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Oliv. Sirrah Ralph, my young mistress is in such a pitiful passionate humour for the long absence of her love
Ralph. Why, can you blame her? Why, apples hanging longer on the tree than when they are ripe, make so many fallings; so mad wenches, because they are not gathered in time, are fain to drop off themselves, and then 'tis common you know for every man to take them up.
Oliv. Mass thou say'st true, 'tis common indeed. But sirrah, is neither our young master return'd, nor our fellow Sam come from London ?
Ralph. Neither of either, as the puritan bawd says. 'Slid I hear Sam. Sam's come; here he is; come i' faith: now my nose itches for news.
Oliv. And so does mine elbow.
Sam. [within]. Where are you there? Boy, look you walk my horse with discretion. I have rid him simply: I warrant his skin sticks to his back with very heat. If he should catch cold and get the cough of the lungs, I were well served, were I not?
What, Ralph and Oliver!
Both. Honest fellow Sam, welcome i' faith. What tricks hast thou brought from London?
Sam. You see I am hang'd after the truest fashion; three hats, and two glasses bobbing upon them; two rebato wires upon my breast, a cap-case by my side, a brush at my back, an almanack in my pocket, and three ballads in my codpiece. Nay, I am the true picture of a common serving-man.
Oliv. I'll swear thou art; thou mayst set up when thou wilt: there's many a one begins with less, I can tell thee, that proves a rich man ere he dies. But what's the news from London, Sam ?
Ralph. Ay, that's well said; what's the news from London, sirrah? My young mistress keeps such a puling for her love. Sam. Why the more fool she; ay, the more ninnyhammer she. Oliv. Why, Sam, why?
Sam. Why, he is married to another long ago.
Both. I' faith? You jest.
Sam. Why, did you not know that till now? Why, he's married, beats his wife, and has two or three children by her. For you must note, that any woman bears the more when she is beaten.
Ralph. Ay, that's true, for she bears the blows.
Oliv. Sirrah Sam, I would not for two years' wages my young mistress knew so much; she'd run upon the left hand of her wit, and ne'er be her own woman again.
Sam. And I think she were blest in her cradle, had he never come in her bed. Why, he has consumed all, pawn'd his lands, and made his university brother stand in wax for him :* there's a fine phrase for a scrivener. Puh! he owes more than his skin is worth.
Oliv. Is't possible?
Sam. Nay, I'll tell you moreover, he calls his wife whore, as familiarly as one would call Moll and Doll; and his children bastards, as naturally as can be.-But what have we here? I thought 'twas something pulled down my breeches; I quite forgot my two poking sticks:† these came from London. Now anything is good here that comes from London.
Oliv. Ay, far fetch'd, you know, Sam,‡-But speak in your conscience i' faith; have not we as good poking sticks i' the country as need to be put in the fire?
Sam. The mind of a thing is all; the mind of a thing is all; and as thou saidst even now, far-fetch'd are the best things for ladies.
Oliv. Ay, and for waiting gentlewomen too.
Sam. But Ralph, what, is our beer sour this thunder?
Ralph. No, no, it holds countenance yet.
Sam. Why then follow me; I'll teach you the finest humour
to be drunk in: I learned it at London last week.
Both. I' faith? Let's hear it, let's hear it.
Sam. The bravest humour! 'twould do a man good to be drunk
*Enter into a bond.
†These were used to adjust the plaits of the ruff.
Alluding to the proverb, "Far fetched and dear bought.”
in it: they call it knighting in London, when they drink upon their knees.
Both. 'Faith that's excellent.
Sam. Come, follow me; I'll give you all the degrees of it in order. [Exeunt.
SCENE II-Another Apartment in the same.
Wife. What will become of us? All will away :
Are these the virtues that his youth did promise?
Hus. Pox o' the last throw! It made five hundred angels Vanish from my sight. I'm damn'd, I'm damn'd;
The angels have forsook me. Nay it is
Certainly true; for he that has no coin
Is damn'd in this world; he is gone, he's gone.
Wife. Dear husband.
Hus. O most punishment of all, I have a wife.
Tell me the cause of this your discontent.
Hus. A vengeance strip thee naked! thou art cause,
Wife. Bad turn'd to worse; both beggary of the soul
Effect, quality, property; thou, thou, thou.
And of the body;-and so much unlike
Himself at first, as if some vexed spirit
Had got his form upon him. He comes again.
* A quibble between angels of heaven, and angel, the gold coin.
He says I am the cause: I never yet
Hus. If marriage be honourable, then cuckolds are honourable, for they cannot be made without marriage. Fool! what meant I to marry to get beggars? Now must my eldest son be a knave or nothing; he cannot live upon the fool, for he will have no land to maintain him. That mortgage sits like a snaffle upon mine inheritance, and makes me chew upon iron. My second son must be a promoter;* and my third a thief, or an under-putter; a slave pander. Oh beggary, beggary, to what base uses dost thou put a man! I think the devil scorns to be a bawd; he bears himself more proudly, has more care of his credit. Base, slavish, abject, filthy poverty!
Wife. Good Sir, by all our vows I do beseech you,
Show me the true cause of your discontent.
Hus. Money, money, money; and thou must supply me.
Yet what is mine, either in rings or jewels,
Hus. Puh! bastards, bastards, bastards; begot in tricks, begot in tricks.
Wife. Heaven knows how those words wrong me: but I may Endure these griefs among a thousand more.
O call to mind your lands already mortgaged,
At the university in bonds for you,
Like to be seiz'd upon; and
Hus. Have done, thou harlot,
Whom though for fashion-sake I married,
I never could abide. Think'st thou, thy words
That I broke custom? that I flagg'd in money?
As when my state was fullest.
Wife. Be it so.
Hus. Nay, I protest (and take that for an earnest)
I will for ever hold thee in contempt,
† I.e. by many descents.
Thy dowry shall be sold, to give new life
Wife. Sir, do but turn a gentle eye on me,
Hus. Look it be done. Shall I want dust, And like a slave wear nothing in my pockets
[Holds his hands in his pockets.
But my bare hands, to fill them up with nails?
A bawd to dice; I'll shake the drabs myself,
Hus. Speedily, speedily.
I hate the very hour I chose a wife:
A trouble, trouble! Three children, like three evils,
Enter three GENTLEMEN.
Strumpet and bastards!
1 Gent. Still do these loathsome thoughts jar on your tongue? Yourself to stain the honour of your wife,
Nobly descended? Those whom men call mad,
Endanger others; but he's more than mad
That wounds himself; whose own words do proclaim
It is not fit; I pray, forsake it.
2 Gent. Good Sir, let modesty reprove you.
3 Gent. Let honest kindness sway so much with you. Hus. Good den;† I thank you, Sir; how do you? Adieu! I am glad to see you. Farewell instructions, admonitions! [Exeunt GENTLEMEN.
Enter a SERVANT.
How now, sirrah? What would you?
Ser. Only to certify you, Sir, that my mistress was met by the way, by them who were sent for her up to London by her honourable uncle, your worship's late guardian.
Hus. So, Sir, then she is gone; and so may you be;
But let her look the thing be done she wots of,
Or hell will stand more pleasant than her house
Enter a GENTLEMAN.
Gent. Well or ill met, I care not.
Hus. No, nor I.
Gent. I am come with confidence to chide you.
Chide me? Do't finely, then; let it not move me:
*I. e. my inclination.
+ Good even,