The Shoemaker’s Holiday – Act 3, scene 4

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Note:  The New Mermaids edition of The Shoemaker’s Holiday gives this scene as Act 4, Scene 1, thereby renumbering the scenes of the fourth act.–B.F.

Enter JANE in a seamster’s shop, working, and HAMMON
muffled, at another door.  He stands aloof.

Yonder’s the shop, and there my fair love sits:
She’s fair and lovely, but she is not mine.
O would she were!  Thrice have I courted her,
Thrice hath my hand been moistened with her hand,
Whilst my poor famished eyes do feed on that
Which made them famish.  I am infortunate:
I still love one, yet nobody loves me.
I muse in other men what women see
That I so want?  Fine Mistress Rose was coy,
And this too curious. O no, she is chaste!
And for she thinks me wanton, she denies
To cheer my cold heart with her sunny eyes.
How prettily she works!  O pretty hand!
O happy work!  It doth me good to stand
Unseen to see her; thus I oft have stood,
In frosty evenings, a light burning by her,
Enduring biting cold, only to eye her.
One only look hath seemed as rich to me
As a king’s crown: such is love’s lunacy!
Muffled I’ll pass along, and by that try
Whether she know me.

Sir, what is’t you buy?
What is’t you lack, sir?  Callico, or lawn?
Fine cambric shirts, or bands? What will you buy?

[Aside.] That which thou wilt not sell; faith, yet I’ll try:
How do you sell this handkerchief?

Good cheap.

And how these ruffs?

Cheap too.

And how this band?

Cheap too.

All cheap?  How sell you then this hand?

My hands are not to be sold.

To be given, then?
Nay, faith, I come to buy.

But none knows when.

Good sweet, leave work a little while:  let’s play.

I cannot live by keeping holiday.

I’ll pay you for the time which shall be lost.

With me, you shall not be at so much cost.

Look, how you wound this cloth, so you wound me.

It may be so.

‘Tis so.

What remedy?

Nay, faith you are too coy.

Let go my hand.

I will do any task at your command:
I would let go this beauty, were I not
Enjoined to disobey you by a power
That controls kings:  I love you.

So, now part.

With hands I may, but never with my heart.
In faith, I love you.

I believe you do.

Shall a true love in me breed hate in you?

I hate you not.

Then you must love.

I do.
What, are you better now?  I love not you.

All this, I hope, is but a woman’s fray
That means, come to me, when she cries, away.
In earnest, mistress, I do not jest:
A true chaste love hath entered in my breast.
I love you as dearly as I love my wife:
I love you as a husband loves a wife.
That and no other love my love requires;
Thy wealth I know is little; my desires
Thirst not for gold; sweet beauteous Jane, what’s mine
Shall, if thou make myself thine, all be thine:
Say, judge, what is thy sentence, life or death?
Mercy or cruelty lies in thy breath.

Good sir, I do believe you love me well,
For ’tis a silly conquest, silly pride,
For one like you–I mean a gentleman–
To boast that by his love-tricks he hath brought
Such and such women to his amorous lure.
I think you do not so; yet many do,
And make it even a very trade to woo.
I could be coy, as many women be,
Feed you with sunshine-smiles and wanton looks;
But I detest witchcraft.  Say that I
Do constantly believe you constant have.

Why dost thou not believe me?

I believe you,
But yet, good sir, because I will not grieve you
With hopes to taste fruit which will never fall,
In simple truth this is the sum of all:
My husband lives, at least I hope he lives.
Pressed was he to these bitter wars in France,
Bitter they are to me by wanting him.
I have but one heart, and that heart’s his due:
How can I then bestow the same on you?
Whilst he lives, his I live, be it ne’er so poor,
And rather be his wife, than a king’s whore.

Chaste and dear woman, I will not abuse thee,
Although it cost my life if thou refuse me.
Thy husband pressed for France?  What was his name?

Ralph Damport.

Damport?  Here’s a letter sent
From France to me, from a dear friend of mine,
A gentleman of place:  here he doth write
Their names that have been slain in every fight.

I hope Death’s scroll contains not my love’s name.

Cannot you read?

I can.

Peruse the same.
To my remembrance such a name I read
Amongst the rest:  see here.

Ay me, he’s dead!
He’s dead; if this be true, my dear heart’s slain.

Have patience, dear love.

Hence, hence.

Nay, sweet Jane,
Make not poor sorrow proud with these rich tears:
I mourn thy husband’s death because thou mourn’st.

That bill is forged:  ’tis signed by forgery.

I’ll bring thee letters sent besides to many,
Carrying the like report:  Jane, ’tis too true.
Come, weep not; mourning, though it rise from love,
Helps not the mourned, yet hurts them that mourn.

For God’s sake, leave me.

Whither dost thou turn?
Forget the dead, love them that are alive;
His love is faded, try how mine will thrive.

‘Tis now no time for me to think on love.

‘Tis now best time for you to think on love,
Because your love lives not.

Though he be dead,
My love to him shall not be buried.
For God’s sake, leave me to myself alone.

‘Twould kill my soul to leave thee drowned in moan.
Answer to my suit, and I am gone:
Say to me yea or no.


Then farewell.
One farewell will not serve:  I come again.
Come, dry these wet cheeks; tell me, faith, sweet Jane,
Yea or no, once more.

Once more I say no;
Once more begone, I pray, else will I go.

Nay, then, I will grow rude!  By this white hand,
Until you change that cold no, here I’ll stand,
Till by your hard heart.

Nay, for God’s love, Peace!
My sorrows by your presence more increase.
Not that you thus are present, but all grief
Desires to be alone; therefore in brief
Thus much I say, and saying bid adieu:
If ever I wed man it shall be you.

O blessed voice!  Dear Jane, I’ll urge no more;
Thy breath hath made me rich.

Death makes me poor.                                                                   [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene.

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