The Witch of Edmonton – Act Five, scene one

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Enter MOTHER SAWYER alone.

Still wrong’d by every slave?  And not a dog
Bark in his dame’s defence?  I am call’d witch,
Yet am myself bewitched from doing harm.
Have I given up myself to thy black lust
Thus to be scorn’d?  Not see me in three days?
I’m lost without my Tomalin.  Prithee, come,
Revenge to me is sweeter far than life.
Thou art my raven, on whose coal-black wings
Revenge comes flying to me.  Oh my best love!
I am on fire, even in the midst of ice,
Raking my blood up, till my shrunk knees feel
Thy cur’d head leaning on them.  Come then, my darling,
If in the air thou hover’st, fall upon me
In some dark cloud; and as I oft have seen
Dragons and serpents in the elements,
Appear thou now so to me.  Art thou i’th’sea?
Muster up all the monsters from the deep,
And be the ugliest of them, so that my bulch
Show but his swarth cheek to me, let earth cleave
And break from hell, I care not.  Could I run
Like a swift powder-mine beneath the world,
Up would I blow it all, to find out thee,
Though I lay ruin’d to it.  Not yet come!
I must then fall to my old prayer.
Sanctibiceter nomen tuum.
Not yet come!  Worrying of wolves, biting of mad dogs, the manges and the—

Enter DOG in white.

How now?  Whom art thou cursing?

Thee.  Ha!  No, ‘tis my black cur I am cursing,
For attending not on me.

I am that cur.

Thou liest.  Hence, come not nigh me.

Bow wow!

Why dost thou thus appear to me in white, as if thou wert the ghost of my dear love?

I am dogged, list not to tell thee.  Yet to torment thee, my whiteness puts thee in mind of thy winding sheet.

Am I near death?

Yes, if the dog or hell be near thee.  When the devil comes to thee as a lamb, have at thy throat.

Off, cur!

He has the back of a sheep, but the belly of an otter; devours by sea and land.  Why am I in white?  Didst thou not pray to me?

Yes, thou dissembling hell-hound.  Why now in white more than at other times?

Be blasted with the news:  whiteness is day’s footboy, a forerunner to light, which shows thy old rivell’d face.  Villains are stripp’d naked, the witch must be beaten out of her cockpit.

Must she?  She shall not.  Thou art a lying spirit.
Why, to mine eyes art thou a flag of truce.
I am at peace with none; ‘tis the black colour
Or none, which I fight under.  I do not like
Thy puritan-paleness.  Glowing furnaces
Are far more hot than they which flame outright.
If thou my old dog art, go and bite such
As I shall set thee on.

I will not.

I’ll sell myself to twenty thousand fiends,
To have thee torn in pieces then.

Thou canst not.  Thou art so ripe to fall into hell that no more of my kennel will so much as bark at him that hangs thee.

I shall run mad.

Do so, thy time is come to curse and rave and die.  The glass of thy sins is full, and it must run out at gallows.

It cannot, ugly cur!  I’ll confess nothing, and not confessing, who dare come and swear I have bewitched them?  I’ll not confess one mouthful.

Choose, and be hang’d or burn’d.

Spite of the devil and thee, I’ll muzzle up my tongue from telling tales.

Spite of thee and the devil, thou’lt be condemn’d.

Yes, when?

And ere the executioner catch thee full in’s claws, thou’lt confess all.

Out, dog!

Out, witch!  Thy trial is at hand.

Out prey being had, the devil does laughing stand.

The DOG stands aloof.  Enter OLD BANKS, RATCLIFFE, and Countrymen.

She’s here.  Attach her.  Witch, you must go with us.

Wither?  To hell?

No, no, no, old crone.  Your mittimus shall be made thither, but your own gaolers shall receive you.  Away with her.

My Tommy!  My sweet Tom-boy!  Oh, thou dog!
Dost thou now fly to thy kennel and forsake me?
Plagues and consumptions—                                                   [Exeunt all but DOG.

Ha, ha, ha, ha!
Let not the world, witches devils condemn,
They follow us, and then we follow them.

Enter YOUNG BANKS to the DOG.

I would fain met with mine ingle once more;  he has had a claw amongst ‘em.  My rival that lov’d my wench is like to be hang’s like an innocent; a kind cur where he takes, but where he takes not, a dogged rascal.  I know the villain loves me.                                                                                                                     [DOG barks.
Art thou there?  That’s Tom’s voice, but ‘tis not he; this is a dog of another hair.  This?  Bark and not speak to me?  Not Tom then.  There’s as much diference betwixt Tom and this as betwixt black and white.

Hast thou forgot me?

That’s Tom again.  Prithee, ningle speak.  Is thy name Tom?

Whilst I serv’d my old dame Sawyer, ‘twas.  I’m gone from her now.

Gone?  Away with the wtich then too!  She’ll never thrive if thou leav’st her.  She knows no more how to kill a cow, or a horse, or a sow, withou thee, then she does to kill a goose.

No, she has done killing now, ut must be kill’d for what she has sone.  She’s shortly to be h ang’d.

Is she?  In my conscience if she be, ‘tis thou has brought her to the gallows, Tom.

Right.  I serv’d her to that purpose.  ‘Twas part of my wages.

This was no honest servant’s part, by your leave, Tom.  This remember, I pray you, between you and I. I entertain’d you ever as a dog, not as a devil.

True; and so I us’d thee doggedly, not devilishly.  I have deluded thee for sport to laugh at.  The wench thou seekst after, thou never speakest with, but a spirit in her form, habit, and likeness.  Ha, ha!

I do not then wonder at the change of your garments, if you can enter into shapes of women too.

Any shape, to blind such silly eyes as thine; but chiefly those coarse creatures, dog or cat, hare, ferret, frog, toad.

Louse or flea?

Any poor vermin.

It seems you devils have poor thin souls, that you can bestow yourselves in such small bodies.  But pray you, Tom, one question at parting.  I think I shall never see you more.  Where do you borrow those bodies that are none of your own?  The garment-shape you may hire at broker’s.

Why wouldst thou know that?  Fool, it avails thee not.

Only for my mind’s sake, Tom, and to tell some of my friends.

I’ll thus much tell thee:  thou art never so distant
From an evil spirit, but that thy oaths,
Curses, and blasphemies pull him to thine elbow.
Thou never tellst a lie, but that a devil
Is within hearing it; thy evil purposes
Are every haunted.  But when they come to act,
As thy tongue slandering, bearing false witness,
Thy hand stabbing, stealing, cozening, cheating,
He’s then within thee.  Thou playst, he bets upon thy part.
Although thou lose, yet he will gain by thee.

Ay?  Then he comes in shape of a rook.

The old cadaver of some self-strangled wretch
We sometimes borrow, and appear human.
The carcass of some disease-slain strumpet,
We varnish fresh, and wear as her first beauty.
Didst never hear?  If not, it has been done.
An hot luxurious lecher in this twines,
When he has thought to clip his dalliance,
There has provided been for him embrace
A fine hot flaming devil in her place.

Yes, I am partly a witness to this, but I never could embrace her.  I thank thee for that, Tom.  Well, again I thank thee, Tom, for all this counsel, without a fee too.  There’s few lawyers of thy mind now.  Certainly, Tom, I begin to pity thee.

Pity me?  For what?

Were it not possible for thee to become an honest dog, yet?  ‘Tis a base life that you lead, Tom, to serve witches, to kill innocent children, to kill harmless cattle, to ‘stroy corn and fruit, &c.  ‘Twere better yet to be a butcher, and kill for yourself.

Why?  These are all my delights, my pleasures, fool.

Or, Tom, if you could give your mind to ducking, I know you can swim, fetch, and carry, some shopkeeper in London would take great delight in you and be a tender master over you; or if you have a mind to the game, either at bull or bear, I think I could prefer to you Moll Cutpurse.

Ha, ha!  I should kill all the game, bulls, bears, dogs, and all, not a cub to be left.

You could do, Tom, but you must play fair.  You should be stav’d off, else.  Or if your stomach did better like to serve in some nobleman’s, knight’s or gentleman’s kitchen, if you could brook the wheel, and turn the spit, your labour could not be much; when they have roast meat, that’s but once or twice in the week at most, here you might lick your own toes very well.  Or if you could translate yourself into a lady’s arming puppy, there you might lick sweet lips, and do many pretty offices; but to creep under an old witch’s coats and suck like a great puppy, fie upon’t!  I have heard beastly things of you, Tom.

Ha, ha!  The worse thou heardst of me, the better ‘tis.
Shall I serve thee, fool, at the self-same rate?

No, I’ll see thee hang’d, thou shalt be damn’d first.  I know thy qualities too well. I’ll give no suck to such whelps.  Therefore henceforth I defy thee.  Out and avaunt!

Not will I serve for such a silly soul.
I am for greatness now, corrupted greatness.
There I’ll shug in, and get a noble countenance.
Serve some Briarean footcloth-strider
That has an hundred hands to catch at bribes,
But not a finger’s nail of charity.
Such, like the dragon’s tail, shall pull down hundreds
To drop and sink with him.  I’ll stretch myself
And draw this bulk small as a silver wire,
Enter at the least poor tobacco fume
Can make a breach for.  Hence, silly fool,
I scorn to prey on such an atom soul.

Come out, come out, you cur!  I will beat thee out of the bounds of Edmonton, and tomorrow we go in procession, and after thou shalt never come in again.  If thou goest to London, I’ll make thee go about by Tyburn, stealing in by Thieving Lane.  If thou canst rub thy shoulder against a lawyer’s gown, as thou passest by Westminster Hall, do; if not, to the stayers amongst the bandogs, take water, and the devil go with thee!                                  [Exeunt YOUNG BANKS, DOG barking.

Proceed to the next scene


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