Swetnam the Woman Hater – Act Five, scene two

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Enter ATLANTA and AURELIA.

AURELIA
But dost thou think he’ll come?

ATLANTA
He cannot choose.
I sent him such a loving answer back
By his solicitor, able to make
An eunuch to come with the conceit.
The hour’s almost at hand. Madam, command
A banquet be set forth. My charge shall be

Enter Women with a banquet.

To give him entertainment, whilst your grace,
Loretta, and he ladies of your train,
Or any others you shall please to appoint,
Be ready to surprise him. So, ‘tis well.
Now leave the rest to me.

AURELIA
My dear Atlanta, I comment thy care.

ATLANTA
Call it my duty, madam, and the love
I owe to sacred virtue, to defend
The fame of women. All withdraw awhile.
I think I hear him coming. Ay, ‘tis he.                         [Exeunt all the Women.

Enter MISOGYNOS and SWASH.

SWASH
This is the place, sir, she appointed you.

MISOGYNOS
Is this the orchard then?
Where I must pluck the fruit from that fair tree?

SWASH
[Aside.] I would it might prove stone-fruit, and so choke him.

MISOGYNOS
Ha! What’s here? A banquet?

SWASH
Banquet! Where?

MISOGYNOS
Ready prepar’d? Why, this is excellent!
What a kind creature ‘tis!

SWASH
Did I not say
How monstrously she lov’d you? Come, fall to.

MISOGYNOS
Before my mistress come?

SWASH
I’faith, sir, ay.
This is boy only a provocative
To make you strong and lusty for the encounter.

MISOGYNOS
And here’s wine too.
Nothing but blood and spirit. Fall to, Swash.

SWASH
A sweet thing is love
That fills both heart and mind.
There is no comfort in the world
To women that are kind.
Here, sir, I’ll drink to you.

MISOGYNOS
I would she would come away once. Now, methinks
I could perform. And see! But wish and have.

Enter ATLANTA.

ATLANTA
Oh, are you come? I see you keep your hour.

MISOGYNOS
I should be sorry else.

ATLANTA
Nay, keep your place.

MISOGYNOS
Will you sit down then? [To SWASH.] Sirrah, walk aloof.

ATLANTA
Let him be doing something. Here, take this.          [Offers some food.

MISOGYNOS
I have made bold to taste your wine and cates,
And when you please, we’ll try the operation.

ATLANTA
How?

MISOGYNOS
You know my mind.

ATLANTA
You men are so fickle, that poor we
Do not know whom to trust.
But do you love me truly?

MISOGYNOS
By this kiss.

ATLANTA
No, save that labour, sir. I’ll take your word.
Yet, how should I believe you, when so late
You rail’d against our sex and slander’d us?

MISOGYNOS
Oh, do not think of that. That’s done and gone.
Do not recall what’s past. I now recant,
And, by this hand, I love thee truly.

ATLANTA
May I believe all this?

MISOGYNOS
Come hither, Swash.
How often have I sworn to thee alone,
I lov’d this lady; never none but she?

SWASH
Yes, truly, that he has.

MISOGYNOS
You may be proud, I tell you, of my love.
There is a thousand women in this town
To embrace me would clap their hands for joy
And run like so many wildcats.

SWASH
That they would,
I dare be sworn for ‘em,
And hang about him like so many catch-poles.
He would ne’er get from ‘em,
And yet this happiness is proffer’d you.

ATLANTA
Which I cannot refuse.
You have, you know, such a prevailing tongue,
No woman can deny you anything.

MISOGYNOS
Why, that was kindly spoke. Where shall we meet?

ATLANTA
Hark in your ear, I’ll tell you.

MISOGYNOS
Best of all.

ATLANTA
But—

MISOGYNOS
Do you think me such a fool?

ATLANTA
Till then farewell. I’ll speedily return.                                             [Exit.

MISOGYNOS
Why, law now, Swash, I told thee she would yield.
No woman in the world can hold out long.
Oh, beware when a man of art courts a woman.

SWASH
Ay, or a fencer, sir. We lay ‘em flat before us.
But, pray you tell me, master, do you love
This lass sincerely?

MISOGYNOS
Ha, ha, ha! Love? That were a jest indeed
To pass away the time for sport, or so.
They’re made for nothing else,
And he that love ‘em longer is a fool.

SWASH
Methinks ‘tis pity to delude her, sir.
I’faith, she’s a handsome wench.

MISOGYNOS
Away, you ass!
Delude? What are they good for else?

Enter ATLANTA.

She comes again. Out of the orchard, Swash.                          [Exit SWASH.
Welcome, sweetheart.

ATLANTA
Are you in private, sir?

MISOGYNOS
There’s not an eye under the horizon
That can behold us. If suspicion tell,
I’ll beat her blind as ever fencer was.

ATLANTA
Sir, now you talk of fencing. I hear you
Profess that noble science.

MISOGYNOS
‘Tis most true.

ATLANTA
I love you, sir, the better. ‘Tis a thing
I honour with my heart. If any one
Should scandalize or twit me with your love,
You can defend my fame, and make such men—

MISOGYNOS
Creep on their knees; ask their forgiveness,
Or any other base submission.

ATLANTA
Oh, what happiness shall I enjoy!
But can you do this if occasion serve?

MISOGYNOS
Would some were here to make experience
That thou might’st see my skill.

ATLANTA
Sir, that will I.                                                                       [Strike him.

MISOGYNOS
How’s this?

ATLANTA
Impudent slave!
How dar’st thou look a woman in the face
Or commence love to any, specially to me?
Thou know’st I’m vow’d thy public enemy,
Which this, and this, and this shall testify.

MISOGYNOS
Oh, that I had a weapon, thou shouldst know
A thousand women could not stand one blow
From my unconquered arm.

ATLANTA
That shall be tri’d.
I’ll fit you, sir, in your own element.
I think thou darest not look upon a sword.
See, there’s a foil. I will but thump you, sir.
Thy life’s reserv’d unto a worse revenge.                                          [Play.

MISOGYNOS
Oh, some devil’s enter’d into this idol sure,
To make me misbelieve. Oh!

ATLANTA
Cowardly slave! A fencer? You? A fiddler!
He cannot hold his weapon, guard his breast;
No, nor defend a thrust. Art not asham’d
This to disgrace that noble exercise?

MISOGYNOS
Oh! Hold, hold! I yield, I yield!

ATLANTA
Has our country meats fed you so high
You needs must have a stale for your base lust?
I’ll satiate your senses ere I have done;
And so much for your feeling. For your taste,
You have had sufficient in your sweetmeats, sir,
Your drink too was perfum’d to please your smell.

MISOGYNOS
Ay, but I have had but sour sauce to ‘em.

ATLANTA
Why then the proverb holds. Now for your sight.
Madam, come force, and bring your followers.

Enter all the Women.

MISOGYNOS
I’d rather see so many cockatrices.
Oh, that my eyes might be forever shut,
So that I might ne’er behold these crocodiles!

AURELIA
Where’s this bawling bandog?

OMNES
Here, here, here, here!

MISOGYNOS
Murder, murder, murder! I’m betrayed.
I shall be torn in pieces. Murder, ho!

AURELIA
Is this the dogged humorist that calls
Himself the woman hater?

MISOGYNOS
On my knees.

AURELIA
Dost thou reply, vile monster? Bind him, come.

OLD WOMAN
Let me come to him, I’ll so mumble him.

AURELIA
Remember fair Leonida, my child,
Whose innocence was made a sacrifice
To thy base forgeries and sophistry!

OMNES
Out, you abominable rascal!

AURELIA
This for your hearing, sir. Now all is full.

MISOGYNOS
Ladies, gentlewomen, sweet Atlanta, all,
Hear me but speak.

LORETTA
No, not a syllable.
You have spoke too much already, you damn’d rogue.
But we’ll reward you for’t. Screw his jaws.

MISOGYNOS
Oh, oh, oh!

AURELIA
Now, thou inhuman wretch, what punishment
Shall invent sufficient to inflict,
According to the height of our revenge?

OMNES
Let’s tear his limbs in pieces, joint from joint.

MISOGYNOS
Oh, oh!

SCOLD
Three or four pair of pincers, now red hot,
Were excellent.

LORETTA
Will not our bodkins serve?

AURELIA
Hang him! Slave! Shall he die as noble a death
As Caesar did? No, no! Pinch him, prick him!

YOUNG WOMAN
I have small pins enow to serve us all.

SCOLD
We cannot wish for better. Take him up
And bind him to this post.

LORETTA
Faith, post and pair,
As good a game as can be.

AURELIA
Come, let’s to’t.
Shuffle the cards and leave our all the knaves.

ATLANTA
No, the knaves in at post and out at pair.

AURELIA
Shall it be so? Agreed! Deal round.

SCOLD
First stake.

MISOGYNOS
Oh, oh, oh, oh!

ATLANTA
Pass.

AURELIA
Pass.

LORETTA
Nay, I’ll not pass it so.

MISOGYNOS
Oh, oh!

YOUNG WOMAN
Faith, I’ll be in too.

MISOGYNOS
Oh!

Enter two Old Women and SWASH.

AURELIA
Again, for me too. I will vie it.

MISOGYNOS
Oh!

ATLANTA
And for me, I’ll not deny it.

MISOGYNOS
Oh!

LORETTA
I’ll see you and revi’t again.

MISOGYNOS
Oh!

SCOLD
For you two, I’ll put in ten.

MISOGYOS
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!

AURELIA
How now? Stay, who is this?

SWASH
I could not find the way out of the orchard
If I should ha’ been hang’d, but fell into these
Old women’s mouths; but the best is, they had
No teeth to bite me. But my grandma here
Scratches most devilishly.

ATLANTA
Here’s a whelp of the same litter too.
Come hither, sirrah. Do you know this man?

SWASH
Yes, forsooth, I know him.
He was my master once, want of a better.

LORETTA
Then you were one of this confederates, sir.

SWASH
I his confederate? I defy him.
He knows I always gave him good counsel,
If he had had the grace to follow it.
Here he is himself; let him deny it if he can.

MISOGYNOS
Oh, oh, oh!

SWASH
Did not I ever say, master, “Take heed,
Wrong not kind gentlewomen,
Honest loving women?” Many a time
Have I been beaten by him black and blue
For looking on a woman. Is’t not true?

MISOGYNOS
Oh, oh!

SWASH
You see his bringing up
To make a mouth at all this company?

AURELIA
This is an honest fellow. He shall escape.
Sirrah, lov’st thou a woman?

SWASH
Ay, with all my heart.

SCOLD
He looks as if he did.

ATLANTA
Well, stand aside; we’ll employ you anon.
Forbear your tortures yet; something is hid
That we must have reveal’d, and he himself
Shall be his own accuser. You all know
He hath arraign’d us for inconstancy;
But now we’ll arraign him and judge him too.
This is woman’s council. Madam, we make you
Lady Chief Justice of this female court.
Mistress recorder I. Loretta, you
Sit for the notary. Crier, she.
The rest shall bear inferior offices
As keepers, servants, executioners.

SWASH
I’d rather be a hangman than a servant.
Yet there’s no great difference, if one will not,
T’other must.

ATLANTA
Mother, go you and call a jury full,
Of which y’are the forewoman.

FIRST OLD WOMAN
Thank you, forsooth. I’ll fetch one presently.
‘Tis fit he should be scratch’d, and please your grace.
Sure, he is no man.

ATLANTA
We want a bar. Oh, these two foils shall serve.
One stuck i’the earth, and cross it from this tree.
Now, take your places. Bring him to the bar.
Sirrah, ungag him.

SWASH
Let him be gagg’d still;
Then you are sure whate’re you say to him
He cannot contradict you.

ATLANTA
Pull it out.

SWASH
Do not bite, y’are best.

MISOGYNOS
Oh, that I were a serpent for your sakes
Bearing a thousand stings!

AURELIA
Worse than thou art
Thou canst not wish to be, abortive wretch.
Bring him to the bar.

SWASH
You’ld not be rul’d by me. I told you o’this,
And now you see what follows. Hanging’s the least
Whatev’r follows that.

AURELIA
Clerk of the peace,
Read the indictment.

SCOLD
Silence in the court!

SWASH
[Aside.] Silence? And none but women? That were strange!

LORETTA
Misogynos, hold up thy hand.

SWASH
His name is Swetnam, not Misogynos.
That’s but a borrow’d name.

MISOGYNOS
Peace, you rogue!
Will you discover me?

AURELIA
Swetnam is his name.

SWASH
Ay, Joseph Swetnam, that’s his name, forsooth.
Joseph the Jew was a better gentile far.

LORETTA
Then, Joseph Swetnam, alias Misogynos,
Alias Molaastomus, alias the woman-hater.

SWASH
How came he by all these names?
I have heard many say he was nev’r christened.

LORETTA
Thou art here indicted by these name, that thou,
Contrary to nature, and the peace of this land,
Hast wickedly and maliciously slandered,
Maligned, and opprobriously defamed the civil society
Of the whole sex of women; therefore speak:
Guilty or not guilty.

MISOGYNOS
Not guilty.

SWASH
Hum.

OMNES
Not guilty?

MISOGYNOS
No, not guilty.

AURELIA
Darest thou deny a truth so manifest?
Didst thou not lately, both by word and deed,
Publish a pamphlet in disgrace of us,
And of all womankind?

MISOGYNOS
No, no, no, not I.

SWASH
Hum.

ATLANTA
Calling us tyrannous, ambitious, cruel?

AURELIA
Camparing us to serpents, crocodiles
For dissimulation, hyenas for subtleties?
Such like?

LORETTA
And far worse,
That we are all the devil’s agents, to seduce man again?

SCOLD
That all our studies are but to delude
Our credulous husbands?

MISOGYNOS
I deny all this.

SWASH
Hum.

LORETTA
Nay more, thou dost affirm, without distinction,
All married wives are the devil’s hackneys,
To carry their husbands to hell?

AURELIA
Inhuman monster, hast thou nev’r a mother?

SWASH
No, forsooth, he is a succubus, begot
Betwixt a devil and a witch.

MISOGYNOS
If I did any such, let it be produc’d.

ATLANTA
Bring in the books for a firm evidence,
And bid the jury give the verdict up.

Enter two Old Women.

OLD WOMEN
Guilty, guilty, guilty!
Guilty of woman-slander and defamation.

ATLANTA
Produce the books and read the title of ‘em.

LORETTA
“The Arraignment of Idle, Froward, and Unconstant Women.”

AURELIA
What say you, sir, to this?

MISOGYNOS
Show me my name, and then I’ll yield unto’t.

AURELIA
No, that’s your policy and cowardice.
You durst not publish what you dar’d to write.
Thy man is witness to’t. [To SWASH.] Sirrah, confess,
Or you shall ev’n be serv’d of the same sauce.

SWASH
No, no, no, no, I’ll tell you all.
He is no fencer, that’s but for a show
For fear of being beaten. The best clerk
For cowardice that can be in the world
To terrify the female champions.
He was in England a poor scholar first,
And came to Medley to eat cakes and cream
At my old mother’s house. She trusted him,
At least some sixteen shillings o’the score,
And he persuaded her he would make me
A scholar of the university,
Which she, kind fool, believ’d. He nev’r taught me
Any lesson, but to rail against women.
That was my morning and my evening lecture.
And in one year he run away from thence,
And then he took the habit of a fencer,
And set up school at Bristow; there he liv’d
A year or two till he had writ this book;
And then the women beat him out the town.
And then we came to London; thereforsooth,
He put his book i’the press and publish’d it,
And made a thousand men and wives fall out.
Till two or three good wenches, inmere spite,
Laid their head together and rail’d him out of th’land.
Then we came hither. This is all, forsooth.

AURELIA
‘Tis ev’n enough.

MISOGYNOS
‘Tis all as false as women.

OMNES
Stop his mouth.

ATLANTA
Either be quiet, or y’are gagg’d again.

AURELIA
Proceed in judgement.

ATLANTA
Madam, thus it is:
First, he shall wear this muzzle, to express
His barking humour against womenkind.
And he shall be led and public shown,
In every street i’the city, and be bound
In certain places to a post or stake
And baited by all the honest women in the parish.

MISOGYNOS
Is that the worse? There will not one be found
In all the city.

OMNES
Out, you lying rascal!
Forbear a little.

ATLANTA
Then he shall be whipp’d quite thorough the land
Till he come to the seacoast, and then be shipp’d
And sent to live amongst the infidels.

OMNES
Oh, the lord preserve your grace.

LORETTA
Oh, oh, oh!

AURELIA
Call in his books,
And let ‘em all be burn’d and cast away,
And his arraignment not put i’the press
That he may live a shame unto his sex.

ATLANTA
Sirrah, the charge be yours; which, if you fail,
You shall be us’d so too. If well perform’d,
You shall be well rewarded. Break up court.
OMNES Away, you bawling mastiff!

SWASH
Pish, pish.                                                                             [Exeunt Omnes.

Proceed to the next scene

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