Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Anonymous
Not Peer Reviewed

The London Prodigal (Folio 3, 1664)


Written by W. Shakespeare.

Enter old Flowerdale and his brother.
Rother, from Venice, being thus disguis'd,
I come to prove the humours of my son:
5How hath he born himself since my departure,
I leaving you his patron and his guide?
Unc. Ifaith, brother, so as you will grieve to hear,
And I almost asham'd to report it.
Fath. Why how is't, brother? what doth he spend
10Beyond the allowance I left him?
Unc. How! beyond that? and far more: why, your
exibition is nothing, he hath spent that, and since hath
borrowed, protested with oaths, alledged kindred to
wring money from me, by the love I bore his father, by
15the fortunes might fall upon himself, to furnish his wants:
that done, I have had since, his bond, his friend and friends
bond, although I know that he spends is yours; yet it
grieves me to see the unbridled wildnesse that raigns over
20Fath. Brother, what is the manner of his life? how is
the name of his offences? if they do not rellish altoge-
ther of damnation, his youth may priviledge his wan-
tonnesse: I my self ran an unbridled course till thirty, nay
almost till forty; well, you see how I am: for vice once
25looked into with the eyes of discretion, and well ballanced
with the weights of reason, the course past, seems so abo-
minable, that the Landlord of himself, which is the heart
of his body, will rather intombe himself in the earth,
or seek a new Tenant to remain in him, which once set-
30tled, how much better are they that in their youth have
known all these vices, and left it, then those that knew
little, and in their age runs into it? Belive me, brother,
they that die most vertuous, hath in their youth, lived
most vicious, and none knows the danger of the fire, more
35then he that falls into it: But say, how is the course of
his life? let's hear his particulars.
Unc. Why I'le tell you, brother, he is a continual swearer,
And a breaker of his oaths, which is bad.
Fath. I grant indeed to swear is bad, but not in keeping
40those oaths is better: for who will set by a bad thing?
Nay by my faith, I hold this rather a vertue then a vice,
Well, I pray proceed.
Unc. He is a mighty brawler, and comes commonly
by the worst.
45Fath. By my faith this is none of the worst neither,
for if he brawl and be beaten for it, it will in time make
him shun it: For what brings a man or child, more
to vertue, then correction? What raigns over him else?
Unc. He is a great drinker, and one that will forget
Fa. Obest of all, vice should be forgotten: let him drink
So he drink not Churches.
Nay and this be the worst, I hold it rather happinesse in
Then any iniquity. Hath he any more attendants?
55Unc. Brother, he is one that will borrow of any man.
Fa. Why you see so doth the sea, it borrows of all the
Currents in the world, to encrease himself.
Un. I, but the sea paies it again, & so will never your son.
Fath. No more would the sea neither, if it were as dry
60as my son.
Unc. Then, brother, I see you rather like these vices in
Then any way condemne them.
Fath. Nay mistake me not, brother, for though I slur
them over now,
65As things slight and nothing, his crimes being in the bud,
It would gall my heart, they should ever raign in him.
Flow. Ho! who's within ho?
Flowerdale knocks within.
Unc. That's your son, he is come to borrow more
Fath. For Godsake give it out I am dead, see how he'll
take it,
Say I have brought you news from his father.
I have here drawn a formal will, as it were from my self,
75Which I'le deliver him.
Unc. Go too, brother, no more: I will.
Flow. Uncle, where are you, Uncle?
Unc. Let my cousin in there.
Fath. I am a Saylor come from Venice, and my name
80is Christopher.
Enter Flowerdale.
Flow. By the Lord, in truth Uncle.
Unc. In truth would a serv'd, cousin, without the Lord.
Flow. By your leave, Uncle, the Lord is the Lord of
A couple of rascalls at the gate, set upon me for my purse.
Unc. Yournever come, but you bring a brawl in your
Flow. By my truth, Uncle, you must needs lend me ten
90Unc. Give my cousin some small beer here.
Flow. Nay look you, you turn it to a jest now, by
this light,
I should ride to Croydon Fayr, to meet sir Lancelot Spur-
I should have his daughter Luce, and for scurvy
95Ten pound, a man shall lose nine hundred three-score