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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)

    Oli. Cham ashured thick be the place, that the scoundrel
    Appointed to meet me, if a come, zo: if a come not, zo.
    And che war avise, he would make a Coystrel an us,
    1040Ched vese him, and che vang him in hand, che would
    Hoyst him, and give it him too and again, zo chud:
    Who bin a there, Sir Arthur, chill stay aside.
    Ar. I have dog'd the Devon-shire man into the field,
    For fear of any harme that should befall him:
    1045I had an inckling of that yesternight,
    That Flowerdale and he should meet this morning:
    Though of my soul, Oliver fears him not,
    Yet for I'd see fair play on either side,
    Made me to come, to see their valours tri'd.
    1050Good morrow to Master Oliver.
    Oli. God an good morrow.
    Arth. What Master Oliver, are you angry?
    Oli. What an it be, tyt and grieven you?
    Arth. Not me at all, sir, but I imagine
    1055By your being here thus armed,
    You stay for some that you should fight withall.
    Oli. Why and he do, che would not dezire you to take
    his part.
    Arth. No by my troth, I think you need it not,
    1060For he you look for, I think means not to come.
    Oli. No, and che war ashure of that, ched avese him
    in another place. Enter Daffidill.
    Daff. O, Sir Arthur, Master Oliver, aye me,
    Your Love, and yours, and mine, sweet Mistris Luce,
    1065This morning is married to young Flowerdale.
    Arth. Married to Flowerdale! 'tis impossible.
    Oli. Married man? che hope thou do'st but jest:
    To make an a volowten merriment of it.
    Daff. O 'tis too true. Here comes his Uncle.
    1070Enter Flowerdale, Sheriff, Officers.
    Unc. Good morrow, Sir Arthur, good morrow, M. Oliv.
    Oli. God and good morn, M. Flowerdale. I pray tellen (us,
    Is your scoundrel kinsman married?
    Ar. M. Oliver, call him what you will, but he is married
    1075To Sir Lancelot's daughter here.
    Unc. Sir Arthur, unto her?
    Oli. I, ha the old vellow zerved me thick a trick?
    Why man, he was a promise, chill chud a had her,
    Is a zitch a vox, chill look to his water che vor him.
    1080Unc. The musick playes; they are coming from the
    Sheriff, do your office: fellows, stand stoutly to it.
    Enter all to the Wedding.
    Oli. God give you joy, as the old zaid Proverb is, and
    1085some zorrow among. You met us well, did you not?
    Lance. Nay, be not angry, sir, the fault is in me,
    I have done all the wrong, kept him from coming to the
    field to you, as I might, sir, for I am a Justice, and sworn
    to keep the peace.
    1090Wea. I marry is he, sir, a very Justice, and sworn to
    keep the peace, you must not disturb the weddings.
    Lan. Nay, never frown nor storm, sir, if you do,
    I'le have an order taken for you.
    Oli. Well, well, chill be quiet.
    1095Wea. M. Flowerdale, Sir Lancelot, look you who here is?
    M. Flowerdale.
    Lance. M. Flowerdale, welcome with all my heart.
    Flow. Uncle, this is she ifaith: Master Under-sheriff
    Arrest me? at whose sute? draw Kit.
    1100Unc. At my sute, sir.
    Lan. Why what's the matter, M. Flowerdale?
    Unc. This is the matter, sir, this unthrift here,
    Hath cozened you, and hath had of me,
    In several sums three thousand pound.
    1105Flow. Why, Uncle, Uncle.
    Vnc. Cousin, Cousin, you have Uncled me,
    And if you be not staid, you'll prove
    A cozoner unto all that know you,
    Lance. Why, sir, suppose he be to you in debt
    1110Ten thousand pound, his state to me appears,
    To be at least three thousand by the year.
    Vnc. O, sir, I was too late informed of that plot,
    How that he went about to cozen you:
    And form'd a will, and sent it to your good
    1115Friend there Master Weathercock, in which was
    Nothing true, but brags and lies.
    Lan. Ha, hath he not such Lordships, Lands, and Ships?
    Vnc. Not worth, a groat, not worth a half-penny he.
    Lance. I pray tell us true, be plain, young Flowerdale.
    1120Lan. My Uncle here's mad, & disposed to do me wrong,
    But here's my man, an honest fellow
    By the Lord, and of good credit, knows all is true.
    Fath. Not I, sir, I am too old to lie, I rather know
    You forg'd a will, where every line you writ,
    1125You studied where to coat your Lands might lye.
    Wea. And I prithee, where be thy honest friends?
    Fath. Ifaith no where, sir, for he hath none at all.
    Wea. Benedicity, we are ore reached I believe.
    Lan. I am cozen'd, and my hopefull'st child undone.
    1130Flow. You are not cozen'd, nor is she undone,
    They slander me, by this light, they slander me:
    Look you, my Unkle here's an Usurer, & would undo me,
    But I'le stand in Law, do you but bail me, you shall do
    no more:
    1135You, brother Civet, and Master Weathercock, do but
    Bail me, and let me have my marriage money
    Paid me, and we'll ride down, and there your own
    Eyes shall see, how my poor Tenants there will welcome (me.
    You shall but bail me, you shall do no more,
    1140And you greedy gnat, their bail will serve.
    Unc. I sir, I'le ask no better bail.
    Lan. No, sir, you shall not take my bail, nor his,
    Nor, my son Civets, I'le not be cheated, I,
    Sheriff, take your prisoner, I'le not deal with him:
    1145Let's Uncle make false Dice with his false bones,
    I will not have to do with him: mocked, gull'd, & wrong'd.
    Come Girle, though it be late it falls out well,
    Thou shalt not live with him in beggers hell.
    Luc. He is my Husband, and high heaven doth know,
    1150With what unwillingnesse I went to Church,
    But you enforced me, you compelled me to it:
    The holy Church-man pronounc'd these words but now,
    I must not leave my Husband in distresse:
    Now I must comfort him, not go with you.
    1155Lance. Comfort a cozener? on my curse forsake him:
    Luc. This day you caused me on your curse to take him:
    Do not I pray my grieved soul oppresse,
    God knows my heart doth bleed at his distresse.
    Lan. O M. Weathercock, I must confess I forc'd her to (this match.
    1160Led with opinion his false will was true.
    Wea. A, he hath over-reached me too.
    Lan. She might have liv'd like Delia, in a happy Vir-
    gins stato.
    Delia. Father, be patient, sorrow comes too late.
    1165Lance. And on her knees she begg'd and did entreat,
    If she must needs taste a sad marriage life,
    She craved to be Sir Arthur Greensheild's Wife.
    Ar. You have done her and me the greater wrong.
    Lance. O take her yet.
    1170Arthur. Not I.
    Lanc. Or M. Oliver, accept my Child, and half my
    wealth is yours.
    Oli. No, sir, chill break no Lawes.
    Luce. Never fear, she will not trouble you.
    1175Delia. Yet, sister, in this passion doe not run head-
    long to confusion. You may affect him, though not fol-
    low him.
    Frank. Doe, sister, hang him, let him go.
    Wea. Doe faith, Mistresse Luce, leave him.
    1180Luc. You are three grosse fooles, let me alone,
    I swear I'le live with him in all moan.
    Oli. But an he have his Legs at liberty,
    Cham aveard he will never live with you.
    Art. I, but he is now in hucksters handling for run-
    1185ning away.
    Lanc. Huswife, you hear how you and I am wrong'd,
    and if you will redresse it yet you may:
    But if you stand on tearmes to follow him,
    Never come near my sight, nor look on me,
    1190Call me not Father, look not for a Groat,
    For all the portion I will this day give
    Unto thy sister Frances.
    Fran. How say you to that, Tom? I shall have a good (deale,
    Besides I'le be a good Wife, and a good Wife
    1195Is a good thing I can tell.
    Civ. Peace, Franck, I would be sorry to see thy sister
    Cast away, as I am a Gentleman.
    Lance. What, are you yet resolved?
    Luc. Yes, I am resolved.
    1200Lanc. Come then away, or now, or never come.
    Luc. This way I turn, go you unto your feast,
    And I to weep, that am with grief opprest.
    Lanc. For ever flie my sight: come, Gentlemen,
    Let's in, I'le help you to far better Wives then her.
    1205Delia, upon my blessing talk not to her,
    Base Baggage, in such haste to beggery?
    Unc. Sheriffe, take your prisoner to your charge.
    Flo. Unckle, be-god you have us'd me very hardly,
    By my troth, upon my wedding Day.
    1210Exeunt all: young Flowerdale, his Father, Unckle,
    Sheriffe, and Officers
    Luc. O, M. Flowerdale, but hear me speak,
    Stay but a little while, good M. Sheriffe,
    If not for him, for my sake pitty him:
    1215Good sir, stop not your cares at my complaint,
    My voyce growes weak, for womens words are faint.
    Flow. Look you, she kneeles to you.
    Unc. Fair maid, for you, I love you with my heart,
    And grieve, sweet soul, thy fortune is so bad,
    1220That thou should'st match with such a gracelesse Youth,
    Go to thy Father, think not upon him,
    Whom Hell hath mark'd to be the son of shame.
    Luc. Impute his wildnesse, sir, unto his youth,
    And think that now is the time he doth repent:
    1225Alass, what good or gain can you receive,
    To imprison him that nothing hath to pay?
    And where nought is, the King doth lose his due,
    O pitty him as God shall pitty you.
    Unc. Lady, I know his humours all too well,
    1230And nothing in the world can doe him good,
    But misery it self to chain him with.
    Luc. Say that your debts were paid, then is he free?
    Unc. I, Virgin, that being answered, I have done.
    But to him that is all as impossible,
    1235As I to scale the high Piramidies.
    Sheriffe, take your Prisoner, Maiden, fare thee well.
    Luc. O go not yet, good M. Flowerdale:
    Take my word for the debt, my word, my bond.
    Flow. I, by God, Unckle, and my bond too.
    1240Luc. Alass, I ne're ought nothing but I paid it;
    And I can work, alass, he can doe nothing:
    I have some friends perhaps will pity me,
    His chiefest friends doe seek his misery.
    All that I can, or beg, get, or receive,
    1245Shall be for you: O doe not turn away:
    Me thinks within a face so reverent,
    So well experienced in this tottering world,
    Should have some feeling of a maidens grief:
    For my sake, his Fathers and your Brothers sake,
    1250I, for your souls sake that doth hope for joy,
    Pitty my state, doe not two soules destroy.
    Vnc. Fair maid, stand up, not in regard of him,
    But in pitty of thy haplesse choyce,
    I doe release him: M. Sheriffe, I thank you:
    1255And Officers, there is for you to drink.
    Here, maid, take this money, there is a hundred Angels;
    And for I will be sure he shall not have it,
    Here, Kester, take it you, and use it sparingly,
    But let not her have any want at all.
    1260Dry your eyes, Niece, doe not too much lament
    For him, whose life hath been in riot spent:
    If well he useth thee, he gets him friends,
    If ill, a shamefull end on him depends.
    Exit Vncle.
    1265Flow. A plague go with you for an old fornicator:
    Come, Kit, the money, come, honest Kit.
    Fath. Nay by my faith, sir, you shall pardon me.
    Flow. And why, sir, pardon you? give me the money,
    You old Rascall, or I shall make you.
    1270Luc. Pray hold your hands, give it him honest friend.
    Fath. If you be so content, withall my heart.
    Flow. Content, sir, 'sblood she shall be content
    Whether she will or no. A rattle-baby come to follow me?
    Go, get you gone to the greasie chuffe your Father,
    1275Bring me your Dowry, or never look on me.
    Fath Sir, she hath forsook her Father, and all her
    friends for you.
    Flow. Hang thee, her friends and Father altogether.
    Fath. Yet part with something to provide her lodging.
    1280Flo. Yes, I mean to part with her and you, but if I
    part with one Angel, hang me at a poste. I'le rather
    throw them at a cast at Dice, as I have done a thousand
    of their fellowes.
    Fath. Nay then I will be plain degenerate, boy,
    1285Thou hadst a Father would have been ashamed.
    Flow. My Father was an Asse, an old Asse.
    Fath. Thy Father? proud licentious villain:
    What are you at your foyles? I'le foyle with you.
    Luc. Good sir, forbear him.
    1290Fath. Did not this whining woman hang on me,
    I'de teach thee what it was to abuse thy Father:
    Go hang, beg, starve, Dice, Game, that when all is gone
    Thou may'st after despaire and hang thy self.
    Luce. O doe not curse him.
    1295Fath. I doe not curse him, and to pray for him were (vain,
    It grieves me that he beares his Fathers name.
    Flow. Well, you old Rascall, I shall meet with you:
    Sirrah, get you gone, I will not strip the livery
    Over your eares, because you paid for it:
    1300But doe not use my name, sirrah, doe you hear? look you (doe not
    Use my name, you were best.
    Fath. Pay me the twenty pound then that I lent you,
    Or give me security when I may have it.
    Flow. I'le pay thee not a penny, and for security, I'le
    1305give thee none.
    Minckins, look you doe not follow me, look you doe not:
    If you doe, Beggar, I shall slit your nose.
    Luce. Alass, what shall I doe?
    Flow. Why turn whore, that's a good trade,
    1310And so perhaps I'le see thee now and then.
    Exit Flowerdale.
    Luce. Alass-the-day that ever I was born.
    Fath. Sweet Mistresse, doe not weep, I'le stick to you.
    Luce. Alass, my friend, I know not what to doe,
    1315My Father and my friends, they have despised me:
    And I a wretched Maid, thus cast away,
    Knows neither where to go, nor what to say.
    Fath. It grieves me at the soul, to see her teares
    Thus stain the crimson Roses of her cheeks:
    1320Lady, take comfort, doe not mourn in vain,
    I have a little living in this Town,
    The which I think comes to a hundred pound,
    All that and more shall be at you dispose;
    I'le strait go help you to some strange disguise,
    1325And place you in a service in this Town:
    Where you shall know all, yet your self unknown:
    Come grieve no more, where no help can be had,
    Weep not for him, that is more worse then bad.
    Luce. I thank you, sir.