Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Anonymous
Not Peer Reviewed

The Puritan (Folio 3, 1664)

Enter the two Bridegrooms, Captain and Scholar after
2260them, Sir Godfrey and Edmond, Widow changed in ap-
parel, Mistress Frances led between two Knights, Sir
John Penny-dub and Moll: there meets them a Noble
man, Sir Oliver Muck-hill, and Sir Andrew Tip-staff.
Nob. By your leave, Lady.
2265Wid. My Lord, your honour is most chastly welcome.
Nob. Madam, though I came now from Court, I come
not to flatter you: upon whom can I justly cast this blot,
but upon your own forehead, that know not Ink from
Milk, such is the blind besotting in the state of an un-
2270headed woman that's a Widow. For it is the property
of all you that are Widows (a handfull excepted) to hate
those that honestly and carefully love you, to the
maintenance of credit, state, and posterity, and strongly
to doat on those, that onely love you to undoe you: who
2275regard you least, are best regarded; who hate you most,
are best beloved. And if there be but one man amongst,
ten thousand millions of men, that is accurst, disastrous,
and evilly Planeted; whom Fortune beats most, whom
God hates most, and all Societies esteem least, that man
2280is sure to be a Husband---Such is the peevish Moon that
rules your blouds. An impudent fellow best woos you, a
flattering lip best wins you, or in mirth, who talks rough-
liest, is most sweetest; nor can you distinguish truth from
forgeries, mists from simplicity: witness those two de-
2285ceitfull Monsters, that you have entertain'd for Bride-
Wid. Deceitfull--
Pye. All will out.
Cap. Sfoot, who has blab'd, George? that foolish Ni-
Nob. For, what they have besotted your easie bloud
withall, were nought but forgeries, the Fortune-telling
for Husbands, and the Conjuring for the Chain; Sir
Godfrey heard the falshood of all: nothing but meer
2295knavery, deceit, and cozenage.
Wid. O wonderfull! indeed I wondred that my Hus[-}
band with all his craft, could not keep himself out of
Sir Godf. And I more wonder, that my Chain should
2300be gon, and my Taylor had none of it.
Moll. And I wondred most of all, that I should be
tyed from Marriage, having such a mind to't: come Sir
John Penny-dub, fair weather on our side, the Moon has
chang'd since yesternight.
2305Pye. The Sting of every evil is within me.
Nob. And that you may perceive I feign not with you,
behold their fellow-actor in those forgeries, who full of
Spleen and envy at their so sudden advancements, ravel'd
all their Plot in anger.
2310Pye. Base Souldier, to reveal us.
Wid. Is't possible we should be blinded so, and our
eyes open?
Nob. Widow, will you now believe that false, which
too soon you believed true?
2315Wid. O, to my shame, I do.
Sir Godf. But under favour, my Lord, my Chain was
truly lost, and strangely found again.
Nob. Resolve him of that, Souldier.
Skir. In few words, Knight, then thou wert the arch-
2320Gull of all.
Sir Godf. How, Sir?
Skir. Nay I'le prove it: for the Chain was but hid
in the Rosemary-banck all this while, and thou gotst
him out of prison to Conjure for it, who did it admirably
2325fustianly, for indeed what needed any others, when he
knew where it was?
Sir Godf. O villany of villains! but how came my
Chain there?
Skir. Where's, Truly la, Indeed la? he that will not
2330Swear, but Lye; he that will not Steal, but Rob: pure
Nicholas Saint Antlings.
Sir Godf. O villain! one of our Society,
Deem'd alwayes holy, pure, religious:
A Puritan, a thief? when was't ever heard?
2335Soon we'll kill a man, then Steal, thou know'st.
Out Slave, I'le rend my Lyon from thy back---with mine
own hands.
Nich. Dear Master, oh.
Nob. Nay Knight, dwell in patience.
2340And now, Widow, being so near the Church, 'twere
great pitty, nay uncharit; to send you home again with-
out a Husband: draw near, you of true Worship, state
and credit, that should not stand so far off from a Wi-
dow, and suffer forged shapes to come between you: Not
2345that in these I blemish the true Title of a Captain, or blot
the fair margent of a Scholar: for I honour worthy and
deserving parts in the one, and cherish fruitfull Virtues in
the other. Come Lady, and you Virgin, bestow your eyes
and your purest affections, upon men of estimation,
2350both in Court and City, that have long wooed you, and
both with their hearts and wealth, sincerely love you.
Sir Godf. Good sister, do: sweet little Frank, these
are men of reputation, you shall be welcome at Court: a
great credit for a Citizen, sweet sister.
2355Nob. Come, her silence do's consent to't.
Wid. I know not with what face.
Nob. Pah, pah, with your own face, they desire no other.
Wid Pardon me, worthy Sirs, I and my daughter have
wrong'd your loves.
2360Muck. 'Tis easily pardon'd, Lady,
If you vouchsafe it now.
Wid. With all my soul.
Fran. And I, with all my heart.
Moll. And I, Sir John with soul, heart, lights and all.
2365Sir Godf. They ar
e all mine, Moll.
Nob. Now, Lady:
What honest Spirit, but will applaud your choice,
And gladly furnish you with hand and voice;
A happy change, which makes e'en heaven rejoice.
2370Come, enter in your Joyes, you shall not want,
For, fathers, now I doubt it not, believe me,
But that you shall have hands enough to give me.
Exeunt omnes.