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  • Title: The Puritan (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: Thomas Middleton, William Shakespeare
    Not Peer Reviewed

    The Puritan (Folio 3, 1664)

    The Puritan Widow.

    Cor. With these, my Bully-Feet, I will thump ope the
    Prison doors, and brain the Keeper with the begging-
    Box, but I'le set my honest sweet Captain Idle at liberty.
    Nic. How, Captain Idle? my old Aunts son, my
    355dear Kinsman in Cappadochio.
    Cor. I, thou Church-peeling, thou Holy-paring, Reli-
    ligious out-side thou; if thou had'st any grace in thee,
    thou would'st visit him, relieve him, swear to get him out.
    Nic. Assure you, Corporal, indeed-la, 'tis the first
    360time I heard on't.
    Cor. Why do't now then, Marmaset; bring forth
    thy yearly-wages, let not a Commander perish?
    Simon. But if he be one of the wicked, he shall pe-
    365Nic. Well Corporal, I'le e'en along with you, to visit
    my Kinsman, if I can do him any good, I will,---but I
    have nothing for him, Simon Saint Mary Overies and
    Frailty, pray make a Lye for me to the Knight my Ma-
    ster, old Sir Godfrey.
    370Cor. A Lye? may you lye then?
    Frail. O I, we may lye, but we must not swear.
    Sim. True, we may lie with our Neighbour's wife,
    but we must not swear we did so.
    Cor. Oh, an excellent Tag of Religion!
    375Nic.Oh Simon, I have thought upon a sound ex-
    cuse, it will go currant, say that I am gon to a Fast.
    Sim. To a Fast? very good.
    Nic. I, to a Fast say, with master Full-belly the Minister.
    Sim. Master Full-belly? an honest man: he feeds the
    380flock well, for he's an excellent Feeder.
    Exeunt Corporal & Nicholas.
    Frail. O I, I have seen him eat up a whole Pig, and
    afterwards fall to the pettitoes.Exeunt Sim.& Frailty.

    The Prison, Marshalsea.

    385Enter Captain Idle at one door, and old Souldier
    at the other.

    George Pye-board speaking within.
    Pye. Pray turn the key.
    Skir. Turn the key I pray?
    390Cap. Who should those be, I almost know their voices?
    O my friends! Entring.
    Y'are welcome to a smelling Room here? you newly
    took leave of the air, is't not a strange savour?
    Pie. As all Prison's have smells of sundry wretches;
    395Who though departed, leave their sents behind 'em,
    By Gold Captain, I am sincerely sorry for thee.
    Cap. By my troth, George, I thank thee; but, pish--
    what must be, must be.
    Skir. Captain, what do you lie in for? is't great?
    400what's your offence?
    Cap. Faith, my offence is ordinary,--common, a
    High-way, and I fear me my penalty will be ordinary
    and common too, a Halter.
    Pye. Nay, prophesie not so ill, it shall go hard
    405But I'le shift for thy life.
    Cap. Whether I live or dye, thou'rt an honest George.
    I'le tell you---Silver flow'd not with me, as it had done,
    (for now the tide runs to Bawds and Flatterers) I had a
    start out, and by chance set upon a fat Steward, thinking
    410his Purse had been as pursie as his body; and the slave
    had about him but the poor purchase of ten groats: not-
    withstanding being descryed, pursued, and taken, I know
    the Law is so grim, in respect of many desperate, unset-
    led Souldiers, that I fear me I shall dance after their pipe
    Skir. I am twice sorry for you, Captain; first, that
    your purchase was so small, and now that your danger is
    so great.
    Cap. Push, the worst is but death,---ha you a pipe of
    420Tobacco about you?
    Skir. I think I have thereabouts about me!
    Captain blows a pipe.
    Cap. Here's a clean Gentlman too, to receive.
    Pye. Well, I must cast about some happy slight:
    425Work brain, that ever did'st thy Master right.
    Cor. Keeper, let the key be turn'd.
    Corporal and Nicholas within.
    Nic. I, I, pray master Keeper give's a cast of your office.
    Cap. How now? more visitants?--what, Corporal Oath?
    430Pye. Skir. Corporal.
    Cor. In prison, honest Captain? this must not be.
    Nic. How do you, Captain Kinsman?
    Cap. Good Coxcomb, what makes that pure,--starcht
    fool here?
    435Nic. You see, Kinsman, I am somewhat bold to call
    in, and see how you do; I heard you were safe enough,
    and I was very glad on't, that it was no worse.
    Cap. This is a double torture now,---this fool by th'
    book doth vex me more then my imprisonment. What
    440meant you, Corporal, to hook him hither?
    Cor. Who, he? he shall relieve thee, and supply thee,
    I'le make him do't.
    Cap. Fie, what vain breath you spend:
    He supply? I'le sooner expect mercy from a Usurer when
    445my Bond's forfeited, sooner kindnesse from a Lawyer
    when my money's spent: nay, sooner charity from the
    Devil, then good from a Puritan. I'le look for relief from
    him, when Lucifer is restor'd to his bloud, and in Hea-
    ven again.
    450Nic. I warrant my Kinsman's talking of me, for my
    left ear burns most tyrannically.
    Pye. Captain Idle? what's he there? he looks like a
    Monkey upward, and a Crane downward.
    Cap. Pshaw; a foolish cousin of mine: I must thank
    455God for him.
    Pye. Why the better subject to work a scape upon;
    thou shalt e'en change cloathes with him, and leave him
    here, and so---
    Cap Push, I publisht him e'en now to my Corporal,
    460he will be damn'd ere he do me so much good; why I
    know a more proper, a more handsome device then that,
    if the slave would be sociable,---now goodman Fleer-
    Nic. Oh, my Cousin begins to speak to me now, I
    465shall be acquainted with him again, I hope.
    Skir. Look! what ridiculous Raptures take hold of his
    Pye. Then what say you to this device, a happy one,
    470Cap. Speak low, George; Prison Rats have wider
    eares then those in Malt-lofts.
    Nic. Cousin, if it lay in my power, as they say--to--do-
    Cap. 'Twould do me an exceeding pleasure indeed,
    that; nere talk forder on't, the fool will be hang'd ere
    475he do't.
    Cor. Pax, I'le thump'im to't.
    Pye. Why do but try the Fopster, and break it to
    him bluntly.
    Cap. And so my disgrace will dwell in his Jawes, & the