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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    near enough to th' Preacher, Oh!---a Sermon's a fine
    short Cloak of an hour long, and will hide the upper part
    of a dissembler,--Church, I, he seem'd all Church, and
    865his conscience was as hard as the Pulpit.
    Wid. I can no more endure this.
    Pye. Nor I, Widow,
    Endure to flatter.
    Wid. Is this all your business with me?
    870Pye. No, Lady, 'tis but the induction to't,
    You may believe my strains, I strike all true.
    And if your conscience would leap up to your tongue,
    your self would affirm it, and that you shall perceive
    I know of things to come, as well as I do of what is pre-
    875sent; a Brother of your husband's shall shortly have a
    Wid. A loss? marry Heaven forfend, Sir Godfrey, my
    Pye. Nay, keep in your wonders, 'till I have told you
    880the fortunes of you all; which are more fearfull, if not
    happily prevented,--for your part and you: Daughters, if
    there be not once this day some bloud-shed before your
    door, whereof the humane creature dyes, of you two the
    elder shall run mad.
    885Mother & Frank. Oh!
    Mol. That's not I yet.
    Pye. And with most impudent prostitution, show your
    naked Bodies to the view of all beholders.
    Wid. Our naked Bodies? fie for shame.
    890Pye. Attend me, and your younger Daughter be
    strucken dumb.
    Mol. Dumb? out alas; 'tis the worst pain of all for
    a Woman, I'de rather be mad, or run naked, or any
    thing: dumb?
    895Pye. Give ear: ere the evening fall upon Hill, Bog,
    and Meadow, this my speech shall have past probation,
    and then shall I be believed accordingly.
    Widow. If this be true, we are all sham'd, all un-
    900Mol. Dumb? I'le speak as much as ever I can possi-
    ble before evening.
    Pye. But if it so come to pass (as for your fair sakes I
    wish it may) that this presage of your strange fortunes
    be prevented by that accident of death and bloud-shed-
    905ding, which I before told you of; take heed upon your
    lives, that two of you which have vow'd never to marry,
    seek out Husbands with all present speed, and you the
    third, that have such a desire to outstrip Chastity, look
    you meddle not with a Husband.
    910Moll. A double Torment.
    Pye. The breach of this keeps your Father in Purga-
    tory, and the punishments that shall follow you in this
    world, would with horrour kill the ear should hear 'em
    915Wid. Marry? why I vow'd never to marry.
    Frank. And so did I.
    Moll. And I vow'd never to be such an Ass, but to
    marry: what a cross Fortune's this?
    Pye. Ladies, though I be a Fortune-teller, I cannot bet-
    920ter Fortunes, you have'em from me as they are revealed
    to me: I would they were to your tempers, and fellows
    with your blouds, that's all the bitterness I would you.
    Widow. Oh! 'tis a just vengeance, for my Husband's
    hard purchases.
    925Pye. I wish you to bethink your selves, and leave'em.
    Wid. I'le to Sir Godfrey my Brother, and acquaint
    him with these fearfull presages.
    Frank. For, Mother, they portend losses to him.
    Wid. Oh I, they do, they do;
    930If any happy issue crown thy words,
    I will reward thy cunning.
    Pye. 'Tis enough, Lady,
    I wish no higher. Exit.
    Moll. Dumb? and not Marry? worse,
    935Neither to speak, nor kiss, a double curse.Exit.
    Pye. So, all this comes well about yet, I play the Fortune-
    teller, as well as if I had had a Witch to my Grannam:
    for by good happinesse, being in my Hostesses Gar-
    den, which neighbours the Orchard of the Widow, I
    940laid the hole of mine ear to a hole in the wall, and heard
    'em make these Vowes, and speak those words, upon which
    I wrought these advantages; and to encourage my for-
    gerie the more, I may now perceive in 'em a natural sim-
    plicitie which will easily swallow an abuse, if any cover-
    945ing be over it: and to confirm my former presage to the
    Widow, I have advis'd old Peter Skirmish the Souldier,
    to hurt Corporal Oath upon the Leg, and in that hurry,
    I'le rush amongst'em, and in stead of giving the Corpo-
    ral some Cordial to comfort him, I'le pour into his mouth
    950a potion of a sleepy nature, and make him seem as dead;
    for the which the old Souldier being apprehended, and
    ready to be borne to execution, I'le step in, and take upon
    me the cure of the dead man, upon pain of dying the
    condemned's death: the Corporal will wake at his mi-
    955nute, when the sleepy force hath wrought it self, and so
    shall I get my self into a most admired opinion, and under
    the pretext of that cunning, beguile as I see occasion:
    and if that foolish Nicholas Saint Tantlings keep true
    time with the Chain, my plot will be sound, the Captain
    960delivered, and my wits applauded among Schollars and
    Souldiers for ever. Exit Pye-board.

    Enter Nicholas Saint Tantlings, with the Chain.

    Nic. Oh, I have found an excellent advantage to take
    away the Chain, my Master put it off e'en now, to say on
    965a new Doublet, and I sneakt it away by little and little,
    most Puritanically! we shall have good sport anon
    when has mist it, about my Cousin the Conjurer; the world
    shall see I'me an honest man of my word, for now I'me
    going to hang it between Heaven and Earth among the
    970Rosemary branches.Exit Nich.

    Actus Tertius.

    Enter Simon Saint Mary-Overies, and Frailty.

    Frail. Sirrah Simon Saint Mary-Overies, my Mistris
    sends away all her suiters, and puts fleas in their eares.
    975Sim. Frailty, she does like an honest, chast, and vir-
    tuous woman; for Widows ought not to wallow in the
    puddle of Iniquity.
    Frail. Yet, Simon, many Widows will do't, what so
    ere comes on't.
    980Sim. True, Frailty, their filthy flesh desires a Con-
    junction Copulative; what strangers are within,
    Frail. There's none, Simon; but master Pilfer the Tay-
    lor: he's above with Sir Godfrey, praising of a Doublet:
    985and I must trudge anon to fetch Master Suds the Barber.
    Sim. Ma-