Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: The London Prodigal (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: Anonymous, William Shakespeare
    Not Peer Reviewed

    The London Prodigal (Folio 3, 1664)

    The London Prodigal.
    1545Fath. Hold thee, there is a French Crown, and speak
    no more of this.
    Arti. Not I, not a word, now do I smell knavery:
    In every purse Flowerdale takes, he is halfe:
    And gives me this to keep counsel, not a word I.
    1550Fath. Why God a mercy.
    Fran. Sister, look here, I have a new Dutch maid,
    And she speaks so fine, it would do your heart good.
    Civ. How do you like her, sister?
    Del. I like your maid well.
    1555Civ. Well, dear sister, will you draw near, and give
    directions for supper, guesse will be here presently.
    Del. Yes, brother, lead the way, I'le follow you.
    Exit all but Delia and Luce.
    Hark you, Dutch Frow, a word.
    1560Luce. Vat is your villwit me?
    Del. Sister Luce, 'tis not your broken language,
    Nor this same habit, can disguise your face
    From I that know you: pray tell me, what means this?
    Luce. Sister, I see you know me, yet be secret:
    1565This borrowed shape that I have tane upon me,
    Is but to keep my self a space unknown,
    Both from my father, and my nearest fri
    Untill I see how time will bring to passe,
    The desperate course of Master Flowerdale.
    1570Del. O he is worse then bad, I prithee leave him,
    And let not once thy heart to think on him.
    Luce. Do not perswade me once to such a thought,
    Imagine yet, that he is worse then nought:
    Yet one lovers time may all that ill undo,
    1575That all his former life did run into.
    Therefore, kind sister, do not disclose my estate,
    If e're his heart doth turn, 'tis n'ere too late.
    Del. Well, seeing no counsel can remove your mind,
    I'le not disclose you, that art wilfull blind.
    1580Luce. Delia, I thank you, I now must please her eyes,
    My sister Frances, neither fair nor wise.
    Enter Flowerdale solus.
    Flow. On goes he that knows no end of his journey,
    1585I have passed the very utmost bounds of shifting,
    I have no course now but to hang my self:
    I have lived since yesterday two a clock, of a
    Spice-cake I had at a burial: and for drink,
    I got it at an Ale-house among Porters, such as
    1590Will bear out a man, if he have no mony indeed.
    I mean out of their companies, for they are men
    Of good carriage. Who comes here?
    The two Cony-catchers, that won all my mony of me.
    I'le trie if they'll lend me any.
    1595Enter Dick and Rafe.
    What, M. Richard, how do you?
    How do'st thou, Rafe? By God, gentlemen, the world
    Grows bare with me, will you do as much as lend
    Me an Angel between you both, you know you
    1600Won a hundred of me the other day.
    Raf. How, an Angel? God damn us if we lost not every
    Penny within an hour after thou wert gone.
    Flo. I prithee lend me so much as will pay for my supper,
    I'le pay you again, as I am a Gentleman.
    1605Rafe. Ifaith, we have not a farthing, not a mite:
    I wonder at it, M. Flowerdale,
    You will so carelessely undo your self:
    Why you will lose more money in an hour,
    Then any honest man spends in a year;
    1610For shame betake you to some honest Trade,
    And live not thus so like a Vagabond.Exit both.
    Flow. A Vagabond indeed, more villains you:
    They gave me counsel that first cozen'd me:
    Those Devils first brought me to this I am,
    1615And being thus, the first that do me wrong.
    Well, yet I have one friend left in store.
    Not far from hence there dwells a Cokatrice,
    One that I first put in a Sattin gown,
    And not a tooth that dwells within her head,
    1620But stands me at the least in twenty pound:
    Her will I visit now my Coyn is gone,
    And as I take it here dwells the Gentlewoman.
    What ho, is Mistris Apricock within?
    Enter Ruffin.
    1625Ruff. What sawcie Rascal is that which knocks so bold,
    O, is it you, old spend-thrift? are you here?
    One that is turned Cozener about the town:
    My Mistris saw you, and sends this word by me,
    Either be packing quickly from the door,
    1630Or you shall have such a greeting sent you straight,
    As you will little like on, you had best be gone.
    Flow. Why so, this is as it should be, being poor,
    Thus art thou served by a vile painted whore.
    Well, since thy damned crew do so abuse thee,
    1635I'le try of honest men, how they will use me.
    Enter an ancient Citizen.
    Sir, I beseech you to take compassion of a man,
    One whose Fortunes have been better then at this in-
    stant they seem to be: but If I might crave of you so
    1640much little portion, as would bring me to my friends, I
    should rest thankfull, untill I had requited so great a cur-.
    Citiz. Fie, fie, young man, this course is very bad,
    Too many such have we about this City;
    1645Yet for I have not seen you in this sort,
    Nor noted you to be a common beggar,
    Hold, there's an Angel to bear your charges,
    Down, go to your friends, do not on this depend,
    Such bad beginnings oft have worser ends.Exit Cit.
    1650Flow. Worser ends: nay, if it fall out
    No worse then in old Angels I care not,
    Nay, now I have had such a fortunate beginning,
    I'le not let a six-penny-purse escape me:
    By the Masse, here comes another.

    1655Enter a Citizens wife with a torch before her.

    God blesse you, fair Mistris.
    Now would it please you, Gentlewoman, to look into the
    wants of a poor Gentleman, a younger brother, I doubt
    not but God will treble restore it back again, one that
    1660never before this time demanded penny, half-penny, nor
    Cit. Wife. Stay Alexander, now by troth a very pro-
    per man, and 'tis great pitty: hold, my friend, there's all
    the money I have about me, a couple of shillings, and God
    1665blesse thee.
    Flow. Now God thank you, sweet Lady: if you have
    any friend, or Garden-house, where you may imploy a
    poor Gentleman as your friend, I am yours to command
    in all secret service.
    1670Citiz. W. I thank you, good friend, I prithee let me
    see that again I gave thee, there is one of them a brasse
    shilling, give me them, and here is half a crown in gold.
    He gives it her.
    Now out upon thee, Rascal, secret service: what doest
    1675thou make of me? it were a good deed to have thee