The Virgin Martyr – Act 3, Scene 3

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Enter SPUNGIUS and HIRCIUS, ragged, at several doors.

 HIRCIUS
Spungius!

SPUNGIUS
My fine rogue, how is’t?  How goes this totter’d world?

HIRCIUS
Hast any money?

SPUNGIUS
Money!  No, the tavern ivy clings about my money and kills it.  Hast thou any money?

HIRCIUS
No, my money is a mad bull, and finding any gap open’d, away it runs.

 SPUNGIUS
I see then a tavern and a bawdyhouse have faces much alike; the one has red grates next door, the tother has peeping holes within doors; the tavern hath evermore a bush; the bawdyhouse sometimes neither hedge nor bush.  From a tavern a man comes reeling; from a bawdyhouse not able to stand.  In the tavern you are cozen’d with paltry wine; in a bawdyhouse by a painted whore; money may have wine, and a whore will have money, but neither can you cry “Drawer, you rogue!” or “Keep door, rotten bawd!” without a silver whistle.  We are justly plagued, therefore, with running from our mistress.

 HIRCIUS
Thou didst, I did not.  Yet I had run too, but hat one gave me turpentine pills and that stayed my running.

 SPUNGIUS
Well, the thread of my life is drawn through the needle of necessity, whose eye looking upon my lousy breeches, cries out it cannot mend ‘em, which so far pricks the linings of my body, and those are hearts, lights, lungs, guts, and midriff, that I beg on my knees to have Atropos, the tailor to the destinies, to take her shears and cut my thread in two; or to heat the iron goose of mortality, and so please me to death.

 HIRCIUS
Sure thy father was some botcher, and thy hungry tongue bit off these shreds and complaints to patch up the elbows of thy nitty eloquence.

 SPUNGIUS
And what was thy father?

 HIRCIUS
A low minded cobbler; a cobbler whose zeal set many a woman upright; the remembrance of whose awl, I now having nothing, thrusts such scurvy stitches into my soul, that the heel of my happiness is gone awry.

 SPUNGIUS
Pity that ere thou trodst thy shoe away.

 HIRCIUS
Long I cannot last, for all sowterly wax of comfort melting away, and misery taking the length of my foot, it boots not me to sue for life when all my hopes are seam-rent, and go wet-shod.

 SPUNGIUS
This shows thou art a cobbler’s son by going through stitch.  O Hircius, would thou and I were so happy to be cobblers!

HIRCIUS
So would I, for both of us being now weary of our lives, should then be sure of shoemakers’ ends.

SPUNGIUS
I see the beginning of my end, for I am almost starv’d.

HIRCIUS
So am not I, but I am more then famish’d.

SPUNGIUS
All the members of my body are in rebellion against one another.

 HIRCIUS
So are mine, and nothing but a cook being a constable can appease them, presenting to my nose, instead of his painted staff, a spit full of roast meat.

 SPUNGIUS
But in this rebellion, what uproars do they make!  My belly cries to my mouth, “Why dost not gape and feed me?”

HIRCIUS
And my mouth sets out a throat to my hand, “Why dost not thou lift up meat and cram my chops with it?”

SPUNGIUS
Then my hand hath a fling at mine eyes, because they look not our and shark for victuals.

 HIRCIUS
Which mine eyes seeing, full of tears, cry aloud, and curse my feet for not ambling up and down to feed colon, sithence if good meat be in any place, ‘tis unknown my feet can smell.

 SPUNGIUS
But then my feet, like lazy rogues, lie still, and had rather do nothing, then run to and fro, to purchase any thing.

 HIRCIUS
Why, ‘mong so many millions of people, should thou and I be miserable tatterdemalions, ragamuffins, and lousy desperates?

 SPUNGIUS
Thou are a mere I-am-an-o, I-am-an-as; consider the whole world, and ‘tis as we are.

HIRCIUS
Lousy, beggarly; thou whoreson assa fœtida!

SPUNGIUS
Worse; all tottering, all out of frame, thou fooliamini!

HIRCIUS
As how, arsenic?  Come, make the world smart.

 SPUNGIUS
Old honour goes on crutches; beggary rides carouched; honest men make feasts; knaves sit at tables; cowards are lapp’d in velvet; soldiers, as we, in rags; beauty turns whore; whore, bawd; and both die of the pox.  Why then, when all the world stumbles, should thou and I walk upright?

Enter ANGELO.

 HIRCIUS
Stop.  Look who’s yonder.

SPUNGIUS
Fellow Angelo!  How dost my little man? Well?

ANGELO
Yes, and would you did so.  Where are your clothes?

HIRCIUS
Clothes?  You see every woman almost go in her loose gown, and why should not we have our clothes loose?

SPUNGIUS
Would they were loose!

ANGELO
Why, where are they?

SPUNGIUS
Where many a velvet cloak, I warrant, at this hour keeps them company.  They are pawn’d to a broker.

ANGELO
Why pawn’d?  Where’s all the gold I left with you?

HIRCIUS
The gold!  We put that into a scrivener’s hands, and he has cozen’d us.

SPUNGIUS
And therefore, I prithee, Angelo, if thou hast another purse, let it be confiscate, and brought to devastation.

ANGELO
Are you made all of lies?  I know which way
Your guilt-wing’d pieces flew.  I will no more
Be mock’d by you; be sorry for your riots,
Tame your wild flesh by labour, eat the bread
Got with hard hands, let sorrow be your whip
To draw drops of repentance from your heart.
When I read this amendment in your eyes,
You shall not want; till then my pity dies.                                         [Exit.

SPUNGIUS
Is’t not a shame that this scurvy puerilis should give us lessons?

 HIRCIUS
I have dwelt, thou knowest, a long time in the suburbs of the conscience, and they are ever bawdy; but now my heart shall take a house within the walls of honesty.

Enter HARPAX, aloof.

 SPUNGIUS
O you drawers of wine, draw me no more to the bar of beggary; the sound of “score a pottle of sack” is worse then the noise of a scolding oyster wench or two cats incorporating.

 HARPAX
[Aside.] This must not be.  I do not like it when conscience
Thaws; keep her frozen still. [Aloud.] How now, my masters?
Dejected, drooping in tears, clothes torn,
Lean, and ill-coloured, sighing!  What’s the whirlwind
Which raiseth all these mischiefs?  I have seen you
Drawn  better on’t.  O, but a spirit told me
You both would come to this, when in you thrust
Yourselves into the service of that lady
Who shortly now must die.  Where’s now her praying,
What good get you by wearing out your feet
To run on saucy errands to the poor
And to bear money to a sort of rogues
And lousy prisoners?

HIRCIUS
Pox on ‘em!  I never prosper’d since I did it.

 SPUNGIUS
Had I been a pagan still, I could not have spit white for want of drink, but come to any vintner now and bid him trust me, because I turn’d Christian, and he cries “puh!”

 HARPAX
Y’are rightly serv’d; before that peevish lady
Had to do with you, women, wine, and money
Flow’d in abundance with you, did it not?

HIRCIUS
Oh, those days, those days!

HARPAX
Beat not your breasts, tear not your hair in madness.
Those days shall come again; be rul’d by me,
And better, mark me, better.

SPUNGIUS
I have seen you, sir, as I take it, an attendant on the Lord Theophilus.

HARPAX
Yes, yes; in show his servant, but hark hither.
Take heed no body listens.

SPUNGIUS
Not a mouse stirs.

HARPAX
I am a prince disguised.

HIRCIUS
Disguised! How? Drunk?

HARPAX
Yes, my fine boy.  I’ll drink too and be drunk.
I am a prince, and any a man by me,
Let him but keep my rules, shall soon grow rich;
He that shall serve me is not starv’d from pleasures
As other poor knaves are; no, take their fill.

SPUNGIUS
But that, sir, we are so ragged—

HARPAX
You’ll say you’d serve me.

HIRCIUS
Before any master under the zodiac.

HARPAX
For clothes no matter; I’ve a mind to both.
And one thing I like in you, now that you see
The bonfire of your lady’s state burnt out,
You give it over, do you not?

HIRCIUS
Let he be hang’d!

SPUNGIUS
And pox’d!

HARPAX
Why, now y’are mine!
Come, let my bosom touch you.

SPUNGIUS
We have bugs, sir.

HARPAX
There’s money; fetch your clothes home; there’s for you.

HIRCIUS
Avoid vermin!  Give over our mistress!  A man cannot prosper worse if he serve the devil!

HARPAX
How!  The devil! I’ll tell you what now of the devil!
He’s no such horrid creature, cloven footed,
Black, saucer-eyed, his nostrils breathing fire
As those lying Christians make him.

BOTH
No!

HARPAX
He’s more loving to man, then man to man is.

HIRCIUS
Is he so?  Would we two might come acquainted with him!

 HARPAX
You shall.  He’s a wondrous good fellow, loves a cup of wine, a whore, any thing; you have money, it’s ten to one but I’ll bring him to some tavern to you or other.

 SPUNGIUS
I’ll bespeak the best room i’th’ house for him.

HARPAX
Loves him from the teeth onward.

SPUNGIUS
Pray, my lord and prince, let me encounter you with one foolish question:  does the devil eat any mace in’s broth?

HARPAX
Exceeding much; when his burning fever takes him, and then he has the knuckles of a bailiff boil’d to his breakfast.

HIRCIUS
Then, my lord, he loves a catchpole, does he not?

 HARPAX
As a bearward doth a dog, a catchpole!  He has sworn, if ever he dies, to make a sergeant his heir, and a yeoman his overseer.

 SPUNGIUS
How if he come to any great man’s gate, will the porter let him come in, sir?

HARPAX
Oh, he loves porters to great men’s gates, because they are ever so near the wicket.

HIRCIUS
Do not they whom he makes much on, for all his stroking their cheeks, lead hellish lived under him?

 HARPAX
No, no, no, no, he will  be damn’d before he hurts any man.  Do but you, when y’are thoroughly acquainted with him, ask for any thing, see if it does not come!

 SPUNGIUS
Any thing!

HARPAX
Call for a delicate rare whore; she’s brought you.

HIRCIUS
Oh, my elbow itches!  Will the devil keep the door?

HARPAX
Be drunk as a beggar; he helps you home.

SPUNGIUS
Oh, my fine devil!  Some watchman I warrant; I wonder who’s his constable.

HARPAX
Will you swear, roar, swagger?  He claps you.

HIRCIUS
How! a’th’ chops?

HARPAX
No, a’th’ shoulder, and cries “Oh, my brave boy!”  Will any of you kill a man?

SPUNGIUS
Yes, yes, I, I.

HARPAX
What’s his word, hang, hang, ‘tis nothing.
Or stab a woman?

HIRCIUS
Yes, yes, I, I.

HARPAX
Here’s the worst word he gives you:  a pox on’t, go on!

HIRCIUS
Oh, inveigling rascal!  I am ravish’d.

HARPAX
Go, get your clothes, turn up your glass of youth,
And let the sands run merrily; nor do I care
From what a lavish hand your money flies,
So you give none away, feed beggars.

HIRCIUS
Hang ‘em!

HARPAX
And to the scrubbing poor.

HIRCIUS
I’ll see ‘em hang’d first.

HARPAX
One service you must do me.

BOTH
Any thing!

HARPAX
Your mistress Dorothea, ere she suffers,
Is to be put to tortures; have your hearts
To tear her into shrieks, to fetch her soul
Up in the pangs of death, yet not to die.

HIRCIUS
Suppose this she, and that I had no hands, here’s my teeth.

SPUNGIUS
Suppose this she, and that I had no teeth, here’s my nails.

HIRCIUS
But will not you be there, sir?

HARPAX
No, not for hills of diamonds; the grand master
Who schools her in the Christian discipline,
Abhors my company; should I be there,
You’d think all hell broke loose, we shall so quarrel.
Ply you this business; he, her flesh who spares
Is lost, and in my love never more shares.                                         [Exit.

SPUNGIUS
Here’s a master, you rogue!

HIRCIUS
Sure he cannot choose but have a horrible number of servants.   [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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