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Methinks he loves you well.

AMADINE. I like him not.
His love to me is nothing worth.

MUCEDORUS. Lady, in this (methinks) you offer wrong, To hate the man that ever loves you best.

AMADINE. Hermit,[188] I take no pleasure in his love, Neither doth Bremo like me best.

MUCEDORUS. Pardon my boldness, lady,[189] sith we both May safely talk now out of Bremo’s sight. Unfold To me (if so you please) the full discourse, How, when, and why you came into these woods, And fell into this bloody butcher’s hands.

AMADINE. Hermit, I will;
Of late a worthy shepherd I did love–

MUCEDORUS. A shepherd, lady? Sure, a man unfit To match with you!

AMADINE. Hermit, ’tis[190] true; and when we had–

MUCEDORUS. Stay there, the wild man comes; Refer the rest until another time.

_Enter_ BREMO.

BREMO. What secret tale is this, what whispering have we here? Villain, I charge thee tell thy tale again.

MUCEDORUS. If needs I must, lo! here it is again: When as we both had lost the sight of thee, It griev’d us both, but specially the queen. Who in thy absence ever fears the worst, Lest some mischance befall your royal grace. Shall my sweet Bremo wander through the woods: Toil to and fro for to redress my wants: Hazard his life, and all to cherish me?
I like not this, quoth she.
And thereupon [she] crav’d to know of me, If I could teach her handle weapons well. My answer was, I had small skill therein, But glad, most mighty king, to learn of thee. And this was all.

BREMO. Was’t so?
None can dislike of this. I’ll teach You both to fight. But first, my queen, begin: Here, take this weapon; see how thou canst use it.

AMADINE. This is too big;
I cannot wield it in my arm.

BREMO. Is’t so, we’ll have a knotty crabtree staff for thee: But, sirrah, tell me, what say’st thou?

MUCEDORUS. With all my heart I willing am to learn.

BREMO. Then take my staff, and see how thou canst wield it.

MUCEDORUS. First teach me how to hold it in my hand.

BREMO. Thou hold’st it well. [To _Amadine_.] Look how he doth;
Thou mayest the sooner learn.

MUCEDORUS. Next tell me how and when ’tis best to strike.

BREMO. ‘Tis best to strike when time doth serve, ‘Tis best to lose no time.

MUCEDORUS. Then now or never is my time to strike.

BREMO. And when thou strikest, be sure to hit the head.

MUCEDORUS. The head?

BREMO. The very head.

MUCEDORUS. Then have at thine,
So lie there and die; [_He strikes him down dead_. A death, no doubt, according to desert,
Or else a worse, as thou deservest a worse.

AMADINE. It glads my heart this tyrant’s death to see.

MUCEDORUS. Now, lady, it remains in you To end the tale you lately had begun,
Being interrupted by this wicked wight– You said you loved a shepherd?

AMADINE. Ay, so I do, and none but only him; And will do still, as long as life shall last.

MUCEDORUS. But tell me, lady, sith I set you free, What course of life do you intend to take?

AMADINE. I will (disguised) wander through the world Till I have found him out.

MUCEDORUS. How, if you find your shepherd in these woods?

AMADINE. Ah! none so happy then as Amadine.[191]

MUCEDORUS. In tract of time a man may alter much: Say, lady, do you know your shepherd well? [_He discovers himself_.

AMADINE. My Mucedorus, hath he set me free?

MUCEDORUS. He hath set thee free.

AMADINE. And lived so long
Unknown to Amadine?

MUCEDORUS. Ay, that’s a question
Whereof you may not be resolved.
You know that I am banish’d from the court, I know likewise each passage is beset,
So that we cannot long escape unknown, Therefore my will is this, that we return, Right through the thickets, to the wild man’s cave, And there a while live on his provision, Until the search and narrow watch be past: This is my counsel, and I think it best.

AMADINE. I think the very same.

MUCEDORUS. Come, let’s begone.

_Enter the_ CLOWN, _who searches and falls over the wild man, and so carries him away_.

CLOWN. Nay, soft, sir, are you here? a bots on you! I was like to be hanged for not finding you, We would borrow a certain stray king’s daughter of you; A wench, a wench, sir, we would have.

MUCEDORUS. A wench of me? I’ll make thee eat my sword.

CLOWN. O Lord, nay, and you are so lusty, I’ll call a cooling card for you:
Ho, master, master, come away quickly!

_Enter_ SEGASTO.

SEGASTO. What’s the matter?

CLOWN. Look, master, Amandine and the shepherd! O brave!

SEGASTO. What, minion, have I found you out?

CLOWN. Nay, that’s a lie, I found her out myself.

SEGASTO. Thou gadding huswife,
What cause hadst thou to gad abroad, When as thou knowest our wedding-day so nigh?

AMADINE. Not so, Segasto; no such thing in hand. Show your assurance, then I’ll answer you?

SEGASTO. Thy father’s promise my assurance is.

AMADINE. But what he promis’d he hath not perform’d.

SEGASTO. It rests in thee to perform the same.


SEGASTO. And why?

AMADINE. So is my will, and therefore even so.

CLOWN. Master, with a nonny, nonny, no.[192]

SEGASTO. Ah, wicked villain! art thou here?

MUCEDORUS. What needs these words? we weigh them not.

SEGASTO. We weigh them not! proud shepherd, I scorn thy company.

CLOWN. We’ll not have a corner of thy company.

MUCEDORUS. I scorn not thee, nor yet the least of thine.

CLOWN. That’s a lie, a would have kill’d me with his pugs-nando.

SEGASTO. This stoutness, Amadine, contents me not.

AMADINE. Then seek another, that may you better please.

MUCEDORUS. Well, Amadine. it only rests in thee Without delay to make thy choice of three. There stands Segasto: here a shepherd stands: There stands the third. Now make thy choice.

CLOWN. A lord at the least I am.

AMADINE. My choice is made; for I will none but thee.

SEGASTO. A worthy mate, no doubt, for such a wife.

MUCEDORUS. And, Amadine, why wilt thou none but me? I cannot keep thee, as thy father did;
I have no lands for to maintain thy state; Moreover, if thou mean to be my wife,
Commonly this must be thy use:
To bed at midnight, up at four,
Drudge all day, and trudge from place to place, Whereby our daily victuals for to win:
And last of all, which is the worst of all, No princess then, but a plain shepherd’s wife.

CLOWN. Then God gi’ you good morrow, goody shepherd! [_Aside_.

AMADINE. It shall not need; if Amadine do live, Thou shalt be crowned King of Arragon.

CLOWN. O master, laugh; when he’s king, then I’ll be a queen. [_Aside_.

MUCEDORUS. Then know that, which never tofore was known, I am no shepherd, no Arragonian I,
But born of royal blood. My father’s of Valentia King, my mother Queen: who, for thy secret[193] sake, Took this hard task in hand.

AMADINE. Ah, how I joy my fortune is so good!

SEGASTO. Well, now I see Segasto shall not speed; But, Mucedorus, I as much do joy
To see thee here within our Court of Arragon, As if a kingdom had befallen me this time. I with my heart surrender her to thee.
[_He giveth her unto him_. And loose[194] what right to Amadine I have.

CLOWN. What, [a] barn’s door, and born where my father Was constable. A bots on thee! how dost thee? [_Aside_.

MUCEDORUS. Thanks, Segasto; but yet you levell’d at the crown.

CLOWN. Master, bear this and bear all.

SEGASTO. Why so, sir?

CLOWN. He sees you take a goose by the crown.

SEGASTO. Go to, sir, away, post you to the King, Whose heart is fraught with careful doubts; Glad him up, and tell him these good news, And we will follow as fast as we may.

CLOWN. I go, master; I run, master.

[_Exeunt severally.

Enter the_ KING _and_ COLLEN.

KING. Break, heart, and end my pallid[195] woes! My Amadine, the comfort of my life,
How can I joy, except she were in sight? Her absence breedeth sorrow to my soul,
And with a thunder breaks my heart in twain.

COLLEN. Forbear those passions, gentle King, And you shall see ’twill turn unto the best, And bring your soul to quiet and to joy.

KING. Such joy as death, I do assure me that, And nought but death, unless of her I hear, And that with speed; I cannot sigh thus long– But what a tumult do I hear within?

[_They cry within, Joy and happiness_!

COLLEN. I hear a noise of overpassing joy Within the court. My lord, be of good comfort. And here comes one in haste.

_Enter the_ CLOWN, _running_.

CLOWN. A King, a king, a king!

COLLEN. Why, how now, sirrah? what’s the matter?

CLOWN. O, ’tis news for a king; ’tis worth money.

KING. Why, sirrah, thou shalt have silver and gold, if it be good.

CLOWN. O, ’tis good, ’tis good. Amadine–

KING. O, what of her? tell me, and I will make thee a knight.

CLOWN. How, a sprite? no, by Lady, I will not be a sprite, masters. Get ye away; if I be a sprite, I shall be so lean, I shall make you all afraid.

COLLEN. Thou sot, the King means to make thee a gentleman.

CLOWN. Why, I shall want ‘pparel.

KING. Thou shalt want for nothing.

CLOWN. Then stand away; trick[196] up thyself; here they come.


AMADINE. My gracious father, pardon thy disloyal daughter.

KING. What, do mine eyes behold my daughter Amadin? Rise up, dear daughter,
And let these my embracing arms show some Token of thy father’s joy, which, ever since Thy departure, hath languished in sorrow.

AMADINE. Dear father,
Never were your sorrows greater than my griefs: Never you so desolate as I comfortless.
Yet, nevertheless, acknowledging myself To be the cause of both, on bended knees I humbly crave your pardon.

KING. I’ll pardon thee, dear daughter, but as for Him—-

AMADINE. Ah, father! what of him?

KING. As sure as I am king, and wear the crown, I will revenge on that accursed wretch.

MUCEDORUS. Yet, worthy prince, work not thy will in wrath: Show favour.

KING. Ay, such favour as thou deservest.

MUCEDORUS. I do deserve the daughter of a king.

KING. O, impudent! a shepherd and so insolent?

MUCEDORUS. No shepherd [am] I, but a worthy prince.

KING. In fair conceit, not princely born.

MUCEDORUS. Yes, princely born; my father is a king, My mother queen, and of Valentia both.

KING. What, Mucedorus? welcome to our court! What cause hadst thou to come to me disguis’d?

MUCEDORUS. No cause to fear; I caused no offence, But this–desiring thy daughter’s virtues for to see, Disguis’d myself from out my father’s court, Unknown to any. In secret I did rest,
And passed many troubles near to death; So hath your daughter my partaker been,
As you shall know hereafter more at large, Desiring you, you will give her to me,
Even as mine own, and sovereign of my life, Then shall I think my travels are well spent.

KING. With all my heart, but this–
Segasto claims my promise made tofore, That he should have her as his only wife, Before my council, when we came from war. Segasto, may I crave thee let it pass,
And give Amadine as wife to Mucedorus.

SEGASTO. With all my heart, were it a far greater thing, And what I may to furnish up their rites, With pleasing sports and pastimes you shall see.

KING. Thanks, good Segasto; I will think of this.

MUCEDORUS. Thanks, good my lord; and while I live, Account of me in what I can or may.

AMADINE. And, good Segasto, these great courtesies Shall not be forgot.

CLOWN. Why, hark you, master! bones, what have you done? What, given away the wench you made me take such pains for? you are wise indeed; mass, and I had known of that, I would have had her myself. Faith, master, now we may go to breakfast with a woodcock-pie.

SEGASTO. Go, sir; you were best leave this knavery.

KING. Come on, my lords, let’s now to court, Where we may finish up the joyfullest day That ever happ’d to a distressed king.[197] With mirth and joy and great solemnity
We’ll finish up these Hymen’s rites most pleasantly.

CLOWN. Ho, lords! at the first, I am one too; but hear, Master King, by your leave, a cast. Now you have done with them, I pray you begin with me.

KING. Why, what wouldst thou have?

CLOWN. O, you forgot now! a little apparel to make’s handsome. What, should lords go so beggarly as I do?

KING. What I did promise thee, I will perform. Attend on me: come, let’s depart.

[_They all speak_.

We’ll wait on you with all our hearts.

CLOWN. And with a piece of my liver too.

[_Exeunt omnes_.

_Enter_ COMEDY _and_ ENVY.

COMEDY. How now, Envy? what, blushest thou already? Peep forth, hide not thy head with shame; But with a courage praise a woman’s deeds. Thy threats were vain, thou couldst do me no hurt, Although thou seem’st to cross me with despite, I overwhelm’d and turn’d upside down thy block, And made thyself to stumble at the same.

ENVY. Though stumbled, yet not overthrown: Thou canst not draw my heart to mildness, Yet must I needs confess thou hast done well, And play’d thy part with mirth and pleasant glee. Say all this; yet canst thou not conquer me, Although this time thou hast got–
Yet not the conquest neither,
A double revenge another time I’ll have.[198]

COMEDY. Then, caitiff cursed, stoop upon thy knee; Yield to a woman, though not to me,
And from her foes high God defend her still, That they ‘gainst her may never work their will.

ENVY. Envy, were he never so stout
Would beck and bow unto her majesty. Indeed, Comedy, thou hast overrun me now, And forc’d me stoop unto a woman’s sway. God grant her grace amongst us long may reign, And those that would not have it so,
Would that by Envy soon their hearts they might forego.

COMEDY. The council, nobles, and this realm, Lord, guide it still with thy most holy hand! The Commons and the subjects, grant them grace. Their prince to serve, her to obey, and treason to deface: Long may she reign in joy and great felicity, Each Christian heart do say amen with me.





The Pleasant Historie of the two angrie women of Abington. With the humorous mirthe of Dick Coomes and Nicholas Prouerbes, two Seruingmen. As it was lately playde by the right Honorable the Earle of Nottingham, Lord high Admirall, his seruants. By Henry Porter Gent. Imprinted at London for Ioseph Hunt, and William Ferbrand, and are to be solde at the Corner of Colman-streete, neere Loathburie_. 1599. 4to.

Another 4to, printed for Ferbrand alone, was published during the same year.–_Dyce_.


The text of the former 4to, which is, I apprehend, the earlier impression, has been adopted in the present reprint, except where the readings of the other edition have been occasionally preferred, and where obvious typographical errors have been rectified. Every minute particular in which the second 4to differs from the first, I have thought it unnecessary to note. The absurd punctuation and faulty metrical arrangement of the old copy have not been followed; and I must be allowed to add that I have retained the original spelling only in accordance to the decision of the Percy Council.[200]

Though Henry Porter was a dramatist of considerable reputation, all his productions, except the copy now reprinted, appear to have utterly perished; and, I believe, the only materials to be found for his biography are the subjoined memoranda in the Diary of Henslowe:[201]–

Pd this 23 of Aguste 1597 to Harey Porter to carye to | T. Nashe now at this tyme in the fflete for wrytinge of | s _the eylle of Dogges_ ten shellinges to bee paide agen to | x me when he canne I say ten shillinges |

Lent unto the company the 30 of Maye 1598 to bye a boocke | li [202] called _Love prevented_ the some of fower powndes dd. | iiij to Thomas Dowton, Mr Porter |

Lent unto the company the 18 of Aguste 1598 to bye a Booke | li called _Hoote Anger sone cowld_ of Mr Porter, Mr Cheattell | vj and bengemen Johnson in full payment, the some of |

Lent unto Thomas Dowton the 22 of Desember 1598 to bye a | li boocke of Harey Porter called _the 2 pte of the 2 angrey_ | v _Wemen of Abengton_ |

Let unto Harey Porter at the request of the company in | earnest of his booke called _ij merey women of abington_ | the some of forty shellings and for the resayte of that | s money he gave me his faythfull promise that I should have | xl alle his bookes which he writte ether him selfe or with | any other which some was dd. the 28th of febreary 1598[-9]. |

Lent unto Harey Cheattell the 4 of March 1598[-9] in | s earneste of his boocke which Harey Porter and he is a | x writtinge the some of–called _the Spencers_. |

Lent Harey Porter the 11 of Aprell 1599 the some of | s d | ii vj

Lent Hary Porter the 16 of Aprell 1599 the some of[203] | d | xij

Lent Harey Porter the 5 of Maye 1599 the some of | s d | ii vj

Lent Harey Porter the 15 of Maye 1599 the some of | s d | ii vj

Be it knowne unto all men that I Henry Porter do owe unto Phillip Henchlowe the some of x’s of lawfull money of England which I did borrowe of hym the 26 of Maye a’o. dom. 1599 Henry Porter[204].

“The Two Angry Women of Abington” is thus noticed by the late Charles Lamb: “The pleasant comedy from which these extracts are taken is contemporary with some of the earliest of Shakespeare’s, and is no whit inferior to either the ‘Comedy of Errors’ or the ‘Taming of the Shrew,’ for instance. It is full of business, humour, and merry malice. Its night scenes are peculiarly sprightly and wakeful. The versification unencumbered, and rich with compound epithets.”[205] A.D.


Gentlemen, I come to ye like one that lacks and would borrow, but was loth to ask, lest he should be denied: I would ask, but I would ask to obtain; O, would I knew that manner of asking! To beg were base; and to couch low, and to carry an humble show of entreaty, were too dog-like, that fawns on his master to get a bone from his trencher: out, cur! I cannot abide it; to put on the shape and habit of this new world’s new-found beggars, mistermed soldiers[206], as thus: “Sweet gentlemen, let a poor scholar implore and exerate that you would make him rich in the possession of a mite of your favours, to keep him a true man in wit, and to pay for his lodging among the Muses! so God him help, he is driven to a most low estate! ’tis not unknown what service of words he hath been at; he lost his limbs in a late conflict of flout; a brave repulse and a hot assault it was, he doth protest, as ever he saw, since he knew what the report of a volley of jests were; he shall therefore desire you”–A plague upon it, each beadle disdained would whip him from your company. Well, gentlemen, I cannot tell how to get your favours better than by desert: then the worse luck, or the worse wit, or somewhat, for I shall not now deserve it. Well, then[207], I commit myself to my fortunes and your contents; contented to die, if your severe judgments shall judge me to be stung to death with the adder’s hiss.


WILL, _Sir Ralph’s man.
[Other Attendants_.]


_Enter_ MASTER GOURSEY _and his wife, and_ MASTER BARNES _and his wife, with their two sons, and their two servants_.

MASTER GOURSEY. Good Master Barnes, this entertain of yours, So full of courtesy and rich delight,
Makes me misdoubt my poor ability
In quittance of this friendly courtesy.

MR BAR. O Master Goursey, neighbour-amity Is such a jewel of high-reckoned worth,
As for the attain of it what would not I Disburse, it is so precious in my thoughts!

MR GOUR. Kind sir, near-dwelling amity indeed Offers the heart’s inquiry better view
Than love that’s seated in a farther soil: As prospectives[209], the[210] nearer that they be, Yield better judgment to the judging eye; Things seen far off are lessened in the eye, When their true shape is seen being hard by.

MR BAR. True, sir, ’tis so; and truly I esteem Mere[211] amity, familiar neighbourhood, The cousin german unto wedded love.

MR GOUR. Ay, sir, there’s surely some alliance ‘twixt them, For they have both the offspring from the heart: Within the heart’s-blood-ocean still are found Jewels of amity and gems of love.

MR BAR. Ay, Master Goursey, I have in my time Seen many shipwrecks of true honesty;
But incident such dangers ever are
To them that without compass sail so far: Why, what need men to swim, when they may wade?– But leave this talk, enough of this is said: And, Master Goursey, in good faith, sir, welcome;– And, Mistress Goursey, I am much in debt Unto your kindness that would visit me.

MRS GOUR. O Master Barnes, you put me but in mind Of that which I should say; ’tis we that are Indebted to your kindness for this cheer: Which debt that we may repay, I pray let’s have Sometimes your company at our homely house.

MRS BAR. That, Mistress Goursey, you shall surely have; He’ll[212] be a bold guest, I warrant ye, And bolder too with you than I would have him.

MRS. GOUR. How, do you mean he will be bold with me?

MRS BAR. Why, he will trouble you at home, forsooth, Often call in, and ask ye how ye do;
And sit and chat with you all day till night, And all night too,[213] if he might have his will.

MR BAR. Ay, wife, indeed I thank her for her kindness; She hath made me much good cheer passing that way.

MRS BAR. Passing well-done of her, she is a kind wench. I thank ye, Mistress Goursey, for my husband; And if it hap your husband come our way
A-hunting or such ordinary sports,
I’ll do as much for yours as you for mine.

MR GOUR. Pray do, forsooth.–God’s Lord, what means the woman? She speaks it scornfully: faith, I care not; Things are well-spoken, if they be well-taken. [_Aside_.] What, Mistress Barnes, is it not time to part?

MRS BAR. What’s a-clock, sirrah?

NICHOLAS. ‘Tis but new-struck one.

MR GOUR. I have some business in the town by three.

MR BAR. Till then let’s walk into the orchard, sir. What, can you play at tables?

MR GOUR. Yes, I can.

MR BAR. What, shall we have a game?

MR GOUR. And if you please.

MR BAR. I’faith, content; we’ll spend an hour so. Sirrah, fetch the tables.[214]

NICH. I will, sir.

PHIL. Sirrah Frank, whilst they are playing here, We’ll to the green to bowls.

FRAN. Philip, content. Coomes, come hither, sirrah: When our fathers part, call us upon the green. Philip, come, a rubbers[215], and so leave.

PHIL. Come on.
[_Exeunt_ PHILIP _and_ FRANCIS.]

COOMES. ‘Sbloud, I do not like the humour of these springals; they’ll spend all their fathers’ good at gaming. But let them trowl the bowls upon the green. I’ll trowl the bowls in the buttery by the leave of God and Master Barnes: and his men be good fellows, so it is; if they be not, let them go snick up[216].

Enter_ NICHOLAS _with the tables_.

MR BAR. So, set them down.
Mistress Goursey, how do you like this game?

MRS GOUR. Well, sir.

MR BAR. Can ye play at it?

MRS GOUR. A little, sir.

MR BAR. Faith, so can my wife.

MR GOUR. Why, then, Master Barnes, and if you please, Our wives shall try the quarrel ‘twixt us two, And we’ll look on.

MR BAR. I am content. What, women[217], will you play?

MRS GOUR. I care not greatly.

MRS BAR. Nor I, but that I think she’ll play me false.

MR GOUR. I’ll see she shall not.

MRS BAR. Nay, sir, she will be sure you shall not see; You, of all men, shall not mark her hand; She hath such close conveyance in her play.

MR GOUR. Is she so cunning grown? Come, come, let’s see.

MRS GOUR. Yea, Mistress Barnes, will ye not house your jests, But let them roam abroad so carelessly?
Faith, if your jealous tongue utter another, I’ll cross ye with a jest, and ye were my mother.– Come, shall we play? [_Aside_.]

MRS BAR. Ay, what shall we play a game?

MRS GOUR. A pound a game.

MR GOUR. How, wife?

MRS GOUR. Faith, husband, not a farthing less.

MR GOUR. It is too much; a shilling were good game.

MRS GOUR. No, we’ll be ill-huswives once; You have been oft ill husbands: let’s alone.

MR BAR. Wife, will you play so much?

MRS BAR. I would be loth to be so frank a gamester As Mistress Goursey is; and yet for once I’ll play a pound a game as well as she.

MR BAR. Go to, you’ll have your will
[_Offer to go from them_.

MRS BAR. Come, there’s my stake.

MRS GOUR. And there’s mine.

MRS BAR. Throw for the dice. Ill luck! then they are yours.

MR BAR. Master Goursey, who says that gaming’s bad, When such good angels[218] walk ‘twixt every cast?

MR GOUR. This is not noble sport, but royal play.

MR BAR. It must be so, where royals[218] walk so fast.

MRS BAR. Play right, I pray.

MRS GOUR. Why, so I do.

MRS BAR. Where stands your man?

MRS GOUR. In his right place.

MRS BAR. Good faith, I think ye play me foul an ace.

MR BAR. No, wife, she plays ye true.

MRS BAR. Peace, husband, peace; I’ll not be judg’d by you.

MRS GOUR. Husband, Master Barnes, pray, both go walk! We cannot play if standers-by do talk.

MR GOUR. Well, to your game; we will not trouble ye. [_Go from them_.

MRS GOUR. Where stands your man now?

MRS BAR. Doth he not stand right?

MRS GOUR. It stands between the points.

MRS BAR. And that’s my spite.
But yet methinks the dice runs much uneven. That I throw but deuce-ace and you eleven.

MRS GOUR. And yet you see that I cast down the hill.

MRS BAR. Ay, I beshrew ye, ’tis not with my will.

MRS GOUR. Do ye beshrew me?

MRS BAR. No, I beshrew the dice,
That turn you up more at once than me at twice.

MRS GOUR. Well, you shall see them turn for you anon.

MRS BAR. But I care not for them, when your game is done.

MRS GOUR. My game! what game?

MRS BAR. Your game, your game at tables.

MRS GOUR. Well, mistress, well; I have read Aesop’s fables, And know your moral meaning well enough.

MRS BAR. Lo, you’ll be angry now! here’s[219] good stuff.

MR GOUR. How now, women?[220] who hath won the game?

MRS GOUR. Nobody yet.

MR BAR. Your wife’s the fairest for’t.

MRS BAR. Ay, in your eye.

MRS GOUR. How do you mean?

MRS BAR. He holds you fairer for’t than I.

MRS GOUR. For what, forsooth?

MRS BAR. Good gamester, for your game.

MR BAR. Well, try it out; ’tis all but in the bearing[221].

MRS BAR. Nay, if it come to bearing, she’ll be best.

MRS GOUR. Why, you’re as good a bearer as the rest.

MRS BAR. Nay, that’s not so; you bear one man too many.

MRS GOUR. Better do so than bear not any.

MR BAR. Beshrew me, but my wife’s jests grow too bitter; Plainer speeches for her were more fitter[222]: Malice lies embowelled in her tongue,
And new hatch’d hate makes every jest a wrong. [_Aside_.]

MRS GOUR. Look ye, mistress, now I hit ye.

MRS BAR. Why, ay, you never use to miss a blot[223], Especially when it stands so fair to hit.

MRS GOUR. How mean ye, Mistress Barnes?

MRS BAR. That Mistress Goursey’s in the hitting vein.

MRS GOUR. I hot[224] your man.

MRS BAR. Ay, ay, my man, my man; but, had I known, I would have had my man stood nearer home.

MRS GOUR. Why, had ye kept your man in his right place, I should not then have hit him with an ace.

MRS BAR. Right, by the Lord! a plague upon the bones!

MRS GOUR. And a hot mischief on the curser too!

MR BAR. How now, wife?

MR GOUR. Why, what’s the matter, woman?

MRS GOUR. It is no matter; I am–

MRS BAR. Ay, you are–

MRS GOUR. What am I?

MRS BAR. Why, that’s as you will be ever.

MRS GOUR. That’s every day as good as Barnes’s wife.

MRS BAR. And better too: then, what needs all this trouble? A single horse is worse than that bears double.

MR BAR. Wife, go to, have regard to what you say; Let not your words pass forth the verge of reason, But keep within the bounds of modesty;
For ill-report doth like a bailiff stand, To pound the straying and the wit-lost tongue, And makes it forfeit into folly’s hands. Well, wife, you know it is no honest part To entertain such guests with jests and wrongs: What will the neighbouring country vulgar say, When as they hear that you fell out at dinner? Forsooth, they’ll call it a pot-quarrel straight; The best they’ll name it is a woman’s jangling. Go to, be rul’d, be rul’d.

MRS BAR. God’s Lord, be rul’d, be rul’d! What, think ye I have such a baby’s wit, To have a rod’s correction for my tongue? School infancy! I am of age to speak,
And I know when to speak: shall I be chid For such a–

MRS GOUR. What-a? nay, mistress, speak it out; I scorn your stopp’d compares: compare not me To any but your equals, Mistress Barnes.

MR GOUR. Peace, wife, be quiet.

MR BAR. O, persuade, persuade!
Wife, Mistress Goursey, shall I win your thoughts To composition of some kind effects?
Wife, if you love your credit, leave this strife, And come shake hands with Mistress Goursey here.

MRS BAR. Shall I shake hands? let her go shake her heels; She gets nor hands nor friendship at my hands: And so, sir, while I live, I will take heed, What guests I bid again unto my house.

MR BAR. Impatient woman, will you be so stiff In this absurdness?

MRS BAR. I am impatient now I speak;
But, sir, I’ll tell you more another time: Go to, I will not take it as I have done. [_Exit_.

MRS GOUR. Nay, she might stay; I will not long be here To trouble her. Well, Master Barnes,
I am sorry that it was our haps to-day, To have our pleasures parted with this fray: I am sorry too for all that is amiss,
Especially that you are mov’d in this; But be not so, ’tis but a woman’s jar:
Their tongues are weapons, words their blows of war; ‘Twas but a while we buffeted, you saw,
And each of us was willing to withdraw; There was no harm nor bloodshed, you did see: Tush, fear us not, for we shall well agree. I take my leave, sir. Come, kind-hearted man, That speaks his wife so fair–ay, now and then; I know you would not for an hundreth pound, That I should hear your voice’s churlish sound; I know you have a far more milder tune
Than “Peace, be quiet, wife;” but I have done. Will ye go home? the door directs the way; But, if you will not, my duty is to stay[225].

MR BAR. Ha, ha! why, here’s a right woman, is there not? They both have din’d, yet see what stomachs they have!

MR. GOUR. Well, Master Barnes, we cannot do withal[226]: Let us be friends still–

MR BAR. O Master Goursey, the mettle of our minds, Having the temper of true reason in them. Affords[227] a better edge of argument
For the maintain of our familiar loves Than the soft leaden wit of women can;
Wherefore with all the parts of neighbour-love I [do] impart[228] myself to Master Goursey.

MR GOUR. And with exchange of love I do receive it: Then here we’ll part, partners of two curs’d wives.

MR BAR. O, where shall we find a man so bless’d that is not? But come; your business and my home-affairs Makes me deliver that unfriendly word
‘Mongst friends–farewell.

MR GOUR. Twenty farewells, sir.

MR BAR. But hark ye, Master Goursey;
Look ye persuade at home, as I will do: What, man! we must not always have them foes.

MR GOUR. If I can help it.

MR BAR. God help, God help!
Women are even untoward creatures still.


_Enter_ PHILIP, FRANCIS, _and his_ BOY, _from bowling_.

PHIL. Come on, Frank Goursey: you have had good luck To win the game.

FRAN. Why, tell me, is’t not good,
That never play’d before upon your green?

PHIL. ‘Tis good, but that it cost me ten good crowns; That makes it worse.

FRAN. Let it not grieve thee, man; come o’er to us; We will devise some game to make you win Your money back again, sweet Philip.

PHIL. And that shall be ere long, and if I live: But tell me, Francis, what good horses have ye, To hunt this summer?

FRAN. Two or three jades, or so.

PHIL. Be they but jades?

FRAN. No, faith; my wag-string here
Did founder one the last time that he rid– The best grey nag that ever I laid my leg over.

BOY. You mean the flea-bitten.

FRAN. Good sir, the same.

BOY. And was the same the best that e’er you rid on?

FRAN. Ay, was it, sir.

BOY. I’faith, it was not, sir.

FRAN. No! where had I one so good?

BOY. One of my colour, and a better too.

FRAN. One of your colour? I ne’er remember him: One of that colour!

BOY. Or of that complexion.

FRAN. What’s that ye call complexion in a horse?

BOY. The colour, sir.

FRAN. Set me a colour on your jest, or I will–

BOY. Nay, good sir, hold your hands!

FRAN. What, shall we have it?

BOY. Why, sir, I cannot paint.

FRAN. Well, then, I can;
And I shall find a pencil for ye, sir.

BOY. Then I must find the table, if you do.

FRAN. A whoreson, barren, wicked urchin!

BOY. Look how you chafe! you would be angry more, If I should tell it you.

FRAN. Go to, I’ll anger ye, and if you do not.

BOY. Why, sir, the horse that I do mean Hath a leg both straight and clean,
That hath nor spaven, splint, nor flaw, But is the best that ever ye saw;
A pretty rising knee–O knee!
It is as round as round may be;
The full flank makes the buttock round: This palfrey standeth on no ground,
When as my master’s on her back,
If that he once do say but, tack:[229] And if he prick her, you shall see
Her gallop amain, she is so free;
And if he give her but a nod,
She thinks it is a riding-rod;
And if he’ll have her softly go,
Then she trips it like a doe;
She comes so easy with the rein,
A twine-thread turns her back again; And truly I did ne’er see yet
A horse play proudlier on the bit:
My master with good managing
Brought her first unto the ring;[230] He likewise taught her to corvet,
To run, and suddenly to set;
She’s cunning in the wild-goose race, Nay, she’s apt to every pace;
And to prove her colour good,
A flea, enamour’d of her blood,
Digg’d for channels in her neck,
And there made many a crimson speck: I think there’s none that use to ride
But can her pleasant trot abide;
She goes so even upon the way,
She will not stumble in a day;
And when my master–

FRAN. What do I?

BOY. Nay, nothing, sir.

PHIL. O, fie, Frank, fie!
Nay, nay, your reason hath no justice now, I must needs say; persuade him first to speak, Then chide him for it! Tell me, pretty wag, Where stands this prancer, in what inn or stable? Or hath thy master put her out to run,
Then in what field, what champion,[231] feeds this courser, This well-pac’d, bonny steed that thou so praisest?

BOY. Faith, sir, I think–

FRAN. Villain, what do ye think?

BOY. I think that you, sir, have been ask’d by many, But yet I never heard that ye told any.

PHIL. Well, boy, then I will add one more to many. And ask thy master where this jennet feeds. Come, Frank, tell me–nay, prythee, tell me, Frank, My good horse-master, tell me–by this light, I will not steal her from thee; if I do, Let me be held a felon to thy love.

FRAN. No, Philip, no.

PHIL. What, wilt thou wear a point[232] but with one tag? Well, Francis, well, I see you are a wag.

_Enter_ COOMES.

COOMES. ‘Swounds, where be these timber-turners, these trowl-the-bowls, these green-men, these–

FRAN. What, what, sir?

COOMES. These bowlers, sir.

FRAN. Well, sir, what say you to bowlers?

COOMES. Why, I say they cannot be saved.

FRAN. Your reason, sir?

COOMES. Because they throw away their souls at every mark.

FRAN. Their souls! how mean ye?

PHIL. Sirrah, he means the soul of the bowl.

FRAN. Lord, how his wit holds bias like a bowl!

COOMES. Well, which is the bias?

FRAN. This next to you.

COOMES. Nay, turn it this way, then the bowl goes true.

BOY. Rub, rub!

COOMES. Why rub?

BOY. Why, you overcast the mark, and miss the way.

COOMES. Nay, boy, I use to take the fairest of my play.

PHIL. Dick Coomes, methinks thou art[233] very pleasant: Where[234] got’st thou this merry humour?

COOMES. In your father’s cellar, the merriest place in th’ house.

PHIL. Then you have been carousing hard?

COOMES. Yes, faith, ’tis our custom, when your father’s men and we meet.

PHIL. Thou art very welcome thither, Dick.

COOMES. By God, I thank ye, sir, I thank ye, sir: by God, I have a quart of wine for ye, sir, in any place of the world. There shall not a servingman in Barkshire fight better for ye than I will do, if you have any quarrel in hand: you shall have the maidenhead of my new sword; I paid a quarter’s wages for’t, by Jesus.

PHIL. O, this meat-failer Dick!
How well’t has made the apparel of his wit, And brought it into fashion of an honour! Prythee, Dick Coomes, but tell me how thou dost?

COOMES. Faith, sir, like a poor man of service.

PHIL. Or servingman.

COOMES. Indeed, so called by the vulgar.

PHIL. Why, where the devil hadst thou that word?

COOMES. O, sir, you have the most eloquent ale in all the[235] world; our blunt soil affords none such.

FRAN. Philip, leave talking with this drunken fool. Say, sirrah, where’s my father?

COOMES. “Marry, I thank ye for my very good cheer,–O Lord, it is not so much worth.–You see I am bold with ye.–Indeed, you are not so bold as welcome; I pray ye, come oft’ner.–Truly, I shall trouble ye.” All these ceremonies are despatch’d between them, and they are gone.

FRAN. Are they so?

COOMES. Ay, before God, are they.

FRAN. And wherefore came not you to call me then?

COOMES. Because I was loth to change my game.

FRAN. What game?

COOMES. You were at one sort of bowls as I was at another.

PHIL. Sirrah, he means the butt’ry bowls of beer.

COOMES. By God, sir, we tickled it.

FRAN. Why, what a swearing keeps this drunken ass? Canst thou not say but swear at every word?

PHIL. Peace, do not mar his humour, prythee, Frank.

COOMES. Let him alone; he’s a springall; he knows not what belongs to an oath.

FRAN. Sirrah, be quiet, or I do protest–

COOMES. Come, come, what do you protest?

FRAN. By heaven, to crack your crown.

COOMES. To crack my crown! I lay ye a crown of that, lay it down, and ye dare; nay, ‘sblood, I’ll venture a quarter’s wages of that. Crack my crown, quotha!

FRAN. Will ye not yet be quiet? will ye urge me?

COOMES. Urge ye, with a pox! who urges ye? You might have said so much to a clown, or one that had not been o’er the sea to see fashions: I have, I tell ye true; and I know what belongs to a man. Crack my crown, and ye can.

FRAN. And I can, ye rascal!

PHIL. Hold, hair-brain, hold! dost thou not see he’s drunk?

COOMES. Nay, let him come: though he be my master’s son, I am my master’s man, and a man is a man in any ground of England. Come, and he dares, a comes upon his death: I will not budge an inch, no, ‘sblood, will I[236] not.

FRAN. Will ye not?

PHIL. Stay, prythee, Frank. Coomes, dost thou hear?

COOMES. Hear me no hears: stand away, I’ll trust none of you all. If I have my back against a cartwheel, I would not care if the devil came.

PHIL. Why, ye fool, I am your friend.

COOMES. Fool on your face! I have a wife.

FRAN. She’s a whore, then.

COOMES. She’s as honest as Nan Lawson.

PHIL. What’s she?

COOMES. One of his whores.

PHIL. Why, hath he so many?

COOMES. Ay, as many as there be churches in London.

PHIL. Why, that’s a hundred and nine.

BOY. Faith, he lies a hundred.

PHIL. Then thou art a witness to nine.

BOY. No, by God, I’ll be witness to none.

COOMES. Now do I stand like the George at Colebrook.

BOY. No, thou stand’st like the Bull at St Alban’s.

COOMES. Boy, ye lie–the Horns.[237]

BOY. The bull’s bitten; see, how he butts!

PHIL. Coomes, Coomes, put up;[238] my friend and thou art friends.

COOMES. I’ll hear him say so first.

PHIL. Frank, prythee, do; be friends, and tell him so.

FRAN. Go to, I am.

BOY. Put up, sir; and ye be a man, put up.

COOMES. I am easily persuaded, boy.

PHIL. Ah, ye mad slave!

COOMES. Come, come, a couple of whoremasters I found ye, and so I leave ye.

PHIL. Lo, Frank, dost thou not see he’s drunk, That twits thee[239] with thy disposition?

FRAN. What disposition?

PHIL. Nan Lawson, Nan Lawson.

FRAN. Nay, then–

PHIL. Go to, ye wag, ’tis well:
If ever ye get a wife, i’faith I’ll tell. Sirrah, at home we have a servingman;
He is[240] not humour’d bluntly as Coomes is, Yet his condition[241] makes me often merry: I’ll tell thee, sirrah, he’s a fine neat fellow, A spruce slave; I warrant ye, he will[242] have His cruel garters[243] cross about the knee, His woollen hose as white as th’driven snow, His shoes dry-leather neat, and tied with red ribbons, A nosegay bound with laces in his hat–
Bridelaces, sir–and his hat all green[244], Green coverlet for such a grass-green wit. “The goose that grazeth on the green,” quoth he, “May I eat on, when you shall buried be!” All proverbs is his speech, he’s proverbs all.

FRAN. Why speaks he proverbs?

PHIL. Because he would speak truth,
And proverbs, you’ll confess, are old-said sooth.

FRAN. I like this well, and one day I will see him: But shall we part?

PHIL. Not yet, I’ll bring ye somewhat on your way, And as we go, between your boy and you
I’ll know where that brave prancer stands at livery.

FRAN. Come, come, you shall not.

PHIL. I’faith, I will.


_Enter_ MASTER BARNES _and his Wife_.

MR BAR. Wife, in my mind to-day you were to blame, Although my patience did not blame ye for it: Methought the rules of love and neighbourhood Did not direct your thoughts; all indiscreet[245] Were your proceedings in the entertain
Of them that I invited to my house. Nay, stay, I do not chide, but counsel, wife, And in the mildest manner that I may:
You need not view me with a servant’s eye, Whose vassal[246] senses tremble at the look Of his displeased master. O my wife,
You are myself! when self sees fault in self, Self is sin-obstinate, if self amend not: Indeed, I saw a fault in thee myself,
And it hath set a foil upon thy fame, Not as the foil doth grace the diamond.

MRS BAR. What fault, sir, did you see in me to-day?

MR BAR. O, do not set the organ of thy voice On such a grunting key of discontent!
Do not deform the beauty of thy tongue With such misshapen answers. Rough wrathful words Are bastards got by rashness in the thoughts: Fair demeanours are virtue’s nuptial babes, The offspring of the well-instructed soul; O, let them call thee mother, then, my wife! So seem not barren of good courtesy.

MRS BAR. So; have ye done?

MR BAR. Ay, and I had done well,
If you would do what I advise for well.

MRS BAR. What’s that?

MR BAR. Which is, that you would be good friends With Mistress Goursey.

MRS BAR. With Mistress Goursey!

MR BAR. Ay, sweet wife.

MRS BAR. Not so, sweet husband.

MR BAR. Could you but show me any grounded cause.

MRS BAR. The grounded cause I ground, because I will not.

MR BAR. Your will hath little reason, then, I think.

MRS BAR. Yes, sir, my reason equalleth my will.

MR BAR. Let’s hear your reason, for your will is great.

MRS BAR. Why, for I will not.

MR BAR. Is all your reason “for I will not,” wife? Now, by my soul, I held ye for more wise, Discreet, and of more temp’rature in sense, Than in a sullen humour to affect
That woman’s[247] will–borne, common, scholar phrase: Oft have I heard a timely-married girl,
That newly left to call her mother mam, Her father dad: but yesterday come from
“That’s my good girl, God send thee a good husband!” And now being taught to speak the name of husband, Will, when she would be wanton in her will, If her husband ask’d her why, say “for I will.” Have I chid men for[248] [an] unmanly choice, That would not fit their years? have I seen thee Pupil such green young things, and with thy counsel Tutor their wits? and art thou now infected With this disease of imperfection?
I blush for thee, ashamed at thy shame.

MRS BAR. A shame on her that makes thee rate me so!

MR BAR. O black-mouth’d rage, thy breath is boisterous, And thou mak’st virtue shake at this high storm! She is[249] of good report; I know thou know’st it.

MRS BAR. She is not, nor I know not, but I know That thou dost love her, therefore think’st her so; Thou bear’st with her, because she bears with thee. Thou may’st be ashamed to stand in her defence: She is a strumpet, and thou art no honest man To stand in her defence against thy wife. If I catch her in my walk, now, by Cock’s[250] bones, I’ll scratch out both her eyes.

MR BAR. O God!

MRS BAR. Nay, never say “O God” for the matter: Thou art the cause; thou bad’st her to my house, Only to blear the eyes of Goursey, did’st not? But I will send him word, I warrant thee, And ere I sleep too, trust upon it, sir. [_Exit_.

MR BAR. Methinks this is a mighty fault in her; I could be angry with her: O, if I be so, I shall but put a link unto a torch,
And so give greater light to see her fault. I’ll rather smother it in melancholy:
Nay, wisdom bids me shun that passion; Then I will study for a remedy.
I have a daughter,–now, heaven invocate, She be not of like spirit as her mother! If so, she’ll be a plague unto her husband, If that he be not patient and discreet,
For that I hold the ease of all such trouble. Well, well, I would my daughter had a husband, For I would see how she would demean herself In that estate; it may be, ill enough,– And, so God shall help me, well-remembered now! Frank Goursey is his father’s son and heir: A youth that in my heart I have good hope on; My senses say a match, my soul applauds
The motion: O, but his lands are great, He will look high; why, I will strain myself To make her dowry equal with his land.
Good faith, and ’twere a match, ‘twould be a means To make their mothers friends. I’ll call my daughter, To see how she’s dispos’d to marriage.– Mall, where are ye?

_Enter_ MALL.

MALL. Father, here I am.

MR BAR. Where is your mother?

MALL. I saw her not, forsooth, since you and she Went walking both together to the garden.

MR BAR. Dost thou hear me, girl? I must dispute with thee.

MALL. Father, the question then must not be hard, For I am very weak in argument.

MR BAR. Well, this it is; I say ’tis good to marry.

MALL. And this say I, ’tis not good to marry.

MR BAR. Were it not good, then all men would not marry; But now they do.

MALL. Marry, not all; but it is good to marry.

MR BAR. Is it both good and bad; how can this be?

MALL. Why, it is good to them that marry well; To them that marry ill, no greater hell.

MR BAR. If thou might marry well, wouldst thou agree?

MALL. I cannot tell; heaven must appoint for me.

MR BAR. Wench, I am studying for thy good indeed.

MALL. My hopes and duty wish your thoughts good speed.

MR BAR. But tell me, wench, hast thou a mind to marry?

MALL. This question is too hard for bashfulness; And, father, now ye pose my modesty.
I am a maid, and when ye ask me thus, I, like a maid, must blush, look pale and wan, And then look red[251] again; for we change colour, As our thoughts change. With true-fac’d passion Of modest maidenhead I could adorn me,
And to your question make a sober cour’sey, And with close-clipp’d civility be silent; Or else say “No, forsooth,” or “Ay, forsooth.” If I said, “No, forsooth,” I lied forsooth: To lie upon myself were deadly sin,
Therefore I will speak truth and shame the devil. Father, when first I heard ye name a husband, At that same very time my spirits quickened. Despair before had kill’d them, they were dead: Because it was my hap so long to tarry,
I was persuaded I should never marry; And sitting sewing thus upon the ground, I fell in trance of meditation;
But coming to myself, “O Lord,” said I, “Shall it be so I must I unmarried die?” And, being angry, father, farther, said– “Now, by Saint Anne, I will not die a maid!” Good faith, before I came to this ripe growth, I did accuse the labouring time of sloth; Methought the year did run but slow about, For I thought each year ten I was without. Being fourteen and toward the tother year, Good Lord, thought I, fifteen will ne’er be here! For I have heard my mother say that then Pretty maids were fit for handsome men:
Fifteen past, sixteen, and seventeen too, What, thought I, will not this husband do? Will no man marry me? have men forsworn
Such beauty and such youth? shall youth be worn As rich men’s gowns, more with age than use? Why, then I let restrained fancy loose,
And bad it gaze for pleasure; then love swore me To do whate’er my mother did before me;
Yet, in good faith, I have been very loth, But now it lies in you to save my oath:
If I shall have a husband, get him quickly, For maids that wear cork shoes may step awry.

MR BAR. Believe me, wench, I do not reprehend[252] thee, But for this pleasant answer do commend thee. I must confess, love doth thee mighty wrong, But I will see thee have thy right ere long; I know a young man, whom I hold most fit To have thee both for living and for wit: I will go write about it presently.

MALL. Good father, do. [_Exit_ [BARNES]. O God, methinks I should
Wife it as fine as any woman could! I could carry a port to be obeyed,
Carry a mastering eye upon my maid, With “Minion, do your business, or I’ll make ye,” And to all house authority betake me.
O God! would I were married! by my troth, But if I be not, I swear I’ll keep my oath.


MRS BAR. How now, minion, where have you been gadding?

MALL. Forsooth, my father called me forth to him.

MRS BAR. Your father! and what said he to ye, I pray?

MALL. Nothing, forsooth.

MRS BAR. Nothing! that cannot be; something he said.

MALL. Ay, something that as good as nothing was.

MRS BAR. Come, let me hear that something-nothing, then.

MALL. Nothing but of a husband for me, mother.

MRS BAR. A husband! that was something; but what husband?

MALL. Nay, faith, I know not, mother: would I did!

MRS BAR. Ay, “would ye did!” i’faith, are ye so hasty?

MALL. Hasty, mother! why, how old am I?

MRS BAR. Too young to marry.

MALL. Nay, by the mass, ye lie.
Mother, how old were you when you did marry?

MRS BAR. How old soe’er I was, yet you shall tarry.

MALL. Then the worse for me. Hark, mother, hark! The priest forgets that e’er he was a clerk: When you were at my years, I’ll hold my life, Your mind was to change maidenhead for wife. Pardon me, mother, I am of your mind,
And, by my troth, I take it but by kind.[253]

MRS BAR. Do ye hear, daughter? you shall stay my leisure.

MALL. Do you hear, mother? would you stay from pleasure, When ye have mind to it? Go to, there’s no wrong Like this, to let maids lie alone so long: Lying alone they muse but in their beds, How they might lose their long-kept maidenheads. This is the cause there is so many scapes, For women that are wise will not lead apes In hell: I tell ye, mother, I say true;
Therefore come husband: maidenhead adieu! [_Exit_.

MRS BAR. Well, lusty guts, I mean to make ye stay, And set some rubs in your mind’s smoothest way[254].

_Enter_ PHILIP.

PHIL. Mother–

MRS BAR. How now, sirrah; where have you been walking?

PHIL. Over the meads, half-way to Milton, mother, To bear my friend, Frank Goursey, company.

MRS BAR. Where’s your blue coat[255], your sword and buckler, sir? Get you such like habit for a serving-man, If you will wait upon the brat of Goursey.

PHIL. Mother, that you are mov’d, this makes me wonder; When I departed, I did leave ye friends: What undigested jar hath since betided?

MRS BAR. Such as almost doth choke thy mother, boy, And stifles her with the conceit of it;
I am abus’d, my son, by Goursey’s wife.

PHIL. By Mistress Goursey.

MRS BAR. Mistress Flirt–yea[256], foul strumpet, Light-a-love, short-heels! Mistress Goursey Call her again, and thou wert better no.

PHIL. O my dear mother, have some patience!

MRS BAR. Ay, sir, have patience, and see your father To rifle up the treasure of my love,
And play the spendthrift upon such an harlot! This same will make me have patience, will it not?

PHIL. This same is women’s most impatience: Yet, mother, I have often heard ye say,
That you have found my father temperate, And ever free from such affections.

MRS BAR. Ay, till[257] my too much love did glut his thoughts, And make him seek for change.

PHIL. O, change your mind!
My father bears more cordial love to you.

MRS BAR. Thou liest, thou liest, for he loves Goursey’s wife, Not me.

PHIL. Now I swear, mother, you are much to blame; I durst be sworn he loves you as his soul.

MRS BAR. Wilt thou be pampered by affection? Will nature teach thee such vild[258] perjury? Wilt thou be sworn, ay, forsworn,[259] careless boy? And if thou swear’t, I say he loves me not.

PHIL. [Mother] he loves[260] ye but too well, I swear, Unless ye knew much better how to use him.

MRS BAR. Doth he so, sir? thou unnatural boy! “Too well,” sayest thou? that word shall cost thee[261] somewhat: O monstrous! have I brought thee up to this? “Too well!” O unkind, wicked, and degenerate, Hast thou the heart to say so of thy mother? Well, God will plague thee for’t, I warrant thee: Out on thee, villain! fie upon thee, wretch! Out of my sight, out of my sight, I say!

PHIL. This air is pleasant, and doth please me well, And here I will stay.

MRS BAR. Wilt thou, stubborn villain?

_Enter_ MR BARNES.

MR BAR. How now, what’s the matter?

MRS BAR. Thou sett’st thy son to scoff and mock at me: Is’t not sufficient I am wrong’d of thee, But he must be an agent to abuse me?
Must I be subject to my cradle too? O God, O God, amend it!

MR BAR. Why, how now, Philip? is this true, my son?

PHIL. Dear father, she is much impatient: Ne’er let that hand assist me in my need, If I more said than that she thought amiss To think that you were so licentious given; And thus much more, when she inferr’d it more, I swore an oath you lov’d her but too well: In that as guilty I do hold myself.
Now that I come to more considerate trial, I know my fault: I should have borne with her: Blame me for rashness, then, not for want of duty.

MR BAR. I do absolve thee; and come hither, Philip: I have writ a letter unto Master Goursey, And I will tell thee the contents thereof; But tell me first, think’st thou Frank Goursey loves thee?

PHIL. If that a man devoted to a man, Loyal, religious in love’s hallowed vows– If that a man that is sole laboursome
To work his own thoughts to his friend’s delight, May purchase good opinion with his friend, Then I may say, I have done this so well, That I may think Frank Goursey loves me well.

MR BAR. ‘Tis well; and I am much deceived in him, And if he be not sober, wise, and valiant.

PHIL. I hope my father takes me for thus wise, I will not glue myself in love to one
That hath not some desert of virtue in him: Whate’er you think of him, believe me, father, He will be answerable to your thoughts
In any quality commendable.

MR BAR. Thou cheer’st my hopes in him; and, in good faith, Thou’st[262] made my love complete unto thy friend: Philip, I love him, and I love him so,
I could afford him a good wife, I know.

PHIL. Father, a wife!

MR BAR. Philip, a wife.

PHIL. I lay my life–my sister!

MR BAR. Ay, in good faith.

PHIL. Then, father, he shall have her; he shall, I swear.

MR BAR. How canst thou say so, knowing not his mind?

PHIL. All’s one for that; I will go to him straight. Father, if you would seek this seven-years’-day, You could not find a fitter match for her; And he shall have her, I swear he shall; He were as good be hanged, as once deny[263] her. I’faith, I’ll to him.

MR BAR. Hairbrain, hairbrain, stay!
As yet we do not know his father’s mind: Why, what will Master Goursey say, my son, If we should motion it without his knowledge? Go to, he’s a wise and discreet gentleman, And that expects from me all honest parts; Nor shall he fail his expectation;
First I do mean to make him privy to it: Philip, this letter is to that effect.

PHIL. Father, for God’s[264] sake, send it quickly, then: I’ll call your man. What, Hugh! where’s Hugh, there, ho?

MR BAR. Philip, if this would prove a match, It were the only means that could be found To make thy mother friends with Mistress Goursey.

PHIL. How, a match! I’ll warrant ye, a match. My sister’s fair, Frank Goursey he is rich; Her[265] dowry, too, will be sufficient; Frank’s young,[266] and youth is apt to love; And, by my troth, my sister’s maidenhead Stands like a game at tennis: if the ball Hit into the hole, or hazard, farewell all:

MR BAR. How now, where’s Hugh?

[_Enter_ NICHOLAS.]

PHIL. Why, what doth this proverbial with us? Why, where’s Hugh?

MR BAR. Peace, peace.

PHIL. Where’s Hugh, I say?

MR BAR. Be not so hasty, Philip.

PHIL. Father, let me alone,
I do it but to make myself some sport. This formal fool, your man, speaks nought but proverbs, And speak men what they can to him, he’ll answer With some rhyme-rotten sentence or old saying, Such spokes as th’ancient of the parish use, With, “Neighbour, ’tis an old proverb and a true, Goose giblets are good meat, old sack better than new;” Then says another, “Neighbour, that is true;” And when each man hath drunk his gallon round– A penny pot, for that’s the old man’s gallon– Then doth he lick his lips, and stroke his beard, That’s glued together with his slavering drops Of yeasty ale, and when he scarce can trim His gouty fingers, thus he’ll phillip it, And with a rotten hem, say, “Ay, my hearts, Merry go sorry! cock and pie, my hearts”! But then their saving penny proverb comes, And that is this, “They that will to the wine, By’r Lady[267] mistress, shall lay their penny to mine.” This was one of this penny-father’s[268] bastards, For, on my life, he was never[269] begot Without the consent of some great proverb-monger.

MR BAR. O, ye are a wag.

PHIL. Well, now unto my business.
‘Swounds, will that mouth, that’s made of old-said saws And nothing else, say nothing to us now?

NICH. O Master Philip, forbear; you must not leap over the stile, before you come at it; haste makes waste; soft fire makes sweet malt; not too fast for falling; there’s no haste to hang true men.[270]

PHIL. Father, we ha’t, ye see, we ha’t. Now will I see if my memory will serve for some proverbs too. O–a painted cloth were as well worth a shilling as a thief worth a halter; well, after my hearty commendations, as I was at the making hereof; so it is, that I hope as you speed, so you’re sure; a swift horse will tire, but he that trots easily will endure. You have most learnedly proverb’d it, commending the virtue of patience or forbearance, but yet, you know, forbearance is no quittance.

NICH. I promise ye, Master Philip, you have spoken as true as steel.

PHIL. Father, there’s a proverb well applied.

NICH. And it seemeth unto me, ay, it seems to me, that you, Master Philip, mock me: do you not know, _qui mocat mocabitur_? mock age, and see how it will prosper.

PHIL. Why, ye whoreson proverb-book bound up in folio, Have ye no other sense to answer me
But every word a proverb? no other English? Well, I’ll fulfil a proverb on thee straight.

NICH. What is it, sir?

PHIL. I’ll fetch my fist from thine ear.

NICH. Bear witness, he threatens me!

PHIL. That same is the coward’s common proverb. But come, come, sirrah, tell me where Hugh is.

NICH. I may, and I will; I need not, except I list; you shall not command me, you give me neither meat, drink, nor wages; I am your father’s man, and a man’s a man, and a have but a hose on his head; do not misuse me so, do not; for though he that is bound must obey, yet he that will not tarry, may[271] run away–so he may.

MR BAR. Peace, Nick, I’ll see he shall use thee well; Go to, peace, sirrah: here, Nick, take this letter, Carry it to him to whom it is directed.

NICH. To whom is it?

MR BAR. Why, read it: canst thou read?

NICH. Forsooth, though none of the best, yet meanly.

MR BAR. Why, dost thou not use it?

NICH. Forsooth, as use makes perfectness, so seldom seen is soon forgotten.

MR BAR. Well-said: but go; it is to Master Goursey.

PHIL. Now, sir, what proverb have ye to deliver a letter?

NICH. What need you to care? who speaks to you? you may speak when ye are spoken to, and keep your wind to cool your pottage. Well, well, you are my master’s son, and you look for his land; but they that hope for dead men’s shoes may hap go barefoot: take heed, as soon goes the young sheep to the pot as the old. I pray God save my master’s life, for seldom comes the better!

PHIL. O, he hath given it me! Farewell, Proverbs.

NICH. Farewell, frost.[272]

PHIL. Shall I fling an old shoe after ye?

NICH. No; you should say, God send fair weather after me!

PHIL. I mean for good luck.

NICH. A good luck on ye!

MR BAR. Alas, poor fool! he uses all his wit. Philip, in faith[273] this mirth hath cheered thought, And cosen’d it of his right play of passion. Go after Nick, and, when thou think’st he’s there, Go in and urge to that which I have writ: I’ll in these meadows make a circling walk, And in my meditation conjure so,
As that same[274] fiend of thought, self-eating anger, Shall by my spells of reason[275] vanish quite: Away, and let me hear from thee to-night.

PHIL. To-night! yes, that you shall: but hark ye, father; Look that you my sister waking keep,
For Frank, I swear, shall kiss her, ere I sleep.


_Enter_ FRANK _and_ BOY.

FRAN. I am very dry with walking o’er the green.– Butler, some beer! Sirrah, call the butler.

BOY. Nay, faith, sir, we must have some smith to give the butler a drench, or cut him in the forehead, for he hath got a horse’s disease, namely the staggers; to-night he’s a good huswife, he reels all that he wrought to-day; and he were good now to play at dice, for he casts[276] excellent well.

FRAN. How mean’st thou? is he drunk?

BOY. I cannot tell; but I am sure he hath more liquor in him than a whole dicker of hides; he’s soak’d throughly, i’faith.

FRAN. Well, go and call him; bid him bring me drink.

BOY. I will, sir.

FRAN. My mother pouts, and will look merrily Neither upon my father nor on me:
He says she fell out with Mistress Barnes to-day; Then I am sure they’ll not be quickly friends. Good Lord, what kind of creatures women are! Their love is lightly[277] won and lightly lost; And then their hate is deadly and extreme: He that doth take a wife betakes himself