Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ALL FOOLS, by GEORGE CHAPMAN (1559-1634)

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ALL FOOLS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Should I expose to every common eye
Last Line: And to our best cheer say, you all are— welcome.



SHOULD I expose to every common eye,
The least allow'd birth of my shaken brain;
And not entitle it particularly
To your acceptance, I were worse than vain.
And though I am most loth to pass your sight
With any such like mark of vanity;
Being mark'd with age for aims of greater weight,
And drown'd in dark death-ushering melancholy,
Yet lest by others' stealth it be imprest,
Without my passport, patch'd with others' wit,
Of two enforced ills I elect the least;
And so desire your love will censure it;
Though my old fortune keep me still obscure,
The light shall still bewray my old love sure.


THE fortune of a Stage (like Fortune's self),
Amazeth greatest judgments; and none knows
The hidden causes of those strange effects,
That rise from this Hell, or fall from this Heaven:
Who can show cause why your wits, that in aim
At higher object, scorn to compose plays,
(Though we are sure they could, would they vouchsafe it,)
Should (without means to make) judge better far
Than those that make; and yet ye see they can.
For without your applause, wretched is he
That undertakes the Stage; and he's more blest,
That with your glorious favours can contest.
Who can show cause why th' ancient Comic vein
Of Eupolis and Cratinus (now revived,
Subject to personal application)
Should be exploded by some bitter spleens?
Yet merely Comical and harmless jests
(Though ne'er so witty) be esteem'd but toys,
If void of th' other satyrism's sauce?
Who can show cause why quick Venerian jests
Should sometimes ravish? sometimes fall far short
Of the just length and pleasure of your ears?
When our pure dames think them much less obscene,
Than those that win your panegyric spleen?
But our poor dooms, alas! you know are nothing
To your inspired censure; ever we
Must needs submit; and there's the mystery.
Great are the gifts given to united heads,
To gifts, attire, to fair attire, the stage
Helps much; for if our other audience see
You on the stage depart before we end;
Our wits go with you all, and we are fools.
So Fortune governs in these stage events;
That merit bears least sway in most contents.
Auriculas Asini quis non habet?
How we shall then appear, we must refer
To magic of your dooms, that never err.


GOSTANZO, Knights.

VALERIO, son to Gostanzo.
FORTUNIO, elder son to Marc Antonio.
RINALDO, the younger.

DARIOTTO, Courtiers

CORNELIO, a start-up Gentleman.
CURIO, a Page.
KYTE, a Scrivener.
FRANCIS POCK, a Surgeon.
GAZETTA, wife to Cornelio.
BELLANORA, daughter to Gostanzo.
GRATIANA, stolen wife to Valerio.




BI. Can one self cause, in subjects so alike
As you two are, produce effects so unlike?
One like the Turtle all in mournful strains,
Wailing his fortunes. Th' other like the Lark
Mounting the sky in shrill and cheerful notes;
Chanting his joys aspired, and both for love?
In one, love raiseth by his violent heat
Moist vapours from the heart into the eyes,
From whence they drown his breast in daily showers:
In th' other, his divided power infuseth
Only a temperate and most kindly warmth,
That gives life to those fruits of wit and virtue,
Which the unkind hand of an uncivil father
Had almost nipp'd in the delightsome blossom.
Fo. O, brother, love rewards our services
With a most partial and injurious hand,
If you consider well our different fortunes:
Valerio loves, and joys the dame he loves;
I love, and never can enjoy the sight
Of her I love; so far from conquering
In my desires' assault, that I can come
To lay no battery to the fort I seek,
All passages to it so strongly kept,
By strait guard of her father.
Ri. I dare swear,
If just desert in love measured reward,
Your fortune should exceed Valerio's far;
For I am witness (being your bedfellow)
Both to the daily and the nightly service
You do unto the deity of love,
In vows, sighs, tears, and solitary watches.
He never serves him with such sacrifice,
Yet hath his bow and shafts at his command:
Love's service is much like our humorous lords,
Where minions carry more than servitors,
The bold and careless servant still obtains;
The modest and respective nothing gains;
You never see your love unless in dreams,
He, Hymen puts in whole possession.
What ifferent stars reign'd when your loves were born,
He forced to wear the willow, you the horn?
But, brother, are you not ashamed to make
Yourself a slave to the base lord of love,
Begot of fancy, and of beauty born?
And what is beauty? a mere quintessence,
Whose life is not in being, but in seeming;
And therefore is not to all eyes the same,
But like a cozening picture, which one way
Shows like a crow, another like a swan;
And upon what ground is this beauty drawn?
Upon a woman, a most brittle creature,
And would to God (for my part) that were all.
Fo. But tell me, brother, did you never love?
Ri. You know I did, and was beloved again,
And that of such a dame as all men deem'd
Honour'd and made me happy in her favours:
Exceeding fair she was not; and yet fair
In that she never studied to be fairer
Than Nature made her; beauty cost her nothing,
Her virtues were so rare, they would have made
An Ethiop beautiful: at least so thought
By such as stood aloof, and did observe her
With credulous eyes; but what they were indeed
I'll spare to blaze, because I loved her once,
Only I found her such, as for her sake,
I vow eternal wars against their whole sex,
Inconstant shuttlecocks, loving fools, and jesters;
Men rich in dirt, and titles sooner won
With the most vile than the most virtuous;
Found true to none: if one amongst whole hundreds
Chance to be chaste, she is so proud withal,
Wayward and rude, that one of unchaste life
Is oftentimes approved a worthier wife:
Undressed, sluttish, nasty to their husbands,
Spunged up, adorned, and painted to their lovers:
All day in ceaseless uproar with their households,
If all the night their husbands have not pleased them;
Like hounds, most kind, being beaten and abused
Like wolves, most cruel, being kindliest used.
Fo. Fie, thou profanest the deity of their sex.
Ri. Brother, I read that Egypt heretofore
Had Temples of the richest frame on earth;
Much like this goodly edifice of women:
With alabaster pillars were those Temples
Upheld and beautified, and so are women,
Most curiously glazed, and so are women,
Cunningly painted too, and so are women,
In outside wondrous heavenly, so are women;
But when a stranger view'd those fanes within,
Instead of gods and goddesses, he should find
A painted fowl, a fury, or a serpent;
And such celestial inner parts have women.
Va. Rinaldo, the poor fox that lost his tail,
Persuaded others also to lose theirs:
Thyself, for one perhaps that for desert
Or some defect in thy attempts refused thee,
Revilest the whole sex, beauty, love, and all:
I tell thee Love is Nature's second sun,
Causing a spring of virtues where he shines;
And as without the sun, the world's great eye,
All colours, beauties, both of Art and Nature,
Are given in vain to men, so without love
All beauties bred in women are in vain;
All virtues born in men lie buried,
For love informs them as the sun doth colours,
And as the sun, reflecting his warm beams
Against the earth, begets all fruits and flowers;
So love, fair shining in the inward man,
Brings forth in him the honourable fruits
Of valour, wit, virtue, and haughty thoughts,
Brave resolution, and divine discourse:
Oh, 'tis the Paradise, the heaven of earth;
And didst thou know the comfort of two hearts,
In one delicious harmony united,
As to joy one joy, and think both one thought,
Live both one life, and therein double life;
To see their souls met at an interview
In their bright eyes, at parley in their lips,
Their language, kisses: and to observe the rest,
Touches, embraces, and each circumstance
Of all love's most unmatched ceremonies;
Thou wouldst abhor thy tongue for blasphemy.
Oh! who can comprehend how sweet love tastes
But he that hath been present at his feasts?
Ri. Are you in that vein too, Valerio?
'Twere fitter you should be about your charge,
How plow and cart goes forward; I have known
Your joys were all employ'd in husbandry,
Your study was how many loads of hay
A meadow of so many acres yielded,
How many oxen such a close would fat.
And is your rural service now converted
From Pan to Cupid? and from beasts to women?
Oh, if your father knew this, what a lecture
Of bitter castigation he would read you!
Va. My father? why, my father? does he think
To rob me of myself? I hope I know
I am a gentleman; though his covetous humour
And education hath transform'd me baily,
And made me overseer of his pastures,
I'll be myself, in spite of husbandry.


And see, bright heaven, here comes my husbandry.
[Amplectitur eam.
Here shall my cattle graze, here Nectar drink,
Here will I hedge and ditch, here hide my treasure:
O poor Fortunio, how wouldst thou triumph,
If thou enjoy'd'st this happiness with my sister!
Fo. I were in heaven if once 'twere come to that.
Ri. And methinks 'tis my heaven that I am past it.
And should the wretched Machiavellian,
The covetous knight, your father, see this sight,
Lusty Valerio?
Va. 'Sfoot, sir, if he should,
He shall perceive ere long my skill extends
To something more than sweaty husbandry.
Ri. I'll bear thee witness, thou canst skill of dice,
Cards, tennis, wenching, dancing, and what not?
And this is something more than husbandry:
Th'art known in ordinaries, and tobacco-shops,
Trusted in taverns and in vaulting-houses,
And this is something more than husbandry.
Yet all this while, thy father apprehends thee
For the most tame and thrifty groom in Europe.
Fo. Well, he hath ventured on a marriage,
Would quite undo him, did his father know it.
Ri. Know it? Alas, sir, where can he bestow
This poor gentlewoman he hath made his wife,
But his inquisitive father will hear of it?
Who, like the dragon to th' Hesperian fruit,
Is to his haunts? 'Slight hence, the old knight comes.

Intrat GOSTANZO. Omnes aufugiunt.

Go. Rinaldo.
Ri. Who's that calls? What, Sir Gostanzo?
How fares your knighthood, sir?
Go. Say, who was that
Shrunk at my entry here? was't not your brother?
Ri. He shrunk not, sir; his business call'd him hence.
Go. And was it not my son that went out with him?
Ri. I saw not him; I was in serious speech
About a secret business with my brother.
Go. Sure 'twas my son; what made he here? I sent him
About affairs to be dispatch'd in haste.
Ri. Well, sir, lest silence breed unjust suspect,
I'll tell a secret I am sworn to keep,
And crave your honoured assistance in it.
Go. What is't, Rinaldo?
Ri. This, sir; 'twas your son.
Go. And what young gentlewoman graced their company?
Ri. Thereon depends the secret I must utter;
That gentlewoman hath my brother married.
Go. Married? What is she?
Ri. 'Faith, sir, a gentlewoman;
But her unnourishing dowry must be told
Out of her beauty.
Go. Is it true, Rinaldo?
And does your father understand so much?
Ri. That was the motion, sir, I was entreating
Your son to make to him, because I know
He is well spoken, and may much prevail
In satisfying my father, who much loves him,
Both for his wisdom and his husbandry.
Go. Indeed, he's one can tell his tale, I tell you,
And for his husbandry—
Ri. Oh, sir, had you heard
What thrifty discipline he gave my brother,
For making choice without my father's knowledge,
And without riches, you would have admired him.
Go. Nay, nay, I know him well; but what was it?
Ri. That in the choice of wives men must respect
The chief wife, riches, that in every course
A man's chief load-star should shine out of riches;
Love nothing heartily in this world but riches;
Cast off all friends, all studies, all delights,
All honesty, and religion for riches;
And many such, which wisdom sure he learn'd
Of his experient father; yet my brother
So soothes his rash affection, and presumes
So highly on my father's gentle nature,
That he's resolved to bring her home to him,
And like enough he will.
Go. And like enough
Your silly father too, will put it up;
An honest knight, but much too much indulgent
To his presuming children.
Ri. What a difference
Doth interpose itself 'twixt him and you,
Had your son used you thus?
Go. My son, alas!
I hope to bring him up in other fashion,
Follows my husbandry, sets early foot
Into the world; he comes not at the city,
Nor knows the city arts.
Ri. But dice and wenching. [Aversus.
Go. Acquaints himself with no delight but getting,
A perfect pattern of sobriety,
Temperance and husbandry, to all my household;
And what is his company, I pray? not wenches.
Ri. Wenches? I durst be sworn he never smelt
A wench's breath yet; but methinks 'twere fit
You sought him out a wife.
Go. A wife, Rinaldo?
He dares not look a woman in the face.
Ri. 'Sfoot, hold him to one; your son such a sheep?
Go. 'Tis strange in earnest.
Ri. Well, sir, though for my thriftless brother's sake,
I little care how my wrong'd father takes it,
Yet for my father's quiet, if yourself
Would join hands with your wise and toward son,
I should deserve it some way.
Go. Good Rinaldo,
I love you and your father, but this matter
Is not for me to deal in; and 'tis needless.
You say your brother is resolved, presuming
Your father will allow it.


Ri. See, my father!
Since you are resolute not to move him, sir,
In any case conceal the secret, [Abscondit se.
By way of an atonement let me pray you will.
Go. Upon mine honour.
Ri. Thanks, sir.
Ma. God save thee, honourable Knight Gostanzo.
Go. Friend Marc Antonio! welcome; and I think
I have good news to welcome you withal.
Ri. He cannot hold.
Ma. What news, I pray you, sir?
Go. You have a forward, valiant, eldest son;
But wherein is his forwardness and valour?
Ma. I know not wherein you intend him so.
Go. Forward before, valiant behind, his duty;
That he hath dared before your due consent
To take a wife.
Ma. A wife, sir? what is she?
Go. One that is rich enough: her hair pure amber;
Her forehead mother of pearl, her fair eyes
Two wealthy diamants; her lips, mines of rubies;
Her teeth are orient pearl, her neck pure ivory.
Ma. Jest not, good sir, in an affair so serious;
I love my son, and if his youth reward me
With his contempt of my consent in marriage,
'Tis to be fear'd that his presumption builds not
Of his good choice, that will bear out itself;
And being bad, the news is worse than bad.
Go. What call you bad? is it bad to be poor?
Ma. The world accounts it so; but if my son
Have in her birth and virtues held his choice
Without disparagement, the fault is less.
Go. Sits the wind there? Blows there so calm a gale
From a contemned and deserved anger?
Are you so easy to be disobey'd?
Ma. What should I do? If my enamour'd son
Have been so forward, I assure myself
He did it more to satisfy his love
Than to incense my hate, or to neglect me.
Go. A passing kind construction! suffer this,
You ope him doors to any villany;
He'll dare to sell, to pawn, run ever riot,
Despise your love in all, and laugh at you.
And that knight's competency you have gotten
With care and labour, he with lust and idleness
Will bring into the stipend of a beggar—
All to maintain a wanton whirligig,
Worth nothing more than she brings on her back,
Yet all your wealth too little for that back.
By heaven, I pity your declining state,
For, be assured, your son hath set his foot
In the right pathway to consumption:
Up to the heart in love; and for that love
Nothing can be too dear his love desires:
And how insatiate and unlimited
Is the ambition and the beggarly pride
Of a dame hoised from a beggar's state
To a state competent and plentiful,
You cannot be so simple not to know.
Ma. I must confess the mischief: but, alas!
Where is in me the power of remedy?
Go. Where? In your just displeasure: cast him off,
Receive him not; let him endure the use
Of their enforced kindness that must trust him
For meat and money, for apparel, house,
And everything belongs to that estate,
Which he must learn with want of misery,
Since pleasure and a full estate hath blinded
His dissolute desires.
Ma. What should I do?
If I should banish him my house and sight,
What desperate resolution might it breed
To run into the wars, and there to live
In want of competency, and perhaps
Taste th' unrecoverable loss of his chief limbs,
Which while he hath in peace, at home with me,
May, with his spirit, ransom his estate
From any loss his marriage can procure.
Go. Is't true? No, let him run into the war,
And lose what limbs he can: better one branch
Be lopp'd away, than all the whole tree should perish:
And for his wants, better young want than old.
You have a younger son at Padua—
I like his learning well—make him your heir,
And let your other walk: let him buy wit
At's own charge, not at's father's; if you lose him,
You lose no more than that was lost before;
If you recover him, you find a son.
Ma. I cannot part with him.
Go. If it be so,
And that your love to him be so extreme,
In needful dangers ever choose the least:
If he should be in mind to pass the seas,
Your son Rinaldo (who told me all this)
Will tell me that, and so we shall prevent it.
If by no stern course you will venture that,
Let him come home to me with his fair wife;
And if you chance to see him, shake him up,
As if your wrath were hard to be reflected,
That he may fear hereafter to offend
In other dissolute courses. At my house,
With my advice, and my son's good example,
Who shall serve as a glass for him to see
His faults, and mend them to his precedent,
I make no doubt but of a dissolute son
And disobedient, to send him home
Both dutiful and thrifty.
Ma. O, Gostanzo!
Could you do this, you should preserve yourself
A perfect friend of me, and me a son.
Go. Remember you your part, and fear not mine:
Rate him, revile him, and renounce him too:
Speak, can you do't, man?
Ma. I'll do all I can. [Exit MARC.
Go. Alas! good man, how nature overweighs him!

RINALDO comes forth.

Ri. God save you, sir.
Go. Rinaldo, all the news
You told me as a secret, I perceive
Is passing common; for your father knows it;
The first thing he related was the marriage.
Ri. And was extremely moved?
Go. Beyond all measure:
But I did all I could to quench his fury:
Told him how easy 'twas for a young man
To run that amorous course: and though his choice
Were nothing rich, yet she was gently born,
Well qualified, and beautiful. But he still
Was quite relentless, and would needs renounce him.
Ri. My brother knows it well, and is resolved
To trail a pike in field, rather than bide
The more fear'd push of my vex'd father's fury.
Go. Indeed, that's one way: but are no more means
Left to his fine wits, than t'incense his father
With a more violent rage, and to redeem
A great offence with greater?
Ri. So I told him:
But to a desperate mind all breath is lost.
Go. Go to, let him be wise, and use his friends,
Amongst whom I'll be foremost, to his father:
Without this desperate error he intends
Join'd to the other; I'll not doubt to make him
Easy return into his father's favour;
So he submit himself, as duty binds him:
For fathers will be known to be themselves,
And often when their angers are not déep
Will paint an outward rage upon their looks.
Ri. All this I told him, sir; but what says he?
"I know my father will not be reclaim'd,
He'll think that if he wink at this offence,
'Twill open doors to any villany.
I'll dare to sell, to pawn, and run all riot,
To laugh at all his patience, and consume
All he hath purchased to an honour'd purpose,
In maintenance of a wanton whirligig,
Worth nothing more than she wears on her back."
Go. The very words I used t'incense his father!
But, good Rinaldo, let him be advised:
How would his father grieve, should he be maim'd,
Or quite miscarry in the ruthless war?
Ri. I told him so; but, "Better far," said he,
"One branch should utterly be lopp'd away,
Than the whole tree of all his race should perish;
And for his wants, better young want than old."
Go. By heaven, the same words still I used to his father!
Why comes this about? Well, good Rinaldo,
If he dare not endure his father's looks,
Let him and his fair wife come home to me,
Till I have qualified his father's passion.
He shall be kindly welcome, and be sure
Of all the intercession I can use.
Ri. I thank you, sir; I'll try what I can do,
Although I fear me I shall strive in vain.
Go. Well, try him, try him. [Exit.
Ri. Thanks, sir, so I will.
See, this old politic dissembling knight,
Now he perceives my father so affectionate,
And that my brother may hereafter live
By him and his, with equal use of either,
He will put on a face of hollow friendship.
But this will prove an excellent ground to sow
The seed of mirth amongst us; I'll go seek
Valerio and my brother, and tell them
Such news of their affairs as they'll admire. [Exit


Ga. How happy are your fortunes above mine!
Both still being woo'd and courted; still so feeding
On the delights of love, that still you find
An appetite to more; where I am cloy'd,
And being bound to love-sports, care not for them.
Be. That is your fault, Gazetta; we have loves,
And wish continual company with them
In honour'd marriage-rites, which you enjoy.
But seld' or never can we get a look
Of those we love. Fortunio, my dear choice,
Dare not be known to love me, nor come near
My father's house; where I as in a prison
Consume my lost days, and the tedious nights,
My father guarding me for one I hate.
And Gratiana here, my brother's love,
Joys him by so much stealth that vehement fear
Drinks up the sweetness of their stolen delights:
Where you enjoy a husband, and may freely
Perform all obsequies you desire to love.
Ga. Indeed I have a husband, and his love
Is more than I desire, being vainly jealous;
Extremes, tho' contrary, have the like effects,
Extreme heat mortifies like extreme cold;
Extreme love breeds satiety as well
As extreme hatred; and too violent rigour
Tempts chastity as much as too much licence;
There's no man's eye fix'd on me, but doth pierce
My husband's soul: If any ask my welfare,
He straight doubts treason practised to his bed:
Fancies but to himself all likelihoods
Of my wrong to him, and lays all on me
For certain truths; yet seeks he with his best
To put disguise on all his jealousy,
Fearing perhaps lest it may teach me that
Which otherwise I should not dream upon:
Yet lives he still abroad at great expense,
Turns merely gallant from his farmer's state,
Uses all games and recreations;
Runs races with the gallants of the Court,
Feasts them at home, and entertains them costly,
And then upbraids me with their company.


See, see, we shall be troubled with him now.
Co. Now, ladies, what plots have we now in hand?
They say, when only one dame is alone
She plots some mischief; but if three together,
They plot three hundred. Wife, the air is sharp,
Y'ad best to take the house, lest you take cold.
Ga. Alas! this time of year yields no such danger.
Co. Go in, I say; a friend of yours attends you.
Ga. He is of your bringing, and may stay.
Co. Nay, stand not chopping logic; in, I pray.
Ga. Ye see, gentlewomen, what my happiness is,
These humours reign in marriage, humours, humours.
[Exit, he followeth.
Gr. Now by my sooth, I am no fortune-teller,
And would be loth to prove so; yet pronounce
This at adventure, that 'twere indecorum
This heifer should want horns.
Be. Fie on this love!
I rather wish to want than purchase so.
Gr. Indeed, such love is like a smoky fire
In a cold morning; though the fire be cheerful,
Yet is the smoke so sour and cumbersome,
'Twere better lose the fire than find the smoke:
Such an attendant then as smoke to fire,
Is jealousy to love; better want both
Than have both.


Va. Come, Fortunio, now take hold
On this occasion, as myself on this:
One couple more would make a barley-break.
Fo. I fear, Valerio, we shall break too soon.
Your father's jealous spy-all will displease us.
Va. Well, wench, the day will come his Argus eyes
Will shut, and thou shalt open: 'sfoot, I think
Dame Nature's memory begins to fail her;
If I write but my name in mercer's books,
I am as sure to have at six months' end,
A rascal at my elbow with his mace,
As I am sure my father's not far hence;
My father yet hath ought Dame Nature debt,
These threescore years and ten, yet calls not on him;
But if she turn her debt-book over once,
And finding him her debtor, do but send
Her sergeant, John Death, to arrest his body,
Our souls shall rest, wench, then, and the free light
Shall triumph in our faces: where now night,
In imitation of my father's frowns,
Lowers at our meeting.


See where the scholar comes.
Ri. Down on your knees, poor lovers, reverence learning.
Fo. I pray thee, why, Rinaldo?
Ri. Mark what cause
Flows from my depth of knowledge to your loves,
To make you kneel and bless me while you live.
Va. I pray thee, good scholar, give us cause.
Ri. Mark, then, erect your ears; you know what horror
Would fly on your love from your father's frowns,
If he should know it. And your sister here
(My brother's sweetheart) knows as well what rage
Would seize his powers for her, if he should know
My brother woo'd her, or that she loved him.
Is not this true? speak all.
Omnes. All this is true.
Ri. It is as true that now you meet by stealth,
In depth of midnight, kissing out at grates,
Climb over walls. And all this I'll reform.
Va. By logic?
Ri. Well, sir, you shall have all means
To live in one house, eat and drink together,
Meet, and kiss your fills.
Va. All this by learning?
Ri. Ay, and your frowning father know all this.
Va. Ay, marry, small learning may prove that.
Ri. Nay, he shall know it, and desire it too,
Welcome my brother to him, and your wife,
Entreating both to come and dwell with him.
Is not this strange?
Fo. Ay, too strange to be true.
Ri. 'Tis in this head shall work it; therefore, hear:
Brother, this lady you must call your wife,
For I have told her sweetheart's father here
That she is your wife; and because my father,
(Who now believes it) must be quieted,
Before you see him, you must live awhile,
As husband to her, in his father's house.
Valerio, here's a simple mean for you
To lie at rack and manger with your wedlock,
And, brother, for yourself to meet as freely
With this your long-desired and barred love.
Fo. You make us wonder.
Ri. Peace; be ruled by me,
And you shall see to what a perfect shape
I'll bring this rude plot, which blind chance (the ape
Of council and advice) hath brought forth blind.
Valerio, can your heat of love forbear,
Before your father, and allow my brother
To use some kindness to your wife before him?
Va. Ay, before him, I do not greatly care,
Nor anywhere indeed; my sister here
Shall be my spy: if she will wrong herself,
And give her right to my wife, I am pleased.
Fo. My dearest life, I know, will never fear
Any such will or thought in all my powers.
When I court her, then, think I think 'tis thee;
When I embrace her, hold thee in mine arms:
Come, let us practise 'gainst we see your father.
Va. Soft, sir; I hope you need not do it yet;
Let me take this time.
Ri. Come, you must not touch her.
Va. No, not before my father.
Ri. No, nor now,
Because you are so soon to practise it,
For I must bring them to him presently.
Take her, Fortunio; go hence man and wife,
We will attend you rarely with fix'd faces.
Valerio, keep your countenance, and conceive
Your father in your forged sheepishness,
Who thinks thou darest not look upon a wench,
Nor know'st at which end to begin to kiss her.




GO. It is your own too simple lenity,
And doting indulgence shown to him still,
That thus hath taught your son to be no son;
As you have used him, therefore, so you have him:
Durst my son thus turn rebel to his duty,
Steal up a match unsuiting his estate,
Without all knowledge of a friend or father,
And, to make that good with a worse offence,
Adsolve to run beyond sea to the wars;
Durst my son serve me thus? Well, I have stay'd him,
Though much against my disposition,
And this hour I have set for his repair
With his young mistress and concealed wife;
And in my house, here, they shall sojourn both,
Till your black anger's storm be overblown.
Ma. My anger's storm? Ah, poor Fortunio,
One gentle word from thee would soon resolve
The storm of my rage to a shower of tears.
Go. In that vein still? Well, Marc Antonio,
Our old acquaintance and long neighbourhood
Ties my affection to you, and the good
Of your whole house; in kind regard whereof
I have advised you, for your credit's sake,
And for the tender welfare of your son,
To frown on him a little; if you do not,
But at first parley take him to your favour,
I protest utterly to renounce all care
Of you and yours, and all your amities.
They say he's wretched that out of himself
Cannot draw counsel to his proper weal.
But he's thrice wretched that has neither counsel
Within himself, nor apprehension
Of counsel for his own good, from another.
Ma. Well, I will arm myself against this weakness
The best I can. I long to see this Helen
That hath enchanted my young Paris thus,
And's like to set all our poor Troy on fire.

Enter VALERIO with a Page. MARC retires himself.

Go. Here comes my son. Withdraw, take up your stand;
You shall hear odds betwixt your son and mine.
Va. Tell him I cannot do't; shall I be made
A foolish novice, my purse set a-broach
By every cheating come-you-seven, to lend
My money, and be laugh'd at? tell him plain
I profess husbandry, and will not play
The prodigal, like him, 'gainst my profession.
Go. Here's a son.
Ma. An admirable spark!
Page. Well, sir, I'll tell him so. [Exit Page.
Va. 'Sfoot, let him lead
A better husband's life, and live not idly;
Spending his time, his coin and self on wenches.
Go. Why, what's the matter, son?
Va. Cry mercy, sir: why there comes messengers
From this and that brave gallant; and such gallants
As I protest I saw but through a grate.
Go. And what's this message?
Va. Faith, sir, he's disappointed
Of payments; and disfurnish'd of means present;
If I would do him the kind office therefore
To trust him but some seven-night with the keeping
Of forty crowns for me, he deeply swears,
As he's a gentleman, to discharge his trust;
And that I shall eternally endear him
To my wish'd service, he protests and contests.
Go. Good words, Valerio; but thou art too wise
To be deceived by breath. I'll turn thee loose,
To the most cunning cheater of them all.
Va. 'Sfoot; he's not ashamed besides to charge me
With a late promise; I must yield indeed
I did (to shift him with some contentment)
Make such a frivall promise.
Go. Ay, well done;
Promises are no fetters; with that tongue
Thy promise past, unpromise it again.
Wherefore has man a tongue of power to speak,
But to speak still to his own private purpose?
Beasts utter but one sound; but men have change
Of speech and reason, even by nature given them,
Now to say one thing, and another now,
As best may serve their profitable ends.
Ma. By'r-lady, sound instructions to a son.
Va. Nay, sir; he makes his claim by debt of friendship.
Go. Tush; friendship's but a term, boy; the fond world
Like to a doting mother glozes over
Her children's imperfections with fine terms;
What she calls friendship and true humane kindness,
Is only want of true experience:
Honesty is but a defect of wit;
Respect but mere rusticity and clownery.
Ma. Better and better. Soft, here comes my son.


Ri. Fortunio, keep your countenance; see, sir, here
The poor young married couple, which you pleased
To send for to your house.
Go. Fortunio, welcome.
And in that welcome I imply your wife's,
Who I am sure you count your second self.
[He kisses her.
Fo. Sir, your right noble favours do exceed
All power of worthy gratitude by words,
That in your care supply my father's place.
Go. Fortunio, I cannot choose but love you,
Being son to him who long time I have loved:
From whose just anger my house shall protect you,
Till I have made a calm way to your meetings.
Fo. I little thought, sir, that my father's love
Would take so ill so slight a fault as this.
Go. Call you it slight? Nay, though his spirit take it
In higher manner than for your loved sake,
I would have wish'd him; yet I make a doubt,
Had my son done the like, if my affection
Would not have turn'd to more spleen than your father's:
And yet I qualify him all I can,
And doubt not but that time and my persuasion,
Will work out your excuse: since youth and love
Were th' unresisted organs to seduce you:
But you must give him leave, for fathers must
Be won by penitence and submission,
And not by force or opposition.
Fo. Alas, sir, what advise you me to do?
I know my father to be highly moved,
And am not able to endure the breath
Of his express'd displeasure, whose hot flames
I think my absence soonest would have quench'd.
Go. True, sir, as fire with oil, or else like them,
That quench the fire with pulling down the house;
You shall remain here in my house conceal'd
Till I have won your father to conceive
Kinder opinion of your oversight.
Valerio, entertain Fortunio
And his fair wife, and give them conduct in.
Va. Y'are welcome, sir.
Go. What, sirrah, is that all?
No entertainment to the gentlewoman?
Va. Forsooth y'are welcome, by my father's leave.
Go. What, no more compliment? Kiss her, you sheepshead.
Why, when? Go, go, sir, call your sister hither.
[Exit VAL.
Lady, you'll pardon our gross bringing up?
We dwell far off from court, you may perceive:
The sight of such a blazing star as you
Dazzles my rude son's wits.
Gr. Not so, good sir.
The better husband, the more courtly ever.
Ri. Indeed a courtier makes his lips go far,
As he doth all things else.


Go. Daughter, receive
This gentlewoman home, and use her kindly.
[She kisses her.
Be. My father bids you kindly welcome, lady,
And therefore you must needs come well to me.
Gr. Thank you, forsooth.
Go. Go, dame, conduct 'em in.
[Exeunt Rinaldo, Fortunio, Bell., Grat.
Ah, errant sheepshead, hast thou lived thus long,
And darest not look a woman in the face?
Though I desire especially to see
My son a husband, shall I therefore have him
Turn absolute cullion? Let's see, kiss thy hand.
Thou kiss thy hand? thou wipest thy mouth, by th' mass.
Fie on thee, clown! They say the world's grown finer;
But I for my part never saw young men
Worse fashion'd and brought up than now-a-days.
'Sfoot, when myself was young, was not I kept
As far from Court as you? I think I was;
And yet my father on a time invited
The Duchess of his house; I being then
About some five-and-twenty years of age,
Was thought the only man to entertain her;
I had my congé; plant myself of one leg,
Draw back t'other with a deep-fetch'd honour;
Then with a bel regard advant mine eye
With boldness on her very visnomy.
Your dancers all were counterfeits to me:
And for discourse in my fair mistress' presence
I did not, as you barren gallants do,
Fill my discourses up drinking tobacco;
But on the present furnish'd evermore
With tales and practised speeches; as sometimes,
"What is't a clock?" "What stuff's this petticoat?"
"What cost the making? What the fringe and all?"
And "what she under her petticoat?"
And such-like witty compliments: and for need,
I could have written as good prose and verse
As the most beggarly poet of 'em all,
Either acrostic, Exordion,
Epithalamions, Satires, Epigrams,
Sonnets in Dozens, or your Quatorzains
In any rhyme, Masculine, Feminine,
Or Sdruciolla, or couplets, Blank Verse.
Y'are but bench-whistlers now-a-days to them
That were in our times. Well, about your husbandry,
Go, for i' faith th'art fit for nothing else.
Ma. By'r-lady, you have play'd the courtier rarely.
Go. But did you ever see so blank a fool,
When he should kiss a wench, as my son is?
Ma. Alas, 'tis but a little bashfulness.
You let him keep no company, nor allow him
Money to spend at fence and dancing-schools;
Y'are too severe, i'faith.
Go. And you, too supple.
Well, sir, for your sake I have stay'd your son
From flying to the wars; now see you rate him,
To stay him yet from more expenseful courses,
Wherein your lenity will encourage him.
Ma. Let me alone; I thank you for this kindness.


Ri. So! are they gone? Now tell me, brave Valerio,
Have I not won the wreath from all your wits,
Brought thee t'enjoy the most desired presence
Of thy dear love at home? and with one labour,
My brother to enjoy thy sister, where
It had been her undoing t'have him seen,
And make thy father crave what he abhors;
T'entreat my brother home t'enjoy his daughter,
Command thee kiss thy wench, chide for not kissing,
And work all this out of a Machiavel,
A miserable politician?
I think the like was never play'd before!
Va. Indeed, I must commend thy wit, of force,
And yet I know not whose deserves most praise,
Of thine or my wit: thine for plotting well,
Mine, that durst undertake and carry it
With such true form.
Ri. Well, the evening crowns the day:
Perséver to the end, my wit hath put
Blind Fortune in a string into your hand;
Use it discreetly, keep it from your father,
Or you may bid all your good days good-night.
Va. Let me alone, boy.
Ri. Well, sir, now to vary
The pleasures of our wits; thou know'st, Valerio,
Here is the new-turn'd gentleman's fair wife,
That keeps thy wife and sister company
With whom the amorous courtier Dariotto
Is far in love, and of whom her sour husband
Is passing jealous, puts on eagle's eyes,
To pry into her carriage. Shall we see
If he be now from home and visit her?

Enter GAZETTA sewing, CORNELIO following.

See, see, the prisoner comes.
Va. But soft, sir, see
Her jealous jailor follows at her heels.
Come, we will watch some fitter time to board her,
And in the meantime seek out our mad crew:
My spirit longs to swagger.
Ri. Go to, youth,
Walk not too boldly; if the sergeants meet you,
You may have swaggering work your bellyfull.
Va. No better copesmates;
[GAZETTA sits and sings sewing.
I'll go seek 'em out with this light in my hand,
The slaves grow proud with seeking out of us.
Co. A pretty work; I pray what flowers are these?
Ga. The pansy this.
Co. Oh, that's for lover's thoughts.
What's that, a columbine?
Ga. No, that thankless flower fits not my garden.
Co. Him? yet it may mine?
This were a pretty present for some friend,
Some gallant courtier, as for Dariotto,
One that adores you in his soul, I know.
Ga. Me? Why me more than yourself, I pray?
Co. Oh yes, he adores you, and adhorns me:
I'faith, deal plainly, do not his kisses relish
Much better than such peasants as I am?
Ga. Whose kisses?
Co. Dariotto's; does he not
The thing you wot on?
Ga. What thing, good lord?
Co. Why, lady, lie with you.
Ga. Lie with me?
Co. Ay, with you.
Ga. You with me, indeed.
Co. Nay, I am told that he lies with you too,
And that he is the only whoremaster
About the city.
Ga. If he be so only,
'Tis a good hearing that there are no more.
Co. Well, mistress, well, I will not be abused;
Think not you dance in nets; for though you do not
Make broad profession of your love to him,
Yet do I understand your darkest language,
Your treads a'th'toe, your secret jogs and wrings,
Your intercourse of glances; every tittle
Of your close amorous rites I understand.
They speak as loud to me, as if you said,
"My dearest Dariotto, I am thine."
Ga. Jesus! what moods are these? did ever husband
Follow his wife with jealousy so unjust?
That once I loved you, you yourself will swear;
And if I did, where did you lose my love?
Indeed, this strange and undeserved usage
Hath power to shake a heart were ne'er so settled;
But I protest, all your unkindness never
Had strength to make me wrong you but in thought.
Co. No, not with Dariotto?
Ga. No, by heaven.
Co. No letters pass'd, nor no designs for meeting?
Ga. No, by my hope of heaven.
Co. Well, no time past,
Go, go; go in and sew.
Ga. Well, be it so. [Exit GA.
Co. Suspicion is (they say) the first degree
Of deepest wisdom; and however others
Inveigh against this mood of jealousy,
For my part I suppose it the best curb,
To check the ranging appetites that reign
In this weak sex; my neighbours point at me
For this my jealousy; but should I do,
As most of them do, let my wife fly out
To feasts and revels, and invite home gallants,
Play Menelaus, give them time and place,
While I sit like a well-taught waiting-woman
Turning her eyes upon some work or picture,
Read in a book, or take a feigned nap,
While her kind lady takes one to her lap.
No, let me still be pointed at, and thought
A jealous ass, and not a wittolly knave.
I have a show of courtiers haunt my house,
In show my friends, and for my profit too;
But I perceive 'em, and will mock their aims,
With looking to their mark, I warrant 'em:
I am content to ride abroad with them,
To revel, dice, and fit their other sports;
But by their leaves I'll have a vigilant eye
To the main chance still. See, my brave comrades.

Enter DARIOTTO, CLAUDIO, and VALERIO: VALERIO putting up his sword.

Da. Well, wag, well; wilt thou still deceive thy father,
And being so simple a poor soul before him,
Turn swaggerer in all companies besides?
Cl. Hadst thou been 'rested, all would have come forth.
Va. Soft, sir, there lies the point, I do not doubt,
But t'have my pennyworths of these rascals one day,
I'll smoke the buzzing hornets from their nests,
Or else I'll make their leather jerkins stay.
The whoreson hungry horse-flies; foot, a man
Cannot so soon, for want of almanacks,
Forget his day but three or four bare months,
But straight he sees a sort of corporals,
To lie in ambuscado to surprise him.
Da. Well, thou hadst happy fortune to escape 'em.
Va. But they thought theirs was happier to 'scape me.
I walking in the place, where men's law-suits
Are heard and pleaded, not so much as dreaming
Of any such encounter, steps me forth
Their valiant foreman, with the word, "I 'rest you."
I made no more ado, but laid these paws
Close on his shoulders, tumbling him to earth;
And there sate he on his posteriors,
Like a baboon; and turning me about,
I straight espied the whole troop issuing on me.
I stept me back, and drawing my old friend here,
Made to the midst of them, and all unable
T'endure the shock, all rudely fell in rout,
And down the stairs they ran with such a fury,
As meeting with a troop of lawyers there,
Mann'd by their clients: some with ten, some twenty,
Some five, some three; he that had least, had one;
Upon the stairs they bore them down afore them;
But such a rattling then was there amongst them
Of ravish'd declarations, replications,
Rejoinders and petitions; all their books
And writings torn and trod on, and some lost,
That the poor lawyers coming to the bar,
Could say nought to the matter, but instead,
Were fain to rail and talk beside their books
Without all order
Cl. Faith, that same vein of railing became
Now most applausive; your best poet is
He that rails grossest.
Da. True, and your best fool is your broad railing fool.
Va. And why not, sir?
For by the gods, to tell the naked truth,
What objects see men in this world, but such
As would yield matter to a railing humour?
When he, that last year carried after one
An empty buckram bag, now fills a coach,
And crowds the senate with such troops of clients
And servile followers as would put a mad spleen
Into a pigeon.
Da. Come, pray leave these cross capers;
Let's make some better use of precious time,
See, here's Cornelio; come, lad, shall we to dice?
Co. Anything I.
Cl. Well said; how does thy wife?
Co. In health, God save her.
Va. But where is she, man?
Co. Abroad about her business.
Va. Why, not at home?
Foot, my masters, take her to the Court;
And this rare lad, her husband: and dost hear?
Play me no more the miserable farmer;
But be advised by friends, sell all i' th' country;
Be a flat courtier, follow some great man,
Or bring thy wife there, and she'll make thee great.
Co. What, to the Court? then take me for a gull;
Va. Nay, never shun it to be call'd a gull;
For I see all the world is but a gull;
One man gull to another in all kinds:
A merchant to a courtier is a gull;
A client to a lawyer is a gull;
A married man to a bachelor, a gull;
A bachelor to a cuckold is a gull;
All to a poet, or a poet to himself.
Co. Hark, Dariotto; shall we gull this guller?
Da. He gulls his father, man; we cannot gull him.
Co. Let me alone. Of all men's wits alive,
I most admire Valerio's, that hath stolen
By his mere industry, and that by spurts,
Such qualities as no wit else can match,
With plodding at perfection every hour;
Which, if his father knew each gift he has,
Were like enough to make him give all from him:
I mean, besides his dicing and his wenching,
He has stolen languages; th' Italian, Spanish,
And some spice of the French; besides his dancing,
Singing, playing on choice instruments:
These has he got, almost against the hair.
Cl. But hast thou stolen all these, Valerio?
Va. Toys, toys, a pox: and yet they be such toys
As every gentleman would not be without.
Co. Vain-glory makes ye judge on light i'faith.
Da. Afore heaven, I was much deceived in him;
But he's the man indeed that hides his gifts,
And sets them not to sale in every presence.
I would have sworn his soul were far from music,
And that all his choice music was to hear
His fat beasts bellow.
Co. Sir, your ignorance
Shall eftsoon be confuted. Prithee, Val,
Take thy theorbo, for my sake a little.
Va. By heaven! this month I touch'd not a theorbo.
Co. Touch'd a theorbo? mark the very word.
Sirrah, go fetch. [Exit Page.
Va. If you will have it, I must need confess
I am no husband of my qualities.
[He untrusses and capers.
Co. See what a caper there was!
Cl. See again.
Co. The best that ever; and how it becomes him!
Da. Oh that his father saw these qualities!

Enter a Page with an instrument.

Co. Nay, that's the very wonder of his wit
To carry all without his father's knowledge.
Da. Why, we might tell him now.
Co. No, but we could not,
Although we think we could; his wit doth charm us.
Come, sweet Val, touch and sing.
Da. 'Foot, will you hear
The worst voice in Italy?


Co. O God, sir! [He sings.] Courtiers, how like you this?
Da. Believe it excellent.
Co. Is it not natural?
Va. If my father heard me,
'Foot, he'd renounce me for his natural son.
Da. By heaven, Valerio, and I were thy father,
And loved good qualities as I do my life,
I'd disinherit thee; for I never heard
Dog howl with worse grace.
Co. Go to, Signor Courtier,
You deal not courtly now to be so plain,
Nor nobly, to discourage a young gentleman
In virtuous qualities, that has but stolen 'em.
Cl. Call you this touching a theorbo?
Omnes. Ha, ha, ha. [Exeunt all but VAL. and RIN.
Va. How now, what's here?
Ri. Zoons, a plot laid to gull thee.
Could thy wit think thy voice was worth the hearing?
This was the courtier's and the cuckold's project.
Va. And is't e'en so? 'Tis very well, master Courtier, and Dan
I'll cry quit with both;
And first, I'll cast a jar betwixt them both,
With firing the poor cuckold's jealousy.
I have a tale will make him mad,
And turn his wife divorced loose amongst us.
But first let's home, and entertain my wife;
Oh father, pardon, I was born to gull thee. [Exeunt.




FO. How happy am I, that by this sweet means,
I gain access to your most loved sight,
And therewithal to utter my full love, Which but for vent would burn my entrail
Go. By th' mass they talk too softly.
Be. Little thinks
The austere mind my thrifty father bears
That I am vow'd to you, and so am bound
From him, who for more riches he would force
On my disliking fancy.
Fo. 'Tis no fault,
With just deeds to defraud an injury.
Go. My daughter is persuading him to yield
In dutiful submission to his father.


Va. Do I not dream? do I behold this sight
With waking eyes? or from the ivory gate
Hath Morpheus sent a vision to delude me?
Is't possible that I, a mortal man,
should shrine within mine arms so bright a goddess,
The fair Gratiana, beauty's little world?
Go. What have we here?
Va. My dearest mine of gold,
All this that thy white arms enfold,
Account it as thine own freehold.
Go. God's my dear soul, what sudden change is here?
I smell how this gear will fall out, i'faith.
Va. Fortunio, sister, come, let's to the garden.
Go. Sits the wind there, i'faith? see what example
Will work upon the dullest appetite.
My son, last day so bashful, that he durst not
Look on a wench, now courts her; and by'r lady,
Will make his friend Fortunio wear his head
Of the right modern fashion. What, Rinaldo!


Ri. I fear I interrupt your privacy.
Go. Welcome, Rinaldo, would 'thad been your hap
To come a little sooner, that you might
Have seen a handsome sight: but let that pass:
The short is that your sister Gratiana
Shall stay no longer here.
Ri. No longer, sir?
Repent you then so soon your favour to her,
And to my brother?
Go. Not so, good Rinaldo;
But to prevent a mischief that I see
Hangs over your abused brother's head;
In brief, my son has learn'd but too much courtship.
It was my chance even now to cast mine eye
Into a place whereto your sister enter'd:
My metamorphosed son: I must conceal
What I saw there: but to be plain, I saw
More than I would see. I had thought to make
My house a kind receipt for your kind brother;
But I'd be loth his wife should find more kindness
Than she had cause to like of.
Ri. What's the matter?
Perhaps a little compliment or so.
Go. Well, sir, such compliment perhaps may cost
Married Fortunio the setting on.
Nor can I keep my knowledge; he that lately
Before my face I could not get to look
Upon your sister, by this light, now kiss'd her,
Embraced and courted with as good a grace
As any courtier could: and I can tell you
(Not to disgrace her) I perceived the dame
Was as far forward as himself, by the mass.
Ri. You should have school'd him for't.
Go. No, I'll not see't:
For shame once found, is lost; I'll have him think
That my opinion of him is the same
That it was ever; it will be a mean
To bridle this fresh humour bred in him.
Ri. Let me then school him; foot, I'll rattle him up.
Go. No, no, Rinaldo, th' only remedy
Is to remove the cause; carry the object
From his late tempted eyes.
Ri. Alas, sir, whither?
You know my father is incensed so much
He'll not receive her.
Go. Place her with some friend
But for a time, till I reclaim your father:
Meantime your brother shall remain with me.
Ri. [to himself.] The care's the less then; he has still his
To be with this gull's daughter.
Go. What resolve you?
I am resolved she lodges here no more:
My friend's son shall not be abused by mine.
Ri. Troth, sir, I'll tell you what a sudden toy
Comes in my head. What think you if I brought her
Home to my father's house?
Go. Ay, marry, sir;
Would he receive her?
Ri. Nay, you hear not all:
I mean, with use of some device or other.
Go. As how, Rinaldo?
Ri. Marry, sir, to say
She is your son's wife, married past your knowledge.
Go. I doubt, last day he saw her, and will know her to be Fortunio's
Ri. Nay, as for that
I will pretend she was even then your son's wife,
But feign'd by me to be Fortunio's.
Only to try how he would take the matter.
Go. 'Fore heaven 'twere pretty.
Ri. Would it not do well?
Go. Exceeding well, in sadness.
Ri. Nay, good sir.
Tell me unfeignedly, do ye like't indeed?
Go. The best that e'er I heard.
Ri. And do you think
He'll swallow down the gudgeon?
Go. A my life,
It were a gross gob would not down with him;
An honest knight, but simple; not acquainted
With the fine sleights and policies of the world,
As I myself am.
Ri. I'll go fetch her straight;
And this jest thrive, 'twill make us princely sport;
But you must keep our counsel, second all;
Which to make likely, you must needs sometimes
Give your son leave (as if you knew it not)
To steal and see her at my father's house.
Go. Ay, but see you then that you keep good guard
Over his forward new-begun affections:
For, by the Lord, he'll teach your brother else,
To sing the cuckoo's note; spirit will break out,
Though never so suppress'd and pinioned.
Ri. Especially your son's; what would he be
If you should not restrain him by good counsel?
Go. I'll have an eye on him, I warrant thee.
I'll in and warn the gentlewoman to make ready.
Ri. Well, sir, and I'll not be long after you.
Heaven, heaven, I see these politicians
(Out of blind Fortune's hands) are our most fools.
'Tis she that gives the lustre to their wits,
Still plodding at traditional devices:
But take 'em out of them to present actions,
A man may grope and tickle 'em like a trout,
And take 'em from their close deer holes as fat
As a physician, and as giddy-headed,
As if by miracle heaven had taken from them
Even that which commonly belongs to fools.
Well, now let's note what black ball of debate
Valerio's wit hath cast betwixt Cornelio
And the enamour'd courtier; I believe
His wife and he will part; his jealousy
Hath ever watch'd occasion of divorce;
And now Valerio's villany will present it.
See, here comes the twin-courtier, his companion.


Cl. Rinaldo, well encounter'd.
Ri. Why? what news?
Cl. Most sudden and infortunate, Rinaldo;
Cornelio is incensed so 'gainst his wife
That no man can procure her quiet with him.
I have assay'd him, and made Marc Antonio,
With all his gentle rhetoric, second me;
Yet all, I fear me, will be cast away.
See, see, they come; join thy wit, good Rinaldo,
And help to pacify his yellow fury.
Ri. With all my heart. I consecrate my wit
To the wish'd comfort of distressed ladies.


Co. Will any man assure me of her good behaviour?
Va. Who can assure a jealous spirit? You may be afraid of the shadow
your ears, and imagine them to be horns; if you will assure yourself, appoint
keepers to watch her.
Co. And who shall watch the keepers?
Ma. To be sure of that, be you her keeper.
Va. Well said; and share the horns yourself; for that's the keeper's
Co. But say I am gone out of town, and must trust others; how shall I
know if those I trust be trusty to me?
Ri. Marry, sir, by a singular instinct given naturally to all you
married men, that if your wives play legerdeheel, though you be a hundred
off, yet you shall be sure instantly to find it in your foreheads.
Co. Sound doctrine, I warrant you; I am resolved, i'faith.
Page. Then give me leave to speak, sir, that hath all this while been
silent; I have heard you with extreme patience; now, therefore, prick up your
ears, and vouchsafe me audience.
Cl. Good boy, a mine honour.
Co. Pray, what are you, sir?
Pa. I am here, for default of better, of counsel with the fair
and though herself had been best able to defend herself if she had been here,
and would have pleased to put forth the buckler which Nature hath given all
women, I mean her tongue_____
Va. Excellent, good boy.
Pa. Yet, since she either vouchsafes it not, or thinks her
innocence a
sufficient shield against your jealous accusations, I will presume
to undertake
the defence of that absent and honourable lady whose sworn knight I am; and in
her of all that name (for lady is grown a common name to their whole sex),
sex I have ever loved from my youth, and shall never cease to love, till I want

wit to admire.
Ma. An excellent spoken boy.
Va. Give ear, Cornelio; here is a young Mercurio sent to persuade
Co. Well, sir, let him say on.
Pa. It is a heavy case, to see how this light sex is tumbled and
from post to pillar, under the unsavoury breath of every humorous peasant.
Gazetta, you said, is unchaste, disloyal, and I wot not what; alas! is it her
fault? is she not a woman? did she not suck it (as others of her sex do) from
her mother's breast? and will you condemn that as her fault which is her
Alas! sir, you must consider a woman is an unfinished creature, delivered
hastily to the world, before Nature had set to that seal which should
have made
them perfect. Faults they have, no doubt, but are we free? Turn your eye into
yourself (good Signor Cornelio), and weigh your own imperfections
with hers. If
she be wanton abroad, are not you wanting at home? if she be amorous, are not
you jealous? if she be high set, are not you taken down? if she
be a courtezan,
are not you a cuckold?
Co. Out, you rogue.
Ri. On with thy speech, boy.
Ma. You do not well, Cornelio, to discourage the bashful youth.
Cl. Forth, boy, I warrant thee.
Pa. But if our own imperfections will not teach us to
bear with theirs,
yet let their virtues persuade us: let us endure their bad qualities for their
good; allow the prickle for the rose, the brack for the velvet, the paring for
the cheese, and so forth: if you say they range abroad, consider it is nothing
but to avoid idleness at home; their nature is still to be doing; keep 'em a-
doing at home; let them practise one good quality or other, either sewing,
singing, playing, chiding, dancing, or so; and these will put such idle toys
of their heads into yours; but if you cannot find them variety of business
within doors, yet, at least, imitate the ancient wise citizens of this city, wh
used carefully to provide their wives gardens near the town to plant, to graft
in, as occasion served, only to keep 'em from idleness.
Va. Everlasting good boy.
Co. I perceive your knavery, sir, and will yet have patience.
Ri. Forth, my brave Curio.
Pa. As to her unquietness (which some have rudely termed
though the fault be in her, yet the cause is in you. What so calm as the sea of

its own nature? Art was never able to equal it; your dicing-tables nor your
bowling-alleys are not comparable to it; yet, if a blast of wind do but cross
it, not so turbulent and violent an element in the world. So (Nature in lieu
women's scarcity of wit, having induced them with a large portion of will) if
they may (without impeach) enjoy their wills, no quieter creatures under
but if the breath of their husbands' mouths once cross their wills,
nothing more
tempestuous. Why then, sir, should you husbands cross your wives' wills thus,
considering the law allows them no wills at all at their deaths, because it
intended they should have their wills while they lived?
Va. Answer him but that, Cornelio.
Co. All shall not serve her turn; I am thinking of other matters.
Ma. Thou hast half won him, wag; ply him yet a little further.
Pa. Now, sir, for these cuckooish songs of yours, of cuckolds, horns,
grafting, and such-like; what are they but mere imaginary toys, bred out of
own heads, as your own, and so by tradition delivered from man to man, like
scarecrows, to terrify fools from this earthly paradise of wedlock, coined at
first by some spent poets, superannuated bachelors, or some that were
scarce men
of their hands; who, like the fox having lost his tail, would
persuade others to
lose theirs for company? Again, for your cuckold, what is it
but a mere fiction?
show me any such creature in nature; if there be, I could
never see it; neither
could I ever find any sensible difference betwixt a cuckold and a Christian
creature. To conclude, let poets coin, or fools credit,
what they list: for mine
own part, I am clear of this opinion, that your cuckold is a mere chimera, and
that there are no cuckolds in the world but those that have wives: and so I
leave them.
Co. 'Tis excellent good, sir; I do take you, sir, d'ye see, to be, as
it were, bastard to the saucy courtier, that would have me father more of your
fraternity, d'ye see? and so are instructed (as we hear) to second that
with your tongue, which he has acted with his tenure piece, d'ye see?
Pa. No such matter, a my credit, sir.
Co. Well, sir, be as be may, I scorn to set my head against
yours, d'ye
see? when in the meantime I will firk your father, whether you see or no.
[Exit drawing his
Ri. God's my life, Cornelio! [Exit.
Va. Have at your father, i'faith, boy, if he can find him.
Ma. See, he comes here: he has missed him.


Da. How now, my hearts, what, not a wench amongst you?
'Tis a sign y'are not in the grace of wenches
That they will let you be thus long alone.
Va. Well, Dariotto, glory not too much,
That for thy brisk attire and lips perfumed,
Thou play'st the stallion ever where thou comest;
And like the husband of the flock, runn'st through
The whole town herd, and no man's bed secure:
No woman's honour unattempted by thee.
Think not to be thus fortunate for ever:
But in thy amorous conquests at the last
Some wound will slice your mazer: Mars himself
Fell into Vulcan's snare, and so may you.
Da. Alas, alas, faith, I have but the name;
I love to court and win; and the consent
Without the act obtain'd, is all I seek;
I love the victory that draws no blood.
Cl. Oh, 'tis a high desert in any man
To be a secret lecher; I know some
That (like myself) are true in nothing else.
Ma. And methinks it is nothing, if not told;
At least the joy is never full before.
Va. Well, Dariotto, th'hadst as good confess,
The sun shines broad upon your practices.
Vulcan will wake and intercept you one day.
Da. Why, the more jealous knave and coxcomb he.
What, shall the shaking of his bed a little
Put him in motion? It becomes him not;
Let him be dull'd and stall'd, and then be quiet.
The way to draw my custom to his house,
Is to be mad and jealous; 'tis the sauce
That whets my appetite.
Va. Or any man's:
Sine periculo friget lusus.
They that are jealous, use it still of purpose
To draw you to their houses.
Da. Ay, by heaven,
I am of that opinion. Who would steal
Out of a common orchard? Let me gain
My love with labour, and enjoy't with fear,
Or I am gone.


Ri. What, Dariotto here?
'Foot, darest thou come near Cornelio's house?
Da. Why? is the bull run mad? what ails he, trow?
Ri. I know not what he ails; but I would wish you
To keep out of the reach of his sharp horns,
For by this hand he'll gore you.
Da. And why me,
More than thyself, or these two other whelps?
You all have basted him as well as I.
I wonder what's the cause?
Ri. Nay, that he knows,
And swears withal, that whereso'er he meets you,
He'll mark you for a marker of men's wives.
Va. Pray heaven he be not jealous by some tales
That have been told him lately; did you never
Attempt his wife? hath no love's harbinger,
No looks, no letters, pass'd 'twixt you and her?
Da. For look I cannot answer; I bestow them
At large, and carelessly, much like the sun;
If any be so foolish to apply them
To any private fancy of their own
(As many do), it's not my fault, thou knowest.
Va. Well, Dariotto, this set face of thine,
If thou be guilty of offence to him)
Comes out of very want of wit and feeling
What danger haunts thee; for Cornelio
Is a tall man, I tell you; and 'twere best.
You shunn'd his sight awhile, till we might get
His patience, or his pardon; for past doubt
Thou diest, if he but see thee.


Ri. 'Foot, he comes.
Da. Is this the cockatrice that kills with sight?
How dost thou, boy? ha?
Co. Well.
Da. What, lingering still
About this paltry town? hadst thou been ruled
By my advice, thou hadst by this time been
A gallant courtier, and at least a knight;
I would have got thee dubb'd by this time certain.
Co. And why then did you not yourself that honour?
Da. Tush; 'tis more honour still to make a knight
Than 'tis to be a knight; to make a cuckold
Than 'tis to be a cuckold.
Co. Y'are a villain.
Da. God shield, man! villain?
Co. Ay, I'll prove thee one.
Da. What, wilt thou prove a villain? By this light thou deceivest me,
Co. Well, sir, thus I prove it. [Draws.
Omnes. Hold, hold! raise the streets.
Cl. Cornelio.
Ri. Hold, Dariotto, hold.
Va. What, art thou hurt?
Da. A scratch, a scratch.
Va. Go, sirrah, fetch a surgeon.
Co. You'll set a badge on the jealous fool's head, sir; now set a
coxcomb on your own.
Va. What's the cause of these wars, Dariotto?
Da. 'Foot, I know not.
Co. Well, sir, know and spare not. I will presently be divorced, and
then take her amongst ye.
Ri. Divorced? nay, good Cornelio.
Co. By this sword I will; the world shall not dissuade me. [Exit.
Va. Why, this has been your fault now, Dariotto,
You youths have fashions; when you have obtain'd
A lady's favour, straight your hat must wear it;
Like a jackdaw, that when he lights upon
A dainty morsel, kaas and makes his brags,
And then some kite doth scoop it from him straight;
When, if he fed without his dawish noise,
He might fare better and have less disturbance.
Forbear it in this case; and when you prove
Victorious over fair Gazetta's fort,
Do not for pity sound your trump for joy,
But keep your valour close, and 'tis your honour.

Enter Page and POCK.

Po. God save you, Signor Dariotto.
Da. I know you not, sir; your name, I pray?
Po. My name is Pock, sir; a practitioner in surgery.
Da. Pock, the surgeon; y'are welcome, sir; I know a doctor of your
name, master Pock.
Po. My name has made many doctors, sir.
Ri. Indeed, 'tis a worshipful name.
Va. Marry is it, and of an ancient descent.
Po. 'Faith, sir, I could fetch my pedigree far, if I were so
Ri. Out of France, at least.
Po. And if I stood on my arms, as others do—
Da. No, do not, Pock; let others stand a their arms, and thou a thy
legs, as long as thou canst.
Po. Though I live by my bare practice, yet I could show good cards for

my gentility.
Va. Tush, thou canst not shake off thy gentry, Pock; 'tis bred i' th'
bone. But to the main, Pock. What thinkest thou of this gentleman's wound,
canst thou cure it, Pock?
Po. The incision is not deep, nor the orifice exorbitant; the
pericranion is not dislocated. I warrant his life for forty crowns, without
perishing of any joint.
Da. 'Faith, Pock; 'tis a joint I would be loth to lose for the best
joint of mutton in Italy.
Ri. Would such a scratch as this hazard a man's head?
Po. Ay, by'r-lady, sir; I have known some have lost their heads for a
less matter, I can tell you; therefore, sir, you must keep good diet; if you
please to come home to my house till you be perfectly cured, I shall have the
more care on you.
Va. That's your only course to have it well quickly.
Po. By what time would he have it well, sir?
Da. A very necessary question; canst thou limit the time?
Po. Oh, sir, cures are like causes in law, which may be lengthened or
shortened at the discretion of the lawyer; he can either keep it green with
replications or rejoinders, or sometimes skin it fair a' th' outside for
sake; but so he may be sure 'twill break out again by a writ of error,
and then
has he his suit new to begin; but I will covenant with you, that by
such a time
I'll make your head as sound as a bell; I will bring it to suppuration, and
after I will make it coagulate and grow to a perfect cicatrice, and all within
these ten days, so you keep a good diet.
Da. Well, come, Pock, we'll talk farther on't within; it draws near
dinner-time. What's o'clock, boy?
Pa. By your clock, sir, it should be almost one, for your head rung
noon some half hour ago.
Da. Is't true, sir?
Va. Away, let him alone; though he came in at the window he sets the
gates of your honour open, I can tell you.
Da. Come in, Pock, come, apply; and for this deed
I'll give the knave a wound shall never bleed:
So, sir, I think this knock rings loud acquittance
For my ridiculous—
[Exeunt all but RINAL, and VALER.
Ri. Well, sir, to turn our heads to salve your licence,
Since you have used the matter so unwisely
That now your father has discern'd your humour
In your too careless usuage in his house,
Your wife must come from his house to Antonio's,
And he, to entertain her must be told
She is not wife to his son, but to you:
Which news will make his simple wit triumph
Over your father; and your father thinking
He still is gull'd, will still account him simple.
Come, sir, prepare your villanous wit to feign
A kind submission to your father's fury,
And we shall see what hearty policy
He will discover, in his feigned anger,
To blind Antonio's eyes, and make him think
He thinks her heartily to be your wife.
Va. Oh, will I gull him rarely with my wench,
Low kneeling at my heels before his fury,
And injury shall be salved with injury.




MA. You see how too much wisdom ever more
Out-shoots the truth: you were so forwards still
To tax my ignorance, my green experience
In these gray hairs, for giving such advantage
To my son's spirit, that he durst undertake
A secret match, so far short of his worth:
Your son so season'd with obedience,
Even from his youth, that all his actions relish
Nothing but duty, and your anger's fear.
What shall I say to you, if it fall out
That this most precious son of yours has play'd
A part as bad as this, and as rebellious:
Nay, more, has grossly gull'd your wit withal.
What if my son has undergone the blame
That appertain'd to yours? and that this wench
With which my son is charged, may call you father:
Shall I then say you want experience?
Y'are green, y'are credulous; easy to be blinded.
Go. Ha, ha, ha.
Good Marc Antonio, when't comes to that,
Laugh at me, call me fool, proclaim me so,
Let all the world take knowledge I am an ass.
Ma. Oh! the good God of Gods,
How blind is pride! what eagles we are still
In matters that belong to other men,
What beetles in our own! I tell you, knight,
It is confess'd to be as I have told you;
And Gratiana is by young Rinaldo
And your white son, brought to me as his wife.
How think you now, sir?
Go. Even just as before,
And have more cause to think honest Credulity
Is a true loadstone to draw on Decrepity!
You have a heart too open to embrace
All that your ear receives: alas! good man,
All this is but a plot for entertainment
Within your house; for your poor son's young wife
My house, without huge danger, cannot hold.
Ma. Is't possible; what danger, sir, I pray?
Go. I'll tell you, sir; 'twas time to take her thence;
My son, that last day you saw could not frame
His looks to entertain her, now, by'r-lady,
Is grown a courtier; for myself, unseen,
Saw when he courted her, embraced and kiss'd her,
And, I can tell you, left not much undone,
That was the proper office of your son.
Ma. What world is this?
Go. I told this to Rinaldo,
Advising him to fetch her from my house;
And his young wit, not knowing where to lodge her
Unless with you, and saw that could not be
Without some wile: I presently suggested
This quaint device—to say she was my son's;
And all this plot, good Marc Antonio,
Flow'd from this fount, only to blind our eyes.
Ma. Out of how sweet a dream have you awaked me!
By heaven, I durst have laid my part in heaven
All had been true; it was so lively handled,
And drawn with such a seeming face of truth;
Your son had cast a perfect veil of grief
Over his face, for his so rash offence,
To seal his love with act of marriage
Before his father had subscribed his choice.
My son (my circumstance lessening the fact)
Entreating me to break the matter to you,
And joining my effectual persuasions
With your son's penitent submission,
Appease your fury: I at first assented,
And now expect their coming to that purpose.
Go. 'Twas well, 'twas well; seem to believe it still,
Let art end what credulity began;
When they come, suit your words and looks to theirs,
Second my sad son's feign'd submission,
And see in all points how my brain will answer
His disguised grief, with a set countenance
Of rage and choler; now observe and learn
To school your son by me.


Ma. On with your mask; here come the other maskers, sir.
Ri. Come on, I say,
Your father with submission will be calm'd;
Come on; down a your knees.
Go. Villain, durst thou
Presume to gull thy father? Dost thou not
Tremble to see my bent and cloudy brows
Ready to thunder on thy graceless head,
And with the bolt of my displeasure cut
The thread of all my living from thy life,
For taking thus a beggar to thy wife?
Va. Father, if that part I have in your blood,
If tears, which so abundantly distil
Out of my inward eyes, and for a need
Can drown these outward (lend me thy handkercher)
And being, indeed, as many drops of blood
Issuing from the creator of my heart,
Be able to beget so much compassion,
Not on my life, but on this lovely dame,
Whom I hold dearer?
Go. Out upon thee, villain!
Ma. Nay, good Gostanzo; think, you are a father.
Go. I will not hear a word: out, out upon thee!
Wed without my advice, my love, my knowledge,
Ay, and a beggar, too, a trull, a blowse!
Ri. You thought not so last day, when you offer'd her
A twelvemonths' board for one night's lodging with her.
Go. Go to, no more of that; peace, good Rinaldo,
It is a fault that only she and you know.
Ri. Well, sir, go on, I pray,
Go. Have I, fond wretch,
With utmost care and labour brought thee up,
Ever instructing thee, omitting never
The office of a kind and careful father,
To make thee wise and virtuous like thy father,
And hast thou in one act everted all?
Proclaim'd thyself to all the world a fool,
To wed a beggar?
Va. Father, say not so.
Go. Nay, she's thy own; here, rise, fool, take her to thee,
Live with her still, I know thou count'st thyself
Happy in soul, only in winning her;
Be happy still; here, take her hand, enjoy her.
Would not a son hazard his father's wrath,
His reputation in the world, his birthright,
To have but such a mess of broth as this?
Ma. Be not so violent, I pray you, good Gostanzo,
Take truce with passion, license your sad son
To speak in his excuse.
Go. What? what excuse?
Can any orator in this case excuse him?
What can he say? what can be said of any?
Va. Alas, sir, hear me; all that I can say
In my excuse, is but to show love's warrant.
Go. Notable wag!
Va. I know I have committed
A great impiety, not to move you first
Before the dame I meant to make my wife.
Consider what I am, yet young, and green,
Behold what she is. Is there not in her,
Ay, in her very eye, a power to conquer
Even age itself and wisdom? Call to mind,
Sweet father, what yourself being young have been,
Think what you may be, for I do not think
The world so far spent with you, but you may
Look back on such a beauty, and I hope
To see you young again, and to live long
With young affections; wisdom makes a man
Live young for ever; and where is this wisdom
If not in you? Alas, I know not what
Rests in your wisdom to subdue affections,
But I protest it wrought with me so strongly
That I had quite been drown'd in seas of tears
Had I not taken hold in happy time
Of this sweet hand; my heart had been consumed
T'a heap of ashes with the flames of love,
Had it not sweetly been assuaged and cool'd
With the moist kisses of these sugar'd lips.
Go. O puissant wag; what huge large thongs he cuts
Out of his friend Fortunio's stretching-leather.
Ma. He knows he does it but to blind my eyes.
Go. Oh, excellent! these men will put up anything.
Va. Had I not had her, I had lost my life,
Which life indeed I would have lost before
I had displeased you, had I not received it
From such a kind, a wise, and honoured father.
Go. Notable boy!
Va. Yet do I here renounce
Love, life, and all, rather than one hour longer
Endure to have your love eclipsed from me.
Gr. Oh, I can hold no longer; if thy words
Be used in earnest, my Valerio,
Thou wound'st my heart, but I know 'tis in jest.
Go. No, I'll be sworn she has her lyripoop too.
Gr. Didst thou not swear to love, spite of father and all the world?
That nought should sever us but death itself?
Va. I did, but if my father
Will have his son forsworn, upon his soul
The blood of my black perjury shall lie;
For I will seek his favour though I die.
Go. No, no; live still, my son; thou well shalt know
I have a father's heart; come join your hands,
Still keep thy vows, and live together still,
Till cruel death set foot betwixt you both.
Va. Oh, speak you this in earnest?
Go. Ay, by heaven.
Va. And never to recall it?
Go. Not till death.
Ri. Excellent, sir; you have done like yourself,
What would you more, Valerio?
Va. Worshipful father.
Ri. Come, sir, come you in, and celebrate your joys.
[Exeunt all save the old men.
Go. O Marc Antonio,
Had I not arm'd you with an expectation,
Would not this make you pawn your very soul
The wench had been my son's wife?
Ma. Yes, by heaven:
A knavery thus effected might deceive
A wiser man than I, for I, alas!
Am no good politician: plain believing,
Simple honesty, is my policy still.
Go. The visible marks of folly, honesty,
And quick credulity his younger brother.
I tell you, Marc Antonio, there is much
In that young boy, my son.
Ma. Not much honesty, if I may speak without offence to his father.
Go. O God, you cannot please me better, sir.
H'as honesty enough to serve his turn,
The less honesty ever the more wit;
But go you home, and use your daughter kindly;
Meantime I'll school your son; and do you still
Dissemble what you know, keep off your son;
The wench at home must still be my son's wife;
Remember that, and be you blinded still.
Ma. You must remember too to let your son
Use his accustom'd visitations,
Only to blind my eyes.
Go. He shall not fail;
But still take you heed, have a vigilant eye
On that sly child of mine, for by this light,
He'll be too bold with your son's forehead else.
Ma. Well, sir, let me alone, I'll bear a brain.


Va. Come, they are gone.
Ri. Gone? they were far gone here.
Va. Gull'd I my father, or gull'd he himself?
Thou told'st him Gratiana was my wife,
I have confessed it, he has pardon'd it.
Ri. Nothing more true, enow can witness it.
And therefore when he comes to learn the truth,
(As certainly for all these sly disguises,
Time will strip truth into her nakedness),
Thou hast good plea against him to confess
The honour'd action, and to claim his pardon.
Va. 'Tis true, for all was done, he deeply swore,
Out of his heart.
Ri. He has much faith the whiles,
That swore a thing so quite against his heart.
Va. Why, this is policy.
Ri. Well, see you repair
To Gratiana daily, and enjoy her
In her true kind; and now we must expect
The resolute and ridiculous divorce
Cornelio hath sued against his wedlock.
Va. I think it be not so; the ass dotes on her.
Ri. It is too true, and thou shalt answer it
For setting such debate 'twixt man and wife:
See, we shall see the solemn manner of it.


Be. Good Signor Cornelio, let us poor gentlewomen entreat you to
Co. Talk no more to me, I'll not be made cuckold in my own house;
notary, read me the divorce.
Ga. My dear Cornelio, examine the cause better before you condemn me.
Co. Sing to me no more, siren, for I will hear thee no more; I will
take no compassion on thee.
Pa. Good Signor Cornelio, be not too mankind against your wife; say
y'are a cuckold (as the best that is may be so at a time) will you make a
trumpet of your own horns?
Co. Go to, sir, y'are a rascal; I'll give you a fee for pleading for
her one day. Notary, do you your office.
Va. Go to, signor, look better to your wife and be better advised,
before you grow to this extremity.
Co. Extremity! Go to, I deal but too mercifully with her. If I should
use extremity with her I might hang her, and her copesmate my drudge here. How
say you, master Notary, might I not do it by law?
No. Not hang 'em, but you may bring them both to a white sheet.
Co. Nay, by the mass! they have had too much of the sheet already.
No. And besides, you may set capital letters on their foreheads.
Co. What's that to the capital letter that's written in mine? I say,
for all your law, master Notary, that I may hang 'em. May I not hang him that
robs me of mine honour, as well as he that robs me of my horse?
No. No, sir, your horse is a chattel.
Co. So is honour. A man may buy it with his penny, and if I may hang
man for stealing my horse, as I say, much more for robbing me of my honour;
why? if my horse be stolen it may be my own fault; for why? either the
stable is
not strong enough, or the pasture not well fenced, or watched, or so
forth. But
for your wife that keeps the stable of your honour; let her be locked in a
brazen tower, let Argus himself keep her, yet can you never be secure of your
honour; for why? she can run through all with her serpent noddle; besides, you
may hang a lock upon your horse, and so can you not upon your wife.
Ri. But I pray you, sir, what are the presumptions on which you will
build this divorce?
Co. Presumption enough, sir, for besides their intercourse, or
of glances that passed betwixt this cockrill-drone and her at my table last
Sunday night at supper, their winks, their becks, due guard, their
treads a'the
toe (as by heaven I swear she trod once upon my toe instead of his), this is
chiefly to be noted, the same night she would needs lie alone; and the same
night her dog barked. Did not you hear him, Valerio?
Va. And understand him too, I'll be sworn of a book.
Co. Why, very good; if these be not manifest presumptions now, let the

world be judge. Therefore without more ceremony, master Notary, pluck out your
No. I will, sir, if there be no remedy.
Co. Have you made it strong in law, Master Notary? have you put in
words enough?
No. I hope so, sir; it has taken me a whole skin of parchment, you
Co. Very good; and is egress and regress in?
No. I'll warrant you, sir, it is forma juris.
Co. Is there no hole to be found in the orthography?
No. None in the world, sir.
Co. You have written Sunt with an S, have you not?
No. Yes, that I have.
Co. You have done the better for quietness' sake; and are none of the
authentical dashes over the head left out? if there be, master Notary, an
will lie out.
No. Not for a dash over head, sir, I warrant you, if I should
I have seen that tried in Butiro and Caseo, in Butler and Cason's
case, Decimo
sexto of Duke Anonimo.
Ri. Y'ave gotten a learned notary, Signor Cornelio.
Co. He's a shrewd fellow indeed. I had as lieve have his head in a
matter of felony, or treason, as any notary in Florence. Read out, master
Notary. Hearken you, mistress; gentlemen, mark, I beseech you.
Omnes. We will all mark you, sir, I warrant you.
No. I think it would be something tedious to read all, and therefore,
gentlemen, the sum is this: That you, Signor Cornelio, Gentleman, for divers
sundry weighty and mature considerations, you especially moving, specifying
the particulars of your wife's enormities in a schedule hereunto annexed, the
transcript whereof is in your own tenure, custody, occupation, and keeping: Tha
for these, the aforesaid premises, I say, you renounce, disclaim, and
Gazetta from being your leeful or your lawful wife: And that you eftsoons
divide, disjoin, separate, remove, and finally eloigne, sequester, and divorce
her, from your bed and your board; That you forbid her all access, repair,
egress or regress to your person or persons, mansion or mansions, dwellings,
habitations, remainences or abodes, or to any shop, cellar, sollar, easements'
chamber, dormer, and so forth, now in the tenure, custody, occupation, or
keeping of the said Cornelio; notwithstanding all former contracts, covenants,
bargains, conditions, agreements, compacts, promises, vows, affiances,
assurances, bonds, bills, indentures, poledeeds, deeds of gift, defesances,
feoffments, endowments, vouchers, double vouchers, privy entries, actions,
declarations, explications, rejoinders, surrejoinders, rights, interests,
demands, claims, or titles whatsoever, heretofore betwixt the one and the
party, or parties, being had, made, passed, covenanted, and agreed, from the
beginning of the world till the day of the date hereof. Given the
seventeenth of
November, fifteen hundred and so forth. Here, sir, you must set to your hand.
Co. What else, master Notary? I am resolute, i'faith.
Ga. Sweet husband, forbear.
Co. Avoid, I charge thee in name of this divorce; thou mightst have
looked to it in time, yet this I will do for thee; if thou canst spy out any
other man that thou wouldst cuckold, thou shalt have my letter to him. I can
no more. More ink, master Notary; I write my name at large.
No. Here is more, sir.
Co. Ah, ass, that thou couldst not know thy happiness till thou hadst
lost it! How now? my nose bleed? Shall I write in blood? What! only three
'Sfoot, 'tis ominous: I will not set my hand to't now certain, master
Notary, I
like not this abodement; I will defer the setting to of my hand till the next
court day. Keep the divorce, I pray you, and the woman in your house together.
Omnes. Burn the divorce, burn the divorce!
Co. Not so, sir, it shall not serve her turn. Master Notary, keep it
your peril, and, gentlemen, you may begone a God's name; what have you to do
flock about me thus? I am neither howlet nor cuckoo. Gentlewomen, for God's
meddle with your own cases, it is not fit you should haunt these public
Omnes. Well, farewell, Cornelio.
Va. Use the gentlewoman kindly, master Notary.
No. As mine own wife, I assure you, sir. [Exeunt.
Cl. Signor Cornelio, I cannot but in kindness tell you that Valerio, by
counsel of Rinaldo, hath whispered all this jealousy into your ears; not that
knew any just cause in your wife, but only to be revenged on you for the gull
you put upon him when you drew him with his glory to touch the theorbe.
Co. May I believe this?
Cl. As I am a gentleman; and if this accident of your nose had not
fallen out, I would have told you this before you set to your hand.
Co. It may well be, yet have I cause enough
To perfect my divorce; but it shall rest
Till I conclude it with a counterbuff
Given to these noble rascals. Claudio, thanks:
What comes of this, watch but my brain a little,
And ye shall see, if like two parts in me,
I leave not both these gullers' wits imbrier'd;
Now I perceive well where the wild wind sits,
Here's gull for gull, and wits at war with wits.



RINALDO solus.

FORTUNE, the great commandress of the world,
Hath divers ways to advance her followers:
To some she gives honour without deserving,
To other some, deserving without honour;
Some wit, some wealth, and some with without wealth;
Some wealth without wit, some nor wit nor wealth,
But good smock-faces; or some qualities,
By nature without judgment, with the which
They live in sensual acceptation
And make show only, without touch of substance.
My fortune is to win renown by gulling
Gostanzo, Dariotto, and Cornelio;
All which suppose, in all their different kinds,
Their wits entire, and in themselves no piece;
All at one blow, my helmet, yet unbruised,
I have unhorsed, laid flat on earth for gulls:
Now in what taking poor Cornelio is
Betwixt his large divorce and no divorce,
I long to see, and what he will resolve;
I lay my life he cannot chew his meat,
And look much like an ape had swallow'd pills;
And all this comes of bootless jealousy,
And see, where bootless jealousy appears.


I'll board him straight: how now, Cornelio,
Are you resolved on the divorce, or no?
Co. What's that to you? Look to your own affairs,
The time requires it: are not you engaged
In some bonds forfeit for Valerio?
Ri. Yes, what of that?
Co. Why, so am I myself,
And both our dangers great; he is arrested
On a recognizance, by a usuring slave.
Ri. Arrested? I am sorry with my heart,
It is a matter may import me much.
May not our bail suffice to free him, think you?
Co. I think it may, but I must not be seen in't,
Nor would I wish you, for we both are parties,
And liker far to bring ourselves in trouble,
Than bear him out; I have already made
Means to the officers to sequester him
In private for a time, till some in secret
Might make his father understand his state,
Who would perhaps take present order for him.
Rather than suffer him t'endure the shame
Of his imprisonment. Now, would you but go
And break the matter closely to his father,
(As you can wisely do't) and bring him to him
This were the only way to save his credit,
And to keep off a shrewd blow from ourselves.
Ri. I know his father will be moved past measure.
Co. Nay, if you stand on such nice ceremonies,
Farewell our substance; extreme diseases
Ask extreme remedies: better he should storm
Some little time than we be beat for ever
Under the horrid shelter of a prison.
Ri. Where is the place?
Co. 'Tis at the Half Moon Tavern.
Haste, for the matter will abide no stay.
Ri. Heaven send my speed be equal with my haste.
Co. Go, shallow scholar, you that make all gulls,
You that can out-see clear-eyed jealousy,
Yet make this slight a milestone, where your brain
Sticks in the midst amazed; this gull to him
And to his fellow guller, shall become
More bitter than their baiting of my humour;
Here at this tavern shall Gostanzo find
Fortunio, Dariotto, Claudio,
And amongst them, the ringleader his son,
His husband, and his Saint Valerio,
That knows not of what fashion dice are made,
Nor ever yet look'd towards a red lattice
(Thinks his blind sire), at drinking and at dice,
With all their wenches, and at full discover
His own gross folly and his son's distempers.
And both shall know (although I be no scholar)
Yet I have thus much Latin, as to say,
Jam sumus ergo pares. [Exit

Drawer or two, setting a table.

Va. Set me the table here, we will shift rooms
To see if fortune will shift chances with us;
Sit, ladies, sit; Fortunio, place thy wench,
And Claudio place you Dariotto's mistress.
I wonder where that neat spruce slave becomes;
I think he was some barber's son, by th' mass,
'Tis such a picked fellow, not a hair
About his whole bulk, but it stands in print.
Each pin hath his due place, not any point
But hath his perfect tie, fashion, and grace;
A thing whose soul is specially employ'd
In knowing where best gloves, best stockings, waist coats
Curiously wrought, are sold; sacks milliners' shops
For all new tires and fashions, and can tell ye
What new devices of all sorts there are,
And that there is not in the whole Rialto
But one new-fashion'd waistcoat, or one night-cap,
One pair of gloves, pretty or well perfumed,
And from a pair of gloves of half-a-crown
To twenty crowns, will to a very scute
Smell out the price; and for these womanly parts
He is esteem'd a witty gentleman.


Fo. See, where he comes.
Da. God save you, lovely ladies.
Va. Ay, well said, lovely Paris; your wall eye
Must ever first be gloating on men's wives;
You think to come upon us, being half drunk
And so to part the freshest man among us,
But you shall overtake us, I'll be sworn.
Da. Tush, man; where are your dice?
Let's fall to them.
Cl. We have been at 'em. Drawer, call for more.
Va. First, let's have wine; dice have no perfect edge
Without the liquid whetstone of the syrup.
Fo. True; and to welcome Dariotto's lateness,
He shall (unpledged) carouse one crowned cup
To all these ladies' health.
Da. I am well pleased.
Va. Come on, let us vary our sweet time
With sundry exercises. Boy! tobacco.
And drawer, you must get us music too;
Call's in a cleanly noise, the slaves grow lousy.
Dr. You shall have such as we can get for you, sir.
Da. Let's have some dice; I pray thee they are cleanly.
Va. Page, let me see that leaf.
Pa. It is not leaf, sir; 'tis pudding cane tobacco.
Va. But I mean your linstock, sir; what leaf is that, I pray?
Pa. I pray you see, sir, for I cannot read.
Va. 'Sfoot, a rank, stinking Satyr; this had been
Enough to have poison'd every man of us.
Da. And now you speak of that, my boy once lighted
A pipe of cane tobacco with a piece
Of a vile ballad, and I'll swear I had
A singing in my head a whole week after.
Va. Well, th' old verse is, A potibus incipe io-c-um.

Enter Drawer, with wine and a cup.

Va. Drawer, fill out this gentleman's carouse,
And harden him for our society.
Da. Well, ladies, here is to your honour'd healths.
Fo. What, Dariotto, without hat or knee?
Va. Well said, Fortunio; oh, y'are a rare courtier,
Your knee, good signor, I beseech, your knee.
Da. Nay, pray you, let's take it by degrees, Valerio; on our feet
first, for this will bring's too soon upon our knees.
Va. Sir, there are no degrees of order in a tavern;
Here you must, I charge ye, run all ahead.
'Slight, courtier, down,
I hope you are no elephant, you have joints.
Da. Well, sir, here's to the ladies, on my knees.
Va. I'll be their pledge.


Fo. Not yet, Valerio;
This he must drink unpledged.
Va. He shall not; I will give him this advantage.
Go. How now, what's here? Are these the officers?
Ri. 'Slight, I would all were well.


Va. Here is his pledge;
Here's to our common friend, Cornelio's health.
Cl. Health to Gazetta, poison to her husband.
[He kneels.
Co. Excellent guests; these are my daily guests.
Va. Drawer, make even th' impartial scales of justice,
Give it to Claudio, and from him fill round.
Come, Dariotto, set me, let me rest,
Come in when they have done the ladies right.
Go. Set me; do you know what belongs to setting?
Ri. What a dull slave was I to be thus gull'd.
Co. Why, Rinaldo, what meant you to entrap your friend,
And bring his father to this spectacle?
You are a friend indeed.
Ri. 'Tis very good, sir;
Perhaps my friend, or I, before we part,
May make even with you,
Fo. Come, let's set him round.
Va. Do so; at all. A plague upon these dice!
Another health, 'sfoot, I shall have no luck
Till I be drunk: come on, here's to the comfort
The cavalier, my father, should take in me
If he now saw me, and would do me right.
Fo. I'll pledge it, and his health, Valerio.
Go. Here's a good husband.
Ri. I pray you have patience, sir.
Va. Now have at all, and 'twere a thousand pounds.
Go. Hold, sir, I bar the dice.
Va. What, sir, are you there?
Fill's a fresh bottle; by this light, sir knight,
You shall do right.


Go. O thou ungracious villain!
Va. Come, come, we shall have you now thunder forth
Some of your thrifty sentences, as gravely:
"For as much, Valerius, as everything has time, and a pudding has two;
ought not satisfaction to swerve so much from defalcation of well-disposed
people, as that indemnity should prejudice what security doth insinuate;" a
trial yet once again.
Ma. Here's a good sight; y'are well encounter'd, sir;
Did not I tell you you'd o'ershoot yourself
With too much wisdom?
Va. Sir, your wisest do so;
Fill the old man some wine.
Go. Here's a good infant.
Ma. Why, sir; alas! I'll wager with your wisdom,
His consorts drew him to it, for of himself
He is both virtuous, bashful, innocent;
Comes not at city; knows no city art,
But plies your husbandry; dares not view a wench.
Va. Father, he comes upon you.
Go. Here's a son.
Ma. Whose wife is Gratiana, now, I pray?
Go. Sing your old song no more; your brain's too short
To reach into these policies.
Ma. 'Tis true,
Mine eye's soon blinded; and yourself would say so
If you knew all. Where lodged your son last night?
Do you know that, with all your policy?
Go. You'll say he lodged with you; and did not I
Foretell you all this must for colour sake
Be brought about, only to blind your eyes?
Ma. By heaven! I chanced this morn, I know not why,
To pass by Gratiana's bedchamber;
And whom saw I fast by her naked side
But your Valerio?
Go. Had you not warning given?
Did not I bid you watch my courtier well,
Or he would set a crest a your son's head?
Ma. That was not all, for by them on a stool,
My son sat laughing, to see you so gull'd.
Go. 'Tis too, too plain.
Ma. Why, sir, do you suspect it the more for that?
Go. Suspect it? is there any
So gross a wittoll, as if 'twere his wife,
Would sit by her so tamely?
Ma. Why not, sir, to blind my eyes?
Go. Well, sir, I was deceived,
But I shall make it prove a dear deceit
To the deceiver.
Ri. Nay, sir, let's not have
A new infliction set on an old fault:
He did confess his fault upon his knees,
You pardon'd it, and swore 'twas from your heart.
Go. Swore; a great piece of work, the wretch shall know
I have a daughter here to give my land to,
I'll give my daughter all: the prodigal
Shall not have one poor house to hide his head in.
Fo. I humbly thank you, sir, and vow all duty
My life can yield you.
Go. Why are you so thankful?
Fo. For giving to your daughter all your lands;
Who is my wife, and so you gave them me.
Go. Better, and better.
Fo. Pray, sir, be not moved,
You drew me kindly to your house, and gave me
Access to woo your daughter, whom I loved:
And since (by honour'd marriage) made my wife.
Go. Now all my choler fly out in your wits:
Good tricks of youth, i' faith no indecorum,
Knight's son, knight's daughter; Marc Antonio,
Give me your hand; there is no remedy;
Marriage is ever made by destiny.
Ri. Silence, my masters; now here all are pleased,
Only Cornelio; who lacks but persuasion
To reconcile himself to his fair wife:
Good sir, will you (of all men our best speaker)
Persuade him to receive her into grace?
Go. That I will gladly; and he shall be ruled. Good Cornelio, I have
heard of your wayward jealousy, and I must tell you plain as a friend,
y'are an
ass; you must pardon me, I knew your father.
Ri. Then you must pardon him, indeed, sir.
Go. Understand me: put case Dariotto loved your wife, whereby you woul
seem to refuse her; would you desire to have such a wife as no man could love
but yourself?
Ma. Answer but that, Cornelio.
Go. Understand me; say Dariotto hath kissed your wife, or performed
other offices of that nature, whereby they did converse together at bed and at
board, as friends may seem to do.
Ma. Mark but the "now understand me."
Go. Yet if there come no proofs but that her actions were cleanly, or
indiscreet private, why, 'twas a sign of modesty; and will you blow the horn
yourself, when you may keep it to yourself? Go to, you are a fool; understand
Va. Do understand him, Cornelio.
Go. Nay, Cornelio, I tell you again, I knew your father; he was a
gentleman and so was your mother; methinks I see her yet; a lusty stout woman,
bore great children, you were the very scoundrel of 'em all; but let that
as for your mother, she was wise; a most flippant tongue she had, and
could set
out her tail with as good grace as any she in Florence, come cut and
long tail;
and she was honest enough too. But yet by your leave she would tickle Dob now
and then, as well as the best on 'em: by Jove! it's true, Cornelio, I speak it
not to flatter you; your father knew it well enough, and would he do as you
think you? Set rascals to undermine her, or look to her water (as they
say)? No;
when he saw 'twas but her humour, for his own quietness' sake he made a back-
door to his house for convenience, got a bell to his fore door, and had an odd
fashion in ringing, by which she and her maid knew him; and would stand
to his next neighbour to prolong time, that all things might be rid
cleanly out
a the way before he came, for the credit of his wife. This was
wisdom now, for a
man's own quiet.
Ma. Here was a man, Cornelio.
Go. What, I say! Young men think old men are fools; but old men know
young men are fools.
Co. Why, hark you, you two knights; do you think I will forsake
Go. And will you not?
Co. Why, there's your wisdom; why did I make show of divorce, think
Ma. Pray you why, sir?
Co. Only to bridle her stout stomach; and how did I
draw on the colour
for my divorce? I did train the woodcock Dariotto into the net, drew him to my
house, gave him opportunity with my wife (as you say my father dealt with his
wife's friends), only to train him in; let him alone with my wife in her bed-
chamber, and sometimes found him a bed with her, and went my way back again
softly, only to draw him into the pit.
Go. This was well handled indeed, Cornelio.
Ma. Ay marry, sir, now I commend your wisdom.
Co. Why, if I had been so minded as you think, I could have flung his
pantable down the stairs, or done him some other disgrace; but I winked at it,
and drew on the good fool more and more, only to bring him within my compass.
Go. Why, this was policy in grain.
Co. And now shall the world see I am as wise as my father.
Va. Is't come to this? then will I make a speech in praise of this
reconcilement, including therein the praise and honour of the most fashionable
and autentical HORN: stand close, gentles, and be silent.
[He gets into a chair.
Go. Come on, let's hear his wit in this potable humour.
Va. The course of the world (like the life of man) is said to be
divided into several ages. As we into infancy, childhood, youth, and so
to old age; so the world into the golden age, the silver, the brass, the iron,
the leaden, the wooden, and now into this present age, which we term the
horned age: not that but former ages have enjoyed this benefit as well as
our times, but that in ours it is more common, and nevertheless precious. It
said, that in the golden age of the world, the use of gold was not then known;
an argument of the simplicity of that age, lest therefore succeeding ages
hereafter impute the same fault to us, which we lay upon the first age;
that we,
living in the horned age of the world should not understand the use,
the virtue,
the honour, and the very royalty of the horn, I will, in brief, sound the
praises thereof; that they, who are already in possession of it, may bear their

heads aloft, as being proud of such lofty accoutrements; and they that are but
in possibility, may be ravished with a desire to be in possession. A trophy so
honourable, and unmatchably powerful, that it is able to raise any man from a
beggar to an emperor's fellow, a duke's fellow, a nobleman's fellow,
fellow; so glorious, that it deserves to be worn (by most opinions)
in the most
conspicuous place about a man: for what worthier crest can you bear than the
horn? which if it might be seen with our mortal eyes, what a
wonderful spectacle
would there be! and how highly they would ravish the beholders. But their
substance is incorporal, not falling under sense, nor mixed of the gross
concretion of elements, but a quintessence beyond them; a spiritual essence
invisible and everlasting. And this hath been the cause that many men have
called their being in question, whether there be such a thing in rerum
naturâ, or not; because they were not to be seen, as
though nothing were
that were not to be seen. Who ever saw the wind? yet what
wonderful effects are
seen of it! it drives the clouds, yet no man sees it; it
rocks the house, bears
down trees, castles, steeples, yet who sees it? In like
sort does your horn: it
swells the forehead, yet none sees it; it rocks the
cradle, yet none sees it; so
that you plainly perceive sense is no judge of essence. The moon to any man's
sense seems to be horned; yet who knows not the
moon to be ever perfectly round?
so, likewise your heads seem ever to be round, when indeed they are oftentimes
horned. For their original it is unsearchable; natural they are not; for there
is beast born with horns more than with teeth? created they were not, for Ex
nihilo nihil fit; then will you ask me, how came they into the world? I know
not; but I am sure women brought them into this part of the world; howsoever,
some doctors are of opinion that they came in with the devil, and not unlike;
for as the devil brought sin into the world, but the woman brought it to the
man; so it may very well be that the devil brought horns into the world, but
woman brought them to the man. For their power, it is general over the
world: no
nation so barbarous, no country so proud, but doth equal homage to the horn.
Europa, when she was carried through the sea by the Saturnian bull, was said
(for fear of falling) to have held by the horn; and what is this but a plain
showing to us, that all Europe, which took name from that Europa, should
likewise hold by the horn. So that I say, it is universal over the face of the
world, general over the face of Europe, and common over the face of this
country. What city, what town, what village, what street, nay, what house, can
quit itself of this prerogative? I have read that the lion once made a
proclamation through all the forest, that all horned beasts should depart
forthwith upon pain of death; if this proclamation should be made through our
forest, Lord! what pressing, what running, what flying would there be even
all the parts of it! He that had but a bunch of flesh in his head would away;
and some foolishly fearful, would imagine the shadow of his ears to be horns;
alas! how desert would this forest be left! To conclude: for their force it is
irrevitable, for were they not irrevitable, then might either properness of
person secure a man, or wisdom prevent 'em; or greatness exempt, or riches
redeem them; but present experience hath taught us, that in this case, all
stand in no stead; for we see the properest men take part of them, the
best wits
cannot avoid them (for then should poets be no cuckolds), nor can money redeem
them, for then would rich men fine for their horns, as they do for offices;
this is held for a maxim, that there are more rich cuckolds than poor. Lastly,
for continuance of the horn, it is undeterminable till death; neither do they
determine with the wife's death (howsoever, ignorant writers hold opinion they
do), for as when a knight dies his lady still retains the title of lady; when
company is cast yet the captain still retains the title of captain; so though
the wife die by whom this title came to her husband, yet by the courtesy of
city, he shall be a cuckold during life, let all ignorant asses prate what
Go. Notable wag; come, sir, shake hands with him In whose high honour
you have made this speech.
Ma. And you, sir, come, join hands; y'are one amongst them.
Go. Very well done; now take your several wives, And spread like
geese, though you now grow tame;
Live merrily together, and agree.
Horns cannot be kept off with jealousy.


Since all our labours are as you can like,
We all submit to you; nor dare presume
To think there's any real worth in them;
Sometimes feasts please the cooks, and not the guests;
Sometimes the guests, and curious cooks contemn them.
Our dishes we entirely dedicate
To our kind guests; but since ye differ so,
Some to like only mirth without taxations,
Some to count such works trifles, and such-like,
We can but bring you meat, and set you stools,
And to our best cheer say, you all are— welcome.

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