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In execution among devils that
Stretch him and make him give ;* and I in want,
I that did ever in abundance dwell,
Enter a little Boy with a top and scourge.
Son. What ail you, father? Are you not well? I cannot scourge my top as long as you stand so. You take up all the room with your wide legs. Puh! you cannot make me afraid with this; I fear no vizards, nor bugbears.†
[He takes up the child by the skirts of his long coat with one hand, and draws his dagger with the other.
Hus. Up, Sir, for here thou hast no inheritance left.
Son. O, what will you do, father? I am your white boy.
Son. O, you hurt me, father.
Hus. My eldest beggar,
Thou shalt not live to ask an usurer bread;
To cry at a great man's gate; or follow,
Good your honour, by a coach; no, nor your brother:
Son. How shall I learn, now my head's broke?
Rather than beg. Be not thy name's disgrace :
Come view thy second brother's. Fates! My children's blood Shall spin into your faces; you shall see,
How confidently we scorn beggary!
[Exit with his SON.
A Maid discovered with a Child in her arms; the Mother on a couch by her, asleep.
Maid. Sleep, sweet babe; sorrow makes thy mother sleep:
It bodes small good when heaviness falls so deep.
Hush, pretty boy; thy hopes might have been better.
"Tis lost at dice, what ancient honour won:
Hard, when the father plays away the son!
Enter HUSBAND, with his Son bleeding.
Hus. Whore, give me that boy. [Strives with her for the child. *Leather when stretched is said to give.
†The child mistakes the distortions of real passion for grimaces exhibited only with a sportive intention to frighten him.
He means that his child having nothing left on earth, he will send him to heaven.
Maid. O help, help! Out alas! murder, murder! Hus. Are you gossiping, you prating, sturdy quean? I'll break your clamour with your neck. Down stairs; Tumble, tumble headlong. So:
[He throws her down and stabs the child. The surest way to charm* a woman's tongue, Is-break her neck: a politician did it.+
Son. Mother, mother; I am kill'd, mother.
[Catches up the youngest child.
Hus. Strumpet, let go the boy, let go the beggar.
Hus. Filth, harlot.
Wife. O, what will you do, dear husband?
Hus. Give me the bastard.
Wife. Your own sweet boy
Hus. There are too many beggars.
Wife. Good my husband
Hus. Dost thou prevent me still ?
Wife. O God!
Hus. Have at his heart.
Wife. O, my dear boy!
[Stabs at the child in her arms.
[She is hurt, and sinks down.
Hus. Brat, thou shalt not live to shame thy house
Wife. Oh heaven!
Hus. And perish!-Now be gone:
There's whores enough, and want would make thee one.
Enter a SERVANT.
Ser. O Sir, what deeds are these?
Hus. Base slave, my vassal!
Com'st thou between my fury to question me?
Ser. Were you the devil, I would hold you, Sir.
Hus. Hold me? Presumption! I'll undo thee for it.
Ser. 'Sblood, you have undone us all, Sir.
Hus. Tug at thy master ?
Ser. Tug at a monster.
Hus. Have I no power? shall my slave fetter me?
Ser. Nay then the devil wrestles ;
I am thrown.
Hus. O villain! now I'll tug thee, now I'll tear thee;
*I. e. to silence.
+ The reference here is to the Earl of Leicester, the death of whose first wife'is said, in the celebrated libel called Leicester's Commonwealth, to have been occasioned by her being thrown down stairs at Cunmor, by her husband's order.
+ The ancient spurs had rowels whose points were more than an inch long.
SCENE VI-Court before the House.
Enter HUSBAND; to him the MASTER of the College.
Mast. How is it with you, Sir?
Methinks you look of a distracted colour.
Hus. Who, I, Sir? 'Tis but your fancy.
Please you walk in, Sir, and I'll soon resolve you:
I want one small part to make up the sum,
And then my brother shall rest satisfied.
Mast. I shall be glad to see it: Sir, I'll attend you. [Exeunt.
SCENE VII-A Room in the House.
The WIFE, SERVANT, and CHILDREN discovered.
Ser. Oh, I am scarce able to heave up myself,
Till now Hell-power supplied, to his soul's wrong:
Enter the MASTER of the College and two SERVANTS.
And by the bleeding infants, the dead mother,
Wife. Oh! ho!
Mast. Surgeons! surgeons! she recovers life :One of his men all faint and bloodied!
1 Ser. Follow; our murderous master has took horse
To kill his child at nurse. O, follow quickly.
Mast. I am the readiest; it shall be my charge
To raise the town upon him.
1 Ser. Good Sir, do follow him.
Wife. O my children!
[Exeunt MASTER and two SERVANTS.
1 Ser. How is it with my most afflicted mistress?
1 Ser. I, thinking to prevent what his quick mischiefs Had so soon acted, came and rush'd upon him.
We struggled; but a fouler strength than his
O'erthrew me with his arms; then did he bruise me,
Made me unfit to rise and follow him.
Wife. What is it has beguiled him of all grace,
Enter a SERVANT.
Ser. Please you to leave this most accursed place: A surgeon waits within.
Wife. Willing to leave it?
'Tis guilty of sweet blood, innocent blood: Murder has took this chamber with full hands, And will ne'er out as long as the house stands.
SCENE VIII.—A High Road.
Enter HUSBAND. He falls.
Hus. O stumbling jade, the spavin overtake thee!
Oh, I am sorely bruised! Plague founder thee!
[Cry within.] Follow, follow, follow.
Hus. Ha! I hear sounds of men, like hue and cry. Up, up, and struggle to thy horse; make on; Dispatch that little beggar, and all's done.
[Cry within.] Here, here; this way, this way. Hus. At my back! Oh,
What fate have I! my limbs deny me go.
My will is barred; beggary claims a part.
O could I here reach to the infant's heart!
Enter the MASTER of the College, three GENTLEMEN, and Attendants with halberds.
All. Here, here; yonder, yonder.
Mast. Unnatural, flinty, more than barbarous !
The Scythians, or the marble-hearted Fates,
Could not have acted more remorseless deeds,
In their relentless natures, than these of thine.
Was this the answer I long waited on?
The satisfaction for thy prison'd brother ?
Hus. Why, he can have no more of us than our skins, And some of them want but fleaing.
1 Gent. Great sins have made him impudent.
Mast. He has shed so much blood, that he cannot blush. 2 Gent. Away with him, bear him to the justice's.
A gentleman of worship dwells at hand:
There shall his deeds be blazed.
Hus. Why, all the better.
My glory 'tis to have my action known;
I grieve for nothing, but I miss'd of one.
Mast. There's little of a father in that grief:
Bear him away.
* There is an old book entitled the "Fifty Diseases of a Horse," by Gervase Markham.
† I. e. an arrow's reach.
Play them away.
SCENE IX. A Room in the House of a Magistrate.
Enter a KNIGHT and three GENTLEMEN.
Knight. Endanger'd so his wife? murder'd his children ? 1 Gent. So the cry goes.
Knight. I am sorry I e'er knew him;
That ever he took life and natural being
From such an honour'd stock, and fair descent,
Till this black minute without stain or blemish.
1 Gent. Here come the men.
Enter MASTER of the College, &c. with the Prisoner.
Mast. Please you, Sir
Knight. Do not repeat it twice; I know too much : Would it had ne'er been thought on! Sir, I bleed for you. 1 Gent. Your father's sorrows are alive in me.
What made you show such monstrous cruelty?
Hus. In a word, Sir, I have consumed all, played away longacre; and I thought it the charitablest deed I could do, to cozen beggary, and knock my house o' the head.
Knight. O, in a cooler blood you will repent it.
Hus. I repent now that one is left unkill'd;
My brat at nurse. I would full fain have wean'd him.
Knight. Well, I do not think, but in to-morrow's judgment,
The terror will sit closer to your soul,
When the dread thought of death remembers † you:
To further which, take this sad voice from me,
Never was act play'd more unnaturally.
Hus. I thank you, Sir.
Knight. Go lead him to the gaol:
Where justice claims all, there must pity fail.
Hus. Come, come; away with me.
[Exeunt HUSBAND, &c.
Mast. Sir, you deserve the worship of your place:
Would all did so! In you the law is grace.
Knight. It is my wish it should be so.-Ruinous man!
The desolation of his house, the blot
Upon his predecessors' honour'd name!
That man is nearest shame, that is past shame.‡
SCENE X-Before Calverly Hall.
Enter HUSBAND guarded, MASTER of the College, GENTLEMEN,
Hus. I am right against my house,-seat of my ancestors: I hear my wife's alive, but much endanger'd.
Let me entreat to speak with her, before
The prison gripe me.
* Because he had destroyed his whole family, as the serpent of Aaron.
+ I. e. comes upon you.
I. e. nearest to public, who is lost to private shame.