Knight of the
(1584-1616) and John Fletcher (1579-1625).
Note on the e-text:
Editions text was
transcribed in February 2007 by Risa Stephanie Bear, University of
from the edition by Frederic W. Moorman, J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd.,
Aldine House, London, 1922.
Moorman used the edition of Dyce, 1843, as his source. Content unique
to this presentation is copyright © 2007 The
of Oregon. For nonprofit and educational uses only. Send comments and
to the publisher, rbear[at]uoregon.edu.
to Anniina Jokinen.
MANY WAYS ENDEARED
This unfortunate child, who, in eight days (as lately I have learned)
was begot and born, soon after was by his parents (perhaps because he
was so unlike his brethren) exposed to the wide world, who, for want of
judgment, or not understanding the privy mark of irony about it (which
shewed it was no offspring of any vulgar brain), utterly rejected it;
so that, for want of acceptance, it was even ready to give up the
ghost, and was in danger to have been smothered in perpetual oblivion,
if you (out of your direct antipathy to ingratitude), had not been
moved both to relieve and cherish it: wherein I must needs commend both
your judgment, understanding, and singular love to good wits.
afterwards sent it to me, yet being an infant and somewhat ragged: I
have fostered it privately in my bosom these two years; and now, to
shew my love, return it to you, clad in good lasting clothes, which
scarce memory will wear out, and able to speak for itself; and withal,
as it telleth me, desirous to try his fortune in the world, where, if
yet it be welcome, father, foster-father, nurse, and child all have
their desired end. If it be slighted or traduced, it hopes his father
will beget him a younger brother, who shall revenge his quarrel, and
challenge the world either of fond and merely literal interpretation or
illiterate misprision. Perhaps it will be thought to be of the race of
Don Quixote; we both may confidently swear it his elder above a year;
and therefore may (by virtue of his birthright) challenge the wall of
him. I doubt not but they will meet in their adventures, and I hope the
breaking of one staff make them friends; and perhaps they will combine
themselves, and travel through the world to seek their adventures. So I
commit him to his good fortune, and myself to your love. Your assured
READERS OF THIS COMEDY.
The world is so nice in these our times, that for apparel there is no
fashion; for music (which is a rare art, though now slighted) no
instrument; for diet, none but the French kickshaws that are delicate;
and for plays, no invention but that which now runneth an invective
way, touching some particular persons, or else it is contemned before
it is thoroughly understood. This is all that I have to say: that the
author had no intent to wrong any one in this comedy; but, as a merry
passage, here and there interlaced it with delight, which he hopes will
please all, and be hurtful to none.
the bee can suck no honey, she leaves her sting behind; and where the
bear cannot find origanum to heal his grief, he blasteth all other
leaves with his breath. We fear it is like to fare so with us; that,
seeing you cannot reap the wonted mirth. Our intent was at this time to
move inward delight, not outward lightness; and to breed (if it might
be) soft smiling, not loud laughing; knowing it, to the wise, to be a
great pleasure to hear counsel mixed with wit, as to the foolish, to
have sport mingled with rudeness. They were banished the theatre of
Athens, and from Rome hissed, that brought parasites on the stage with
apish actions, or fools with uncivil habits, or courtezans with
immodest words. We have endeavoured to be as far from unseemly
speeches, to make your ears glow, as we hope you will be free from
unkind reports, or mistaking the authors' intention, (who never aimed
at any one particular in this play,) to make our cheeks blush. And thus
I leave it, and thee to thine own censure, to like or dislike.—VALE.
SPEAKER OF THE PROLOGUE.
RALPH, his Apprentice.
VENTUREWELL, a Merchant.
MICHAEL, His Sons.
Three Men, supposed captives.
Soldiers, and Attendants.
LUCE, Daughter of VENTUREWELL.
Woman, supposed a captive.
POMPIONA, Daughter of the King of Moldavia.
SCENE: London and the neighbouring Country,
Act IV. Scene ii., where it is in Moldavia.
Several Gentlemen sitting on
Stools upon the Stage. The Citizen, his Wife, and Ralph sitting below
among the audience.
Speaker of the Prologue.
S. of Prol. "From
all that's near the court, from all that's great,
Within the compass of the city-walls,
We now have brought our scene—"
leaps on the Stage.
Cit. Hold your peace,
S. of Prol. What do you
Cit. That you have no
good meaning: this seven years there hath been plays at this house, I
have observed it, you have still girds at citizens; and now you call
your play "The London Merchant." Down with your title, boy! down with
S. of Prol. Are you a
member of the noble city?
Cit. I am.
S. of Prol. And a
Cit. Yea, and a grocer.
S. of Prol. So, grocer,
then, by your sweet favour, we intend no abuse to the city.
Cit. No, sir! yes, sir:
if you were not resolved to play the Jacks, what need you study for new
subjects, purposely to abuse your betters? Why could not you be
contented, as well as others, with "The legend of Whittington," or "The
Life and Death of Sir Thomas Gresham, with the building of the Royal
Exchange, of story of Queen Eleanor, with the rearing of London Bridge
S. of Prol. You seem to
be an understanding man: what would you have us do, sir?
Cit. Why, present
something notably in honour of the commons of the city.
S. of Prol. Why, what do
you say to "The Life and Death of fat Drake, or the Repairing of
Cit. I do not like that;
but I will have a citizen, and he shall be of my own trade.
S. of Prol. Oh, you
should have told us your mind a month since; our play is ready to begin
Cit. 'Tis all one for
that; I will have a grocer, and he shall do admirable things.
S. of Prol. What will
you have him do?
Cit. Marry, I will have
Wife. [below.] Husband, husband!
Ralph. [below.] Peace, mistress.
Wife. [below.] Hold thy peace,
Ralph; I know what I do, I warrant ye.—Husband, husband!
Cit. What sayest thou,
Wife. [below.] Let him kill a lion
with a pestle, husband! let him kill a lion with a pestle!
Cit. So he shall.—I'll
have him kill a lion with a pestle.
Wife. [below.] Husband! shall I come up,
Cit. Ay, cony.—Ralph,
help your mistress this way.—Pray, gentlemen,
make her a little room.—I pray you, lend me your hand to help up my
wife: I thank you, sir.—So.
comes on the Stage.
Wife. By your leave,
gentlemen all; I'm something troublesome: I'm a stranger here; I was
ne'er at one of these plays, as they say, before; but I should have
seen "Jane Shore" once; and my husband hath promised me, any time this
twelvemonth, to carry me to "The Bold Beauchamps," but in truth he did
not. I pray you, bear with me.
Cit. Boy, let my wife
and I have a couple of stools and then begin; and let the grocer do
S. of Prol. But, sir,
we have never a boy to play him: every one hath a part already.
Wife. Husband, husband,
for God's sake, let Ralph play him! beshrew me, if I do not think he
will go beyond them all.
Cit. Well remembered,
wife.—Come up, Ralph.—I'll tell you, gentlemen; let them but lend him a
suit of reparel and necessaries, and, by gad, if any of them all blow
wind in the tail on him, I'll be hanged.
comes on the Stage.
Wife. I pray you,
youth, let him have a suit of reparel! — I'll be sworn, gentlemen, my
husband tells you true: he will act you sometimes at our house, that
all the neighbours cry out on him; he will fetch you up a couraging
part so in the garret, that we are all as feared, I warrant you, that
we quake again: we'll fear our children with him; if they be never so
unruly, do but cry, "Ralph comes, Ralph comes!" to them, and they'll be
as quiet as lambs.—Hold up thy head, Ralph; show the gentlemen what
thou canst do; speak a huffing part; I warrant you, the gentlemen will
accept of it.
Cit. Do, Ralph, do.
Ralph. " By Heaven,
methinks, it were an easy leap
To pluck bright honour from the pale-faced moon;
Or dive into the bottom of the sea,
Where never fathom-line touched any ground,
And pluck up drowned honour from the lake of hell."
Cit. How say you,
gentlemen, is it not as I told you?
Wife. Nay, gentlemen, he
hath played before, my husband says, Mucedorus, before the wardens of
Cit. Ay, and he should
have played Jeronimo with a shoemaker for a wager.
S. of Prol. He shall
have a suit of apparel, if he will go in.
Cit. In, Ralph, in,
Ralph; and set out the grocery in their kind, if thou lovest me.
Wife. I warrant, our
Ralph will look finely when he's dressed.
S. of Prol. But what
will you have it called?
Cit. "The Grocer's
S. of Prol. Methinks "
The Knight of the Burning Pestle " were better.
Wife. I'll be sworn,
husband, that's as good a name as can be.
Cit. Let it be
so.—Begin, begin; my wife and I will sit down.
S. of Prol. I pray you,
Cit. What stately music
have you? you have shawms?
S. of Prol. Shawms! no.
Cit. No! I'm a thief, if
my mind did not give me to. Ralph plays a stately part, and he must
needs have shawms: I'll be at the charge of them myself, rather than
we'll be without them.
S. of Prol. So you are
like to be.
Cit. Why, and so I will
be: there's two shillings; —[Gives
have the waits of Southwark; they are as rare fellows a« any are
in England; and that will fetch them all o'er the water with a
vengeance, as if they were mad.
S. of Prol. You shall
have them. Will you sit down, then?
Cit. Ay.—Come, wife.
Wife. Sit you merry all,
gentlemen; I'm bold to sit amongst you for my ease.
and Wife sit down.
S. of Prol. "From all
that's near the court, from all that's great,
We now have brought our scene. Fly far from hence
All private taxes, immodest phrases,
Whatever may but show like vicious!
For wicked mirth never true pleasure brings,
But honest minds are pleased with honest things."—
Thus much for that we do; but for Ralph's part you must answer for
Cit. Take you no care
for Ralph; he'll discharge himself, I warrant you.
Speaker of Prologue.
gentlemen, I'll give my word for Ralph.
A Room in the House of Venturewell.
Enter Venturewell and Jasper.
Vent. Sirrah, I'll
make you know you are my prentice,
And whom my charitable love redeemed
Even from the fall of fortune; gave thee heat
And growth, to be what now thou art, new-cast thee;
Adding the trust of all I have, at home,
In foreign staples, or upon the sea,
To thy direction; tied the good opinions
Both of myself and friends to thy endeavours;
So fair were thy beginnings. But with these,
As I remember, you had never charge
To love your master's daughter, and even then
When I had found a wealthy husband for her;
I take it, sir, you had not: but, however,
I'll break the neck of that commission,
And make you know you are but a merchant's factor.
I do liberally confess I am yours,
Bound both by love and duty to your service,
In which my labour hath been all my profit:
I have not lost in bargain, nor delighted
To wear your honest gains upon my back;
Nor have I given a pension to my blood,
Or lavishly in play consumed your stock;
These, and the miseries that do attend them,
I dare with innocence proclaim are strangers
To all my temperate actions. For your daughter,
If there be any love to my deservings
Borne by her virtuous self, I cannot stop it;
Nor am I able to refrain her wishes,
She's private to herself, and best of knowledge
Whom she will make so happy as to sigh for:
Unto a fellow of so lame a presence,
One that hath little left of nature in him.
Vent. 'Tis very well,
sir: I can tell your wisdom
How all this shall be cured.
Jasp. Your care becomes
Vent. And thus it shall
be, sir: I here discharge you
My house and service; take your liberty;
And when I want a son, I'll send for you.
Jasp. These be the
fair rewards of them that love!
Oh, you that live in freedom, never prove
The travail of a mind led by desire!
Luce. Why, how now,
friend? struck with my father's thunder!
Jasp. Struck, and struck
dead, unless the remedy
Be full of speed and virtue; I am now,
What I expected long, no more your father's.
Luce. But mine.
Jasp. But yours, and
only yours, I am;
That's all I have to keep me from the statute.
You dare be constant still?
Luce. Oh, fear me not!
In this I dare be better than a woman:
Nor shall his anger nor his offers move me,
Were they both equal to a prince's power.
Jasp. You know my rival!
Luce. Yes, and love him
Even as I love an ague or foul weather:
I prithee, Jasper, fear him not.
Jasp. Oh, no!
I do not mean to do him so much kindness.
But to our own desires: you know the plot
We both agreed on?
Luce. Yes, and will
My part exactly.
Jasp. I desire no more.
Farewell, and keep my heart; 'tis yours.
Luce. I take it;
He must do miracles makes me forsake it.
[Cit. Fie upon 'em,
little infidels! what a matter's here now! Well, I'll be hanged for a
half-penny, if there be not some abomination knavery in this play.
Well; let 'em look to't; Ralph must come, and if there be any tricks
Wife. Let 'em brew and
bake too, husband, a' name; Ralph will find all out, I warrant you, an
they were older than they are.— [Enter
Boy.]— I pray, my pretty youth, is Ralph ready?
Boy. He will be
Wife. Now, I pray you,
make my commendations unto him, and withal carry him this stick of
liquorice: tell him his mistress sent it to him; and bid him bite a
piece; 'twill open his pipes the better, say.]
in the House of Venturewell.
Enter Venturewell and Humphrey.
Vent. Come, sir, she's
yours; upon my faith, she's yours;
You have my hand: for other idle lets
Between your hopes and her, thus with a wind
They are scattered and no more. My wanton prentice,
That like a bladder blew himself with love,
I have let out, and sent him to discover
New masters yet unknown.
Hum. I thank you, sir,
Indeed, I thank you, sir; and, ere I stir,
It shall be known, however you do deem,
I am of gentle blood, and gentle seem.
Vent, Oh, sir, I know it
Hum. Sir, my friend,
Although, as writers say, all things have end,
And that we call a pudding hath his two,
Oh, let it not seem strange, I pray, to you,
If in this bloody simile I put
My love, more endless than frail things or gut!
[Wife. Husband, I prithee,
sweet lamb, tell me one thing; but tell me truly.—Stay, youths, I
beseech you, till I question my husband.
Cit. What is it, mouse?
Wife. Sirrah, didst thou
ever see a prettier child? how it behaves itself, I warrant ye, and
speaks and looks, and perts up the head!—I pray you, brother, with your
favour, were you never none of Master Moncaster's scholars?
Cit. Chicken, I prithee
heartily, contain thyself: the childer are pretty childer; but when
Ralph comes, lamb—
Wife. Ay, when Ralph
comes, cony!—Well, my youth, you may proceed.]
Vent. Well, sir, you
know my love, and rest, I hope,
Assured of my consent; get but my daughter's,
And wed her when you please. You must be bold,
And clap in close unto her: come, I know
You have language good enough to win a wench.
[Wife. A whoreson Tyrant! h'as
been an old stringer in's days, I warrant him.]
Hum. I take your gentle
offer, and withal
Yield love again for love reciprocal.
Vent. What, Luce! within
Luce. Called you,
Vent. I did:
Give entertainment to this gentleman;
And see you be not froward.—To her, sir:
My presence will but be an eye-sore to you.
Hum. Fair Mistress
Luce, how do you? are you well?
Give me your hand, and then I pray you tell
How doth your little sister and your brother;
And whether you love me or any other.
Luce. Sir, these are
Hum. So they are,
Where women are not cruel. But how far
Is it now distant from the place we are in,
Unto that blessed place, your father's warren?
Luce. What makes you
think of that, sir?
Hum. Even that face;
For, stealing rabbits whilom in that place,
God Cupid, or the keeper, I know not whether,
Unto my cost and charges brought you thither,
And there began—
Luce. Your game, sir.
Hum. Let no game,
Or any thing that tendeth to the same,
Be ever more remembered, thou fair killer,
For whom I sate me down, and brake my tiller.
[Wife. There's a kind
gentleman, I warrant you: when will you do as much for me, George?]
Luce. Beshrew me, sir, I
am sorry for your losses,
But, as the proverb says, I cannot cry:
I would you had not seen me!
Hum. So would I,
Unless you had more maw to do me good.
Luce. Why, cannot this
strange passion be withstood;
Send for a constable, and raise the town.
Hum. Oh, no! my valiant
love will batter down
Millions of constables, and put to flight
Even that great watch of Midsummer-day at night.
Luce. Beshrew me, sir,
'twere good I yielded, then;
Weak women cannot hope, where valiant men
Have no resistance.
Hum. Yield, then; I am
Of pity, though I say it, and can pull
Out of my pocket thus a pair of gloves.
Look, Luce, look; the dog's tooth nor the dove's
Are not so white as these; and sweet they be,
And whipt about with silk, as you may see.
If you desire the price, shoot from your eye
A beam to this place, and you shall espy
F. S, which is to say, my sweetest honey,
They cost me three and twopence, or no money.
Luce. Well, sir, I take
them kindly, and I thank you:
What would you more?
Luce. Why, then,
Hum. Nor so, nor so;
for, lady, I must tell,
Before we part, for what we met together:
God grant me time and patience and fair weather!
Luce. Speak, and declare
your mind in terms brief.
Hum. I shall: then,
first and foremost, for relief
I call to you, if that you can afford it;
I care not at what price, for, on my word, it
Shall be repaid again, although it cost me
More than I'll speak of now; for love hath tost me
In furious blanket like a tennis-ball,
And now I rise aloft, and now I fall.
Luce. Alas, good
gentleman, alas the day!
Hum. I thank you
heartily; and, as I say,
Thus do I still continue without rest,
I' the morning like a man, at night a beast,
Roaring and bellowing mine own disquiet,
That much I fear, forsaking of my diet
Will bring me presently to that quandary,
I shall bid all adieu.
Luce. Now, by St Mary,
That were great pity!
Hum. So it were, beshrew
Then, ease me, lusty Luce, and pity show me.
Luce. Why, sir, you know
my will is nothing worth
Without my father's grant; get his consent,
And then you may with assurance try me.
Hum. The worshipful your
sire will not deny me;
For I have asked him, and he hath replied,
"Sweet Master Humphrey, Luce shall be thy bride."
Luce. Sweet Master
Humphrey, then I am content.
Hum. And so am I, in
Luce. Yet take me with
There is another clause must be annexed,
And this it is: I swore, and will perform it,
No man shall ever joy me as his wife
But he that stole me hence. If you dare venture,
I am yours (you need not fear; my father loves you);
If not, farewell for ever!
Hum. Stay, nymph, stay:
I have a double gelding, coloured bay,
Sprung by his father from Barbarian kind;
Another for myself, though somewhat blind,
Yet true as trusty tree.
Luce. I am satisfied;
And so I give my hand. Our course must lie
Through Waltham-forest, where I have a friend
Will entertain us. So, farewell, Sir Humphrey,
And think upon your business.
Hum. Though I die,
I am resolved to venture life and limb
For one so young, so fair, so kind, so trim.
[Wife. By my faith
and troth, George, and as I am virtuous, it is e'en the kindest young
man that ever trod on shoe-leather.—Well, go thy ways; if thou hast her
not, 'tis not thy fault, i'faith.
Cit. I prithee, mouse,
be patient; 'a shall have her, or I'll make some of 'em smoke for't.
Wife. That's my good
lamb, George. — Fie, this stinking tobacco kills me! would there were
none in England!—Now, I pray, gentlemen, what good does this stinking
tobacco do you? nothing, I warrant you: make chimneys o' your faces!]
A Grocer's Shop.
Enter Ralph, as a Grocer,
reading Palmerin of England, with Tim and George.
[Wife. Oh, husband,
husband, now, now! there's Ralph, there's Ralph.
Cit. Peace, fool! let
Ralph alone.—Hark you, Ralph; do not strain yourself too much at the
Then Palmerin and Trineus, snatching their lances from their dwarfs,
and clasping their helmets galloped amain after the giant; and
Palmerin, having gotten a sight of him, came posting amain, saying,'
Stay, traitorous thief! for thou mayst not so carry away her, that is
worth the greatest lord in the world;' and, with these words, gave him
a blow on the shoulder, that he struck him besides his elephant. And
Trineus, coming to the knight that had Agricola behind him, set him
soon besides his horse, with his neck broken in the fall; so that the
princess, getting out of the throng, between joy and grief, said, "All
happy knight, the mirror of all such as follow arms, now may I be well
assured of the love thou bearest me." I wonder why the kings do not
raise an army of fourteen or fifteen hundred thousand men, as big as
the army that the Prince of Portigo brought against Rosicleer, and
destroy these giants; they do much hurt to wandering damsels, that go
in quest of their knights.
[Wife. Faith, husband, and
Ralph says true; for they say the King of Portugal cannot sit at his
meat, but the giants and the ettins will come and snatch it from him.
Cit. Hold thy
Ralph. And certainly
those knights are much to be commended, who, neglecting their
possessions, wander with a squire and a dwarf through the deserts to
relieve poor ladies.
[Wife. Ay, by my faith, are
they, Ralph; let 'em say what they will, they are indeed. Our knights
neglect their possessions well enough, but they do not the rest.]
Ralph. There are no such
courteous and fair well-spoken knights in this age: they will call one
"the son of a whore," that Palmerin of England would have called "fair
sir;" and one that Rosicleer would have called "right beauteous
damsel," they will call "damned bitch."
[Wife. I'll be sworn will
they, Ralph; they have called me so an hundred times about a scurvy
pipe of tobacco.]
Ralph. But what brave
spirit could be content to sit in his shop, with a flappet of wood, and
a blue apron before him, selling mithridatum and dragon's-water to
visited houses, that might pursue feats of arms, and,
through his noble achievements, procure such a famous
history to be written of his heroic prowess?
[Cit. Well said, Ralph; some
more of those words, Ralph!
Wife. They go finely, by
Ralph. Why should not I, then, pursue this course, both for the credit
of myself and our company? for amongst all the worthy books of
achievements, I do not call to mind that I yet read of a grocer-errant:
I will be the said knight. —Have you heard of any that hath wandered
unfurnished of his squire and dwarf? My elder prentice Tim shall be my
trusty squire, and little George my dwarf. Hence, my blue apron! Yet,
in remembrance of my former trade, upon my shield shall be portrayed a
Burning Pestle, and I will be called the Knight of the Burning Pestle.
[Wife. Nay, I dare swear thou
wilt not forget thy old trade; thou wert ever meek.]
Ralph. My beloved
squire, and George my dwarf, I charge you that from henceforth you
never call me by any other name but "the right courteous and valiant
Knight of the Burning Pestle;" and that you never call any female by
the name of a woman or wench, but "fair lady," if she have her desires,
if not, "distressed damsel;" that you call all forests and heaths
"deserts," and all horses "palfreys."
[Wife. This is very fine,
faith.—Do the gentlemen like Ralph, think you, husband?
Cit. Ay, I warrant thee;
the players would give all the shoes in their shop for him.]
Ralph. My beloved squire
Tim, stand out. Admit this were a desert, and over it a knight-errant
pricking, and I should bid you inquire of his intents, what would you
Tim. Sir, my master sent
me to know whither you are riding?
Ralph. No, thus: "Fair
sir, the right courteous and valiant Knight of the Burning Pestle
commanded me to inquire upon what adventure you are bound, whether to
relieve some distressed damsel, or otherwise."
[Cit. Whoreson blockhead,
Wife. I'faith, and Ralph
told him on't before: all the gentlemen heard him.—Did he not,
gentlemen? did not Ralph tell him on't?
George. Right courteous
and valiant Knight of the Burning Pestle, here is a distressed damsel
to have a halfpenny-worth of pepper.
[Wife. That's a good boy! see,
the little boy can hit it; by my troth, it's a fine child.]
Ralph. Relieve her, with
all courteous language. Now shut up shop; no more my prentices, but my
trusty squire and dwarf. I must bespeak my shield and arming pestle.
Tim and George.
[Cit. Go thy ways,
Ralph! As I'm a true man, thou art the best on 'em all.
Wife. Ralph, Ralph!
Ralph. What say you,
Wife. I prithee, come
again quickly, sweet Ralph.
Ralph. By and by.]
A Room in Merrythought's House.
Enter Mistress Merrythought and
Mist. Mer. Give thee my
blessing! no, I'll ne'er give thee my blessing; I'll see thee hanged
first; it shall ne'er be said I gave thee my blessing. Thou art thy
father's own son, of the right blood of the Merrythoughts. I may curse
the time that e'er I knew thy father; he hath spent all his own and
mine too; and when I tell him of it, he laughs, and dances, and sings,
and cries, "A merry heart lives long-a." And thou art a wastethrift,
and art run away from thy master that loved thee well, and art come to
me; and I have laid up a little for my younger son Michael, and thou
thinkest to bezzle that, but thou shall never be able to do it.—Come
Come, Michael, down on thy knees; thou shalt have my blessing.
Mich. [Kneels.] I pray you, mother, pray
to God to bless me.
Mist. Mer. God bless
thee! but Jasper shall never have my blessing; he shall be hanged
first: shall he not, Michael? how sayest thou?
mother, and grace of God.
Mist. Mer. That's a
[Wife. I'faith, it's a
Jasp. Mother, though you
forget a parent's love
I must preserve the duty of a child.
I ran not from my master, nor return
To have your stock maintain my idleness.
[Wife. Ungracious child, I
warrant him; hark, how he chops logic with his mother!—Thou hadst best
tell her she lies; do, tell her she lies.
Cit. If he were my son,
I would hang him up by the heels, and flay him, and salt him, whoreson
Jasp. My coming only is
to beg your love,
Which I must ever, though I never gain it;
And, howsoever you esteem of me,
There is no drop of blood hid in these veins
But, I remember well, belongs to you
That brought me forth, and would be glad for you
To rip them all again, and let it out.
Mist. Mer. I'faith, I
had sorrow enough for thee, God knows; but I'll hamper thee well
enough. Get thee in, thou vagabond, get thee in, and learn of thy
Jasper and Michael.
Mer. [Singing within.]
Nose, nose, jolly red nose,
who gave thee this jolly red nose?
Mist. Mer. Hark, my
husband! he's singing and hoiting; and I'm fain to cark and care, and
all little enough.—Husband! Charles! Charles Merrythought!
Nutmegs and ginger, cinnamon and cloves;
they gave me this jolly red nose.
Mist. Mer. If you would
consider your state, you would have little list to sing, i-wis.
Mer. It should never be
considered, while it were an estate, if I thought it would spoil my
Mist. Mer. But how wilt
thou do, Charles? thou art an old man, and thou canst not work, and
thou hast not forty shillings left, and thou eatest good meat, and
drinkest good drink, and laughest.
Mer. And will do.
Mist. Mer. But how wilt
thou come by it, Charles?
Mer. How! why, how have
I done hitherto these forty years? I never came into my dining room,
but, at eleven and six o'clock, I found excellent meat and drink o' the
table; my clothes were never worn out, but next morning a tailor
brought me a new suit: and without question it will be so ever; use
makes perfectness. If all should fail, it is but a little straining
myself extraordinary, and laugh myself to death.
[Wife. It's a foolish old man
this; is not he, George?
Cit. Yes, cony.
Wife. Give me a penny i'
the purse while I live, George.
Cit. Ay, by lady, cony,
hold thee there.]
Mist. Mer. Well,
Charles; you promised to provide for Jasper, and I have laid up for
Michael. I pray you, pay Jasper his portion: he's come home, and he
shall not consume Michael's stock; he says his master turned him away,
but, I promise you truly, I think he ran away.
[Wife. No, indeed, Mistress
Merrythought; though he be a notable gallows, yet I'll assure you his
master did turn him away, even in this place; 'twas, i'faith, within
this half-hour, about his daughter; my husband was by.
Cit. Hang him, rogue! he
served him well enough: love his master's daughter! By my troth, cony,
if there were a thousand boys, thou wouldst spoil them all with taking
their parts; let his mother alone with him.
Wife. Ay, George; but
yet truth is truth.]
Mer. Where is Jasper?
he's welcome, however. Call him in; he shall have his portion. Is he
Mist. Mer. Ah, foul
chive him, he is too merry! —Jasper! Michael!
Jasper and Michael.
Mer. Welcome, Jasper!
though thou runnest away, welcome! God bless thee! 'Tis thy
mother's mind thou shouldst receive thy portion; thou hast been abroad,
and I hope hast learned experience enough to govern it; thou art of
sufficient years; hold thy hand—one, two, three, four, five, six,
seven, eight, nine, there is ten shillings for thee. [Gives money.]
Thrust thyself into the world with that, and take some settled course:
if fortune cross thee, thou hast a retiring place; come home to me; I
have twenty shillings left. Be a good husband; that is, wear ordinary
clothes, eat the best meat, and drink the best drink; be merry, and
give to the poor, and, believe me, thou hast no end of thy goods.
Jasp. Long may you live
free from all thought of ill,
And long have cause to be thus merry still!
Mer. No more words,
Jasper; get thee gone. Thou hast my blessing; thy father's spirit upon
thee! Farewell, Jasper!
yet, or ere you part (oh, cruel!)
me, kiss me, sweeting, mine own dear jewel!
So, now begone; no words.
Mist. Mer. So,
Michael, now get thee gone too.
Mich. Yes, forsooth,
mother; but I'll have my father's blessing first.
Mist. Mer. No, Michael;
'tis no matter for his blessing; thou hast my blessing; begone. I'll
fetch my money and jewels, and follow thee; I'll stay no longer with
him, I warrant thee.
—Truly, Charles, I'll be gone too.
Mer. What! you will not?
Mist. Mer. Yes, indeed
Heigh-ho, farewell, Nan!
never trust wench more again, if I can.
Mist. Mer. You shall not
think, when all your own is gone, to spend that I have been scraping up
Mer. Farewell, good
wife; I expect it not: all I have to do in this world, is to be merry;
which I shall, if the ground be not taken from me; and if it be,
earth and seas from me are reft,
skies aloft for me are left.
[Wife. I'll be sworn
he's a merry old gentleman for all that. [Music.]
Hark, hark, husband, hark! fiddles, fiddles! now surely they go finely.
They say 'tis present death for these fiddlers, to tune their rebecks
before the great Turk's grace; is't not, George? [Enter a Boy and
dances.] But, look, look! here's a youth dances!—Now, good
youth, do a
turn o' the toe.—Sweetheart, i'faith, I'll have Ralph come and do some
of his gambols.—He'll ride the wild mare, gentlemen, 'twould do your
hearts good to see him.—I thank you, kind youth; pray, bid Ralph come.
cony!—Sirrah, you scurvy boy, bid the players send Ralph; or, by
God's—an they do not, I'll tear some of their periwigs beside their
heads: this is all riff-raff.
A Room in the House of
Vent. And how, faith,
how goes it now, son Humphrey?
Hum. Right worshipful,
and my beloved friend
And father dear, this matter's at an end.
Vent. 'Tis well: it
should be so: I'm glad the girl
Is found so tractable.
Hum. Nay, she must whirl
From hence (and you must wink; for so, I say,
The story tells,) to-morrow before day.
[Wife. George, dost thou think
in thy conscience now 'twill be a match? tell me but what thou
thinkest, sweet rogue. Thou seest the poor gentleman, dear heart, how
it labours and throbs, I warrant you, to be at rest! I'll go move the
Cit. No, no; I prithee,
sit still, honeysuckle; thou'lt spoil all. If he deny him, I'll bring
half-adozen good fellows myself, and in the shutting of an evening,
knock't up, and there's an end.
Wife. I'll buss thee for
that, i'faith, boy. Well, George, well, you have been a wag in your
days, I warrant you; but God forgive you, and I do with all my heart.]
Vent. How was it, son?
you told me that to-morrow
Before day-break, you must convey her hence.
Hum. I must, I must; and
thus it is agreed:
Your daughter rides upon a brown-bay steed,
I on a sorrel, which I bought of Brian,
The honest host of the Red roaring Lion,
In Waltham situate. Then, if you may,
Consent in seemly sort; lest, by delay,
The Fatal Sisters come, and do the office,
And then you'll sing another song.
Why should you be thus full of grief to me,
That do as willing as yourself agree
To any thing, so it be good and fair?
Then, steal her when you will, if such a pleasure
Content you both; I'll sleep and never see it,
To make your joys more full. But tell me why
You may not here perform your marriage?
[Wife. God's blessing o' thy
soul, old man! i'faith, thou art loath to part true hearts. I see 'a
has her, George; and I'm as glad on't!—Well, go thy ways, Humphrey, for
a fair-spoken man; I believe thou hast not thy fellow within the walls
of London; an I should say the suburbs too, I should not lie.—Why dost
not rejoice with me, George?
Cit. If I could but see
Ralph again, I were as merry as mine host, i'faith.]
Hum. The cause you seem
to ask, I thus declare—
Help me, O Muses nine! Your daughter sware
A foolish oath, and more it was the pity;
Yet no one but myself within this city
Shall dare to say so, but a bold defiance
Shall meet him, were he of the noble science;
And yet she sware, and yet why did she sware?
Truly, I cannot tell, unless it were
For her own ease; for, sure, sometimes an oath,
Being sworn thereafter, is like cordial broth;
And this it was she swore, never to marry
But such a one whose mighty arm could carry
(As meaning me, for I am such a one)
Her bodily away, through stick and stone,
Till both of us arrive, at her request,
Some ten miles off, in the wild Waltham-forest.
Vent. If this be all,
you shall not need to fear
Any denial in your love: proceed;
I'll neither follow, nor repent the deed.
Hum. Good night, twenty
good nights, and twenty more,
And twenty more good nights,—that makes three-score!
Enter Mistress Merrythought and
Mist. Mer. Come,
Michael; art thou not weary, boy?
Mich. No, forsooth,
mother, not I.
Mist. Mer. Where be we
Mich. Indeed, forsooth,
mother, I cannot tell, unless we be at Mile-End: Is not all the world
Mist. Mer. No, Michael,
not all the world, boy; but I can assure thee, Michael, Mile-End is a
goodly matter: there has been a pitchfield, my child, between the
naughty Spaniels and the Englishmen; and the Spaniels ran away,
Michael, and the Englishmen followed: my neighbour Coxstone was there,
boy, and killed them all with a birding-piece.
Mich. Mother, forsooth—
Mist. Mer. What says my
Mich. Shall not my
father go with us too?
Mist. Mer. No, Michael,
let thy father go snick-up; he shall never come between a pair of
sheets with me again while he lives; let him stay at home, and sing for
his supper, boy. Come, child, sit down, and I'll show my boy fine
knacks, indeed. [They sit down: and
she takes out a casket.]
Look here, Michael; here's a ring, and here's a brooch, and here's a
bracelet, and here's two rings more, and here's money and gold by
th'eye, my boy.
Mich. Shall I have all
Mist. Mer. Ay, Michael,
thou shall have all, Michael.
[Cit. How likest thou this,
Wife. I cannot tell; I
would have Ralph, George; I'll see no more else, indeed, la; and I pray
you, let the youths understand so much by word of mouth; for, I tell
you truly, I'm afraid o' my boy. Come, come, George, let's be merry and
wise: the child's a fatherless child; and say they should put him into
a strait pair of gaskins, 'twere worse than knot-grass; he would never
grow after it.]
Ralph, Tim and George.
[Cit. Here's Ralph,
Wife. How do you do,
Ralph? you are welcome, Ralph, as I may say; it's a good boy, hold up
thy head, and be not afraid; we are thy friends, Ralph; the gentlemen
will praise thee, Ralph, if thou playest thy part with audacity. Begin,
Ralph, a' God's name!]
Ralph. My trusty squire,
unlace my helm: give me my hat.
Where are we, or what desert may this be?
George. Mirror of
knighthood, this is, as I take it, the perilous Waltham-down; in whose
bottom stands the enchanted valley.
Mist. Mer. Oh, Michael,
we are betrayed, we are betrayed! here be giants! Fly, boy! fly, boy,
with Michael leaving the casket.
Ralph. Lace on my helm again. What noise is this?
A gentle lady, flying the embrace
Of some uncourteous knight! I will relieve her.
Go, squire, and say, the Knight, that wears this
In honour of all ladies, swears revenge
Upon that recreant coward that pursues her;
Go, comfort her, and that same gentle squire
That bears her company.
Tim. I go, brave knight.
Ralph. My trusty
dwarf and friend, reach me my shield;
And hold it while I swear. First, by my knighthood;
Then by the soul of Amadis de Gaul,
My famous ancestor; then by my sword
The beauteous Brionella girt about me;
By this bright burning Pestle, of mine honour
The living trophy; and by all respect
Due to distressed damsels; here I vow
Never to end the quest of this fair lady
And that forsaken squire till by my valour
I gain their liberty!
George. Heaven bless the
That thus relieves poor errant gentlewomen!
[Wife. Ay, marry,
Ralph, this has some savour in't; I would
see the proudest of them all offer to carry his books after him. But,
George, I will not have him go away so soon; I shall be sick if he go
away, that I shall: call Ralph again, George, call Ralph again; I
prithee, sweetheart, let him come fight before me, and let's ha' some
drums and some trumpets, and let him kill all that comes near him, an
thou lovest me, George!
Cit. Peace a little,
bird: he shall kill them all, an they were twenty more on 'em than
Jasp. Now, Fortune,
if thou be'st not only ill,
Show me thy better face, and bring about
Thy desperate wheel, that I may climb at length,
And stand. This is our place of meeting,
If love hare any constancy. Oh, age,
Where only wealthy men are counted happy!
I am only rich in misery?
My father's blessing and this little coin
Is my inheritance; a strong revenue!
From earth thou art, and to the earth I give thee:
away the money.
There grow and multiply, whilst fresher air
Breeds me a fresher fortune.—How! illusion?
What, hath the devil coined himself before
'Tis metal good, it rings well; I am waking,
And taking too, I hope. Now, God's dear blessing
Upon his heart that left it here! 'tis mine;
These pearls, I take it, were not left for swine.
with the casket.
[Wife. I do not like
that this unthrifty youth should embezzle away the money; the poor
gentlewoman his mother will have a heavy heart for it, God knows.
Cit. And reason good,
Wife. But let him go;
I'll tell Ralph a tale in's ear shall fetch him again with a wanion, I
warrant him, if he be above ground; and besides, George, here are a
number of sufficient gentlemen can witness, and myself, and yourself,
and the musicians, if we be called in question.
Another part of the Forest.
Enter Ralph and George.
But here comes Ralph, George; thou shalt hear him speak as he
were an emperal.]
Ralph. Comes not sir
George. Right courteous
Your squire doth come, and with him comes the lady,
For and the Squire of Damsels, as I take it.
Tim, Mistress Merrythought and Michael.
Ralph. Madam, if any
service or devoir
Of a poor errant knight may right your wrongs,
Command it; I am prest to give you succour;
For to that holy end I bear my armour.
Mist. Mer. Alas, sir, I
am a poor gentlewoman, and I have lost my money in this forest!
Ralph. Desert, you would
say, lady; and not lost
Whilst I have sword and lance. Dry up your tears,
Which ill befit the beauty of that face,
And tell the story, if I may request it,
Of your disastrous fortune.
Mist. Mer. Out, alas! I
left a thousand pound, a thousand pound, e'en all the money I had laid
up for this youth, upon the sight of your mastership, you looked so
grim, and, as I may say it, saving your presence, more like a giant
than a mortal man.
Ralph. I am as you are,
lady; so to are they:
All mortal. But why weeps this gentle squire?
Mist. Mer. Has he not
cause to weep, do you think, when he hath lost his inheritance?
Ralph. Young hope of
valour, weep not; I am here
That will confound thy foe, and pay it dear
Upon his coward head, that dares deny
Distressed squires and ladies equity.
I have but one horse, on which shall ride
This fair lady behind me, and before
This courteous squire: fortune will give us more
Upon our next adventure. Fairly speed
Beside us, squire and dwarf, to do us need!
[Cit. Did not I tell
you, Nell, what your man would do? by the faith of my body, wench, for
clean action and good delivery, they may all cast their caps at him.
Wife. And so they may,
i'faith; for I dare speak it boldly, the twelve companies of London
cannot match him, timber for timber. Well, George, an he be not
inveigled by some of these paltry players, I ha' much marvel: but,
George, we ha' done our parts, if the boy have any grace to be
Cit. Yes, I warrant
Another part of the Forest.
Enter Humphrey and Luce.
Hum. Good Mistress Luce,
however I in fault am
For your lame horse, you're welcome unto Waltham;
But which way now to go, or what to say,
I know not truly, till it be broad day.
Luce. Oh, fear not,
Master Humphrey; I am guide
For this place good enough.
Hum. Then, up and ride;
Or, if it please you, walk, for your repose,
Or sit, or, if yon will, go pluck a rose;
Either of which shall be indifferent
To your good friend and Humphrey, whose consent
Is so entangled ever to your will,
As the poor harmless horse is to the mill.
Luce. Faith, an you say
the word, we'll e'en sit down,
And take a nap.
Hum. 'Tis better in the
Where we may nap together; for, believe me.
To sleep without a snatch would mickle grieve me.
Luce. You're merry,
Hum. So I am,
And have been ever merry from my dam.
Luce. Your nurse had
the less labour.
Hum. Faith, it may
Unless it were by chance I did beray me.
Jasp. Luce! dear
Luce. Here, Jasper.
Jasp. You are mine.
Hum. If it be so, my
friend, you use me fine:
What do you think I am?
Jasp. An arrant noddy.
Hum. A word of obloquy!
Now, by God's body,
I'll tell thy master; for I know thee well.
Jasp. Nay, an you be so
forward for to tell,
Take that, and that; and tell him, sir, I gave it:
And say, I paid you well.
Hum. Oh, sir I have
And do confess the payment! Pray, be quiet.
Jasp. Go, get you to
your night-cap and the diet,
To cure your beaten bones.
Luce. Alas, poor
Get thee some wholesome broth, with sage and
A little oil of roses and a feather
To 'noint thy back withal.
Hum. When I came hither,
Would I had gone to Paris with John Dory!
Luce. Farewell, my
pretty nump; I am very sorry
I cannot bear thee company.
The devil's dam was ne'er so banged in hell.
Luce and Jasper.
[Wife. This young
Jasper will prove me another thing, o' my conscience, an he may be
suffered. George, dost not see, George, how 'a swaggers, and flies at
the very heads o' folks, as he were a dragon? Well, if I do not do his
lesson for wronging the poor gentleman, I am no true woman. His friends
that brought him up might have been better occupied, i-wis, than have
taught him these fegaries: he's e'en in the high way to the gallows,
God bless him!
Cit. You're too bitter,
cony; the young man may do well enough for all this.
Wife. Come hither,
Master Humphrey; has he hurt you? now, beshrew his fingers for't! Here
sweetheart, here's some green ginger for thee. Now, beshrew my heart,
but 'a has peppernel in's head, as big as a pullet's egg! Alas, sweet
lamb, how thy temples beat! Take the peace on him, sweetheart,
take the peace on him.
Cit. No, no; you talk
like a foolish woman: I'll ha' Ralph fight with him, and swinge him up
well-favouredly. — Sirrah boy, come hither. [Enter Boy.] Let Ralph come in and
fight with Jasper.
Wife. Ay, and beat him
well; he's an unhappy boy.
Boy. Sir, you must
pardon; the plot of our play lies contrary; and 'twill hazard the
spoiling of our play.
Cit. Plot me no plots!
I'll ha' Ralph come out; I'll make your house too hot for you else.
Boy. Why, sir, he shall;
but if any thing fall out of order, the gentlemen must pardon us.
Cit. Go your ways,
I'll hold him a penny, he shall have his bellyfill of fighting
now. Ho, here comes Ralph! no more!]
Another part of the Forest.
Enter Ralph, Mistress
Merrythought, Michael, Tim and George.
Ralph. What knight is
that, squire? ask him if he keep
The passage, bound by love of lady fair,
Or else but prickant.
Hum. Sir, I am no
But a poor gentleman, that this same night
Had stolen from me, on yonder green,
My lovely wife, and suffered (to be seen
Yet extant on my shoulders) such a greeting,
That whilst I live I shall think of that meeting.
[Wife. Ay, Ralph, he beat him
unmercifully, Ralph, an thou sparest him, Ralph, I would thou went
Cit. No more, wife, no
Ralph. Where is the
caitiff-wretch hath done this deed?
Lady, your pardon; that I may proceed;
Upon the quest of this injurious knight.
And thou, fair squire, repute me not the worse,
In leaving the great venture of the purse
And the rich casket, till some better leisure.
Hum. Here comes the
broker hath purloined my treasure.
Jasper and Luce.
Ralph. Go, squire,
and tell him I am here,
An errant knight-at-arms, to crave delivery
Of that fair lady to her own knight's arms.
If he deny, bid him take choice of ground,
And so defy him.
Tim. From the Knight
The Golden Pestle, I defy thee, knight,
Unless thou make fair restitution
Of that bright lady.
Jasp. Tell the knight
that sent thee,
He is an ass; and I will keep the wench,
And knock his head-piece.
Ralph. Knight, thou art
If thou recall not thy uncourteous terms.
[Wife. Break 's pate, Ralph;
break 's pate, Ralph, soundly!]
Jasp. Come, knight; I am
ready for you. Now your Pestle [Snatches
away his pestle.]
shall try what temper, sir, your mortar's of. With that he stood
upright in his stirrups, and gave the Knight of the calf-skin such a
knock [Knocks Ralph down.]
that he forsook his horse and down he fell; and then he leaped upon
him, and plucking off his helmet —
Hum. Nay, an my noble
knight be down so soon,
Though I can scarcely go, I needs must run.
[Wife. Run, Ralph,
run, Ralph; run for thy life, boy; Jasper comes, Jasper comes!]
Jasp. Come Luce, we
must have other arms for you:
Humphrey, and Golden Pestle, both adieu!
[Wife. Sure the devil
(God bless us!) is in this springald! Why, George, didst ever see such
a fire-drake? I am afraid my boy's miscarried: if he be, though he were
Master Merrythought's son a thousand times, if there be any law in
England, I'll make some of them smart for't.
Cit. No, no; I have
found out the matter, sweetheart; as sure as we are here, he is
enchanted: he could no more have stood in Ralph's hands than I can in
my lord mayor's. I'll have a ring to discover all enchantments, and
Ralph shall beat him yet: be no more vexed, for it shall be so.]
Before the Bell-Inn, Waltham.
Enter Ralph, Mistress
Merrythought, Michael, Tim and George.
[Wife. Oh, husband,
here's Ralph again!—Stay, Ralph, let me speak with thee. How dost thou,
Ralph? art thou not shrewdly hurt? the foul great lungies laid
unmercifully on thee: there's some sugar-candy for thee. Proceed; thou
shalt have another bout with him.
Cit. If Ralph had him at
the fencing-school, if he did not make a puppy of him, and drive him up
and down the school, he should ne'er come in my shop more.]
Mist. Mer. Truly Master
Knight of the Burning Pestle, I am weary.
Mich. Indeed, la,
mother, and I am very hungry.
Ralph. Take comfort,
gentle dame, and you, fair squire;
For in this desert there must needs be placed
Many strong castles, held by courteous knights;
And till I bring you safe to one of those,
I swear by this my order ne'er to leave you.
[Wife. Well said, Ralph!—
George, Ralph was ever comfortable, was he not?
Cit. Yes, duck.
Wife. I shall ne'er
forget him. When he had lost our child, (you know it was strayed almost
alone to Puddle-Wharf, and the criers were abroad for it, and there it
had drowned itself but for a sculler,) Ralph was the most comfortablest
to me: "Peace, mistress," says he, "let it go; I'll get you another as
good." Did he not, George, did he not say so?
Cit. Yes, indeed did he,
George. I would we had a
mess of pottage and a pot of drink, squire, and were going to bed!
Tim. Why, we are at
Waltham-town's end, and that's the Bell-Inn.
George. Take courage,
valiant knight, damsel, and squire!
I have discovered, not a stone's cast off,
An ancient castle, held by the old knight
Of the most holy order of the Bell,
Who gives to all knights-errant entertain:
There plenty is of food, and all prepared
By the white hands of his own lady dear.
He hath three squires that welcome all his guests;
The first, hight Chamberlino, who will see
Our beds prepared, and bring us snowy sheets,
Where never footman stretched his buttered hams;
The second, hight Tapstero, who will see
Our pots full filled, and no froth therein;
The third, a gentle squire, Ostlero hight,
Who will our palfreys slick with wisps of straw,
And in the manger put them oats enough,
And never grease their teeth with candle-snuff.
[Wife. That same dwarfs a
pretty boy, but the squire's a groutnol.]
Ralph. Knock at the
gates, my squire, with stately lance.
knocks at the door.
there?—You're welcome, gentlemen: will you see a room?
George. Right courteous
and valiant Knight of the Burning Pestle, this is the Squire Tapstero.
Ralph. Fair Squire
Tapstero, I a wandering knight,
Hight of the Burning Pestle, in the quest
Of this fair lady's casket and wrought purse,
Losing myself in this vast wilderness,
Am to this castle well by fortune brought;
Where, hearing of the goodly entertain
Your knight of holy order of the Bell
Gives to all damsels and all errant knights,
I thought to knock, and now am bold to enter.
Tap. An't please you see
a chamber, you are very welcome.
[Wife. George, I
would have something done, and I cannot tell what it is.
Cit. What is it, Nell?
Wife. Why, George, shall
Ralph beat nobody again? prithee, sweetheart, let him.
Cit. So he shall, Nell;
and if I join with him, we'll knock them all.]
A Room in the House of
Enter Humphrey and Venturewell.
[Wife. Oh, George, here's
Master Humphrey again now that lost Mistress Luce, and Mistress Luce's
father. Master Humphrey will do somebody's errand, I warrant him.]
Hum. Father, it's true
in arms I ne'er shall clasp her;
For she is stoln away by your man Jasper.
[Wife. I thought he would tell
Vent. Unhappy that I am,
to lose my child!
Now I begin to think on Jasper's words,
Who oft hath urged to me thy foolishness:
Why didst thou let her go? thou lov'st her not,
That wouldst bring home thy life, and not bring her.
Hum. Father, forgive me.
Shall I tell you true?
Look on my shoulders, they are black and blue:
Whilst to and fro fair Luce and I were winding,
He came and basted me with a hedge-binding.
Vent. Get men and horses
straight: we will be there
Within this hour. You know the place again!
Hum. I know the place
where he my loins did swaddle;
I'll get six horses, and to each a saddle.
[Wife. George, what
wilt thou lay with me now, that Master Humphrey has not Mistress Luce
yet? speak, George, what wilt thou lay with me?
Cit. No, Nell; I warrant
thee, Jasper is at Puckeridge with her by this.
Wife. Nay, George, you
must consider Mistress Luce's feet are tender; and besides 'tis dark;
and, I promise you truly, I do not see how he should get out of Waltham
forest with her yet.
Cit. Nay, cony, what
wilt thou lay with me, that Ralph has her not yet?
Wife. I will not lay
against Ralph, honey, because I have not spoken with him.]
A Room in Merrythought's House.
[Wife. But look,
George, peace! here comes the merry old gentleman again.]
it was grown to dark midnight,
And all were fast asleep,
came Margaret's grimly ghost,
And stood at William's feet.
I have money, and meat, and drink beforehand, till to-morrow at noon;
why should I be sad? methinks I have half-a-dozen jovial spirits within
three merry men, and three merry men!
To what end should any man be sad in this world? give me a man that
when he goes to hanging cries,
Troul the black bowl to me!
and a woman that will sing a catch in her travail! I have seen a man
come by my door with a serious face, in a black cloak, without a
hat-band, carrying his head as if he looked for pins in the street; I
have looked out of my window half a year after, and have spied that
man's head upon London-bridge. 'Tis vile: never trust a tailor that
does not sing at his work; his mind is of nothing but filching.
[Wife. Mark this, George; 'tis
worth noting; Godfrey my tailor, you know, never sings, and he had
fourteen yards to make this gown: and I'll be sworn, Mistress Penistone
the draper's wife had one made with twelve.]
mirth that fills the veins with blood,
than wine, or sleep, or food;
each man keep his heart at ease
man dies of that disease.
that would his body keep
diseases, must not weep;
whoever laughs and sings,
Never he his body brings
fevers, gouts, or rheums,
lingeringly his lungs consumes,
meets with aches in the bone,
catarrhs or griping stone;
contented lives for aye;
more he laughs, the more he may.
[Wife. Look, George; how sayst
thou by this, George? is't not a fine old man?—Now, God's blessing o'
thy sweet lips!—When wilt thou be so merry, George? faith, thou art the
frowningest little thing, when thou art angry, in a country.
Cit. Peace, cony; thou
shalt see him taken down too, I warrant thee.
Here's Luce's father come now.]
you came from Walsingham,
From that holy land,
There met you not with my true love
By the way as you came?
Vent. Oh, Master
Merrythought, my daughter's gone!
This mirth becomes you not; my daughter's gone!
an if she be, what care I?
let her come, or go, or tarry.
Vent. Mock not my
misery; it is your son
(Whom I have made my own, when all forsook him)
Has stoln my only joy, my child, away.
set her on a milk-white steed,
And himself upon a grey;
never turned his face again,
But he bore her quite away.
Vent. Unworthy of the
kindness I have shown
To thee and thine! too late I well perceive
Thou art consenting to my daughter's loss.
Mer. Your daughter! what
a stir's here wi' your daughter? Let her go, think no more on her, but
sing loud. If both my sons were on the gallows, I would sing,
Down, down, down they fall;
Down, and arise they never shall.
Vent. Oh, might I behold
her once again,
And she once more embrace her aged sire!
Mer. Fie, how scurvily
this goes! "And she once more embrace her aged sire?" You'll make a dog
on her, will ye? she cares much for her aged sire, I warrant you.
cares not for her daddy, nor
She cares not for her mammy,
she is, she is, she is, she is
My lord of Lowgave's lassy.
Vent. For this thy scorn
I will pursue that son
Of thine to death.
Mer. Do; and when you
ha' killed him,
him flowers enow, palmer, give him flowers enow;
him red, and white, and blue, green, and yellow.
Vent. I'll fetch my
Mer. I'll hear no more
o' your daughter; it spoils my mirth.
Vent. I say, I'll fetch
never man for lady's sake,
Tormented as I poor Sir Guy,
De derry down,
Lucy's sake, that lady bright,
ever men beheld with eye,
De derry down.
Vent. I'll be revenged,
[Wife. How dost thou
like this, George?
Cit. Why, this is well,
cony; but if Ralph were hot once, thou shouldst see more.
Wife. The fiddlers go
Cit. Ay, Nell; but
this is scurvy music. I gave the whoreson gallows money, and I think he
has not got me the waits of Southwark: if I hear 'em not anon, I'll
twinge him by the ears.—You musicians, play Baloo!
Wife. No, good George,
let's ha' Lachrymae!
Cit. Why, this is it,
Wife. It's all the
better, George. Now, sweet lamb, what story is that painted upon the
cloth? the Confutation of St Paul?
Cit. No, lamb; that's
Ralph and Lucrece.
Wife. Ralph and Lucrece!
which Ralph? our Ralph?
Cit. No, mouse; that was
Wife. A Tartarian! Well,
I would the fiddlers had done, that we might see our Ralph again!]
Enter Jasper and Luce.
Jasp. Come, my dear
dear; though we have lost our way
We have not lost ourselves. Are you not weary
With this night's wandering, broken from your rest,
And frighted with the terror that attends
The darkness of this wild unpeopled place?
Luce. No, my best
friend; I cannot either fear,
Or entertain a weary thought, whilst you
(The end of all my full desires) stand by me:
Let them that lose their hopes, and live to languish
Amongst the number of forsaken lovers,
Tell the long weary steps, and number time,
Start at a shadow, and shrink up their blood,
Whilst I (possessed with all content and quiet)
Thus take my pretty love, and thus embrace him.
Jasp. You have caught
me, Luce, so fast, that, whilst I live,
I shall become your faithful prisoner,
And wear these chains for ever. Come, sit down,
And rest your body, too, too delicate
For these disturbances.—[They sit down.] So: will you sleep?
Come, do not be more able than you are;
I know you are not skilful in these watches,
For women are no soldiers: be not nice,
But take it; sleep, I say.
Luce. I cannot sleep;
Indeed, I cannot, friend.
Jasp. Why, then, we'll
And try how that will work upon our senses.
Luce. I'll sing, or say,
or any thing but sleep.
Jasp. Come, little
mermaid, rob me of my heart
With that enchanting voice.
Lute. You mock me,
Tell me, dearest, what is love?
'Tis a lightning from above;
'Tis an arrow, 'tis a fire,
'Tis a boy they call Desire;
'Tis a smile
The poor hearts of men that prove.
Tell me more, are women
Some love change, and so do you.
Are they fair and never kind?
Yes, when men turn with the wind.
Are they froward?
Those that love, to love anew.
Jasp. Dissemble it no
more; I see the god
Of heavy sleep lay on his heavy mace
Upon your eyelids.
Luce. I am very heavy.
Jasp. Sleep, sleep;
and quiet rest crown thy sweet thoughts!
Keep from her fair blood distempers, startings,
Horrors, and fearful shapes! let all her dreams
Be joys, and chaste delights, embraces, wishes,
And such new pleasures as the ravished soul
Gives to the senses!—So; my charms have took.
Keep her, you powers divine, whilst I contemplate
Upon the wealth and beauty of her mind!
She is only fair and constant, only kind,
And only to thee, Jasper. Oh, my joys!
Whither will you transport me? let not fulness
Of my poor buried hopes come up together
And overcharge my spirits! I am weak.
Some say (however ill) the sea and women
Are governed by the moon; both ebb and flow,
Both full of changes; yet to them that know,
And truly judge, these but opinions are,
And heresies, to bring on pleasing war
Between our tempers, that without these were
Both void of after-love and present fear,
Which are the best of Cupid. Oh, thou child
Bred from despair, I dare not entertain thee,
Having a love without the faults of women,
And greater in her perfect goods than men!
Which to make good, and please myself the stronger,
Though certainly I am certain of her love,
I'll try her, that the world and memory
May sing to after-times her constancy.—
Luce! Luce! awake!
Luce. Why do you fright
With those distempered looks? what makes your sword
Drawn in your hand? who hath offended you?
I prithee, Jasper, sleep; thou art wild with watching.
Jasp. Come, make your
way to Heaven, and bid the world,
With all the villanies that stick upon it,
Farewell; you're for another life.
Luce. Oh, Jasper,
How have my tender years committed evil,
Especially against the man I love,
Thus to be cropped untimely?
Jasp. Foolish girl,
Canst thou imagine I could love his daughter
That flung me from my fortune into nothing?
Discharged me his service, shut the doors
Upon my poverty, and scorned my prayers,
Sending me, like a boat without a mast,
To sink or swim? Come; by this hand you die;
I must have life and blood, to satisfy
Your father's wrongs.
[Wife. Away, George, away!
raise the watch at Ludgate, and bring a mittimus from the justice for
this desperate villain!—Now, I charge you, gentlemen, see the king's
peace kept—Oh, my heart, what a varlet's this, to offer manslaughter
upon the harmless gentlewoman!
Cit. I warrant thee,
sweetheart, we'll have him hampered.]
Luce. Oh, Jasper, be not
If thou wilt kill me, smile, and do it quickly,
And let not many deaths appear before me;
I am a woman, made of fear and love,
A weak, weak woman; kill not with thy eyes,
They shoot me through and through: strike, I am
And, dying, still I love thee.
Venturewell, Humphrey and Attendants.
Jasp. [Aside.] No more of this; now to
Hum. There, there he
stands, with sword, like martial knight,
Drawn in his hand; therefore beware the fight,
You that be wise; for, were I good Sir Bevis,
I would not stay his coming, by your leaves.
Vent. Sirrah, restore my
Jasp. Sirrah, no.
Vent. Upon him, then!
attack Jasper, and force Luce from him.
[Wife. So; down with
him, down with him, down with him! cut him i' the leg, boys, cut him i'
Vent. Come your ways,
minion: I'll provide a cage
For you, you're grown so tame.—Horse her away.
Hum. Truly, I'm glad
your forces have the day.
all except Jasper.
Jasp. They are gone,
and I am hurt; my love is lost,
Never to get again. Oh, me unhappy!
Bleed, bleed and die! I cannot. Oh, my folly,
Thou hast betrayed me! Hope, where art thou fled?
Tell me, if them be'st any where remaining,
Shall I but see my love again? Oh, no!
She will not deign to look upon her butcher,
Nor is it fit she should; yet I must venture.
Oh, Chance, or Fortune, or whate'er thou art,
That men adore for powerful, hear my cry,
And let me loving lire, or losing die!
[Wife. Is 'a gone,
Cit. Ay, cony.
Wife. Marry, and let him
go, sweetheart. By the faith o' my body, 'a has put me into such a
fright, that I tremble (as they say) as 'twere an aspen-leaf. Look o'
my little finger, George, how it shakes. Now, in truth, every member of
my body is the worse for't.
Cit. Come, hug in mine
arms, sweet mouse; he shall not fright thee any more. Alas, mine own
dear heart, how it quivers!]
A Room in the Bell-Inn,
Enter Mistress Merrythought,
Ralph, Michael, Tim, George, Host and Tapster.
[Wife. Oh, Ralph! how
dost thou, Ralph? How hast thou slept to-night? has the knight used
Cit. Peace, Nell; let
Ralph. Right courteous
knight, who, for the orders sake
Which thou hast ta'en, hang'st out the holy Bell,
As I this flaming Pestle bear about,
We render thanks to your puissant self,
Your beauteous lady, and your gentle squires,
For thus refreshing of our wearied limbs,
Stiffened with hard achievements in wild desert.
Tap. Sir, there is
twelve shillings to pay.
Ralph. Thou merry Squire
Tapstero, thanks to thee
For comforting our souls with double jug:
And, if adventurous fortune prick thee forth,
Thou jovial squire, to follow feats of arms,
Take heed thou tender every lady's cause,
Every true knight, and every damsel fair;
But spill the blood of treacherous Saracens,
And false enchanters that with magic spells
Have done to death full many a noble knight.
Host. Thou valiant
Knight of the Burning Pestle, give ear to me; there is twelve shillings
to pay, and, as I am a true knight, I will not bate a penny.
[Wife. George, I prithee, tell
me, must Ralph pay twelve shillings now?
Cit. No, Nell, no;
nothing but the old knight is merry with Ralph.
Wife. Oh, is't nothing
else? Ralph will be as merry as he.]
Ralph. Sir Knight, this
mirth of yours becomes you well;
But, to requite this liberal courtesy,
If any of your squires will follow arms,
He shall receive from my heroic hand
A knighthood, by the virtue of this Pestle.
Host. Fair knight, I
thank you for your noble offer: therefore, gentle knight, twelve
shillings you must pay, or I must cap you.
[Wife. Look, George! did not I
tell thee as much? the knight of the Bell is in earnest. Ralph shall
not be beholding to him: give him his money, George, and let him go
Cit. Cap Ralph! no. —
Hold your hand, Sir Knight of the Bell; there's your money [gives money]: have you any thing to
say to Ralph now? Cap Ralph!
Wife. I would you should
know it, Ralph has friends that will not suffer him to be capt for ten
times so much, and ten times to the end of that—Now take thy course,
Mist. Mer. Come,
Michael; thou and I will go home to thy father; he hath enough left to
keep us a day or two, and we'll set fellows abroad to cry our purse and
our casket: shall we, Michael?
Mich. Ay, I pray,
mother; in truth my feet are full of chilblains with travelling.
[Wife. Faith, and those
chilblains are a foul trouble. Mistress Merrythought, when your youth
comes home, let him rub all the soles of his feet, and his heels, and
his ancles with a mouse-skin; when he goes to bed, let him roll his
feet in when he goes to bed, let him roll his feet in the warm embers,
and, I warrant you, he shall be well; and you may make him put his
fingers between his toes, and smell to them; it's very sovereign for
his head, if he be costive.]
Mist. Mer. Master Knight
of the Burning Pestle, my son Michael and I bid you farewell: I thank
your worship heartily for your kindness.
Ralph. Farewell, fair
lady, and your tender squire.
If pricking through these deserts, I do hear
Of any traitorous knight, who through his guile
Hath light upon your casket and your purse,
I will despoil him of them, and restore them.
Mist. Mer. I thank your
Ralph. Dwarf, bear my
shield; squire, elevate my lance:—
And now farewell, you Knight of holy Bell.
[Cit. Ay, ay, Ralph, all is
Ralph. But yet, before I
go, speak, worthy knight,
Of aught you do of sad adventures know,
Where errant knight may through his prowess win
Eternal fame, and free some gentle souls
From endless bonds of steel and lingering pain.
Host. Sirrah, go to Nick
the barber, and bid him prepare himself, as I told you before, quickly.
Tap. I am gone, sir.
Host. Sir Knight, this
wilderness affordeth none
But the great venture, where full many a knight
Hath tried his prowess, and come off with shame;
And where I would not have you lose your life
Against no man, but furious fiend of hell.
Ralph. Speak on, Sir
Knight; tell what he is and where:
For here I vow, upon my blazing badge,
Never to blaze a day in quietness,
But bread and water will I only eat,
And the green herb and rock shall be my couch,
Till I have quelled that man, or beast, or fiend,
That works such damage to all errant knights.
Host. Not far from
hence, near to a craggy cliff,
At the north end of this distressed town,
There doth stand a lowly house,
Ruggedly builded, and in it a cave
In which an ugly giant now doth won,
Ycleped Barbarossa: in his hand
He shakes a naked lance of purest steel,
With sleeves turned up; and him before he wears
A motley garment, to preserve his clothes
From blood of those knights which he massacres
And ladies gent: without his door doth hang
A copper basin on a prickant spear;
At which no sooner gentle knights can knock,
But the shrill sound fierce Barbarossa hears,
And rushing forth, brings in the errant knight,
And sets him down in an enchanted chair;
Then with an engine, which he hath prepared,
With forty teeth, he claws his courtly crown;
Next makes him wink, and underneath his chin
He plants a brazen piece of mighty bord,
And knocks his bullets round about his cheeks;
Whilst with his fingers, and an instrument
With which he snaps his hair off, he doth fill
The wretch's ears with a most hideous noise:
Thus every knight-adventurer he doth trim,
And now no creature dares encounter him.
Ralph. In God's name, I
will fight with him. Kind sir,
Go but before me to this dismal care,
Where this huge giant Barbarossa dwells,
And, by that virtue that brave Rosicleer
That damned brood of ugly giants slew,
And Palmerin Frannarco overthrew,
I doubt not but to curb this traitor foul,
And to the devil send his guilty soul.
knight, thus far I will perform
This your request; I'll bring you within sight
Of this most loathsome place, inhabited
By a more loathsome man; but dare not stay,
For his main force swoops all he sees away.
Ralph. Saint George, set
on before! march squire and page!
[Wife. George, dost
think Ralph will confound the giant?
Cit. I hold my cap to a
farthing he does; why, Nell, I saw him wrestle with the great Dutchman,
and hurl him.
Wife. Faith, and that
Dutchman was a goodly man, if all things were answerable to his
bigness. And yet they say there was a Scotchman higher than he, and
that they two and a knight met, and saw one another for nothing. But of
all the sights that ever were in London, once I was married, methinks
the little child that was so fair grown about the members was the
prettiest; that and the hermaphrodite.
Cit. Nay, by your leave,
Nell, Ninivie was better.
Wife. Ninivie! oh, that
was the story of Jone and the wall, was it not, George?
Cit. Yes, lamb.]
The Street before Merry
Enter Mrs. Merrythought.
[Wife. Look, George,
here comes Mistress Merrythought again! and I would have Ralph come and
fight with the giant; I tell you true, I long to see't.
Cit. Good Mistress
Merrythought, begone, I pray you, for my sake; I pray you, forbear a
little; you shall have audience presently; I have a little business.
Merrythought, if it please you to refrain your passion a little, till
Ralph have despatched the giant out of the way, we shall think
ourselves much bound to you. [Exit
Mistress Merrythought.] I thank you, good Mistress Merrythought.
Cit. Boy, come hither. [Enter Boy.] Send away Ralph and
this whoreson giant quickly.
Boy. In good faith, sir,
we cannot; you'll utterly spoil our play, and make it to be hissed; and
it cost money; you will not suffer us to go on with our plot.—I pray,
gentlemen, rule him.
Cit. Let him come now
and despatch this, and I'll trouble you no more.
Boy. Will you give me
your hand of that?
Wife. Give him thy hand,
George, do; and I'll kiss him. I warrant thee, the youth means plainly.
Boy. I'll send him to
Wife. [Kissing him.]
I thank you, little youth. Faith, the child hath a sweet breath,
George; but I think it be troubled with the worms; cardus benedictus
and mare's milk were the only thing in the world for't.
Before a Barber's Shop,
Enter Ralph, Host, Tim, and
Wife. Oh, Ralph's
here, George!—God send thee good luck, Ralph.]
Host. Puissant knight,
yonder his mansion is.
Lo, where the spear and copper basin are!
Behold that string, on which hangs many a tooth,
Drawn from the gentle jaw of wandering knights!
I dare not stay to sound; he will appear.
Ralph. Oh, faint not,
heart! Susan, my lady dear,
The cobbler's maid in Milk-street, for whose sake
I take these arms, oh, let the thought of thee
Carry thy knight through all adventurous deeds;
And, in the honour of thy beauteous self,
May I destroy this monster Barbarossa!—
Knock, squire, upon the basin, till it break
With the shrill strokes, or till the giant speak.
knocks upon the basin.
[Wife. Oh, George,
the giant, the giant!—Now, Ralph for thy life!]
Bar. What fond unknowing
wight is this, that dares
So rudely knock at Barbarossa's cell,
Where no man comes but leaves his fleece behind?
Ralph. I, traitorous
caitiff, who am sent by fate
To punish all the sad enormities
Thou hast committed against ladies gent
And errant knights. Traitor to God and men,
Prepare thyself; this is the dismal hour
Appointed for thee to give strict account
Of all thy beastly treacherous villanies.
Bar. Fool-hardy knight,
full soon thou shall aby
This fond reproach: thy body will I bang;
down his pole.
And, lo, upon that string thy teeth shall
Prepare thyself, for dead soon shalt thou be.
Ralph. Saint George for
Bar. Gargantua for me!
[Wife. To him, Ralph,
to him! hold up the giant; set out thy leg before, Ralph!
Cit. Falsify a blow,
Ralph, falsify a blow! the giant lies open on the left side.
Wife. Bear't off, bear't
off still! there, boy!— Oh, Ralph's almost down, Ralph's almost down!
Ralph. Susan, inspire
me! now have up again.
Wife. Up, up, up, up,
up!, Ralph! down with him, down with him, Ralph!
Cit. Fetch him o'er the
knocks down the Barber.
Wife. There, boy!
kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, Ralph!
Cit. No, Ralph! get all
out of him first.]
Ralph. Presumptuous man,
see to what desperate end
Thy treachery hath brought thee! The just gods,
Who never prosper those that do despise them,
For all the villanies which thou hast done
To knights and ladies, now have paid thee home
By my stiff arm, a knight adventurous.
But say, vile wretch, before I send thy soul
To sad Avernus, (whither it must go)
What captives holdst thou in thy sable cave?
Bar. Go in, and free
them all; thou hast the day.
Ralph. Go, squire and
dwarf, search in this dreadful cave,
And free the wretched prisoners from their bonds.
Tim and George.
Bar. I crave for
mercy, as thou art a knight,
And scorn'st to spill the blood of those that beg.
Ralph. Thou show'd'st no
mercy, nor shalt thou have any;
Prepare thyself, for thou shall surely die.
Tim leading a Man winking, with a Basin under his Chin.
Tim. Behold, brave
knight, here is one prisoner,
Whom this vile man hath used as you see.
[Wife. This is the first wise
word I heard the squire speak.]
Ralph. Speak what thou
art, and how thou hast been used,
That I may give him condign punishment.
Man. I am a knight that
took my journey post
Northward from London; and in courteous wise
This giant trained me to his loathsome den,
Under pretence of killing of the itch;
And all my body with a powder strewed,
That smarts and stings; and cut away my beard,
And my curled locks wherein were ribands tied;
And with a water washed my tender eyes,
(Whilst up and down about me still he skipt,)
Whose virtue is, that, till my eyes be wiped
With a dry cloth, for this my foul disgrace,
I shall not dare to look a dog i' the face.
[Wife. Alas, poor
knight!—Relieve him, Ralph; relieve poor knights, whilst you live.]
Ralph. My trusty squire,
convey him to the town,
Where he may find relief.—Adieu, fair knight.
Man with Tim, who presently re-enters.
Re-enter George, leading a second Man, with a patch over his nose.
Knight, of the Burning Pestle hight,
See here another wretch, whom this fool beast
Hath scotched and scored in this inhuman wise.
Ralph. Speak me thy
name, and eke thy place of birth,
And what hath been thy usage in this cave.
2nd Man. I am a knight,
Sir Pockhole is my name,
And by my birth I am a Londoner,
Free by my copy, but my ancestors
Were Frenchmen all; and riding hard this way
Upon a trotting horse, my bones did ache;
And I, faint knight, to ease my weary limbs,
Light at this cave; when straight this furious
With sharpest instrument of purest steel,
Did cut the gristle of my nose away,
And in the place this velvet plaster stands:
Relieve me, gentle knight, out of his hands!
[Wife. Good Ralph, relieve Sir
Pockhole, and send him away; for in truth his breath stinks.]
Ralph. Convey him
straight after the other knight.—
Sir Pockhole, fare you well.
2nd Man. Kind sir, good
with George, who presently re-enters.
3rd Man [within]. Deliver
Woman [within]. Deliver us!
[Wife. Hark, George, what a
woeful cry there is! I think some woman lies-in there.]
Man [within]. Deliver us!
Woman [Within]. Deliver us!
Ralph. What ghastly
noise is this? Speak, Barbarossa,
Or, by this blazing steel, thy head goes off!
Bar. Prisoners of mine,
whom I in diet keep.
Send lower down into the cave,
And in a tub that's heated smoking hot.
There may they find them, and deliver them.
Ralph. Run, squire and
dwarf; deliver them with speed.
[Wife. But will not Ralph kill
this giant? Surely I am afraid, if he let him go, he will do as much
hurt as ever he did.
Cit. Not so, mouse,
neither, if he could convert him.
Wife. Ay, George, if he
could convert him; but a giant is not so soon converted as one of us
ordinary people. There's a pretty tale of a witch, that had the devil's
mark about her, (God bless us!) that had a giant to her son, that was
called Lob-lie-by-the-fire; didst never hear it, George?
Cit. Peace, Nell,
here comes the prisoners.]
Tim, leading a third Man, with a glass of lotion in his hand, and
George leading a Woman, with diet-bread and drink in her hand.
George. Here be these
pined wretches, manful knight,
That for this six weeks have not seen a wight.
Ralph. Deliver what you
are, and how you came
To this sad cave, and what your usage was?
3rd Man. I am an errant
knight that followed arms
With spear and shield; and in my tender years
I stricken was with Cupid's fiery shaft,
And fell in love with this my ladydear.
And stole her from her friends in Turnbull-street,
And bore her up and down from town to town,
Where we did eat and drink, and music hear;
Till at the length at this unhappy town
We did arrive, and coming to this cave,
This beast us caught, and put us in a tub,
Where we this two months sweat, and should have done
Another month, if you had not relieved us.
Woman. This bread and
water hath our diet been,
Together with a rib cut from a neck
Of burned mutton; hard hath been our fare:
Release us from this ugly giant's snare!
3rd Man. This hath been
all the food we have received;
But only twice a-day, for novelty,
He gave a spoonful of this hearty broth
To each of us, through this same slender quill.
out a syringe.
Ralph. From this
infernal monster you shall go,
That useth knights and gentle ladies so!—
Convey them hence.
Man and Woman are led off by Tim and George,
who presently re-enter.
[Cit. Cony, I can
tell thee, the gentlemen like Ralph.
Wife. Ay, George, I see
it well enough.—Gentlemen, I thank you all heartily for gracing my man
Ralph; and I promise you, you shall see him oftener.]
Bar. Mercy, great
knight! I do recant my ill,
And henceforth never gentle blood will spill.
Ralph. I give thee
mercy; but yet shalt thou swear
Upon my Burning Pestle, to perform
Thy promise uttered.
Bar. I swear and kiss.
Ralph. Depart, then,
Come, squire and dwarf; the sun grows
towards his set,
And we have many more adventures yet.
[Cit. Now Ralph is in
this humour, I know he would ha' beaten all the boys in the house, if
they had been set on him.
Wife. Ay, George, but it
is well as it is: I warrant you, the gentlemen do consider what it is
to overthrow a giant.
The Street before
Enter Mistress Merrythought and
But, look, George; here comes Mistress Merrythought, and her
son Michael.—Now you are welcome, Mistress Merrythought; now Ralph has
done, you may go on.]
Mist. Mer. Mick, my boy—
Mich. Ay, forsooth,
Mist. Mer. Be merry,
Mick; we are at home now; where, I warrant you, you shall find the
house flung out of the windows. [Music
Hark! hey, dogs, hey! this is the old world, i'faith, with my husband.
If I get in among .them, I'll play them, such a lesson, that they shall
have little list to come scraping hither again—Why, Master
Merrythought! husband! Charles Merrythought!
Mer. [Appearing above, and singing.]
you will sing, and dance, and laugh,
And hollow, and laugh again,
then cry, "there, boys, there!" why, then,
One, two, three, and four,
shall be merry within this hour.
Mist. Mer. Why, Charles,
do you not know your own natural wife? I say, open the door, and turn
me out those mangy companions; 'tis more than time that they were
fellow and fellow-like with you. You are a gentleman, Charles, and an
old man, and father of two children; and I myself, (though I say it) by
my mother's side niece to a worshipful gentleman and a conductor; he
has been three times in his majesty's service at Chester, and is now
the fourth time, God bless him and his charge, upon his journey.
from my window, love, go!
from my window, my dear!
The wind and the rain
Will drive you back again;
cannot be lodged here.
Hark you, Mistress Merrythought, you that walk upon adventures, and
forsake your husband, because he sings with never a penny in his purse;
what, shall I think myself the worse? Faith, no, I'll be merry. You
come not here; here's none but lads of mettle, lives of a hundred years
and upwards; care never drunk their bloods, nor want made them warble
"Heigh-ho, my heart is heavy.'"
Mist. Mer. Why, Master
Merrythought, what am I, that you should laugh me to scorn thus
abruptly? am I not your fellow-feeler, as we may say, in all our
miseries? your comforter in health and sickness? have I not brought you
children? are they not like you, Charles? look upon thine own image,
hard-hearted man! and yet for all this—
Begone, begone, my juggy, my puggy,
Begone, my love, my dear!
The weather is warm,
'Twill do thee no harm:
canst not be lodged here.—
Be merry, boys! some light music, and more wine!
[Wife. He's not in
earnest, George, is he?
Cit. What if he be,
Wife. Marry, if he be,
George, I'll make bold to tell him he's an ingrant old man to use his
bedfellow so scurvily.
Cit. What! how does he
use her, honey?
Wife. Marry, come up,
sir saucebox! I think you'll take his part, will you not? Lord,
how hot you have grown! you are a fine man, an' you had a fine dog; it
becomes you sweetly!
Cit. Nay, prithee, Nell,
chide not; for, as I am an honest man and a true Christian grocer, I do
not like his doings.
Wife. I cry you mercy,
then, George! you know we are all frail and full of infirmities.—D'ye
hear, Master Merrythought? may I crave a word with you?]
Mer. [Appearing above.] Strike up lively,
[Wife. I had not thought, in
truth, Master Merrythought, that a man of your age and discretion, as I
may say, being a gentleman, and therefore known by your gentle
conditions, could have used so little respect to the weakness of his
wife; for your wife is your own flesh, the staff of your age, your
yoke-fellow, with whose help you draw through the mire of this
transitory world; nay, she's your own rib: and again—
came not hither for thee to teach,
have no pulpit for thee to preach,
would thou hadst kissed me under the breech,
As thou art a lady gay.
[Wife. Marry, with a
vengeance! I am heartily sorry for the poor gentlewoman: but if I were
thy wife, i'faith, greybeard, i'faith—
Cit. I prithee, sweet
honeysuckle, be content.
[Wife. Give me such words,
that am a gentlewoman born! hang him, hoary rascal! Get me some drink,
George; I am almost molten with fretting: now, beshrew his knave's
heart for it!]
Mer. Play me a light
lavolta. Come, be frolic. Fill the good fellows wine.
Mist Mer. Why, Master
Merrythought, are you disposed to make me wait here? You'll open, I
hope; I'll fetch them that shall open else.
Mer. Good woman, if you
will sing, I'll give you something; if not—
are no love for me, Margaret,
I am no love for you.—
Come aloft, boys, aloft!
Mist Mer. Now a
churl's fist in your teeth, sir!— Come, Mick, we'll not trouble him; 'a
shall not ding us i' the teeth with his bread and his broth, that he
shall not. Come, boy; I'll provide for thee, I warrant thee. We'll go
to Master Venturewells, the merchant: I'll get his letter to mine host
of the Bell in Waltham; there I'll place thee with the tapster: will
not that do well for thee, Mick? and let me alone for that old
cuckoldly knave your father; I'll use him in his kind, I warrant ye.
Citizen with Beer
[Wife. Come, George,
where's the beer?
Cit. Here, love.
Wife. This old
fornicating fellow will not out of my mind yet.—Gentlemen, I'll begin
to you all; and I desire more of your acquaintance with all my heart. [Drinks.] Fill the gentlemen some
beer, George. [Enter Boy.]
Look, George, the little boy's come again: methinks he looks something
like the Prince of Orange in his long stocking, if he had a little
harness about his neck. George, I will have him dance fading. — Fading
is a fine jig, I'll anure you, gentlemen.—Begin, brother. [Boy dances.] Now 'a capers,
sweetheart!—Now a turn o' the toe, and then tumble! cannot you tumble,
Boy. No, indeed,
Wife. Nor eat fire?
Wife. Why, then, I thank
you heartily; there's twopence to buy you points withal.]
Enter Jasper and Boy.
Jasp. There, boy,
deliver this; but do it well.
Hast thou provided me four lusty fellows,
Able to carry me? and art thou perfect
In all thy business?
Boy. Sir, you need not
I have my lesson here, and cannot miss it:
The men are ready for you, and what else
Pertains to this employment.
Jasp. There, my boy;
Take it, but buy no land.
Boy. Faith, sir,
To see so young a purchaser. I fly,
And on my wings carry your destiny.
Jasp. Go, and be happy!
Now, my latest hope,
Forsake me not, but fling thy anchor out,
And let it hold! Stand fixed, thou rolling stone,
Till I enjoy my dearest! Hear me, all
You powers, that rule in men, celestial!
[Wife. Go thy ways;
thou art as crooked a sprig as ever grew in London. I warrant him,
he'll come to some naughty end or other; for his looks say no less:
besides, his father (you know, George) is none of the best; you heard
him take me up like a flirt-gill, and sing bawdy songs upon me; but,
i'faith, if I live, George,—
Cit. Let me alone,
sweetheart: I hare a trick in my head shall lodge him in the Arches for
one year, and make him sing peccavi
or I leave him; and yet he shall never know who hurt him neither.
Wife. Do, my good
Cit. What shall we have
Ralph do now, boy?
Boy. You shall have what
you will, sir.
Cit. Why, so, sir; go
and fetch me him then, and let the Sophy of Persia come and christen
him a child.
Boy. Believe me, sir,
that will not do so well; 'tis stale; it has been had before at the Red
Wife. George, let Ralph
travel over great hills, and let him be very weary, and come to the
King of Cracovia's house, covered with black velvet; and there let the
king's daughter stand in her window, all in beaten gold, combing her
golden locks with a comb of ivory; and let her spy Ralph, and fall in
love with him, and come down to him, and carry him into her father's
house; and then let Ralph talk with her.
Cit. Well said, Nell; it
shall be so.—Boy, let's ha't done quickly.
Boy. Sir, if you will
imagine all this to be done already, you shall hear them talk together;
but we cannot present a house covered with black velvet, and a lady in
Cit. Sir boy, let's ha't
as you can, then.
Boy. Besides, it will
show ill-favouredly to have a grocer's prentice to court a king's
Cit. Will it so, sir?
you are well read in histories! I pray you, what was Sir Dagonet? was
not he prentice to a grocer in London? Read the play of " The Four
Prentices of London," where they toss their pikes so. I pray you, fetch
him in, sir, fetch him in.
Boy. It shall be
done.—It is not our fault, gentlemen.
Wife. Now we shall see
fine doings, I warrant ye, George.
A Hall in the King of Moldavia's Court.
Enter Pompiona, Ralph, Tim, and George.
Oh, here they come! how prettily the King of Cracovia's
daughter is dressed!
Cit Ay, Nell, it is the
fashion of that country, I warrant ye.]
Pomp. Welcome, Sir
Knight, unto my father's court,
King of Moldavia; unto me Pompiona,
His daughter dear! But, sure, you do not like
Your entertainment, that will stay with us
No longer but a night.
Ralph. Damsel right
I am on many sad adventures bound,
That call me forth into the wilderness;
Besides, my horse's back is something galled,
Which will enforce me ride a sober pace.
But many thanks, fair lady, be to you
For using errant knight with courtesy!
Pomp. But say, brave
knight, what is your name and birth?
Ralph. My name is Ralph;
I am an Englishman,
(As true as steel, a hearty Englishman,)
And prentice to a grocer in the Strand
By deed indent, of which I have one part:
But fortune calling me to follow arms.
On me this only order I did take
Of Burning Pestle, which in all men's eyes
I bear, confounding ladies' enemies.
Pomp. Oft have I heard
of your brave countrymen,
And fertile soil and store of wholesome food;
My father oft will tell me of a drink
In England found, and nipitato called,
Which driveth all the sorrow from your hearts.
Ralph. Lady, 'tis true;
you need not lay your lips
To better nipitato than there is.
Pomp. And of a wild fowl
he will often speak,
Which powdered-beef-and-mustard called is:
For there have been great wars 'twixt us and you;
But truly, Ralph, it was not 'long of me.
Tell me then, Ralph, could you contented be
To wear a lady's favour in your shield?
Ralph. I am a knight of
a religious order,
And will not wear a favour of a lady
That trusts in Antichrist and false traditions.
[Cit. Well said, Ralph!
convert her, if thou canst.]
Ralph. Besides, I have a
lady of my own
In merry England, for whose virtuous sake
I took these arms; and Susan is her name,
A cobbler's maid in Milk Street; whom I vow
Ne'er to forsake whilst life and Pestle last.
Pomp. Happy that
cobbling dame, whoe'er she be,
That for her own, dear Ralph, hath gotten thee!
Unhappy I, that ne'er shall see the day
To see thee more, that bear'st my heart away!
Ralph. Lady, farewell; I
needs must take my leave.
Ralph, that ladies dost deceive!
[Cit. Hark thee, Ralph:
there's money for thee [Gives money];
give something in the King of Cracovia'a house; be not beholding to
Ralph. Lady, before I
go, I must remember
Your father's officers, who truth to tell,
Have been about me very diligent:
Hold up thy snowy hand, thou princely maid!
There's twelve-pence for your father's chamberlain;
And another shilling for his cook,
For, by my troth, the goose was roasted well;
And twelve-pence for your father's horse-keeper,
For 'nointing my horse-back, and for his butter
There is another shilling; to the maid
That washed my boot-hose there's an English groat
And two-pence to the boy that wiped my boots;
And last, fair lady, there is for yourself
Three-pence, to buy you pins at Bumbo-fair.
Pomp. Full many thanks;
and I will keep them safe
Till all the heads be off, for thy sake, Ralph.
Ralph. Advance, my
squire and dwarf! I cannot stay.
Pomp. Thou kill'st my
heart in passing thus away.
[Wife. I commend
Ralph yet, that he will not stoop to a Cracovian; there's properer
women in London than any are there, I-wis.
A Room in the House of
Enter Venturewell, Humphrey,
Luce, and Boy.
But here comes Master
Humphrey and his love again now, George.
Cit. Ay, cony; peace.]
Vent. Go, get you up; I
will not be entreated;
And, gossip mine, I'll keep you sure hereafter
From gadding out again with boys and unthrifts:
Come, they are women's tears; I know your fashion.—
Go, sirrah, lock her in, and keep the key
Safe as you love your life.
Luce and Boy.
Now, my son Humphrey,
You may both rest assured of my love
In this, and reap your own desire.
Hum. I see this love you
speak of, through your daughter,
Although the hole be little; and hereafter
Will yield the like in all I may or can,
Fitting a Christian and a gentleman.
Vent. I do believe you,
my good son, and thank you;
For 'twere an impudence to think you flattered.
Hum. It were, indeed;
but shall I tell you why?
I have been beaten twice about the lie.
Vent. Well, son, no more
of compliment. My daughter
Is yours again: appoint the time and take her;
We'll have no stealing for it; I myself
And some few of our friends will see you married.
Hum. I would you would,
i'faith! for, be it known,
I ever was afraid to lie alone.
Vent. Some three days
Hum. Three days! let me
'Tis somewhat of the most; yet I agree,
Because I mean against the appointed day
To visit all my friends in new array.
Serv. Sir, there's a
gentlewoman without would speak with your worship.
Vent. What is she?
Serv. Sir, I asked her
Vent. Bid her come in.
Mistress Merrythought and Michael.
Mist. Mer. Peace be
to your worship! I come as a poor suitor to you, sir, in the behalf of
Vent. Are you not wife
Mist. Mer. Yes, truly.
Would I had ne'er seen his eyes! he has undone me and himself and his
children; and there he lives at home, and sings and hoits and revels
among his drunken companions! but, I warrant you, where to get a penny
to put bread in his mouth he knows not: and therefore, if it like your
worship, I would entreat your letter to the honest host of the Bell in
Waltham, that I may place my child under the protection of his tapster,
in some settled course of life.
Vent. I'm glad the
heavens have heard my prayers. Thy husband,
When I was ripe in sorrows, laughed at me;
Thy son, like an unthankful wretch, I having
Redeemed him from his fall, and made him mine,
To show his love again, first stole my daughter,
Then wronged this gentleman, and, last of all,
Gave me that grief had almost brought me down
Unto my grave, had not a stronger hand
Relieved my sorrows. Go, and weep as I did,
And be unpitied; for I here profess
An everlasting hate to all thy name.
Mist. Mer. Will you so,
sir? how say you by that?—Come, Mick; let him keep his wind to cool his
pottage. We'll go to thy nurse's, Mick: she knits silk stockings, boy;
and we'll knit too, boy, and be beholding to none of them all.
Boy. Sir, I take it you
are the master of this house.
Vent. How then, boy!
Boy. Then to yourself,
sir, comes this letter. [Gives letter.]
Vent. From whom, my
Boy. From him that was
your servant; but no more
Shall that name ever be, for he is dead:
Grief of your purchased anger broke his heart.
I saw him die, and from his hand received
This paper, with a charge to bring it hither:
Read it, and satisfy yourself in all.
Sir, that I have wronged your love I must confess; in which I have
purchased to myself, besides mine own undoing, the ill opinion of my
friends. Let not your anger, good sir, outlive me, but suffer me to
rest in peace with your forgiveness: let my body (if a dying man may so
much prevail with you) be brought to your daughter, that she may truly
know my hot flames are now buried, and withal receive a testimony of
the zeal I bore her virtue. Farewell for ever, and be ever happy! JASPER.
God's hand is great in this: I do forgive
Yet I am glad he's quiet, where I hope
He will not bite again.—Boy, bring the body,
And let him have his will, if that be all.
Boy. 'Tis here without,
Vent. So, sir; if you
You may conduct it in; I do not fear it.
Hum. I'll be your usher,
boy; for, though I say it,
He owed me something once, and well did pay it.
Another Room in the House of
Luce. If there be any
Upon the miserable, more than yet I feel,
Let it together seize me, and at once
Press down my soul! I cannot bear the pain
Of these delaying tortures.—Thou that art
The end of all, and the sweet rest of all,
Come, come, oh, Death! bring me to thy peace,
And blot out all the memory I nourish
Both of my father and my cruel friend!—
Oh, wretched maid, still living to be wretched,
To be a say to Fortune in her changes,
And grow to number times and woes together!
How happy had I been, if, being born,
My grave had been my cradle!
Serv. By your leave,
Young mistress; here's a boy hath brought a coffin:
What 'a would say, I know not; but your father
Charged me to give you notice. Here they come.
Enter Boy, and two Men bearing a Coffin.
Luce. For me I hope
'tis come, and 'tis most welcome.
Boy. Fair mistress, let
me not add greater grief
To that great store you have already. Jasper
(That whilst he lived was yours, now dead
And here enclosed) commanded me to bring
His body hither, and to crave a tear
From those fair eyes, (though he deserved not pity,)
To deck his funeral; for so he bid me
Tell her for whom he died.
Luce. He shall have
Good friends, depart a little, whilst I take
My leave of this dead man, that once I loved.
Boy and Men.
Hold yet a little, life! and then I give
To thy first heavenly being. Oh, my friend!
Hast thou deceived me thus, and got before me?
I shall not long be after. But, believe me,
Thou wert too cruel, Jasper, 'gainst thyself,
In punishing the fault I could have pardoned,
With so untimely death: thou didst not wrong me,
But ever wert most kind, most true, most loving;
And I the most unkind, most false, most cruel!
Didst thou but ask a tear? I'll give thee all,
Even all my eyes can pour down, all my sighs,
And all myself, before thou goest from me:
These are but sparing rites; but if thy soul
Be yet about this place, and can behold
And see what I prepare to deck thee with,
It shall go up, borne on the wings of peace,
And satisfied. First will I sing thy dirge,
Then kiss thy pale lips, and then die myself,
And fill one coffin and one grave together.
Come, you whose loves are dead,
And, whiles I sing,
Weep, and wring
Every hand, and every head
with cypress and sad yew;
Ribands black and candles blue
him that was of men most true!
with heavy moaning,
And on his grave
Let him have
Sacrifice of sighs and groaning;
him have fair flowers enow,
purple, green and yellow,
him that was of men most true!
Thou sable cloth, sad cover of my joys,
I lift thee up, and thus I meet with death.
the Cloth, and Jasper rises out of the Coffin.
Jasp. And thus you
meet the living.
Luce. Save me, Heaven!
Jasp. Nay, do not fly
me, fair; I am no spirit:
Look better on me; do you know me yet?
Luce. Oh, thou dear
shadow of my friend!
Jasp. Dear substance;
I swear I am no shadow; feel my hand,
It is the same it was; I am your Jasper,
Your Jasper that's yet living, and yet loving.
Pardon my rash attempt, my foolish proof
I put in practice of your constancy;
For sooner should my sword have drunk my blood,
And set my soul at liberty, than drawn
The least drop from that body: for which boldness
Doom me to any thing; if death, I take it,
Luce. This death I'll
give you for it;
So, now I am satisfied you are no spirit,
But my own truest, truest, truest friend:
Why do you come thus to me?
Jasp. First, to see you;
Then to convey you hence.
Luce. It cannot be;
For I am locked up here, and watched at all hours,
That 'tis impossible for me to scape.
Jasp. Nothing more
possible. Within this coffin
Do you convey yourself: let me alone,
I have the wits of twenty men about me;
Only I crave the shelter of your closet
A little, and then fear me not. Creep in,
That they may presently convey you hence:
Fear nothing, dearest love; I'll be your second;
lies down in the Coffin, and Jasper covers her with the cloth.
Lie close: so; all goes well yet—Boy!
Boy and Men.
Boy. At hand, sir.
Jasp. Convey away the
coffin, and be wary.
Boy. 'Tis done already.
Men with the Coffin.
Jasp. Now must I go
into a Closet.
Vent. Boy, boy!
Boy. Your servant, sir.
Vent. Do me this
kindness, boy; (hold, here's a crown;)
Before thou bury the body of this
Carry it to his old merry father, and salute him
From me, and bid him sing; he hath cause.
Boy. I will, sir.
Vent. And then bring me
word what tune he is in,
And have another crown; but do it truly.
I have fitted him a bargain now will vex him.
Boy. God bless your
worship's health, sir!
Vent. Farewell, boy!
A Street before Merrythought's
[Wife. Ah, old Merrythought,
art thou there again? let's hear some of thy songs.]
can sing a merrier note
he that cannot change a groat?
Not a denier left, and yet my heart leaps: I do wonder yet, as old as I
am, that any man will follow a trade, or serve, that may sing and
laugh, and walk the streets. My wife and both my sons are I know not
where; I have nothing left, nor know I how to come by meat to supper;
yet am I merry still, for I know I shall find it upon the table at six
o'clock; therefore, hang thought!
would not be a serving-man
To carry the cloak-bag still,
would I be a falconer
The greedy hawks to fill;
I would be in a good house,
And have a good master too;
I would eat and drink of the best,
And no work would I do.
This it is that keeps life and soul together, mirth; this is the
philosopher's stone that they write so much on, that keeps a man ever
Boy. Sir, they say
they know all your money is gone, and they will trust you for no more
Mer. Will they not? let
'em choose! The best is, I have mirth at home, and need not send abroad
for that; let them keep their drink to themselves.
Julian of Berry, she dwells on a hill,
she hath good beer and ale to sell,
of good fellows she thinks no ill;
And thither will we go now, now, now,
And thither will we go now.
when you hare made a little stay,
need not ask what is to pay,
kiss your hostess, and go your way;
And thither will we go now, now, now,
And thither will we go now.
2nd Boy. Sir, I can
get no bread for supper.
Mer. Hang bread and
supper! let's preserve our mirth, and we shall never feel hunger, I'll
warrant you. Let's have a catch, boys; follow me, come.
ho, nobody at home!
Meat, nor drink, nor money ha' we none.
the pot, Eedy,
Never more need I.
Mer. So, boys; enough.
Follow me: Let's change our place, and we shall laugh afresh.
[Wife. Let him go,
George; 'a shall not have any countenance from us, nor a good word from
any i' the company, if I may strike stroke in't.
Cit. No more 'a sha'not,
love. But, Nell, I will have Ralph do a very notable matter now, to the
eternal honour and glory of all grocers.— Sirrah! you there, boy! Can
none of you hear?
Boy. Sir, your
Cit. Let Ralph come out
on May-day in the morning, and speak upon a conduit, with all his
scarfs about him, and his feathers, and his rings, and his knacks.
Boy. Why, sir, you do
not think of our plot; what will become of that, then?
Cit. Why, sir, I care
not what become on't: I'll have him come out, or I'll fetch him out
myself; I'll have something done in honour of the city: besides, he
hath been long enough upon adventures. Bring him out quickly; or, if I
come in amongst you—
Boy. Well, sir, he shall
come out, but if our play miscarry, sir, you are like to pay for't.
Cit. Bring him away
Wife. This will be
brave, i'faith! George, shall not he dance the morris too, for the
credit of the Strand?
Cit. No, sweetheart, it
will be too much for the boy. Oh, there he is, Nell! he's reasonable
well in reparel: but he has not rings enough.]
Ralph, dressed as a May-lord.
Ralph. London, to
thee I do present the merry month of May;
Let each true subject be content to hear me what I
For from the top of conduit-head, as plainly may
I will both tell my name to you, and wherefore I
My name is Ralph, by due descent though not ignoble
Yet far inferior to the stock of gracious grocery;
And by the common counsel of my fellows in the
With gilded staff and crossed scarf, the May-lord
here I stand.
Rejoice, oh, English hearts, rejoice! rejoice, oh,
Rejoice, oh, city, town, and country! rejoice, eke
For now the fragrant flowers do spring and sprout in
The little birds do sit and sing, the lambs do make
And now the birchen-tree doth bud, that makes the
The morris rings, while hobby-horse doth foot it
The lords and ladies now abroad, for their disport
Do kiss sometimes upon the grass, and sometimes in
Now butter with a leaf of sage is good to purge the
Fly Venus and phlebotomy, for they are neither good;
Now little fish on tender stone begin to cast their
And sluggish snails, that erst were mewed, do creep
out of their shellies;
The rumbling rivers now do warm, for little boys to
The sturdy steed now goes to grass, and up they hang
The heavy hart, the bellowing buck, the rascal, and
Are now among the yeoman's peas, and leave the
And be like them, oh, you, I say, of this same noble
And lift aloft your velvet heads, and slipping off
With bells on legs, and napkins clean unto your
With scarfs and garters as you please, and "Hey for
our town!" cried.
March out, and show your willing minds, by twenty
and by twenty,
To Hogsdon or to Newington, where ale and cakes are
And let it ne'er be said for shame, that we the
youths of London
Lay thrumming of our caps at home, and left our
Up, then, I say, both young and old, both man and
With drums, and guns that bounce aloud, and merry
Which to prolong, God save our king, and send his
And root out treason from the land! and so, my
friends, I cease.
A Room in the House of
Vent. I will have no
great store of company at the wedding; a couple of neighbours and their
wives; and we will have a capon in stewed broth, with marrow, and a
good piece of beef stuck with rosemary.
Jasper, with his Face mealed.
Jasp. Forbear thy
pains, fond man! it is too late.
Vent. Heaven bless me!
Jasp. Ay, I am his
Whom thou hast injured for his constant love;
Fond worldly wretch! who dost not understand
In death that true hearts cannot parted be.
First know, thy daughter is quite borne away
On wings of angels, through the liquid air,
To far out of thy reach, and never more
Shall thou behold her face: but she and I
Will in another world enjoy our loves;
Where neither father's anger, poverty,
Nor any cross that troubles earthly men,
Shall make us sever our united hearts.
And never shall thou sit or be alone
In any place, but I will visit thee
With ghastly looks, and put into thy mind
The great offences which thou didst to me:
When thou art at thy table with thy friends,
Merry in heart, and filled with swelling wine,
I'll come in midst of all thy pride and mirth,
Invisible to all men but thyself,
And whisper such a sad tale in thine ear
Shall make thee let the cup fall from thy hand,
And stand as mute and pale as death itself.
Vent. Forgive me,
Jasper! Oh, what might I do,
Tell me, to satisfy thy troubled ghost?
Jasp. There is no means;
too late thou think'st of this.
Vent. But tell me what
were best for me to do?
Jasp. Repent thy deed,
and satisfy my father,
And beat fond Humphrey out of thy doors.
[Wife. Look, George;
his very ghost would have folks beaten.]
Hum. Father, my bride
is gone, fair Mistress Luce:
My soul's the fount of vengeance, mischiefs sluice.
Vent. Hence, fool, out
of my sight with thy fond passion!
Thou hast undone me.
Hum. Hold, my father
For Luce thy daughter's sake, that had no peer!
Vent. Thy father, fool!
there's some blows more; begone.—
Jasper, I hope thy ghost be well appeased
To see thy will performed. Now will I go
To satisfy thy father for thy wrongs.
Hum. What shall I do?
I have been beaten twice,
And Mistress Luce is gone. Help me, device!
Since my true love is gone, I never more,
Whilst I do live, upon the sky will pore;
But in the dark will wear out my shoe-soles
In passion in Saint Faith's church under Paul's.
[Wife. George, call Ralph
hither; if you love me, call Ralph hither: I have the bravest thing for
him to do, George; prithee, call him quickly.
Cit. Ralph! why, Ralph,
Ralph. Here, sir.
Cit. Come hither, Ralph;
come to thy mistress, boy.
Wife. Ralph, I would
have thee call all the youths together in battle-ray, with drums, and
guns, and flags, and march to Mile-End in pompous fashion, and there
exhort your soldiers to be merry and wise, and to keep their beards
from burning, Ralph; and then skirmish, and let your flags fly, and
cry, "Kill, kill, kill!" My husband shall lend you his jerkin, Ralph,
and there's a scarf; for the rest, the house shall furnish you, and
we'll pay for't. Do it bravely, Ralph; and think before whom you
perform, and what person you represent.
Ralph. I warrant you,
mistress; if I do it not, for the honour of the city and the credit of
my master, let me never hope for freedom!
Wife. 'Tis well spoken,
i'faith. Go thy ways; them art a spark indeed.
Cit. Ralph, Ralph,
double your files bravely, Ralph!
Ralph. I warrant you, sir.
Cit. Let him look
narrowly to his service; I shall take him else. I was there myself a
pikeman once, in the hottest of the day, wench; had my feather shot
sheer away, the fringe of my pike burnt off with powder, my pate broken
with a scouring-stick, and yet, I thank God, I am here.
Wife. Hark, George,
Cit. Ran, tan, tan,
tan, tan, tan! Oh, wench, an thou hadst but seen little Ned of Aldgate,
Drum-Ned, how he made it roar again, and laid on like a tyrant, and
then struck softly till the ward came up, and then thundered again, and
together we go! "Sa, sa, sa, bounce!" quoth the guns; "Courage, my
hearts!" quoth the captains; "Saint George!" quoth the pikemen; and
withal, here they lay: and there they lay: and yet for all this I am
Wife. Be thankful for
it, George; for indeed 'tis wonderful.]
Street (and afterwards
Ralph and Company of Soldiers (among whom are William Hammerton, and
George Greengoose), with drums and colours.
Ralph. March fair, my
hearts! Lieutenant, beat the rear up.—Ancient, let your colours fly;
but have a great care of the butcher's hooks at Whitechapel; they have
been the death of many a fair ancient.—Open your files, that I may take
a view both of your persons and munition. Sergeant, call a muster.
Serg. A stand!—William
Ham. Here, captain!
Ralph. A corselet and a
Spanish pike; 'tis well: can you shake it with a terror?
Ham. I hope so, captain.
Ralph. Charge upon me.
charges on RaIph.
—'Tis with the weakest: but more strength, William Hammerton,
more strength. As you were again!—Proceed, Sergeant.
Serg. George Greengoose,
Ralph. Let me see your
piece, neighbour Greengoose: when was she shot in?
Green. An't like you,
master captain, I made a shot even now, partly to scour her, and partly
Ralph. It should seem so
certainly, for her breath is yet inflamed; besides, there is a main
fault in the touch-hole, it runs and stinketh; and I tell you moreover,
and believe it, ten such touchholes would breed the pox in the army.
Get you a feather, neighbour, get you a feather, sweet oil, and paper,
and your piece may do well enough yet. Where's your powder?
Ralph. What, in a paper!
as I am a soldier and a gentleman, it craves a martial court! you ought
to die for't. Where's your horn? answer me to that.
Green. An't like you,
sir, I was oblivious.
Ralph. It likes me not
you should be so; 'tis a shame for you, and a scandal to all our
neighbours, being a man of worth and estimation, to leave your horn
behind you: I am afraid 'twill breed example. But let me tell you no
more on't.—Stand, till I view you all.—What's become o' the nose of
1st Sold. Indeed, la,
captain, 'twas blown away with powder.
Ralph. Put on a new one
at the city's charge.— Where's the stone of this piece?
Sold. The drummer took
it out to light tobacco.
Ralph. 'Tis a fault, my
friend; put it in again.— You want a nose,—and you a stone.—Sergeant,
take a note on't, for I mean to stop it 'i the pay. — Remove, and march!
Soft and fair, gentlemen, soft and fair! double your files! as
you were! faces about! Now, you with the sodden face, keep in there!
Look to your match, sirrah, it will be in your fellow's flask anon. So;
make a crescent now; advance your pikes; stand and give ear!—Gentlemen,
countrymen, friends, and my fellow-soldiers, I have brought you this
day, from the shops of security and the counters of content, to measure
out in these furious fields honour by the ell, and prowess by the
pound. Let it not, oh, let it not, I say, be told hereafter, the noble
issue of this city fainted; but bear yourselves in this fair action
like men, valiant men, and free men! Fear not the face of the enemy,
nor the noise of the guns, for, believe me, brethren, the rude rumbling
of a brewer's cart is far more terrible, of which you have a daily
experience; neither let the stink of powder offend you, since a more
valiant stink is nightly with you.
To a resolved mind his home is everywhere:
I speak not this to take away
The hope of your return; for you shall see
(I do not doubt it) and that very shortly
Your loving wives again and your sweet children,
Whose care doth bear you company in baskets.
Remember, then, whose cause you have in hand,
And, like a sort of true-born scavengers,
Scour me this famous realm of enemies.
I have no more to say but this: stand to your tacklings, lads, and show
to the world you can as well brandish a sword as shake an apron.
Saint George, and on, my hearts!
All. Saint George,
[Wife. 'Twas well
done, Ralph! I'll send thee a cold capon a-field and a bottle of March
beer; and, it may be, come myself to see thee.
Cit. Nell, the boy hath
deceived me much; I did not think it had been in him. He has performed
such a matter, wench, that, if I live, next year I'll have him captain
of the galley-foist, or I'll want my will.]
A Room in Merrythought's House.
Mer. Yet, I thank
God, I break not a wrinkle more than I had. Not a stoop, boys? Care,
live with cats: I defy thee! My heart is as sound as an oak; and though
I want drink to wet my whistle, I can sing.
no more there, boys, come no more there;
we shall never whilst we live come any more there.
Boy, and two Men bearing a Coffin.
Boy. God save you,
Mer. It's a brave boy.
Canst thou sing?
Boy. Yes, sir, I can
sing; but 'tis not so necessary at this time.
Sing we, and chant it;
Whilst love doth grant it.
Boy. Sir, sir, if you
knew what I have brought you, you would have little list to sing.
Oh, the Mimon round,
Full long I have thee sought,
And now I have thee found,
And what hast thou here brought?
Boy. A coffin, sir, and
your dead son Jasper in it.
Why, farewell he!
Thou wast a bonny boy,
And I did love thee.
Jasp. Then, I pray
you, sir, do so still.
Mer. Jasper's ghost!
art welcome from Stygian lake so soon;
Declare to me what wondrous things in Pluto's court are done.
Jasp. By my troth, sir,
I ne'er came there; 'tis too hot for me, sir.
Mer. A merry ghost, a
very merry ghost!
where is your true love? Oh, where is yours?
Jasp. Marry, look you,
the cloth, and Luce rises out of the Coffin.
Mer. Ah, ha! art thou
good at that, i'faith?
With hey, trixy, terlery-whiskin,
The world it runs on wheels:
When the young man's ——,
Up goes the maiden's heels.
Merrythought and Michael within.
Mist. Mer. [within.] What, Master Merrythought!
will you not let's in? what do you think shall become of us?
voice is that that calleth at our door?
Mist. Mer. [within.] You know me well enough; I
am sure I have not been such a stranger to you.
some they whistled, and some they sung,
Hey, down, down!
as the Lord Barnet'a horn blew,
Away, Musgrave, away!
Mist. Mer. [within.] You will not have us
starve here, will you, Master Merrythought?
Jasp. Nay, good sir, be
persuaded; she is my mother:
If her offences have been great against you,
Let your own love remember she is yours,
And so forgive her.
Luce. Good Master
Let me entreat you; I will not be denied.
Mist. Mer. [within.] Why, Master Merrythought,
will you be a vexed thing still?
Mer. Woman, I take you
to my love again; but you shall sing before you enter; therefore
despatch your song and so come in.
Mist. Mer. [within.] Well, you must have your
will, when all's done.—Mick, what song canst thou sing, boy?
Mich. [within.] I can sing none, forsooth,
but 'A Lady's Daughter, of Paris properly,'
It was a lady's daughter, &c.
opens the Door; enter Mistress Merrythought and Michael.
Mer. Come, you're
welcome home again.
such danger be in playing,
And jest must to earnest turn,
shall go no more a-maying—
Vent. [within.] Are you within, sir?
Jasp. It is my master's
voice: good sir, go hold him
In talk, whilst we convey ourselves into
Some inward room.
Mer. What are you?
are you merry?
You must be very merry, if you enter.
Vent. [within.] I am, sir.
Mer. Sing, then.
Vent. [within.] Nay, good sir, open to me.
Mer. Sing, I say,
Or, by the merry heart, you come not in!
Vent. [within.] Well, sir, I'll sing.
Fortune, my foe, &c.
opens the Door: Enter Venturewell.
Mer. You are welcome,
sir, you are welcome: you see your entertainment; pray you, be merry.
Vent. Oh, Master
Merrythought, I'm come to ask you
Forgiveness for the wrongs I offered you,
And your most virtuous son! they're infinite;
Yet my contrition shall be more than they:
I do confess my hardness broke his heart,
For which just Heaven hath given me punishment
More than my age can carry; his wandering spirit,
Nor yet at rest, pursues me every where,
Crying, " I'll haunt thee for thy cruelty."
My daughter, she is gone, I know not how,
Taken invisible, and whether living
Or in the grave, 'tis yet uncertain to me.
Oh, Master Merrythought, these are the weights
Will sink me to my grave! forgive me, sir.
Mer. Why, sir, I do
forgive you; and be merry;
And if the wag in's lifetime played the knave,
Can you forgive him too?
Vent. With all my heart,
Mer. Speak it again,
Vent. I do, sir;
Now, by my soul, I do.
Luce and Jasper.
that came out his paramour;
was as white as the lily flower:
Hey, troul, troly, loly!
that came out her own dear knight;
was as true as ever did fight, &c.
Sir, if you will forgive 'em, clap their hands together;
there's no more to be said i' the matter.
Vent. I do, I do.
[Cit. I do not like this.
Peace, boys! Hear me, one of you: every body's part is come to an end
but Ralph's, and he's left out.
Boy. 'Tis 'long of
yourself, sir; we have nothing to do with his part.
Cit. Ralph, come
away!—Make an end on him, as you have done of the rest, boys; come.
Wife. Now, good husband,
let him come out and die.
Cit. He shall,
Nell.—Ralph, come away quickly, and die, boy!
Boy. 'Twill be very
unfit he should die, sir, upon no occasion—and in a comedy too.
Cit. Take you no care of
that, sir boy; is not his part at an end, think you, when he's dead?—
Come away, Ralph!]
Ralph, with a forked Arrow through his Head.
Ralph. When I was
mortal, this my costive corps
Did lap up figs and raisins in the Strand;
Where sitting, I espied a lovely dame,
Whose master wrought with lingel and with awl,
And underground he vamped many a boot.
Straight did her love prick forth me, tender sprig,
To follow feats of arms in warlike wise
Through Waltham-desert; where I did perform
Many achievements, and did lay on ground
Huge Barbarossa, that insulting giant,
And all his captives soon set at liberty.
Then honour pricked me from my native soil
Into Moldavia, where I gained the love
Of Pompiona, his beloved daughter;
But yet proved constant to the black thumbed maid
Susan, and scorned Pompiona's love;
Yet liberal I was, and gave her pins,
And money for her father's officers.
I then returned home, and thrust myself
In action, and by all men chosen was
Lord of the May, where I did flourish it,
With scarfs and rings, and posy in my hand.
After this action I preferred was,
And chosen city-captain at Mile-End,
With hat and feather, and with leading-staff,
And trained my men, and brought them all off clear,
Save one man that berayed him with the noise.
But all these things I Ralph did undertake
Only for my beloved Susan's sake.
Then coming home, and sitting in my shop
With apron blue, Death came into my stall
To cheapen aquavitæ;
but ere I
Could take the bottle down and fill a taste,
Death caught a pound of pepper in his hand,
And sprinkled all my face and body o'er
And in an instant vanished away.
[Cit. 'Tis a pretty fiction,
Ralph. Then took I up my
bow and shaft in hand,
And walked into Moorfields to cool myself:
But there grim cruel Death met me again,
And shot this forked arrow through my head;
And now I faint; therefore be warned by me,
My fellows every one, of forked heads!
Farewell, all you good boys in merry London!
Ne'er shall we more upon Shrove-Tuesday meet,
And pluck down houses of iniquity;—
My pain increaseth;—I shall never more
Hold open, whilst another pumps both legs,
Nor daub a satin gown with rotten eggs;
Set up a stake, oh, never more I shall!
I die! fly, fly, my soul, to Grocers' Hall!
Oh, oh, oh, &c.
[Wife. Well said, Ralph! do
your obeisance to the gentlemen, and go your ways: well said, Ralph!]
rises, makes obeisance, and exit
Methinks all we, thus kindly and unexpectedly reconciled, should not
depart without a song.
Vent. A good motion.
Mer. Strike up, then!
Better music ne'er was known
a quire of hearts in one.
each other, that hath been
Troubled with the gall or spleen.
Learn of us to keep his brow
and plain, as ours are now:
Sing, though before the hour of dying;
shall rise, and then be crying,
"Hey, ho, 'tis nought but mirth
keeps the body from the earth!"
[Cit. Come, Nell,
shall we go? the play's done.
Wife. Nay, by my faith,
George, I have more manners than so; I'll speak to these gentlemen
first.—I thank you all, gentlemen, for your patience and countenance to
Ralph, a poor fatherless child; and if I might see you at my house, it
should go hard but I would have a bottle of wine and a pipe of tobacco
for you: for, truly, I hope you do like the youth, but I would be glad
to know the truth; I refer it to your own discretions, whether you will
applaud hirm or no; for I will wink, and whilst you shall do what you
will. I thank you with all my heart. God give you good night!—.Come,