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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
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    The Puritan (Folio 3, 1664)

    Enter Moll youngest Daughter to the Widow, alone.
    Moll. Not marry? forswear marriage? why all wo-
    645men know 'tis as honourable a thing as to lie with a man;
    and I to spight my Sisters vow the more, have entertain'd
    a Suiter already, a fine Gallant Knight of the last Fea-
    ther, he sayes he will Coach me too, and well appoint me,
    allow me money to Dice withall, and many such pleasing
    650protestations he sticks upon my lips: indeed his short-winded
    Father ith' Countrey is wondrous wealthy, a most
    abominable Farmer, and therefore he may dote in time:
    troth I'le venter upon him; women are not without
    wayes enough to help themselves: if he prove wise and
    655good as his word, why I shall love him, and use him
    kindly; and if he prove an Asse, why in a quarter of an
    houres warning I can transform him into an Oxe;----
    there comes in my relief again.
    Enter Frailty.
    660Frail. O, Mistresse Moll, Mistresse Moll.
    Moll. How now? what's the newes?
    Frail. The Knight your Suiter, Sir John Penny-Dub.
    Moll. Sir John Penny-Dub? where? where?
    Frail. He's walking in the Gallery.
    665Moll. Has my Mother seen him yet?
    Frail. O no, she's---spitting in the Kitchin.
    Moll. Direct him hither softly, good Frailty,
    I'le meet him half way.
    Frail. That's just like running a Tilt; but I hope he'll
    670break nothing this time.
    Enter Sir John Penny-Dub.
    Moll. 'Tis happinesse my Mother saw him not:
    O welcome, good Sir John.
    Penny-Dub. I thank you faith,---Nay you must stand
    675me till I kisse you: 'tis the fashion every where ifaith,
    and I came from Court enow.
    Moll. Nay the Fates forfend that I should anger the
    Penny. Then not forgetting the sweet of new cere-
    680monies, I first fall back, then recovering my self; make
    my honour to your lip thus: and then accost it.
    Moll. Trust me, very pretty, and moving, y'are wor-
    thy on't, sir.
    O my Mother, my Mother, now she's here,
    685Kissing. Enter Widow and Sir Godfrey.
    We'll steale into the Gallery.Exeunt.
    Sir Godf. Nay, Sister, let Reason rule you, doe not
    play the foole, stand not in your own light, you have
    wealthy offers, large tendrings, doe not withstand your
    690good fortune: who comes a wooing to you I pray? no
    small fool, a rich Knight oth' City, Sir Oliver Muck-hill,
    no small fool I can tell you: and furthermore as I heard late
    by your Maid-servants (as your Maid-servants will say
    to me any thing, I thank 'em) both your Daughters are
    695not without Suiters, I, and worthy ones too; one a brisk
    Courtier, Sir Andrew Tip-staffe, suiter afar off to your
    eldest Daughter, and the third a huge wealthy Farmers
    Son, a fine young Country Knight, they call him Sir
    John Penny-Dub, a good name marry, he may have it
    700coyn'd when he lacks money: what blessings are these,
    Wid. Tempt me not, Satan.
    Sir God. Satan? doe I look like Satan? I hope the
    Devil's not so old as I, I trow.
    705Wid. You wound my sences, Brother, when you name
    A suiter to me,---oh I cannot abide it,
    I take in poyson when I hear one nam'd.
    Enter Simon.
    How now, Simon? where's my son Edmond?
    710Sim. Verily, Madam, he is at vain Exercise, dripping
    in the Tennis-Court.
    Wid. At Tennis-Court? oh, now his Father's gone,
    I shall have no rule with him; oh wicked Edmond, I
    might well compare this with the Prophecy in the Chro-
    715nicle, though far inferiour, as Harry of Monmouth won
    all, and Harry of Windsor lost all; so Edmond of Bris-
    towthat was the Father, got all, and Edmond of London
    that's his son now, will spend all.
    Sir Godf. Peace, sister, we'll have him reform'd, there's
    720hope on him yet, though it be but a little.
    Enter Frailty.
    Frail. Forsooth Madam; there are two or three Ar-
    chers at door would very gladly speak with your Ladi-
    725Wid. Archers?
    Sir God. Your Husbands Fletcher I warrant.
    Wid. Oh,
    Let them come near, they bring home things of his,
    Troth I should ha forgot 'em, how now?
    730Villain, which be those Archers?
    Enter the Suiters, Sir Andrew Tipstaffe, Sir Oliver
    Muck-hill, and Penni-Dub.
    Frail. Why, do you not see 'em before you? are not
    these Archers, what do you call'em Shooters: Shooters
    735and Archers are all one I hope.
    Wid. Out ignorant slave.
    Muck. Nay, pray be patient Lady,
    We come in way of honorable love.
    Tipst. Penny. We do.
    740Muck. To you.
    Tipst. Penny. And to your Daughters.
    Wid.O why will you offer me this, Gentlemen? in-
    deed I will not look upon you; when the tears are scarce
    out of mine eyes, not yet washt off from my cheeks, and
    745my deer husbands body scarce so cold as the Coffin, what
    reason have you to offer it? I am not like some of your
    Widows that will bury one in the evening, and be sure
    to another ere morning; pray away, pray take your an-
    swers good Knights, and you be sweet Knights, I have
    750vow'd never to marry;---and so have my daughters too!
    Penny. I, two of you have, but the third's a good wench!
    Muck. Lady, a shrewd answer marry; the best is, 'tis
    but the first, and he's a blunt wooer, that will leave for
    one sharp answer.
    755Tip. Where be your Daughters Lady, I hope they'll
    give us better encouragements?
    Wid. Indeed they'll answer you so, take't a my word
    they'll give you the very same answer Verbatim truly la.
    Penny. Mum: Moll's a good wench still, I know what
    760she'll do?
    Muck. Well, Lady, for this time we'll take our leaves,
    hoping for better comfort.
    Wid. O never, never: and I live these thousand years;
    and you be good Knights, do not hope; 'twill be all Vain,
    765Vain,----look you put off all your suits, and you come to
    me again.
    Frail. Put of all their suits, quatha? I that's the best
    wooing of a Widdow indeed, when a man's Nonsuted,
    that is, when he's a bed with her.
    770Going out Muckhill and Sir Godfrey.
    Muck. Sir Godfrey? here's twenty Angels more, work
    hard for me; there's life in't yet.Exit Muckhill.
    Sir Godf. Fear not Sir Oliver Muckhill, I'le stick
    close for you, leave all w
    ith me.
    775Enter George Pye-board the Schollar.
    Pye. By your leave Lady Widow.
    Wid. What another suiter now?
    Pye. A suiter, no, I protest Lady? if you'd give me
    your self, I'de not be troubled with you.
    780Wid. Say you so Sir, then you're the better welcome sir.
    Pye. Nay, Heaven blesse me from a Widow, unlesse I
    were sure to bury her speedily!
    Wid. Good bluntnesse: well, your businesse, si?
    Pye. Very needfull; if you were in private once.
    785Wid. Needfull? Brother, pray leave us; and you sir.
    Frail. I should laugh now, if this blunt fellow should
    put'em all beside the stirrop, and vault into the saddle
    himself, I have seen as mad a trick.Exit Frailty.
    Enter Daughters.
    790Wid. Now Sir?---here's none but wee----Daughters
    Pye. O no, pray let'em stay, for what I have to speak
    importeth equally to them as you?
    Wid. Then you may stay.
    795Pye. I pray bestow on me a serious ear,
    For what I speak is full of weight and fear.
    Wid. Fear?
    Pye. I, if't passe unregarded, and uneffected,
    Else peace and joy:---I pray Attention.
    800Widow, I have been a meer stranger for these parts that
    you live in, nor did I ever know the Husband of you,
    and Father of them, but I truly know by certain spiritual
    Intelligence, that he is in Purgatory.
    Wid. Purgatory? tuh; that word deserves to be spit
    805upon; I wonder that a man of sober tongue, as you seem
    to be, should have the folly to believe there's such a place.
    Pye. Well Lady, in cold bloud I speak it, I assure you
    that there is a Purgatory, in which place I know your
    husband to recide, and wherein he is like to remain, till
    810the dissolution of the world, till the last general Bon-fire:
    when all the earth shall melt into nothing, and the Seas
    scald their finny labourers: so long is his abidance, un-
    lesse you alter the property of your purpose, together with
    each of your Daughters theirs, that is, the purpose of sin-
    815gle life in your self and your eldest Daughter, and the
    speedy determination of marriage in your youngest.
    Moll. How knows he that, what, has some Devil told
    Wid. Strange he should know our thoughts:------
    820Why but Daughter, have you purpos'd speedy Marriage?
    Pye. You see she tells you I, she sayes nothing.
    Nay, give me credit as you please, I am a stranger to you,
    and yet you see I know your determinations, which
    must come to me metaphisically, and by a super-natural
    Wid. This puts amazement on me.
    Frank. Know our secrets?
    Mol. I'de thought to steal a marriage, would his tongue
    Had dropt out when he blab'd it.
    830Wid. But sir, my husband was too honest a dealing
    man, to be now in any Purgatories-----
    Pye. O do not load your conscience with untruths,
    'Tis but meer folly now to gild'em ore:
    That has past but for Copper; Praises here,
    835Cannot unbind him there: confesse but truth,
    I know he got his wealth with a hard gripe:
    Oh hardly, hardly.
    Wid. This is most strange of all, how knows he that?
    Pye. He would eat fools and ignorant heirs clean up;
    840And had his drink from many a poor mans brow,
    Even as their labour brew'd it.
    He would scrape riches to him most unjustly;
    The very dirt between his nails was ill got
    And not his own,---oh
    845I groan to speak on't, the thought makes me shudder!---
    Wid. It quakes me too, now I think on't---sir, I am
    much griev'd, that you a stranger, should so deeply wrong
    my dead husband!
    850Pye-board. Oh?
    Wid. A man that would keep Church so duly; rise
    early before his servants, and e'en for Religious hast, go
    ungarter'd, unbutton'd, nay sir Reverence untrust, to
    Morning Prayer?
    855Pye. Oh uff.
    Wid. Dine quickly upon high-dayes, and when I had
    great guesse, would e'en shame me, and rise from the Ta-
    ble, to get a good seat at an after-noon Sermon.
    Pye. There's the devil, there's the devil, true, he thought
    860it Sanctity enough, if he had kill'd a man, so t'ad bin
    done in a Pue, or undone his Neighbour, so t'ad bin
    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.