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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    85Enter Wife.
    Wife. What will become of us? all will away,
    My husband never ceases in expence,
    Both to consume his credit and his house.
    And 'tis set down by heavens just decree,
    90That Riots child must needs be beggery.
    Are these the vertues that his youth did promise?
    Dice and voluptuous meetings, midnight Revels,
    Taking his bed with surfets. Ill beseeming
    The ancient honour of his House and Name:
    95And this not all, but that which kills me most,
    When he recounts his losses and false fortunes,
    The weaknesse of his state so much dejected,
    Not as a man repentant, but half mad,
    His fortunes cannot answer his expence:
    100He sits and sullenly locks up his armes,
    Forgetting heaven, looks downward, which makes
    Him appear so dreadfull, that he frights my heart:
    Walks heavily, as if his soule were earth;
    Not penitent for those his sins are past,
    105But vext, his money cannot make them last:
    A fearfull melancholy, ungodly sorrow.
    Oh yonder he comes, now in despight of ills
    I'le speak to him, and I will hear him speak,
    And do my best to drive it from his heart.
    110Enter Husband.
    Hus. Pox of the last throw, it made
    Five hundred Angels vanish from my sight:
    I'me damn'd, Ime damn'd, the Angels have forsook me;
    Nay 'tis certainly true: for he that has no coyn,
    115Is damn'd in this world; he's gone, he's gone.
    Wife. Dear Husband.
    Hus. Oh! most punishment of all, I have a Wife.
    Wife. I doe entreat you as you love your soule,
    Tell me the cause of this your discontent.
    120 Hus. A vengeance strip thee naked, thou art cause,
    Effect, quality, property, thou, thou, thou.Exit.
    Wife. Bad turn'd to worse?
    Both beggery of the soule as of the body,
    And so much unlike himself at first,
    125As if some vexed spirit had got his form upon him.
    Enter Husband again.
    He comes again,
    He sayes I am the cause, I never yet
    Spoke lesse then words of duty and of love.
    130 Hus. If marriage be honourable, then Cuckolds are
    honourable, for they cannot be made without marriage.
    Fool, what meant I to marry to get Beggars?
    Now must my eldest Son be a Knave or nothing, he can-
    not live but upoth' fool, for he will have no Land to
    135maintain him: that morgage sits like a snaffle upon mine
    inheritance, and makes me chaw upon Iron.
    My second Son must be a promoter, and my third a
    Thief, or an under-putter, a Slave Pander.
    Oh beggery, beggery, to what base uses doth it put a man.
    140I think the Devil scorns to be a Bawd:
    He beares himself more proudly, has more care on his
    Base, slavish, abject, filthy poverty.
    Wi. Good sir, by all our vowes I doe beseech you,
    145Shew me the true cause of your discontent.
    Hus. Mony, mony, mony, and thou must supply me.
    Wi. Alass, I am the least cause of your discontent.
    Yet what is mine, either in Rings or Jewels,
    Use to your own desire, but I beseech you,
    150As you are a Gentleman by many bloods,
    Though I my self be out of your respect,
    Think on the state of these three lovely boyes
    You have been Father to.
    Hus. Puh, Bastards, Bastards, Bastards, begot in tricks,
    155begot in tricks.
    Wi. Heaven knowes how those words wrong me,
    But I'le endure these griefs among a thousand more:
    Oh call to mind your Lands already morgag'd,
    Your self wound into debts, your hopefull Brother
    160At the University into bonds for you,
    Like to be seiz'd upon. And-----
    Hus. Ha done, thou Harlot,
    Whom though for fashion I married,
    I never could abide. Think'st thou thy words
    165Shall kill my pleasure? fall off to thy friends,
    Thou and thy Bastards beg, I will not bate
    A whit in humour: Midnight still I love you,
    And revel in your company: curb'd in?
    Shall it be said in all societies,
    170That I broke custome? that I flagd in money?
    No, those thy Jewels I will play as freely,
    As when my state was fullest.
    Wife. Be it so.
    Hus. Nay I protest, and take that for an earnest,
    175He spurns her.
    I will for ever hold thee in contempt,
    And never touch the Sheets that cover thee,
    But be divorc't in bed, till thou consent,
    Thy dowry shall be sold to give new life
    180Unto those pleasures which I most affect.
    Wife. Sir, do but turn a gentle eye on me,
    And what the law shall give me leave to do,
    You shall command.
    Hus.Look it be done, shall I want dust,
    185And like a Slave wear nothing in my pockets,
    Holds his Hands in his Pockets.
    But my hands to fill them up with nayles?
    Oh much against my blood, let it be done,
    I was never made to be a loker on:
    190A Bawde to Dice; I'le shake the Drabs my self,
    And make them yield, I say look it be done.
    Wife. I take my leave, it shall.Exit.
    Hus. Speedily, speedily, I hate the very hour I chose
    a Wife, a trouble, trouble, three Children like three evils
    195hang upon me, fie, fie, fie, strumpet and bastards, strum-
    pet and bastards.
    Enter three Gentlemen, hearing him.
    1. Gent. Still do these loathsome thoughts jar on your
    200Your self to stain the honour of your Wife,
    Nobly discended; those whom men call mad,
    Endangers others, but he's more then mad
    That wounds himself, whose own words
    Do proclaime it is not fit, I pray forsake it.
    205 2. Gen. Good sir, let modesty reprove you.
    3. Gen. Let honest kindness sway so much with you.
    Hus. God den, I thank you, sir, how do you? adieu, I
    am glad to see you, farewell Instructions, Admonitions.
    Exeunt Gent.
    210Enter a Servant.
    How now sirrha? what would you?
    Ser. Onely to certifie you, sir, that my Mistresse was
    met by the way, by them who were sent for her up to
    London by her honourable Unckle, your Worships late
    Hus. So, sir, then she is gone, and so may you be,
    But let her look that the thing be done she wots of,
    Or hell will stand more pleasant then her house at home.
    Exit Servant.
    220Enter a Gentleman.
    Gent. Well or ill met, I care not.
    Hus. No nor I.
    Gent. I am come with confidence to chide you.
    Hus. Who me? chide me? do't finely then, let it not
    225move me, for if thou chid'st me angry, I shall strike.
    Gent. Strike thine own follies, for it is they
    Deserve to be well beaten; we are now in private,
    There's none but thou and I, thou art fond and peevish,
    An unclean Rioter, thy lands and credit
    230Lie now both sick of a consumption,
    I am sorry for thee; that man spends with shame,
    That with his riches doth consume his name,
    And such art thou.
    Hus. Peace.
    235 Gent. No, thou shalt hear me further.
    Thy fathers and fore-fathers worthy honours,
    Which were our Countrey monuments, our grace,
    Follies in thee begin now to deface.
    The spring time of thy youth did fairly promise
    240Such a most fruitfull summer to thy friends,
    It scarce can enter into mens beliefs,
    Such dearth should hang on thee, we that see it,
    Are sorry to believe it: in thy change,
    This voice into all places will be hurld:
    245Thou and the Devil has deceiv'd the world.
    Hus. I'le not endure thee.
    Gent. But of all the worst,
    Thy virtuous wife, right honourably allied,
    Thou hast proclaim'd a strumpet.
    250 Hus. Nay then I know thee,
    Thou art lier Champion thou, her private friend,
    The party you wot on.
    Gent. Oh ignoble thought,
    I am past my patient bloud, shall I stand idle
    255And see my reputation toucht to death?
    Hus. This has gal'd you, has it?
    Gent. No monster, I prove
    My thoughts did onely tend to virtuous love.
    Hus. Love of her virtues? there it goes.
    260 Gent. Base spirit, to lay thy hate upon
    The fruitfull honour of thine own bed.
    They fight, and the Husband is hurt.
    Hus. Oh.
    Gent. Wilt thou yield it yet?
    265 Hus. Sir, sir, I have not done with you.
    I hope, nor ne're shall do.Fight agen.
    Hus. Have you got tricks? are you in cunning with me?
    Gent. No, plain and right.
    He needs no cunning that for truth doth fight.
    270Husband falls down.
    Hus. Hard fortune, am I level'd with the ground?
    Gent. Now, sir, you lie at mercy.
    Hus. I, you slave.
    Gent. Alas, that hate should bring us to our grave,
    275You see, my Sword's not thirsty for your life,
    I am sorrier for your wound, then your self;
    Y'are of a virtuous house, shew virtuous deeds,
    'Tis not your honour, 'tis your folly bleeds:
    Much good has been expected in your life,
    280Cancel not all mens hopes, you have a Wife,
    Kind and obedient: heap not wrongfull shame
    On her and your posterity: let only sin be sore,
    And by this fall, rise never to fall more.
    And so I leave you.Exit.
    285 Hus. Has the dog left me then,
    After his tooth hath left me? Oh, my heart
    Would fain leap after him, revenge I say,
    I'me mad to be reveng'd, my strumpet Wife,
    It is thy quarrel that rips thus my flesh,
    290And makes my breast spit bloud, but thou shalt bleed:
    Vanquisht? got down? unable e'en to speak?
    Surely 'tis want of money makes men weak,
    I, 'twas that ore-threw me, I'de nere been down else.Exit.