1 Honest Whore – Act Four, Scene One

Return to previous scene

Enter a Servant setting out a table, on which he places a skull, a picture, a book, and a taper.

 SERVANT
So, this is Monday morning, and now must I to my huswif’ry:  would I had been created a shoemaker, for all the gentle craft are gentlemen every Monday by their copy and scorn then to work one true stitch.  My master means sure to turn me into a student, for here’s my book, here my desk, here my light, this my close chamber, and here my punk:  so that this dull drowsy first day of the week makes me half a priest, half a chandler, half a painter, half a sexton, ay, and half a bawd, for all this day my office is to do nothing but keep the door.  To prove it, look you, this good face and yonder gentleman, so soon as ever my back’s turn’d, will be naught together.

Enter HIPPOLITO.

HIPPOLITO
Are all the windows shut?

SERVANT
Close, sir, as the fist of a courtier that hath stood in three reigns.

HIPPOLITO
Thou art a faithful servant and observ’st
The calendar, both of my solemn vows
And ceremonious sorrow.  Get thee gone;
I charge thee on thy life let not the sound
Of any woman’s voice pierce through that door.

SERVANT
If they do, my lord, I’ll pierce some of them.
What will your lordship have to breakfast?

HIPPOLITO
Sighs.

SERVANT
What to dinner?

HIPPOLITO
Tears.

SERVANT
The one of them, my lord, will fill you too full of wind, the other wet you too much.  What to supper?

HIPPOLITO
That which now thou canst not get me, the constancy of a woman.

SERVANT
Indeed that’s harder to come by than ever was Ostend.

HIPPOLITO
Prithee away.

SERVANT
I’ll make away myself presently, which few servants will do for their lords, but rather help to make them away.  Now to my door-keeping; I hope to pick something out of it.                                                                                            [Exit.

HIPPOLITO
[Taking up her picture.] My Infelice’s face:  her brow, her eye,
The dimple on her cheek, and such sweet skill
Hath from the cunning workman’s pencil flown,
These lips look fresh and lively as her own,
Seeming to move and speak.  ‘Las!  Now I see
The reason why fond women love to buy
Adulterate complexion:  here ’tis read
False colours last after the true be dead.
Of all the roses grafted on her cheeks,
Of all the graces dancing in her eyes,
Of all the music set upon her tongue,
Of all that was past woman’s excellence
In her white bosom, look, a painted board
Circumscribes all!  Earth can no bliss afford.
Nothing of her, but this?  This cannot speak,
It has no lap for me to rest upon,
No lip worth tasting:  here the worms will feed,
As in her coffin.  Hence then, idle art:
True love’s best pictur’d in a true love’s heart.
Here art thou drawn, sweet maid, till this be dead,
So that thou liv’st twice, twice art buried.
Thou figure of my friend, lie there.  What’s here?
[Taking up the skull.] Perhaps this shrewd pate was mine enemy’s.
‘Las! Say it were:  I need not fear him now.
For all his braves, his contumelious breath,
His frowns, though dagger-pointed, all his plots,
Though ne’er so mischievous, his Italian pills,
His quarrels, and that common fence, his law:
See, see, they’re all eaten out; here’s not left one!
How clean they’re pick’d away!  To the bare bone!
How mad are mortals then to rear great names
On tops of swelling houses!  Or to wear out
Their fingers’ ends in dirt to scrape up gold!
Not caring, so that sumpter-horse the back
Be hung with gaudy trappings, with what coarse,
Yea, rags most beggarly, they clothe the soul!
Yet after all their gayness looks thus foul.
What fools are men to build a garish tomb,
Only to save the carcass whilst it rots,
To maintain’t long in stinking, make good carrion,
But leave no good deeds to preserve them sound,
For good deeds keep men sweet long above ground,
And must all come to this:  fools, wise, all hither;
Must all heads thus at last be laid together.
Draw me my picture then, thou grave neat workman,
After this fashion, not like this:  these colours
In time kissing but air will be kiss’d off,
But here’s a fellow; that which he lays on,
Till doomsday, alters not complexion.
Death’s the best painter then.  They that draw shapes
And live by wicked faces are but God’s apes:
They come but near the life, and there they stay.
This fellow draws life too:  his art is fuller;
The pictures which he makes are without colour.

Enter his Servant.

SERVANT
Here’s a parson would speak with you, sir.

HIPPOLITO
Hah!

SERVANT
A parson, sir, would speak with you.

HIPPOLITO
Vicar?

SERVANT
Vicar?  No, sir, h’as too good a face to be a vicar yet.  A youth, a very youth.

HIPPOLITO
What youth?  Of man or woman?  Lock the doors.

SERVANT
If it be a woman, marybones and potato pies keep me for meddling with her, for the thing has got the breeches.  ‘Tis a male varlet sure, my lord, for a woman’s tailor ne’er measur’d him.

HIPPOLITO
Let him give thee his message and be gone.

SERVANT
He says he’s Signior Matheo’s man, but I know he lies.

HIPPOLITO
How dost thou know it?

SERVANT
‘Cause h’as ne’er a beard:  ’tis his boy, I think, sir, whosoe’er paid for his nursing.

HIPPOLITO
Send him and keep the door.                                                                         [Exit Servant.
[Reads.] “Fata si liceat mihi
Fingere arbitrio meo 
Temperem Zephyro levi
Vela.”
I’d sail, were I to choose, not in the ocean;
Cedars are shaken when shrubs do feel no bruise.

Enter BELLAFRONT like a Page, with a letter.

How? From Matheo?

BELLAFRONT
Yes, my lord.

HIPPOLITO
Art sick?

BELLAFRONT
Not all in health, my lord.

HIPPOLITO
Keep off.

BELLAFRONT
I do.
[Aside] Hard fate when women are compell’d to woo.

HIPPOLITO
This paper does speak nothing.

BELLAFRONT
Yes, my lord,
Matter of life it speaks, and therefore writ
In hidden character; to me instruction
My master gives, and, ‘less you please to stay
Till you both meet, I can the text display.

HIPPOLITO
Do so:  read out.

BELLAFRONT
I am already out:
Look on my face and read the strangest story!

HIPPOLITO
What villain, ho!

Enter his Servant.

SERVANT
Call you my lord?

HIPPOLITO
Thou slave, thou hast let in the devil!

SERVANT
Lord bless us, where?  He’s not cloven, my lord, that I can see:  besides the devil goes more like a gentleman than a page.  Good my lord, boon couragio.

HIPPOLITO
Thou hast let in a woman in man’s shape,
And thou art damn’d for’t.

SERVANT
Not damn’d I hope for putting in a woman to a lord.

HIPPOLITO
Fetch me my rapier!  Do not: I shall kill thee.
Purge this infected chamber of that plague
That runs upon me thus!  Slave, thrust her hence!

SERVANT
Alas, my lord, I shall never be able to thrust her hence without help.  Come, mermaid, you must to sea again.

BELLAFRONT
Hear me but speak, my words shall be all music:
Hear me but speak.                                                                    [Knocking within.

HIPPOLITO
Another beats the door;
T’other she-devil, look.

SERVANT
Why then hell’s broke loose.

HIPPOLITO
Hence, guard the chamber:  let no more come on;
One woman serves for man’s damnation.                                      [Exit Servant.
Beshrew thee, thou dost make me violate
The chastest and most sanctimonious vow
That e’er was ent’red in the court of heaven:
I was on meditation’s spotless wings,
Upon my journey thither; like a storm
Thou beats my ripened cogitations
Flat to the ground, and like a thief dost stand
To steal devotion from the holy land.

BELLAFRONT
If woman were thy mother, if thy heart
Be not all marble—or if’t marble be,
Let my tears soften it to pity me—
I do beseech thee do not thus with scorn
Destroy a woman.

HIPPOLITO
Woman, I beseech thee
Get thee some other suit, this fits thee not;
I would not grant it to a kneeling queen:
I cannot love thee, nor I must not.  See
The copy of that obligation
Where my soul’s bound in heavy penalties.

BELLAFRONT
She’s dead, you told me; she’ll let fall her suit.

HIPPOLITO
My vows to her fled after her to heaven;
Were thine eyes clear as mine, thou mightst behold her
Watching upon yon battlements of stars
How I observe them:  should I break my bond,
This board would rive in twain, these wooden lips
Call me most perjur’d villain; let it suffice,
I ha’ set thee in the path.  Is’t not a sign
I love thee when with one so most, most dear,
I’ll have thee fellows?  All are fellows there.

BELLAFRONT
Be greater than a king; save not a body,
But from eternal shipwrack keep a soul:
If not, and that again, sin’s path I tread;
The grief be mine, the guilt fall on thy head.

HIPPOLITO
Stay and take physic for it; read this book,
Ask counsel of this head what’s to be done:
He’ll strike it dead that ’tis damnation
If you turn Turk again.  Oh, do it not!
Though heaven cannot allure you to do well
From doing ill, let hell fright you, and learn this:
The soul whose bosom lust did never touch
Is God’s fair bride, and maidens’ souls are such;
The soul that leaving chastity’s white shore
Swims in hot sensual streams, is the devil’s whore.

Enter his Servant.

How now!  Who comes?

SERVANT
No more knaves, my lord, that wear smocks.  Here’s a letter from Doctor Benedict; I would not enter his man, though he had hairs at his mouth, for fear he should be a woman, for some women have beards.  Marry, they are half witches!  ‘Slid, you are a sweet youth to wear a codpiece and have no pins to stick upon’t!

HIPPOLITO
I’ll meet the doctor, tell him; yet tonight
I cannot, but at morrow rising sun
I will not fail. Go, woman; fare thee well.

[Exeunt HIPPOLITO and his Servant.

BELLAFRONT
The lowest fall can be but into hell;
It does not move him. I must therefore fly
From this undoing city, and with tears
Wash off all anger from my father’s brow:
He cannot sure but joy seeing me new born.
A woman honest first and then turn whore
Is, as with me, common to thousands more,
But from a strumpet to turn chaste, that sound
Has oft been heard, that woman hardly found.                                           [Exit.

Proceed to the next scene

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: