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

Part 8 out of 10

For if the rule be theirs, all runs to nought.

_Enter_ CLACK _the Miller, with_ JOAN.

CLACK. Be not Jug, as a man would say, finer than fivepence, or more
proud than a peacock; that is, to seem to scorn to call in at Clack's
mill as you pass over the bridge. There be as good wenches as you be
glad to pay me toll.

JOAN. Like enough, Clack; I had as live[446] they
as I, and a great deal rather too. You, that take
toll of so many maids, shall never toll me after
you. O God! what a dangerous thing it is but to
peep once into love! I was never so haunted with
my harvest-work as I am with love's passions.

CLACK. Ay, but Joan, bear old proverbs in your memory; soft and fair;
now, sir, if you make too much haste to fall foul, ay, and that upon a
foul one too, there fades the flower of all Croydon. Tell me but this:
is not Clack the miller as good a name as Grim the collier?

JOAN. Alas! I know no difference in names
To make a maid or choose or to refuse.

CLACK. You were best to say, no, nor in men neither. Well, I'll be sworn
I have; but I have no reason to tell you so much, that care so little
for me [_aside_]: yet hark.
[CLACK _speaketh in her ear_.


GRIM. O Master Parson, there he stands like a scarecrow, to drive me
away from her that sticks as close to my heart as my shirt to my back,
or my hose to my heel. O Master Parson Shorthose, Grim is but a man as
another man is: colliers have but lives, as other men have. All is gone
if she go from me: Grim is nobody without her. My heart is in my mouth;
my mouth is in my hand; my hand threatens vengeance against the miller,
as it were a beadle with a whip in his hand, triumphing o'er a beggar's

SHO. Be silent, Grim; stand close, and see;
So shall we know how all things be.

GRIM. In wisdom I am appeased; but in anger I broil, as it were a rasher
upon the coals.

JOAN. I'll not despise the trades ye either have;
Yet Grim the collier may, if he be wise,
Live even as merry as the day is long;
For, in my judgment, in his mean estate
Consists as much content as in more wealth.

GRIM. O Master Parson, write down this sweet saying of her in Grim's
commendations. She hath made my heart leap like a hobby-horse! O Joan,
this speech of thine will I carry with me even to my grave.

SHO. Be silent, then.

CLACK. Well, then, I perceive you mean to lead your life in a coalpit,
like one of the devil's drudges, and have your face look like the
outward side of an old iron pot or a blacking-box.

GRIM. He calleth my trade into question, I cannot forbear him.

SHO. Nay, then you spoil all: neighbour Grim,
I warrant you, she will answer him.

JOAN. What I intend, I am not bound to show
To thee, nor any other but my mother,
To whom in duty I submit myself:
Yet this I tell thee, though my birth be mean,
My honest virtuous life shall help to mend it;
And if I marry any in all this life,
He shall say boldly he hath an honest wife.

GRIM. O, that it were my fortune to light upon her, on condition my
horses were dead, and my cart broken, and I bound to carry coals, as
long as I live, from Croydon to London on my bare shoulders! Master
Parson, the flesh is frail, he shall tempt her no longer. She is but
weak, and he is the stronger. I'll upon him. Miller, thou art my
neighbour, and therein charity holds my hands; but methinks you, having
a water-gap of your own, you may do as other millers do, grind your
grist at home, knock your cogs into your own mill; you shall not cog
with her.

She doth descry thee;
And I defy thee
To a mortal fight;
And so, miller, good night.
And now, sweet Joan,
Be it openly known
Thou art my own.

CLACK. Well, Grim, since thou art so collier-like choleric--

GRIM. Miller, I will not be mealy-mouth'd.

CLACK. I'll give thee the fewer words now, because the next time we
meet, I'll pay thee all in dry blows. Carry coals[447] at a collier's
hands! if I do, let my mill be drowned up in water, and I hanged in
the roof.

JOAN. And if thou lov'st me, Grim, forbear him now.

GRIM. If I love thee! dost thou doubt of that? nay, rip me up, and look
into my heart, and thou shalt see thy own face pictured there as plainly
as in the proudest looking-glass in all Croydon. If I love thee! then,
tears, gush out, and show my love.

CLACK. What, Master Parson, are you there? You remember you promised to
win Joan for my own wearing?

SHO. I warrant thee, Clack, but now begone;
Leave me to work that here alone.

CLACK. Well, farewell, Master Shorthose; be true when you are trusted.
[_Exit_ CLACK.

SHO. She shall be neither his nor thine,
For I intend to make her mine.

GRIM. If I love thee, Joan! Those very words are a purgation to me.
You shall see desperation in my face, and death marching in my very
countenance. If I love!

SHO. What, Grim, hath grief drown'd thee at last?
Are all thy joys overcast?
Is Joan in place, and thou so sad!
Her presence, man, should make thee glad.

JOAN. Good Master Parson, 'twas no fault of mine;
He takes occasion, where there none was given.
I will not blab unto the world, my love
I owe to him, and shall do whilst I live. [_Aside_]

GRIM. Well, Joan, without all ifs or ands, e-persese, a-persese, or
tittle-tattles in the world, I do love thee; and so much that, in thy
absence I cry, when I see thee, and rejoice with my very heart, when
I cannot behold thee.

SHO. No doubt, no doubt, thou lov'st her well,
But listen now to what I tell:
Since ye are both so well agreed,
I wish you make more haste and speed.
To-morrow is Holy-rood day,
When all a-nutting take their way;
Within the wood a close doth stand,
Encompass'd round on either hand
With trees and bushes; there will I
Despatch your marriage presently.

GRIM. O Master Parson, your devising pate hath blessed me for ever.
Joan, we'll have that so: the shorter the work the sweeter.

JOAN. And if my mother give but her consent,
My absence shall in no case hinder it.

GRIM. She, quotha? she is mine already; we'll to her presently. Master
Parson, 'tis a match; we'll meet you. Now, miller, do I go beyond you?
I have stripped him of the wench, as a cook would strip an eel out of
her skin, or a pudding out of the case thereof. Now I talk of a pudding,
O, 'tis my only food, I am an old dog at it. Come, Joan, let us away,
I'll pudding you.

SHO. Well, if my fortune luckily ensue,
As you shall cosen him, I'll cosen you.


_Enter_ CASTILIANO _at one door with_ MARIAN, EARL LACY
_at another door with_ HONOREA.

CAS. Come, lovely Honorea, bright as day.
As came Alcmena from her sacred bed
With Jupiter, shap'd like Amphitrion,
So show my love.

HON. My love! whom have we here? Sweet
Musgrave! but, alas, I am betrayed!

CAS. Thou art my love.

LACY. No, mine.

HON. Nor yours, nor yours;
But Musgrave's love. O Musgrave! where art thou?

LACY. Be not displeas'd, my dear; give me thy hand.

HON. My hand, false earl! nor hand nor heart of mine!
Couldst thou thus cunningly deceive my hopes?
And could my father give consent thereto?
Well, neither he nor thou shalt force my love.

CAS. 'Tis I, fair Honorea, am thy love:
Forsake the worthless earl, give me thy hand.

MAR. Whose hand would you have, sir? this hand is mine,
And mine is yours: then keep you to your own:
Yet are you mine, sir, and I mean to keep you.
What! do you think to shake me off so soon?
No, gentle husband, now 'tis too-too late;
You should have look'd, before you came to bed.

_Enter_ ROBIN GOODFELLOW[448] _with his master's gown_.

ROB. Many good-morrows to my gentle master
And my new mistress; God give you both joy!
What say you to your gown, sir, this cold morning?

CAS. Robin, I am undone, and cast away!

ROB. How, master, cast away upon a wife?

CAS. Yea, Robin, cast away upon a wife.

ROB. Cast her away then, master, can you not?

MAR. No, sir, he cannot, nor he shall not do it.

ROB. Why, how know you? I am sure you are not she.

MAR. Yes, sir, I am your mistress, as it falls.

ROB. As it falls, quoth ye? marry, a foul fall is it.

MAR. Base rascal, dost thou say that I am foul?

ROB. No, it was foul play for him to fall upon you.

MAR. How know you that he fell? were you so nigh?

[_She giveth_ ROBIN _a box on the ear_.

ROB. Mass, it should seem it was he that fell, if any,
For you (methinks) are of a mounting nature:
What, at my ears at first? a good beginning.

LACY. My dear delight, why dost thou stain thy cheeks,
Those rosy beds, with this unseemly dew?
Shake off those tears, that now untimely fall,
And smile on me, that am thy summer's joy.

HON. Hapless am I to lose so sweet a prison,
Thus to obtain a weary liberty.
Happy had I been so to have remain'd,
Of which estate I ne'er should have complain'd.

ROB. Whoop, whoo! more marriages! and all of a sort. Happy are they,
I see, that live without them: if this be the beginning, what will be
the ending?


MOR. Look, Dunstan, where they be; displeas'd, no doubt,
Try, if thou canst work reconciliation.

CAS. My lord, I challenge you of breach of promise,
And claim your daughter here to be my wife.

LACY. Your claim is nought, sir; she is mine already.

HON. Your claim is nought, sir; I am none of yours.

MAR. Your claim is here, sir; Marian is yours.
What, husband, newly married and inconstant!
'Greed we so well together all this night,
And must we now fall out? for shame, for shame!
A man of your years, and be so unstay'd!
Come, come away, there may no other be;
I will have you, therefore you shall have me.

ROB. This is the bravest country in the world,
Where men get wives, whether they will or no:
I trow ere long some wench will challenge me.

CAS. O, is not this a goodly consequence?
I must have her, because she will have me!

DUN. Ladies and gentlemen, hear Dunstan speak.
Marriage, no doubt, is ordain'd by providence;
Is sacred, not to be by vain affect
Turn'd to the idle humours of men's brains.
Besides, for you, my lady Honorea,
Your duty binds you to obey your father,
Who better knows what fits you than yourself;
And 'twere in you great folly to neglect
The earl's great love, whereof you are unworthy,
Should you but seem offended with the match.
Therefore submit yourself to make amends,
For 'tis your fault; so may you all be friends.

MOR. And, daughter, you must think what I have done
Was for your good, to wed you to the earl,
Who will maintain and love you royally:
For what had Musgrave but his idle shape?
A shadow to the substance you must build on.

ROB. She will build substance on him, I trow;
Who keeps a shrew against her will, had better let her go. [_Aside_.]

MAR. Madam, conceal your grief, and seem content;
For, as it is, you must be rul'd per force:
Dissemble, till convenient time may serve
To think on this despite and Musgrave's love. [_Aside_.]

LACY. Tell me, my dear, wilt thou at length be pleas'd?

HON. As good be pleas'd, my lord, as not be eas'd;
Yet though my former love did move me much,
Think not amiss, the same love may be yours.

CAS. What! is it a match? nay then, since you agree,
I cannot mend myself, for aught I see;
And therefore 'tis as good to be content.
Come, lady, 'tis your lot to be my dame.
Lordings, adieu; God send you all good speed!
Some have their wives for pleasure, some for need.

LACY. Adieu, Castiliano: are we friends?

CAS. Yes, yes, my lord, there is no remedy.

ROB. No remedy, my masters, for a wife?
A note for young beginners: mark it well.



FOR. Now, gallants, what imagine you of this?
Our noses are all slit; for Mariana,
The Spanish doctor hath her to his wife,
And Musgrave's hopes are dead for Honorea,
For she is married to the Earl of Kent.
'Twill be good sport to see them when they rise.
If so they be not gotten up already.

CLIN. I say the devil go with them all for me.
The Spanish doctor marry Marian!
I think that slave was born to cross me still.
Had it not been last day before the earl,
Upon my conscience, I had crack'd his crown,
When first he ask'd the lady for his wife;
Now he hath got her too, whom I desir'd.
Why, he'll away with her ere long to Spain,
And keep her there to dispossess our hopes.

FOR. No, I can comfort you for that suppose:[449]
For yesterday he hir'd a dwelling-house,
And here he means to tarry all this year;
So long at least, whate'er he doth hereafter.

CLIN. A sudden plotform[450] comes into my mind,
And this it is. Miles Forrest, thou and I
Are partly well acquainted with the doctor.
Ralph Harvey shall along with us to him;
Him we'll prefer for his apothecary?
Now, sir, when Ralph and he are once acquainted,
His wife may often come unto his house,
Either to see his garden, or such like:
For, doubt not, women will have means enough,
If they be willing, as I hope she will.
There may we meet her, and let each one plead:
He that speeds best, why let him carry it.

FOR. I needs must laugh to think how all we three,
In the contriving of this feat, agree:
But, having got her, every man will strive
How each may other of her love deprive.

CLIN. Tut, Forrest! love admits these friendly strifes;
But say, how like you of my late device?

FOR. Surpassing well, but let's about it straight,
Lest he before our coming be provided.

CLIN. Agreed.



MUS. Tush, cousin! tell not me; but this device
Was long ago concluded 'twixt you two,
Which divers reasons move me to imagine:
And therefore these are toys to blind my eyes,
To make me think she only loved me,
And yet is married to another man.

MAR. Why, cousin Musgrave, are your eyes so blind
You cannot see the truth of that report?
Did you not know my lord was always bent,
Whatever came, to wed her to the earl?
And have you not, besides, heard the device
He us'd to marry her against her will?
Betray'd, poor soul, unto Earl Lacy's bed,
She thought she held young Musgrave in her arms!
Her morning tears might testify her thoughts;
Yet thou shalt see she loves thee more than him,
And thou shalt taste the sweets of her delights.
Meantime, my house shall be thy mansion
And thy abode, for thither will she come:
Use thou that opportunity, and try
Whether she lov'd thee, or did but dissemble.

MUS. If she continue kind to me hereafter,
I shall imagine well of her and you.


CAS. Now, dame, in talk! what gentleman is this?

MAR. My cousin Musgrave, husband, comes to see you.

CAS. Musgrave, now, on my faith, heartily welcome.
Give me thy hand, my cousin and my friend,
My partner in the loss of Honorea;
We two must needs be friends: our fortune's like:
Marry, yet I am richer by a shrew.

MAR. 'Tis better to be a shrew, sir, than a sheep;[451]
You have no cause, I hope, yet to complain?

CAS. No, dame; for yet you know 'tis honeymoon.
What! we have scarcely settled our acquaintance.

MUS. I doubt not, cousin, but ye shall agree,
For she is mild enough, if she be pleas'd.

CAS. So is the devil, they say[452] [_aside_]: yea, cousin, yea,
My dear and I, I doubt not, shall agree.


ROB. Sir, here be two or three gentlemen at the door
Would gladly speak a word with your worship.


[CAS.] They need no bidding, methinks: they can come alone!

CLIN. God save you, Signior Castiliano.

CAS. O captain, _come sta_?[453] welcome all, my friends!

FOR. Sir, we are come to bid God give you joy,
And see your house.

MAR. Welcome, gentlemen:
'Tis kindly done to come to see us here.

ROB. This kindness makes me fear my master's head:
Such hotspurs must have game, howe'er they get it.

CLIN. We have a suit to you, Castiliano.

CAS. What is it, sir? if it lies in me, 'tis done.

CLIN. Nay, but a trifle, sir, and that is:
This same young man, by trade apothecary,
Is willing to retain unto your cures.

CAS. Marry, with all my heart, and welcome too.
What may I call your name, my honest friend?

HAR. Ralph Harvey, sir; your neighbour here hard by.
The Golden Lion is my dwelling-place,
Where what you please shall be with care perform'd.

CAS. Gramercies, Harvey! welcome, all my friends!
Let's in, and handsel our new mansion-house
With a carousing round of Spanish wine.
Come, cousin Musgrave, you shall be my guest;
My dame, I trow, will welcome you herself.

MAR. No, boy, Lord Lacy's wife shall welcome thee.

ROB. So now the game begins, here's some cheer toward;
I must be skinker[454] then: let me alone;
They all shall want, ere Robin shall have none.

[_Exeunt omnes nisi_ CLINTON _and_ HARVEY.

CLIN. Sirrah Ralph Harvey, now the entry is made,
Thou only hast access without suspect.[455]
Be not forgetful of thy agent here;
Remember Clinton was the man that did it.

HAR. Why, captain, now you talk in jealousy.
Do not misconstrue my true-meaning heart.

CLIN. Ralph, I believe thee, and rely on thee.
Do not too long absent thee from the doctor:
Go in, carouse, and taint his Spanish brain;
I'll follow, and my Marian's health maintain.

HAR. Captain, you well advise me; I'll go in,
And for myself my love-suits I'll begin.



_Enter_ ROBIN GOODFELLOW _with his head broken_.

ROB. The devil himself take all such dames for me!
'Zounds, I had rather be in hell than here.
Nay, let him be his own man, if he list,
Robin means not to stay to be us'd thus.
The very first day, in her angry spleen,
Her nimble hand began to greet my ears
With such unkind salutes as I ne'er felt;
And since that time there hath not pass'd an hour,
Wherein she hath not either rail'd upon me,
Or laid her anger's load upon my limbs.
Even now (for no occasion in the world,
But as it pleas'd her ladyship to take it)
She gat me up a staff, and breaks my head.
But I'll no longer serve so curs'd a dame;
I'll run as far first as my legs will bear me.
What shall I do? to hell I dare not go,
Until my master's twelve months be expir'd,
And here to stay with Mistress Marian--
Better to be so long in purgatory.
Now, farewell, master! but, shrewd dame, fare-ill!
I'll leave you, though the devil is with you still.
[_Exit_ ROBIN.

_Enter_ MARIAN _alone, chafing_.

MAR. My heart still pants within; I am so chaf'd!
The rascal slave, my man, that sneaking rogue,
Had like to have undone us all for ever!
My cousin Musgrave is with Honorea,
Set in an arbour in the summer-garden;
And he, forsooth, must needs go in for herbs,
And told me further, that his master bad him:
But I laid hold upon my younker's pate,
And made the blood run down about his ears.
I trow, he shall ask me leave ere he go.
Now is my cousin master of his love,
The lady at one time reveng'd and pleas'd.
So speed they all that marry maids perforce!


But here my husband comes.

CAS. What, dame, alone?

MAR. Yes, sir, this once--for want of company.

CAS. Why, where's my lady and my cousin Musgrave?

MAR. You may go look them both for aught I know.

CAS. What, are you angry, dame?

MAR. Yea, so it seems.

CAS. What is the cause, I prythee?

MAR. Why would you know?

CAS. That I might ease it, if it lay in me.

MAR. O, but it belongs not to your trade.

CAS. You know not that.

MAR. I know you love to prate, and so I leave you.
[_Exit_ MARIAN.

CAS. Well, go thy way: oft have I raked hell
To get a wife, yet never found her like.
Why this it is to marry with a shrew.
Yet if it be, as I presume it is,
There's but one thing offends both her and me;
And I am glad, if that be it offends her.
'Tis so, no doubt; I read it in her brow.
Lord Lacy shall with all my heart enjoy
Fair Honorea: Marian is mine;
Who, though she be a shrew, yet is she honest.
So is not Honorea, for even now,
Walking within my garden all alone,
She came with Musgrave, stealing closely by,
And follows him, that seeks to fly from her.
I spied this all unseen, and left them there.
But sure my dame hath some conceit thereof,
And therefore she is thus angry, honest soul!
Well, I'll straight hence unto my Lord of Kent,
And warn him watch his wife from these close meetings.
Well, Marian, thou liv'st yet free from blame.
Let ladies go; thou art the devil's dame.

_Enter the_ DEVIL, _like_ MUSGRAVE, _with_ HONOREA.

MUS. No, lady; let thy modest, virtuous life
Be always joined with thy comely shape,
For lust eclipseth nature's ornament.

HON. Young heady boy, think'st thou thou shalt recall
Thy long-made love, which thou so oft hast sworn,
Making my maiden thoughts to doat on thee?

MUS. With patience hear me, and, if what I say
Shall jump with reason,[456] then you'll pardon me.
The time hath been when my soul's liberty
Vow'd servitude unto that heavenly face,
Whilst both had equal liberty of choice;
But since the holy bond of marriage
Hath left me single, you a wedded wife,
Let me not be the third unlawfully
To do Earl Lacy so foul injury.
But now at last--

HON. I would that last
Might be thy last, thou monster of all men!

MUS. Hear me with patience.

HON. Cease: I'll hear no more!
'Tis my affection, and not reason, speaks:
Then, Musgrave, turn the hardness of thy heart,
And now at least incline thy love to mine.

MUS. Nay, now I see thou wilt not be reclaim'd.
Go and bestow this hot love on the earl;
Let not these loose affects thus scandalise
Your fair report. Go home, and learn to live
As chaste as Lucrece, madam. So I leave you.

[_She pulleth him back_.

HON. O, stay a little while, and hear my tongue
Speak my heart's words, which cannot choose but tell thee,
I hate the earl, only because I love thee. [_Exit_ MUSGRAVE.
Musgrave, return! hear, Honorea speaks!
Disdain hath left him wings to fly from me!
Sweet love, lend me thy wings to overtake him,
For I can stay him with kind dalliance!
All this is but the blindness of my fancy.
Recall thyself: let not thy honour bleed
With the foul wounds of infamy and shame.
My proper home shall call me home again,
Where my dear lord bewails, as much as I,
His too much love to her that loves not him.
Let none hereafter fix her maiden love
Too firm on any, lest she feel with me
Musgrave's revolt and his inconstancy.

_Enter_ FORREST, _with_ MARIAN.

FOR. Tut, I'll remember thee, and straight return:
But here's the doctor.

MAR. Where? Forrest, farewell!
I would not have him see me for a world.

FOR. Why? he is not here. Well, now I see you fear him.

MAR. Marry, beshrew thee for thy false alarm!
I fear him? no, I neither fear nor love him.

FOR. But where's my lady? She is gone home before,
And I must follow after. Marian, farewell.

MAR. I shall expect your coming.

FOR. Presently;
And nearest thou, Marian? nay, it shall be so--

[_He whispers in her ear_.

MAR. O Lord, sir, you are wed, I warrant you:
We'll laugh, be merry, and, it may be, kiss;
But if you look for more, you aim amiss.

FOR. Go to, go to! we'll talk of this anon.

[_Exit_ FORREST.

MAR. Well, go thy way, for the true-heartedst man
That liveth, and as full of honesty,
And yet as wanton as a pretty lamb.
He'll come again, for he hath lov'd me long,
And so have many more besides himself;
But I was coy and proud, as maids are wont,
Meaning to match beyond my mean estate:
Yet I have favour'd youths and youthful sports,
Although I durst not venture on the main;
But now it will not be so soon espied.
Maids cannot, but a wife a fault may hide.

_Enter_ NAN.

What, Nan!

NAN. Anon, forsooth.

MAR. Come hither, maid.
Here, take my keys, and fetch the galley-pot;
Bring a fair napkin and some fruit-dishes.
Despatch, and make all ready presently;
Miles Forrest will come straight to drink with me.

NAN. I will, forsooth. [_Exit_ NAN.

MAR. Why am I young, but to enjoy my years?
Why am I fair, but that I should be lov'd?
And why should I be lov'd, and not love others?
Tut, she is a fool that her affection smothers:
'Twas not for love I was the doctor's wife,
Nor did he love me, when he first was mine.
Tush, tush, this _wife_ is but an idle name!
I purpose now to try another game.
Art thou return'd so soon? O, 'tis well done.

_Enter_ NAN _with the banquet_.

And hear'st thou, Nan? when Forrest shall return,
If any happen to inquire for me,
Whether't be Captain Clinton or Ralph Harvey,
Call presently, and say, thy master's come;
So I'll send Forrest o'er the garden pale.

NAN. I will, forsooth.

MAR. Meantime, stay thou and make our banquet ready.
I'll to my closet, and be here again,
Before Miles Forrest shall come visit me.
[_Exit_ MARIAN.

NAN. I wonder what my mistress is about?
Somewhat she would not have my master know:
Whate'er it be, 'tis nothing unto me;
She's my good mistress, and I'll keep her counsel.
I have oft seen her kiss behind his back,
And laugh and toy, when he did little think it.
O, what a winking eye the wanton hath
To cosen him, even when he looks upon her!
But what have I to do with what she doth?
I'll taste her junkets since I am alone:
That which is good for them cannot hurt me.
Ay, marry, this is sweet! a cup of wine
Will not be hurtful for digestion.
[_She drinks_.]


CAS. I would I had been wiser once to-day;
I went on purpose to my Lord of Kent
To give him some good counsel for his wife,
And he, poor heart, no sooner heard my news,
But turns me up his whites, and falls flat down:
There I was fain to rub and chafe his veins,
And much ado we had to get him live.
But for all that he is extremely sick,
And I am come in all the haste I may
For cordials to keep the earl alive.
But how now? What, a banquet! What means this?

NAN. Alas! my master is come home himself.
Mistress, mistress! my master is come home!

CAS. Peace, you young strumpet, or I'll stop your speech!
[_He stops her mouth_.
Come hither, maid: tell me, and tell me true,
What means this banquet? what's your mistress doing?
Why call'dst[457] thou out, when as thou saw'st me coming?
Tell me, or else I'll hang thee by the heels,
And whip thee naked. Come on, what's the matter?

NAN. Forsooth, I cannot tell.

CAS. Can you not tell? come on, I'll make you tell me.

NAN. O master! I will tell you.

CAS. Then say on.

NAN. Nothing, in truth, forsooth, but that she means
To have a gentleman come drink with her.

CAS. What gentleman?

NAN. Forsooth, 'tis Master Forrest, as I think.

CAS. Forrest? nay then I know how the game goeth:
Whoever loseth, I am sure to win
By their great kindness, though't be but the horns.

_Enter_ FORREST _at one door_, MARIAN _at another_.

But here comes he and she. Come hither, maid:
Upon thy life, give not a word, a look,
That she may know aught of my being here.
Stand still, and do whate'er she bids thee do.
Go, get thee gone; but if thou dost betray me,
I'll cut thy throat: look to it, for I will do it.
I'll stand here close to see the end of this,
And see what rakes she keeps, when I'm abroad.
[CASTILIANO _conceals himself_.]

MAR. 'Tis kindly done, Miles, to return so soon,
And so I take it. Nan, is our banquet ready?
Welcome, my love! I see you'll keep your word.

NAN. 'Twere better for you both he had not kept it. [_Aside_.]

FOR. Yea, Mariana, else I were unworthy.
I did but bring my lady to the door,
And there I left her full of melancholy,
And discontented.

MAR. Why, 'twas kindly done.
Come, come sit down, and let us laugh awhile:
Maid, fill some wine.

NAN. Alas! my breech makes buttons,
And so would theirs, knew they as much as I.
He may change the sweetmeats, and put
Purging comfits in the dishes.

MAR. Here's to my lady and my cousin Musgrave.

FOR. I pray, remember gentle master doctor
And good Earl Lacy too, among the rest.

CAS. O sir, we find you kind--we thank you for it:
The time may come when we may cry you quit. [_Aside_.]

NAN. Master, shall I steal you a cup of wine? [_Aside_

CAS. Away, you baggage! hold your peace, you wretch! [_Aside_.]

FOR. But I had rather walk into your orchard,
And see your gallery so much commended;
To view the workmanship he brought from Spain.
Wherein's describ'd the banquet of the gods.

MAR. Ay, there's one piece exceeding lively done;[458]
Where Mars and Venus lie within a net,
Enclos'd by Vulcan, and he looking on.

CAS. Better and better yet: 'twill mend anon.

MAR. Another of Diana with her nymphs,
Bathing their naked bodies in the streams;
Where fond Acteon, for his eyes' offence,
Is turn'd into a hart's shape, horns and all:
And this the doctor hangs right o'er his bed.

FOR. Those horns may fall and light upon his head.

CAS. And if they do, worse luck. What remedy? [_Aside_.]

FOR. Nay, Marian, we'll not leave these sights unseen;
And then we'll see your orchard and your fruit,
For now there hang queen apples on the trees,
And one of them is[459] worth a score of these.

MAR. Well, you shall see them, lest you lose your longing.
[_Exeunt_ MARIAN _and_ FORREST.

CAS. Nay, if ye fall a longing for green fruit,
Child-bearing is not far off, I am sure.
Why, this is excellent: I feel the buds!
My head groweth hard: my horns will shortly spring!
Now, who may lead the cuckold's dance but I,
That am become the headman of the parish?
O, this it is to have an honest wife,
Of whom so much I boasted once to-day.
Come hither, minx! you know your mistress' mind,
And you keep secret all her villanies:
Tell me, you were best, where was this plot devised?
How did these villains know I was abroad?

NAN. Indeed, forsooth, I know[460] not when it was.
My mistress call'd me from my work of late,
And bad me lay a napkin: so I did,
And made this banquet ready; but in truth
I knew not what she did intend to do.

CAS. No, no, you did not watch against I came,
To give her warning to despatch her knaves!
You cried not out when as you saw me come!
All this is nothing; but I'll trounce you all.

NAN. In truth, good master!


CAS. Peace, stay! they come.
Whimper not; and you do, I'll use you worse.
Behold that wicked strumpet with that knave!
O, that I had a pistol for their sakes,
That at one shot I might despatch them both!
But I must stand close yet, and see the rest.
[_He conceals himself again_.]

MAR. How lik'st thou, Miles, my orchard and my house?

FOR. Well; thou art seated to thy heart's content,
A pleasant orchard and a house well-furnish'd:
There nothing wants; but in the gallery
The painter shows his art exceedingly.

MAR. Yet is there one thing goeth beyond all these:
Contented life, that giveth the heart his ease,
And that I want. [_One knocketh at the door_.

FOR. Sweet love, adieu. [_Exit_ FORREST.

MAR. Farewell, sweetheart. Who is that at the door?

_Enter_ CLINTON.

CLIN. A friend.

MAR. Come near: what, captain, is it you?

CLIN. Even I, fair Marian, watching carefully
The blessed step of opportunity.

MAR. Good, good! how fortune gluts me with excess!
Still they that have enough shall meet with more.

CLIN. But where's the doctor?

MAR. Ministering abroad
Physic to some sick patients he retains.

CLIN. Let him abroad, I'll minister at home
Such physic shall content my Marian.

CAS. O monstrous! now the world must see my shame.
This head must bear whatever likes[461] my dame. [_Aside_.]

MAR. I have no malady requires a cure.

CLIN. Why, then, must I assume a sick man's part
And all my sickness lieth at my heart?
'Tis the heart-burning that torments me so.

MAR. There is no cure for fire but to be quench'd.

CLIN. Thou hast prescrib'd a sovereign remedy.

CAS. O, who the devil made her a physician? [_Aside_.]

CLIN. Let's not obscure what love doth manifest;
Nor let a stranger's bed make thee seem strange
To him that ever lov'd and honour'd thee.

MAR. A captain made a captive by loose love
And gadding fancy! fie, 'twere monstrous shame
That Cupid's bow should blemish Mars's name:
Take up thy arms, recall thy drooping thoughts,
And lead thy troops into the spacious fields.

CAS. She counsels others well, if she would take it. [_Aside_.]

CLIN. Thou counsellest the blind to lead the blind.
Can I lead them that cannot guide myself?
Thou, Marian, must release my captive heart.

MAR. With all my heart I grant thee free release.

CLIN. Thou art obscure too much: but tell me, love,
Shall I obtain my long-desired love?

MAR. Captain, there is yet somewhat in thy mind
Thou wouldst reveal, but wantest utterance.
Thou better knowest to front the braving foe,
Than plead love-suits.

CLIN. I grant 'tis even so;
Extremity of passions still are dumb,
No tongue can tell love's chief perfections:
Persuade thyself my love-sick thoughts are thine;
Thou only may'st those drooping thoughts refine.

MAR. Since at my hands thou seek'st a remedy,
I'll ease thy grief, and cure thy malady.
No drug the doctor hath shall be too dear;
His antidote shall fly to do thee good.
Come in, and let thy eye make choice for thee,
That thou may'st know how dear thou art to me.

CAS. Is this obedience? now the devil go with them!
And yet I dare not; O, she's mankind grown![462]
O miserable men that must live so,
And damned strumpet,[463] author of this woe!


But peace! be still! they come. O shameless shame!
Well may the world call thee the devil's dame.

MAR. Captain, thy skill hath pleased me so well,
That I have vow'd my service to Bellona.

CAS. Her service to Bellona! turn'd stark ruffian!
She'll be call'd Cavaliero Marian. [_Aside_.]

CLIN. And I will train thee up in feats of arms,
And teach thee all the orders of the field;
That whilst we, like to Mars and Venus, jest,
The doctor's head may get a gallant crest.

CAS. I can no longer linger my disgrace,
Nor hide my shame from their detested sight.
How now, thou whore, dishonour to my bed!
Disdain to womanhood, shame of thy sex!
Insatiate monster! corrosive of my soul!
What makes this captain revelling in my house?
My house! nay, in my bed! You'll prove a soldier!
Follow Bellona, turn a martialist!
I'll try if thou hast learn'd to ward my blows.

MAR. Why, how now, man! is this your madding month?
What, sir! will you forbid me in good sort
To entertain my friends?

CAS. Your friends, you whore!
They are no friends of mine, nor come they here.
Clinton, avaunt, my house is for no such.

MAR. Alas, good sir! are you grown so suspicious,
Thus on no proofs to nourish jealousy?
I cannot kiss a man but you'll be angry.
In spite of you, or whoso else saith nay,
My friends are welcome, as they come this way:
If you mislike it, mend it as you may.
What, do you think to pin up Marian,
As you were wont to do your Spanish girls?
No, sir, I'll be half mistress of myself;
The other half is yours, if you deserve it.

CLIN. What madness mov'd thee be displeas'd with me,
That always us'd thee with so kind regard?
Did I not at thy first arrival here
Conduct thee to the Earl of London's house?

MAR. Did I not, being unsolicited,
Bestow my first pure maiden love on thee?

CLIN. Did I not grace thee there in all the court,
And bear thee out against the daring abbot?

MAR. Did I not forsake many young gallant courtiers,
Enamoured with thy aged gravity,
Who, now being weary of me, wouldst disgrace me?

CAS. If there be any conscience left on earth,
How can I but believe these protestations?

CLIN. Have I not always been thy nearest friend?

MAR. Have I not always been thy dearest wife?

CLIN. How much will all the world in this condemn thee?

MAR. At first I little fear'd what now I find,
And grieve too late.

CAS. Content thee, gentle dame.
The nature of our countrymen is such,
That, if we see another kiss our wives,
We cannot brook it: but I will be pleas'd;
For, will I, nill I,[464] so methinks I must.
And, gentle captain, be not you offended;
I was too hot at first, but now repent it.
I prythee, gentle dame, forgive me this,
And drown all jealousy in this sweet kiss.

CLIN. This shows your wisdom: on, I'll follow you.

MAR. [_Aside_.] Well, doctor, henceforth never reckon[465] it scorn
At my sweet Clinton's hands to take the horn.



_Enter_ ROBIN GOODFELLOW,[466] _in a suit of leather,
close to his body; his face and hands coloured
russet-colour, with a flail_.

ROB. The doctor's self would scarce know Robin now.
Curs'd Marian may go seek another man,
For I intend to dwell no longer with her,
Since that the bastinado drove me thence.
These silken girls are all too fine for me:
My master shall report of those in hell,
Whilst I go range amongst the country-maids,
To see, if homespun lasses milder be
Than my curs'd dame and Lacy's wanton wife.
Thus therefore will I live betwixt two shapes;
When as I list, in this transform'd disguise,
I'll fright the country-people as they pass;
And sometimes turn me to some other form,
And so delude them with fantastic shows.
But woe betide the silly dairymaids,
For I shall fleet their cream-bowls night by night.
And slice the bacon-flitches as they hang.
Well, here in Croydon will I first begin
To frolic it among the country lobs.
This day, they say, is call'd Holyrood-day,
And all the youth are now a-nutting gone.
Here are a crew of younkers in this wood,
Well-sorted, for each lad hath got his lass.
Marry, indeed, there is a tricksy[467] girl,
That three or four would fain be doing with,
But that a wily priest among the rest
Intends to bear her sheer away from all.
The miller, and my brother Grim the collier
Appointed here to scuffle for her love.
I am on Grim's side; for long time ago
The devil call'd the collier like to like:[468]

_Enter_ GRIM, CLACK, PARSON SHORTHOSE, JOAN, _with a bag of nuts_.

But here the miller and the collier come,
With Parson Makebate and their tricksy girl.

GRIM. Parson, persuade me no more. I come,
Jug, to your custody; Jug, hold the nut-bag.

CLACK. Nay, I will give you nuts to crack.

GRIM. Crack in thy throat and hauster[469] too.

SHO. Neighbours, I wish you both agree:
Let me be judge, be rul'd by me.

GRIM. Master Parson, remember what _Pueriles_[470] saith, _Ne accesseris
ad concilio_, &c. I tell you I found this written in the bottom of one
of my empty sacks. Never persuade men that be inexecrable. I have vowed
it, and I will perform it. The quarrel is great, and I have taken it
upon my own shoulders.

CLACK. Ay, that thou shalt, ere I have done; for I will lay it on,

GRIM. If you lay it in, I must bear it out, this is all. If you strike,
I must stand to anything, although it be the biggest blow that you can
lay upon me.

JOAN. Ye both have ofttimes sworn that ye love me;
Let me overrule you in this angry mood.
Neighbours and old acquaintance, and fall out!

ROB. Why, that is, because thou wilt not let them fall in.

GRIM. I say, my heart bleedeth when thou speaketh, and therefore do not
provoke me. Yet, miller, as I am monstrous angry, so I have a wonderful
great mind to be repeas'd. Let's think what harm cometh by this same
fighting; if we should hurt one another, how can we help it? Again,
Clack, do but here forswear Joan's company, and I'll be thine instead
of her, to use in all your businesses from Croydon to London; yours,
Gilbert Grim, the chief collier for the king's majesty's own mouth.

CLACK. O Grim, do I smell you? I'll make you forswear her before we two
part; and therefore come on to this gear. Collier, I will lay on load,
and when it is done, let who will take it off again.

JOAN. Yet once more hear me speak: leave off for shame,
If not for love; and let not others laugh
To see your follies; let me overrule you.

SHO. Ay, let them fight, I care not: I
Meantime away with Joan will fly;
And whilst they two are at it here,
We two will sport ourselves elsewhere.

ROB. There's a stone priest! he loveth a wench, indeed:
He careth not though both of them do bleed;
But Robin Goodfellow will conjure you,
And mar your match, and bang you soundly too.
I like this country-girl's condition well;
She's faithful, and a lover but to one:
Robin stands here to right both Grim and her.

GRIM. Master Parson, look you to my love.
Miller, here I stand
With my heart and my hand
In sweet Jug's right
With thee to fight.

CLACK. Come, let us to it then.

[_They fight_: ROBIN _beateth the miller
with a flail, and felleth him_.

ROB. Now, miller, miller dustipoll
I'll clapper-claw your jobbernole.

SHO. Come, Jug, let's leave these senseless blocks,
Giving each other blows and knocks.

JOAN. I love my Grim too well to leave him so.

SHO. You shall not choose: come, let's away.

[SHORTHOSE _pulleth_ JUG _after him_: ROBIN
_beateth the priest with his flail_.

ROB. Nay then, sir priest, I'll make you stay.

CLACK. Nay, this is nothing, Grim; we'll not part so.
I thought to have borne it off with my back sword ward,
And I receiv'd it upon my bare costard.[471]
[_They fight again_.

ROB. What, miller, are you up again?
Nay, then, my flail shall never lin,[472]
Until I force one of us twain
Betake him to his heels amain.

[ROBIN _beats the miller again_.

CLACK. Hold thy hands, Grim! thou hast murder'd me.

GRIM. Thou liest, it is in mine own offence I do it. Get thee gone then:
I had rather have thy room than thy company.

CLACK. Marry, with all my heart. O, the collier playeth the devil
with me.

ROB. No, it is the devil playeth the collier with thee. [_Aside_.]

SHO. My bones are sore; I prythee, Joan,
Let's quickly from this place be gone.
Nay, come away, I love thee so,
Without thee I will never go.

ROB. What, priest, still at your lechery?
[ROBIN _beats the priest_.
I'll thrash you for your knavery.
If any ask who beat thee so,
Tell them 'twas Robin Goodfellow.
[SHORTHOSE _runneth away_.

GRIM. O miller, art thou gone? I am glad of it. I smelt my own infirmity
every stroke I struck at him. Now, Joan, I dare boldly swear thou art my
own; for I have won thee in the plain field. Now Master Parson shall
even strike it up; two or three words of his mouth will make her gammer
Grim all the days of her life after.

ROB. Here is two well-favoured slaves!
Grim and I may curse all good faces,
And not hurt our own.

JOAN. What, my love, how dost thou?

GRIM. Even as a conqueror may do. Jug, for thy sake I have made the
miller a poor cripple all the days of his life, good for nothing else
but to be carried into the 'spital-house.

ROB. Ay, there is one lie, for thou didst never hurt him. [_Aside_.]

JOAN. I am glad thou 'scapedst, my love, and wast not hurt.

GRIM. Who? I hurt? Joan, thou knowest me not yet: thou mayest do better
hereafter. I gave him five mortal wounds the first five strokes I made
at him.

ROB. There are five lies clapt into one, for brevity's sake. [_Aside_.]

GRIM. And presently, upon the fifth blow, I made a dangerous thrust at
him, and violently overthrew him, horse and foot, and there he lay.

ROB. Nay, there you lie. The collier is excellent
To be companion to the devil himself. [_Aside_.]

GRIM. But where's Master Parson?

JOAN. He was well bang'd, and knew not who 'twas did it,
And would have had me gone away with him.
Here lieth his nut-bag, and the miller's too:
They had no leisure to take them away.

GRIM. The better for us, Joan; there is good cracking work: it will
increase household stuff. Come, let's after the parson; we will comfort
him, and he shall couple us. I'll have Pounceby the painter score upon
our painted cloth[473] at home all the whole story of our going a-nutting
this Holyrood-day; and he shall paint me up triumphing over the miller.

[_Exeunt GRIM and JOAN_.

ROB. So let the collier now go boast at home
How he hath beat the miller from his love.
I like this modest country maid so well,
That I believe I must report in hell
Better of women than my master can.
Well, till my time's expir'd, I'll keep this quarter,
And night by night attend their merry meetings.
[_Exit ROBIN_.

_Enter_ DUNSTAN _with_ EARL LACY _sick_.

DUN. Let not your sickness add more feebleness
Unto your weaken'd age; but give me leave
To cure thy vain suspicious malady.
Thy eyes shall witness how thou art deceiv'd,
Misprizing thy fair lady's chastity:
For whilst we two stand closely here unseen,
We shall espy them presently approach.

LACY. O, show me this, thou blessed man of God,
And thou shalt then make young my withered age.

DUN. Mark the beginning; for here Musgrave cometh.


MUS. O thrice unhappy and unfortunate,
That, having fit occasion proffer'd thee
Of conference with beauteous Honorea,
Thou overslipp'd it, and o'erslipp'dst thyself.
Never since wedlock tied her to the earl,
Have I saluted her; although report
Is blaz'd abroad of her inconstancy.
This is her evening walk, and here will I
Attend her coming forth, and greet her fairly.

LACY. See, Dunstan, how their youth doth blind our age!
Thou dost deceive thyself and bringest me
To see my proper shame and infamy.

_Enter_ HONOREA.

But here she comes: my hope, my fear, my love.

DUN. Here comes the unstain'd honour of thy bed.
Thy ears shall hear her virtuous, chaste replies,
And make thy heart confess thou dost her wrong.

HON. Now modest love hath banish'd wanton thoughts,
And alter'd me from that I was before,
To that chaste life I ought to entertain.
My heart is tied to that strict form of life,
That I joy only to be Lacy's wife.

LACY. God fill thy mind with these chaste, virtuous thoughts!

MUS. O, now I see her, I am half asham'd
Of so long absence, of neglect of speech.
My dearest lady, patroness of beauty,
Let thy poor servant make his true excuse!

HON. Musgrave, I easily take your excuse,
Accusing my fond self for what is pass'd.

MUS. Long time we wanted opportunity;
But now the forelock of well-wishing time
Hath bless'd us both, that here without suspect
We may renew the tenor of our loves.

LACY. O Dunstan, how she smiles to hear him speak!

HON. No, child of fortune and inconstancy,
Thou shalt not train me, or induce my love
To loose desires or dishonoured thoughts.
'Tis God's own work that struck a deep remorse
Into my tainted heart for my pass'd folly.

MUS. O, thou confound'st me! Speak as thou wert won't,
Like Love herself, my lovely Honorea.

HON. Why, how now, Musgrave! what esteem'st thou me,
That thou provokest me, that first denied me?
I will not yield you reasons why I may not,
More than your own. You told me why you would not.

MUS. By heavens, by thee, my saint, my happiness!
No torture shall control my heart in this,
To teach my tongue deny to call thee love.

HON. Well, in regard that in my maiden-days
I lov'd thee well, now let me counsel thee.
Reclaim these idle humours; know thyself;
Remember me, and think upon my lord;
And let these thoughts bring forth those chaste effects,
Which may declare thy change unto the world:
And this assure thee--whilst I breathe this air,
Earl Lacy's honour I will ne'er impair.
[_Exit_ HONOREA.

DUN. Now your eyes see that which your heart believ'd not.

LACY. 'Tis a miracle beyond the reach
Of my capacity! I could weep for joy,
Would but my tears express how much I love her!
Men may surmise amiss in jealousy,
Of those that live in untouch'd honesty.

MUS. Is she departed? and do I conceive
This height of grief, and do no violence
Unto myself? Said she I denied her?
Far be it from my heart to think that thought.
All ye that, as I do, have felt this smart,
Ye know how burthensome 'tis at my heart.
Hereafter never will I prosecute
This former motion, my unlawful suit;
But, since she is Earl Lacy's virtuous wife,
I'll live a private, pensive, single life.

DUN. God doth dispose all at his blessed will;
And he hath chang'd their minds from bad to good,
That we, which see't, may learn to mend ourselves.

LACY. I'll reconcile myself to Musgrave's love:
I will recant my false suspicion,
And humbly make my true submission.


_Enter_ MARIAN, _chafing_.

MAR. Say'st thou thou'lt make the house too hot for me?
I'll soon abroad, and cool me in the air.
I'll teach him never scorn to drink his health
Whom I do love. He thinks to overcrow me
With words and blows; but he is in the wrong,
Begin he when he dares! O, he's too hot
And angry to live long with Marian.
But I'll not long be subject to his rage:
Here 'tis shall rid him of his hateful life,
And bless me with the style of widowhood.
'Twas Harvey's work to temper it so well:
The strongest poison that he could devise.

_Enter_ CLINTON.

I have been too long subject to the slave;
But now I'll cast off that detested yoke.

CLIN. Musgrave, I see, is reconcil'd to th'earl;
For now I met him walking with Lord Lacy.
Sure, this is Marian's plot, and there she stands.
What, love, alone!

MAR. Ay, captain, much disturb'd
About the frantic doctor's jealousy;
Who, though he seem'd content when thou wast there,
He after fell reviling thee and me;
Robb'd me of all my jewels; locks his plate
In his own trunk; and let's me only live
To bear the idle title of his wife.

CLIN. Fair Marian, by a soldier's loyal faith,
If my employment any way may help
To set thee free from this captivity,
Use me in any sort: command my sword;
I'll do't, as soon as thou shalt speak the word.

MAR. Now, by my true love, which I wish to thee,
I conjure thee with resolution
To slay that monster! Do not fail to do it!
For, if thou dost, I would I had not spoke it.

CLIN. Now try me; and, when next we hap to meet,
The doctor lies stone dead at Clinton's feet.

MAR. Nay, now I see thou lov'st me.

CLIN. Say no more.
If thou dost loathe him, he shall die therefore.

MAR. To-morrow morning will he early rise
To see Earl Lacy: meet him in the cloister,
And make that place revenge his sanctuary.
This night will I break open all the trunks,
Rifle his caskets, rob him of his gold;
And all the doctor's treasure shall be thine.
If thou miscarry, yet this drink shall do it.


CAS. My wife's impatience hath left me alone,
And made my servant run, I know not whither.

MAR. Peace! here is our eyesore. Clinton, leave us now.

CLIN. Nay, now occasion smiles, and I will do it.
[CLINTON _draweth his sword_.

MAR. Put up thy sword; be it thy morning's work:
Farewell to-night; but fail me not to-morrow.

CLIN. Farewell, my love. No rest shall close these eyes,
Until the morning peep; and then he dies.
[_Exit_ CLINTON.

CAS. [_Soliloq_.] Now I remember, I have quite outrun
My time prefix'd to dwell upon the earth:
Yet Akercock is absent: where is he?
O, I am glad I am so well near rid
Of my earth's plague and my lascivious dame.

MAR. Hath he discover'd my intendment,
That he presages his ensuing death?
I must break off these fearful meditations.

CAS. How shall I give my verdict up to Pluto
Of all these accidents?

MAR. Why, how now, man?

CAS. What, my dear dame! my reconciled spouse!
Upon my soul, my love to thee is more
Now at this present than 'twas e'er before.

MAR. He hath descried me sure, he sootheth me so! [_Aside_.]

CAS. I love thee now, because I now must leave thee.
This was the day of my nativity,
And therefore, sweet wife, let us revel it.

MAR. Nay, I have little cause to joy at all.

CAS. Thou Grossest still my mirth with discontents!
If ever heretofore I have displeas'd thee,
Sweet dame, I crave thy pardon now for all.
This is my birthday, girl, I must rejoice:
Ask what thou wilt, and I will give it thee.

MAR. Should I but ask to lead a quiet life,
You hardly would grant this unto your wife;
Much less a thing that were of more import.

CAS. Ask anything, and try if I'll deny thee.

MAR. O my poor Musgrave, how hast thou been wrong'd,
And my fair lady!

CAS. Use no preambles,
But tell me plainly.

MAR. Nay, remember them,
And join their slander to that love you owe me,
And then old Lacy's jealousy.

CAS. What then?

MAR. Nay, now I see you will not understand me.

CAS. Thou art too dark; speak plainly, and 'tis done.

MAR. Then doom the earl, and bless poor Musgrave's eyes
With Honorea's love; for this in thy hands lies.

CAS. How should I doom him?

MAR. How else, but to death?

CAS. As if his life or death lay in my hands?

MAR. He is thy patient, is he not?

CAS. He is.

MAR. Then in thy hands lie both his life and death.
Sweet love, let Marian beg it at thy hand:
Why should the grey-beard live to cross us all?
Nay, now I see thee frown: thou wilt not do it.

CAS. Fie, fie, dame! you are too suspicious.
Here is my hand, that thou may'st know I love thee;
I'll poison him this night before I sleep.

MAR. Thou dost but flatter me!

CAS. Tush! I have sworn it.

MAR. And wilt thou do it?

CAS. He is sure to die.

MAR. I'll kiss thy lips for speaking that kind word:
But do it, and I'll hang about thy neck,
And curl thy hair, and sleep betwixt thy arms,
And teach thee pleasures which thou never knew'st.

CAS. Promise no more, and trouble me no more:
The longer I stay here, he lives the longer.
I must go to him now, and now I'll do it.
Go home and hasten supper 'gainst I come:
We will carouse to his departing soul.

MAR. I will, dear husband; but remember me:
[_Aside_.] When thou hast poison'd him, I'll poison thee.
[_Exit_ MARIAN.

CAS. O wonderful, how women can dissemble!
Now she can kiss me, hang about my neck,
And soothe me with smooth smiles and lewd entreaties.
Well, I have promis'd her to kill the earl;
And yet, I hope ye will not think I'll do it.[474]
Yet I will sound the depth of their device,
And see the issue of their bloody drift.
I'll give the earl, unknown to any man,
A sleepy potion, which shall make him seem
As if he were stark dead, for certain hours:
But in my absence no man shall report
That for my dame's sake I did any hurt.



_Enter_ GRIM, _with_ JOAN.

GRIM. Nay, but, Joan, have a care! bear a brain[475] for all at once.
'Tis not one hour's pleasure that I suspect more than your mother's
good, countenance. If she be asleep, we may be bold under correction;
if she be awake, I may go my ways, and nobody ask me, _Grim, whither
goest thou_? Nay, I tell you, I am so well beloved in our town, that
not the worst dog in the street will hurt my little finger.

JOAN. Why speak you this? You need not fear my mother,
For she was fast asleep four hours ago.

GRIM. Is she, sure? Did you hear her snort in her dead sleep? Why then,
Joan, I have an hour's mirth for thee.

JOAN. And I a mess of cream for thee.

GRIM. Why, there is one for another then: fetch it, Joan; we will eat
and kiss, and be as merry as your cricket. [_Exit_ JOAN _for the
cream_.] Art thou gone for it? Well, go thy ways for the kindest lass
that ever poor collier met withal? I mean for to make short work with
her, and marry her presently. I'll single her out, i'faith, till I
make her bear double, and give the world to understand we will have a
young Grim between us.

_Enter_ JOAN _with the cream_.

JOAN. Look here, my love, 'tis sweeten'd for thy mouth.

GRIM. You have put none of your love-powder in it, to make me
enamourable of you, have you, Joan? I have a simple pate, to expect
you! [_One knocketh at the door_.] Joan, hark, my brains beat, my
head works, and my mind giveth me: some lovers of yours come sneaking
hither now; I like it not, 'tis suspectious.

[_One knocketh again_.

JOAN. You need not fear it; for there is none alive
Shall bear the least part of my heart from thee.

GRIM. Say'st thou so? hold there still, and whoe'er he be, open door
to him.

_She openeth the door. Enter_ SHORTHOSE, _and_ ROBIN _after him_.

JOAN. What, Master Parson, are you come so late?
You are welcome; here's none but Grim and I.

SHO. Joan, I'll no more a-nutting go,
I was so beaten to and fro;
And yet who it was, I do not know.

GRIM. What, Master Parson, are you come so late to say eveningsong to
your parishioners? I have heard of your knavery. I give you a fair
warning; touch her no lower than her girdle, and no higher than her
chin: I keep her lips and her hips for my own use. I do; and so welcome.

ROBIN. This two hours have I dogg'd the parson round about all Croydon,
doubting some such thing. [_Aside_.]

SHO. No, Grim, I here forswear to touch
Thy Joan, or any other such:
Love hath been so cudgell'd out of me,
I'll go no more to wood with thee.

ROB. 'Twas Robin beat this holy mind into him.
I think more cudgelling would make him more honest. [_Aside_.]

GRIM. You speak like an honest man and a good parson, and that is more.
Here's Joan's benevolation for us, a mess of cream and so forth. Here is
your place, Master Parson. Stand on the t'other side of the table, Joan.
Eat hard to-night, that thou may marry us the better to-morrow.

ROB. What, is my brother Grim so good a fellow.
[_They fall to the cream_.
I love a mess of cream as well as they;
I think it were best I stepp'd in and made one. [_Aside_.]
Ho, ho, ho,[476] my masters! No good fellowship!
Is Robin Goodfellow a bugbear grown,
[ROBIN _falleth to eat_.
That he is not worthy to be bid sit down?

GRIM. O Lord, save us! sure, he is some country-devil; he hath got a
russet coat upon his face.

[GRIM _and_ SHORTHOSE _retire to the back of the stage_.]

SHO. Now, _benedicite_! who is this?
I take him for some fiend, i-wis;[477]
O, for some holy-water here
Of this same place this spirit to clear!

ROB. Nay, fear not, Grim, come fall unto your cream:
Tut, I am thy friend; why dost not come and eat?

GRIM. I, sir? truly, master devil, I am well here, I thank you.

ROB. I'll have thee come, I say. Why, tremblest thou?

GRIM. No, sir, not I; 'tis a palsy I have still. Truly, sir, I have no
great acquaintance with you.

ROB. Thou shalt have better, man, ere I depart.

GRIM. I will not, and if I can choose.

ROB. Nay, come away, and bring your love with you.

GRIM. Joan! you were best go to him, Joan.

ROB. What, shall I fetch thee, man? The cream is sweet.

GRIM. No, sir, I am coming: much good do't you. I had need of a long
spoon, now I go to eat with the devil.[478]

ROB. The parson's penance shall be thus to fast.
Come, tell me, Grim, dost thou not know me, man?

GRIM. No, truly, sir; I am a poor man fetcheth my living out of the
fire; your worship may be a gentleman devil, for aught I know.

ROB. Some men call me Robin Goodfellow.

GRIM. O Lord, sir! Master Robert Goodfellow, you are very welcome, sir.

ROB. This half year have I liv'd about this town,
Helping poor servants to despatch their work,
To brew and bake, and other husbandry.
Tut, fear not, maid; if Grim be merry,
I will make up the match between ye.

GRIM. There will be a match in the devil's name!

ROB. Well, now the night is almost spent,
Since your affections all are bent
To marriage and to constant love,
Grim, Robin doth thy choice approve;
And there's the priest shall marry you:
Go to it, and make no more ado:
Sirrah, sir priest, go get you gone,
And join both her and him anon;
But ne'er hereafter let me take you
With wanton love-tricks, lest I make you
Example to all stone-priests ever,
To deal with other men's loves never.

SHO. _Valete vos_, and God bless me,
And rid me from his company!
Come, Grim, I'll join you hand in hand,
In sacred wedlock's holy band.
I will no more a-nutting go,
That journey caused all this woe.

GRIM. Come, let's to hand in hand quickly. Master Robert, you were ever
one of the honestest merry devils that ever I saw.

JOAN. Sweet Grim, and if thou lovest me, let's away.

GRIM. Nay, now, Joan, I spy a hole in your coat: if you cannot endure
the devil, you'll never love the collier. Why, we two are sworn
brothers. You shall see me talk with him even as familiarly as if I
should parbreak[479] my mind and my whole stomach upon thee.

JOAN. I prythee, do not, Grim.

GRIM. Who? not I? O Lord, Master Robert Goodfellow, I have a poor
cottage at home, whither Joan and I will jog us merrily. We will make
you no stranger, if you come thither. You shall be used as devilishly
as you would wish, i'faith. There is never a time my cart cometh from
London, but the collier bringeth a goose in his sack, and that, with
the giblets thereof, is at your service.

ROB. This is more kindness, Grim, than I expected.

GRIM. Nay, sir, if you come home, you shall find it true, I warrant
you. All my whole family shall be at your devilship's pleasure, except
my poor Joan here, and she is my own proper nightgear.

ROB. Gramercies, but away in haste;
The night is almost spent and pass'd.

GRIM. God be with you, sir; I'll make as much haste about it as may be;
for, and that were once done, I would begin a new piece of work with
you, Joan.

[_Exeunt all but_ ROBIN.

ROB. Now joy betide this merry morn,
And keep Grim's forehead from the horn:
For Robin bids his last adieu
To Grim and all the rest of you.
[_Exit_ ROBIN.

_Enter_ CLINTON _alone_.

CLIN. Bright Lucifer, go couch thee in the clouds,
And let this morning prove as dark as night!
That I unseen may bring to happy end
The doctor's murder, which I do intend.
'Tis early yet: he is not so soon stirring.
But stir he ne'er so soon, so soon he dies.
I'll walk along before the palace gate;
Then shall I know how near it is to-day,
He shall have no means to escape away.

[_Exit_ CLINTON.


CAS. My trunk's broke open, and my jewels gone!
My gold and treasure stol'n: my house despoil'd
Of all my furniture, and nothing left?
No, not my wife, for she is stol'n away:
But she hath pepper'd me, I feel it work--
My teeth are loosen'd, and my belly swell'd;
My entrails burn with such distemper'd heat,
That well I know my dame hath poison'd me:
When she spoke fairest, then she did this act.
When I have spoken all I can imagine,
I cannot utter half that she intends;
She makes as little poisoning of a man,
As to carouse; I feel that this is true.

_Enter_ CLINTON.

Nay, now I know too much of womankind.
'Zounds, here's the captain: what should he make here
With his sword drawn? there's yet more villany.

CLIN. The morning is far spent; but yet he comes not.
I wonder Marian sends him not abroad.
Well, doctor, linger time, and linger life;
For long thou shalt not breathe upon the earth.

CAS. No, no, I will not live amongst ye long:
Is it for me thou wait'st, thou bloody wretch?
Her poison hath prevented thee in murther.

_fainting, and_ MARIAN.

Now here be they suppose Earl Lacy dead.
See how this lady grieveth for that she wisheth.

DUN. My Lord of London, by his sudden death,
And all the signs before his late departure,
'Tis very probable that he is poison'd.

MAR. Do you but doubt it? credit me, my lord,
I heard him say that drink should be his last:
I heard my husband speak it, and he did it.

CAS. There is my old friend, she always speaks for me.
O shameless creature, was't not thy device?

MOR. Let not extremity of grief o'erwhelm thee,
My dearest Honorea; for his death shall be
Surely reveng'd with all severity
Upon the doctor, and that suddenly.

CLIN. What fortune's this, that all these come this way
To hinder me, and save thy life to-day?

HON. My gracious lord, this doleful accident
Hath robb'd me of my joy: and, royal earl,
Though in thy life thou didst suspect my love,
My grief and tears suspicions shall remove.

MAR. Madam, to you and to your father's love
I owe as much and more than my own life.
Had I ten husbands should agree to do it,
My gracious lord, you presently should know it.

CAS. Ay, there's a girl! think you I did not well,
To live with such a wife, to come from hell.

MAR. Look, look, my lord, there stands the murderer!

CAS. How am I round beset on every side!
First, that same captain here stands to kill me;
My dame she hath already poisoned me;
Earl Morgan he doth threaten present death;
The Countess Honorea, in revenge
Of Lacy, is extremely incens'd 'gainst me.
All threaten--none shall do it; for my date
Is now expired, and I must back to hell.
And now, my servant, wheresoe'er thou be,
Come quickly, Akercock, and follow me.
Lordings, adieu, and my curs'd wife, farewell,
If me ye seek, come follow me to hell.

[_The ground opens, and they both fall[480] down into it_.

MOR. The earth that opened now is clos'd again.

DUN. It is God's judgment for his grievous sins.

CLIN. Was there a quagmire, that he sank so soon?

HON. O miracle! now may we justly say,
Heavens have reveng'd my husband's death this day.

MOR. Alas, poor Marian! we have wrong'd thee much
To cause thee match thyself to any such.

MAR. Nay, let him go, and sink into the ground;
For such as he are better lost than found.
Now, Honorea, we are freed from blame,
And both enrich'd with happy widow's name[481].

_Enter_ EARL LACY, _with_ FORREST _and_ MUSGRAVE.

LACY. O, lead me quickly to that mourning train,
Which weep for me, who am reviv'd again.

HON. Marian, I shed some tears of perfect grief.
[_She falleth into a swoon_.

MOR. Do not my eyes deceive me? liveth my son?

LACY. My lord and father, both alive and well,
Recover'd of my weakness. Where's my wife?

MAR. Here is my lady, your beloved wife,
Half dead to hear of your untimely end.

LACY. Look on me, Honorea; see thy lord:
I am not dead, but live to love thee still.

DUN. 'Tis God disposeth all things, as he will:
He raiseth those the wicked wish to fall.

CLIN. 'Zounds, I still watch on this enclosed ground;
For if he rise again, I'll murder him.

HON. My lord, my tongue's not able to report
Those joys my heart conceives to see thee live.

DUN. Give God the glory: he recovered thee,
And wrought this judgment on that cursed man,
That set debate and strife among ye all.

MOR. My lord, our eyes have seen a miracle,
Which after ages ever shall admire.
The Spanish doctor, standing here before us,
Is sunk into the bowels of the earth,
Ending his vile life by a viler death.

LACY. But, gentle Marian, I bewail thy loss,
That wert maid, wife, and widow, all so soon.

MAR. 'Tis your recovery that joys me more,
Than grief can touch me for the doctor's death.
He never lov'd me whilst he liv'd with me,
Therefore the less I mourn his tragedy.

MOR. Henceforth we'll strictlier look to strangers' lives,
How they shall marry any English wives.
Now all men shall record this fatal day;
Lacy revived, the doctor sunk in clay.

[_The trumpets sound, exeunt omnes nisi_ DUNSTAN.

DUN. Now is Earl Lacy's house fill'd full of joy,
He and his lady wholly reconcil'd,
Their jars all ended: those, that were like men
Transformed, turn'd unto their shapes again.
And, gentlemen, before we make an end,


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