2 Honest Whore – Act 1, Scene 1

Return to Dramatis Personæ

Enter at one door BERALDO, CAROLO, FONTINEL, ASTOLFO, with Servingmen, or Pages attending on them; at another door enter LODIVICO, meeting them.

 LODIVICO
Good day, gallants.

OMNES
Good morrow, sweet Lodivico.

LODIVICO
How dost thou, Carolo?

CAROLO
Faith, as physicians do in a plague; see the world sick, and am well myself.

FONTINELL

Here’s a sweet morning, Gentlemen.

LODIVICO
Oh, a morning to tempt Jove from his ningle Ganimed, which is but to give dairy wenches green gowns as they are going a-milking.  What, is thy lord stirring yet?

ASTOLFO
Yes, he will not be horse’d this hour, sir.

BERALDO
My lady swears he shall, for she longs to be at court.

CAROLO
Oh, we shall ride switch and spur, would we were there once.

 Enter BRYON the Footman.

  LODOVICO
How now, is thy lord ready?

BRYAN
No, so Crees sa’ me.  My lady will have some little ting in her pelly first.

CAROLO
Oh, then they’ll to breakfast.

LODOVICO
Footman, does my lord ride i’th’ couch with my lady, or on horseback?

BRYAN
No, foot, la.  My lady will have me lord sheet with her.  My lord will sheet in de one side and my lady sheet in de toder side.                                        [Exit.

LODOVICO
My lady sheet in de toder side.  Did you ever hear a rascal talks so like a pagan?  Is’t not strange that a fellow of his star should be seen here so long in Italy, yet speak so from a Christian?

 Enter ANTONIO GEORGIO, a poor scholar.

 ASTOLFO
An Irishman in Italy!  That so strange!  Why, the nation have running heads.

[Exchange walks.

 LODOVICO
Nay, Carolo, this is more strange.  I ha’ been in France.  There’s few of them.  Marry, England they count a warm chimney corner and there they swarm like crickets to the crevice of a brew-house.  But, sir, in England I have noted one thing.

OMNES
What’s that?  What’s that in England?

LODOVICO
Marry, this sir, what’s he yonder?

BERALDO
A poor fellow would speak with my lord.

LODOVICO
In England, sir, troth I ever laugh when I think on’t, to see a whole nation should be mark’d i’th’ forehead, as a man may say, with one iron.  Why, sir, they’re all costermongers are Irishmen.

CAROLO
Oh, that’s to show their antiquity, as coming from Eve, who was apple-wife, and they take after the mother.

OMNES
Good, good, ha, ha!

LODOVICO
Why then, should all your chimney-sweepers likewise be Irishmen?  Answer that now.  Come, your wit.

CAROLO
Faith, that’s soon answered, for Saint Patrick, you know, keeps purgatory; he makes the fire, and his country-men could do nothing if they cannot sweep the chimneys.

OMNES
Good again!

LODOVICO
Then, sir, have you many of them, like this fellow, especially those of his hair, footmen to noblemen and others, and the knaves are very faithful where they love. By my faith, very proper men, many of them, and as active as the clouds, whirr, ha!

OMNES
Are they so?

LODOVICO
And stout, exceeding stout.  Why, I warrant, this precious wild villain, if he were put to’t, would fight more desperately then sixteen Dunkirks.

ASTOLFO
The women, they say, are very fair.

LODOVICO
No, no, our country buono-robas, oh! are the sugarest delicious rogues.

ASTOLFO
Oh look, he has a feeling of them.

LODOVICO
Not I, I protest.  There’s a saying when they commend nations.  It goes, “the Irishman for his hand, Welshman for a leg, the Englishman for a face, the Dutchman for beard.”

FONTINELL
I’faith, they may make swabbers of them.

LODOVICO
The Spaniard, let me see, for a little foot, I take it.  The Frenchman, what a pox hath he? And so of the rest.  Are they at breakfast yet?  Come walk.

ASTOLFO
This Lodovico is a notable tongued fellow.

FONTINELL
Discourses well.

BERALDO
And a very honest gentleman.

ASTOLFO
Oh!  He’s valued by my lord.

 Enter BELLAFRONT with a petition.

 FONTINELL
How now, how now, what’s she?

BERALDO
Let’s make towards her.

BELLAFRONT
Will it be long, sir, ere my lord come forth?

ASTOLFO
Would you speak with my lord?

LODOVICO
How now, what’s this?  A nurse’s bill?  Hath any here got thee with child, and now will not keep it?

BELLAFRONT
No, sir, my business is unto my lord.

LODOVICO
He’s about his own wife’s now.  He’ll hardly dispatch two causes in a morning.

ASTOLFO
No matter what he says, fair lady, he’s a knight.  There’s no hold to be taken at his words.

FONTINELL
My lord will pass this way presently.

BERALDO
A pretty, plump rogue.

ASTOLFO
A good, lusty, bouncing baggage.

BERALDO
Do you know her?

LODOVICO
A pox on her!  I was sure her name was in my table-book once.  I know not of what cut her dye is now, but she has been more common then tobacco.  This is she that had the name of the honest whore.

OMNES
Is this she?

LODOVICO
This is the blackamoor that by washing was turned white; this is the birding piece now scoured; this is she that, if any of her religion can be saved, was saved by my lord Hippolito.

ASTOLFO
She has been a goodly creature.

LODOVICO
She has been!  That’s the epitaph of all whores.  I’m well acquainted with the poor gentleman her husband.  Lord, what fortunes that man has overreached!  She knows now me, yet I have been in her company.  I scarce know her, for the beauty of her cheek hath, like the moor, suffered strange eclipses since I beheld it. But women are like the meddlers; no sooner ripe but rotten.
A woman last was made, but is spent first,
Yet man is oft proud, in performance worst.

OMNES
My lord is come.

 Enter HIPPOLITO, INFELICE, and two waiting women.

 HIPPOLITO
We ha’ wasted half this morning.  Morning Lodovico.

LODOVICO
Morrow, madam.

HIPPOLITO
Let’s away.  To horse!

OMNES
Ay, ay, to horse, to horse!

BELLAFRONT
I do beseech your lordship, let your eye
Read o’er this wretched paper.

HIPPOLITO
I’m in haste.
Pray the good woman take some apter time.

INFELICE
Good woman, do.

BELLAFRONT
O ‘las!  It does concern
A poor man’s life.

HIPPOLITO
Life, sweet heart?  Seat your self.
I’ll read this and come.

LODOVICO
What stockings have you put on this morning, madam?  If they be not yellow, change them.  That paper is a letter from some wench to your husband.

INFELICE
Oh sir, that cannot make me jealous.

[Exeunt all but HIPPOLITO, BELLAFRONT, and ANTONIO.

 HIPPOLITO
Your business, sir, to me?

ANTONIO
Yes, my good lord.

HIPPOLITO
Presently sir. [To BELLAFRONT.] Are you Matheo’s wife?

BELLAFRONT
That most unfortunate woman.

HIPPOLITO
I’m sorry
These storms are fallen on him.   I love Matheo,
And any good shall do him.  He and I
Have sealed two bonds of friendship which are strong
In me, however fortune does him wrong.
He speaks here he’s condemned.  Is’t so?

BELLAFRONT
Too true.

HIPPOLITO
What was he who he killed?  Oh, his name’s here.
Giacomo, son to the Florentine,
Old Giacomo, a dog that to met profit
Would to the very eyelids wade in blood
Of his own children.
Tell Matheo the Duke my father hardly shall
Deny his signed pardon; ‘twas fair fight, yes,
If rumour’s tongue go true.  So writes he here.
To-morrow morning I return from court.
Pray you be here then. [To ANTONIO.] I’ll have done, sir, straight.
But in troth, say, you are Matheo’s wife?
You have forgot me.

BELLAFRONT
No, my lord.

HIPPOLITO
Your turner
That made you smooth to run an even bias.
You know I loved you when your very soul
Was full of discord.  Art not a good wench still?

BELLAFRONT
Umph, when I had lost my way to heaven, you showed it.
I was new born that day.

 Enter LODIVICO.

 LODOVICO
S’foot, my lord, your lady asks if you have not left your wench yet?  When you get in once, you never have done.  Come, come, come, pay your old score, and send her packing, come.

HIPPOLITO
Ride softly on before.  I’ll o’ertake you.

LODOVICO
Your lady swears she’ll have no riding on before without ye.

HIPPOLITO
Prithee, good Lodovico.

LODOVICO
My lord, pray hasten.

HIPPOLITO
I come.
To-morrow let me see you, fare you well.
Commend me to Matheo.  Pray, one word more.
Does not your father life about the court?

BELLAFRONT
I think he does, but such rude spots of shame
Stick on my cheek, that he scarce knows my name.

HIPPOLITO
Orlando Friscobaldo, is’t not?

BELLAFRONT
Yes, my lord.

HIPPOLITO
What does he for you?

BELLAFRONT
All he should.  When children
From duty start, parents from love may swerve.
He nothing does, for nothing I deserve.

HIPPOLITO
Shall I join him unto you, and restore you
To wonted grace?

BELLAFRONT
It is impossible.

HIPPOLITO
It shall be put to trial.   Fare you well.                                [Exit BELLAFRONT.
The face I would not look on.  Sure, then, ‘twas rare
When in despite of grief, ‘tis still thus fair.
[To ANTONIO] Now, sir, your business with me?

ANTONIO
I am bold
To express my love and duty to your lordship
In these few leaves.

HIPPOLITO
A book!

ANTONIO
Yes, my good lord.

HIPPOLITO
Are you a scholar?

ANTONIO
Yes, my good lord.  A poor one.

HIPPOLITO
Sir, you honour me.
Kings may be scholars’ patrons.  But faith tell me
To how many hands besides hath this bird flown?
How many patrons share with me?

ANTONIO
Not one,
In troth, not one.  Your name I held most dear.
I’m not, my lord, of that low character.

HIPPOLITO

Your name, I pray?

ANTONIO
Antonio Georgio.

HIPPOLITO
Of Milan?

ANTONIO
Yes, my lord.

HIPPOLITO
I’ll borrow leave
To read you o’er and then we’ll talk.  Till then
Drink up this gold.  Good wits should love good wine.
This of your loves, the earnest that of mine.
How now, sir?  Where’s your lady?  Not gone yet?

 Enter BRYAN.

 BRYAN
I fart dee lady is run away from de.  A mighty deal of ground.  She sent me back

for dine own sweet face.  I pray dee come, my lord, away.  Wut tow go now?

HIPPOLITO
Is the couch gone?  Saddle my horse.  The sorrel.

BRYAN
A pox a de horses now!  He is a lousy rascally fellow.  When I come to gird his belly, his scurvy guts rumbled.  Di horse farted in my face, and dow knowest, an Irishman cannot abide a fart.  But I have saddled de hobby-horse.  Di fine hobby is ready.  I pray dee, my good sweet lord, wut tow go now, and I will run to de devil before dee?

HIPPOLITO
Well, sir, I pray let’s see you, master scholar.

BRYAN
Come, I pray dee, wut come sweet face?  Go.                                         [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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