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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
    Not Peer Reviewed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.