A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Vol. VIII (4th edition)

Part 6 out of 10

Through the lewd shaveling will her shame be wrought.
If it so chance, Matilda's guiltless wrong
Will with the loss of many a life be bought.
But Hubert will be still his dread lord's friend,
However he deserves, his master serve;
Though he neglect, him will I not neglect:
Whoever fails him, I will John affect;
For though kings fault[345] in many a foul offence,
Subjects must sue, not mend with violence.



OX. Now, by my faith, you are to blame, madam,
Ever tormenting, ever vexing you:
Cease of these fretting humours: pray ye, do.
Grief will not mend it; nought can pleasure you
But patient suffering; nor, by your grace's leave,
Have you such cause to make such hue and cry
After a husband; you have not in good sooth.
Yearly a child! this payment is not bad.
Content, fair queen, and do not think it strange,
That kings do sometimes seek delight in change:
For now and then, I tell you, poor men range.
Sit down a little, I will make you smile.
Though I be now like to the snowy Alps,
I was as hot as Aetna in my youth;
All fire, i' faith, true heart of oak, right steel--
A ruffian, lady. Often for my sport
I to a lodge of mine did make resort,
To view my dear, I said; dear God can tell,
It was my keeper's wife whom I lov'd well.
My countess (God be with her) was a shrow,
As women be, your majesty doth know;
And some odd pick-thank put it in her head,
All was not well: but such a life I led,
And the poor keeper and his smooth-fac'd wife,
That, will I, nill I, there she might not bide.
But for the people I did well provide;
And by God's mother, for my lady's spite,
I trick'd her in her kind, I serv'd her right.
Were she at London, I the country kept;
Come thither, I at London would sojourn;
Came she to court, from court I straightway stepp'd;
Return, I to the court would back return.
So this way, that way, every way she went,
I still was retrograde, sail'd[346] opposite:
Till at the last, by mildness and submission,
We met, kiss'd, joined, and here left all suspicion.

QUEEN. Now out upon you, Vere: I would have thought
The world had not contain'd a chaster man.

OX. Now, by my fay, I will be sworn I am.
In all I tell you I confess no ill,
But that I curb'd a froward woman's will:
Yet had my keeper's wife been of my mind,
There had been cause some fault with us to find;
But I protest her noes and nays were such,
That for my life she ever kept go much.[347]

QUEEN. You would take nay, but our King John says no;
No nay, no answer will suffice his turn:
He, for he cannot tempt true chastity,
Fills all the land with hostile cruelty.
Is it not shame, he that should punish sin,
Defend the righteous, help the innocent,
Carves with his sword the purpose of his will
Upon the guarders of the virtuous,
And hunts admired, spotless maidenhead
With all the darts of desolation,
Because she scorneth to be dissolute?
Me that he leaves, I do not murmur at;
That he loves her, doth no whit me perplex,
If she did love him, or myself did hate:
But this alone is it that doth me vex:
He leaves me that loves him, and her pursues,
That loathes him and loves me. How can I choose
But sadly grieve, and mourn in my green youth,
When nor of her nor me he taketh ruth?

OX. Ha' done, good queen: for God's good love, ha' done:
This raging humour will no doubt be stay'd.
Virtuous Matilda is profess'd a nun;
Within a mile (at Dunmow) lives the maid.
God will not suffer anything so vile;
He will not, sure, that he should her defile.

QUEEN. No church nor chapel, abbey, nunnery,
Are privileg'd from his intemperance.
But leave we him, and let us, I entreat,
Go visit fair Matilda: much I am
In debt unto the maid.

OX. You are indeed;
You wrong'd her, when with blows you made her bleed.
But if you please to visit her, fair dame,
Our coach is ready: we will soon be there.

QUEEN. Thanks, Oxford; and with us I mean to bear
The beauteous garland sent me out of Spain,
Which I will offer in the abbey chapel,
As witness of Matilda's chastity;
Whom, while I live, I ever vow to love,
In recompense of rash and causeless wrong.


_Enter_ BRAND _solus; with cup, bottle of poison_.

BRAND. Good, by this hand! exceeding, passing good!
The dog no sooner drank it, but yugh! yugh! quoth he:
So grins me with his teeth, lies down and dies:
Yugh! quoth I: by God's blood, go thy ways.
Of all thy line and generation,
Was never dog so worshipp'd as thou art,
For, ere thou died'st, thou wert an officer,
I lie not, by these[348] nails: a squire's place;
For the vile cur became a countess's taster:
So died the dog. Now in our next account
The countess comes; let's see, a countess and a nun:
Why so, why so!
What, would she have the whole world quite undone?
We'll mete[349] her for that trick. What, not a king?
Hanging's too good for her. I am but a plain knave.
And yet should any of these "no forsooths,"
These pray-aways, these trip-and-goes, these tits,
Deny me, now by these--
A plague upon this bottle and this cup,
I cannot act mine oath! but to't again--
By these ten ends of flesh and blood[350] I swear,
First with this hand, wound thus about her hair,

And with this dagger lustily lambeak'd[351]--
I would, i' faith, ay, by my villainy,
I would.--But here, but here she comes,
Led by two doctors in sweet lechery.
If they speed, with my poison I go by;
If not, have at you, maid: then step in I.

_Enter_ MATILDA, _between the_ MONK _and the_ ABBESS.[352]

MONK. And as I said, fair maid, you have done well,
In your distress, to seek this holy place.
But tell me truly, how do you expel
The rage of lust-arising heat in you?

MAT. By prayer, by fasting, by considering
The shame of ill, and meed of doing well.

ABB. But daughter, daughter, tell me in my ear,
Have you no fleshly fightings now and then? [_Whisper_.

BRAND. Fleshly, quoth you, a maid of three-score years?
And fleshly fightings sticking in her teeth?
Well, wench, thou'rt match'd, i' faith. [_Aside_.]

ABB. You do confess the king has tempted you,
And thinking now and then on gifts and state,
A glowing heat hath proudly puff'd you up:
But, thanks to God, his grace hath done you good.

MONK. Who? the king's grace?

MAT. No; God's grace, holy monk.

MONK. The king's grace would fain do you good, fair maid.

MAT. Ill-good: he means my fame to violate.

ABB. Well, let that be.

BRAND. Good bawd, good mother B.[353]
How fain you would that that good deed should be! [_Aside_.]

ABB. I was about to say somewhat upon a thing:
O, thus it is.
We maids that all the day are occupied
In labour and chaste, hallow'd exercise,
Are nothing so much tempted, while day lasts,
As we are tried and proved in the night.
Tell me, Matilda, had you, since you came,
No dreams, no visions, nothing worth the note?

MAT. No, I thank God.

ABB. Truly you will, you will,
Except you take good heed, and bless yourself;
For if I lie but on my back awhile
I am, past recovery, sure of a bad dream.
You see yon reverend monk: now, God he knows,
I love him dearer for his holiness,
And I believe the devil knows it too;
For the foul fiend comes to me many a night,
As like the monk, as if he were the man--
Many a hundred nights the nuns have seen,
Pray, cry, make crosses, do they what they can--
Once gotten in, then do I fall to work,
My holy-water bucket being near-hand,
I whisper secret spells, and conjure him,
That the foul fiend hath no more power to stand:
He down, as I can quickly get him laid,
I bless myself, and like a holy maid,
Turn on my right side, where I sleep all night
Without more dreams or troubling of the sprite.

BRAND. An abbess? By the cross of my good blade,[354]
An excellent mother to bring up a maid!
For me, I mean, and my good master John;
But never any for an honest man. [_Coughs_.
Now, fie upon that word of honesty,
Passing my throat't had almost choked me:
'Sblood, I'll forswear it for this trick. [_Aside_.]

MONK. We trifle time. Fair maid, it's thus in brief:
This abbey by your means may have relief;
An hundred marks a year. Answer, I pray,
What will you do herein?

MAT. Even all I may.

ABB. It's charitably spoken, my fair child:
A little thing of yours, a little help,
Will serve the turn: learn but to bear--to bear
The burden of this world, and it will do.

BRAND. Well, go thy ways: is this no bawd, think you? [_Aside_.]

MAT. Madam, the heavy burden of the world
Hath long oppress'd me.

ABB. But not press'd you right;
Now shall you bear a burden far more light.

MAT. What burden-bearing? whereto tends this talk?

MONK. To you, to us, this abbey, and King John.

MAT. O God, forfend he should be thought upon!

MONK. Lady, make short: the king must lie with you.

MAT. With me? with me?
[_First turns to the_ MONK, _then to the_ ABBESS.

ABB. Sweet, never look so strange:
He shall come closely,[355] nobody shall see.

MAT. How can he come, but One hath eyes to see?

MONK. Your chamber-windows shall be shadowed.

MAT. But no veil from my conscience shadows me.

ABB. And all the nuns sent quietly to bed.

MAT. But they will rise, and by my blushing red
Quickly give guess of my lost maidenhead.

BRAND. She goes, i' faith: by God, she is their own! [_Aside_.

MONK. Be not so nice, the sin is venial,
Considering you yield for charity;
And by your fall the nunnery shall rise.

ABB. Regard good counsel, daughter: pray, be wise.

MONK. Come, here's a stir! will't do, wench? will it do?

ABB. Say ay, say ay; forget the sound of no:
Or else say no, and take it:[356] wilt thou so?

MAT. Do you intend thus lewdly as you speak?

BRAND.[357] Ay, by Gog's blood, do they; and, moppet, you were best
To take their proffers, lest, if they forsake you,
I play the devil's part--step in, and take you.

MAT. Some holy water! help me, blessed nuns!
Two damned spirits, in religious weeds,
Attempt to tempt my spotless chastity;
And a third devil, gaping for my soul,
With horrid starings ghastly frighteth me.

ABB. You may
Call while you will; but, maid, list what we say,
Or be assur'd this is your dying day.

MAT. In his name that did suffer for my sin,
And by this blessed sign, I conjure you.
[_Draws a crucifix_.
Depart, foul fiends, and cease to trouble me.

BRAND. 'Zounds, she thinks us devils! Hear you, conjuror,
Except you use that trick to conjure down
The standing spirit of my lord the king,
That your good mother there, the Abbess, uses
To conjure down the spirit of the monk,
Not all your crosses have the power to bless
Your body from a sharp and speedy death.

MAT. Are ye not fiends, but mortal bodies, then?
[_Feels them all_.

BRAND. Maid, maid, catch lower when you feel young men.
'Sblood, I was never taken for the devil till now.

MAT. O, where shall chastity have true defence,
When churchmen lay this siege to innocence?
Where shall a maid have certain sanctuary,
When Lady Lust rules all the nunnery?
Now fie upon ye both, false seeming saints,
Incarnate devils, devilish hypocrites!
A cowled monk, an aged veiled nun,
Become false panders, and with lustful speech
Essay the chaste ears of true maidenhead!
Now fie upon this age! Would I were dead!

MONK. Come, leave her, lady: she shall have her wish.

ABB. Speed her, I pray thee: should the baggage live,
She'll slander all the chaste nuns in the land.

[_Exeunt_ MONK, ABBESS.

BRAND. Well, well, go; get you two unto your conjuring:
Let me alone to lay her on God's ground.

MAT. Why dost thou stay?

BRAND. Why, maid, because I must:
I have a message to you from the king.

MAT. And thou art welcome to his humble maid.
I thought thee to be grim and fierce at first,
But now thou hast a sweet aspect, mild looks.
Art thou not come to kill me from the king?


MAT. And thou art welcome; even the welcom'st man
That ever came unto a woful maid.
Be brief, good fellow: I have in the world
No goods to give, no will at all to make;
But God's will and the king's on me be done!
A little money, kept to give in alms,
I have about me: deathsman, take it all;
Thou art the last poor almsman I shall see.
Come, come, despatch! What weapon will death wear,
When he assails me? Is it knife or sword,
A strangling cord, or sudden flaming fire?

BRAND. Neither, thou manly maid. Look here, look here:
A cup of poison. Wherefore dost thou smile?

MAT. O God! in this the king is merciful:
My dear-lov'd Huntington by poison died.
Good fellow, tell the king I thank his grace,
And do forgive his causeless cruelty.
I do forgive thee too, but do advise
Thou leave this bloody course, and seek to save
Thy soul immortal, closed in thy breast:
[_He gives it her_.
Be brief, I pray you. Now, to King John's health
A full carouse:[358] and, God, remember not
The curse he gave himself at Robin's death,
Wishing by poison he might end his life,
If ever he solicited my love.
Farewell, good fellow. Now thy medicine works.
And with the labour I am forc'd to rest.

BRAND. 'Zounds! she cares not: she makes death a jest.

MAT. The guiltless fear not death. Farewell, good friend;
I pray thee, be no trouble in my end.
[_He stands staring and quaking_.

_Enter_ OXFORD, QUEEN, ABBESS, _Attendants_.

OX. And say you, Lady Abbess, that there came
One from the king unto her? what was he?

ABB. Yonder he stands: I know not what he is.
[_Still he stands staring_.

QUEEN. Jesus have mercy! Oxford, come not nigh him.

OX. Not nigh him, madam? yes: keep you away.

ABB. Come in, good queen; I do not mean to stay.
[_Exit_ ABBESS.

QUEEN. Nor I to stir before I see the end.[359]

OX. Why star'st thou thus? speak, fellow: answer me.
Who art thou?

BRAND. A bloody villain and a murderer!
A hundred have I slain with mine own hands.
'Twas I that starv'd the Lady Bruce to death
And her young son at Windsor Castle late:
'Tis I have slain Matilda, blessed maid,
And now will hurry to damnation's mouth,
Forc'd by the gnawing worm of conscience. [_Runs in_.

OX. Hold him, for God's sake! stay the desperate wretch.

MAT. O, some good pitying man compassionate
That wretched man, so woful desperate:
Save him, for God's sake! he hath set me free
From much world's woe, much wrong, much misery.

QUEEN. I hear thy tongue, true perfect charity!
Chaste maid, fair maid, look up and speak to me.

MAT. Who's here? My gracious sovereign Isabel!
I will take strength and kneel.

QUEEN. Matilda, sit;
I'll kneel to thee. Forgive me, gentle girl,
My most ungentle wrongs.

MAT. Fair, beauteous queen,
I give God thanks I do not think on wrongs.

OX. How now, Fitzwater's child! How dost thou, girl?

MAT. Well, my good Lord of Oxford; pretty well:
A little travail[360] more, and I shall rest,
For I am almost at my journey's end.
O that my head were rais'd a little up,
My drowsy head, whose dim decaying lights
Assure me it is almost time to sleep.
[_Raise her head_.
I thank your highness; I have now some ease.
Be witness, I beseech your majesty,
That I forgive the king with all my heart;
With all the little of my living heart,
That gives me leave to say I can forgive;
And I beseech high heaven he long may live
A happy king, a king belov'd and fear'd.
Oxford, for God's sake, to my father write
The latest commendations of his child;
And say Matilda kept his honour's charge,
Dying a spotless maiden undefil'd.
Bid him be glad, for I am gone to joy,
I, that did turn his weal to bitter woe.
The king and he will quickly now grow friends,
And by their friendship much content will grow.
Sink, earth to earth; fade, flower ordain'd to fade,
But pass forth, soul, unto the shrine of peace;
Beg there atonement may be quickly made.
Fair queen, kind Oxford, all good you attend.
Fly forth, lay soul, heaven's King be there thy friend.

OX. O pity-moving sight![361] age pitiless!
Are these the messages King John doth send?
Keep in, my tears, for shame! your conduits keep,
Sad woe-beholding eyes: no, will ye not?
Why, then, a God's name, weep. [_Sit_.

QUEEN. I cannot weep for ruth.[362] Here, here! take in
The blessed body of this noble maid:
In milk-white clothing let the same be laid
Upon an open bier, that all may see
King John's untimely lust and cruelty.

[_Exeunt with the body_.

OX. Ay, be it so; yourself, if so you please,
Will I attend upon, and both us wait
On chaste Matilda's body, which with speed
To Windsor Castle we will hence convey.
There is another spectacle of ruth,
Old Bruce's famish'd lady and her son.

QUEEN. There is the king besieging of young Bruce:
His lords are there who, when they see this sight,
I know will have small heart for John to fight.

OX. But where's the murderer, ha? is not he stay'd?

SER.[363] Borne with a violent rage he climb'd a tree,
And none of us could hinder his intent;
But getting to the top-boughs, fast he tied
His garters to his neck and a weak branch;
Which being unable to sustain his weight,
Down to the ground he fell, where bones and flesh
Lie pash'd[364] together in a pool of blood.

OX. Alas for woe! but this is just heaven's doom
On those that live by blood: in blood they die.
Make[365] an example of it, honest friends:
Do well, take pains, beware of cruelty.
Come, madam, come: to Windsor let us go,
And there to Bruce's grief add greater woe.



_Enter_ BRUCE _upon the walls_.

BRUCE. Will not my bitter bannings[366] and sad plaints,
My just and execrable execrations,
My tears, my prayers, my pity-moving moans
Prevail, thou glorious bright lamp of the day,
To cause thee keep an obit for their souls,
And dwell one month with the Antipodes?
Bright sun, retire; gild not this vault of death
With thy illustrate rays: retire, retire,
And yield black night thy empery awhile--
A little while, till as my tears be spent,
My blood be likewise shed in raining drops
By the tempestuous rage of tyrant John.
Learn of thy love, the morning: she hath wept
Shower upon shower of silver-dewy tears;
High trees, low plants, and pretty little flowers
Witness her woe: on them her grief appears,
And as she drips on them, they do not let,
By drop and drop, their mother earth to wet.
See these hard stones, how fast small rivulets
Issue from them, though they seem issueless,
And wet-eyed woe on everything is view'd,
Save in thy face, that smil'st at my distress.
O, do not drink these tears thus greedily,
Yet let the morning's mourning garment dwell
Upon the sad earth. Wilt thou not, thou churl?
Then surfeit with thy exhalations speedily;
For all earth's venomous infecting worms
Have belch'd their several poisons on the fields,
Mixing their simples in thy compound draught.
Well, Phoebus, well, drink on, I say, drink on;
But when thou dost ungorge thee, grant me this,
Thou pour thy poisons on the head of John.

_Drum. Enter_ CHESTER, MOWBRAY, _Soldiers, at
one door_:[367] LEICESTER, RICHMOND, _at another:

BRUCE. How now, my lords! were ye last night so pleased
With the beholding of that property[368]
Which John and other murderers have wrought
Upon my starved mother and her son,
That you are come again? Shall I again
Set open shop, show my dead ware, dear-bought
Of a relentless merchant, that doth trade
On the red sea, swoll'n mighty with the blood
Of noble, virtuous, harmless innocents?
Whose coal-black vessel is of ebony,
Their shrouds and tackle (wrought and woven by wrong)
Stretch'd with no other gale of wind but grief,
Whose sighs with full blasts beateth on her shrouds;
The master murder is, the pilot shame,
The mariners, rape, theft and perjury;
The burden, tyrannous oppression,
Which hourly he in England doth unlade.
Say, shall I open shop and show my wares?

LEI. No, good Lord Bruce, we have enough of that.

_Drum. Enter_ KING, HUBERT, _Soldiers_.

KING. To Windsor welcome, Hubert. Soft, methinks
Bruce and our lords are at a parley now?

BRUCE. Chester and Mowbray, you are John's sworn friends;
Will you see more? speak, answer me, my lords.
I am no niggard, you shall have your fill.

BOTH. We have too much, and surfeit with the woe.

BRUCE. Are you all full? there comes a ravening kite,
That both at quick, at dead, at all will smite.
He shall, he must; ay, and by'r Lady, may
Command me to give over holiday,
And set wide open what you would not see.

KING. Why stand ye, lords, and see this traitor perch'd
Upon our castle's battlements so proud?
Come down, young Bruce, set ope the castle-gates;
Unto thy sov'reign let thy knee be bow'd,
And mercy shall be given to thee and thine.

BRUCE. O miserable thing!
Comes mercy from the mouth of John our king?
Why then, belike, hell will be pitiful.
I will not ope the gates--the gate I will;
The gate where thy shame and my sorrow sits.
See my dead mother and her famish'd son!
[_Opens a casement, showing the dead bodies within_.]
Open thy tyrant's eyes, for to the world
I will lay open thy fell cruelties.

KING. We heard, indeed, thy mother and her son
In prison died by wilful famishment.

BRUCE. Sin doubled upon sin! Slander'st thou the dead?
Unwilling willingness it shall appear,
By then I have produc'd, as I will do,
The just presumptions 'gainst your unjust act.

KING. Assail the castle, lords! alarum, drums!
And drown this screech-owl's cries with your deep sounds.

LEI. I tell thee, drummer, if thy drum thou smite,
By heav'n, I'll send thy soul to hell's dark night.
Hence with thy drum! God's passion, get thee hence!
Begone, I say; move not my patience.

[_Exit drum_.

KING. Are you advised, Leicester, what you do?

LEI. I am advised; for, my sovereign, know,
There's not a lord here will lift up his arm
Against the person of yon noble youth,
Till you have heard the circumstantial truth,
By good presumptions, touching this foul deed.
Therefore, go on, young Bruce; proceed, refel[369]
The allegation that puts in this doubt,
Whether thy mother, through her wilfulness,
Famish'd herself and her sweet son, or no.

BRUCE. Unlikely supposition: nature first denies
That any mother, when her youngling cries,
If she have means, is so unnatural
To let it faint and starve. But we will prove
She had no means, except this moanful mean,
This torture of herself. Come forth, come forth,
Sir William Blunt, whom slander says I slew:
Come, tell the king and lords what you know true.

_Enter_ SIR WILLIAM BLUNT [_on the walls_.][370]

KING. Thou hast betray'd our castle.

BLUNT. No: God can tell,
It was surpris'd by politic report,
And affirmation that your grace was slain.

RICH. Go on, Sir William Blunt:
Pass briefly to the lady's famishment.

BLUNT. About some ten days since there came one Brand,
Bringing a signet from my lord the king,
And this commission, signed with his hand,
[_Lords look, and read the thing_.
Commanding me, as the contents express,
That I should presently deliver up
The Lady Bruce and her young son to him.

MOW. What time o' day was this?

BLUNT. It was, Lord Mowbray, somewhat past eleven,
For we were even then sitting down to dine.

LEI. But did ye dine?

BLUNT. The lady and her son did not.
Brand would not stay.

BRUCE. No, Leicester, no; for here is no such sign
Of any meat's digestion.

RICH. But, by the way, tell us, I pray you, Blunt,
While she remain'd with you, was she distraught
With grief, or any other passions violent?

BLUNT. She now and then would weep, and often pray
For reconcilement 'twixt the king and lords.

CHES. How to her son did she affected stand?

BLUNT. Affection could not any more affect;
Nor might a mother show more mother's love.

MOW. How to my lord the king?

BLUNT. O my Lord God!
I never knew a subject love king more.
She never would blin[371] telling, how his grace
Sav'd her young son from soldiers and from fire;
How fair he spake, gave her her son to keep:
And then, poor lady, she would kiss her boy,
Pray for the king so hearty earnestly,
That in pure zeal she wept most bitterly.

KING. I weep for her, and do by heaven protest,
I honour'd Bruce's wife, howe'er that slave
Rudely effected what I rashly will'd.
Yet when he came again, and I bethought
What bitter penance I had put them to
For my conceiv'd displeasure 'gainst old Bruce,
I bad the villain post and bear them meat:
Which he excus'd, protesting pity mov'd him
To leave wine, bread, and other powder'd meat,[372]
More than they twain could in a fortnight eat.

BLUNT. Indeed, this can I witness with the king,
Which argues in that point his innocence:
Brand did bear in a month's provision,
But lock'd it, like a villain, far from them;
And lock'd them in a place, where no man's ear
Might hear their lamentable woful moans;
For all the issue, both of vent and light,
Came from a loover[373] at the tower's top,
Till now Lord Bruce made open this wide gap.

BRUCE. Had I not reason, think you, to make wide
The window, that should let so much woe forth?
Where sits my mother, martyr'd by herself,
Hoping to save her child from martyrdom?
Where stands my brother, martyr'd by himself,
Because he would not taste his mother's blood?
For thus I gather this:--my mother's teeth and chin
Are bloody with the savage cookery
Which her soft heart, through pity of her son,
Respectless made her practise on herself;
And her right hand, with offering it the child,
Is with her own pure blood stain'd and defil'd.
My little brother's lips and chin alone
Are tainted with the blood; but his even teeth,
Like orient pearl or snow-white ivory,
Have not one touch of blood, one little spot:
Which is an argument the boy would not
Once stir his lips to taste that bloody food
Our cruel-gentle mother minister'd:
But as it seem'd (for see his pretty palm
Is bloody too) he cast it on the ground,
For on this side the blessed relics lie,
By famine's rage divided from this shrine.
Sad woful mother in Jerusalem!
Who, when thy son and thou didst faint for food,
Buried his sweet flesh in thy hungry womb,
How merciless wert thou, if we compare
Thy fact and this! For my poor lady mother
Did kill herself to save my dying brother;
And thou, ungentle son of Miriam,
Why didst thou beg life when thy mother lack'd?
My little brother George did nobly act
A more courageous part: he would not eat,
Nor beg to live. It seem'd he did not cry:
Few tears stand on his cheek, smooth is each eye;
But when he saw my mother bent to die,
He died with her. O childish valiancy--

KING. Good Bruce, have done. My heart cannot contain
The grief it holds: my eyes must show'r down rain.

LEI. Which showers are even as good
As rain in harvest, or a swelling flood
When neighbouring meadows lack the mower's scythe.

_A march for burial, with drum and fife. Enter_
OXFORD. MATILDA _borne with nuns, one carrying
a white pendant--these words written in gold:
"Amoris Castitatis et Honoris Honos." The_ QUEEN
_following the bier, carrying a garland of flowers.
Set it in the midst of the stage_.

RICH. List, Leicester: hear'st thou not a mournful march?

LEI. Yes, Richmond, and it seemeth old De Vere.

OX. Lords, by your leave, is not our sovereign here?

KING. Yes, good old Aubrey.

OX. Ah, my gracious lord!
That you so much your high state should neglect!
Ah! God in heaven forgive this bloody deed!
Young Bruce, young Bruce, I weep
Thy mother and thy brother's wrong;
Yet to afflict thee more, more grief I bring.

BRUCE. O honourable Aubery de Vere,
Let sorrow in a sable suit appear:
Do not misshape her garment like delight;
If it be grief, why cloth'st thou her in white?

OX. I cannot tell thee yet: I must sit down.
Attend, young Bruce, and listen to the queen;
She'll not be tongue-tied: we shall have a stir
Anon, I fear, would make a man half-sick.

QUEEN. Are you here, lecher? O intemperate king!
Wilt thou not see me? Come, come, show your face,
Your grace's graceless, king's unkingly face.
What, mute? hands folded, eyes fix'd on the earth?
Whose turn is next now to be murdered?
The famish'd Bruces are on yonder side,
On this, another I will name anon;
One for whose head this garland I do bear,
And this fair, milk-white, spotless pendant too.
Look up, King John! see, yonder sits thy shame;
Yonder it lies! what, must I tell her name?
It is Matilda, poisoned by thee.

KING. Matilda! O that foul swift-footed slave,
That kills, ere one have time to bid him save!
Fair, gentle girl, ungently made away.

BRUCE. My banish'd uncle's daughter, art thou there?
Then I defy all hope, and swear--

LEI. Stay, Bruce, and listen well what oath to swear.
Louis the Dolphin, pitying our estate,
Is by the Christian king his father sent
With aid to help us, and is landed too.
Lords, that will fly the den of cruelty,
And fight to free yourselves from tyranny[374]--
Bruce, keep that castle to the only use
Of our elected king, Louis of France.

OX. God's passion! do not so: King John is here!
Lords, whisper not with Leicester? Leicester, fie!
Stir not again regardless mutiny.
Speak to them, Hugh:[375] I know thou lov'st the king.
Madam, go to them; nay do, for God's sake, do!
Down with your stomach,[376] for if he go down,
You must down too, and be no longer queen:
Advise you; go, entreat them speedily.
My sovereign, wherefore sit you sighing there?
The lords are all about to follow Louis:
Up and entreat them, else they will away.

KING. Good Oxford, let them go. Why should they stay?

OX. What, are ye desperate? That must not be.
Hear me, my lords.

[_All stand in council_.

KING. This pendant let me see.
_Amoris Castitatis et Honoris Honos_.
She was, indeed, of love the honour once,[377]
When she was lov'd of virtuous Huntington:
Of chastity the honour all her life;
To impure thoughts she never could be won:
And she of honour was the honour too.
By birth and life[378] she honour honoured.
Bring in two tapers lighted: quick, despatch!

LEI. Remember, Bruce, thy charge. Come, lords, away!

ALL _but_ OXFORD _and_ HUBERT. Away! we will away.

[_Bring in two white tapers_.

OX. Hark, Leicester, but one word: a little stay.
Help me, good Hubert! help me, gentle queen!

[_Again confer_.[379]

KING. How dim these tapers burn! they give no light.
Here were two beauteous lamps, that could have taught
The sun to shine by day, the moon by night;
But they are dim, too, clean extinguished.
Away with these, sith those fair lights be dead!

OX. And, as I say--hark, Bruce, unto our talk--
Think you it is for love of England Louis comes?
Nay. France is not so kind; I would it were.
Advise yourselves. Hark, dost thou hear me, Bruce?

BRUCE. Oxford, I do.

OX. Can noble English hearts bear the French yoke?
No, Leicester: Richmond, think on Louis' sire,
That left you and your king in Palestine.

QUEEN. And think, beside, you know not Louis's nature,
Who may be as bad as John, or, rather, worse
Than he.

HUB. And look, my lords, upon his silent woe;
His soul is at the door of death, I know.
See how he seeks to suck, if he could draw
Poison from dead Matilda's ashy lips.
I will be sworn his very heart-string nips.
A vengeance on that slave, that cursed Brand!
I'll kill him, if I live, with this right hand.

OX. Thou canst not, Hubert; he hath kill'd himself--
But to our matter. Leicester, pray thee speak.
Young Bruce, for God's sake, let us know thy mind.

BRUCE. I would be loth to be a stranger's slave:
For England's love, I would no French king have.

LEI. Well, Oxford, if I be deceiv'd in John again,
It's 'long of you, Lord Hubert, and the queen.
Yield up the castle, Bruce: we'll once more try
King John's proceedings. Oxford, tell him so.

[OXFORD _goes to the_ KING, _does his duty,
and talks with him_.

BRUCE. I will come down. But first farewell, dear mother, [_Kiss her_.
Farewell, poor little George, my pretty brother!
Now will I shut my shambles in again:
Farewell, farewell! [_Closes the casement_.
In everlasting bliss your sweet souls dwell.

Ox. But you must mend, i' faith; in faith you must[380].

LEI. My lord, once more your subjects do submit,
Beseeching you to think how things have pass'd;
And let some comfort shine on us, your friends,
Through the bright splendour of your virtuous life.

KING. I thank you all; and, Leicester, I protest,
I will be better than I yet have been.

BRUCE. Of Windsor Castle here the keys I yield.

KING. Thanks, Bruce: forgive me, and I pray thee see
Thy mother and thy brother buried
[BRUCE _offers to kiss_ MATILDA.
In Windsor Castle church. Do, kiss her cheek:
Weep thou on that, on this side I will weep.

QUEEN. Chaste virgin, thus I crown thee with these flowers.

KING. Let us go on to Dunmow with this maid:
Among the hallow'd nuns let her be laid.
Unto her tomb a monthly pilgrimage
Doth King John vow, in penance for this wrong.

Go forward, maids; on with Matilda's hearse,
And on her tomb see you engrave this verse.

"Within this marble monument doth lie
Matilda, martyr'd for her chastity."



Thus is Matilda's story shown in act,
And rough-hewn out by an uncunning hand:
Being of the most material points compact,
That with the certain'st state of truth do stand.




_A Pleasant Comedie, shewing the contention betweene Liberalitie and
Prodigalitie. As it was playd before her Maiestie. London Printed by
Simon Stafford for George Vincent, and are to be sold at the signs of
the Hand in hand in Wood-street over against S. Michaels Church_.
1602. 4to.

The copy of this play in the Garrick collection appears to be the only
one known, and from that source it is now for the first time reprinted.
Mr Collier (Hist Engl. Dram. Poetr., ii, 318) points out that there is
internal evidence, from the allusion to the 43d year of Queen Elizabeth,
that the production was performed before her Majesty in 1600; and it
seems likely that it was a revival of a more ancient piece. The writer
just quoted remarks that a play, called "Prodigality," was exhibited at
Court in 1568 (ibid. note). Philips, author of the "Theatrum Poetarum,"
in assigning it to Greene, followed either some tradition of the time or
his own whim; but he is not a trustworthy authority; and his article on
Greene is assuredly as puerile and absurd a performance as could be

In the prologue, the writer refers to _childish years_, presumably his
own, and perhaps the "Contention" was a youthful effort. Moreover, from
the (not very appropriate) introduction of Latin terms here and there,
it is allowable to suspect that the author was preparing to graduate in
arts, if he had not done so.


The proverb is, _How many men, so many minds_,
Which maketh proof how hard a thing it is,
Of sundry minds to please the sundry kinds.
In which respect I have inferred this,
That where men's minds appear so different,
No play, no part, can all alike content.

The grave Divine calls for Divinity:
The civil student for Philosophy:
The courtier craves some rare sound history:
The baser sort, for knacks of pleasantry.
So every sort desireth specially,
What thing may best content his fantasy.

But none of these our barren toy affords.
To pulpits we refer Divinity:
And matters of estate to Council boards.
As for the quirks of sage Philosophy,
Or points of squirriliting scurrility,
The one we shun, for childish years too rare,
Th'other unfit for such as present are.

But this we bring is but to serve the time,
A poor device to pass the day withal:
To loftier points of skill we dare not climb,
Lest (perking over-high) with shame we fall.
Such as doth best beseem such as we be,
Such we present, and crave your courtesy.

That courtesy, that gentleness of yours,
Which wonted is to pardon faults of ours:
Which granted, we have all that we require:
Your only favour, only our desire.



VANITY, _Fortune's chief servant_.
PRODIGALITY, _suitor for Money_.
POSTILION, _his servant_.
TENACITY, _suitor for Money_.
DANDALINE, _the hostess_.
MASTER MONEY, _her son_.
LIBERALITY, _chief steward to Virtue_.
CONSTABLES, _with Hue and Cry_.



_Enter_ VANITY _solus, all in feathers_.

In words to make description of my name,
My nature or conditions, were but vain;
Sith this attire so plainly shows the same,
As showed cannot be in words more plain.
For lo, thus roundabout in feathers dight,
Doth plainly figure mine inconstancy:
As feathers, light of mind; of wit as light,
Subjected still to mutability,
And for to paint me forth more properly,
Behold each feather decked gorgeously
With colours strange in such variety,
As plainly pictures perfect vanity.
And so I am, to put you out of doubt,
Even vanity wholly; within, without:
In head, in heart: in all parts roundabout:
But whence I come, and why I hither come,
And upon whom I daily do attend,
In brief, to show you in a little sum,
My special meaning is, and so an end.
I came from Fortune, my most sovereign dame,
Amongst whose chiefest servants I am one:
Fortune, that earthly goddess great of name,
To whom all suits I do prefer alone.
She, minding in this place forthwith t'appear,
In her most gorgeous pomp and princely port,
Sends me to see all things in presence here,
Prepar'd and furnish'd in the bravest sort.
Here will she mount this stately sumptuous throne,
As she is wont to hear each man's desire:
And whoso wins her favour by his moan,
May have of her the thing he doth require.
And yet another dame there is, her enemy,
'Twixt whom remains continual emulation:
Virtue who, in respect of Fortune's sovereignty,
Is held, God wot, of simple reputation;
Yet hither comes (poor soul) in her degree,
This other seat half-forced to supply:
But 'twixt their state what difference will be,
Yourselves shall judge and witness, when you see.
Therefore I must go deck up handsomely,
What best beseems Dame Fortune's dignity.



PROD. Postilion, stay, thou drugg'st on like an ass.
Lo, here's an inn, which I cannot well pass:
Here will we bait, and rest ourselves awhile.

POST. Why, sir, you have to go but six small mile;
The way is fair, the moon shines very bright.
Best now go on, and then rest for all night.

PROD. Tush, Postil, fair or foul, or far or near,
My weary bones must needs be rested here.

POST. 'Tis but a paltry inn, there's no good cheer;
Yet shall you pay for all things passing dear.

PROD. I care not for all that: I love mine ease.

POST. Well, sir, a God's name, then do what you please.

PROD. Knock, then, at the gate.

POST. Ho, who's at home? hostler, chamberlain, tapster?
Ho! take in gentlemen. Knave, slave, host, hostess, ho!
[_Rip, rap, rip, rap_.
What, is there none that answers? _Tout a la mort_?
Sir, you must make entrance at some other port:
For here's no passage.

PROD. No? let me come; I'll knock a little harder.
Here must I in; for sure I will no farder.
[_Rip, rap, rap, rap_.
Ho! who dwells here? [_Rip, rap, rap_]. I'll call on the women another
while. Ho! butter-wench, dairy-maid, nurse, laundress, cook, host,
hostess, anybody, ho!

HOST. Who's there?

PROD. Up, sir, with a horse night-cap! what, are ye all in a drunken
dream! can ye not hear?

POST. Not a word more! he is fast asleep again,
I fear. What, ho?

HOST. How now?

PROD. How now? now the devil take thee!
Can calling, nor knocking, nor nothing, awake thee?

HOST. Now, sir, what lack ye?

PROD. Lodging.

HOST. What are you?

PROD. Gentlemen. Seest thou not?

HOST. Whence come ye?

PROD. What skills that? open the gate.

HOST. Nay, soft a while, I am not wont so late
To take in guests. I like ye not: away.

PROD. Nay, stay awhile, mine host; I pray thee, stay,
Open the gate, I pray thee heartily,
And what we take we will pay thee royally.

HOST. And would ye have lodging then?

PROD. Yea, rather than my life.

HOST. Then stay a while; I'll first go ask my wife.

PROD. Nay, nay, send her rather to me:
If she be a pretty wench, we shall soon agree.

POST. Now a bots[381] on him and his wife both for me! [_Aside_.

HOST. Then you would have lodgings belike, sir?

PROD. Yea, I pray thee come quickly.

HOST. What's your name, and please you?

PROD. Prodigality.

HOST. And will you indeed spend lustily?

PROD. Yea, that I will.

HOST. And take that ye find patiently?

PROD. What else?

HOST. And pay what I ask willingly?

PROD. Yea, all reckonings unreasonably.

HOST. Well, go too; for this once I am content to receive ye: come on,
sir, I daresay you are almost weary.

PROP. Thou may'st swear it.



_Enter_ VIRTUE _and_ EQUITY.

VIR. O most unhappy state of reckless humane kind!
O dangerous race of man, unwitty, fond and blind!
O wretched worldlings, subject to all misery,
When fortune is the prop of your prosperity!
Can you so soon forget, that you have learn'd of yore
The grave divine precepts, the sacred wholesome lore,
That wise philosophers with painful industry
Have[382] written and pronounc'd for man's felicity?
Whilome [it] hath been taught, that Fortune's hold is tickle;
She bears a double face, disguised, false and fickle,
Full fraughted with all sleights, she playeth on the pack;
On whom she smileth most, she turneth most to wrack.
The time hath been, when Virtue had[383] the sovereignty
Of greatest price, and plac'd in chiefest dignity;
But topsy-turvy now the world is turn'd about:
Proud Fortune is preferr'd, poor Virtue clean thrust out.
Man's sense so dulled is, so all things come to pass,
Above the massy gold t'esteem the brittle glass.

EQ. Madam, have patience, Dame Virtue must sustain,
Until the heavenly powers do otherwise ordain.

VIR. Equity, for my part, I envy not her state,
Nor yet mislike the meanness of my simple rate.
But what the heavens assign, that do I still think best:
My fame was never yet by Fortune's frown opprest:
Here, therefore, will I rest in this my homely bower,
With patience to abide the storms of every shower.



_Enter_ TENACITY _and_ VANITY [_severally, and not
seeing each other at first_.[384]]

TEN. By Gog's bores, these old stumps are stark tired.
Chave here roundabout for life conquired,
Where any posting nags were to be hired,
And can get none, would they were all vired![385]
Cham come too late for Money, I hold a penny,
Suitors to Fortune there are so many;
And all for Money, chill gage a round sum:
Money is gone, before Tenacity come.
Then am I dress'd even to my utter shame:
A fool return'd, like as a fool I came.
Cham sure chave come vorty miles and twenty,
With all these bags you see and wallets empty:
But when chave sued to Vortune vine and dainty,
Ich hope to vill them up with money plenty:
But here is one, of whom ich will conquire,
Whilk way che might attain to my desire.
God speed, my zon.

VAN. What, father Crust, whither post you so fast?

TEN. Nay, bur lady, zon, ich can make no haste,
Vor che may say to thee, cham tired clean.

VAN. More shame for you, to keep your ass so lean!
But whither go you now?

TEN. To a goodly lady, whom they call her Vortune.

VAN. And wherefore?

TEN. For money, zon, but ich vear che come too late.

VAN. Indeed, it seemeth by thy beggar's state,
Thou hast need of money; but let me hear,
How or by whom think'st thou to get this gear?

TEN. Chill speak her vair, chill make low cursy.

VAN. That's somewhat; but how wilt thou come at her?

TEN. Bur lady, zon, zest true; there lies the matter:
Chill make some friend.

VAN. Whom?

TEN. Some man of hers, that near her doth attend.

VAN. Who is that?

TEN. Ich know not; chud that[386] inqueer of thee:
And therefore, if thou knowest, tell it me.

VAN. What, in such haste, forsooth, so suddenly:
And so good cheap, without reward or fee?

TEN. Poor men, dear zon, must crave of courtesy:
Get I once money, thou shalt rewarded be.

VAN. Go to, then, I'll tell thee: his name is Vanity.

TEN. And where is a?

VAN. No more ado: ask but for Vanity.
Reward him well, he'll help thee to money.

TEN. But where?

VAN. Why, here in this place: this is Lady Fortune's palace.

TEN. Is this? Ah, goodly Lord, how gay it is!
Now hope I sure of money not to miss.
So law, my zon, ich will go rest myself a while,
And come again. [_Exit_.

VAN. Do so. Now sure this coistrel makes me smile,
To see his greedy gaping thus for gain,
First hardly got, then kept with harder pain,
As you ere long by proof shall see full plain.

TEN. This is mine old inn; here chill knock. Holla, ho!

HOST. What roister have we there, that rappeth so?

POST. How now, sirrah, what lack you?

TEN. Lodging.

POST. Lodging? there is none: all is full.

TEN. How so?

POST. Ta'en up by gentlemen long ago.

TEN. Let me yet have some room for mine ass.

POST. _Asinus super asinum, volitate ad furtas_!

HOST. Who is that thou pratest therewithal?

POST. Look forth and see: a lubber, fat, great and tall,
Upon a tired ass, bare, short and small.

HOST. Ho, ho! 'tis Tenacity, my old acquaintance.
And to my wife of near alliance.
Father Tenacity!

TEN. Mine host, God speed!
How do you? Take in, ostler.

OSTLER. Anon, sir.

HOST. Chamberlain, wait upon my kindred here.

CHAM. I will, sir.


_Enter_ MONEY _and_ VANITY.

_The Song_.

MON. _As light as a fly,
In pleasant jollity:
With mirth and melody,
Sing Money, Money, Money!
Money the minion, the spring of all joy;
Money, the medicine that heals each annoy;
Money, the jewel that man keeps in store;
Money, the idol that women adore!
That Money am I, the fountain of bliss,
Whereof whoso tasteth, doth never amiss.
Money, money, money!
Sing Money, Money, Money_!

VAN. What, Money, sing you so lustily?

MON. I have none other cause: who would not sing merrily,
Being, as I am, in such felicity:
The God of this world, so mighty of power,
As makes men, and mars men, and all in an hour?
Yea, where I am, is all prosperity,
And where I want, is nought but misery.

VAN. Money saith reason; for so doth it fare,
Money makes masteries, old proverbs declare.
But, Money, of Fortune, our sovereign dame,
What news?

MONEY. Marry, sir, of purpose I hither came,
To let thee know she will forthwith be here:
And lo! already, see, she doth appear.

VAN. 'Tis true; now must I show my diligence.
Down, ladies, stoop: do your reverence.


_Enter_ FORTUNE, _in her chariot drawn with Kings.

The Song.

Reverence, do reverence; fair dames, do reverence
Unto this goddess great, do humble reverence:
Do humble reverence.

Fortune, of-worldly state the governess:
Fortune, of man's delight the mistress:
Fortune, of earthly bliss the patroness:
Fortune, the spring of joy and happiness.
Lo, this is she, with twinkling of her eye,
That misers[387] can advance to dignity,
And princes turn to misers' misery.
Reverence, due reverence_.

FOR. Report hath spread, that Virtue here in place
Arrived is, her silly court to hold;
And therefore I am come with faster pace,
T'encounter her, whose countenance is so bold.
I doubt not but by this my pompous shew,
By vestures wrought with gold so gorgeously:
By reverence done to me of high and low:
By all these ornaments of bravery,
By this my train, that now attends me so:
By kings, that hale my chariot to and fro,
Fortune is known the queen of all renown:
That makes, that mars; sets up and throws adown.
Well is it known, what contrary effects
'Twixt Fortune and dame Virtue hath been wrought:
How still I her contemn, she me rejects;
I her despise, she setteth me at nought:
So, as great wars are grown for sovereignty,
And strife as great 'twixt us for victory.
Now is the time of trial to be had,
The place appointed eke in presence here.
So as the truth to all sorts, good and bad,
More clear than light shall presently appear.
It shall be seen, what Fortune's power can do,
When Virtue shall be forc'd to yield thereto.
It shall be seen, when Virtue cannot bide,
But shrink for shame, her silly face to hide.
Then Fortune shall advance herself before,
All harms to help, all losses to restore.
But why do I myself thus long restrain
From executing this I do intend?
Time posts away, and words they be but vain;
For deeds (indeed) our quarrel now must end.
Therefore in place I will no longer stay
But to my stately throne myself convey.

_Reverence, due reverence, &c_.



How seldom is it seen, that Virtue is regarded,
Or men of virtuous sort for virtuous deeds rewarded!
So wonts the world to pamper those that nought deserve,
Whiles such as merit best, without relief do starve.
Great imperfections are in some of greatest skill,
That colours can discern [not], white from black, good from ill.
O blind affects of men, how are you led awry,
To leave assured good, to like frail Vanity!
If some of Virtue's train, for prince and country's good,
To show their faithful hearts, shall hazard life and blood,
And guerdonless depart, without their due reward,
Small is th'encouragement, the example very hard.
Where any well deserve, and are rewarded well,
Where prince and people both in safety sure do dwell,
Where he that truly serves, hath nothing for his pain,
More hearts are lost, than pecks of gold can ransom home again.
Let states therefore, that wish to maintain stately dignity,
Seek to acquaint themselves with Liberality;
For that is it which wins the subjects' faithful love,
Which faithful love all harms from them and theirs remove.
Liberality am I, Virtue's steward here,
Who for the virtuous sort do nothing hold too dear.
But few to Virtue seek: all sorts to Fortune fly,
There seeking to maintain their chief prosperity.
But whoso marks the end, shall be enforc'd to say:
O Fortune, thou art blind! let Virtue lead the way.
But who comes here? It seemeth, old Tenacity.
I must away; for contraries cannot agree.



TEN. Well, since che see there is none other boot,
Chill now take pains to go the rest afoot;
For Brock mine ass is saddle-pinch'd vull sore,
And so am I even here--chill say no more.
But yet I must my business well apply,
For which ich came, that is, to get money.
Chwas told that this is Lady Vortune's place:
Chill go boldly to her, that's a vlat case;
Vor, if che speed not now at this first glance,
Cham zure to be dash'd quite out of countenance
By certain lusty gallon lads hereby,
Seeking Vortune's favour as well as I.
O, knew I where to find Mast. Fanity,
Vortune's servant! Of mine honesty,
Look where he comes in time as fine and trim,
As if che held him all this while by the chin.



VAN. 'Tis he indeed: what say you to him?

TEN. Marry, sir, cham now come for money.

VAN. For money, man? what, still so hastily?

TEN. Yea[388], by gis, sir, 'tis high time, che vore ye;
Cham aveard another will ha' 't afore me.

VAN. Why so? who is it thou fearest? tell me.

TEN. Marry, sir, they call him Mast. Prodigality.

VAN. Prodigality, is it true? young, wasteful, roisting Prodigality,
To encounter old, sparing, covetous, niggard Tenacity?
Sure, such a match as needs must yield us sport:
Therefore, until the time that Prodigality resort,
I'll entertain this crust with some device-- [_aside_.
Well, father, to be sped of money with a trice,
What will you give me?

TEN. Cha vore thee, son, do rid me quickly hence,
Chill give thee a vair piece of three-halfpence.

VAN. Indeed?

TEN. Here's my hand.

VAN. Now, sir, in sooth you offer so bountifully,
As needs you must be us'd accordingly.
But tell me, know you him that cometh here?

TEN. Cock's bores, 'tis Prodigality; 'tis he I did fear.
Cham afraid che may go whistle now for money.

VAN. Tush, man, be of good cheer, I warrant thee;
He speedeth best, that best rewardeth me.



HOST. Sir, now your reckoning is made even:
I'll trust no more.


HOST. No, sure.

PROD. Set cock-on-hoop then; by some means, good or bad,
There is no remedy, but money must be had.
By the body of an ox, behold here this ass,
Will be my familiar, wheresoever I pass.
Why, goodman Crust, tell me, is there no nay,
But where I go, you must forestal my way?

TEN. By Gog's flesh and his flounders, sir, che hope the Queen's highway
is free for euery man! for thee as me, for me as thee, for poor Tenacity
as for proud Prodigality! chill go, in the Queen's peace, about my

PROD. This way?

TEN. Yea.

PROD. To whom?

TEN. To Vortune my mistress.

PROD. Wherefore?

TEN. That's no matter to you.

PROD. No matter, sir? but, by your crustship, ere you go,
'Tis a plain case, Prodigality will know:
And therefore be round; come off, and tell me quickly.

TEN. And thou'dst so vain know, che go for money.

PROD. Out upon thee, villain, traitor, thief, pickpurse!
Thou penurious knave, caterpillar, and what's worse?
Hast thou heard me say, that for money I went,
And couldst thou creep so closely my purpose to prevent?
By the life I live, thou shalt die the death.
Where shall I first begin? above or beneath?
Say thy prayers, slave--

VAN. How now, my friends, what needs this variance?
Money comes not by force, money comes by chance;
And sith at one instant you both seek for money,
Appeal both to Fortune, and then shall you try,
Whether either or neither may hit to have money.

PROD. Gentleman, you say well: I know not your name;
But indeed for that purpose to Fortune I came:
For furtherance whereof if I might obtain
Your friendly help, I would quit your pain.

TEN. I am your old acquaintance, sir, remember me.

VAN. Thee, quoth a? for thy large offers I may not forget thee.
You be both my friends, and therefore indifferently
I will commend you both to Fortune's courtesy.
[_To_ FOR.] Lady most bright, renowmed goddess fair,
Unto thy stately throne here do repair
Two suitors of two several qualities,
And qualities, indeed, that be mere contraries.
That one is called wasteful Prodigality:
This[389] one cleped covetous Tenacity.
Both at once unto your royal majesty
Most humbly make their suits for money.

FOR. Let's hear what they can say.

PROD. Divine goddess, behold, with all humility
For money I appeal unto thy deity;
Which, in high honour of thy majesty,
I mean to spend abroad most plentifully.

TEN. Sweet mistress, grant to poor Tenacity
The keeping of this golden darling money:
Chill vow to thee, so long as life shall dure,
Under strong lock and key chill keep him vast and sure.

VAN. Nay, pleaseth then your pleasant fantasy
To hear them plead in musical harmony?

FOR. It liketh me.

PROD. None better.

TEN. Well, though my singing be but homely,
Chill sing and spring[390] too, ere chud loose money.

VAN. Well, to it, a God's name; let saying go than;[391]
And each sing for himself the best he can.

_The Song_.

PROD. _The princely heart, that freely spends,
Relieves full many a thousand more,
He getteth praise, he gaineth friends,
And people's love procures therefore.
But pinching fist, that spareth all,
Of due relief the needy robs:
Nought can be caught, where nought doth fall,
There comes no good of greedy cobs.
This issue therefore do I make:
The best deserver draw the stake_.

TEN. Whilst thou dost spend with friend and foe,
At home che hold the plough by th' tail:
Che dig, che delve, che zet, che zow,
Che mow, che reap, che ply my flail.
A pair of dice is thy delight,
Thou liv'st for most part by the spoil:
I truly labour day and night
To get my living by my toil.
Chill therefore sure this issue make:
The best deserver draw the stake_.

VAN. Hallo! _satis disputatum_.

TEN. Nay, by my father's soul, friend, now chave once begun,
Let him to't, che pass not when che done.

PROD. Lo, Lady, you have heard our reasons both express'd,
And thereby are resolv'd, I hope, who merits best.

FOR. Dame Fortune dealeth not by merit, but by chance:
He hath it but by hap, whom Fortune doth advance;
And of his hap as he hath small assurance:
So in his hap likewise is small continuance.
Therefore at a venture, my dear son Money,
I do commit you unto Prodigality.

TEN. To Prodigality? Ah, poor Money, I pity thee;
Continual unrest must be thy destiny:
Each day, each hour, yea, every minute tost,
Like to a tennis-ball, from pillar to post.

MONEY. I am, where I like.

TEN. [To VAN.] And is there, then, no other remedy?
Must poor Tenacity put up the injury?

VAN. Your time is not yet come.

TEN. When will it come, trow ye?

VAN. At the next turning water, happily.

TEN. And che wist that, chud the more quietly depart,
And keep therewhile a hungry hoping heart.
How sayest thou, vriend Fanity?

VAN. No doubt, but 'tis best.

TEN. Then varewell to all at once. [_Exit_.

PROD. Good night and good rest.
And now will I likewise with my sweet Money
Go hunt abroad for some good company.
Vanity, for thy pains I will not grease thy fist
Peltingly[392] with two or three crowns; but, when thou list,
Come boldly unto Prodigality's chest,
And take what thou wilt; it's ever open.

VAN. I thank you, sir; 'tis honourably spoken.

PROD. Yet, ere I go, with song of joyfulness
Let me to Fortune show my thankfulness.

_The Song.

Verse to_ FORTUNE.

_Thou that dost guide the world by thy direction,
Thou that dost conquer states to thy subjection,
Thou that dost keep each king in thy correction,
Thou that preservest all in thy protection,
For all thy gifts unto thy majesty
I yield both thanks and praise immortally:
To mighty Fortune, &c.

Verse to_ MONEY.

_Sweet Money, the minion that sails with all winds,
Sweet Money, the minstrel that makes merry all minds,
Sweet Money, that gables of bondage unbinds,
Sweet Money, that maintains all sports of all kinds,
This is that sweet Money, that rules like a king,
And makes me all praises of Money to sing



_Enter_ DANDALINE, _the hostess_.

DAN. Now, i'faith, ye little peevish harlotry,[393]
I'll one day make you spit your meat more handsomely.
By my truth, truly had I not come in the rather,
She had laid me to the fire the loin of veal and capon both together,
Not weighing (like an unwitty girlish mother),
That the one would ask more roasting than the other;
So that either the veal had been left stark raw,
Or else the capon burnt, and so not worth a straw.
And that had been pity: for I assure you at a word,
A better bird, a fairer bird, a finer bird:
A sweeter bird, a younger bird, a tenderer bird:
A daintier bird, a crisper bird, a more delicate bird:
Was there never set upon any gentleman's board.
But I lack my guests, that should pay for this gear:
And sure my mind gives me, I should find them here,
Two of mine acquaintance, familiar grown,
The third to me yet a gentleman unknown,
More than by hearsay, that he is fresh and lusty,
Full of money, and by name Prodigality.
Now, sir, to link him sure to his hostess Dandaline,
Dandaline must provide to have all things very fine.
And therefore already it is _definitum_,
The gentleman shall want nothing may please his _appetitum_.
And because most meats unsauced are motives to drouth,
He shall have a lemon to moisten his mouth,
A lemon I mean; no lemon I trow;
Take heed, my fair maids, you take me not so.
For though I go not as grave as my grandmother,
Yet I have honesty as well as another.
But hush, now shall I hear some news.



_Enter_ TOM TOSS, DICK DICER.[394]

DICER. Fellow Tomkin, I think this world is made of flint;
There's neither money, nor wares worth money, in't.

TOSS. Hold thy peace, Dick, it cannot still keep at this stint:
We are now lighted upon such a mint,
As (follow it well) I dare warrant thee,
Thy turn shall be served in every degree.

DAND. Dick boy, mine own boy, how dost thou? what cheer?

DICER. What, Dandeline, mine hostess, what make you here?

DAND. I came of purpose to inquire for thee.

DICER. And I came of purpose to seek Prodigality.

DAND. What, he you told me of? indeed, is it he?

DICER. Ay, of my fidelity.

DAND. A good boy, of mine honesty.
But when come ye?

DICER. As soon as I can find him.

DAND. Seek him, good Dick, and find him speedily:
For this, I assure ye, your supper is ready.

DICER. Go home before, make all things very fine.

DAND. I will. Farewell.

DICER. Farewell.

DAND. Farewell to Tomkin, too?

TOSS. Farewell, sweet Dandaline.

DAND. But, hear ye? bring him.


DAND. Tush, a God's name, you know who!
I mean the gentleman.

DICER. Go to, go to. [DANDALINE _exit_.
Tom, now to the purpose where first we began.

TOSS. Cast care away, Dick; I'll make thee a man.

DICER. A gospel in thy mouth, Tom, for it never went worse.
Master Money hath left me never a penny in my purse.

TOSS. 'Twill be better, Dick, shalt see, very shortly.

DICER. I pray thee, tell me is this brave Prodigality,
So full of money as he is said to be?

TOSS. Full, quotha? he is too full, I promise thee.

DICER. And will he lash it out so lustily?

TOSS. Exceedingly, unreasonably, unmeasureably.

DICER. Then may such mates as we, that be so bare,
Hope some way or other to catch a share.

TOM. Assure thyself that; but whist, he cometh here:
Let's entertain him with familiar cheer.

DICER. In order, then, bravely.



_Enter_ PRODIGALITY, _with_ MONEY.

PROD. How is't, my sweet Money, shall we be lusty now?

MON. Be as lusty as you will. I'll be as lusty as you.

PROD. Who lacks money, ho! who lacks money?
But ask and have: money, money, money!

DICER. Sir, here be they that care not for your money,
So much as for your merry company.

PROD. And company is it I seek assuredly.

TOSS. Then here be companions to fit your fantasy,
And at all assays to answer your desire:
To go, to run, to stay, to do, as you require.

PROD. What can I wish more? well then, I pray,
What sports, what pastimes, shall we first assay?

TOSS. Marry, first, sir, we both pray you heartily,
To take a poor supper with us here hard by,
Where we will determine by common consent,
What pastimes are fittest for us to frequent.

PROD. I grant.

DICER. Then, if you please, with some sweet roisting harmony
Let us begin the utas[395] of our jollity.

PROD. Thou hitt'st my hand pat. Money, what say'st thou?

MON. I say that I like it: go to it, I pray you.

PROD. Shall I begin?

MON. Yea.

PROD. Then surely shall it be,
To thee, for thee, and in honour of thee.

_The Song.

Sweet Money, the minion that sails with all winds,
Sweet Money, the minstrel, that makes merry minds.




LIB. The more a man with virtuous dealing doth himself inure,
The less with worldly business he is molested sure;
Which maketh proof that, as turmoils still toss the worldly mind:
So minds exempt from worldly toil desired quiet find.
And chiefly, where the life is led in virtuous exercise,
There is no toil, but ease and contentation to the wise.
But what account, how slight regard, is had of virtue here,


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