2 Honest Whore – Act 1, Scene 3

Return to previous scene

Enter CANDIDO, LODIVICO, ASTOLFO, and CAROLO.
One guest wearing a long hat.  Other guests, and BRIDE
with Prentices.

 CANDIDO
Oh, gentlemen, so late.  Y’are very welcome.  Pray, sit down.

LODOVICO
Carolo, did’st ere see such a nest of caps?

ASTOLFO
Methinks it’s a most civil and most comely sight.

LODOVICO
What does he i’th’ middle look like?

ASTOLFO
Troth, like a spire steeple in a country village overpeering so many thatch’d houses.

LODOVICO
It’s rather a long pike staff against so many bucklers without pikes.  They sit for all the world like a pair of organs, and he’s the tall great roaring pipe i’th’ middest.

ASTOLFO
Ha, ha, ha, ha.

CANDIDO
What that you laugh at, Signiors?

LODOVICO

Troth, shall I tell you?  And aloud I’ll tell it.
We laugh to see, yet laugh we not in scorn,
Amongst so many caps that long hat worn.

FIRST GUEST
Mine is as tall a felt as any is this day in Milan, and therefore I love it, for the block was cleft out for my head, and fits me to a hair.

CANDIDO
Indeed, you are good observers, it shows strange.
But, gentlemen, I pray neither contemn,
Nor yet deride a civil ornament.
I could build so much in the round cap’s praise,
That ‘bove this high roof, I this flat would raise.

LODOVICO
Prithee, sweet bridegroom, do’t.

CANDIDO
So all these guests will pardon me, I’ll do’t.

OMNES
With all our hearts.

CANDIDO
Thus then in the cap’s honour,
To every sex and state, both nature, time,
The country’s laws, yea and the very clime
Do allot distinct habits; the spruce courtier
Jets up and down in silk; the warrior
Marches in buff; the clown plods on in grey.
But for these upper garments, thus I say,
The sea-man has his cap, parr’d without brim,
The gallant’s head is feathered, that fits him,
The soldier has his morion, women ha’ tires,
Beasts have their headpieces, and men ha’ theirs.

LODOVICO
Proceed.

CANDIDO
Each degree has his fashion; it’s fit then
One should be laid by for the citizen,
And that’s the cap which you see swells not high,
For caps are emblems of humility.
It is a citizen’s badge, and first was worn
By th’ Romans, for when any bondman’s turn
Came to be made a freeman, this ‘twas said.
He to the cap was call’d, that is, was made
Of Rome a freeman, but was first close shorn,
And so a citizen’s hair is still short worn.

LODOVICO

That close shaving made barbers a company, and now every citizen uses it.

CANDIDO
Of geometric figures the most rare
And perfect’st are the circle, and the square.
The city and the school much build upon
These figures, for both love proportion.
The city cap is round, the scholar’s square
To show that government and learning are
The perfect’st limbs i’th’ body of a state.
For without them, all’s disproportionate.
If the cap had no honour, this might rear it.
The reverend fathers of the law do wear it.
It’s light for summer, and in cold it sits
Close to the skull, a warm house for the wits.
It shows the whole face boldly, ‘tis not made
As if a man to look out were afraid,
Nor like a draper’s shop with broad dark shed,
For he’s no citizen that hides his head.
Flat caps as proper are to city gowns,
As to armour’s helmets, or to king’s their crowns.
Let then the city cap by none be scorn’d
Since with it princes’ heads have been adorn’d.
If more the round cap’s honour you would know,
How would this long gown with this steeple show?

OMNES
Ha, ha, ha!  Most vile, most ugly.

CANDIDO
Pray, signior, pardon me, ‘twas done in jest.

BRIDE
A cup of claret wine there.

FIRST PRENTICE
Wine, yes, forsooth, wine for the bride.

CAROLO
You ha’ well set out the cap, sir.

LODOVICO
Nay, that’s flat.

FIRST GUEST
A health.

LODOVICO
Since his cap’s round, that shall go round.  Be bare,
For in the cap’s praise all of you have share.

[The BRIDE hits the Prentice on the lips.

The bride’s at cuffs.

CANDIDO
Oh, peace, I pray thee.  This far off I stand.
I spied the error of my servants.
She call’d for claret, and you fill’d out sack.
That cup give me, ‘tis for an old man’s back,
And not for hers.  Indeed, ‘twas but mistaken.
Ask all these else.

OMNES
No faith, ‘twas but mistaken.

FIRST PRENTICE
Nay, she took it right enough.

CANDIDO
Good Luke, reach her that glass of claret.
Here, mistress bride, pledge me there.

BRIDE
Now, I’ll none.                                                                         [Exit.

LODOVICO
Look what your mistress ails.

FIRST PRENTICE
Nothing, sir, but about filling a wrong glass, a scurvy trick.

CANDIDO
I pray you, hold your tongue.
My servant there tells me she is not well.

OMNES
Step to her, step to her.

LODOVICO
A word with you, do ye hear?  This wench, your new wife, will take you down  in your wedding shoes, unless you hang her up in her wedding garters.

CANDIDO
How, hang her in her garters?

LODOVICO
Will you be a tame pigeon still?  Shall your back be like a tortoise shell, to let carts go over it, yet not to break?  This she-cat will have more lives then your last puss had, and will scratch worse, and mouse you worse, look to’t.

CANDIDO
What would you have me do, sir?

LODOVICO

What would I have you do?  Swear, swagger, brawl, fling, for fighting it’s no matter.  We ha’ had knocking pusses enow already.  You know that a woman was made of the rib of a man, and that rib was crooked.  The moral of which is, that a man must from his beginning be crooked to his wife.  Be you like an orange to her, let her cut you never so fair, be you sour as vinegar.  Will you be ruled by me?

CANDIDO
In any thing that’s civil, honest, and just.

LODOVICO
Have you ever a prentice’s suit will fit me?

CANDIDO
I have the very same which my self wore.

LODOVICO
I’ll send my man for’t within this half hour, and within this two hours I’ll be your prentice.  The hen shall not overcrow the cock.  I’ll sharpen your spurs.

CANDIDO
It will be but some jest, sir?

LODOVICO
Only a jest.  Farewell.  Come, Carolo.

[Exeunt LODOVOCO, ASTOLFO and CAROLO.

 OMNES
We’ll take our leaves, sir, too.

CANDIDO
Pray, conceit not ill of my wive’s sudden rising.  This young knight, Sir Lodovico, is deep seen in physic, and he tells me the disease call’d the mother hangs on my wife.  It is a vehement heaving and beating of the stomach, and that swelling did with the pain thereof cramp up her arm that hit his lips and brake the glass.  No harm, it was no harm.

OMNES
No, Signior, none at all.

CANDIDO
The straightest arrow may fly wide by chance.
But come, we’ll close this brawl up in some dance.       [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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