2 Honest Whore – Act 4, Scene 2

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Enter the DUKE, LODOVICO, and ORLANDO as PACHECO
after them INFELICE, CAROLO, ASTOLFO, BERALDO, and
FONTINELL.

 ORLANDO
I beseech your grace, though your eye be so piercing, as under a poor blue coat, to cull out an honest father from an old servingman. Yet, good my lord, discover not the plot to any, but only this gentleman that is now to be an actor in our ensuing comedy.

DUKE
Thou hast thy wish.  Pass unknown.
Sforsa shall only go with thee
To see the warrant served upon thy son.

LODOVICO
To attach him upon felony for two peddlers.  Is’t not so?

ORLANDO
Right, my noble knight; those peddlers were two knaves of mine.  He fleec’d the men before, and now he purposes to flee the master.  He will rob me, his teeth water to be nibbling at my gold but this shall hang him by th’ gills, till I pull him on shore.

DUKE
Away, ply you the business.

ORLANDO
Thanks to your grace.  But, my good, lord, for my daughter—

DUKE
You know what I have said.

ORLANDO
And remember what I have sworn.  She’s more honest, on my soul, then one of the Turk’s wenches, watch’d by a hundred eunuchs.

LODOVICO
So she had need, for the Turks make them whores.

ORLANDO
He’s a Turk that makes any woman a whore.  He’s no true Christian, I’m sure.  I commit your grace.

DUKE
Infelice.

INFELICE
Here, sir.

LODOVICO
Signior Friscobaldo.

ORLANDO
Frisking again, Pacheco?

LODOVICO
Ud’s so, Pacheco?  We’ll have some sport with this warrant.  ‘Tis to apprehend all suspected persons in the house.  Besides, there’s one Bots, a pander, and one Madam Horseleech, a bawd, that have abus’d my friend, those two conies will we ferret into the purse-net.

ORLANDO
Let me alone, for dabbling them o’th’ neck.  Come, come.

LODOVICO
Do you hear, gallants?  Meet me anon at Matheo’s.

OMNES
Enough.                                                      [Exeunt LODOVICO and ORLANDO.

DUKE
Th’ old fellow sings that note thou didst before,
Only his tunes are that she is no whore,
But that she sent his letters and his gifts
Out of a noble triumph o’er his lust
To show she trampled his assaults in dust.

INFELICE
‘Tis a good honest servant, that old man.

DUKE
I doubt no less.

INFELICE
And it may be my husband
Because when once this woman was unmask’d
He level’d all her thoughts, and made them fit.
Now he’ll mar all again, to try his wit.

DUKE
It may be so too, for to turn a harlot
Honest, it must be by strong antidotes.
‘Tis rare, as to see panthers change their spots.
And when she’s once a star, fixed, and shines bright,
Though ‘twere impiety then to dim her light,
Because we see such tapers seldom burn,
Yet ‘tis the pride and glory of some men,
To changer her to a blazing star again,
And it may be Hippolito does no more.
It cannot be but y’are acquainted all
With that same mistress of our son-in-law,
That dotes so on a courtesan.

OMNES
Yes, my lord.

CAROLO
All the city thinks he’s a whoremonger.

ASTOLFO
Yet I warrant, he’ll swear no man marks him.

BERALDO
‘Tis like so, for when a man goes a-wenching, ‘tis as if he had a strong stinking breath; every one smells him out, yet he feels it not, though it be ranker then the sweat of sixteen bear warders.

DUKE
I doubt then you have all those stinking breaths.
You might be all smelt out.

CAROLO
Troth, my lord, I think we are all as you ha’ been in your youth when you went a-maying; we all love to hear the cuckoo sing upon other men’s trees.

DUKE
It’s well that you confess.  But, girl, thy bed
Shall not be parted with a courtesan.
‘Tis strange,
No frown of mine, no frown of the poor lady,
My abused child, his wife, no care of game
Of honour, heaven or hell, no not that name
Of common strumpet, can affright, or woo
Him to abandon her; the harlot does undo him,
She hath bewitched him, robb’d him of his shape,
Turn’d him into a beast, his reason’s lost.
You see he looks wild, does he not?

CAROLO
I ha’ noted
New moons in’s face, my lord, all full of change.

DUKE
He’s no more like unto Hippolito
Then dead men are to living.  Never sleeps,
Or if he do, it’s dreams, and in those dreams
His arms work, and then cries, “Sweet,” what’s her name?
What’s the drab’s name?

ASTOLFO
In troth, my lord, I know not.
I know no drabs, not I.

DUKE
Oh, Bellafront!
And catching her fast, cries, “My Bellafront!”

CAROLO
A drench that’s able to kill a horse, cannot kill this disease of smock-smelling, my lord, if it have once eaten deep.

DUKE
I’ll try all physic, and this med’cine first.
I have directed warrants strong and peremptory,
To purge our city, Milan, and to cure
The outward parts, the suburbs, for the attaching
Of all those women, who, like gold, want weight.
Cities, like ships, should have no idle freight.

CAROLO
No, my lord, and light wenches are no idle freight.
But what’s your grace’s reach in this?

DUKE
This, Carolo: if she whom my son dotes on
Be in that muster-book enroll’d, he’ll shame
Ever t’approach one of such noted name.

CAROLO
But say she be not?

DUKE
Yet on harlots’ heads
New laws shall fall so heavy, and such blows
Shall give to those that haunt them, that Hippolito,
If not for fear of law, for love to her,
If he love truly, shall her bed forbear.

CAROLO
Attach all the light heels i’th’ city, and clap ‘em up?  Why, my lord?  You dive into a well unsearchable.  All the whores within the walls and without the walls?  I would not be he should meddle with them for ten such dukedoms; the army that you speak on is able to fill all the prisons within the city, and to leave not a drinking room in any tavern besides.

DUKE
Those only shall be caught that are of note.
Harlots in each street flow.
The fish being thus i’th’ net, ourself will sit,
And with eye most severe dispose of it.
Come, girl.

CAROLO
Arraign the poor whore.

ASTOLFO
I’ll not miss that sessions.

FONTINELL
Nor I.

BERALDO
Nor I, though I hold up my hand there my self.                          [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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