Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Anonymous
Not Peer Reviewed

A Yorkshire Tragedy (Third Folio, 1664)

Enter Wife in a riding-sute, with a Serving-man.
295 Ser. Faith Mistress, if it may not be presumption
In me to tell you so, for his excuse
You had small reason, knowing his abuse.
Wife. I grant I had, but alas,
Why should our faults at home be spread abroad?
300'Tis grief enough within doors; at first sight
Mine Uncle could run o're his prodigal life
As perfectly, as if his serious eye
Had numbred all his follies:
Knew of his morgag'd lands, his friends in bonds,
305Himself withered with debt; and in that minute
Had I added his usage and unkindness,
'Twould have confounded every thought of good:
Where now, fathering his riots on his youth,
Which time and tame experience will shake off,
310Guessing his kindness to me (as I smooth'd him
With all the skill I had) though his deserts
Are in form uglier then an unshapt Bear.
He's ready to prefer him to some Office
And place at Court: a good and sure releif
315To all his stooping fortunes, 'twill be a means, I hope,
To make new league between us, and redeem
His virtues with his lands.
Ser. I should think so: Mistress, if he should not now
be kind to you, and love you, and cherish you up, I should
320think the Devil himself kept open house in him.
Wife. I doubt not but he will now, prythee leave me,
I think I hear him coming.
Serv. I am gone.
Wife. By this good means I shall preserve my lands,
325And free my husband out of Usurers hands:
Now there is no need of sale, my Uncle's kind,
I hope, if ought, this will content his mind.
Here comes my husband.
Enter Husband.
Hus. Now, are you come? where's the money? let's
330see the money, is the rubbish sold? those wiseakers your
Lands, why then, the money, where is it? poure it
down, down with it, down with it; I say pour't on the
groound, let's see it, let's see it.
Wife. Good sir, keep but in patience, and I hope
335My words shall like you well, I bring you better
Comfort then the sale of my Dowry.
Hus. Ha, what's that?
Wife. Pray do not fright me, sir, but vouchsafe me hear-
ing. My Uncle, glad of your kindness to me and mild use-
340age (for so I made it to him) hath in pitty of your decli-
ning fortunes, provided a place for you at Court, of worth
and credit; which so much overjoyed me----
Hus. Out on thee, filth, over and over-joyed,
When I'me in torment.
spurns her.
345Thou politick whore, subtiller then nine Devils, was
this thy journey to Nunck, to set down the history of
me, my state and fortunes:
Shall I, that dedicated my self to pleasure, be now con-
fin'd in service to crouch, and stand like an old man ith'
350hams, my Hat off? I that could never abide to uncover
my head ith' Church: base slut, this fruit beares thy com-
Wife. Oh, heaven knowes,
That my complaints were praises, and best words
355Of you, and your estate; onely my friends
Knew of your morgag'd Lands, and were possest
Of every accident before I came.
If you suspect it but a plot in me,
To keep my dowry, or for mine own good,
360Or my poor Childrens (though it suits a mother
To shew a naturall care in their reliefs)
Yet I'le forget my self to calme your blood,
Consume it, as your pleasure counsels you,
And all I wish, e'ne Clemency affords,
365Give me but pleasant looks, and modest words.
Hus. Mony, whore, mony, or I'le.----
draws his dagger.
Enter a Servant hastily.
What the Devil? how now thy hasty newes?
Ser. May it please you, sir.
370 Hus.What, may I not look upon my Dagger?
Speak, Villain, or I will execute the point on thee:
quick, short.
Ser. Why sir, a Gentleman from the University stayes
below to speak with you.
375 Hus. From the University? so, University,
That long word runs through me.
Wife. Was ever Wife so wretchedly beset?
Had not this newes stept in between, the point
Had offered violence unto my breast.
380That which some women call great misery,
Would shew but little here, would scarce be seen
Among my miseries: I may compare
For wretched fortunes, with all Wives that are,
Nothing will please him, untill all be nothing.
385He calls it slavery to be preferr'd,
A place of credit, a base servitude.
What shall become of me, and my poor Children?
Two here, and one at Nurse, my pretty beggars,
I see how ruine with a palsie hand
390Begins to shake the ancient seat to dust:
The heavy weight of sorrow drawes my lids
Over my dankish eyes: I can scarce see;
Thus grief will last, it wakes and sleeps with me.