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Where till this fatal hour 't was never read.

Als. Let it be blotted out; let your heart lose it,

And it can never look you in the face,
Nor tell a tale behind the back of life
To your dishonour. Justice hath so right
The guilty hit, that innocence is quit
By proclamation, and may joy again. —
Sir, you are sensible of what truth hath done:
'Tis the best comfort that your grief can find
Tom. Sir, I am satisfied; my injuries
Lie dead before me; I can exact no more,
Unless my soul were loose, and could o'ertake
Those black fugitives that are fled from
hence,

To take a second vengeance; but there s wraths

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Deeper than mine, 't is to be fear'd, aber

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Thus, you dog-bolt,
Beats and kicks him.

Tap. [to his wife.] Cry out for help!
Well.

Stir, and thou diest:

Your potent prince, the constable, shall not save

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[Beats him again. Oh!

Enter ALLWORTH.

Well. 'T will not be granted.

All.

Ask mercy.

Hold for my sake, hold. Deny me, Frank? They are not worth you

anger.

Well. For once thou hast redeem'd them from this sceptre; 3

But let 'em vanish, creeping on their knees, And, if they grumble, I revoke my pardon. Froth. This comes of your prating, husband: you presum'd

On your ambling wit, and must use your gl

tongue,

Though you are beaten lame for 't.

Tap.

Patience, Froth

There's law to cure our bruises.

They go off on their hands and kres Well. Sent to your mother? All. My lady, Frank, my patroness, my al. She's such a mourner for my father's death, And, in her love to him, so favours me, That I cannot pay too much observance to be. There are few such stepdames.

Well.

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'Tis a noble widow, And keeps her reputation pure and clear From the least taint of infamy her life, With the splendour of her actions, leaves L

tongue

To envy or detraction. Prithee tell me, Has she no suitors?

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All. Even the best of the shire, Frank. My lord excepted; such as sue and send, And send and sue again, but to no purpose; t Their frequent visits have not gain'd her pres

ence.

Yet she's so far from sullenness and pride.
That I dare undertake you shall meet from her
A liberal entertainment. I can give you
A catalogue of her suitors' names.
Well.
Forbear it.
While I give you good counsel: I am bound to
it,

Thy father was my friend, and that affection
I bore to him, in right descends to thee;
Thou art a handsome and a hopeful youth, 15
Nor will I have the least affront stick on thee,
If I with any danger can prevent it.

All. I thank your noble care; but, pray yon, in what

Do I run the hazard?

Well.
Art thou not in lere?
Put it not off with wonder.

3 I. e. his cudgel.

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I confess it; 154 I must tell you as a friend, and freely, That, where impossibilities are apparent, 'Tis indiscretion to nourish hopes. Canst thou imagine (let not self-love blind thee) That Sir Giles Overreach, that, to make her great

159

In swelling titles, without touch of conscience Will cut his neighbour's throat, and I hope his own too,

Will e'er consent to make her thine? Give o'er,
And think of some course suitable to thy rank,
And
prosper in it.
All.
You have well advis'd me. 164
But in the meantime you that are so studious
Of my affairs wholly neglect your own.
Remember yourself, and in what plight you are.
Well. No matter, no matter.

All.
Yes, 't is much material.
You know my fortune and my means; yet
something

I can spare from myself to help your wants. How's this? 170

Well.

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Constantly, good madam; = But he will in person first present his service. L. All. And how approve you of his course? You are yet

Like virgin parchment, capable of any
Inscription, vicious or honourable.

I will not force your will, but leave you free s
To your own election.

All. Any form you please I will put on; but, might I make my choice, With humble emulation I would follow The path my lord marks to me.

L. All.

'Tis well answer'd,
And I commend your spirit. You had a father,
Blest be his memory! that some few hours
Before the will of Heaven took him from me,
Who did commend you, by the dearest ties
Of perfect love between us, to my charge;
And, therefore, what I speak you are bound to
hear

With such respect as if he liv'd in me.
He was my husband, and howe'er you are not
Son of my womb, you may be of my love,
Provided you deserve it.
All.
I have found you,
Most honour'd madam, the best mother to me;
And, with my utmost strengths of care and ser-
vice,

Will labour that you never may repent
Your bounties shower'd upon me.

L. All.

I much hope it.

These were your father's words: "If e'er my

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