Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Vol. VII (4th edition) by Various

Part 7 out of 11

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.0 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

COOMES. Now am I in my quarrelling humour, and now can I say nothing but,
zounds, draw! but I'll untruss, and then have to it. [_Aside_.]

_Enter [severally]_ HODGE _and_ BOY.

HOD. Who's there? boy! honest boy, well-met: where hast thou been?

BOY. O Hodge, Dick Coomes hath been as good as a cry of hounds, to make
a breath'd[400] hare of me! but didst thou see my master?

HOD. I met him even now, and he ask'd me for thee, and he is gone up
and down, whooing like[401] an owl for thee.

BOY. Owl, ye ass!

HOD. Ass! no, nor glass, for then it had been Owlglass[402]:
but who's that, boy?

BOY. By the mass, 'tis our Coomes and Nicholas; and it seems they are
providing to fight.

HOD. Then we shall have fine sport, i'faith. Sirrah, let's stand close,
and when they have fought a bout or two, we'll run away with the torch,
and leave them to fight darkling, shall we?

BOY. Content; I'll get the torch: stand close.

COOMES. So now my back hath room to reach: I do not love to be lac'd in,
when I go to lace a rascal. I pray God, Nicholas prove not a fly:[403]
it would do me good to deal with a good man now, that we might have
half-a-dozen good smart strokes. Ha, I have seen the day I could have
danc'd in my fight, one, two, three, four, and five, on the head of him;
six, seven, eight, nine, and ten on the sides of him; and, if I went so
far as fifteen, I warrant I shewed[404] him a trick of one-and-twenty;
but I have not fought this four days, and I lack a little practice of
my ward; but I shall make a shift: ha, close [_Aside_].
--Are ye disposed, sir?

NICH. Yes, indeed, I fear no colours: change sides, Richard.

COOMES. Change the gallows! I'll see thee hang'd first.

NICH. Well, I see the fool will not leave his bable[405] for the Tower
of London.

COOMES. Fool, ye rogue! nay, then, fall to it.

NICH. Good goose, bite not.

COOMES. 'Sblood, how pursy I am! Well, I see exercise is all: I must
practice my weapons oft'ner; I must have a goal or two at foot-ball,
before I come to my right kind [_Aside_].
Give me thy hand, Nicholas: thou art a better man than I took thee for,
and yet thou art not so good a man as I.

NICH. You dwell by ill-neighbours, Richard; that makes ye praise
yourself.

COOMES. Why, I hope thou wilt say I am a man?

NICH. Yes, I'll say so, if I should see ye hang'd.

COOMES. Hang'd, ye rogue! nay, then, have at ye.

[_While they fight, exeunt_ HODGE _and_ BOY _with the torch_.]

Zounds, the light is gone!

NICH. O Lord, it is as dark as pitch!

COOMES. Well, here I'll lie, with my buckler thus, lest striking up and
down at randall[406] the rogue might hurt me, for I cannot see to save
it, and I'll hold my peace, lest my voice should bring him where I am.
[_Stand aside_.]

NICH. 'Tis good to have a cloak for the rain; a bad shift is better than
none at all; I'll sit here, as if I were as dead as a door-nail.
[_Stand aside_.][407]

_Enter_ MR BARNES _and_ MR GOURSEY.

MR GOUR. Hark! there's one hallooes.

MR BARNES. And there's another.

MR GOUR. And everywhere we come, I hear some halloo,
And yet it is our haps to meet with none.

MR BAR. I marvel where your Hodge is and my man.

MR GOUR. Ay, and our wives? we cannot meet with them,
Nor with the boy, nor Mall, nor Frank, nor Philip,
Nor yet with Coomes, and yet we ne'er stood still.
Well, I am very angry with my wife,
And she shall find I am not pleas'd with her,
If we meet ne'er so soon: but 'tis my hope[408]
She hath had as blind a journey on't as we;
Pray God, she have, and worse, if worse may be!

MR BAR. This is but short-liv'd envy[409], Master Goursey:
But, come, what say ye to my policy?

MR GOUR. I'faith, 'tis good, and we will practise it;
But, sir, it must be handled cunningly,
Or all is marr'd; our wives have subtle heads,
And they will soon perceive a drift device.

_Enter_ SIR RALPH SMITH.

SIR RALPH. So ho!

MR GOUR. So ho!

SIR RALPH. Who there?

MR BAR. Here's one or two.

SIR RALPH. Is Will there?

MR BAR. No. Philip?

MR GOUR. Frank?

SIR RALPH. No, no.--
Was ever man deluded thus like me?
I think some spirit leads me thus amiss,
As I have often heard that some have been
Thus in the nights.
But yet this mazes me; where e'er I come,
Some asks me still for Frank or Philip,
And none of them can tell me where Will is. [_Aside_.

WILL. So ho! |

PHIL. So ho! | [_They hallo within_.

HOD. So ho! |

BOY. So ho! |

SIR RALPH. Zounds, now I hear four halloo at the least!
One had a little voice; then, that's the wench
My man hath lost: well, I will answer all. [_Aside.]
--So ho!

[_Enter_ HODGE.]

HOD. Whoop, whoop!

SIR RALPH. Who's there? Will?

HOD. No, sir; honest Hodge: but, I pray ye, sir, did ye not meet with a
boy with a torch? he is run away from me, a plague on him!

SIR RALPH. Heyday, from Frank and Philip to a torch,
And to a boy! nay, zounds, then, hap as 'twill. [_Aside_.

[_Exeunt_ SIR RALPH _and_ HODGE _severally_.

MR GOUR. Who goes there?

[_Enter_ WILL.]

WILL. Guess here.

MR BAR. Philip?

WILL. Philip! no, faith; my name's Will--ill-Will, for I was never worse:
I was even now with him, and might have been still, but that I fell into
a ditch and lost him, and now I am going up and down to seek him.

MR GOUR. What would'st thou do with him?

WILL. Why, I would have him go with me to my master's.

MR GOUR. Who's thy master?

WILL. Why, Sir Ralph Smith; and thither he promis'd me he would come;
if he keep his word, so 'tis.

MR BAR. What was a[410] doing, when thou first found'st him?

WILL. Why, he halloo'd for one Francis, and Francis halloo'd for him;
I halloo'd for my master, and my master for me; but we miss'd still,
meeting contrary, Philip and Francis with me and my master, and I and
my master with Philip and Frank.

MR GOUR. Why, wherefore is Sir Ralph so late abroad?

WILL. Why, he meant to kill a buck; I'll say so to save his honesty,
but my Nan was his mark [_Aside_]. And he sent me for his bow, and when
I came, I halloo'd for him; but I never saw such luck to miss him; it
hath almost made me mad.

MR BAR. Well, stay with us; perhaps Sir Ralph and he will come anon:
hark! I do hear one halloo.

_Enter_ PHILIP.

PHIL. Is this broad waking in a winter's night?
I am broad walking in a winter's night--
Broad indeed, because I am abroad--
But these broad fields, methinks, are not so broad
That they may keep me forth of narrow ditches.
Here's a hard world!
For I can hardly keep myself upright in it:
I am marvellous dutiful--but, so ho!

WILL. So ho!

PHIL. Who's there?

WILL. Here's Will.

PHIL. What, Will! how 'scap'st thou?

WILL. What, sir?

PHIL. Nay, not hanging, but drowning: wert thou in a pond or a ditch?

WILL. A pestilence on it! is't you, Philip? no, faith, I was but dirty
a little: but here's one or two ask'd for ye.

PHIL. Who be they, man?

MR BAR. Philip, 'tis I and Master Goursey.

PHIL. Father, O father, I have heard them say
The days of ignorance are pass'd and done;
But I am sure the nights of ignorance
Are not yet pass'd, for this is one of them.
But where's my sister?

MR BAR. Why, we cannot tell.

PHIL. Where's Francis?

MR GOUR. Neither saw we him.

PHIL. Why, this is fine.
What, neither he nor I, nor she nor you,
Nor I nor she, nor you and I, till[411] now,
Can meet, could meet, or e'er, I think, shall meet!
Call ye this wooing? no, 'tis Christmas sport
Of Hob-man-blind[412], all blind, all seek to catch,
All miss--but who comes here?

_Enter_ FRANK _and his_ BOY.

FRAN. O, have I catch'd ye, sir? It was your doing
That made me have this pretty dance to-night;
Had not you spoken, my mother had not scar'd me:
But I will swinge ye for it.

PHIL. Keep the king's peace!

FRAN. How! art thou become a constable?
Why, Philip, where hast thou been all this while?

PHIL. Why, where you were not: but, I pray [you], where's my sister?

FRAN. Why, man, I saw her not; but I have sought her,
As I should seek--

PHIL. A needle, have ye not?
Why you, man, are the needle that she seeks
To work withal! Well, Francis, do you hear?
You must not answer so, that you have sought her;
But have ye found her? faith, and if you have,
God give ye joy of that ye found with her!

FRAN[413]. I saw her not: how could I find her?

MR GOUR. Why, could ye miss from Master Barnes's house
Unto his coney-burrow?

FRAN. Whether I could or no, father, I did.

PHIL. Father, I did! Well, Frank, wilt thou believe me?
Thou dost not know how much this same doth grieve me:
Shall it be said thou miss'd so plain a way,
When as so fair a wench did for thee stay?

FRAN. Zounds, man!

PHIL. Zounds, man! and if thou hadst been blind,
The coney-burrow thou needest must find.
I tell, thee, Francis, had it been my case,
And I had been a wooer in thy place,
I would have laid my head unto the ground,
And scented out my wench's way, like a hound;
I would have crept upon my knees all night,
And have made the flintstones links to give me light;
Nay, man, I would.

FRAN. Good Lord, what you would do!
Well, we shall see one day, how you can woo.

MR GOUR. Come, come, we see that we have all been cross'd;
Therefore, let's go, and seek them we have lost.
[_Exeunt_

_Enter_ MALL.

[MAL.] Am I alone? doth not my mother come?
Her torch I see not, which I well might see,
If any way she were coming toward me:
Why, then, belike she's gone some other way;
And may she go, till I bid her [to] turn!
Far shall her way be then, and little fair,
Foe she hath hindered me of my good turn;
God send her wet and weary, ere she turn!
I had been at Oxenford, and to-morrow
Have been releas'd from all my maiden's sorrow,
And tasted joy, had not my mother been;
God, I beseech thee, make it her worst sin!
How many maids this night lies in their beds,
And dream that they have lost their maidenheads!
Such dreams, such slumbers I had too enjoy'd,
If waking malice had not them destroy'd.
A starved man with double death doth die,
To have the meat might save him in his eye,
And may not have it: so am I tormented,
To starve for joy I see, yet am prevented.
Well, Frank, although thou wooedst and quickly won,
Yet shall my love to thee be never done;
I'll run through hedge and ditch, through brakes and briars,
To come to thee, sole lord of my desires:
Short wooing is the best, an hour, not years,
For long-debating love is full of fears.
But, hark! I hear one tread. O, were't my brother,
Or Frank, or any man, but not my mother!

[_Enter_ SIR RALPH SMITH.]

SIR RALPH. O, when will this same year of night have end?
Long-look'd for day's sun, when wilt thou ascend?
Let not this thieve[414] friend, misty veil of night,
Encroach on day, and shadow thy fair light,
Whilst thou com'st tardy from thy Thetis' bed,
Blushing forth golden hair and glorious red;
O, stay not long, bright lanthorn of the day,
To light my miss'd-way feet to my right way!

MAL. It is a man, his big voice tells me so,
Much am I not acquainted with it, tho';
And yet mine ear, sound's true distinguisher,
Boys[415] that I have been more familiar
With it than now I am: well, I do judge,
It is no envious fellow, out[416] of grudge;
Therefore I'll plead acquaintance, hire his guiding,
And buy of him some place of close abiding,
Till that my mother's malice be expir'd,
And we may joy in that is long desired [_Aside_]
--Who's there?

SIR RALPH. Are ye a maid? No question, this is she
My man doth miss: faith, since she lights on me,
I do not mean till day to let her go;
For whe'er[417] she is my man's love, I will know [_Aside_
Hark ye, maid, if [a] maid, are ye so light,
That you can see to wander in the night?

MAL. Hark ye, true man, if true, I tell ye, no;
I cannot see at all which way I go.

SIR RALPH. Fair maid, is't so? say, had ye ne'er a fall?

MAL. Fair man, not so; no, I had none at all.

SIR RALPH. Could you not stumble on one man, I pray?

MAL. No, no such block till now came in my way.

SIR RALPH. Am I that block, sweet tripe; then, fall and try.

MAL. The ground's too hard a feather-bed; not I.

SIR RALPH. Why, how, and you had met with such a stump?

MAL. Why, if he had been your height, I meant to jump.

SIR RALPH. Are ye so nimble?

MAL. Nimble as a doe.

SIR RALPH. Bak'd in a pie.

MAL. Of ye.

SIR RALPH. Good meat, ye know.

MAL. Ye hunt sometimes?

SIR RALPH. I do.

MAL. What take ye?

SIR RALPH. Deer.

MAL. You'll ne'er strike rascal[418]?

SIR RALPH. Yes, when ye are there.

MAL. Will ye strike me?

SIR RALPH. Yes: will ye strike again?

MAL. No, sir: it fits not maids to fight with men.

SIR RALPH. I wonder, wench, how I thy name might know.

MAL. Why, you may find it, sir, in th'Christcross row[419].

SIR RALPH. Be my schoolmistress, teach me how to spell it.

MAL. No, faith, I care not greatly, if I tell it;
My name is Mary Barnes.

SIR RALPH. How, wench? Mall Barnes!

MAL. The very same.

SIR RALPH. Why, this is strange.

MAL. I pray, sir, what's your name?

SIR RALPH. Why, Sir Ralph Smith doth wonder, wench, at this;
Why, what's the cause thou art abroad so late?

MAL. What, Sir Ralph Smith! nay, then, I will disclose
All the whole cause to him, in him repose
My hopes, my love: God him, I hope, did send
Our loves and both our mothers' hates to end. [_Aside_.]
--Gentle Sir Ralph, if you my blush might see,
You then would say I am ashamed to be
Found, like a wand'ring stray, by such a knight,
So far from home at such a time of night:
But my excuse is good; love first by fate
Is cross'd, controll'd, and sundered by fell hate.
Frank Goursey is my love, and he loves me;
But both our mothers hate and disagree;
Our fathers like the match and wish it done;
And so it had, had not our mothers come;
To Oxford we concluded both to go;
Going to meet, they came; we parted so;
My mother followed me, but I ran fast,
Thinking who went from hate had need make haste;
Take me she cannot, though she still pursue:
But now, sweet knight, I do repose on you;
Be you my orator and plead my right,
And get me one good day for this bad night.

SIR RALPH. Alas, good heart, I pity thy hard hap!
And I'll employ all that I may for thee.
Frank Goursey, wench! I do commend thy choice:
Now I remember I met one Francis,
As I did seek my man,--then, that was he,--
And Philip too,--belike that was thy brother:
Why, now I find how I did lose myself,
And wander[420] up and down, mistaking so.
Give me thy hand, Mall: I will never leave,
Till I have made your mothers friends again,
And purchas'd to ye both your hearts' delight,
And for this same one bad many a good night.
'Twill not be long, ere that Aurora will,
Deck'd in the glory of a golden sun,
Open the crystal windows of the east,
To make the earth enamour'd of her face,
When we shall have clear light to see our way:
Come; night being done, expect a happy day.

[_Exeunt.

Enter_ MISTRESS BARNES.

MRS BAR. O, what a race this peevish girl hath led me!
How fast I ran, and now how weary I am!
I am so out of breath I scarce can speak,--
What shall I do?--and cannot overtake her.
'Tis late and dark, and I am far from home:
May there not thieves lie watching hereabout,
Intending mischief unto them they meet?
There may; and I am much afraid of them,
Being alone without all company.
I do repent me of my coming forth;
And yet I do not,--they had else been married,
And that I would not for ten times more labour.
But what a winter of cold fear I thole[421],
Freezing my heart, lest danger should betide me!
What shall I do to purchase company?
I hear some halloo here about the fields:
Then here I'll set my torch upon this hill,
Whose light shall beacon-like conduct them to it;
They that have lost their way, seeing a light,
For it may be seen far off in the night,
Will come to it. Well, here I'll lie unseen,
And look who comes, and choose my company.
Perhaps my daughter may first come to it.

[_Enter_ MISTRESS GOURSEY.]

MRS GOUR. Where am I now? nay, where was I even now?
Nor now, nor then, nor where I shall be, know I.
I think I am going home: I may as well
Be[422] going from home; 'tis[423] so very dark,
I cannot see how to direct a step.
I lost my man, pursuing of my son;
My son escap'd me too: now, all alone,
I am enforc'd[424] to wander up and down.
Barnes's wife's[425] abroad: pray God, that she
May have as good a dance, nay, ten times worse!
O, but I fear she hath not; she hath light
To see her way. O, that some[426] bridge would break,
That she might fall into some deep digg'd ditch,
And either break her bones or drown herself!
I would these mischiefs I could wish to her
Might light on her!--but, soft; I see a light:
I will go near; it is comfortable,
After this night's sad spirits-dulling darkness.
How now? what, is it set to keep itself?

MRS BAR. A plague on't, is she there? [_Aside_.]

MRS GOUR. O, how it cheers and quickens up my thoughts!

MRS BAR. O that it were the basilisk's fell eye,
To poison thee! [_Aside_.]

MRS GOUR. I care not, if I take it--
Sure none is here to hinder me--
And light me home.

MRS BAR. I had rather she were hang'd
Than I should set it there to do her good. [_Aside_.]

MRS GOUR. I'faith, I will.

MRS BAR. I'faith, you shall not, mistress;
I'll venture a burnt finger but I'll have it. [_Aside_.]

MRS GOUR. Yet Barnes's wife would chafe, if that she knew,
That I had this good luck to get a light.

MRS BAR. And so she doth; but praise your[427] luck at parting.
[_Aside_.]

MRS GOUR. O, that it were[428] her light, good faith, that she
Might darkling walk about as well as I!

MRS BAR. O, how this mads me, that she hath her wish! [_Aside_.]

MRS GOUR. How I would laugh to see her trot about!

MRS BAR. O, I could cry for anger and for rage! [_Aside_.]

MRS GOUR. But who should set it here, I marv'l, a God's name.

MRS BAR. One that will have't from you in the devil's name. _Aside_.]

MRS GOUR. I'll lay my life that it was Barnes's son.

MRS BAR. No, forsooth, it was Barnes's wife.

MRS GOUR. A plague upon her, how she made me start! [_Aside_.]
Mistress, let go the torch.

MRS BAR. No, but I will not.

MRS GOUR. I'll thrust it in thy face, then.

MRS BAR. But you shall not.

MRS GOUR. Let go, I say.

MRS BAR. Let you go, for 'tis mine.

MRS GOUR. But my possession says, it is none of thine.

MRS BAR. Nay, I have hold too.

MRS GOUR. Well, let go thy hold,
Or I will spurn thee.

MRS BAR. Do; I can spurn thee too.

MRS GOUR. Canst thou?

MRS BAR. Ay, that I can.

_Enter_ MASTER GOURSEY _and_ MASTER BARNES,
[PHILIP, FRANK, &c.]

MR GOUR. Why, how now, women? how unlike to women
Are ye both now! come, part, come, part, I say.

MR BAR. Why, what immodesty is this in you!
Come, part, I say; fie, fie.

MRS BAR. Fie, fie? I say she shall not have my torch.--
Give me thy torch, boy:--I will run a-tilt,
And burn out both her eyes in my encounter.

MRS GOUR. Give room, and let us have this hot career[429].

MR GOUR. I say ye shall not: wife, go to, tame your thoughts,
That are so mad with fury.

MR BAR. And, sweet wife,
Temper your rage with patience; do not be
Subject so much to such misgovernment.

MRS BAR. Shall I not, sir, when such a strumpet wrongs me?

MR GOUR. How, strumpet, Mistress Barnes! nay, I pray, hark ye:
I oft indeed have heard ye call her so,
And I have thought upon it, why ye should
Twit her with name of strumpet; do you know
Any hurt by her, that you term her so?

MR BAR. No, on my life; rage only makes her say so.

MR GOUR. But I would know whence this same rage should come;
Where's smoke, there's fire; and my heart misgives
My wife's intemperance hath got that name;--
And, Mistress Barnes, I doubt and shrewdly[430] doubt,
And some great cause begets this doubt in me,
Your husband and my wife doth wrong us both.

MR BAR. How, think ye so? nay, Master Goursey, then,
You run in debt to my opinion,
Because you pay not such advised wisdom,
As I think due unto my good conceit.

MR GOUR. Then still I fear I shall your debtor prove.

[MR BAR.] Then I arrest you in the name of love;
Not bail, but present answer to my plea;
And in the court of reason we will try,
If that good thoughts should believe jealousy.

PHIL. Why, look ye, mother, this is 'long of you.--
For God's sake, father, hark? why, these effects
Come still from women's malice: part, I pray.--
Coomes, Will, and Hodge, come all, and help us part them!--
Father, but hear me speak one word--no more.

FRAN. Father, but hear him[431] speak, then use your will.

PHIL. Cry peace between ye for a little while.

MRS GOUR. Good husband, hear him speak

MRS BAR. Good husband, hear him.

COOMES. Master, hear him speak; he's a good wise young stripling for
his years, I tell ye, and perhaps may speak wiser than an elder body;
therefore hear him.

HOD. Master, hear; and make an end; you may kill one another in jest,
and be hanged in earnest.

MR GOUR. Come, let us hear him. Then speak quickly, Philip.

MR BAR. Thou shouldst have done ere this; speak, Philip, speak.

MRS BAR. O Lord, what haste you make to hurt yourselves!--
Good Philip, use some good persuasions
To make them friends.

PHIL. Yes, I'll do what I can.--
Father and Master Goursey, both attend.
It is presumption in so young a man
To teach where he might learn, or to[432] direct,
Where he hath had direction; but in duty
He may persuade as long as his persuase
Is back'd with reason and a rightful suit.
Physic's first rule is this, as I have learned:
Kill the effect by cutting off the cause.
The same effects of ruffian outrages
Comes by the cause of malice in your wives;
Had not they two been foes, you had been friends,
And we had been at home, and this same war
In peaceful sleep had ne'er been dreamt upon.
Mother and Mistress Goursey, to make them friends,
Is to be friends yourselves: you are the cause,
And these effects proceed, you know, from you;
Your hates gives life unto these killing strifes,
But die, and if that envy[433] die in you.--
Fathers, yet stay.--O, speak!--O, stay a while!--
Francis, persuade thy mother.--Master Goursey,
If that my mother will resolve[434] your mind[435]
That 'tis but mere suspect, not common proof,
And if my father swear he's innocent,
As I durst pawn my soul with him he is,
And if your wife vow truth and constancy,
Will you be then persuaded?

MR GOUR. Philip, if thy father will remit
The wounds I gave him, and if these conditions
May be performed, I banish all my wrath.

MR BAR. And if thy mother will but clear me, Philip,
As I am ready to protest I am,
Then Master Goursey is my friend again.

PHIL. Hark, mother; now you hear that your desires
May be accomplished; they will both be friends,
If you'll perform these easy articles.

MRS BAR. Shall I be friends with such an enemy?

PHIL. What say you[436] unto my persuase?

MRS BAR. I say she's[437] my deadly enemy.

PHIL. Ay, but she will be your friend, if you revolt.

MRS BAR. The words I said! what, shall I eat a truth?

PHIL. Why, hark ye, mother.

FRAN. Mother, what say you?

MRS GOUR. Why, this I say, she slandered my good name.

FRAN. But if she now deny it, 'tis no defame.

MRS GOUR. What, shall I think her hate will yield so much?

FRAN. Why, doubt it not; her spirit may be such.

MR GOUR. Why, will it be?

PHIL. Yet stay, I have some hope.
Mother, why, mother, why, hear ye[438]:
Give me your hand; it is no more but thus;
'Tis easy labour to shake hands with her:
Little[439] breath is spent in speaking of fair words,
When wrath hath violent delivery.

MR BAR. What, shall we be resolv'd?

MRS BAR. O husband, stay!--
Stay, Master Goursey: though your wife doth hate me,
And bears unto me malice infinite
And endless, yet I will respect your safeties;
I would not have you perish by our means:
I must confess that only suspect,
And no proof else, hath fed my hate to her.

MRS GOUR. And, husband, I protest by heaven and earth
That her suspect is causeless and unjust,
And that I ne'er had such a vild[440] intent;
Harm she imagin'd, where as none was meant.

PHIL. Lo, sir, what would ye more?

MR BAR. Yes, Philip, this;
That I confirm him in my innocence
By this large universe.

MR GOUR. By that I swear,
I'll credit none of you, until I hear
Friendship concluded straight between them two:
If I see that they willingly will do,
Then I'll imagine all suspicion ends;
I may be then assured, they being friends.

PHIL. Mother, make full my wish, and be it so.

MRS BAR. What, shall I sue for friendship to my foe?

PHIL. No: if she yield, will you?

MRS BAR. It may be, ay.

PHIL. Why, this is well. The other I will try.--
Come, Mistress Goursey, do you first agree.

MRS GOUR. What, shall I yield unto mine enemy?

PHIL. Why, if she will, will you?

MRS GOUR. Perhaps I will

PHIL. Nay, then, I find this goes well forward still.
Mother, give me your hand [_to_ MRS G.], give me yours too--
Be not so loth; some good thing I must do;
But lay your torches by, I like not them;
Come, come, deliver them unto your men:
Give me your hands. So, now, sir, here I stand,
Holding two angry women in my hand:
And I must please them both; I could please tone[441],
But it is hard when there is two to one,
Especially of women; but 'tis so,
They shall be pleas'd, whether they will or no.--
Which will come first? what, both give back! ha, neither!
Why, then, yond help that both may come together[442].
So, stand still, stand [still] but a little while,
And see, how I your angers will beguile.
Well, yet there is no hurt; why, then, let me
Join these two hands, and see how they'll agree:
Peace, peace! they cry; look how they friendly kiss!
Well, all this while there is no harm in this:
Are not these two twins? twins should be both alike,
If tone speaks fair, the tother should not strike:
Jesus, the warriors will not offer blows!
Why, then, 'tis strange that you two should be foes.
O yes, you'll say, your weapons are your tongues;
Touch lip with lip, and they are bound from wrongs:
Go to, embrace, and say, if you be friends,
That here the angry women's quarrels ends.

MRS GOUR. Then here it ends, if Mistress Barnes say so.

MRS BAR. If you say ay, I list not to say no.

MR GOUR. If they be friends, by promise we agree.

MR BAR. And may this league of friendship ever be!

PHIL. What say'st thou, Frank? doth not this fall out well?

FRAN. Yes, if my Mall were here, then all were well.

_Enter_ SIR RALPH SMITH _with_ MALL. [MALL _stays behind_.]

SIR RALPH. Yonder they be, Mall: stay, stand close, and stir not
Until I call. God save ye, gentlemen!

MR BAR. What, Sir Ralph Smith! you are welcome, man:
We wond'red when we heard you were abroad.

SIR RALPH. Why, sir, how heard ye that I was abroad?

MR BAR. By your man.

SIR RALPH. My man! where is he?

WILL. Here.

SIR RALPH. O, ye are a trusty squire!

NICH. It had been better, and he had said, a sure card.

PHIL. Why, sir?

NICH. Because it is the proverb.

PHIL. Away, ye ass!

NICH. An ass goes a four legs; I go of two, Christ cross.

PHIL. Hold your tongue.

NICH. And make no more ado.

MR GOUR. Go to, no more ado. Gentle Sir Ralph,
Your man is not in fault for missing you,
For he mistook by us, and we by him.

SIR RALPH. And I by you, which now I well perceive.
But tell me, gentlemen, what made ye all
Be from your beds this night, and why thus late
Are your wives walking here about the fields[443]:
'Tis strange to see such women of accompt
Here; but I guess some great occasion [prompt.]

MR GOUR. Faith, this occasion, sir: women will jar;
And jar they did to-day, and so they parted;
We, knowing women's malice let alone
Will, canker-like, eat farther in their hearts,
Did seek a sudden cure, and thus it was:
A match between his daughter and my son;
No sooner motioned but 'twas agreed,
And they no sooner saw but wooed and lik'd:
They have it sought to cross, and cross['d] it thus.

SIR RALPH. Fie, Mistress Barnes and Mistress Goursey both;
The greatest sin wherein your souls may sin,
I think, is this, in crossing of true love:
Let me persuade ye.

MRS BAR. Sir, we are persuaded,
And I and Mistress Goursey are both friends;
And, if my daughter were but found again,
Who now is missing, she had my consent
To be dispos'd of to her own content.

SIR RALPH. I do rejoice that what I thought to do,
Ere I begin, I find already done:
Why, this will please your friends at Abington.
Frank, if thou seek'st that way, there thou shalt find
Her, whom I hold the comfort of thy mind.

MAL. He shall not seek me; I will seek him out,
Since of my mother's grant I need not doubt.

MR[S] BAR. Thy mother grants, my girl, and she doth pray
To send unto you both a joyful day!

HOD. Nay, Mistress Barnes, I wish her better: that those joyful days
may be turn'd to joyful nights.

COOMES. Faith, 'tis a pretty wench, and 'tis pity but she should
have him.

NICH. And, Mistress Mary, when ye go to bed, God send you good rest,
and a peck of fleas in your nest, every one as big as Francis!

PHIL. Well said, wisdom! God send thee wise children!

NICH. And you more money.

PHIL. Ay, so wish I.

NICH. 'Twill be a good while, ere you wish your skin full of
eyelet-holes.

PHIL. Frank, hark ye: brother, now your wooing's done,
The next thing now you do is for a son,
I prythee; for, i'faith, I should be glad
To have myself called nunkle[444], and thou dad.
Well, sister, if that Francis play the man,
My mother must be grandam and you mam.
To it, Francis--to it, sister!--God send ye joy!
'Tis fine to sing, dancey, my own sweet boy!

FRAN. Well, sir, jest on.

PHIL. Nay, sir[445], do you jest on.

MR BAR. Well, may she prove a happy wife to him!

MR GOUR. And may he prove as happy unto her!

SIR RALPH. Well, gentlemen, good hap betide them both!
Since 'twas my hap thus happily to meet,
To be a witness of this sweet contract,
I do rejoice; wherefore, to have this joy
Longer present with me, I do request
That all of you will be my promis'd guests:
This long night's labour doth desire some rest,
Besides this wished end; therefore, I pray,
Let me detain ye but a dinner time:
Tell me, I pray, shall I obtain so much?

MR BAR. Gentle Sir Ralph, your courtesy is such,
As may impose command unto us all;
We will be thankful bold at your request.

PHIL. I pray, Sir Ralph, what cheer shall we have?

SIR RALPH. I'faith, country fare, mutton and veal,
Perchance a duck or goose [upon the platter.]

MAL. O, I am sick!

ALL. How now, Mall? what's the matter?

MAL. Father and mother, if you needs would know,
He nam'd a goose, which is my stomach's foe.

PHIL. Come, come, she is with child of some odd jest,
And now she's sick, till that she bring[446] it forth.

MAL. A jest, quoth you! well, brother, if it be,
I fear 'twill prove an earnest unto me.
Goose, said ye, sir? O, that same very name
Hath in it much variety of shame!
Of all the birds that ever yet was seen,
I would not have them graze upon this green;
I hope they will not, for this crop is poor,
And they may pasture upon greater store:
But yet 'tis pity that they let them pass,
And like a common bite the Muse's grass.
Yet this I fear: if Frank and I should kiss,
Some creaking goose would chide us with a hiss;
I mean not that goose that
Sings it knows not what;
'Tis not that hiss, when one says, "hist, come hither,"
Nor that same hiss that setteth dogs together,
Nor that same hiss that by a fire doth stand,
And hisseth T. or F.[447] upon the hand;
But 'tis a hiss, and I'll unlace my coat,
For I should sound[448] sure, if I heard that note,
And then green ginger for the green goose cries,
Serves not the turn--I turn'd the white of eyes.
The _rosa-solis_ yet that makes me live
Is favour[449] that these gentlemen may give;
But if they be displeased, then pleas'd am I
To yield myself a hissing death to die.
Yet I hope here is[450] none consents to kill,
But kindly take the favour of good-will.
If any thing be in the pen to blame,
Then here stand I to blush the writer's shame:
If this be bad, he promises a better;
Trust him, and he will prove a right true debtor.

[_Exeunt_.

FINIS.

LOOK ABOUT YOU.

_EDITION.

A Pleasant Commodie called Looke About you. As it was lately played by
the right honourable the Lord High Admirall his seruaunts. London,
Printed for William Ferbrand, and are to be solde at his shop at the
signe of the Crowne neere Guildhall gate_. 1600. 4to.

This drama is now first reprinted from the original edition, which has
no division into acts and scenes. Mr Halliwell ("Dict. of Old Plays,"
1860, p. 149) observes: "This is a diverting play, and the plot of it
is founded on the English historians of the reign of Henry II."[451]

"Look About You" is not only a _pleasant_ comedy, full of bustle and
amusing episodes, and abundantly stored with illustrations of manners,
but it is a piece which exhibits, on the part of the unknown writer,
a considerable share of power and originality. The crazed Earl of
Gloucester is not an ill-conceived character, and may have supplied a
hint to Shakespeare; and the cross-purposes, stratagems, and deceptions,
of which it is full, remind us of our great dramatist's own "Comedy of
Errors," with which, however, it has nothing in common. It is by no
means improbable, at the same time, that "Look About You," and not
Shakespeare's play, was the piece performed at Gray's Inn in December
1594.[452]

Skink, who fills the part assigned to the vice in the earlier comedies,
is a well-sustained and entertaining character, and the series of
transformations which he and the rest undergo, even while they
occasionally perplex us a little, as the plot thickens, and the figures
on the stage multiply, can hardly fail to amuse.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE[453]

HENRY II., _King of England_.
PRINCE HENRY, _the young usurped King_.
PRINCE JOHN.
PRINCE RICHARD.
EARLS OF GLOUCESTER, LANCASTER, CHESTER, LEICESTER, _and_ MORTON.
SIR RICHARD FAUCONBRIDGE.
ROBIN HOOD, _Earl of Huntington_.
SKINK, _disguised as a hermit_.
THE QUEEN.
LADY FAUCONBRIDGE.
BLOCK.
_Warden of the Fleet_.
REDCAP, _a messenger_.
_Constable and Watch_.
_A Pursuivant_.
_A Drawer_.
_Music_.

A PLEASANT COMEDY CALLED LOOK ABOUT YOU.

SCENE THE FIRST.

_Enter_ ROBERT HOOD, _a young Nobleman, a Servant with him, with
riding wands in their hands, as if they had been new-lighted_.

ROB. Go, walk the horses, wait me on the hill;
This is the hermit's cell; go out of sight.
My business with him must not be reveal'd
To any mortal creature but himself.

SERV. I'll wait your honour in the cross highway. [_Exit_.

ROB. Do so. Hermit devout and reverend,
If drowsy age keep not thy stiffened joints
On thy unrestful bed, or if the hours
Of holy orisons detain thee not,
Come forth.

_Enter_ SKINK, _like an hermit_.

SKINK. Good morrow, son,
Good morrow; and God bless thee, Huntington,
A brighter gleam of true nobility
Shines not in any youth more than in thee.
Thou shalt be rich in honour, full of speed;
Thou shalt win foes by fear, and friends by meed.

ROB. Father, I come not now to know my fate;
Important business urgeth princely Richard [_Deliver letters_.
In these terms to salute thy reverent age.
Read and be brief; I know some cause of trust
Made him employ me for his messenger.

SKINK. A cause of trust indeed, true-honoured youth.
Princes had need, in matters of import,
To make nice choice. Fair earl, if I not err,
Thou art the prince's ward?

ROB. Father, I am
His ward, his chamberlain, and bed-fellow.

SKINK. Fair fall thee, honourable Robert Hood!
Wend to Prince Richard: say, though I am loth
To use my skill in conjuration,
Yet Skink, that poisoned red-cheek'd Rosamond,
Shall make appearance at the parliament;
He shall be there by noon, assure his grace.

ROB. Good-morrow, father, see you fail him not,
For though the villain did a horrible deed,
Yet hath the young king Richard, and Earl John,
Sworn to defend him from his greatest foes.

SKINK. God's benison be with thee, noble Earl!

ROB. Adieu, good father. Holla, there! my horse!
[_Exit_.

SKINK. Up, spur the kicking jade, while I make speed
To conjure Skink out of his hermit's weed;
Lie there, religion: keep thy master grave,
And on the fair trust of these princes' word
To court again, Skink. But, before I go,
Let mischief take advice of villainy,
Why to the hermit letters should be sent,
To post Skink to the court incontinent.
Is there no trick in this? ha! let me see!
Or do they know already I am he?
If they do so, faith, westward[454] then with Skink
But what an ass am I to be thus fond!
Here lies the hermit, whom I dying found
Some two months since, when I was hourly charg'd
With Hugh the crier and with constables.
I saw him in the ready way to heaven;
I help'd him forward: 'twas a holy deed;
And there he lies some six foot in the ground.
Since where, and since, I kept me in his weeds,
O, what a world of fools have fill'd my cells!
For fortunes, run-aways, stol'n goods, lost cattle!
Among the number, all the faction
That take the young king's part against the old,
Come to myself to hearken for myself.
So did the adverse party make inquire,
But either fall full of contrary desire:
The old king's part would kill me being stain'd;
The young king's keep me from their violence.
So then thou need'st not fear; go boldly on,
Brave Hal, Prince Dick, and my spruce hot-spur John,
Here's their safe-conduct. O, but for Rosamond!
A fig for Rosamond! to this hope I'll lean,
At a queen's bidding I did kill a quean.

SCENE THE SECOND.

_Sound trumpets; enter with a Herald, on the one side_,
HENRY THE SECOND, _crowned, after him_ LANCASTER, CHESTER,
SIR RICHARD FAUCONBRIDGE: _on the other part_, KING HENRY
_the son, crowned, Herald after him; after him_ PRINCE
RICHARD, JOHN, LEICESTER. _Being set, enters fantastical_
ROBERT OF GLOSTER _in a gown girt; walks up and down_.

OLD KING. Why doth not Gloster take his honoured seat?

GLO. In faith, my liege, Gloster is in a land,
Where neither surety is to sit or stand.
I only do appear as I am summoned,
And will await without till I am call'd.

YOUNG K. Why, hear you, Gloster?

GLO. Henry, I do hear you.

YOUNG K. And why not _King_?

GLO. What's he that sits so near you?

RICH. King too.

GLO. Two kings? Ha, ha!

OLD K. Gloster, sit, we charge thee.

GLO. I will obey your charge; I will sit down,
But in this house on no seat but the ground.

JOHN. The seat's too good.

GLO. I know it, brother John.

JOHN. Thy brother?

OLD K. Silence there.

YOUNG KING. Pass to the bills, Sir Richard Fauconbridge.

FAU. My lieges both, old Fauconbridge is proud
Of your right honour'd charge. He that worst may
Will strain his old eyes: God send peace this day!
A bill for the releasement of the queen preferr'd,
By Henry the young King, Richard the Prince, John, Earl
Of Morton, Bohmine, Earl of Leicester, and the Commons.

OLD K. Did you prefer this bill?

ALL. We did.

CHES. and LAN. Ye did not well.

GLO. Why, this is good; now shall we have the hell.

THREE BRO. Chester and Lancaster, you wrong the king.

CHES. and LAN. Our king we do not.

YOUNG K. Do not you see me crown'd?

LAN. But whilst he lives, we to none else are bound.

LEI. Is it not wrong, think you, when all the world['s]
Troubled with rumour of a captive queen,
Imprisoned by her husband in a realm,
Where her own son doth wear a diadem?
Is like an head of people mutinous,
Still murmuring at the shame done her and us?
Is it not more wrong, when her mother zeal,
Sounded through Europe, Afric, Asia,
Tells in the hollow of news-thirsting ears,
Queen Elinor lives in a dungeon,
For pity and affection to her son?
But when the true cause, Clifford's daughter's death,
Shall be exposed to stranger nations,
What volumes will be writ, what libels spread,
And in each line our state dishonoured!

FAU. My lord speaks to the purpose; marry,
It may be so; pray God it prove not so.

LEI. Hear me conclude, and therewithal conclude;
It is an heinous and unheard-of sin:
Queen Elinor, daughter to kingly France,
King Henry's wife, and royal Henry's mother,
Is kept close prisoner for an act of justice,
Committed on an odious concubine.

KING. Thou wrong'st her, Leicester.

LEI. Lechers ever praise
The cause of their confusion; she was vile.

FAU. She was ill-spoken of, it's true, [too] true.

GLO. Yonder sits one would do as much for you,
Old fool; young Richard hath a gift, I know it,
And on your wife my sister would bestow it.
Here's a good world! men hate adulterous sin,
Count it a gulf, and yet they needs will in. [_Aside_.

LEI. What answer for the queen?

LAN. The king replies,
Your words are foul slanderous forgeries.

JOHN. His highness says not so.

LAN. His highness doth,
Tells you it is a shame for such wild youth
To smother any impiety,
With shew to chastise loose adultery,
Say Rosamond was Henry's concubine.
Had never king a concubine but he?
Did Rosamond begin the fires in France?
Made she the northern borders reek with flames?
Unpeopled she the towns of Picardy?
Left she the wives of England husbandless?
O, no. She sinn'd, I grant; so do we all;
She fell herself, desiring none should fall.
But Elinor, whom you so much commend,
Hath been the bellows of seditious fire,
Either through jealous rage or mad desire.
Is't not a shame to think that she hath arm'd
Four sons' right hands against their father's head,
And not the children of a low-priz'd wretch,
But one, whom God on earth hath deified?
See, where he sits with sorrow in his eyes!
Three of his sons and hers tutor'd by her:
Smiles, whilst he weeps, and with a proud disdain
Embrace blithe mirth, while his sad heart complain.

FAU. Ha! laugh they? nay, by the rood, that is not well;
Now fie, young princes, fie!

HEN. Peace, doting fool.

JOHN. Be silent, ass.

FAU. With all my heart, my lords; my humble leave, my lords.
God's mother, ass and fool for speaking truth!
'Tis terrible; but fare ye well, my lords.

RlCH. Nay, stay, good Fauconbridge; impute it rage,
That thus abuses your right reverend age.
My brothers are too hot.

FAU. Too hot indeed!
Fool, ass, for speaking truth! It's more than need.

RICH. Nay, good Sir Richard, at my kind intreat,
For all the love I bear your noble house,
Let not your absence kindle further wrath.
Each side's at council now; sit down, I pray.
I'll quit it with the kindest love I may.

GLOS. Ay, to his wife. [_Aside_.

FAU. Prince Richard, I'll sit down;
But by the faith I owe fair England's crown,
Had you not been, I would have left the place;
My service merits not so much disgrace.

RICH. Good Fauconbridge, I thank thee.

[_Go to their places_.

GLO. And you'll think of him,
If you can step into his bower at Stepney.

FAU. Prince Richard's very kind; I know his kindness.
He loves me, but he loves my lady better.
No more. I'll watch him; I'll prevent his game;
Young lad, it's ill to halt before the lame. [_Aside.

[They break asunder, papers this while being
offered and subscribed between either_.

HEN. I'll not subscribe to this indignity;
I'll not be called a king, but be a king.
Allow me half the realm; give me the north,
The provinces that lie beyond the seas:
Wales and the Isles, that compass in the main.

GLO. Nay, give him all, and he will scant be pleased. [_Aside_.

RICH. Brother, you ask too much.

JOHN. Too much? too little!
He shall have that and more; I swear he shall.
I will have Nottingham and Salisbury,
Stafford and Darby, and some other earldom,
Or, by St John (whose blessed name I bear),
I'll make these places like a wilderness.
Is't not a plague, an horrible abuse,
A king, a King of England, should be father
To four such proper youths as Hal and Dick,
My brother Geoffrey, and my proper self,
And yet not give his sons such maintenance,
As he consumes among his minions?

RICH. Be more respective, John.

JOHN. Respective, Richard?
Are you turn'd pure? a changing weathercock! [_Aside_.
I say its reason Henry should be king,
Thou prince, I duke, as Geoffrey is a duke.

LAN. What shall your father do?

JOHN. Live at his prayers,
Have a sufficient pension by the year,
Repent his sins, because his end is near.

GLO. A gracious son, a very gracious son! [_Aside_.

KING. Will this content you? I that have sat still,
Amaz'd to see my sons devoid of shame;
To hear my subjects with rebellious tongues
Wound the kind bosom of their sovereign;
Can no more bear, but from a bleeding heart
Deliver all my love for all your hate:
Will this content ye?[455] Cruel Elinor,
Your savage mother, my uncivil queen:
The tigress, that hath drunk the purple blood
Of three times twenty thousand valiant men;
Washing her red chaps in the weeping tears
Of widows, virgins, nurses, sucking babes;
And lastly, sorted with her damn'd consorts,
Ent'red a labyrinth to murther love.
Will this content you? She shall be releas'd,
That she may next seize me she most envies!

HEN. Our mother's liberty is some content.

KING. What else would Henry have?

HEN. The kingdom.

KING. Peruse this bill; draw near; let us confer.

JOHN. Hal, be not answered but with sovereignty,
For glorious is the sway of majesty.

KING. What would content you, John?

JOHN. Five earldoms, sir.

KING. What you, son Richard?

RICH. Pardon, gracious father,
And th'furtherance for my vow of penance.
For I have sworn to God and all his saints,
These arms erected in rebellious brawls
Against my father and my sovereign,
Shall fight the battles of the Lord of Hosts,
In wrong'd Judaea and Palestina.
That shall be Richard's penance for his pride,
His blood a satisfaction for his sin,
His patrimony, men, munition,
And means to waft them into Syria.

KING. Thou shalt have thy desire, heroic son,
As soon as other home-bred brawls are done.

LAN. Why weeps old Fauconbridge?

FAU. I am almost blind,
To hear sons cruel and the fathers kind.
Now, well-a-year,[456] that e'er I liv'd to see
Such patience and so much impiety!

GLO. Brother, content thee; this is but the first:
Worse is a-brewing, and yet not the worst.

LEI. You shall not stand to this.

HEN. And why, my lord?

LEI. The lands of Morton doth belong to John.

HEN. What's that to me? by Act of Parliament
If they be mine confirm'd, he must be pleas'd.

JOHN. Be pleased, King-puppet! have I stood for thee,
Even in the mouth of death? open'd my arms
To circle in sedition's ugly shape?
Shook hands with duty, bad adieu to virtue,
Profan'd all majesty in heaven and earth;
Writ in black characters on my white brow
The name of _rebel John_ against his father?
For thee, for thee, thou 'otomy[457] of honour,
Thou worm of majesty, thou froth, thou bubble![458]
And must I now be pleas'd in peace to stand,
While statutes make thee owner of my land?

GLO. Good pastime, good, now will the thieves fall out! [_Aside_.

JOHN. O, if I do, let me be never held
Royal King Henry's son; pardon me, father;
Pull down this rebel, that hath done thee wrong.
Dick, come and leave his side; assail him, lords;
Let's have no parley but with bills and swords.

KING. Peace, John, lay down thy arms; hear Henry speak.
He minds thee no such wrong.

JOHN. He were not best.

HEN. Why, hair-brain'd brother, can ye brook no jest?
I do confirm you Earl of Nottingham.

JOHN. And Morton too?

HEN. Ay, and Morton too.

JOHN. Why so? now once more I'll sit down by you.

GLO. Blow, wind! the youngest of King Henry's stock
Would fitly serve to make a weathercock.

JOHN. Gape, earth! challenge thine own, as Gloster lies;
Pity such muck is cover'd with the skies?

FAU. Be quiet, good my lords; ['tis] the King's command
You should be quiet, and 'tis very meet;
It's most convenient--how say you, Prince Richard?

RICH. It is indeed.

FAU. Why, that is wisely said;
You are a very kind, indifferent man,
Marry a' God, and by my halidom,
Were not I had a feeling in my head
Of some suspicion 'twixt my wife and him
I should affect him more than all the world. [_Aside_.

GLO. Take heed, old Richard, keep thee there, mad lad.
My sisters' fair, and beauty may turn bad. [_Aside_.

SCENE THE THIRD.

_Enter_ ROBIN HOOD, _a paper in his hand_.

OFFICER. Room there, make room for young Huntington.

FAU. A gallant youth, a proper gentleman.

HEN. Richard, I have had wrong about his wardship.

RlCH. You cannot right yourself.

JOHN. He can and shall.

RICH. Not with your help; but, honourable youth,
Have ye perform'd the business I enjoin'd?

ROB. I have, and Skink is come; here is his bill.

HEN. No matter for his bill; let him come in.

KING. Let him not enter; his infectious breath
Will poison the assembly.

GLO. Never doubt;[459]
There's more infectious breaths about your throne.
Leicester is there; your envious sons are there;
If them you can endure, no poison fear.

KING. Content thee, Gloster.

GLO. I must be content
When you, that should mend all, are patient.

_Enter_ SKINK.

HEN. Welcome, good Skink, thou justly dost complain,
Thou stand'st in dread of death for Rosamond,
Whom thou didst poison at our dread command
And the appointment of our gracious mother.
See here my father's hand unto thy pardon.

SKINK. I receive it graciously, wishing his soul sweet peace in heaven
for so meritorious a work, for I fear me I have not his heart, though
his hand.

KING. Be sure thou hast not, murderous bloodsucker,
To jealous envy executioner.

HEN. Besides, thou suest to have some maintenance;
We have bethought us how we will reward thee,
Thou shalt have Rowden lordship.

GLO. Shall he so?
Will you reward your murtherers with my lands?

HEN. Your lands? it is our gift; and he shall have it.

GLO. I'll give him seizure first with this and this.
[_Strike him_.

JOHN. Lay hold on Gloster.

KING. Hold that murderous Skink.

GLO. Villains, hands off; I am a prince, a peer,
And I have borne disgrace, while I can bear.

FAU. Knaves, leave your rudeness; how now, brother
Gloster? nay, be appeas'd, be patient, brother.

RICH. Shift for thyself, good Skink; there's gold, away:
Here will be parts.[460]

SKINK. Swounds! I'll make one, and stay.

JOHN. I prythee, begone, since thus it falleth out,
Take water; hence, away; thy life I doubt.

SKINK. Well, farewell [then]; get I once out of door,
Skink never will put trust in warrants more.
[_Exit_.

KING. Will Gloster not be bridled?

GLO. Yes, my liege;
And saddled too, and rid, and spurred, and rein'd,
Such misery (in your reign) 'falls your friends.
Let go my arms, you dunghills; let me speak.

KING. Where's that knave, Skink? I charge you see him stay'd.

FAU. The swift-heel'd knave is fled;
Body-a-me, here's rule; here's work indeed.

KING. Follow that Skink; let privy search be made;
Let not one pass, except he be well-known;
Let posts be every way sent speedily
For ten miles' compass round about the city.

HEN. Take Gloster to you, Lieutenant of the Tower.
Keep him aside, till we confer awhile.
Father, you must subscribe to his committing.

LAN. Why must he, Henry?

LEI. Marry, for this cause:
He hath broke peace, and violated laws.

GLO. So have you all done, rebels as you be.

FAU. Good words, good brother; hear me, gracious lords.

HEN. I prythee, Fauconbridge, be patient.
Gloster must of force answer this contempt.

KING. I will not yield; he shall unto the Tower,
Warden of th'Fleet, take you the charge of Gloster.

HEN. Why, be it so; yet stay with him awhile,
Till we take order for the company,
That shall attend him, and resort to him.

GLO. Warden of the Fleet, I see I am your charge,
Befriend me thus, lest by their command
I be prevented of what I intend.

KEEP. Command me any service in my power.

GLO. I pray you call some nimble-footed fellow
To do a message for me to my sister.

KEEP. Call in Redcap; he waiteth with a tipstaff,
[_Exit one for him_.
He stammers; but he's swift and trusty, sir.

SCENE THE FOURTH.

_Enter_ REDCAP.

GLO. No matter for the stammering; is this he?

RED. Ay, I am Re-Redcap, s-s-sir.

GLO. Run. Redcap, to Stepney.

RED. I'll be at Stepney p-p-presently.

GLO. Nay, stay; go to the Lady Fauconbridge, my sister.

RED. The La-La-Lady Fau-Fau-Fauconbreech?
I r-r-run, sir!

GLO. But take thy errand; tell her I am prisoner,
Committed to the Fleet.

RED. I am g-g-glad of th-th-that, my fa-fa-father
the p-p-porter sha-shall ge-ge-get a f-f-fee by you.
[_Still runs_.

GLO. Stand still a while--desire her to make means
Unto Prince Richard for my liberty;
At thy return (make speed) I will reward thee.

RED. I am g-g-gone, si-sir.

RICH. Commend me to her, gentle Huntington;
Tell her in these affairs I'll stand her friend,
Her brother shall not long be prisoner:
Say I will visit her immediately.
Begone, sweet boy, to Marion Fauconbridge,
Thou lookest like love: persuade her to be loving.

ROB. So far as honour will, I will persuade;
I'll lay love's battery to her modest ears;
Second my mild assault, you may chance win,
Fair parley at the least may hap pass in.
[_Exit_.

HEN. Here, take your charge; let no man speak with him,
Except ourself, our brethren, or Earl Leicester.

FAU. Not I, my lord? may not I speak with him?

HEN. Yes, Fauconbridge, thou shalt.

JOHN. And why? he is his wife's brother.

FAU. Earl John, although I be,
I am true unto the state, and so is he.

GLO. What, shall I have no servant of my own?

HEN. No, but the household servants of the Fleet.

GLO. I thank you, kinsman King; your father knows,
Gloster may boldly give a base slave blows.

FAU. O, but not here; it was not well done here.

KING. Farewell, good Gloster, you shall hear from us.

GLO. Even what your sons will suffer you to send.
Is't not a misery to see you stand,
That sometime was the monarch of this land,
Intreating traitors for a subject's freedom?

LEI. Let him not speak; away with him to prison.

GLO. Here's like to be a well-stay'd commonwealth,
Wherein proud Leicester and licentious John
Are pillars for the king to lean upon.

JOHN. We'll hear your railing lecture in the Fleet.

GLO.[461] On thy displeasure--well ye have me here.
O, that I were within my fort of Bungay,
Whose walls are wash'd with the clear streams of Waveney,[462]
Then would not Gloster pass a halfpenny,
For all these rebels and their poor king too.[463]
Laughtst thou, King Henry? Thou know'st my words are true,
God help thee, good old man! adieu, adieu!

JOHN. That castle shall be mine, wherein stands[464] Fauconbridge.

FAU. Far from your reach, sure, under Feckhill-ridge,
Five hundred men (England hath few such wight)
Keep it for Gloster's use both day and night:
But you may easily win it. Wantons' words
Quickly can master men, tongues out-brawl swords!

JOHN. Ye are an idiot.

RICH. I prythee, John, forbear.

JOHN. What, shall old winter with his frosty jests
Cross flow'ry pleasures?

FAU. Ay, and nip you too!
God Mary mother,[465] I would tickle you,
Were there no more in place but I and you.

KING. Cease these contentions; forward to the Tower.
Release Queen Elinor, and leave me there.
Your prisoner I am, sure, if ye had power;
There's nothing let's you but the Commons' fear:
Keep your state, lords; we will by water go,
Making the fresh Thames salt with tears of woe.

HEN. And we'll by land thorough the City ride,
Making the people tremble at our pride.

[_Exeunt with trumpets two ways_.

SCENE THE FIFTH.

_Enter_ SKINK _solus_.

SKINK. Blackheath, quoth he! And I were king of all Kent, I would give
it for a commodity of apron-strings, to be in my cottage again. Princes'
warrants! marry, Skink finds them as sure as an obligation seal'd with
batter. At King's-Bridge I durst not enter a boat. Through London the
stones were fiery. I have had a good cool way through the fields, and
in the highway to Ratcliffe stands a heater. Mile-end's covered with
_who goes there_? 'Tis for me, sure. O Kent, O Kent, I would give my
part of all Christendom[466] to feel thee, as I see thee. If I go
forward, I am stayed; if I go backward, there's a rogue in a red cap,
he's run from St John's after me. I were best stay here, lest if he come
with hue and cry, he stop me yonder. I would slip the collar for fear of
the halter; but here comes my runner, and if he run for me, his race
dies, he is as sure as dead as if a Parliament of devils[467] had
decreed it.
[_Retires_.

SCENE THE SIXTH.

_Enter_ REDCAP.

RED. Ste-Ste-Stepney ch-church yonder; but I have forgot
The La-La-Lady Fau-Fau-Fau--plague on her,
I mu-must b-back to the Fle-Fle-Fleet to kn-kn-know it.
The La- the La-La-Lady Fau--plague on't; G-Gloster
Will go ne-near to st-stab me so for forgetting
My errand, he is such a ma-ma-mad lord, the
La-Lady Fau-Fau-Fau--

SKINK. Help me, device; upon my life, this fool is sent
From Gloster to his sister Marian.

RED. I m-must ne-needs go back, the La-Lady Fau-Fau-Fau--

SKINK. God speed, good fellow.

RED. Go-Go-God sp-sp-speed you, sir.

SKINK. Why runn'st thou from me?

RED. Ma-Marry, sir, I have lo-lost a la-lady's name, and I am running
ba-back to se-se-seek it.

SKINK. What lady? I prythee, stay.

RED. Why, the La-Lady Fau-Fau-Fau--

SKINK. Fauconbridge?

RED. Ay, the s-s-same: farewell. I th-th-thank you h-heartily.

SKINK. If thou would'st speak with her, she is in Kent. I serve her;
what's thy business with my lady?

RED. I sh-sh-should do an errand to her f-f-from my Lord of Gloucester;
but, a-a-and she be in K-Kent, I'll send it by you.

SKINK. Where is my lord?

RED. Marry, p-p-prisoner in the Fl-Fleet, a-a-and w-would have her
speak to P-Prince R-Richard for his re-re-release.

SKINK. I have much business; hold, there's thy fare by water, my Lady
lies this night--

RED. Wh-wh-where, I pray?

SKINK. At Gravesend at the Angel.

RED. 'Tis devilish co-co-cold going by water.

SKINK. Why, there's my cloak and hat to keep thee warm;
Thy cap and jerkin will serve me to ride in
By the way; thou hast wind and tide; take oars;
My lady will reward thee royally.

RED. G-God-a-mercy, f-fa-faith; and ever th-thou co-co-come to the
Fl-Fl-Fleet, I'll give the tu-tu-turning of the ke-key f-for
n-no-nothing.

SKINK. Hie thee; to-morrow morning at Gravesend I'll wash thy stammering
throat with a mug of ale merrily.

RED. God be w-with you till s-soo-soon. What call you the lady? O, now I
re-remember: the La-Lady Fa-Fauconbridge. At what s-sign?

SKINK. At the Angel.

RED. A-Angel, the La-La-Lady Fa-Fa-Fauconbridge, Fa-Fan-Fanconbridge.

SKINK. Farewell and be hang'd, good stammering ninny, I think I have set
your Redcap's heels a-running, would your pianot-chattering humour could
as sa-safely se-set me fr-from the searchers' walks. Yonder comes some
one. 'Hem! Skink, to your tricks this titty titty. Ah, the tongue, I
believe, will fail me.[468]

SCENE THE SEVENTH.

_Enter_ CONSTABLE _and_ WATCH.

CON. Come, make up to this fellow, let th'other go, he seems a gentleman.
[_Exit_ REDCAP _dressed as_ SKINK.]
What are you, sir?

SKINK. Would I had kept my own suit, if the countenance carry it away.

CON. Stand, sirrah, what are you?

SKINK. The po-po-porter's son of the F-Fl-Fleet, going to Stepney about
business to the La-La-Lady Fa-Fa-Fauconbridge.

CON. Well, bring him thither, some two or three of ye, honest
neighbours, and so back to the Fleet; we'll show ourselves diligent
above other officers.

SKINK. Wh-wh-why, le-le-let me run. I am Re-Redcap.

CON. Well, sure you shall now run no faster than I lead you, hear ye,
neighbour Simmes, I leave my staff with ye; be vigilant, I pray you,
search the suspicious houses at the town's end; this Skink's a trouncer.
Come, will you be gone, sir?

SKINK. Yes, sir, and the devil go with you and them,
Well, yet have hope, mad ha-heart; co-co-come your way.

[_Exeunt_.

SCENE THE EIGHTH.

_Enter_ ROBIN HOOD _and_ BLOCK.

BLO. Sweet nobility in reversion, Block, by the commission of his head,
conjures you and withal binds you, by all the tricks that pages pass in
time of Parliament, as swearing to the pantable,[469] crowning with
custards, paper-whiffs to the sleepers' noses, cutting of tags, stealing
of torches, _cum multis aliis_--tell, Block, what block you have cast in
the way of my lady's content!

ROB. Block, by the antiquity of your ancestry, I have given your lady not
so much as the least cause of dislike; if she be displeased at any news
I bring, it's more than I must blab.

BLO. Zounds, these pages be so proud, they care not for an old
servingman; you are a ward and so an earl, and no more: you disquiet our
house--that's the most; and I may be even with thee--that's the least.

_Enter the_ LADY FAUCONBRIDGE.

LADY F. What, Block, what, Block, I say! what do you there?

BLO. Making the young lord merry, madam.

LADY F. Go, attend the gate;
See if you can let in more grief thereat.

BLO. Zounds, and grief come in there; and I see
Him once, I'll conjure his gaberdine. [_Aside_.

LADY F. Will you be gone, sir?

BLO. Hem! these women, these women!
And she be not in love either with Prince Richard or this lad, let
Block's head be made a chopping-block.
[_Exit BLOCK_.

ROB. Fair madam, what reply you to my suit?
The prince expects[470] smiles, welcomes, loving looks.

LADY F. The prince, if he give heed to Marian's suit,
Must hear heart-sighs, see sorrow in my eyes,
And find cold welcome to calamities.

ROB. And why, for God's sake?

LADY F. Even for Gloster's sake.

ROB. Why, by mine honour, and Prince Richard saith,
Your brother Gloster shall have liberty,
Upon condition you release a prisoner,
That you have long held in captivity.

LADY F. I have no prisoner.

ROB. Yes, a world of eyes
Your beauty in a willing bondage ties.

LADY F. Go to, you are dispos'd to jest, my lord.

ROB. In earnest, I must be an earnest suitor
To you for love; yet you must be my tutor.

LADY F. Are you in love?

ROB. I dearly love Prince Richard.

LADY F. Then do you love the loveliest man alive,
The princeliest person of King Henry's sons.

ROB. I like this well. [_Aside_.

LADY F. He is virtuous in his mind, his body fair;
His deeds are just, his speeches debonair.

ROB. Better and better still. [_Aside_.

LADY F. Indeed he is, what nobody can deny,
All lovely, beauty all, all majesty.

ROB. I'll tell his excellence what you report;
No doubt he will be very thankful for't.

Book of the day: