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  • 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
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    The London Prodigal (Folio 3, 1664)

    The London Prodigal.
    Nick Machivel, I find him
    890Good to be known, not to be followed:
    A pestilent humane fellow, I have made
    Certain anatations of him such as they be:
    And how is't, Sir Lancelot? ha? how is't?
    A mad world, men cannot live quiet in it.
    895Lan. Master Flowerdale, I do understand there is some (jar
    Between the Devon-shire man and you.
    Fath. They, sir? they are good friends as can be.
    Flo. Who Master Oliver & I? as good friends as can be.
    La. It is a kind of safety in you to deny it, & a generous
    900Silence, which too few are indued withall: But, sir, such
    A thing I hear, and I could wish it otherwise.
    Flow. No such thing, Sir Lancelot, a my reputation,
    As I am an honest man.
    Lance. Now I do believe you then, if you do
    905Ingage your reputation there is none.
    Flow. Nay I do not ingage my reputation there is not,
    You shall not bind me to any condition of hardnesse:
    But if there be any thing between us, then there is,
    If there be not, then there is not: be, or be not, all is one.
    910Lance. I do perceive by this, that there is something
    between you, and I am very sorry for it.
    Flow. You may be deceived, Sir Lancelot, the Italian
    Hath a pretty saying, Questo? I have forgot it too,
    'Tis out of my head, but in my translation
    915Ift hold thus, thou hast a friend, keep him; If a foe trip him.
    Lan. Come, I do see by this there is somewhat between (you,
    And before God I could wish it otherwise.
    Flow. Well what is between us, can hardly be altered:
    Sir Lancelot, I am to ride forth to morrow,
    920That way which I must ride, no man must deny
    Me the Sun, I would not by any particular man,
    Be denied common and general passage. If any one
    Saith Flowerdale, thou passest not this way:
    My answer is, I must either on or return,
    925But return is not my word, I must on:
    If I cannot, then make my way, nature
    Hath done the last for me, and there's the fine.
    Lan. Mr. Flowerdale, every man hath one tongue,
    And two ears, nature in her building,
    930Is a most curious work-master.
    Flow. That is as much to say, a man should hear more
    Then he should speak.
    Lan. You say true, and indeed I have heard more,
    Then at this time I will speak.
    935Flow. You say well.
    Lan. Slanders are more common then troths Master (Flowerdale:
    But proof is the rule for both.
    Flow. You say true, what do you call him
    Hath it there in his third canton?
    940Lan. I have heard you have bin wild: I have believ'd it.
    Flow. 'Twas fit, 'twas necessary.
    Lance. But I have seen somewhat of late in you,
    That hath confirmed in me an opinion of
    Goodnesse toward you.
    945Flow. Ifaith sir, I am sure I never did you harme:
    Some good I have done, either to you or yours,
    I am sure you know not, neither is it my will you should.
    Lance. I, your will, sir.
    Flow. I my will, sir: 'sfoot do you know ought of my (will,
    950Begod and you do, sir, I am abused.
    Lan. Go Mr. Flowerdale, what I know I know:
    And know you thus much out of my knowledge,
    That I truly love you. For my daughter,
    She's yours. And if you like a marriage better
    955Then a brawl, all quirks of reputation set aside, go with
    me presently: And where you should fight a bloudy bat-
    tle, you shall be married to a lovely Lady.
    Flow. Nay but, Sir Lancelot?
    Lan. If you will not imbrace my offer, yet assure your
    960self thus much, I will have order to hinder your encounter.
    Flow. Nay but hear me, Sir Lancelot.
    Lance. Nay stand not you upon imputative honor,
    'Tis meerly unsound, unprofitable, and idle:
    Inferences your businesse is to wedde my daughter, there-
    965fore give me your present word to do it, I'le go and pro-
    provide the maid, therefore give me your present resolu-
    tion, either now or never.
    Flow. Will you so put me to it?
    Luce. I a fore God, either take me now, or take me never.
    970Else what I thought should be our match, shall be our part (ing,
    So fare you well for ever.
    Flow. Stay: fall out, what may fall, my love
    Is above all: I will come.
    Lance. I expect you, and so fare you well.
    975Exit Sir Lancelot.
    Fath. Now, sir, how shall we do for wedding apparel?
    Flow. By the Mass that's true: now help Kit,
    The marriage ended, we'll make amends for all.
    Fath. Well, no more, prepare you for your Bride,
    980We will not want for cloaths, what so ere betide.
    Flow. And thou shalt see, when once I have my Dower,
    In mirth we'll spend,
    Full many a merry hour:
    As for this wench, I not regard a pin,
    985It is her gold must bring my pleasures in.
    Fath. Is't possible, he hath his second living,
    Forsaking God, himself to the devil giving:
    But that I knew his mother firme and chast,
    My heart would say, my head she had disgrac't:
    990Else would I swear, he never was my son,
    But her fair mind, so foul a deed did shun.

    Enter Uncle.
    Unc. How now, brother, how do you find your son?
    Fath. O brother, heedlesse as a libertine,
    995Even grown a Master in the School of Vice,
    One that doth nothing, but invent deceit:
    For all the day he humours up and down,
    How he the next day might deceive his friend,
    He thinks of nothing but the present time:
    1000For one groat ready down, he'll pay a shilling,
    But then the lender must needs stay for it.
    When I was young, I had the scope of youth,
    Both wild, and wanton, carelesse and desperate:
    But such mad strains, as he's possest withall,
    1005I thought it wonder for to dream upon.
    Unc. I told you so, but you would not believe it.
    Fath. Well I have found it, but one thing comforts me
    Brother, to morrow he's to be married
    To beauteous Luce, Sir Lancelot Spurcocks daughter.
    1010Unc. Is't possible?
    Fath. 'Tis true, and thus I mean to curb him,
    This day, brother, I will you shall arrest him:
    If any thing will tame him, it must be that,
    For he is rank in mischief, chained to a life,
    1015That will increase his shame, and kill his wife.
    Unc. What arrest him on his wedding day?
    That were unchristian, and an unhumane part:
    How many couple even for that very day,
    Hath purchast seven years sorrow afterward?