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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter Wife in a riding-sute, with a Serving-man.
    295 Ser. Faith Mistress, if it may not be presumption
    In me to tell you so, for his excuse
    You had small reason, knowing his abuse.
    Wife. I grant I had, but alas,
    Why should our faults at home be spread abroad?
    300'Tis grief enough within doors; at first sight
    Mine Uncle could run o're his prodigal life
    As perfectly, as if his serious eye
    Had numbred all his follies:
    Knew of his morgag'd lands, his friends in bonds,
    305Himself withered with debt; and in that minute
    Had I added his usage and unkindness,
    'Twould have confounded every thought of good:
    Where now, fathering his riots on his youth,
    Which time and tame experience will shake off,
    310Guessing his kindness to me (as I smooth'd him
    With all the skill I had) though his deserts
    Are in form uglier then an unshapt Bear.
    He's ready to prefer him to some Office
    And place at Court: a good and sure releif
    315To all his stooping fortunes, 'twill be a means, I hope,
    To make new league between us, and redeem
    His virtues with his lands.
    Ser. I should think so: Mistress, if he should not now
    be kind to you, and love you, and cherish you up, I should
    320think the Devil himself kept open house in him.
    Wife. I doubt not but he will now, prythee leave me,
    I think I hear him coming.
    Serv. I am gone.Exit.
    Wife. By this good means I shall preserve my lands,
    325And free my husband out of Usurers hands:
    Now there is no need of sale, my Uncle's kind,
    I hope, if ought, this will content his mind.
    Here comes my husband.Enter Husband.
    Hus. Now, are you come? where's the money? let's
    330see the money, is the rubbish sold? those wiseakers your
    Lands, why then, the money, where is it? poure it
    down, down with it, down with it; I say pour't on the
    groound, let's see it, let's see it.
    Wife. Good sir, keep but in patience, and I hope
    335My words shall like you well, I bring you better
    Comfort then the sale of my Dowry.
    Hus. Ha, what's that?
    Wife. Pray do not fright me, sir, but vouchsafe me hear-
    ing. My Uncle, glad of your kindness to me and mild use-
    340age (for so I made it to him) hath in pitty of your decli-
    ning fortunes, provided a place for you at Court, of worth
    and credit; which so much overjoyed me----
    Hus. Out on thee, filth, over and over-joyed,
    When I'me in torment.spurns her.
    345Thou politick whore, subtiller then nine Devils, was
    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.Exit.
    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.