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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)

    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
    whipt: now I have my money again, I'le see thee hanged
    before I give thee a penny: secret service: on good Ale-
    xander.Exit both.
    Flow. This is villainous luck, I perceive dishonesty
    1680Will not thrive: here comes more, God forgive me,
    Sir Arthur, and M. Oliver, aforegod, I'le speak to them,
    God save you, Sir Arthur: God save you, M. Oliver.
    Oli. Bin you there, zirrha, come will you ytaken your self
    To your tools, Coystrel?
    1685Flow. Nay, M. Oliver, I'le not fight with you,
    Alas, sir, you know it was not my doings,
    It was onely a plot to get Sir Lancelot's daughter:
    By God, I never meant you harme.
    Oli. And whore is the Gentlewoman thy wife, Mezel?
    1690Whore is she, Zirrha, ha?
    Flow. By my troth, M. Oliver, sick, very sick;
    And God is my Judge, I know not what means to make
    for her, good Gentlewoman.
    Oli. Tell me true, is she sick? tell me true itch vise thee.
    1695Flow. Yes faith, tell you true: M. Oliver, if you would
    do me the small kindnesse, but to lend me forty shillings:
    So God help me, I will pay you so soon as my ability shall
    make me able, as I am a Gentleman.
    Oli. Well, thou zaist thy wife is zick: hold, there's vor-
    1700ty shillings, gived it to thy wife, look thou give it her, or
    I shall zo veze thee, thou wert not zo vezed this zeven
    year, look to it.
    Arth. Ifaith, M. Oliver, it is in vain
    To give to him that never thinks of her.
    1705Oli. Well, would che could yvind it.
    Flow. I tell you true, Sir Arthur, as I am a gentleman.
    Oli. Well, farewell zirrha: come, Sir Arthur.
    Exit both.
    Flow. By the Lord, this is excellent.
    1710Five golden Angels compast in an hour,
    If this trade hold, I'le never seek a new.
    Welcome sweet gold, and beggery adieu.
    Enter Uncle and Father.
    Unc. See, Kester, if you can find the house.
    1715Flow. Whose here, my Uncle, and my man Kester?
    By the Masse 'tis they.
    How do you, Uncle, how do'st thou, Kester?
    By my troth, Uncle, you must needs lend
    Me some money, the poor Gentlewoman
    1720My wife, so God help me, is very sick,
    I was rob'd of the hundred Angels
    You gave me, they are gone.
    Unc. I, they are gone indeed, come, Kester, away.
    Flow. Nay, Uncle, do you here? good Uncle.
    1725Unc. Out Hypocrite, I will not hear thee speak,
    Come leave him, Kester.
    Flow. Kester, honest Kester
    Fath. Sir, I have nought to say to you,
    Open the door to my kin, thou had'st best
    1730Lockt fast, for there's a false knave without.
    Flow. You are an old lying Rascal,
    So you are.
    Exit both.
    Enter Luce.
    1735Luce. Vat is de matter, Vat be you, yonker?
    Flow. By this light a Dutch Frow, they say they are (cal'd
    Kind, by this light I'le cry her.
    Luce. Vat be you, yonker, why do you not speak?
    Flow. By my troth, sweet heart, a poor Gentleman
    1740that would desire of you, if it stand with your liking, the
    bounty of your purse.
    Enter Father.
    Luce. O here God, so young an Armine.
    Flow. Armine, sweet-heart, I know not what you mean
    1745by that, but I am almost a beggar.
    Luce. Are you not a married man, vere bin your vife?
    Here is all I have, take dis.
    Flow. What gold, young Frow? this is brave.
    Fath. If he have any grace, he'll now repent.
    1750Luce. Why speak you not, were be your vife?
    Flow. Dead, dead, she's dead, 'tis she hath undone me?
    Spent me all I had, and kept Rascals under my nose to
    brave me.
    Luce. Did you use her vell?
    1755Flow. Use her, there's never a Gentlewoman in En-
    gland could be better used then I did her, I could but
    Coach her, her Diet stood me in forty pound a month,
    but she is dead and in her grave, my cares are buried.
    Luce. Indeed dat vas not scone.
    1760Fath. He is turned more devil then he was before.
    Flow. Thou do'st belong to Master Civet here, do'st
    thou not?
    Luce. Yes, me do.
    Flow. Why there's it, there's not a handfull of plate
    1765But belongs to me, God's my Judge:
    If I had such a wench as thou art,
    There's never a man in England would make more
    Of her, then I would do, so she had any stock.
    They call within.
    1770O why Tanikin.
    Luce. Stay, one doth call, I shall come by and by a-
    Flow. By this hand, this Dutch wench is in love with (me,
    Were it not admirall to make her steal
    1775All Civet's Plate, and run away.
    Fath. 'Twere beastly. O M. Flowerdale,
    Have you no fear of God, nor conscience:
    What do you mean, by this vild course you take?
    Flow. What do I mean? why, to live, that I mean.
    1780Fath. To live in this sort, fie upon the course,
    Your life doth show, you are a very coward.
    Flow. A coward, I pray in what?
    Fath. Why you will borrow six-pence of a boy.
    Flow. 'Snails, is there such a cowardise in that? I dare
    1785Borrow it of a man, I, and of the tallest man
    In England, if he will lend it me:
    Let me borrow it how I can, and let them come by it
    how they dare.
    And it is well known, I might a rid out a hundred times
    1790If I would, so I might.
    Fath. It was not want of will, but cowardise,
    There is none that lends to you, but know they gain:
    And what is that but onely stealth in you?
    Delia might hang you now, did not her heart
    1795Take pitty of you for her sisters sake.
    Go get you hence, least lingering here you stay,
    You fall into their hands you look not for.
    Flow. I'le tarry here, till the Dutch Frow
    Comes, if all the devils in hell were here.
    1800Exit Father.
    Enter Sir Lancelot, M. Weathercock,
    and Artichoak.
    Lan. Where is the door? are we not past it Artichoak?
    Arti. By th'Masse here's one, I'le ask him, do you
    1805hear, sir?
    What, are you so proud? do you hear, which is the way
    To M. Civet's house? what, will you not speak?
    O me, this is filching Flowerdale.
    Lance. O wonderful, is this lewde villain here?
    1810O you cheating Rogue, you Cut-purse, Cony-catcher,
    What ditch, you villain, is my Daughters grave?
    A cozening rascal, that must make a will,
    Take on him that strict habit, very that:
    When he should turn to angel, a dying grace,
    1815I'le Father-in-Law you, sir, I'le make a will:
    Speak villain, where's my Daughter?
    Poysoned, I warrant you, or knocked a the head:
    And to abuse good Master Weathercock, with his forged
    1820And Master Weathercock, to make my grounded resolu-(tion,
    Then to abuse the Devonshire Gentlemen:
    Go, away with him to prison.
    Flow. Wherefore to prison? sir, I will not go.
    Enter Master Civet, his Wife, Oliver, Sir Arthur,
    1825 Father, Vnckle, and Delia.
    Lance. O here's his Unckle, welcome, Gentlemen,
    welcome all:
    Such a cozener, Gentlemen, a murderer too
    For any thing I know, my Daughter is missing,
    1830Hath been looked for, cannot be found, a vild upon thee.
    Vnc. He is my kinsman, although his life be vild,
    Therefore, in Gods name, doe with him what you will.
    Lance. Marry to prison.
    Flow. Wherefore to prison, snick-up? I owe you
    1835 nothing.
    Lan. Bring forth my daughter then, away with him.
    Flow. Go seek your daughter, what do you lay to my
    Lance. Suspition of murder, go, away with him.
    1840Flow. Murder your dogs, I murder your daughter?
    Come, Uncle, I know you'll bail me.
    Unc Not I, were there no more,
    Then I the Jaylor, thou the prisoner.
    Lance. Go, away with him.
    1845Enter Luce like a Frow.
    Luce. O my life, where will you ha de man?
    Vat ha de yonker done?
    Wea. Woman, he hath kill'd his wife.
    Luce. His wife, dat is not good, dat is not seen.
    1850Lance. Hang not upon him, huswife, if you do I'le lay
    you by him.
    Luce. Have me no, and or way do you have him,
    He tell me dat he love me heartily.
    Fran. Lead away my maid to prison, why, Tom, will
    1855 you suffer that?
    Civ. No, by your leave, Father, she is no vagrant:
    She is my Wives Chamber-maid, and as true as the skin
    between any mans browes here.
    Lance. Go to, you're both fooles: Son Civet,
    1860Of my life this is a plot,
    Some stragling counterfeit profer'd to you:
    No doubt to rob you of your Plate and Jewels:
    I'le have you led away to prison, Trull.
    Luce. I am no Trull, neither outlandish Frow,
    1865Nor he, nor I shall to the prison go:
    Know you me now? nay never stand amazed.
    Father, I know I have offended you,
    And though that duty wills me bend my knees
    To you in duty and obedience;
    1870Yet this wayes do I turn, and to him yield
    My love, my duty, and my humblenesse.
    Lance. Bastard in nature, kneel to such a slave?
    Luce. O M. Flowerdale, if too much grief
    Have not stopt up the organs of your voice,
    1875Then speak to her that is thy faithfull wife,
    Or doth contempt of me thus tie thy tongue:
    Turn not away, I am no Æthiope,
    No wanton Cressed, nor a changing Hellen:
    But rather one made wretched by thy loss.
    1880What turn'st thou still from me? O then
    I guess thee wofull'st among haplesse men.
    Flow. I am indeed, wife, wonder among wives!
    Thy chastity and vertue hath infused
    Another soul in me, red with defame,
    1885For in my blushing cheeks is seen my shame.
    Lance. Out Hypocrite, I charge thee trust him not.
    Luce. Not trust him, by the hopes after bliss,
    I know no sorrow can be compar'd to his.
    Lan. Well, since thou wert ordain'd to beggery,
    1890Follow thy fortune, I defie thee.
    Oli.Ywood che were so well ydoussed as was ever white
    cloth in tocking mill, an che ha not made me weep.
    Fath. If he hath any grace he'll now repent.
    Arth. It moves my heart.
    1895Wea. By my troth I must weep, I cannot choose.
    Unc. None but a beast would such a maid misuse.
    Flow. Content thy self, I hope to win his favour,
    And to redeem my reputation lost:
    And, Gentlemen, believe me, I beseech you,
    1900I hope your eyes shall behold such change,
    As shall deceive your expectation.
    Oli. I would che were split now, but che believe him.
    Lance. How, believe him.
    Wea. By the Matkins, I do.
    1905Lan. What do you think that e're he will have grace?
    Wea. By my faith it will go hard.
    Oli. Well, che vor ye he is changed: and, M. Flower-
    dale, in hope you been so, hold there's vorty pound to-
    ward your zetting up: what be not ashamed, vang it
    1910man, vang it, be a good husband, loven to your wife:
    and you shall not want for vorty more, I che vor thee.
    Arth. My means are little, but if you'll follow me,
    I will instruct you in my ablest power:
    But to your wife I give this Diamond,
    1915And prove true Diamond fair in all your life.
    Flow. Thanks, good Sir Arthur: M. Oliver,
    You being my enemy, and grown so kind,
    Binds me in all endeavour to restore.
    Oli. What, restore me no restorings, man,
    1920I have vorty pound more here, vang it:
    Zouth chill devie London else: what, do not think me
    A Mezel or a Scoundrel, to throw away my money? che
    have an hundred pound more to pace of any good spota-
    tion: I hope your under and your Uncle will vollow my
    Unc. You have guest right of me, if he leave off this
    course of life, he shall be mine Heir.
    Lan. But he shall never get groat of me;
    A Cozener, a Deceiver, one that kill'd his painfull
    1930Father, honest Gentleman, that passed the fearfull
    Danger of the sea, to get him living & maintain him brave.
    Wea. What hath he kill'd his father?
    Lance. I, sir, with conceit of his vild courses.
    Fath. Sir, you are misinformed.
    1935Lan. Why, thou old knave, thou told'st me so thy self.
    Fath. I wrong'd him then: and toward my Master's (Stock,
    There's twenty Nobles for to make amends.
    Flow. No Kester, I have troubled thee, and wrong'd
    thee more,
    1940What thou in love gives, I in love restore.
    Fran. Ha, ha, sister, there you plaid bo-peep with
    Tom, what shall I give her toward houshold?
    Sister Delia, shall I give her my Fan?
    Del. You were best ask your husband.
    1945Fran. Shall I, Tom?
    Civ. I do Frank, I'le buy thee a new one, with a longer (handle.
    Fran. A russet one, Tom.
    Civ. I with russet feathers.
    Fran. Here, sister, there's my Fan toward houshold,
    1950to keep you warme.
    Luce. I thank you, sister.
    Wea. Why this is well, and toward fair Luces Stock,
    here's forty shillings: and forty good shillings more, I'le
    give her marry. Come Sir Lancelot, I must have you
    Lance. Not I, all this is counterfeit,
    He will consume it, were it a Million.
    Fath. Sir, what is your daughters dower worth?
    Lance. Had she been married to an honest man,
    1960It had been better then a thousand pound.
    Fath. Pay it him, and I'le give you my bond,
    To make her joynter better worth then three.
    Lance. Your bond, sir, why what are you?
    Fath. One whose word in London though I say it,
    1965Will passe there for as much as yours.
    Lan. Wert not thou late that unthrifts serving-man?
    Fath. Look on me better, now my scar is off.
    Nere muse man at this metamorphosie.
    Lance. Master Flowerdale.
    1970Flow. My father, O I shame to look on him.
    Pardon, dear father, the follies that are past.
    Fath. Son, son, I do, and joy at this thy change,
    And applaud thy fortune in this vertuous maid,
    Whom heaven hath sent to thee to save thy soul.
    1975Luce. This addeth joy to joy, high heaven be prais'd.
    Wea. M. Flowerdale, welcome from death, good Mr.
    'Twas sed so here, 'twas sed so here good faith.
    Fath. I caus'd that rumour to be spread my self,
    1980Because I'd see the humours of my son,
    Which to relate the circumstance is needlesse:
    And sirrha, see you run no more into that same disease:
    For he that's once cured of that maladie,
    Of Riot, Swearing, Drunkenness, and Pride,
    1985And falls again into the like distresse,
    That fever is deadly, doth till death indure:
    Such men die mad as of a calenture.
    Flow. Heaven helping me, I'le hate the course as hell.
    Unc. Say it, and do it Cousin, all is well.
    1990Lan. Well, being in hope you'll prove an honest man,
    I take you to my favour. Brother Flowerdale,
    Welcome with all my heart: I see your care
    Hath brought these acts to this conclusion,
    And I am glad of it, come let's in and feast.
    1995Oli. Nay zoft you a while, you promised to make
    Sir Arthur and me amends, here is your wisest
    Daughter, see which an's she'll have.
    Lan. A Gods name, you have my good will, get hers.
    Oli. How say you then Damsel, tyters hate?
    2000Delia. I sir, am yours.
    Oli. Why, then send for a Vicar, and chill have it
    Dispatched in a trice, so chill.
    Del. Pardon me, sir, I mean I am yours,
    In love, in duty: and affection.
    2005But not to love as wife, shall nere be said,
    Delia was buried, married, but a maid.
    Arth. Do not condemne your self for ever
    Vertuous fair, you were born to love.
    Oli. Why you say true, Sir Arthur, she was ybore to it,
    2010So well as her mother: but I pray you shew us
    Some zamples or reasons why you will not marry?
    Del. Not that I do condemne a married life,
    For 'tis no doubt a sanctimonious thing:
    But for the care and crosses of a wife,
    2015The trouble in this world that children bring,
    My vow is in heaven in earth to live alone,
    Husbands howsoever good, I will have none.
    Oli. Why then, chill live a Batchelor too,
    Che zet not a vig by a wife, if a wife zet not a vig
    2020By me: Come, shall's go to dinner?
    Fath. To morrow I crave your companies in Mark-lane:
    To night we'll frolick in M. Civet's house,
    And to each health drink down a full Carouse,