Every Man in His Humour. A Comedy
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Every Man in His Humour
Acted in the yeere 1598.
By the then Lord Chamberlaine his Servants
Haud tamen invideas vati, quem pulpita pascunt.
To the Most Learned, and My Honoured Friend, M r Camden,
There are, no doubt, a supercilious race in the world, who will esteem all office
done you in this kind an injury; so solemn a vice it is with them to use the
authority of their ignorance to the crying-down of poetry or the professors. But
my gratitude must not leave to correct their error; since I am none of those that
can suffer the benefits conferred upon my youth to perish with my age. It is a
frail memory that remembers but present things. And had the favour of the
times so conspired with my disposition, as it could have brought forth other, or
better, you had had the same proportion and number of the fruits, the first.
Now, I pray you to accept this, such wherein neither the confession of my
manners shall make you blush; nor of my studies, repent you to have been the
instructor; and, for the profession of my thankfulness, I am sure it will, with
good men, find either praise, or excuse.
Your true lover,
The Persons of the Play
Knowell, an old gentleman
Edward Knowell, his son
Brainworm, the father's man
Master Stephen, a country gull
Downright, a plain squire
Wellbred, his half-brother
Justice Clement, an old merry magistrate
Roger Formal, his clerk
Kitely, a merchant
Dame Kitely, his wife
Mistress Bridget, his sister
Master Matthew, the town gull
Cash, Kitely's man
Cob, a waterbearer
Tib, his wife
Captain Bobadil, a Paul's-man
Though need make many Poets, and some such
As art and nature have not bettered much;
Yet ours, for want, hath not so loved the stage,
As he dare serve the ill customs of the age:
Or purchase your delight at such a rate,
As, for it, he himself must justly hate.
To make a child, now swaddled, to proceed
Man, and then shoot up, in one beard and weed,
Past threescore years: or, with three rusty swords,
And help of some few foot-and-half-foot words,
Fight over York and Lancaster's long jars:
And in the tiring-house bring wounds to scars.
He rather prays you will be pleased to see
One such, today, as other plays should be.
Where neither Chorus wafts you o'er the seas;
Nor creaking throne comes down, the boys to please;
Nor nimble squib is seen, to make afeared
The gentlewomen; nor rolled bullet heard
To say it thunders; nor tempestuous drum
Rumbles, to tell you when the storm doth come;
But deeds, and language, such as men do use:
And persons, such as Comedy would choose,
When she would show an image of the times,
And sport with human follies, not with crimes.
Except, we make 'em such by loving still
Our popular errors, when we know they're ill.
I mean such errors, as you'll all confess
By laughing at them, they deserve no less:
Which when you heartily do, there's hope left, then,
You, that have so graced monsters, may like men.
Before Knowell's house
Enter Knowell, Brainworm
A goodly day toward! And a fresh morning! Brainworm,
Call up your young master: bid him rise, sir.
Tell him I have some business to employ him.
I will, sir, presently.
But hear you, sirrah,
If he be at his book, disturb him not.
How happy yet should I esteem myself
Could I, by any practice, wean the boy
From one vain course of study he affects.
He is a scholar, if a man may trust
The liberal voice of fame, in her report
Of good account, in both our universities,
Either of which hath favoured him with graces:
But their indulgence must not spring in me
A fond opinion that he cannot err.
Myself was once a student; and, indeed,
Fed with the selfsame humour he is now,
Dreaming on naught but idle poetry,
That fruitless and unprofitable art,
Good unto none, but least to the professors,
Which then, I thought the mistress of all knowledge:
But since, time, and the truth have waked my judgement,
And reason taught me better to distinguish
The vain from the useful learnings.
What news with you, that you are here so early?
STE. Nothing, but e'en come to see how you do, uncle.
KNO. That's kindly done, you are welcome, coz.
STE. Aye, I know that, sir, I would not ha' come else.
How do my cousin Edward, uncle?
KNO. Oh, well, coz, go in and see: I doubt he be scarce stirring yet.
STE. Uncle, afore I go in, can you tell me, an' he have e'er a book of the
sciences of hawking and hunting? I would fain borrow it.
KNO. Why, I hope you will not a-hawking now, will you?
STE. No wusse; but I'll practise against next year, uncle: I have bought me a
hawk, and a hood and bells, and all; I lack nothing but a book to keep it by.
KNO. Oh, most ridiculous.
STE. Nay, look you now, you are angry, uncle: why you know, an' a man have
not skill in the hawking and hunting languages nowadays, I'll not give a rush
for him. They are more studied than the Greek or the Latin. He is for no
gallant's company without 'em. And by gad's lid, I scorn it, aye, so I do, to be a
consort for every humdrum, hang 'em scroyles, there's nothing in 'em, in the
world. What do you talk on it? Because I dwell at Hoxton, I shall keep
company with none but the archers of Finsbury? Or the citizens, that come
a-ducking to Islington ponds? A fine jest i' faith! 'Slid, a gentleman mun show
himself like a gentleman. Uncle, I pray you be not angry, I know what I have
to do, I trow, I am no novice.
You are a prodigal absurd cockscomb. Go to.
Nay, never look at me, it's I that speak.
Take it as you will, sir, I'll not flatter you.
Ha' you not yet found means enow, to waste
That which your friends have left you, but you must
Go cast away your money on a kite,
And know not how to keep it when you ha' done?
Oh, it's comely! This will make you a gentleman!
Well, cousin, well! I see you are e'en past hope
Of all reclaim. Aye, so, now you are told on it,
You look another way.
What would you ha' me do?
What would I have you do? I'll tell you, kinsman,
Learn to be wise, and practise how to thrive,
That would I have you do: and not to spend
Your coin on every bauble that you fancy,
Or every foolish brain that humours you.
I would not have you to invade each place,
Nor thrust yourself on all societies,
Till men's affections, or your own desert,
Should worthily invite you to your rank.
He that is so respectless in his courses
Oft sells his reputation at cheap market.
Nor would I you should melt away yourself
In flashing bravery, lest while you affect
To make a blaze of gentry to the world,
A little puff of scorn extinguish it,
And you be left, like an unsavoury snuff,
Whose property is only to offend.
I'd ha' you sober, and contain yourself;
Not that your sail be bigger than your boat:
But moderate your expenses now, at first,
As you may keep the same proportion still.
Nor stand so much on your gentility,
Which is an airy and mere borrowed thing,
From dead men's dust and bones: and none of yours
Except you make or hold it. Who comes here?
SER. Save you, gentlemen.
STE. Nay, we do not stand much on our gentility, friend; yet you are welcome,
and I assure you, mine uncle here is a man of a thousand a year, Middlesex
land: he has but one son in all the world, I am his next heir (at the common
law) Master Stephen, as simple as I stand here, if my cousin die (as there's
hope he will) I have a pretty living o' mine own too, beside, hard-by here.
SER. In good time, sir.
STE. In good time, sir? Why! And in very good time, sir. You do not flout,
friend, do you?
SER. Not I, sir.
STE. Not you, sir? You were not best, sir; an' you should, here be them can
perceive it, and that quickly too: go to. And they can give it again soundly too,
and need be.
SER. Why, sir, let this satisfy you: good faith, I had no such intent.
STE. Sir, an' I thought you had, I would talk with you, and that presently.
SER. Good Master Stephen, so you may, sir, at your pleasure.
STE. And so I would, sir, good my saucy companion! An' you were out o'
mine uncle's ground, I can tell you; though I do not stand upon my gentility
KNO. Cousin! Cousin! Will this ne'er be left?
STE. Whoreson base fellow! A mechanical serving- man! By this cudgel, and
'twere not for shame, I would –
What would you do, you peremptory gull?
If you cannot be quiet, get you hence.
You see, the honest man demeans himself
Modestly towards you, giving no reply
To your unseasoned, quarrelling, rude fashion:
And still you huff it, with a kind of carriage
As void of wit as of humanity.
Go, get you in; 'fore heaven, I am ashamed
Thou hast a kinsman's interest in me.
SER. I pray you, sir. Is this Master Knowell's house?
KNO. Yes, marry, is it, sir.
SER. I should enquire for a gentleman here, one Master Edward Knowell: do
you know any such, sir, I pray you?
KNO. I should forget myself else, sir.
SER. Are you the gentleman? Cry you mercy, sir: I was required by a
gentleman i' the city, as I rode out at this end o' the town, to deliver you this
KNO. To me, sir! What do you mean? Pray you remember your courtesy. »To
his most selected friend, Master Edward Knowell.« What might the
gentleman's name be, sir, that sent it? Nay, pray you be covered.
SER. One Master Wellbred, sir.
KNO. Master Wellbred! A young gentleman, is he not?
SER. The same, sir, Master Kitely married his sister: the rich merchant i' the
KNO. You say very true. Brainworm.
Make this honest friend drink here: pray you go in.
Exeunt Brainworm, servant
This letter is directed to my son:
Yet I am Edward Knowell too, and may
With the safe conscience of good manners use
The fellow's error to my satisfaction.
Well, I will break it ope (old men are curious)
Be it but for the style's sake, and the phrase,
To see if both do answer my son's praises,
Who is almost grown the idolator
Of this young Wellbred: what have we here? What's this?
»Why, Ned, I beseech thee; has thou forsworn all thy friends i' the Old Jewry?
Or dost thou think us all Jews that inhabit there yet? If thou dost, come over,
and but see our frippery: change an old shirt for a whole smock with us. Do not
conceive that antipathy between us and Hoxton, as was between Jews and
hogs-flesh. Leave thy vigilant father alone, to number over his green apricots,
evening and morning, o' the north-west wall. An' I had been his son, I had
saved him the labour, long since; if, taking in all the young wenches that pass
by at the back door, and coddling every kernel of the fruit for 'em, would ha'
served. But, prithee, come over to me quickly, this morning: I have such a
present for thee (our Turkey company never sent the like to the
Grand-Signior). One is a rhymer, sir, o' your own batch, your own leaven; but
doth think himself Poet-major, o' the town: willing to be shown, and worthy to
be seen. The other – I will not venture his description with you till you come,
because I would ha' you make hither with an appetite. If the worst of 'em be
not worth your journey, draw your bill of charges, as unconscionable as any
Guildhall verdict will give it you, and you shall be allowed your viaticum. «
» From the Windmill.«
From the bordello, it might come as well;
The Spittle: or Pict-hatch. Is this the man
My son hath sung so, for the happiest wit,
The choicest brain the times hath sent us forth?
I know not what he may be in the arts;
Nor what in schools: but surely, for his manners,
I judge him a profane and dissolute wretch:
Worse, by possession of such great good gifts,
Being the master of so loose a spirit.
Why, what unhallowed ruffian would have writ
In such a scurrilous manner to a friend!
Why should he think I tell my apricots?
Or play the Hesperian Dragon with my fruit,
To watch it? Well, my son, I'd thought
You'd had more judgement, to have made election
Of your companions, than to have ta'en on trust
Such petulant, jeering gamesters, that can spare
No argument or subject from their jest.
But I perceive, affection makes a fool
Of any man, too much the father. Brainworm.
KNO. Is the fellow gone that brought this letter?
BRA. Yes, sir, a pretty while since.
KNO. And where's your young master?
BRA. In his chamber, sir.
KNO. He spake not with the fellow! Did he?
BRA. No, sir, he saw him not.
Take you this letter, and deliver it my son,
But with no notice that I have opened it, on your life.
Oh lord, sir, that were a jest, indeed!
I am resolved, I will not stop his journey;
Nor practise any violent mean, to stay
The unbridled course of youth in him: for that,
Restrained, grows more impatient; and, in kind,
Like to the eager but the generous greyhound,
Who ne'er so little from his game withheld,
Turns head, and leaps up at his holder's throat.
There is a way of winning, more by love,
And urging of the modesty, than fear:
Force works on servile natures, not the free.
He that's compelled to goodness may be good;
But 'tis but for that fit: where others drawn
By softness and example, get a habit.
Then, if they stray, but warn 'em: and the same
They should for virtue have done, they'll do for shame.
Enter Edward Knowell with a letter, Brainworm
E. KN. Did he open it, sayest thou?
BRA. Yes, o' my word, sir, and read the contents.
E. KN. That scarce contents me. What countenance, prithee, made he i' the
reading of it? Was he angry, or pleased?
BRA. Nay, sir, I saw him not read it, nor open it, I assure your worship.
E. KN. No? How knowst thou, then, that he did either?
BRA. Marry, sir, because he charged me, on my life, to tell nobody that he
opened it: which unless he had done, he would never fear to have it revealed.
E. KN. That's true: well, I thank thee, Brainworm
He walks aside, reading
STE. Oh, Brainworm, didst thou not see a fellow here in a what-sha'-call-him
doublet! He brought mine uncle a letter e'en now.
BRA. Yes, Master Stephen, what of him?
STE. Oh, I ha' such a mind to beat him – Where is he? Canst thou tell?
BRA. Faith, he is not of that mind: he is gone, Master Stephen.
STE. Gone? Which way? When went he? How long since?
BRA. He is rid hence. He took horse at the street door.
STE. And I stayed i' the fields! Whoreson scander- bag rogue! Oh that I had
but a horse to fetch him back again.
BRA. Why, you may ha' my master's gelding, to save your longing, sir.
STE. But, I ha' no boots, that's the spite on't.
BRA. Why, a fine wisp of hay, rolled hard, Master Stephen.
STE. No faith, it's no boot to follow him now: let him e'en go, and hand. Pray
thee, help to truss me a little. He does so vex me –
BRA. You'll be worse vexed when you are trussed, Master Stephen. Best keep
unbraced; and walk yourself till you be cold: your choler may founder you
STE. By my faith, and so I will, now thou tellst me on't. How dost thou like
my leg, Brainworm?
BRA. A very good leg, Master Stephen! But the woollen stocking does not
commend it so well.
STE. Foh, the stockings be good enough, now summer is coming on, for the
dust. I'll have a pair of silk again' winter, that I go to dwell i' the town. I think
my leg would show in a silk-hose.
BRA. Believe me, Master Stephen, rarely well.
STE. In sadness, I think it would: I have a reasonable good leg.
BRA. You have an excellent good leg, Master Stephen, but I cannot stay to
praise it longer now, and I am very sorry for it.
STE. Another time will serve, Brainworm. Gramercy for this.
E. KN laughs having read the letter. Ha, ha, ha!
STE. 'Slid, I hope, he laughs not at me, and he do –
E. KN. Here was a letter, indeed, to be intercepted by a man's father, and do
him good with him! He cannot but think most virtuously, both of me and the
sender, sure; that make the careful costermonger of him in our familiar
Epistles. Well, if he read this with patience, I'll be gelt, and troll ballads for
Master John Trundle, yonder, the rest of my mortality. It is true, and likely, my
father may have as much patience as another man; for he takes much physic:
and oft taking physic makes a man very patient. But would your packet,
Master Wellbred, had arrived at him in such a minute of his patience; then we
had known the end of it, which now is doubtful, and threatens – What! My
wise cousin! Nay, then, I'll furnish our feast with one gull more toward the
mess. He writes to me of a brace, and here's one, that's three: oh, for a fourth;
Fortune, if ever thou'lt use thine eyes, I entreat thee –
STE. Oh, now I see who he laughed at. He laughed at somebody in that letter.
By this good light, and he had laughed at me –
E. KN. How now, cousin Stephen, melancholy?
STE. Yes, a little. I thought, you had laughed at me, cousin.
E. KN. Why, what an' I had, coz, what would you ha' done?
STE. By this light, I would ha' told mine uncle.
E. KN. Nay, if you would ha' told your uncle, I did laugh at you, coz.
STE. Did you, indeed?
E. KN. Yes, indeed.
STE. Why, then –
E. KN. What then?
STE. I am satisfied, it is sufficient.
E. KN. Why, be so gentle, coz. And I pray you let me entreat a courtesy of
you. I am sent for, this morning, by a friend in the Old Jewry to come to him;
it's but crossing over the fields to Moorgate: will you bear me company? I
protest, it is not to draw you into bond, or any plot against the state, coz.
STE. Sir, that's all one, and 'twere: you shall command me twice so far as
Moorgate to do you good in such a matter. Do you think I would leave you? I
E. KN. No, no, you shall not protest, coz.
STE. By my fackins, but I will, by your leave; I'll protest more to my friend
than I'll speak of, at this time.
E. KN. You speak very well, coz.
STE. Nay, not so neither, you shall pardon me: but I speak to serve my turn.
E. KN. Your turn, coz? Do you know what you say? A gentleman of your sort,
parts, carriage, and estimation, to talk o' your turn i' this company, and to me,
alone, like a tankard-bearer, at a conduit! Fie. A wight, that, hitherto, his every
step hath left the stamp of a great foot behind him, as every word the savour of
a strong spirit! And he! This man! So graced, gilded, or (to use a more fit
metaphor) so tin-foiled by nature, as not ten housewives' pewter (again' a good
time) shows more bright to the world than he! And he (as I said last, so I say
again, and still shall say it) this man! To conceal such real ornaments as these,
and shadow their glory, as a milliner's wife does her wrought stomacher, with
a smoky lawn, or a black cypress? Oh, coz! It cannot be answered, go not
about it. Drake's old ship, at Deptford, may sooner circle the world again.
Come, wrong not the quality of your desert, with looking downward, coz; but
hold up your head, so: and let the Idea of what you are be portrayed i' your
face, that men may read i' your physiognomy, »Here, within this place, is to be
seen the true, rare, and accomplished monster, or miracle of nature«, which is
all one. What think you of this, coz?
STE. Why, I do think of it; and I will be more proud, and melancholy, and
gentleman-like, than I have been: I'll ensure you.
E. KN. Why, that's resolute, Master Stephen! Aside Now, if I can but hold him
up to his height, as it is happily begun, it will do well for a suburb-humour: we
may hap have a match with the city, and play him for forty pound. Come, coz.
STE. I'll follow you.
E. KN. Follow me? You must go before.
STE. Nay, an' I must, I will. Pray you, show me, good cousin.
Before Cob's house
Enter Master Matthew
MAT. I think this be the house: what, ho?
COB. Who's there? Oh, Master Matthew! Gi' your worship good-morrow.
MAT. What! Cob! How dost thou, good Cob? Dost thou inhabit here, Cob?
COB. Aye, sir, I and my lineage ha' kept a poor house here, in our days.
MAT. Thy lineage, Monsieur Cob, what lineage? What lineage?
COB. Why, sir, an ancient lineage, and a princely. Mine ancestry came from a
king's belly, no worse man: and yet no man neither (by your worship's leave, I
did lie in that) but Herring the king of fish (from his belly, I proceed) one o' the
monarchs o' the world, I assure you. The first red herring that was broiled in
Adam and Eve's kitchen do I fetch my pedigree from, by the harrot's books.
His cob was my great-great-mighty-great grandfather.
MAT. Why mighty? Why mighty? I pray thee.
COB. Oh, it was a mighty while ago, sir, and a mighty great cob.
MAT. How knowst thou that?
COB. How know I? Why, I smell his ghost, ever and anon.
MAT. Smell a ghost? Oh, unsavoury jest! And the ghost of a herring, Cob!
COB. Aye, sir, with favour of your worship's nose, Master Matthew, why not
the ghost of a herring- cob, as well as the ghost of rasher-bacon?
MAT. Roger Bacon, thou wouldst say?
COB. I say rasher-bacon. They were both broiled o' the coals? And a man may
smell broiled meat, I hope? You are a scholar, upsolve me that now.
MAT. Oh, raw ignorance! Cob, canst thou show me of a gentleman, one
Captain Bobadil, where his lodging is?
COB. Oh, my guest, sir! You mean.
MAT. Thy guest! Alas! Ha, ha.
COB. Why do you laugh, sir? Do you not mean Captain Bobadil?
MAT. Cob, 'pray thee, advise thyself well: do not wrong the gentleman, and
thyself too. I dare be sworn, he scorns thy house: he! He lodge in such a base,
obscure place, as thy house! Tut, I know his disposition so well, he would not
lie in thy bed if thou'dst gi'it him.
COB. I will not give it him, though, sir. Mass, I thought somewhat was in't, we
could not get him to bed all night! Well, sir, though he lie not o' my bed, he
lies o' my bench: an't please you to go up, sir, you shall find him with two
cushions under his head, and his cloak wrapped about him, as though he had
neither won nor lost, and yet (I warrant) he ne'er cast better in his life than he
has done tonight.
MAT. Why? Was he drunk?
COB. Drunk, sir? You hear not me say so. Perhaps, he swallowed a
tavern-token, or some such device, sir: I have nothing to do withal. I deal with
water, and not with wine. Gi'me my tankard there, ho. God b'w'you, sir. It's six
o'clock: I should ha' carried
two turns by this. What ho? My stopple? Come.
MAT. Lie in a waterbearer's house! A gentleman of his havings! Well, I'll tell
him my mind.
COB. What Tib, show this gentleman up to the Captain. Exeunt Tib, Matthew
Oh, an' my house were the Brazen Head now! Faith, it would e'en speak, ›Mo
fools yet‹. You should ha' some now would take this Master Matthew to be a
gentleman, at the least. His father's an honest man, a worshipful fishmonger,
and so forth; and now does he creep and wriggle into acquaintance with all the
brave gallants about the town, such as my guest is: (oh, my guest is a fine man)
and they flout him invincibly. He useth every day to a merchant's house (where
I serve water), one Master Kitely's, i' the Old Jewry; and here's the jest, he is in
love with my master's sister, Mistress Bridget, and calls her mistress: and there
he will sit you a whole afternoon sometimes, reading o' these same
abominable, vile (a pox on 'em, I cannot abide them) rascally verses, poyetry,
poyetry, and speaking of interludes, 'twill make a man burst to hear him. And
the wenches, they do so jeer, and tee-hee at him – well, should they do so
much to me, I'd forswear them all, by the foot of Pharaoh. There's an oath!
How many waterbearers shall you hear swear such an oath? Oh, I have a guest
(he teaches me), he does swear the legiblest of any man christened: by St.
George, the foot of Pharaoh, the body of me, as I am a gentleman, and a
soldier: such dainty oaths! And withal, he does take this same filthy roguish
tobacco, the finest, and cleanliest! It would do a man good to see the fume
come forth at his tunnels! Well, he owes me forty shillings (my wife lent him
out of her purse, by sixpence a time) besides his lodging: I would I had it. I
shall ha'it, he says, the next action. Helter- hang sorrow, care'll kill a cat,
up-tails all, and a louse for the hangman.
Bobadil is discovered lying on his bench
BOB. Hostess, hostess.
TIB. What say you, sir?
BOB. A cup o' thy small beer, sweet hostess.
TIB. Sir, there's a gentleman below would speak with you.
BOB. A gentleman! 'Ods so, I am not within.
TIB. My husband told him you were, sir.
BOB. What a plague – what meant he?
MAT Within. Captain Bobadil?
BOB. Who's there? Take away the basin, good hostess. Come up, sir.
TIB. He would desire you to come up, sir. You come into a cleanly house,
MAT. 'Save you, sir. 'Save you, captain.
BOB. Gentle Master Matthew! Is it you, sir? Please you sit down.
MAT. Thank you, good captain; you may see, I am somewhat audacious.
BOB. Not so, sir. I was requested to supper last night by a sort of gallants,
where you were wished for, and drunk too, I assure you.
MAT. Vouchsafe me, by whom, good captain.
BOB. Marry, by young Wellbred, and others. Why, hostess, a stool here, for
MAT. No haste, sir, 'tis very well.
BOB. Body of me! It was so late ere we parted last night, I can scarce open my
eyes yet; I was but new risen as you came: how passes the day abroad, sir?
You can tell.
MAT. Faith, some half-hour to seven: now trust me, you have an exceeding
fine lodging here, very neat, and private!
BOB. Aye, sir: sit down, I pray you. Master Matthew, in any case, possess no
gentlemen of our acquaintance with notice of my lodging.
MAT. Who? I sir? No.
BOB. Not that I need to care who know it, for the cabin is convenient, but in
regard I would not be too popular, and generally visited, as some are.
MAT. True, captain, I conceive you.
BOB. For, do you see, sir, by the heart of valour in me (except it be to some
peculiar and choice spirits, to whom I am extraordinarily engaged, as yourself,
or so) I could not extend thus far.
MAT. Oh Lord, sir, I resolve so.
BOB. I confess I love a cleanly and quiet privacy, above all the tumult and roar
of fortune. What new book ha' you there? What! »Go by, Hieronymo«!
MAT. Aye, did you ever see it acted? Is't not well penned?
BOB. Well penned? I would fain see all the poets of these times pen such
another play as that was! They'll prate and swagger, and keep a stir of art and
devices, when (as I am a gentleman) read 'em, they are the most shallow,
pitiful, barren fellows, that live upon the face of the earth, again!
MAT. Indeed, here are a number of fine speeches in this book! »O eyes, no
eyes, but fountains fraught with tears!« There's a conceit! »Fountains fraught
with tears!« »O life, no life, but lively form of death!« Another! »O world, no
world, but mass of public wrongs!« A third! »Confused and filled with murder,
and misdeeds!« A fourth! Oh, the Muses! Is't not excellent? Is't not simply the
best that ever you heard, captain? Ha? How do you like it?
BOB. 'Tis good.
»To thee, the purest object to my sense,
The most refined essence heaven covers,
Send I these lines, wherein I do commence
The happy state of turtle-billing lovers.
If they prove rough, unpolished, harsh, and rude,
Haste made the waste. Thus, mildly, I conclude.«
Bobadil is making him ready all this while
BOB. Nay, proceed, proceed. Where's this?
MAT. This, sir? A toy o' mine own, in my nonage: the infancy of my Muses!
But when will you come and see my study? Good faith, I can show you some
very good things I have done of late – That boot becomes your leg passing
well, captain, methinks!
BOB. So, so, it's the fashion gentlemen now use.
MAT. Troth, captain, an' now you speak o' the fashion, Master Wellbred's
elder brother and I are fallen out exceedingly: this other day, I happened to
enter into some discourse of a hanger, which I assure you, both for fashion and
workmanship, was most peremptory-beautiful and gentlemanlike! Yet he
condemned and cried it down for the most pied and ridiculous that ever he
BOB. Squire Downright? The half-brother? Was't not?
MAT. Aye, sir, he.
BOB. Hang him, rook, he! Why, he has no more judgement than a malt-horse.
By St. George, I wonder you'd lose a thought upon such an animal: the most
peremptory absurd clown of Christendom this day he is holden. I protest to
you, as I am a gentleman and a soldier, I ne'er changed words with his like. By
his discourse, he should eat nothing but hay. He was born for the manger,
pannier, or pack-saddle! He has not so much as a good phrase in his belly, but
all old iron, and rusty proverbs! A good commodity for some smith to make
MAT. Aye, and he thinks to carry it away with his manhood still, where he
comes. He brags he will gi' me the bastinado, as I hear.
BOB. How! He the bastinado! How came he by that word, trow?
MAT. Nay, indeed, he said cudgel me; I termed it so, for my more grace.
BOB. That may be: for I was sure, it was none of his word. But, when? When
said he so?
MAT. Faith, yesterday, they say: a young gallant, a friend of mine told me so.
BOB. By the foot of Pharaoh, and 'twere my case now, I should send him a
chartel, presently. The bastinado! A most proper, and sufficient dependance,
warranted by the great Caranza. Come hither. You shall chartel him. I'll show
you a trick or two you shall kill him with, at pleasure: the first stoccata, if you
will, by this air.
MAT. Indeed, you have absolute knowledge i' the mystery, I have heard, sir.
BOB. Of whom? Of whom ha' you heard it, I beseech you?
MAT. Troth, I have heard it spoken of divers, that you have very rare, and
un-in-one-breath-utter-able skill, sir.
BOB. By heaven, no, not I; no skill i' the earth: some small rudiments i' the
science, as to know my time, distance, or so. I have professed it more for
noblemen and gentlemen's use than mine own practice, I assure you. Hostess,
accommodate us with another bed-staff here, quickly: lend us another
bed-staff. Exit Tib The woman does not understand the words of action. Look
you, sir. Exalt not your point above this state, at any hand, and let your poinard
maintain your defence, thus:
(give it the gentleman, and leave us) Exit Tib so, sir. Come on: oh, twine your
body more about, that you may fall to a more sweet comely gentleman- like
guard. So, indifferent. Hollow your body more, sir, thus. Now, stand fast o'
your left leg, note your distance, keep your due proportion of time –– oh, you
disorder your point most irregularly!
MAT. How is the bearing of it now, sir?
BOB. Oh, out of measure ill! A well-experienced hand would pass upon you at
MAT. How mean you, sir, pass upon me?
BOB. Why, thus, sir (make a thrust at me), come in, upon the answer, control
your point, and make a full career, at the body. The best-practised gallants of
the time, name it the passada : a most desperate thrust, believe it!
MAT. Well, come, sir.
BOB. Why, you do not manage your weapon with any facility, or grace to
invite me: I have no spirit to play with you. Your dearth of judgement renders
MAT. But one venue, sir.
BOB. Venue! Fie. Most gross denomination, as ever I heard. Oh, the stoccata,
while you live, sir. Note that. Come, put on your cloak, and we'll go to some
private place, where you are acquainted, some tavern, or so –– and have a bit –
I'll send for one of these fencers, and he shall breath you, by my direction; and
then I will teach you your trick. You shall kill him with it, at the first, if you
please. Why, I will learn you, by the true judgement of the eye, hand, and foot,
to control any enemy's point i' the world. Should your adversary confront you
with a pistol, 'twere nothing, by this hand, you should, by the same rule,
control his bullet, in a line: except it were hail-shot and spread. What money
ha' you about you, Master Matthew?
MAT. Faith, I ha' not past a two shillings or so.
BOB. 'Tis somewhat with the least: but come. We will have a bunch of radish,
and salt, to taste our wine; and a pipe of tobacco, to close the orifice of the
stomach: and then we'll call upon young Wellbred. Perhaps we shall meet the
Corydon, his brother, there: and put him to the question.
Before Kitely's house
Enter Kitely, Cash, Downright
Thomas, come hither.
There lies a note, within upon my desk,
Here, take my key: it is no matter, neither.
Where is the boy?
Within, sir, i' the warehouse.
Let him tell over, straight, that Spanish gold,
And weigh it, with the pieces of eight. Do you
See the delivery of those silver stuffs,
To Master Lucar. Tell him, if he will,
He shall ha' the grograms, at the rate I told him,
And I will meet him on the Exchange anon.
Do you see that fellow, brother Downright?
Aye, what of him?
He is a jewel, brother.
I took him of a child, up, at my door,
And christened him, gave him mine own name, Thomas,
Since bred him at the Hospital; where proving
A toward imp, I called him home, and taught him
So much as I have made him my cashier,
And given him, who had none, a surname, Cash:
And find him in his place so full of faith
That I durst trust my life into his hands.
So would not I in any bastard's, brother,
As it is like he is, although I knew
Myself his father. But you said you had somewhat
To tell me, gentle brother, what is't? What is't?
Faith, I am very loth to utter it,
As fearing it may hurt your patience:
But that I know your judgement is of strength,
Against the nearness of affection –
What need this circumstance? Pray you be direct.
I will not say how much I do ascribe
Unto your friendship; nor in what regard
I hold your love: but let my past behaviour,
And usage of your sister but confirm
How well I've been affected to your –
You are too tedious, come to the matter, the matter.
Then, without further ceremony, thus.
My brother Wellbred, sir, I know not how,
Of late is much declined in what he was,
And greatly altered in his disposition.
When he came first to lodge here in my house,
Ne'er trust me, if I were not proud of him:
Methought he bare himself in such a fashion,
So full of man, and sweetness in his carriage,
And (what was chief) it showed not borrowed in him,
But all he did, became him as his own,
And seemed as perfect, proper, and possessed
As breath, with life, or colour, with the blood.
But, now, his course is so irregular,
So loose, affected, and deprived of grace,
And he himself withal so far fallen off
From that first place, as scarce no note remains,
To tell men's judgements where he lately stood.
He's grown a stranger to all due respect,
Forgetful of his friends, and not content
To stale himself in all societies,
He makes my house here common as a mart,
A theatre, a public receptacle
For giddy humour, and diseased riot;
And here (as in a tavern, or a stews)
He and his wild associates spend their hours,
In repetition of lascivious jests,
Swear, leap, drink, dance, and revel night by night,
Control my servants: and indeed what not?
DOW. 'Sdeynes, I know not what I should say to him, i' the whole world! He
values me at a cracked three-farthings, for aught I see: it will never out o' the
flesh that's bred i' the bone! I have told him enough, one would think, if that
would serve. But counsel to him is as good, as a shoulder of mutton to a sick
horse. Well! He knows what to trust to, 'fore George. Let him spend, and
spend, and domineer till his heart ache; an' he think to be relieved by me, when
he is got into one o' your city pounds, the Counters, he has the wrong sow by
the ear, i' faith: and claps his dish at the wrong man's door. I'll lay my hand o'
my halfpenny, ere I part with't, to fetch him out, I'll assure him.
KIT. Nay, good brother, let it not trouble you thus.
DOW. 'Sdeath, he mads me, I could eat my very spur- leathers for anger! But
why are you so tame? Why do you not speak to him, and tell him how he
disquiets your house?
Oh, there are divers reasons to dissuade, brother.
But would yourself vouchsafe to travail in it,
(Though but with plain and easy circumstance)
It would both come much better to his sense,
And savour less of stomach, or of passion.
You are his elder brother, and that title
Both gives and warrants you authority;
Which (by your presence seconded) must breed
A kind of duty in him, and regard:
Whereas if I should intimate the least,
It would but add contempt to his neglect,
Heap worse on ill, make up a pile of hatred
That, in the rearing, would come tottering down,
And in the ruin, bury all our love.
Nay, more than this, brother, if I should speak
He would be ready from his heat of humour,
And overflowing of the vapour in him,
To blow the ears of his familiars
With the false breath of telling what disgraces
And low disparagements I had put upon him.
Whilst they, sir, to relieve him, in the fable,
Make their loose comments upon every word,
Gesture, or look I use; mock me all over,
From my flat cap unto my shining shoes:
And out of their impetuous rioting fancies,
Beget some slander, that shall dwell with me.
And what would that be, think you? Marry, this.
They would give out, because my wife is fair,
Myself but lately married, and my sister
Here sojourning a virgin in my house,
That I were jealous! Nay, as sure as death,
That they would say. And how that I had quarrelled
My brother purposely, thereby to find
An apt pretext to banish them my house.
Mass, perhaps so; they're like enough to do it.
Brother, they would, believe it: so should I
(Like one of these penurious quack-salvers)
But set the bills up, to mine own disgrace,
And try experiments upon myself:
Lend scorn and envy, opportunity
To stab my reputation, and good name –
Enter Matthew, Bobadil
MAT. I will speak to him –
BOB. Speak to him? Away, by the foot of Pharaoh, you shall not, you shall not
do him that grace. The time of day to you, gentleman o' the house. Is Master
DOW. How then? What should he do?
BOB. Gentleman of the house, it is to you: is he within, sir?
KIT. He came not to his lodging tonight, sir, I assure you.
DOW. Why, do you hear? You.
BOB. The gentleman-citizen hath satisfied me, I'll talk to no scavenger.
Exit with Matthew
DOW. How, scavenger? Stay, sir, stay?
KIT. Nay, brother Downright.
DOW. 'Heart! Stand you away, and you love me.
KIT. You shall not follow him now, I pray you, brother, good faith you shall
not: I will over-rule you.
DOW. Ha? Scavenger? Well, go to, I say little: but, by this good day (God
forgive me I should swear) if I put it up so, say I am the rankest cow that ever
pissed. 'Sdeynes, and I swallow this, I'll ne'er draw my sword in the sight of
Fleet Street again, while I live; I'll sit in a barn, with Madge-howlet and catch
mice first. Scavenger? 'Heart, and I'll go near to fill that huge tumbrel-slop of
yours, with somewhat, and I have good luck: your Garagantua breech cannot
carry it away so.
KIT. Oh, do not fret yourself thus, never think on't.
DOW. These are my brother's consorts, these! These are his Cam'rades, his
walking mates! He's a gallant, a Cavaliero too, right hangman cut! Let me not
live, and I could not find in my heart to swinge the whole ging of 'em, one
after another, and begin with him first. I am grieved it should be said he is my
brother, and take these courses. Well, as he brews, so he shall drink, 'fore
George, again. Yet, he shall hear on't, and that tightly too, and I live, i' faith.
But, brother, let your reprehension, then,
Run in an easy current, not o'er-high
Carried with rashness, or devouring choler;
But rather use the soft persuading way,
Whose powers will work more gently, and compose
The imperfect thoughts you labour to reclaim:
More winning, than enforcing the consent.
Aye, aye, let me alone for that, I warrant you.
How now? Oh, the bell rings to breakfast.
Brother, I pray you go in, and bear my wife
Company till I come; I'll but give order
For some dispatch of business, to my servants –
What, Cob? Our maids will have you by the back,
I' faith, for coming so late this morning.
Perhaps so, sir, take heed somebody have not them by the belly, for walking so
late in the evening.
He passes by with his tankard
Well, yet my troubled spirit's somewhat eased,
Though not reposed in that security
As I could wish. But I must be content.
Howe'er I set a face on't to the world,
Would I had lost this finger, at a venture,
So Wellbred had ne'er lodged within my house.
Why't cannot be, where there is such resort
Of wanton gallants and young revellers,
That any woman should be honest long.
Is't like, that factious beauty will preserve
The public weal of chastity, unshaken,
When such strong motives muster, and make head
Against her single peace? No, no. Beware,
When mutual appetite doth meet to treat,
And spirits of one kind, and quality,
Come once to parley, in the pride of blood:
It is no slow conspiracy that follows.
Well (to be plain) if I but thought the time
Had answered their affections: all the world
Should not persuade me, but I were a cuckold.
Marry, I hope, they ha' not got that start:
For opportunity hath balked 'em yet,
And shall do still, while I have eyes and ears
To attend the impositions of my heart.
My presence shall be as an iron bar
'Twixt the conspiring motions of desire:
Yea, every look, or glance, mine eye ejects,
Shall check occasion, as one doth his slave,
When he forgets the limits of prescription.
Enter Dame Kiteley, Bridget
DAM. Sister Bridget, pray you fetch down the rosewater above in the closet.
Exit Bridget Sweetheart, will you come in to breakfast?
KIT Aside. An' she have overheard me now?
DAM. I pray thee, good Mouse, we stay for you.
KIT Aside. By heaven I would not for a thousand angels.
DAM. What ail you, sweetheart, are you not well, speak, good Mouse.
KIT. Troth my head aches extremely, on a sudden.
DAM Putting her hand to his forehead. Oh, the lord!
KIT. How now? What?
DAM. Alas, how it burns? Mouse, keep you warm, good truth it is this new
disease! There's a number are troubled withal! For love's sake, sweetheart,
come in, out of the air.
How simple, and how subtle are her answers?
A new disease, and many troubled with it!
Why, true: she heard me, all the world to nothing.
DAM. I pray thee, good sweetheart, come in; the air will do you harm, in troth.
The air! She has me i' the wind! Sweetheart!
I'll come to you presently: 'twill away, I hope.
DAM. Pray heaven it do.
A new disease? I know not, new, or old,
But it may well be called poor mortals' plague:
For, like a pestilence, it doth infect
The houses of the brain. First it begins
Solely to work upon the fantasy,
Filling her seat with such pestiferous air,
As soon corrupts the judgement; and from thence
Sends like contagion to the memory:
Still each to other giving the infection.
Which, as a subtle vapour, spreads itself
Confusedly through every sensive part,
Till not a thought, or motion, in the mind,
Be free from the black poison of suspect.
Ah, but what misery is it, to know this?
Or, knowing it, to want the mind's erection,
In such extremes? Well, I will once more strive,
(In spite of this black cloud) myself to be,
And shake the fever off, that thus shakes me.
Enter Brainworm disguised
BRA. 'Slid, I cannot choose but laugh, to see myself translated thus, from a
poor creature to a creator; for now must I create an intolerable sort of lies, or
my present profession loses the grace: and yet the lie to a man of my coat is as
ominous a fruit as the Fico. Oh sir, it holds for good polity ever, to have that
outwardly in vilest estimation, that inwardly is most dear to us. So much for
my borrowed shape. Well, the truth is, my old master intends to follow my
young, dry foot over Moorfields to London this morning: now I, knowing of
this hunting-match, or rather conspiracy, and to insinuate with my young
master (for so must we that are blue waiters, and men of hope and service do,
or perhaps we may wear motley at the year's end, and who wears motley, you
know) have got me afore, in this disguise, determining here to lie in
ambuscado, and intercept him in the midway. If I can but get his cloak, his
purse, his hat, nay, anything, to cut him off, that is, to stay his journey, Veni,
vidi, vici, I may say with Captain Caesar, I am made for ever, i' faith. Well,
now must I practise to get the true garb of one of these lance-knights, my arm
here, and my – young master! And his cousin, Master Stephen, as I am true
counterfeit man of war, and no soldier!
Enter Edward Knowell, Stephen
E. KN. So, sir, and how then, coz?
STE. 'Sfoot, I have lost my purse, I think.
E. KN. How? Lost your purse? Where? When had you it?
STE. I cannot tell, stay.
BRA. 'Slid, I am afeared, they will know me, would I could get by them.
E. KN. What? Ha' you it?
STE. No, I think I was bewitched, I –
E. KN. Nay, do not weep the loss, hang it, let it go.
STE. Oh, it's here: no, and it had been lost, I had not cared, but for a jet ring
Mistress Mary sent me.
E. KN. A jet ring? Oh, the posy, the posy?
STE. Fine, i' faith! »Though fancy sleep, my love is deep.« Meaning that
though I did not fancy her, yet she loved me dearly.
E. KN. Most excellent!
STE. And then, I sent her another, and my posy was: »The deeper, the sweeter,
I'll be judged by St. Peter.«
E. KN. How, by St. Peter? I do not conceive that!
STE. Marry, St. Peter, to make up the metre.
E. KN. Well, there the Saint was your good patron, he helped you at your
need: thank him, thank him.
BRA He is come back. I cannot take leave on 'em, so: I will venture, come
what will. Gentlemen, please you change a few crowns, for a very excellent
good blade, here? I am a poor gentleman, a soldier, one that (in the better state
of my fortunes) scorned so mean a refuge, but now it is the humour of
necessity, to have it so. You seem to be gentlemen, well affected to martial
men, else I should rather die with silence than live with shame: however,
vouchsafe to remember, it is my want speaks, not myself. This condition
agrees not with my spirit –
E. KN. Where hast thou served?
BRA. May it please you, sir, in all the late wars of Bohemia, Hungaria,
Dalmatia, Poland, where not, sir? I have been a poor servitor, by sea and land,
any time this fourteen years, and followed the fortunes of the best commanders
in Christendom. I was twice shot at the taking of Aleppo, once at the relief of
Vienna; I have been at Marseilles, Naples, and the Adriatic gulf, a
gentleman-slave in the galleys, thrice, where I was most dangerously shot in
the head, through both the thighs, and yet, being thus maimed, I am void of
maintenance, nothing left me but my scars, the noted marks of my resolution.
STE. How will you sell this rapier, friend?
BRA. Generous sir, I refer it to your own judgement; you are a gentleman,
give me what you please.
STE. True, I am a gentleman, I know that, friend: but what though? I pray you
say, what would you ask?
BRA. I assure you, the blade may become the side or thigh of the best prince
E. KN. Aye, with a velvet scabbard, I think.
STE. Nay, and't be mine, it shall have a velvet scabbard, coz, that's flat: I'd not
wear it as 'tis, and you would give me an angel.
BRA. At your worship's pleasure, sir; nay, 'tis a most pure Toledo.
STE. I had rather it were a Spaniard! But tell me, what shall I give you for it?
An' it had a silver hilt –
E. KN. Come, come, you shall not buy it; hold, there's a shilling, fellow, take
STE. Why, but I will buy it now, because you say so, and there's another
shilling, fellow. I scorn to be outbidden. What, shall I walk with a cudgel, like
Higgin-Bottom? And may have a rapier, for money?
E. KN. You may buy one in the city.
STE. Tut, I'll buy this i' the field, so I will, I have a mind to't, because 'tis a
field rapier. Tell me your lowest price.
E. KN. You shall not buy it, I say.
STE. By this money, but I will, though I give more than 'tis worth.
E. KN. Come away, you are a fool.
STE. Friend, I am a fool, that's granted: but I'll have it, for that word's sake.
Follow me, for your money.
BRA. At your service, sir.
I cannot lose the thought, yet, of this letter,
Sent to my son: nor leave to admire the change
Of manners and the breeding of our youth,
Within the kingdom, since myself was one.
When I was young, he lived not in the stews,
Durst have conceived a scorn and uttered it
On a grey head; age was authority
Against a buffoon: and a man had then
A certain reverence paid unto his years,
That had none due unto his life. So much
The sanctity of some prevailed, for others.
But now we all are fallen; youth, from their fear:
And age, from that which bred it, good example.
Nay, would ourselves were not the first, even parents,
That did destroy the hopes in our own children:
Or they not learned our vices in their cradles,
And sucked in our ill customs with their milk.
Ere all their teeth be born, or they can speak,
We make their palates cunning! The first words
We form their tongues with are licentious jests!
Can it call, whore? Cry, bastard? Oh, then, kiss it,
A witty child! Can't swear? The father's darling!
Give it two plums. Nay, rather than 't shall learn
No bawdy song, the mother herself will teach it!
But this is in the infancy; the days
Of the long coat: when it puts on the breeches,
It will put off all this. Aye, it is like:
When it is gone into the bone already.
No, no: this dye goes deeper than the coat,
Or shirt, or skin. It stains, unto the liver,
And heart, in some. And rather than it should not,
Note, what we fathers do! Look, how we live!
What mistresses we keep! At what expense,
In our sons' eyes! Where they may handle our gifts,
Hear our lascivious courtships, see our dalliance,
Taste of the same provoking meats with us,
To ruin of our states! Nay, when our own
Portion is fled, to prey on their remainder,
We call them into fellowship of vice!
Bait 'em with the young chambermaid, to seal!
And teach 'em all bad ways, to buy affliction!
This is one path! But there are millions more,
In which we spoil our own, with leading them.
Well, I thank heaven, I never yet was he,
That travelled with my son, before sixteen,
To show him the Venetian courtesans.
Nor read the grammar of cheating I had made
To my sharp boy, at twelve: repeating still
The rule, ›Get money‹; still, ›Get money, boy‹;
»No matter by what means; money will do
More, boy, than my Lord's letter.« Neither have I
Dressed snails, or mushrooms curiously before him,
Perfumed my sauces, and taught him to make 'em;
Preceding still, with my grey gluttony,
At all the ordinaries: and only feared
His palate should degenerate, not his manners.
These are the trade of fathers, now! However
My son, I hope, hath met within my threshold
None of these household precedents, which are strong
And swift to rape youth to their precipice.
But let the house at home be ne'er so clean-
Swept, or kept sweet from filth, nay, dust, and cobwebs:
If he will live abroad with his companions,
In dung and leystalls, it is worth a fear.
Nor is the danger of conversing less
Than all that I have mentioned of example.
Enter Brainworm disguised
BRA. Aside. My master? Nay, faith, have at you: I am fleshed now, I have
sped so well. Worshipful sir, I beseech you, respect the estate of a poor soldier;
I am ashamed of this base course of life (God's my comfort) but extremity
provokes me to't, what remedy?
KNO. I have not for you, now.
BRA. By the faith I bear unto truth, gentleman, it is no ordinary custom in me,
but only to preserve manhood. I protest to you, a man I have been, a man I
may be, by your sweet bounty.
KNO. 'Pray thee, good friend, be satisfied.
BRA. Good sir, by that hand, you may do the part of a kind gentleman; in
lending a poor soldier the price of two cans of beer (a matter of small value)
the king of heaven shall pay you, and I shall rest thankful: sweet worship –
KNO. Nay, and you be so importunate –
BRA. Oh, tender sir, need will have his course: I was not made to this vile use!
Well, the edge of the enemy could not have abated me so much. It's hard when
a man hath served in his Prince's cause, and be thus He weeps – Honourable
worship, let me derive a small piece of silver from you, it shall not be given in
the course of time, by this good ground, I was fain to pawn my rapier last night
for a poor supper, I had sucked the hilts long before, I am a pagan else: sweet
Believe me, I am taken with some wonder,
To think a fellow of thy outward presence
Should, in the frame, and fashion of his mind,
Be so degenerate and sordid-base!
Art thou a man? And sham'st thou not to beg?
To practise such a servile kind of life?
Why, were thy education ne'er so mean,
Having thy limbs, a thousand fairer courses
Offer themselves to thy election.
Either the wars might still supply thy wants,
Or service of some virtuous gentleman,
Or honest labour: nay, what can I name,
But would become thee better than to beg?
But men of thy condition feed on sloth,
As doth the beetle on the dung she breeds in,
Not caring how the metal of your minds
Is eaten with the rust of idleness.
Now, afore me, whate'er he be that should
Relieve a person of thy quality,
While thou insists in this loose desperate course,
I would esteem the sin not thine, but his.
BRA. Faith, sir, I would gladly find some other course, if so –
KNO. Aye, you'd gladly find it, but you will not seek it.
BRA. Alas, sir, where should a man seek? In the wars, there's no ascent by
desert in these days, but –– and for service, would it were as soon purchased,
as wished for (the air's my comfort) I know, what I would say –
KNO. What's thy name?
BRA. Please you, Fitzsword, sir.
Say, that a man should entertain thee now,
Wouldst thou be honest, humble, just, and true?
Sir, by the place, and honour of a soldier –
Nay, nay, I like not those affected oaths;
Speak plainly, man: what thinkst thou of my words?
BRA. Nothing, sir, but wish my fortunes were as happy, as my service should
Well, follow me, I'll prove thee, if thy deeds
Will carry a proportion to thy words.
BRA. Yes, sir, straight, I'll but garter my hose. Oh, that my belly were hooped
now, for I am ready to burst with laughing! Never was bottle or bagpipe fuller.
'Slid, was there ever seen a fox in years to betray himself thus? Now shall I be
possessed of all his counsels: and, by that conduit, my young master. Well, he
is resolved to prove my honesty; faith, and I am resolved to prove his patience:
oh, I shall abuse him intolerably. This small piece of service will bring him
clean out of love with the soldier for ever. He will never come within the sign
of it, the sight of a cassock, or a musket-rest again. He will hate the musters at
Mile End for it, to his dying day. It's no matter, let the world think me a bad
counterfeit, if I cannot give him the slip at an instant: why, this is better than to
have stayed his journey! Well, I'll follow him: oh, how I long to be employed.
A street near the Windmill Tavern
Enter Matthew, Wellbred, Bobadil
MAT. Yes faith, sir, we were at your lodging to seek you, too.
WEL. Oh, I came not there tonight.
BOB. Your brother delivered us as much.
WEL. Who? My brother Downright?
BOB. He. Master Wellbred, I know not in what kind you hold me, but let me
say to you this: as sure as honour, I esteem it so much out of the sunshine of
reputation, to throw the least beam of regard, upon such a –
WEL. Sir, I must hear no ill words of my brother.
BOB. I protest to you, as I have a thing to be saved about me, I never saw any
gentleman-like part –
WEL. Good captain, ›faces about‹, to some other discourse.
BOB. With your leave, sir, and there were no more men living upon the face of
the earth, I should not fancy him, by St. George.
MAT. Troth, nor I, he is of a rustical cut, I know not how: he doth not carry
himself like a gentleman of fashion –
WEL. Oh, Master Matthew, that's a grace peculiar but to a few; quos aequus
MAT. I understand you, sir.
WEL. No question, you do, or you do not, sir.
Young Knowell enters with Stephen
Ned Knowell! By my soul, welcome; how dost thou, sweet spirit, my genius?
'Slid, I shall love Apollo and the mad Thespian girls the better, while I live, for
this; my dear fury: now, I see there's some love in thee! Sirrah, these be the
two I writ to thee of (nay, what a drowsy humour is this now? Why dost thou
E. KN. Oh, you are a fine gallant, you sent me a rare letter!
WEL. Why, was't not rare?
E. KN. Yes, I'll be sworn, I was ne'er guilty of reading the like; match it in all
Pliny, or Symmachus epistles, and I'll have my judgement burned in the ear for
a rogue: make much of thy vein, for it is inimitable. But I mar'l what camel it
was, that had the carriage of it? For doubtless, he was no ordinary beast that
E. KN. Why, sayest thou? Why dost thou think that any reasonable creature,
especially in the morning (the sober time of the day too) could have mista'en
my father for me?
WEL. 'Slid, you jest, I hope?
E. KN. Indeed, the best use we can turn it to, is to make a jest on't now: but I'll
assure you, my father had the full view o' your flourishing style, some hour
before I saw it.
WEL. What a dull slave was this? But, sirrah, what said he to it, i'faith?
E. KN. Nay, I know not what he said: but I have a shrewd guess what he
WEL. What? What?
E. KN. Marry, that thou art some strange dissolute young fellow, and I a grain
or two better, for keeping thee company.
WEL. Tut, that thought is like the moon in her last quarter, 'twill change
shortly: but, sirrah, I pray thee be acquainted with my two hang-bys, here; thou
wilt take exceeding pleasure in 'em if thou hear'st 'em once go: my
wind-instruments. I'll wind 'em up –– but what strange piece of silence is this?
Indicating Stephen The sign of the dumb man?
E. KN. Oh, sir, a kinsman of mine, one that may make your music the fuller,
and he please, he has his humour, sir.
WEL. Oh, what is't? What is't?
E. KN. Nay, I'll neither do your judgement, nor his folly that wrong, as to
prepare your apprehension: I'll leave him to the mercy o' your search, if you
can take him, so.
WEL. Well, Captain Bobadil, Master Matthew, pray you know this gentleman
here, he is a friend of mine, and one that will deserve your affection. To
Master Stephen I know not your name, sir, but I shall be glad of any occasion,
to render me more familiar to you.
STE. My name is Master Stephen, sir, I am this gentleman's own cousin, sir,
his father is mine uncle, sir, I am somewhat melancholy, but you shall
command me, sir, in whatsoever is incident to a gentleman.
BOB To Knowell. Sir, I must tell you this, I am no general man, but for Master
Wellbred's sake (you may embrace it, at what height of favour you please) I do
communicate with you: and conceive you to be a gentleman of some parts, I
love few words.
E. KN. And I fewer, sir. I have scarce enow, to thank you.
MAT To Master Stephen. But are you indeed, sir? So given to it?
STE. Aye, truly, sir, I am mightily given to melancholy.
MAT. Oh, it's your only fine humour, sir, your true melancholy breeds your
perfect fine wit, sir: I am melancholy myself divers times, sir, and then do I no
more but take pen and paper presently, and overflow you half a score, or a
dozen of sonnets, at a sitting.
(E. KN. Sure, he utters them then, by the gross.)
STE. Truly, sir, and I love such things, out of measure.
E. KN. Aside. I' faith, better than in measure, I'll undertake.
MAT. Why, I pray you, sir, make use of my study, it's at your service.
STE. I thank you, sir, I shall be bold, I warrant you; have you a stool there, to
be melancholy upon?
MAT. That I have, sir, and some papers there of mine own doing, at idle hours,
that you'll say there's some sparks of wit in 'em, when you see them.
WEL. Aside. Would the sparks would kindle once, and become a fire amongst
'em, I might see self- love burnt for her heresy.
STE. Cousin, is it well? Am I melancholy enough?
E. KN. Oh aye, excellent!
WEL. Captain Bobadil: why muse you so?
E. KN. He is melancholy, too.
BOB. Aye, faith, sir, I was thinking of a most honourable piece of service, was
performed tomorrow, being St. Mark's day: shall be some ten years, now?
E. KN. In what place, captain?
BOB. Why, at the beleaguering of Strigonium, where, in less than two hours,
seven hundred resolute gentlemen, as any were in Europe, lost their lives upon
the breach. I'll tell you, gentlemen, it was the first, but the best leaguer, that
ever I beheld, with these eyes, except the taking in of –– what do you call it,
last year, by the Genoese, but that (of all other) was the most fatal and
dangerous exploit that ever I was ranged in, since I first bore arms before the
face of the enemy, as I am a gentleman, and soldier.
STE. So, I had as lief, as an angel, I could swear as well as that gentleman!
E. KN. Then you were a servitor, at both it seems! At Strigonium? And what
do you call't?
BOB. Oh lord, sir? By St. George, I was the first man that entered the breach:
and had I not effected it with resolution, I had been slain, if I had had a million
E. KN Aside. 'Twas pity you had not ten; a cat's, and your own, i' faith. But,
was it possible?
(MAT. Pray you, mark this discourse, sir.
STE. So, I do.)
BOB. I assure you (upon my reputation) 'tis true, and yourself shall confess.
E. KN. Aside. You must bring me to the rack first.
BOB. Observe me judicially, sweet sir, they had planted me three
demi-culverins, just in the mouth of the breach; now, sir (as we were to give
on) their master gunner (a man of no mean skill and mark, you must think)
confronts me with his linstock, ready to give fire; I spying his intendment,
discharged my petronel in his bosom, and with these single arms, my poor
rapier, ran violently, upon the Moors, that guarded the ordnance, and put 'em
pell-mell to the sword.
WEL. To the sword? To the rapier, captain?
E. KN. Oh, it was a good figure observed, sir! But did you all this, captain,
without hurting your blade?
BOB. Without any impeach o' the earth: you shall perceive, sir. It is the most
fortunate weapon that ever rid on poor gentleman's thigh: shall I tell you, sir?
You talk of Morglay, Excalibur, Durindana, or so? Tut, I lend no credit to that
is fabled of 'em, I know the virtue of mine own, and therefore I dare, the
boldlier, maintain it.
STE. I mar'l whether it be a Toledo, or no?
BOB. A most perfect Toledo, I assure you, sir.
STE. I have a countryman of his here.
MAT. Pray you, let's see, sir: yes faith, it is!
BOB. This a Toledo? Pish.
STE. Why do you pish, captain?
BOB. A Fleming, by heaven, I'll buy them for a guilder, a piece, an' I would
have a thousand of them.
E. KN. How say you, cousin? I told you thus much?
WEL. Where bought you it, Master Stephen?
STE. Of a scurvy rogue soldier, a hundred of lice go with him; he swore it was
BOB. A poor provant rapier, no better.
MAT. Mass, I think it be, indeed! Now I look on't, better.
E. KN. Nay, the longer you look on't, the worse. Put it up, put it up.
STE. Well, I will put it up, but by –– (I ha' forgot the captain's oath, I thought
to ha' sworn by it) an' e'er I meet him –
WEL. Oh, it is past help now, sir, you must have patience.
STE. Whoreson cony-catching rascal! I could eat the very hilts for anger!
E. KN. A sign of good digestion! You have an ostrich stomach, cousin.
STE. A stomach? Would I had him here, you should see, an' I had a stomach.
WEL. It's better as 'tis: come, gentlemen, shall we go?
E. KN. A miracle, cousin, look here! Look here!
STE. Oh, God's lid, by your leave, do you know me, sir?
BRA. Aye, sir, I know you, by sight.
STE. You sold me a rapier, did you not?
BRA. Yes, marry, did I, sir.
STE. You said it was a Toledo, ha?
BRA. True, I did so.
STE. But, it is none?
BRA. No, sir, I confess it, it is none.
STE. Do you confess it? Gentlemen, bear witness, he has confessed it. By
God's will, and you had not confessed it –
E. KN. Oh cousin, forbear, forbear.
STE. Nay, I have done, cousin.
WEL. Why you have done like a gentleman, he has confessed it, what would
STE. Yet, by his leave, he is a rascal, under his favour, do you see?
E. KN. Aye, by his leave, he is, and under favour: a pretty piece of civility!
Sirrah, how dost thou like him?
WEL. Oh, it's a most precious fool, make much on him: I can compare him to
nothing more happily than a drum; for everyone may play upon him.
E. KN. No, no, a child's whistle were far the fitter.
BRA. Sir, shall I entreat a word with you?
E. KN. With me, sir? You have not another Toledo to sell, ha' you?
They go aside
BRA. You are conceited, sir, your name is Master Knowell, as I take it?
E. KN. You are i' the right; you mean not to proceed in the catechism, do you?
BRA. No, sir, I am none of that coat.
E. KN. Of as bare a coat, though; well, say, sir.
BRA. Faith, sir, I am but servant to the drum extraordinary, and indeed (this
smoky varnish being washed off, and three or four patches removed) I appear
your worship's in reversion, after the decease of your good father, Brainworm.
E. KN. Brainworm! 'Slight, what breath of a conjurer hath blown thee hither in
BRA. The breath o' your letter, sir, this morning: the same that blew you to the
Windmill, and your father after you.
E. KN. My father?
BRA. Nay, never start, 'tis true, he has followed you over the fields, by the
foot, as you would do a hare i' the snow.
E. KN. Sirrah, Wellbred, what shall we do, sirrah? My father is come over,
WEL. Thy father? Where is he?
BRA. At Justice Clement's house here, in Colman Street, where he but stays
my return; and then –
WEL. Who's this? Brainworm?
BRA. The same, sir.
WEL. Why how, i' the name of wit, com'st thou transmuted, thus?
BRA. Faith, a device, a device: nay, for the love of reason, gentlemen, and
avoiding the danger, stand not here, withdraw, and I'll tell you all.
WEL. But, art thou sure, he will stay thy return?
BRA. Do I live, sir? What a question is that?
WEL. We'll prorogue his expectation then, a little: Brainworm, thou shalt go
with us. Come on, gentlemen, nay, I pray thee, sweet Ned, droop not: 'heart,
and our wits be so wretchedly dull, that one old plodding brain can outstrip us
all, would we were e'en pressed, to make porters of; and serve out the remnant
of our days in Thames Street, or at Custom House Quay, in a civil war, against
BRA. Amen, Amen, Amen, say I.
Enter Kitely, Cash
What says he, Thomas? Did you speak with him?
He will expect you, sir, within this half-hour.
Has he the money ready, can you tell?
Yes, sir, the money was brought in, last night.
Oh, that's well: fetch me my cloak, my cloak.
Stay, let me see, an hour, to go and come;
Aye, that will be the least: and then 'twill be
An hour, before I can dispatch with him;
Or very near: well, I will say two hours.
Two hours? Ha? Things never dreamt of yet
May be contrived, aye, and effected too,
In two hours' absence: well, I will not go.
Two hours; no, fleering opportunity,
I will not give your subtlety that scope.
Who will not judge him worthy to be robbed,
That sets his doors wide open to a thief,
And shows the felon where his treasure lies?
Again, what earthy spirit but will attempt
To taste the fruit of beauty's golden tree,
When leaden sleep seals up the dragon's eyes?
I will not go. Business, go by, for once.
No beauty, no; you are of too good caract,
To be left so, without a guard, or open!
Your lustre too'll enflame, at any distance,
Draw courtship to you, as a jet doth straws,
Put motion in a stone, strike fire from ice,
Nay, make a porter leap you, with his burden!
You must be then kept up, close, and well-watched,
For, give you opportunity, no quicksand
Devours, or swallows swifter! He that lends
His wife (if she be fair) or time, or place,
Compels her to be false. I will not go.
The dangers are too many. And, then, the dressing
Is a most main attractive! Our great heads,
Within the city, never were in safety,
Since our wives wore these little caps: I'll change 'em,
I'll change 'em, straight, in mine. Mine shall no more
Wear three-piled acorns, to make my horns ache.
Nor will I go. I am resolved for that.
Enter Cash with cloak
Carry in my cloak again. Yet, stay. Yet, do too.
I will defer going, on all occasions.
Sir. Snare, your scrivener, will be there with the bonds.
That's true! Fool on me! I had clean forgot it,
I must go. What's a-clock?
Exchange time, sir.
'Heart, then will Wellbred presently be here too,
With one or other of his loose consorts.
I am a knave, if I know what to say,
What course to take, or which way to resolve.
My brain, methinks, is like an hour-glass,
Wherein my imaginations run like sands,
Filling up time; but then are turned, and turned,
So that I know not what to stay upon,
And less to put in act. It shall be so.
Nay, I dare build upon his secrecy,
He knows not to deceive me. Thomas?
Yet now, I have bethought me, too, I will not.
Thomas, is Cob within?
I think he be, sir.
But he'll prate too, there's no speech of him.
No, there were no man o' the earth to Thomas,
If I durst trust him; there is all the doubt.
But should he have a chink in him, I were gone,
Lost i' my fame for ever: talk for the Exchange.
The manner he hath stood with, till this present,
Doth promise no such change! What should I fear then?
Well, come what will, I'll tempt my fortune, once.
Thomas –– you may deceive me, but, I hope –
Your love, to me, is more –
Sir, if a servant's
Duty, with faith, may be called love, you are
More than in hope; you are possessed of it.
I thank you, heartily, Thomas; gi' me your hand:
With all my heart, good Thomas. I have, Thomas,
A secret to impart unto you –– but
When once you have it, I must seal your lips up:
(So far, I tell you, Thomas).
Sir, for that –
Nay, hear me out. Think, I esteem you, Thomas,
When, I will let you in, thus, to my private.
It is a thing sits, nearer, to my crest,
Then thou art 'ware of, Thomas. If thou shouldst
Reveal it, but –
How? I reveal it?
I do not think thou wouldst; but if thou shouldst:
'Twere a great weakness.
A great treachery.
Give it no other name.
Thou wilt not do't, then?
Sir, if I do, mankind disclaim me, ever.
He will not swear, he has some reservation,
Some concealed purpose, and close meaning, sure:
Else (being urged so much) how should he choose,
But lend an oath to all this protestation?
He's no precisian, that I am certain of.
Nor rigid Roman Catholic. He'll play,
At fayles, and tick-tack, I have heard him swear.
What should I think of it? Urge him again,
And by some other way? I will do so.
Well, Thomas, thou hast sworn not to disclose;
Yes, you did swear?
Not yet, sir, but I will,
Please you –
No, Thomas, I dare take thy word.
But; if thou wilt swear, do, as thou thinkst good;
I am resolved without it; at thy pleasure.
By my soul's safety then, sir, I protest.
My tongue shall ne'er take knowledge of a word,
Delivered me in nature of your trust.
It's too much, these ceremonies need not,
I know thy faith to be as firm as rock.
Thomas, come hither, near: we cannot be
Too private in this business. So it is,
(Now, he has sworn, I dare the safelier venture)
I have of late, by divers observations –
(But, whether his oath can bind him, yea, or no;
Being not taken lawfully? Ha? Say you?
I will ask counsel, ere I do proceed:)
Thomas, it will be now too long to stay,
I'll spy some fitter time soon, or tomorrow.
Sir, at your pleasure?
I will think. And, Thomas,
I pray you search the books 'gainst my return,
For the receipts 'twixt me, and Traps.
I will, sir.
And, hear you, if your mistress' brother, Wellbred,
Chance to bring hither any gentlemen,
Ere I come back, let one straight bring me word.
Very well, sir.
To the Exchange; do you hear?
Or here in Colman Street, to Justice Clement's.
Forget it not, nor be not out of the way.
I will not, sir.
I pray you have a care on't.
Or whether he come, or no, if any other,
Stranger, or else, fail not to send me word.
I shall not, sir.
Be't your special business
Now, to remember it.
Sir. I warrant you.
But, Thomas, this is not the secret, Thomas,
I told you of.
No, sir. I do suppose it.
Believe me, it is not.
Sir. I do believe you.
By heaven, it is not, that's enough. But, Thomas,
I would not, you should utter it, do you see?
To any creature living, yet, I care not.
Well, I must hence. Thomas, conceive thus much.
It was a trial of you, when I meant
So deep a secret to you, I mean not this,
But that I have to tell you, this is nothing, this.
But, Thomas, keep this from my wife, I charge you,
Locked up in silence, midnight, buried here.
No greater hell, than to be slave to fear.
Locked up in silence, midnight, buried here.
Whence should this flood of passion (trow) take head? Ha?
Best dream no longer of this running humour,
For fear I sink! The violence of the stream
Already hath transported me so far,
That I can feel no ground at all! But soft,
Oh, 'tis our waterbearer: somewhat has crossed him, now.
COB. Fasting days? What tell you me of fasting days? 'Slid, would they were
all on a light fire for me. They say the whole world shall be consumed with fire
one day, but would I had these ember weeks, and villainous Fridays burnt, in
the meantime, and then –
CAS. Why, how now, Cob, what moves thee to this choler? Ha?
COB. Collar, Master Thomas? I scorn your collar, I, sir, I am none o' your
carthorse, though I carry and draw water. An' you offer to ride me, with your
collar, or halter either, I may hap show you a jade's trick, sir.
CAS. Oh, you'll slip your head out of the collar? Why, goodman Cob, you
COB. Nay, I have my rheum, and I can be angry as well as another, sir.
CAS. Thy rheum, Cob? Thy humour, thy humour? Thou mistakst.
COB. Humour? Mack, I think it be so, indeed: what is that humour? Some rare
thing, I warrant.
CAS. Marry, I'll tell thee, Cob: it is a gentleman-like monster, bred in the
special gallantry of our time by affectation; and fed by folly.
COB. How? Must it be fed?
CAS. Oh, aye, humour is nothing, if it be not fed. Didst thou never hear that?
It's a common phrase, ›Feed my humour‹.
COB. I'll none on it: humour, avaunt, I know you not, be gone. Let who will
make hungry meals for your monstership, it shall not be I. Feed you, quoth he?
'Slid, I ha' much ado to feed myself; especially, on these lean rascally days,
too; and't had been any other day but a fasting day (a plague on them all for
me) by this light, one might have done the commonwealth good service, and
have drowned them all i' the flood, two or three hundred thousand years ago.
Oh, I do stomach them hugely! I have a maw now, and 'twere for Sir Bevis his
horse, against 'em.
CAS. I pray thee, good Cob, what makes thee so out of love with fasting days?
COB. Marry, that which will make any man out of love with 'em, I think: their
bad conditions, and you will needs know. First, they are of a Flemish breed,
I'm sure on't, for they raven up more butter than all the days of the week
beside; next, they stink of fish, and leek-porridge miserably: thirdly, they'll
keep a man devoutly hungry all day, and at night send him supperless to bed.
CAS. Indeed, these are faults, Cob.
COB. Nay, and this were all, 'twere something, but they are the only known
enemies to my generation. A fasting day no sooner comes, but my lineage goes
to rack, poor cobs they smoke for it, they are made martyrs o' the gridiron, they
melt in passion: and your maids too know this, and yet would have me turn
Hannibal, and eat my own fish and blood: He pulls out a red herring my
princely coz, fear nothing; I have not the heart to devour you, and I might be
made as rich as King Cophetua. Oh that I had room for my tears, I could weep
salt-water enough now to preserve the lives of ten thousand of my kin. But I
may curse none but these filthy Almanacks, for an't were not for them, these
days of persecution would ne'er be known. I'll be hanged, an' some
fishmonger's son do not make of 'em; and puts in more fasting days than he
should do, because he would utter his father's dried stock-fish and stinking
CAS. 'Slight, peace, thou'lt be beaten like a stock- fish, else: here is Master
Matthew. Now must I look out for a messenger to my master.
Enter Wellbred, Edward Knowell, Brainworm, Bobadil, Matthew, Stephen
WEL. Beshrew me, but it was an absolute good jest, and exceedingly well
E. KN. Aye, and our ignorance maintained it as well, did it not?
WEL. Yes faith, but was't possible thou shouldst not know him? I forgive
Master Stephen, for he is stupidity itself!
E. KN. 'Fore God, not I, and I might have been joined patent with one of the
seven wise masters, for knowing him. He had so writhen himself, into the habit
of one of your poor Infantry, your decayed, ruinous, worm-eaten gentlemen of
the round: such as have vowed to sit on the skirts of the city, let your Provost,
and his half-dozen of halberdiers do what they can; and have translated
begging out of the old hackney pace, to a fine easy amble, and made it run as
smooth, of the tongue, as a shove- groat shilling. Into the likeness of one of
these Reformados had he moulded himself so perfectly, observing every trick
of their action, as varying the accent, swearing with an emphasis, indeed all,
with so special and exquisite a grace, that (hadst thou seen him) thou wouldst
have sworn he might have been Sergeant-Major, if not Lieutenant-Colonel to
WEL. Why, Brainworm, who would have thought thou hadst been such an
E. KN. An artificer! An architect! Except a man had studied begging all his
lifetime, and been a weaver of language, from his infancy, for the clothing of
it! I never saw his rival.
WEL. Where got'st thou this coat, I mar'l?
BRA. Of a Houndsditch man, sir. One of the devil's near kinsmen, a broker.
WEL. That cannot be, if the proverb hold; for, a crafty knave needs no broker.
BRA. True, sir, but I did need a broker, ergo.
WEL Aside. Well put off! – No crafty knave, you'll say.
E. KN. Tut, he has more of these shifts.
BRA. And yet where I have one, the broker has ten, sir.
CAS. Francis, Martin, ne'er a one to be found, now? What a spite's this?
WEL. How now, Thomas? Is my brother Kitely within?
CAS. No, sir, my master went forth e'en now: but Master Downright is within.
Cob, what Cob? Is he gone too?
WEL. Whither went your master? Thomas, canst thou tell?
CAS. I know not, to Justice Clement's, I think, sir. Cob!
E. KN. Justice Clement, what's he?
WEL. Why, dost thou not know him? He is a city- magistrate, a Justice here,
an excellent good lawyer, and a great scholar: but the only mad, merry, old
fellow in Europe! I showed him you, the other day.
E. KN. Oh, is that he? I remember him now. Good faith, and he has a very
strange presence, methinks; it shows as if he stood out of the rank from other
men: I have heard many of his jests i' the university. They say, he will commit
a man for taking the wall of his horse.
WEL. Aye, or wearing his cloak off one shoulder, or serving of God: anything
indeed, if it come in the way of his humour.
CAS. Gaspar, Martin, Cob! 'Heart, where should they be, trow?
Cash goes in and out, calling
BOB. Master Kitely's man, 'pray thee vouchsafe us the lighting of this match.
CAS. Fire on your match, no time but now to vouchsafe? Francis! Cob!
BOB. Body of me! Here's the remainder of seven pound, since yesterday was
seven-night. 'Tis your right Trinidado! Did you never take any, Master
STE. No, truly, sir; but I'll learn to take it now, since you commend it so.
BOB. Sir, believe me, upon my relation, for what I tell you, the world shall not
reprove. I have been in the Indies (where this herb grows) where neither
myself, nor a dozen gentlemen more (of my knowledge) have received the
taste of any other nutriment, in the world, for the space of one and twenty
weeks, but the fume of this simple only. Therefore, it cannot be, but 'tis most
divine! Further, take it in the nature, in the true kind so, it makes an antidote,
that (had you taken the most deadly poisonous plant in all Italy) it should expel
it, and clarify you, with as much ease, as I speak. And for your green wound,
your Balsamum, and your St. John's wort are all mere gulleries, and trash to it,
especially your Trinidado: your Nicotian is good too. I could say what I know
of the virtue of it, for the expulsion of rheums, raw humours, crudities,
obstructions, with a thousand of this kind; but I profess myself no quacksalver.
Only, thus much, by Hercules, I do hold it, and will affirm it (before any prince
in Europe) to be the most sovereign and precious weed that ever the earth
tendered to the use of man.
E. KN Aside. This speech would ha' done decently in a tobacco trader's mouth!
Enter Cash, Cob
CAS. At Justice Clement's, he is: in the middle of Colman Street.
COB. Oh, oh?
BOB. Where's the match I gave thee? Master Kitely's man?
CAS. Aside. Would his match, and he, and pipe, and all were at Sancto
Domingo! I had forgot it.
COB. By God's me, I mar'l, what pleasure or felicity they have in taking this
roguish tobacco! It's good for nothing but to choke a man, and fill him full of
smoke and embers: there were four died out of one house, last week, with
taking of it, and two more the bell went for, yesternight; one of them (they say)
will ne'er scape it: he voided a bushel of soot yesterday, upward, and
downward. By the stocks, an' there were no wiser men than I, I'd have it
present whipping, man, or woman, that should but deal with a tobacco pipe;
why, it will stifle them all in the end, as many as use it; it's little better than
ratsbane, or rosaker.
Bobadil beats him with a cudgel
ALL. Oh, good captain, hold, hold.
BOB. You base cullion, you.
CAS. Sir, here's your match: come, thou must needs be talking, too, thou art
well enough served.
COB. Nay, he will not meddle with his match, I warrant you: well it shall be a
dear beating, and I live.
BOB. Do you prate? Do you murmur?
E. KN. Nay, good captain, will you regard the humour of a fool? Away, knave.
WEL. Thomas, get him away.
Exit Cash with Cob
BOB. A whoreson filthy slave, a dungworm, an excrement! Body o' Caesar,
but that I scorn to let forth so mean a spirit, I'd ha' stabbed him to the earth.
WEL. Marry, the law forbid, sir.
BOB. By Pharaoh's foot, I would have done it.
STE. Oh, he swears admirably! ›By Pharaoh's foot‹, ›body of Caesar‹, I shall
never do it, sure, upon mine honour, and by St. George, no, I ha' not the right
MAT. Master Stephen, will you any? By this air, the most divine tobacco that
ever I drunk!
STE. None, I thank you, sir. Oh, this gentleman does it, rarely too! But nothing
like the other, ›By this air‹, as I am a gentleman: ›by –‹
Exeunt Matthew, Bobadil
BRA. Master, glance, glance! Master Wellbred!
Master Stephen is practising, to the post
STE. As I have somewhat to be saved, I protest –
WEL. You are a fool: it needs no affidavit.
E. KN. Cousin, will you any tobacco?
STE. I, sir! Upon my reputation –
E. KN. How now, cousin!
STE. I protest, as I am a gentleman, but no soldier, indeed –
WEL. No, Master Stephen? As I remember your name is entered in the
STE. Aye, sir, that's true: cousin, may I swear, as I am a soldier, by that?
E. KN. Oh yes, that you may. It's all you have for your money.
STE. Then, as I am a gentleman, and a soldier, it is divine tobacco!
WEL. But soft, where's Master Matthew? Gone?
BRA. No, sir, they went in here.
WEL. Oh, let's follow them: Master Matthew is gone to salute his mistress, in
verse. We shall ha' the happiness to hear some of his poetry now. He never
comes unfurnished. Brainworm?
STE. Brainworm? Where? Is this Brainworm?
E. KN. Aye, cousin, no words of it, upon your gentility.
STE. Not I, body of me, by this air, St. George, and the foot of Pharaoh.
WEL. Rare! Your cousin's discourse is simply drawn out with oaths.
E. KN. 'Tis larded with 'em. A kind of French dressing, if you love it.
Justice Clement's house
Enter Kitely, Cob
KIT. Ha? How many are there, sayest thou?
COB. Marry, sir, your brother, Master Wellbred –
KIT. Tut, beside him: what strangers are there, man?
COB. Strangers? Let me see, one, two; mass, I know not well, there are so
KIT. How? So many?
COB. Aye, there's some five, or six of them, at the most.
A swarm, a swarm,
Spite of the devil, how they sting my head
With forked stings, thus wide, and large! But, Cob,
How long hast thou been coming hither, Cob?
A little while, sir.
Didst thou come running?
Nay, then I am familiar with thy haste!
Bane to my fortunes: what meant I to marry?
I, that before was ranked in such content,
My mind at rest too, in so soft a peace,
Being free master of mine own free thoughts,
And now become a slave? What? Never sigh,
Be of good cheer, man: for thou art a cuckold,
'Tis done, 'tis done! Nay, when such flowing store,
Plenty itself, falls in my wife's lap,
The cornucopiae will be mine, I know. But, Cob,
What entertainment had they? I am sure
My sister and my wife would bid them welcome! Ha?
Like enough, sir, yet, I heard not a word of it.
No: their lips were sealed with kisses, and the voice
Drowned in a flood of joy, at their arrival,
Had lost her motion, state, and faculty.
Cob, which of them was it, that first kissed my wife?
(My sister, I should say) my wife, alas,
I fear not her: ha? Who was it, sayst thou?
COB. By my troth, sir, will you have the truth of it?
KIT. Oh, aye, good Cob: I pray thee, heartily.
COB. Then, I am a vagabond, and fitter for Bridewell, than your worship's
company, if I saw anybody to be kissed, unless they would have kissed the
post in the middle of the warehouse; for there I left them all, at their tobacco,
with a pox.
KIT. How? Were they not gone in, then, ere thou camst?
COB. Oh, no, sir.
KIT. Spite of the devil! What do I stay here, then? Cob, follow me.
COB. Nay, soft and fair, I have eggs on the spit; I cannot go yet, sir. Now am I
for some five and fifty reasons hammering, hammering revenge: oh, for three
or four gallons of vinegar to sharpen my wits. Revenge: vinegar revenge:
vinegar and mustard revenge: nay, and he had not lain in my house, 'twould
never have grieved me, but being my guest, one, that I'll be sworn, my wife
has lent him her smock off her back, while his one shirt has been at washing;
pawned her neckerchers for clean bands for him; sold almost all my platters to
buy him tobacco; and he to turn monster of ingratitude, and strike his lawful
host! Well, I hope to raise up an host of fury for it: here comes Justice
Enter Clement, Knowell, Formal
CLE. What's Master Kitely gone? Roger?
FOR. Aye, sir.
CLE. 'Heart of me! What made him leave us so abruptly! How now, sirrah?
What make you here? What would you have, ha?
COB. And't please your worship, I am a poor neighbour of your worship's –
CLE. A poor neighbour of mine? Why, speak, poor neighbour.
COB. I dwell, sir, at the sign of the water-tankard, hard by the green lattice: I
have paid scot and lot there, any time this eighteen years.
CLE. To the green lattice?
COB. No, sir, to the parish: marry, I have seldom scaped scot-free, at the
CLE. Oh, well! What business has my poor neighbour with me?
COB. And't like your worship, I am come, to crave the peace of your worship.
CLE. Of me, knave? Peace of me, knave? Did I e'er hurt thee? Or threaten
thee? Or wrong thee? Ha?
COB. No, sir, but your worship's warrant, for one that has wronged me, sir: his
arms are at too much liberty, I would fain have them bound to a treaty of
peace, an' my credit could compass it, with your worship.
CLE. Thou goest far enough about for't, I'm sure.
KNO. Why, dost thou go in danger of thy life for him? Friend?
COB. No, sir; but I go in danger of my death, every hour, by his means: an' I
die within a twelve-month and a day, I may swear, by the law of the land, that
he killed me.
CLE. How? How, knave? Swear he killed thee? And by the law? What
pretence? What colour hast thou for that?
COB. Marry, and't please your worship, both black, and blue; colour enough, I
warrant you. I have it here, to show your worship.
CLE. What is he, that gave you this, sirrah?
COB. A gentleman, and a soldier, he says he is, o' the city here.
CLE. A soldier o' the city? What call you him?
COB. Captain Bobadil.
CLE. Bobadil? And why did he bob and beat you, sirrah? How began the
quarrel betwixt you: ha? Speak truly, knave, I advise you.
COB. Marry, indeed, and please your worship, only because I spake against
their vagrant tobacco, as I came by 'em, when they were taking on't, for
CLE. Ha? You speak against tobacco? Formal, his name.
FOR. What's your name, sirrah?
COB. Oliver, sir, Oliver Cob, sir.
CLE. Tell Oliver Cob, he shall go to the jail, Formal.
FOR. Oliver Cob, my master, Justice Clement, says, you shall go to the jail.
COB. Oh, I beseech your worship, for God's sake, dear Master Justice.
CLE. Nay, God's precious: and such drunkards, and tankards, as you are, come
to dispute of tobacco once; I have done! Away with him.
COB. Oh, good Master Justice, sweet old gentleman.
KNO. Sweet Oliver, would I could do thee any good: Justice Clement, let me
entreat you, sir.
CLE. What? A threadbare rascal! A beggar! A slave that never drunk out of
better than pisspot metal in his life! And he to deprave and abuse the virtue of
an herb, so generally received in the courts of princes, the chambers of nobles,
the bowers of sweet ladies, the cabins of soldiers! Roger, away with him, by
God's precious – I say, go to.
COB. Dear Master Justice; let me be beaten again, I have deserved it: but not
the prison, I beseech you.
KNO. Alas, poor Oliver!
CLE. Roger, make him a warrant (he shall not go) I but fear the knave.
FOR. Do not stink, sweet Oliver, you shall not go, my master will give you a
COB. Oh, the Lord maintain his worship, his worthy worship.
CLE. Away, dispatch him. Exeunt Formal, Cob How now, Master Knowell! In
dumps? In dumps? Come, this becomes not.
KNO. Sir, would I could not feel my cares –
CLE. Your cares are nothing! They are like my cap, soon put on, and as soon
put off. What? Your son is old enough to govern himself: let him run his
course, it's the only way to make him a staid man. If he were an unthrift, a
ruffian, a drunkard, or a licentious liver, then you had reason; you had reason
to take care: but, being none of these, mirth's my witness, an' I had twice so
many cares as you have, I'd drown them all in a cup of sack. Come, come, let's
try it: I muse, your parcel of a soldier returns not all this while.
Enter Downright, Dame Kitely
DOW. Well, sister, I tell you true: and you'll find it so, in the end.
DAM. Alas, brother, what would you have me to do? I cannot help it: you see,
my brother brings 'em in here, they are his friends.
DOW. His friends? His fiends. 'Slud, they do nothing but haunt him, up and
down, like a sort of unlucky sprites, and tempt him to all manner of villainy
that can be thought of. Well, by this light, a little thing would make me play
the devil with some of 'em; and 'twere not more for your husband's sake than
anything else, I'd make the house too hot for the best on 'em: they should say,
and swear, hell were broken loose, ere they went hence. But, by God's will, 'tis
nobody's fault but yours: for an' you had done, as you might have done, they
should have been parboiled, and baked too, every mother's son, ere they should
ha' come in, e'er a one of 'em.
DAM. God's my life! Did you ever hear the like? What a strange man is this!
Could I keep out all them, think you? I should put myself against half a dozen
men? Should I? Good faith, you'd mad the patientest body in the world, to hear
you talk so, without any sense, or reason!
Enter Bridget, Matthew, Bobadil followed by Wellbred, Stephen, Edward
Servant (in troth), you are too prodigal
Of your wit's treasure, thus to pour it forth
Upon so mean a subject as my worth?
MAT. You say well, mistress; and I mean, as well.
DOW. Hoy-day, here is stuff!
WEL. Oh, now stand close: pray heaven, she can get him to read: he should do
it, of his own natural impudency.
BRI. Servant, what is this same, I pray you?
MAT. Marry, an elegy, an elegy, an odd toy –
DOW. To mock an ape withal. Oh, I could sew up his mouth now.
DAM. Sister, I pray you, let's hear it.
DOW. Are you rhyme-given, too?
MAT. Mistress, I'll read it, if you please.
BRI. Pray you do, servant.
DOW. Oh, here's no foppery! Death, I can endure the stocks better.
E. KN. What ails thy brother? Can he not hold his water, at reading of a
WEL. Oh, no: a rhyme to him is worse than cheese or a bagpipe. But mark,
you lose the protestation.
MAT. Faith, I did it in an humour; I know not how it is: but, please you come
near, sir. This gentleman has judgement, he knows how to censure of a –– pray
you, sir, you can judge.
STE. Not I, sir: upon my reputation, and by the foot of Pharaoh.
WEL. Oh, chide your cousin for swearing.
E. KN. Not I, so long as he does not forswear himself.
BOB. Master Matthew, you abuse the expectation of your dear mistress and
her fair sister: fie, while you live, avoid this prolixity.
MAT. I shall, sir: well, Incipere dulce.
E. KN. How! Insipere dulce? A sweet thing to be a fool, indeed.
WEL. What, do you take Incipere in that sense?
E. KN. You do not, you? This was your villainy, to gull him with a mot.
WEL. Oh, the bencher's phrase: pauca verba, pauca verba.
»Rare creature, let me speak without offence,
Would God my rude words had the influence,
To rule thy thoughts, as thy fair looks do mine,
Then shouldst thou be his prisoner, who is thine.«
This is in Hero and Leander?
Oh, aye! Peace, we shall have more of this.
»Be not unkind, and fair, misshapen stuff
Is of behaviour boisterous, and rough:«
WEL. How like you that, sir?
Master Stephen answers with shaking his head
E. KN. 'Slight, he shakes his head like a bottle, to feel and there be any brain in
But observe the catastrophe now,
»And I in duty will exceed all other,
As you in beauty do excel love's mother.«
E. KN. Well, I'll have him free of the wit-brokers, for he utters nothing but
WEL. Oh, forgive it him.
E. KN. A filching rogue? Hang him. And, from the dead? It's worse than
WEL. Sister, what ha' you here? Verses? Pray you, let's see. Who made these
verses? They are excellent good!
MAT. Oh, Master Wellbred, 'tis your disposition to say so, sir. They were
good i' the morning, I made 'em, extempore, this morning.
WEL. How? Extempore?
MAT. Aye, would I might be hanged else; ask Captain Bobadil. He saw me
write them, at the –– (pox on it) the Star, yonder.
BRA. Can he find, in his heart, to curse the stars, so?
E. KN. Faith, his are even with him: they ha' cursed him enough already.
STE. Cousin, how do you like this gentleman's verses?
E. KN. Oh, admirable! The best that ever I heard, coz.
Body o' Caesar! They are admirable!
The best, that ever I heard, as I am a soldier.
DOW. I am vexed, I can hold ne'er a bone of me still! Heart, I think they mean
to build and breed here!
WEL. Sister, you have a simple servant here, that crowns your beauty, with
such encomions, and devices: you may see what it is to be the mistress of a
wit! That can make your perfections so transparent, that every bleary eye may
look through them, and see him drowned over head, and ears, in the deep well
of desire. Sister Kitely, I marvel you get you not a servant, that can rhyme, and
do tricks, too.
DOW. Oh, monster! Impudence itself! Tricks?
DAM. Tricks, brother? What tricks?
BRI. Nay, speak, I pray you, what tricks?
DAM. Aye, I never spare anybody here: but say, what tricks?
BRI. Passion of my heart! Do tricks?
WEL. 'Slight, here's a trick vied, and revied! Why, you monkeys, you? What a
caterwauling do you keep? Has he not given you rhymes, and verses, and
DOW. Oh, the fiend!
WEL. Nay, you, lamp of virginity, that take it in snuff so! Come and cherish
this tame poetical fury in your servant, you'll be begged else, shortly, for a
concealment: go to, reward his muse. You cannot give him less than a shilling,
in conscience, for the book he had it out of cost him a teston, at least. How
now, gallants? Master Matthew? Captain? What? All sons of silence? No
DOW. Come, you might practise your ruffian-tricks somewhere else, and not
here, I wusse; this is no tavern nor drinking-school to vent your exploits in.
WEL. How now! Whose cow has calved?
DOW. Marry, that has mine, sir. Nay, boy, never look askance at me, for the
matter; I'll tell you of it, aye, sir, you, and your companions, mend yourselves,
when I ha' done?
WEL. My companions?
DOW. Yes, sir, your companions, so I say, I am not afraid of you, nor them
neither: your hang-bys here. You must have your poets and your potlings, your
soldados and foolados, to follow you up and down the city, and here they must
come to domineer and swagger. Sirrah, you, ballad-singer, and slops, your
fellow there, get you out; get you home: or, by this steel, I'll cut off your ears,
and that presently.
WEL. 'Slight, stay, let's see what he dare do: cut off his ears? Cut a whetstone.
You are an ass, do you see? Touch any man here, and no by this hand, I'll run
my rapier to the hilts in you.
DOW. Yea, that would I fain see, boy.
They all draw, and they of the house make out to part them
DAM. Oh Jesu! Murder. Thomas, Gaspar!
BRI. Help, help, Thomas.
E. KN. Gentlemen, forbear, I pray you.
BOB. Well, sirrah, you, Holofernes: by my hand, I will pink your flesh full of
holes with my rapier for this; I will, by this good heaven: nay, let him come, let
him come, gentlemen, by the body of St. George, I'll not kill him.
They offer to fight again, and are parted
CAS. Hold, hold, good gentlemen.
DOW. You whoreson, bragging coistrel!
Why, how now? What's the matter? What's the stir here?
Whence springs the quarrel? Thomas! Where is he?
Put up your weapons, and put off this rage.
My wife and sister, they are cause of this,
What, Thomas? Where is this knave?
CAS. Here, sir.
WEL. Come, let's go: this is one of my brother's ancient humours, this.
STE. I am glad nobody was hurt by his ancient humour.
Exeunt Wellbred, Stephen, Bobadil, Matthew, Edward Knowell, Brainworm
KIT. Why, how now, brother, who enforced this brawl?
DOW. A sort of lewd rake-hells, that care neither for God, nor the devil! And
they must come here to read ballads, and roguery, and trash! I'll mar the knot
of 'em ere I sleep, perhaps: especially Bob, there: he that's all manner of
shapes! And Songs and Sonnets, his fellow.
Brother, indeed, you are too violent,
Too sudden, in your humour: and, you know
My brother Wellbred's temper will not bear
Any reproof, chiefly in such a presence,
Where every slight disgrace he should receive
Might wound him in opinion and respect.
Respect? What talk you of respect 'mong such,
As ha' nor spark of manhood, nor good manners?
'Sdeynes, I am ashamed to hear you! Respect?
Yes, there was one a civil gentleman,
And very worthily demeaned himself!
Oh, that was some love of yours, sister!
A love of mine? I would it were no worse, brother!
You'd pay my portion sooner than you think for.
DAM. Indeed, he seemed to be a gentleman of an exceeding fair disposition,
and of very excellent good parts!
Exit with Bridget
Her love, by heaven! My wife's minion!
Fair disposition? Excellent good parts?
Death, these phrases are intolerable!
Good parts? How should she know his parts?
His parts? Well, well, well, well, well, well!
It is too plain, too clear: Thomas, come hither.
What, are they gone?
Aye, sir, they went in.
My mistress and your sister –
KIT. Are any of the gallants within?
CAS. No, sir, they are all gone.
KIT. Art thou sure of it?
CAS. I can assure you, sir.
KIT. What gentleman was that they praised so, Thomas?
CAS. One, they call him Master Knowell, a handsome young gentleman, sir.
Aye, I thought so: my mind gave me as much.
I'll die, but they have hid him i' the house,
Somewhere; I'll go and search: go with me, Thomas.
Be true to me, and thou shalt find me a master.
Before Cob's house
COB. Knocks. What, Tib, Tib, I say.
TIB Within. How now, what cuckold is that knocks so hard?
Oh, husband, is't you? What's the news?
COB. Nay, you have stunned me, i' faith! You ha' given me a knock o' the
forehead, will stick by me! Cuckold? 'Slid, cuckold?
TIB. Away, you fool, did I know it was you that knocked? Come, you may call
me as bad, when you list.
COB. May I? Tib, you are a whore.
TIB. You lie in your throat, husband.
COB. How, the lie? And in my throat, too? Do you long to be stabbed, ha?
TIB. Why, you are no soldier, I hope?
COB. Oh, must you be stabbed by a soldier? Mass, that's true! When was
Bobadil here? Your captain? That rogue, that foist, that fencing Burgullian? I'll
tickle him, i' faith.
TIB. Why, what's the matter? Trow!
COB. Oh, he has basted me, rarely, sumptuously! But I have it here in black
and white; for his black and blue: shall pay him. Oh, the Justice! The honestest
old brave Trojan in London! I do honour the very flea of his dog. A plague on
him though, he put me once in a villainous filthy fear; marry, it vanished away,
like the smoke of tobacco; but I was smoked soundly first. I thank the devil,
and his good angel, my guest. Well, wife, or Tib (which you will) get you in,
and lock the door, I charge you, let nobody in to you; wife, nobody in, to you:
those are my words. Not Captain Bob himself, nor the fiend, in his likeness;
you are a woman; you have flesh and blood enough in you, to be tempted:
therefore, keep the door shut, upon all comers.
TIB. I warrant you, there shall nobody enter here, without my consent.
COB. Nor with your consent, sweet Tib, and so I leave you.
TIB. It's more, than you know, whether you leave me so.
TIB. Why, sweet.
Tut, sweet, or sour, thou art a flower,
Keep close thy door, I ask no more.
The Windmill Tavern
Enter Edward Knowell, Brainworm disguised, Wellbred, Stephen
ED. K. Well, Brainworm, perform this business happily, and thou makest a
purchase of my love forever.
WEL. I'faith, now let thy spirits use their best faculties. But, at any hand,
remember the message to my brother: for there's no other means to start him.
BRA. I warrant you, sir, fear nothing: I have a nimble soul has waked all
forces of my fancy by this time, and put 'em in true motion. What you have
possessed me withal, I'll discharge it amply, sir. Make it no question.
WEL. Forth, and prosper, Brainworm. Exit Brainworm Faith, Ned, how dost
thou approve of my abilities in this device?
E. KN. Troth, well, howsoever: but it will come excellent, if it take.
WEL. Take, man? Why, it cannot choose but take, if the circumstances
miscarry not: but, tell me, ingenuously, dost thou affect my sister Bridget, as
E. KN. Friend, am I worth belief?
WEL. Come, do not protest. In faith, she is a maid of good ornament, and
much modesty: and except I conceived very worthily of her, thou shouldest not
E. KN. Nay, that I am afraid will be a question yet, whether I shall have her, or
WEL. 'Slid, thou shalt have her; by this light, thou shalt.
E. KN. Nay, do not swear.
WEL. By this hand, thou shalt have her: I'll go fetch her, presently. 'Point but
where to meet, and as I am an honest man, I'll bring her.
E. KN. Hold, hold, be temperate.
WEL. Why, by –– what shall I swear by? Thou shalt have her, as I am –
E. KN. 'Pray thee, be at peace, I am satisfied: and do believe thou wilt omit no
offered occasion, to make my desires complete.
WEL. Thou shalt see, and know, I will not.
A street in the Old Jewry
Enter Formal, Knowell
Was your man a soldier, sir?
Aye, a knave, I took him begging o' the way,
This morning, as I came over Moorfields!
Enter Brainworm disguised
Oh, here he is! You have made fair speed, believe me:
Where, i' the name of sloth, could you be thus –
BRA. Marry, peace be my comfort, where I thought I should have had little
comfort of your worship's service.
KNO. How so?
BRA. Oh, sir! Your coming to the city, your entertainment of me, and your
sending me to watch – indeed, all the circumstances either of your charge, or
my employment, are as open to your son, as to yourself!
How should that be! Unless that villain, Brainworm,
Have told him of the letter, and discovered
All that I strictly charged him to conceal? 'Tis so!
BRA. I am, partly, o' the faith, 'tis so indeed.
KNO. But how should he know thee to be my man?
BRA. Nay, sir, I cannot tell; unless it be by the black art! Is not your son a
Yes, but I hope his soul is not allied
Unto such hellish practice: if it were,
I had just cause to weep my part in him,
And curse the time of his creation.
But where didst thou find them, Fitzsword?
BRA. You should rather ask, where they found me, sir, for, I'll be sworn I was
going along in the street, thinking nothing, when (of a sudden) a voice calls,
Master Knowell's man; another cries, soldier: and thus, half a dozen of 'em, till
they had called me within a house where I no sooner came, but they seemed
men, and out flew all their rapiers at my bosom, with some three or four score
oaths to accompany 'em, and all to tell me, I was but a dead man, if I did not
confess where you were, and how I was employed, and about what; which,
when they could not get out of me (as I protest, they must ha' dissected and
made an anatomy o' me first, and so I told 'em) they locked me up into a room
i' the top of a high house, whence, by great miracle (having a light heart) I slid
down, by a bottom of pack- thread, into the street, and so 'scaped. But, sir, thus
much I can assure you, for I heard it, while I was locked up, there were a great
many rich merchants, and brave citizens' wives with 'em at a feast, and your
son, Master Edward, withdrew with one of 'em, and has 'pointed to meet her
anon, at one Cob's house, a waterbearer, that dwells by the wall. Now, there,
your worship shall be sure to take him, for there he preys, and fail he will not.
Nor will I fail to break his match, I doubt not.
Go thou along with Justice Clement's man,
And stay there for me. At one Cob's house, sayst thou?
BRA. Aye, sir, there you shall have him. Exit Knowell Aside Yes? Invisible?
Much wench, or much son! 'Slight, when he has stayed there, three or four
hours, travelling with the expectation of wonders, and at length be delivered of
air: oh, the sport, that I should then take, to look on him, if I durst! But, now, I
mean to appear no more afore him in this shape. I have another trick to act yet.
Oh that I were so happy, as to light on a nupson, now, of this Justice's novice.
Sir, I make you stay somewhat long.
FOR. Not a whit, sir. 'Pray you, what do you mean, sir?
BRA. I was putting up some papers –
FOR. You ha' been lately in the wars, sir, it seems.
BRA. Marry have I, sir; to my loss: and expense of all, almost –
FOR. Troth, sir, I would be glad to bestow a pottle of wine o' you, if it please
you to accept it –
BRA. Oh, sir –
FOR. But, to hear the manner of your services, and your devices in the wars,
they say they be very strange, and not like those a man reads in the Roman
histories, or sees at Mile End.
BRA. No, I assure you, sir, why, at any time when it please you, I shall be
ready to discourse to you, all I know: Aside and more too, somewhat.
FOR. No better time than now, sir; we'll go to the Windmill: there we shall
have a cup of neat grist, we call it. I pray you, sir, let me request you, to the
BRA. I'll follow you, sir, Aside and make grist o' you, if I have good luck.
Enter Matthew, Edward Knowell, Bobadil, Stephen
MAT. Sir, did your eyes ever taste the like clown of him, where we were
today, Master Wellbred's half- brother? I think the whole earth cannot show
his parallel, by this daylight.
E. KN. We were now speaking of him: Captain Bobadil tells me he is fallen
foul o' you, too.
MAT. Oh, aye, sir, he threatened me, with the bastinado.
BOB. Aye, but I think I taught you prevention, this morning, for that – You
shall kill him, beyond question: if you be so generously minded.
MAT. Indeed, it is a most excellent trick!
BOB. Oh, you do not give spirit enough to your motion, you are too tardy, too
heavy! Oh, it must be done like lightning, hay?
He practises at a post
MAT. Rare captain!
BOB. Tut, 'tis nothing, and 't be not done in a –– punto!
E. KN. Captain, did you ever prove yourself upon any of our masters of
MAT. Oh, good sir! Yes, I hope, he has.
BOB. I will tell you, sir. Upon my first coming to the city, after my long
travail, for knowledge (in that mystery only) there came three, or four of 'em to
me, at a gentleman's house, where it was my chance to be resident at that time,
to entreat my presence at their schools, and withal so much importuned me,
that (I protest to you as I am a gentleman) I was ashamed of their rude
demeanour, out of all measure: well, I told 'em, that to come to a public school,
they should pardon me, it was opposite (in diameter) to my humour, but, if so
they would give their attendance at my lodging, I protested to do them what
right or favour I could, as I was a gentleman, and so forth.
E. KN. So, sir, then you tried their skill?
BOB. Alas, soon tried! You shall hear, sir. Within two or three days after, they
came; and, by honesty, fair sir, believe me, I graced them exceedingly, showed
them some two or three tricks of prevention, have purchased 'em since a credit,
to admiration! They cannot deny this: and yet now, they hate me, and why?
Because I am excellent, and for no other vile reason on the earth.
E. KN. This is strange and barbarous! As ever I heard!
BOB. Nay, for a more instance of their preposterous natures, but note, sir.
They have assaulted me some three, four, five, six of them together, as I have
walked alone, in divers skirts i' the town, as Turnbull, Whitechapel,
Shoreditch, which were then my quarters, and since upon the Exchange, at my
lodging, and at my ordinary: where I have driven them afore me, the whole
length of a street, in the open view of all our gallants, pitying to hurt them,
believe me. Yet, all this lenity will not o'ercome their spleen: they will be
doing with a pismire, raising a hill, a man may spurn abroad, with his foot, at
pleasure. By myself, I could have slain them all, but I delight not in murder. I
am loth to bear any other than this bastinado for 'em: yet, I hold it good policy,
not to go disarmed, for though I be skilful, I may be oppressed with multitudes.
E. KN. Aye, believe me, may you, sir: and (in my conceit) our whole nation
should sustain the loss by it, if it were so.
BOB. Alas, no: what's a peculiar man, to a nation? Not seen.
E. KN. Oh, but your skill, sir!
BOB. Indeed, that might be some loss; but, who respects it? I will tell you, sir,
by the way of private, and under seal; I am a gentleman, and live here obscure,
and to myself: but were I known to Her Majesty, and the Lords (observe me) I
would undertake (upon this poor head, and life) for the public benefit of the
state, not only to spare the entire lives of her subjects in general, but to save
the one half, nay, three parts of her yearly charge, in holding war, and against
what enemy soever. And how would I do it, think you?
E. KN. Nay, I know not, nor can I conceive.
BOB. Why thus, sir. I would select nineteen, more, to myself, throughout the
land; gentlemen they should be of good spirit, strong, and able constitution, I
would choose them by an instinct, a character, that I have: and I would teach
these nineteen the special rules, as your Punto, your Reverso, your Stoccata,
your Imbroccata, your Passada, your Montanto : till they could all play very
near, or altogether as well as myself. This done, say the enemy were forty
thousand strong, we twenty would come into the field, the tenth of March, or
thereabouts; and we would challenge twenty of the enemy; they could not, in
their honour, refuse us, well, we would kill them: challenge twenty more, kill
them; twenty more, kill them; twenty more, kill them too; and thus, would we
kill, every man, his twenty a day, that's twenty score; twenty score, that's two
hundred; two hundred a day, five days a thousand; forty thousand; forty times
five, five times forty, two hundred days kills them all up, by computation. And
this, will I venture my poor gentleman-like carcass, to perform (provided, there
be no treason practised upon us) by fair, and discreet manhood, that is, civilly
by the sword.
E. KN. Why, are you so sure of your hand, captain, at all times?
BOB. Tut, never miss thrust, upon my reputation with you.
E. KN. I would not stand in Downright's state, then, an' you meet him, for the
wealth of any one street in London.
BOB. Why, sir, you mistake me! If he were here now, by this welkin, I would
not draw my weapon on him! Let this gentleman do his mind: but I will
bastinado him (by the bright sun) wherever I meet him.
MAT. Faith, and I'll have a fling at him, at my distance.
Downright walks over the stage
E. KN. Gods so', look, where he is: yonder he goes.
DOW. What peevish luck have I, I cannot meet with these bragging rascals?
BOB. It's not he? Is it?
E. KN. Yes faith, it is he.
MAT. I'll be hanged, then, if that were he.
E. KN. Sir, keep your hanging good, for some greater matter, for I assure you,
that was he.
STE. Upon my reputation, it was he.
BOB. Had I thought it had been he, he must not have gone so: but I can hardly
be induced to believe it was he, yet.
E. KN. That I think, sir. But see, he is come again!
DOW. Oh, Pharaoh's foot, have I found you? Come, draw, to your tools: draw,
gipsy, or I'll thrash you.
BOB. Gentleman of valour, I do believe in thee, hear me –
DOW. Draw your weapon, then.
BOB. Tall man, I never thought on it, till now (body of me) I had a warrant of
the peace, served on me, even now, as I came along, by a waterbearer; this
gentleman saw it, Master Matthew.
DOW. 'Sdeath, you will not draw, then?
He beats him, and disarms him: Matthew runs away
BOB. Hold, hold, under thy favour, forbear.
DOW. Prate again, as you like this, you whoreson foist, you. You'll control the
point, you? Your consort is gone? Had he stayed, he had shared with you, sir.
BOB. Well, gentlemen, bear witness, I was bound to the peace, by this good
E. KN. No faith, it's an ill day, captain, never reckon it other: but say you were
bound to the peace, the law allows you to defend yourself: that'll prove but a
BOB. I cannot tell, sir. I desire good construction, in fair sort. I never sustained
the like disgrace (by heaven) sure I was struck with a planet thence, for I had
no power to touch my weapon.
E. KN. Aye, like enough, I have heard of many that have been beaten under a
planet: go, get you to a surgeon. Exit Bobadil 'Slid, an' these be your tricks,
your passadas, and your mountantos, I'll none of them. Oh, manners! That this
age should bring forth such creatures! That Nature should be at leisure to make
'em. Come, coz.
STE. Mass, I'll ha' this cloak.
E. KN. God's will, 'tis Downright's.
STE. Nay, it's mine now, another might have ta'en up, as well as I: I'll wear it,
so I will.
E. KN. How, an' he see it? He'll challenge it, assure yourself.
STE. Aye, but he shall not ha' it; I'll say, I bought it.
E. KN. Take heed, you buy it not too dear, coz.
Enter Kitely, Wellbred, Dame Kitely, Bridget
Now, trust me, brother, you were much to blame,
To incense his anger, and disturb the peace
Of my poor house, where there are sentinels
That every minute watch to give alarms
Of civil war, without adjection
Of your assistance, or occasion.
WEL. No harm done, brother, I warrant you: since there is no harm done.
Anger costs a man nothing: and a tall man is never his own man, till he be
angry. To keep his valour in obscurity is to keep himself, as it were, in a
cloak-bag. What's a musician, unless he play? What's a tall man, unless he
fight? For, indeed, all this, my wise brother stands upon, absolutely: and that
made me fall in with him so resolutely.
DAM. Aye, but what harm might have come of it, brother?
WEL. Might, sister? So might the good warm clothes your husband wears be
poisoned, for anything he knows: or the wholesome wine he drunk, even now,
at the table –
Now, God forbid: oh me. Now, I remember,
My wife drunk to me, last; and changed the cup:
And bade me wear this cursed suit today.
See, if heaven suffer murder undiscovered!
I feel me ill; give me some mithridate,
Some mithridate and oil, good sister, fetch me;
Oh, I am sick at heart! I burn, I burn.
If you will save my life, go, fetch it me.
WEL. Oh, strange humour! My very breath has poisoned him.
BRI. Good brother, be content, what do you mean? The strength of these
extreme conceits will kill you.
Beshrew your heart-blood, brother Wellbred, now;
For putting such a toy into his head.
WEL. Is a fit simile, a toy? Will he be poisoned with a simile? Brother Kitely,
what a strange and idle imagination is this? For shame, be wiser. O' my soul,
there's no such matter.
KIT. Am I not sick? How am I, then, not poisoned? Am I not poisoned? How
am I, then, so sick?
DAM. If you be sick, your own thoughts make you sick.
WEL. His jealousy is the poison, he has taken.
Enter Brainworm He comes disguised like Justice
BRA. Master Kitely, my master, Justice Clement, salutes you; and desires to
speak with you, with all possible speed.
KIT. No time, but now? When, I think, I am sick? Very sick! Well, I will wait
upon his worship. Thomas! Cob! I must seek them out, and set 'em sentinels,
till I return. Thomas, Cob, Thomas!
WEL. This is perfectly rare, Brainworm! But how got'st thou this apparel of
the Justice's man?
BRA. Marry, sir, my proper fine penman would needs bestow the grist o' me,
at the Windmill, to hear some martial discourse; where so I marshalled him,
that I made him drunk, with admiration! And, because too much heat was the
cause of his distemper, I stripped him stark naked, as he lay along asleep, and
borrowed his suit, to deliver this counterfeit message in, leaving a rusty armour
and an old brown bill to watch him, till my return: which shall be, when I ha'
pawned his apparel, and spent the better part o' the money, perhaps.
WEL. Well, thou art a successful merry knave, Brainworm, his absence will be
a good subject for more mirth. I pray thee, return to thy young master, and will
him to meet me, and my sister Bridget, at the Tower instantly: for, here, tell
him, the house is so stored with jealousy, there is no room for love to stand
upright in. We must get our fortunes committed to some larger prison, say;
and, than the Tower, I know no better air: nor where the liberty of the house
may do us more present service. Away.
Enter Kitely, Cash
Come hither, Thomas. Now, my secret's ripe,
And thou shalt have it: lay to both thine ears.
Hark, what I say to thee. I must go forth, Thomas.
Be careful of thy promise, keep good watch,
Note every gallant, and observe him well,
That enters in my absence, to thy mistress:
If she would show him rooms, the jest is stale,
Follow 'em, Thomas, or else hang on him,
And let him not go after; mark their looks;
Note, if she offer but to see his band,
Or any other amorous toy, about him;
But praise his leg; or foot; or if she say,
The day is hot, and bid him feel her hand,
How hot it is; oh, that's a monstrous thing!
Note me all this, good Thomas, mark their sighs,
And if they do but whisper, break 'em off:
I'll bear thee out in it. Wilt thou do this?
Wilt thou be true, my Thomas?
As truth's self, sir.
Why, I believe thee: where is Cob, now? Cob?
DAM. He's ever calling for Cob! I wonder, how he employs Cob so!
WEL. Indeed, sister, to ask how he employs Cob, is a necessary question for
you, that are his wife, and a thing not very easy for you to be satisfied in: but
this I'll assure you, Cob's wife is an excellent bawd, sister, and, oftentimes,
your husband haunts her house, marry, to what end, I cannot altogether accuse
him, imagine you what you think convenient. But, I have known, fair hides
have foul hearts, ere now, sister.
DAM. Never said you truer than that, brother, so much I can tell you for your
learning. Thomas, fetch your cloak, and go with me, I'll after him presently: I
would to fortune, I could take him there, i'faith. I'd return him his own, I
Exit with Cash
WEL. So, let 'em go: this may make sport anon. Now, my fair sister-in-law,
that you knew, but how happy a thing it were to be fair, and beautiful?
BRI. That touches not me, brother.
WEL. That's true; that's even the fault of it: for, indeed, beauty stands a woman
in no stead, unless it procure her touching. But, sister, whether it touch you, or
no, it touches your beauties; and I am sure, they will abide the touch; an' they
do not, a plague of all ceruse, say I: and it touches me too in part, though not in
the – Well, there's a dear and respected friend of mine, sister, stands very
strongly, and worthily affected toward you, and hath vowed to inflame whole
bonfires of zeal, at his heart, in honour of your perfections. I have already
engaged my promise to bring you, where you shall hear him confirm much
more. Ned Knowell is the man, sister. There's no exception against the party.
You are ripe for a husband; and a minute's loss to such an occasion is a great
trespass in a wise beauty. What say you, sister? On my soul, he loves you. Will
you give him the meeting?
BRI. Faith, I had very little confidence in mine own constancy, brother, if I
durst not meet a man: but this motion of yours savours of an old knightadventurer's
servant, a little too much, methinks.
WEL. What's that, sister?
BRI. Marry, of the squire.
WEL. No matter if it did, I would be such an one for my friend, but see! Who
is returned to hinder us?
What villainy is this? Called out on a false message?
This was some plot! I was not sent for, Bridget,
Where's your sister?
I think she be gone forth, sir.
How! Is my wife gone forth? Whither, for God's sake?
She's gone abroad with Thomas.
Abroad with Thomas? Oh, that villain dors me.
He hath discovered all unto my wife!
Beast that I was, to trust him: whither, I pray you,
I know not, sir.
I'll tell you, brother,
Whither I suspect she's gone.
Whither, good brother?
To Cob's house, I believe: but, keep my counsel.
I will, I will: to Cob's house? Doth she haunt Cob's?
She's gone a' purpose, now, to cuckold me,
With that lewd rascal, who, to win her favour,
Hath told her all.
Come, he's once more gone.
Sister, let's lose no time; the affair is worth it.
Enter Matthew, Bobadil
MAT. I wonder, captain, what they will say of my going away? Ha?
BOB. Why, what should they say? But as of a discreet gentleman? Quick,
wary, respectful of nature's fair lineaments: and that's all?
MAT. Why, so! But what can they say of your beating?
BOB. A rude part, a touch with soft wood, a kind of gross battery used, laid on
strongly, borne most patiently: and that's all.
MAT. Aye, but, would any man have offered it in Venice? As you say?
BOB. Tut, I assure you, no: you shall have there your Nobilis, your
Gentelezza, come in bravely upon your reverse, stand you close, stand you
firm, stand you fair, save your retricato with his left leg, come to the assalto
with the right, thrust with brave steel, defy your base wood! But, wherefore do
I awake this remembrance? I was fascinated, by Jupiter: fascinated: but I will
be unwitched, and revenged, by law.
MAT. Do you hear? Is't not best to get a warrant, and have him arrested, and
brought before Justice Clement?
BOB. It were not amiss, would we had it.
MAT. Why, here comes his man, let's speak to him.
BOB. Agreed, do you speak.
Enter Brainworm disguised as Formal
MAT. Save you, sir.
BRA. With all my heart, sir.
MAT. Sir, there is one Downright, hath abused this gentleman, and myself,
and we determine to make our amends by law; now, if you would do us the
favour, to procure a warrant, to bring him afore your master, you shall be well
considered, I assure you, sir.
BRA. Sir, you know my service is my living, such favours as these, gotten of
my master, is his only preferment, and therefore, you must consider me, as I
may make benefit of my place.
MAT. How is that, sir?
BRA. Faith, sir, the thing is extraordinary, and the gentleman may be of great
accompt: yet be what he will, if you will lay me down a brace of angels, in my
hand, you shall have it, otherwise not.
MAT. How shall we do, captain? He asks a brace of angels, you have no
BOB. Not a cross, by fortune.
MAT. Nor I, as I am a gentleman, but twopence, left of my two shillings in the
morning for wine, and radish: let's find him some pawn.
BOB. Pawn? We have none to the value of his demand.
MAT. Oh, yes. I'll pawn this jewel in my ear, and you may pawn your silk
stockings, and pull up your boots, they will ne'er be missed: it must be done,
BOB. Well, an' there be no remedy: I'll step aside, and pull 'em off.
MAT. Do you hear, sir? We have no store of money at this time, but you shall
have good pawns: look you, sir, this jewel, and that gentleman's silk stockings,
because we would have it dispatched, ere we went to our chambers.
BRA. I am content, sir; I will get you the warrant presently, what's his name,
say you? Downright?
MAT. Aye, aye, George Downright.
BRA. What manner of man is he?
MAT. A tall big man, sir; he goes in a cloak, most commonly, of silk russet,
laid about with russet lace.
BRA. 'Tis very good, sir.
MAT. Here, sir, here's my jewel.
BOB. And here, are stockings.
BRA. Well, gentlemen, I'll procure you this warrant presently, but, who will
you have to serve it?
MAT. That's true, captain: that must be considered.
BOB. Body o'me, I know not! 'Tis service of danger!
BRA. Why, you were best get one o' the varlets o' the city, a serjeant. I'll
appoint you one, if you please.
MAT. Will you, sir? Why, we can wish no better.
BOB. We'll leave it to you, sir.
Exit with Matthew
BRA. This is rare! Now, will I go pawn this cloak of the Justice's man's, at the
brokers, for a varlet's suit, and be the varlet myself; and get either more pawns,
or more money of Downright, for the arrest.
Before Cob's house
Oh, here it is, I am glad: I have found it now.
Ho? Who is within, here?
I am within, sir, what's your pleasure?
To know, who is within, besides yourself.
Why, sir, you are no constable, I hope?
Oh! Fear you the constable? Then, I doubt not,
You have some guests within, deserve that fear,
I'll fetch him straight.
O' God's name, sir.
Go to. Come, tell me, is not young Knowell here?
Young Knowell? I know none such, sir, o' mine honesty.
Your honesty? Dame, it flies too lightly from you:
There is no way, but, fetch the constable.
The constable? The man is mad, I think.
Enter Cash, Dame Kitely
Ho, who keeps house here?
Oh, this is the female copes-mate of my son?
Now shall I meet him straight.
Knock, Thomas, hard.
Ho, good wife?
Why, what's the matter with you?
Why, woman, grieves it you to ope' your door?
Belike, you get something, to keep it shut.
What mean these questions, 'pray ye?
So strange you make it? Is not my husband here?
My tried husband. Master Kitely.
I hope he needs not to be tried, here.
No, dame: he does it not for need, but pleasure.
Neither for need, nor pleasure, is he here.
This is but a device, to balk me withal.
Enter Kitely in his cloak
Soft, who is this? 'Tis not my son, disguised?
DAM She spies her husband come: and runs to him.
Oh, sir, have I forestalled your honest market?
Found your close walks? You stand amazed, now, do you?
I'faith (I am glad) I have smoked you yet at last!
What is your jewel trow? In: come, let's see her;
(Fetch forth your huswife, dame) if she be fairer,
In any honest judgement, than myself,
I'll be content with it: but, she is change,
She feeds you fat, she soothes your appetite,
And you are well? Your wife, an honest woman,
Is meat twice sod to you, sir? Oh, you treacher!
She cannot counterfeit thus palpably.
Out on thy more than strumpet's impudence!
Steal'st thou thus to thy haunts? And have I taken
Thy bawd, and thee, and thy companion,
Pointing to old Knowell
This hoary-headed lecher, this old goat,
Close at your villainy, and wouldst thou 'scuse it,
With this stale harlot's jest, accusing me?
Oh, old incontinent, dost not thou shame,
When all thy powers in chastity is spent,
To have a mind so hot? And to entice,
And feed the enticements of a lustful woman?
Out, I defy thee, I, dissembling wretch.
Defy me, strumpet? Ask thy pandar, here,
Can he deny it? Or that wicked elder?
Why, hear you, sir.
Tut, tut, tut: never speak.
Thy guilty conscience will discover thee.
What lunacy is this, that haunts this man?
Well, goodwife BA'D, Cob's wife; and you,
That make your husband such a hoddie-doddie;
And you, young apple-squire; and old cuckold-maker;
I'll ha' you every one before a Justice:
Nay, you shall answer it, I charge you go.
Marry, with all my heart, sir: I go willingly.
Though I do taste this as a trick, put on me,
To punish my impertinent search; and justly:
And half forgive my son, for the device.
Come, will you go?
Go? To thy shame, believe it.
Why, what's the matter, here? What's here to do?
Oh, Cob, art thou come? I have been abused,
And i' thy house. Never was man so wronged!
COB. 'Slid, in my house? My master Kitely? Who wrongs you in my house?
Marry, young lust in old; and old in young, here:
Thy wife's their bawd, here have I taken 'em.
COB. How? Bawd? Is my house come to that? Am I preferred thither? Did I
charge you to keep your doors shut, Isobel? And do you let 'em lie open for all
He falls upon his wife and beats her
Friend, know some cause, before thou beat'st thy wife,
This's madness in thee.
Why? Is there no cause?
Yes, I'll show cause before the Justice, Cob.
Come, let her go with me.
Nay, she shall go.
TIB. Nay, I will go. I'll see, an' you may be allowed to make a bundle o' hemp,
o' your right and lawful wife thus, at every cuckoldly knave's pleasure. Why do
you not go?
KIT. A bitter quean. Come, we'll ha' you tamed.
BRA. Well, of all my disguises yet, now am I most like myself: being in this
serjeant's gown. A man of my present profession, never counterfeits, till he
lays hold upon a debtor, and says, he rests him, for then he brings him to all
manner of unrest. A kind of little kings we are, bearing the diminutive of a
mace, made like a young artichoke, that always carries pepper and salt in itself.
Well, I know not what danger I undergo by this exploit; pray heaven, I come
Enter Matthew, Bobadil
MAT. See, I think, yonder is the varlet, by his gown.
BOB. Let's go in quest of him.
MAT. 'Save you, friend, are not you here, by appointment of Justice Clement's
BRA. Yes, an't please you, sir: he told me two gentlemen had willed him to
procure a warrant from his master (which I have about me) to be served on one
MAT. It is honestly done of you both; and see, where the party comes, you
must arrest: serve it upon him, quickly, afore he be aware –
Enter Stephen in Downright's cloak
BOB. Bear back. Master Matthew.
BRA. Master Downright, I arrest you, i' the Queen's name, and must carry you
afore a Justice, by virtue of this warrant.
STE. Me, friend? I am no Downright, I. I am Master Stephen, you do not well
to arrest me, I tell you, truly: I am in nobody's bonds, nor books, I, I would you
should know it. A plague on you heartily, for making me thus afraid afore my
BRA. Why, now are you deceived, gentlemen?
BOB. He wears such a cloak, and that deceived us: but see, here a comes,
indeed! This is he, officer.
DOW. Why, how now, signior gull! Are you turned filcher of late? Come,
deliver my cloak.
STE. You cloak, sir? I bought it, even now, in open market.
BRA. Master Downright, I have a warrant I must serve upon you, procured by
these two gentlemen.
DOW. These gentlemen? These rascals?
BRA. Keep the peace, I charge you, in Her Majesty's name.
DOW. I obey thee. What must I do, officer?
BRA. Go before Master Justice Clement, to answer what they can object
against you, sir. I will use you kindly, sir.
MAT. Come, let's before, and make the Justice, captain –
BOB. The varlet's a tall man! Afore heaven!
Exit with Matthew
DOW. Gull, you'll gi'me my cloak?
STE. Sir, I bought it, and I'll keep it.
DOW. You will.
STE. Aye, that I will.
DOW. Officer, there's thy fee, arrest him.
BRA. Master Stephen, I must arrest you.
STE. Arrest me, I scorn it. There, take your cloak, I'll none on't.
DOW. Nay, that shall not serve your turn now, sir. Officer, I'll go with thee, to
the Justice's: bring him along.
STE. Why, is not here your cloak? What would you have?
DOW. I'll ha' you answer it, sir.
BRA. Sir, I'll take your word; and this gentleman's, too: for his appearance.
DOW. I'll ha' no words taken. Bring him along.
BRA. Sir, I may choose to do that: I may take bail.
DOW. 'Tis true, you may take bail, and choose; at another time: but you shall
not, now, varlet. Bring him along, or I'll swinge you.
BRA. Sir, I pity the gentleman's case. Here's your money again.
DOW. 'Sdeynes, tell not me of my money, bring him away, I say.
BRA. I warrant you he will go with you of himself, sir.
DOW. Yet more ado?
BRA Aside. I have made a fair mash on't.
STE. Must I go?
BRA. I know no remedy, Master Stephen.
DOW. Come along, afore me, here. I do not love your hanging look behind.
STE. Why, sir. I hope you cannot hang me for it. Can he, fellow?
BRA. I think not, sir. It is but a whipping matter, sure!
STE. Why, then, let him do his worst, I am resolute.
Justice Clement's house
Enter Clement, Knowell, Kitely, Dame Kitely, Cash, Tib, Cob
CLE. Nay, but stay, stay, give me leave: my chair, sirrah. You, Master
Knowell, say you went thither to meet your son.
KNO. Aye, sir.
CLE. But who directed you thither?
KNO. That did mine own man, sir.
CLE. Where is he?
KNO. Nay, I know not, now; I left him with your clerk: and appointed him to
stay here for me.
CLE. My clerk? About what time was this?
KNO. Marry, between one and two, as I take it.
CLE. And what time came my man with the false message to you, Master
KIT. After two, sir.
CLE. Very good: but, Mistress Kitely, how that you were at Cob's? Ha?
DAM. An' please you, sir, I'll tell you: my brother, Wellbred, told me that
Cob's house was a suspected place –
CLE. So it appears, methinks: but, on.
DAM. And that my husband used thither, daily.
CLE. No matter, so he used himself well, mistress.
DAM. True, sir, but you know, what grows, by such haunts, oftentimes.
CLE. I see, rank fruits of a jealous brain, Mistress Kitely: but did you find your
husband there, in that case, as you suspected?
KIT. I found her there, sir.
CLE. Did you so? That alters the case. Who gave you knowledge of your
wife's being there?
KIT. Marry, that did my brother Wellbred.
CLE. How? Wellbred first tell her? Then tell you, after? Where is Wellbred?
KIT. Gone with my sister, sir, I know not whither.
CLE. Why, this is a mere trick, a device; you are gulled in this most grossly,
all! Alas, poor wench, wert thou beaten for this?
TIB. Yes, most pitifully, and't please you.
COB. And worthily, I hope: if it shall prove so.
CLE. Aye, that's like, and a piece of a sentenced
How now, sir? What's the matter?
SER. Sir, there's a gentleman, i'the court without, desires to speak with your
CLE. A gentleman? What's he?
SER. A soldier, sir, he says.
CLE. A soldier? Take down my armour, my sword, quickly: a soldier speak
with me! Why, when knaves? Come on, come on, hold my cap there, so; give
me my gorget, my sword: stand by, I will end your matters, anon – He arms
himself Let the soldier enter, now, sir, what ha' you to say to me?
Enter Bobadil, Matthew
BOB. By your worship's favour –
CLE. Nay, keep out, sir, I know not your pretence, you send me word, sir, you
are a soldier: why, sir, you shall be answered, here, here be them have been
amongst soldiers. Sir, your pleasure.
BOB. Faith, sir, so it is, this gentleman, and myself, have been most uncivilly
wronged, and beaten, by one Downright, a coarse fellow, about the town, here,
and for mine own part, I protest, being a man in no sort given to this filthy
humour of quarrelling, he hath assaulted me in the way of my peace; despoiled
me of mine honour; disarmed me of my weapons; and rudely, laid me along, in
the open streets: when I not so much as once offered to resist him.
CLE. Oh, God's precious! Is this the soldier? Here, take my armour off
quickly, 'twill make him swoon, I fear; he is not fit to look on't, that will put up
MAT. An't please your worship, he was bound to the peace.
CLE. Why, and he were, sir, his hands were not bound, were they?
SER. There's one of the varlets of the city, sir, has brought two gentlemen,
here, one upon your worship's warrant.
CLE. My warrant?
SER. Yes, sir. The officer says, procured by these two.
CLE. Bid him, come in. Set by this picture.
Enter Downright, Brainworm, Stephen
What, Master Downright! Are you brought at Master Freshwater's suit, here!
DOW. I'faith, sir. And here's another brought at my suit.
CLE. What are you, sir?
STE. A gentleman, sir. Oh, uncle!
CLE. Uncle? Who? Master Knowell?
KNO. Aye, sir! This is a wise kinsman of mine.
STE. God's my witness, uncle, I am wronged here monstrously, he charges me
with stealing of his cloak, and would I might never stir, if I did not find it in
the street, by chance.
DOW. Oh, did you find it, now? You said you bought it erewhile.
STE. And you said I stole it; nay, now my uncle is here, I'll do well enough,
CLE. Well, let this breathe awhile; you, that have cause to complain, there,
stand forth: had you my warrant for this gentleman's apprehension?
BOB. Aye, an't please your worship.
CLE. Nay, do not speak in passion so: where had you it?
BOB. Of your clerk, sir.
CLE. That's well! An' my clerk can make warrants, and my hand not at 'em!
Where is the warrant? Officer, have you it?
BRA. No, sir, your worship's man, Master Formal, bid me do it, for these
gentlemen, and he would be my discharge.
CLE. Why, Master Downright, are you such a novice, to be served, and never
see the warrant?
DOW. Sir. He did not serve it on me.
CLE. No? How then?
DOW. Marry, sir, he came to me, and said, he must serve it, and he would use
me kindly, and so –
CLE. Oh, God's pity, was it so, sir? He must serve it? Give me my longsword
there, and help me off; so. Come on, sir varlet, I must cut off your legs, sirrah:
nay, stand up, I'll use you kindly; I must cut off your legs, I say.
He flourishes over him with his longsword
BRA. Oh, good sir, I beseech you; nay, good Master Justice.
CLE. I must do it; there is no remedy. I must cut off your legs, sirrah, I must
cut off your ears, you rascal, I must do it; I must cut off your nose, I must cut
off your head.
BRA. Oh, good your worship.
CLE. Well, rise, how dost thou do, now? Dost thou feel thyself well? Hast
thou no harm?
BRA. No, I thank your good worship, sir.
CLE. Why, so! I said, I must cut off thy legs, and I must cut off thy arms, and I
must cut off thy head; but, I did not do it: so, you said, you must serve this
gentleman, with my warrant, but you did not serve him. You knave, you slave,
you rogue, do you say you must? Sirrah, away with him, to the jail, I'll teach
you a trick, for your must, sir.
BRA. Good sir, I beseech you, be good to me.
CLE. Tell him he shall to the jail, away with him, I say.
BRA. Nay, sir, if you will commit me, it shall be for committing more than
this: I will not lose, by my travail, any grain of my fame certain.
He throws off his disguise
CLE. How is this!
KNO. My man, Brainworm!
STE. Oh yes, uncle. Brainworm has been with my cousin Edward, and I, all
CLE. I told you all, there was some device!
BRA. Nay, excellent Justice, since I have laid myself thus open to you; now,
stand strong for me: both with your sword, and your balance.
CLE. Body o' me, a merry knave! Give me a bowl of sack: if he belong to you,
Master Knowell, I bespeak your patience.
BRA. That is it, I have most need of. Sir, if you'll pardon me, only; I'll glory in
all the rest of my exploits.
KNO. Sir, you know, I love not to have my favours come hard from me. You
have your pardon: though I suspect you shrewdly for being of counsel with my
son, against me.
BRA. Yes, faith, I have, sir; though you retained me doubly this morning, for
yourself: first, as Brainworm; after, as Fitzsword. I was your reformed soldier,
sir. 'Twas I sent you to Cob's, upon the errand, without end.
KNO. Is it possible! Or that thou shouldst disguise thy language so, as I should
not know thee?
BRA. Oh, sir, this has been the day of my metamorphosis! It is not that shape
alone that I have run through today. I brought this gentleman, Master Kitely, a
message too, in the form of Master Justice's man, here, to draw him out o' the
way, as well as your worship: while Master Wellbred might make a
conveyance of Mistress Bridget, to my young master.
KIT. How! My sister stolen away?
KNO. My son is not married, I hope!
BRA. Faith, sir, they are both as sure as love, a priest, and three thousand
pound (which is her portion) can make 'em: and by this time are ready to
bespeak their wedding supper at the Windmill, except some friend, here,
prevent 'em, and invite 'em home.
CLE. Marry, that will I (I thank thee, for putting me in mind on't). Sirrah, go
you, and fetch 'em hither, upon my warrant. Neither's friends have cause to be
sorry, if I know the young couple aright. Here, I drink to thee, for thy good
news. But, I pray thee, what hast thou done with my man Formal?
BRA. Faith, sir, after some ceremony past, as making him drunk, first with
story, and then with wine (but all in kindness) and stripping him to his shirt: I
left him in that cool vein, departed, sold your worship's warrant to these two,
pawned his livery for that varlet's gown, to serve it in; and thus have brought
myself, by my activity, to your worship's consideration.
CLE. And I will consider thee, in another cup of sack. Here's to thee, which
having drunk of, this is my sentence. Pledge me. Thou hast done, or assisted to
nothing, in my judgement, but deserves to be pardoned for the wit o' the
offence. If thy master, or any man here, be angry with thee, I shall suspect his
engine, while I know him for't. How now? What noise is that!
SER. Sir, it is Roger is come home.
CLE. Bring him in, bring him in.
What! Drunk in arms, against me? Your reason, your reason for this.
FOR. I beseech your worship to pardon me; I happened into ill company by
chance, that cast me into a sleep, and stripped me of all my clothes –
CLE. Well, tell him, I am Justice Clement, and do pardon him: but, what is this
to your armour! What may that signify?
FOR. And't please you, sir, it hung up i' the room, where I was stripped; and I
borrowed it of one o' the drawers, to come home in, because I was loth to do
penance through the street i' my shirt.
CLE. Well, stand by a while.
Enter Edward Knowell, Wellbred, Bridget
Who be these? Oh, the young company, welcome, welcome. Gi' you joy. Nay,
Mistress Bridget, blush not; you are not so fresh a bride, but the news of it is
come hither afore you. Master Bridegroom, I ha' made your peace, give me
your hand: so will I for all the rest, ere you forsake my roof.
E. KN. We are the more bound to your humanity, sir.
CLE. Only these two have so little of man in 'em, they are no part of my care.
WEL. Yes, sir, let me pray you for this gentleman, he belongs to my sister, the
CLE. In what place, sir?
WEL. Of her delight, sir, below the stairs, and in public: her poet, sir.
CLE. A poet? I will challenge him myself, presently, at extempore.
»Mount up thy Phlegon muse, and testify,
How Saturn, sitting in an ebon cloud,
Disrobed his podex white as ivory,
And, through the welkin, thundered all aloud.«
WEL. He is not for extempore, sir. He is all for the pocket-muse, please you
command a sight of it.
CLE. Yes, yes, search him for a taste of his vein.
WEL. You must not deny the Queen's Justice, sir, under a writ o' rebellion.
CLE. What! All this verse? Body o' me, he carries a whole realm, a
commonwealth of paper, in's hose! Let's see some of his subjects!
»Unto the boundless Ocean of thy face,
Runs this poor river charged with streams of eyes.«
How? This is stolen!
E. KN. A parody! A parody! With a kind of miraculous gift, to make it
absurder than it was.
CLE. Is all the rest, of this batch? Bring me a torch; lay it together, and give
fire. Cleanse the air. Here was enough to have infected the whole city, if it had
not been taken in time! See, see, how our poet's glory shines! Brighter, and
brighter! Still it increases! Oh, now, it's at the highest: and, now, it declines as
fast! You may see. Sic transit gloria mundi.
KNO. There's an emblem for you, son, and your studies!
CLE. Nay, no speech, or act of mine be drawn against such, as profess it
worthily. They are not born every year, as an alderman. There goes more to the
making of a good poet, than a sheriff, Master Kitely. You look upon me!
Though, I live i' the city here, amongst you, I will do more reverence to him
when I meet him, than I will to the mayor, out of his year. But, these
paper-pedlars! These ink- dabblers! They cannot expect reprehension, or
reproach. They have it with the fact.
E. KN. Sir, you have saved me the labour of a defence.
CLE. It shall be discourse for supper; between your father and me, if he dare
undertake me. But, to dispatch away these, you sign o' the soldier, and picture
o' the poet (but, both so false, I will not ha' you hanged out at my door till
midnight) while we are at supper, you two shall penitently fast it out in my
court, without; and, if you will, you may pray there, that we may be so merry
within, as to forgive, or forget you, when we come out. Here's a third, because,
we tender your safety, shall watch you, he is provided for the purpose. Look to
your charge, sir.
STE. And what shall I do?
CLE. Oh! I had lost a sheep, an' he had not bleated! Why, sir, you shall give
Master Downright his cloak: and I will entreat him to take it. A trencher, and a
napkin, you shall have, i' the buttery, and keep Cob and his wife company,
here; whom I will entreat first to be reconciled: and you to endeavour with
your wit, to keep 'em so.
STE. I'll do my best.
COB. Why, now I see thou art honest, Tib, I receive thee as my dear, and
mortal wife, again.
TIB. And, I you, as my loving, and obedient husband.
CLE. Good complement! It will be their bridal night too. They are married
anew. Come, I conjure the rest, to put off all discontent. You, Master
Downright, your anger; you, Master Knowell, your cares; Master Kitely, and
his wife, their jealousy.
For, I must tell you both, while that is fed,
Horns i' the mind are worse than o' the head.
KIT. Sir, thus they go from me, kiss me, sweetheart.
»See, what a drove of horns fly, in the air,
Winged with my cleansed, and my credulous breath!
Watch 'em, suspicious eyes, watch, where they fall.
See, see! On heads, that think th'have none at all!
Oh, what a plenteous world of this, will come!
When air rains horns, all may be sure of some.«
I ha' learned so much verse out of a jealous man's part in a play.
CLE. 'Tis well, 'tis well! This night we'll dedicate to friendship, love, and
laughter. Master bridegroom, take your bride, and lead; everyone, a fellow.
Here is my mistress, Brainworm! To whom all my addresses of courtship shall
have their reference. Whose adventures, this day, when our grandchildren shall
hear to be made a fable, I doubt not, but it shall find both spectators, and