If This Be Not a Good Play – Act 4, Scene 2

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Enter SCUMBROTH like a beggar.

 SCUMBROTH
What says the prodigal child in the painted cloth?  When all his money was spent and gone, they turn’d him out unnecessary; then did he weep and wist not what to don, for he was in’s hose and doublet.  Verily, the best is, there are but two batches of people moulded in this world; that’s to say gentlemen and beggars; or beggars and gentlemen, or gentlemenlike beggars, or beggarlike gentlemen.  I rank with one of those, I am sure, tag and rag, one with another.  Am I one of those whom Fortune favours?  No, no, if Fortune favour’d me, I should be full, but Fortune favours no body but garlic, nor garlic neither now; yet she has strong reason to love it, for though garlic made her smell abominably in the nostrils of the gallants, yet she had smelt and stunk worse but for garlic; one filthy scent take away another.  She once smil’d upon me like a lion.  Stay, what said head?  Spend this bravely, and thou shalt have more.  Can any prodigal new-come upstart spend it more bravely?  And now to get more, I must go into the grove of Naples, that’s here, and get into a black tree.  Here’s a black tree too, but art thou he?

 GLITTERBACK
[Within.] He.

SCUMBROTH
Ha, ha!  Where art thou, my gentle sweet head?

GLITTERBACK
[Within.] Head.

 SCUMBROTH
O, at the head, that’s to say, at the top.  How shall I get up, for ‘tis hard when a man is down in this world to get up; I shall never climb high.

 GLITTERBACK
[Within.] High.

SCUMBROTH
I will hie me then, but I am as heavy as a sow of lead.

GLITTERBACK
[Within.] Lead.

SCUMBROTH
Yes, I will lead, big head, whatsoever follows.
Many a gallant for gold has climb’d higher on a gallows.
The storm, even as Head nodded, is coming; cook, lick thy fingers now or never.

GLITTERBACK
[Within.] Now or never.                                      [SCUMBROTH climbs the tree.

Rain, thunder, and lightning; enter LUCIFER and Devils.

 OMNES
Oooh!

LUCIFER
This is the tree.

SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] On which would you all were hang’d, so I were off it, and safe at home.

LUCIFER
And this, I am sure ‘tis this, the horrid grove
Where witches broods engender, our place of meeting.

 SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] Do witches engender here?  Zounds!  I shall be the devil’s bawd whilst he goes to his lechery!

 LUCIFER
And this the hideous black infernal hour.
Ha!  No appearance yet?  If their least minute
Our vessels break, sink shall these trees to Hell.

SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] Alas!

LUCIFER
This grove I’ll turn into a brimstone lake
Which shall be ever burning.

 SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] The best is, if I be a match in the devil’s tinderbox, I can stink no worse than I do already.

 LUCIFER
Not yet come?  Oooh!

OMNES
Oooh, oooh!

Enter SHACKLE-SOUL, RUFFMAN, and LURCHALL, at several
Doors with other devils.  Embrace.

 SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] Sure, these are no Christian devils, they so love one another!

LUCIFER
Stand forth.                                                              [Sits under the tree; all about him.

SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] Friar Rush amongst ‘em!

LUCIFER
And here unlaid you of that precious freight
For which you went, men’s souls; what voyage is made?

OMNES
No saving voyage, but a damning.

LUCIFER
Good.

SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] I thought the devil was turn’d merchant, there’s so many pirates at sea.

RUFFMAN
I’th’court of Naples have I prosper’d well,
And brave soldiers shall I shortly ship to Hell.
In sensual streams, courtier and king I have crown’d
From whence war is flowing, whose tide shall all confound.

 SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] Are these gentlemen devils too?  This is one of those who studies the black art; that’s to say, drinks tobacco.

 LUCIFER
Are all then good i’th’ court?

LURCHALL
No, Lucifer.

SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] No, nor scarce i’th’ suburbs.

LURCHALL
Great prince of devils, thy hests I have obeyed;
I am bartering for one soul, able to laid
An argosy; if city-oaths, if perjuries,
Cheatings, or gnawing men’s souls by usuries,
If all the villainies that a city can
Are able to get thee a son, I ha’ found that man.

LUCIFER
[Stands up.] Serve him up.

SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] Alas, now, now!

LURCHALL
Damnation gives his soul but one turn more,
‘Cause he shall be enough.

 SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] It’s no marvel if markets be dear when the city is bound to find the devil roast meat.

 LUCIFER
Has Rush lain idle?

SHACKLE-SOUL
Idle?  No, Lucifer.

SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] All the world is turn’d devil.  Rush is one too!

SHACKLE-SOUL
Idle?  I have your nimblest devil bin,
In twenty shapes begetting sin.

SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] One was to get me thrust out of the priory.

SHACKLE-SOUL
I am fishing for a whole shoal of friars.
All are gluttoning or muttoning, stabbing or swelling;
There only one lamb scapes my killing,
But I will have him.  Then there’s a cook—

SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] Whore arse makes buttons.

SHACKLE-SOUL
Of whom I some revenge have took.

SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] The devil choke you for’t!

SHACKLE-SOUL
He mickle scath has doe me,
And the knave thinks to outrun me.

SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] Not too fast.

LUCIFER
Kick his guilty soul hither.

SCACKLE-SOUL
I’ll drive him to despair
And make him hang himself.

SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] For hanging I stand fair.

LUCIFER
Go ply your works; our sessions are at hand.

ALL THREE
We fly to execute thy dread command.

[Exeunt SHACKLE-SOUL, RUFFMAN, and LURCHALL.

 SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] Would I could fly into a bench hole.

LUCIFER
But what have you done?  Nothing!

FIRST DEVIL
We have all like bees
Wrought in that hive of souls, the busy world,
Same ha’ lain in cheesemonger’s shops, paring leaden weights.

SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] Would I were there but with a paring of cheese.

FIRST DEVIL
For one half ounce we had a chandler’s soul.

SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] If he melted tallow, he smelt sweetly as I do.

FIRST DEVIL
Walk round Hell’s shambles, thou shalt see there sticks
Some four butchers’ souls, puff’s quaintly up with pricks.

SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] Four sweet-breads! I hold my life, that devil’s an ass.

FIRST DEVIL
Tailors o’er-rich us, for to this ‘tis grown
They scorn thy Hell, having better of their own.

SCUMBROTH
[Aside.] They fear not Satan nor all his works.

FIRST DEVIL
I have with this fist beat upon rich men’s hearts
To make ‘em harder, and these two thumbs thrust,
In open churches, to brave dames ears,
Damning up attention; whilst the loose eye peers
For fashions of gown-wings, laces, pearls, ruffs,
Falls, calls, tires, wires, caps, hats, and muffs, and puffs;
For so the face be smug, and carcass gay,
That’s all their pride.

LUCIFER
‘Twill be a festival day
When those sweet ducks comes to us; loose ‘em not.  Go;
More souls you pay to Hell, the less you owe.
This ewe-three blast with your hot-scorching breath;
A mark, to’th’ witch who sits next here, of death.

OMNES
Ooooh!                                    [Fireworks; exeunt Omnes; SCUMBROTH falls.

 SCUMBROTH
Call you this raining down of gold?  I am wet to’th’ skin in the shower, but ‘tis with sweating for fear; had I now had the conscience that some vintners and innholders have, here might I have gotten the devil and all.  But two sins have undone me, prodigality, and covetousness and three P’s have pepper’d me:  the punk, the pot, and the pipe of smoke, out of my pocket my soul did soak.  I cannot swear now.  Zounds, I am gallant!  But I can swear as many of the ragged regiment do.  Zounds, I have been a gallant!  But I am now done, dejected, and debash’d, and can better draw out a thirdendeal gallant; that’s to say, a gallant that wants of his true measure then any tapster can draw him out of his scores; thus he sets up, and thus he’s pull’d down; thus is he raised, and thus declin’d:
Singulariter;
Nominativo Hic Gallantus, a gallant;
Gentivo Hugious, brave;
Dativo Huic, if he gets once a lick;
Accusativo Hunc, of a taffety punk;
Accusativo Hanc, his cheeks will grow lank;
Hunc, Hanc, et Hoe, with lifting up her smock;
Vocativo, ô! he’s gone if he cries so;
Ablativo, ab hoc, away with him, he has the pock;
Pluraliter, Nominativo, Hi gallanti, if the pox he can defy;
Genitivo, Horum, Yet here’s a beggar in coram;
Dativo, His, his gilt rapier he does miss;
Accusativo Hos, without his cloak he goes;
Accusativo Has, to the Counter he must pass;
Hos, has, et Hæc, with two catchpoles at his back;
Vocative, ô! a hole he desired, and to’th’ hole he must go.
Ablativo, ab His, this many a gallant declined is.                                     [Exit.

Proceed to the next scene

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