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"This play, if Shakspeare's at all," says Hazlitt, in his Lectures, "must have been among the sins of his youth."
FLOWERDALE SENIOR, a Mer- DAFFODILL, chant. ARTICHOKE,
MATTHEW FLOWERDALE, his
Servants to Sir
DICK and RALPH, two cheating
RUFFIAN, a Pander.
SCENE.-London, and the parts adjacent.
SCENE I-London. A Room in FLOWERDALE JUNIOR'S House.
Enter FLOWERDALE SENIOR and FLOWERDALE JUNIOR.
Flow. Sen. Brother, from Venice, being thus disguised, I come, to prove the humours of my son.
How hath he borne himself since my departure,
I leaving you his patron and his guide?
Flow. Jun. I' faith, brother, so, as you will grieve to hear, And I almost ashamed to report it.
Flow. Sen. Why, how is't, brother? beyond the allowance I left him?
What, doth he spend
Flow. Jun. How! beyond that? and far more. Why, your exhibition* is nothing. He hath spent that, and since hath borrowed: protested with oaths, alleged kindred, to wring money from me,-by the love I bore his father, by the fortunes might fall upon himself,-to furnish his wants: that done, I have had since, his bond, his friend and friend's bond. Although I know that he spends is yours, yet it grieves me to see the unbridled wildness that reigns over him.
Flow. Sen. Brother, what is the manner of his life? how is the name of his offences? If do not relish altogether of damnation, his youth may privilege his wantonness. I myself ran an unbridled course till thirty, nay, almost till forty:-well, you see how I am. For vice once looked into with the eyes of discretion, and well balanced with the weights of reason, the course passed seem so abominable, that the landlord of himself, which is the heart of his body, will rather entomb himself in the earth, or seek a new tenant to remain in him; which once settled, how much better are they that in their youth have known all these vices, and left them, than those that knew little, and in their age run into them? Believe me, brother, they that die most virtuous, have in their youth lived most vicious; and none knows the danger of the fire more than he that falls into it.But say, how is the course of his life? let's hear his particulars.
Flow. Jun. Why, I'll tell you, brother; he is a continual swearer, and a breaker of his oaths; which is bad.
Flow. Sen. I grant indeed to swear is bad, but the not keeping those oaths is better; for who will set by a bad thing? Nay, by my faith, I hold this rather a virtue than a vice. Well, pray proceed.
Flow. Jun. He is a mighty brawler, and comes commonly by the worst.
Flow. Sen. By my faith, this is none of the worst neither; for if he brawl, and be beaten for it, it will in time make him shun it; for what brings man or child more to virtue than correction? -What reigns over him else?
Flow. Jun. He is a great drinker, and one that will forget himself.
Flow. Sen. O best of all! vice should be forgotten: let him drink on, so he drink not churches. Nay, an this be the worst, I hold it rather a happiness in him, than any iniquity. Hath he any more attendants?
Flow. Jun. Brother, he is one that will borrow of any man. Flow. Sen. Why, you see, so doth the sea; it borrows of all the small currents in the world to increase himself.
Flow. Jun. Ay, but the sea pays it again, and so will never your son.
Flow. Sen. No more would the sea neither, if it were as dry as my son.
Flow. Jun. Then, brother, I see you rather like these vices in your son, than any way condemn them.
Flow. Sen. Nay, mistake me not, brother; for though I slur
them over now, as things slight and nothing, his crimes being in the bud, it would gall my heart, they should ever reign in him.
M. Flow. [within]. Ho! who's within, ho? [M. FLOWERDALE knocks within. Flow. Jun. That's your son; he is come to borrow more money.
Flow. Sen. For God's sake give it out I am dead; see how he'll take it. Say I have brought you news from his father. I have here drawn a formal will, as it were from myself, which I'll deliver him.
Flow. Jun. Go to, brother, no more: I will.
M. Flow. Uncle, where are you, uncle?
Flow. Jun. Let my cousin in there.
Flow. Sen. I am a sailor come from Venice, and my name is Christopher.
Enter M. FLOWERDALE.
M. Flow. By the Lord, in truth, uncle
Flow. Jun. In truth would have served, cousin, without the lord.
M. Flow. By your leave, uncle, the Lord is the Lord of truth. A couple of rascals at the gate set upon me for my
Flow. Jun. You never come, but you bring a brawl in your mouth.
M. Flow. By my truth, uncle, you must needs lend me ten pound.
Flow. Jun. Give my cousin.some small beer here.
M. Flow. Nay look you, you turn it to a jest now. By this light, I should ride to Croydon fair, to meet Sir Lancelot Spurcock; I should have his daughter Luce: and for scurvy ten pound, a man shall lose nine hundred three score and odd pounds, and a daily friend beside! By this hand, uncle, 'tis true.
Flow. Jun. Why, anything is true, for aught I know.
M. Flow. To see now!-why, you shall have my bond, uncle, or Tom White's, James Brock's, or Nick Hall's; as good rapierand-dagger-men as any be in England; let's be damned, if we do not pay you: the worst of us all will not damn ourselves for ten pound. A pox of ten pound.
Flow. Jun. Cousin, this is not the first time I have believed you.
M. Flow. Why, trust me now, you know not what may fall. If one thing were but true, I would not greatly care; I should not need ten pound;-but when a man cannot be believed, there's it.
Flow. Jun. Why, what is it, cousin?
M. Flow. Marry, this, uncle. Can you tell me if the Catherine and Hugh be come home or no?
Flow. Jun. Ay, marry, is't.
M. Flow. By God, I thank you for that news. What, is't in the Pool, can you tell?
Flow. Jun. It is; what of that?
M. Flow. What? why then I have six pieces of velvet sent me, F'll give you a piece, uncle: for thus said the letter;-A piece of ash-colour, a three-piled black, a colour de roy,* a crimson, a sad green, and a purple: yes faith.
Flow. Jun. From whom should you receive this?
M. Flow. From whom? why from my father; with commendations to you, uncle; and thus he writes:-"I know (saith he) thou hast much troubled thy kind uncle, whom, God willing, at my return I will see amply satisfied;" amply, I remember was the very word: so God help me.
Flow. Jun. Have you the letter here?
M. Flow. Yes, I have the letter here, here is the letter: no,yes-no; let me see; what breeches wore I o' Saturday? Let me see o' Tuesday, my calamanco; o' Wednesday, my peachcolour satin; o' Thursday, my velure; o' Friday, my calamanco again; o' Saturday,-let me see,- -o' Saturday, for in those breeches I wore o' Saturday is the letter-O, my riding breeches, uncle, those that you thought had been velvet; in those very breeches is the letter.
Flow. Jun. When should it be dated?
M. Flow. Marry, decimo tertio Septembris-no, no; decimo tertio Octobris; ay, Octobris, so it is.
Flow. Jun. Decimo tertio Octobris! and here receive I a letter that your father died in June. How say you, Kester?§
Flow. Sen. Yes, truly, Sir, your father is dead; these hands of mine holp to wind him.
M. Flow. Dead?
Flow. Sen. Ay, Sir, dead.
M. Flow. 'Sblood, how should my father come dead?
Flow. Jun. Nay, cousin, do not take it so heavily.
M. Flow. Nay, I cannot weep you extempore: marry, some two or three days hence I shall weep without any stintance. But I hope he died in good memory.
Flow. Sen. Very well, Sir, and set down everything in good order; and the Catharine and Hugh, you talk'd of, I came over in; and I saw all the bills of lading; and the velvet that you talk'd of, there is no such aboard.
M. Flow. By God, I assure you, then there is knavery abroad. Flow. Sen. I'll be sworn of that: there's knavery abroad, although there were never a piece of velvet in Venice.
M. Flow. I hope he died in good estate.
Flow. Sen. To the report of the world he did; and made his will, of which I am an unworthy bearer.
M. Flow. His will! have you his will? Flow. Sen. Yes, Sir, and in the presence will'd to deliver it.
* A colour so called in honour of the king. ↑ My velvet.
of your uncle I was [Delivers the will.
An abbreviation of Christopher.
+ A grave green. I. e. any stop.
Flow. Jun. I hope, cousin, now God hath blessed you with wealth, you will not be unmindful of me.
M. Flow. I'll do reason, uncle: yet i' faith I take the denial of this ten pound very hardly.
Flow. Jun. Nay, I denied you not.
M. Flow. By God you denied me directly.
Flow. Jun. I'll be judged by this good fellow.
Flow. Ser. Not directly, Sir.
M. Flow. Why, he said he would lend me none, and that had wont to be a direct denial, if the old phrase hold. Well, uncle, come, we'll fall to the legacies. [Reads.] "In the name of God, Amen.-Item, I bequeath to my brother Flowerdale, three hundred pounds, to pay such trivial debts as I owe in London.
"Item, to my son Mat. Flowerdale, I bequeath two bale of false dice, videlicet, high men and low men, fulloms, stop-catertraies, and other bones of function."* 'Sblood what doth he mean by this?
Flow. Jun. Proceed, cousin.
M. Flow. "These precepts I leave him: Let him borrow of his oath; for of his word nobody will trust him. Let him by no means marry an honest woman; for the other will keep herself. Let him steal as much as he can, that a guilty conscience may bring him to his destinate repentance:"-I think he means hanging. An this were his last will and testament, the devil stood laughing at his bed's feet while he made it. 'Sblood, what doth he think to fob off his posterity with paradoxes?
Flow. Sen. This he made, Sir, with his own hands.
M. Flow. Ay, well; nay, come, good uncle, let me have this ten pound: imagine you have lost it, or were robb'd of it, or misreckon❜d yourself so much; any way to make it come easily off, good uncle.
Flow. Jun. Not a penny.
Flow. Sen. I' faith lend it him, Sir. I myself have an estate in the city worth twenty pound; all that I'll engage for him: he saith it concerns him in a marriage.
M. Flow. Ay, marry doth it. This is a fellow of some sense this: come, good uncle.
Flow. Jun. Will you give your word for it, Kester?
Flow. Sen. I will, Sir, willingly.
Flow. Jun. Well, cousin, come to me an hour hence, you shall have it ready.
M. Flow. Shall I not fail?
Flow. Jun. You shall not, come or send.
M. Flow. Nay, I'll come myself.
Flow. Sen. By my troth, would I were your worship's man. M. Flow. What? wouldst thou serve?
Flow. Sen. Very willingly, Sir.
*In the English Rogue, P. i. p. 322, edit. 1680, we are told that "high fullums are those dice which are loaded in such a manner as seldom to run any other chance than four, five, or six; low fullums, or low men, are those which usually run one, two, or three." Stop-cater-traies were probably dice prepared in such a manner as frequently to exhibit a four and a three.