Satiromastix – Act One, Scene One

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Enter Two Gentlewomen strewing of flowers.

 FIRST GENTLEWOMAN
Come, bedfellow, come, strew apace, strew, strew; in good troth, ‘tis pity that these flowers must be trodden under feet as they are like to be anon.

 SECOND GENTLEWOMAN
Pity, alack, pretty heart, thou art sorry to see any good thing fall to the ground.  Pity?  No more pity, then to see an innocent maidenhead delivered up to the ruffling of her new-wedded husband.  Beauty is made for use, and he that will not use a sweet soul well when she is under his fingers, I pray Venus he may never kiss a fair and a delicate, soft, red, plump lip.

 FIRST GENTLEWOMAN
Amen, and that’s torment enough.

 SECOND GENTLEWOMAN
Pity?  Come, fool, fling them about lustily; flowers never die a sweeter death then when they are smother’d to death in a lover’s bosom, or else pave the highways, over which these pretty simp’ring jetting things call’d brides must trip.

 FIRST GENTLEWOMAN
I prey thee tell me, why do they use at weddings to furnish all places thus, with sweet herbs and flowers?

 SECOND GENTLEWOMAN
One reason is, because ‘tis, O, a most sweet thing to lie with a man.

 FIRST GENTLEWOMAN
I think ‘tis a, O, more, more, more, more sweet to lie with a woman.

 SECOND GENTLEWOMAN
I warrant all men are of thy mind.  Another reason is, because they stick like the scutchions of Madam Chastity, on the sable ground, weeping in their stalks, and winking with their yellow-sunk eyes, as loath to behold the lamentable fall of a maidenhead.  What senseless thing in all the house, that is not now as melancholy as a new set-up schoolmaster!

 FIRST GENTLEWOMAN
Troth, I am.

 SECOND GENTLEWOMAN
Troth, I think thou mournst, because th’ast mist thy turn, I do by the quiver of Cupid.  You see the torches melt themselves away in tears; the instruments wear their heart-strings out for sorrow, and the sliver ewers weep most pitiful rosewater; five or six pair of the white innocent wedding gloves, did in my sight choose rather to be torn in pieces than to be drawn on ; and look, this rosemary, a fatal herb, this dean-man’s nosegay, the bride’s maidenhead, when, oh how much do we poor wenches suffer, about eleven or twelve, or one a’ clock at midnight at furthest, it descends to purgatory, to give notice that Cælestine, hey ho, will never come to lead apes in hell.

 FIRST GENTLEWOMAN
I see by thy sighing thou wilt not.

 SECOND GENTLEWOMAN
If I had as many maidenheads, as I have hairs on my head, I’d venture them all rather than to come into so hot a place.  Prithee, strew thou, for my arms are weary.

 FIRST GENTLEWOMAN
I am sure thy tongue is not.

 SECOND GENTLEWOMAN
No, faith, that’s like a woman bitten with fleas; it never lies still.  Fieupon’t!  What a miserable thing ’tis to be a noble bride!  There’s such delays in rising, in fitting gowns, in trying, in pinning rebatoes, in poking, in dinner, in supper, in revels, and last of all in cursing the poor nodding fiddlers, for keeping Mistress Bride so long up from sweeter revels;  that, oh, I could never endure to put it up without much bickering.

 FIRST GENTLEWOMAN
Come, th’art an odd wench.  Hark, hark, music?  Nay, then the bride’s up.

 SECOND GENTLEWOMAN
Is she up?  Nay then, I see she has been down.  Lord, ha’ mercy on us, we women fall and fall still, and when we have husbands we play upon them like virginal jacks; they must rise and fall to our humours, or else they’ll never get any good strains of music out of us.  But come now, have at it for a maidenhead.

As they strew, enter SIR QUINTILIAN SHORTHORSE with PETER FLASH and two or three Servingmen, with lights.

  SIR QUINTILIAN
Come, knaves, night begins to be like myself, an old man; day plays the thief and steals upon us.  Oh, well done, wenches, well done, well done; you have cover’d all the stony way to church with flowers; ‘tis well, ‘tis well; there’s an emblem too, to be made out of these flowers and stone, but you are honest wenches. In, in, in.

 SECOND GENTLEWOMAN
When we come to your years, we shall learn what honesty is.  Come, pew-fellow.                                             [Exeunt GENTLEWOMEN.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
Is the music come yet?  So much to do!  Is’t come?

 OMNES
Come, sir.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
Have the merry knaves pull’d their fiddle cases over their instruments’ ears?

 FLASH
As soon as ere they entered out gates, the noise went, before they came near the great hall, the faint hearted villiacoes sounded at least thrice.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
Thou shouldst have reviv’d them with a cup of burnt wine and sugar.  Sirrah, you, horse-keeper, go, bid them curry their strings.  Is my daughter up yet?

 FLASH
Up, sir?  She was seen up an hour ago.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
She’s an early stirrer, ah sirrah.

 FLASH
She’ll be a late stirrer soon at night, sir.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
Go to, Peter Flash, you have a good sudden flash of brain, your wits husky, and no marvel, for ‘tis like one of our comedians beards, still i’th’stubble.  About your business, and look you be nimble to fly from the wine, or the nimble wine will catch you by the nose.

 FLASH
If your wine play with my nose, sir, I’ll knock’s coxcomb.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
Do, Peter, an wear it for thy labour.  Is my son-in-law Sir Walter Tirell ready yet?

 OMNES
Ready, sir.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
One of you attend him.  Stay, Flash, where’s the note of the guests you have invited?                                                                                [Exit another.

 FLASH
Here, sir.  I’ll pull all your guests out of my bosom.  The men that will come, I have cross’d, but all the gentlewomen have at the tail of the last letter a prick, because you may read them the better.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
My spectacles, light, light, knaves.  Sir Adam Prickshaft; thou hast cross’d him.  He’ll come.

 FLASH
I had much ado, sir, to draw Sir Adam Prickshaft home, because I told him ‘twas early, but he’ll come.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
Justice Crop.  What will he come?

  FLASH
He took physic yesterday, sir.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
Oh, then Crop cannot come.

 FLASH
Oh lord, yes, sir, yes, ‘twas but to make more room in his crop for your good cheer.  Crop will come.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
Widow Miniver?

 FLASH
She’s prick’d, you see, sir, and will come.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
Sir Vaughan ap Rees; oh, he’s cross’d twice, so, so, so, then all these ladies that fall downwards here, will come, I see, and all these gentlemen that stand right before them.

 FLASH
All will come.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
Well said.  Here, write them out again, and put the men from the women; and Peter, when we are at church bring wine and cakes; be light and nimble, good Flash, for your burden will be but light.

Enter SIR ADAM, a light before him.

Sir Adam Prickshaft, god morrow, god morrow.  Go in, in, in to the bridegroom, taste a cup of burnt wine this morning.  ‘Twill make you fly the better all the day after.

 SIR ADAM
You are an early stirrer, Sir Quintilian Shorthose.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
I am so.  It behoves me at my daughter’s wedding.  In, in, in; fellow put out thy torch and put thyself into my buttery; the torch burns ill at thy hand, the wine will burn better in thy belly.  In, in.

 FLASH
Ware, there, room for Sir Adam Prickshaft!  Your worship.

[Exit SIR ADAM and Servant.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
Sir Vaughan and Widow Miniver, welcome, welcome, a thousand times.  My lips, Mistress Widow, shall bid you god morrow.  In, in, one to the bridegroom, the other to the bride.

 SIR VAUGHAN
Why then, Sir Quintilian, I will step into Mistress bride, and Widow Miniver shall go upon Master Bridegroom.

 MISTRESS MINIVER
No, pardon, for by my truly, Sir Vaughan, I’ll ha’ no dealings with any Master Bridegroom.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
In, widow, in; in, honest knight, in.

 SIR VAUGHAN
I will usher you, mistress widow.

 FLASH
Light there, for Sir Vaughan.  Your good worship.

 SIR VAUGHAN
Drink that shilling, Master Peter Flash, in your guts and belly.

 FLASH
I’ll not drink it down, sir, but I’ll turn it into that which shall run down, oh merrily!

[Exit  SIR VAUGHAN and MISTRESS MINIVER.

Enter BLUNT, CRISPINUS, DEMETRIUS, and others with Ladies, lights before them.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
God morrow to these beauties, and gentlemen, that have ushered this troop of ladies to my daughter’s wedding, welcome, welcome all.  Music?  Nay then the bridegroom’s coming.  Where are these knaves here?

 FLASH
All here, sir.

Enter TERILL, SIR ADAM, SIR VAUGHEN,CÆLESTINE, MINIVER, and other Ladies, [DIACACHE, PHILOCALIA, PETULA], and attendants with lights.

 TERILL
God morrow, ladies, and fair troops of gallants,
That have depos’d the drowsy king of sleep,
To crown our train with your rich presences,
I salute you all.

 CRISPINUS
God morrow, Master Bridegroom, Mistress Bride.

 OMNES
God morrow, Master Bridegroom.

 TERILL
Gallants, I shall entreat you to prepare
For masques and revels to defeat the night,
Our sovereign will in person grace our marriage.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
What will the king be here?

 TERILL
Father, he will.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
Where be these knaves?  More rosemary and gloves,
Gloves, gloves; choose, gentlemen; ladies, put on
Soft skins upon the skin of softer hands;
So, so; come Mistress Bride, take you your place,
The old man first, and then the bachelors;
Maids with the bride, widows and wives together,
The priest’s at church; ‘tis time that we march thither.

 TERILL
Dear Blunt at our return from church, take pains
To step to Horace, for our nuptial songs.
Now, father, when you please.

 SIR QUINTILIAN
Agreed, set on.
Come, good Sir Vaughan, must we lead the way?

 SIR VAUGHAN
Peter, you go too fast for Mistress Pride; so, gingerly, gingerly.  I muse why Sir Adam Prickshaft sticks so short behind?

 SIR QUINTILIAN
He follows close; not too fast; hold up, knaves;
Thus we lead youth to church, they us to graves.                               [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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