Patient Grissel – Act 1, Scene 2

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As they go in, horns sound and hallooing within: that done, enter JANICULA, GRISSIL, and BABULO, with two baskets begun to be wrought.

 BABULO
Old Master, here’s a morning able to make us work tooth and nail.  Marry, then must we have victuals.  The sun hath played Bo Peep in the element any time these two hours, as I do some mornings when you call.  “What, Babulo!” say you; “here, Master,” say I, and then this eye opens.  Yet dun is the mouse, lie still.  “What, Babulo!” says Grissil; “anon,” say I, and then this eye looks up, yet down I snug again.  “What, Babulo!” say you again, and then I start up and see the sun, and then sneeze, and then shake mine ears, and then rise, and then get my breakfast, and then fall to work, and then wash my hands, and by this time I am ready.  Here’s your basket, and, Grissil, here’s yours.

JANICOLA
Fetch thine own, Babulo.  Let’s ply our business.

BABULO
God send me good luck, Master.

GRISSIL
Why, Babulo, what’s the matter?

BABULO
God forgive me, I think I shall not eat a peck of salt.  I shall not live long, sure.  I should be a rich man by right, for they never do good deeds, but when they see they must die, and I have now a monstrous stomach to work, because I think I shall not live long.

JANICOLA
Go fool, cease this vain talk and fall to work.

BABULO
I’ll hamper some body if I die, because I am a basket-maker.                          [Exit.

JANICOLA
Come, Grissil, work sweet girl.  Here the warm sun
Will shine on us, and when his fires begin,
We’ll cool our sweating brows in yonder shade.

GRISSIL
Father, methinks it doth not fit a maid,
By sitting thus in view, to draw men’s eyes
To stare upon her.  Might it please your age,
I could be more content to work within.

JANICOLA
Indeed, my child, men’s eyes do nowadays
Quickly take fire at the least spark of beauty,
And if those flames be quench’d by chaste disdain,
Then their envenom’d tongues, alack, do strike,
To wound her fame whose beauty they did like.

GRISSIL
I will avoid their darts and work within.

JANICOLA
Thou needst not; in a painted coat goes sin
And loves those that love pride.  None looks on thee.
Then keep me company.  How much unlike
Are thy desires to many of thy sex!
How many wantons in Salucia
Frown like the sullen night, with their fair faces
Are hid within doors; but got once abroad,
Like the proud sun they spread their staring beams.
They shine out to be seen; their loose eyes tell
That in their bosoms wantonness do dwell.
Thou canst not do so, Grissil, for thy sun
Is but a star; thy star, a spark of fire,
Which hath no power t’inflame doting desire;
Thy silks are thread-bare russets; all thy portion
Is but an honest name; that gone, thou art dead,
Though dead thou liv’st, that being unblemished.

GRISSIL
If to die free from shame be near to die,
Then I’ll be crowned with immortality.

JANICOLA
Pray God thou mayst; yet chide my jealous soul,
Trembles though fears, so often as mine eyes
Sees our duke court thee; and when to thine ears
He tunes sweet love-songs, oh beware, my Grissil!
He can prepare his way with gifts of gold.
Upon his breath winged Promotion flies.
Oh, my dear girl, trust not his sorceries!
Did he not seek the ship wrack of thy fame?
Why should he send his tailors to take measure
Of Grissil’s body?  But as one should say,
If thou wilt be the Marquess’ concubine,
Thou shalt wear rich attires; but they that think,
With costly garments, sins black face to hide,
Wear naked bravery and ragged pride.

GRISSIL
Good father, do not shake your age with fears.
Although the Marquess sometimes visit us,
Yet all his words and deeds are, like his birth,
Steeped in true honour; but admit they were not,
Before my soul look black with speckled sin
My hands shall make me pale death’s underling.

JANICOLA
The music of those words sweeten my ears.
Come, girl, let’s faster work; time apace wears.

 Enter BABULO with his work.

 GRISSIL
Come, Babulo, why hast thou stayed so long?

BABULO
Nay, why are you so short?  Master, here’s money I took, since I went, for a cradle.  This year, I think, be leap year, for women do nothing but buy cradles.  By my troth, I think the world is at an end, for as soon as we be born we marry; as soon as we marry we get children, by hook or by crook gotten they are, children must have cradles; as soon as they are in them, they hop out of them, for I have seen little girls that yesterday has scarce a hand to make them ready, the next day had worn wedding rings on their fingers; so that if the world do not end we shall not live one by another.  Basket-making as all other trades, runs to decay, and shortly we shall not be worth a button, for none in this cutting age sow true stitches, but tailors, and shoemakers, and yet now and then they tread their shoes awry too.

JANICOLA
Let not they tongue go so.  Sit down to work,
And that our labour may not seem too long,
We’ll cunningly beguile it with a song.

BABULO
Do, Master, for that’s honest cozenage.

The Song

Art thou poor, yet hast thou golden slumbers?
Oh, sweet content!
Art thou rich, yet is thy mind perplex’d?
Oh, punishment!
Dost thou laugh to see how fools are vex’d?
To add to golden numbers, golden numbers.
Oh, sweet content, oh sweet &c.

Foot
Work apace, apace, apace, apace:
Honest labour berates a lovely face.
Then hey nonny, nonny: hey nonny, nonny!

Canst drink the waters of the crisped spring?
Oh, sweet content!
Swimst thou in wealth, yet sinkst in thine own tears?
Oh, punishment!
Then he that patiently wants burden bears,
No burden bears, but is a king, a king.
Oh, sweet content, &c.

Foot
Work apace, apace, &c.

 Enter LAUREO.

 BABULO
Weep, master; yonder comes your son.

JANICOLA
Laureo, my son!  Oh, heaven, let thy rich hand
Pour plenteous showers of blessing on his head!

LAUREO
Treble the number fall upon your age.
Sister?

GRISSIL
Dear brother Laureo, welcome home.

BABULO
Master Laureo, Janicola’s son, welcome home.  How do the nine muses, Pride, Covetousness, Envy, Sloth, Wrath, Gluttony, and Lechery?  You that are scholars read how they do.

LAUREO
Muses!  These, fool, are the Seven Deadly Sins.

BABULO
Are they?  Mass, methinks it’s better serving them then your nine Muses, for they are stark beggars.

JANICOLA
Often have I wished to see you here.

LAUREO
It grieves me that you see me here so soon.

JANICOLA
Why, Laureo, dost thou grieve to see thy father,
Or dost thou scorn me for my poverty?

BABULO
He needs not, for he looks like Poor John himself; eight to a neck of mutton, is not that your commons and a cue of bread?

LAUREO
Father, I grieve my young years to your age
Should add more sorrow.

JANICOLA
Why son, what’s the matter?

LAUREO
That which to think on makes me desperate.
I that have charg’d my friends, and from my father
Pulled more than he could spare; I that have lived
These nine years at the university,
Must now for this world’s devil, this angel of gold,
Have all those days and nights to beggary sold;
Through want of money, what I want I miss.
Who is more scorn’d then a poor scholar is?

BABULO
Yes, three things: age, wisdom and basket-makers.

GRISSIL
Brother, what means these words?

LAUREO
Oh, I am mad
To think how much a scholar undergoes
And in the end reaps naught but penury.
Father, I am enforced to leave my book,
Because the study of my book doth leave me
In the lean arms of lank necessity.
Having no shelter, ah me, but to fly
Into the sanctuary of your aged arms.

BABULO
A trade, a trade, follow basket-making.  Leave books and turn block-head.

JANICOLA
Peace, fool!  Welcome, my son; though I am poor
My love shall not be so.  Go, daughter Grissil,
Fetch water from the spring to seethe our fish,
Which yesterday I caught.  The cheer is mean,
But be content.  When I have sold these baskets,
The money shall be spent to bid thee welcome.
Grissil, make haste, run and kindle fire.                             [Exit GRISSIL.

BABULO
Go, Grissil, I’ll make fire, and scour the kettle.  It’s a hard world when scholars eat fish upon fresh days.                                                     [Exit BABULO.

LAURIO
Is’t not a shame for me that am a man,
Nay more, a scholar, to endure such need,
That I must prey on him whom I should feed?

JANICOLA
Nay, grieve not, son; better have felt worse woe.
Come, sit by me while I work to get bread,
And Grissil spin us yarn to clothe our backs.
Thou shalt read doctrine to us for thy soul;
Then what shall we three want?  Nothing, my son;
For when we cease from work, even in that while,
My song shall charm grief’s ears and care beguile.

 Enter GRISSIL running with a pitcher.

 GRISSIL
Father, as I was running to fetch water,
I saw the Marquess, with a gallant train,
Come riding towards us.  O, see where they come!

 Enter MARQUESS, PAVIA, MARIO, LEPIDO, two Ladies and some
other Attendants.

 MARQUESS
See where my Grissil and her father is.
Methinks her beauty shining through those weeds
Seems like a bright star in the sullen night.
How lovely poverty dwells on her back.
Did but the proud world note her as I do
She would cast off rich robes, forswear rich state,
To clothe them in such poor abiliments.
Father, good fortune ever bless thine age.

JANICOLA
All happiness attend my gracious lord.

MARQUESS
And what wish you, fair maid?

GRISSIL
That your high thoughts,
To you contentment may be satisfied.

MARQUESS
Thou wouldst wish so, knowest thou for what I come.
Brother of Pavia, behold this virgin.
Mario, Lepido, is she not fair?

PAVIA
Brother, I have not seen so mean a creature
So full of beauty.

MARIO
Were but Grissil’s birth,
As worthy as her form, she might be held
A fit companion for the greater state.

LAUREO
Oh, blindness, so that men may beauty find!
They never respect the beauties of the mind.

MARQUESS
Father Janicola, what’s he that speaks?

JANICOLA
A poor despised scholar, and my son.

MARQUESS
This is no time to hold dispute with scholars.
Tell me in faith, old man, what dost thou think,
Because the Marquess visits thee so oft?

JANICOLA
The will of princes’ subjects must not search.
Let it suffice, your grace is welcome hither.

MARQUESS
And I’ll requite that welcome if I live.
Grissil, suppose a man should love you dearly,
As I know some that do, would you agree
To quittance true affection with the like?

GRISSIL
None is so fond to fancy poverty.

MARQUESS
I say there is.  Come, lords, stand by my side.
Nay, brother, you are sped and have a wife.
Then give us leave that are all bachelors.
Now, Grissil, eye us well and give your verdict,
Which of us three you hold the proper’st man.

GRISSIL
I have no skill to judge proportions.

MARQUESS
Nay then, you jest; women have eagles eyes
To pry even to the heart, and why not you?
Come, we stand fairly, freely speak your mind;
For, by my birth, he whom thy choice shall bless,
Shall by thy husband.

MARIO
What intends your grace?

LEPIDO
My lord, I have vowed to lead a single life.

MARQUESS
A single life?  This cunning cannot serve.
Do not I know you love her?  I have heard
Your passions spent for her, your sighs for her.
Mario, to the wonder of her beauty
Compiled a sonnet.

MARIO
I, my lord, write sonnets?

MARQUESS
You did entreat me to entreat her father
That you might have his daughter to your wife.

LEPIDO
To any one I willingly resign
All interest in her, which doth look like mine.

MARIO
My lord, I swear she ne’er shall be my bride.
I hope she swear so too being thus denied.

MARQUESS
Both of you turn’d apostates in love?
Nay then, I’ll play the crier; once, twice, thrice;
Speak or she’s gone else.  No, since ‘twill not be,
Since you are not for her, yet she’s for me.

PAVIA
What mean you, brother?

MARQUESS
Faith, no more but this:
By love’s most wondrous metamorphosis,

To turn this maid into your brother’s wife.
[To GRISSIL.] Nay, sweet heart, look not strange; I do not jest,
But to thine ears mine amorous thoughts impart;
Gwalter protests he loves thee with his heart.

LAUREO
The admiration of such happiness
Makes me astonish’d.

GRISSIL
Oh, my gracious lord,
Humble not your high state to my low birth
Who am not worthy to be held your slave,
Much less your wife.

MARQUESS
Grissil, that shall suffice;
I count thee worthy.  Old Janicola,
Art thou content that I shall be thy son?

JANICOLA
I am not worthy of so great a good.

MARQUESS
Tush, tush! talk not of worth; in honest terms,
Tell me if I shall have her, for by heaven,
Unless your free consent allow my choice,
To win ten kingdoms I’ll not count her mine.
What’s thy son’s name?

JANICOLA
Laureo, my gracious lord.

MARQUESS
I’ll have both your consents.  I tell ye, lords,
I have wooed the virgin long, oh many an hour
Have I been glad to steal from all your eyes,
To come disguised to her.  I swear to you,
Beauty first made me love, and virtue woe,
I lov’d her lowliness.  But when I tried
What virtues were intempled in her breast,
My chaste heart swore that she should be my bride.
Say, father, must I be forsworn or no?

JANICOLA
What to my lord seems best to me seems so.

MARQUESS
Laureo, what’s your opinion?

LAUREO
Thus, my lord:
If equal thoughts durst both your states confer,
Her’s is too low, and you too high for her.

MARQUESS
What says fair Grissil now?

GRISSIL
Thus doth she say:
As her old father yields to your dread will,
So she her father’s pleasure must fulfil.
If old Janicola make Grissil yours,
Grissil must not deny; yet had she rather
Be the poor daughter still of her poor father.

MARQUESS
I’ll gild that poverty, and make it shine
With beams of dignity; this base attire
These ladies shall tear of, and deck thy beauty
In robes of honour, that the world may say,
Virtue and beauty was my bride to-day.

MARIO
This mean choice will distain your nobleness.

MARQUESS
No more, Mario, then it doth disgrace
The sun to shine on me.

LEPIDO
She’s poor and base.

MARQUESS
She’s rich, for virtue beautifies her face.

PAVIA
What will the world say when the trump of fame
Shall sound your high birth with a beggar’s name?

MARQUESS
The world still looks asquint, and I deride
His purblind judgement; Grissil is my bride;
Janicola and Laureo, father, brother;
You and your son, grac’d with our royal favour,
Shall live to outwear time in happiness.

 Enter BABULO.

 BABULO
Master, I have made a good fire.  Sirrah, Grissil, the fish.

JANICOLA
Fall on thy knees, thou fool!  See, here’s our duke.

BABULO
I have not offended him, therefore I’ll not duck and he were ten dukes. I’ll kneel to none but God and my prince.

LAUREO
This is thy prince.  Be silent, Babulo.

BABULO
Silence is a virtue; marry, ‘tis a dumb virtue.  I love virtue that speaks, and has a long tongue, like a bellwether, to lead other virtues after.  If he be a prince, I hope he is not prince over my tongue.  Snails, wherefore come all these?  Master, here’s not fish enough for us.  Sirrah Grissil, the fire burns out.

MARQUESS
Tell me, my love, what pleasant fellow is this?

GRISSIL
My aged father’s servant, my gracious lord.

BABULO
How “my love?”  Master, a word to the wise, scilicet me “my love?”

MARQUESS
What’s his name?

BABULO
Babulo, sir, is my name.

MARQUESS
Why dost thou tremble so?  We are all thy friends.

BABULO
It’s hard, sir, for this motley jerkin to find friendship with this fine doublet.

MARQUESS
Janicola, bring him to court with thee.

BABULO
You may be ashamed to lay such knavish burden upon old age’s shoulders, but I see they are stooping a little; all cry down with him. He shall not bring me, sir, I’ll carry myself.

MARQUESS
I pray thee do; I’ll have thee live at court.

BABULO
I have a better trade sir; basket-making.

MARQUESS
Grissil, I like thy man’s simplicity.
Still shall he be thy servant.  Babulo,
Grissil thy mistress, now shall be my wife.

BABULO
I think, sir, I am a fitter husband for her.

MARQUESS
Why shouldst thou think so?  I will make her rich.

BABULO
That’s all one, sir; beggars are fit for beggars, gentlefolks for gentlefolks.  I am afraid that this wonder of the rich loving the poor will last but nine days.  Old Master, bring this merry gentleman home to dinner; you shall have a good deal of fish, sir, and thank you him for his good will to your daughter Grissil, for I’ll be hanged if he do not, as many cogging merchants nowadays do when they have got what they would, give her the bells; let her fly.

GRISSIL
Oh bear, my lord, with his intemperate tongue.

MARQUESS
Grissil, I take delight to hear him talk.

BABULO
Ay, ay, y’are best take me up for your fool.  Are you not he that came speaking so, to Grissil here?  Do you remember how I knock’d you once for offering to have a lick at her lips?

MARQUESS
I do remember it, and for thy pains
A golden recompense I’ll give to thee.

BABULO
Why do, and I’ll knock you as often as you list.

MARQUESS
Grissil, this merry fellow shall be mine.
But we forget ourselves; the day grows old.
Come, lords, cheer up your looks and with fair smiles,
Grace our intended nuptials; time may come
When all commanding love your hears subdue;
The Marquess may perform as much as you.                                   [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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