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  • Title: A Yorkshire Tragedy (Third Folio, 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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    A Yorkshire Tragedy (Third Folio, 1664)

    A York-Shire Tragedy.
    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.

    Enter the Husband with the Master of the Colledge.

    395 Hus. Please you draw near, sir, y'are exceeding wel-
    Ma. That's my doubt, I fear I come not to be wel-
    Hus. Yes, howsoever.
    400 Ma. 'Tis not my fashion, sir, to dwell in long cir-
    cumstance, but to be plain and effectuall; therefore to
    the purpose.
    The cause of my setting forth was pittious and lamenta-
    ble; that hopefull young Gentleman your Brother, whose
    405virtues we all love dearly, through your default and unna-
    turall negligence, lies in bond executed for your debt, a
    prisoner, all his studies amazed, his hope struck dead, and
    the pride of his youth muffled in these dark clouds of op-
    410 Hus. Hum, hum, hum.
    Mast. Oh you have kill'd the towardest hope of all
    our University, wherefore without repentance and a-
    mends, expect ponderous and sudden judgements to fall
    grievously upon you; your Brother, a man who profited
    415in his divine employments, and might have made ten
    thousand soules fit for heaven, now by your carelesse
    courses cast in prison, which you must answer for, and
    assure your spirit it will come home at length.
    Hus. Oh God, oh.
    420 Ma. Wise men think ill of you, others speak ill of you, no
    man loves you, nay, even those whom honesty condemns,
    condemns you: and take this from the virtuous affection
    I bear your Brother, never look for prosperous hour,
    good thought, quiet sleeps, contented walks, nor any
    425thing that makes man perfect, till you redeem him: what
    is your answer? how will you bestow him? upon despe-
    rate misery, or better hopes? I suffer till I hear your an-
    Hus. Sir, you have much wrought with me, I feel you
    430in my soule, you are your Arts master.
    I never had sence till now; your syllables have cleft me,
    both for your words and pains I thank you: I cannot
    but acknowledge grievous wrongs done to my Brother,
    mighty, mighty, mighty, mighty wrongs.
    435Within there.

    Enter a Servingman.

    Hus. Fill me a Bowle of Wine. Alass poor Brother,
    Bruised with an execution for my sake.
    Ma. A bruise indeed makes many a mortall sore,
    440Till the Grave cure them.
    Enter with Wine.
    Hus. Sir, I begin to you, y'ave chid your welcome.
    Ma. I could have wisht it better for your sake,
    I pledge you, sir, to the kind man in prison.
    Hus. Let it be so.
    445Now, sir, if you so please, to spend but a few minutes in
    walking about my grounds below, my man shall here
    attend you: I doubt not but by that time to be furnisht
    of a sufficient answer, and therein my Brother fully sa-
    450 Ma. Good sir, in that the Angels would be pleased,
    and the worlds murmures calm'd, and I should say, I set
    forth then upon a lucky day.
    Hus. O thou confused man, thy pleasant sins have un-
    done thee, thy damnation has begger'd thee, that heaven
    455should say we must not sin, and yet made women: gives
    our sences way to find pleasure, which being found, con-
    founds us, why should we know those things so much
    misuse us? Oh would virtue had been forbidden, we
    should then have proved all virtuous, for 'tis our blood
    460to love what we are forbidden, what man would have
    been forbidden, what man would have been fool to a
    beast, and zany to a swine, to shew tricks in the mire,
    what is there in three Dice, to make a man draw thrice
    three thousand acres into the compasse of a little round ta-
    465ble, and with the Gentlemans palsie in the hand shake
    out his posterity, thieves, or beggars; 'tis done, I have
    don't ifaith: terrible, horrible misery,----------how well
    was I left, very well, very well.
    My Lands shewed like a Full-Moon about me, but
    470now the Moon's in the last quarter, waining, waining,
    and I am mad to think that Moon was mine: