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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
    Not Peer Reviewed

    A Yorkshire Tragedy (Third Folio, 1664)

    mine and my fathers, and my fore-fathers generations,
    generations, down goes the house of us, down, down it
    sinks: Now is the name a beggar, begs in me that name
    475which hundreds of years has made this Shire famous; in
    me and my posterity runs out.
    In my seed five are made miserable besides my self,
    my Riot is now my Brothers Jaylor, my Wifes sighing,
    my three boyes penury, and mine own confusion.
    480He tears his hair.
    Why sit my hairs upon my cursed head?
    Will not this poison scatter them? oh my Brother's
    In execution among devils that stretch him:
    And make him give; and I in want,
    485Not able for to live, nor to redeem him.
    Divines and dying men may talk of hell,
    But in my heart her several torments dwell,
    Slavery and misery. Who in this case
    Would not take up money upon his soul?
    490Pawn his salvation, live at interest:
    I, that did ever in abundance dwell,
    For me to want, exceeds the throws of hell.

    Enter his little son, with a Top and Scourge.

    Son. What aile you father, are you not well, I cannot
    495scourge my Top as long as you stand so: you take up all
    the room with your wide legs, puh, you cannot make me
    afraid with this, I fear no vizards, nor bugbears.

    He takes up the child by the skirts of his long coat in one
    hand, and draws his dagger with the other.

    500 Hus. Up sir, for here thou hast no inheritance left.
    Son. Oh what will you do father, I am your white
    boy.Strikes him.
    Hus. Thou shalt be my red boy, take that.
    Son. Oh you hurt me father.
    505 Hus. My eldest beggar, thou shalt not live to ask an
    usurer bred, to cry at a great mans gate, or follow, good
    your Honour by a Coach, no, nor your brother: 'tis cha-
    rity to brain you.
    Son. How shall I learn now my head's broke?
    510 Hus. Bleed, bleed, rather then beg, beg,stabs him.
    Be not thy names disgrace:
    Spurn thou thy fortunes first, if they be base:
    Come view thy second Brother: Fates,
    My childrens bloud shall spin into your faces,
    515You shall see,
    How confidently we scorn beggery. Exit with his son.

    Enter a maid with a child in her armes, the
    Mother by her asleep.

    Maid. Sleep sweet babe, sorrow makes thy mother sleep,
    520It boads small good when heavinesse falls so deep,
    Hush, pretty boy, thy hopes might have bin better,
    'Tis lost at Dice, what ancient honour won,
    Hard when the father plaies away the Son:
    Nothing but misery serves in this house,
    525Ruine and desolation; oh.

    Enter Husband with the Boy bleeding.

    Hus. Whore, give me that Boy.
    He strives with her for the child.
    Maid. Oh help, help, out alas, murder, murder.
    530 Hus. Are you gossiping, prating sturdy quean,
    I'le break your clamour with your neck,
    Down stayers; tumble, tumble, headlong,
    He throws her down.
    So, the surest way to charme a womans tongue,
    535Is break her neck, a Polititain did it.
    Son.Mother, mother, I am kill'd mother.
    His wife awakes, and catcheth up the youngest.
    Wife. Ha, who's that cry'd? O me my children,
    Both, both; bloudy, bloudy.
    540 Hus. Strumpet, let go the boy, let go the beggar.
    Wife. Oh my sweet husband.
    Hus. Filth, Harlot.
    Wife. Oh, what will you do, dear husband?
    Hus. Give me the bastard.
    545 Wife. Your own sweet boy.
    Hus. There are too many beggars.
    Wife. Good my husband.
    Hus. Do'st thou prevent me still?
    Wife. Oh God!
    550Stabs at the child in her armes, and gets it from her.
    Hus.Have at his heart.
    Wife. Oh my dear boy.
    Hus. B
    rat, thou shalt not live to shame thy house.
    Wife. Oh heaven.She is hurt and sinks down.
    555 Hus. And perish, now be gone,
    There's whores enow, and want would make thee one.

    Enter a lusty Servant.

    Ser. Oh sir, what deeds are these?
    Hus. Base slave, my vassail,
    560Com'st thou between my fury to question me?
    Ser. Were you the devil, I would hold you, sir.
    Hus. Hold me? presumption, I'le undo thee for it.
    Ser. 'Sbloud, you have undone us all, sir.
    Hus.Tug at thy Master?
    565 Ser. Tug at a monster.
    Hus. Have I no power? shall my slave fetter me?
    Ser. Nay then the devil wrastles, I am thrown.
    Husband overcomes him.
    Hus. Oh villain, now I'le tug thee, now I'le tear thee,
    570set quick spurs to my vassail, bruise him, trample him;
    so, I think thou wilt not follow me in haste.
    My horse stands ready sadled, away, away,
    Now to my brat at nurse, my sucking beggar;
    Fates, I'le not leave you one to trample on.
    575The Master meets him.
    Mr. How is't with you sir, me-thinks you look of a
    distracted colour.
    Hus. Who, I sir? 'tis but your fancy,
    Please you walk in, sir, and I'le soon resolve you,
    580I want one small part to make up the sum,
    And then my brother shall rest satisfied.
    M. I shall be glad to see it, sir, I'le attend you.Exeunt.
    Ser. Oh, I am scarce able to heave up my self,
    He has so bruis'd me with his devillish weight,
    585And torn my flesh with his bloud-hasty spur,
    A man before of easie constitution,
    Till now hells power supplied, to his souls wrong,
    Oh how damnation can make weak men strong.

    Enter Master and two servants.

    590 Ser. Oh the most pittious deed, sir, since you came.
    Mr. A deadly greeting; hath he sum'd up these