Northward Ho – Act 4, Scene 1

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Enter BELLAMONT in his night-cap, with leaves in his hand, his
Man after him with lights, standish, and paper.

BELLAMONT
Sirrah, I’ll speak with none.

SERVANT
Not a player?

BELLAMONT
No, though a sharer ball;
I’ll speak with none, although it be the mouth
Of the big company.  I’ll speak with none.  Away!                 [Exit Servant.

Why should not I be an excellent statesman?  I can, in the writing of a tragedy, make Cæsar speak better then ever his ambition could; when I write of Pompey, I have Pompey’s soul within me; and when I personate a worthy poet, I am then truly myself, a poor unprefer’d scholar.

Enter his Man hastily.

SERVANT
Here’s a swaggering fellow, sir, that speaks not like a man of God’s making, swears he must speak with you and will speak with you.

BELLAMONT
Not of God’s making?  What is he, a cuckold?

SERVANT
He’s a gentleman, sir, by his clothes.

BELLAMONT
Enter him and his clothes.  [Exit Servant.] Clothes sometimes are better gentlemen than their masters.

Enter CAPTAIN JENKINS and the Servant.

Is this he?  Seek you me, sir?                                               [Exit Servant.

CAPTAIN
I seek, sir, God please you, for a sentleman, that talks besides to himself when he’s alone, as if he were in Bedlam, and he’s a poet.

BELLAMONT
So, sir, it may be you seek me, for I’m sometimes out a’ my wits.

CAPTAIN
You are a poet, sir, are you?

BELLAMONT
I’m haunted with a Fury, sir.

CAPTAIN
Pray, master poet, shut off this little pot-gun, and I will conjure your fury.  ‘Tis well, loog you, sir, my desires are to have some amiable and amorous sonnet or madrigal composed by your Fury, see you.

BELLAMONT
Are you a lover, sir, of the Nine Muses?

CAPTAIN
Oy, by Gad, out a cry!

BELLAMONT
Y’are then a scholar, sir?

CAPTAIN
I ha’ pick’d up my crumbs in Sesus college in Oxford one day a gad while ago.

BELLAMONT
Y’are welcome, y’are very welcome.  I’ll borrow your judgement.  Look you, sir, I’m writing a tragedy, the tragedy of young Astyanax.

CAPTAIN
Styanax tragedy!  Is he living, can you tell?  Was not Styanax a Monmouth man?

BELLAMONT
O no, sir, you mistake; he was a Trojan, great Hector’s son.

CAPTAIN
Hector was a grannam to Cadwallader, when she was great with child, God udge me, there was one young Styanan of Monmouthshire was a madder Greek as any is in all England.

BELLAMONT
This was not he, assure ye.  Look you, sir, I will have this tragedy presented in the French court by French gallants.

CAPTAIN
By God, your Frenchmen will do a tragedy interlude poggy well!

BELLAMONT
It shall be, sir, at the marriages of the Duke of Orleans, and Chatillon, the admiral of France; the stage—

CAPTAIN
Ud’s blood!  Does Orleans marry with the Admiral of France now?

BELLAMONT
O, sir, no; they are two several marriages.  As I was saying, the stage hung all with black velvet, and while ‘tis acted, myself will stand behind the Duke of Biron, or some other chief minion or so, who shall, ay, they shall take some occasion about the music of the fourth act, to step to the French king, and say “Sire, voilà, il et votre treshumble serviteur, le plu sage è divine esprit, Monsieur Bellamont,” all in French thus pointing at me, or yon is the learned old English gentleman, Master Bellamont, a very worthy man, to be one of your privy chamber, or poet laureate.

CAPTAIN
But are you sure Duke Pepper-noone will give you such good ords behind your back to your face?

BELLAMONT
Oh, ay, ay, ay, man; he’s the only courtier that I know there; but what do you think that I may come to by this?

CAPTAIN
God udge me, all France may hap die in your debt for this!

BELLAMONT
I am now writing the description of his death.

CAPTAIN
Did he die in his ped?

BELLAMONT
You shall hear: suspicion is the minion of great hearts—no, I will not begin there.  Imagine a great man were to be executed about the seventh hour in a gloomy morning.

CAPTAIN
As it might be Sampson or so, or great Golias that was kill’d by my countryman.

BELLAMONT
Right, sir, this I express it in young Astyanax.
Now the wild people greedy of their griefs,
Longing to see that which their thoughts abhor’d,
Prevented day, and rod on their own roofs.

CAPTAIN
Could the little horse that ambled on the top of Paul’s carry all the people, else how could they ride on the roofs?

BELLAMONT
O, sir, ‘tis a figure in poetry; mark how ‘tis followed:
Rod on their own roofs,
Making all neighbouring houses til’d all with men, til’d with men!  Is’t not good?

CAPTAIN
By Sesu! and it were tild’d all with naked ‘imen, ‘twere better!

BELLAMONT
You shall hear no more; pick your ears, they are foul, sir; what are you, sir, pray?

CAPTAIN
A captain, sir, and a follower of god Mars.

BELLAMONT
Mars, Bacchus, and I love Apollo!  A captain!  Then I pardon you, sir, and captain, what would you press me for?

CAPTAIN
For a witty ditty to a sentlewoman that I am fall’n in with all, over head and ears in affections, and natural desires.

BELLAMONT
An acrostic were good upon her name, methinks.

CAPTAIN
Cross sticks!  I would not be cross, Master Poet; yet if it be best to bring her name in question, his name is Mistress Dorothy Hornet.

BELLAMONT
[Aside.] The very consumption that wastes my son, and the aim that hung lately upon me!  [Aloud.] Do you love this Mistress Dorothy?

CAPTAIN
Love her!  There is no captain’s wife in all England can have more love put upon her, and yet I’m sure captain’s wives have their pellies full of good men’s loves!

BELLAMONT
And does she love you?  Has thee pass’d any great matter between you?

CAPTAIN
As great a matter as a whole coach, and a horse and his wife are gone too and fro between us.

BELLAMONT
Is she—i’faith, captain, be valiant and tell truth, is she honest?

CAPTAIN
Honest?  God udge me, she’s as honest as a punk that cannot abide fornication and lechery.

BELLAMONT
Look you, captain, I’ll show you why I ask; I hope you think my wenching days are past, yet, sir, here’s a letter that her father brought me from her, and enforc’d me to take this very day.

Enter a Servant and whispers to BELLAMONT.

CAPTAIN
‘Tis for some love song to send to me, I hold my life.

BELLAMONT
This falls out pat.  My man tells me the party is at my door.  Shall she come in, captain?

CAPTAIN
Oh, ay, ay, put her in, I pray now.                                        [Exit Servant.

BELLAMONT
The letter says here, that she’s exceeding sick and entreats me to visit her.  Captain, lie you in ambush behind the hangings, and perhaps you shall hear the piece of a comedy.  She comes, she comes; mark yourself away.

CAPTAIN
Does the poet play Torkin and cast my Lucrece’s water too in hugger-muggers?  If he do, Styanax tragedy was never so horrible bloody minded as his comedy shall be.  Tawsone [“hold your tongue”], Captain Jenkins. [ Conceals himself.

Enter DOLL.

DOLL
Now, Master Poet, I sent for you.

BELLAMONT
And I came once to your ladyship’s call.

DOLL
My ladyship and your lordship lie both in one manner; you have conjur’d up a sweet spirit in me, have you not rhymer?

BELLAMONT
Why, Medea! What spirit!  Would I were a young man for thy sake!

DOLL
So would I, for then thou couldst do me no hurt; now, thou dost.

BELLAMONT
If I were a yonker, it would be no immodesty in me to be seen in thy company, but to have snow in the lap of June, vile, vile!  Yet come; garlic has a white head and a green stalk; then why should not I?  Let’s be merry.  What says the devil to all the world, for I’m sure thou art carnally posses’d with him.

DOLL
Thou hast a filthy foot, a very filthy carriers foot.

BELLAMONT
A filthy shoe, but a fine foot; I stand not upon my foot, I.

CAPTAIN
[Aside.] What stands he upon then?  With a pox, God bless us!

DOLL
A leg and a calf!  I have had better of a butcher forty times for carrying!
A body not worth begging by a barber-surgeon!

BELLAMONT
Very good, you draw me and quarter me; Fates keep me from hanging!

DOLL
And which most turns up a woman’s stomach!  Thou art an old hoary man; thou hast gone over the bridge of many years and now art ready to drop into a grave.  What do I see then in that withered face of thine?

BELLAMONT
Wrinkles, gravity.

DOLL
Wretchedness, grief.  Old fellow, thou hast bewitch me; I can neither eat for thee nor sleep for thee, not lie quietly in my bed for thee.

CAPTAIN
[Aside.] Ud’s blood!  I did never see a white flea before.  I will cling you!

DOLL
I was born sure in the dog days, I’m so unlucky.  I, in whom neither a flaxen hair, yellow beard, French doublet, not Spanish hose, youth nor personage, rich face nor money could ever breed a true love to any, ever to any man, am now besotted, dote, am mad, for the carcass of a man, and as if I were a bawd, no ring please me but a death’s head.

CAPTAIN
[Aside.] Sesu!  Are ‘imen so arsy varsy?

BELLAMONT
Mad for me?  Why, if the worm of lust were wriggling within me as it does in others, dost think I’d crawl upon thee?  Would I low after thee that art a common calf-bearer?

DOLL
I confess it.

CAPTAIN
[Aside.] Do you?  Are you a town cow and confess you bear calves?

DOLL
I confess I have been an inn for any guest.

CAPTAIN
[Aside.] A pogs ‘a your stable-room.  Is you inn a bawdy house now?

DOLL
I confess, for I ha’  been taught to hide nothing from my surgeon, and thou art he, I confess that old stinking sturgeon, like thyself, whom I call father, that Hornet, never sweat for me; I’m none of his making.

CAPTAIN
[Aside.] You lie; he makes you a punk Hornet minor.

DOLL
He’s but a cheater, and I the false die he plays withal; I power all my poison out before thee, because hereafter I will be clean.  Shun me not, mock me not.  Plagues confound thee! I hate thee to the pit of hell!  Yet if thou goest thither, I’ll follow thee, run, ride, do what thou canst, I’ll run and ride over the world after thee!

CAPTAIN
[Coming forward.] Cockatrice!  You Mistress Salamanders that fear no burning, let my mare and my mare’s horse, and my coach come running home again, and run to an hospital, and your surgeons, and to knaves and panders and to the tevil and his tame too!

DOLL
Fiend, art thou raised to torment me?

BELLAMONT
She loves you, captain, honestly.

CAPTAIN
I’ll have any man, ‘oman, or cild by his ears that says a common drab can love a sentleman honestly.  I will sell my coach for a cart to have you to punk’s hall, Bridewell.  [To BELLAMONT] I sarge you in Apollo’s name, whom you belong to, see her forthcoming, till I come and tiggle her, by and by.  ‘Sblood, I was never cozened with a more rascal piece of mutton since I came out a’ the lawer countries!                                             [Exit.

BELLAMONT
My doors are open for thee.  Be gone, woman!

DOLL
This goats-peezle of thine—

BELLAMONT
Away!  I love no such implements in my house.

DOLL
Dost not?  Am I but an implement? By all the maidenheads that are lost in London in a year, and that’s a great oath, for this trick other manner of women than myself shall come to this house only to laugh at thee; and if thou wouldst labour thy heart out, thou shalt not do withal.          [Exit.

Enter Servant.

BELLAMONT
Is this my poetical fury?  How now, sir?

SERVANT
Master Mayberry and his wife, sir, i’th’ next room.

BELLAMONT
What are they doing, sir?

SERVANT
Nothing, sir, that I see, but only would speak with you.

BELLAMONT
Enter ‘em.  [Exit Servant.] This house will be too hot for me if this wench cast me into these sweats.  I must shift myself, for pure necessity haunted with sprites in my old days.

Enter MAYBERRY booted, his Wife with him.

MAYBERRY
A comedy!  A Canterbury tale smells not half so sweet as the comedy I have for thee, old poet.  Thou shalt write upon’t, poet.

BELLAMONT
Nay, I will write upon’t if’t be a comedy, for I have been at a most villainous female tragedy.  Come, the plot, the plot.

MAYBERRY
Let your man give you to boots presently; the plot lies in Ware, my white poet.  Wife, thou and I this night will have mad sport in Ware; mark me well, wife, in Ware.

WIFE
At your pleasure, sir.

MAYBERRY
Nay, it shall be at your pleasure, wife.  Look you, sir, look you:  Featherstone’s boy, like an honest crack-halter, laid open all to one of my prentices, for boys, you know, like women love to be doing.

BELLAMONT
Very good; to the plot.

MAYBERRY
Featherstone, like a crafty mutton-monger, persuades Greenshield to be run through the body.

BELLAMONT
Strange!  Through the body?

MAYBERRY
Ay, man, to take physic; he does so; he’s put to this purgation; then, sir, what does me Featherstone but counterfeits a letter from an innkeeper of Doncaster to fetch Greenshield, who is needy, you know, to a keeper’s lodge in Enfield-Chace, a certain uncle where Greenshield should receive money due to him in behalf of his wife.

BELLAMONT
His wife!  Is Greenshield married?  I have heard him swear he was a bachelor.

WIFE
So have I, a hundred times.

MAYBERRY
The knave has more wives than the Turk; he has a wife almost in every shire in England; this parcel gentlewoman is that innkeeper’s daughter of Doncaster.

BELLAMONT
Hath she the entertainment of her forefathers?  Will she keep all comers company?

MAYBERRY
She helps to pass away stale capons, sour wine, and musty provender.  But to the purpose, this train was laid by the baggage herself and Featherstone, who it seems makes her husband a unicorn; and to give fire to’t Greenshield like an arrant wittal entreats his friend to ride before his wife and fetch the money, because taking bitter pills he should prove but a loose fellow if he went, and so durst not go.

BELLAMONT
And so the poor stag is to be hunted in Enfield-Chace?

MAYBERRY
No, Sir Master Poet, there you miss the plot.  Featherstone and my Lady Greenshield are rid to barter away their light commodities in Ware.  Enfield-Chace is too cold for ‘em.

BELLAMONT
In Ware!

MAYBERRY
In dirty Ware! I forgot myself, wife, on with your riding suite and cry “Northward Ho” as the boy at Powel’s says.  Let my prentice get up before thee, and man thee to Ware; lodge in the inn I told thee, spur cut and away.

WIFE
Well, sir.                                                                                           [Exit.

BELLAMONT
Stay, stay, what’s the bottom of this riddle?  Why send you her away?

MAYBERRY
For a thing, my little hoary poet.  Look thee, I smelt out my noble stinker Greenshield in his chamber, and as though my heart strings had been crack’d, I wept, and sigh’d, and thump’d, and thump’d, and rav’d, and randed, and rail’d, and told him how my wife was not grown as common as bayberry, and that she had hired her tailor to ride with her to Ware to meet a gentleman of the court.

BELLAMONT
Good, and how took he this drench down?

MAYBERRY
Like eggs and muscadine, at a gulp; he cries out presently, “did I not tell you, old man, that she’d win any game when she came to bearing?”  He rails upon her, wills me to take her in the act, to put her to her white sheet, to be divorc’d and for all his guts are not fully scour’d by his pothecary, he’s pulling on his boots and will ride along with us.  Let’s muster as many as we can.

BELLAMONT
It will be excellent sport to see him and his own wife meet in Ware, wilt not?  I, I will have a whole regiment of horse with us.

MAYBERRY
I stand upon thorns till I shake him bith horns.  Come, boots, boy, we must gallop all the way, for the sin, you know, is done with turning up the white of an eye.  Will you join your forces?

BELLAMONT
Like a Hollander against a Dunkirk.

MAYBERRY
March then, this curse is on all letchers thrown,
They give horns and at last, horns are their own.                         [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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