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  • Title: The Puritan (Folio 3, 1664)

  • Copyright Digital Renaissance Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Authors: Thomas Middleton, William Shakespeare
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    The Puritan (Folio 3, 1664)

    Enter Captain Idle at one door, and old Souldier
    at the other.
    George Pye-board speaking within.
    Pye. Pray turn the key.
    Skir. Turn the key I pray?
    390Cap. Who should those be, I almost know their voices?
    O my friends!Entring.
    Y'are welcome to a smelling Room here? you newly
    took leave of the air, is't not a strange savour?
    Pie. As all Prison's have smells of sundry wretches;
    395Who though departed, leave their sents behind 'em,
    By Gold Captain, I am sincerely sorry for thee.
    Cap. By my troth, George, I thank thee; but, pish--
    what must be, must be.
    Skir. Captain, what do you lie in for? is't great?
    400what's your offence?
    Cap. Faith, my offence is ordinary,--common, a
    High-way, and I fear me my penalty will be ordinary
    and common too, a Halter.
    Pye. Nay, prophesie not so ill, it shall go hard
    405But I'le shift for thy life.
    Cap. Whether I live or dye, thou'rt an honest George.
    I'le tell you---Silver flow'd not with me, as it had done,
    (for now the tide runs to Bawds and Flatterers) I had a
    start out, and by chance set upon a fat Steward, thinking
    410his Purse had been as pursie as his body; and the slave
    had about him but the poor purchase of ten groats: not-
    withstanding being descryed, pursued, and taken, I know
    the Law is so grim, in respect of many desperate, unset-
    led Souldiers, that I fear me I shall dance after their pipe
    Skir. I am twice sorry for you, Captain; first, that
    your purchase was so small, and now that your danger is
    so great.
    Cap. Push, the worst is but death,---ha you a pipe of
    420Tobacco about you?
    Skir. I think I have thereabouts about me!
    Captain blows a pipe.
    Cap. Here's a clean Gentlman too, to receive.
    Pye. Well, I must cast about some happy slight:
    425Work brain, that ever did'st thy Master right.
    Cor. Keeper, let the key be turn'd.
    Corporal and Nicholas within.
    Nic. I, I, pray master Keeper give's a cast of your office.
    Cap. How now? more visitants?--what, Corporal Oath?
    430Pye. Skir. Corporal.
    Cor. In prison, honest Captain? this must not be.
    Nic. How do you, Captain Kinsman?
    Cap. Good Coxcomb, what makes that pure,--starcht
    fool here?
    435Nic. You see, Kinsman, I am somewhat bold to call
    in, and see how you do; I heard you were safe enough,
    and I was very glad on't, that it was no worse.
    Cap. This is a double torture now,---this fool by th'
    book doth vex me more then my imprisonment. What
    440meant you, Corporal, to hook him hither?
    Cor. Who, he? he shall relieve thee, and supply thee,
    I'le make him do't.
    Cap. Fie, what vain breath you spend:
    He supply? I'le sooner expect mercy from a Usurer when
    445my Bond's forfeited, sooner kindnesse from a Lawyer
    when my money's spent: nay, sooner charity from the
    Devil, then good from a Puritan. I'le look for relief from
    him, when Lucifer is restor'd to his bloud, and in Hea-
    ven again.
    450Nic. I warrant my Kinsman's talking of me, for my
    left ear burns most tyrannically.
    Pye. Captain Idle? what's he there? he looks like a
    Monkey upward, and a Crane downward.
    Cap. Pshaw; a foolish cousin of mine: I must thank
    455God for him.
    Pye. Why the better subject to work a scape upon;
    thou shalt e'en change cloathes with him, and leave him
    here, and so---
    Cap Push, I publisht him e'en now to my Corporal,
    460he will be damn'd ere he do me so much good; why I
    know a more proper, a more handsome device then that,
    if the slave would be sociable,---now goodman Fleer-
    Nic. Oh, my Cousin begins to speak to me now, I
    465shall be acquainted with him again, I hope.
    Skir. Look! what ridiculous Raptures take hold of his
    Pye. Then what say you to this device, a happy one,
    470Cap. Speak low, George; Prison Rats have wider
    eares then those in Malt-lofts.
    Nic. Cousin, if it lay in my power, as they say--to--do-
    Cap. 'Twould do me an exceeding pleasure indeed,
    that; nere talk forder on't, the fool will be hang'd ere
    475he do't.
    Cor. Pax, I'le thump'im to't.
    Pye. Why do but try the Fopster, and break it to
    him bluntly.
    Cap. And so my disgrace will dwell in his Jawes, & the
    480Slave slaver out our purpose to his Master, for would I
    were but as sure on't, as I am sure he will deny to do't.
    Nic. I would be heartily glad, Cousin, if any of my
    friendships, as they say, might--stand, ah--
    Pye. Why, you see he offers his friendship foolishly to
    485you already.
    Cap. I, that's the hell on't, I would he would offer it
    Nic. Verily, and indeed-la, Cousin--
    Cap.I have took note of thy fleers a good while, if
    490thou art minded to do me good? as thou gap'st upon me
    comfortably, and giv'st me charitable faces; which indeed
    is but a fashion in you all that are Puritans, wilt soon at
    night steal me thy Master's Chain?
    Nic.Oh, I shall sowne!
    495Pye. Corporal, he starts already!
    Cap. I know it to be worth three hundred Crowns,
    and with the half of that, I can buy my life at a Bro-
    kers, at second hand, which now lies in pawn to the
    Law, if this thou refuse to do, being
    easie and nothing
    500dangerous, in that thou art held in good opinion of thy
    Master; why 'tis a palpable Argument thou hold'st my
    life at no price, and these thy broken and unjoynted
    offers, are but only created in thy lip, now born, and
    now buried, foolish breath only: what, woult do't? shall I
    505look for happinesse in thy answer?
    Nich. Steal my Master's Chain quoth he? no, it shall
    nere be said, that Nicholas Saint Tantlings committed
    Cap. Nay, I told you as much, did I not? though he
    510be a Puritan, yet he will be a true man.
    Nic. Why Cousin, you know 'tis written, Thou shalt
    not steal.
    Cap. Why, and fool, thou shalt love thy Neighbour,
    and help him in extremities.
    515Nic. Mass I think it be indeed; in what Chapter's
    that, Cousin?
    Capt. Why in the first of Charity, the second verse.
    Nic. The first of Charity, quath a, that's a good
    jest, there no such Chapter in my book!
    520Cap. No, I know twas torn out of thy Book, and that
    makes so little in thy heart.
    Pye. Come, let me tell you, y'are too unkind a Kins-
    man ifaith; the Captain loving you so dearly, I, like the
    Pomwater of his eye, & you to be so uncomfortable, fie, fie.
    525Nic. Pray do not wish me to be hang'd, any thing else
    that I can do; had it been to rob, I would ha don't, but I
    must not Steal, that's the word, the literal, Thou shalt
    not steal; and would you wish me to steal then?
    Pye. No faith, that were too much, to speak truth;
    530why wilt thou Nim it from him?
    Nic. That I will.
    Pye. Why enough, Bully; he will be content with that,
    or he shall ha none; let me alone with him now, Cap-
    tain, I ha dealt with your Kinsman in a corner; a good,
    535--kind-natur'd fellow, me thinks: go to, you shall not
    have all your own asking, you shall bate somewhat on't,
    he is not contented absolutely, as you would say, to steal
    the Chain from him, but to do you a pleasure, he will nim
    it from him.
    540Nic. I, that I will, Cousin.
    Cap. Well, seeing he will do no more, as far as I see,
    I must be contented with that.
    Cor. Here's no notable gullery?
    Pye. Nay, I'le come nearer to you, Gentleman, because
    545we'll have only but a help and a mirth on't, the Knight
    shall not lose his Chain neither, but be only laid out of
    the way some one or two dayes.
    Nic. I, that would be good indeed, Kinsman.
    Pye. For I have a farder reach, to profit us better, by
    550the missing on't only, then if we had it out-right, as my
    discourse shall make it known to you;--when thou hast
    the Chain, do but convey it out at a back-door into the
    Garden, and there hang it close in the Rosemary banck,
    but for a small season; and by that harmlesse device, I
    555know how to wind Captain Idle out of prison, the Knight
    thy Master shall get his pardon, and release him, and he
    satisfie thy Master with his own Chain, and wondrous
    thanks on both hands.
    Nic. That were rare indeed la, pray let me know how.
    560Pye. Nay, 'tis very necessary thou should'st know,
    because thou must be employ'd as an Actor?
    Nic. An Actor? O no, that's a Player? and our Par-
    son rails against Players mightily I can tell you, because
    they brought him drunk upo'th'Stage once,--as he will be
    565horribly drunk.
    Cor. Mass I cannot blame him then, poor Church-spout.
    Pye. Why as an Intermedler then?
    Nic. I, that, that.
    Pye. Give me audience then; when the old Knight thy
    570Master has rag'd his fill for the loss of the Chain, tell him
    thou hast a Kinsman in prison, of such exquisite Art, that
    the Devil himself is French Lackey to him, and runs
    bare-headed by his horse-----belly (when he has
    one:) whom he will cause, with most Irish dexteri-
    575ty to fetch his Chain, though 'twere hid under a mine
    of Sea-coal, and ne're make Spade or Pick-axe his
    instruments; tell him but this, with farder instructions
    thou shalt receive from me, and thou show'st thy self a
    Kinsman indeed.
    580Cor. A dainty Bully.
    Skir. An honest--Book-keeper.
    Cap. And my three times thrice honey-Cousin.
    Nic. Nay, grace of God I'le rob him on't suddenly,
    and hang it in the Rosemary banck, but I bear that mind,
    585Cousin, I would not Steal any thing, me thinks, for mine
    own Father.
    Skir. He bears a good mind in that, Captain.
    Py. Why well said, he begins to be an honest fellow, faith.
    Cor. In troth he does.
    590Nic. You see, Cousin, I am willing to do you any kind-
    ness, alwayes saving my self harmless.
    Exit Nicholas.
    Captain. Why I thank thee, fare thee well, I shall re-
    quite it..
    Cor. 'Twill be good for thee, Captain, that thou hast
    595such an egregious Asse to thy Cousin.
    Cap. I, is not that a fine fool, Corporal?
    But George, thou talk'st of Art and Conjuring,
    How shall that be?
    Pyb. Puh, be't not in your care,
    600Leave that to me and my directions;
    Well, Captain, doubt not thy delivery now,
    E'en with the vantage, man, to gain by Prison,
    As my thoughts prompt me: hold on brain and plot,
    I aim at many cunning far events,
    605All which I doubt not to hit at length,
    I'le to the Widow with a quaint assault,
    Captain be merry.
    Cap. Who I? Kerry merry Buffe-Jerkin.
    Pye. Oh, I am happy in more slights, and one will
    610knit strong in another, --Corporal Oath.
    Cor. Hoh Bully!
    Pye. And thou, old Peter Skirmish, I have a necessary
    task for you both.
    Skir. Lay't upon George Pye-bord.
    615Corp. What e're it be, we'll manage it.
    Pye. I would have you two maintain a quarrell before
    the Lady Widdowes door, and draw your Swords ith'edge
    of the Evening: clash a little, clash, clash.
    Corp. Fuh.
    620Let us alone to make our Blades ring noon,
    Though it be after supper.
    Pye. I know you can;
    And out of that false fire, I doubt not but to raise strange
    belief--and, Captain, to countenance my device the bet-
    625ter, and grace my words to the Widow, I have a good
    plain Sattin Sute, that I had of a young Reveller tother
    night, for words pass not regarded now a dayes, unless they
    come from a good suit of cloathes, which the Fates and my
    wits have bestowed upon me. Well, Captain Idle, if I
    630did not highly love thee, I would ne're be seen within
    twelve score of a prison, for I protest at this instant, I
    walk in great danger of small debts; I owe money to se-
    verall Hostesses, and you know such Jills will quickly be
    upon a mans Jack.
    635Capt. True, George?
    Pye. Fare thee well, Captain. Come Corporall and
    Ancient, thou shalt hear more newes next time we greet
    Corp. More newes? I, by yon Bear at Bridge-Foot in
    640heaven shalt thou.
    Capt. Enough: my friends farewell,
    This prison shewes as if Ghosts did part in Hell.