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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 fiend,
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 Partle, and send him away, for in truth his breath stinks.

Ralph. Convey him straight after the other knight. Sir Partle, fare you well. 2d Knight. Kind sir, good night.

(Exit.) (Voices within.) Deliver us!

Wife. Hark, George, what a woful cry there is ! I think some one is ill there.

(Voices within.) Deliver us!

Ralph. What ghastly noise is this? Speak, Barbaroso, 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 !


Lady. 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.


Damsel right fair,
I am on many sad adventures bound,
That call me forth into the wilderness.
Besides, my horse's back is something gall’d,
Which will enforce me ride a sober pace.
But many thanks, fair lady, be to you,
For using errant knight with courtesy.

Lady. 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 holy order I did take,
Of Burning Pestle, which in all men's eyes
I bear, confounding ladies' enemies.

Lady. 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 call'd,
Which driveth all the sorrow from your hearts.

Ralph. Lady, 'tis true, you need not lay your lips
To better Nipitato than there is.

Lady. And of a wildfowl 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 trust in Antichrist, and false traditions.
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, while life and pestle last.

Lady. Happy that cobbling dame, who'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 must needs take my leave.
Lady. Hard-hearted Ralph, that ladies dost deceive.

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 there's 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 wash'd my boot-hose, there's an English groat,
And twopence to the boy that wip'd my boots.
And last, fair lady, there is for yourself
Threepence to buy you pins at Bumbo Fair.

Lady. 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. Lady. Thou kill'st my heart in parting thus away.

-"The Knight of the Burning Pestle." Thomas Dekker

Obedient Husbands


THERE is a humour incident to a woman, which is, when a young man hath turmoiled himself so long that with much ado he hath gotten into marriage, and hath perhaps met with a wife according to his own desire, and perchance such an one that it had been better for him had he lighted on another, yet he likes her so well that he would not have missed her for any gold; for, in his opinion, there is no woman like unto her. He hath a great delight to hear her speak, is proud of his match, and is, peradventure, withal of so sheepish a nature, that he has purposed to govern himself wholly by her counsel and direction, so that if any one speak to him of a bargain, or whatsoever other business, he tells them that he will have his wife's opinion on it, and if she be content, he will go through with it; if not, then will he give it over.

Thus he is as tame and pliable as a jackanapes to his keeper. If the Prince set forth an army, and she be unwilling that he should go, who (you may think) will ask her leave, then must he stay at home, fight who will for the country. But if she be desirous at any time to have his room (which many times she likes better than his company), she wants no journey to employ him in, and he is as ready as a page to undertake them. If she chide, he answers not a word; generally, whatsoever she does, or howsoever, he thinks it well done. Judge, now, in what a case this silly calf is! Is not he, think you, finely dressed, that is in such subjection? The honestest woman and most modest of that sex, if she wear the breeches, is so out of reason in taunting and controlling her husband for this is their common fault-and be she never so wise, yet a woman, scarce able to govern herself, much less her husband and all his affairs; for, were it not so, God would have made her the head. Which, since it is otherwise, what can be more preposterous than that the head should be governed by the foot?

If, then, a wise and honest woman's superiority be unseemly, and breed great inconvenience, how is he dressed, think

you, if he light on a fond, wanton, and malicious dame? Then doubtless he is soundly sped. She will keep a sweetheart under his nose, yet is he so blind that he can perceive nothing. But, for more security, she will many times send him packing beyond sea, about some odd errand that she will buzz in his ears, and he will perform it at her pleasure, though she send him forth at midnight, in hail, rain, and snow, for he must be a man for all weathers.

Their children, if they have any, must be brought up, apparelled, taught, and fed according to her pleasure, and one point of their learning is always to make no account of their father. Finally, she orders all things as she thinks best herself, making no more account of him, especially if he be in years, than men do of an old horse that is put to labour. Thus is he mewed up, plunged in a sea of cares; and yet he, kind fool, deems himself most happy in his happiness, wherein he must now perforce remain while life doth last, and pity it were he should want it, since he likes it so well.--" The Bachelor's Banquet."

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