THE SCORNFUL LADY

By Francis Beaumont

and John Fletcher

Performed c. 1609-1610

First Published 1616

 

 

 

 

Persons Represented in the Play.

Elder Loveless, a Suitor to the Lady.

Young Loveless, a Prodigal, and brother to Elder

          Loveless.

     Savil, Steward to Elder Loveless.

Lady, target of Elder Loveless’ suit.

Martha, the Lady’s sister.

     Abigail Younglove, a waiting Gentlewoman of

          the Lady.

Welford, a Suitor to the Lady.

Sir Roger, Curate to the Lady.

Hangers-on of Young Loveless:

Captain.

Traveller. 

Poet.  

Tobacco-man.

Morecraft, an Usurer.

Widow, a Rich Widow.

Wenches, Fiddlers, Attendants.

The Scene: London

ACT I.

SCENE I.

A Room in Lady’s House.

Enter the two Lovelesses, Savil the Steward, and a Page.

1

Elder.  Brother, is your last hope past to mollify

2

Morecraft’s heart about your mortgage?

4

Young.   Hopelessly past. I have presented the usurer

with a richer draught than ever Cleopatra swallowed; he

6

hath sucked in ten thousand pounds worth of my land,

more than he paid for, at a gulp, without trumpets.

8

Elder.  I have as hard a task to perform in this house.

10

Young.  Faith, mine was to make an usurer honest, or

12

to lose my land.

14

Elder.  And mine is to persuade a passionate woman,

or to leave the land. – Savil, make the boat stay.

16

[Exit Page.]

18

I fear I shall begin my unfortunate journey this night,

20

though the darkness of the night, and the roughness of

the waters, might easily dissuade an unwilling man.

22

Sav.  Sir, your father’s old friends hold it the sounder

24

course for your body and estate to stay at home, and

marry and propagate − and govern in your country −

26

than to travel for disease, and return following the court

in a night-cap, and die without issue.

28

Elder.  Savil, you shall gain the opinion of a better

30

servant in seeking to execute, not alter, my will,

howsoever my intents succeed.

32

Young.  Yonder's Mistress Younglove, brother, the

34

grave rubber of your mistress’ toes.

36

Enter Abigail Younglove, the waiting woman.

38

Elder.  Mistress Younglove −

40

Abig.  Master Loveless, truly we thought your sails

had been hoist: my mistress is persuaded you are

42

sea-sick ere this.

44

Elder.  Loves she her ill-taken-up resolution so

dearly? Didst thou move her for me?

46

Abig. By this light that shines, there's no removing

48

her, if she get a stiff opinion by the end. I attempted her

to-day when they say a woman can deny nothing.

50

Elder.  What critical minute was that?

52

Abig.  When her smock was over her ears: but she

54

was no more pliant than if it hung about her heels.

56

Elder.  I prithee, deliver my service, and say, I desire

to see the dear cause of my banishment; and then

58

France.

60

Abig.  I’ll do't. Hark hither; is that your brother?

62

Elder.  Yes: have you lost your memory?

64

Abig.  As I live, he's a pretty fellow.   

66

 [Exit Abigail.]

68

Young.  Oh, this is a sweet brach!

70

Elder.  Why she knows not you.

72

Young.  No, but she offered me once to know her.

To this day she loves youth of eighteen. She heard a tale

74

how Cupid struck her in love with a great lord in the

Tilt-yard, but he never saw her; yet she in kindness,

76

would needs wear a willow-garland at his wedding. She

loved all the players in the last queen’s time once over;

78

she was struck when they acted lovers, and forsook

some when they played murtherers. She has nine

80

spur-royals, and the servants say she hoards old gold;

and she herself pronounces angerly that the farmer’s

82

eldest son (or her mistress’ husband’s clerk that shall

be) that marries her, shall make her a jointure of

84

fourscore pounds a year. She tells tales of the serving-

men −

86

Elder.  Enough, I know her, brother. I shall entreat you

88

only to salute my mistress, and take leave: we’ll part

at the stairs.

90

Enter Lady and Abigail.

92

Lady.  Now, sir, this first part of your will is performed:

94

what's the rest?

96

Elder.  First, let me beg your notice for this gentleman,

my brother: I shall take it as a favour done to me.

98

Lady.  Though the gentleman hath received but an

100

untimely grace from you, yet my charitable disposition

would have been ready to have done him freer

102

courtesies as a stranger, than upon those cold

commendations.

104

Young.  Lady, my salutations crave acquaintance and

106

leave at once.

108

Lady.  Sir, I hope you are the master of your own

occasions.

110

      [Exit Younglove and Savil.]

112

Elder.  Would I were so! Mistress, for me to praise

114

over again that worth, which all the world and you

yourself can see −

116

Lady.  It's a cold room this; servant.

118

Elder.  Mistress −

120

Lady.  What think you if I have a chimney for't, out

122

here?

124

Elder.  Mistress, another in my place, that were not

tied to believe all your actions just, would apprehend

126

himself wronged: but I, whose virtues are constancy

and obedience −

128

Lady.  Younglove, make a good fire above, to warm me

130

after my servant’s exordiums.

132

Elder.  I have heard and seen your affability to be

such, that the servants you give wages to may speak.

134

Lady.  'Tis true, 'tis true; but they speak to the purpose.

136

Elder.  Mistress, your will leads my speeches from the

138

purpose. But as a man −

140

Lady.  A simile, servant? This room was built for honest

meaners, that deliver themselves hastily and plainly,

142

and are gone. Is this a time or place for exordiums, and

similes and metaphors? If you have aught to say, break

144

into 't: my answers shall very reasonably meet you.

146

Elder.  Mistress, I came to see you.

148

Lady.  That's happily dispatched; the next?

150

Elder.  To take leave of you.

152

Lady.  To be gone?

154

Elder.  Yes.

156

Lady.  You need not have despaired of that, nor have

used so many circumstances to win me to give you

158

leave to perform my command; is there a third?

160

Elder.  Yes, I had a third, had you been apt to hear it.

162

Lady.  I! never apter. Fast, good servant, fast.

164

Elder.  'Twas to entreat you to hear reason.

166

Lady.  Most willingly: have you brought one can speak

it?

168

Elder.  Lastly, it is to kindle in that barren heart love

170

and forgiveness.

172

Lady.  You would stay at home?

174

Elder.  Yes, lady.

176

Lady.  Why, you may, and doubtlessly will, when you

have debated that your commander is but your mistress,

178

a woman, a weak one, wildly overborne with passions;

but the thing by her commanded is, to see Dover’s

180

dreadful cliff; passing, in a poor water-house, the

dangers of the merciless channel 'twixt that and Calais,

182

five long hours sail, with three poor weeks’ victuals.

184

Elder.  You wrong me.

186

Lady.  Then to land dumb, unable to enquire for an

English host, to remove from city to city by most

188

chargeable post-horse, like one that rode in quest of his

mother tongue.

190

Elder.  You wrong me much.

192

Lady.  And all these (almost invincible) labours

194

performed for your mistress, to be in danger to forsake

her, and to put on new allegiance to some French

196

lady, who is content to change language with you for

laughter; and after your whole year spent in tennis and

198

broken speech, to stand to the hazard of being laughed

at, on your return, and have tales made on you by the

200

chamber-maids.

202

Elder.  You wrong me much.

204

Lady.  Louder yet.

206

Elder.  You know your least word is of force to make

me seek out dangers; move me not with toys. But in this

208

banishment, I must take leave to say you are unjust.

Was one kiss forced from you in public by me so

210

unpardonable? Why, all the hours of day and night have

seen us kiss.

212

Lady.  'Tis true, and so you satisfied the company that

214

heard me chide.

216

Elder.  Your own eyes were not dearer to you than I.

218

Lady.  And so you told 'em.

220

Elder.  I did, yet no sign of disgrace need to have

stained your cheek: you yourself knew your pure and

222

simple heart to be most unspotted, and free from the

least baseness.

224

Lady.  I did; But if a maid’s heart doth but once think

226

that she is suspected, her own face will write her guilty.

228

Elder.  But where lay this disgrace? The world that

knew us, knew our resolutions well: and could it be

230

hoped that I should give away my freedom, and venture

a perpetual bondage with one I never kissed? or could I,

232

in strict wisdom, take too much love upon me from her

that chose me for her husband?

234

Lady. Believe me, if my wedding-smock were on;

236

Were the gloves bought and given, the license come;

Were the rosemary-branches dipt, and all

238

The hippocras and cakes eat and drunk off;

Were these two arms encompassed with the hands

240

Of bachelors, to lead me to the church;

Were my feet in the door; were “I John” said;

242

If John should boast a favour done by me,

I would not wed that year. And you, I hope,

244

When you have spent this year commodiously,

In achieving languages, will, at your return,

246

Acknowledge me more coy of parting with mine eyes,

Than such a friend. More talk I hold not now:

248

If you dare, go.

250

Elder.            I dare, you know. First let me kiss.

252

Lady.  Farewell sweet servant. Your task performed,

On a new ground, as a beginning suitor,

254

I shall be apt to hear you.

256

Elder.                           Farewell cruèl mistress. 

258

[Exeunt Lady and Abigail.]

260

Enter Young Loveless and Savil.

262

Young.  Brother, you'll hazard the losing your tide

to Gravesend; you have a long half mile by land to

264

Greenwich.

266

Elder.  I go. But, brother, what yet-unheard-of course

to live doth imagination flatter you with? your

268

ordinary means are devoured.

270

Young.  Course! Why, horse-coursing, I think.

Consume no time in this: I have no state to be mended

272

by meditation: he that busies himself about my fortunes

may properly be said to busy himself about nothing.

274

Elder.  Yet some course you must take, which, for my

276

satisfaction, resolve and open; if you will shape none, I

must inform you, that that man but persuades himself

278

he means to live, that imagines not the means.

280

Young.  Why, live upon others, as others have lived

upon me.

282

Elder.  I apprehend not that. You have fed others, and

284

consequently disposed of 'em; and the same measure

must you expect from your maintainers, which will be

286

too heavy an alteration for you to bear.

288

Young.  Why, I'll purse; if that raise me not, I’ll bet at

bowling-alleys, or man whores; I would fain live by

290

others. But I’ll live whilst I am unhanged, and after the

thought's taken.

292

Elder.  I see you are tied to no particular employment,

294

then!

296

Young.  Faith, I may choose my course: they say

Nature brings forth none but she provides for them;

298

I’ll try her liberality.

300

Elder.  Well, to keep your feet out of base and

dangerous paths, I have resolved you shall live as

302

master of my house. − It shall be your care, Savil, to

see him fed and clothed, not according to his present

304

estate, but to his birth and former fortunes.

306

Young.  If it be referred to him, if I be not found in

carnation Jersey-stockings, blue devils’ breeches, with

308

three guards down, and my pocket i'th' sleeves, I’ll ne'er

look you i'th' face again.

310

Sav.  A comelier wear, I wus, it is than those dangling

312

slops.

314

Elder.  To keep you ready to do him all service

peaceably, and him to command you reasonably, I leave

316

these further directions in writing, which at your best

leisure, together open and read.

318

Re-enter Abigail to them with a jewel.

320

Abig.  Sir, my mistress commends her love to you in

322

this token and these words: it is a jewel, she says,

which, as a favour from her, she would request you to

324

wear till your year’s travel be performed; which, once

expired, she will hastily expect your happy return.

326

Elder.  Return my service, with such thanks, as she

328

may imagine the heart of a suddenly over-joyed man

would willingly utter: and you, I hope, I shall, with

330

slender arguments, persuade to wear this diamond; that

when my mistress shall, through my long absence and

332

the approach of new suitors, offer to forget me, you

may call your eye down to your finger, and remember

334

and speak of me. She will hear thee better than those

allied by birth to her; as we see many men much

336

swayed by the grooms of their chambers, − not that

they have a greater part of their love or opinion on them

338

as on others, but for that they know their secrets.

340

Abig.  O' my credit, I swear I think 'twas made for me.

Fear no other suitors.

342

Elder.  I shall not need to teach you how to discredit

344

their beginnings: you know how to take exception at

their shirts at washing, or to make the maids swear they

346

found plasters in their beds.

348

Abig.  I know, I know, and do not you fear the suitors.

350

Elder.  Farewell; be mindful, and be happy; the night

calls me.

352

  [Exeunt omnes praeter Abigail.]

354

Abig.  The gods of the winds befriend you, sir!

356

a constant and a liberal lover thou art: more such

God send us.

358

Enter Welford.

360

Wel.  [To servant without] Let 'em not stand still, we

362

have rid hard.

364

Abig.  [Aside] A suitor, I know, by his riding hard: I’ll

not be seen.

366

Wel. A pretty hall this: no servant in't? I would look

368

freshly.

370

Abig.  [Aside] You have delivered your errand to me,

then: there's no danger in a handsome young fellow; I’ll

372

show myself. [Advances.]

374

Wel.  Lady, may it please you to bestow upon a stranger

the ordinary grace of salutation? are you the lady of this

376

house?

378

Abig.  Sir, I am worthily proud to be a servant of hers.

380

Wel.  Lady, I should be as proud to be a servant of

yours, did not my so late acquaintance make me

382

despair.

384

Abig.  Sir, it is not so hard to achieve, but nature may

bring it about.

386

Wel.  For these comfortable words, I remain your glad

388

debtor. Is your lady at home?

390

Abig.  She is no straggler, sir.

392

Wel.  May her occasions admit me to speak with her?

394

Abig.  If you come in the way of a suitor, no.

396

Wel.  I know your affable virtue will be moved to

persuade her, that a gentleman, benighted and strayed,

398

offers to be bound to her for a night’s lodging.

400

Abig.  I will commend this message to her; but if you

aim at her body, you will be deluded. Other women the

402

house holds, of good carriage and government; upon

any of which if you can cast your affection, they will

404

perhaps be found as faithful, and not so coy. 

406

[Exit.]

408

Wel.  What a skin full of lust is this! I thought I had

come a-wooing, and I am the courted party. This is

410

right court-fashion: men, women, and all, woo; catch

that catch may. If this soft hearted woman have infused

412

any of her tenderness into her lady, there is hope she

will be pliant. But who's here?

414

Enter Sir Roger the Curate.

416

Roger.  God save you sir. My lady lets you know, she

418

desires to be acquainted with your name, before she

confer with you.

420

Wel.  Sir, my name calls me Welford.

422

Roger.  Sir, you are a gentleman of a good name.

424

[Aside] I’ll try his wit.

426

Wel.  I will uphold it as good as any of my ancestors

had this two hundred years, sir.

428

Roger.  I knew a worshipful and a religious gentleman

430

of your name in the bishopric of Durham: call you him

cousin?

432

Wel.  I am only allied to his virtues, sir.

434

Roger.  It is modestly said: I should carry the badge of

436

your Christianity with me too.

438

Wel.  What's that, a cross? There's a tester.

440

Roger.  I mean the name which your godfathers and

godmothers gave you at the font.

442

Wel.  'Tis Harry. But you cannot proceed orderly now

444

in your catechism; for you have told me who gave me

that name. Shall I beg your name?

446

Roger.  Roger.

448

Wel.  What room fill you in this house?

450

Roger.  More rooms than one.

452

Wel.  The more the merrier. But may my boldness know

454

why your lady hath sent you to decipher my name?

456

Roger.  Her own words were these: to know whether

you were a formerly-denied suitor, disguised in this

458

message; for I can assure you she delights not  

in thalamo; Hymen and she are at variance. I shall

460

return with much haste.    

462

[Exit.]

464

Wel.  And much speed, sir, I hope. Certainly I am

arrived amongst a nation of new-found fools, on a land

466

where no navigator has yet planted wit. If I had

foreseen it, I would have laded my breeches with bells,

468

knives, copper, and glasses, to trade with the women

for their virginities; yet, I fear, I should have betrayed

470

myself to a needless charge then. Here's the walking

night-cap again.

472

Re-enter Roger.

474

Roger.  Sir, my lady’s pleasure is to see you; who

476

hath commanded me to acknowledge her sorrow

that you must take the pains to come up for so bad

478

entertainment.

480

Wel.  I shall obey your lady that sent it, and

acknowledge you that brought it to be your art’s master.

482

Roger.  I am but a bachelor of art, sir; and I have the

484

mending of all under this roof, from my lady on her

down-bed to the maid in the pease-straw.

486

Wel.  A cobbler, sir?

488

Roger.  No, sir; I inculcate divine service within these

490

walls.

492

Wel.  But the inhabitants of this house do often employ

you on errands, without any scruple of conscience?

494

Roger.  Yes, I do take the air many mornings on foot,

496

three or four miles, for eggs. But why move you that?

498

Wel.  To know whether it might become your function

to bid my man to neglect his horse a little, to attend on

500

me.

502

Roger.  Most properly, sir.

504

Wel.  I pray you do so, then, and whilst I will attend

your lady. You direct all this house in the true way?

506

Roger.  I do, sir.

508

Wel.  And this door, I hope, conducts to your lady?

510

Roger.  Your understanding is ingenious.    

512

[Exeunt severally.]

ACT I, SCENE II.

A Room in the House of the Elder Loveless.

Enter Young Loveless and Savil, with a writing.

1

Sav.  By your favour sir, you shall pardon me.

2

Young.  I shall beat your favour, sir. Cross me no more:

4

I say they shall come in.

6

Sav.  Sir, you forget me, who I am.

8

Young.  Sir, I do not; thou art my brother’s steward,

his cast off mill-money, his kitchen arithmetic.

10

Sav.  Sir, I hope you will not make so little of me?

12

Young.  I make thee not so little as thou art: for

14

indeed there goes no more to the making of a steward

but a fair imprimis, and then a reasonable item infused

16

into him, and the thing is done.

18

Sav.  Nay, then, you stir my duty, and I must tell you −

20

Young.  What wouldst thou tell me? how hops go?

or hold some rotten discourse of sheep, or when

22

Lady-day falls? Prithee, fare well, and entertain my

friends; be drunk and burn thy table-books: and my

24

dear spark of velvet, thou and I −

26

Sav.  Good sir, remember.

28

Young.  I do remember thee a foolish fellow; one that

did put his trust in almanacs and horse-fairs, and rose

30

by honey and pot-butter. Shall they come in yet?

32

Sav.  Nay, then, I must unfold your brother's pleasure.

These be the lessons, sir, he left behind him.

34

Young.  Prithee, expound the first.

36

Sav.  [Reads] I leave, to keep my house, three 

38

hundred pounds a-year, and my brother to dispose

of it −

40

Young.  Mark that, my wicked steward, − and I

42

dispose of it.

44

Sav.  [Reads] Whilst he bears himself like a 

gentleman, and my credit falls not in him. −

46

Mark that, my good young sir, mark that.

48

Young.  Nay, if it be no more, I shall fulfill it: whilst

my legs will carry me, I’ll bear myself gentleman-like,

50

but when I am drunk, let them bear me that can.

Forward, dear steward.

52

Sav.  [Reads] Next, it is my will, that he be furnished,

54

as my brother, with attendance, apparel, and the

obedience of my people.

56

Young.  Steward, this is as plain as your old minikin-

58

breeches. Your wisdom will relent now, will it not?

Be mollified or − You understand me, sir. Proceed.

60

Sav.  [Reads] Next, that my steward keep his place

62

and power, and bound my brother's wildness with

his care.

64

Young.  I’ll hear no more of this Apocrypha;

66

bind it by itself, steward.

68

Sav.  This is your brother’s will; and, as I take it, he

makes no mention of such company as you would draw

70

unto you, − captains of gally-foists, such as in a clear

day have seen Calais; fellows that have no more of God

72

than their oaths come to; they wear swords to reach fire

at a play, and get there the oiled end of a pipe for their

74

guerdon; then the remnant of your regiment are

wealthy tobacco-merchants, that set up with one ounce,

76

and break for three; together with a forlorn hope of

poets; and all these look like Carthusians, things

78

without linen. Are these fit company for my master’s

brother?

80

Young.  I will either convert thee, oh, thou pagan steward!

82

Or presently confound thee and thy reckonings. −

Who's there? Call in the gentlemen!

84

Sav.                                                  Good sir!

86

Young.  Nay, you shall know both who I am, and

88

where I am.

90

Sav.  Are you my master’s brother?

92

Young.  Are you the sage master-steward, with a face

like an old ephemerides?

94

Enter Young's Comrades: Captain, Traveller,

96

Poet and Tobacco-Man.

98

Sav.  Then God help all, I say!

100

Young.  Ay, and 'tis well said, my old peer of France.

– Welcome, gentlemen, welcome, gentlemen;

102

mine own dear lads, you're richly welcome. Know

this old Harry-groat.

104

Capt.  Sir, I will take your love −

106

Sav.  [Aside] Sir, you will take my purse.

108

Capt.  And study to continue it.

110

Sav.  I do believe you.

112

Trav.  Your honorable friend and master's brother

114

Hath given you to us for a worthy fellow,

And so we hug you sir.

116

Sav.  [Aside]

118

H’as given himself into the hands of varlets

But to be carved out. − Sir, are these the pieces?

120

Young.  They are the morals of the age, the virtues,

122

Men made of gold.

124

Sav.  [Aside]         Of your gold, you mean, sir.

126

Young.  This is a man of war, and cries “Go on,”

And wears his colours −

128

Sav.  [Aside]                 In's nose.

130

Young.                                        In the fragrant field.

132

This is a traveller, sir, knows men and manners,

And has plowed up the sea so far, till both

134

The poles have knocked; has seen the sun take coach,

And can distinguish the colour of his horses,

136

And their kinds; and had a Flanders-mare leaped there.

138

Sav.  'Tis much.

140

Trav.  I have seen more, sir.

142

Sav.  'Tis even enough, o' conscience. Sit down, and rest

you: you are at the end of the world already. − Would

144

you had as good a living, sir, as this fellow could lie

you out of! h’as a notable gift in't!

146

Young.  This ministers the smoke, and this the Muses.

148

Sav.  And you the cloths, and meat, and money. You

150

have a goodly generation of 'em; pray, let them

multiply; your brother's house is big enough, and to

152

say truth, h'as too much land, − hang it, dirt!

154

Young.  Why, now thou art a loving stinkard. Fire off

thy annotations and thy rent-books; thou hast a weak

156

brain, Savil, and with the next long bill thou wilt run

mad. − Gentlemen, you are once more welcome to three

158

hundred pounds a-year; we will be freely merry, shall

we not?

160

Capt.  Merry as mirth and wine, my lovely Loveless.

162

Poet.  A serious look shall be a jury to excommunicate

164

any man from our company.

166

Trav.  We will have nobody talk wisely neither.

168

Young.  What think you, gentlemen, by all this revenue

in drink?

170

Capt.  I am all for drink.

172

Trav.  I am dry till it be so.

174

Poet.  He that will not cry “amen” to this, let him live

176

sober, seem wise, and die o'th' corum.

178

Young.  It shall be so, we'll have it all in drink:

Let meat and lodging go; they are transitory,

180

And show men merely mortal.

Then we'll have wenches, every one his wench,

182

And every week a fresh one, − we'll keep

No powdered flesh. All these we have by warrant,

184

Under the title of “things necessary”;

here upon this place I ground it, “the obedience of my

186

people, and all necessaries.” Your opinions gentlemen?

188

Capt.  'Tis plain and evident that he meant wenches.

190

Sav.  Good sir, let me expound it.

192

Capt.  Here be as sound men as yourself, sir.

194

Poet.  This do I hold to be the interpretation of it: in this

word “necessary” is concluded all that be helps to man;

196

woman was made the first, and therefore here the

chiefest.

198

Young.  Believe me, 'tis a learned one; and by these

200

words, “the obedience of my people”, you, steward,

being one, are bound to fetch us wenches.

202

Capt.  He is, he is.

204

Young.  Steward, attend us for instructions.

206

Sav.  But will you keep no house, sir?

208

Young.  Nothing but drink; three hundred pounds in drink.

210

Sav.  O miserable house, and miserable I

212

That live to see it! Good sir, keep some meat.

214

Young.  Get us good whores, and for your part, I’ll board you

In an alehouse! you shall have cheese and onions.

216

Sav.  [Aside]

218

What shall become of me, no chimney smoking?

Well, prodigal, your brother will come home.

220

[Exit.]

222

Young.  Come lads, I’ll warrant you for wenches.

224

Three hundred pounds in drink.

226

[Exeunt omnes.]

ACT II.

SCENE I.

A Bed-Chamber in Lady's House.

Enter Lady, Welford, Sir Roger.

1

Lady.  Sir, now you see your bad lodging, I must bid

2

you good night.

4

Wel.  Lady, if there be any want, 'tis in want of you.

6

Lady.  A little sleep will ease that complement.

Once more, good night.

8

Wel.  Once more, dear lady, and then all sweet nights.

10

Lady.  Dear sir, be short and sweet, then.

12

Wel.                                                   Shall the morrow

14

Prove better to me? shall I hope my suit

Happier by this night’s rest?

16

Lady.  Is your suit so sickly, that rest will help it?

18

Pray ye, let it rest, then, till I call for it.

Sir, as a stranger, you have had all my welcome;

20

But had I known your errand ere you came,

Your passage had been straiter. Sir, good night.

22

Wel.  So fair and cruèl! Dear unkind, good night. −

24

[Exit Lady.]

26

Nay, sir, you shall stay with me; I’ll press your zeal

28

So far.

30

Roger.  O, Lord, sir!

32

Wel.                         Do you love tobacco?

34

Roger.  Surely I love it, but it loves not me;

Yet with your reverence, I will be bold.

36

Wel.  Pray, light it, sir. How do you like it?

38

[They smoke.]

40

Rog.  I promise you, it is notable stinging gear indeed.

42

It is wet, sir; Lord, how it brings down rheum!

44

Wel.  Handle it again, sir; you have a warm text of it.

46

Roger.  Thanks ever premised for it. I promise you,

It is very powerful, and, by a trope, spiritual;

48

For certainly it moves in sundry places.

50

Wel.  Ay, it does so, sir, and me, especially,

To ask, sir, why you wear a night-cap?

52

Roger.  Assuredly I will speak the truth unto you.

54

You shall understand, sir, that my head is broken;

And by whom? even by that visible beast,

56

The butler.

58

Wel.        The butler? Certainly

He had all his drink about him when he did it.

60

Strike one of your grave cassock! the offence, sir?

62

Roger.  Reproving him at tray-trip, sir, for swearing.

You have the total, surely.

64

Wel.  You tolled him when his rage was set a-tilt,

66

And so he cracked your canons. I hope he has

Not hurt your gentle reading. But shall we see

68

These gentlewomen to-night?

70

Roger.                                    Have patience, sir,

Until our fellow Nicholas be deceased,

72

That is, asleep: for so the word is taken:

“To sleep, to die; to die, to sleep;” a very figure, sir.

74

Wel.  Cannot you cast another for the gentlewomen?

76

Roger.  Not till the man be in his bed, his grave:

78

His grave, his bed: the very same again, sir.

Our comic poet gives the reason sweetly;

80

Plenus rimarum est; he is full of loopholes,

and will discover to our patroness.

82

Wel.  Your comment, sir, has made me understand you.

84

Enter Martha (the Lady’s sister)

86

and Abigail to them with a posset.

88

Roger.  Sir, be addressed; the Graces do salute you

With the full bowl of plenty. −

90

Is our old enemy entombed?

92

Abig.                                     He's fast.

94

Roger.  And does he snore out supinely with the poet?

96

Mar.  No, he out-snores the poet.

98

Wel.                                   Gentlewoman, this courtesy

Shall bind a stranger to you, ever your servant.

100

Mar.  Sir, my sister's strictness makes not us forget

102

You are a stranger and a gentleman.

104

Abig.  In sooth, sir, were I changed into my lady,

A gentleman so well endued with parts

106

Should not be lost.

108

Wel.                    I thank you, gentlewoman,

And rest bound to you. −

110

[Aside] See how this foul familiar chews the cud!

From thee and three-and-fifty good Love deliver me!

112

Mar.  Will you sit down, sir, and take a spoon?

114

Wel.  I take it kindly, lady.

116

Mar.  It is our best banquet, sir.

118

Roger.                                        Shall we give thanks?

120

Wel.  I have to the gentlewomen already, sir.

122

Mar.  Good Sir Roger, keep that breath to cool your

124

part o' the posset; you may chance have a scalding zeal

else: an you will needs be doing, pray, tell your twenty

126

to yourself. − Would you could like this, sir!

128

Wel.  I would your sister would like me as well, lady!

130

Mar.  Sure, sir, she would not eat you. But banish that

Imaginatiön: she's only wedded

132

To herself, lies with herself, and loves herself;

And for another husband than herself,

134

He may knock at the gate, but ne'er come in.

Be wise, sir: she's a woman, and a trouble,

136

And has her many faults, the least of which is,

She cannot love you.

138

Abig.                      God pardon her! she'll do worse.

140

Would I were worthy his least grief, Mistress Martha!

142

Wel.  [Aside] Now I must over-hear her.

144

Mar.  Faith, would thou hadst them all, with all my heart!

I do not think they would make thee a day older.

146

Abig.  Sir, will you put in deeper? 'tis the sweeter.

148

Mar.  Well said, Old-sayings.

150

Wel.  [Aside]                      She looks like one indeed. −

152

Gentlewoman, you keep your word: your sweet self

Has made the bottom sweeter.

154

Abig.  Sir, I begin a frolic: dare you change, sir?

156

Wel.  Myself for you, so please you. −

158

[Aside] 

That smile has turned my stomach. This is right,

160

The old emblem of the moyle cropping of thistles.

Lord, what a hunting head she carries! sure,

162

She has been ridden with a martingale.

Now, Love, deliver me!

164

Roger.  [Aside]

166

Do I dream, or do I wake? surely I know not.

Am I rubbed off? is this the way of all

168

My morning prayers? Oh, Roger, thou art but grass,

And woman as a flower! Did I for this

170

Consume my quarters in meditation[s], vows,

And wooed her in Heroical Epistles?

172

Did I expound The Owl?

And undertook, with labour and expense,

174

The re-collection of those thousand pieces,

Consumed in cellars and tobacco-shops,

176

Of that our honoured Englishman, Nick Breton?

Have I done thus, and am done thus to?

178

I will end with the wise man, and say,

"He that holds a woman has an eel by the tail."

180

Mar.  Sir, 'tis so late, and our entertainment (meaning

182

our posset) by this is grown so cold, that 'twere an

unmannerly part longer to hold you from your rest. Let

184

what the house has be at your command, sir.

186

Wel.  Sweet rest be with you, lady: − and to you

What you desire too.

188

Abig.  It should be some such good thing like yourself, then.

190

[Exeunt Martha and Abigail.]

192

Wel.  Heaven keep me from that curse, and all my issue!

194

Good night, Antiquity.

196

Roger.  [Aside] Solamen miseris socios habuisse doloris:

But I alone −

198

Wel.  Learned sir, will you bid my man come to me?

200

and, requesting a greater measure of your learning,

good-night, good Master Roger.

202

Roger.  Good sir, peace be with you!

204

Wel.  Adieu, dear Domine.

206

[Exit Roger.]

208

                                        Half a dozen such

210

In a kingdom would make a man forswear confession;

For who, that had but half his wits about him,

212

Would commit the counsel of a serious sin

To such a crewel night-cap? −

214

Enter Welford's Servant, drunk.

216

                                                Why, how now?

218

Shall we have an antic? Whose head do you carry

Upon your shoulders that you jowl it so

220

Against the post? is't for your ease, or have

You seen the cellar? where are my slippers, sir?

222

Serv.  Here, sir.

224

Wel.  Where, sir? have you got the pot-verdugo?

226

Have you seen the horses, sir?

228

Serv.  Yes, sir.

230

Wel.  Have they any meat?

232

Serv.  Faith, sir, they have a kind of wholesome rushes;

hay I cannot call it.

234

Wel.  And no provender?

236

Serv.  Sir, so I take it.

238

Wel.  You are merry, sir; and why so?

240

Serv.  Faith, sir, here are no oats to be got, unless you'll

242

have 'em in porridge; the people are so mainly given to

spoon-meat. Yonder’s a cast of coach-mares of the

244

gentlewoman's, the strangest cattle!

246

Wel.  Why?

248

Serv.  Why, they are transparent, sir; you may see

through them: and such a house!

250

Wel.  Come, sir, the truth of your discovery.

252

Serv.  Sir, they are in tribes, like Jews: the kitchen and

254

the dairy make one tribe, and have their faction and

their fornication within themselves; the buttery and the

256

laundry are another, and there's no love lost; the

chambers are entire, and what's done there is somewhat

258

higher than my knowledge; but this I am sure, between

these copulations, a stranger is kept virtuous, that is,

260

fasting. But of all this, the drink, sir −

262

Wel.  What of that, sir?

264

Serv.  Faith, sir, I will handle it as the time and your

patience will give me leave. This drink, or this cooling

266

julap, of which three spoonfuls kills the calenture, a

pint breeds the cold palsy −

268

Wel.  Sir, you belie the house.

270

Serv.  I would I did, sir! But, as I am a true man, if

272

'twere but one degree colder, nothing but an ass's hoof

would hold it.

274

Wel.  I am glad on't, sir; for if it had proved stronger,

276

You had been tongue-tied of these commendations.

Light me the candle, sir: I'll hear no more.

278

[Exeunt.]

ACT II, SCENE II.

A Room in the House of Elder Loveless.

Enter Young Loveless, Captain, Traveller, Poet,

Tobacco-man, with Wenches and two Fiddlers.

1

Young.  Come, my brave man of war, trace out thy darling.

2

And you, my learned council, set and turn boys;

Kiss till the cow come home; kiss close, kiss close, knaves;

4

My modern Poet, thou shalt kiss in couplets. −

6

Enter Servant, with wine.

8

Strike up, you merry varlets, and leave your peeping;

This is no pay for fiddlers.

10

Capt.  Oh, my dear boy, thy Hercules, thy Captain,

12

Makes thee his Hylas, his delight, his solace!

Love thy brave man of war, and let thy bounty

14

Clap him in shamois. Let there be deducted

Out of our main potatiön, five marks,

16

In hatchments to adorn this thigh,

Cramped with this rest of peace, and I will fight

18

Thy battles.

20

Young.  Thou shalt have't, boy, and fly in feather. −

Lead on a march, you michers.

22

Enter Savil.

24

Sav.  Oh, my head, oh, my heart! what a noise and change is here!

26

Would I had been cold i' the mouth before this day,

And ne'er have lived to see this dissolution!

28

He that lives within a mile of this place,

Had as good sleep in the perpetual

30

Noise of an iron mill. There's a dead sea

Of drink i' the cellar, in which goodly vessels

32

Lie wrecked; and in the middle of this deluge

Appear the tops of flagons and black-jacks

34

Like churches drowned i' the marshes.

36

Young.  What, art thou come? my sweet Sir Amias,

Welcome to Troy! Come, thou shalt kiss my Helen,

38

And court her in a dance.

40

Sav.                               Good sir, consider.

42

Young.  Shall we consider, gentlemen? how say you?

44

Capt.  Consider! that were a simple toy, i’ faith:

Consider! whose moral's that?

46

The man that cries "consider" is our foe:

Let my steel know him.

48

Young.  Stay thy dead-doing hand; he must not die yet:

50

Prithee be calm, my Hector.

52

Capt.                                    Peasant slave!

Thou groom composed of grudgings, live, and thank

54

This gentleman; thou hadst seen Pluto else:

The next "consider" kills thee.

56

Trav.  Let him drink down his word again, in a gallon

58

Of sack.

60

Poet.    'Tis but a snuff: make it two gallons,

And let him do it kneeling in repentance.

62

Sav.  Nay, rather kill me; there’s but a layman lost.

64

Good Captain, do your office.

66

Young.  Thou shalt drink, steward; drink and dance, my steward. −

Strike him a hornpipe, squeakers! − Take thy stiver,

68

And pace her till she stew.

70

Sav.                                   Sure, sir, I cannot

Dance with your gentlewomen; they are too light for me.

72

Pray, break my head, and let me go.

74

Capt.  He shall dance, he shall dance.

76

Young.  He shall dance and drink, and be drunk and dance,

And be drunk again, and shall see no meat in a year.

78

Poet.  And three quarters.

80

Young.                          And three quarters be it.

82

[Knocking within.]

84

 

Capt.  Who knocks there? Let him in.

86

Sav.  [Aside] Some to deliver me, I hope.

88

Enter Elder Loveless, disguised.

90

Elder.  Gentlemen, God save you all!

92

My business is to one Master Loveless.

94

Capt.  This is the gentleman you mean; view him,

And take his inventory; he's a right one.

96

Elder.  He promises no less, sir.

98

Young.                                       Sir, your business?

100

Elder.  Sir, I should let you know, − yet I am loath, −

102

Yet I am sworn to 't, − would some other tongue

Would speak it for me!

104

Young.                        Out with it, i' God's name!

106

Elder.  All I desire, sir, is the patiënce

108

And sufferance of a man; and, good sir, be not

Moved more −

110

Young.         Than a pottle of sack will do:

112

Here is my hand. Prithee, thy business?

114

Elder.  Good sir, excuse me; and whatsoever

You hear, think must have been known unto you;

116

And be yourself discreet, and bear it nobly.

118

Young.  Prithee, despatch me.

120

Elder.  Your brother’s dead, sir.

122

Young.  Thou dost not mean − dead drunk?

124

Elder.  No, no; dead, and drowned at sea, sir.

126

Young.  Art sure he’s dead?

128

Elder.  Too sure, sir.

130

Young.  Ay, but art thou very certainly sure of it?

132

Elder.  As sure, sir, as I tell it.

134

Young.  But art thou sure he came not up again?

136

Elder.  He may come up, but ne’er to call you brother.

138

Young.  But art sure he had water enough to drown him?

140

Elder.  Sure, sir, he wanted none.

142

Young.  I would not have him want; I loved him better.

Here I forgive thee; and, i' faith, be plain;

144

How do I bear it?

146

Elder.                 Very wisely, sir.

148

Young.  Fill him some wine. − Thou dost not see me moved;

These transitory toys ne'er trouble me;

150

He's in a better place, my friend, I know 't.

Some fellows would have cried now, and have cursed thee,

152

And fallen out with their meat, and kept a pudder;

But all this helps not. He was too good for us;

154

And let God keep him!

There's the right use on 't, friend. Off with thy drink;

156

Thou hast a spice of sorrow makes thee dry. −

Fill him another. − Savil, your master’s dead;

158

And who am I now, Savil? Nay, let’s all bear it well:

Wipe, Savil, wipe; tears are but thrown away.

160

We shall have wenches now; shall we not, Savil?

162

Sav.  Yes, sir.

164

Young.       And drink innumerable?

166

Sav.                                                 Yes, forsooth, sir.

168

Young.  And you'll strain courtesy, and be drunk a little?

170

Sav.  I would be glad, sir, to do my weak endeavour.

172

Young.  And you may be brought in time to love a wench too?

174

Sav.  In time the sturdy oak, sir −

176

Young.                                     Some more wine

For my friend there.

178

Elder.  [Aside]      I shall be drunk anon

180

For my good news: but I have a loving brother,

That's my comfort.

182

Young.                Here’s to you, sir;

184

This is the worst I wish you for your news:

And if I had another elder brother,

186

And say it were his chance to feed more fishes,

I should be still the same you see me now,

188

A poor contented gentleman. −

More wine for my friend there; he's dry again.

190

Elder.  [Aside] I shall be, if I follow this beginning.

192

Well, my dear brother, if I scape this drowning,

Tis your turn next to sink; you shall duck twice

194

Before I help you. − Sir, I cannot drink more;

Pray, let me have your pardon.

196

Young.  Oh, Lord, sir, 'tis your modesty! − More wine;

198

Give him a bigger glass. − Hug him, my Captain:

Thou shalt be my chief mourner.

200

Capt.  And this my pennon. − Sir, a full carouse

202

To you, and to my lord of land here.

204

Elder.  [Aside] I feel a buzzing in my brains; pray God

They bear this out, and I'll ne'er trouble them

206

So far again. − Here's to you, sir.

208

Young.                                      To my dear steward.

Down o' your knees, you infidel, you pagan!

210

Be drunk, and penitent.

212

Sav.                              Forgive me, sir.

And I'll be anything.

214

Young.                   Then be a bawd;

216

I’ll have thee a brave bawd.

218

Elder.                               Sir, I must take

My leave of you, my business is so urgent.

220

Young.  Let's have a bridling cast before you go. −

222

Fill’s a new stoop.

224

Elder.                  I dare not, sir, by no means.

226

Young.  Have you any mind to a wench? I would

Fain gratify you for the pains you took, sir.

228

Elder.  As little as to the t'other.

230

Young.  If you find any stirring, do but say so.

232

Elder.  Sir, you are too bounteous: when I feel that itching,

234

You shall assuage it, sir, before another.

This only, and farewell, sir:

236

Your brother, when the storm was most extreme,

Told all about him, he left a will, which lies close

238

Behind a chimney in the matted chamber.

And so, as well, sir, as you have made me able,

240

I take my leave.

242

Young.             Let us embrace him all. −

If you grow dry before you end your business,

244

Pray, take a bait here; I have a fresh hogshead for you.

246

Sav.  [Drunk] You shall neither will nor choose, sir. My

master is a wonderful fine gentleman; has a fine state, a

248

very fine state, sir: I am his steward, sir, and his man.

250

Elder.  [Aside]

Would you were your own, sir, as I left you!

252

Well, I must cast about, or all sinks.

254

Sav.  Farewell, gentleman, gentleman, gentleman!

256

Elder.  What would you with me, sir!

258

Sav.  Farewell, gentleman!

260

Elder.  Oh, sleep, sir, sleep!

262

[Exit Elder.]

264

Young.  Well, boys, you see what’s fallen; let’s in and drink.

And give thanks for it.

266

Sav.                            Let’s give thanks for it.

268

Young.  Drunk, as I live!

270

Sav.                                Drunk, as I live, boys!

272

Young.                                                             Why,

274

Now thou art able to discharge thine office,

And cast up a reckoning of some weight. −

276

I will be knighted, for my state will bear it;

Tis sixteen hundred, boys. Off with your husks;

278

I’ll skin you all in satin.

280

Capt.                            Oh, sweet Loveless!

282

Sav.  All in satin! Oh, sweet Loveless!

284

Young.  March in, my noble compeers; −

And this, my countess, shall be led by two:

286

And so proceed we to the will.

[Exeunt.]

ACT II, SCENE III.

A Room in Morecraft's House.

Enter Morecraft and Widow.

1

More.  And, widow, as I say, be your own friend:

2

Your husband left you wealthy, ay, and wise;

Continue so, sweet duck, continue so.

4

Take heed of young smooth varlets, younger brothers;

They are worms that will eat through your bags;

6

They are very lightning, that, with a flash or two,

Will melt your money, and never singe your purse-strings;

8

They are colts, wench, colts, heady and dangerous,

Till we take 'em up, and make 'em fit for bonds.

10

Look upon me; I have had, and have yet,

Matter of moment, girl, matter of moment:

12

You may meet with a worse back; I'll not commend it.

14

Widow.  Nor I neither, sir.

16

More.  Yet thus far, by your favour, widow, 'tis tough.

18

Widow.  And therefore not for my diet; for I love a tender one.

20

More.  Sweet widow, leave your frumps, and be edified.

You know my state: I sell no pérspectives,

22

Scarfs, gloves, nor hangers, nor put my trust in shoe-ties;

And where your husband in an age was rising

24

By burnt figs, dredged with meal and powdered sugar,

Sanders and grains, worm-seed, and rotten raisins,

26

And such vile tobacco that made the footmen mangy;

I, in a year, have put up hundreds;

28

Enclosed, my widow,

Those pleasant meadows, by a forfeit mortgage;

30

For which the poor knight takes a lone chamber,

Owes for his ale, and dare not beat his hostess.

32

Nay, more −

34

Widow.  Good sir, no more. Whate’er my husband was,

I know what I am; and, if you marry me,

36

You must bear it bravely off, sir.

38

More.  Not with the head, sweet widow.

40

Widow.                                                   No, sweet sir,

But with your shoulders: I must have you dubbed;

42

For under that I will not stoop a feather.

My husband was a fellow loved to toil,

44

Fed ill, made gain his exercise, and so

Grew costive; which, for that I was his wife,

46

I gave way to, and spun mine own smocks coarse,

And, sir, so little − but let that pass:

48

Time, that wears all things out, wore out this husband;

Who, in penitence of such fruitless five years marriage,

50

Left me great with his wealth; which, if you'll be

A worthy gossip to, be knighted, sir.

52

Enter Savil.

54

More.  Now, sir, from whom come you? whose man are you, sir?