardly get him forth. Why, 'tis strange! 'Sfoot, I have known many women that have had mad rascals to their husbands, whom they would belabour by all means possible to keep 'em in their right wits, but of a woman to long to turn a tame man into a madman, why, the devil himself was never us'd so by his dam!

[VIOLA]
How does he talk, George? Ha, good George, tell me!

GEORGE
Why, you're best go see.

[VIOLA]
Alas, I am afraid.

GEORGE
Afraid! You had more need be asham'd: he may rather be afraid of you.

[VIOLA]
But, George, he's not stark mad, is he? He does not rave, he's not horn-mad, George, is he?

GEORGE
Nay, I know not that, but he talks like a justice of peace, of a thousand matters and to no purpose.

[VIOLA]
I'll to the monastery: I shall be mad till I enjoy him, I shall be sick till I see him, yet when I do see him, I shall weep out mine eyes.

GEORGE
Ay, I'd fain see a woman weep out her eyes; that's as true as to say a man's cloak burns when it hangs in the water. I know you'll weep, mistress, but what says the painted cloth:
"Trust not a woman when she cries,
For she'll pump water from her eyes
With a wet finger, and in faster showers
Than April when he rains down flowers."

[VIOLA]
Ay, but George, that painted cloth is worthy to be hang'd up for lying, all women have not tears at will unless they have good cause.

GEORGE
Ay, but mistress, how easily will they find a cause, and as one of our cheese-trenchers says very learnedly:
"As out of wormwood bees suck honey,
As from poor clients lawyers firk money
As parsley from a roasted coney,
So, tho' the day be ne'er so sunny,
If wives will have it rain, down then it drives:
The calmest husbands make the [stormiest] wives."

[VIOLA]
[True], George, but I ha' done storming now.

GEORGE
Why, that's well done, good mistress; throw aside this fashion of your humour: be not so fantastical in wearing it; storm no more, long no more. This longing has made you come short of many a good thing that you might have had from my master. Here comes the duke.

Enter Duke, Fluello, Pioratto, Sinezi.

[VIOLA]
Oh, I beseech you pardon my offense,
In that I durst abuse your grace's warrant!
Deliver forth my husband, good my lord.

DUKE
Who is her husband?

FLUELLO
Candido, my lord.

DUKE
Where is he?

[VIOLA]
He's among the lunatics.
He was a man made up without a gall;
Nothing could move him, nothing could convert
His meek blood into fury: yet like a monster,
I often beat at the most constant rock
Of his unshaken patience, and did long
To vex him.

DUKE
Did you so?

[VIOLA]
And for that purpose,
Had warrant from your grace to carry him
To Beth'lem Monastery, whence they will not free him
Without your grace's hand that sent him in.

DUKE
You have long'd fair. 'Tis you are mad, I fear;
It's fit to fetch him thence and keep you there.
If he be mad, why would you have him forth?

GEORGE
And please your grace, he's not stark mad, but only talks like a young gentleman, somewhat fantastically, that's all: there's a thousand about your court, city, and country madder than he.

DUKE
Provide a warrant, you shall have our hand.

GEORGE
Here's a warrant ready drawn, my lord.

DUKE
Get pen and ink, get pen and ink.

Enter Castruchio.

CASTRUCHIO
Where is my lord the duke?

DUKE
How now? More madmen?

CASTRUCHIO
I have strange news, my lord,

DUKE
Of what? Of what?

CASTRUCHIO
Of Infelice and a marriage.

DUKE
Ha! Where? With whom?

CASTRUCHIO
Hipolito.

GEORGE
[Offering the Duke a pen] Here, my lord.

DUKE
Hence with that woman, void the room!

FLUELLO
Away, the duke's vex'd.

GEORGE
Whoop! Come, mistress, the duke's mad too.

Exeunt [Viola and George].

DUKE
Who told me that Hipolito was dead?

CASTRUCHIO
He that can make any man dead, the doctor; but, my lord, he's as full of life as wild-fire, and as quick. Hipolito, the doctor, and one more rid hence this evening; the inn at which they light is Beth'lem Monastery: Infelice comes from Bergamo and meets them there. Hipolito is mad, for he means this day to be married; the afternoon is the hour, and Friar Anselmo is the knitter.

DUKE
From Bergamo? Is't possible? It cannot be,
It cannot be.

CASTRUCHIO
I will not swear, my lord,
But this intelligence I took from one
Whose brains works in the plot.

DUKE
What's he?

CASTRUCHIO
Matheo.

FLUELLO
Matheo knows all.

PIORATTO
He's Hipolito's bosom.

DUKE
How far stands Beth'lem hence?

OMNES [COURTIERS]
Six or seven miles.

DUKE
Is't even so!
Not married till the afternoon, you say?
Stay, stay, let's work out some prevention. How!
This is most strange! Can none but madmen serve
To dress their wedding dinner? All of you,
Get presently to horse; disguise yourselves
Like country gentlemen,
Or riding citizens, or so, and take
Each man a several path, but let us meet
At Beth'lem Monastery, some space of time
Being spent between the arrival each of other,
As if we came to see the lunatics.
To horse, away! Be secret on your lives;
Love must be punish'd that unjustly thrives.

Exeunt [all but Fluello].

FLUELLO
Be secret on your lives! Castruchio,
Y'are but a scurvy spaniel. Honest lord,
Good lady! Zounds, their love is just, 'tis good!
And I'll prevent you, tho' I swim in blood.

Exit.


[V.ii. Bethlehem Monastery]
Enter Friar Anselmo, Hipolito, Matheo, Infelice.

HIPOLITO
Nay, nay, resolve, good father, or deny.

ANSELMO
You press me to an act both full of danger
And full of happiness, for I behold
Your father's frowns, his threats, nay, perhaps death
To him that dare do this; yet noble lord,
Such comfortable beams break through these clouds
By this bless'd marriage; that, your honour'd word
Being pawn'd in my defense, I will tie fast
The holy wedding knot.

HIPOLITO
Tush, fear not the duke.

ANSELMO
Oh, son,
Wisely to fear is to be free from fear.

HIPOLITO
You have our words, and you shall have our lives,
To guard you safe from all ensuing danger.

MATHEO
Ay, ay, chop 'em up and away.

ANSELMO
Stay: when is't fit for me, safest for you,
To entertain this business?

HIPOLITO
Not till the evening.

ANSELMO
Be 't so; there is a chapel stands hard by,
Upon the west end of the abbey wall:
Thither convey yourselves, and when the sun
Hath turn'd his back upon this upper world,
I'll marry you; that done, no thund'ring voice
Can break the sacred bond. Yet lady, here
You are most safe.

INFELICE
Father, your love's most dear.

MATHEO
Ay, well said. Lock us into some little room by ourselves that we may be mad for an hour or two.

HIPOLITO
Oh, good Matheo, no, let's make no noise.

MATHEO
How! No noise! Do you know where you are? 'Sfoot, amongst all the madcaps in Milan, so that to throw the house out at window will be the better, and no man will suspect that we lurk here to steal mutton: the more sober we are, the more scurvy 'tis. And tho' the friar tell us that here we are safest, I'm not of his mind, for if those lay here that had lost their money, none would ever look after them, but here are none but those that have lost their wits, so that if hue and cry be made, hither they'll come, and my reason is, because none goes be married till he be stark mad.

Enter Fluello.

HIPOLITO
Muffle yourselves; yonder's Fluello.

MATHEO
Zounds!

FLUELLO
Oh, my lord, these cloaks are not for this rain; the tempest is too great: I come sweating to tell you of it that you may get out of it.

MATHEO
Why, what's the matter?

FLUELLO
What's the matter? You have matter'd it fair: the duke's at hand.

OMNES
The duke?

FLUELLO
The very duke.

HIPOLITO
Then all our plots
Are turn'd upon our heads, and we are blown up
With our own underminings. 'Sfoot, how comes he?
What villain durst betray our being here?

FLUELLO
Castruchio, Castruchio told the duke, and Matheo here told Castruchio.

HIPOLITO
Would you betray me to Castruchio?

MATHEO
'Sfoot, he damn'd himself to the pit of hell if he spake on't again!

HIPOLITO
So did you swear to me, so were you damn'd.

MATHEO
Pox on 'em, and there be no faith in men, if a man shall not believe oaths! He took bread and salt, by this light, that he would never open his lips.

HIPOLITO
Oh God, oh God!

ANSELMO
Son, be not desperate;
Have patience: you shall trip your enemy down
By his own sleights. How far is the duke hence?

FLUELLO
He's but new set out. Castruchio, Pioratto, and Sinezi come along with him: you have time enough yet to prevent them if you have but courage.

ANSELMO
You shall steal secretly into the chapel
And presently be married; if the duke
Abide here still, spite of ten thousand eyes,
You shall scape hence like friars.

HIPOLITO
Oh, bless'd disguise! Oh, happy man!

ANSELMO
Talk not of happiness till your clos'd hand
Have her by th' forehead, like the lock of time.
Be not too slow nor hasty now you climb
Up to the tower of bliss, only be wary
And patient, that's all: if you like my plot,
Build and dispatch; if not, farewell, then not.

HIPOLITO
Oh, yes, we do applaud it; we'll dispute
No longer, but will hence and execute.
Fluello, you'll stay here; let us be gone.
The ground that frighted lovers tread upon
Is stuck with thorns.

ANSELMO
Come then, away: 'tis meet,
To escape those thorns, to put on winged feet.

Exeunt [Hipolito, Infelice, and Anselmo].

MATHEO
No words I pray, Fluello, for it stands us upon.

FLUELLO
Oh, sir, let that be your lesson.

[Exit Matheo.]

Alas, poor lovers, on what hopes and fears
Men toss themselves for women! When she's got
The best has in her that which pleaseth not.

Enter to Fluello the Duke, Castruchio, Pioratto, and Sinezi from several doors muffled.

DUKE
Who's there?

CASTRUCHIO
My lord.

DUKE
Peace, send that lord away:
A lordship will spoil all; let's be all fellows.
What's he?

CASTRUCHIO
Fluello, or else Sinezi by his little legs.

OMNES
All friends, all friends.

DUKE
What, met upon the very point of time!
Is this the place?

PIORATTO
This is the place, my lord.

DUKE
Dream you on lordships! Come, no more lords, pray.
You have not seen these lovers yet?

OMNES [COURTIERS]
Not yet.

DUKE
Castruchio, art thou sure this wedding feat
Is not till afternoon?

CASTRUCHIO
So 'tis given out, my lord.

DUKE
Nay, nay, 'tis like; thieves must observe their hours:
Lovers watch minutes like astronomers.
How shall the interim hours by us be spent?

FLUELLO
Let's all go see the madmen.

OMNES
Mass, content.

Enter a Sweeper.

DUKE
Oh, here comes one; question him, question him.

FLUELLO
How now, honest fellow. Dost thou belong to the house?

[SWEEPER]
Yes, forsooth, I am one of the implements; I sweep the madmen's rooms, and fetch straw for 'em, and buy chains to tie 'em, and rods to whip 'em. I was a mad wag myself here once, but I thank Father Anselm: he lash'd me into my right mind again.

DUKE
[Aside to Castruchio] Anselmo is the friar must marry them;
Question him where he is.

CASTRUCHIO
And where is Father Anselmo now?

[SWEEPER]
Marry, he's gone but e'en now.

DUKE
Ay, well done. Tell me, whither is he gone?

[SWEEPER]
Why, to God A'mighty.

FLUELLO
Ha, ha, this fellow is a fool, talks idly!

PIORATTO
Sirrah, are all the mad folks in Milan brought hither?

[SWEEPER]
How! All! There's a wise question indeed. Why, if all the mad folks in Milan should come hither, there would not be left ten men in the city.

DUKE
Few gentlemen or courtiers here, ha?

[SWEEPER]
Oh, yes! Abundance, abundance! Lands no sooner fall into their hands, but straight they run out a' their wits. Citizens' sons and heirs are free of the house by their father's copy. Farmers' sons come hither like geese in flocks and when they ha' sold all their cornfields, here they sit and pick the straws.

SINEZI
Methinks you should have women here as well as men.

[SWEEPER]
Oh, ay, a plague on 'em! There's no ho with them; they are madder than march hares.

FLUELLO
Are there no lawyers here amongst you?

[SWEEPER]
Oh, no, not one: never any lawyer! We dare not let a lawyer come in, for he'll make 'em mad faster than we can recover 'em.

DUKE
And how long is't e'er you recover any of these?

[SWEEPER]
Why, according to the quantity of the moon that's got into 'em. An alderman's son will be mad a great while, a very great while, especially if his friends left him well. A whore will hardly come to her wits again. A puritan, there's no hope of him, unless he may pull down the steeple and hang himself i' th' bell-ropes.

FLUELLO
I perceive all sorts of fish come to your net.

[SWEEPER]
Yes, in truth, we have blocks for all heads; we have good store of wild oats here, for the courtier is mad at the citizen, the citizen is mad at the country man, the shoemaker is mad at the cobbler, the cobbler at the carman, the punk is mad that the merchant's wife is no whore, the merchant's wife is mad that the punk is so common a whore--

Enter Anselmo.

Gods-so, here's Father Anselm! Pray say nothing that I tell tales out of the school.

Exit.

OMNES [NOBLES]
God bless you, father.

ANSELMO
Thank you, gentlemen.

CASTRUCHIO
Pray may we see some of those wretched souls
That here are in your keeping?

ANSELMO
Yes, you shall,
But, gentlemen, I must disarm you then.
There are of mad men, as there are of tame,
All humour'd not alike: we have here some,
So apish and fantastic, play with a feather,
And tho 'twould grieve a soul to see God's image
So blemish'd and defac'd, yet do they act
Such antic and such pretty lunacies,
That spite of sorrow they will make you smile;
Others again we have like hungry lions,
Fierce as wild bulls, untamable as flies,
And these have oftentimes from strangers' sides
Snatch'd rapiers suddenly and done much harm,
Whom if you'll see, you must be weaponless.

OMNES [NOBLES]
With all our hearts.

ANSELMO
[Calling offstage] Here, take these weapons in.

[Enter Sweeper, then exits with their swords.]

Stand off a little pray; so, so, 'tis well.
I'll show you here a man that was sometimes
A very grave and wealthy citizen,
Has serv'd a prenticeship to this misfortune,
Been here seven years, and dwelt in Bergamo.

DUKE
How fell he from himself?

ANSELMO
By loss at sea.
I'll stand aside; question him you alone,
For if he spy me, he'll not speak a word
Unless he's throughly vex'd.

Discovers an old man, [the First Madman,] wrapp'd in a net.

FLUELLO
Alas, poor soul.

CASTRUCHIO
A very old man.

DUKE
God speed, father.

FIRST MADMAN
God speed the plough: thou shalt not speed me.

PIORATTO
We see you, old man, for all you dance in a net.

FIRST MADMAN
True, but thou wilt dance in a halter, and I shall not see thee.

ANSELMO
Oh, do not vex him, pray!

CASTRUCHIO
Are you a fisherman, father?

FIRST MADMAN
No, I'm neither fish nor flesh.

FLUELLO
What do you with that net then?

FIRST MADMAN
Dost not see, fool? There's a fresh salmon in't. If you step one foot furder, you'll be over shoes, for you see I'm over head and ear in the saltwater, and if you fall into this whirlpool where I am, y'are drown'd, y'are a drown'd rat! I am fishing here for five ships, but I cannot have a good draught, for my net breaks still, and breaks, but I'll break some of your necks and I catch you in my clutches. Stay, stay, stay, stay, stay. Where's the wind, where's the wind, where's the wind, where's the wind? Out, you gulls, you goose-caps, you gudgeon-eaters! Do you look for the wind in the heavens? Ha, ha, ha, ha! No, no, look there, look there, look there! The wind is always at that door. Hark how it blows, poof, poof, poof!

OMNES [NOBLES]
Ha, ha, ha!

FIRST MADMAN
Do you laugh at God's creatures? Do you mock old age, you rogues? Is this gray beard and head counterfeit, that you cry, "Ha, ha, ha?" Sirrah, art not thou my eldest son?

PIORATTO
Yes indeed, father.

FIRST MADMAN
Then th'art a fool, for my eldest son had a polt foot, crooked legs, a vergis face, and a pear-colour'd beard; I made him a scholar, and he made himself a fool. Sirrah! Thou there! Hold out thy hand.

DUKE
My hand? Well, here 'tis.

FIRST MADMAN
Look, look, look, look: has he not long nails and short hair?

FLUELLO
Yes, monstrous short hair and abominable long nails.

FIRST MADMAN
Tenpenny nails, are they not?

FLUELLO
Yes, tenpenny nails.

FIRST MADMAN
Such nails had my second boy. Kneel down, thou varlet, and ask thy father blessing. Such nails had my middlemost son and I made him a promoter, and he scrap'd, and scrap'd, and scrap'd till he got the devil and all, but he scrap'd thus, and thus, and thus, and it went under his legs, till at length a company of kites taking him for carrion swept up all, all, all, all, all, all, all. If you love your lives, look to yourselves. See, see, see, see, the Turks' galleys are fighting with my ships! Bounce goes the guns! "Oooh!" cry the men. Romble romble go the waters. Alas! There! 'Tis sunk, 'tis sunk! I am undone, I am undone! You are the damn'd pirates have undone me! You are, by th' Lord, you are, you are, stop 'em, you are!

ANSELMO
Why, how now, sirrah! Must I fall to tame you?

FIRST MADMAN
Tame me? No, I'll be madder than a roasted cat. See, see, I am burnt with gunpowder; these are our close fights.

ANSELMO
I'll whip you if you grow unruly thus.

FIRST MADMAN
Whip me? Out, you toad! Whip me? What justice is this, to whip me because I'm a beggar? Alas, I am a poor man, a very poor man! I am starv'd, and have had no meat by this light, ever since the great flood. I am a poor man.

ANSELMO
Well, well, be quiet and you shall have meat.

FIRST MADMAN
Ay, ay, pray do, for look you here be my guts. These are my ribs; you may look through my ribs. See how my guts come out! These are my red guts, my very guts, oh, oh!

ANSELMO
Take him in there.

[Enter the Sweeper and takes away the First Madman.]

OMNES [NOBLES]
A very piteous sight.

CASTRUCHIO
Father, I see you have a busy charge.

ANSELMO
They must be us'd like children, pleas'd with toys,
And anon whipp'd for their unruliness.
I'll show you now a pair quite different
From him that's gone; he was all words, and these,
Unless you urge 'em, seldom spend their speech,
But save their tongues. La you!

[Enter the Second and Third Madmen.]

This hithermost
Fell from the happy quietness of mind,
About a maiden that he lov'd and died.
He followed her to church, being full of tears,
And as her body went into the ground,
He fell stark mad. That is a married man
Was jealous of a fair but, as some say,
A very virtuous wife, and that spoil'd him.

SECOND MADMAN
All these are whoremongers and lay with my wife! Whore, whore, whore, whore, whore!

FLUELLO
Observe him.

SECOND MADMAN
Gaffer shoemaker, you pull'd on my wife's pumps, and then crept into her pantofles: lie there, lie there. This was her tailor; you cut out her loose-bodied gown and put in a yard more than I allowed her. Lie there by the shoemaker. Oh, master doctor, are you here? You gave me a purgation and then crept into my wife's chamber to feel her pulses, and you said, and she said, and her maid said that they went pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat. Doctor, I'll put you anon into my wife's urinal. Heigh, come aloft, Jack! This was her schoolmaster, and taught her to play upon the virginals: still his jacks leapt up, up; you prick'd her out nothing but bawdy lessons, but I'll prick you all! Fiddler, doctor, tailor, shoemaker; shoemaker, fiddler, doctor, tailor: so, lie with my wife again now!

CASTRUCHIO
See how he notes the other now he feeds.

SECOND MADMAN
Give me some porridge.

THIRD MADMAN
I'll give thee none.

SECOND MADMAN
Give me some porridge.

THIRD MADMAN
I'll not give thee a bit.

SECOND MADMAN
Give me that flap-dragon.

THIRD MADMAN
I'll not give thee a spoonful. Thou liest; it's no dragon, 'tis a parrot that I bought for my sweetheart, and I'll keep it.

SECOND MADMAN
Here's an almond for parrot.

THIRD MADMAN
Hang thyself.

SECOND MADMAN
Here's a rope for parrot.

THIRD MADMAN
Eat it, for I'll eat this.

SECOND MADMAN
I'll shoot at thee and thou 't give me none.

THIRD MADMAN
Wut thou?

SECOND MADMAN
I'll run a-tilt at thee and thou 't give me none.

THIRD MADMAN
Wut thou? Do and thou dar'st!

SECOND MADMAN
Bounce!

THIRD MADMAN
Oh! I am slain! Murder, murder, murder, I am slain, my brains are beaten out!

ANSELMO
How now, you villains! Bring me whips! I'll whip you!

THIRD MADMAN
I am dead, I am slain! Ring out the bell, for I am dead!

DUKE
How will you do now, sirrah? You ha' kill'd him.

SECOND MADMAN
I'll answer 't at sessions: he was eating of almond-butter, and I long'd for't; the child had never been delivered out of my belly, if I had not kill'd him. I'll answer 't at sessions, so my wife may be burnt i' th' hand too.

[Enter the Sweeper.]

ANSELMO
Take 'em in both: bury him, for he's dead.

THIRD MADMAN
Ay, indeed, I am dead; put me I pray into a good pit hole.

SECOND MADMAN
I'll answer 't at sessions.

Exeunt [Sweeper with Madmen]. Enter Bellafront mad.

ANSELMO
How now, huswife, whither gad you?

BELLAFRONT
A-nutting, forsooth. How do you, gaffer? How do you, gaffer? There's a French curtsy for you too.

FLUELLO
[Aside] 'Tis Bellafront!

PIORATTO
[Aside] 'Tis the punk, by th' Lord!

DUKE
Father, what's she I pray?

ANSELMO
As yet I know not;
She came but in this day, talks little idly,
And therefore has the freedom of the house.

BELLAFRONT
Do not you know me? Nor you? Nor you, nor you?

OMNES [COURTIERS]
No indeed.

BELLAFRONT
Then you are an ass, and you are an ass, and you are an ass, for I know you.

ANSELMO
Why, what are they? Come, tell me, what are they?

BELLAFRONT
Three fishwives. Will you buy any gudgeons?

Enter Hipolito, Matheo, and Infelice disguis'd in the habits of friars.

God's santy, yonder come friars! I know them too. How do you, friar?

ANSELMO
Nay, nay, away, you must not trouble friars.
[Aside to Hipolito] The duke is here; speak nothing.

BELLAFRONT
Nay, indeed, you shall not go: we'll run at barley-break first, and you shall be in hell.

MATHEO
[Aside to Hipolito] My punk turn'd mad whore, as all her fellows are?

HIPOLITO
[Aside to Matheo] Speak nothing, but steal hence when you spy time.

ANSELMO
I'll lock you up if y'are unruly, fie!

BELLAFRONT
Fie! Marry foh, they shall not go indeed till I ha' told 'em their fortunes.

DUKE
Good father, give her leave.

BELLAFRONT
I pray, good father, and I'll give you my blessing.

ANSELMO
Well then, be brief, but if you are thus unruly,
I'll have you lock'd up fast.

PIORATTO
Come to their fortunes.

BELLAFRONT
Let me see--one, two, three, and four--I'll begin with the little friar first. Here's a fine hand indeed; I never saw friar have such a dainty hand. Here's a hand for a lady. You ha' good fortune now.
Oh, see, see what a thread here's spun:
You love a friar better than a nun,
Yet long you'll love no friar, not no friar's son.

Bow a little.

The line of life is out, yet I'm afraid
For all you're holy, you'll not die a maid.
God give you joy.
Now to you, Friar Tuck.

MATHEO
God send me good luck.

BELLAFRONT
You love one, and one loves you.
You are a false knave, and she's a Jew.
Here is a dial that false ever goes.

MATHEO
Oh, your wit drops!

BELLAFRONT
Troth, so does your nose.
[To Hipolito] Nay, let's shake hands with you too;
Pray open. Here's a fine hand.
Ho, friar, ho! God be here,
So he had need: you'll keep good cheer.
Here's a free table, but a frozen breast,
For you'll starve those that love you best.
Yet you have good fortune, for if I am no liar,
Then you are no friar, nor you, nor you no friar.

Discovers them.

Ha, ha, ha, ha!

DUKE
Are holy habits cloaks for villainy?
Draw all your weapons!

HIPOLITO
Do, draw all your weapons!

DUKE
Where are your weapons? Draw!

OMNES [COURTIERS]
The friar has gull'd us of 'em.

MATHEO
Oh, rare trick!
You ha' learnt one mad point of arithmetic.

HIPOLITO
Why swells your spleen so high? Against what bosom
Would you your weapons draw? Hers? 'Tis your daughter's!
Mine? 'Tis your son's!

DUKE
Son?

MATHEO
Son, by yonder sun.

HIPOLITO
You cannot shed blood here, but 'tis your own;
To spill your own blood were damnation.
Lay smooth that wrinkled brow, and I will throw
Myself beneath your feet;
Let it be rugged still and flinted o'er,
What can come forth but sparkles that will burn
Yourself and us? She's mine; my claim's most good:
She's mine by marriage, tho' she's yours by blood.

ANSELMO
[Kneeling] I have a hand, dear lord, deep in this act,
For I foresaw this storm, yet willingly
Put forth to meet it. Oft have I seen a father
Washing the wounds of his dear son in tears,
A son to curse the sword that struck his father,
Both slain i' th' quarrel of your families.
Those scars are now ta'en off, and I beseech you
To seal our pardon; all was to this end,
To turn the ancient hates of your two houses
To fresh green friendship, that your loves might look
Like the spring's forehead, comfortably sweet,
And your vex'd souls in peaceful union meet.
Their blood will now be yours, yours will be theirs,
And happiness shall crown your silver hairs.

FLUELLO
You see, my lord, there's now no remedy.

OMNES
Beseech your lordship!

DUKE
You beseech fair: you have me in place fit
To bridle me. Rise, friar; you may be glad
You can make madmen tame and tame men mad.
Since fate hath conquered, I must rest content;
To strive now would but add new punishment.
I yield unto your happiness; be bless'd:
Our families shall henceforth breathe in rest.

OMNES
Oh, happy change!

DUKE
Yours now is my consent;
I throw upon your joys my full content.

BELLAFRONT
Am not I a good girl for finding the friar in the well? Gods-so, you are a brave man! Will not you buy me some sugar-plums because I am so good a fortune-teller?

DUKE
Would thou hadst wit, thou pretty soul, to ask
As I have will to give.

BELLAFRONT
Pretty soul! A pretty soul is better than a pretty body. Do not you know my pretty soul? I know you. Is not your name Matheo?

MATHEO
Yes, lamb.

BELLAFRONT
Baa, lamb! There you lie, for I am mutton. Look, fine man, he was mad for me once, and I was mad for him once, and he was mad for her once, and were you never mad? Yes, I warrant. I had a fine jewel once, a very fine jewel, and that naughty man stole it away from me, a very fine jewel.

DUKE
What jewel, pretty maid?

BELLAFRONT
Maid? Nay, that's a lie. Oh, 'twas a very rich jewel call'd a maidenhead, and had not you it, leerer?

MATHEO
Out, you mad ass! Away!

DUKE
Had he thy maidenhead?
He shall make thee amends and marry thee.

BELLAFRONT
Shall he? Oh, brave Arthur of Bradley then!

DUKE
And if he bear the mind of a gentleman,
I know he will.

MATHEO
I think I rifled her of some such paltry jewel.

DUKE
Did you? Then marry her; you see the wrong
Has led her spirits into a lunacy.

MATHEO
How, marry her, my lord? 'Sfoot, marry a madwoman? Let a man get the tamest wife he can come by, she'll be mad enough afterward, do what he can.

DUKE
Nay then, Father Anselmo here shall do his best
To bring her to her wits, and will you then?

MATHEO
I cannot tell I may choose.

DUKE
Nay, then law shall compel: I tell you, sir,
So much her hard fate moves me, you should not breathe
Under this air unless you married her.

MATHEO
Well then, when her wits stand in their right place I'll marry her.

BELLAFRONT
I thank your grace. Matheo, thou art mine;
I am not mad, but put on this disguise
Only for you, my lord, for you can tell
Much wonder of me: but you are gone; farewell.
Matheo, thou didst first turn my soul black;
Now make it white again: I do protest,
I'm pure as fire now, chaste as Cynthia's breast.

HIPOLITO
I durst be sworn, Matheo, she's indeed.

MATHEO
Cony-catch'd, gull'd! Must I sail in your fly-boat
Because I help'd to rear your mainmast first?
Plague 'found you for't! 'Tis well:
The cuckold's stamp goes current in all nations.
Some men have horns given them at their creations:
If I be one of those, why, so it's better
To take a common wench and make her good,
Than one that simpers and at first will scarce
Be tempted forth over the threshold door,
Yet in one se'nnight, zounds, turns arrant whore!
Come wench, thou shalt be mine, give me thy golls;
We'll talk of legs hereafter. See, my lord;
God give us joy.

OMNES
God give you joy.

Enter Candido's wife [Viola] and George.

GEORGE
Come, mistress, we are in Bedlam now. Mass, and see we come in pudding-time, for here's the duke.

[VIOLA]
My husband, good my lord.

DUKE
Have I thy husband?

CASTRUCHIO
It's Candido, my lord; he's here among the lunatics. Father Anselmo, pray fetch him forth.

[Exit Anselmo.]

This madwoman is his wife, and tho' she were not with child, yet did she long most spitefully to have her husband mad, and because she would be sure he should turn Jew, she plac'd him here in Beth'lem.

Enter Candido with Anselmo.

Yonder he comes.

DUKE
Come hither, signior. Are you mad?

CANDIDO
You are not mad.

DUKE
Why, I know that.

CANDIDO
Then may you know I am not mad that know
You are not mad, and that you are the duke.
None is mad here but one. How do you, wife?
What do you long for now? Pardon, my lord,
She had lost her child's nose else. I did cut out
Pennyworths of lawn, the lawn was yet mine own;
A carpet was my gown, yet 'twas mine own;
I wore my man's coat, yet the cloth mine own;
Had a crack'd crown, the crown was yet mine own:
She says for this I'm mad; were her words true,
I should be mad indeed. Oh, foolish skill,
Is patience madness? I'll be a madman still.

[VIOLA]
[Kneeling] Forgive me and I'll vex your spirit no more.

DUKE
Come, come, we'll have you friends; join hearts, join hands.

CANDIDO
See my lord, we are even.
Nay, rise, for ill deeds kneel unto none but heaven.

DUKE
Signior, methinks patience has laid on you
Such heavy weight that you should loathe it.

CANDIDO
Loathe it?

DUKE
For he whose breast is tender, blood so cool
That no wrongs heat it, is a patient fool.
What comfort do you find in being so calm?

CANDIDO
That which green wounds receive from sovereign balm:
Patience, my lord. Why, 'tis the soul of peace.
Of all the virtues 'tis near'st kin to heaven.
It makes men look like gods; the best of men
That e'er wore earth about him was a sufferer,
A soft, meek, patient, humble, tranquil spirit,
The first true gentleman that ever breath'd.
The stock of patience then cannot be poor;
All it desires, it has: what monarch more?
It is the greatest enemy to law
That can be, for it doth embrace all wrongs,
And so chains up lawyers' and women's tongues.
'Tis the perpetual prisoner's liberty,
His walks and orchards; 'tis the bondslave's freedom,
And makes him seem proud of each iron chain,
As tho' he wore it more for state than pain.
It is the beggar's music, and thus sings,
Although their bodies beg, their souls are kings.
Oh, my dread liege, it is the sap of bliss,
Rears us aloft, makes men and angels kiss,
And, last of all, to end a household strife,
It is the honey 'gainst a waspish wife!

DUKE
Thou giv'st it lively colours. Who dare say
He's mad whose words march in so good array?
'Twere sin all women should such husbands have,
For every man must then be his wife's slave.
Come therefore, you shall teach our court to shine;
So calm a spirit is worth a golden mine:
Wives with meek husbands that to vex them long
In Bedlam must they dwell, else dwell they wrong.

Exeunt.


FINIS
 
 
 

Back to the Index Page